Sep 27th 2018

The fuzzy line between professional and amateur writers

Guest post written by Warren Fowler.
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You always dreamed of becoming a writer?
But what was your dream, exactly?
Did you intend to become a professional in another niche and write in the meantime? That would make you an amateur writer. If you commit your entire time to writing and you turn it into a profession, only then would you be a professional writer.
But, is commitment the only difference between being a professional and an amateur writer?

Tim Urban, the author behind “Wait But Why”, used to publish posts every Tuesday… or Wednesday. Now, we rarely see a post from him, but his followers are still excited with each new piece of content that comes their way. Is Tim Urban still a professional blogger, even though he is not as engaged as he used to be? While, he might not consider blogging to be his profession, he is still considered one of the best bloggers out there.

So it’s mostly about commitment. However, it’s also about having that particular factor that makes you a pro. It’s about the thing that makes you cross the line between being an amateur and becoming a professional.
You may think you’re a professional writer if you commit your entire time to your projects, but you still might be making the mistakes of an amateur.

There’s a fuzzy line between professional and amateur writers. It’s time to learn how to cross it.

  1. Amateurs Will Wait for Inspiration. Pros Will Just Write!

Did you hit writer’s block?
That’s an opportunity to find out if you’re really professional about writing.
If you get frustrated and start blaming everyone and everything for your inability to write, you’re acting like an amateur. If you just relax, and wait for inspiration to hit you because you know the moment of enlightenment will come sooner or later, you’re still acting like an amateur.

What would a professional writer do in this situation?
I reached out to Matthew Cesen, a writer at BestEssays. “A professional writer doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for clarification. I get tasks to cover on a daily basis. When I’m not writing academic papers, I’m working on my first novel, and I still have deadlines. So waiting for the bad moment to pass is not an option. I just sit and write,” – he says. “I have several methods to find inspiration. I’ll do more research. I’ll brainstorm. I’ll take a piece of paper, and I’ll write without interruptions for at least half an hour. When you try hard enough, you’ll dig down to the ideas in the hidden layers of your subconsciousness.”

  1. The Amateur Will Only Do the Fun Parts. The Professional Takes Full Responsibility.

An amateur writer loves to write. This is the kind of person who can wake up inspired and spend the entire day writing without interruption. Is that enough to make them a professional writer? Not if they don’t maintain that energy throughout all stages of the process.
You’ll quickly see an amateur leaving the piece in the drawer for days, weeks, months, or even years. They might revisit it, but they might as well leave it there when it stops being fun for them.
The professional will also go through that stage of an inspirational high. However, they will also conduct diligent research. They will think about the formatting of their content, and they will also edit their writing as close to perfection as it could possibly get.

  1. An Amateur Won’t Take Writing Seriously; A Professional Writer Will Have Daily Rituals!

Did you know that Maya Angelou woke up every single day around 5:30 AM? She had her coffee and started her writing routine by 7:00. She kept a tiny, simple hotel room where she did her writing. She worked there until 2 in the afternoon.
It didn’t matter whether she felt like writing or not. It didn’t matter what day it was. It didn’t matter whether her work for the day was brilliant or not that good. She had her routine and she stuck to it.
Anyone who doesn’t have a specific routine and doesn’t show up to their writing for most days of the week is not a true professional.

  1. Amateurs Are Focused on the Goal. Pros Work Towards Progress

Every single writer wants to be recognized for their talent. They want to achieve brilliance with every essay, novel, short story, blog post, or whatever another piece of content they publish.
But there’s a difference.
The amateur will strive to get recognized for their genius. This is the kind of person who’s after praise. All writers go through such a stage. The professional, however, will realize that it’s better to tame their ego at one point or another. Everyone gets criticism. The professional writer will consider it and grow from it. The amateur will just assume that people don’t understand him and that they are not worthy of the brilliance in front of them.

  1. The Pro Aims for Long-Term Success; The Amateur Is after a Moment of Glory

A professional writer will not aim to make their book a bestseller. They don’t aim to write a viral blog post. They will just write the best they can. Of course, they want to achieve success with the piece they are currently working on. However, their focus is on being remembered instead of being noticed. That’s why they write evergreen content instead of something that could get popular at the moment.

If you recognized some of the symptoms of being an amateur, don’t despair! Every writer is an amateur before becoming professional. Noticing your flaws is a good thing! Now you know what to work on!

About author: Warren’s lifestyle is full of hiking adventures. When he’s not busy with his guitar or enjoying the sunny day outside, he excels at blogging skills and scrolls through social media. You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Sep 13th 2018

8 biggest misconceptions about the English language

Guest post written by Audrey Lamp.

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Despite the fact that this is the world’s most studied language, there are plenty of misconceptions and myths surrounding English. Even if you’re a native speaker, you’re not immune to these misconceptions. So let’s list the biggest ones, shall we?

  1. If English Is Your Native Language, Then You’re Proficient in It

When English or any other language is your native tongue, you assume that you use it pretty well. People can understand when you speak and you understand everything on TV and in newspapers pretty easily.
But what if you tried writing a research paper? When facing such a challenge, most students decide to hire professional writers to write an essay for them. Some would argue that graduates can’t write advanced prose because the educational system fails to train them properly. The fact is, no matter how hard you try to master the English language, there are always new layers to discover.

  1. British English Is the “Real” English

Most people, including Brits themselves, consider British English to be the purest form of English. The truth is, , that American English preserved a lot of the characteristics to the language that the British migration brought to the New World. Over the years, the British lost some of these nuances to the languages including non-rhotic speech , which became popular after the Industrial Revolution.
Believe it or not, the Americans never had a British accent that they lost.

  1. You Shouldn’t Start a Sentence with a Conjunction

“Don’t start a sentence with but!”
“Don’t start a sentence with and!”

How many times have you received such remarks on your essay assignments? Elementary and high-school teachers were usually pretty harsh with this “rule.” Still, there is no grammatical rule that says you mustn’t use a conjunction in the beginning of a sentence. This is a stylistic preference. No one can explicitly tell you what your style is. So if you feel like starting a sentence with so, you might as well just do that. But maybe you’d like to avoid it when writing academic papers. Teachers are still pretty strict with their stylistic expectations.

  1. You Can’t End a Sentence with a Preposition

This is another rule that teachers used to enforce: “Don’t end a sentence with by, on, with, about, or any other preposition.”
This “rule” has its roots in the 17th century, when Latin-obsessed writers wanted to impose their influence on the English language.

Compare these two sentences:
-You have much to dream about!
-You have much about which to dream.

The first one seems much more natural, doesn’t it? And it ends with a preposition.  

  1. Passive Voice Is Not Good

You’ll see this recommendation in many online writing guides: avoid passive as much as possible!
Surprise, surprise: passive is still an integral part of the English language. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t use it excessively unless it’s necessary.

  1. You Can Only Use Whose When Referring to People

If you check the Oxford Dictionaries, you’ll find an explanation that “whose is a possessive determiner and pronoun which means belonging to whom.” This brings us to the misconception that whose is intended to be used solely when talking about people.
The fact is; whose is a possessive form of both who and what. So you don’t have to feel unconfident when writing or saying “Apple is a company whose products changed the world.”

  1. You Can’t Use an Extra S after an Apostrophe in a Possessive Singular Noun Ending in S

Whoa, that was a mouthful. If that “rule” confused you, allow us to explain: do you like Jules’ sister or Jules’s sister?
Some people will be definite about it: the extra s is a mistake. The truth is: this is a pretty complex issue in English grammar. In some cases, you’ll go with the apostrophe. In others, you’ll use an apostrophe-s even when the word’s singular form ends with an s. Such is the case with duchess’s. But if the next word starts with an s, then you’ll use duchess’. It’s complicated, so you better investigate the rule before you claim something you’re not sure of.

  1. There Should Be a Specific Number of Sentences in a Paragraph

Some teachers will tell you to maintain a fixed number of sentences, such as three or five, in a paragraph. They are delusional!
The paragraph serves as a section that covers one main idea. You may use as many or as few sentences as you need to expose that idea.

So did I manage to bust some myths today? If you were aware of all these misconceptions, congratulations! Maybe you can add a few others to our list? I’d love to see some comments!

About author: Audrey Lamp is a proactive journalist who likes to get knowledge, analyze and present fresh ideas. Her background and various interests determine her genuine passion for writing. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Sep 6th 2018

How to use social media in schools

Guest post written by Harsha Goel.
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59% of schools say their students use social media to solve their educational problems.
No doubt, the advancement of social media has helped every sector put their best foot forward in the market. Marketers highly acknowledge the growing importance of social media, but now, the education sector, and especially schools, have  also turned to social media platforms to share their special events, award functions, and the hard work of brilliant students with parents.

Your social media presence decides the number of conversions your website will have. We live in the era of digitalization, and social media is a useful tool for schools to stay ahead by acknowledging to parents the quality of education you provide.

No matter how many activities, parties, and gifts you distribute to students in the school, if your audience does not know about it, you are probably losing opportunities.
If you want to harness the full potential of social media but are looking for the subtle ways to understand its usage, then this post is for you. Go through each point carefully, and learn how to use social media to redefine the education system.

Stay updated:

Facebook can significantly improve the number of conversions. You can use it to establish your online presence. The number of Facebook subscribers is on the rise, and therefore, it becomes a good platform to let people know how you  differentiate from others.
Moreover, you can check out Facebook profiles of your prospects and pitch them at the right time.
Writing a post every day on Facebook keeps parents updated on the progress of students and how school is planning to make learning easier and faster.

Facilitate communication via social media platforms:

If your school never leaves a chance of guiding students on the latest topics, social media networks such as Facebook, Google Plus groups, and YouTube can help you spread the word in no time.
Moreover, you can communicate any decision, announcement, and provide useful information for teachers and students that have to be implemented quickly.
This will allow you to kill two birds with one stone. A high number of students will start paying attention to your policies, and parents will start acknowledging the efforts you put in to provide students with all the facilities they ask for.
It will even foster cross classes interactions regarding school’s function, trips, and other activities, which will further help establish unity and integrity amongst students.
Schools can use social media to reach students with important alerts through the pages they are connected to.
Engaging students will become easier for you if you will introduce hashtags into your post or any video you upload to your school’s social media profile.
From uploading datasheets to the school’s website to  guiding students on exams’ preparation, you can upload videos that can help students understand and learn faster without wasting time.
Before planning for your social media content management, I advise you to go through the functionalities of various platforms so that you can select the right platform geared to  your requirements.

Advanced learning management systems:

If comprehensive learning is your goal, you can take advantage of Learning management systems that are networking software capable of delivering educational programs to institutions.
By integrating your social media into an LMS,  you will allow students to use instant chat functions, and video calling while providing a platform where they find the latest information about their projects, tasks, Tuition Assignments, etc.
Having an advanced LMS with integrated social media will enable you to drive faster interactions among students. Not only will it increase the participation of students in online contests but students will also be able to easily collaborate on projects which would otherwise have taken a lot of time to complete manually.
An LMS works great at solving student and learning-related issues.  Using popular Learning management systems is important to generate a positive impact on students and staff through the system. From a career point of view,  an LMS will help children learn about the growth of the digital industry by using live conferencing systems, webinars, blogs and much more.

It helps in the research process:

The use of social media in schools will enable students to use subject monitoring tools that can help them find the latest data regarding their subjects. This will fasten the learning process, and moreover, students will stay updated on the latest technologies.
Having their profiles on learning platforms like Quora, stack exchange, etc., students can enjoy their interactions with experts worldwide while getting answers to their questions.
They can make their project reports more compelling by taking ideas from their seniors through connections on Facebook. Moreover, they can display their work on social media platforms so that other parents can know how your staff teaches students and works on their overall development.

Social media helps students in building their portfolios for their careers by enabling students to upload their completed projects to their social media profiles. This will portray the school’s standards in a better way and to a wider audience.

Caution: Though the wrong use of social media by students can upset the learning ecosystem of schools, keeping a check by using software that filters the data can prevent this to a great extent.

About author:
Harsha Goel is a writer who currently writes about technology and makes people aware of the current industry standards.

 

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Aug 30th 2018

Children’s books that everyone should read

Guest post written by Anthony Anson.

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Do you ever feel addicted to those childrens’ books residing in that old cabinet? These books helped you in learning a variety of lessons. Just because you’ve set out for your higher education or professional life doesn’t mean that you can neglect those lessons. These children books are the predominant reason for what we are today. They have shaped our imaginative powers, improved our concentration and developed an ability for empathy in a lot of us. Are you feeling motivated towards reading those books again? Just forget about your worries for the time being and take a glimpse at some of these best children books that you show read now:

  1. Matilda by Roald Dahl

Do you remember that exquisite, magical, and intelligent girl named Matilda? (Of course her grouchy parents and yes, how can we forget Ms. Trunchbull?). The story of this sweet girl revolves around the constant cruelty that she experienced at home and even at school. Getting misunderstood by her parents because of being different from others, isn’t it the cruelest thing one could suffer from? Matilda did! Through realizing the telekinetic powers and using them to turn the tables teaches the lesson that it’s good to be different!

  1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Young sister and brother set out on a journey to find their long-lost father and go through struggles and challenges. The major lesson learned is that even if your life is filled with darkness, there still exists a bit of light and happiness. Moreover, being kind towards others in order to remove the hatred and facing the fears are some of the other notable lessons learned from the book.

  1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

It is the life story of a little talkative and happy girl who lived an impoverished life despite the fact that she was an orphan. The major lesson learned from her story is that take the opportunity to bloom wherever you are. It doesn’t matter what phase of life you’re in or what condition you’re going through, just forget about your frets for the time being, and convince yourself to live a wonderful, and happy life.

  1. Black Beauty by Anna Swell

Despite the range of steps taken to eradicate cruelty to animals, animal abuse is still prevalent in the world. If you’ve read black beauty, you must have recalled the moments where the horse succinctly describes his feelings and the sufferings he went through. It gives the evident lesson that a person should exhibit a great deal of understanding and compassion towards animals because mistreatment could add to their sufferings. Another major respectable moral through Beauty’s life is that how far you can take yourself when you have a good character. Despite the different impediments in the way, an individual should strive 100% to achieve their goals in life.

  1. Diary of a wimpy kid by Jeff Kiney

It is a light-hearted story of a child going through the struggles of fitting into middle school. One of the lessons is to dream big. Despite the fact that Greg Heffley was a lazy and blissfully unconcerned child, he never stopped dreaming big dreams. Moreover, taking the path of least resistance (which was in fact due to laziness or for conserving “his energy”) teaches the people that they should opt for the easiest way out instead of being buried under the heap of tensions.

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

You must have read this book as a child? Didn’t you? This fantastic tale gives a glimpse of the life lessons through the protagonist named Charlie. Charlie faces a variety of challenges in life – no food and inadequate clothing. Yet he never lost the sense of hope. Moreover, in the extremely busy developing world, people tend to forget about their loved ones who deserve to get attention i.e. Families. Charlie teaches that you should spend quality time with family and spread love. Being grateful, shunning greed, and following directions are other prominent life lessons.

  1. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Have you ever faced a lot of dissatisfaction in your life? Everyone does! Whenever you’re going through a bad time and things aren’t going your way, you inevitably suffer through discontent. However, if you’ve read the phantom tollbooth, you should remember that despite being curious about what you don’t have, you should be happy with what you do have. When time runs out, you can never bring it back; thus, pay attention to this most precious thing (more than diamonds even!). Moreover, you should be cautious of your words as they hold the potential to hurt someone. Simultaneously, pay attention to even the tiniest things.

  1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Does it reflect the story of Mother love and society, or God’s love and mankind? Well, it might be the perceptions of different groups of people. However, the lessons about life taught by this enlightened piece cannot be neglected. In the competitive world where the people tend to ensure equality and justice, it is almost impossible to give up tallying things. However, the giving tree teaches people that they should enable the unrequited love factor through giving but not expecting anything in return. Moreover, how can we comfort a beloved one when he/she is feeling down? It isn’t important that there’s a need of buying things, ordering food; sometimes, your simple silent presence could make them feel at home. Thus, always be there for rendering an immense love and support to others.

 

You must be feeling nostalgic through exploring these books. Are you ready to grab them out of those dusty old brown cabinets? Wait! Did you forget about those assignments which were given to you? Don’t feel overwhelmed! You can easily hire the reliable, cheap, and best online assignment help and get over it. Order them to sit back and relax. Then, drag those books out, remove the dust, and revive your childhood! You’ll surely feel the sense of pleasure and happiness.

About the author:
Anthony Anson has always strived to pursue his career in the realm of writing. Thus, he has been providing his enthralling and quality services as a writer and working with the writing challenged customers for more than 4 years. He loves to read books, write blogs, and most of all work hard towards attaining goals.

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Aug 23rd 2018

How to write when you don’t feel like writing

Guest post written by Linda Cartwright.
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If you google this phrase, you will find a plethora of “inspiration” articles that look more like lists of procrastination destinations: watch these themed films, go lurking on these gorgeous image boards, go listening to these productivity playlists. Supposedly, it will get your creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, it does not work for most of us. The only thing such advice is good for is to form some ideas when you are ready to start writing but have not yet decided on a topic.

What do you do when you have to write (and probably know what about) but cannot get yourself to start? First, here is a quick checklist.

  • Have you slept well? If you haven’t, your brain is not fit for any work, let alone ready to be creative. You can soldier on but the result will be less than impressive. Having a quick nap and resuming your work refreshed will allow you to be more productive and to lose less time.
  • Are you hungry? You brain needs food. It is the most energy-consuming organ in our body. If you don’t have time for a hearty meal, a snack on quick-digesting carbs will do the job.
  • Do you feel well? It is an obvious, yet often overlooked condition for being productive. If you feel a bit under the weather, you cannot concentrate on the task at hand.

Now, let’s assume that all of the above points are settled. Now what? Well, sometimes you are just not in the mood to write, even if it is your passion. The good news is that you can still write. Try one of the following techniques.

Brief outline

As a famous quote from Chuck Close goes: “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” If you feel somewhat blocked, you can start by quickly outlining the things that you are going to write about. All you have to do is start working; things will grow from the activity itself. No author has a premonition of the entire script. You may not have the full story but you must have some ideas.

The importance of pre-planning and outlining can best be illustrated by Joan Rowling’s technique. A glimpse of it, can be seen in the one-page plot outline for Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix that was released to the public some years ago. It showed the entire book as a grid with rows representing chapters and columns representing main plot lines and themes present in the book. This way, Rowling was able to see the entire structure before her as the cutout work and at the same time could make the book balanced and addictive for the readers.

On a larger scale, she knew, from the very beginning, that she would have a series of seven books for children where characters would grow up with the readers, she already had the ending in mind and some very specific details decided beforehand. This also allowed her to pepper details throughout the series, which, at first, seemed of no importance, but later gave the readers plenty of thrilling “aha!” moments.

Of course, some characters and plot lines changed along the way, yet she managed to shoehorn them into the original ending anyway.

Planning and outlining works for everything: from epic book series to 5-page essays to 500 words blog posts. If you do not feel like writing, at least you can come up with a plan that will facilitate your work enormously.

Freewriting

Creativity is all about finding unexpected connections and seeing the world anew. This happens in a state of mind when we do not think we are working. One of the ways to get into this state is freewriting.

In the ninetieth century, mediums claimed that freewriting is their way to get in contact with unseen entities, ghosts, and otherworldly beings. In the twentieth century, writers and poets (William Butler Yeats, Jack Kerouac, Dorothea Brande, and Peter Elbow to name a few) used this technique as a way of connecting to the unconscious.

The practice was brought to the mainstream by the Natalie Goldberg, in her Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Her first rule was to keep the hand always moving and to allow oneself to lose control. Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity called this practice “the morning pages” and advised writers to start your writing with three pages of pure stream-of-consciousness writing.

This practice is beneficial not only for professional writers but for anyone who experiences writer’s block. Even students who struggle to write an essay or a research paper can try it instead of employing a paper writing service to do the work, losing peace of mind, enthusiasm for the project, and sleep.

To start freewriting you just have to put pen to paper (or your hands on a keyboard). Write whatever comes to your head. Even if there is nothing, write “I have nothing on my mind. I have nothing on my mind…” You can keep writing it, that’s okay. Alternatively, use an object you see in front of you as a prompt, or a word you pick at random from a book. Do not rush but do not stop either. Do not  cross anything out, and don’t pay particular attention to punctuation or grammar at this point.

This should put you in a flowing state of mind and allow you to unblock your creative ability, even if you think that you are not in the mood for writing today. As Pablo Picasso said: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

Mind mapping

A mind map is a diagram used to organize information visually. It shows relationships between the parts to the whole. Mind mapping is used as a mnemonic technique, an educational aid for brainstorming, note taking, problem-solving, and decision making. It has a centuries-long history but was popularized by the British popular psychology author and television personality Tony Buzan in the 1960s.

Apart from that, mind mapping is a very effective tool to get the information from your head onto paper. This way, you can organize your thoughts and ideas in proper order if your writer’s block stems from being overwhelmed rather than from a lack of ideas.

This technique is also useful if you have to summarize large volumes of information from many sources and don’t know where to start. This happens quite often when you have to write an essay or do class reports.

Start by placing the key idea at the center of the diagram, either as a word or as a picture. Add sub-themes and connect them to the main idea with  “branches” of different colors. The use of multiple colors will provide visual stimulation and allow encoding and grouping. Then, add topics of lesser importance by adding “twigs” to the relevant branch. You do not have to write yet – use symbols, pictograms, emoticons, codes, dimensions. If necessary, add keywords (one per twig).

There are websites and apps that allow you to create mind maps, however using paper is the best option. Why? Because on paper you can combine mind mapping and freewriting to plan and outline your work, thus uniting all three techniques!

If you still do not feel inspired, try to remember why you are writing. There is a special power in “why”. It can help you reignite the initial excitement you felt when you started your project. The last, but not the least – do not feel bad about yourself if you still do not feel like writing. Bad days happen, it is only human to experience ups and downs.

About author:
Linda Cartwright is an educator and Seattle-based freelance writer, passionate about technology and life-long learning.

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