Creative Writing Ideas

 Creative Writing IdeasBrainstorming creative writing ideas is the first step in the creative writing process. Most writers find it very difficult to come up with original and creative writing ideas. This is partly due to the fact that man discovered the art of writing eons ago and writers have written about almost every topic under the sun since then. Though the list of subjects to write about is non-exhaustive and humans themselves have a lot in their inner world to write about, it is slightly difficult to come up with something original.

Nevertheless, creative writers still have much hope. A slightly different perspective can show the world in a different light altogether and help you write a totally different story. At a time when writers used a straight, plain narrative or a surreal narrative to convey their stories, Ambrose Bierce came up with “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” Although it has a very simple plot about a man about to be hanged, the innovative and unique way of narrating the story manages to hold the readers’ attention till the very end. This proves that creative writing ideas need not be extraordinary but can be about the simplest of things happening around us, provided that the presentation is different and catchy.

Likewise, the concept of Anterograde Amnesia has been used so often in movies and literature that all of us thought that nothing was left untold. However, Jonathan Nolan had a lot of creative writing ideas and wrote the short story “Memento Mori.” Perhaps only then did people realize that for the first time, the helplessness and suffering of the condition had been portrayed effectively. With his unique way of narration, he ensures that the reader himself experiences the condition along with the protagonist. Such was the beauty of this concept that Christopher Nolan adapted it into a screenplay and made the movie ‘Memento’ using a non-linear narrative technique. This movie won several accolades and continues to be a cult favorite. It is important to observe your surroundings and use your imagination to develop characters and plots.

Newspapers are often the best place to find interesting plots and characters. Among all those events happening around the world, you may find one which may interest you and inspire new ideas.

There are also numerous websites that offer creative writing ideas and prompts to budding writers. You may begin by exercising your imagination and writing skills on one of these ideas. Once you have learned to view and analyze things in a different perspective, you may start writing about things which come to your mind more naturally.

And for those of us who find it extremely difficult to come up with creative writing ideas, there are also websites which offer writing tips and techniques. For instance, we know that every work of art is based on the human emotions which are very few in number. And most of the stories and movies are mainly about a conflict. Although the nature of the conflict can be different (a war, conflict in a relationship or a conflict between nature and the machines etc), the basics remain constant. All you need is two characters (or two families or gangs or communities) and a conflict, which takes place between them. You may then develop the characters and subplots to strengthen the story.

The advantage of developing creative writing ideas this way is that there are infinite permutations and combinations and you may selectively use the basic concepts in a systematic way to come up with a slightly different way of telling the story. It is also a good idea to seek help from professionals for creative writing ideas. Creative writing services offer to help with ideas, write or add to a work, and edit into a final draft.

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5 Good Reasons To Go For A Content Writing Service

ws2If you have a blog or site to manage, you may need to go for a blog writing service. But how can you find out if you really need to hire a service? Actually, it depends on the fact whether you can handle the workload yourself and whether you have the budget to spend on a writing service. But to help you out further, we have put together 5 good reasons that you should hire a good content writing service.

Multiple content writers

Usually, content writing services have in-house writers that consistently deliver high quality content. Moreover, you have many writers at your service at all times. In case you have huge work to handle, you can ask them to engage multiple writers.

Budget optimization

Hiring a service won’t cost you as much as hiring a full-time writer. You will pay just for the work you wanted to get done, and that is it. You won’t need to pay them a regular amount of money. Once the work is done, you can end your contract with the service. And again if you need to get something written, you can hire them again. So, cost-effectiveness is another good reason you should consider hiring a content writing service.

Lean workforce

Hiring a writing service will allow you to get people to submit their assignments from the comfort of their homes. Nowadays, Internet has made it easier for people to get in touch with each other no matter where they are located. People don’t need to show up at your workplace for the submission of work. This will save you a good deal of time as you won’t need to meet writers in person for business.

Scalable service

Usually, you will need content on an ongoing basis. However, you may need less content at times. And other times, you may need more of it. When you have hired someone on a full-time position, you will have to pay him or her whether you need content or not.

But this is not the problem if you hire a content writing service. What you will do is pay for, say, 10 articles that you got written and then end the contract with the service. From that point on, you won’t need to pay a single penny.

Professionally written content

New in-house writers need some time to get familiar with the type of content you need for your business needs. And you will have to pay them for this learning period despite the fact that you are not getting any content written by them.

On the other hand, writers affiliated with a content writing service are well trained and will deliver content as per your needs and requirements. So, you will have peace of mind that the content delivered to you will be high quality.

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Serving Our House Through Journalism

While in my birth country ISIS continues to wage war against journalists or anyone who says anything outside of their own philosophies, here in the United States journalism continues to flourish, opening doors to new voices – as is the tradition of the United States.

It’s true that a lot of minority groups in America do not receive the air and press time they deserve. This is especially the case with Arab-Americans, who feel misunderstood and regularly misrepresented by Western intellectuals and the media. This creates a major obstacle on the path to reaching a mutual understanding, where both sides could greatly benefit.

But it is also true that in America, there is an opportunity for people to break the mold without risking their life. Here, an association of black journalists says “welcome” to an Iraqi-American journalist like myself, because what they see and appreciate in each other is the heart of journalism, which is an appetite for truth and education, an appetite which journalists in many other countries cannot dare quench.

On October 11th, at the 2014 NABJ Conference in Detroit, sitting on the panel next to award winning reporter Charlie LeDuff of Fox News and reporter Marlon Walker of the Detroit Free Press, listening to the easy and lively manner in which they spoke about how they dealt with “Conflict in the Community”, the topic of our discussion, I realized that a large part of the problem many Middle Easterners and Arabs have is inner conflict. Born and raised under authoritarian regimes, they have difficulty expressing their truths in constructive ways. Rather than influence public opinion and government policy, they try to influence each other – which often builds tension within their own communities rather than create progress.

Investigative Journalism is such a phenomenon in the Arab World that Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) based in Amman, Jordan describes it on its website as “still an alien practice.” My friend, renowned poet Dunya Mikhail, was a journalist in Baghdad during Saddam’s era. In her book, Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea, she writes about her witnessing the price two editors-in-chief had to endure for not living up to Uday’s (Saddam’s son) ideals. Feeling herself under threat due to her writing, she fled the country to come to the United States.

Many journalists from that region who growing up, were told to “Hush!” and “Mind your own business” have wounds to heal before they can grow wings like the American journalists who were told to “Speak up!” and “Dig for the truth”, who like Charlie LeDuff can confidently say, “This is my house too! We’re all living in the United States, sharing it.”

It is when people from the Arab world, who over the last decade have become one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, fully comprehend, appreciate and believe in the words “This is my house too!” that we will best serve this house through journalism.

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Author Tips Things to Do Before You Give a Book Talk

I’ve been giving lots of talks lately and, though they are linked to my latest book, the talks are extensions of it. This enables people who have bought the book, and prospective buyers, to learn new information when they hear my talk. Preparing a talk can take hours and, if you’re like me, you may tweak it just before speaking. Here are some suggestions for a five-star presentation.

Time your talk. Give the talk to yourself several times and figure out which sections take the most time. Also check the spacing of examples and personal stories. When I timed my recent talk I realized there was enough time for more detailed stories. These details made my talk more interesting.

Learn about the audience. The talk you give to a church group will differ from the one you give to Rotary. You can keep the bones of your talk, but add different examples, Citing recent news about the organization or group, such as a fundraiser, will get audience attention.

Slow down and get enough sleep. When you run lots of errands before your talk you risk wearing yourself out. The night before a talk I go to bed early so I’m refreshed the next day. The one thing you want to avoid is yawning during your talk. Yawning is contagious and if you start yawning, audience members will start yawning — not a good thing.

Eat a light meal or snack. Speaking requires energy and I never give a talk on an empty stomach. Instead, I eat a light meal — a small salad, half a sandwich, or cup of soup. Yogurt with granola and fruit is another option. Your goal is to have the energy you need.

Drink some water. You can’t speak clearly if your mouth is dry. Professional speakers drink water before they speak, and also have water on hand. I bring water or ask the group to supply it. Don’t feel guilty about pausing in the middle of the talk to take a drink; your audience will understand.

Give books away. Surprising as it may seem, giving away books is one of the cheapest ways to advertise. I ask if anyone has a birthday that day and give them a book. If nobody has a birthday, I ask who had a birthday last month or will celebrate their birthday next month. A few people get books and everyone gets a bookmark.

Check visuals. I’m not a technical person, so it’s rare for me to have computer slides. However, if you have this expertise, you can make them. Because I’m a former teacher I always have handouts.

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A Brief Guide For Developing High Quality Content

Writing good content means developing something that is unique as well as original. However, it is difficult for the writers to keep up their distinctiveness throughout the writing process. There are multiple reasons that compel the writers to lose their enthusiasm to produce good content. In fact, it is vital for them to look out for motivation that would enable them to sustain their inventiveness for a long time. Here are a few essential tips that you can follow to develop interesting content quickly.

It is vital to remember that the content that you have started to develop cannot be completed by another person. It is an exclusive content that can be developed by you. You cannot pass on the responsibility to another person.

If you set a deadline you should try to maintain it. Setting deadline can be rewarding for you. For instance, you can take a target that you will finish the whole assignment within one month. Determining deadline is helpful for you in increasing your motivation and allowing you to develop quality content.

You should devote a particular time where you can sit down and write on your own. It is vital to follow the routine until it turns out to be a habit. It is vital not to lose the focus till you complete the project.

It is important that you should remove all sorts of disturbances while you wish to remain focused on the work. You should find a quiet place that is devoid of all sorts of disturbances such text messages, telephone calls, emails and so on. Plus, you can also use one timer that can allow you to write till the lapse of scheduled time. Once time is over, you can start again after you take a break for five or six minutes.

In order to stay motivated it is crucial to stay in touch with the popular writers. The obstacles that they have faced on their way to become successful writers can be your source of motivation as well as inspiration.

Here are a few reasons for the writers to lack interest in work.

Low job status

In different conditions, you may not enjoy the high status of a quality job. The time necessary to develop the content is not considered to be valuable. Most people often consider the job of writing as worthless as well as unimportant.

Meager payment

Many successful authors do not receive adequate payment for their hard work. There are a few writers who also develop blogs or articles and do not get the payment. They lose interest to develop unique content despite the level of energy or time it calls for.

Misconception about the work

Most people fail to regard writing as act of hard work since it does not involve a lot of physical work. Enthusiasm, determination and strength are required to develop a successful career as a writer, is ignored. It is one of the important reasons for the writers to reduce interest in work.

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Tips for the Struggling Reader

Today I would like to talk about reader preferences. I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me that he wishes he could read more. After asking several questions I came to the conclusion that my friend has plenty of free time in which to read but that he is intimidated by the size of most modern novels. Anything over a hundred pages scares the pants off of him (not literally I hope). My friend mentioned that he has always enjoyed movies and television series based on Stephen King novels. As an avid King fan I suggested that he should try actually reading the books and I assured him the books are even better than the film versions.

My friend scoffed and said that he found the size of many of King’s novels too intimidating. As someone who has read some of King’s larger works (including It, The Stand and The Dark Tower series) I can certainly understand where he is coming from. Picking up a large book for the first time can be intimidating. As an avid reader I can overlook factors like page count but to the more casual reader I can see why that might be a turn off.

I gave this problem some thought and came up with what I think is a possible solution. I suggested that my friend start of with a short story collection rather than read an entire novel. He commented that even those are intimidating because of the number of pages and the sheer size of the novels. I can’t disagree with either statement. My suggestion was that he focus on the table of contents and start with some of the shorter of the stories and work his way up. I recommended that he check out some of Charles Bukowski’s short story collections as a jumping off point. I myself am an huge Bukowski fan and I suspect that my friend has the potential to be one too.

To be clear, my friend is not new to reading. He actually has an Associate’s Degree and is an educated man. He simply is used to reading for more technical purposes and not for pleasure.

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An Open Thank You Letter

This is probably the strangest letter I’ve ever written because I don’t know any of these people, yet I feel as though I know every single one of them. It’s also strange that it has to be an open thank you letter because I don’t know any of their personal email addresses.

About four years ago, I decided to write articles and see if I could get anyone to publish them in an online magazine. Perhaps I should have given it a lot more thought but, instead, I jumped in at the deep end and started writing. If I had thought it through, I might have quivered at the thought that I would be expected to open my own accounts.

Now, for people who are technologically gifted, this is no big deal, but for someone like me, just learning how to turn the laptop on and off, is a major accomplishment. When I looked at the registration form of the first publisher, I quailed and almost gave up. It was so complicated. The publisher was very patient, and he tried to simplify the process for me. I hate to say it but it was still a challenge for me and it seemed to take forever to learn how to submit an article.

I was so pleased to have mastered that, that I didn’t take into consideration the power of the Internet. Within five minutes of my article going online, several publishers picked it up and published it in their magazines, and then some of them contacted me about writing for them. Of course, this meant learning how to submit articles in each publication, and each one had different wordings and I was so confused.

Over the next four years, I had to enlist the help of at least fifty publishers, just to get me to open up accounts with them and start submitting articles to them. And then, wouldn’t you know it, but they all changed parts of their formatting and I couldn’t figure out how they worked.

This past month has been a prime example. The first publisher I started with sent me an email telling me that my formatting has been wrong and for the last four years they have been fixing all my resource boxes and asking me to make them compatible with the new formatting. I couldn’t. So, after much frustration on both parts, they finally agreed to write something out so I could just do a copy and paste.

And now, another publisher has had the frustration of dealing with my technological incompetence and helping me do a copy and paste just to get the ball rolling.

I don’t know these people personally, but I can’t thank them enough for all the hard work they put into resolving these issues for me. When you are technologically gifted, it must be extremely difficult to deal with a Technodummy. So, thank you, each and every one of you who has made my published articles possible. To you, I owe the deepest gratitude and I will continue to make your efforts worthwhile.

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Reading Manifesto

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.” – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Whether you grew up with a book always in tow or you only recently fell in love with reading, we can all agree that books are an important part of learning, dreaming, and doing. Why is it, then, that picking up a book can be so difficult? How many times have you claimed to be an avid reader, but when someone asks what you’re currently in the middle of, you blush and say, “Oh I haven’t had much time for it recently, what with work and… ” Yet that night you watch the seconds count down till the next episode begins or scroll down your newsfeed for the hundredth time. Perhaps we shy away from a book and reach for the remote – or phone or computer – due to the emotional commitment that is required when reading something.

Whatever it is, it’s time to take back the reins and commit to reading. Commit to the books on your shelf waiting to be dusted off. Commit to the titles you’ve yet to discover. Commit to the authors you consider yourself to be a fan of, but have only read half of one of their books. Commit to your claim to be a lifelong reader.

Here are 20 commitments I’m making. Why not make your own manifesto of sorts?

1. I will make reading a part of my daily habits. I will make time for it like I do for showering and walking the dog.

2. I will find a new author that speaks directly to me, and I will read everything they have written.

3. I will research what and who my favorite authors read and read them, as well.

4. I will always have something to read with me. Whether that’s a book, a reading app, a newspaper, or an online journal bookmarked as my home page.

5. I will read aloud to someone I love.

6. I will give each book a chance.

7. I will not waste my time on a book that I don’t like after said chance has been given.

8. I will not bash a book that I don’t like if someone else is giving it a try.

9. I will open a book. I will close my computer. I will silence my phone.

10. I will set a book on top of my TV remote, so that the decision is intentional, rather than habitual.

11. I will re-read favorite books as easily as I re-watch favorite movies.

12. I will read anything that interests me: Novels, poetry, genre fiction, self-help, old letters, memoirs, etc.

13. I will buy books by local authors at local bookstores.

14. I will not loan out my most adored books. I will buy a copy for the friend who is asking for it.

15. I will ask people I know and people I don’t know what they are reading. I will write down the titles and authors and actually look them up.

16. I will go to the library and pick a book, merely, by its cover.

17. I will always have another book at the ready when I near the end of my current read.

18. I will listen to an audio version of a book I have already read, just to see how different it feels.

19. I will read with a pen. I will mark sections that move me. I will underline words that grip me.

20. I will write down my favorite passages, just to experience how the words feel as they are written.

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Tips For Dealing With Your Local Bookstore

Today I would like to talk about my recent experiences as an independent author who is solely responsible for marketing my own novels and short stories. As an indie author I have dealt with a number of small local bookstores and I have several tips and suggestions for other authors who want to see their books appear on the shelves of their local bookstores.

My first suggestions is PERSISTENCE.

Some time ago I was walking through my favorite part of old Louisville and came across a local bookstore. I entered the store to browse and noticed that in the far back corner there was a “Local Author’s” section. I decided to ask about offering my books on that shelf and the young man behind the counter was very polite and helpful. He provided me with both an email address and a phone # for the store manager and suggested I contact said manager. I thanked the young man and went about my day.

A few days later I emailed the manager. There was no reply. I waited a week later and emailed again. Still there was no reply. So I decided to place a phone call. time Still no reply. I decided to take a chance and make a second phone call. This time I got through to the manager.

I wish I could tell you that the conversation was a pleasant one. In this particular case it was not. But had I not been persistent this entire conversation would never have taken place.

The manager informed me in no uncertain terms that I had no idea what it took to stay in the bookstore business and preceded to lecture me about overhead, distributor costs etc. Needless to say my books will not be appearing in this particular bookstore anytime soon. I hope that my experience with this particular store manager was the exception for my fellow authors rather than the rule.

Which brings me to my next suggestion: STAY POSITIVE.

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What We Hear Isn’t Always What We Should Imitate Say It Ain’t So, Joe

Every day we hear people all around us speaking English. Some may be on the radio or television, while others may be having conversations we overhear on a bus, train, subway or as a passerby. Just because someone speaks English as a native language, doesn’t necessarily mean that they speak correctly. We should be careful of what we choose to imitate unless we know that it is correct or appropriate.

What do I mean by this? There are a great many people who speak English with glaring grammar mistakes or who use non-standard words. While some words or grammar mistakes are acceptable in some regions of the United States, they are not necessarily standard American English and should not be used in everyday conversational speech. Let’s take a look at one word in particular that you will want to avoid using like the plague!

The word “aint” has been around for a long time, and originally started as a contraction for “am not”, “are not”, “is not”, “has not”, “have not”, as well as “does not”, “do “not” and “did not. You may hear it in informal speech, especially in certain regions of the United States. It carries a negative association with it and is often associated with individuals from a low socio-economic or educational background.

Is “aint” ever acceptable to use? The simple answer is “yes”, but only in specific instances. There are times when using the word “ain’t” is acceptable, but only as an expression that has become a famous quote, either from a movie or reported incident.

Probably the most famous use of “ain’t” comes from an incident that was reported in the newspapers in 1920 when professional baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson was leaving the courtroom after apparently been accused of taking a bribe to lose the 1919 World Series. On his way out of the courtroom it is reported that someone shouted to him, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” There is a lot of controversy as to whether or not this statement was actually said, however it became well-known and has been used by many ever since.

The bottom line is that you should be careful with the words you choose to use. Don’t repeat a word or expression that you hear just because you hear someone say it. Check it out to make sure that it is standard American English and that it is appropriate to use.

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Did You Know That People Really Do Hear Grammar Mistakes I Know It, But He Don’t

Let’s face it, even the best speakers make grammar mistakes from time to time. We are human and with that comes imperfections. It’s just the way things are. Minor grammar errors are common and don’t really have a significant impact on our spoken English. We all make minor errors such as, “a apple” instead of “an apple” and “all kind of things” instead of “all kinds of things.” Having said that, there are some glaring grammar errors that you should make sure you never make. These are errors that will make many people cringe when they hear and may create a negative impression.

In this article, we will focus on what we call “subject-verb agreement.” In English, the rule is that the subject of the sentence (what the sentence is about) always has to agree with the verb (the action of the sentence). In simple terms, this means that there is a specific form of a verb for every subject, the subjects being I, you, he, she, it, we, they. When the subject and the verb do not agree, this is a very noticeable grammar error and should be avoided at all costs.

The most common error is made with what we call the third person singular form of a verb in the present tense. The third person singular form refers to “he”, “she” and “it.” Many of the errors occur with the verb “to do” (do, does, did). The verb that goes with this form always has to have an “s” at the end, so for the verb “to do”, the correct form would be “does.”

Let’s look at an example:
This sentence is correct: “She doesn’t know them.” The pronoun “she” is the subject and the helping verb “doesn’t” (does not) is the correct form that goes or agrees with it. The form “does” agrees with “she” because it has an “s” at the end of it, as third person singular forms must have.

Many people, however, do not use the correct form of the verb when using the third person singular present tense..
This sentence is not correct: “She don’t (do not) know them.” The pronoun “she” is the subject, but this time the helping verb “do” is used, which does not have an “s” at the end of it. The form “do” is used with all subjects, including “I”, “you”, “we” and “they.” The only one it is never used with is the third person singular form, including “he”, “she” and ‘it.”

In summary, there are minor grammar errors that most of us notice but overlook. Because so many people make them, they are becoming more acceptable in informal everyday conversational speech. Then, there are some major grammar errors that are very noticeable and may stereotype us as to our educational or socio-economic level.

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Self Care for Writers Key Issues, Key Steps

Starting a new writing project is exciting. You had the idea, planned the chapters, and the time for writing has come. When I’m working on a book I write for hours, think about revisions constantly, and even revise in my sleep. If I don’t monitor myself, however, I can become obsessed with writing. I work longer than I should, get behind on household tasks, have an aching back, and tired, gritty eyes.

None of these things foster writing. While I’m writing I think of my disabled husband and my caregiving duties. Although I take good care of him, sometimes I don’t take good care of myself. To be productive, writers need to care for their physical and emotional selves. Self-care can prevent debilitating colds, long-term illness, and burn-out. Here are some suggestions for you.

Adjust your chair. Mayo Clinic, in its article, “Office Ergonomics: Your How-To Guide, says your knees should be about level with your hips when sitting in a computer chair. My chair is comfortable, but it doesn’t support my lower back, so I use a small beanbag pillow. I bought the travel pillow from an airport shop and it’s a useful thing to have.

Use a foot rest. Your feet may not reach the floor if you are a short person. The solution is to rest your feet on a small stool or stack of books. Usually my feet are flat on the floor. Still, after I’ve been working a long time, I worry about the veins in my legs, and stretch my legs out straight, and rest them on a stool beneath my computer desk.

Get moving. Short breaks are surprisingly effective. I get up every half hour, do some stretches, and walk around the room. You may do this or walk in place. Desk exercises are pictured in the article, “Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work,” on the Greatest website. It describes stationary jogging, squats, leaning your back against a wall, chair exercises, and more. Choose some exercises and do them regularly.

Eat healthy snacks. The calories in snack foods add up quickly. In fact,they may equal a total meal. Limit your sweet and salty snacks. You’ll find more ideas in “10 Healthy Office Snacks to Eat at Your Desk,” by Leyla Shamayeva, on the Calorie Count website. It recommends cereal cups, nuts, whole wheat crackers, peanut butter, dried fruits, and sealed fruit cups in water. Technically, water isn’t a snack, but it’s wise to keep bottled water on hand. “Sip throughout the day and watch your productivity and mood improve,” the author writes.

Aim for eight hours of sleep. Even if you’re a “night owl” you need to get enough rest. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. Lower the temperature in your bedroom to promote sleep. Avoid big projects and upsetting television programming before bedtime because they can keep you awake. A body pillow may help you to sleep more comfortably.

Nurture your spirit. I’m a health and wellness writer and when I bog down it usually is due to lack of information. Searching for additional information can be tedious. Instead of doing the research immediately, I call time out and renew my spirit with poetry (I love Robert Frost), or read a magazine article, or look at photos on a royalty-free website. Fifteen minutes later, I’m energized and ready to get back to work.

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