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Category: Writers
How To Get Your Blog Noticed

When you write a blog, you want people to read it; this is the main reason behind writing it in the first place. Therefore, you want your blog to be noticed, shared, liked, and talked about wherever possible. This can be a difficult task, but it is essential if you want your blog (and your website or business) to be boosted high up in the search engine rankings. Take a look at these tips for getting your blog noticed and implement as many as you can. 

Stay On Topic 

Having a blog that sticks to one main topic is a good idea. It means that people will know what to expect when they read your work, and it can prove that you are an expert in your chosen sector. Although some blogs do have varied contents, to really get noticed, you should ideally find the topic you are happy writing about and make that your main focus. Otherwise you can easily confuse people, and they won’t know that they should come back to your blog or that it could, in fact, be useful to them. 

What you write about is entirely your choice as long as you know something (or rather a lot) about the topic and can find a lot to say about it. 

blog noticed
Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Keep It Simple 

Most people don’t want to read something too technical and complicated – in many cases, they are looking for ways to make a potentially tricky yet important topic more accessible. As a blogger, your job is to take that topic and put it in layman’s terms. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing about a tax return, days out with the kids, cooking, book reviews, starting a business, or anything else; the key is to keep it all simple.

Use Social Media 

If you really want to boost your readership levels, you must use social media to promote your blog. Posting your link on a Facebook page (perhaps in a group, or on your own page or your business page) can potentially give you a huge reach, and many more people will read the blog, clicking through to your website, than otherwise would have done. They will also easily be able to share the content with their followers and friends, ensuring that even more people will read it. If you want to have your post in front of many thousands of people, you can even pay to have it boosted, but it may be possible to do this organically, so try that first before spending any money. 

Use SEO To Get Your Blog Noticed

SEO (search engine optimization) will make your blog noticed a lot more. SEO is about identifying important keywords or phrases and incorporating them into your blog post, and it needs to be done carefully and strategically. The search engine ‘bots’ will pick up on these keywords and phrases, and your webpage will be boosted higher up the rankings when people search. There are many different techniques involved in getting SEO just right, so it’s best to read up on them before you begin so that you can make the most of the opportunity to promote your post and make sure it is noticed. 

Are You Sabotaging Your Life?

Are you sabotaging your life? You may not realise it, but it could be that you are. There are many theories in this world that support the idea that what you think determines the outcome of your life. The mind is a marvellous, untapped resource that is potentially infinite in its influence over what you do and how things turn out. The Law of Attraction is just one of these theories, and it is fascinating to find out more about it.

Even if you don’t believe in how it works exactly, there is no doubt that having a positive outlook affects how you perceive things, and how you are perceived. So it is important to think positively whenever possible.

If things have been going badly with regards to your work or writing – or any other creative pursuit – then could it possibly be your thoughts and feeling about it all that is causing the problems? Could it be that you are sabotaging your life? Let’s take a look at how you might be, without even realising that you are.

sabotaging your life

You Make It A Competition

If you are constantly looking around you at what other people are doing, you’ll never be able to fully focus on what you are doing – and that can spell disaster for your current writing project. That is one of the best ways of sabotaging your life. Comparing yourself to others can sometimes work in terms of allowing you to set yourself a goal, but doing it all the time is distracting, and can push you off course from that goal very easily.

It is always better to be looking ahead, towards your next goal, and ignore what other people are doing. Creativity is not a race. It’s not a competition. It is a personal journey. That may sound a bit ‘new age-y’ but think about it; it’s completely true.

You Get Angry

Allowing yourself to get angry about things is another excellent way of halting the creative process and sabotaging your life. If something has irritated you – it could be anything, from a Facebook post by a fellow writer, artist, poet etc, to hearing about someone’s success in the same genre that you work in – the important question to ask is ‘why?’. Why are you angry about this? And what is that anger doing to harm your creative process (hint: it’s another way of sabotaging your life)?

Is your anger about being envious? Is it that you have a particularly deep competitive streak? Does the news make you feel less secure about your place in the creative world?

Whatever it is, remember that your own thoughts are taking you on a journey, and if you want that journey to be a fulfilling and successful one, then you need to dispense with all the superfluous feelings of anger and just get on with working your way towards happiness. Another artist’s success will not diminish your own. There is no need to be envious as your time will come as long as you work towards it and acknowledge that fact.

sabotaging your life
Image from Pixabay – ijmaki

You Complain All The Time

Complaining to yourself is a waste of time. Complaining to other people… well, that all depends on the complaint. A valid complaint should often be aired – in a well-thought-out and calm kind of way. That is how things can be done, that is how problems get solved. A general gripe about the state of things, about a tweet that you didn’t appreciate, about someone else’s success or writing ability… that’s usually less productive. Plus this kind of pointless complaining has a knock-on effect. Firstly, it takes up a lot of time when, you guessed it, you could be writing or painting or doing whatever it is that makes you feel complete.

Secondly, empty complaining puts you in a negative frame of mind. One small niggle and suddenly everything is less rosy. Unsure about that? Think of it the other way around – when you see something that makes you happy, or you get some good news, doesn’t your day immediately seem better? Brighter? Altogether happier? It’s true, and the same goes for negative things. Your day (if you let it) will go downhill. Don’t let it. Keep positive, and things will improve. That’s just how it works.  

Indie Authors Can Help One Another – And They Should

In many professions, competition is the norm. It is a fight to the top, and sometimes people get trampled. But with indie authors, it’s different. Or at least it should be. With writers, there is enough space out there for everyone.

I’m not talking about copywriters or freelance writers exactly – every one of them (me included) fights for the jobs that pay well or seem interesting. Heck, we even fight for those who don’t pay well and have us writing about things we have no interest in at all; the bills need to be paid.

indie authors
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Indie Authors

But indie (independent) authors are a particular breed of writer. In this profession, there is room for everyone to do whatever it is they want to do. Especially now that there is the option for self-publishing. These are the ones who do not need to compete with one another; there are so many different stories that they can write and so many genres (and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres, come to that!) that the variety is infinite.

Because of this infinite variety, indie authors really should – and generally do – help one another out. Working together is important; it enables everyone to move forward and find different markets that they might otherwise never have come into contact with. It will take time, but it is always worth doing – networking, offering advice, working on a ‘give and take’ ideal… it all goes to the greater good because when one indie author succeeds, it gives hope and opportunity to all the others.

How To Work Together

There are a few different ways to collaborate with other authors. One is link swapping. That could be posting or sending out alerts when a new competition or writing opportunity presents itself, or it could simply be placing the links of other writers on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your blog… If you link to theirs, they can link to yours, and both of your audiences will grow. It’s a fantastic way to find new readers for your work, and it’s immediate exposure too, meaning immediate income. It might not be much, but it’s something, and that’s how we all need to start.

Brainstorming is another excellent way to use other writers’ expertise and put forward some ideas of your own. Join in with (or create, if you can’t find one already) a monthly online meeting using Skype or Google Hangouts or Slack. There are many different options. You could even set up a secret Facebook group and use that. As long as there is an online space where everyone – whoever you invite – can discuss their writing, how they’re marketing it, any plans for the future or questions they might have, and so on. It’s a great way to swap ideas and discover new things.

Libraries are such valuable commodities, and so indie authors may as well use them too. Note down the ISBN of the books written by authors in your network, and ask your local library to order the book for you. If your entire network does the same for everyone, that will give all of your books a nice borrowing boost. It can be embarrassing to ask for your own book to be brought into a library, but asking for someone else’s is much easier and more likely to get done and yield results.

indie authors
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Apart from actually writing, the thing that takes up most of an indie author’s time is the research. This is research into how to market the books when they are complete, who to use as an editor, where the best value cover designers are, as well as the content itself. It can take an age when all you want to do is get it done and have your book out there for all to see – and hopefully read. This is where the knowledge of others can really save you time. Ask your questions on a forum and get answers – indie authors love to share! And who knows, you may be able to pay it forward and answer someone else’s questions while you’re at it.

When indie authors pull together, so much more can get done – and so many more will see you.

Writing A Story: How To Make Your Story Ideas Stronger

Let’s be honest now; writing a story and thinking up a story idea is not the difficult part of writing. Getting that idea down on the page and making it as strong as it can be… that’s the tricky part. Yet it’s something that you absolutely need to do if you want to make your story shine. Here are some tips on how to make your story idea stronger so that it can be the best version of itself possible.

What’s The Problem When Writing A Story?

Every good story has to have one central premise, and that’s conflict. No matter who is in conflict with whom or what, this element simply has to be there, otherwise you really have no story at all.

writing a story

So… what’s the problem in your story? What’s the big issue when writing a story that is causing your characters pain? What are they trying to get over, or achieve, or make better? Knowing this and making it a bigger part of the overall story so that not a single reader is going to miss it will strengthen your story no end.

Push The Character Further

Don’t be nice to your characters. At least, not all the time. We’re not telling you to go ahead and be George R. R. Martin or Stephen King them all (unless you want to), but they have to have difficulties in their lives otherwise no one is going to want to root for them. The story of a normal man or woman going about their daily business might be written well – it might even be beautiful – but unless there is conflict and unless your characters are pushed as far as you can push them, readers aren’t going to remember your writing once they’re done with it.

What you really need is a character who is just like them, just like the reader, and who has to go through pain and suffering in an effort to resolve (or not) the central conflict. This will be remembered and this will make your story much stronger.

What is the worst thing that could happen to your character? Take that idea and write about how they get over that problem, or how they let it take them down. You can go either way.

Combine Two Unrelated Ideas

Some of the strongest stories are those that are seemingly two completely different ideas thrown together. But what if you took those ideas and combined them into a story that no one had heard before? This is why this idea is so important. It’s why it needs to be considered.

writing a story

Open up a dictionary and find the first word your finger points to. Then do it again in a different part of the book. Take those two words and make a story out of them. Working out how to combine the two ideas will give your idea an added element of strength.

Write What Excites You

Every writer is told to write what they know. That’s fine, but if what you know doesn’t excite you, forget that particular piece of advice about writing a story. Instead, write what thrills you, what fascinates you, what you are truly interested in. You don’t have to ‘know’ it to do that because if you’re truly into whatever it is you’re writing about, you’ll learn what you need to learn.

If you write what excites you, your writing will be stronger and your readers will feel the passion you put into your words.

 

Why Do Writers Write?

Why do writers write?

It may seem like this particular question had a fairly obvious answer. Why do writers write? Because they want to. But I think it’s a little more complicated than that.

Firstly, let me clarify what I mean by ‘writer’. I’m not talking about full-time freelancers (like me); that’s a job and, despite it being enjoyable and flexible, is – when you get right down to it – about having an income. I’m talking about those who write for pleasure (not necessarily authors; authors are those who make a career out of writing their own thoughts, whereas writers could be tapping away at a keyboard without any need or want to be published – they just want to write). It could be fiction, it could be non-fiction, it might even be poetry. Short stories, novels, biographies, you name it. These are the writers I’m asking my question about.

Why do these writers write?

A writer... writing

Passion

Most writers don’t make too much money from their creative projects. Unless you’re Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or the like, it’s a little bit of change every now and then. But if you have a passion for writing, then you do it. Runner’s have what is known as a ‘runner’s high’ when they are competing or even just practicing. Writers get the same kind of high from their creative endeavours. Endorphins are released, and endorphins make you feel great. So you keep doing whatever it is that makes you feel so good. And if that’s writing, then you write.

Influence

A whopping 30 percent of the author market is written to help others in positive ways. Having a book out there that offers insights into living a better, more fulfilling life is something that excites a large number of writers, and this is the fuel behind their writing.

Retro writing tools

Entertainment

If a large number of writers like to write in order to help others, an even larger number like to write just to entertain them. I say ‘just’, but being entertained is actually a big thing; think of all the times during the day when you would have been bored had their not been something (book, internet, TV, theatre) to entertain you. What would life be like without something to keep your mind busy? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Release

For some, writing is the ultimate release. They can write anything they want, anything that comes to mind, and even if no one ever reads it (sometimes especially if no one ever reads it), the act of writing itself is what keep them writing. It’s a great form of therapy, and for those with too much going on inside their heads it’s the ideal way of letting some of it out in a controlled, even enjoyable way.

Why do writers write? The writers high.

Fun

Writing is fun. Not for everyone, of course, but for those with the creative brain to do it, it’s hugely enjoyable. Everyone needs a hobby, don’t they, and if writing is the one someone chooses, that’s great. Others may not understand it, but then if you enjoy football or fishing or running or rock climbing not everyone will understand that either. Each to their own.

How Indie Authors Can Help One Another – And Why They Should

In many professions competition is the norm. It is a fight to the top, and sometimes people get trampled. But with writers it’s different. Or at least it should be. With writers, there is enough space out there for everyone.

I’m not talking about copywriters or freelance writers exactly – everyone of them (me included) fights for the jobs that pay well or seem interesting. Heck, we even fight for the ones that don’t pay well and have us writing about things we have no interest in at all; the bills need to be paid.

But indie (independent) authors are a particular breed of writer. And it is in this profession that there is room for everyone to do whatever it is they want to do. Especially now that there is the option for self publishing. These are the ones who have no need to compete with one another; there are so many different stories that can be written, and so many genres (and sub-genres… and sub-sub-genres, come to that!) that the variety really is infinite.

It is because of this infinite variety that indie authors really should – and generally do – help one another out. Working together is important; it enables everyone to move further forward, and to find different markets that they might otherwise never have come into contact with. It will take time, but it is always worth doing – networking, offering advice, working on a ‘give and take’ ideal… it all goes to the greater good, because when one indie author succeeds, it gives hope and opportunity to all the others.

There are a few different ways to collaborate with other authors. One is link swapping. That could be posting or sending out alerts when a new competition or writing opportunity presents itself, or it could simply be placing the links of other writers on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your blog… If you link to theirs, they can link to yours, and both of your audiences will grow. It’s a fantastic way to find new readers for your work, and it’s immediate exposure too, meaning immediate income. It might not be much, but it’s something, and that’s how we all need to start.

Brainstorming is another great way to use the expertise of other writers, and to put forward some ideas of your own. Join in with (or create, if you can’t find one already) a monthly online meeting using Skype or Google Hangouts or Slack or Whatsapp. There are many different options. You could even set up a secret Facebook group and use that. As long as there is an online space where everyone – whoever you invite, really – can discuss their writing, how they’re marketing it, any plans for the future or questions they might have and so on. It’s a great way to swap ideas and discover new things.

Libraries are such useful commodities, and so indie authors may as well use them too. Note down the ISBN of the books written by authors in your network, and ask your local library to order the book in for you. If your entire network does the same for everyone, that will give all of your books a nice borrowing boost. It can be embarrassing to ask for your own book to be brought into a library, but asking for someone else’s is much easier, and more likely to get done and yield results.

Apart from actually writing, the thing that takes up most of an indie author’s time is the research. This is research into how to market the books when they are complete, who to use as an editor, where the best value cover designers are, as well as the content itself. It can take an age, when all you really want to do is get it done and have your book out there for all to see – and hopefully read. This is where the knowledge of others can really save you time. Ask your questions on a forum and get answers – indie authors love to share! And who knows, you may be able to pay it forward and answer someone else’s questions while you’re at it.

Basically, when indie authors pull together so much more can get done – and so many more will see you.

The Weird and Wonderful World of Writing Superstitions

Just as with many professions – musicians, sports players, even medical professionals and plenty more – writers have a variety of weird and wonderful writing superstitions that are as unique to each writer as their own writing style.

Writers, however, seem to have more than anyone else.

Whether that is because good luck and excellent timing can – by some – be seen to be the way to gain success in the fiction industry, or whether it is because the muse does not always deign to make an appearance when we want (or rather need) her to, who can say? The point is, writers have superstitions that offer them peace of mind. And a peaceful mind is often the first step in creating something beautiful.

 

The Weirdest Superstitions…

Edith Sitwell was a British poet, and she certainly enjoyed having a clear mind. However, the only way for her to clear that mind was to lie in an open coffin before beginning work.

Truman Capote would never, ever start or finish a piece of writing on a Friday. And neither would he write sitting down; he always had to lie down to get anything done.

John Steinbeck wrote all of his first drafts in pencil. Perhaps not so strange. But he did always make sure he had 12 sharpened pencils on his desk at all times.

Alexandre Dumas used colour in his superstitious ideas. Fiction had to be written on blue paper, articles on pink paper, and poetry on yellow paper.

Friedrich Schiller had to have the smell of rotten apples around him if he was to get anything worthwhile down on paper. Therefore, to ensure he could always write, he kept rotten apples in his desk drawer. Every now and then he would open the drawer and inhale the scent, boosting his creativity (so he said).

Isabel Allende writes about magical realism. She always starts a new novel on 8th January.

 

More Common Superstitions

Of course, there are some more common superstitions that many writers believe in – or rather, don’t want to not believe in, just in case. This includes the idea of not having 13 pages in a chapter, or not only including 13 chapters in a book. This might be why some books don’t end when it feels that they should! Other writers don’t like to end a book (or chapter) on an even page. More don’t like odd pages.

Some writers only ever think of the title of a book once it is complete (J.K. Rowling does this), but for others, there must be a title before any work can be done (this is how I work, as it happens).

Using a specific notebook, pen, typewriter or computer are also common superstitions. Or wearing a certain piece of clothing that brings luck (or at least words).

Whether or not these superstitions actually work is the matter of some debate. Those who cling to them will insist that they do, whilst others who don’t understand will say that they don’t.

But either way, what harm does it do? The writer enjoys their work, safe in the knowledge that they have carried out all the checks and balances that need to be done for inspiration to strike and the words to flow. And the sceptics… well, they can simply enjoy the finished product, can’t they?

Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

There are many theories in this world that support the idea that what you think determines the outcome of your life. The mind is a marvellous, untapped resource that is potentially infinite in its influence over what you do and how things turn out. The Law of Attraction is just one of these theories, and it is a fascinating read.

Even if you don’t believe in how it works exactly, there is no doubt that having a positive outlook affects how you perceive things, and how you are perceived. So it is important to think positively whenever possible.

If things have been going badly with regards to your work or writing – or any other creative pursuit – then could it possibly be your thoughts and feeling about it all that is causing the problems? Could it be that you are sabotaging yourself? Let’s take a look at how you might be, without even realising that you are.

Making It A Competition

If you are constantly looking around you at what other people are doing, you’ll never be able to fully focus on what you are doing – and that can spell disaster for your current creative project. That is one of the best ways of sabotaging yourself. Comparing yourself to others can sometimes work in terms of allowing you to set yourself a goal, but doing it all the time is distracting, and can push you off course from that goal very easily.

It is always better to be looking ahead, towards your next goal, and ignore what other people are doing. Creativity is not a race. It’s not a competition. It is a personal journey. That may sound a bit ‘new age-y’ but think about it; it’s completely true.

 

Getting Angry

Allowing yourself to get angry about things is another excellent way of halting the creative process and sabotaging yourself. If something has irritated you – it could be anything, from a Facebook post by a fellow writer, artist, poet etc, to hearing about someone’s success in the same genre that you work in – the important question to ask is ‘why?’. Why are you angry about this? And what is that anger doing to harm your creative process (hint: it’s another way of sabotaging yourself)?

Is your anger about being envious? Is it that you have a particularly deep competitive streak? Does the news make you feel less secure about your place in the creative world?

Whatever it is, remember that your own thoughts are taking you on a journey, and if you want that journey to be a fulfilling and successful one, then you need to dispense with all the superfluous feelings of anger and just get on with working your way towards happiness. Another artist’s success will not diminish your own. There is no need to be envious as your time will come as long as you work towards it and acknowledge that fact.

 

Complaining All The Time

Complaining to yourself is a waste of time. Complaining to other people… well, that all depends on the complaint. A valid complaint should often be aired – in a well-thought out and calm kind of way. That is how things can done, that is how problems get solved. A general gripe about the state of things, about a tweet that you didn’t appreciate, about someone else’s success or writing ability… that’s usually less productive. Plus this kind of pointless complaining has a knock-on effect. Firstly, it takes up a lot of time when, you guessed it, you could be writing or painting or doing whatever it is that makes you feel complete.

Secondly, empty complaining puts you in a negative frame of mind. One small niggle and suddenly everything is less rosy. Unsure about that? Think of it the other way around – when you see something that makes you happy, or you get some good news, doesn’t your day iimmediately seem better? Brighter? Altogether happier? It’s true, and the same goes for negative things. Your day (if you let it) will go downhill. Don’t let it. Keep positive, and things will improve. That’s just how it works.

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Peacock Poetry Prize returns for Brighton Festival 2017 with theme of ‘everyday epic’

Brighton Festival is delighted to announce that this year’s Peacock Poetry Prize will have the theme of ‘everyday epic’, a subject chosen by Brighton Festival 2017 Guest Director Kate Tempest.

From a pebbled beach to a stranger’s smile, from a sporting milestone to a quiet read, budding writers are invited to reflect on the small observations and achievements of our daily lives which we piece together to celebrate and share our common humanity.

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Kate Tempest says: “Music, literature, theatre, film – these things are so important, they bring us together into the same space, they give us ourselves, they bring us to life, they beam our humanity back to us in all its hideous beauty. And in these times, with the fear spreading everywhere and the divisions between us deepening daily, we desperately need to remember that we are all part of the same thing.”

The annual creative writing competition, produced by Brighton Festival and Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), encourages young writers to explore the written word from a creative point of view and aims to get young people writing right across Sussex. The competition asks local poets aged between 8 and 19 years to explore and respond to a specific subject in an imaginative and inventive way. Submissions are divided into four age groups: 8-11 years, 11-13 years 13-16 years and 16-19 years. In addition, this year the Brighton and Hove environmental education project (BHee) will also be giving a special prize to a school pupil whose poem celebrates our interaction with the natural world.

Pippa Smith, Head of Creative Learning at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: “The Peacock Poetry Prize is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved with Brighton Festival. I’m always taken aback at the number and range of submissions we receive, and this year I hope Kate Tempest’s theme of ‘everyday epic’ will inspire our young writers’ imaginations to produce some wonderful poetryonce again.”

William Baldwin, Principal of Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College, said, “I am delighted that BHASVIC is once again able to promote the Peacock Poetry Competition with Brighton Festival across Sussex. I’m very much looking forward to reading this year’s entries on the theme of ‘Everyday Epic’ and to meeting the runners-up and winners in May!”

The competition is open to residents of Brighton & Hove, East and West Sussex. Each budding writer may submit up to three poems with a maximum length of 20 lines per poem. Entries must be emailed, together with full name, age and date of birth to peacock@brightonfestival.org or posted to Peacock Poetry Prize, Brighton Festival, 12a Pavilion Buildings, Castle Square, Brighton BN1 1EE.

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Monday 3 April 2017. Finalists and their friends and relatives will be invited to a reception in Brighton Dome Thursday 25th May 5 pm when the winners of each age category and the BHee prize will be announced.

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REVIEWS

I studied English theory at university and have always been interested in the mechanics of writing, but it wasn’t until 2010 when my daughter was born that I started to write professionally. Although this was out of necessity (it was a job that I could do from home, and it brought in enough to pay the bills!), it soon became a passion. Since that time, I have been published in over 40 fiction anthologies and have written seven novels.

Find out more about my publications on my Amazon Author Page.

I am now a full-time freelance writer. The majority of my time is spent writing SEO-friendly blog posts for businesses in all kinds of niches from bakeries to florists to roofing specialists and plenty more in between. 

Between 2014 and 2020 I was the features and online editor for insideKENT magazine.

Today I live with my husband, daughter, and a cat called Cheryl in a cottage in the Kent countryside, writing, painting, and – whenever possible – watching horror films.

http://www.facebook.com/lisamarielambwriter

info@lisamarielamb.co.uk 

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Your Disney World Holiday Is Coming… What Do You Need To Take?

Summer will be here before you know it, and if you’re thinking of going to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, then you’ll already know there is a lot of planning to get through. Not only do you need to work out exactly which parks you want to go to, where you’re going to stay, and how you’re going to get there, but you need to save for it too.

Once that’s all sorted out though, and you’ve paid your final instalment, it’s time to really get serious. You’re going, and you need to be prepared. Unlike with a beach holiday, there are more things needed and more things to think about when you plan a trip to Disney so it’s best to get planning as soon as you can. Here is a checklist for you to go through to ensure that this holiday of a lifetime is memorable for all the right reasons!

Disney World holiday
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Guidebook

You may not want to look like a tourist when you get to Florida but the thing is… you are one. Embrace it, and get a guidebook so you know exactly where to go and what to do. You wouldn’t want to miss out on anything, especially if this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of Disney World holiday. It’s true that you can look things up online, but it can often be easier to have a handy guidebook in your bag – and you can make notes in it, use markers for your must-do spots, and generally make use of it. It’s a great investment. A second-hand one is even better if someone else has done all the note-taking in the margins already!

Cool Clothes

Orlando is a hot place. Hotter than you might realise. Shorts and t-shirts are required on a Disney World holiday, but remember to pack thin clothing, not just summer clothing. This kind of heat is entirely different to anything you’ve experienced in the UK, and you don’t want to be uncomfortable as you walk around the parks all day. Take a hat and sunglasses too – you’ll be glad you did when you get out there in the heat of the day.

Good Shoes

Whilst on the subject of packing, making sure everyone has good shoes to wear is essential. You may not realise it, but those parks are enormous, and there will be a huge amount of walking to do, plus you’ll find yourself standing around in queues for many minutes (hours) at a time. Fashionable sandals and heels are lovely, but not during the day. You want trainers or breathable shoes. It’s not just about comfort, either. Some of the rules in Disney mean you can’t go on some of the rides if you don’t have the appropriate footwear.

Tickets

The main reason for anyone to go to Orlando is to go to Disney World, but Disney is not just one theme park; it’s a number of different theme parks that make up the whole group. So do a little research in advance to work out where you might like to spend some time. The Magic Kingdom, for example, is where the famous Cinderella’s castle is, and it’s great for younger children. Older kids might like the Epcot Centre. Film buffs will love Hollywood Studios. Plus there are animal parks and water parks to enjoy as well. Knowing where you want to go will give you a good idea of how many days’ worth of tickets you will need. Buying them in advance is the cheapest way to get them, and you might even be able to make use of special deals. A little tip: take a photo of the tickets when you get them, making sure the ticket numbers are shown. If you lose them or they get damaged, you can then get them replaced.

Itinerary

For some people, a holiday is about going with the flow and working out what to do – if anything – once you get there. In Florida, it’s slightly different. There is so much to see and do that if you don’t have at least a bit of a plan and itinerary by the time you get there, you’ll miss out on something wonderful. If you’re staying at a hotel you can get some great advice from the reps and the staff, but if you’re in a villa you’re a little more on your own. The Internet will help you immensely in that case, although you can also ask the park employees for advice on what to do. Orlando is more than just Disney, though, and you might want to find something different to do, even on a Disney World holiday. Days chilling out by the pool are needed just to re-energise (perhaps have a pool day once every two or three days), and hiring a car so you can go a little further afield will show you some interesting places. If you pick a car from a reputable car rental company, then you don’t even have to worry that you’ll break down; they’ll have help on hand should that happen, working with companies that will be able to help you if you need it.

My family in Disney World, Florida

Money

It’s usually best to change your pounds into dollars here in the UK before you leave as you tend to get a better exchange rate. Don’t assume that’s the case, though, and check out the exchange rate in the US before you travel. You might get a better deal by waiting. For a bit of fun in the parks, you can exchange your American dollars for ‘Disney dollars’. They have the same face value and can only be used in Disney itself, but they’re cute and put a smile on everyone’s face.

Extras

There are a number of little extras that are always worth packing when it comes to going to Orlando’s Disney World. They’ll make your trip more magical. Remember, for example, your autograph book and a chunky kind of pen. There will be characters walking around the parks and they will happily pose for pictures and sign your children’s books, so it’s a nice (free) souvenir! A poncho is another useful item. Yes, it’s hot in Florida, but it rains too, and when the heavens open they really open! Showers don’t last for long, but they happen most afternoons in the summer and you don’t want to get caught out. Take a little plastic bag that can fit in your pocket or bag too because there are water rides, and you can protect your phone/wallet/tablet that way.

Enjoy

The final thing to remember when travelling to Orlando for a Disney World holiday is to enjoy yourself. Have fun. Smile. It’s worth every second of packing when you realise you’re in a truly magical place.

4 Ways Work Could Be Causing You Stress

People are getting increasingly stressed at work, which is producing a crisis in management and poor health. Businesses are suffering as a result of workers being forced to take time off due to stress-related illness, despite the fact that the job is creating it. As a result, while they are away from work, they begin to feel better, but when they return, the old difficulties resurface, and the condition continues to worsen. If this is the case, it is apparent that the work you are performing is not the appropriate one for you, and it is time to choose one that will not be causing you stress.

If you’re not sure if stress is the source of your condition, here are several ways work may be causing it; you might recognise your own scenario here.

Poor Organisation

A badly structured workplace is one of the things that could be causing you stress, and it may even force you to take a lot of time off. Workers will be unable to find what they need to accomplish their jobs if a workplace is disorganised. This may include crucial documents, handy stationery, or even the proper equipment to brew a cup of coffee or a drink of water. If you can’t locate what you’re looking for and can’t do the job you’ve been assigned in a timely or satisfactory manner, you may be reprimanded. Even if you aren’t, the situation is tense.

causing you stress
Photo by Lisa from Pexels

Being Overloaded

We’ve all been in situations when we have more work than we can handle, only to be pushed to do more. This isn’t such a horrible thing if it just happens once in a while (though it’s preferable if it doesn’t happen at all); a little overtime now and again isn’t too bad. However, if this is a recurring problem and you are constantly pushed to do more than you have time or aptitude to accomplish, you will, of course, get highly agitated and may need to take time off because you are burning out. If you’re doing too much, then work is sure to be causing you stress.

Work Relationships

It’s difficult for everyone to get along with everyone else, but in the workplace, it’s vital to tolerate your coworkers so that you can all be adults and get your tasks done. This is not always the case, and negative sentiments amongst coworkers might seep into the job itself, causing you stress. It’s difficult to have to go to the same office every day when you’re having a fight with someone or have a falling out with a former buddy.

causing you stress
Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels

New Management

At work, having a competent manager is critical. Even though we have the authority to work in our own way and on our own schedule, having a manager to ask questions of, as well as get orders and praise from, is vital for maintaining high morale and a sense of stability. A change in management might be another source of stress since the unknown of who will be your boss and what they will be like is unsettling, especially if you were satisfied with the person who was there previously.

How To Get Your Blog Noticed

When you write a blog, you want people to read it; this is the main reason behind writing it in the first place. Therefore, you want your blog to be noticed, shared, liked, and talked about wherever possible. This can be a difficult task, but it is essential if you want your blog (and your website or business) to be boosted high up in the search engine rankings. Take a look at these tips for getting your blog noticed and implement as many as you can. 

Stay On Topic 

Having a blog that sticks to one main topic is a good idea. It means that people will know what to expect when they read your work, and it can prove that you are an expert in your chosen sector. Although some blogs do have varied contents, to really get noticed, you should ideally find the topic you are happy writing about and make that your main focus. Otherwise you can easily confuse people, and they won’t know that they should come back to your blog or that it could, in fact, be useful to them. 

What you write about is entirely your choice as long as you know something (or rather a lot) about the topic and can find a lot to say about it. 

blog noticed
Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Keep It Simple 

Most people don’t want to read something too technical and complicated – in many cases, they are looking for ways to make a potentially tricky yet important topic more accessible. As a blogger, your job is to take that topic and put it in layman’s terms. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing about a tax return, days out with the kids, cooking, book reviews, starting a business, or anything else; the key is to keep it all simple.

Use Social Media 

If you really want to boost your readership levels, you must use social media to promote your blog. Posting your link on a Facebook page (perhaps in a group, or on your own page or your business page) can potentially give you a huge reach, and many more people will read the blog, clicking through to your website, than otherwise would have done. They will also easily be able to share the content with their followers and friends, ensuring that even more people will read it. If you want to have your post in front of many thousands of people, you can even pay to have it boosted, but it may be possible to do this organically, so try that first before spending any money. 

Use SEO To Get Your Blog Noticed

SEO (search engine optimization) will make your blog noticed a lot more. SEO is about identifying important keywords or phrases and incorporating them into your blog post, and it needs to be done carefully and strategically. The search engine ‘bots’ will pick up on these keywords and phrases, and your webpage will be boosted higher up the rankings when people search. There are many different techniques involved in getting SEO just right, so it’s best to read up on them before you begin so that you can make the most of the opportunity to promote your post and make sure it is noticed. 

How Self-Care Can Improve Your Business

We know that taking care of ourselves at home is essential. We know that eating well and exercising regularly is what will keep us healthy. Yet what about our work? As a business owner, you will probably find there are times that you feel stressed and anxious or that you work long hours and neglect your own self-care due to this. 

If this is the case – as it is for many small business owners – it is vital to take a step back and think about your own self-care. After all, taking care of your own physical and mental needs can actually improve your business. Here’s how it works. 

self-care
Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

You Can Say No

Being able to say no in business is important. If you say yes to everything that anyone asks of you, you will soon become overwhelmed and exhausted. Not only that, but you will use up all of your time doing things that are of no benefit to you, leaving little time left to do anything that will help to grow your business. 

Practicing self-care means that you will be stronger and more able to say no. You will be able to look at each situation objectively and determine whether it will be something that you can do well and whether it will positively impact your business. 

You Can Do More 

Those days when you struggle into the office even though you’re feeling unwell are not productive days. It would be better if you stayed at home practicing self-care, looking after yourself and resting. That way, you will heal more quickly and get back to work sooner, resulting in less time off than if you tried to go in and became more unwell. You will also find that just a few days off to rest and mend will mean you are more productive when you return, and the quality of the work you do won’t suffer. 

The more seriously ill you are, the more time you will need to take off. There may be other complications, including a hospital stay or the need to use home care to help you once you have recovered if there has been a problem. No matter how long you need to take off work, rushing back will only make things worse. In these cases, insurance or a good manager will need to be used to help you. 

Good Company Policy 

At some point, you may well hire other people to assist you in your business. You need them to be happy and function well, and if you can lead by example, this will be beneficial. Practicing self-care by having scheduled breaks throughout the day, having set working hours, taking the time to relax and exercise where possible, and eating well is something you can instil in your employees. This will make the business somewhere good to work in, and your employees will be more loyal to you if they know you have their best interests at heart. 

Make it company policy that self-care needs to be a priority, and your workers will be more productive and much happier in their jobs. 

5 Signs Your Body Is Trying To Tell You There’s A Problem With Your Health

When you take a moment to reflect, you will realise that your body is an amazing thing. You breathe, eat, think, and move every day. This is because your systems all communicate with one another. Your body is a well-oiled machine the majority of the time; it takes care of its own health. If you don’t feel like your body is performing as effectively as it could, now is the moment to take action. It could be trying to tell you there’s a problem, and here are some examples. 

Dry Eyes 

Eyes are a big signifier of health. You might have dry eyes for a variety of causes. It might be that you spend all day staring at your computer or that you have a health issue. Certain disorders might induce inflammation in your glands, resulting in poor tear production and persistent, dry eyes. In any case, if you wish to take action, you should try to contact your doctor. If you do, you will quickly realise that it is more than feasible for you to begin taking better care of yourself.

health
Image by Cristira_06 from Pixabay

Toothpaste 

If you have white spots in your mouth, you may have leucoplakia. This is frequently seen in people who use tobacco. If you do not get this treated, it might progress to oral cancer. If this is accompanied by toothache, you should see your dentist right away.

You Feel Cold 

Do you feel like you’re always shopping for a new sweater or blanket? If you have a low amount of thyroid production, you may have cold symptoms. This is due to your cells slowing down and consuming less energy. As a consequence, your body produces far less heat. Even if everyone else is enjoying the weather, you may find yourself grabbing for a sweater. You may also discover that even with all of the radiators turned on, your body is unable to maintain a comfortable temperature. In any case, if this describes you, you should see a doctor right away.

Your Fingers Change Colour 

If your fingers change colour when exposed to cooler temperatures or become white when everyone else is okay, this might be an early symptom of Raynaud’s disease. When the arteries that feed blood to the skin become too thin, this discolouration occurs. This might cause your fingers to become numb until they warm up. If you wish to put a stop to this problem, you should try to speak with your doctor if at all feasible.

health
Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

You Have A Puffy Face 

If you get the sensation that your face is swollen, you should consult your doctor. If you have a puffy face, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism. You may also notice that your hair is thinning and that you have muscle weakness. This is due to your body not generating enough hormones. If you do not get it addressed, it can lead to significant problems. You could discover that you have infertility or perhaps heart problems.

What To Do When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

Certain situations will occur in your life that will simply not go your way. It may be anything as simple as a faulty appliance. It might also be more serious concerns, such as the breakup of your marriage. Whatever the case may be, here are some coping methods and suggestions to help you when everything appears to be going wrong in your life.

going your way

Remind Yourself That Life Is Full Of Obstacles

This idea might be difficult to acknowledge since we believe that the goal of life is to live happily with everything going our way. However, the nature of reality constantly denies us this privilege.

As a result, confronting reality is a good idea. Instead of believing that everything must go your way in order for you to be happy, simply accept that they will not. That way, you may avoid being constantly disappointed when things go wrong.

Be Ready For Things To Break 

Nothing, even your possessions, lasts forever. As a result, it’s a good idea to plan for things to fail before they do so, so you can respond efficiently when things go wrong.

Many individuals, for example, purchase appliance spare parts online. This way, if the washing machine breaks down, they’ll have the parts they need to fix it. Others keep vehicle components and building supplies in their sheds in case something breaks or goes wrong.

Give Yourself A Break When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

Life might feel like a long, arduous slog at times, trying to get to where you want to go. And, in many cases, advancement is not linear at all. It comes in fits and starts instead.

Giving oneself a break is thus an intelligent approach to provide yourself with some room to digest what has occurred when things aren’t going your way. When things don’t go your way, it’s frequently a good idea to take a step back from your everyday routine and assess the situation. Gaining a broader perspective might assist in making things seem more acceptable.

going your way
Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Consider Difficulties To Be Opportunities

Another approach you may take is to see difficulties as chances for growth. Consider the moments in your life when things were difficult. These events most likely enabled you to grow as a person. Thus, seeing challenges as opportunities may be a fantastic approach to see the good in any circumstance, no matter how terrible or irritating it may appear at the moment.

Concentrate On What You Can Do

Many people who find themselves in a rut in life consider the things they desire but do not take the necessary measures to get them. As a result, it is essential to think about what you can do when life gets you depressed. Simple things like going to the gym, eating healthier, or working on Saturdays can often be enough to get you out of a rut and back on track.

Avoid Making The Same Mistakes

If things aren’t going your way because you made a mistake, look for strategies to avoid making the same mistake again. Develop good coping techniques as a practice. Then use them when you need them the most.

How To Manage An Online Store

Businesses today operate differently than they did ten years or even just a year ago – changes take place all the time, and that includes when it comes to understanding how to manage an online store. When it comes to the possibility of improving company strategies, technology has changed the game, and it’s technology you need to consider first and foremost. Working online is critical for business owners because the internet allows you to market both brick-and-mortar shops and online-only stores.

manage an online store
Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

Another goal aided by technology is the ability to attract more clients than ever before. For the majority of business owners, managed IT services is one of the greatest ways to run an online store. The complexities of these businesses necessitate daily supervision in terms of design requirements. At the same time, professional assistance in resolving page difficulties and other issues is critical. These services manage technology as well as monitor vital systems for operational purposes. So what else can be done? How else can you manage an online store? Read on to find out.

Solve Problems Immediately

When you need to manage an online store, you’ll want to solve any problems you come across immediately. Waiting even just a few hours could mean turning away a lot of business, and once those potential customers go elsewhere, it’s going to be very difficult to entice them back again; there is so much competition online that a missed opportunity is often missed forever. First impressions (including a working website) are crucial.

If you want to manage an online store, you’ll need to fix these issues right away. This could mean having managed IT services as we mentioned above, or it could mean learning how to solve at least the more basic IT issues yourself by reading blogs, watching videos, or even going to college part-time (and remotely) to get more knowledge.

Analyse Monthly Reports

It is critical to assess not just the effectiveness of your IT services, but also the scope of their coverage. Analysing monthly statistics for these services reveals to online store owners what is required to maintain their company and ensure it is running well. These reports are useful for delivering relevant information about your top users. You can also use these to learn more about your systems and which ones are causing the greatest problems for shop operations.

If you are keen to manage an online store in the best way, knowing who is visiting, how long they’re staying, what they’re looking at, and where they come from is vital. You can then use this information to your advantage, creating marketing campaigns that speak to the people most likely to buy from you. This will result in more sales and it will give you more for your marketing budget.

What Are The Biggest Health Risks to Your Family?

When we settle down and create a family, our first priority is to keep that family healthy and safe and prevent any health risks. That can be difficult in this scary world. Although many dangers to our family’s safety are unanticipated, but there are steps we can take to prepare ourselves and our families for such occurrences.

House Fires

House fires are a frightening and terrifying threat to your family’s health. They aren’t common thanks to rigorous housing laws, but they are a concern you should take seriously. While most homes and structures are built in accordance with strict fire safety codes, human mistakes can still result in a house fire.

health risks
Image by Meine Reise geht hier leider zu Ende. Märchen beginnen mit from Pixabay

This might be anything from a defective appliance to indoor smoking, aged wiring, or a gas leak. Fortunately, there are precautions you may take to avoid a house fire. These include ensuring that all your smoke and heat alarms are working and testing them regularly.

Car Accidents

A pleasant family outing can rapidly turn into a nightmare if you face hazardous driving conditions or make a mistake behind the wheel. An automotive accident can happen in a matter of seconds.

The big trucks and cars you see on city streets or on the motorway are a terrible hazard. While the majority of drivers are responsible drivers, there are some who drive or act carelessly.

Natural Disasters Are Health Risks

A natural disaster is a terrifying natural force. Almost no matter where you live, you will be in the path of a natural disaster, whether it be a hurricane, tornado, flood, mudslide, earthquake, forest fire, lightning strike, windstorm, or even a volcano.

Doing some research is the greatest approach to prepare for a natural disaster and prevent health risks. Learn about the different sorts of natural disasters that are likely to strike your state or region. Once you’ve determined the types of natural disasters with which you’ll be dealing, you can start putting together an emergency plan.

health risks
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Make sure to carefully follow all of the instructions and run emergency drills with your family to familiarise them with the procedure.

Criminals

Despite considerable reductions in crime rates over the last 25 years, crime remains a very real hazard to any family unit and could result in health risks. Crime might include being deceived, physically assaulted, or robbed.

When a burglar breaks into your home, it is a terrible situation. You may protect your family from this intruder by acquiring an alarm system, locking all windows and doors, and getting a guard dog.

Furthermore, regardless of gender, it is prudent to always have a defensive object with you while out and about, even if it is just your keys (remember, knives and pepper spray etc are illegal). You never know when someone with ill intent may choose you as their next victim.

Do You Have A Viable Business Idea?

Everyone creative believes they have a viable business idea. They are confident that their vision will be successful, and they are pleased and enthusiastic that they have come up with something novel. So what’s the issue? The issue is that most business ideas are bad ones that just won’t go anywhere, and as much as it’s harsh to hear that, it’s also important; you need to make sure that any idea you have is a viable business idea, not one that won’t get off the ground. Here are some things to look out for. 

viable business idea
Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay

What’s Your Competition Like? 

There is a great deal of competition. Starting a business is easier now than ever, especially after everyone has had to be at home during the coronavirus pandemic and has had plenty of time to think about life changes they want to make. You should check to see whether your amazing company concept hasn’t already been done several hundred times. You must ensure that your business idea stands out from the crowd, which entails conducting extensive research. Choose a company idea that will work for you yet is not overly crowded. You want your company to have a market presence if it is to be a viable business idea. 

Do You Have The Time? 

Do you really have the time to develop a viable business idea? Some sectors demand you to be able to work rapidly, but if your business idea is too complicated, you won’t have enough time to get a viable product to market. 

Does The Idea Bore You Once You Begin?

If you quickly become bored with it once you have developed and launched your business (or even if you become bored during the process of developing what you hope to be a viable business idea), you have a problem. If your own business idea bores you, it is not a good business idea. It’s a massive red flag for a businessperson because your success is dependent on whether you feel it will succeed. If you don’t believe in your business, why should anyone else? 

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

You’re Jumping On A Bandwagon

Social media makes it easy to see what the current trends are. However, those trends come and go so quickly that trying to fasten onto one for a viable business idea will never work. You might make some money initially, but it won’t last for long. 

Conclusion 

Your business idea needs to shine, and if any of the above points apply to you, it’s time to let it go and start over. Make it a point to start a business that will matter to you rather than one that you will detest.

Sunscreen In The Winter: How To Wear It

When it’s freezing cold outside, it’s easy to forget about sunscreen in the winter. But, we’ve all tried it, and we’ve all paid dearly for it. Snow and ice, like water, reflect sunlight, making it more essential than ever to use sunscreen and take care of your skin and lips.

The good thing is that when it’s cold outdoors, our skin is often less visible, making our sunscreen regime a little more straightforward. You may be less likely to use sunscreen now that the weather has cooled and you won’t be basking in the sun. But here’s the thing: you really must wear sunscreen in the winter. Read on to find out how to do it right. 

sunscreen in the winter
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

Use Physical Sunscreen In The Winter 

Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, but physical sunscreens divert or prevent them. While physical sunscreen, which comprises zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, is the hardest to apply, it produces excellent all-year protection.

Compared to chemical-based sunscreen, which is usually either UVB or UVA blocker, physical sunscreen gives better broad-spectrum coverage. Furthermore, physical blockers act for a more extended amount of time, providing more coverage and needing less re-application. They’re also less abrasive than chemical blockers.

Sweat Is Important 

Many people believe that using your daily SPF moisturiser once in the morning is enough to provide coverage for the entire day. However, even if you’re wrapped up and outside, your skin always perspires, and you should renew SPF during the day. Before leaving the house, apply a naturally healing and moisturising sunscreen in the winter with an SPF of at least 30, and allow it to absorb into your skin fully.

Watch Out For Spots 

Sun exposure causes freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, rough and leathery skin, small creases that disappear when stretched, loose skin, a blotchy complexion, and actinic keratoses (thick wart-like, rough, reddish areas of skin). The sun also damages the elasticity in the skin, preventing it from springing back and causing wrinkled and leathery skin. To detect UV damage, look for rough, red skin, an increase in moles, and damaged blood vessels on the face throughout the winter. Also, keep an eye out for any wounds or bruises on your skin that aren’t healing properly, as this could be an early indicator of skin cancer.

Food Can Help 

Fruits and vegetables, in general, are strong in antioxidants and help us fight free radicals and sun damage. In contrast, meat, dairy products, simple carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods increase inflammation and can contribute to the worsening of solar damage. Conversely, foods high in vitamin C and antioxidants such as carotenoids and lycopene, such as leafy greens, peppers, squash, watermelon, blueberries, and tomatoes, can help reduce sun damage.