Category Archives: tips

Getting Off: How to Finish a Blog Entry

Between writer’s block and not completing a project, if I was forced to decide between which is worse, I’d go with the latter. Having been in both places all too recently, it is really nice that to have motivation where there was absolutely none before.

But the ability to write is not enough. With any project, there comes a point where things must come to an end, and to experience the satisfaction that comes with finishing. Simply put, I need to get off.

There are countless articles that give advice on how to find the motivation and get the creative juices flowing enough to start a blog entry — I, too, have written about the importance of “just starting” and have personally referred to multiple sources for tips and techniques. However, since this past September, I’ve started over 40 drafts, with no end in sight.

Clearly I have an issue, largely with perceived performance and anxiety. So, as a challenge, and because writing is rewriting, I have decided within the next few months to finish each draft and publish them here. At that point, perhaps I will have acquired the answer to a question wondered for months now: How the hell do I do this? And if not, perhaps I’ll merely have written — a joy compared to writing with no purpose, and no end in sight.

At your own discretion, this is what I will be working with:

Figure out when you do your best work, and make the time and commitment to write every day. Mornings are ideal for me, and five, ten minutes here and there throughout the day adds up to something worth working with. Try to make room for longer sessions, for concentrated practice makes better, but view short sessions as better than not at all, or ever again.

Don’t stop — if on a roll and it feels good, keep going. Go for another five minutes; start another sentence or paragraph. The payoff will be worth it. If distraction becomes a habit, start to view any derailing in thought as a mere segue in disguise. But whatever you do, don’t stop.

There is often no perfect time or place to write. A dedicated room-with-a-view setup up isn’t always guaranteed, so make use of what you’ve got, whether in the elevator or in line at the bank.

And finally, go for it. Lose yourself. Don’t overthink it, or worry about how it sounds. Go by how it feels. Don’t be afraid of things being ugly, awkward, or messy. They can always be cleaned up.

And for the record, I’ve been talking about writing this whole time.


More Writing Tips From Someone Who Doesn’t Know What They’re Doing


(An unintended continuation of this post.)

The Emmys are tonight, which is super exciting and everything. This is an obvious opportunity to celebrate another year of brilliant television. There have been some amazing productions this year on both network, cable, and streaming services. The game is being changed, and it has been amazing to observe, to the point where reception has been, at times, delightfully overwhelming. This must be praised, as quality programming, like other forms of artistic expression, needs to be recognized, talked about, and experienced — because when it is, even more stories get told (especially those that probably wouldn’t have otherwise).

However, yet another year has gone by where I don’t feel like I even have an idea to flesh out. (Yes, I’m making this about me.)

One day I’d love to write something worthy of recognition on such a level. But to do that, I’m going to have to keep writing.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles my whole life, so the star-studded aspect isn’t novel to me. What is novel, however, is seeing people you know do things that you could only dream of doing. In knowing these people, I know first hand that they have the same 24 hours in one day as anyone else. They’ve periods of discouragement and laziness, like everyone else. But they keep moving.

This weekend I was able to go through some old stories and poems from college. Not to toot my own horn, but I wrote pretty damn well. But I was a bit stubborn and, due to writing more for the grade rather than the passion, present-day me could really sense the loss of drive and focus within each piece. It’s no wonder why I refused to read or write during the year following graduation.

The drive has definitely come back, though, almost to the point when I first started writing as a young teenager. I remember writing so much then, even performed at open mics and submitted my work to publications. I wasn’t afraid of saying or doing something. I wanted to contribute, and truly felt my work to hold as much weight as others’.

I’m not sure if that’s exactly the case for me now. If anything, I’m much more conscious about what I put out there, probably due to the saturation of ideas on social media, and how quickly information can be dispensed, digested, and transferred. The pressure to make an impact is very much there, as is the desire.

Like anything else, the view just needs to be scaled back a bit.  I need to go back in my personal history and touch on what’s been pushed out of memory. I need to ask myself difficult questions, especially in relation with others, and experience the breeze every once in a while. I need to write what I know, and be endlessly curious about what I don’t.

And, I need to keep writing.

How Do I…? Mental Feng Shui 

Whenever I hear about feng shui, it’s referenced as being an arrangement of objects to where the placement holds the possibility to either foster or hinder energy. It’s this energy that we need to attain a desired outlook, perception, and foundation for oneself.  (This article via Real Simple explains it really well.)

Now, I’m not an expert, but if there is one thing I know it’s that it is about far more than furniture. If, at its core, it is about what keeps things in the direction in which we are going, then I’d like to apply the concept to the space where we spend all of our time — our minds.

Below are five potential ideas on how to do so:

1. Daydream for a minute. Literally, for 60 seconds (or 30, if you’re really pressed for time). The brief shift in focus may be all that’s needed to get to the next moment with a little less stress at the helm.

2. Change your smartphone’s wallpaper or theme. It’s a little like getting a new sheet set, to be honest. As a Samsung user, I’ve found plenty of free themes in the Samsung Themes section of Settings (and I’m fairly certain the iPhone has plenty of options available as well). My two favorites are Ece and Aurora_curiosoo, shown below:

Ece Samsung theme

Aurora_curiosoo Samsung theme

3. Update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has quickly become the social media equivalent of one’s resume, without the formal pressure of a cover letter and stiffly-worded salutation. Even if you aren’t looking for a new employment opportunity, it’s a good way to remind yourself of your strengths and abilities especially if you happen to feel stagnant for one reason or another. Plus, the news feed and following capabilities make it a great space to build and maintain a professional network. Not everyone can make it to meetups or mixers,  but you can definitely log in to LinkedIn.

4. Do something different. Anything. Use a different pen to note tasks. Walk a different route during your afternoon break. Eat your salad with a different salad dressing. Listen to a band, artist, or podcaster that sounds like or covers similar topics to whoever you currently listen to. It is the quickest way to do something out of the box yet remain close to any previously designated boundaries of comfort. And on that note…

5. Keep your ear to the ground entertainment-wise. There are numerous options to stay in the now with TV, films, music, and books. I’ve had Netflix and HBO Go for ages and recently subscribed to Amazon Music. Personally, I enjoy the relative non-commitment of listening to numerous albums before buying them, But also, there’s something about commercial-free streaming that keeps the vibes at a cool, even keel.

This is merely my personal take at present — please feel free to leave any tips in the comments on how you funnel energy and iron out the kinks.


Lead photo via Benicia Herald