Whether you are an avid journal writer or you’re starting because of a new year’s resolution…welcome! Every now and then it’s good to go back to the basics. These are in no means an ‘How to’ on journal writing- just more of a way to get you started or to hit refresh.
You don’t have to put pen to paper.
More of the traditional way of journaling is to keep a notebook and pen handy and simply write! But now there are so many more options. You can dedicate a notes section on your phone to journaling, a file on your computer, or you can download an app to use on your tablet! Whatever will feel more comfortable and will keep you journaling.
Keep realistic expectations.
The best way to start something new, or keep something going is to establish a routine. Set realistic expectations for when you want to journal. It is also easier when you link it to something you do everyday. For example, on the train ride commute to work, while you’re having your morning coffee, or when you’re getting ready for bed. Create a healthy habit for yourself.
Write about gratitude.
When in doubt write about gratitude. It can be life changing for mental health when you take the time to write about what you are grateful for. And you can start small with the things in front of you and go from there.
Try something new.
Go outside the box and make your journal personal and messy! Add pictures, or scraps that you have found throughout the day, like a good newspaper article for example. Re-read and write in the margins!
Write for you.
This may be the most important of the journaling basics. Remember why you started it, and write for yourself. No one has to read it and it will not be graded or criticized. Think about what goals you have for yourself and your journal and work towards that.
These are not just for the dads of the world…everyone can use a good pun! Slip it into a conversation for (hopefully) a good laugh, or they often make for a great social media caption. So let’s have fun this Friday and read some puns!
Here are a few of our favorites…
My costume is eerie-sistible
Creepin’ it real.
It’s a brew-tiful day for eating tons of candy.
I won’t let you slip through my Butter Fingers.
Ghouls just want to have fun.
I hope you had fun in the pun-kin patch! I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself:)
Comment your favorite pun below, or share one we haven’t.
The Anti-Hero We are living in a time where escaping the confines of our home is what we want to do more than anything. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc. can only provide so much entertainment. The plots become predictable, the characters lose their shine…yada, yada. You know the drill. My favorite stories, both on the screen and between the pages, are the ones following the “most loved” character wrestle their moral high ground, and ultimately fail. These characters feel real. I feel like I know them, have met them in my day-to-day life. Truth is: I probably have and so have you. Instead of listing off characters you can base your own character off of, how about we talk about making your character unique to you?
BACKSTORY IS VITAL Backstory to characters who strive for the ultimate good makes sense. But what about the characters who are angry? Or who are evil? Do not forget one of the more important things in writing: evil can be created. Explore that. Whatever was done to this character can introduce so many more things about them, such as personality traits, nervous ticks, complex behaviors, and beliefs. Your reader doesn’t need to know this information right away, too. Write it out on a new document on your computer and in your notebook before you begin your tale. Uncovering the backstory as the story progresses is the best part about the antihero.
ANGRY OR NOT; THE OUTCOME OF THEIR ACTIONS ARE… Good! For them, at least. It’s a satisfaction for them to do the things they do, because they feel it’s right. They may hurt some people along the way, mentally or physically, but they have a goal in mind. This character could be ruthless. This is what sets them apart from your regular hero. It’s also what sets them apart from being a total villain. They don’t want good for everyone, they want good for them. Which, once their background seeps into the story, sympathy will be created for them by the reader (if they have heart, that is.)
REDEEMING QUALITIES BUILD SYMPATHY Okay, so what if the character in question likes to kill people. Simply because they like to do that doesn’t mean they don’t have a soft spot for Grandma or Grandpa who raised them through their chaotic upbringing. They’ll always make it home for dinner every night, so they don’t upset them. See that? That’s a redeeming quality. Piling up the negative can be emotionally exhausting. Not everyone is as terrible as that. I can think of a few, but we won’t go there. Overall, if the character has a laundry list of negative qualities and zero good ones and they still win in the end, that’s going to be one upsetting story and you’re going to have a laundry list of unhappy readers. Give them traits to make them likable. You’ll have your readers’ hearts in your hands.
YOUR ANTIHERO IS HUMAN (OR CLOSE TO IT) Point is, we are flawed. You and me. Your antihero should be too. Lean towards realism. They have their own moral code, their own inner conflict, and they will always face difficult decisions to meet their end goal. Don’t we all? That’s what makes us each unique in our own personal journey so why not give that to your antihero as well. We aren’t all terrible…right?
So, get to it! We’re done here. Nothing more, nothing less. Antiheroes are far more fun than regular heroes. It’s nice to see a good two-shoes every once in awhile, but I like characters who commit heinous acts (to a certain degree!) and have purpose to their wrongdoings. Who are some of your favorite antiheroes in the literary world? My all-time favorite will always be Dexter Morgan. Not because of Michael C. Hall’s adaptation (although, major plus, albeit), but because of Jeff Lindsay’s creation of him. A serial killer with conscience? Absolutely brilliant.
Who wouldn’t love a fun arts and crafts project that will also help you achieve your goals? Increase your motivation, confidence, and performance with the help of an awesome vision board! Celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and Oprah will surely back this up.
First and foremost, do some self reflection and see what matters to you most and then go from there. Then, think about if you want it to be digital or print. Print is pretty straight forward, grab some scrap cardboard or construction paper and browse the internet or magazines for pictures or any sort of clippings you like! For digital, my favorite tool is canva. A website that can do everything and more when it comes to digital art. To start, choose the dimensions you want and they have a ton of free photos for you to add along with text of your choice, or you can search for photos and paste them right on!
The best part…it’s completely customizable! If you want inspiration for your new novel pop on some pictures or quotes about what you’re envisioning for your story. Your story will come to life before your eyes and should make the writing process a bit easier- at least to start!
Here is a board I created on canva using pinterest photos! I set it as my screensaver just to make me smile. This is more of a life mood board which you can create as well!
Here are some more vision boards for inspiration…
Put it somewhere you will see it everyday as a helpful reminder!
The world is changing at our feet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate some fun into our daily lives!
This gives ‘your nose is always stuck in a book’ a new meaning! If you have to wear a mask, at least make it something worth putting on. These also make for a great back to school accessory for kids or if you work in education.
I, like most people, say I love to read but never have time to pick up the right book and finish it. And while there is no right and wrong way to read, I have noticed some key tricks to make myself a better reader.
Make a list.
There might be some power in checking off a box, because I know I am more productive when a list is involved. So create a list of all the books you want to read that month or year and get checking!
Read several books at once.
For me I know as soon as a book starts to feel boring I put it down and never return. However, if you read several books at once and create options for yourself there will be more of a chance you will open the book up again.
And feel free to mix it up! Read a book and also have an audiobook on hand for an alternative option. It can be very refreshing from print books to relax your eyes and get a fresh look on a book.
Try before you buy.
Read the Kindle or Amazon sample before you buy a book. Get a taste for the writing style to determine if it’s a book you would enjoy until the end. Maybe even read a few reviews, but watch out for spoilers!
If you are a blogger or someone who likes to share their reading findings, I find that it is easier to take notes while reading rather than afterwards. It may seem like this process takes longer, but it is better than going back into the passage to look for something you thought you read. Plus, taking notes is a great way to retain what you just read!
Take note of your down time.
Find the right time to read for you. On a lunch break, right before bed, or on your commute to work. There is no bad time to read, but you also have to accept that sometimes you may not find the time. For me I noticed that I could be replacing my screen time with reading a book. You might have to find a new balance but once you do reading will be much easier!
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The world of Christian Grey has opened and created an entire universe of billionaire hunks in the romance department (but we all know millionaire or financially stable hunks will also do the trick). If you are thinking about, or already started writing your own next billionaire must read then let’s find out how to make that happen!
The appeal is already there. A character who is highly successful, but lacks the personal life of a ‘nice guy’. Now in most cases the billionaire is male, but there’s no saying you can’t switch it up. That is a whole other door waiting to be opened!
But back to the what’s what.
There is more often than not the Cinderella story in this array of romance. The hero has financial security, and tends to offer the heroine security of some sort. That security often ranges somewhere from a business arrangement of getting down and dirty, some form of employment, or the heroine has some family member they have to save.
Now here comes the nitty gritty. We don’t want a hero that we hate from the start with too much macho. Tension between the hero and heroine is always a plus, but try and stray away from too much of one trait. While the book can be focused on the financials of the hero, money shouldn’t be the main factor for the romance. We need more! The love, passion, secrets and everything that comes with it. Handing stacks of cash up front is an easy game to play. Now throw in an exciting cover and you’re good to go!
Here are some recommendations from our own authors!
Offering more than just the current news of literacy, The Guardian has fiction, poetry and non-fiction reviews. As well as offering insight on children and YA books, they regularly conduct interviews with authors! The news is endless on this site, and they have something for everybody.
I would say this site appeals to more of a younger crowd. It is vibrant and social media oriented, while giving you more than just the typical in your face news. Focus on your personal interests and browse their true crime reads or short stories. Even if you are not much of a reader you can get most of the news through their many genres of the Lit Hub Radio! How cool!
We cannot talk about news without The New York Times. They offer a book section wedged in between arts and style. While this site is definitely straight to the point, you know you will be getting an older demographic of news. However, It is always great to dabble in more than one site. Get a taste of the political side from the Times, then move on over to the lit hub for a taste of youth.
Find the news outlet for you! It is great to stay in touch with things outside your realm of expertise and expand your mind. Hopefully one of these sites spoke to you and you can get your news on. Tell us some of your favorites too!