Archive for November, 2012

4 Ways You May Be Damaging Your Writing

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

This guest post is by the Author, Micah Abraham

Writing may be a skill you learn at a young age, but in many ways writing is also an art form. Like painting or sculpting, anyone can pretend to be a writer, but very few learn how to develop the talent that will actually get their work noticed. Millions of people may refer to themselves as writers, but only a small percentage actually has the talent to create quality works.

Yet most people can learn to become writers, because writing is about learning to share your creativity and your passion on paper. The problem is not that writing is necessarily difficult. The problem is that too many people are either caught up in how they believe writing is supposed to sound, or they’re not practicing in a way that is beneficial for their success.

Below are five ways that you may be damaging your own writing. By stopping these writing mistakes, you can develop not only higher quality writing, but also a skill that you can utilize in your personal and business life.

Common Writing Mistakes

·         Trying to Sound Smart

Easily the greatest mistake that people make when they try to become a writer is the desire to sound intelligent. Writing does take intelligence, but it also needs to flow naturally. If you try to “sound smart” with your writing, it will instantly become dry, uncreative, and often grammatically incorrect. Read any generic college personal statements and you’ll see the way each of them makes the same mistake – trying to sound like they deserve college, instead of trying to sound like themselves.

·         Facebook Statuses

No, Facebook itself doesn’t kill writing, but the way you write on your Facebook statuses, your text messages, your emails, and your Tweets all affect your ability to write well. If you are constantly writing grammatically incorrect, poorly constructed, poorly capitalized sentences in these media, you’re going to find that your writing outside of these media suffers. Writing requires practice, but poor quality social media writing is anti-practice.

·         Word Counting

Word counting is also a huge mistake that people make with their writing. Far too many people care about how long their content is, instead of whether or not it actually tells the story they need it to tell. Whether you’re writing for a client or you’re writing for yourself, you can’t care about word count, and instead need to care about providing information or a story that other people want to read.

·         Believing People Care

Finally, another common issue that affects many young writers is this egotistical belief that their writing is important; that others care about what they write and value every word. Those that hold this belief write without the requisite humility that allows them to become better writers. You can’t assume the words you write matter to anyone. Instead, you need to make sure they matter to yourself, and then re-read it under the belief that it won’t matter to anyone else.

Creating Quality Writing

In the end, though, it may not matter. While those writing content for others need to avoid these mistakes in order to improve their careers, many people simply write for themselves, and those that do don’t necessarily have to worry about the quality of their content. Nevertheless, those that are planning on crafting content that is going to be read by others need to make sure that they avoid the above common mistakes, otherwise your content will never get off the ground.

About the Author: Micah Abraham is a writer, that owns a content writing company based in Brooklyn called Great Leap Studios. He can be contacted at

How to Design Your Life

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

This article is a guest post by the author Skozak  (Serge)


We make significant choices in our life regarding where we live, who we live with and how we use our time. There are outside factors that influence our decisions and these are often to do with our families, earnings and so on. Many people say that life is by design but our choices are often deliberate. Our decisions reflect our interests and beliefs and they shape the way in which we are perceived by others. As designers we employ some of these tactics for our clients but we can also apply design type thinking to our own lives.

Be the Client

You can choose to blend your career with your life. Charles and Ray Eames were designers, as a couple their lives were centred in their craft. It bound them together and was a part of their family life. When these two aspects blend together in harmony this fusion creates a life by design and design in life, the two aspects influence one another.

It is possible to encounter an overbalance in the designed life, one can become too concerned with gadgets or become too preoccupied with the finer details. But by applying some design principles to lifestyle a person can enhance their wellbeing and improve their creative discipline. A well balanced composition makes for a strong piece of work just as a well balanced designer is a strong force for good. There are a number of ways in which we can apply design thinking to our daily lives.

Establish the brief

In the beginning our parents make most of our decisions, they decide what we do, what we eat and what we touch. In our career as a designer, the creative director or boss takes the parental role dictating the goals and limitations of a project. As we progress we eventually find ourselves creating our own project brief and it becomes ever more important with the increased responsibility and ownership over our work.

Designers who have a great deal of investment in projects tend to work harder and more effectively on projects they also obtain more satisfaction from the process of creating this type of work. The Ownership of work is directly related to whether the designer is considered to be independent or dependant.

A written brief outlines what the goals and intentions are for projects. We can also apply this technique to our daily lives, we can consider our objectives in terms of what problems we wish to solve and what the limitations are. By applying this formula to life we can clearly define ways in which we can overcome hurdles and achieve favourable outcomes. We are gifted with foresight and an ability to plan. In design it is important to ask the right questions this strategy is also important in life what do we want out of life? Writing and planning in this style can make our goals more apparent and attainable.

Choose Collaborators carefully

Working with others opens us up to other ways of thinking and new possibilities, it also opens up networking channels which are beneficial to career development and continuity. The fruits of these endeavours can be seen in every aspect of life from the creation of Iphone apps by a team of experts to the birthing of children to new parents.

It is vital to recognise when collaborations are not suitable, a clash of interests can be destructive to our creativity. Working with someone who has conflicting opinions or with a client that you don’t believe in are examples of mismatched partnerships. How you spend your time and who you spend it with are a large part of life and ultimately these relationships will influence your behaviour outside of working hours.

Be grateful for your critics

Critics can be worth paying attention to sometimes, they can encourage introspection where it might not otherwise have occurred and during these quiet moments of reflection we might realise opportunities for growth and change in much the same way as we might do if a friend were to offer some input or advice regarding an issue in our personal affairs . Without these insights we might find it difficult to make improvements and changes by ourselves.

The benefits of sleep

Keen designers often look for ways in which they can do it all and sometimes the advice offered is “Don’t sleep”. But a good night’s rest should not be thought of as a personal indulgence as it is vital for good health. If we don’t take care of ourselves then how will we be able to juggle projects and be productive? Sacrifices will probably have to be made but good organisational skills and reliability will demonstrate greater competency than appearing tired and bleary-eyed in front of important clients and our peers.

Quality assured

There is a time for reflection when we complete assignments and lengthy contracts where we can consider what we have learned and what we might do differently next time but in life the opportunity for this kind of analysis rarely arises except in our own private journals or brief thoughts. The quality of designed goods is often judged by the physical end results but the value of what we do outside work is often more intangible. A solution is to identify what factors are important to you are they related to your emotions or to monetary wealth or spirituality?

As professionals we are expected to know the details of our client’s specialities and the goods and services that they offer. We are also a valuable commodity and we are obliged to properly know ourselves. Having a clear idea in our minds regarding our core values allows us to correctly measure our successes and to be aware of our capabilities and constraints.

So…you think you’re done.

My grandparents lives were masterpieces, their lives were rich and full they were certainly designed even though their careers were not in the creative field. They pursued community and self awareness and they kept going despite the hardships they faced. If we focus on our goals with the drive to succeed then we will create our own worlds.

The benefits of designing your life

Designers like to investigate how things work, we like to experiment and explore the possibilities that the world has to offer in a creative and visual way. We should step back to our beginnings as designers and think about what made this subject so appealing to us. The appeal of this subject often has its roots in the joy of figuring out the concepts of ideas and objects and applying our ideas to them to improve them which in turn improves the quality of our daily lives. By applying these principals to your own life you can reflect this value.

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About the author: Serge is a creative entrepreneur in the film and media space. Serge is a founder of Edictive, a film management cloud toolset.