Find an Alter Ego

I wrote about this idea before. I still think it’s a clever way to trick yourself into getting things done. I didn’t go as far as creating a character for my alter ego. But, it does help to distract yourself from believing you can’t do it.

If you break it down, what does the task really require, at it’s most basic. You can do it if you think of it as just talking (for instance) and don’t get caught up in expecting things to be harder than they are.

“Fake it until you make it”.

From CopyBlogger:

This month’s creativity prompt is to invent an alter ego who’s great at the thing you’re not good at.

You’re going to imagine this person as a character in a novel or a film. Know what they look like, how they talk, what they wear, where they live.

Then, when you’re doing the challenging activity, you’re going to write as that character.

You don’t have to be a fiction writer to pull this off. It’s much easier to do in writing than it is to try face to face or on the phone, although those are also options if you feel ready for Expert Mode.

Are you too timid when you discuss your services with a client? Write a pitch using the voice of an ultra confident alter ego.

Are you too blunt when you email colleagues? Write an email using the voice of a nurturing, benevolent earth mama.

You don’t have to share what you write — but you may well find that you want to. When it’s time to be tough, or patient, or steely, or suave, it’s handy to have a well-developed alter ego who can handle those states effortlessly.

Find Fresh Ideas in Social Media

Copyblogger wrote this about keywords mainly. You may find some new ideas to add to your keywords list but, better yet, watch for topics you haven’t written about yet, or new topics coming up.

Search social media for your keywords. Find others who talk and/ or write about your topic and keep track of them.

Give credit to the source for the information and ideas you find. Let them know what you liked about their post and tell them how you were inspired to do more with it yourself. This is a great way to make contact and use social media to meet people you may not have approached usually. Don’t stick to just people who are authorities in your same topic. Branch out, find connections and bring old information into new uses.

From CopyBlogger:

Write down, word for word, what people are saying about your topic. You might find a phrase, a sentence, or a full paragraph … you never know what’s going to show up on a given day.

You’re looking for:

  • Frustrations
  • Rants
  • Questions
  • Irritations
  • Failures
  • Embarrassments
  • Triumphs

Create an Intersection of Ideas

I especially like the CopyBlogger Content Excellence Challenge, August Prompt:

This month, bring some of your “off topic” passions into your content.

Now, you still need to make it relevant to your audience. This isn’t a permission slip to create content they don’t care about.

Your job is to look for unexpected connections. How can you bring your passion for Marvel comics into your fitness business? Where are the points of intersection between your love of Mark Twain and your personal finance blog?

Nearly 10 years ago, Brian called this the “content crossroads” — the point at which seemingly unrelated ideas connect. And there are always interesting things to be found at the crossroads.

The following is quoted from the post linked above, by Brian Clark. I reposted the points because they are all great points and I know they have worked well for me most of my life. I especially believe in listening to people I don’t agree with. Not an easy thing to do. Some people you don’t agree with just because of who they are. or who you think they are. Listen anyway. You don’t have to spend the day listening, just enough to know you heard them. Listening does not require you to change your mind, just hear what someone else thinks, believes and has experienced.

1. Learn for life.

To me, this is the most important and essential trait for any creative person. You’ve got to go well beyond learning everything in your niche and try to simply learn everything. Naturally curious people seem to come up with ideas easier than most, so kick your curiosity up a notch and investigate any topic that interests you. Then, learn about things that don’t interest you—you might be surprised by what you end up enjoying. You’ll also see more connections between things you thought were unrelated.

2. Change perspective.

Leonardo da Vinci believed that to truly understand something, you need to look at it from at least three perspectives. Leo did alright for himself, so maybe his advice is solid. The ability to look at something that everyone else is looking at and see it differently is the hallmark of creative thinking, and practice makes perfect. Train yourself to dispense with the commodity of opinion and examine things from multiple perspectives. You’ll be amazed at what you find when you play Devil’s Advocate.

3. Free your mind.

Many people think that creativity is something to schedule, like a staff meeting or a luncheon. While setting aside time for “brainstorming” and “thinking outside the box” can be helpful, you’re still perpetuating an illusion. The truth is, there is no box, and you have the ability to be creative at any moment. Allow yourself to recognize your own delusions and social constructs, and start questioning your assumptions at every opportunity. Better yet, reverse your assumptions and see where you end up.

4. Travel.

One of the great benefits of online business is freedom from the tyranny of geography. And the more we see of the world and different cultures, the more our minds open up and see limitless connections and possibilities. One of the worst things we do to ourselves in terms of creativity is to stay within the realm of the familiar. So make it a point to get out, do new things, and travel to new places. You’ll have to check with your accountant to see if a trip to Prague counts as a business expense, but there’s no doubt it can seriously help your business.

5. Listen.

Are you a talker or a listener? This is something I’ve really tried to work on, because I learn so much when I shut up and listen. Every person you meet has a perspective that differs from yours, and you can learn amazing things from simply listening. Just like the Medici family brought all sorts of different people together and sparked something phenomenal, you too can create a content renaissance by interacting with as many different people as possible. Don’t hang out with people who reflect your existing beliefs, hang out with people who challenge you.

Inspiration from Horror and Science Fiction Genres

This list comes from Writers Digest.

I’m still looking for more science fiction subgenres so this list isn’t enough for me. But, it is a good place to start. Also great as inspiration when you get stuck for ideas or have ideas and can’t pin them down.

Horror

  • Child in Peril: involving the abduction and/or persecution of a child.
  • Comic Horror: horror stories that either spoof horror conventions or that mix the gore with dark humor.
  • Creepy Kids: horror tale in which children – often under the influence of dark forces – begin to turn against the adults.
  • Dark Fantasy: a horror story with supernatural and fantasy elements.
  • Dark Mystery/Noir: inspired by hardboiled detective tales, set in an urban underworld of crime and moral ambiguity.
  • Erotic Vampire: a horror tale making the newly trendy link between sexuality and vampires, but with more emphasis on graphic description and violence.
  • Fabulist: derived from “fable,” an ancient tradition in which objects, animals or forces of nature are anthropomorphized in order to deliver a moral lesson.
  • Gothic: a traditional form depicting the encroachment of the Middle Ages upon the 18th century Enlightenment, filled with images of decay and ruin, and episodes of imprisonment and persecution.
  • Hauntings: a classic form centering on possession by ghosts, demons or poltergeists, particularly of some sort of structure.
  • Historical: horror tales set in a specific and recognizable period of history.
  • Magical Realism: a genre inspired by Latin-American authors, in which extraordinary forces or creatures pop into otherwise normal, real-life settings.
  • Psychological: a story based on the disturbed human psyche, often exploring insane, altered realities and featuring a human monster with horrific, but not supernatural, aspects.
  • Quiet Horror: subtly written horror that uses atmosphere and mood, rather than graphic description, to create fear and suspense.
  • Religious: horror that makes use of religious icons and mythology, especially the angels and demons derived from Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost.
  • Science-Fiction Horror: SF with a darker, more violent twist, often revolving around alien invasions, mad scientists, or experiments gone wrong.
  • Splatter: a fairly new, extreme style of horror that cuts right to the gore.
  • Supernatural Menace: a horror tale in which the rules of normal existence don’t apply, often featuring ghosts, demons, vampires and werewolves.
  • Technology: stories featuring technology that has run amok, venturing increasingly into the expanding domain of computers, cyberspace, and genetic engineering.
  • Weird Tales: inspired by the magazine of the same name, a more traditional form featuring strange and uncanny events (Twilight Zone).
  • Young Adult: horror aimed at a teen market, often with heroes the same age, or slightly older than, the reader.
  • Zombie: tales featuring dead people who return to commit mayhem on the living.

 

Science Fiction/Fantasy

 

  • Alternate History: speculative fiction that changes the accepted account of actual historical events, often featuring a profound “what if?” premise.
  • Arthurian Fantasy: reworkings of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
  • Bangsian Fantasy: stories speculating on the afterlives of famous people.
  • Biopunk: a blend of film noir, Japanese anime and post-modern elements used to describe an underground, nihilistic biotech society.
  • Children’s Fantasy: a kinder, gentler style of fantasy aimed at very young readers.
  • Comic: fantasy or science fiction that spoofs the conventions of the genre, or the conventions of society.
  • Cyberpunk: stories featuring tough outsiders in a high-tech near-future where computers have produced major changes in society.
  • Dark Fantasy: tales that focus on the nightmarish underbelly of magic, venturing into the violence of horror novels.
  • Dystopian: stories that portray a bleak future world.
  • Erotic: SF or fantasy tales that focus on sexuality.
  • Game-Related Fantasy: tales with plots and characters similar to high fantasy, but based on a specific role-playing game like Dungeons and Dragons.
  • Hard Science Fiction: tales in which real present-day science is logically extrapolated to the future.
  • Heroic Fantasy: stories of war and its heroes, the fantasy equivalent of military science fiction.
  • High/Epic Fantasy: tales with an emphasis on the fate of an entire race or nation, often featuring a young “nobody” hero battling an ultimate evil.
  • Historical: speculative fiction taking place in a recognizable historical period.
  • Mundane SF: a movement that spurns fanciful conceits like warp drives, wormholes and faster-than-light travel for stories based on scientific knowledge as it actually exists.
  • Military SF: war stories that extrapolate existing military technology and tactics into the future.
  • Mystery SF: a cross-genre blend that can be either an SF tale with a central mystery or a classic whodunit with SF elements.
  • Mythic Fiction: stories inspired, or modeled on, classic myths, legends and fairy tales.
  • New Age: a category of speculative fiction that deals with occult subjects such as astrology, psychic phenomena, spiritual healing, UFOs and mysticism.
  • Post-Apocalyptic: stories of life on Earth after an apocalypse, focusing on the struggle to survive.
  • Romance: speculative fiction in which romance plays a key part.
  • Religious: centering on theological ideas, and heroes who are ruled by their religious beliefs.
  • Science Fantasy: a blend in which fantasy is supported by scientific or pseudo-scientific explanations.
  • Social SF: tales that focus on how characters react to their environments – including social satire.
  • Soft SF: tales based on the more subjective, “softer” sciences: psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.
  • Space Opera: a traditional good guys/bad guys faceoff with lots of action and larger-than-life characters.
  • Spy-Fi: tales of espionage with SF elements, especially the use of high-tech gadgetry.
  • Steampunk: a specific type of alternate history in which characters in Victorian England have access to 20th century technology.
  • Superheroes: stories featuring characters endowed with superhuman strengths or abilities.
  • Sword and Sorcery: a classic genre often set in the medieval period, and more concerned with immediate physical threats than high or heroic fantasy.
  • Thriller SF: an SF story that takes on the classic world-at-risk, cliffhanger elements of a thriller.
  • Time-Travel: stories based on the concept of moving forward or backward in time, often delving into the existence of parallel worlds.
  • Urban Fantasy: a fantasy tale in which magical powers and characters appear in an otherwise normal modern context, similar to Latin American magical realism.
  • Vampire: variations on the classic vampire legend, recently taking on many sexual and romantic variations.
  • Wuxia: fantasy tales set within the martial arts traditions and philosophies of China.
  • Young Adult: speculative fiction aimed at a teenage audience, often featuring a hero the same age or slightly older than the reader.

Quotes from a Widow’s Blog

I found these today while checking links for dmoz. The Anne Lamott quote is the most emotional for me. These were collected by a young woman, recently widowed at the time. But the site hasn’t been updated since 2012. One of the great things about sites on Blogger, they don’t disappear unless they are actually deleted by the owner (or made private).

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. you wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.
-Anne Lamott

“Now we should live while the pulse of life is strong, life is a tenuous thing… fragile, fleeting; don’t wait for tomorrow – Be here now. Be here now. Be here now!”
-John & Stasi Eldredge, “Captivating”

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. ~Camus

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
– Theodore Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~From a headstone in Ireland

“Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.”
~ Dorothy Thompson

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran

“Be reverent before the dawning day. Do not think of what will be in a year, or ten years. Think of today”. ~Roman Rolland

Source: She Loves You

Don’t Give Up Just Give More

If you feel that you will not be able to achieve your goal in the set time period, you can extend the time period. Extending the time period is far better than giving up your goal. When you extend the time period, make sure you give up doing other activities that are less meaningful so that more priority can be given to your goal.

Source: 5 Must Know Things on What to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up Inspiration Success Storys

I liked this tip best from the list. (See above).

I’m a perfectionist. You wouldn’t know it from everything I do but… I am hard on myself. I tend to feel I have failed too easily. Instead of giving myself more time, or getting help, or giving myself a break or looking at what I have done versus what I have not done, I will feel like giving up.

One of the worst things for me to hear is someone saying they want results, not excuses. That’s fine for people who perform like robots and have super powers (or no family with demands and expectations and needs)… I’m not a robot. I don’t want to feel that my life has so little value that it’s just an excuse for why I couldn’t deliver perfection on schedule.

Of course, this does not mean we should all slack off and get around to it eventually. I have high expectations of myself too. But, if someone demands too much they aren’t likely to get it from me. That includes myself!

Free Keyword Help from Ubersuggest

Get keyword ideas with Übersuggest the free keyword suggestion tool that makes good use of different suggest services.

How it works?

Write a term in the box.

Choose a language and a source. Übersuggest can get suggestions either from regular Web search or from search verticals like Shopping, News or Video (more to come).

Übersuggest takes your base term, add a letter or a digit in front of it, and extracts suggestions for it.

Click on each word to get further suggestions based on that term.

Add each keyword to your basket clicking on the plus sign on its left.

Add all visible keywords to your basket clicking on the large grey button.

With this free keyword tool you can instantly get thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries! Use the keywords to get inspiration for your next blog post, or to optimize your PPC campaigns.

via Keyword suggestion tool — Google suggest scraper — Übersuggest.

I tried it for a few topics. It brings up a lot of suggestions and sorts them alphabetically. Many suggestions are similar, of course, that’s not a bad thing when it comes to deciding on keywords to use in tags, titles and so on. It also gave me some new ideas to write about in future posts.

O is for Office Worker

Posting for the A to Z Challenge.

officeworker

 

I started the A – Z Challenge thinking this would be my inspiration or motivation to make more new ASCII art. But, it hasn’t worked out that way at all. I’m hoping to make a big push on reading other sites involved in the challenge this weekend. I don’t celebrate Easter so I’ve got all this time to do as I please. Of course, I have a massive to-do list hanging around, looking over my shoulder.

Get Inspired by Tess Kincaid

This blog is dedicated to the enjoyment of poets and writers, for the purpose of honing their craft, sharing it with like-minded bloggers, and keeping their muses alive and well.

Instructions

1) Write a poem or short vignette using the picture featured in this post as your inspiration. Feel free to take the image to use for your post.

2) Link back to Magpie Tales from your post.

3) Sign up in the Mr. Linky list, linking directly to your post, AFTER you’ve posted.

via The Mag.