Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

August 23 2017


Do you want to write articles that will earn you millions of readership while you also earn from it? What if I told you that I can teach you how to write compelling pieces that can be posted on the best blogs available today and shared by thousands on social media? Someone once said that everyone wants to get to heaven but nobody wants to die. Nothing could be further from the truth. As you follow my lead on these four important tips for writing a great article, it is my prayer that you will religiously follow these steps way after you are done reading this article. So help you, God!

Research your Foundation

Most aspiring, even seasoned writers face ‘writer’s block’. Writer’s block can be defined as a creative meltdown process where a writer can no longer have a lucid, free-flow of ideas to pen down. Nevertheless, you won’t spend the rest of your life having a pity party and fall apart like a two-dollar suitcase.

Great article writing demands that you spend a reasonable amount of time expanding your pot of ideas. You may not be a fun of cricket, but at the same time, you can’t write the compelling piece about the game if you don’t understand its’ rules.

Brainstorm on your topic, do a proper research and get your facts right. Come up with sub- headings that serve to link the readers to the key topic. Visit libraries, speak to people knowledgeable in that field and use online resources to dig out collaborative sources of information to make your article authentic. Essentially all work is done here at the preparation stage; proper research will lead to the great article.

Go for topics that you are passionate about but also worthwhile to your target audience. An enthusiastic approach to your article will engage the audience and prolong its shelf life way after the writer has moved on.

The title tells it all

The title of your article has the potential to either make you or break you. It doesn’t matter if you write your title first before you do the story or vice versa. You must have a catchy title that draws in your reader, in business terms, this is called the USP- Unique Selling Position.

Of what value is it to the reader if he takes his time to read through their article? An effective headline is a teaser that tells us what the article is all about without giving away much but promises a particular value to the reader.

Presenting your idea


The article should begin with a hook, this is crucial to get your readers glued to what you are talking about. There are various methods to introduce your article and this includes but not limited to the use of shocking statistics or facts, posting a thought- provoking the question, debunking conventional myths or sharing some personal information.


Novelty to your article is the definition of your artistic ability to tell the story. Any great article must be written in a creative, coherent and sequential manner that is easy for the reader to read, comprehend, learn and also be entertained. This is where you prioritize events/ actions, choice of words and their timing on when and where they appear will have an overall effect on your article.

A little bit of humor can go a long way in making your article interesting although this should be used sparingly. Too much of humor can water down its intended effect to the reader. The same applies to the use of vocabularies and terminologies. Not unless you are writing a scientific article and you are compelled to write terminologies not known to the average reader, stick to words commonly used in our day to day conversation. Whatever it is you are writing about, etch a mental picture into the mind of the reader as they read along.


The essence of writing an article is to want people to respond in a particular predetermined manner. This is the call to action and it comes to the conclusion to your story. What lessons do you want people to take away from your article?


If you really must use a picture as part of your story, employ emotional intelligence while selecting it. Photos or pictures should minister to the subconscious and amplify those aspects that you could not put in black and white. It should largely contribute to the overall tone of your article drawn from its artistic perspective which could be humor, or a sense of urgency, curiosity or creativity.

Write! Write! Write! Repetition is the mother of learning. Being a great article writer is not an overnight success. You must practice time and again by writing more articles until you perfect the art. Don’t be discouraged by naysayers, keep researching, keep reading, keep asking, and keep writing. I repeat, repetition is the mother of learning.

August 06 2017

Desert tortoises can't take the heat of roadside fencing

Desert tortoises pace back and forth and can overheat by roadside fencing meant to help them, according to a study published in the journal Biological Conservation by the University of California, Davis, and the University … Read more

July 30 2017

Giveaway: Win a Freewrite Smart Typewriter!

Win Goodies for Writers! GiveawayThe modern writer is constantly facing distractions unlike any other time in history. Web companies are spending billions of dollars for our attention. We are all part of the attention economy now. The fight for our attention means the only chance to maintain control is for each of us to take active steps in disconnecting.

The Freewrite was conceived in the fall of 2014 to combat the digital distractions we all experience every day. Like other creatives, writers deserve their own professional tools! At least, we think so.

How the Freewrite (the World’s First Smart Typewriter) Was Born

In the beginning, the Freewrite was a tool that co-creator Patrick Paul and I wanted for our own writing. We needed a way to write that wasn’t on our distraction-laden computer but didn’t require us to handwrite, which is too slow, or use vintage analog gadgets.


The discussion that led to the Freewrite started simply enough. Patrick was telling me about distraction-free writing software that he used while journaling and essay writing. I was intrigued by one peculiarity of the software: it disabled the backspace key. Ridiculous! That seems awfully masochistic. Why would you do that to yourself? I was the first skeptic.

The conversation continued, and I tried to keep an open mind. Patrick explained how he was his worst enemy while writing, and removing the ability to backspace pushed his writing forward. Drafting first and then editing later is a well-established method for writing and is commonly taught in MFA programs. Interesting!

This specific software Patrick used was quite draconian, but it was just one out of many writers use to stay focused while at the computer. Just knowing there were all these different types of software out there and so many writers were using them successfully was enough for me to start thinking creatively.

What if we created a piece of hardware that takes the distraction-free concept even further? Everyone knows you can just wiggle out of distraction-free software and get back to the distractions in a click or two. A dedicated device would alleviate that mental burden while also providing hardware specifically crafted for writing.

How the Freewrite Works

In that very first conversation, we established the vision for the eventual product:simple software, mechanical keyboard, E Ink screen, seamless cloud syncing and, most importantly, no distractions!Yes, there is a backspace key, but we did everything we could to keep the writer moving forward including leaving arrow keys off the keyboard. Forward!

Freewrite Cafe

  • The Freewrite offers a high-contrast, E-Ink screen that’s easy on the eyes.

  • It’s ePaper, which means it doesn’t have the harsh backlight of a traditional LCD and looks a lot like real paper.

  • The ePaper screen also allows writers to write in direct sunlight. Take your writing outdoors!

  • Unlike a mechanical typewriter, the Freewrite has a desktop style keyboard with real key-switches that offer an incredible tactile experience.

  • The best part: everything syncs to Dropbox, Evernote, or Google Drive, so you never have to worry about juggling USB keys again.

Freewrite Outside

After a successful Kickstarter in 2015 and multiple production runs, the Freewrite is now available to all writers worldwide, who are looking for more productivity in their workflow. There is a vibrant owner community with thousands sharing writing tips and how they use their Freewrite. Many of our writers see their daily word counts doubling after using the Freewrite. The power of going distraction-free is undeniable.

Freewrite Community

Win Your Own Freewrite!

Today, we’re excited to offer you a chance to win your very own Freewrite typewriter. Just enter, using the options on the Rafflecopter widget below. Winners will be announced next Friday. Good luck and happy writing!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more info about the Freewrite, check out their website and the unboxing video below:

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What is your greatest challenge in staying away from distractions while writing? Tell us in the comments!

The post Giveaway: Win a Freewrite Smart Typewriter! appeared first on Helping Writers Become Authors.

June 25 2017

June 18 2017

5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters

5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for CharactersI must now put my foot in my mouth. Once upon a time, I rather publicly said a big fat NO to the idea of personality-typing, particularly when it came to using Myers-Briggs for characters.

Some of you may even remember this gem from my book Outlining Your Novel:

In general, I’m not a fan of using personality tests (such as the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to flesh out characters. Trying to force a character to fit a personality framework, rather than allowing him to evolve organically, can leave you with a cardboard cutout, instead of a unique and compelling character.

The irony today is that I have two great passions: writing and … Myers-Briggs.

Some of you are now cheering wildly, since you share these intermingled passions. Others of you are crinkling your noses and going: Huh? And still others might be ready to hang up the phone, insisting Myers-Briggs is a pseudo-science, little better than zodiac descriptions.

So …

What Is Myers-Briggs and How Can It Help You Write Better?

In its simplest iteration, Myers-Briggs is a system of sixteen personality types, based on formative analytical psychologist Carl Jung’s idea of cognitive functions. The system assigns each personality type a label of four letters based on eight possible choices (which I was very excited to get to include in our newOutlining Your Novel Workbook software).

Myers-Briggs Character Personalities Outlining Your Novel Workbook software

Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E)

Sensor (S) or Intuitive (N)

Feeler (F) or Thinker (T)

Judger (J) or Perceiver (P)

From these choices, a type emerges (for example, my type is INTJ). Each of the resultant sixteen types can be given a general label or personality description which isbasicallytrue. Take any MBTI test online (even the one on the official MBTI site), and that’s what you’re likely to get.

That’s all fun and good, but if that’s as far as you’re taking the possibilities of Myers-Briggs for characters, then it reallyis kinda like the zodiac. Hence, my initial rejection of the system’s usefulness for typing my characters

But Myers-Briggs is so much more than just descriptions of sixteen different types of people. The true beauty of Myers-Briggs arises from its analysis of the cognitive functionsSensing, Intuition, Feeling, and Thinking-which can then be expanded yet again into introverted and extroverted versions of each function.

For example-and not to totally blow your minds or anything-but alltypes include both introverted and extroverted functions, as well as judging and perceiving functions. The Introvert/Extrovert and Judging/Perceiving labels merely exist to tell us which functions a specific type extroverts (for example, as Judgers, INTJs like me extrovert our Judging function of Thinking) and which function is dominant (for example, as Introverts, INTJs like me lead with our dominant introverted function of Intuition).

If you’re new to these ideas, then your eyes are probably crossing right now, and that’s okay, because a full-on discussion of cognitive functions is far beyond the scope of this blog. Indeed, it took me several years to really get my head around the underlying psychology.

Suffice it that Myers-Briggs is far more than the simple fill-in-the-blanks personality quiz I initially assumed when I wrote that misguided passage inOutlining Your Novel. If you’re interested in learning more about Myers-Briggs for characters, I recommend:

1. This amazing Tumblr account, which types popular characters and offers insightful discussions on the functions.

2. The bookWas That Really Me? by Naomi Quenk, which specifically addresses our weaker functions (i.e., the ones not visible in your type’s name, which, for me, as an INTJ, would be Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Sensing).

3. Play very carefully with online Myers-Briggs tests. They’re a good place to start to help you figure out the basics, but they’re only accurate perhaps 50% of the time. Most of them do not take into account the introverted/extroverted cognitive functions and often skew results toward Intuitives over Sensors.

5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters

Interestingly, Myers-Briggs was created by author Katherine Cook Briggs, who was searching for a way to better explore and understand her characters. Writing good fiction must always arise out of a quest for meaning and understanding inlife. We cannot write comprehensive and complex people until we first are able to recognize and understand the complexities we find in ourselves and those around us. Indeed, the key to writing great characters is psychology itself.

Here are five ways I now use my understanding of Myers-Briggs for characters that are bigger, better, and more realistic.

1. Keeping Characters in Character

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of any personality-typing system-but especially one as intricate as Myers-Briggs-is that it gives us a basis against which to test our characters’ consistency. An understanding of the personality types, and especially the cognitive functions, will give you a litmus test for your character’s actions.

What would someone like this do in a situation like this? How will his brain work to provide him options and solutions? It’s not just about saying oh, yes, this personality type would be impulsive, while this type would be more calculated. It’s about understanding the actual thought patterns that create these visible actions.

2. Creating a Variety of Personalities

My entry point into using Myers-Briggs for characters was a curiosity about whether my characters might all share the same personality (please, no), or perhaps even whether they might all sharemy personality. So I started doing basic typings on all my characters, just to see what I’d find.

I did find some patterns (I tend to favor SP characters, and I hardlyever write characters of my own type), but what was most fascinating was the realization that Iwas instinctively creating varied casts. Now that I consciously understand what I’m doing, I’m able to use Myers-Briggs to help me write even more diverse personalities, which in turn creates more colorful and complex story possibilities.

3. Creating Inter-Personality Conflict

Once you’ve peopled your story with a cast of varied personality types, you can then take advantage of the inherent conflict that arises between types who share no or few cognitive functions-and who therefore often struggle to understand one another’s motives and choices.

This is a fabulous way to create interpersonal conflict even between characters who are allies. In fact, this is one of the reasons Marvel’sThe Avengers andCivil War ended up working so well.

Tony Stark (ESFP) and Steve Rogers (ISFJ) sharezero cognitive functions and consistently clash with each other’s values and methods as a result. Even better, it sets up their stories with the ability to explore more personal issues of relationships and contrasting character arcs-born not arbitrarily, but of consistently realized personalities.


4. Brainstorming Character Motives and Actions

Ever get yourself and your character stuck in a plot corner, in which you’re uncertain how your character will get himself out? You can use an understanding of the cognitive functions to figure out how your character’s brain works. And, unless he’s the same type as you, his brain probably wouldn’t come up with the same first option as you would.

For example, in writing my ISTP protagonist in my historical-superhero work-in-progressWayfarer, I repeatedly returned to his dominant functions (Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Sensing) to help me determine his actions and mindset, as well as the way in which he interacted with characters around him. This was particularly useful when playing him against the main relationship character, a nine-year-old girl, who was an ENTJ (whose dominant functions are Extroverted Thinking and Introverted Intuition).

Their contrasting views of life (the protagonist’s ability to live and react in the moment; the girl’s skills for thinking about long-term consequences) not only created fun opportunities for some of that interpersonal conflict, it also allowed their skill sets to nicely complement each other’s.

5. Learning More About Your Characters

Our characters provide neverending depths for us to explore. Just as with any complex human being, there is alwaysmore to discover about them. Myers-Briggs can provide a framework for helping us dig ever deeper.

Dreamlander NIEA Finalist

Currently, I’m working on the sequel to my portal fantasyDreamlander. I’ve already written an entire book about these characters, so I know them very well. And yet, I’m still discovering new things. In considering how best to keep the characters consistent with their cognitive functions, I’ve opened up new areas of understanding and possibility.

For example, just yesterday as I worked on a scene in the POV of my female lead Allara (one of my few INTJ characters), my growing understanding of my own Introverted Intuition led me to a deeper and more realized understanding of howher brain must work and how this would have influenced her entire backstory-and thus her future story as well. The new possibilities for making this character better, more realistic, and more thematically potent are incredibly exciting. And I would never have found them without the insights Myers-Briggs has provided me into my own life.


Myers-Briggs offers a theoretical framework through which we can interpret our own lives and the world around us. Seeking a greater understanding of life is worthwhile whether you want to use it in your writing or not. Be warned, it is a deep rabbit hole, every bit as complex as (more than?) story theory itself. But the deeper you delve into both personality-typing and story theory, the more insight they’re able to bring to one another.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! How would you describe your protagonist’s personality? Tell me in the comments!

The post 5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters appeared first on Helping Writers Become Authors.

June 11 2017

Powerful Ocean Advocates

The Nature Conservancy has had a strong history of successes in land protection, conservation, and restoration, since the organization’s inception in 1951. In the past 25 years, we’ve also been a major player in marine conservation, identifying the most effective approaches to strengthen and restore underwater habitats, manage fisheries and protect coastal communities around the world. At the same time, renowned oceanographer, explorer, aquanaut, and author Dr. Sylvia Earle has been trailblazing in ocean research and conservation, advocating for marine life, and working to protect and preserve the systems that support the health of our planet and our survival. As she notes, We need to do everything in our power to protect and restore what we can as if our lives depend on it, because they do.

Sylvia Earle with kids. KipEvans(MissionBlue)

Dr. Earle’s life’s work has intersected on many occasions with the Conservancy’s conservation efforts around the globe and in the waters along the Florida coast. Dr. Earle spent her formative years in Florida. I have deep roots in the state, she says. We moved to Dunedin, near St. Pete on the Gulf Coast of Florida, when I was 12. Our house was right on the water and I was always off exploring the nearby salt marshes and sea-grass beds. During a recent visit to Jupiter, Florida, Dr. Earle joined Conservancy scientists and staff in a discussion of critical ocean issues and drew attention to the need for continued action, to further research and monitoring, and to make informed decisions using the incredible wealth of information that we have available to us. She encourages everyone to support those doing work to protect our oceans, as well as do their part. Issues including overfishing, plastic pollution, and the local changes she’s seen to abundance of wildlife and the health of habitat are of grave concern to her. Of course, she’s also optimistic, and for good reason. Her organization, Mission Blue, as well as The Nature Conservancy make strides each day to protect and restore our waters, and inform the public and decision makers about ocean issues. As Dr. Earle says, knowing leads to caring.

Sylvia Earle SCUBA diving. KipEvans(MissionBlue)

The need for marine conservation is especially important here in Florida, with its 1,200 miles of coastline and some of the world’s most productive reefs, bays and estuaries that, in addition to supporting plant and animal diversity, contribute nearly $562 billion to the state’s economy each year. The Conservancy’s efforts along Florida’s coasts began in 1969 when the Blowing Rocks Preserve in Hobe Sound was donated to the Conservancy by a group of Jupiter Island residents. This prompted the organization’s work in the Indian River Lagoon, the most biodiverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere, followed in 1987 by a focus on protecting biodiversity in the Florida Keys.

Earle’s interest in nature and the oceans began early, and was developed through her education. She majored in botany at Florida State University, where she was certified as a SCUBA diver, and then went on to complete masters and Ph.D. degrees at Duke University. For her dissertation, she continued her studies in the Gulf of Mexico, collecting over 20,000 samples of algae to catalog aquatic plant life. Her first job: resident director of Cape Haze Marine Laboratories in Sarasota. Today, Dr. Earle and her organization, Mission Blue, work closely with the Conservancy, swimming in the same policy waters, sharing common goals.

Sea lion. KipEvans(MissionBlue)

Much has changed over the course of Dr. Earle’s long career. 100 years ago when the U.S. Government began the National Park Service, nature was prized mostly for its recreational opportunities, because it was pretty, she says. But in 1951, when the Conservancy first opened its doors, there was already a growing sense of urgency. People were realizing that we had to do something or else lose, not just species, but entire ecosystems. Protecting nature is no longer viewed as an option but as a necessity. We have no other choice. We must maintain the integrity of the natural systems that hold our planet steady.

Dr. Earle’s work has taken her around the world and a dizzying career (see bio) that is so crammed with accomplishments that any attempt to contain it in an article dissolves quickly into lists of job titles, awards, prizes, recognitions, book titles and honorary degrees (you see, it’s happening already). She holds the world record for the deepest untethered dive, has her own line of deep-sea submersibles, and has been lauded as a Hero for the Planet by Time magazine and Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. Suffice to say, Dr. Earle is one of today’s most recognized proponents of ocean conservation.

Sylvia Earle explores a sea cave. KipEvans(MissionBlue)

Among all these accomplishments, perhaps Dr. Earle’s greatest one has been spreading the message about the urgent need for conservation, a message that is part warning and part promise. In my short lifetime, I have seen the degradation of nature on an unprecedented scale, she says. In the 50 years since I took my first dive right here in the Keys, the world has lost half of its coral reefs. The good news is that I’m no longer hearing people say ‘woe is me, look at what we’ve lost.’ People are waking up and seeing a tremendous opportunity, not just to save what’s left, but to reverse the decline and help nature heal.

The Conservancy sees opportunity as well. With 30 years of marine and coastal conservation work in Florida and the many accomplishments of the Conservancy’s global oceans program, the Conservancy continues to balance the urgent need for ocean conservation with the needs of people, to reduce risks along our shorelines through natural systems and habitat restoration, and to decrease threats and increase positive actions. In Florida, its significant successes can be seen everywhere from mitigating the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to restoring sections of the Gulf coastline, oyster habitats and coral reefs. If it wasn’t for the Conservancy’s work here in Florida, says Dr. Earle, its coastal waters would be facing an even greater threat.

Recognizingtheleadershipofwomeninconservation,KathyB.McLeod,DirectorofClimateRisk&ResilienceforTheNatureConservancy,Dr.SylviaA.Earle,Oceanographer;NationalGeographicExplorer-In-Residence;Founder,MissionBlueandTemperinceMorgan,ExecutiveDirectorofTheNatureConservancyinFloridaconveneinJupiterIsland,FL. LouLozada

Dr. Earle is a force for ocean conservation, an iconic, inspirational marine scientist. Her research, exploration, and passion have had impact on ocean protection efforts globally. We’re grateful for Dr. Earle’s efforts to conserve our vast oceans and the vital systems that sustain our planet, said Anne Birch, Marine Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy in Florida. Interpreting science for the non-scientist is an art that Dr. Earle has mastered and championed throughout her life. She is an inspirational leader and teacher, encouraging us to always nurture our curiosity and never stop learning about the world around us, whether it’s in our backyard, our community, and beyond.

Dr. Earle salutes The Nature Conservancy’s oceans work as well. The Conservancy is a true guardian of the seas, confirms Dr. Earle. Together, two powerful ocean advocates.

Sylvia Earle’s Biography

Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) / Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), Chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute and former Chief Scientist of NOAA.

Author of more than 200 publications and leader of more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater, Dr. Earle is a graduate of Florida State University with M.A. and PhD. degrees from Duke University and 27 honorary doctorates. Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea.

She is the subject of the Emmy Award Winning Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, and the recipient of more than 100 national and international honors and awards including being named Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet, a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, 2014 UNEP Champion of the Earth, Glamour Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, member of the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, and winner of the 2009 TED Prize, the Walter Cronkite Award, the 1996 Explorers Club Medal, the Royal GeographicSociety 2011 Patron’s Medal, and the National Geographic 2013 Hubbard Medal.

June 04 2017

May 14 2017

April 30 2017

April 23 2017

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!