Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ

Introducing nicoinstitches

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 05:44 AM PDT

Say hello to Nico, nicoinstitches on Squidoo. She’s only been with us for a couple of weeks, but she’s been staying quite busy. After you’ve read our interview, don’t forget to check out her fast-growing portfolio of lenses.

How did you find Squidoo? I was blogging for another site but did not enjoy it or think it represented my articles well. On my many hours browsing the internet, I found many articles on Squidoo I enjoyed reading. So I switched!

Your lens topics are already far-ranging, from Halloween to nursery rhymes. You mention lots of great interests in your bio, too. Anything special coming up on your lensmaking list? Apart from Squidoo-ing (not to be confuse with the sport), I have an Etsy craft pages (Nicoinstitches) and prize creativity. So my time is split between article writing an crafting. Oddly enough my ideas usually come to me before falling asleep at night. I now sleep with a pen and a pad of paper next to me as my husband gets annoyed if I get up to write articles in the middle of the night!  As a military wife, I have just moved from Edmonton, Alberta to Ottawa, Ontario (back to my hometown).  It is very nice to be near family again, especially during holidays. My husband and I have just purchased our first house so look for articles on my experience renovating and painting for the first time. Also looking forward to Christmas! It’s my favourite time of year, so the Christmas articles are coming as well.

What can Squidoo do for you? Squidoo is already fabulous! The community is amazing and writing for the site is fun. Perhaps more choice in article layout? I know they have been working on that lately and the small changes they have already made have been great (ex. the product review module). Also, as most writers would say, keep up the good work in advertising. Every little bit helps.

Lens of the Day: Care Of A Paralyzed Dog

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 05:23 AM PDT

Flexing your Creativity: 5 Tips for Lensmasters

Posted: 03 Sep 2013 12:45 PM PDT

4639590640_49ed866158_bAs anyone who’s ever undertaken a creative project knows, once the initial rush of creative passion wears off, it can be hard to work on your projects with the same enthusiasm you had in the beginning.

It’s important to understand how can we nurture our creativity and find that sweet spot where we achieve our goals and create great, engaging content.

Here are 5 easy steps you can take to keep your spirits high when you’re feeling writers block, you’re getting bored or you just don’t feel as creative as you once did.



1. Accept challenges and embrace change

When you took that first step towards becoming a content creator, you willingly accepted a change in your life. When change and challenge was something exciting and desirable, creativity was the natural response. When we accept challenges and embrace a change, we’re naturally driven to find ways to succeed and excel. You can sustain this attitude by keeping in touch with the simple, open minded energy that got you started. Anytime you feel stuck, bring your attention to the feeling of starting something new and you’ll be back on track in no time.

2. Be agile

“Agility” in this sense is the ability to move quickly from one process or task to another. Your lenses are designed for agility, if you’re willing to keep them agile. Because a lens can be updated, improved or even significantly changed, you’re never stuck with what you’ve created. Edit whenever you learn something new or feel like you have more to say, teach or share. You can change out products in Amazon modules, edit your text for clarity, respond to comments or add more photos. Don’t feel like there’s only one thing you can do at a time. Be agile and work on whatever you’re inspired to do right now and creativity will follow.

3. Spend time in both worlds

Too much screen time is mentally taxing and can harm your productivity, creativity and even discourage you. Take breaks to rest your eyes, get up and stretch, clean up your work area or doodle. Being creative is a state of mind that applies online as well as offline. Don’t limit your creativity by attempting to focus or restrain it to just one kind of work. Every creative process is related – improve one and you improve them all.

4. Try the Pomodoro technique

The “Pomodoro technique” is something I’ve used to great success when I’m working on creative projects. It’s quite simple to use: Set a timer for 25 minutes and work without interruption. When the timer goes off, set another for 5 minutes. Spend that 5 minutes doing something unrelated to work. I like to get up and do a physical task, walk around outside or tidy up my surroundings. You can repeat this cycle until you’re finished. For Chrome users, I like the Strict Workflow extension but any simple timer will work.

5. Avoid rigid goals

Goal setting is important but setting rigid, inflexible goals can be more discouraging than helpful. When your goals are inflexible, you risk overworking yourself and burning out your creative fire before you reach the finish line.

If you set flexible goals, you can achieve successes easier. If you like to-do lists, review them from time to time to see if your goals are reasonable. If something comes up, don’t stress out because you have to re-orient your creativity or bump something down in priority. Being flexible and using your creative muscles whenever you can will help you become a better lensmaster. Rigid goals can take the fun out of creating while flexible ones give you something to look forward to without adding unnecessary stress.

I hope you’re able to use one or all of my tips to become more effortlessly creative and build better lenses that you enjoy working on. Creating content is exciting, fun and dynamic when you’re prepared to manage the process effectively and it’s not hard to equip yourself for creative success.

What are your strategies for nurturing your creativity? How do you avoid burnout? Please share your ideas and tips with us in the comments below!

Photo Credit: opensourceway via Compfight cc

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