Saturday, 24 November 2018

Yes, You Do Have Time for Creative Writing

Some writers insist that their busy schedules get in the way of their creativity. Rather than focusing their efforts on quality content, they’re instead left with little to no time to write anything at all. Hence, the copy they come up with isn’t exactly their best work.

The thing is though, if creative writing is part and parcel of your profession, you need to make time for it. Irrespective of how busy your schedule may be, there are countless avenues to explore for freeing up a little time here and there.

Three of which you’ll find outlined below:

1. Cut Down on Social Media Time

If you’re anything like the vast majority of people these days, you’re probably spending far too much time on social media. Even if it’s only a few minutes here and there, it can quickly add up to several hours per week. Hours wasted doing nothing productive whatsoever.

It’s not a case of quitting social media entirely, but instead focusing on a strategic cut-down. Particularly during your working hours, when these kinds of distractions should be avoided entirely. As important as it is for you to stay connected, you can always check those non-business messages a little later. Facebook isn’t going anywhere, so there’s no rush!

2. Always Carry a Notebook

Why rely exclusively on technology to enable your craft? It can be far better and more enjoyable to go back to basics, carrying a notebook and making use of any spare time that comes your way. If it takes you 30 minutes by bus to get to work, that’s five hours a week you could dedicate to creative writing. All without the usual distractions creeping into the equation.

It’s also worth remembering how therapeutic traditional writing can be. Rather than straining your eyes staring at a screen, give the paper option a shot and see how it works for you. You never know when and where inspiration might strike – Harry Potter started out with nothing more than a pen and a napkin!

3. Schedule Creative Writing Time

Last up, if creative writing is part of your job, surely it’s worth bringing it into your schedule. If it’s a genuine priority, don’t simply cast it to one side until time permits. Bring creative writing into your schedule, ideally getting into some kind of effective routine.

If your current schedule is already full, think about which duties are more or less important than creative writing. Even if you simply slot 20 minutes of creative writing time into your lunch break, that’s more than one and a half hours per week. Or, more than 75 hours per year. A small price to pay to get those creative juices flowing and ensure your talent doesn’t go to waste.

In a nutshell therefore, it’s always possible to find at least some time to dedicate to creative writing. It’s simply a case of weighing up your priorities and focusing on what really matters.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Five Steps for More Engaging Infographics

The fact that infographics are so uniquely powerful and influential really is a godsend. From a business perspective, being able to pack so much concise and relevant information into such a small marketing material is no less than fantastic. Not to mention the fact that close to half of all people are known to respond better to visual information than plain text alone.

So you understand and acknowledge the power and potential of outstanding infographics. But how to go about creating them?

Well, the good news is that regardless of what line of business you happen to be in, there are certain standards and conventions to stick with. In fact, work in accordance with the following five guidelines and your next infographic could be your most successful to date:

1. Identify your message and stick with it

As is the case with any good story, you need to first consider what your overall message is. Just like when penning a blog post, consider the purpose of the infographic and the relevant theme. Once you’ve made these decisions, you need to make sure you stick with them from start to finish. The closer you remain tied to the primary message and theme, the more convincing and engaging the infographic will be.

2. Work hard on your headline

If you want anybody to bother reading the content of your infographic, you first need to create a compelling headline. Once again, this is no different to the usual standard with any other kind of content creation. The key lies in providing the reader with a good idea what the infographic is all about, though without giving too much away. The idea being that they are compelled to continue reading the rest of its content from top to bottom. If you can create a sense of intrigue, you’re golden.

3. Keep it simple

The more complicated an infographic appears at first glance, the less likely anyone is to bother reading it. It’s a bit like when you come across an unbroken passage of text, as opposed to a passage punctuated by imagery and other breaks. Whether it’s too many visuals, too much text or simply too much of everything crammed into a small space, clutter and crowding can be extremely off-putting. Focus on the basics and keep things simple.

4. Light-hearted visuals

Although there are exceptions to the rule, most infographics benefit from visuals that are relatively light hearted. As you’ve probably noted by now, infographics tend to contain visuals that are somewhat cartoonish, entertaining and highly simplified. They very rarely contain complex, formal or distracting visuals of any kind.

5. Push and promote

Last but not least, perhaps the single most important rule when it comes to creating effective infographics is to push and promote them as vigorously as possible. It’s best to look at infographics in the same way you would view a press release. It represents a marketing material in its own right, but nonetheless needs to be marketed to have any real value. Always keep shareability in mind when deciding on the content for your infographics and do your best to get the process of sharing underway.