Articles tagged "ideas"

30 Ways to Combat Writer’s Block

At some point in your writing career, you’re probably going to face it — the dreaded writer’s block. For the lucky, it lasts only a few hours or days. For the unlucky, it can take weeks or even months to get over. Most writers have their own coping mechanisms, but what may work for one person is no guarantee for another. So what can you do when you’re faced with a blank white page and an unrelenting cursor?

A while back we asked you on Facebook to tell us your secret combat weapons for fighting off writer’s block, and you had some great ones, which are here. We also have a blog post from the past with helpful tips found here. But when desperate to get over the hump more advice is better, right? So to help you find at least one method that works, here’s a list of things to try in no particular order:

Take a walk

Write through it anyway

Workout

Cook a big, good meal

Listen to music

Try another creative medium: Strum a tune or paint a picture

Pick a random topic and do a 15-minute free write

Deprive yourself of sleep for as long as you can and then write until you can no longer stay awake

Write a positive note to yourself on special paper

Start (or keep) a daily log of your day in a journal

Go to a busy street/restaurant/bar and people watch for a bit and write down everything interesting you observe

Try writing an off-the-cuff poem

Write a friend a long letter by hand

Look at photos online of places that inspire you or, better yet, take a walk down your own memory lane and look at your own albums

Write a chapter of your story from another character’s perspective

Have a glass of wine or three (or chocolate)

Research your book’s subject matter

Visit a museum or art gallery

Pick a random object in your house and write 200 words about it

Find a different place to work. If you’re at home, try a coffee shop — or vice versa

Take a bubble bath

Call a writer-friend and commiserate first, then assign one another a writing project to be completed within a few hours

Try outlining your novel/essay/article, if you haven’t already done so

Write out a to-do list of every chore you need to accomplish

Spend some time pondering life in the yogic legs-up-the-wall pose

Stop berating yourself for not writing

Play with your dog/cat/reptile. If you don’t have one, ask a friend if you can come over and give their Fido some love

Try writing during a different time of the day

Take a nap

And finally… Drink a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee

We know this list isn’t exhaustive, and there’s room for more ideas, so tell us, Lulu readers, what’s worked (or not) for you?

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

Skip the tie & cufflink set. Create a unique gift in less time than it takes to make a mall haul.

In his latest New Yorker essay, “Understanding Owls: What does a gift say about the giver?” humorist and fellow Raleigh-native David Sedaris reflects on the friend and family imposed owl collection that gets bigger each year.

Does there come a day in every man’s life when he looks around and says to himself, ‘I’ve got to weed out some of these owls’?… Just when you think you’re making progress, you remember the owl tobacco tin, and the owl tea cozy. Then there are the plates, the coasters, the Christmas ornaments. This is what happens when you tell people you like something.

So how can you ensure that you get a gift that your loved ones will really appreciate? We realize we’re biased, but we recommend that instead of reaching for the last-minute, pre-wrapped, hand-cranked flashlight-radio-tire pressure gauge, go the sentimental route and create a unique, personalized and meaningful gift this year – a gift that really says I care about you.

In half the time it takes you to find a parking space, create a unique gift they’ll cherish forever — a personalized calendar or photo book. Through Nov. 27 our special holiday deal means creating one has never been more enticing.

Rather than wrapping up the umpteenth necktie in the tis-the-seasons-series for grandpa this year, create a photo book featuring all the ties you’ve gotten gramps throughout the years with corresponding photos of you and him. He may not have something to begrudgingly wear when you come to visit, but at least he’ll enjoy a genuine smile every time he reaches for that book.

Got kids? Then you’ve got photos. Pictures have a special power to make fellow family members happy. Need gifts for your kids’ coaches and teachers? What about a way to remember your latest family reunion or family vacation? The list of possibilities is endless when you bring your imagination to the project.

Happy Holidays and cheers to cherishing back the memories.

 

Remembering Michael Hart, ebook pioneer and founder of Project Gutenberg.

Electronic book pioneer and founder of Project Gutenberg, Michael Hart, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Urbana Ill.  Long before eReaders became a prevalent part of our society, Hart, who is described as “an ardent technologist and futurist,” sought ways of making electronic versions of books available to the masses.

In an obituary posted on the Project Gutenberg website, Dr. Gregory B. Newby writes:

Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He often told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had been granted access to significant computing power at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after being inspired by a free printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he decided to type the text into a computer, and to transmit it to other users on the computer network. From this beginning, the digitization and distribution of literature was to be Hart’s life’s work, spanning over 40 years.

In 1998, Mark Frauenfelder wrote a profile of Hart for Wired in which Hart is quoted as saying, “there’s going to be some gizmo that kids carry around in their back pocket that has everything in it – including our books, if they want.”  Early pioneers like Vannevar Bush envisioned electronic devices as far back as 1945 that would store massive volumes of books electronically.  Hart, however, possessed that rare mix of both foresight and gumption to help make this vision a reality.

As expressed in his obituary, making literature “available to all people” was something Hart wished to help others strive towards.  Perhaps the truest expression of Hart’s wish is a commitment to the distribution of ideas across countless platforms, i.e., eBooks, print, blogs, spoken word, etc.  Personally, I feel that in order to make literature available to all people the distribution mechanisms should work in concert with one another and never be limited to one source.  Learning, I believe, should remain impartial to any one file format or distribution mechanism – eBook or otherwise.

With that said, I think that as we enter a new age marked by the proliferation of electronic books and a growing host of eBook reading “gizmo[s],” let’s not forget to take a few moments to honor pioneers like Michael Hart who have remained steadfast in their commitment to the distribution of literature and ideas.

Author Success: Publishers Weekly Select

The publishing industry is changing. More authors are discovering new platforms and devices to help tell their stories everyday. So much so that, last month, well-known publication Publishers Weekly highlighted approximately 200 self-published works for the first time.

You may recognize some of the titles and names in their lists and reviews because many of the works come from Lulu authors and range in topics on everything from fiction to self-help.

The folks at Lulu wanted to call even more attention to these authors and congratulate them on such an remarkable accomplishment. It makes us proud to see a new generation of authors and publishers use our tools and services to carve out a name for themselves. It is amazing to see all the different kinds of knowledge and expertise our authors are able to bring to their customers.

Please help us congratulate these authors in the comments below and be sure to check out their, now Publishers Weekly Select, works in the Lulu Marketplace.

Shadow Women
by Thérèse Bonvouloir Bayol
The McNulty clan emigrated to Quebec to escape British oppression. This story follows the lives of four women in smalltown St. Brigide and tells a tale of Irish assimilation.

Promised Valley Rebellion
by Ron Fritsch
The first of a four-novel sequence set at the end of prehistory, asking whether civilization, with its countless heaven-sanctioned wars and genocides, could’ve begun differently.

Four Nails in the Coffin
by Mark Wheaton
A deputy sheriff on the Texas-Mexico border gets more than she bargained for when she pursues three escaped convicts into the high desert—just one of the four horror novellas in this collection by screenwriter and graphic novelist Wheaton.

The Adventurous Life of Reamus Brownloe: From the Appalachians…
by Phillip Bryan Hartsock
A story of survival and faith narrated by a child born into poverty and violence.

Spun Gold—Poetic Reflections of Pure Luminosity
by Maren Springsteen
A mandala of poems that point to the “Infinite Heart of Spirit.”

Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder
by Christiane Wells
This journey through severe mental illness and addiction offers insight into what it’s like to hit bottom and come back.

Silent M.a.g.i.c. and Other Remedies: A Journey of Transformation, a Spiritual Journey
by Kim O’Kelley-Leigh
Practical tools to living our most fulfilling lives.

Be the Favorite Child This Holiday Season

Becoming the favorite child this holiday is easy!  Here are five great gift ideas that show how much you care, or at least how much more thoughtful you are than your siblings.

Calendar:

Create a family calendar with pictures from the last year.  You can even include special dates, like birthdays, anniversaries and graduations, to keep the focus on what’s most important throughout the whole year.

Family Cookbook:

Compiling a cookbook of all your family’s favorite recipes is a sure way to make mom and grandma proud.  Plus, you get the benefit of having that amazing pumpkin pie recipe right at your fingertips year-round.

Photobook:

One of the easiest ways to thrill the whole family is making a photobook.  It can have pictures from the whole year, or just from a specific vacation or event.  Either way, it will be a great memento for years, and an excellent conversation starter for the family after you have already discussed the food and weather.

Family Yearbook:

Think yearbooks are just for school?  Not with the power of personalization that Lulu offers!  You can make a family yearbook and include pictures from every major event, dedicate a page to each family member, and include fun facts or stats.

Family History:

Writing a family history is the ultimate in “favorite child” gifts!  Published as a book on Lulu, you can capture the generations of your family by writing your family tree, favorite family stories, pictures, and special memories.

Great Gift Ideas for “That Guy ”

At one time or another, we’ve all come across “that guy.”  You know, the guy who tries to check out in the 15 items or less lane with at least 30 things in his cart.  Or the guy who tries to beat the read light, only to clog up the intersection – leaving you stuck at a green light.

Of course if you’re anything like me, you may have been “that guy” more times than you care to admit.  You may also be in the position of having “that guy” on your holiday shopping list this year.

You really like “that guy.”  After all, he’s most likely family or a very close friend.  You want to see him shed his misguided ways in time for the New Year.  So this begs the question:  what do you get “that guy” for the holidays?

Here are a few gift ideas I came up with, right here on lulu.com:

The Future of the Book

One of our designers sent around a link to this video this morning. It was put together by IDEO, the global design firm, and shows the possibilities it envisions for the book. Some interesting ideas. Let us know what you think!

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Lulu Lens: Featured Idea – Flexible Pricing

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One of the more popular ideas in our Ideas & Feedback section is Julie Dawson’s recommendation that we allow “Flexible Pricing.” This is somewhat related to Belinda’s idea last week of allowing Lulu creators to generate their own coupon codes. However, Julie’s idea takes this a slightly different direction and branches out into allowing users to create discount bundles (if someone buys two books they get X amount off), having a sale price on your storefront, and giving the eBook version away for free if you purchase the print copy.

Please follow the link and comment on the idea, and if you like the idea be sure to click the “I like this idea” thumbs up next to it. If you have other ideas for how Lulu can improve, post it to the Ideas & Feedback section. I can’t promise that they’ll all get done, but I can promise that all the right people are paying attention.

Ideas & Feedback

Picture 16As many of you are likely aware, last month we introduced a new section in our Community & Support area called Ideas & Feedback. The purpose of this area is simple – we want to hear from you. We want to know what you think would improve the Lulu experience. You can post your ideas and vote on existing ones. We’ll be constantly reviewing ideas and seeing what people suggest. We’re listening.

Two of the recent ideas that have received the most votes are things like improving the visibility of templates and allowing Lulu Creators to give out coupons & gift certificates to buyers. Be sure to check out the ideas that are already posted and share your own ideas with us. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.