How To Be A Better Writer: Edition One

Nobody’s perfect; I’m sure even the Dalai Lama himself has a few character flaws left to work on before 2k18 rolls around. Improvement is always possible, no matter how skilled you are in a particular field. If you feel your way with words needs a tweak or two, here are some morsels of wisdom I’ve picked up as the years have ticked by and my pen has evolved into a QWERTY keyboard.

Let it flow. Like a menstrual cycle or a riverbank, your words should ooze out as organically as possible. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to pen something for somebody else? Naturally this is because you’re not invested in the results. Even if you care second-hand, if the words aren’t a reflection of you than the pressure is no way near your shoulders. Relax into your writing. Remove your judgement. Ignore the outcome. I guess I’m advocating ‘mindfulness’ here, which is just a buzzword way of saying ‘be in the moment’. A lifelong battle for all adults but one that pays off, particularly in the realm of wordplay.

Kill your darlings. Egocentricity is a habit of humanity. It seems ludicrous to the self-proclaimed writer that any element of their literary alchemy should be omitted from a paragraph because it might be a mis-match in tone, intent (etc.) but sometimes this is the case. Accepting that is the first step on the road to getting over yourself and producing more coherent texts. You can always save a killer line if it’s truly too poetic to dispose of entirely. That’s the beauty of CTRL+C.

Do it. You can’t be good at it if you never do it. So do it, a lot.

Narcotic abuse ‘Worked for Bukowksi. While I think it’s crass to present an image of yourself as a drinker who writes, rather than a writer that drinks, I will acknowledge the inspiration that uninhibited thinking and serotonin-depleted pondering brings. I’ve had inebriated states that enable me to stop procrastinating and continue wording, along with morning-afters that turn me into Socrates for a few hours on account of my philosophical word-vomit. Choose your poison wisely and don’t over-indulge. I’m not going to let my flippancy take the burden of your poor willpower, reader.

 

 

 

How To Attract Someone Based On Their Zodiac Sign, Part 1: Aries – Libra.

Let’s jump straight into the tips and tricks of what makes each sign tick. Applicable to any gender. As Oscar Wilde once said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” 

Aries

Aries

The warrior of the zodiac needs a challenge to sink their teeth into so your best bet is to tease them playfully and debate with them. Opinionated and bold, they need someone to spar with intellectually. CAUTION – the fragility of their ego means you need to counteract cheeky jibes with compliments so they know you appreciate how amazing (they believe) they are. In turn, they will shower you with affection right back and always leave you with butterflies. Very physical beings, play-fighting is also a good way to entice them. Excitement, new experiences and a high-value individual are what an Aries wants.

Above all, don’t be boring.

Taurus

Taurus

Preen yourself, smell enticing and mind your manners. Ruled by Venus, a Taurus has an eye for detail when it comes to beauty and therefore appearances matter. Fortunately, you don’t really have your work cut out for you as their favourite activities are sleeping, relaxing and eating. Find out their favourite restaurant and casually mention how much you like it there; they’ll invite you to join them one evening as you clearly have good opinions ( -ones that are identical to theirs). Be sweet to them as they have a solid sense of self and yet remain somewhat mysterious so they have a reason to pursue you. When they do, you won’t get together overnight but together you might just last a lifetime.

Above all, be patient.

Gemini

Gemini

Good luck. Gemini have a reputation for being fickle and flirtatious. If you want them to like you, let them talk to/at you and ensure you snag them within the first few times you meet. If they don’t show any signs of interest straight away, you risk letting them move onto the next one. At any given moment they enjoy pressing people’s buttons so if you can match their wit you’re almost there. Most people fall prey to their charms so keep your distance from time to time. If you’re into the same films/games/books etc you already have a way in so all you need to do now is keep on top of cultural trends and remain well-read.

Above all, be talkative.

Cancer

Cancer

Help an old lady cross the road. Spend time with your grandma and send a snapchat to your Cancer crush with the caption ‘FaMiLy ❤‘. Bring them home-baked apple pie. Despite trying to appear tough (cue the laughter track), Cancerians are sentimental creatures who want to cuddle up with a blanket and stroke your face until you feel safe in their arms. The natural look will win them over and so will plenty of reassurance. They wish they were less emotional so if you convey strength and sass, you’ll have them intrigued. Just make sure you give them 90% of the attention they constantly crave because these pessimists aren’t too secure in their self-worth.

Above all, be responsive.

Leo

Leo

Make them the center of your universe. Talk about their favourite subject (them) with a sense of awe and wonder. How do they get their hair so shiny? Where do they buy their DKNY shirts? Why can’t everybody be like them? Once you have a mutual understanding of their brilliance, you’re off to a solid start. Next you need to laugh at their jokes because they are truly the life of the party; if you’re a stay-at-home type you might not be for them. Be desirable by making an effort with your appearance and laying on the charm as a Leo just wants to entertain and be entertained. When they get short-tempered with you, bite back. They’ll respect you for standing up to their royal highness. They can be cliquey too so if you’re a cool kid they’ll come a’knocking to hang out with you.

Above all, openly adore them.

Virgo

vvirgo

Read a book. Then another, and then another. Once you’ve completed this process, regurgitate this information to your Virgo interest before pondering aloud “Lo, I find the assertion that cognitive dissonance unravels during adolescence to be preposterous and quite unlike most 20th century psycho-analytical studies.” There you have it, the deal is sealed. Intellectual Virgo needs to know you’ll understand the analysis they love to undertake on matters big and small as their mind is constantly judging everything. Predictably, they are picky. Flattery won’t work on them because they have an ideal lover in mind and you must live up to these expectations. Do some digging to discover the type of people they admire and then emulate the stereotype. Virgos are suckers for fixing things so tell them your boiler is broken and they’ll come around to fix it. Explain to them the pragmatic merits of a date with you so they know you won’t interfere with their busy schedule.

Above all, be smart.

Libra

Libra

Libra is the relational sign so you’ll need to compete for their attention. They spend their whole lives learning how to be well-liked because they crave external validation and this brings me onto my first tip: tell them they’re pretty. Their smile is their best feature because it can charm anyone, following on from the words that come out of it. Share ideas and exchange friendly banter when you’re in their company. It’s likely they have a creative streak so take an interest in the arts and see where you match up because a Libra is a pop culture fiend. Since they’re also naturally good-looking, it would help if you made the best of yourself for their viewing pleasure. They’re popular people who are never short of a date so you’ll need to incorporate a ‘hot and cold’ approach to pique their interest in the long term. Let them choose you…eventually.

Above all, let them know you appreciate them.

Up next is Part 2: Scorpio-Pisces. 

5 Steps To Selfie – How to Pose for a Photo

Some people love to point their phone’s camera right at their face for some radical selfie loving while others dread the lens in self-conscious trepidation. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall upon, the impromptu photo is an unavoidable way of life and it pays to be prepared!

Love or loathe to pose, you have the chance to turn a chore into an art form – measure your selfie know-how against this short checklist so you can put your best face forward at any given moment.

  1. Face down, eyes up; instantly more flattering than a straight-on shot.

  2. Smile with your eyes; Tyra made ‘smize’ happen for a reason. 

  3. Decide what you’re doing with your mouth; pout, pursed smile or toothy smile.

  4. Tilt your head from left to right to see if you have a ‘side’; Most people have a preference.

  5. Three popular go-to poses; peace sign, hand on hips, tongue out.

Memorise a particularly hard-hitting one of these vanity morsels so you’re armed with ammo the next time someone slings a camera in your face without much warning, or for when you find yourself in the midst of a self-portraiture crisis but still want to look bangin’.

Selfie ready? You woke up like this (*WINK*)

Life Lessons: Things I’ll Never Do To Myself Again

Tonight I’ve been browsing through my ‘Documents’ folder in the hope of mercilessly casting aside useless files from days gone by; it’s a cleansing ritual I do every 4 months to keep my folder neat and my kilobyte figures low.

Deep in the archives, I found a list I’d made whilst in the recovery period from a particularly tough time in my life. Between summer and Christmas of the previous year, I became increasingly depressed and anxious, with copious work demands and faltering personal relationships crushing my spirit. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a habitual creator of new year’s resolutions and this time it was especially important to ensure I had learned from my mistakes.


Things I’ll Never Do To Myself Again

Lie to myself and deny what I’m feeling
– Think I’m right about everything/everyone
– Disregard my intuition
– Make myself appear smaller or sell myself short
– Overthink – my subconscious will always figure it out
– You can’t intellectualise how you feel so just let feelings happen and rationalise them afterwards 
– Take anybody for granted
– Become emotionally dependent on others
– Offload emotional baggage onto people
– Romanticise a person 
– Try to ‘fix’ anyone
– Think I’m not in control and therefore let others dictate how I feel.


Sometimes we lose ourselves in the process of caring about other people. No matter how rough things get, always take the time to care for yourself.

If you need a starting point, I wrote an ‘everyday self-love’ list here that might help you: A Short Guide to Self-Love.

How to Love Yourself: A Quick Guide.

My temporary absence from PCPW can be explained by the looming presence of Mercury Retrograde between the middle of January and February. Communication always goes astray!

Still, you’ll be pleased to know Mercury is now direct again, enabling you the power of articulation and starting anew. The stars are directing us to move forward optimistically into Spring and as we’re all made of stardust, the process starts within you!

The laws of nature require us to take life day by day so here’s 5 simple actions you can do to improve your mood and self-image. Best of all, none of the steps take longer than 5 minutes so you’ll definitely have time to do them!

Here is my abridged Guide to Self-love, AKA a few life-hacks for obtaining happiness and attracting better luck in life.


Smile

 

Fun fact: our actions determine how we perceive ourselves and thus smiling tricks the brain into releasing happy hormones. It assumes there must be a reason for the smile on your face and your brain will look for proof of this fact. Everybody wants to be around people who gratify them and simply smiling more in conversation engenders this result! It makes people feel important and in turn they’ll give the same warmth back to you. Smile whenever you can, even if you’re only briefly meeting eyes with strangers on the street. We’ve all experienced the flash of a friendly smile before and it makes us feel great on an ordinary day. Learning to smile more will impact your self-esteem in a small yet significant way.

It works as a quick-fix for a better mood when you’re alone as well. If the idea makes you feel uncomfortable, I actively encourage you to accept yourself in all your individuality and relax your facial muscles into a grin while you read. You don’t need to judge yourself and you’ll instantly feel more peaceful.

Whatever the reason, smile more.

Say Affirmations

Affirmations are statements some people use to manifest their desires and re-affirm how much they value themselves. It’s like receiving a pep-talk from someone you trust – only that person is your inner voice. Often, affirmations use the power of words to foster self-belief. A basic example:

“I am capable and confident.”

The more personal you make the affirmation, the more you’ll feel the effects of your words. It’s crucial you understand that your perception affects everything.

Practically speaking, write down a few things you want to truly believe about yourself and don’t be afraid to take inspiration from others. Louise Hay is affirmation royalty so maybe take a look at her webpage. You can play editor before you play creator if that helps to stimulate your mind.

Read them out loud, slowly and confidently.

It’s especially useful to have a mirror in front of you so you connect with the words emotionally.

If you’re too shy to start off with that, simply take the time to tell yourself “I can do it, I am strong and blessed” etc. in your head every morning. Our lives are so demanding that we unconsciously allow our troubles to dominate our thinking landscape, thereby generating a whirlpool of stress.To say affirmations is to remind yourself that everything is okay and you are constantly being brilliant.

 

I am surrounded by love. All is well.

Think Positively

 

Thoughts become things

. This is the explanation for the colloquially named Law of Attraction: a popular theory that our minds need to focus on our desires in order to obtain them. When your teacher told you to concentrate on your subject or else you won’t excel in it, you understood their logic and acted accordingly. Positive thinking works on the same principle of realising our thoughts determine our actions, so

constructive thoughts = positive results.

I’m not asking you to create a moodboard (although you can if you want to – they’re fun!) but if you choose to say ‘no’ mid-way through each negative thought that enters your mind and replace it with a more cheery perspective, you’ll feel more motivated overall. Keep it up and worries will stop niggling at you since you’ve trained your brain to think proactively instead.

Your thoughts control how you act so think positively.

Breathe

I can confidently say you do this step all the time, although I’m referring to a mindful practice. Awareness of your breathing enables you to focus on the present moment. If you’re stressed or angry at any point during the day, inhale while counting to 5 and a second later, exhale slowly. It will have a calming effect, can prevent arguments and if you maintain the theme of repetition, you’ll feel more ‘zen’ than all the folks in California.

Plus it can only benefit your bodily health – an integral part of self-care!

Take some time out to just breathe.

Say Thanks

Like any self-respecting blogger post-2010, I often write ‘gratitude lists’. They aren’t addressed to anybody and I often discard the document because reading back your words once is enough. Sometimes you need proof that everything is okay and ingesting life’s blessings in word form is an effective way of coming to a calm realisation.

The idea first became apparent to me via Gala Darling’s blog. A self-love guru, she constructs ‘Things I Love Thursday’ lists to facilitate a sense of gratitude for all the good things around her. Sometimes we feel frustrated with our circumstances and lack the material resources to improve our situation. This is where our minds act as a powerful tool for allowing us to change our perspective on the situation. In our privileged society, this can often be enough.

Get creative and list everything that would make an Instagram star feel #blessed, from the mundane to the extra-ordinary. It puts your awesome life into perspective because the proof is written in front of you!

 

Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.