Noshings #14

My work this year involves a lot of writing — my thesis (highest priority), client work and (possibly) a short story collection. All parts of my work (and hobbies) typically involve quite a bit of research and googling so I stumble upon advice quite often (I also get it by email).

This week, I found an article on how to pitch AI stories to the media. Since at least two of my projects involves writing about AI, I found it informative in terms of thinking about angles for stories / social media posts. It would be useful to those in PR with AI-industry clients too.

Since my first “proper” exposure to marketing was content marketing, it’s still an area that fascinates me although I don’t really do it anymore — I just don’t have the headspace for it this year. It’s an exciting combination of research and strategy. Hubspot shares some great advice on how they use their blog to generate leads.

Greg Buchanan’s advice on writing novels is also useful for people wanting to write a thesis (like me). My daily writing goal now is 3K words, and I’ve been hitting about two-thirds of that. But I’m behind on my reading 😟.

Since I’m looking for quick ways to do things now, nocode tools are a godsend. Bearchip has a whole library of nocode tools that one can just search for by usecase eg. if you’re looking for something for design, just type “design” into the search bar.

I used Notion to build my portfolio and research info website. I set it up using Fruition, which requires some coding and configuration. But there are other tools that make it a lot easier eg. Notelet.

Noshings #12

I’ve been thinking a lot about design and as I dive deeper into it, I keep discovering ways that it connects to other parts of life and work. I find it fascinating that even being conscious about one’s life designs can change behaviour

“I have found more success by living a life that I design rather than accepting the standard one that has been handed to me,” James Clear writes. 

I guess it’s also not surprising then that a brand’s logo design can affect consumer behaviour. Logo design affects consumer perception, which affects how they behave towards the products that the brand puts out. 

As part of nailing down concepts a bit more clearly, I’ve been trying to get over my fear of sketching. Julia Zass’ graphic diary, which featured 365 days of daily drawing, was an inspiration. I like the way she sectioned out areas in her sketchbook for each day, but how all the illustrations from each day still flow into each other. 

I am loving WordPress’ new theme Twenty Twenty. And one of the designers who worked on that theme makes some other really beautiful and functional WordPress themes as well. They are all full-featured, open source and free!

Although I use WordPress (and still think it is the best CMS), I have a love for a few other website builders like Webflow. I always love it when they do their design inspiration blog posts. Besides the gorgeous designs, some of the websites features are actually super interesting and are great ideas not just for design, but also content.

Noshings #11

I love building things — especially in the scrappy stages when everything is DIY, imperfect and in spite of all the possibilities of failing, has a probability for success. What an exciting state be in! 

One of the things I find myself doing pretty often is logo creation. I usually start with something super simple that fits in a square and looks generally okay on most platforms. Radio.co has some other tips on how to design a logo for your radio station. 

This two-hour video tutorial on how to “plan, code and deploy your startup” is a great guide to use if you’re looking to set something up real quick. By the time you’ve finished watching the video and following along, you’ll have a minimum viable product ready. Although the tutorial is for a job aggregator, it could be tweaked to aggregate different things. 

Another way to get a simple app up really quickly is by using no-code tools. Although I often find these tools limited in some ways, they are good enough to get started with very low time or monetary investment. I recently read an article about no-code myths, which may help to dispel developer fears of no-code competition. 

If you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, and if you’re female, the Femstreet newsletter is a valuable resource.

If you’re an entrepreneur, and media is part of your company’s revenue model, A Media Operator has some amazing insights.

Noshings #10

I’ve always been attracted to minimalism and in the last couple of years, I’ve been working on reducing my possessions.  

In his article about minimalism in the real world, Tim Denning provides a guide on how to maintain a mindset of minimalism, without having to live out of a backpack. Although I probably won’t follow all of the guidelines, I like the idea of establishing what minimalism looks like to me. It’s about deciding what I value most in life. 

Which is why I really love this email auto-responder that Josh Spector shares in For the Interested. Although it’s an auto-response, it’s thoughtfully written and is a reminder that one doesn’t have to be “busy” to be successful.

When it comes to achieving goals, sometimes success isn’t because of external situations. Sometimes you may not just be trying hard enough. I thought the four questions in this article was a good way to examine myself and whether I’m trying hard enough to achieve my goals.

In this essay that was written in 1963, Isaac Bashevis Singer questions the need for literature. Even then, literary fiction had begun to compete for attention with radio, film, press and television. With how accessible all those things have become in 2019, it seems like there’s even less need for literary fiction. People who need it would be those with “strong interest in human character and individuality”, he wrote. Perhaps this applies even moreso today. 

On my to-do list for food projects is making these gel-encased cocktail capsules. My degree finally has some use. I finally get to use more of what I learned in Chemistry classes. 😂

Noshings #9

Some days, a part of me wishes that I could get a job that just involved heaps of reading and reading (preferably fiction), and writing. So it makes sense I guess, that I read a number of articles about reading and writing. 

Authors Publish’s article on How to Read Like a Published Author has some tips on how to stay abreast of what’s going on in the publishing industry, and how to read fiction as part of one’s research. Much like any other industry, working as an author means knowing what’s trending in the market, as well as understanding why someone is good or not. 

Sometimes when I’m exploring better ways to combine content and commerce, I come across articles like 5 Top Tips to Turn a Blog into a Six-Figure Business. Carol Tice’s “three-prong strategy” is something that many articles recommend using various other names. Finding the right niche, optimising for search, and looking for ways to increase readership are all important if a person wants to make money by blogging. 

When it comes to blogging, the other thing that’s important is having an editorial calendar. Coschedule has a great strategy for coming up with a blogging schedule that one can stick with.

I always look forward to Ryan Holiday’s monthly reading list email, which has book recommendations that range from obscure philosophy books to popular non-fiction. Holiday reads widely and I almost always find myself adding his recommendations to my to-read list.  

One of the things I do that helps me keep productive, while still having time for myself is to maintain a system of “untouchable hours”. These are time blocks that I add to my calendar, during which I am mostly unreachable and I use it to focus on the scheduled activity at hand.