Power in Print!

Edita Kaye Reading-2Writing does more than express ideas and encourage thought, it can improve your quality of life. Brain and body health work hand-in-hand, and one cannot thrive without the other. In the grip of depression, people often feel exhausted or sick. When joyous or happy, the body mirrors those emotions with a healthy glow. What are some ways you can encourage your well-being by adding some writing to your day?

Few are lucky to go through life without experiencing stress or trauma. In 2005, a study was conducted on those with a history of traumatic experiences and ways to cope. The results showed significant improvement in patients who journaled about their feelings. Patients who regularly used the journal to express their feelings spent fewer days in hospitals, displayed stronger immune systems, and even better liver functions. Expressing their inner turmoil through journaling acted like a syringe, drawing out the darker, venomous thoughts that can so easily lead to physical and mental sickness.

Health benefits don’t stop with trauma sufferers. Those suffering from asthma and rheumatoid arthritis can also reap the benefits of the written word. Asthma patients who wrote about their most stressful experiences displayed improved lung function. Indicating an increase of lung performance up to 10% after just four months, addressing deep issues through writing allowed these asthma sufferers to breathe a little easier. Similarly, when rheumatoid arthritis patients were tasked with writing, those with an emotional investment in their work displayed a marked drop in their symptoms.

Diseases from breast cancer to depression can all be fought with writing. While by no means a panacea or replacement for traditional medicine, writing helps address what medicine cannot. The strength of expression dives deeper than flesh, reaching where we often need healing the most. Shedding light on our darkest recesses can remind us that we’re never without hope, and all that’s needed to fight back is a pen and paper. For more on the healing power of print, follow the link here.

Books for a Simple Way of Living

As I move into the hot and steamy days of deep summer I am tempted to destress, declutter,

decompress, and live a blissful life where “less is more.” In keeping with this summer mood to

simplify I found five books that I now consider my secret solutions to a simpler life. Some are

new discoveries. Some are old friends.

 

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta who writes from his idyllic location of Guam about all things

Zen. I totally agree with the jacket copy that describes this small but powerful book as one of

life’s great discoveries – learning how to make the most of resources you already have and

marshaling the power of self-imposed limits to “finally work less, work smarter, and focus on

living the life that you deserve.”

 

Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo is a treasure. It focuses on how to create the most compelling

and memorable presentations. How? By setting limits. Just 18 minutes. Just a half dozen slides

in your powerpoint. Just a few simple, but personal anecdotes and you too can shine at your

next presentation like the TED speakers who so generously shared their secrets. Love this book!

I was happy to reread this old friend – The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and

Spencer Johnson. It’s just as good, if not better than it was when it first came out. I felt very

warm and fuzzy reading about simple ways to praise, motivate, and thank people. Sounds like I

will be using this in my daily life, not just at work.

 

And this classic is definitely worth an afternoon – The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving

More with Less by Richard Koch. Love the idea of shortcuts, especially in this busy world which

seems to just get busier every day. Love the idea about calming down and just focusing on the

things I love. Great advice!

 

This little gem is a true revelation. It turned my hot, steamy summer afternoons into cool,

refreshing interludes AND believe it or not, helped me declutter in a way that was totally fun.

It’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by

Marie Kondo. And believe me, Marie waved her magic wand and my clutter just disappeared as

if by magic!

Ways to Improve Your Writing

Edita Kaye writing and editingIt’s always hard to know where to start when it comes to writing. Whether it’s for a blog post, a publication within your field of work, or if it’s just for fun, there are always ways to improve your writing so that it’s something you’re proud of. Writing talent, like most talent, is about reforming your skill with practice. Here are some simple tricks you should follow in order for you to improve your writing:

First, make sure you look at the world around you for inspiration. Think of the world as your very own “writing muse,” filled with vibrant colors, enduring emotions, and intriguing situations that may even stem from watching people on the subway. According to Forbes Magazine:

“As writer Henry Miller once said, ‘Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls, and interesting people. Forget yourself.’ If you don’t think you have anything to write about, think again. There’s inspiration everywhere – you just have to be paying attention,” (5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing).

Edita Kaye writing_outside

Taking the time to look up from your newsfeed and looking up and into the world is the best form of motivation to get your writing started.

Next, always be reading something. Whether you are a classic novel lover, a newspaper fanatic, or a blog addict, reading is the best tool you can use to get your writing up to par. Make more of an effort to incorporate reading into your daily routine. This may mean taking those fifteen minutes you spend on instagram each day and substituting it with a new book of poetry or interesting article from your morning newspaper. Those who read more undoubtedly write better, but it’s up to you to make that initial effort to consistently read.

Edita Kaye writing tricks

Along with finding the time to read is finding the time to write – and in an appropriate setting. Finding a writing space that works for you is key to concentrating on your craft and giving undivided attention to words.  Forbes Magazine suggests to figure out where and how you write best, “For some people, it’s peace and quiet, while others need music or the chaotic hubbub of co-workers milling about. And most find that different places work for different types of writing,” (5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing). For example, if you’re writing an article for work, you may need silence and a tidy work space, where as if you’re writing a blog post, you may want a glass of wine in the trendy restaurant down your street.

Lastly, one of the most effective writing tricks for almost anybody is to read your work out loud as a form of editing. According to Forbes Magazine, “As silly as you may feel, it’s the best way to make sure what you’ve written makes sense. Anything that doesn’t flow, is confusing, or is missing a word or two will quickly make itself apparent,” (5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing).

For more tips on how to improve your writing, check out Forbes Magazine’s article here.

Memoirs & Biographies to Read This Summer

Though most of us still work during the hot summer months, it is a time for us to wind down and enjoy the nice weather, vacation days, and spend time with family and friends. But, summer is also a time for us to catch up on some reading. Exploring new memoirs and biographies is a great way to get inspired and make yourself a more well-read individual who knows about the latest published biographies. Here are a few titles you should keep in mind when you’re looking for a great book to read this summer:

Edita Kaye Summer-Reading

First, ‘Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham,’ written by Emily Bingh is a must read. Bingh’s great aunt, Henrietta, rejected their family business in the early 1920s so she could live her life through a whirlwind of jazz, sex, and addiction. Her story is lively, heart breaking, and extremely engaging – you won’t want to put it down. This biography acts as a slice of American history that most readers are not used to, bringing out the often coveted troubled family life of American outcasts during an age that was seemingly ideal.

Second, ‘The Fish Ladder: A Journey Upstream’ by Katharine Norbury is an alluring autobiography about Katharine Norbury’s journey with her nine-year-old daughter as they follow a river from the sea up to its source. The tale delves deep into a wide array of human emotions, in particular grief and how we cope with loss. Norbury and her daughter began their expedition as a way to deal with Norbury’s miscarriage, but fate along the river brings them to a life-changing encounter that you’ll have to read about yourself.

Edita Kaye In a French Kitchen

Susan Hermann Loomis’ ‘In a French Kitchen: Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France’ is another wonderful autobiography you should read this summer that details Loomis’ life as a food admirer and cook after she one day decided to move to France upon realizing that was the best way to pursue her passions. Loomis specifies French cooking secrets that are simple, yet bring out an explosion of delicious flavors. If you’re a foodie like Loomis, this is definitely a fun summer read you can enjoy and use to perfect your own cooking skills.

‘Rising Strong,’ by Brene Brown, is the last book on this list, and perhaps the most inspirational. A great read as summer is coming to an end to get you up in spirits for the coming year. Brown teaches us not only to embrace our failures, but to use them as ways we can grow and succeed.

For more ideas on what memoirs and autobiographies you should read this summer, check out this article published by Bustle.com.

The Importance of the Letter

edita kaye letterAs the world sees increased digitization, methods of communications that were once favored and cherished grow obsolete. However, there are some who seek to preserve the past, viewing pieces of history as unforgettable souvenirs of the past. With the invention of e-mail, followed by the slew of instant messaging applications like AOL instant messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, etc., snail mail is fading into the background as an unnecessarily slow form of correspondence. Who needs to sit down and write weekly updates to a friend with whom daily exchanges are customary. Dr. Martha Townsend, English professor at Missouri University is leading the campaign to not only reinstate the letter as a timeless societal icon, but also to promote it into schools as its own stylistic genre of writing that deserves exploration.

A piece in the New York Times from 2013 (full piece here) encouraged Townsend to further examine composition after it expressed the decadence of creative writing as attributed to increasing availability of forms of instant communication. Authors of the past unfailingly attribute newfound inspiration to their personal correspondences. Authors today, perhaps less.

Dr. Townsend received a grant to create the class The Letter as Genre to reintroduce the epistolary form as a socio-literary cornerstone in the development of writing. While there are few doubts as to its historical weight, its contribution to the present is increasingly questioned. Throughout history, many types of letters have served many purposes: wartime communication, love letters, appeals for social reform to name a few. All of these forms supply a peek (albeit a rather subjective one) into the world at that time. St. John writes of his life as an apostle, Washington as the first President of a nascent nation. Townsend made it her goal to bring back the letter in her effort to prove its ever importance.

Reading samples of every type, researching into the foundations and future of writing, and writing their own letters, students were given a comprehensive tour through the art of the epistle. Part of her class was designed to present students with the undeniable historical significance of letter writing, and part of her class was aimed at reviving the art at a time of rapidly changing options of communication. As hoped, her class inspired students to take up writing—some for creative purposes, others for reconnecting with old friends and family members. Townsend did a remarkable job showing how letters can be of the utmost personal importance, and also shed light upon the great opinions and discourse of antiquity.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Ernest Hemingway’s famously stated “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” And still, these words may not sink so easily into the mind of a struggling writer. Bleeding, after all, is a very open and real way of uncovering and addressing personal experiences, be they nostalgic, joy-bringing, or traumatic, and is not a process that always comes naturally—even for the most gifted and experienced of writers. No author has stood on a mountain of accomplishment without a couple pitfalls to remember. Writer’s block is an all-affecting, recurring obstacle that every serious author learns to overcome. Fortunately for the writer and his dormant ideas, writer’s block can be dissolved.

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One thing every writer needs is new experiences. Whether it is a vacation away from work on a one-week plunge into the depths of debauchery, or a historic visit to the Mandarin Oriental where Lord Jim’s Joseph Conrad found inspiration in the novelty away from home, the world has an infinite number of pools to be tapped for reflection and revelation.

While new experiences open the door to never-before-seen marvels, it is imperative for an author to realize inspiration ultimately comes from within, and the most new experiences can do is awaken something in the heart of the writer, something that was waiting for the right catalyst. Motivation to write is more intrinsic than it is extrinsic. Just as a spirit fails to deliver true happiness, imbibing in experience does not create new ideas. Writing does not rely on the saving grace of new information as much as it relies on the recasting, revisiting, and reflection on the author’s part on that which was already seen. A man with a closed mind can visit any number of shrines and not experience any change in perspective. That man must open his mind, altering his outlook on all which he thought he knew before.

Some writers take time to read and write letters of correspondence with others in order to spark a flame. Others form routines of creative writing to assure some ink gets spilled every day. Whatever his personal preference, a good writer understands the importance of discipline and regularity. While discovery, by its nature, is not a routine experience, an untrained eye will miss many opportunities for exploration. Many do-it-yourself books on the market can help authors of all levels maintain a standardized writing schedule. Plus, writing one piece on any topic will get the ball rolling and allow for a clearer flow of ideas.

As an author scales the landscapes of creativity and explores the uncharted territories of ideation, he keeps his visions close to his heart, and opens himself to the unknown.

 

Why Self-Publish?

edita kaye digital-self-publishing

For a long time in the writing world, self-publishing was frowned upon. The problem was that if you were going to publish your own work, you were most likely bypassing any form of peer review. But, the problem with going the traditional route and publishing books through a professional team of editors was that you couldn’t just be a talented writer – you had to have a lot of good luck and connections in the industry. Unfortunately, this led to a lot of great books not being published.

So, why self-publish? For starters, you will have guaranteed publication instead of waiting years for publishers to approve. Even if you are one of the lucky few that gets noticed by publisher, it still takes a great amount of time for the publishing process to be complete. By self-publishing, your book will automatically be available to the public and you won’t have to wait around for somebody else to get it out there for you.

Another reason to self-publish is for a new kind of peer review. Although self-publishing was once looked down upon for not having any peer review, now well-written books will gain reviews similar to the ones that you would normally get through a publishing house. If people like your book, nobody will look down at you for publishing it yourself.

edita kaye ebook

Next, self-publishing can lead to a greater profit than if you were to go through a publishing company. Many innovative online publishing platforms, such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, iBooks, and Nook, expect it’s authors to earn between 30% and 70% of the profits from the books sale. Of course, this profit directly correlates to how well the book sells, but you are sure to save all of the money you would have spent on a publishing house.

In conclusion, the traditional world of publishing is fading, and becoming a self-publisher could be a huge benefit for yourself as an author. To read more about the perks of self-publishing and how to be a successful author, check out Huffington Post’s article here.

The Most Inspirational Books of All Time

Great literature always gives us insight on some of life’s most profound lessons. That being said, reading is one of the most critical ways we can grow as human beings. Through the experience of other characters or delving deep into the mind of a narrator, our outlook on life can be changed. So, what are some of the most inspirational books of all time? Here’s a list derived from one of the Huffington Post’s article on life-changing books:

edita kaye the-alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – This book gets to the core of self-exploration and finding out who we really are by chasing the things we want most. The main theme of this novel is finding one’s destiny. As Coelho writes, “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl – Set in an Auschwitz concentration camp, Frankl goes deep into what it means to live a meaningful life. According to the author, the way a prisoner imagined his or her future would change how long he or she lived – heavily influenced on how our thoughts influence our lives. From the book: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

edita kaye To_Kill_a_MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – One of the most popular books to this day, Atticus Finch sets the bar of being one of the noblest characters ever created. Southern at its core, honor and conduct pave the way for what it means to be truly good. Quote from the book: “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen – Though this book is small, its words are breathtakingly beautiful and powerful beyond measure. Heavily influenced by the notion of karma, the possibilities of human beings’ capacity for both good and evil are explored throughout the book. Words like these make it one of literature’s most influential: “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – Following the life of a reformed convict, Jean Valjean, this book delves into the wonders of redemption and the nature of law and grace. The urban design of Paris and the history of France are also two important elements of the novel that reflect certain politics, aspects of religion, and moral philosophies. From the book: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”edita kaye chroniclesofnarnia

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Filled with enduring knowledge about sin, guilt, addiction, and the overall nature of mankind, this fictional series is way more than a tale of adventure. From the book: “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

There you have it – a list of some of the most inspirational books of all time that leave you questioning who you really are as a person, and will hopefully inspire you to make the right decisions throughout your life. Haven’t read one in a while? It might be time for a trip to the library or a local book store.

Grammar Tips for Writers

Publishing literature in the technological age is immensely different than it was just a few years back. With just a click, anyone can be a published writer – anything is possible on the internet these days. The long process of book publication that once was might not completely be over, but it has been revolutionized.

That being said, without a professional editor or publication company, there has been an increase of poorly written books being published with a considerable amount of spelling and grammar mistakes. So, if you’re thinking about publishing one of your works online, you should make sure that your piece is free of these seemingly simple mistakes that many people unknowingly make.

edita kaye chicagomanuelofstyle

For your convenience, you should invest in at least one (preferably all) of the following grammar guides:
1. The Chicago Manual of Style
2. Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style
3. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
All of these books contain a vast amount of information concerning the world of grammar for the English language and will assist with any questions you may have while editing your work. As a writer, it’s important that you know all the complicated rules of citation along with the knowing the when to use the right “there”. So, always have one of these books in your bag as you work on a piece for publication, or just to practice using correct grammar.

In addition, it’s a good idea to invest in a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, or subscribe to the OED’s online edition for when your word processor’s spell checker doesn’t have the answers to all of your spelling or grammar questions. Having an available dictionary will also expand your use of diction and altogether make you a more advanced writer.

edita kaye Eats-shoots-and-leaves-by-Lynne-Truss

Keep in mind, just having these references won’t help if you don’t use them. This is not to say that you should overuse them so they disrupt your workflow, but when you’re revising your piece and come across a grammatical problem that you are unsure about, these grammar guides will most likely have the answer. Also, a good piece of advice while revising is to get into the habit of reading your work aloud. If you notice that you’re stumbling over a sentence, there is probably a structural or grammatical error that needs to be fixed; it’s also a lot easier to find spelling mistakes when you read your work out loud.

So, before you click “publish,” remember to revise with the help of these grammar guides, because these days you don’t want to fall into the trap of making mistakes that can be easily avoided.

Chopra, Parr, and Covey – 3 Books I’ve Been Reading

Like the rest of us, I don’t have a lot of time to read, but I have managed to read three terrific books over the past several weeks and would like to recommend them.

CaptivologyCaptivology: The SCIENCE of Capturing People’s Attention by Ben Parr

This is an amazing read taking you through the latest in brain science, branding, marketing, and an exploration of why people make the choices they make. Indispensable guide for marketers and just sheer fun for all the rest of us.

http://www.amazon.com/Captivology-Science-Capturing-Peoples-Attention/dp/0062324195/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426261761&sr=8-1&keywords=captivology

 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey

This book has been around, as it says on the cover for 25 years! And that’s no surprise. Frankly it’s just as good today as it was when it was first published back in the 20th century. This is a book that I plan to re-read again, and again because it is simply ageless.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1451639619/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=U1VCGTZA5RFH&coliid=I2KPZJRDZ537D0

 

The Future of GodThe Future of God by Deepak Chopra

I read this book and then was interested to find that PBS had done a special program with Deepak Chopra on this very topic. I thoroughly enjoyed both the book and the show. Chopra has been a prolific writer of very interesting books that explore areas deep inside all of us. If you haven’t had a chance to read this book yet, I recommend that you do. You won’t be disappointed.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/030788497X/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=U1VCGTZA5RFH&coliid=IM4NTSO69TF4K