There are many genres that a writer could work in on any given day. But there is one task that almost every writer (or really, almost any professional) faces in their day to day.
Email. It’s a seemingly straightforward task… yet somehow it can be so nerve-wracking in a professional setting. Many people never receive any instruction in how to craft a professional email, so here are some quick tips:
Sound like a human being. It seems obvious, but if you’re not careful you can sound like one of those pre-recorded telephone messages. Don’t work off a template and fill in blanks.
Don’t rush. Emails are meant to be concise. That doesn’t mean you can’t use a sentence or two to ease into the main content. This is especially important with an email to a stranger or new acquaintance.
Be polite. Again, you would think it’s common sense, but it never hurts to add “please” and “thank you” to any requests. Variations on “thank you” can often make great closers.
Proofread. Gmail has this great feature that allows you to give yourself a buffer after hitting the send button. Those ten seconds can be a lifesaver if you notice a flaw at just the right time. But you can avoid the problem all together by giving each email a quick proofread and edit before pulling the trigger.
Another perspective on writing professional emails can be found at Problogger.
This photographer used a 30 second exposure… at 10pm at night. (submitted to reddit by user onthenextlevel)
Whether you’re waiting in line, waiting for your computer to restart, or staring at the countdown for your leftovers in the microwave, your life is full of short chunks of time. It’s tempting to dismiss these as useless, but there’s a lot that can be accomplished in 30 seconds. My personal 30 second wonder is in the kitchen. For the duration of the microwave count, I like to clean up the clutter or wipe down a few countertops. It’s surprising just how much you can get done. Or, sometimes when I’m sitting in traffic I go over my to-do list and come up with a plan of action.
Check out some other ideas for those tiny moments of downtime here at Lifehacker.
Lexi Dakin, Professional Writing graduate from the class of 2013, has recently taken over as the Coordinator of Soccer Operations for The University of Notre Dame. She manages the social media, video and film exchange, budgeting, travel, promotions, and more for the popular Notre Dame women’s soccer team. Dakin was previously employed as one of our Communications Interns here at WRAC. Congratulations!
“Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous.”(Brene Brown).
In this article over at Thought Catalog, Cat Tu writes about the myth of vulnerability. She gives examples where it is seen in the lens of that myth, as a weakness, and some counterexamples where it is a strength. Her examples of vulnerability as weakness often involve situations where we worry about labels; situations where expressing yourself can get you seen as a drama queen, or asking for help can come off as needy. Most of the strength examples involve vulnerability in the context of relationships – such as admitting when you’re wrong, or sharing your emotional needs – and that is where writing comes in. Writing is all about connections.
There’s a famous quote, sometimes attributed to Hemingway, that goes something like this: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
That quote speaks to the same concept in a different voice. In writing, vulnerability is strength. Making connections inevitably opens up points of vulnerability – places where it is possible to attack the writing, or the writer. At the same time, these vulnerabilities are often what gives writing its strength. Metaphors, for example, can be a powerful way of illuminating a concept. But they are almost always imperfect in some way, and can be torn apart at their imperfect points. Many of the tools we use in writing are like this – both powerful and flawed. What’s more, many of those strengths and flaws cannot be teased apart from each other. The vulnerability is simply part of the equation, and very possibly an integral piece. It is certainly an interesting piece to explore.
Frustrated and can’t seem to get your blog soaring? With a blogging community that won’t stop growing it’s not easy getting more people to read it. But on the other hand, why is it so simple that anyone can start a blog? It’s only an illusion, there are many difficulties that accompany blogging. You must be able to maintain the site and add new content constantly. The important question to ask yourself, “How can I make my blog great, informational, and interesting?” Lifehacker elaborates on seven amazing tips towards developing a successful blog.
Is reciprocation the only way, absolutely not? Other things, such as having an amazing headline, fresh content, and finding a niche can help your blog better develop. But, the thing I love most about writing is “voice”. Find your voice and don’t be afraid to use it, because that’s what will make yours different from the millions out there. Blogging isn’t any different from life it has its ups and downs. It’s up to you to keep your blogging wings spread and soaring.
We have all at one point asked ourselves, “What am I going to wear today?” The outfit you chose to walk out that door doesn’t just change the way others perceive you, but it influences your overall performance. Check out the video below from Lifehacker for a fun look at the study “Enclothed Cognition.” Overall, when we dress smart we think we are smart. If we don’t, we become more error-prone. P.S. right before your exams don’t hesitate to grab a pair of Nerd glasses.
It’s easy to become accustom to bad habits and not realize how they are slowly destroying your health. A typical day for most individuals includes long hours of sitting, being stuck in a stressful office or skipping meals because work consumes the majority of your time. You may think the sacrifices are worth it because the pay is good, but in reality you are subtracting years from your life. If you’re interested in spending a few more years with the ones you love, put into practice the 10 tips mentioned by Lifehacker on how to stay healthy and energetic at the office (and make the day go by faster).
Duh, it’s best for parents to start saving for their children’s college expenditures as early as possible; unfortunately, that isn’t the case for some students. When it was time for me to start college my parents weren’t in the best financial situation and I didn’t make the grades. My only option was loans, and I’m not alone. Lifehacker takes a moment to discuss “Three people, one big student loan: how they each plan to pay it off.”
Read how debt has affected their lives and the struggles and sacrifices involved in paying student loans over $100,000. Whether you’re starting undergrad or graduate school, returning after taking a break, or already have student loans to repay, always seek advice and walk the path leading away from debt. Katie Brewer finance consult was asked to see how theses three individuals plan to pay back their loans and ensure they’re on a realistic and right payment track.
If you can relate to these individuals and have already dove into a pool full of loans. There are different approaches that can be used to help remove the hindrance on your post graduation future. Katie Brewer suggests to Victoria Karan (loan balance of $198,000) “that if she pays even an extra $50 toward her loans each month, it could shave months or even years off the time to repay, as well as reduce the amount of interest she pays.” The interest rate is what makes paying a loan back more difficult, if you can, while still in school, pay off the interest.
It’s important that you start college with the approach “NO LOANS.” Borrowing now and paying later sounds good until you want to buy your dream car or a house. It’s okay to pause and take the time to think about the total amount of money being borrowed on student loans, avoid being a prisoner to your student loans for the next 30 years of your life.