Why Use Videos For Explanations?
If you grew up in a time period when the American education system offered a one-size-fits-all model, you might have some gaps in your learning.
Thanks to researchers, like Howard Gardner, educators realized that not everyone can learn effectively in the lecture-style traditional classroom. Many students need a combination of different modes of instruction.
Have you ever read a book on an interesting topic but felt fuzzy afterwards? Then maybe you saw a documentary about it and the subject was suddenly alive in your mind?
Reading can work well for some people, but for others, having an option to learn with visuals and auditory explanations can make the difference between being confused or knowledgeable.
In our modern society, many people identify as learning best with visuals that show the information they need to learn while listening to explanations and examples on the topic.
If we know that many people learn best with visuals to guide their reading, how might we apply that outside of academia?
Whether we are preparing a professional presentation, creating a new blog post, or writing a book, keeping visual learning in mind can help enormously with reaching an audience.
An interesting thing I have found is that most people are visual learners--around 70% of American adults self-identify as visual learners. They learn and understand best by what they see, so anytime that you want to share information with your audience, consider putting it into a visual context.
No wonder that You Tube, Pinterest, and Instagram have done so well. People love to see information laid out for them--whether that is in a video, a photograph, or a drawing.
What visual tools can writers use when communicating to a visual audience?
2. Bulleted items
3. Icons used as buttons
6. Charts and Graphs
8. Interactive buttons
And of course,
OK, so how do we apply this information to our writing?
Well, if you are a blogger and want to increase engagement with your audience, consider adding videos into your blogs or even consider starting a vlog (blog that is video based rather than writing based). If you want to keep your blog in a written format, then consider embedding videos into the blog posts. If video is too much to think about for now, at least consider adding in photographs, drawings, or infographics.
If you are a writer, support your writing with a series of videos that can be shared via email or social media with your audience. House these on You Tube or another video platform to distribute the videos where your audience spends time.
If you are a small business entrepreneur, you want to reach out to your customers and let them know what you have to offer. Creating a series of videos that you can share on your website, on your blog, and across your social media can make a big difference in your customer engagement.
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New Year’s Writing Goals
How can you achieve your new year’s resolution writing goals?
The new year is here! Some of us set new year’s resolutions which include our intentions to write better or write more.
One of the hard pieces about new year’s resolutions is that people tend to set a lofty goal that is difficult to achieve.
Once we have this goal in our minds, we typically do not give ourselves the organization and motivation to achieve the goal and thereby fail in our efforts. Once we have failed to meet our goals, we tend to invalidate ourselves and give up the goal.
One way to avoid this kind of catastrophe is to create an organizational system that helps us to achieve our goals. The problem is not that we lack the capacity to achieve our new year’s resolutions but that we may lack the established habit and need to address that element first.
What are some steps a writer could take to achieve one’s writing goals?
OK, so what do these ten steps mean and how can a writer use them to achieve a new writing goal? After you identify your writing goal, set up a schedule to accomplish it.
If the goal is to write a blog a week, then add the time to blog onto your weekly schedule. To further support your goal, create a reminder system on your phone or a pop up on your Google (or other brand) calendar; this will help to remind you that you need to set aside that time to be successful.
Also, schedule a catch up time for the goal. Inevitably, there will be a week when you cannot meet your goal (you got sick, the kids are being noisy, or your job wants more time from you), so add to the calendar monthly catch up sessions where you can make up for any lost time.
I strongly recommend entering into a writing-goal partnership. My writing partner, Christy, and I meet every Sunday at our favorite coffee shop–Ziggies. We spent an entire two hour writing session deciding on our writing goals, brainstorming the details around our writing goals, and most importantly communicating what our goals are.
Although I do not expect Christy to penalize me for missing a writing goal, I do believe that I am more successful with her aware of my goal. Your partner does not necessarily need to be a fellow writer or artist. You might create a partnership with a friend who is trying to lose weight or with a colleague who is working towards a professional certification. Any person who can encourage you, hold you accountable, and accept your encouragement and accountability in return has the potential to be a fantastic partner.
Give yourself a reward for a goal met. Each time you meet a goal, pat yourself on the back. This can be as simple as buying your favorite latte or picking up a particular book that just came out. An unappreciated goal can feel empty, especially if the only people who know about it are you and your writing partner.
How do you meet your goal? Most goals require multiple steps and tools to meet them. For example, if a person wants to lose ten pounds, the steps might include: eat less junk food, eat more vegetables, exercise daily, and so on. The tools needed to achieve a weight loss goal might be: hire a personal trainer, join a recreation center, and buy an MP3 player to listen to books or music which exercising.
The same is true for meeting a writing goal. To meet your writing goal, you may need to: set aside time daily or weekly, hold yourself accountable for a certain amount of writing, read more often, and attend writing workshops or classes.
The tools to achieve the goal might include things like: add a calendar reminder app to one’s phone, wake up an hour earlier each day, set aside money to attend writing workshops, drive to the library to check out necessary books, and purchase a memory stick to hold one’s writing files. Identifying what steps you need to take, what tools you need to have, and your means to achieve your goal can greatly improve one’s success.
Give yourself a break. We all achieve some of our goals some of the time, but rarely do people achieve all of their goals on the first try. Recognize that you may have to try and try again to achieve the end result of the goal achieved. Give yourself space emotionally, mentally, and physically. As you recognize a problem along the way, try to address it so that those barriers melt away on the road to your completed goal.
Eventually, meeting your writing goals becomes easier, but it is usually a process that requires some flexibility. Hopefully, these steps will assist you on your path to reaching your own writing goals.
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The New Year - A Time to Reflect
As the start of 2016 nears, we start to reflect back on the year that is passing.
The new year is a great time for writers to look back at what they accomplished and look ahead to the year coming up.
When we reflect back over our previous experiences, we can identify activities that created a positive effect on our writing and productivity.
Let’s take a look over 2015 and determine what went well:
As you look back over the last year, you may find that waking an hour early to write allowed you to produce 100 pages more than the previous year. Or you may find that attending a particular writing workshop inspired you to try a different genre or style.
As writers, our needs can ebb and flow over time.
The techniques that motivated us to write in our youth no longer hold they sway as we age. Sometimes, setting aside time for personal time (i.e., getting your hair done, exercising, reading in a quiet place, or taking a workshop) can actualize a positive effect in our writing. Some people suggest that spending more time walking or hiking will improve their writing productivity.
Take some time to contemplate what worked well in 2015 and what would have been improved. The reflection should give you insight as to what your successful actions were as you prepare to wrap up the year.
Once you made peace with the old year, look forward to the new one. Some people set new year’s resolutions for themselves but find the excitement of that process wears off after a couple of weeks, leaving one feeling disillusioned and failed.
Think about your writing in 2016:
Over the years, many people have told me that if they set big-picture plans and goals rather than resolutions, they are more successful. For example, in 2015, I attended a weekend workshop at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. The 2-day workshop energized me so much that I was able to write almost 200 pages in the six months following the workshop. For this year, I would like to attend another workshop in Iowa, even though I realize that the outcome may be different.
May 2017 be your most successful writing yet!
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