3 Ways Environment Affects Your Writing

3 Ways Environment Affects Your Writing

And how to utilize it to your advantage.
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1. Your comfort level

How comfortable you are in a setting determines more of your writing style than you think. For example, if you write at home the chances are high that you’re at the peak of comfort. It’s your own space, decorated with your stuff and populated by your family and/or pets. You can plug in or play music aloud at as high a volume as you want. Plus, you have access to all your favorite snacks.

This level of relaxation can produce one of two results (or a hybrid mix, which I often encounter). Either you will be tranquil enough to meet all your writing goals, or you will feel a lack of pressure and lose any and all motivation you once had.

Let’s’ blame the internet (it’s easier to do that).

Now let’s say you’re at school or work—when you have a break, or when you have the evenings off, you are undoubtedly less comfortable. You will be exhausted from the long day, and your brain is probably full of numbers and facts and scheduling. When you flop down in front of your computer, the will to write is probably low. I have written other articles on how to stay creative on a busy schedule and what makes a good writing session, so I highly recommend using those techniques when you feel burnt out.

Overall, your environment can dictate your desire to write. Be aware of what makes you tired and what eases you into a writing mood. The more conscious you are of these factors, the better writing results you will reap.

2. The people

This links closely to your comfort level. Social science is a strange thing—in general, individuals pick up the nuances of the people they spend time with. As a result, the longer you hang out with someone, the more you begin to act like them. Think of your friend groups, and the different types of conversations, in-jokes and interactions you have with each. Most likely, you don’t talk to your mom the same way you talk to your professors, which is different than the way you talk to your closest friends.

Writing friends are a godsend in this regard. Being able to openly talk about inspiration, characters, plot devices and whatnot certainly brings down motivational barriers. Writing classes offer such a unique dynamic that I hope every aspiring writer has the chance to take several, if not get a degree in writing. The people you will meet will certainly affect the way you write.

In addition, know how you relate to others. As an introvert, I find people somewhat draining. If I spend the day out and about, my energy is often too low to attempt my projects at all. My salvation is my best friend, with whom I communicate over instant message. Since I’m able to talk to her while I’m writing, I can ask her any questions or seek the incentive I need.

All this affects your writing. Your people are your parameters. You will notice their habits, their vernacular, their methods of handling problems, everything. People are one of the greatest writing resources you’ll ever have, and being around them can improve the realism of your work (even if those same people do make you tired). Choose them wisely and treat them well, and hopefully as a result your writing will reflect an increase in quality.

3. The culture

Culture is a combination of your comfort level and the people who surround you. Until I studied abroad, I had no idea what this implied. After only living in rural North America my whole life, spending three months in Italy showed me how incredibly different cultures can be, and how to adapt to and interact with them.

Comfort-wise, stepping into a new culture is always a bit startling. Some people even go through culture shock. People-wise, it’s just as startling, but incredibly fascinating as well. For the first time, I lived in an entirely new setting where the food, customs, money, traffic, entertainment, religion and politics were so different than what I was used to.

As a result, my writing style changed. Once I grasped the concept of difference between cultures, it became easier to develop cultural differences in my own work. It’s important to remember that while cultures vary so much, the populations are still all human. The fact that we are all the same and yet can create such beautiful and diverse ways of life is incredible. As a writer, this knowledge—and involvement—was invaluable.

If you get the opportunity to go abroad, please take it. If you can’t afford it, there are still plenty of ways to witness culture shifts right where you live. The United States are a prime place to do so. As a country girl, all I have to do is take a trip to the city and I’m in another world. If you’re a northerner, go south. If you’re from the west coast, head east. Stay in a countryside bed and breakfast. Go to the top of a skyscraper. Eat something you’ve never eaten before. Culture is everywhere. Find it, live it and write about it. The experience is something you can get nowhere else.
Cover Image Credit: Stocksnap.io

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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