3 Ways To Battle Writer's Block

3 Ways To Battle Writer's Block

No matter what kind of writer you are, you've probably come head-to-head with the famous writer's block.
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No matter what kind of writer you are, you've probably come head-to-head with the famous writer's block. Often it feels hopeless to attempt to do anything other than wallow in misery and wait for that "aha!" moment to rescue you. That being said, there are better ways to get yourself writing again.

1. Divide and conquer

The best way to get yourself out of writer's block starts out with knowing what you want done. If you're writing a novel, look up plotting maps and break up your general outline into manageable chunks. If your writing is a bit less straightforward, try to break it up to the best of your ability. Then, focus on the section that intrigues you the most. Don't worry about starting at the end. Put all of your time and efforts into getting that part done. Once you've finished, you'll have more than you started. More often than not, you'll be more motivated to work on your project if you have something to start with.

2. Set goals and deadlines

While it would be great to continue jumping scenes, it's always a good idea to have a little more discipline at times. Set up a general outline of how much you want done by a certain time. Don't make your deadlines too strict right away. Try testing out how much you can get yourself to do at a time. If you challenge yourself too much, you'll quickly discourage yourself. That being said, if you can work out a schedule that works for you, having a permanent deadline will motivate you to get it done.

3. Find an audience

Lastly, it's always nice to have a group of readers who are waiting for you to finish your works. It doesn't matter who your audience is. They don't have to provide any editing advice, but it would be good if they're generally a group of people who are excited to see more of your work. Just knowing that there are people who are waiting to read something you've created can be the most motivating thing about writing. Don't be afraid to reach out online if you aren't comfortable with your friends or family reading your first drafts. There are plenty of supportive online communities!


Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Self-Care When You're Broke AF Is Hard But Not Impossible

Because we all need to take better care of ourselves, even us financially struggling folx.

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Let's face it: things cost money. Not all of us can go out to the movies every time we're sad, or get a pedicure when we're stressed out. I'm one of those people who struggles financially, and I'm also *often* sad and/or stressed out.

I'll be completely honest: I spend a lot of time on social media trying to de-stress – but it doesn't help whatsoever. However, it's (essentially) free for me. I know people who spend half their lives on the couch watching TV because it costs too much to go out, and it seems like there's nothing to do around the house.

But despite what capitalist society preaches, there are so many ways that you can take care of yourself and have fun, without spending lots of money.

Take care of your mental health

When I say "mental health", I am referring to the cognitive processes rather than the symptoms of mental illness. (We'll get to that later!) Mental self-care is the most important because it allows for successful completion of emotional, physical, and social self care.

Mindfulness is the key component of mental self-care. According to mindful.org, mindfulness means you are "fully present, aware of what you are and what you're doing, and not overly reactive and overwhelmed by what's going on around us."

That sounds boring! Yeah, it is. However, it's important to realize that mindfulness is a key aspect in self-care. Many self-care activities rely on mindful awareness. If you can't stay engaged in the moment, how are you supposed to enjoy the moment?

Mindfulness activities to try

Prayer

If you are religious, practicing your religion establishes routine and also fulfills your spiritual self. Taking a moment to reflect on the day or week and asking for guidance brings you into the present and is also a great way to practice self compassion.

You don't have to be religious to practice this, nor do you have to follow a religion with a god or with "praying" routines.

Meditation

My personal favorite is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method, but there are SO many that I cannot begin to describe them all.

The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, method activates self-awareness with senses: 5 things with your eyes, 4 things with your ears, 3 things with your body, 2 things with your nose, 1 thing with your tongue.

Another common one is the body scan, where you dedicate time to "scanning" your body and becoming aware of it, from your feet to your head. You can find more exercises here and here.

WOOHOO! We're done with the boring part.

Things to do when you need to feel control

1. Organize a photo board of good memories. Or of your favorite celebrity or TV show. This can be a

digital photo board too! (Aka Pinterest.)

2. Make a list of your friend's birthdays. And then make them some quirky/funny birthday cards in advance.

3. Make a playlist for a friend. Put it on a CD or cassette if you feel like it.

4. Clean your room, but reorganize it completely different.

5. Dye your hair. (Listen…I'm not talking about a salon dye. Grab a friend and hit Walmart -- you can get semi-permanent hair dye for about $5.)

6. Go to a dollar store, or FiveBelow (god bless), or a thrift store. Buy a cheap glass dish and write whatever is stressing you out. Smash that darn thing on the ground outside. (Please be safe and smart about this.)

Things to do when you need to feel less alone

1. Text or post on social media this question: "What is the best memory we have together?" Print those comments out and tape them in a journal or on your wall.

2. Make a web of people you love. Whether that's a complex spiderweb made out of yarn or just a piece of paper and pencil, trust me, it'll give you some perspective.

3. Invite a friend over to make some baked goods. (You can get some cheap cookie mix for $2-$4.) Play some board games, or answer some deep question prompts back and forth.

4. Build a huge fort with a pal and watch a feel-good movie. (Feel-good on your terms, BTW. Some people's feel-good is a horror movie). Make some popcorn. Have a sleepover in that fort.

5. Read a book with a main character similar to you.

6. Listen to music that describes how you're feeling. Or, how you'd like to be feeling.

Things to do when you're bored or need a break

1. Play a video game! (PSST…Fortnite is free. Or check out the free or indie games on Steam).

2. Host a spa day with your friends. (P.S. I don't care what gender you are, there is nothing quite like a face mask and coconut oil in your hair.)

3. Host a "fancy" party in which you dress up and eat cheap snacks of your choice. Make fake nominations for something. (This is especially fun around Oscars, Emmys, and Tony's time!)

4. Host your own paint'n'pour. You don't need elaborate supplies, I promise. And it doesn't need to be artsy – it can be funny! Hell, if you want to print out something like this and just use crayons/colored pencils lying around, that'd be a pretty fun time.

5. Get some friends together for a mystery dinner potluck. You can find some free ones online or write your own. You can even make this a lunch or brunch time thing if you'd like.

Things to do to take care of yourself

1. Exercise. I know, the last thing you want to hear when you feel bad is the word "exercise." But it scientifically *does* help (read: help, not cure.) You can find yoga Youtube videos online or general equipment-free exercises
2. Shower! Bathe! Take a long bath with Epsom salts. Make your own bath bombs. Shave, if you want to.
3. Make a smoothie. Eat some fruits. And hydrate.
4. Change your clothes. Do your laundry. I promise, you'll feel so much better.

5. Take a nap!

No matter what you choose to do, take care of yourself.

When we let our bodies run on empty, we are less likely to perform at our best. When you give yourself time to relax and heal, you are letting your body and mind recharge to full capacity. At the end of the day, remember, you're human, not a superhero.

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