Tag Archives: Writing

Week 10 – Analytics & Friendship with Google

Holy, I cannot believe how fast the semester is going!

I was reflecting on my first process posts this week, and all the fumbling I did initially with Word Press. I started to feel oddly nostalgic about the beginning of this website and how far it has come. It has been so fun to grow in writing, aesthetic, and overall vision.

This week we talked about Google Analytics and SEO. Woah.

Google Analytics has been a really fun tool to experiment and learn with. It was great to have the demonstration in class walk us through some of the more complicated information that is collected through Analytics.

One important thing I noticed is that my bounce rate is quite high at 70%. This means that users are not usually staying on my blog long enough to view content or enjoy the media. I clicked on my homepage to investigate, and I noticed that while my home page is colourful and well organized, it may not be leading viewers into the right area of content. After reading through the welcome message, there is no clear direction for the user to go.

This was confirmed when I looked at the flow of behaviour of users. Most users started on the home page, and then about 50% dropped off after their first interaction. I could decrease my bounce rate by increasing engagement at my home page and directing user flow.

I am going to improve this by updating my home page with a more active vibe, linking users to content and posts that they may be interested in. This way, users will have a clear direction of what they should look at after being introduced to my website.

I am looking forward to seeing how these small changes may affect the way users interact with my blog!

Peer Review #3 – A Blog for Life Livers

I love this blog!

A Blog for Life Livers is written by Hope Stewart, an adventurer and life liver, sharing her stories of childhood joy and new experiences. Hope writes beautifully about enjoying the life around you and being present in every moment. She uses pictures and poems to portray her feelings and emotions from each adventure, with occasional videos showing small moments that she wants to remember.

This is blog that leaves you feeling refreshed, optimistic, and in wonder. Check out a Blog for Life Livers here.

Organization

Hope’s homepage is set with pictures and bold fonts that capture the viewer on first glance. As you scroll through, you’ll see some images that capture the vibe of this website and set the tone for all of her blog posts. There is also a welcome message at the bottom of the page that invites you to consider your own life and how you might create new adventures.

So come in and stay awhile, as each page has been placed here for you: to draw inspiration for your next adventure, to help you conquer fear, to help you seize each day, and to learn to fully immerse yourself in moments both wild and calm.

The top menu is well organized and gives the viewer easy access to the media they are looking for. The media gallery highlights Hope’s videos and photos and immerse the viewer into an adventure of their own. Browsing through Hope’s media makes me feel as though I get to experience a little bit of her adventure as well!

Marketability

This blog presents many beautiful original images that capture the vision of Hope’s website. Creating prints or postcards of these images could be a great way to allow your audience to participate in the stories while supporting your writing! Post cards would be an especially unique product you could sell that represent the slow-ness of handwriting a letter and enjoying every moment.

Check out Hope’s media gallery here.

Another way to market your website could be to partner with tourism companies in encouraging more travelers to come visit their area. Your video of Hornby island captures moments that feel whimsical and magical and could definitely inspire more people to visit those places! One suggestion would be contacting small island communities like Bowen Island, Gibsons, or Lund and offering to make them a video showcasing the best part of their city! This could be a great way to travel, gain more content for your website and generate revenue.

This website is beautifully simple and refreshingly organized, so I would hesitate to incorporate ads that may hinder the viewer experience given that this blog is very experience driven. One possibility for ad revenue could be to partner with related companies to promote products that relate to your blog postings.

An example of this could be with the Mushroom Hunting Blog post. You could reach out to companies that offer classes or books on how to identify mushrooms and then collect revenue based on how may clicks from your blog lead to theirs.

A similar example could be with your Mindfulness and Yoga post. This post links to Yoga Youtubers and workout routines, which could potentially be business partners and generate revenue for your website!

Overall, this is a beautiful website that creates freshness and relief in a busy and confused world. Check out a Blog for Life Livers to enjoy nature, mindfulness, and stealing moments as presented by Hope Stewart.

Stealing moments helps you realize that you are the master of your own time and that you have more control over your own happiness than it may feel. It helps you look for little silver linings in the smallest of things and encourages gratitude and mindfulness.”

Week 9 – The Business of Publishing

Entrepreneurship & Monetization. Hm.

I have a background in businesses and entrepreneurship, so our talk from Trevor was a lot of things I have already heard through marketing classes, but it was interesting to hear in terms of publishing our unique websites.

It seems funny to put a price tag on art and creative work, but for artists and creatives, this is what they deal with everyday.

I have some friends that are musicians, and I’ve heard many times from them about how it can be frustrating to self-promote and sell tickets to shows when really all you care about is the art of creating. I think for this to be sustainable and not a ‘sell-out’ situation, monetization has to be carefully thought out with lots of emphasis put into maintaining your core values.

This is the struggle shown by the “The Toast is Toast” reading (Carpenter, 2016). This blog had incredible content and a strong following; however they weren’t able to get enough financial support, and the administrative tasks of website upkeep became two much for the blogging duo. This is the danger of wanting art to remain separate from business.

In considering my own website, I have linked to a lot of related bloggers and products that my readers may be interested in. If I was to monetize, I would like to carefully curate the businesses being addressed on my site, and preferably I would like to have relationships with the companies I am linking to. This way I could monitor what is being promoted through my voice.

For this semester, I will refrain from installing ads on my website and instead reach out to some bloggers that may be interested in collaborating with me!

Music for Joyful Mornings

Who here loves music?

I actually really didn’t when my parents made me take piano lessons in elementary school. But from that push in my younger years, I have learned to appreciate how music can be a comfort and a friend in times of struggle.

This is a short playlist I’ve put together to cultivate joyful mornings.

It’s a little folksy, a little optimistic, and hopefully a fresh listen for you to enjoy today.

Check out joyful mornings here.

It’s a Lumpia Remix

Time to try something new!

My boyfriend loves to cook, and I am so blessed by that everyday. One thing his family loves to make for special occasions is a Filipino dish called Lumpia. Lumpia was brought to the Philippines by Hokkien immigrants in the 17th century and has been a favourite ever since!

But Cortney, what does this have to do with contentment?

Well personally, with Fall quickly turning into Winter, I have noticed myself feeling restless because of the rain and the lack of social events. But being inside also allows you to try new things like cooking! So today we will embark on a cooking adventure 😊

We started by making a traditional style lumpia with chicken, carrots, cabbage and seasonings. We marinated the chicken over night in a mix of soy sauce, honey, and brown sugar. This gave the chicken great flavour when it was finished!

Once we had the filling, we took the wrappers and began making our rolls! I definitely have a new found respect for anyone that makes home made spring rolls or dumplings – it takes so much time!

Now for the remix.

 A traditional dessert lumpia is made with banana called Turon – but we thought since it’s Fall, lets try apple spice lumpia!

For this we made an apple pie filling with King Apples, Cinnamon, and a lot of brown sugar. Wrapping these lumpia was funny because the filling has a bit too much liquid. We solved this by using two wrappers to hold everything in.

And voila! Ready for the fryer.

The key here is making sure your oil temperature is stable. Too hot and your lumpia will get burnt, but too cold and they won’t crisp right!

We did this out on our patio to limit the spray of oil in the kitchen – and thankfully it wasn’t too cold! Once we had jackets and touques on that is.

Then finally, after two hours of cooking they were ready! And they were indeed delicious.

Fall Favourites

The leaves are changing, the air is crisp and pumpkins are abundant – Fall is here!

To start the season, I wanted to write out some of my Fall favourites so I can get inspired to get cozy this season. Check out my recent Pinterest board for some Autumn inspiration!

To start us off, here are some of my favourite Fall things.

Warm Drinks

I love tea! And really any warm drink for that matter. There is no better time for sitting down for a warm cup of tea or coffee with one of your friends. One café I have been loving recently is C Market Coffee. This café and restaurant offers a range of unique drink ideas and delicious desserts. They also have pink, blue, and gold lattes for anyone looking to try something out of the ordinary. Find their website here.

Brisk Walks

As a student and lover of the outdoors, walking study breaks have been crucial for me this season. Going for a walk in the afternoon is a great way to clear your mind, take a deep breath and admire the golden tones in the trees!

Candles

Candles remind me of warmth especially when it’s getting colder outside. I love the feeling of sitting with a blanket and watching the rain with a candle lit to ward off the darkness. Not to mention the festive scents!

Socks

I am such a sucker for a cozy pair of socks, especially ones with festive patterns! If I’m ever feeling down on a rainy day, one thing that will cheer me up is putting on a pair of my favourite socks. Nordic Socks creates beautiful wool socks that are great for hiking, skiing, or movie watching. I love the patterns and fall tones of these socks! Check them out here.

Pumpkin Everything

I shamelessly love everything pumpkin. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin patches and anything with the word pumpkin attached to it really. The bright colours and bold scents of pumpkins really break up the dreariness of fall for me, and remind me that seasons don’t last forever – summer is coming!

Those are some of my recent fall favourites, although there’s many other things I can think of to be thankful for during this season!

Leave a comment of some of your favourite fall recipes, outfits, or ideas! Lets enjoy this sunset season together.

Week 8 – Pinterest & Literature

Okay, I definitely just lost 20 minutes of time to this reading and I have no idea what is going on. Find it here.

This week I spent some time curating Pinterest boards and trying to maintain the aesthetic vibe I have already created. The most recent board I have created revolves around Fall, and contains baking, self-care, and socks. I’m always a sucker for a new pair of socks.

Find Fall: Contentment here.

Creating Pinterest boards has helped me to refine my vision for Habits for Contentment. The website structure allows me to easily pick ideas and photos that relate to the themes I am trying to communicate. It has been a really fun way to get creative and explore content!

Another reading we had this week was about the Business of Literature. The article is linked here.

As a business student studying entrepreneurship, I was very intrigued to read about publishing and business. The article presents the ‘book’ not as a commodity, but as a technology that has been constantly changing to adapt to a dynamic world. It mentions how books and literature have been a disruptive technology that changes culture and the people around it. One example it highlights is how books have allowed people to learn about economics, social class, and human rights by informing citizens of the world around them.

This was a thought provoking read, and an encouragement regarding the future ahead for publishing and literature.

Productivity During a Pandemic

I’ve been in quarantine for two months now, and it is not going the way I expected. When it first started, many people (myself included) saw it as an opportunity to be productive and do things we hadn’t had time for during our everyday lives. Friends told me about their big plans and I read about famous novels and plays that had been written while the authors were quarantined, and it put a lot of pressure on me to finally write a novel. This was my chance, after all. I’d never get another stretch of time this long off work, so if I didn’t do it now, I might never do it. The immense pressure I felt had the opposite effect it was meant to, and I still haven’t done any creative writing, but that’s okay.

I’ve talked about this before, but I really don’t think pressure is a good motivator (at least not for me). I also feel that my goal of writing an entire novel that would (hopefully) one day become a bestseller wasn’t very realistic, and that made it even more difficult to do. I’ve never written a complete novel before, so it is already a daunting task without the added pressure of having to do it before quarantine ends.

Quarantine itself has also been a strange experience; initially I was too stressed to accomplish anything, then I overcame my anxiety and focused on finishing my final projects, and since then, I’ve spent most of my time relaxing. I do feel like I deserve a break; I did just finish my degree after five grueling years, after all. Plus, as I stated before, I’ll never have another stretch of time off like this – it’s possibly the only time I can spend months relaxing until I retire, so I might as well take advantage of it and recharge before I start working full-time (whenever that happens – there aren’t a lot of jobs available right now, for obvious reasons). For these reasons, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not going to write a novel during this time, and I’m okay with that. I still have the rest of my life to write, after all.

So, since I won’t be accomplishing the one big, unrealistic goal I wanted to accomplish, I set my sights on a few smaller goals, and focusing on those has made me feel much better. I had a few realistic goals for this time: I wanted to work out consistently, I wanted to start writing on my blog again, I wanted to grow my nails out (I compulsively pick them – it’s a bad habit I’ve had for years), I wanted to talk with friends more, I wanted to rewatch some of my favourite film series such as The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, and I wanted to read (as an English major, I’ve barely done any pleasure reading since I started my degree, and I wanted to get back into it).

None of these goals were crazy, unachievable things, and that made them easier to accomplish. Plus, I kept them vague – I didn’t plan to post three times a week on my blog or read 25 books, and this vagueness also helped. I could accomplish these goals at my own pace, and any effort I put towards them counted as an accomplishment, which made me feel better about it and encouraged me to continue.

I can proudly say that I have accomplished each of my goals, even if only to a small extent. I’ve been working out every other day, I’ve been writing blog posts about once a week, my nails have grown, I’ve talked to all of my friends (some almost every day), I’ve rewatched most of my favourite film series, and I’ve read two books and am halfway through a third. These may seem to be small accomplishments, but I’m proud of them nonetheless.

I think making a few smaller, more realistic goals is better and easier than having one or two big, unrealistic goals, and the feeling you get when you accomplish the smaller goals may push you to keep going and work at one of your bigger ones. Even if you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything during the last few months, I encourage you to look back and try to name two or three accomplishments, no matter how small they are. This will help you realize that you have not just been wasting your time, and will make you feel better when you look back on this time. Though, of course, there is nothing wrong with not accomplishing anything – in fact, relaxing could be seen as a sort of accomplishment, or at least something that’s good for you.

Basically, don’t beat yourself up over not achieving that Big Goal you had – it’s totally fine to use this time as a break, and small accomplishments are still valid and important. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else or put unrealistic expectations on yourself. This is a tough time for everyone without the added stress of being productive, so don’t let that weigh you down – just do whatever is best for you.

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Life in Quarantine

Over a month ago, when COVID-19 ramped up significantly and caused my classes to go online and my jobs to close, I made the decision to go back to my hometown and quarantine with my family. I’m so glad I made that decision, as I can’t imagine how I’d be feeling if I was alone in my apartment right now.

Temporarily moving back home has been pretty weird. The first few days, I just worried about everything going on, but I slowly calmed down and tried to be more positive. I started adjusting to my new normal, and now I’m completely used to living here. I truly never thought I would live with my parents again, but this is a pretty unusual situation, and at the end of all this I will be heading back to Vancouver, although being there will surely feel different.

My initial plan while staying here was to be extremely productive and do everything I’ve never had the time to do before, but I quickly realized that that was not going to happen, and that’s okay. I needed to relax and focus on my mental health for the first little while before I could think about doing “productive” stuff. I watched movies and tv shows, I spent hours on reddit, I talked to friends constantly. It was actually really nice to have a break – I think I needed it. Life has been pretty crazy, with COVID-19, me finishing my last semester of university, and my post-graduation plans being thrown out the window, at least for the time being. I needed to just unwind and take a break.

Now that I feel sufficiently relaxed, I’m ready to start being productive. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself – I initially planned to write an entire novel while in quarantine, but the pressure to do so caused a lot of anxiety that led to me being too scared to even start. I’ve since made my goals a little more realistic, and have subsequently started working out, started reading again, and started writing blog posts again (guess I’m doing pretty well so far). There are a few more things I’d like to do, including video chatting with friends, as I’ve done this once so far and found it much more enjoyable than talking over text, plus I would really like to talk to people other than my immediate family. I would also like to do some creative writing, but this time, I’m not going to put as much pressure on myself – I don’t need to write an entire novel, I can write short stories or slowly start writing a novel without pressuring myself to get it done right away. I think if you put too much pressure on yourself, it impedes your ability to actually get things done (or maybe that’s just me).

Apparently, we have at least another month of social distancing left until things go back to “normal”, and in a weird way I am grateful for that, as it means more time with my family and more time (hopefully) being somewhat productive while I actually have time to do everything I want to do. Nobody knows how long this will last, but it’s important that we all take care of ourselves and our mental health right now and do what is best for us, whether that be accomplishing nothing at all or being super productive. We also need to show empathy to others, as not everyone is lucky enough to relax at home and not have to worry about their loved ones. These are truly extraordinary times, and hopefully when everything is said and done, we can work to make this world a better place.

Stay safe, everybody.

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Archetypes: Ruler

Power is not everything, it is the only thing. Taking responsibility not only for his own life, but the lives of others, the Ruler is one of the most recognizable and easily corruptible Jungian archetypes. This is the archetype of power, plain and simple, but what comes with power is a dangerous tightrope walk between order and…

Archetypes: Magician

Rules of reality crumble before some. If you’ve ever read fantasy, you know the Magician. Catalysts for change, Magicians operate on a plane above everyone else, able to conjure outcomes and affect change in ways that hoist them from mortal to magi in the eyes of the populace. As I have mentioned in prior posts in this…