Nov 14, 2014

Why It is Important to Think Critically

In light of the current heated debate surrounding my post on Why I Stopped Practicing Ashtanga Yoga (do note that I didn't call it Why YOU Should Stop Practicing Ashtanga Yoga), I came across this awesome video by my friend Veronica today. She runs a YouTube channel where she discusses literature and related issues, and this clip here on why it is important to reflect the culture you're surrounded by and think critically every now and then is a true gem! In case she talks a little too fast for your liking, you can watch the clip in half speed at Soundslice. A well invested seven to fourteen minutes.

Nov 11, 2014

My New Link Saving Addiction - Introducing


I will not lie: It took me a while to wrap my head around why I would need Tagpacker. To be perfectly honest, I thought of it as yet another social network with no chance in hell. And yet, these days I am not only happily employed there, I'm addicted to it. I don't have the slightest idea how I got by without it.

The concept in a nutshell

Tagpacker lets you save, organize and share your favorite content. It's a bookmarking tool as well as a social network, and of course it's free of charge. It's useful for everyone, but especially people who deal with large amounts of information: Bloggers, writers, students, researchers, journalists, scientists, and anyone with a hobby.

>>At Tagpacker, we believe that managing information should be fun. An easy drag and drop technology coupled with a genius search engine and a revolutionary tagging system will make you love your life just a little bit more.<<
Unlike all the other social media tools out there, Tagpacker will actually increase your productivity instead of waste your time. One of the key features from my perspective is its awesome searchability. There's just nothing like it, and if I were Google, I would buy us out.

How it works 

First, you sign up for free. Personally, I sign up with Facebook, but that's not mandatory at all, just convenient.

Then, you fill in your profile and start saving links.

-> We've made a First Steps on Tagpacker video to walk you through the process. Essentially, we'll provide you with a bookmarklet for your toolbar. All you'll need to do is surf to a URL that you like and hit the PACK IT! button. While saving links, you'll get a chance to comment on them or edit how you would like them to appear on your profile. Now, and this is the important step, you tag the link with whatever key word ("tag") you find suitable, and hit save. There's also the possibility of importing preexisting link collections in HTML-files.

You can find out how this process works in more detail by watching Tagpacker's YouTube videos, by reading our how-to page, or simply by checking out my Tagpacker profile and taking a good look around.

Why it's fun

Over time, you’ll notice that patterns emerge. Thanks to Tagpacker, I now know that while I  thought I was collecting articles on blogging, I am really a sucker for how-tos and recipes. Who would have thought?

And because we only just started out, everything smells brand new. The platform is wide open and all your favorite usernames are still available. Anyone can establish themselves as an expert in their field by collecting links they were going to save anyway.

The catch

The only two things to keep in mind when setting up your profile are:

As of yet, all user profiles are public. This might remind you of when Pinterest started out. The good news is that we’re already working on private settings.

It’s highly addictive. #getpacking and you will know what I mean! Once you're beyond your first fifty links, you won't want to imagine life without it. Plus you'll get to see all the stuff your friends and colleagues care about.

Help us succeed

Like any other startup out there, we depend on your support. If you like our platform, please tell your friends that you do, and please give us honest feedback. We're at least as interested in your opinion as we are in your Facebook and Instagram likes, and Twitter follows. Should you have any further questions or concerns, get in touch via mail [at] tagpacker [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you!

Nov 8, 2014

Why You Should Write A Book Sooner Rather Than Later

Image: New Old Imagery

 Ah, the excuses! My favorites include:

“I don’t have time.” Right.
“I have no desk. I mean, I do, but I can’t work there.” Riiiiiiight.
“I have nothing to say and no one will care.” Big societal trap, especially for women. Most definitely untrue!

Whether you are a blogger or a journalist or neither, here is why you should write your book sooner rather than later:

Your ideas matter

It is hard to believe, and it might sound outrageous, but it is actually true: Your ideas matter! If everyone had kept mum about their beliefs and desires, men would never have procreated. There would be no science, no culture, and no one at all to look up to. Also, we need way more famous female writers anyway.

Your experience is both unique and universal

We are going through life on our own, but also together. You might be the only gay person from a minority background in your provincial hometown, but you are not alone in your country, and certainly not in the world. Chances are that if you have found ways of dealing with depression, other depressed people are dying to find out how you coped. Even if your situation is complicated and your circumstances are special, the rest of us will know how to distill advice from what you said.  

You will have ideas you never thought you could come up with

Writing will make your imagination run wild. One thought will lead to the next and then, before you know it, something amazing will happen, whose mastermind is: you. It's pretty magical. 

Nobody else will

There is really just one way to get it right, and it will be your way. Stop wasting time pondering someone else’s ideas - unless, of course, you are planning on discussing them in your book. Vice versa, unless you are putting out (and I am very much using a figure of speech here), no one will waste their own precious brain cells dissecting yours.

It might get published

It took me 17 years to publish my first poetry collection, counted from its oldest poem to the day I was asked to submit my manuscript. Was my book worth the wait? Absolutely. I love how it feels, smells, opens, and closes. And yet, I was a writer before I got signed, and I will remain one, whether or not I will ever be published again. There is no shame in not getting published, only regret in not trying.

Speaking up is important in the grand scheme of things

Yes, jobs, kids, and dogs are important, too. But surfing the Internet hours on end? Not so much. All these interesting articles will still be there when you are done writing. With the only difference being that you used your time on earth creating something that, perhaps, will survive you. One hundred years from now the people we see on the street will have disappeared. There will be a different crowd walking around. It is on us, today, to pay forward the good and the bad and the ugly.

It will be worth it

The journey is the reward, not the money you will not be making. Published or not, writing a book will prove to yourself that you are a writer. You will learn facts about things you never even knew existed. Writing 500 words per day will get you a novel in under four months. Or 250 in eight. Even to a chronically half-blocked writer like myself, that sounds doable. In any case, you’ll gain a reputation. At least in your family circle.