3 Benefits of Minimalism

Minimalism caught my attention because I found it purposeful. It helps you get rid of things that you don’t use, so that you’re surrounded by things that serve a purpose.

Growing up, I found my self in houses, trailers, and apartments with basic furnishings. The backseat of our van became our couch for some time while I was in high school. It got to the point where we moved on an almost yearly basis; our few and simple pieces of furniture reflected that instability. Year by year, I learned how to let go of more material things.

But when I stumbled upon Youheum’s Youtube channel Heal Your Living, I felt uncomfortable with extreme minimalism. As I watched Youheum’s video “26 Things I Don’t Buy or Own – Extreme Minimalist Frugal Living”, I wondered what it would take for me to let go of my precious hair dryer.

Youheum does not own physical books, reads from an ebook reader, and does not have furniture in her living space. She does have a hammock which I think is pretty cool.

Even though I am not ready to live an extreme minimalist lifestyle, I feel inspired by her. The following are three reasons for why minimalism seems to have more benefits than harm.

#1 Helps You Save Money

  • Having a minimalistic mentality prompts you to be more conscious of why you want to buy something. Do you really need that?
  • Shopping with a minimalistic mentality keeps you from spending money on things that you might only use once or things that you might never even take the price label off.
  • Whatever money you don’t spend on things you don’t necessarily need means you have more money to put towards your dreams like your dream vacation, dream car, or appliance upgrade.

#2 Helps You Focus on What Truly Matters To You

  • Having a minimalistic home also helps highlight the stuff that really matters to you.
  • Maybe a tour of your home gives people a glimpse of all of your kitchen gadgets because you love to cook or bake. Maybe you’re a painter and have a set space with all of your finished paintings, easels, and brushes.
  • There’s more space for your hobbies and interests.

#3 You help the environment

  • Considering all of the horrible images people share on social media and the news on how plastic and trash are killing animals around the world, minimalism can serve as a stepping stone to help us do our part in protecting the environment.

Although Youheum admits to be on the extreme side of minimalism, she accepts the differences between her and her sister’s minimalist lifestyles. Her sister has chosen to keep furniture as part of her lifestyle.

I’m not sure how much I’m willing to let go of in order to live a minimalist lifestyle. How much would you be willing to let go to live a minimalist lifestyle? How are you a minimalist?

7 Steps to Writing an Effective Blog Tagline

Are you looking for ways to create an effective blog tagline? This post will show you how I created a tagline after blogging for one year. Not having a clear tagline at the beginning of my blogging journey helped me create one after I start blogging, and you can too.

I definitely don’t believe that it should take people one year to write an effective tagline. It took me one year to write one because it took me one year to take blog writing seriously. You can say that I worked backwards–I wrote for the blog first, then polished the tagline–and it worked.

#1 How blogging without a niche for a while can help you

If you don’t have a set purpose for blogging or a niche, blogging for some time has benefits because you accumulate data to analyze such as your stats that can help you come up with your blog’s purpose. Your blog’s purpose tells your readers what topics they’ll regularly find on your blog.

#2 Make a list of the tags and categories that you use the most and that have been the most popular

Look at the tags and categories that you’ve used the most and that have been the most popular. These will let you narrow down the topics that you are passionate about writing, the themes that are present in your life, and the topics that you find easiest to write about.

The following are examples of the most popular tags and categories that I’ve used in my blog: inspiration, motivation, writers, readers, reading, writing, tips, creative, poetry, journaling, thoughts, life, language, and blogging.

The tags and categories that have been the most popular helps you be of service to your readers through your writing.

Example of top tags & categories

#3 Look at the posts that have been the most popular all year

Looking through the titles of the posts that were the most popular in my first year of blogging helped me find the topics that were of interest and who my ideal readers are.

Here is the list of top posts on this blog. I found that readers were interested in the topics of writing, blogging, and personal development/motivation.

Example of list of top posts

#4 How have you been serving your readers with the most popular tags, categories, and posts?

A lot of the most popular posts on this blog started with a question like how, one of the five W’s: when, why, how, where, and what. So, I learned that readers were looking for answers and explanations.

Popular blogging advice recommends you to provide solutions to problems. However, in my case, it took me some time to figure out what questions I could answer or provide my input, and I found that a lot of them have to do with writing and living in general.

The “Why I didn’t give up” post in the list above can be turned into “Why you shouldn’t give up”. The “How I’m letting go” article can be turned to “How to let go”. In this way you turn the focus on your readers even if you’re writing from your life experiences.

#5 What type of reader are you serving?

I learned that I was serving creative writers, readers, and life-long learners. Since I’m still serving multiple audiences, I’m hoping to see if I can or should narrow down to one audience as I continue blogging. I write about writing and life, and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to merge the two. I’m aware that writers might not want to read posts about life. Also, readers of the blog who are interested in the the posts that are non-writing related may not want to read about writing.

Here are some examples of an ideal reader: Bloggers serve readers by offering all types of information and entertainment. Some readers want information on beauty products and tips. Others may want to know how they can live environmentally-friendly lifestyles.

#6 Keep it simple & purposeful

It took some tries to keep the tagline simple and purposeful. I asked myself: how is this blog going to help readers? What I came up with was inspiration, motivation, and thoughts on writing and life. (I’m still a little iffy on the “thoughts” part, but the inspiration and motivation works for me.)

When I was using a tagline that described me but did not describe how the blog helps readers, I knew it was the wrong tag line. The blog has become a space that belongs to all readers of the blog. I wanted to find a tagline that keeps me inspired to write but also has a clear purpose for readers.

#7 Finally, go change that tagline!

After you analyze your blog and narrow down the purpose for your blog, have fun combining words and phrases to create your new tagline.

Join the conversation

How did you create your tagline? What are your thoughts on taglines?

What Love Letters Teach Me about Writing

letters-1390463_1920The other day I watched P.S. I Love You for the first time even though it’s a popular romantic movie. Even though it’s not a movie specifically about the writing process, it teaches three things about writing that I actually already know, but that I don’t mind being reminded of. 

If you have already watched the movie or if you don’t mind spoilers, please continue reading.

After her husband, Gerry, dies, letters start arriving from him as a way to help Holly cope with his death and to remind her of his love for her. Although her mother is initially against the idea, the letters help Holly with the grieving process.

At one point, Gerry tells Holly to only keep his jacket, and to get rid of everything else that belonged to him. And I wonder how much longer it would have taken for Holly to let go of his stuff if he hadn’t prompted her.

Gerry’s love letters to Holly teach me the following:

1. You need to know your audience.

What I like about Gerry’s letters is that he knows how Holly is dealing with his death. Gerry predicts that Holly will visit his parents when she is in Ireland, and his mom gives Holly one of his letters that he left there for her. Gerry also finds the connection between Holly’s love of shoes and her dream of creating. So he guides her to a new job of designing shoes.

2. Your writings don’t have to be read by every single person on earth. They can be written with only one person or specific group of people in mind.

Lately, I’ve been learning that all of my blog posts are not meant to be read by all of the people who follow this blog. Some topics resonate to people more than others, and that’s totally fine! Gerry’s letters which are addressed only to Holly (with the exception of two letters) make me value every piece of writing (regardless of how many people are in our audience.) This makes me think of one of my classmates from university. Any time I emailed her, her personality shone through her emails, and even though the email was directed only to me, the quality of her emails was so rich because she had her signature writing style. I would buy all of her books!

3. Each writing has a purpose.

By the end of the movie, we know that the purpose of the love letters was to help Holly move on after Gerry’s death. Gerry tells Holly in her last letter that it’s okay to fall in love with someone else.