Author Archive: H. Katz

Four fun ways to use social media for writing inspiration

One of the great complaints about social media is that it wastes time. Twitter, Facebook, and all the rest can derail your work.

However, I’ve been trying to make peace with social media by discovering some of its benefits. Among these is the potential to inspire writing ideas.

The following are four ways to turn social media into a source of writing inspiration:

1) Tweets as prompts

A tweet could push you to write a longer piece.

Maybe it will trigger an idea for a work of fiction.

Maybe it will display such an absence of knowledge and critical thought, that you’ll feel compelled to write an article or blog post setting things right.

Maybe a topic trending on Twitter is worth expanding on. (Why is it trending? What’s interesting about it?)

2) How would five different people react to the same Facebook post?

Your Facebook friend has posted a favorable op-ed on your least favorite politician, or a recipe using three different ingredients you’re allergic to. Instead of stopping at your own immediate reaction, consider how different people would respond to the same post.

These could be five different fictional characters. Or maybe three people representing different philosophical, political or religious schools of thought.

3) Continue a scene on Vine

The videos are short and play in a loop. Imagine what could happen next.

4) Create a writing project Pinterest board

You can keep a board with public domain images you plan to use for a series of upcoming blog posts or articles.

Another type of board collects images that set the mood for a work of creative fiction or help you flesh out your main characters (the clothes they wear, what their homes look like, etc.)

Make your Pinterest board secret if you’re concerned about sharing too much about a writing project early on or feel uncomfortable displaying other people’s copyrighted images publicly without their consent.

Have you ever found writing inspiration in social media?

For creative fiction, content writing, or anything else?

It’s possible to fall into another time trap, where you endlessly search for inspiration and compile ideas from social media without ever writing anything (similar to reading countless online articles on productivity without getting anything done).

I also doubt I’ll suddenly take to social media and spend much more time on it. But I can learn to work with it more, which includes benefiting from whatever it offers that’s informative or inspiring.

– Hila

11 types of blog posts for doctors

Maintaining a blog for your medical practice is an excellent way to promote yourself, connect with patients, and further establish your authority. It will also give you more content to share on social media (Referral MD has an excellent post here about the impact of social media on health care.)

When it comes to blog posts for doctors, what topics can work well? From my extensive experience providing posts for medical blogs, I recommend the following 11 types:

Doctors stethoscope 2

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Which of the Hogwarts Houses Fits Your Writing Personality?

Welcome to Hogwarts School of Writing. The Hogwarts houses remain the same as in the school of witchcraft and wizardry from J.K. Rowling’s books, but this time you’re going to get sorted into one of the houses based on your writing personality.

Each of the Hogwarts houses has its potential strengths and weaknesses. Do you write like a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin?

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Inspiration Medley #1

Every so often, I’ll share a collection of links I’ve found inspiring for their beauty, creativity or humor.

Century of Hairstyles – US hairstyle fashions, 1910s to 2010s.

Hôtel de Glace – Canada has a hotel made entirely of snow and ice, built fresh every year and used for a few months (really, people stay in it). Then it dissolves with the spring…

HYBYCOZO – Otherworldly polyhedron sculptures, a joint project of Serge Beaulieu and Yelena Filipchuk.

Mushrooms Glowing – Martin Pfister’s magical photos of mushrooms.

Stunning Trees – Beth Moon photographs incredible trees from around the world.

Weather Zones in America the Beautiful – I live in the “snow-covered moonscape.”

– Hila

Real-Time Marketing Example: Tweeting Winter Storm Juno

As Winter Storm Juno tore into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, many people kept track of it on Twitter. Hashtags like #juno2015 and #blizzardof2015 sprung up, allowing people to easily search for storm-related updates.

Businesses also took the opportunity to reach out to Twitter followers and a wider pool of potential customers through real-time marketing. The following are a few examples:

  • Self Magazine shared this tweet about slow-cooker recipes, which they addressed to people “holed up in the next few days.”
  • Petco tweeted this advice on keeping pets safe during the storm.
  • Ben & Jerry’s shared well-wishes and a cute image of their ice cream arranged in snowflake formation.

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Six reasons your research abstract is poorly written

In January 2009, PhD Comics published a funny abstract template (Mad Libs for the busy researcher). It’s good for some laughs, though you might wonder if your own research abstract is any better.

Your research abstract is people’s first impression of your work. It has to engage them and give them a reason to keep reading. At the same time, it has to stand alone; even if people stop at the abstract, they still need to get a clear idea about the questions your research addresses and the main findings.

A poorly written abstract can obscure your important or interesting findings, discourage other people from looking more closely at your work, and decrease your chances of getting published and cited.

Why is your research abstract poorly written? The following are six possible reasons:

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Four signs you’re talking down to customers

One way to demonstrate an understanding of your target customers is to find the right way to communicate with them. One potential misstep is talking down to customers. By communicating in a patronizing or condescending way, you give a sign that you’re out-of-touch with them. They might wind up turning away from the perceived insult.

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