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11 Things to Remember If You Love a Writer

11 Things to Remember If You Love a Writer

Puzzling, isn’t it?

At times your loved one seems sullen, withdrawn, and devoid of communication. At other times, his obsessive drive is unstoppable, and you wouldn’t even think to try to tame his compulsion to write.

Refusing to communicate with you one minute and yet sharing thousands of words with readers can be frustrating.

Welcome to the personality of a writer.

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While seemingly paradoxical, there are ways to understand them.

Here are 11 tips to understanding (and loving) a writer.

1. They are driven to write daily.

Writing is not a conscious choice. It is a need, as strong a need as any passion. Others are compelled to exercise daily. Writers share the beauty of the written word with others.

2. They are observant.

They see the beauty in things others don’t find interesting at all. For example, they are always on the lookout for an interesting photo to accompany their writing, or a new life lesson to write about.

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3. They don’t listen to critics.

Instead, they listen to their inner sweetheart who encourages them to pursue their passion, to share the love of the written word with others. Their confidence that they have a voice that needs to be heard outweighs their inner critic, or any other critics. Criticizing them will only get you frustrated.The voice of their inner sweetheart is louder.

4. They are well-read.

By reading a variety of authors, they get a variety of ideas and writing styles. They might, inexplicably to you, be in the middle of many books or articles at once.

5. They embrace rejection as a learning experience.

Their craft requires them to face the possibility of rejection on a regular basis. The best writers learn to use rejection as an opportunity to grow and improve.

6. They challenge themselves.

According to Lifehack’s Kevin Kaiser, “Highly creative people wake up every morning fully aware of the need to grow and push themselves.” According to author and blogger Jeff Goins, writers don’t just talk about writing, they take action. If they need to get up two hours earlier than usual to write, they will do it.

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7. They are artists.

Writers express themselves creatively just like artists do. This means writers are artists. Be proud of your artist!

8. They are inspired.

Inspiration may not always strike them at a fortuitous time. If an idea comes into their head while doing something you consider more important, try to be understanding that they may stop your preferred activity to take notes before the idea passes, never to return to their heads again.

9. They are driven to the point of obsession.

Writing takes priority over what they consider the more mundane. Chores definitely fall into this category. Writing takes priority over laundry and dishes. The loved one of the writer should learn to embrace the domestic duties since the need to write will not change. They must write like they must breathe. The dishes can wait.

10. They can write at any hour.

They will write even if it is 2 o’clock in the morning. They are oblivious to the fact that the world is sleeping or that you may think they should be sleeping. They will find a way to get the writing done, so don’t be surprised if you wake in the wee hours of the morning to find your loved one missing. You know where they are—at the computer or writing desk. You know what they are doing; they are conveying their passion for the written word. Although they can write at any hour, they write best at certain times of the day. Do not make social plans for them during the time they will usually be writing. Try and understand this and respect their boundaries.

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11. They can write anywhere they have access to a computer.

Camping trips, beach trips…no place is off limits. This may include the car during a road trip you’d been looking forward to. Be understanding if your loved one wants you to drive, so their hands are free to operate their smartphone.

In conclusion, your loved one is not going to change. On the contrary, according to Lifehack’s Kaiser, creativity, and the adrenaline rush that comes from it, may actually be an addiction.

There is a song from the musical Les Miserables called “A Heart Full of Love.” Your loved one does have a heart full of love—for writing as well as for you. Certainly your loved one is worth that understanding. Writers have big hearts, big enough for both you and the written word.

 

Featured photo credit: Doug Robichaud via unsplash.com

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Janice Wald

Teacher, Author, Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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