My Habitual Writing Habit

timsblogEveryone adheres to a writing habit  – some absolutely need that cup of coffee to power them through their text, others may rely on puffing on a cigarette. Some folks, myself included, like to throw on some music and find their mojo the audible way – and that’s what we’re discussing today – the inspiring rhythms of our favorite jams. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Elizabeth Warner

Elizabeth Warner has been writing for more than 20 years. Her work has appeared in publications of the Nature Conservancy, the World Bank Group and other organizations, as well as a number of local and regional newspapers. Warner holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Colgate University.

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Approved Sections: Pets (Writer) & Science (Writer, Content Evaluator and Topic Editor)

You listed “nature photography” under areas of expertise. Why don’t you show us one of your best nature photographs: I’m not sure it’s my ‘best’ photo, but it’s one I like. I do a lot of work (day job) with greater sage grouse – a species on many a birder’s bucket list. But running into this dusky grouse was a huge thrill. Like his male cousins, this guy was a shameless Lothario – more intent on seducing lady grouse than worrying about me. Continue reading

Music + Writing = The Perfect Combination

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Music and I have a longstanding relationship. We understand one another, so there’s not a whole lot of push and pull going on. For example, I’d never go out of my way to attend a music event out in the middle of the desert, surrounded by the ear-piercing screams of fans for three long days; just the thought of that is enough to send shivers down my spine. Rather, music and I have a more robust way of interacting. Preferably, I find myself listening to orchestrated classics right before and oftentimes during my writing segments. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Continue reading

How To: Make an Animated GIF from a YouTube Video

Ever find yourself wishing you could easily make an animated gif from something you saw on YouTube? Well, now you can. Best of all it’s free, relatively painless, and only takes a few short minutes.

After you’ve scoured YouTube for that copyright-free video you want to make into a gif (I chose a Monster Truck fail montage), visit: makeagif.com. Once you’ve opened makeagif.com in a new tab, simply follow the instructions I’ve outlined below.

pro tip: create an account (free) at makeagif.com for quality gifs and no watermarks.
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What’s the point of a “clean” URL? It makes sharing the image much easier, since it won’t link to a website, and instead directs users to the image itself. This way you can upload it to Twitter, Facebook, attach in an email, or even post in the Studio’s Forums minus the headache of sending anyone to a website.

Here we have the final product…

Huge success! (for us, not so much the driver of the truck)

Stick to Your Resolution with STRONGER

If you’re anything like us, you probably made a resolution this year to get in better shape and you’re already watching your gym shoes gather dust in the closet. Well, our friends over at LIVESTRONG.COM have something that might help.

Those of you who contribute to LIVESTRONG.COM already know that this is the go-to destination for people who want to build their own healthy living success stories. Well, that process just got a lot easier thanks to STRONGER.

Stronger2STRONGER is a series of ten 30-minute workouts hosted by top celebrity trainer Nicky Holender. His routines will help you get amazing results in only 30 minutes by focusing on short, high-intensity exercises that force your body to increase your metabolism and get the results you want faster.

Even better, you don’t need weights, you don’t need hours of free time, and you don’t need to leave your home to do it. Perfect if you’re a Studio Editor squeezing in a workout during your lunch hour (really, there’s a group of us here in the office who meet up every day).

The 2014 STRONGER Challenge just got started a week ago and already the workouts have already been viewed over 100,000 times. So if you’re looking to get in better shape this year, head over to LIVESTRONG.COM today and check out STRONGER.

SERENITY NOW!: Getting Proactive With Your Procrastination

Credit: s224.photobucket.com

Credit: s224.photobucket.com

First, it’s just a quick check of your Facebook newsfeed, but then you might as well see what’s new on Reddit. And hey, you probably need something on Amazon, and chances are there’s a new cat video somewhere on the Internet that you should totally watch right now…click, click, click and you’ve just spent half your day wasting time instead of making money.

Procrastination opportunities are almost inescapable when you work in front of a computer all day, especially if there’s no boss to yell at you for watching just one more episode of Orange Is the New Black on Netflix while you “work.” Thankfully, you’re not alone and some folks (likely fellow procrastinators) have com

Credit: absolutevanilla.blogspot.com

Credit: absolutevanilla.blogspot.com

e up with tools to keep you away from those time-sucking websites we all love so much.  Check out these site blockers extensions and add-ons out there, depending on your Internet browser.

Firefox: Check out LeechBlock, an Add-On that lets you create groups of websites to block and then set times for when you want them blocked. Alternatively, you can set time limits on how long you can be on a blocked site. If you want to be really good, have someone else set the password so you can’t access the extension options.

Google Chrome: The StayFocused extension restricts the time you can spend on specific sites. Once you’ve reached your time limit, you’ll be blocked from the site for the rest of the day and then it’s bye-bye random YouTube videos.  The nice thing about StayFocused is that it’s super customizable and you can block not only specific websites, but even types of content, like videos, games, etc.

Safari: Look into the WasteNoTime extension, which functions similar to the Firefox and Chrome site blockers.

Internet Explorer: There are no specific tools or extensions for IE (go figure), but you can always use the child safety functions and block sites that way. (Here’s an eHow article about it!) Additionally, the KeepMeOut service works on any browser. It won’t actually block

you from a site, but it will send you a warning if you visit specific sites too frequently. Sometimes just being told that you’re being lazy is enough to get you back on track.

So there you have it. Pull yourself out of that Wikipedia rabbit hole and actually get some work done. Just don’t forget to hide your smartphone.

By Jessica Noah

P.S. Reading the Demand Studio Blog is not a waste of time, a method of procrastination or rabbit-holing.