Why attending workshops is important for would-be writers

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A lot of beginning writers tend to be very guarded about their work, unwilling to show what they’ve written to others outside a handful of friends or family members. But this is often the reason why they don’t get enough critical response to realize the value of revision. Criticism is one aspect of the writing life that writers should embrace more.

And there’s no better venue for soliciting advice and constructive critique than a writing workshop. In many countries where there’s a blossoming or established culture of creative writing, part of the so-called rite of passage to make it into the writing circles is to pass one’s pieces to national writing workshops. Once a young writer gets accepted, his or her work then gets studied or “workshopped” by a panel composed of often established poets, fictionists, and essayists.

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The workshop is an important place to learn key writing values like close-reading other people’s work, creating distance from one’s own if it does need a revision or even an overhaul, and, all in all, learning to leave one’s ego out the door. Writers can sometimes get too self-absorbed, something not helped by non-critical praise of their work from people close to them. But it’s within the bigger community of fellow writers that our work should be subjected to scrutiny.

No one writes in a vacuum. If writers are to truly hope to be read by the world, especially by strangers, and for their works to stand the test of time, then the well-rounded critique that occurs in writing workshops is something they must face. After all, the really committed would ask questions and persist even if initial reactions to his or her piece are not positive.

Hi! I’m Steve Sorensen, a 32-year-old writer based in San Diego. Outside writing, my hobbies include hiking, fishing, cooking, and surfing. For more on me and my interests, drop by this page.

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Hiring the right employee: Three simple ways to do it

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Hiring new employees is a critical part of being a business leader. The best employees can bring companies to heights they have never been and to business triumphs they have never experienced. When it comes to the world of staffing, it is no secret that some individuals are just better fits for the role than others in the bunch.

Hiring managers must look for individuals who are committed to seeing their careers bloom. These career-oriented individuals are the best candidates for any job. Employees who jump from one job to another frequently for the sole reason of getting a higher salary aren’t ideal for positions which can head to leadership roles. In order to do this successfully, a company must create a strong employer brand.

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Employers must write better job descriptions, focusing on what the company can do for its potential employees. This technique will attract candidates who better fit the business’s needs, instead of candidates being demanded of what’s expected of them. Skillset is an important factor when it comes to assessing a candidate for the job. However, hiring managers must begin to consider a candidate’s personality traits, whether they align with the work tasks or not. Skills can be acquired; characteristics cannot.

The kind of person a company hires depends on the culture of the organization and the kind of job itself. A great individual with all types of skills could be a good match for one job and an unlikely fit for another, plainly based on the kind of person they are.

Steve Sorensen is an expert in the staffing industry. He is the CEO, owner, and builder of Select Staffing, which grew from a two-branch, $3-million local Santa Barbara boutique business into a specialty staffing enterprise with a $2-billion revenue and more than 400 locations. For more updates from Steve Sorensen, visit this blog.

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The health benefits of hiking regularly

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Arguably no other outdoor activity can alleviate your stress better than hiking, according to a recent, large-scale study done by the University of Michigan. Walking and communing with nature improve both your physical and mental well being, especially in this internet age when many people tend to remain glued to their chairs at home and leading sedentary lives.

With hiking, no one tells you how to chart your course. You can go wherever you like and at your own pace. This freedom helps both the body and the mind by giving you full control of things. You are your own boss whenever you go on a hiking adventure.

Even just an hour of trekking can burn over 500 calories, especially because most hiking trails have a certain level of incline. Also, trails are of soft earth and thus are much kinder to your feet and legs than concrete or asphalt. Hiking is certainly an enjoyable way to improve your fitness without the feeling that you’re consciously trying to lose weight.

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Hiking is also a proven hobby for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Doing this regularly reduces one’s risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Your blood-sugar levels go down, and you improve your glucose tolerance. At the same time, it gives your various muscles groups a good and balanced workout and tones your entire body.

Lastly, research shows that hiking is one of the best ways to curb depression and increase your happiness levels. In a big way, it’s also a therapeutic endeavor that can help you process your thoughts and problems while inspiring you to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Steve Sorensen is a San Diego born and bred writer who is also into fishing, hiking, and cooking. Read more about Steve here.

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Five behind-the-scenes secrets of movie making

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The finished product is what we as viewers see on the big screen, and we often marvel at its scale, vision, and iconic qualities. But what about the behind-the-scenes moments that deserve their own recognition? Here are five of them to think about today.

Fistfights and misbehavior:  George Clooney publicly admitted to getting into a fistfight with his “Three Kings” director David O. Russell, a fight that’s instigated by a verbal lashing the director gave his assistant director.  At the set of “Titanic,” someone spiked the production crew’s food with the drug phencyclidine (PCP), which led some 80 people to be hospitalized with hallucinations.

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The wonder of the chroma key:  The green screen’s magic comes from computer-generated special effects separating the subjects from the green screen and adding the desired backgrounds.

The fine art of background acting:  These actors make movie and TV scenes more realistic and exciting. But what the audience sees as “talking” is merely mouth-opening with no sounds, as filming is fueled by powerful microphones that can pick up the slightest sounds.

While characters eat, actors don’t:   Actors ideally shouldn’t get stuffed, especially when they’re doing multiple takes of a scene. So they bite and chew food and camera but never swallow it.

Actors also read from cue cards:  Marlon Brando refused to memorize his lines, citing the need for spontaneity. So what happened in the movie “The Godfather” was this:  director Francis Ford Copolla used cue cards slapped on different surfaces and even actors.

Steve Sorensen is a writer from San Diego.  For more on Steve’s writings, click here.

 

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How electric cars are changing the world for good

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The future looks electric, at least as far as vehicles are concerned.  Tesla is leading the way in exploring electric cars and more traditional auto makers are following suit, such as Volvo’s announcement that all of its cars will have electric motors by 2019.  Countries like China, India, Britain, and France are looking to phase out the sale of petrol as well as diesel vehicles over the next few decades.  Here are some ways that electro-mobility is bringing about unprecedented changes.

Global employment

Electric vehicles and their batteries generally require less manufacturing labor than ones running on petroleum.  Thus a phasing-out of combustion engines by year 2030 could affect about 600,000 jobs in Germany alone, according to a report.  While some traditional manufacturers have shut down a number of facilities, the production of electric vehicles are streamlined and robotized, creating new opportunities and areas for growth.  Reactions are mixed, but the industry is definitely making waves in job demand and diversity.

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Lower emissions

This is one of the primary benefits, and lower emissions are poised to improve health and the fight against climate change in cities worldwide, from Paris to Mexico City to Beijing.  Noise pollution is also anticipated to be greatly reduced.

Oil disruption

An all-electric world by 2030 will change the economy of major oil-producing nations as well as change the geopolitical map.  Oil demand is seen to peak at 100 million barrels a day by 2020, and shift to 70 million barrels a day by 2030.  Predicted to feel the greatest blow are countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

Effects on consumers

Electric cars are expected to entail minimal maintenance, stay easy to charge, boast plenty of range, and emit no smell or noise like petrol does.  Young kids are thought to suffer from less carsickness, while AI, robotics, and the Internet of Things, to name a few, are seen bring about a whole new car-riding experience.  Proponents even point out that one may never have to buy another car again, as electric cars aren’t about to stop running or slowly wear down, except for the battery.

Steve Sorensen is a photographer and filmmaker from Manhattan, New York.  He gets around the city using his Tesla, which he thinks is a good alternative car. Learn more on this page.

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The hiring process: Tips to finding the right employees

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Clever hiring managers know how to spot a good employee the moment they come in the office for an interview.  Businesses need to have the right employees in their team to keep the company expanding and improving in its field.  Hiring managers must be keen on finding employees that possess the right characteristics in order to work excellently in the company.

Hiring managers must look for employees that are capable.  Individuals who are able to complete easy tasks and find ways to carry out functions that necessitate more productivity and creativity are needed by every business.  Such employees are great learners, having the potential to grow and take on more responsibility.

Probably the most important factor to consider, a hiring manager must spot an individual who is competent.  A potential employee must have the necessary skills, experiences, and education to delivery tasks required of the position he or she is applying for.  A potential employee must also be compatible with others in the team.  Having the ability to get along with colleagues and potential clients and partners is a crucial element of being the right employee for a company.

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An employee with an exceptional character may be hard to find, but they are worth the search.  Potential employees must carry the same values as the company they wish to work for.  A hiring manager must know if such individuals are above reproach, selfless, or great team players.  Finding the right employees means finding persons who belong in the culture the business has.

Steve Sorensen is an expert in the staffing industry.  He is the CEO, owner, and builder of Select Staffing, which grew from a two-branch, $3-million local Santa Barbara boutique business into a specialty staffing enterprise with a $2-billion revenue and more than 4oo locations.  For more updates from Steve Sorensen, visit this blog.

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How to hire competent people in your workplace

Job-applicant-having-an-interview.jpgIn any business, hiring competent people is one of the keys to success.  And most of the time, an applicant’s CV does not guarantee a good employee behind it.  Company human resources often have recourse to strategies for knowing their applicants further before offering any position.  To hire more competent people in your workplace, here are some steps you can follow.

Choose the interviewers wisely

What better way to filter out applicants than letting the managers of the department they are applying for do the interview?  This means applicants are asked questions about their competencies in the position for which they are applying.  The interviewers can also showcase real life situations based on their experience to assess the applicant’s qualifications.

Develop the job description

Generic job descriptions will naturally invite generic applicants who may or may not have the chops for what your company needs.  By developing the job description through division or department managers, HR can tailor the job description to depict accurate company needs, the responsibilities of the position, and the skills needed for such.

Business People Sitting In Waiting RoomChoose between internal or external hiring

Sometimes, the right personnel can be working within the same company but under a different department.  Searching among internal personnel is a great idea as it can reduce the need for training and orientation hours.  However, companies may also choose to hire externally if they want new perspectives in the business.

Steve Sorensen  is  the  owner  of  multiple  companies  in  the  staffing,  ranch,  and  artisan  engineering  industries.  He  is  the  CEO,  owner,  and  builder  of  Select  Staffing,  which  grew  into  a  specialty  staffing  enterprise  with  a  $2-billion  revenue  and  more  than  400  locations.  For  similar  reads,  visit  this  website.

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