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We’re all familiar with the concept of bloggers. They’re often called ‘influencers’ these days, and they lead spotless, minimalist, neatly-curated lives. Or, at least, that’s what it looks like on the surface. There’s nothing better than sitting down and reading through all of the new stuff in your Bloglovin’ feed, but sometimes it can leave you feeling cold as you read about one aesthetically-perfect life after another. Luckily, there are other bloggers out there. They keep it real. They give a glimpse into their actual lives the way they actually are. And, most importantly, they write about what they want to write about, rather than just covering the next trending topic. Our very own Nicola shares her favourite ‘keeping it real’ bloggers. Are you ready? It’s girl crush time.

1.The Daily Tay

Taylor Wolfe lives in Chicago with the best dog ever. Her blog is funny and gives an insight into the lives of people just makin’ it work in one of the best cities in the world. She writes about animals and life as a freelancer, as well as whatever happens to be on her mind on any given day. Her Snapchat is also one of the only ones I properly follow. Oh, and there’s also the t-shirts. She’s just great in pretty much any medium.

2. The Bloggess

Not only does Jenny Lawson run a hilarious blog, but she’s also written two books, which have spent an absurdly long time in the Hew York Times best seller list (this is not absurd at all. They are both great.). She writes about dealing with mental illness, so-bad-it’s-great taxidermy, and her small menagerie of brilliantly-named animals, among other things. Whether she’s making me laugh or cry, she’s always on my ‘to read’ list.

3. Superlatively Rude

You might recognise Laura Jane Williams’ name from her recent book, ‘Becoming: Sex, Second Chances, and Figuring Out Who the Hell I Am‘. Or her Grazia column. She first gained my admiration with Superlatively Rude’s tagline, which is “Because none of us is fucking up like we think they we are, is what I’m trying to say”. That basically sums everything up really, doesn’t it? She’s getting shit done and she’s taking us along for the ride.

4. Girl Stole London

Around four weeks ago, Lauren Mahon was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her Instagram was always great anyway, but now she’s giving us all a glimpse as she navigates her treatment. She gives an insight into the bad days just as much as the good, which isn’t something you always see, and she’s absolutely kicking butt while she does it.

5. Roots and Refuge

If you’ve ever fantasised about jacking it all in, moving to the countryside, and growing your own, then Jessica Sowards is living the dream. And, as with anything, its a little bit rougher around the edges than Tom and Barbara from The Good Life always implied it would be. With Roots and Refuge, you get a warts-and-all insight into the modern homesteading lifestyle and everything that come with it. Plus, there’s loads of animal posts, and those are always fun.

6. Deliciously Stella

Bella Younger’s Instagram account is the antidote to all of the clean eating, fitspiration bloggers out there. Not that photos of avocado on toast aren’t great but, y’know, there’s more to life. Deliciously Stella raises a laugh through a heavy use of both sweets and puns, which are two of my favourite things. She also did an awesome show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, so you should keep an eye out for that in case it comes to town.

7. Humans of New York

It doesn’t get much realer than actual stories from the lives of everyday people. At Humans of New York, it’s members of the general public, rather than bloggers, that take centre stage. They post a picture of a random person every day, who then shares something about their life. Sometimes it’s uplifting, sometimes it’s tragic, sometimes it just makes you realise that you’re a garbage human being in comparison. But it’s always interesting.

…But HOW.

So. Real talk. Who is your favourite blogger? I’m always looking for great people to follow. And yes, I really am using this company blog post for my own personal gain. Because I am a professional like that.

 

Musical instruments are often something we quit while we were at school. After all, we thought we were cool back then. What we didn’t realise is that musical instruments, which were once the bane of our lives, would seem cool again one day. Plus, there’s great benefits to learning them. But which one should you pick up if you want to start learning now?

Guitar

The guitar is probably one of the most common musical instruments adults decide to learn. After all, who hasn’t had a fantasy about taking the stage at a rock gig at one point in their life? The great thing about learning to play the guitar is that you don’t necessarily need to learn to read music to go along with your new skill. It’s a bonus, but not necessary, which makes guitar seem more accessible to complete newbies.

Ukulele

As musical instruments go, this one is one of the most beginner-friendly. Take a guitar, subtract two strings, make it smaller, and imbue it with the ability to create mental images of Hawaii and you basically have a ukulele. It has the same benefits as a guitar in that it’s relatively easy to learn and doesn’t need the ability to read music. It’s also a lot more portable. However, you will probably find yourself talking about George Formby more than you expected.

Piano/Keyboard

We’re willing to bet that this is one of the musical instruments most commonly given up while people were still at school. It is, after all, quite big and generally requires the ability to read music. Luckily keyboards, at least, have come a long way since then. They’re now very portable in many cases. They’ll even guide you through playing a simple song using light-up keys. You could be the next Elton John before you know it.

Drums

Do you love a good rhythm? Do you hate your neighbours? The drums are the musical instruments for you. They come in various forms, from the full-on kit to individual ones like the tabla. You’ll be surprised by just how many different sounds you can get out of one piece of kit. As will your neighbours. This is not the instrument for those living very close to other people, unfortunately.

Flute

If you can make a sound by blowing across the top of an empty bottle, you already have the basics of playing the flute down. It looks like a complicated object, but it’s really easy once you get the hang of it. It’s another instrument that will need you to learn how to read music, but that doesn’t have to be an obstacle – a great teacher will be able to get you started with that too.

musical instruments

So, what musical instruments do you fancy having a go at? Don’t forget to keep an eye on HowNow for a chance to take great music classes with experts all over the globe.

We’ve all been there. You’re working on a creative project and suddenly inspiration runs dry. Or maybe you have every intention of starting a creative project but all that’s happening is that you keep flicking through Instagram to see what everyone else is up to. Once you’ve ground to a halt it can be difficult to get going again. Fortunately for you, we’ve come up with a list of ways you can get out of the rut and get the wheels turning again:

Try something different

Sometimes you just have to mix things up. If you get stuck while writing a novel, life drawing might be just the break you need. If you’re an arty type already you might be able to find a new lease of creative energy by trying cross stitching or knitting. Basically, you might benefit by doing something outside of your comfort zone for a bit.

Blow away the cobwebs

You might need to put whatever you’re doing down and get away for a while. An increase in endorphins and some time spent outside could be just what the doctor ordered. Whether you hit the gym, or try an at-home workout, a good workout could be enough to blow away the cobwebs and give you your creative groove back.

Widen your perspective

Yes. Your problems with your creative work are difficult. But there’s nothing like hearing about other peoples’ issues to put your problems into perspective. Getting involved with charity work or even just reading the news can help. Once you’ve had time to reflect your next sentence might not seem like the giant hurdle it once did.

Chill out

We’ve got so much going on these days. The chances are you’re jumping from work to commuting to trying to finish your own creative stuff, and it’s no wonder that sometimes you don’t know whether you’re coming or going. A quick session of meditation that teaches you how to be tension-free could be just what the creativity doctor ordered.

Have a drink

Ernest Hemingway famously said ‘write drunk, edit sober’, and we think it’s perfectly reasonable to extrapolate this to all kinds of creative people. We’re not actively encouraging hardcore alcoholism, but a glass of wine might help to lower your inhibitions and stop you getting caught up in worrying about the quality of what you’re doing, which is one of the biggest things that can put a person off. 

creativity

Ultimately, getting over a creative block is really just a case of giving yourself a break. If you stop work altogether and try not to think about it you might find yourself unable to concentrate on anything else. Therefore it’s a good idea to think about something totally different for a while. You might even find something else to focus on at HowNow.

It’s always difficult to decide whether we should take the leap and turn our passion into profit. Work takes up a lot of our time, but more often than not it’s the things we do in the spare hours before, after, and at weekends that really make us happy. You might be an accountant with a penchant for painting, a barista who hula hoops on the side, or maybe you work in sales and have colleagues queuing up for your cupcakes. But what if you don’t want to do it on the side any more?

The option that a lot of people choose when they decide to start turning their passion into profit is to teach. Teaching your hobby can be really rewarding. It’s a great way to meet new people who might be into the same kind of thing that you are, or to pass on what you know to total beginners who end up loving the thing you love too. It can be a daunting prospect, but we’ve put together a few tips to help you get started.

Think about how it could fit in

I’m not suggesting that you jack in your high-flying career in neurosurgery straight away. In fact, as a high-flying neurosurgeon, you’re probably smart enough to realise that. I’m sorry for insulting your intelligence. It might be that you don’t want to teach full time. You might just want a little Saturday gig to make a bit of pocket money. Or you might have a total career overhaul and world domination in your sights. Anything goes. Plus, if you decide to teach online you’ll have way less to organise before you can begin.

Do your research

Maybe you have a friend or acquaintance who’s already teaching something. Awesome. Take them for a coffee and have a chat. It’s amazing how good meeting an actual person who’s done the actual thing you actually want to do can make you feel. You might just realise that it’s a totally do-able thing for a person to manage. If you don’t have a useful friend, reach out to other people who run classes. It’s amazing how many people are willing to meet up if there’s a free coffee in it for them. If you can’t meet up with someone in person, we have this super-cool thing called ‘the internet’ now, and you’re bound to find people who are willing to share tips if you look hard enough.

Try holding a test workshop

Before you take to the internet, gather a group of your nicest, least sarcastic friends, and try out your ideas on them. If you want to teach a specific craft, for example, you can make sure you’re able to explain the stages as easily as possible. You can also use your willing volunteers to try out yoga routines, dance steps, or anything else. You’ll get feedback on what you could do better, as well as a chance to practice being in front of real people who view you as an authority figure.

Don’t be freaked out by practical considerations

Yes. You will need a plan. You’ll need a webcam. You’ll need to be able to stand in front of a camera and tell up to ten people what to do. The likelihood is that the people who already do this are no cleverer than you, and they all managed, so you know it’s possible. Make a list of everything you’ve found out in your research that you need to organise, and then work through it point by point. Try not to skip ahead or let yourself get overwhelmed. Point by point. That’s all you need to remember.

Take the plunge

Sometimes this is the hardest part. You’ve done all the legwork and you’re totally ready. You’ve got everything you need. You’re awesome, basically. You’re an organisational wizard. It would be so easy to stop at this point. If you stop now you’ll have a 100% success rate and never have to face failure. But this is the time to take a deep breath and dive in to actually teaching strangers how to do the thing that you love to do. After all, you’ve come this far. Every class you teach might not be perfect. You might have no-shows or uncooperative students. Those things happen, and they happen to everyone. We guarantee the good will outweigh the bad, though. You’ll feel the joy that only comes from sharing something you love with other people, and watching them fall in love with it too. You’ll meet new people. And most of all, you’ll be able to go to sleep at night knowing that, for once in your life, you put yourself out there and made it work.

passion

So. Real talk. Do you fancy sharing your passion whilst making money? check out HowNow and starting earning from the thing you love doing. All you need to do is bring your passion. Team HowNow can bring the organisation, and we’ll meet you on the internet.