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16 Apr

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Choosing the Right Paper Format to Match Your Style

18 Mar

Notebooks, journals, and loose sheets of paper can be bought blank, lined, dotted or gridded (also known as plain, ruled, dot grid, and squared). Some alternates such as diagonal grids are also available, plus variations within the options previously mentioned (wide-ruled or college-ruled lines, for example), but the main four paper styles/formats are the focus for today.

Choosing the Right Paper Format to Match Your Style: Written by Cole Imperi, posted on EuropeanPaper.com/Blog

With multiple formats to choose from, how do you know what you’ll like? Paper format can be strongly reflective of your personality, but the first place to start is to look at the things you most often write. From there, I can better guide you to a potential ‘perfect’ notebook match. 

I Make Lists

If you make lists, technically any type of paper styling will work for you but it depends on how you naturally make those lists to figure out what is best. If you tend to take a simple approach to lists—items listed all in a column that you cross off as you go—then lined is perfect for you. It will help keep your lists orderly.

If you like to (or tend to) doodle in the margins, or add in notes on the side, try blank paper. The big concern folks have with blank paper is that things can look sloppier without lines to guide you. I also think there’s something intimidating about a big blank page if you aren’t used to working with them. If you would describe yourself as creative, blank paper might be your go-to notebook type so you can really have fun with your list-making.

If you need the guidance that lines provide then lined or gridded paper will be your comfort zone. Be aware that it is possible to find some notebooks with lines on one side of the page and nothing on the other; and that might be the perfect compromise.

I Write Notes, Descriptions or Journal Entries

Lined will be your friend here. When you write blocks of text, lines are what help you keep things orderly and more importantly, aid in readability for when you go back to read what you wrote. The difficult part comes in finding the right lines. Meaning, how much spacing they have and how dark the actual line is.

You can find notebooks that have white lines, grey lines and sturdy dark black lines. You can find dotted lines and dashed lines too. If dark lines distract your eye away from what you’re writing, definitely aim for light grey lines or even reversed out white lines on grey paper. And on the flip-side, if you love structure, darker lines are ideal. The type of line you prefer is really just personal preference.

I Do a Lot of Scratch Work

If you keep multiple random pads of paper lying around, trying out just one graph notebook might be best for you going forward. If you find that you make little lists, write a few reminders, do a bit of arithmetic and doodle, you have a creative mind. The grid will help you organize your thoughts better because you will have more of a visual guideline to work with. You might start to notice yourself grouping things on a squared page rather than a blank (doodles in one corner, list in the other, notes and reminders in another, etc.).

I Doodle Constantly

As you can imagine, a blank notebook is the best option for sketching, casual doodling, and other art endeavors. The blank gives you the most space to draw with the least amount of restriction. You might find that lines or grids ‘restrict’ your doodles and drawings so just get rid of them.

I Don’t Know What I Want but I Know I Don’t Like What I Have

Try graph or dot paper. I am suggesting this because so many people never give these types of paper a try. Graph paper is typically associated with math and you can see why; the vertical and horizontal lines offer the maximum amount of ‘restriction’ on the page. But if you are coming from a lined or blank notebook camp, let this be an excuse to try something different.

Dots are great for writing out notes and descriptions because you have enough guidance to keep your text readable and without a slant. It also lets you create lists quickly and you can connect the dots to make actual check boxes. Dots also give you drawing or doodling space too but not as much ‘freedom’ as just a blank page which can scare some folks away.

I Have a Ton of Notebooks and I Use Them All

If you have a stack of notebooks, but none that are ever filled up, you might want to give one solitary dotted notebook a try. That is, if having so many unfinished notebooks bothers you. The reason you may have so many notebooks is because you are a ‘multitasker’ and none of your notebooks is a good ‘fits all’ solution. Dotted notebooks are a really good candidate for being an all-in-one solution.

Finally, no matter what camp you are in, pay attention to what and how you write. And if you’ve been writing with the same sort of notebook or paper type over the years, there might be something better out there for you.

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Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

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Discover Your True Passions by Journaling

25 Feb

It’s a new year and with Spring coming, many of us find ourselves looking to new things and new experiences to fill our days. With so many ‘new’ things to try, it can get a little overwhelming!  Painting, yoga, music, film, reading, journaling … the list goes on and on! So how do you find your passion?  Where do you start?

Hobbies vs. Passions

So what is a passion?  I define a passion as something that drives you; that makes you feel alive and truly happy.  A good friend of mine defined it as the “reason she wakes up in the morning.”  Your passion is dictated by how you personally define it.

What is the difference between a passion, a hobby, and your life’s work?  Some may say not much; I believe that they are distinct yet intertwined.  A hobby is something you like doing, your life’s work is something that you want to be remembered for, a passion is what YOU ARE.  Similar, yet different.

What are you passionate about?  What do you like to do, love to do, WANT to do?  Writing these down can help you find your path.

Grab a Notebook & Start Writing

First, grab a notebook (I personally like the Moleskine Cahier notebooks for this exercise), a pen (my new obsession is the Lamy AL-Star fountain pen), and find a quiet place to sit and reflect.  Write down what makes you Happy, the kind of happy with a capital H!

Do you find that you race home to start writing the second chapter of your novel?  Or that you purposely go out of your way at markets for exotic fruits and spices?   Do you live to read or write?  Does listening to music or creating music make you complete?  Write it all down. Create a list of things that inspire you and don’t edit it.

Visual Aids for Inspiration & Motivation

Take it to the next level with visual aids. Take old magazines and cut out inspiring quotes and images.  Paste them into your passions journal.  As you sift through the images, see what themes emerge – do you have pictures of the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower and the beaches in Bali?  Or do you have pictures of books and letters and art?  Or is your notebook filled with recipes and images of colorful fruits and vegetables?  As you fill up your idea notebook with images, you will see distinct themes percolate to the top.

What if More Than One Passion Presents Itself?

If you find yourself with a multitude of passions emerging, my opinion is to explore them all!  Find a local class at the art center, or a non-credit course at the local university.  Carry your notebook with you to take notes about your experience: Was it what you expected? How would you change it for the better? Whether you are ecstatic, lukewarm, or turned off by a certain experience, write down what you felt and why.

As you explore different paths, remember to take your journal with you and write down everything that strikes you.  This process weeds out what you think you like with what you really love. I used to think I wanted to be a chef, but I realized after much journaling and reflection that while I love to cook, it was a hobby and not a career.  Looking back on my experiences with cooking, it became clear to me.  Writing down your honest experiences helps with that.

Community Conversations

Discovering someone else’s passion is a good way to experience something new and have a guide along the way! Talk to your friends and see what they are interested in. Politely ask if they would take you along to a yoga class with them, show you how to cook a special dish, or attend a local music concert with you.

Recently, I have found the wonders and joy of keeping a visual journal.  It has helped me find my passions and pursue them wholeheartedly.  As I flip through the pages of my journal, I can see the evolution of my thoughts and I see how I found myself in the process.

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Meet the Writer: Akhila Jagdish is a writer and editor in the process of starting her own editorial services company, The Crafted Word. She loves making lists, collecting journals, reading, drinking wine and cooking. 

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Practicing Contemplative Journaling (or How to Write Something Truly Thoughtful)

11 Feb

The Art of Contemplative Journaling (or How to Write Something Truly Thoughtful)

Have you ever wanted to sit down to write something? Not as big as a book or a novel, yet not something smaller like a recap of the day’s events. Instead, something that really interests you as you write it?

Then the concept of Contemplative Journaling will interest you. It’s the practice of writing something more than a standard journal entry, but less than a full story. It’s that lovely “in-between” area; something you can accomplish in just an hour or two and that makes for better reading and better writing.

While many ways to journal this way exist, I’m going to take you through just a few of them.

Contemplative Journaling Method #1 | Expand on Your Lists

If you read my recent post about the best formats for blog posts or journal entries, you should be pretty familiar with list-making. Lists are such fantastic little structures: great for itemizing simple things (like a grocery list) and for keeping track of what’s important (goals for 2013).

Take one of the lists you’ve already written and expand upon each item. Let’s say you decide to revisit your List of Goals for 2010 … even though it’s now three years old. Here are a few angles to create a contemplative journal entry from this.

+  Have you achieved those goals? If you have, talk about how you did it. If there are some you have not achieved, write about why not. Maybe it’s just no longer a priority.

+  Why were those your goals then? This is a great way to write about who you were then and who you are now by exploring what was important to you at the time.

+  Is there an item in that list you haven’t accomplished? Maybe it has been a goal for several years now, but you’ve just not been successful with it. Perhaps it’s time to examine why you keep thinking it’s a priority and how you’ll make it a success the next time you add it to a list.

Contemplative Journaling Method #2 | Process an Experience

While you’re reading this, think about something embarrassing that has happened to you in your life. If nothing comes to mind, think about someone who wronged you, or made you upset. Everyone has had at least one embarrassing or upsetting experience. Contemplative Journaling is a great way to process that experience. If you need to work through the experience and let go of something, this is a great exercise.

First, think of the ‘thing’ you need to let go of. Maybe it was a coworker who made a rude comment, or an inappropriate way you behaved. Objectively describe the event as it happened. Do not include ‘feelings’ in this part: no discussing how you felt or how you think they felt. Just actions.

Second, after detailing the event, move on to write about the ‘feeling’ part of the experience. Where did your feelings come into play and what were they?

Third, write the experience from the viewpoint of any other person involved. If it’s the coworker with the inappropriate comment, write the experience from his/her perspective.

(As this can be an intense exercise for some, if you need a quick break to come back to the project with fresh eyes, this is a perfect spot to pause.)

Fourth, read what you wrote and write about why you’ve held on to this. Why does this experience come up in your mind so readily? Why are you carrying it around? Does it relate to something seemingly unrelated in your past? Explore everything that comes up in your mind and write it down.

Fifth, write a statement of release. Literally write a release for the experience. “ I’ve processed this experience and I was holding on to it because of X. I no longer need to carry it with me.”

You can use this technique for all kinds of things: the loss of a pet, losing a contract on a house you’d been trying to buy, spending too much money over the holidays, canceling a night out with friends because you thought you wanted to stay in. If you have an experience that keeps ‘sticking’ then you should examine it.

Contemplative Journaling Method #3 | Be the Version of Yourself You Want to Be

This tends to be a good exercise at the beginning of a new year. It’s helpful in getting your brain to really connect the dots between where you are today and who you want to be tomorrow. Self improvement! But more fun.

Let’s say you go back to work next week after a few days off. Write about your normal workday if you went in as you are now. Below that, write about your workday, but as the person you’d like to be. Maybe you are trying to have more efficient mornings at work so you aren’t scrambling to leave on time. It might look like this:

“I show up for work 10 minutes late on Monday, set my stuff down and go to the break room for coffee. I see a coworker and we talk for about 10 minutes about the past weekend. I go upstairs, turn on my computer. I talk to my cubemate for a few minutes about the weekend. I check my email, and respond to one or two of them. Then I check Facebook. At about 10 a.m. I start my first task. I break to use the restroom. I come back and finish the task and take a lunch. After lunch, I go to my coworker’s desk to talk for a few minutes. When I get back to my desk, I see someone has left a stack of reports I need to scan, copy and file by the end of the day. I sit down to finish the work I should have completed that morning. It’s 3 p.m. and I go for a break to grab a snack. By the time I get back it’s 3:30 p.m. and I still have to copy all those documents and prepare for tomorrow’s meeting. I don’t leave until just before 7 p.m. when I should have been out the door by 5 p.m.”

The rewrite might be:

“I wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal and sit in bed to read a chapter in a book. This prevents me from hitting the snooze button and gives me a bit of ‘me’ time. I make it to work 5 minutes late. I go and grab coffee and briefly talk to a coworker. I go upstairs, turn on my computer, and make a to-do list for the day, except I divide it into Morning and Afternoon tasks. I complete a small, simple task first; then I check my email and respond to a few. I work on my next task, complete it, and grab another coffee and bathroom break. I come back, finish the last task of the morning, and head to lunch. At lunch, I invite a new coworker out with me. This gets me the socialization I think I need during the day. After lunch, I work on my afternoon tasks. I leave on time.”

It might seem like a mundane thing, but most people really enjoy this. It allows you to look at yourself as you are, and then as you’d like to be. Productivity is a great thing to try first because everyone (generally) could be a bit more productive. Whether it’s at the office, or at home (hello, laundry that never gets put away) there are a ton of scenarios to write about here.

This actually teaches your brain to better recognize those bad habits so you can correct them moving forward.

More advanced prompts for this involve interactions for others: communicating with your spouse, communicating with a child, etc.

Contemplative Journaling is an excellent use of those nice journals, nice pen and your brain. If you want to sit down to really write something then this is the perfect exercise for you.

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Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

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Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

How to Write: A Letter of Resignation

How to Write: A Letter of Recommendation

How to Write: The Best Formula for a Blog Post People will Actually Read

7 Ways to Celebrate National Handwriting Day

23 Jan

celebrate national handwriting day with EuropeanPaper.com!

Celebrate handwriting with EuropeanPaper.com on Instagram – follow us @EuroPaper

1) Practice your penmanship. No, seriously. The small things in today’s world have such an increased focus on them, that you’ll appreciate having nice handwriting when the time comes to write a thank you letter, sympathy note, or love letter.

2) Start a new journal if you don’t already have one in rotation. Need inspiration? Check out our blog post: 10 Ideas for a Journaling Jump Start (or just start writing about National Handwriting Day)!

3) If you have more than one notebook you journal in currently, go through each one and write a paragraph about this day/week.

4) Volunteer at your local elementary or middle school and help teach children how to improve their handwriting–and why it’s important! Check out Campaign for Cursive for more information. (h/t Canon-McmillanPatch)

5) Take your time, sit down with your favorite stationery or note card, and write that thank you letter you’ve been avoiding since the holidays. Here’s how: How to Write a Thank You Letter.

6) Did you know National Handwriting Day was created on the birthday of Declaration of Independence signer John Hancock? See his beautiful signature on Wikipedia and see if you can recreate it freehand

7) Never used a fountain pen before? Today’s the day! Learn how to write with a fountain pen!

Need more inspiration? Check out our blogroll for amazing snail mailers, pen & pencil aficionados, and writers galore HERE

And that’s just scratching the surface. What are some of your suggestions for celebrating National Handwriting Day? Leave them in the comments below!

 

How to Write: Letter of Recommendation

12 Nov

How to Write: Letter of Resignation by Cole Imperi on EuropeanPaper.com/Blog The most important thing to keep in mind when writing a letter of recommendation is that you are writing to present new information; not to confirm information that is already available. Let’s go through some scenarios:

Recommendation Letters for Students

Many graduate-level education programs don’t highly consider recommendation letters that simply confirm information available in a student’s transcript. This means information like grades and test scores.

If your student has an A in your class, it’s best not to write something like:

“Student is very conscientious, arrives to class on time, has never missed a lesson and is 3 out of 67 students academically. He would be an excellent addition to your program.”

The above example is simply confirming what’s in the student’s transcript. One can easily tell this student is really good at being a student. But is that all they can do? Are they able to be anything else? The emphasis should be on their ability to apply their knowledge in the real world, and it should reference their enthusiasm and interest in whatever their course of study is.

Recommendation Letters for Employees & Interns

Your first step is to ask what the letter is for. Is this for another internship? If so, where? Or is this for admission into some sort of educational program? Your letter of recommendation will be more valuable if you are able to write it with an understanding of what its purpose is for.

Your letter should be concise and thorough. It’s actually OK to mention a weakness as long as you are emphasizing the positive. When mentioning a weakness like “She/he doesn’t always know when to ask for help,” be sure to end with a positive solution like “She/he doesn’t always know when to ask for help, but after we paired her/him with a senior-level manager to mentor them, we saw immense development of skills and ability. Their leadership skills grew as a result and their contribution to the team multiplied tenfold.”

A letter of recommendation for an employee is not a request to state that the employee showed up on time or did their job. It’s a request to understand more about the character and ability of the person. They want to know if this person is likely to persevere through difficulty, or give up. If they’re able to adjust to changes and adapt to new situations. If they can work with a wide range of personality types and still keep projects moving forward. They don’t want to hear that they took no sick days in 2012. They want to hear that the applicant is not only capable of working independently, but also able to ask if they’re unsure of something.

Recommendation Letters for Volunteers

A volunteer is special. They are giving up their most precious resource—time—to your cause or organization. Keeping that volunteer volunteering is vastly important. If they’re ready to move on from your organization, it’s your job to make sure they continue giving their time somewhere else. Volunteers are precious resources!

Writing letters of recommendation for volunteers should involve two things: statements about the volunteer’s character and information about your organization. Each organization or group that utilizes volunteer time is built differently. How your group is structured may not align with how another’s is. It’s important for the person reading the letters of recommendation to not only get a feel for the volunteer’s character, but also to understand the inner workings of your organization.

Recommendation Letters Are Not About You

It’s generally useful to provide a paragraph’s worth of information about yourself. How you know the person you are recommending and a little about how you interacted/worked with them. But that’s it. No need to get into specifics. The letter is about them, not about you.

How to Structure a Letter of Recommendation

Be formally concise. Your first paragraph is the statement of recommendation. Your second paragraph covers who you are and how you worked with the person being recommended. The next 1-3 paragraphs should each detail a specific example (all positive) of situations or events that clearly demonstrate certain aspects of the character of the person being recommended. Your final paragraph should serve to summarize: restate your strong recommendation on the basis of the person’s demonstrated strong character and positive attitude.

When NOT to Write a Letter of Recommendation

Simply, don’t write a recommendation letter for someone if you don’t mean it. You will waste their time and yours. If you need a way to decline writing a letter of recommendation, you can simply say that you do not have enough time to write an adequate letter.

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Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

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Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

How to Write: A Letter of Resignation

Guest Post: Top 5 Areas for Inspiration Away from Home

29 Oct

Creativity never stops, even with summer fading into memory and fall approaching rapidly. While the weather is cooler it still doesn’t stop people from drawing inspiration from their daily lives. Whether you’re writing, sketching, or art journaling you can draw on your creativity at any moment. Many people have certain places where they are more creative than others, but sometimes you have those moments when you just draw a blank.

Well, what’s better than getting inspired from everything that is already around you? Based on my experiences, these are my top 5 areas for inspiration away from home:

Parks - Are you an outdoorsy type of person? Whether you flourish outside or need a little push, parks are a wonderful area to get inspired. People are constantly moving, you’re surrounded by nature, and the fresh air can all help to stir up some creative juices. Just take a few moments to capture snippets that you see because those snippets can develop into something more. The best part is you can always refer back to your observations for later use.

Malls/Restaurants - Do you enjoy a lot of active stimuli? Malls are great for that because you can observe a wide variety of people in a short amount of time. People are constantly walking by and engaging with friends or family. Take notice of the details of the situation as those people can be used as inspiration for your creativity. I put restaurants next to malls because they are in similar realms where you can observe several groups of people in a short amount of time. Whether you’re dining at a nice place or getting a quick lunch you can partially eavesdrop on conversations as something you hear could spark an idea.

Libraries - Besides the obvious (observing people around the library), you can read! Most people at the library probably already have their noses stuck in a book. When you’re out of creative juices, pull out a novel, magazine, or book that sounds interesting to you. Who knows, reading the literature and exploring it can lead to your own ideas. For those not in the mood to flip through a book, use a computer and just start browsing the web. The libraries where I live provide computers for research, you just need a library number which is free to obtain. (Computer availability may vary depending on your location.) If you’re still stuck you can always ask a librarian, they are always there to help you out.

Take a Walk - While you’re out and about shopping or getting some exercise, keep a piece of yourself alert to your local surroundings. If you’re taking a walk around your neighborhood you can let your mind wander or you might want to get to know the people who live near you. Your neighbors might have a quirk or a story that may inspire you. You might also gain a lifelong friend. If you live in a city, getting lost in it can be fun. You can observe the artistic architecture of various buildings or the meticulous landscapes surrounding them. Cities are usually bustling with activities, you just have to dive in and interact with them. Some of the greatest minds were inspired by their local surroundings.

Fairs/Museum - Another inspiring place where you are surrounded by many people or by culture are fairs or carnivals. You can observe people, enjoy the music/conversations, and eat good food – all wonderful inspirations! There is always something going on and it’s up to you to find out what it is and how you can use it for inspiration. Museums are wonderful to gain inspiration from because they contain works by some of the greatest creative minds. Surrounding yourself with their works can be an indirect way to get you to open your mind and allow it to imagine the impossibilities into possibilities.

Gathering inspiration from these places can be a cinch on good days. You might want to note that most of these places can get crowded. If you can’t handle large crowds you can always move to a more quiet area. You can find yourself a less traveled road for your observations if you’re a creative introvert who doesn’t enjoy large crowds or too much interaction.

I usually find an empty area or sit on a distant bench for observations. Of course, everyone has their own preferences and may dive into the experiences only to distance yourself later or vice versa. There is no wrong or right way to get inspired. As long as it works for you then you’re doing it right. Just don’t forget to take notes or you might forget! (You have a notebook or sketchbook on you, don’t you? If not go get one!) Now my friends, go forth and create!

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Meet the Writer: Lis (Aisazia) Huey is a Notebook/Sketchbook/Comic/Manga lover. A swimmer and a dreamer. A story enthusiast with the dream of telling and sharing stories through art. She has been an avid fan of web comics, indie comics, and fantasy/sci fi novels since high school and since then has always wanted to create one of her own. She feels that everyone has at least one story to tell, but some may have more than one. She hopes to be able to share her hopefully fresh and original stories and entertain my audiences at the same time. To find more about Lis, find her at: aisazia.deviantart.comtwitter.com/aisazia, and etherealvoices.blogspot.com

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How to Write: A Letter of Resignation

10 Sep

How to Write: Letter of Resignation by Cole Imperi on EuropeanPaper.com/BlogResigning from something – whether it’s a job or a volunteer position with a local non-profit – is an occasion that should be given some care and attention. In most cases, your letter of resignation will be kept on file permanently and is something that could potentially resurface in the future. Here are a few essential components to any good resignation letter and a few best practices as well.

1. Formatting

Format the resignation letter formally. If you use a word processor like Microsoft Word, you can use one of the pre-installed templates. There are several that will work; one in particular is called ‘Formal Letter.’ Use a heavier, decent paper when you print it off as well to add a more professional look.

2. Keep it Simple

There is no need to detail any specifics in a resignation letter. You might want to describe a situation or take time to write something a bit lengthier – don’t. Save that for your exit interview if you wish. If there is no exit interview, perhaps offering up those additional details would be better delivered in person verbally or through a thoughtful email. Ask yourself if anything more really needs to be said.

3. Include Basic Information

Make sure your full first and last name, current mailing address, date, the name of the company or organization you are resigning from, their address and your signature (in ink) are all listed in the letter.

4. List Your Resignation Date

It’s very important that you list the date your resignation will be effective. Whether you already told your employer in person is no matter, you need to have it in writing. If your employer has requirements for giving notice (the standard is two weeks), this letter will serve as proof that you gave enough notice.

5. Be Positive

Even if you are leaving on bad terms, it’s important to not be negative in your resignation letter. Imagine if a future employer saw this letter. Would they be left with a bad taste? If you are finding it hard to be positive, at the very least thank the company or the organization for the opportunity and leave it at that.

6. Offer to Help

Offer to assist in finding a replacement or to train your replacement. It’s important to show that you are a team player and are trying to avoid leaving the company in a lurch.

7. Clarify Final Duties

It is good practice to not only list your date of resignation, but to note that you need clarification on your final duties and any other final matters before you go. This helps the company or organization know that they need to figure out what is left as well. If you’ve already discussed your final duties and responsibilities, it would be appropriate to list those out in writing in your resignation letter.

Here’s the thing about resignation letters. You never know when – or how – you’ll cross paths with your former boss or coworkers in the future. The fact is, you may never, but the world is a very small place sometimes. If you leave anything in writing, make sure it’s positive and professional.

Below is a basic example of a resignation letter (click to enlarge). What experiences (positive or negative) have you had with resignation letters?

How to Write a Resignation Letter via EuropeanPaper.com/Blog

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Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

~~~

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

7 Sep

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills on EuropeanPaper.com/Blog

Cursive is a word that basically just means the letters are joined. So, whether your cursive is bubbly and wide or teeny and scratchy; as long as those letters are connected, you, my friend, are writing in cursive.

Having a solid cursive writing style at your fingertips is useful. Cursive is nice to bring out for special occasions, like birthday cards and letters, and once you really get it down, it can become a beautiful style of day-to-day writing.

What tends to be most frustrating about this style of writing is that things can look a bit uneven. If you look at your own natural cursive and you aren’t happy with something, can it be attributed to uneveness? In my experience as a long-time letter writer, penmanship and calligraphy instructor, and type designer, this is exactly the case. Here are my best tips for improving your cursive.

 Slow Down

Whether you are printing or writing in cursive, this tip will always ring true. Take something you’ve written in cursive and set it down next to you. On another sheet of paper, write the same exact thing but slow down when writing it. Compare the two. Is there a difference? When we slow down to write, it gives our hands time to create smoother strokes and more consistent connections. Get used to writing slower and you’ll soon be able to speed up without losing any quality in your penmanship.

 Same Angle, Same Position

When you are writing in cursive, take note of the angle of the pen and the angle of your hand. Whatever angle you start with—keep it throughout the entire piece of writing. You see, when we change the angle of writing mid-stream that’s when we have problems.

 Be Cognizant of Connections

Cursive is all about connections. If you have uneven connection points, those can be fixed by either slowing down or keeping a consistent angle. If you find yourself having to draw longer connections sometimes, you probably have changed your angle. If you find yourself with short and rough connection points, you need to slow down. These connection strokes in cursive are what make cursive cursive. They are what make this style of penmanship beautiful. They make it this way because they provide rhythm and repetition. Do you know what happens in a song where the drummer can’t keep a consistent beat? It doesn’t sound right. Same with cursive, keep that consistent stroke and connection going on.

 It Takes A Little Time

Slowing down at first will give you some ‘breathing room’ in properly developing your style of cursive. If you don’t slow down at first, it’s like building the walls of the house before the foundation. Slowing down does not mean you are not a good writer or you are not capable of writing faster, it just means you are taking time to really master something well so that in the future, when you do speed up, you’ll be prepared and will be producing something that is the same quality as what you produced at a slower speed.

Your Cursive Will Be Different Than My Cursive

If you’re like me, you were taught cursive in second grade. We all were taught based on the same model and were graded on how close we were to that model. Don’t approach your penmanship the same way.

How I write cursive will not be how you write cursive. It can be helpful to look at other writing samples for ideas or as ways to diagnose connection problems (i.e. how others connect an ‘r’ to an ‘s’), but you should really work on developing your cursive independently. Go into it with the mindset that you are honing your own cursive; not that you are honing someone else’s cursive.

Find a Rhythm

One thing that may help you improve your cursive quickly is to find a rhythm in the way you write. Have you ever sat down to write and you noticed that words you were writing were flowing onto the page with ease? Did you notice that your hand might have fallen into a ‘rhythm’ of upstrokes and downstrokes? If you can write in a way where your upstrokes and downstrokes take the same amount of time, your writing will reflect this style. Because this tip is a bit abstract, I’m going to explain a simple exercise so that you can actually ‘hear’ your cursive. All you need is a felt tipped pen of some kind (or any pen that will give some squeak or scratch), any kind of paper and some quiet. Write in your natural cursive and ‘listen’ to your letters. Listen for your upstrokes and your downstrokes as you write. Does it sound smooth and consistent? Try writing in a way so that you ‘hear’ a rhythm in the way you write.

I’ve included an image of the ‘traditional’ model of cursive for you to take a look at. Chances are, you naturally do not write your capital Z like shown. That’s OK. Write how you write.

Traditional-Cursive-Image - How to Improve Your Cursive on EuropeanPaper.com/Blog

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Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

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Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

Wanderlust? Grab a Journal Before You Go

21 Jun

Moleskine Journals on EuropeanPaper.com

Summertime is officially here – although you could have fooled us with the nearly 100-degree heat in Colorado lately! It’s the perfect time to try something new, particularly outside to spark the creative juices.

Before you go, grab a journal and write down your intentions for the day. What do you want to find on your journey: an emotion, an idea, or something else? Also consider bringing along a smaller pocket journal on your walk, bike ride, or hike to jot down your swirling thoughts during your breaks.

If you don’t journal before or during your wandering, the most important thing you can do is take a minute afterward to capture your thoughts. This serves to record the truth of the moment for you to reflect back on in the future. Gift your future self with a journal in the present.

Check out all journals, notebooks, and notepads on EuropeanPaper.com here!

Top 5 Places to Keep a Notebook for Moments of Inspiration

1 Jun

Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook (5 x 8.25) on EuropeanPaper.com

Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook on EuropeanPaper.com

Bedside – The Classic Location

The bedside table is an obvious location for many, but its importance just can’t be overlooked. Leaving a notebook at your bedside is perfect to remind you to write and reflect at the end of every day. Record late-night thoughts, sketches, plans for the week, overall goals, or love letters in a Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook to hold your deepest thoughts in one place.

Coffee Table – Community Notebook

A notebook on the coffee table can be a reminder to write instead of (or during) watching TV. It is also the perfect place to leave a notebook that everyone can write in. Leave reminders, messages, and respond to the media, or write down quotes of friends and about the good times you’ve had! The Paperblanks Saddleworn Small Wrap Journal is a good option because it is sturdy, plus a great decorative item. Encourage guests to pick it up, look at it, and write in it as a memento. It also has a back pocket where you can store photos and other memorabilia.

Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Soft Cover Plain Notebook (3.5 x 6) on EuropeanPaper.com

Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Soft Cover Plain Notebook on EuropeanPaper.com

In Your Pocket – Journalist Style

The pocket notebook is common among journalists and other professionals on-the-go, but is really useful to artists, writers, and designers of all kinds. Once you get used to it, you’ll start to notice ideas everywhere and jot them down in the moment (instead of trying to recollect it all at the end of the day). A Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Soft Cover Plain Notebook is perfect as it’s not too bulky and you can jot down notes or doodle with the complete freedom of the plain pages. Keep track of ideas, reminders, phone numbers, spending, schedules, and to-do lists in one convenient book that’s always with you!

Shampoo Shelf – Spontaneous Thought

Many ideas come in times of meandering thought. The shower is a perfect example. Usually, we shower first thing after waking up in the morning or for others, after a long day to wash off the daily stress. When your mind is turning on or off, anticipating or reflecting on the day, ideas flow freely without the confines of the hourly schedule. This is the perfect random-idea-generating time so don’t miss out – record lyrics, article ideas, and reminders with a Rite in the Rain Soft Cover Universal Notebook and All-Weather Pen in the shower … because you can!

Rhodia Premium Staplebound No. 16 Notepad (6 x 8.25) on EuropeanPaper.com

Rhodia Premium Staplebound No. 16 Notepad on EuropeanPaper.com

Glove Box – On the Road

It is important to always have a notebook when traveling, and a lot of us get to new places (physically and mentally) by driving. Keep a Rhodia Premium Staplebound No. 16 Notepad in your car and you’ll always have something to write in. Important for remembering random ideas on the road, it will also assure that you have a place to write down directions, keep a travel log, review restaurants, or keep a daily journal. Once you hit the road, you never know where you’ll end up, but you’ll also know how you got there!

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Meet the Writer: Anthony Pagaza was EuropeanPaper.com‘s stellar Spring 2012 intern from the University of Colorado. When he catches a moment between school and work, Anthony enjoys deep sleeps, good eats, and epic drum solos.  After the completion of a Journalism degree in August 2012, he plans on pursuing a career in the advertising industry. 

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Get Organized: Take Charge of Your To-Do Lists

15 Mar

Are you a chronic compiler of sticky notes? Is your wallet stuffed with small scraps of paper? Do scrawl-covered napkins flutter around in your car? If that sounds like you, you might just be a to-do list hoarder.

To-do lists are good. Usually. They help us remember the innumerable tasks we have to tackle for work, home, committees, kids, and more. But if managing – or finding – your to-do lists takes over actually completing the tasks, your lists aren’t helping. Unless you organize or consolidate your responsibilities into a more streamlined system, you’re not being as efficient as you could be.

Here, based on personality types, are a handful of the best ways to organize to-do lists from various aspects of your life – and the products to facilitate your newfound sense of organization.

Separatist

If you strive to keep your professional life separate from your personal life, institute a system that encourages that separation. To help you compartmentalize your various roles and responsibilities, pick up a set of Moleskine Volant notebooks. Dedicate one to work and one to life, and clearly label the two notebooks so that you’re not tempted to grab whichever is closer.

Rhodia Spiralbound Square Reverse Book (8.25 x 8.25)

Rhodia Spiralbound Square Reverse Book (8.25 x 8.25)

Minimalist

Not everyone can achieve it, but if your goal is simplicity, consolidate all your to-do lists into one single notebook. The trick is to create a habit of always carrying that one notebook with you since everything will be housed together. A side spiral Rhodia will help you keep all your lists in one place. With a sturdy cover and side binding, a Rhodia can be taken in and out of your bag, tossed in your car, and lugged on an airplane and still keep your to-dos together.

Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook (5 x 8.25)

Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook (5 x 8.25)

Traditionalist

Those who love the Moleskine tradition may balk at the idea of replacing their do-it-all notebook for a different system. With a simple hack, convert your Moleskine into a to-do list organizer. Use your favorite size notebook, and divide it into sections for each task area, like work, life, home, goals, and so on. Tabs can be made from almost anything. For example, fold a small sticky tab in half, write the title on the edge, and tape it into place, or cut up expired gift cards for durable tabulating.

Clairefontaine Classic Extra Large Side Spiralbound Notebook (8.5 x 11)

Clairefontaine X Large Side Spiral Notebook (8.5 x 11)

Goal-Getter

For those with many goals, many tasks, and many to-dos, a large notebook is a must. The Clairefontaine Classic Extra Large Spiralbound Notepad is 8.5- by 11-inches, which gives you enough space to outline all your tasks and related notes. Plus, since the pages are perforated, you can tear them out to file as needed.

Multi-Tasking Mom

For the busy mom on the go, the Exacompta Exafolio Executive will keep all your lists organized in one place. Six file compartments accompany a notebook, which allows you to keep like items – errands, grocery lists, kid-related to-dos, and so on – together.

Whichever product you choose to manage your to-do lists, the ACME Sing Sing 4-Function Pen is the perfect complement to keep your organization streamlined. Instead of cramming multiple implements in your bag or notebook, this one piece has a stylus for your PDA, a pencil, a pen, and a highlighter for convenient note-jotting.

Whatever your personality, there’s a product that can help you organize that never-ending flow of to-dos. Now, if only there was a product to complete those to-dos for you!

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 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

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