Why Writers Procrastinate

Hello, fellow creatives!

Ah, procrastination! Ever find yourself filing a tax return when you’re supposed to be fleshing out a character? Or maybe, clearing out the airing cupboard instead of starting the first round of edits? Yes, we’ve all been there. Suddenly, gardening is far more appealing than plodding along with a draft once you hit the middle of a project. Procrastination can be a slipper slope to us mere creatives.

Unfortunately, there is only one universal truth to writing and that is to sit down and get it done. And that’s all right in principle, but let’s slow things down, and take a look at why we procrastinate in the first place.

Ever wondered if there are certain individuals who are so driven and so focused, that they never let such forces come into play. Well, I’ve yet to find one person, let alone an artist, who hasn’t avoided something by doing something else. They procrastinate!

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You see, the act of procrastination is often masking something. Whether it be doubt, anxiety or boredom – it’s valuable to listen to what’s going on internally and to make necessary adjustments. Recently, I had the overwhelming sense of being lost, that my path had become unclear, and it was all down to a lack of self-care. Nothing a good holiday wouldn’t fix! But thanks to the pandemic, no one has been able to relax like we once did.

However, instead of berating myself about my under-performance, I accepted it with grace. We are all dealing with extraordinary times. We all occasionally become ill, have stress bubble up, and overwork ourselves. Procrastination is a sign that we may need a little maintenance. A bit of TLC. Recuperation is in order, not a verbal bashing from our inner dialogue.

Taking time away from a project is never a bad thing. Fill up on books, take walks on the beach, practice a little yoga, or bake. Soon enough, your creativity will be restored, and trust me, your story will thank you for it. When we enjoy a great book, we don’t stress over how long it took the artist to create it, we simply escape into the world they created. The same will be applied to your Stories, by your readers.

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts. You know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2021.
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Surviving Writer’s Guilt

Writers love to write, daydream, read and plot. But what they don’t like is having their time interrupted, stolen or even ruined by writer’s block. And unfortunate this pandemic is causing all kinds of issues for us creative folk.

Here in Wales we’re heading into a second Lockdown, particularly around the capital in the south. I live in the west, but I’m anticipating it rolling out across the whole country in the coming weeks. These challenging times have presented a variety of problems. While, like many of you, I’ve had stints of wild enthusiasm and high productivity. I’ve also had the down side of procrastination and burnout. So if you’re currently on the flip-side with me, suffering writer’s guilt — welcome, let’s relax and settle in for the ride.

First of all, lets acknowledge how difficult it is trying to work from home, home school, or go into work during this bonkers time. We have to navigate Zoom meetings, wear face masks in public and sanitize, wash, sanitize our hands consistently, tirelessly, endlessly. Tensions are high (with my teenagers in particular), loneliness is rife, and the underlining pandemic is constantly bubbling under the surface of our awareness. 

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It’s no wonder our creativity suffers. It’s no wonder we have no time or energy to write. It’s no wonder we’re choosing to put other peoples needs in front of our own. 

I’ve spent the last few months of summer fulfilling zero writing goals. My creativity has crumbled under the change in pace. I suffered a total melt down, and my writer’s guilt has shot through the roof. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve longed to write, I’ve longed for the mental peace and quiet so I could focus. Instead, I have nagging guilt over being a terrible parent, and a terrible business partner. Trust me, I seriously let the ball drop.

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So what can we do to ease some of the burden? 

  • Remember you’re only human and that you’re doing the best you can.
  • Understand that your writing is a part of you: an extension of your soul. You’re story is not going anywhere, it will still get written, just not today. And that’s okay!
  • Self-care, and self-acceptance is important. I’m not talking about a bubble bath or pampering yourself (although that’s always an option). I’m saying listen to your inner-self and do what you need to do. A walk. A day on the couch. A good cry. Don’t deny whatever is going on for you, it will only persists.
  • Ask for help. We all have days, weeks, months when life is just too much. Don’t be afraid to message or call a friend. Or to tell your boss that you’re struggling. It doesn’t make you weak, it means you have courage to ask for what you need. 
  • Refill your creative cup.
  • Read. Read. Read. This is a guilt-free pleasure because it helps develop your craft.
  • Watch movies (just pretend your studying the plot and complex characters).

Tell me fellow creatives, how do you ease the burden of writer’s guilt?

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts. You know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2021.
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Be Creative and Dream Big!

Welcome fellow creators! This week I’ve had the honor posting over on Thoughtful Minds United. I want to say a massive thanks to fellow blogger Fairen for the opportunity. It’s always a pleasure too work with this amazing community.

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Do you dream of taking your passion and creating a new future, but something holds you back? You’re not alone. And yes, it is possible… Read on to be inspired, and hopefully, by the end of the post you’ll have the motivation to finally get started. So pop on over to Thoughtful Minds United and check out the post.

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My name is Lorraine Ambers and I write Adult Fantasy novels with dark, gritty characters, romantic liaisons and a dash of adventure. Let’s connect! Tell me, what your aspiration is? What fear holds you back? And how do you plan to over come them? Share your passions with me, you know I love hearing from you.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
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How to Overcome self-doubt as a Writer

A lack of faith or confidence in our ability as an artist is something all writers struggle with. Sometimes it’s fleeting like a summer breeze, other times, it lingers like a winter  frost. So how do we navigate the storm and overcome self-doubt?

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We’ve all heard the little gremlins, but what makes us carry on despite the crippling fear. One of my favourite quotes is by Suzy Kassem. She hits the proverbial nail on the head with her wise words. 

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem.

Sometimes it’s the shove I need to keep going, to keep trying. I cling to the hope that tomorrow I’ll believe in myself once again.

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For me, perseverance is the only option. In the past, I’ve buried myself in a double quilt, hidden in Netflix series whilst gorging on chocolate: The ultimate self-pity, self-sabotage, procrastination. If you catch yourself in this place, ask yourself these three questions:

  • What do you fear the most? Failure? Ridicule? Or is it success and living in your own power?
  • What’s Holding you back? Is it a lack of knowledge, practice, or feedback? And how can you change that?
  • What would you do differently if you believed in myself? 

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“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  – Vincent Van Gogh

And so we should continue to paint with our words, dream up characters, learn our trade, and most importantly, let your joy and passion lead you. Forget the outside world, the setbacks, the criticism and write

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Remember we have the right to nurture ourselves, to take a step back, regroup and reconnect to those we care about. As a suffer of Complex PTSD, I understand that sometimes the inner voice is the cruelest one of all. I now know, self-care and self-love are important for me to be able to create. Occasionally, I need to step back from a project and recharge my creativity. I no longer allow guilt to weigh me down, it’s all part of the process. Me time, strengthens my writing. 

“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare.

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What helps you navigate the choppy waters of self-doubt? Please share your experiences to help other writers, and to help me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
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Time to Write, Don’t Procrastinate

We know that daily writing goals and being proactive creates a great forwards momentum for our novels. Yet putting that into practice can sometimes feel like a mountain to overcome and before we know it, writing has turned from a wonderful pastime, into a herculean beast that we can’t face. Then even if we find time to write, procrastination takes over. Suddenly, writing time has evaporated into a missed opportunity.

Today I’m sharing my productivity tips in the hopes that they resonate with you: Let’s do this!!!

Set intentions There’s no point in half-heartedly thinking; I’ll try to write today. No. Make it a definite intention: A promise to yourself. And keep it. I set mine the night before, listing the top 3 things I intend to achieve the next day and allocate the time for those things to happen.

Carve out time. I’m a mother of two and a partner in two businesses. Life can get pretty hectic. But I make it my intention to write first thing in the morning, so no matter what unfolds through the rest of the day my creativity won’t be impacted.

Don’t get distracted. Put down your phone. Turn the TV off. Don’t nip to your friends for a quick brew (Oops, I’m already guilty of this.) Sit at your computer and begin. Even if the words don’t flow, and your characters are silent. You can always edit, develop setting and plot or research – just not on Facebook.

Take yourself and your writing seriously. By putting everyone else’s needs in front of your own, you’re giving off the energy that your writing isn’t that important. If you can dedicate your time to your kids, running around for their needs. Dedicate your time to a job, because you need the money. Dedicate your time to your partner, because you want a healthy relationship. Then you should apply the same principles to yourself. Your passion. Your calling.Your love for words and literature make you who you are. Own it and believe in yourself. Even if it’s only for half an hour on your lunch break, or in the car while your kids play sports, or cutting out one Netflix show. (I love Netflix; they have great story lines… it’s research.)

Recharge your batteries and don’t stress. We are notorious for burning out. Pouring our heart and soul into a novel and balancing family, work and personal life can take its toll. We are only human and life happens while you’re making plans. Relax, recharge and reboot your creativity. Although this could be considered procrastination, it’s different. If you’re running on empty, you need to refuel. So watch movies, walk in nature, laugh with friends and read books. It’s good for the soul. And a happy writer makes for a more productive writer.

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tips on creating time to write and how to stop procratination by? If so, please share, you know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

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Writers, Don’t Let Doubt Stop You!

There comes a time in every artist’s journey when crippling self-doubt sets in. It’s an agonising period where all your hopes and dreams become overshadowed with fear. But before you scoop out the ice-cream and take cover in your bed, vowing to never write again, try a few of these techniques.

Keep track of your success.

When we’re gazing over the yawning expanse of our final destination, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with everything set before us. After all, there is no guarantee of our success. However, taking a look over your accomplishments will offer a glimmer of hope, proving that you can excel at what you set your mind too. Did you ever imagine that you’d write a novel?

Turn to your community.

Sharing your problems can help to alleviate them. Maybe you choose to turn to a blog post like this one, or to connect with like-minded individuals at a writing group, or through your social media. Just knowing there are other people who battle with the same demons may be enough to take the edge off. Remember this is a normal issue, it’s a universal fear, and it’s going to get easier.

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Don’t let fear be the driver

Acceptance in any situation allows us to relax into the moment and let go of our expectations. Easier said than done, however, if you can learn to live with the uncertainty, the doubts and fears, you gain back control to steer your life in the direction of your choice. Whenever I’m crippled by doubt, I work on releasing it by moving forward, redefining my goals, making small steps. Before you know it, the resistance will disappear and you’ll be gliding side-by-side with your creativity.

Take care of yourself

Sometimes, doubt comes at a time in our lives when we have internal and/ or external stress. Learning to listen to yourself, asking for help, or simply knowing when to slow down can be the greatest act of self-love. During those hard times, I choose to read, not only to escape the world but to have it redefined in words that often mirror my trials and tribulations. Reading is wonderfully cathartic and equally as important as writing, so I don’t have to feel guilty about taking time out.

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How do you combat self-doubt? By sharing your tips, you’re helping the writing community, so don’t be shy, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.

 

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Three Tips to Harness your Creativity

Today I want to introduce my 3 tips on how to keep your creativity cup full and overflowing.

We all have divine times where our creativity is bursting into life. Where the sun sparkles, the birds chirp and we become our own version of a Disney character. Filled with the joy of a new quest, the pen becomes an extension of our essence and the words simply flow.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When life has dealt us the short-straw, the world around us dulls to greys, and putting one word in front of the other becomes impossible. Some call it writer’s block, I call it writer’s burnout. The stress and strain of life take its toll. Robbing the very thing that we held most dear:

Our passion. Our creativity. Our art.

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Tip One: Silence that inner critique and keep going despite its cruel taunts. Remember that every artist goes through times of self-doubt, the secret to overcoming them is to reach out to those around you for support. I’m a huge champion of this blogging community, they have become a virtual family, offering words of encouragement from a like-minded perspective. I love you all.

Twitters #writingcommunity is another great resource. For more practical advice on conquering this negative beast; read my post on  Overcoming Self-doubt.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath

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Tip Two: Allow yourself time to fuel your Inspiration. There is an abundance of beauty in the world, use everything in your disposal to re-boost your creativity. Books, movies, art, nature or even the hustle and bustle of a busy town. Take nothing for granted. Though every story has been told before, it has never been expressed by you. So feast on the stories surrounding you and then retell the tale.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
― Martha Graham

Tip Three: Let’s not forget that without darkness it’s hard to admire the light. Many artists, myself included, struggle with mental health issues. In times like these, be kind to yourself and practice the steps that help you into recovery. Though you won’t appreciate it at the time, our art is often made stronger for our empathy and compassion to the burdens of life. It is the silver lining to a thunderous storm.

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

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Thanks for stopping by.

Do you have a tip on harnessing creativity? Why not share it with me?

You know I love hearing from you.

Until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Positive Quotes: Create your Destiny.

Every creator needs inspiration, a muse, a way of seeing the world around them. This week we’re taking a look inside the mind of a writer, This Writerpoints a finger at her chest, to discover the journey of Creating your Destiny. Do you identify with any of the following 5 quotes? If so, what do they mean for you? Enjoy!

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The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

From the outset there’ll be a Wicked Gremlin whispering all of your faults to you. And to be able to create you must learn to silence or at least ignore that pesky Gremlin. Set aside your self-doubt and begin.

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. ~Erich Fromm

Letting go of that Gremlin requires courage. There are million and one reasons why you haven’t started, or shouldn’t carry on. But what about that one good reason to begin? Find your courage and let your imagination take flight.

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Anxiety is part of creativity, the need to get something out. ~David Duchovny

It’s ok not to have your shit together. It’s ok that you have baggage. In fact, it’s bloody marvellous. Use your experiences as fuel. Like the fairy tale of the girl who spun straw to gold.

Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you’re a human being, you feel, you suffer. ~Marilyn Monroe

Take those bad times and allow them to glitter on the pages, humanity is something we can all identify and connect with.

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Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity. ~Bo Bennett

Now that you’re on your way, cherish your passion, knowing that the gift to create has been bestowed upon you and will carry you through the highs and lows of life.

Go create your own destiny!!!

Thanks for stopping by. Do you have a quote based on the theme: Creativity? If so, please share it with me. Or tell me which quote you most identified with and why.

You know I love hearing from you. Until next time, Much Love x

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Top 5 things I need to write

I’ve spent the past week learning new payroll software, filing VAT returns, writing GDPR policies for my 3 businesses and redeveloping the website for my welding and fabrication business. YAWN!

During that time I’ve missed writing. And yes, my sanity has suffered for it. I’m amazed to discover that even editing my MS helps my anxiety and stops me from plummeting into depression. And the more of my blogging community I discover and supportive you all are, the less embarrassed I am about my Complex PTSD.

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So, without further ado here are my top 5 writing essentials I need for working on my WIP.

  1. Tea and lots of it. A good old fashioned mug of builder’s brew and the stronger the better.
  2. Peace and quiet. I can’t write with people around and I don’t have the luxury of an office or even a desk. As there’s just no room in my bungalow. And so I’ve commandeered the dining room table, it’s home to an extension lead, work files, lots of USB sticks, many notebooks and two laptops. One has an antiglare screen for working on my MS and the other has all the tedious software for running the other businesses.
  3. Music. I know I just said peace and quiet – I guess I meant people. I usually play the radio or music channel. Anything with upbeat tunes. I use it as a motivator and a way to cancel out the unnecessary chatter of my mind. It focuses me. I’m listening to Coldplay’s – In a sky full of stars. I get to channel my voice through words, while dancing in my seat. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
  4. My dog. Pulling my attention away from my laptop and getting out in the fresh air is essential. It recharges my batteries and increases my creativity. Yes, I moan about taking my beagle Dexter out, but I always feel better for it. Particularly if I head to the beach or take a river walk.
  5. Lastly, but most importantly is a functioning mind. I skirt a fine line between holding it together and tumbling into despair. And I can’t write when I’m depressed. While it’s not my fault I have psychological wounds or that I’m regularly triggered. Staying on top of the things that help me, is in my control. Things like, exercise, meditation, writing and therapy.

And I’m going to add a 6th. A cat because it’s finally time to bring another one into my life after losing Jasper. While I still hope he returns home, it’s been 8 months and this writer needs a kitten.

And so, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a sneak peek into my life. What’s your number one writing need. Share it with me, as I love reading about you too.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

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Say Goodbye

It’s not an easy task, even when that person causes unimaginable pain, deep wounds that lay at our core. Breaking ties, severing bonds and inflicting heartache.

What if that goodbye is your chance to finally breathe? To resurface from a lifetime of cruelty and repression. That even though it’s what’s right for you, it will crush the others who surround the two of you.

Families break, friendships suffer, children cry. Guilt can become a burden that is too hard to shake. Memories of love and loss collide within my mind. They crash like waves on cliffs, shattering rocks. Rocks that were once my building blocks. Blocks that caged me, trapping me inside fear and rejection.

I’ve taken those foundations – chipped, chiselled and clawed through. Bare-handed, bloody and raw. I’m not a child anymore. I see wrong from right, I fight against it day and night.

I walk away, head high, from you. The man, who should have protected and sheltered me from harm. I wear your healed bruises as badges of strength. I’ll face this life alone, because sometimes it’s safer, and that’s such a crime.

Though it’s sad, it’s the right time to say – goodbye dad.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.