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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.

Fantasy writer Lorraine Ambers blog banner

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.

Writers harness your creativity

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

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

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!

Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back
Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

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.

Inspiration butterflys Pexel-image

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.

Rose Key Heart Lock romance heartbreat Lorraine Ambers

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.

Alice in Wonderland. Have I gone Mad?
Image from Pinterest.

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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Discovering my story’s premise

Every story has a beating heat. And though every story has been written before, it has not been written by you. Therefore, each story takes on a unique premise. Now I’ve hear this a million times, but honestly I’ve only just grasped the concept. The importance of hooking readers with the premise, by either immediately revealing it or by sowing the seeds throughout the opening pages. Allowing the premises butterfly effect to ripple through your story.

If you like, it’s the first building block of your story. I thought I knew my story. I thought I’d nailed my hook. I was wrong.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

If you’re struggling to identify your premise, then read this great post on: How to Find Exactly the Right Story Hook by Helping Writers Become Authors. It’s written eloquently with great examples. Honestly K.M Weiland is my go to bible for writing tips.

I didn’t know this until I sent my submission package to a literary agent to be critiqued. A service Writers & Artists provide. I’d come to a dead end with my first MS. It has been rejected by 30 agents with no feedback. It was either shelve it and focus on my second novel, or give it one last attempt. And I’m not a quitter.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

So I took a bold move and opened myself up to feedback from Sallyanne Sweeney from MMB Creative. She taught me a valuable lesson about the first few chapters. I hadn’t introduced the premise. I hadn’t introduced my hook. Therefore, I hadn’t rewarded my readers with the foreshadowed inciting moment. Which also came in too late, chapters 4 and 5. Huge mistake!

I had opened with a fast paced scene believing that was the premise. Wrong. It was simply the first domino effect of my story. Then my story floundered to world build, without teasing the reader with my premise. Therefore the story lacked enough tension to drive the plot forward to the all-important inciting moment. The protagonists call to adventure.

Now, I knew what was coming… but my readers had no clue…. worse still, they might have given up and put the book down.

Once I discovered my premise, the revisions came easily. And now the antagonist, the conflict and goal are easily identified within the first few paragraphs. And my story is much stronger for it.

Thanks for reading and best of luck with your WIP. Remember, failure is proof that you’re trying. Don’t ever be afraid to grow and learn. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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

 

 

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

5 tips for overcoming doubt

Sometimes we are our own harshest critique. I’ll never be good enough. I’m not successful. Or popular, clever, talented…

We’re all aware of the horrendous things people say, but ignore or enforce the ones we say to ourselves. How would you feel if a stranger said your writing was crap? Seriously, how? Hurt. Angry. Crushed. And yet when we say those same things to ourselves, about our own writing, we allow it. Even back it up with reasons why it’s rubbish.

If only we were taught as children to see the best in ourselves. To see failure as progress. And to problem solve our doubts away.

I think we’d take that nagging critical voice and lock it in a cupboard. Or we’d shout back at that voice: How dare you speak to me like that. I deserve more respect. I’ve worked tirelessly on my writing and I will continue to improve.

Now that’s a world I’d like to live in.

Key to success Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Here are my top five tips on beating doubt and crushing that nagging internal voice. Because we can, and we will succeed.

1. Realisation. When we pay attention to doubt we can stop it dead in its tracks. I don’t mean get out your pompoms and cheer along with it. I mean, pay attention to the times it kicks in. Acknowledge it and then kick it to the curb. The next time your inner critic starts shouting, try visualising a giant red stop sign.

2. Write a list of all of your accomplishments and what makes you great. I bet being creative comes to mind, because creative folks tend to struggle with self-doubt. But that’s ok, find the positive and jot it down. From being a great listener to passing your driving test, or finishing the first draft of a novel. Be proud of the small and major things that define your life and who you are. The next time doubt comes calling take a look at your list and remind yourself of how great you are.

3. Inspirational quotes. Not only are they great pick-me-ups, but they also make us realise that everyone struggles with similar issues. We are not alone in our doubts, but we can overcome them. So pop over to Pinterest and find your favourites. Try printing some out and pinning them on the wall by your desk, or saving one as your home screen. Let the positive words shine brighter than the negative.

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4. Take some time to relax and unwind. When I burnout, I crumble. Therefore learning to stop before stress becomes a major factor is important. Equally important is to give yourself a break, if you do burnout, that’s ok too. Forgive yourself, Love yourself and take a dame break. The housework, your MS and the 101 other things that are building up will all be there tomorrow. I grant you permission to eat chocolate, watch Netflix and hug a pet or pillow.

5. Set goals and work towards them. Bite-size steps give us attainable and realistic expectations. Make them too big and we give up with the knowledge that we we’re right. We’ll never amount to anything. And that’s not what we want. But chop your dream into tiny pieces and celebrate each small success is how we can achieve even the largest dream. Maybe it’s to write 500 words per day, or join a creative writing class, or send your work to a beta reader. Whatever the step: it’s you building upon your dream and making it a reality.

So take that doubt. We’re crushing you and working our way up the success ladder.

I hope you found my tips helpful. I’m sure there are many ways to overcome doubt, why don’t you share some of your tips with me. Thanks for reading.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
girl underwater fantasy magic wrting author Lorraine Ambers

Procrastination

I thought about writing a post giving my top tips to avoid procrastination. But the truth is, there’s only one: Sit down and get it done.

I wonder if there are people who don’t suffer with this plight. Perhaps certain individual are too driven and focused to let such forces come into play.

I also wonder if the very act of procrastination is in fact another emotion. Doubt, anxiety and depression are my biggest causes. I flounder, an overwhelming sense of being lost, unclear of my path and sometimes a down right lack of caring about myself. The fog has enveloped my mind, muddied my outlook and taken rot in my soul.

I didn’t blog last week. I simply couldn’t face it. I had no pearls of wisdom to share. Instead of beating myself up over the fact that I was underperforming, missing my goals and a variety of other things I could sling at myself worth. I admitted defeat with grace, accepted that occasionally my mental health is at a critical low and the best thing I can do is recuperate.

My state of mind is a gift and a curse, my craft explores the joy and pain of the world around me. It’s how I make sense of my life. Too much suffering shuts down my creativity and cripples me.

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe

Take care of yourselves, you’re worth it.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Featured Image: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7684729@N06/16009553774″>Women Underwater</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
Rose Key Heart Lock romance heartbreat Lorraine Ambers

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.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

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

 

SFX Halloween The Mummy face paint

Fright Night Favourites

Images by SFX makeup artist Abi – Click Trick or Treat to see last Halloweens post, featuring Abi’s spectacular ‘Fright Night’ art work.

It’s not the tradition of trick or treating that I like, or the horror films that threaten to terrify. I have enough ghosts of my own. It’s the pleasure of the senses, familiar but reborn each year.

Nights draw closer for All Hallows’ Eve, blanketing me under the inky depths of superstition and the unknown. Spiced pumpkin, jack o’lanterns and the brisk cold that allows you to imagine the whispered beginnings of log fires and hot chocolate.

Costumes for young and old. Playful, wicked gleams, in the eyes of those who participate. Gone are the days of plastic liners, fashioned into a witches dress or Draculas cape. The competition has risen, pushing for bolder designs of fancy.

Queen of Hearts, sfxmakeup mua Halloween Fancy dress, Fright night

Don’t you want to be someone else for a night?

Autumnal colours, the crunch of acorns and crisp bracken under wellington boots, auburn leaves that dance in the wind. The thinning umbrella of the forest roof. Nightfall brings exclusivity. Just me on a path, one amber street lamp at a time.

And there are only five sleeps left until the promise of sparklers and fire. When the sweet smell of caramelised onions and roasted pork will scent the air. Thick woollen scarves and bright coloured mitts. A shower of science and magic will ignite in rainbow dust, under the moon lit sky. Filling my heart with child-like joy, unbridled and addictive.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

What are your favourite things about this season? Thanks for reading and enjoy Happy Halloween.

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016 – 2017