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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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How to Define Themes in your Novels

Under the surface of every story is a Theme. But what is a Theme? And how do we develop one for our novel? You may have already drafted the novel without much thought to Theme, and that’s fine. This post will help you identify them so that they can be used to strengthen the story during revisions.

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When we think of fairy-tales, we think about morals it’s trying to portray. Theme is similar, as in it’s an underlining message to the reader, expressed through your character’s arc. The plot is what happens in your story, but the Theme is why it happens.

During your character’s journey, certain Themes will keep coming up through their goals, the conflict and then, the resolution. How do they overcome their character flaws? What holds them back from achieving their goals? What are they afraid of, and how do you force them there? How do they differ from the beginning of the story to the end? Their inner transformation may naturally hold the key to any Themes.

The polar opposite of each Theme might be used in a story to add depth and tension. Consider your favourite story and identify some of the conflicting Themes from the infographic below.

Another way to identify Theme is to consider what topics you’re trying to convey, in my Mischief and Mayhem I focus on the abuse of power and redemption. Through our writing, we express our views of the world, even if it’s subconscious at first. What is the prevailing mood/tone of the whole story? What messages have you conveyed about human nature and the world we live in. Do the events leave a sufficient and impressionable imprint upon your protagonist? The answer to your Theme may lie in there.

Of course, there may be many underlying Themes. You need only consider some of your favourite stories to explore and identify Themes. Take Cinderella, I would say the most significant Theme is good vs. evil. However there are also Themes of friendship, Death, and love. Every character’s journey will undoubtedly be complex. One Theme might weave through the entire story, while others only appear in a chapter or a scene.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

What is your favourite Theme to write about? And does this differ from the type of Themes you prefer to read about? You know I love hearing from you, so please share your experiences.

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

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

Creative Writing Blog Directory          Lorraine Ambers writer and daydream queen - OnToplist.com

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Top 3 Blogging tips

It’s my 2 year anniversary this week. Yay!!!

I’m so grateful to all my followers and readers. I’m truly humbled by this fantastic community. You’re all supportive, encouraging and willing to connect. And that’s a big deal for me. I adore being an author, spending hours at a time immersed in my imagination, but it’s vital for my sanity to know that you guys are just a few clicks away.

Thank you message in a bottle

Here are my top 3 blogging tips that have helped on my journey so far…

  1. Consistency. Be realistic with how often you can post. It’s all well and good having the intention of posting 3 times a week, but if life gets in the way blogging will be the first thing to slip. So be honest about how much time you can dedicate. I knew that after family and work commitments my writing came next. That’s why I choose to post once a week and its been maintainable. It’s also been rewarding, beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve made some great friends like Ari Meghlen. Her blog is full of writing, blogging and platform building tips. Check her out.

2. Connect.  This is a two-way network. So reach out to fellow bloggers. Read their posts and leave a comment, its more personal than simply liking a post. Although I love it when anyone clicks on the little star.

This week I’ve found two new beta readers K.M. Allen and Uninspired writers.  Ladies, welcome to my realm. Take a look at their fantasic blogs full of writing tips.

3. Schedule posts. This tip is for me too. I really need to take my own advice. Organise post in advance. That way when something unexpected crops up, you’re covered. It’s easy to do: Open post settings. Under Status, click on the arrow next to Publish Immediately and a calendar opens up. Then you can set a date and time. When you’re happy with your choice hit the blue Schedule button and you’re all set.

Alternatively, why not re-blog one of your fellow bloggers posts. It’s a great way to stay consistent with your blog and helps to build connections with your bloggers.

Do you have any great tips to share? Let me know in the comments, you know I love to hear from you. Till next time, Much Love. Xx

 

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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6 Tips for Twitter #writers

Building a platform and navigating the many different social media’s can be a daunting task. It can seem a step too far, especially when we’re still struggling to write our novel. But fear not, for I’m here to share my top six tips for using twitter.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

It’s important to remember you’re presenting yourself as a brand. Every interaction on the internet should be tailored towards catching your target audience and strengthening your business – you as an author.

  1. Load a profile and background image, then add a few sentences to describe yourself. Want inspiration? Check out your fellow writers and see what catches your eye.
  2. Every social media has a different way of conversing. Twitter does this by short, punchy statements. Using just 140 characters to convey your meaning. Twitter is fast moving so mistakes can be made. But that’s ok, your friends will forgive and forget. So dive in and have fun.
  3. Picture’s and Gif’s are a great way to draw attention, so get creative. Warning about copyright, please make sure you have the right to use the images.
  4. Use hashtags as a way to connect with likeminded individual. Some of my favourites are #amwriting #turtlewriters and #fantasy. Play around with them and pay attention to what similar authors use.
  5. Remember your manners and don’t spam. The fastest way to be unfollowed is by only plugging your own work. There tends to be an unwritten rule that the ratio should be 80% sharing and 20% promoting. I like to mix it up, not all of my tweets are promotional. Most are asking questions, interacting and statuses about my writing journey. Take a look at my profile: https://twitter.com/lorraineambers
  6. People tend to converse through the newsfeed and ignore DM’s (Direct Messages) because the majority of messages are spam. If you want to chat, be brave and tweet them directly by adding there @name. Try me, I’ll be happy to reply. @LorraineAmbers

There we have it, my top 6 tips for twitter. Do you have any tips to share? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2017
YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

Are you blocking your success?

As authors, we know our characters need to be pushed to the limits to reveal their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Have you ever realised that the same applies to you?

Become conscious of why you do what you do and allow yourself to let go of old behaviours.

Key to success Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Success is blocked because of fear. It’s a powerful emotion that shapes our whole lives. We can become slaves to our past patterns and behaviours.  Instead, find strength and support for your journey to greatness.

Be open to the idea of success by adopting the Abundance theory.Abundance theory. With the correct attitude or spiritual alignment, we can acquire personal abundance.

Another powerful tool is to use the Power of Intention. Wayne Dyer says, ‘Our intentions create our reality.’ Start each day fresh and focus on the purpose of today. Use your time wisely and plan what goals you want to achieve by writing them down. We cannot change the past, so don’t dwell on it but think ahead instead.

Author Lorraine Ambers writer YA fantasy romance novel

Visualise your success and develop your vision by writing out your future goals or create a vision board. It’s not complicated; I’ve set one up an example on Pinterest, using images that elicit a positive response. To reinforce the future you want to ascertain. Or glue magazine cut outs onto a board and stash it away. You don’t need to look at it again, the works been done. The seed has been planted in your subconscious, trust me changes will follow. Using this method I have manifested a healthy family, own my own home and lost 2 stone in weight. Give it a try; what do you have to lose?

Practice positive thinking with the Laws of Attraction. The energy you emit to the universe will be returned to you.

Silence your inner critique. She’s holding you back. Would you tolerate a stranger calling you fat, useless or a failure? No of course not. Practise love and acceptance. You’re a valued member of your family and circle of friends. Treat yourself as you would others.

Remember you have the power to change what is in your control. Show gratitude for what you have today and let the rest fall to the fates. Breathe, because you’ve got this.

Be brave, bold and step forward into the new successful you.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

Submission hopes and fears

Are you embarking on the submission phase of your writing journey? Or perhaps like me, you’ve forged head-long into the process, only to feel lost and disorientated.

You’re in the ‘The Magic Eight Ball’ zone. The inside of your mind, has been shaken to its core. Only able to answer; Yes, No or Maybe to your pointless rhetorical questions. Will you find an agent, is your work polished enough, have you spelt the agents name correctly? Blah, Blah, Blah.

I knew going into this process, that waiting and rejection was inevitable. And still I was unprepared.

Submission writer agent hopes fears

As I discussed in my previous post Searching for an Agent. I’d researched the best fit agents for YA fantasy novels, fine-tuned my synopsis, pulled my big girl pants up and repeated, show no fear, you’ve got this.

I’m just five weeks in… I want to share some of my hurdles, blunders and worries I’ve faced:

  • Well-meaning friends congratulating you and ask, ‘When are you going to be published?’ – Urm, I don’t know. It’s about as helpful as asking a heavily pregnant woman, when is the baby going to arrive?
  • Having the best dream, where an amazing, talented agent hired you. Pulling you into a massive bear hug and promising that the world is your oyster. – Only to wake up. At least you know you’re passionate about your writing dream.  Right?
  • Stalking agents via Twitter, Tumbler or LinkedIn, heck maybe all three. Only to humiliate yourself with a miss understood tweet. – Hide from all forms of social media, close all the curtains and spend your life like a hermit. Yikes!
  • Doubting your skills and creativity. Questioning every plot decision that has led you to this point. – It’s hard passing your precious novel over to the great unknown. As a control queen, I thrive on setting my own goals and reaching them. This part requires blind faith in your work, leaving it up to the masters of the literary universe.

Submission writer agent author

I’ve already learnt from this process. By revaluating my hook and short bio, I’ve strengthened my chance at making a good first impression. There are some fantastic bloggers out there who have helped me develop those skills.

Shout-out to: 

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/secrets-of-story-structure-pt-2-hook/

The Submission Process

That magical moment when you decide NOT to quit writing #writing #writers — BlondeWriteMore

Love writing agent submission

An important part of the process is acknowledgement. It’s easy to let it corrode your self-esteem. You’re not alone in these worries; every writer has struggled with them. Embrace those fears. The whole experience is tinged with What If’s. Use that momentum to evaluate where you’re going and what you plan to do next.

I’ve come to realise that this process, as painful as it can be, is also liberating and exciting. Even if I don’t find the agent of my dreams, I’m not quitting. I can’t. What a huge eye opener. In fact, I’m already 20% into my first draft of book 2 and loving every minute. There’s a sense of satisfaction, in knowing my craft. In the continuous growth of mastering a skill.

Writing inspiration agent submission
Perhaps it will take a 100 submissions, perhaps it will be lucky book number 5, maybe it will never happen.

I’m still going to keep on writing, dreaming and plotting my way to the end.

I hope this blog gives a little bit of hope to anyone embarking on or wading through the query trenches. I love your advice and moral boosting comments, so don’t be shy.

Author writer Lorraine Ambers

Thanks for reading.

© Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com 2017

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Exploring Google+ for Writers

Hi everyone, thanks for joining me on my expedition of Google+. As an author and blogger I need to get my content out there. To be seen by the masses. Social media provides us this opportunity. But where do we start?

Entering the realm of Platform Building is daunting and a subject we’ve already covered. With our brand discovered and in place, it’s time to adventure into wide web.

photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
photo credit: Social Media Marketing Mix via photopin (license)
Take a look at some of the previous journeys:

Reaching a wide audience and connecting with our readers is the aim, so let’s get started!

Step on: Set up an account using the same crafted brand bios and photos. How to achieve this can be found on my blog about building your platform. It’s an important first step and should not be missed. Tip: Google+ maximises your Google search results from essential key words in your Bio. Understand your target audience; use the same language so they can discover you. Example: fantasy, non-fiction, young adult and romance are a few of mine.

You can create a personnel or business profile. I opted for a personnel page. As a new author I wanted to be proactive in reaching out to other people and have them get to know me. You have to use your personal profile to do so.

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Link your account to your website, and any other media sites you have created. Having multiple platforms generates more visibility for your work. More sites! –  I hear you cry, I know, It’s hard work. Take it one step at a time and breathe. It’s taken me a couple of years to get to this point. I’m still learning and growing. So can you.

Google+ is an excellent site for meeting up with likeminded individuals. Choose relevant interests and community groups. I’ve joined communities like; Writers blogs, Creative writing and Book reviews. Tip: Select a few and concentrate on them, don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s easy to get carried away and hard to maintain.

photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
photo credit: @brockuniversity Social Media via photopin (license)
Unlike other social media, Google+ has the advantage of creating circles. Your circles could contain containing authors, editors or publishers.  Reach out and connect with your circles, formatting posts that connect specifically with them in mind. They in turn, will link you to their circles, helping you to grow.

Like all media keep posts relevant, with good content and on a regular basis. Get to know your connections and have fun. The advantage of Google+ is there is no maximum content. You can submit a chapter of your novel to be reviewed or post book reviews. It’s an intelligent platform with a host of feature just begging to be put to good use.

Google+ Hangouts is a free online video chat that can include up to 10 people. Just think of the possibilities this opens up, book readings and meeting your readers.

Why not follow me on Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/2/+LorraineAmbers

Tell me about your Google+ experience, share some great tips, I love to here from you.

©Lorraine Ambers 2017

Searching for an Agent

After two and a half years I’ve finally done it. Completed my novel, the endless edits and revisions are over.

Last week I sent off my MS to five carefully selected agents. I spent nights trawling through the Writers & Artists year book, and hours researching each firm to find the perfect match for my novel. Then, more days following them on social media or checking out their blogs. To find out about them and how I could connect. It’s tricky business. Agents hate it when authors approach them on a broad range biases, it proves they have not done their homework. I can not be accused of that.

I followed their guideline: submit first 3 chapters, double spaced and in font size 12, making sure to use an appropriate script. Each agent specifies slightly different terms, some want PDF or word document attachments other only want them in the email body.

That was fine, but what what about the ones that don’t specify?

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
– Cynthia Heimel
I guessed and made that leap!
Agents and publishers want to know:
  • who you are,
  • what your novel is about,
  • what experience you have,
  • who its targeted at, and so on and so forth.
I polished individual cover letters for each agent. All specially chosen from specific companies, and then rounded down, like a bizarre version of the Hunger Games. Where only one agent with in the agency can be victorious.
Inevitably I forgot something! I didn’t include the word count. I can’t go back. I can’t add it in another email or resend the whole lot again. They class that as harassment, perhaps I’m over exaggerating. The amount of conflicting information, surrounding this process is mind boggling.
I panicked! Why did I tell them my novels a crossover between genres? What was I thinking when I claimed my story is a romance fantasy, interlaced as a psychological thriller. I don’t even know what that genre is…
That was when I mentally slapped myself! I know these thing are true. I know my own story. I might fumble and go bright red when someone asks me what its about, but I still know it inside out.
The whole process is confusing, scary and shadowed in the artist Achilles heel – DOUBT.
Now I wait and refresh my emails daily. Now I plan book 2. Now I keep going.

Thank you for reading my post. Are you almost at the finish line? Or perhaps your starting out on a new adventure, Let me know about it. I love reading your comments and discovering I’m not alone in this process. 🙂

Author lorraine ambers logo© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
supernatural reading novel Author Lorraine Ambers writer YA fantasy romance

You can be supernatural too

I have learnt to listen to my mind, body and soul. The last thing a creative person needs is a burnout. Our work dries up and comes to a grinding halt. Exasperated, the original problem is prolonged. Meaning, the journey to getting back on track is even harder.

What should we do when life reveals it’s self as a broken fairy-tale? Unlike a fantasy novel, there is no Dark Knight to save us. The first step is realisation. Our realm is what we make it.

Inspiration butterflys Pexel-image

I’ve had my share of experiences to wonderland and back. I’m keen to keep myself on an even keel. In pursuit of more knowledge I stumbled across this enlightening YouTube clip.

Psychological well-being by Nina Ellis-Hervey at TED

Nina is an inspirational woman. Who has learnt valuable lessons from her failures and strives to encourage others, that they too, can achieve anything they put their minds too.

Thank you message in a bottle

So to all of my fellow writers, as Nina says:

Dream big or not at all.

Share your favourite inspirational quotes or sites with me. We all need encouragement from time to time. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.