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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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The Courageous Writer

Writer’s and Artist’s are seen as fragile creatures, introverted and mysterious. But those are simply stereotypes; artists come from a multitude of backgrounds and have different personality traits. One thing we do all have in common is courage and persistence.

They say writers and artists see the world differently. Every voice we hear, every face we see, every hand we touch could become story fabric. – Buffy Andrews.

I love the last quote, the more I write the more I realize the truth in those words. I watch people and observed their behavior, I begin to ‘borrow’ their traits. How they reacted to bad news, how they hold their posture, and then I start to morph those borrowed pieces into characters.

When did this happen? When did I start enjoying psychology so I can channel it into my writing? When did I first observe my emotions so that I could transfer them on to the page? Suddenly, poetry is important because I want to know how to describe a simple object and give it meaning.

Jacob Nordby Quote about Artists

All of those things are fascinating, but other facets of our journey have become more apparent. In order to achieve our goals of becoming published, we constantly put our art out there: Submissions, beta readers, critique partners, writing groups and competitions.

We struggle with self-doubt and crippling anxiety over the future of our novels. All the while we work on; pressing our fingers to the keys, tapping away in the silent hours in between our real lives, where family and work commitments take president.

We continue to push through our fears, purging our darkest secrets into our written art, allowing our glittering hopes to shine through our WIP. When criticism pinches, or the rejections roll in, we fight on to make our work more succinct. Through our vulnerability, we risk everything in pursuit of our dreams, knowing that failure is inevitable. Yet when we fall, we brush the dust off our knees only to rise and continue.

My fellow artists: We are courageous. The next time you type on in seclusion, feeling the burden of isolation, I want you to congratulate yourself for being brave, for persisting, for following your dreams, because many people simply never bother.

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So my fellow artists, do you believe you see the word differently? Have you realize your own bravery, and if not, why not? Share your experiences with 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, 2019.
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The Five Stages of Receiving Editorial Feedback

As much as we desire the truth about our writing it can be painful to hear the truth about our work. Of course, it can help us grow and become better, it how we learn and develop our craft. It’s a necessary part of the experience. If I’m being honest, I feel as though I’ve passed a benchmark in my journey, because I’ve dreamed of working with an editor, I just hadn’t expected such clarity from a brief one-to-one at a book fair.

Here’s a fun infographic poking fun at a writers experience of receiving critical feedback from an editor and the emotional process they go through. I hope you enjoy.

What have your experiences with editors been like? Good or bad, let me know if it helped you grow as a writer, 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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Surviving Writer Purgatory

Sometimes life outside of being a writer becomes hectic, and juggling the many demands of life takes its toll. In times like these something has to give, and I’ve already cooked too many oven chips for dinner and stopped walking my dog every day.

While no writer wants to sacrifice their writing time, that precious outlet for their sanity, there comes a time (usually around doing our annual taxes or Christmas) when they simply must take a short break.

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Here’s my four top tips to help you survive writing purgatory.

Stop berating yourself, this is only temporary: By removing the addition stress of unrealistic goals, you’ll actually increase productivity, be better at problem solving and be back on track before you know it. 

Prioritize your responsibilities: Make a list of all that needs to be done and cut out the unessential. Oh how I wish the world were fair, and that my children would understand that writing was my lifeline, unfortunately they insist being fed and having clean clothes.

Don’t stop planning and plotting: Just because you can’t physically find time to write doesn’t mean you won’t get the opportunity to daydream. Driving somewhere? Use that time to develop a secondary character. Painting a room. Figure out you climactic scene. Stuck waiting in the doctor surgery. Gather inspiration by watching how the receptionist deals with patients, or how the toddle runs his mother ragged, and use those details in your manuscript.

Repeat this mantra: I’m only human. No one’s perfect. I’m a writer, even if I don’t write every day. It’s going to okay.

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What do you do when life gets in the way of your writing? I’d love to hear your coping techniques, so please share them with me. 

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

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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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A Writer’s Dream Wish List

We writers are mercurial creatures, each with our own unique quirks, aspirations and preferences that drive us to create stories. Have you ever wondered if all writers desire the same things? I’ve created a fun, whimsical infographic that contains seven, unrealistic desires of a writer. Enjoy!

Do you agree with any of these wishes? Or perhaps you have something different to add to the wish list.

Why not share them with me, you know I love hearing from you.

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

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How to Write Compelling Secondary Characters

This week I’ve received a comment about secondary characters, and more specifically, how many characters should support your protagonist? In truth, every story is individual; Game of Thrones notoriously has a large cast of characters, whilst The Martian focuses solely on the plight of the protagonist for the best part of the story.

Therefore the plot holds the key to such questions, a better question to consider would be; how can I create context for the MC struggles? What internal or external circumstances, characters or environment will best serve and/or antagonise my protagonist? How can you help develop your protagonists story arc?

Secondary characters can provide powerful purposes within our stories. They can help to advance the plot in ways the protagonist cannot. They create conflict that stymies the protagonists journey. They can help to deepen the theme through dialogue, backstory and actions. Whilst help to reveal elements of worldbuilding through their individual point of view.

Here is a guide of the types of characters who may accompany your protagonist on their journey.

The sidekick – This character can also be the protagonists friend, or family member. Whilst they accompany the hero on his quest, they may well hinder, create conflict, become their confidant and most importantly add an element of comedy or surprise, just like Ron Wesley in Harry Potter.

The Magicians - Margo Meme

The friend – The nurturing companion who is always available to lend a shoulder to cry on. They help the hero to realise their own path, to be there after conflicts to give them the strength to continue onwards. Hagrid from Harry Potter is a great example.

The mentor – The wise soul who gives council, hints at vital clues whilst offering training and experience to the young apprentice. Remember not to make the story too easy, your mentor should lead the protagonist to the answers without actually telling him how to solve the problems.

The love interest – Create romance and tension within the story by adding an element of romance. It stirs internal conflict driving your protagonist to explore new emotions.  You could raise the stakes by forcing your protagonist to sacrifice something in order to save them. Or if romance is not central to your plot, maybe their love interest is merely a way to round out your character, a way to introduce their backstory and reveal another side to their personality.

The Magicians - Alice Meme

The healer – When your character gets injured, or faces a time of great healing, they will require someone who can aid them. This type of character helps the protagonist recover and strengthen up before they move on with their journey. This flexible character will add a fresh dimension to the story as your protagonist fights to overcome their injury/ illness.

The Herold – This character will call the protagonist into action, starting them on their journey. They give instructions in the beginning, like Gandalf who sets Bilbo Baggins off in The Hobbit. Often the protagonists ignores, rebels, or simply persists the call to action until they’re forced to act.

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The antagonist – Unlike all of the influencer characters the antagonists purpose is to create conflict, to prevent your protagonist from reaching his goals, to stay one step ahead until the climax of the story. Ultimately allowing the protagonist to grow, to improve, to reach a point where they can defeat or overcome the antagonist. They may take form as the bully, the irate boss, the murder your trying to track, or the power crazy queen who needs to be usurp.

The family – Families come in all forms, some supportive and others abusive. Inside each family the dynamic will vary depending on the types of characters involved. You may encounter the herald, the friend, the side kick, the antagonist and a love interest all within one family. We see such dynamic interactions in Hunger games when Katniss sacrifices herself to save her sister.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Have fun, get creative and play around with these side characters as a way to introduce conflict, obstacles, tension, support and stability.

Tell me, how many characters does your WIP have? And apart from your protagonist, who is your favourite and why? Don’t be shy, share your ideas, 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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Copywriting and the Benefits for your Blog

Today we’re going to explore copywriting and how the techniques can benefit bloggers. It’s also a vital skill for all entrepreneurs in any line of business. In a previous post we discovered the advantages of persuasive writing, which has many similarities and should be used in tandem when crafting a descriptive content for the purposes of engaging your audience. Don’t forget to check it out.

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You might be asking – what is copywriting and does it apply to me?

Copywritingcopywriters create fresh written content for advertising, marketing and descriptive texts. Copywriters can write more creative text, like ad jingles, taglines, and other creative copy, or more research-based copy, like a job description on a website.

As a writer, copywriting will become paramount in your marketing. From little social media snippets, to writing an introduction about you or your work, and of course blogging. The aim is to coax your audience into engaging with you, your brand, so that they choose to invest in your product. But also to drive traffic to your site by using some of the tips mentioned below.

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Do your research: Like any good writer knows, research is paramount to your success. You may not need to use every piece of information garnered but you 100% need to know what your promoting. Research, research, research.

Use rich SEO content: Define the keywords relevant to your brand and product and insert them throughout your content. This will encourage your blog post to be picked up by search engines and rank you near the top.

USP – Unique Selling Point: What makes you standout from the crowd, why is your work different from your competitors. I’m sure you’re aware of how hard this is, but it’s a necessary skill to master.

Use your words: Colourful prose and strong verbs are essential when crafting each piece, thankfully, we’re writers and have an advantage – use it. Make it interesting and tell your story.

Use a catchy headline: Remember the 4 U’s, Urgent, Unique, Ultra-specific and Useful. Your goal is to catch the reader attention and hold their interest.

 

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Know your audience: Identify your target audience and work to appeal to them. Give them what they want by painting a vivid picture that satisfies their desire. Learn to speak to your ideal customer.

Be clear and concise: It’s easy to play on words, but sometimes that’s not the best way to hook the reader. Make your language easy to understand, don’t bog the reader down with jargon. Everything you write should have a purpose. Equally make your blog easy to read: utilize the white space, use bullet points and short paragraphs. And never forget the advantage of great imagery.

Focus on the benefits: Your readers want to be emotional invested, so highlight the benefits, not the features. Talk about what you, or your product does not is, and demonstrate this. Make the reader feel like they’re getting something, give them instantaneous gratification. Use persuasive writing to ask questions that encourage the reader to agree.

Back up your claims: Build your credibility with the following:

  • Facts and statistics
  • methodologies
  • testimonials
  • case studies
  • success stories

Include a strong call to action: Take advantage of the opportunity to tell your readers what to do. Call, sign up, buy, register – you’ve gathered their support and interest, now make sure they invest. Successful writers and marketers use the power of three at all times. Don’t be subtle or cleaver, drive your audience to use the CTA in three different places.

Lead with your strongest point: Don’t save the best for last, you want to grab the reader’s attention and keep it. Stress the value of what you’re offering. Let your natural writing voice flow, research indicates that most successful blogs employ a relaxed, personal style.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Do you have any tips to share? Have you experimented with copywriting by applying these tips to your business?

If so, have you had any positive results? Please share your experience. 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.

6 Powerful Tips to Keep your Writing Motivation

Writers flourish when our muse is alive. When our words build new worlds, ink flowing, filling up our blank canvas to create a novel. So it’s no surprise that the opposite results in dry spells of writer’s block, self-doubt, and even imposter writer syndrome.

SO! How do we keep those negative things at bay? Fear not, today I’ll share my top Six tips to keep your motivation alive.

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Set Goals.

This is a small promise to yourself that your writing matters. That even in the midst of family gatherings, work commitments, and other priorities, you’ll acknowledge that what you’re working towards matters. Whether that be a daily word target, a weekend venture or the spare 10 minutes to make notes between appointments. Set a goal, stick to it and watch the word count rise.

Novel Story Worldbuilding Fantasy

2. Keep the vision.

The most important aspect of reaching your goals is to envisage the final outcome. How will it feel to finally finish your novel? Who will you celebrate with? What will you treat yourself with? It’s your dream, so make it big, bold and beautiful. And anytime you start to flag, or you’ve skipped too many goal targets, and guilt has taken you by the throat. Allow your mind to wonder, to daydream – and then wipe the slate clean and begin again.

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3. Rally the troops.

Except for the characters that follow us everywhere, writing can be an isolating, lonely business. That’s where we need to branch out and connect with the other elusive, secretive creatures. Thankfully, you can find a few at writing conferences, creative writing classes, and on social media. #WritingCommunity on Twitter is a great place to start, and of course, I give a massive hello and welcome to my beloved blogging community. Life would be pretty dull without you all.

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Photo by Art by Lønfeldt from Pexels

4. Get creative.

You can’t run out of creativity, but you can get stifled. So remember to stretch your creative wings and take flight to another craft. Colouring, flower arranging or even joining in with your kids at Lego time. I love a bit of block building fun.

It doesn’t have to involve starting a new hobby, there’s a wealth of inspiration all around us. Why not check out my other blog post with 5 Top Tips to Fuel Inspiration.

5. Celebrate the small stuff.

Don’t make my mistake of only celebrating the big stuff. Because usually by the time that rolls around, your sights will be set on the next big thing and you’ve bypassed all of your hard work. Have a cuppa after xxx amount of words. Have lunch with your friends knowing that you’ve written this week’s blog post. Binge watch that Netflix show at the end of the day knowing you’ve earned it. Ok, so you get the point… and yes that’s pretty much how I plan my week.

Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back
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6. Self-love.

This is such an important part and often overlooked or hidden in the shadows. But positive mental health can bring a wealth of abundance to our work. Whereas the opposite can often result in a collapse of creativity. Not only is it wise to get some fresh air, eat healthy and hydrate. But self-love for me means listening to my body, slowing down when my illness flares, appreciating the small things and allowing things to unfold in their own time. Even my novels.

Thanks for stopping by to read. I appreciate every single one of you. Tell me what your Top Tip for staying motivated is. You know I love to hear from you.

Until next time, Much Love Xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
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Reality of being a writer

I’m a huge fan of positivity posts. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of inspiration? Pushing us to work towards our goals and chase our dreams. But sometimes it’s good to take a breath and check in with reality. To realise that our struggles don’t define us, but they do make us human.

Being a writer or any artist is tough. Don’t get me wrong, there are many perks. Take today for instance; I’m sitting in bed with my dog, listening to music, whilst drinking tea and blogging. But it’s not all glamorous: In fact, I’m not sure any of it is???

Today I thought I’d share the harsh reality of what being a writer is like for me. To let you know; you’re not alone in your fight. And that acknowledging our struggles doesn’t make us weak, it makes us honest. Maybe even a little enlightened.

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First of all: Shoat out to all working-student writers. Hurrah to us, juggling a full time job/course with other commitments, housework, family  and all the pressures life brings is usually enough for mere mortals. We’ve chosen to spend a dedicated amount of time and resources to building platforms, managing social media and actually writing a novel… or two. Congratulations, did you know roughly 80% of people dream of writing a novel but only a small percentage achieve this.

Next it’s a huge shoat out to writer parents. Whoop! Whether your children are young and need constant attention. Tantrums, potty training, endless kid parties and squabbling siblings. Where we need eyes in the back of our heads. Or older darlings: full of hormone melt downs, teenage dramas, social media mine-fields, confrontations over boundaries, boyfriend/girlfriend worries and … still squabbling siblings. And that’s all dealt with in a morning.

When do we get to write? How do we fit it in? But as we writers know… where there’s a will, and often a desperate need for sanity, there’s a way.

Writer Author Cat

Social life advocates: Bravo! I’m beginning to wonder if this is a rare breed of writer, because if you’re juggling either of the above, or like me – both, and you still have a successful social life: I’m wondering, do you only need two hours of sleep???

I’d love to go out for dinner with friends, meet the girls for coffee, fit in my yoga class, maybe take up tai chi too and attend creative writing class. But I wrestle to fit in all the other non-social stuff. Write. Walk my beagle. Read and read more. Blog. Fill cupboards with food, cook bloody food, clean dishes… You know the drill. You’re in it too. It’s an endless cycle of mundaneness, just to stay at base level. Tedious, repetitive and frustrating, doesn’t even begin to cover it.

To avoid these things is to ‘Attempt’ to change absolute reality, which will inevitably do more harm than good, internally speaking. (Internally = your mind and soul) Realise this is how life is and no longer will it disturb you, you can feel free. ‘Life is suffering’ – Budda

And there we have it. Life. Reality. Honest and raw. Be proud of who you are and the choices you make, because you’re unique and awesome. Take a moment to reflect on you’re journey and feel free to add a comment, sharing a little of it 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.