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.
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.
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.
Writers need to deal with rejection. The industry we work in is subjective and competitive. Striving for greatness comes at a cost, usually to our pride. Recognition and validation is important for everyone. Unfortunately artists tend to get the least amount, unless you’ve made it to the top. I haven’t. I’m still way down in the trenches, striving for that elusive goal of being appreciated for my craft.
Whilst querying my first novel, I set my expectations too high, believing I would be one of the favored few who would be snapped up instantly. I WAS WRONG. Back then, my writing was the best I could achieve. So I sent my book-baby off and fed all of my excited/ anxious energy into creating the second in the series. Four months later, that driving force of anticipation had manifested into book two of The Shadow Knight Series. Amazing.
When all of the queries came back with a polite ‘Not what we’re looking for.’ or ‘We don’t think your material is the right fit for us.’ I took a look at my submission package.
I was surprised to find my writing had improved. I cringed at my old material. The rejections morphed with my inner critical voice and attacked. We’ve all been there… and it’s brutal. Rejection hurts. We get stressed out, upset and frustrated. But that’s a useful tool.
This is where rejection can actually be useful. The driving force behind the hurt and disappointment allows us to re-evaluate and try again.
Remember: Successful people have made it because they didn’t give up.
Fear not, with the right mind-set and some initiative and introspect we can turn things around. By taking control of the situation, we can turn that negativity into something positive. Next time we’ll do better, or learn to be better. This isn’t the end of the road, it’s a bump in the path.
To paraphrase Samuel Beckett: fail again, fail better.
Since then I’ve revised, edited and written new material. I’m confident that at this moment in time I have done my best. Who knows, maybe after revising my next manuscript, I’ll realize that I’ve grown some more. And that can only be a good thing.
Keep going. Have faith and above all else believe in yourself.
Have you learnt any valuable lessons from rejection? If so, tell me about them. We’re all in this together and I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
Are you embarking on the submission/ query phase of your writing journey? Or perhaps like me, you’ve forged head-long into the process, only to feel lost, disorientated and at times disheartened. Fear not, I’m here to guide you through it.
The querying phase may trigger the ‘Magic Eight Ball’ zone. The inside of your mind gets shaken to its core. Until your only able to answer – Yes, No or Maybe, to your pointless, endless, rhetorical questions. Will you find an agent? Have you revised enough? Is your story unique and sell-able? Blah, Blah, Blah.
When I first started querying, I understood the process. I’d read all about it. So I knew waiting and rejection would be inevitable. But, oh boy, was I unprepared.
Yes, I’d done my research on finding an agent, polished my query, edited my synopsis and gathered my submission package. And so, back in 2017, I started submitting my YA fantasy novels, Secrets and Shadow Knights. I tugged on my big-girl pants and repeated my mantra: show no fear, you’ve got this.
Those initial months were fought with anxiety, anticipation. I desperately want to be published, to be chosen, to be good enough. The biggest hurdle I faced during the next few years, was my self esteem. Realizing, I already was good enough—despite not being published.
I’m sure you’ve face some of the following situations. And guess what, it’s all completely normal. You’re not alone, thousands of writers are walking a similar path to you.
When well-meaning friends and family ask, “so, when are you going to be published?” – Urm?! It’s about as helpful as asking a heavily pregnant woman, “when is the baby going to arrive?”
Having amazing dreams about being signed with a talented agent… Only to wake up, disappointed. Well, at least you know you’re passionate about your writing career. Right?
Stalking agents via Twitter. Only to humiliate yourself with a miss-understood tweet. Mortified, you hid from all forms of social media. Yikes!
Doubting your skills and creativity. Questioning every plot decision that has led you to this point.
Over the years, I’ve learnt from this process. Things like: strengthening my pitch, learning how to craft a query letter, and finding fantastic beta-readers. There are some amazing bloggers out there who have helped me develop these skills. Check these out:
An important part of the process is self acknowledgement, self belief. Otherwise, the rejection can easily corrode your self-esteem. You’re not alone, every writer faces these challenges. Every writer battles with doubt. The whole experience is tinged with What if’s.Embrace those fears. Use that motivation to evaluate where you’re going, set small goals, and continue to grow.
I’ve come to realize that this process, as painful as it can be, is also liberating. Even if I don’t find the agent of my dreams, I’m not quitting. I can’t. Writing is in my soul, a passion that will stay with me for the rest of my life. There’s a sense of satisfaction, in knowing my craft, in the continuous growth of mastering a skill. To date, I written four novels. After sound advice from an editor, I’ve rewritten my second novel – Mischief and Mayhem, and I’m almost ready to start querying again.
Perhaps it will take a 100 submissions. Maybe, like Stephanie Garber – author of the Caraval trilogy, lucky book number 5 will be published. Either way, I have faith that one day my work will be published. Until then, I’ll keep writing, reading and improving my craft.
To my fellow writers embarking on, or wading through, the query trenches – I hope this post brings a little bit of hope. I wish you the best of luck with your submissions.
Do you have any advice about querying? How long have you been in the query trenches? And do you have a success story to share? Come on, share your journey with me, you know I love hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
Hello, and welcome. In this post I’m sharing some of my writing tips with you, giving you a sneak peek into my writing habits. From creating realistic goals, to defining your writing zone. A helpful and fun little post. Enjoy!
Tip number 1: Read you work aloud. This helpful tip comes from the wonderful author Judith Barrow, She instilled the advice in me. It helps to identify poor flowing work, straightens out kinks and generally is a great tool for your sharpening your revision.
Tip number 2: Use your own writing voice. Don’t try to imitate someone another writers style. Publishers, editors and readers want your unique style, your unique voice, so don’t be afraid to let yourself onto the page. Remember– don’t confuse your voice with the voice of your main character, check out my post on Defining your writing voice for a better understanding of the differences.
Tip number 3: Always carry a notebook and pen. Pencils, or a felt pen will suffice. When an idea strikes write it down. You’ll lie to yourself, saying you’ll remember this gem of a plot twist, a development of a scene, or some clever prose – but you won’t. I can’t tell you how many times I should have been prepared. In your handbag/ backpack, in the glove box, by your bed or even record your words of epiphany onto your mobile phone.
Tip number 4: Writing and kids don’t mix. For all my writing mums and dads, the struggle is real. I know parents that get up before the children to write at 6am, and others that wait until late at night. My tip is;don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Have small writing goals, that are achievable to you and your family. I couldn’t even think about writing when my young kids were awake; or when they were preteens are home. It always resulted in tears and tantrums; mostly mine, because my kids would not let me write.
Tip number 5: Set a writing goal. I don’t know about you, but I’m the queen of daydreams and procrastination. So I need some limits and boundaries. Even if its just writing for 20 minutes a day. Get your laptop, or pen and paper, and put your butt in a seat… and begin. Once I get started, I can write for a few hours, whereas, other days I’ll struggle to get two words out. We all have those days, you are not alone! Still the routine and an achievable goal really spur me on.
Tip number 6: Bring a fresh mug of tea. Hot beverages and snacks don’t help me write, but it does lift my spirits. And a happy writer is a productive writer… another white lie I tell myself. Still, why not enjoy the perks of being a writer. I fully take advantage of working from home by staying in my pyjamas, continuously drinking tea and having my cat and dog as work colleges.
Tip number 7: Back up your work. I unfortunately learnt this the hard way – not once but twice. Thankfully, I managed to decrypt both USBs, but it was painstakingly difficult (I’m not tech savvy) and utterly stressful. Don’t repeat my mistakes! Now I save my MS’s on the cloud, a memory stick, and my computer – and just to be extra sure, I keep a printed copy in a vault that can only be accessed if you have magical powers. Of course I’m joking, I don’t have magic. Hopefully you understand my point though, when the works gone, its gone, so take care of it people.
Tell me about some of your writing tips, quirks or habits. Have you learnt the hard way to back up your work? Or perhpas your struggling to write with young kids at home. Whatever your journey is, please share it with me, you knw I love hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
As writers, we know our characters need to be pushed to the limits to reveal their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Have you ever realized that the same applies to you? You’re also on a journey of self discovery… and with perseverance you can accomplish anything.
Fear is a powerful emotion that shapes our whole lives. We can become slaves to our patterns and behaviours. And without even realizing it, we can self sabotage, and block our own success. Perhaps we hide behind perfectionism, waiting for the right moment to query or publish. Perhaps we’re stuck in a loop, writing and improving but never letting anyone critique our work. Or maybe, we’ve done those things, but can’t see why were not making headway with submissions, but were to afraid to seek a professional opinion.
Instead, find strength and support for your journey to greatness. Maybe you could try adopting the 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.
Visualize 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 on Pinterest using images that promote 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. Give it a try, what do you have to lose?
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.
Practice positive thinking with the Laws of Attraction. The energy you emit to the universe will be returned to you. 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.
Have you identified an area that you’d like to improve? Maybe it’s your writing. Perhaps you want to push yourself to become more socially engaging on social media. Or are you planning on attending a writers conference. Or taking the plunge and self-publishing.
Look back upon the defining moments in your life, and as a writer? What lessons have you learned along the way? By evaluating our lives with curiosity and intrigue we can see the paths taken and how we arrived here. Now tune into your blockages: What’s stopping you from progressing?
If you have doubt and fear in your heart, but you still preserver, then you my friend are brave and striving for greatness. What goals are you currently working on? Please share them with me, you know I love hearing from.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
We all have aspirations of becoming more successful, of being more fulfilled? Have you always romanticised about being a writer? Or about finishing your novel? Maybe, like me you hold onto the possibility of being published. But here’s the catch, dreams won’t come true by fantasising about them. No, you have to put in the work.
Some of you are wondering, but how? Where do we start? Well, I’m here to guide you through the process – read my Ten Step Plan to get you on track. It’s time to be brave, battle through your fears and start taking action towards your dreams.
Commit – This should come as no surprise, but the next step in your plan is to actually commit. You’ve pictured the end goal, held the dream in your heart, filled notebooks and Pinterest boards with your ideas; the next move is to make a promise to your self to start. If your vision hasn’t taken off yet, then there is obviously a level of difficulty to it. Not to worry, the following steps will help.
Plan – Well done, the hardest part is beginning. We’ve all heard that person who constantly talks of setting up a business, or writing a novel, or converting their loft into a studio. While they have committed to the idea, they have yet to make any plans. And that’s what you should do, write it down, create a course of action and make sure it logically supports the envisaged dream.
Study – What? Why? I hear you groan. If it’s a necessary skill to your business, then committing to learning everything you can about that industry is vital. As a writer, I studied by attending a creative writing course, and now my skills are worked upon by reading, writing, editing and working with Critique Partners. Maybe you need to touch up on you marketing skills, or research Platform Building, or discover your Target Audience. Whatever the issue, there will be some form of developing and growing your skillset.
Practise – This is where the ground work begins, building the foundations as you being to cultivate your dreams. Get dirty, get bruised and tumble into self-doubt; and then dust yourself off and climb back on that metaphorical unicorn, ready to chase your dreams over the nearest rainbow. Never give up, because you never know how close you are to making your ideas blossom into reality.
Action – Finally, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. TA DAA!! Take those tentative steps into the unknown. Be warned, reality has wicked sense of humour: Don’t be disheartened by the truth, that no matter how much effort we’ve invested up to this point, we will inevitable not be where we want to be. Maybe we’re not confident enough, fast enough, or media savvy enough. There will come a time when you hit a wall, it happens to everyone. The difference between success and failure is that the successful people never quit. Don’t berate yourself, it’s all part of the process, so let’s continue onwards with our Ten Step Plan.
Community – Developing a strong foundation of people who encourage and motivate you will help you stay the course through difficult times. Whether they’re friends and family, an online group for entrepreneurs, or the wonderful world of fellow bloggers; having people who can offer support when you need it most is beneficial.
Health – It can be a long, winding road to reaching your goals. And many creatives struggle with mental health. It’s important to listen to your body, watch out for signs of stress and anxiety and take care of yourself. If you crash from Creative Burnout, your beloved dreams will temporarily perish. The same applies for the health of your body, so get some sleep, eat healthy meals, and take time to recover.
Take Risks – For life to move forward in a new direction, risks must be taken. It’s easy to stay safe, to live in your comfort zone, but nothing changes. Everyday push your boundaries, it’s the only way to grow and develop (and not just in business). Make that call, ask that blogger to beta read, attend that writing conference. It doesn’t have to be massive steps. In fact, my number one peace of advice to budding new entrepreneurs is: Conquer your fears by taking small steps, one at a time, but keep moving forward. This is how you build self-esteem, by looking back and recollecting all of those tiny achievements. You can do it, you’re AWESOME!
Embrace Failures – No one is perfect, humans make mistakes, and failure in some form or another is inevitable. Don’t wallow in the misery of what you’ve lost, instead find the silver lining and learn from the valuable lessons gained. What will you do differently next time? Where will you invest more? How will you overcome the current hurdle and rise victorious?
Celebrate Each Triumph – Life is like trying to climb a giant beans stalk, instead of gazing up at the blanket of clouds and imagining the glittering castle beyond (or, your ideal vision of success). Celebrate each leaf that you climb! Remember to look back at all the other small accomplishments you’ve made, because that is embracing the journey, and that is the true measure of your success.
What step are you embracing at the moment? Do you have any advice for your fellow readers, maybe a further steps to add? Whatever your message, please comment – you know I love hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
As writers, we need self-discipline, perseverance and an unwavering faith in our abilities. However, as writers, we will be plagued with self-doubt, procrastination and writers block. Today we’re looking at some of the difficulties we face and how to combat the negative aspects and stay in alignment with our goals.
Let’s acknowledge some of the draw backs to being a writer. It’s often solitary; in the early days of writing a draft, the plot and our characters become our only companions. We shield ourselves from the awkwardness of admitting out loud that we are writers, to avoid the embarrassment of how we define ourselves. After all, at what point can we truly identify with being a writer, or even an author. When you’ve wrote a book? Maybe when you’ve wrote three books? Or perhaps when you get an agent? Possibly, until you hold the published novel in your hands?
And so you keep your passion a secret, burrowed away in your fantastical worlds of words. While the fire is hot, your creativity soars and the story oozes onto the page. You feel brave and inspired, and why wouldn’t you, not only have you created conflict and tension for your characters to overcome, but you’ve also crossed those hurdles with them. Every character arc has been meticulously navigated and you’ve fuelled their emotions with your own.
Then we move onto edits; we get feedback and learn to handle criticism. Though it may pinch, you know in your heart the changes will strengthen your manuscript, and so you courageously persevere. Finally, you start submitting your work, but the rejections trickle in.
Yes, you’re on Twitter and Instagram. And yes you participate in the blogging community. You’re doing all the right things, and yet, the nagging doubts that your not quite good enough seep in. Well-meaning family and friends ask about your novels, they want to know when they can read your book. And honestly, you’d like to know when that will happen too.
This is when the plague sweeps in. What if no one likes mywork? What if I’m never published? What if I write ten books and still feel like a fraud, a complete and utter imposter. What if my dreams never come true?
Take a deep breath my friends, you’re not in this place alone. Reach out to your community and they will respond with kind words of encouragement, because they have also visited this dark place. It will pass. The anxiety will disperse. If you’ve reached this desolate place, then it’s time to take a step back and practice self-love, self-compassion and self-care.
The traditional writing industry is difficult to break into, and rejection stings. Indie authors juggle an incredible amount of responsibility, constantly striving to grow their business and reach potential readers. And writers battling their first novel have overwhelming new lessons to learn.
Whatever route you’ve taken, it takes guts to be a writer, putting your heart and soul into something for years that no one sees. Who knows what’s next? That’s not the point, look at where you’ve been and all you’ve accomplished. I congratulate you, I validate your struggles, and I’ll be here to celebrate your success.
How do you deal with the negative side of writing? I’d love to hear your answers because I know how incredibly supportive you are.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, Much Love.
Hello, my wonderful blogging community, fellow writers and avid readers.
I make vague resolutions at best, that evolve my aspirations into intentions and goals. And the reason why I’m not so hot for resolutions, is because they’re as fragile as glass. Treated like promises, that ultimately shatter into a million fragments and scatter to the wind. Never to be recovered, or fulfilled – leaving only bitter disappointment. It’s how I imagine Cinderella felt, a rich world of wishes and dreams at her fingertips only to vanish at that notorious strike of midnight.
Instead I promise to honour myself with love and care. To grow in new ways that allow for my writing journey to unfold. Whatever will be, will be… helped along by my hard work and determination.
Even though I’ve taken a couple of weeks away from blogging, I’ve loved reading everyone’s reflections about last year and how they plan to approach 2019.
It’s got me thinking about my own journey and how far I’ve come in one short year. So here are the highlights:
I attended two writing events packed with advice about the publishing journey and submitting. I pitched to an agent and met up with fellow blogger, the wonderfully talented Amelia over at the Uninspired Writers.
I’ve had my submission package critiqued by the superb agent Sallyanne Sweeney and an editor from firefly publishing house. Where I received critique that strengthened my novel and helped me accept that my books are better suited to the adult genre and not YA.
I began submitting to the US where I received a few personalized feedbacks about great writing, but told my concept isn’t strong enough. Hopefully, novel 2 will have more success.
Entered two PitMad events over at Twitter and had interest from 1 agency and 1 publishing house. (See, they liked my concept – proving it really is subjective.) Unfortunatly, they were not the right fit for me.
One of my short stories was shortlisted in a competition by the Henshaw Press.
And I got to work with two new betas, giving me three amazingly supportive girls.
My love and eternal gratitude goes out to each and every one of you. I can’t thank you all enough for the support and encouragement I’ve received. So here’s to a new year, with new mountains to climb. Let’s take in the sights together.
Why not share your hopes and dreams for 2019 with me. What’s one thing you aim to accomplish this year? You know I love to hear from you, so please drop me a comment.
Dreaming big and working towards goals is great. But what happens when our ego takes over and all we can think about is when? When will I get an agent? When will I be published?
What happens when anxiety sets in and all we can this about is why? Why am I being rejected? Why am I not good enough?
Ultimately thinking like this will result in doubt and a feeling of failure.
Take a moment to remember why you started writing in the first place. What do you enjoy about writing? I’m sure no one wrote their first flash fiction or poetic prose with an endgame in site. We did it for fun, for passion, for joy.
Don’t let your aspirations stifle that wonderful energy. While our dreams as authors may be similar, our paths and unique abilities never are.
Allow the ego to set daily intensions: Maybe to hit a word count. Perhaps edit a chapter. Or learn how to use a particular social media. But don’t let it plot, plan and pinpoint every turn in your future. That will lead to disharmony and stress, because nothing is for certain.
What we can take control of is this moment. So relax and enjoy the process. Choose to enjoy your family, saviour the dog walk or curl up on the sofa and read. Realise that life is good now, it’s the only time that truly matters.
Do you struggle with waiting for the outcome? Maybe you’ve wrestle with desire and a feeling of being imcomplete.
How do you deal with those emotions? Please share your journey with me, you know I love to hear from you.