What gardening taught me about writing

Today, we harvested our first vegetables with the kids as part of our home schooling. I cannot tell you how long I have been wanting to have my own veggie patch, but with four kids, and whilst they were still in school, I never found the time. Now it is part of my “curriculum” as a parent-teacher, I made time to start my first tiny veggie patch.

And here it is.


Not much to be proud of, you think? I disagree.

And here is the parallel with writing. To get writing, you first need to plant a seed. But before you can plant the seed, the soil needs to be ready. It could take years for your writer’s soil to be fertile enough to be able to grow anything. Also, you have to be ready too, as a gardener. I was super scared to start my veggie garden because what if I failed? Right? But here is what struck me today: if you never start your veggie patch, you always fail. You don’t have a veggie patch. It is a failure as far as veggie patches are concerned.

If you try and you only get the harvest that I got, it is still more of a success than if I hadn’t started it. Can you see?

I want you to be kinder to yourself as a writer. Acknowledge how far you have come. Maybe the idea of your book has been germinating for years but this year, you plucked up the courage to say: I am going to do it this year. And perhaps it is completely overwhelming. I understand. Starting my veggie patch was so overwhelming. I knew nothing about gardening. It felt that I had so much to learn. But instead of sticking my head in a book or signing up for a course, I just did it. I prepared the soil. My soul daughter gave me some seedlings (I know a bit of a cheat but I started late), I planted them, watered them every day, weeded them. And six months down the line, here we are. Had I dug out the plants when they were little to find out if they were growing, I would have no garden.

Similarly, with your writing, especially when you are at the seeding stage, don’t doubt your ability to write. Honour the fact you have a seed. Get excited about the possibility. Prepare the ground: all it takes is to open you heart and your head to the idea that you have a book in you. Plant the seed. “Maybe there is a writer in me”. Then let this thought grow. Don’t dig it. Don’t let your inner dragon burn the seed. Allow it to grow. Whilst it is buried deep inside of you, it may look like nothing is happening but it is. You just need to let it grow.

Then one day, when it’s ready, your book seed will come to the light. What you will see will seem tiny and frail but under the ground, there will be some healthy roots and a big stem. That’s when you need to water it. And weed around it. Weed every single thought about not being a writer, about not having anything interesting to say, about not being ready, about no one wanting to read what you write. You don’t know. Let the seedling grow. OK?

And if you need encouragement to grow bigger as a writer, why not book a session with me. Contact me through my page here. I love nurturing budding inspirational female writers. Start by joining my group: the Inspirational Female Writers’ Playground. We will all cheer and support you.

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017


Why every writer should post selfies

I am from a generation of people who shy away from cameras. The mobile phone was invented when I was a young mum and back them, it was a rather heavy “portable” phone. No need to say there was no camera or apps to play with. In contrast, my children’s generation now consider mobile phones as completely normal. And with it, the concept of selfie is as natural as sending and receiving texts. 

When I published my first book, the journey of the slim soul, in 2009, I dragged myself to a photo studio to get a professional looking photo of myself for the back of my book cover. I had been told that it was essential to have a photo shoot for a writer. I am really glad I did because it boosted my self esteem. Up to then, I had perceived myself as this ugly duckling. When I saw the glamorous photo of me that’s the studio produced, I had to pinch myself. I was actually rather good looking. I slapped the photo at the back of my book and thought nothing more of it. 

Things started to feel a bit off when I did book signings. I would get worried that people would not recognise me from the picture and expose me as a fraud. In real life, I looked nothing like my glam photo. I never wear make up. My hair is a curly mess. And in addition to that, I struggled to lose my baby weight after my fourth baby, by which time, as my book was about slimming, I completely stopped promoting it even though I had an agent by then. 

In 2013, I decided to stop dyeing my I hair. It took three years to completely regrow it and by then, I had an even bigger obstacle to people recognising me from my glam photo. Now I looked like the mother of the author. Not the author anymore. I sank even further into shame. I had become the prisoner of a photo that never really looked like the every day me. But I had no alternative. It seemed everyone around me who had a camera was determined to take a photo of me at the wrong angle or with horrendous lighting which meant I looked ugly and fat. Every single time. My body image was very low and I hid even more from cameras.

Then I stumbled upon a thirty selfie challenge run by a lovely coach. I signed up and forced myself to stand in front of my phone every day. The first few days were horrendous. I didn’t manage to smile, but I stuck with the challenge. My intuition told me that it was important. She encouraged us to post a selfie to share about our day so I wrote little snippets about my life so that slowly it became less about my face and more about me as a whole person. And I started to relax. It took a lot more than thirty days for me to actually start to smile at the camera. But eventually I did. 

What also happened is I learnt how to take better selfies. I started playing with angles and light until I was satisfied with the result. I also played with my wardrobe and found out what was more flattering. But the most satisfying aspect of taking selfies is that I was in control. I no longer had to put up with people taking horrible photos of me and believing that I looked the way they had captured me. I took my power back over my own image and self worth. It was a real turning point. 

Next, I realised that being in front of a camera became less threatening. And I started to smile more. The more I smiled, the more people warmed up to me. And I started to connect to my readers more. 

Selfies are an essential tool to connect to your readers. They make you more human. I doubt that my glam picture ever did that for me. If anything, it created a distance between me and my readers and I would never want for that to happen. Your readers need to see your face often and if you post only your glam Photoshoot photos you will be missing a golden opportunity to connect to them heart to heart. And as an inspirational writer, I think connecting to heart to heart with your readers should be top of your priority list. 

Selfies are also a great way to become more visible and nowadays, every author needs to be visible. Gone are the days where they were allowed to be their often introvert selves and hide in their writers’ dens. 

I am running a thirty day selfie challenge in my writer’s group. If you would like to sign up, click this link: http://eepurl.com/c2Utw1

To your writing, 

(C) Ange de Lumiere 2017

How to train your inner dragon

This month, in the Academy, the live FB training is about how to train your inner dragon. You know your inner critic. Your inner bitch. That voice that constantly yelps at you how uninteresting you are. Why you shouldn’t even get started with your book. The voice that constantly undermines you. 

Most people recommend that you boot it. They say it is the enemy. They encourage you to go at war with it. 

I disagree. 

If you start a war with your inner dragon, you will never win. Just like people who go at war with their bodies for being overweight will never win either. Because your inner dragon is the voice of your subconscious and your subconscious is the one who drives your car. No matter what you claim consciously, if you have an underlying programme that is in conflict with what you want, you will struggle to achieve what you want. Your inner dragon wil throw a spanner in the works just as you reach that goal and will sabotage your dreams. Dragons are powerful creatures. You cannot win by fighting them. 

What you need  is to learn to train your inner dragon. That’s right. And if you join the Academy before the doors close on the 8th of September (2017), you will be able to attend the FB live where I will show you how. 

To find out more about the Academy and join, click here

Hope to see you there. 

To your writing,

(C) Ange de Lumiere 2017

Will writing a book increase my reach and bring me success?

This week there was a fascinating debate in one of the business groups I belong  to. A coach asked this question: “A book helps a person establish themselves as an expert in their field. True or false?’ Now what a juicy question. There were as many people who said false as people who said true. 

And here is what I think. 

There are so many experts books out there that if you want your book to stand out, it needs to have that little extra in it. At the very least it must be well written, but that is not enough. It is however, essential if you don’t want your book to actually damage your reputation. It is so easy to self publish these days that the temptation is real to just write away and publish something way before the book is actually polished to a professional standard. 

But I believe it needs to be much more than an “expert book” How-to books have their own value but they are not inspiring. They are just manuals. Usually they are written by people who teach how to do something because their whole career has been about honing one specific skill. Say you want to learn how to grow vegetables in your garden, you would turn to an expert book written by a seasoned gardener. 

These books are good but they don’t excite me. The same goes for business books. Every topic under the sun has already been written about. So to increase your reach, your book has to have more. It needs to be inspirational. And there is a great way to turn your “expert” book into an inspirational book. You need to change your perspective. Instead of trying to pose as an expert, you need to get down your pedestal and walk amongst peers. You need to write your book with curiosity. You need to write your book as a journey and share compelling stories that prove your point. You need to have a clear argument. And you need to learn how to write a good book. This take time, dedication and guidance. 

This exciting book that you could be writing is called a big idea book. It borrows from all the different genres and blends them into one compelling read. As a book Angel who works with inspirational writers, it is the kind of book that gets me excited. 

If you have a big idea book in you but don’t know how to write it or feel you could benefit from the guidance of a supportive community and  group coaching from me, why not join my writing academy. The doors open on the 1st September. Ladies only. Click here to find out more.

How to increase the likelihood of reaching your goal

Suppose that your goal was to write a book. This is something you have been thinking for a long time. Maybe friends and even clients have told you that you should write a book.

The first step is to understand what your book is about and to map out a plan with milestones. This is what my seven day mini course is about. It will connect you to your book so that you understand what it is all about by going through a guided meditation. The next round of my mini course will start on the 21st of August 2017. Sign up here if you want to have some really good foundation for your writing.

Once your foundations are in place, you want to start establishing a routine. So you will be writing daily or weekly goals. It really doesn’t matter what word count you set up for yourself but I suggest that you start small rather than big. You want something that is sustainable. So set your timer for 25 minutes and see how much you can write in that time slot. Make this your daily goal. When I tried that technique to estimate how many words I could write in twenty minutes, I managed to write 1,200 words.

An average book contains 80,000 words. My calculator says that if you wrote 1200 per day, by focusing your writing in slots of only twenty fives minutes, you would have written your first draft in 66 days. Personally, I don’t want to put the pressure on myself to write seven days a week. I don’t think it’s healthy. You need to get out of your head at least two days a week. So let’s assume you write 22 days per month. This means that by sticking to the goal of writing 1,200 words per day, five days a week, you will have your first draft in four months. How fantastic is that.

But this doesn’t mean anything. Because we can talk about this until we are both blue in the face, it won’t make it happen. What will make it happen is your commitment to your book. Something I invite you to do on day 7 of my mini course. If you are a commitment freak (read: fear of success), that might take a little bit of work. I am very good at helping with this, by the way, so don’t hesitate to book a one to one session with me if you are afraid to commit.

Did you know, however, that being a member of a supporting community or hiring a coach increases your chances of completing your first manuscript by 40%. Especially if you are the kind of person who thrives on external accountability. Only one person out of four is self reliant. I am lucky to be one of those.

I am launching my Writer’s Academy on the 1st of September (2017). The launch price for September only is £22 for a whole month. If you would like to join, click here: http://www.paypal.me/AngedeLumiere/GBP22. Ladies only

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017

The writer’s mind

If there is one thing that writers do, is spend a lot of time in their heads. It can be a good thing but also a bad thing. Understanding how the mind works is a top priority for writers and this is the reason why I will be offering. A free webinar on the subject in October 2017 (the date and time will be emailed to you later this month). Click here to sign up: http://eepurl.com/cYKhYP

I learnt all about how the mind works when I trained as a clinical hypnotherapist in 2007. This has literally transformed my career as a writer. I had been suffering from a writer’s block for over eight years which has pushed me to explore other creative avenues, i.e. visual art. But the niggle to write was still in me. I had so much to say.

After training as a clinical hypnotherapist, it was like a tap had been open. The words started to flow. There is nothing that pleases me as much as helping others do the same. All it takes is for us to understand how the mind works.

Talented writers often suffer from fragile egos. They are also prone to fears. Don’t be fooled by their outward confidence. Their inner world is full of demons. Maybe it is because they are so sensitive. Or maybe because they spend a lot of time in their heads. Heads are dangerous places to live in. It is easy to overthink. It is easy to become the target of your inner critic and get paralysed. So knowing how the mind works and how to step out of a thinking rut is pretty important.

In my free webinar, we will use a combination of hypnotherapy theory and guided meditations to overcome fear, doubt and limiting beliefs. Sign up here if you are interested. http://eepurl.com/cYKhYP

I will be talking about what I call the two hippos.

These are two very important parts of your brain. I bet you didn’t know you had two hippos living in it. No wonder we get big headed.

The Hippocampus is part of the limbic system. It is an essential element in the process of building memory. It collate all the things that happen to you and try to make sense of them. This is where fears are born. And unhelpful beliefs. Naughty hippo. Well, not really. It is useful and its role, as part of the amygdala (the reptile brain) is to keep us safe. With hypnotherapy, we can bypass the conscious mind and go reprogramme the unconscious mind as shaped by our memories. That’s pretty cool stuff.

The Hypothalamus, on the other hand, is also part of the limbic system and it links it to the endocrine system. In lay terms, it manages all your body function and gets its instructions from the amygdala. This means that if you feel there is a danger, it will increase your heart rate, stop your digestion and freeze your reproduction system. All sorts of wonderful things to trigger the fight or flight response. I call them the three Fs. Flight, fight or freeze (pretend to be dead).

Understanding how these little guys work gives us tremendous power over our minds because it enables us to become aware that we are not our thoughts. It helps us realise that we don’t have to believe every thought we think.

So this is the kind of really useful process that I offer my clients. If you want to work with me up, why not book a session? Click here to pay. Then I will book an appointment time with you.

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017

Top self care tips for writers

Today I want to share about self care for writers. None of the writing professionals I have come across talked about self care. Their focus was exclusively on the book. But books don’t exist in a vacuum. Books are one of the components of a relationship between a writer and their book. It’s a bit like the mother and child relationship. If you focus only on the child, the mother will deplete and soon the child won’t be care for properly.

So let’s treat ourselves as the carers of our books and make sure we look after ourselves. As a healer, I have come across hundreds of depleted women whose bodies have broken down for giving too much. There are specific risks related to the writing life and I would like to offer my three top tips for writers today.

Tip #1: Use the pomodoro technique

Only write for stretches of twenty five minutes at a time. Set a timer on your phone. Stick to it. And by stick to it, I mean both switch off the phone and distractions but more importantly: do not exceed that time. You will start to become less efficient. There is a lot more to the pomodoro technique to this but if you start with that, you will already be ahead of your game.

At the end of your twenty five minutes, get up, have a good stretch, do five to ten minutes of yoga. Or go do something completely different. Again, put a timer for this so you don’t get distracted. But if you only have twenty five minutes to write per day, then great, you have already achieve your daily goal.

Tip #2: Take up a physical activity that will get you toned

As a writer, it is very important that you have well toned core muscles and generally be fit. Agreed, for most writers, this is probably bottom of their priority list. But I am urging you to think differently. Even if it is just going for a half hour walk every day, you need the physical activity to get you out of your head. Writers live in their heads. They often neglect their bodies. This is no long term strategy. Your body is your friend for life. Neglect it now and you will regret it later. Bitterly. Besides, if that was the only reason to do it, being fit will help you think better. I get my best ideas whilst running. And some writers even dictate their books whilst on a walk. Break down the myth of the writer bent over their computer in a stuffy room.

If you already have back problems, I highly recommend Somatics. Click here to find out about downloadable classes that can help you correct your posture and do away with back pain or RSI. (Note this is not an affiliate link – I do not get paid to share this).

Tip #3: Embrace another creative activity

Sign up for a calligraphy class, a gardening class or a crochet club. Do things with your hands. It ties in with tip #2 but in a different way. To get creative you need to get our of your head. As a writer, you have a higher chance to get stuck in your head because your head is your tool. You need to spend a lot of time there to write but you can also get lost in it. Trapped. To get you out of that trap, play with crayons, take up painting. Do something that does not require thinking. Or you will run the risk of overthinking everything. Your writing will be enriched by it. Who knows, you will then have the necessary experience to describe what your main character, a painter, is going through because you will have first hand experience. Writers need to be curious. They need to do research. The more activities you try, the broader your writing vocabulary will be. And by vocabulary, I don’t mean just word. I mean real life experience.

Voila. Here are my top three self care tips for writers. I would love for you to comment below and tell me if this article was useful of share your personal self care tips as a writer.

Self care is one of my speciality as a well being professional. If you would like to have a coach that helps you look after yourself better and maybe support you emotionally through your writing journey, why not book a session with me. You can pay for it here at an introductory price. Please note that I only work with female writers. 

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017