Monthly Archives: December 2013

Excuse number 3: Someone already wrote about it

The third excuse that writers create for themselves to not write is that it has all be done before.

This is an interesting angle. It is true that every single topic has probably been explored. However, should that stop you from writing about it? I don’t think so. We each have a unique vantage point and if you are able to offer a new perspective, then you should definitely go ahead with your idea. If you take the example of diet books, that has certainly not stopped people from writing more and inventing new diets almost very day. And as long as people will have an interest in weight loss, then more diet books will appear. I am not saying it is right. It just is.

Take the example of diaries. There are many books in that genre but you can always find a new angle. I loved the secret diary of Adrian Mole. That didn’t stop me really enjoying Bridget Jones’diary. Why should it? There can be travel diaries. Eating diaries (why not, that could be an interesting variation to cook books). Knitting diaries. Pregnancy diaries. I used to write a blog called the tiara diaries. How about the diary of a primary school teacher. The limit is your imagination, which in other words, means there should be no limits. Because at the end of the day, your reader wants one of three things: information, emotion or entertainment.

All you need to be is authentic.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

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Excuse number 2: I am not good at it

The second excuse to not write that I have identified is saying to yourself “I am not good at it”.

I consider writing and swimming to be quite similar. It’s not something you can learn by merely watching others. If you sat by a pool all day and watched swimmers, it wouldn’t make you a better swimmer, would it? So standing by written work and complaining that you are not talented won’t cut it. As the saying goes, writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

It takes an average of 10,000 hours to learn any skill to a professional standard so the question to ask yourself is “Are you willing to out your time and energy into it?” And in a funny way, this brings us back to the true reason behind excuse number 1: motivation. If you have a purpose and a clear vision, then you will find the time. No one said that it would happen overnight. There is no miracles with writing. Even talented writers have had to work at their craft.

To start with, you are not going to be very good at it, although maybe, if you are lucky, you are better than most of us mortals. But just like the story of the tortoise and the hare, natural talent is not the only factor. Hard work comes into it for 90%. Consistent practice. Making time. And if you have that natural self motivation capacity, you will go further than most talented writers. How does that sound?

So what are you waiting for? And if you have issues with motivation, there is help. This is what I am best at. And that is why I claim that I can make you write.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

Excuse number 1: I don’t have the time

This is going to be one of the topics we will be discussing in my workshop: time.

Not having the time to do something is always a question of motivation. Let me give you an example. When my daughter started wearing braces, she had been told clearly how important it was for her to brush her teeth as the braces create extra areas where plaque can build and she impressed me by how dedicated she was. Eighteen months down the line, however motivation dropped. We went for a routine appointment and the dentist said she wasn’t cutting it. An appointment with the hygienist was made and the hygienist explained to her what would happen if she continued to be complacent about brushing her teeth and that the damage would be irreversible. Her motivation was rekindled immediately although as most of us do, she first tried to undermine the hygienist arguments (not in front of her but in the car journey home) and tried to convince me why the hygienist was wrong.

We are all guilty of becoming complacent. And the excuse of not having the time is in reality an issue of motivation. If we have a clear goal or commitment, we always make the time.

To give you another example: I wanted to enter a competition for a short film. It was the holidays and my house was full of kids. I have four. I had no idea how I would find the time to write a short film. But I am a very competitive person and really wanted to enter that competition and of course there was a deadline. So I made time. Don’t even ask me how I did. I don’t even know myself.

So I encourage you to set a goal.

And once you are committed, scrutinise your daily habits. When do you waste time? When do you have “dead” time? Is it on your way to work? Is it whilst dinner is cooking? Do you spend a lot of time on Facebook? Ot watching you tube video clips? Or it could be that you need to learn to say no. And this is something we will be discussing in my next blog.

If your motivation and commitment levels are right, believe me you will find time.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

Learn to say no

This is a follow up from my blog on excuse number 1: I don’t have time to write.

It is true that writers often have to juggle day jobs with social lives and various obligations. However, there is no such thing as not finding time for something unless time is used as an excuse. Some of you might find me harsh but I know for a fact that if I can write with four kids and running a business, than anyone can.

Learning to say no also comes into it. If you don’t know how to say no, your life is constantly going to be about pleasing others or not offending them and your needs will come last. This mean that you will, indeed, not have time to write. I used to be a people pleaser. I found it very hard to say no. At some level, I believed that if said no, no one would love me anymore. I would no longer have friends. My family would kill me.

But being a people pleaser meant that I was miserable. It wasn’t as clear as that because I had a great job, and lots of friends and beautiful children but somehow inside I felt empty and shallow and I thought I was being ungrateful. I had every reason to be happy, yet I felt awful. What was wrong with me? The problem wasn’t me. It wasn’t a lack of gratitude. The problem was that my needs were not met. I was starving on a soul level. This all came to a crunch in my thirties. I said to my sister: I have been a great daughter and wife, but what about me? So I made time for writing and doing mosaics which nourished my soul.

Learn to say no so you can make time for you. It’s not selfish. It’s about survival. Of course it’s important to keep the balance and not only live for yourself. What I mean is don’t always put others first. Not everyone has that issue, so this blog might not speak to you. Then good for you. The majority of my clients don’t know how to say no. They want to make everyone happy. Which works on a level. If your loved ones, your boss, your friends are happy, you are going to be happy too. Yes? Well, no. Not in the long run. Denying yourself to please others does not work.

Saying no gracefully is an art that can be learnt. I suggest at first when someone asks you if you can do something with them or for them, pretend you can’t say. Just practice answering “I need to check my diary, let me get back to you on this”. Even if your diary is in your bag. Nobody is going to actually request to check your bag to make sure you are not lying. And if they do, I suggest you might want to reconsider being in their lives. Or you could just say “I hope you don’t mind but can I get back to you on this later?” Then go home and ask yourself “Do I really want to do this? Or am I saying this to please others?”With practice it will be easier.

Then comes the next step: actually saying no. This is not as hard as it seems. I practice saying no gracefully with my kids. It’s great. If I am eating and they ask me for something, for example, I tell them to wait until I finish my lunch. This wasn’t always the case. Plus I had been raised in a family where no and shouting were usually closely associated. There was no such thing as a graceful no. A relaxed and happy no. Well I love graceful nos. and I hope you will learn to love them to.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

Finding your purpose

Today, one of my followers on Facebook asked me if I could help her write. I get a lot of questions similar to this in my inbox with a page title which claims I can make people write. I asked her what seemed to be the problem. She said that everyone told her she was talented. She writes stories. But she can’t be bothered to finish them.

So here was my advice to her: stop writing immediately. And do not write again until you find your passion. I added that it might take a month or six months but she should not write anything during that time. She asked me how would she find her passion. I asked her what she hoped to leave as a legacy as a writer. How did she want her readers to feel? What did she want her offering to be to them? She wasn’t too sure except she wanted them to feel like her when she read a good book. I told her it was a good start. And I invited her to reflect on what she liked in a good book, particularly how it made her feel and what it brought to her life.

Next I asked her if she ever meditated. She said she never had. I said when you meditate you can find answers to questions within you so I encouraged her to explore various meditation modalities. What I didn’t tell her, but that will be part of my workshop, is that meditation can help you write and find inspiration. I think she might come to my workshop anyway. Writers are not always aware how important it is to silence their monkey minds and inner critics. You know that constant chatter that speaks in your head. And meditation can help with that.

The best to your creativity,

Ange de Lumiere

Building a platform as a writer

It is vital for every writer to build a platform. And contrary to popular belief, this is true whether you want to go the classic publishing route or if you want to self publish. The publishing world is such nowadays that it is not enough to write a good book. What publishers now want is for their authors to be actively involved in the promotion of their brand (which for an author is their own personality) and their book. This is something that not many writers understand, they think all they need to do is to write a good book and find a book deal et voila, they can now rest on their laurels.

The publishing industry has changed dramatically over the past decade especially with the advent of social media. Selling books is apparently harder, especially since anyone can slap together a book and sell it on kindle without the involvement of any publishers. This does not mean however that anyone should. Quality is important.

How do you build a platform as a writer so that you give yourself the best chances of getting published?

A platform is a combination of:

An attractive website
An interesting blog
A presence in one or more social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, or others)
In-person marketing in the form of speaking engagements or radio interviews

Where does one start?

I would encourage you to start small. Start engaging with people long before your book is finished. What you want is to connect with people at a personal level authentically so that when your book is ready, you have built a group of fans who will be happy to buy your book! provided of course they are interested in the topic. Don’t try to sell anything at first. Just be yourself. And be patient, it might take months before you build the appropriate following that will show you are mature enough to launch your book. Not to mention that writing your book might also take some time.

Share authentically about your interests and see who might be interested in the same topics as you are. My main interests are parenting, spirituality, co plenary therapies and film. What are yours? We write best about what we know the best or are the most interested in.

Focus on one aspect at a time and pursue that aspect until you are satisfied with the outcome. I would encourage you to start with a website. WordPress can offer such a platform in that it can be both a website and a blog. Try to find a picture that represents best who you or what your interests are for you header. And make sure you use a professionally looking photo for your avatar. Looking professional is essential.

I will be exploring some specific platforms in further blogs but for now, I want to say, don’t use too many platforms too soon. You can’t be everywhere. It would take an enormous amount of time that would eat into your writing time. In this respect, less is more. There is nothing worse than having a presence on a social media platform that is inactive. I am guilty of doing this on linked in, for example. I am not saying I am perfect. I am just sharing some of the things I have learnt over the years on my writer’s journey.

What is great about building a platform is that it’s fun. You get to interact with people. And for writers, that is invaluable as we spend so much of our time behind computers in the confines of our homes. And as you progress, you keep your options open because the more you build your platform, the wider your world becomes. If you are really good at social media, you might make a hit at launching your book without needing a contract with a classic publisher. It just gives you more options.

The best to your writing journey

Ange de Lumiere

Why do writers get blocked?

There are many reasons that can stop someone from getting into writing or that can block a successful author even if they have written an excellent book (in fact the more successful the bigger the risk of experiencing a block).

Here are some of them:

  • lack of confidence
  • lack of belief in yourself
  • pressure put on yourself about writing
  • anxiety around writing
  • fear of failure
  • running out of inspiration
  • too high expectations
  • expecting to write the great English/American/French (or any other nationality or language of your choice) novel in one go
  • setting yourself goals such as writing a NY Times best seller book
  • depression
  • life’s challenges taking over and clouding creativity
  • taking oneself too seriously
  • paying too much attention to what other people think
  • going through personal hardships
  • pressure to produce work
  • deadlines
  • constraints
  • burn out
  • being afraid of not being able to repeat a performance
  • writing about something personal that is still too painful
  • perfectionism
  • mixed feelings about: writing, being published, being successful, not being successful, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being judged, fear of being criticised, etc
  • unresolved painful experiences of rejection
  • unrealistic expectations
  • misunderstanding of the creative process
  • ignorance as to how the mind works
  • fear of taking risks
  • believing someone else’s opinion on whether you are good at writing or not

Luckily, I can help you with all of these, through my first hand experience as a writer with decades of practice and through my experience as a therapist. I have managed to unblock people in one session and sometimes even in ten minutes. There is no need to dig painful memories. This is the great advantage of solution based therapies. 

I offer help in one to one session or in workshops. Feel free to book either. Workshop places are only confirmed when full payment has been made on my website (in the online shop). Message me directly on this page if you have any questions.

To your creativity,Ange de Lumiere