Tag Archives: creativity

How to write the best valentine card ever

I made this valentine card in mosaics

I made this valentine card in mosaics

It might be a bit too late to write a book for your sweetheart this Valentine. If you would like to, why not sign up for my next writers workshop so that gives you plenty of time for next year. These things have to be thought of well in advance. Personally I love the idea. You could use my friend Liz Harwood’s books to capture the moments.

In the meantime, here are some tips for writing the best valentine message this year. You still have time to personalise a card. This is always 300 times better than buying a card from a shop and so much more fun. Here we go step by step:

  • get into the creative zone and write a message (more on this below)
  • select a beautiful photo from your old shots or take one with your phone (there are lots of hearts to capture in window shops at the moment, flowers in flower shops… And rainbows)
  • in something like PowerPoint, import the photo and write your words
  • save it as a JPEG on a memory stick
  • run to your local photo shop (unless you have a photo printer at hand – you lucky thing)
  • get a print and
  • stick it on a piece of card.

The question remains: how to get inspiration? To get inspiration, you need to get in the zone. Here is how you do it: Sit in a comfortable seat and start to day dream. Maybe you want to think about the first time you met your significant other. Or perhaps something they did recently that really moved you. If so, try to capture those images in your heart and write down what they were. Don’t worry about the words at this point. Just write down what you see. Take a deep breath and let it all out. It could be that another memory comes in your mind. Take your time. Don’t rush. You are in your creative space. Allow the images to evolve if necessary.

Once you have a first “draft” of what you want to write. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Relax some more and read it again. Leave at least an hour before you do so. This time, you want to tighten up your text a little. Maybe there are some repetitions. Maybe some unfortunate use of words. That’s ok. That’s what second drafts are for. See it as the pruning of an overgrown tree. Give it another hour or more (if you can) before you work on your third draft.

The third time you work on your message, you are fine tuning. You might want yo get your thesaurus out at this point so you can use clever words. Personally I like to keep it simple. This is the precision work. That’s when you can unleash the word nerd that you are. You are working on your finish product.

One more thing before you print it: read it out loud.

If it’s really good, you might want to sell it to card companies… They are always looking for good texts for valentine cards.

And if you are “single” and happy to be, why not write a loving message to yourself? The only way to truly encounter meaningful love is to love yourself first, genuinely and wholeheartedly. Don’t expect someone to do the dirty work. A meaningful relationship complements the self love that you already have. It does not work if it comes as a crutch. So start loving yourself today. Totally. Radically. Write that love note to you. You won’t regret it.

And if you really love that message to self: why not sell it to a card company. To my knowledge, no one had designed a valentine card to self yet, but it think it’s a great idea.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

Advertisements

The word trap

I am continuing to explore what can stop you from getting that first draft on paper. My last blog explored the dangers of correctness. Today I want to talk about the word trap.

Most writers make the mistake of coming to writing from a word perspective. It’s funny isn’t it? Let me explain. They look for words in their minds and try to string them together, but it makes the process bitty and clumsy. It’s hard work.

What I learnt through my hypnotherapy practice and my reiki master experience is that you first need to get into trance: that state of relaxation where you enter the creative zone. This is not an intellectual state. In fact, in that state the mind is slightly numbed. This is important, because the mind is where the inner critic sits and lives. You need your inner critic asleep or at least groggy.

Once you reach that state, and this is going to be an instrumental part of the workshop coming soon, what you do is not look for words but look for images. If you have done your homework correctly, you will gave a set of characters, each will have a tensive potential with the other and/or the venue or setting, so now what you do is visualise yourself in the place and moment your story starts and observe. What do you see? What do you feel? Which angle on the set do you stand? Are there any specific smells? How are the character physically positioned ih relation to you? And to each other? You are not writing a story: you are watching your story unfold as if you were at the movies. If you are writing non fiction, the process is similar except you let the flow of ideas pour out and you don’t try to organise them at this stage, you just capture them, as you would capture dreams.

This is the way most great creative geniuses describe their creative process. Musicians often say they sit, relax and literally hear the music and write it down. If they came from an intellectual perspective, it would be ruined.

This is the process I was gifted with on 2008 and which has transformed my writing journey from hard work to sheer pleasure. There is really a pre and post-2008 writing experience in my life and frankly I never want to go back.

If you want to transform your creative process, why not join us at one of our workshops? I have three spaces left at the early bird price for the one coming up on 15th March 2014. The next three people who sign up will benefit from a 25% discount. Book yourself here.

Hope to see you there.

Blessings

Ange de Lumiere

Forget the writer’s sandwich

You know the writer’s sandwich: a story had to have a beginning, a middle and an end? Well, forget about it.

Here is another way: you play with the characters, the place for your story, the relationship between your characters until you have a story that holds the ground and has enough tensive quality (some call it conflict, but to me it’s too strong a word) that you know it’s going to make a great story. Let me illustrate this with the story I wrote for a film script.

I had this idea about the story of a woman who has a phobia of churches and who goes to a hypnotherapist to get cured. She is desperate to get over it because she is getting married in the summer. That was the first idea. Initially the starting scene was taking place in my house. What I mean is that I visioned the girl coming to my practice which was easy to imagine because I am a clinical hypnotherapist and this is routine work for me. So in my mind, I played with the idea for a while. This girl was a lawyer and really not the usual client for a hypnotherapist but she had been dragged in by her best friend, who swore by hypnotherapy. Great start. I thought. I still do. But as the story progressed, the venue wasn’t so right anymore, so I transported everyone to London (I live in a little village north of Bristol) because this lawyer was quite a high flying chick and that didn’t fit with my semi-rural England setting. London did. And I knew about living in London. I revised my first draft and played with the story some more.

Then, I realised that there was not enough tension in her relationship to her friend. It was too “nice”. Her best friend had quit smoking with a lady hypnotherapist, so she was dragging her best friend there. There was no potential conflict between them. No good. As I was playing with my story, I suddenly had an insight into their friendship. Her best friend was actually her Fiancé’s ex and she hadn’t really got over him. Only she was denying it so she would act out. Hey hey, I said to myself. Much better.

I am not going to reveal anymore of my plot here but you can see that I deepened my story not because of the classic writing sandwich: a middle stuck between a beginning and an end. My story got depth by me playing with the characters, the venue and the setting (modern England). I am sorry if the writer’s sandwich has worked for you up to now. And if that is the case, by all means continue to use it. But if you got stuck or if the sandwich hasn’t worked for you, try this more creative approach. Get to know your characters. See how the venue introduces a cultural element to the story that informs it. Change the venue and see how it changes the story.

to your creativity,

Ange de Lumiere

Why hypnotherapy helped me as a writer?

I have been writing (seriously) since 1996. My first novel was in French, my native language. Then I tried to have it published and burned out in the process. After that, I wasn’t able to write for nearly ten years. I was traumatised. So instead I used art as an outlet for all my creative juices. Not bad.

I didn’t even know if I would ever write again. My first novel was born out of the pain of witnessing my best friend’s struggle with hard drugs for over ten years with me on the other end of the phone at weird hours and watching her in her descent into hell. Did I really want to do this again?

Fast forward ten years: I have moved countries, given birth to babies and trained both as a trance medium and clinical hypnotherapist. This means I know about relaxation and how the brain works. This also means I know how to deal with the inner critic. A year later, I am able to write a 400 page encyclopaedia on modern spirituality. I know how to get in the zone and let it flow. I am not talking about channeling although I can’t deny being divinely inspired. I am talking about knowing how creativity works and how important meditation (which I taught for years as a reiki master) is for almost effortless writing.

This is all part of the offering I am now able to share with the world. I am so excited about it. My workshop is coming up on the 1st February 2014 and it will be packed with tips and practice. You can book your place at a 25% discounted price if you pay by the 22nd of January here. I would love to meet you in person.

To your creativity

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