Tag Archives: unique

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

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Writing a book through blogging

Last week, I decided to start a new blog as a tool to write my next book. I had actually already started writing my book three months ago on my computer but I was looking for a new way to write a book. I had never done it before and I always get excited when I try something new. But it’s not only that. I always walk the talk, so unless I experiment and try new things, how can I write about it? And how can I teach about it either?

Only four days into this new experience, I can already see the huge potential in writing a book this way. Of course, in order to be able to do that, you need to overcome the fear that someone is going to steal your idea. It takes some work. I know. And for scaredy cat that I am, probably more than for anyone else. But here is the secret weapon: no one can be you. No one has your unique way to see life and talk about it. No one has had your life experience. No one has as much passion about your subject than you do. That is, of course, if you have followed my advice to only write about what you are passionate about.

Here is how I envision the process and its advantages:

– it is easy to write a book one blog at a time. It’s not so daunting. You can cut the work in small chunks that are easy to write.
– you get to play with your story or subject matter and get some invaluable feedback from your readers.
– you can ask help to shape your book from others who will be delighted to help you along the way
– you can get the necessary encouragement along the way from other bloggers
– by the time you are finished, if you have done your job correctly, you will have a substantial following for your blog of people who will be interested in buying your book (yes it is surprising but it can be an incredible motivator to buy a book when you have been associated with the process or offer it to friends or family)
– the following that you create along the way serves as a pre-launch marketing campaign and makes the selling of the book a lot easier when you finish it
– you will have a much clearer idea of your readership and market
– you might even land a book deal by publishers who will read your blog without having to look out for them (that is super bonus as far as I can see)
– and last, did you know that if you do it on wordpress, you can automatically import it into the book blurb software for easy publishing?

If you have experienced writing a book through a blog, had this been your experience? Can you share advantages that I might have missed?

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

The writing journey

Writing is a journey, not a race. There is no going from A to B in a straight line. There is no short cut. And this can be frustrating for writers or even off putting if they misunderstand the nature of the writing journey. But if you realise and embrace its true nature, it becomes enjoyable. You could compare it to running. No two bodies are the same. And it takes time, commitment, discipline and small steps. If you do too much too soon you are likely to get injured. If you do too little, you won’t progress. If you don’t listen to your body, you might actually do something that will compromise your journey.

Writing is a bit the same. If you start fast and furious, you might get something on paper (and in theory there is nothing wrong with that) but you might then be faced with material that you are not happy with. Or you may get discouraged if you can’t keep it up and give up when you hit the first obstacle.

You cannot force it, yet you must have discipline and practice regularly. You must explore what others have done but ultimately do what works for you. Some like to write in the morning, some in the wee hours of the night. Some write from home. Others like to write in caf├ęs. Some like to write by hand in big notebooks. Others prefer the computer. Not to mention that some like to write poetry, others short stories. And so on. You have to find what works for you. But again. What works for you might change and evolve over time and you need to know this so that you don’t get panicky if what has worked for you up to now, doesn’t work anymore.

And you must have the wisdom to take breaks or change your pace when your life demands it, or you will burn out. Did you know for example that it is not possible to write more than three hours a day and stay productive?

I have experienced set backs both in my running and writing journeys. They are not really set backs but things that come in the way, but they need to be embraced as part of the journey. If you approach writing like a race, however, these meanderings will frustrate you. Everything that happens in the life of a writer informs his or her writing. Life is part of the writing journey. You night have to shelve a project and start a new one. And that’s ok.

What you write needs to rest between writing sessions. You need to sleep on it. Whilst you do that and get on with your life, you continue writing in your head but from a different part of your brain: the unconscious. It’s the same as trying to resolve a problem. You do research. You gather all the pros and cons and how other people have resolved the issue. Ultimately, you are likely to find a solution whilst having your shower in the morning three days later, after when you unconscious has been mulling over it without you realising it and come up with the perfect solution.

And when you finish a piece, you might have to let it rest for weeks to gain enough perspective to get back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. This is the nature of the work.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

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