Tag Archives: writing

Define success and the little wins along the way

In my Facebook group, on Wednesdays, we celebrate our wins. As I was encouraging my members to boast about what they had done for their writing this week, I came to the realisation that all too often, we only celebrate when we reach our goal. This is true in every area of life.

It is true in weight loss. In business. In health. But the truth of the matter is, success is made my a thousand of sustained steps in the right direction. I believe it also includes the detours and the epic fails. So when we suspend our celebrations until we reach the finish line, we actually deprive ourselves of a string of smaller successes that are paramount to the overall goal.

So today, I want to invite you to look at your journey to success as a writer in a different way. I want you to see that sitting at your desk every day, even for ten minutes, is part of your success. I want you to realise that it is the consistency, the grind that is propelling you towards your overall success. Success is also being able to ask for a critique, taking it on board and making the changes that are necessary to improve your book. Success is overcoming those horrible feelings when the critique seems to slash your book and leaves you feeling like a failure. Success is also making your first selfie if visibility is an issue for you.

Do not wait until your book makes it to the NY best seller to feel successful as an author. Of all the people who claim that they want to write a book, 95% of them just love the idea of saying they have written a book. They are not actually willing to put the effort in. They are wannabe writers. If you are actually doing the work, if you sit down several times a week and put words on paper, if you sign up for classes to improve your craft, you are already way ahead of the game. Acknowledge that.

Seasoned writers often say that once they become that best selling author, they move the goal post of success and deny themselves the joy of celebrating because they immediately doubt as whether they can repeat that feat. This is the way the mind works. It never seems to be satisfied. If you don’t have a grounded vision of success, you will constantly beat yourself up about not having achieved the success of another author or not having achieved it as fast as someone else. This is not helpful. Stop now.

Success can just be completing your first draft. It is a massive achievement. An achievement that 95% of the people who say they want to write a book never accomplish.

Success is a topic we will explore in the first module of my six month writing masterclass starting on the 1st September. Find out more here.

Would you like to share a small success of yours here? An “invisible” one? One that people can’t go and check on the internet?

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017

How tarot cards can make your writing easier and more fun


In my six month writing masterclass, I will teach you how to use the tarot to write your book. But why do I think that tarot cards can help? Tarot has been used to explore psychology for years. Karl Young was a big fan. There is a reason.

It is an amazing tool.

I have over ten years experience as a tarot reader. I trained with the Tarot Schol of New York. This gave me a deep knowledge of esoterism  but also symbolism. Tarot is not reserved for divination, it is also an amazing tool to explore the human psyche. And what tarot is really is a series of flash cards to tell a story. Not every deck does that. Some decks are richer than others. The Rider Wait deck, which has does not usually appeal as much to beginners due to its austere design, is by far the most complex and useful deck I have used. Each card is a world onto itself. You can find out about a whole character by looking at one card only. This is the book I recommend.

Tarot is so much more than a divination tool. It is a fabulous tool to explore the subconscious. To go to the root of the matter. But it can also help you get unstuck if you reach a part in your book where you don’t know where to go. Let’s say you were exploring the psychology of your main character (and this applies to memoirs too), you can pull a card to understand his or her true essence. Or find out what his conflict is. Just with I one card. If you picked the King of Pentacles for example, this would indicate that your main character is a mature male with a grounded attitude and possibly a fair amount of money. If you had pulled the King of Wands, it would be an entirely different feel to it. There, you would be looking at someone passionate and creative but also that possibly has issues with anger management.

How do tarot cards work? They do because everything is energy. In my seven day writing challenge, I encourage my clients to connect to the energy of their book through a guided meditation. I believe that books are independent energetic entities. So you don’t write a book but you let the book be written through you. You are a conduit. All you need to know is how to pull the information and understand it. Tarot cards are amazing way to do this. Tarot cards carry energy too. All symbols do, which is the reason why I recommend being careful what you wear. When you shuffle a deck of tarot cards whilst asking a question, you send an energy to the cards and they respond. You don’t have to over complicate. Just give it a try and have fun.

We certainly will in my masterclass when we do. And I will bring my ten years of experience in doing professional readings to help you make sense of the cards. My six month writing masterclass starts on the 1st June 2017. It is meant for female leaders or business women who want to write an inspirational book. Contact me through my page if you are interested and want to know more.

18920449_1372666346159125_1523624483490306702_nOn the 21st of June, at 1 pm UK time, I will be holding a free one hour webinar on how tarot can be used to help write your inspirational book to give you an idea of what the masterclass will be like. It will be held on my Facebook page but to make sure not to miss it, sign up here: click here.

To your writing,

(C) Ange de Lumiere 2017

How important is it to listen

The human experience is so rich that we writers could write stories until the end of time about what makes us human tick or grate. On this Valentine week-end, I am pondering on how important relationships are to humans and how difficult they are. Seemingly perfect relationship are rarely what they seemed. The reality of every day life is: it’s hard to live with someone for a long time without facing some kind of conflict or friction. As writers, it’s important we educate ourselves about psychology to be able to build realistic characters and situations that readers can relate to.

When I trained as a hypnotherapist, I bumped into a fellow student who was an achieved screenplay writer. I wondered what he was doing there. I knew who he was because a few years before I had done his creative writing summer class, so you could imagine my surprise to find him at the hypnotherapy school. Seven years down the line, I understand much better how clever he was. Exploring the depth of human nature is gold for writers and what better way than to be paid to listen to people’s stories.

So if you are a therapist of some kind, it looks like your skills are precious for your writing. Keep up the good work. For other writers, I would highly recommend doing a listening skills course. Listening skills – deep listening – is so valuable for writers. I thought I was a good listener until I did a one year long training course focused only on listening skills. It made me realise how we human beings always interrupt others when they speak to chip in. Most of our conversations are not true conversations, they are parallel monologues. I found through this experience that if you really listen to people and refrain from asking questions, you will alway hear everything you need to know.

Similarly, I believe that if you learn to get into a meditative state and visualise your characters, and listen deeply, you will learn all you need to know about them. They will tell you their story. And when you put two of them together in your mental room, all you need to do is eavesdrop on their conversation. It will make your work so much easier as a writer. Yet, most of us are incapable of doing this because our minds are over active and full of thoughts. Most of us don’t realise how packed solid our mind is with thoughts. There is a voice in there that yaks yaks yaks. And it is only when we become aware of it that we can start to master it.

I liken the mind to a beautiful horse. Mine is pure white. I know very little about horses but I know this: if we let the horse into our lives with no training, it will wreck it. In order to keep our sanity as writers, we need to master the mind. There are many ways to do this but meditation and the practice of quieting our minds are paramount. I use to teach meditation and there are a lot of myths around it. You don’t have to isolate yourself in a room, sit in a lotus position and chant mantras whilst burning incense. Meditation comes from mindfulness and mindfulness can be found in every day tasks. Personally I find cooking, washing the dishes, ironing, hovering and painting (artistically) very good to practice mindfulness. All you need to do is to be totally in the moment and refrain from thinking about other things. You will, inevitably. The work is to bring yourself back to the task. It can take a lot of practice to even begin to be able to do these things mindfully without wanting to run away. That’s normal. We humans love to distract ourselves from what is essential. And when you quiet the mind, you start hearing that little voice that tells you what you really need. Most people are scared to hear that little voice. Yet, if they did, they would never have to ask advice from other people.

To your creativity

Ange de. Lumiere

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

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

Grammar nerds beware

Are you a grammar nerd?

Are you a grammar nerd?

Are you a grammar nerd? I don’t quite fit the criteria, but I am not far. Only since I started writing in English (which is not my native language), my standards have loosened a bit. My grasp of the English grammar is not as good as my grasp on French grammar. My grasp on French grammar was never that brilliant but I have the excuse that French grammar is one notch more difficult than the English one.

But today’s post is not about grammar. Yes, good grammar is important to writers and if yours is appalling, I suggest you refresh your skills. It is never too late to learn. There is no shame in admitting to lacking in this department. Only imbeciles never learn.

No, what I want to write about is the fact that I believe being a grammar nerd is detrimental to your career as a writer and might have actually stopped you from finishing any pieces of work. I would hazard a guess that true grammar nerds would stop at page twenty of any of their drafts. And here is why. They can’t stop correcting themselves and as a consequence, they start revising their first draft before they finish it. And so the more they progress, the less they progress.

Here is the news: a first draft is supposed to be poorly written. It should be finished before any revisions are made. In fact, this is so important that it is an instrumental part of my teaching in my one day workshop for beginners. Do not revise a first draft should be one of the Ten Commandments of writers. In fact grammar should probably not come into the second draft either. I can hear the grammar nerds growling. How is it possible to let any grammatically incorrect writing remain in any piece of written work? If you are serious about writing, listen to my advice. You will have ample opportunities to revise at a later stage, but paying too much attention to detail at this stage might waste precious time and energy on something that is likely to be changed dramatically over the coming drafts.

Did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald did 200 drafts of “The Great Gatsby” before it was finished? Imagine making sure all the dots and the commas are perfect on 200 drafts? Personally, I can’t. It would drive me up the wall.

To your creativity,

Ange de Lumiere

How to deal with your inner critic or the dangers of positive thinking

I used to be a very positive person. With time, I realised that It wasn’t such a good thing. In fact, I believe it stopped my emotional progress. If you try to be positive when you are facing challenges or negative thoughts, you will as a consequence be in denial of your negative emotions. You will be thinking, as I did, “I am a positive person” and as a consequence you will deny your negative thoughts and feelings. The first danger is that you will become passive aggressive and project your negative feelings onto others. This is what happens to people who have issues with anger and who are by “coincidence” surrounded by angry people: their boss, father, boyfriend, husband, or their friends. But no, not them. They never have issues with anger. As a writer, you want to know about this process which is called mirroring. It will bring great depth to your characters.

Positive thinking is only helpful if practiced AFTER you have dealt properly with your emotions. There is no shortcut: Negative emotions have to be processed, experienced and embraced. Truly positive people tend to do that as quickly as possible. Negative people will dwell in the process and often enjoy the attention they get from complaining. They moght even manipulate you into doing what they want through making you feel bad about them. Very different. They make beautiful characters.

But being too positive also stopped my progress as a writer. Let me explain. If you deny your negative thoughts, you won’t hear them when they pop in your head. It doesn’t mean however that they won’t exist. It will just mean that they will live at the level of your subconscious and what they will do there is feed your inner critic who will be given a golden opportunity to get in the driver’s seat and create havoc in your life.

The best way to manage your inner critic (you know that little voice that is constantly nagging at you and putting you down) is not to ignore it, nor to silence it. The best strategy is to listen to it and become aware of its voice. Why? Because then it surfaces into your awareness, which drags it out of the driver’s seat of your life. For those who don’t know it yet, the subconscious is driving your car, always. And it always overrides your consciousness. It always sits in your blind spot. Believe me, you don’t want your inner critic there.

So what is the best way to deal with your inner critic? My suggestion is to engage with it after you acknowledge it for what it really is: a phantom that feeds on your fears and every single negative comment or remark anyone has ever made to you. Fears are only thoughts. Beliefs are only thoughts that you think are true. Recognise that you are not your thoughts. Recognise that your mind is full of junk and good thoughts, but probably a lot of junk. You are not your mind either. Talk to your inner critic. It is the part of you that is scared and that believed everything everyone said, but mostly the negative.

So when your inner critic tells you that you can’t write: realise that it is only trying to help you not make a fool of yourself. It is there to protect you (it really believes it does anyway). Only it has the emotional maturity of a toddler. So engage with it as if it was a toddler. Listen to it with compassion when it is having a tantrum. Hold it. Comfort it. And set boundaries: your inner critic needs to be given a time frame to complain or criticise. I would suggest ten minutes per day. After that, thank it for its voice and get on with your writing.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere