I’m on Quintessential Voices podcast!

Are you looking for a podcast that will inspire you to write? You’re in the right place.

I’ve been a fan of podcasts for a few months, following the recommendation from my friend Paula Hemmings of Kick-Ass Entrepreneurs Club.

When I observed the launch of Quintessential Voices podcast on social media, I headed on over to Stitcher and added it to my favourites, before indulging in the intellectual conversations had among women of colour. I’m massively inspired by many of the guests, so when I was asked by award-winning journalist and broadcaster Marverine Cole to feature on this podcast, I jumped at the chance.

Also a fellow Brummie, I was thrilled to see Marverine’s name on my list of attendees of my last event and we made use of the time afterward to fit in this much-anticipated interview.

More about Quintessential Voices: “Quintessential Voices is Britain’s biggest conversation, celebrating women of colour. Get ready to smile, laugh, cry and learn after listening to the stories which focus on the lives and journeys of BAME women in Britain today. 
Some of those voices will be famous ones, others will be voices you might never have heard, yet each one of them will entertain you. My guests will be drawn from across the generations, and they’ll come from all walks of life. But the things they’ll have in common are that they’ll inspire you and motivate you. And – above all – their stories will rewrite the book on what it means to be quintessentially British.”

Here it is! Use the comments to let me know what you think, and please share if you find it useful.


Writing a book or blog can be a lonely pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be!

Join my FREE online writing community and prepare to get involved in conversations, live videos, webinars, feedback and much more.

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6 Ways to Stay Motivated When Writing

Are you the type of writer who starts a project but fails to complete them?

Are you easily sidetracked by a new idea, only to drop it for another new idea? Do you fall in love with the initial creativity but soon become overwhelmed with the pressure of writing a full piece? I’m that writer, I’d admit.

I have published four books, but on my laptop, I have three more which need either finishing and editing or editing and publishing. My draft folder on WordPress has fourteen draft blog posts that I have yet to complete and schedule. My writing books hold ideas and stories and projects that I’ve brainstormed but haven’t given time to develop. In short, I’m an ideas person and for a long time, it stayed that way.

But there came a point where I wanted to see these fantastic writing dreams come alive and experience them in reality. I wanted the idea out of my head and onto paper so that I wasn’t the only person enjoying them. And I’ve done exactly that, I’ve written books and blogs to completion, published for all the world to see. However, old habits die hard and it’s high time I finished what I started.

Staying motivated long after the feeling of inspiration has left you can be challenging. There is no button that you can press that makes your writing come out with ease. But you can put some things in place to encourage your creative process. I’ve listed six tips that work for me:

Read

If writing has started to feel like a chore to you, take some well-deserved time out and read. If you’re writing a book or blog, perhaps read something in that genre to remind you of why you love it in the first place. Perhaps return to a favourite book and find comfort in the storyline, bask in the feelings it provokes and let it inspire you to come back to your writing. Though we can inspire others by writing, we must allow ourselves the opportunity to be inspired by words we haven’t written. Whether you opt for an evening of blog-surfing, or a trip to the library, take the time to read.

Visit a bookshop

I know I can’t be the only writer who has fantasised about seeing their books on sale in a bookshop. Imagine walking into your local Waterstones and seeing your books piled up on a table display. Or perhaps they’ll occupy an entire shelf with a personal recommendation from the staff. Right? Sound good? Hold onto that feeling.

Listen to classical music

I love writing but there comes a point where I find it uncomfortable. Starting everything feels easy enough but it’s the finishing bit I have to really push myself. I am easily distracted so it helps to create an environment that ensures I give my writing my full attention. I love listening to classical music when I write, often via a Spotify or Youtube playlist, because it relaxes me and fills my head with all sorts of imaginary scenes in response to what I’m listening to. There are no lyrics to sing along to or get distracted with, instead, you can listen and let your imagination to fill in the blanks.

Revisit your plans

The planning process can be very exciting and it is in that moment we see the magic of what we are creating coming together. But once you’ve spent some time writing, it’s fair to say that you can lose sight of the feeling you had when you started out. When I wrote Shattered Dreams, it felt (and it was) like a long process that seemed impossible to push through. I’d given up a few times but then found my notes and read through it all feeling that initial passion reignite. And often, to get our books or blogs written, sometimes reading through the points we wanted to cover is inspiration enough for us to keep going.

Share your writing goals for accountability

I’m not sure if you’ve got the memo, but I created an online writing group for people who want to build their confidence in their writing. It’s called Writing With Confidence and you can join up here. It’s free and fabulous! The idea is that you are part of a wider community that will support you to reach your goals. I’ve said before that writing a book can be a lonely pursuit, but with the power of the internet it certainly doesn’t have to be.

Get a Writing Coach

Why wait for that bucket load of inspiration to arrive when you can just speak to a writing coach? It’s hard work staying motivated all the time, especially when working on a big project like a book, so it helps to be surrounded by people who understand your vision. A Writing Coach takes it one step further, understands your need to write your book and reminds you of the steps you need to take to get there. It’s more than an informal chat, it’s the unbiased guidance that comes with having a Writing Coach that will leave you feeling like you can conquer anything. Intrigued? Find out more about it here.


Writing a book or blog can be a lonely pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be!

Join my FREE online writing community and prepare to get involved in conversations, live videos, webinars, feedback and much more.

You can join here.

 

The Queen Convo: MelaninMindSoul | Part Two

Are your conversations with other women inspiring?

I’ve given much thought to my initial conversation with Dominique of Melanin Mind & Soul, and now it’s time I invited you to indulge in her responses. (If you haven’t already seen the introductory post, feel free to read it here before you dive in.)

Though we spoke a lot about our collaboration, we finally arrived at the agreement that we’d set each other questions and answer these for our blogs. Connecting with this Queen resulted in touching upon various subjects, but I’d say we focused on sisterhood, business, and Birmingham.

I’d like to reiterate that the sisterhood as a whole is only as good as we are willing to make it. Dominique and I could have messed about, made false promises and delivered not a single word towards this collaboration. But we recognise and respect the value each of us brings, and were willing to come together to try something new.

And without further ado, here is my interview with Dominque.


What was your overall aim when you started your blog, and what has changed since?

The overall aim of my blog was to empower people to make a difference in their lives, one conversation at a time, just as people have done for me, often without realising. I’ve always loved to write. More recently, when I didn’t understand why I was feeling low, so I’d write down my feelings and my emotions. Every so often, I’d look back at my journal and read about how I was feeling at a particular time; reflect on how I’d overcame it; and how far I’d come, and I would look for patterns.

For so long I kept asking for an epiphany, a shining light to tell me what to do next. But when I look back on my journal the answers were always there. I just needed to have the confidence to put actions in place to change certain things. I started talking to openly to people and they always told me that I inspired them, I was open about my emotions so that other people didn’t need to be ashamed of theirs. I started my blog because I didn’t want to tell people to go down a road that I hadn’t travelled myself i.e. doing the things that fear held me back from doing. Since starting my blog, my confidence has grown so much. I feel so happy that people enjoy reading my posts and it has helped them to make small changes in their lives that make them happy.

You’re originally from Birmingham, living in London but due to make a return to the land of 0121. What are you anticipating on your arrival? And what are your plans for when you get here?

I moved to London because there were more opportunities for career progression, better pay and most of my friends and my family peers were there. Birmingham has always remained home, no matter where I lived. I must admit, I am very apprehensive about moving back to Birmingham. Partly because I don’t think I am done with London and partly because I don’t have a network in Birmingham outside of my family. Also, a lot of people I do know are still living in the past – gossip that was trending in 2011 is still news whereas my mindset has moved on.

In London, I had several networks or groups of friend. I could ask a different group of friends spontaneously if they wanted to go for a drink, bite to eat or even a fitness class after work and someone would be available. In Birmingham, I don’t have this network and I’m not sure people are that spontaneous. When I return, I plan to open a retail shop. At the moment I am working on becoming a #GIRLBOSS and I want to see what Birmingham has to offer by way of collaborative working and networking.

What do you think of the idea that Birmingham doesn’t support? And what are your suggestions to make a change?

In London, people will go out of their way to support a new business, even if it means travelling an hour. When I left Birmingham, I left because I had a job as an employee, so I wasn’t thinking business, social networking and collaboration. However, when I return, I want to be an entrepreneur.

I want to bring some of the culture that I experienced in London, back to 0121. That spontaneity, go-getter attitude, and empowerment. I truly believe we can all do whatever we put our minds to. Fear leads to excuses which hold us back. One conversation at a time I want to empower people to change their thinking so that they have a growth mindset.

What attracted you to the idea of collaboration?

Queens supporting Queens. People say women don’t support each other, or that black people don’t support one another. Queens ARE supporting other queens and black people are becoming more conscious and supporting one another. The idea of a collaboration is build a new network with people who share the same vision. After just one conversation with Annika, I was like ‘girl power’. Women are smashing it right now, we are breaking those glass ceilings and those stereotypes.

People shouldn’t see others are competition that will harm their business but should look at the opportunities to work together to achieve a common goal.

At which point did you realise that you could make an impact on the world around you?

I realised that I could make an impact on the world around me when people started telling me that I had inspired them to do the things that they had been putting off. I realised I had a gift and enjoyed networking, collaborating and bringing people together, even if it didn’t benefit me it made me happy to know that I’d made a difference. My blog is me being honest and open but it’s really a chronicle of conversations that I had with people who inspired me that have helped with my personal development, often unknowingly.

What has the last 12 months taught you about yourself?

The last 12 months has taught me that Life. Is. Short. I experienced a number of bereavements and it made me think about my legacy; what am I leaving behind; what puts fire in my belly? This is when I decided to become al go-getter and encourage others to do the same. At times I didn’t even know WHAT I wanted but I made an effort to remove what I DIDN’T. This was a good approach for me because I knew I wasn’t happy with certain things but I didn’t know how to change them. The answer was to eliminate them from my life. Once I did that, I had more clarity and I was able to put actions in place to focus on how to become happier. Self-care over selfishness. putting me first, more often.

 

What has the last 12 months taught you about your relationships with others?

That women ARE powerful. Networks are important. Family is love. I have met so many inspirational women over the past 12 months, I am part of a women in business circle, and I have met so many women at work that are ‘officers by day, CEO by night’ and it empowered me to be the best version of myself because we all support each other. Building networks help you up when you down, make you smile when your unhappy and can be the voice of reason when your judgement is clouded. My family are very important to me. I also come from a family of strong, bold, women – my grandmothers, mother, cousins, aunts are all loving and strong.

Do you believe in the power of sisterhood? Where has this had an impact on your life/or where do you hope it has an impact on your life?

YES! YES! In my Lisa Nichols voice. I have one particular friend who I used to just say hi to in the office. However, when we got talking – it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. She is so direct and to the point and she has a positive impact on me. When I had writer’s block, she was the one that told me to write about it and ask others how they overcome it. She’s always the voice of reason.

If you could give advice to your younger self, say about 5 years younger, what would you say and why?

I would advise my younger self of two things 1) do what makes you happy 2) Be your own boss. Firstly, don’t do what society glamorises as happiness because it means different things to different people. Secondly, I would encourage myself to be my own boss. I don’t like being told what to do but I do like to co-ordinate, organise and network. Being your own boss doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work for a company but it does mean that you should also have a company, a business venture or something of your own. Something that makes you happy and you can call your own. Something that relieves you from any stress from whatever else if happening in your life.

Connect with Dominique via her blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

ARTICLE GRAPHICS DESIGNED BY ANNIKA SPALDING. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY MELANIN MIND & SOUL.

The Queen Convo: MelaninMindSoul | Part One

When women come together, we create magic. Right?

When I created #HelpAQueenOut just over a year ago, my priority was to bring together women. Community has been at the forefront of my mind since I realised how much we benefit from it as a collective. I realised that, absolutely, we can embark on our quest for success as individuals and achieve the goals we put on our vision boards. We are incredibly capable, women, of achieving everything and anything we set out minds to. But over the years I have grown and blossomed into a strong and powerful woman, who was nurtured every step of the way by the sisterhood in my immediate circles.

Since embracing the goodness that comes from sharing supportive women-only spaces, I have been intentional about creating the same experience for other women. I’ve grown so much, my life is beautiful and for the most part, I feel great about it, and I believe that I can achieve anything and everything I want to – and this level of self-knowledge and self-belief I want to gift to other women.

The blogging world is phenomenal right now and with social media, it is easy to develop connections with people who share similar interests. But with regular names popping up on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds, I’m learning quickly to form friendships with those I see post consistently.

4The idea of a collaboration has posed itself to me over the years. I’ve given it a try, collaborated on an event, a book and even a blog I launched, although none of it was long-lasting. I’d gone into it wholeheartedly and learned some unexpected lessons. People say that it’s Birmingham, that the people in this city don’t support anyone or anything, and as a result, even the greatest of projects dwindle and die. This is why the rush to London is so immense for creatives because they don’t have faith that they’ll find success in the second city.

I argued this fact for a long time, but eventually, I felt the doubts of my fellow Brummies climb in. I realised that there is a shared sense of scarcity thinking, resulting in people ‘stealing’ ideas and taking offence at the success of other people. I had to acknowledge it when my social media insights showed me that my biggest following is in London because these statistics don’t lie. But then a recent post on Black British Bloggers Facebook group opened up the opportunity for a collaboration and I put myself forward. Within days, I was contacted by the beautiful soul that is Dominique of MelaninMindSoul and, well, the rest is history.

We were less than 30 seconds into our conversation before I picked up on the familiarity of another Birmingham accent. And while we spoke about all things business, blog and Birmingham, at its core it was simply just wonderful to connect with another creative woman. Though we were and likely still are strangers, the universal bond of sisterhood gave us an understanding to each other. It needn’t be said, but there was an element of “I see you sis” in our dialogue, an unspoken agreement that we are in full support of each other. And that right there is sisterhood.

It’s not often I’ll speak on the phone, even to family or friends, but I found my anxieties drowned by a feeling of intrigue, eager to learn more about Dominique’s quest for success. While we were both new at collaborating on blogs, we talked until it became clear on what to do next. Through the warmth of Dominique’s personality, I discovered a funny and genuine Queen who is taking time out to think about what she wants to do with her life. She’s at a stage where 30 is fast approaching and she’s reassessing her contribution to the world, and its impact on her happiness. She’s at a point where she’s ready to pursue purpose over popularity and prepared to gather her knowledge, skills, and resources to give back to the wider community. And this, among many other areas, is where we connected.

I came away from our conversations feeling uplifted and motivated to do more. It’s true that as women we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, and often feel like we’re never doing enough. But sometimes, in all of that, it helps to share your hopes and dreams with a fresh pair of ears so they can advise and encourage you in ways you haven’t already had access to. I have been blessed throughout my creative career to have been supported by women who want nothing more than to see me succeed, but how nice it is to receive that same level of respect and support from someone who isn’t already connected with me. That unspoken code of sisterhood really can go a long way, if you’re willing to put your ego aside while you embrace it.

I’m looking forward to sharing with you the contents of our conversation in Part 2 of this post, but until then I’d like to pose a few questions to you:

Where does sisterhood play a role in your life? What do you take from it? How do you contribute to it?

Graphics designed by Annika Spalding. Photos provided by Melanin Mind & Soul.

Writing a book or blog can be a lonely pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be!

Join my FREE online writing community and prepare to get involved in conversations, live videos, webinars, feedback and much more.

You can join here.

Are you ready for the 5-Day Writing Challenge?

It’s almost time to explore your creativity!

The 5-Day Writing Challenge is available to members of the Writing With Confidence group only, and it is encouraged that you get involved as much as you can. Whether you write daily or rarely at all, this monthly writing challenge is designed to get your creative juices flowing!

When does the challenge start: 1st June

What do you need: Writing materials and a willingness to try

Where will you receive information: Email/Facebook group
What you’ll get from this:

  • Be able to write with a prompt
  • Commit to writing regularly
  • Opportunity to develop ideas
  • Accountability
  • Feedback (optional)
  • New pieces of writing to be proud of.
  • You will also have the opportunity to post your daily writings in the group, where you’ll receive peer feedback. In fact, it’s recommended you do this!

I know that if you commit to just these 5 days of writing, you’ll impress yourself with the magic you’ll create with your words. Intrigued? You should be.

Join Writing With Confidence here.

See you on the 1st!

Four Reasons Why Your Writing is Rubbish

Oh dear. You really clicked on this blog post, didn’t you?

It’s likely you arrived at this post expecting to be inundated with insults and criticisms, all about how crap your writing is, and how I’m much better at it than you. Well, honey, I’m sorry to disappoint but this is not the day for that.

I understand how vulnerable we become when we share our writing with the world. We put ourselves in the firing line, or so it seems, and it is an uncomfortable feeling. Yet, when we do we allow the world to indulge in our written masterpieces and prove to ourselves that we can indeed achieve our goals. But it feels like a big leap. So, fear steps in and discourages us from even trying.

Your writing is rubbish because:

You told yourself it is. You affirmed it to yourself until it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. You expected rubbish writing and the universe delivered. You told yourself that nobody would read it because it’s so horrible, and so you didn’t bother putting it anywhere it could be found.

You gave up before you tried. You were so convinced that your writing was rubbish, that you didn’t even bother finishing it. You had a great idea for a story but decided that your writing wasn’t worthy enough to tell it.

You compared yourself to others and lost. You decided that there was no beginner’s stage, in fact, you decided you can only start out as perfect. You decided that you must write as well as those who have written many books, you decided that you could only be as great as authors of bestsellers or not write at all.

You tell people it is rubbish. You’ve mentioned your writing to others but have added a negative comment to it. You paint a picture of mediocrity to people and so they come to expect only that.

Feel good? Of course, it doesn’t, and that’s the point. When you hold onto this belief, it won’t make you feel good. It won’t make you feel motivated to write, to finish what you’ve started or to try something new. It won’t push you to reach your goal of writing a book because you’ve already decided that it isn’t worth the effort. It won’t inspire you to tell your story or to use your writing to bring light to a much-needed cause. You’ve already told yourself that there’s no point.

But I think you’re wrong.

Ultimately, you create your reality. You are in charge. Your mind believes the messages repeated to it constantly. If you believe your writing is rubbish, you reinforce it with your thoughts and actions. You put so much energy into that belief, that eventually it manifests. You know about the Law of Attraction, right?

You can only become great at anything if you choose to entertain the possibility of it happening. If you choose to try, you’ll see how far you can get. If you find the positives in your writing, you’ll give yourself enough confidence to address the areas you still need to learn. If you read about writing and attend writing events, it is likely you’ll become part of a network you can learn from. If you speak highly of your work and the inspiration behind it, people will want to read it. If you believe that your writing is good, you’ll only expect the best from yourself and you’ll be motivated to reach that standard every time.

We all have doubts but this level of self-deprecation can be damaging to your self-esteem, which will only affect your desire to write in the first place. Being a confident writer doesn’t happen overnight, it takes daily acts to get to a point where you feel good about yourself, and also daily practice until your writing develops.

So think about what you can do each day to challenge the negative thoughts you have about your writing. How can you become your own biggest fan? How can you dismiss this false idea of being a rubbish writer, and commit instead to something more positive? If affirmations are your thing, and you’re not quite ready to acknowledge your current creative greatness, start with this: My writing is improving all the time and I am creating a masterpiece.

Now bring that mantra to life. Write with the expectation that you will produce something good, and it is likely that you will.

And when you do? Tell me all about it.


Writing a book or blog can be a lonely pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be!

Join my FREE online writing community and prepare to get involved in conversations, live videos, webinars, feedback and much more.

You can join here.

 

If I Never…

… believed in a future I couldn’t see, would I be here now? Doing any of this?

I don’t think about that often but I am indulging in that now. The alternative reality. The former me.

It’s easy for me to overlook my achievements and successes, I’ve been in that habit for years. But it’s time for a change. I know I’ll be doing myself a disservice if I continue to ignore the parts of me that got me here.

If I never trusted that I could be more, I would never have known the impact of my purpose in action. I’ve learned that I can move mountains with my strength, inspire my stories and quite literally change my life.

If I never ignored my negative thinking, would I still be this positive? Even now, I battle with the pull of anxiety, but it is a battle I frequently win. I believe and trust that everything has a purpose and is only temporary. What am I even writing? It doesn’t make sense!

I just want to say I didn’t know I’d be here. I believed in something more but I didn’t know it would look like this. I wanted to be an author, but I never knew I’d actually do it. Yet, here I am. Doing it. Loving every minute.

I believed in something I couldn’t see and it gave me a reality I couldn’t have imagined. And that’s exactly what I want to teach my daughters.

As a child, I escaped a toxic and abusive home environment by burying my nose between the pages of books. Stories consumed me, fuelled my imagination and gave me faith in magic. Just because we can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Yet, in adulthood, I’ve lacked trust, avoided taking steps which lack visual proof of success, and questioned my feelings about everything. I’ve made mistakes. Or have I? If I’d never made those decisions, perhaps I wouldn’t be living this fabulous life now.

So right now, I’d like to applaud the moments where I didn’t ignore the pull of my intuition, where I chose a future I couldn’t see, for a person I didn’t know I’d become. I’m grateful, so damn grateful for the woman who I was before.

She carried me forward until I could finally accept and meet the woman I’ve become today, and her journey should be honored. I didn’t see a clear route at the time, there was no handbook or role model for me to follow steps in order to become a stronger and more positive woman. But there was a sense of greatness that was waiting for me to pursue it, a feeling of purpose and a sense of responsibility to serve it that motivated me to strive forward. There was a hint of possibility, and that was enough for me.

What I’m saying is, if you have a feeling that you can’t explain, if it’s pulling you in a new direction, trust it. Because if I never trusted myself, I wouldn’t be this happy now.


Writing a book or blog can be a lonely pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be!

Join my FREE online writing community and prepare to get involved in conversations, live videos, webinars, feedback and much more.

You can join here.

Warning! These 9 mistakes will destroy your writing.

Almost anyone can write but to write well is a skill.

I’m not a perfect writer and I don’t know if I will ever be perfect. When I published my first book, I was more focused on the achievement of a life goal than of the quality of work it took to get me there. My books being well-written wasn’t always a priority, but this has changed over time as I have seen the benefits of producing a piece of work I can be proud of. I think that if you invest your time in anything, it should give you an outcome you can be happy with.

With that in mind, I’d like to welcome you to some of the biggest mistakes you can make, and offer solutions on how you can avoid them. And this is beyond the obvious spelling and grammar errors, I want you to be mindful of a few other important points:

1. Comparison – It’s easy to look at other writers and use their work as “proof” that your work is not up to standards. But there are two ways you can look at it. You can either use the magic of what someone else has written to cripple you or you can choose to be inspired by it and allow it to motivate you to do better. Don’t stop writing because you don’t consider yourself as good as Dorothy Koomson of Cecelia Ahern, instead use it to prompt you: what initially grabbed your attention? What did you like about it the most? How do they create believable characters? How did they keep you reading? And use your answers to guide you when you write.

2. Rushing – When we write a book, we are so eager to meet the finishing line and often become frustrated by how long the process actually takes. There is no overnight solution, it takes some time to create a masterpiece. When we rush, we leave out valuable information and our writing suffers from a lack of attention. We don’t convey the message we intended to, instead our readers get a diluted version simply because you couldn’t be bothered to explain it. Be bothered. Take your time. Don’t focus on finishing the word count, focus instead on being satisfied with the quality.

3. Overuse of profanity – I must say, in everyday life, I have a potty mouth and it’s not uncommon for it to crop up in a blog or even in one of my books. But I believe we have to be strategic in our use of swear words in our writing. Use it sparingly. Does it add value to the dialogue? Does it fit the profile of the character? Is it within context? Can you say what you need to without using it?

4. Overkill with capital letters – Have you ever read a whole paragraph of capital letters? It feels like someone is shouting at you, right? At least, that’s how I read it because that is how grammar works. Think about making an impact without overkilling capital letters. The idea is that you encourage people to finish reading what you’ve written, not scare them off!

5. Lack of research – It makes sense to write what you know, right? Research can strengthen your writing, it adds credibility and positions you as an expert in that field. Even if you’re writing fiction, it helps to do a little research so that your story is believable and makes sense to the readers.

6. Self-doubt – It’s all well and good pursuing your writing goals, but be aware that you’ll need a healthy dosage of self-belief to get you there. How can you make your daily word count if you’ve already decided you can’t do it? How will you write that book if you’ve already told yourself that you’ll fail? If you’re reading this, that alone shows me you believe in yourself enough to read about writing, and perhaps it will take you a little further for you to try. Don’t block yourself from your creativity. Tell yourself you will write today and make it happen. Don’t worry about how good it is initially, just get the words written down!

7. Not reading at all – I love books and delved into the magical world of reading from a very young age. Over the years my preferred reading genre’s have changed, but the love of reading has stayed the same. At the time I write this, I’ve got a healthy pile of books to get through over summer. I noticed that my writing improved when I increased my reading. The structure of my writing changed and became more refined. The flow of my writing has improved, which enhances the readability for those who indulge in my work. If you don’t read, your subconscious won’t take in these subtle details and writing a book will seem a bit more of a challenge.

8. Not editing –  Do I really need to go into this? Go beyond spellcheck. Top tip: Read it out loud, word for word, to see if it sounds right. If it doesn’t, make some alterations. For other helpful tools, check out this post.

9. Letting people’s opinions shape your work – It’s a huge deal to write anything, even more so to share it with the world. Your writing is going to prompt all sorts of reactions and some of it will be positive, others not so much. Constructive criticism is important, we need it to grow and improve our work. Often, people’s perspective can offer us something we didn’t even think about before, and we can use it to create an even better piece of writing. However, you don’t have to take every single comment on board, not if you don’t want to. Don’t place yourself in the position of losing your style of writing, because that can’t be taught. Not in the way you do it, anyway. So take every suggestion with a pinch of salt, and apply whatever you feel will enhance your creativity.

I don’t mind letting you know that I love what I’ve published so far but I’m not a big fan of the quality. In fact, this is why I don’t promote my books as much as I should. I’ve finished my second year of a Creative & Professional Writing degree and it has opened my eyes. I’ve taken the time to read more, blogs and books alike, and to speak to people about writing. I’ve become a point of reference to those who are new on this journey and using the lessons I’ve gained I’ve helped them to avoid making the same mistakes. So, I hope you find the above information useful.

Tell me, what would you add to this list?


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The Climber

Disclaimer: I’m no relationship expert but I do speak with authority on my own experiences.

But let’s talk about The Climber. This may be a new concept for some of you, so get comfy with a cup of tea and prepare yourself for the ride.

You should know that I took inspiration from Scandal (Series 6, Episode 2) with this phrase because it resonated so deeply. So, thank you in advance to the amazing Shonda Rhimes for this.

What is The Climber? A man who sleeps with women to get himself to the top. Not just any women, but the go-getters, successful, positive forces, seemingly high-profile women. He’ll give her his attention, knowing full well he is unprepared to reciprocate with authentic commitment, and reap his rewards. He wants to have a sense of her magic, to know her secrets and goals so that he can progress too. It is likely he will use his access to your vulnerabilities to learn how to better approach his next target, he is that good. And for the most part, women let their walls down and let him in, taking his respectful approach for genuine interest, then telling him their everything. Why? Well, because he doesn’t appear to be trying to sleep with them. At least, not in the first instance.


Does this sound familiar?
Have you experienced the fluctuation of male attention when your accomplishments get noticed? These men like that, they thrive off your star quality and they will fall over themselves to have just a taste of the experience that is you. And what man wouldn’t? But with The Climber, he wants to experience you and use that to further himself. He has no intention of sticking around.

Which is cool, if you’re not looking for something meaningful. But chances are you’ll meet The Climber and notice them for how different they are, compared to all the other fools, in how they approach you. You’ll notice they seem to have a genuine interest in you, they seem to want to get to know the real you, the you that exists beyond your successful public persona. He spends a great deal of time complimenting you and engaging you in conversation. He makes you feel special, and you trust and respect him even more so because he hasn’t tried to seduce you. What a fucking gent.

But then there’s you, so open, so loving, so willing to embrace someone for who they are. And you, with your non-expectant love, showing him the most unearned respect, you make him feel like he is someone important. Such a wonderful boost to his ego.

But, wait there. Wait right there.

What makes this different from a good man who genuinely, and I mean genuinely, wants to get to know you? Well, The Climber will quickly move onto the next big star. Like a dirty, stinking moth, he’ll find himself drawn to the latest achiever and start his work again. You’ll become an afterthought as he now focuses on securing the attentions of his next target, his next big challenge.

Don’t get me wrong, The Climber is an ambitious man. He probably has a few women like this on the go. These women probably specialise in a variety of disciplines, likely winning awards or being noticed by mainstream outlets. They’re even more at a point where they are mindful of who they can trust, because they have already seen the ugly side of success. And this guy, I really don’t believe he intends to hurt anyone. In fact, I suspect he’s probably hurting himself, somewhere in the depths of his dark soul, and pursuing women like you is proof to his ego that he hasn’t failed as a man.

Have you encountered a Climber? If so, comment your thoughts below!