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?


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 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!

 

5 Online Resources Every Writer Needs

It’s harder than it looks, right?

If you’re thinking of embarking on a writing journey, or have been on it for some time, you’ll soon come to the realisation that writing is not as simple as it seems.

Sure, I can sit here and just tell you to “pick up a pen and write” but in actual fact, we sometimes need a bit of extra help to ensure the words start flowing.

I’ve given some thought to what helps me with my writing, and here’s what you’ll find helpful.


1. Thesaurus.com 

Have you ever typed a word so much that you start to think you’ve misspelled it? Writing is a craft and part of that craft means you know how to convey a message with using as little words as possible. If you’re looking for an alternative word to improve the flow of a sentence, then look no further, Thesaurus.com is here.

2. Dictionary.com

Okay, so perhaps worse than using the same word repeatedly, is using a word without knowing its true meaning. I know we as a community like to sound sophisticated in our writing, but that is only going to happen if you understand the words you use. If it sounds out of context, it probably is. Don’t embarrass yourself, and don’t be too embarrassed to check words in a dictionary. I have a dictionary on my bookshelf that I use as much as I use the online version. It’s okay to make mistakes if we correct them, right? I’d rather correct them than press Publish, especially at this stage in my writing career.

3. Title Generator

This wonderful nugget of gold is fantastic when you’re looking for blogging inspiration! Sometimes you’ll be flooded with ideas for titles, other times you’ll need the prompt that comes with this fantastic website. Just type in a few words, press Enter, and then scroll through the results until something leaps out at you. Sounds pretty simple, right? And it totally is, that’s the beauty of it.

4. Dropbox/Google Docs

The best thing about the internet is that even when I don’t have my laptop with me, I can access my writing. This is brilliant for when I need to send a quick email and attach a document, need to refer to workshop notes or read from a piece of my writing. When I travel to the university on the train, I am inspired by having that time to think and if I don’t have a notebook with me (which is rare, I’ll tell you that) I’ll record it in a document on my Google account. The great thing about both Dropbox and Google Docs is that you can access the same document from a computer, the app on your phone and on a tablet. Handy, huh?

5. Writing With Confidence

I promise you, being part of a writing community can enhance your writing life. There’s something about shared stories, encouragement, achievements, challenges and other things that only writers understand, that can really make you feel as though you are not alone. My FREE Facebook group is in its early stages but is so ready for you to join and get involved. So, what are you waiting for?


 

Do you need a Writing Coach?

Whether you’re planning on writing a book, developing your blog or just want to build your confidence in your writing, get in touch with me for a free 20-minute consultation.

5 Ways To Overcome Jealousy

Let’s be real for a minute: we all get jealous. Even I do. Yeah, I said it.

We live in a generation where we know more about people than we ever did. Social media acts as a close-up view into anyone’s life, but also gives them the power over how they are portrayed.

I’ve said before that social media is a highlight reel, and there is often much more going on behind the scenes. I remind myself of this whenever I catch my insecurities taunting my ego because someone else did something amazing.

I’m all for sharing the spotlight. Honey, this success thing wasn’t just made for me. I know and accept that, and in practice, I don’t operate from ego because I know there is room for us all. And for the most part, my insecurities stay locked away because I know that someone else’s success is not a personal attack on me. Ego will tell me otherwise but for the most part, common sense prevails.

However, I’m only human and there are times when I feel those twinges of jealousy and resentment, which cause me to stop and look at my own life. I know better than to project my own issues onto someone else, especially as I’ve been on the receiving end of that before. I know when I feel this way, I have to look inwards and identify what it is about my life I am unhappy with and work out a plan to make improvements.

But in true blogger style, I thought I’d share some tips with you! I am definitely not the only person in the world who recognises this in herself, and hopefully not the only person in the world who is open to addressing it.

Here’s how you can get started:

Accept it.

It is what it is. No matter how you dress it up, dismiss it or respond to it, you getting mad about someone else’s success has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. They are literally minding their own business and reaping the rewards of that focus, and rather than be happy for them, you allow yourself to be consumed by negativity. Let’s call it what it is: jealousy. Now we can move on.

Address it.

Rather than hating on someone else for everything they have, why not take inspiration from them? If someone appears more confident than you, why not practice affirmations or take a confidence-building class? Look inwards, have a good old look at yourself. What do you feel you’re not great at? Why do you feel like you aren’t good enough? Remind yourself that the difference between someone else winning at life and you is self-belief. Perhaps it’s time for you to work on boosting you.

Make a change.

Okay, so you’ve identified that you’ve got a hint of jealousy floating around (congratulations, you’re human!) and you’re determined that you don’t want to let it grow. Awesome. You’ve decided to take inspiration from that person (you know who I’m talking about) and make your life so amazing that you aren’t distracted by anyone else. Brilliant. I find this is the perfect time to stop moping about and take action. Write a list of five things you can do to bring you closer to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be five huge tasks, slow and steady will get you there. And once you see that progress? You’ll be happier.

Be realistic.

Everything isn’t as it seems. No matter how much a person posts on social media, how happy they sound in their podcasts, how good they look in their videos, you don’t actually know what is going on behind the scenes. I am not suggesting anything sinister could be going on, however, I wouldn’t dismiss that idea. Perfect-looking people with 100k followers on Instagram can experience crippling anxiety and depression, and you’d never know. That gorgeous hunk of a man who posts pro-women quotes could actually be a womaniser and using his authority to proposition new conquests. And alternatively, the person who posts the dodgy photos and has a weird online humour could actually have the biggest heart and be the coolest person you’ve ever met if you gave them a chance. My point is, we all have parts of us that we hide. We don’t share everything, no matter how many people claim they do. Everything looks amazing when you’re on the outside looking in. Someone could be looking at you and your life, thinking you have it all and wishing they had even a part of it, and you wouldn’t even know.

Let it go.

If you want to move forward in life, you have to let go of negativity. Holding onto a feeling of resentment will only hold you back and weigh you down. Remind yourself that you get more of what you focus on, so focus on the things that will bring you happiness. Obsessing over someone else will not bring you the results that obsessing over yourself can. Get tunnel vision and create the life you want. But you can only do that if you choose to accept jealousy for what it is, address it and let it go.

Remind yourself of this: Another person’s success is not intended to be a personal attack on you. Hold onto that for a minute. Let it sink in.

It’s okay to feel like this because we do need balance. However, it is a choice to stay feeling like this. Get rid of scarcity thinking, there are enough rewards and blessings out there for all of us. Choose not to feel jealous, choose to celebrate instead.

Writing With Confidence: Join The Community

Does writing have to be a lonely pursuit?

When I wrote the very early parts of Shattered Dreams, I had discovered an online community. Writing.com gave me access to something I had never experienced: other writers.

Let’s be honest, writing can be a lonely craft, you spend most of your time sorting through the ideas in your head and forcing them into something tangible on the screen. Fast forward a few (many) years and I’m fortunate to know writers beyond these online communities. But at the same time, I realise this isn’t the same for everyone.

My event So You Want To Write A Book? has shown me what magical atmosphere is created when new writers are in one room. I’ve enjoyed that space, loved the writing workshops I’ve created, and I’m slowly building a community of people who want to write. I just want to allow you a space to grow your confidence enough to take that first step.

Writing With Confidence aims to be the place you can go to develop your writing. Whether it’s via my one-to-one coaching or the FREE Facebook group, I’m determined that you’ll come away feeling inspired, focus and ready to put pen to paper.

My interactive group will enable you to build links with other new writers, provide you the opportunity to participate in tasks, give feedback and grow as a writer. There’ll be live videos, exclusive offers and much more, as this will be my dedicated space to talk to you about writing.

Intrigued? You should be. Join today.


Do you need a Writing Coach?

Whether you’re planning on writing a book, developing your blog or just want to build your confidence in your writing, get in touch with me for a free 20-minute consultation.

Mental Health Awareness Week: I was brave today.

I did a brave thing today. I say that, but I don’t necessarily feel that, and that is the problem.

I’ll be honest, I don’t sleep well. My demons whisper to me in quiet moments and it causes my mind to be on alert.

Anxiety and depression have been old friends of mine for some time, admittedly before my mum died. They still visit on occasion and I’ve made peace with that they’ll do it, sometimes without cause and without notice. And then they’ll leave as randomly as they arrived.

I’ve had a lifetime of suppressing my emotions and voice have kept so much locked away, sharing little bits here and there.

I’ve had counselling in the past, taken anti-depressants, introduced mindfulness into my life, journaled and blogged about it, spoke with friends, stayed quiet… But more recently I realised that I have to dig a little deeper and give myself space to talk, and I mean really talk, without feeling guilty or like I’m being self-indulgent at the same time.

I mean, my life is AMAZING! There’s nothing current I can complain about, I am very blessed and I am grateful for everything and everyone… However, there are parts of me that still need healing. I’ve been proactive about managing my mental wellbeing these last 6 months, and this morning I took another step.

It’s good to talk.

I’m not entirely new to counselling, it’s been a few years since I’ve been through this process. I’ve always said that when I return, knowing full well that I would eventually, I’d address everything in my past. And I think this is what I am doing.

The woman I spoke to was open and easy to talk to. I cried even when I didn’t mean to, there’d been some feelings I hadn’t known were there and as the words rolled out, so did my tears. I only had 50 minutes so I couldn’t really go into everything but instead touched a little on the few things that were on my mind. I didn’t know it was so much,

And this is why it is so important for me to have an opportunity to really talk to someone about what’s on my mind. Of course, I have the most amazing support network around me and I am surrounded by an abundance of loving, good-hearted people that I can depend on. But sometimes I think I’d like to talk to someone who isn’t emotionally invested me, who isn’t biased or who isn’t looking to me to be any kind of point of reference. You know?

I don’t want to pour all this onto a friend or a family member, as much as I know they’d support me, I think it would be unfair. My experiences and feelings are too heavy for me to unload onto a person who isn’t trained or experienced in managing it. I’ve spoken lightly to friends before, I do it often but I am glad I realise that it’s time to speak to a professional. It’s time to take full responsibility for my mental health and take the steps necessary to help me maintain it.

I love the woman that I am and all that I represent, but I need to love the other part of me too. There is a sad, vulnerable person who has been cut deeply by the past, and all I’ve done over the years is suppress her. It’s taking it’s toll, as I’ve mentioned about I’m not sleeping properly and I haven’t for while. What I know and what I feel, neither of these connect with each other. I want to make peace with the past but first I have to unpick it so I can understand exactly what it is my subconscious is holding onto and plan the steps I need to to take to let it go.

I know it’s not easy for everybody to find someone to talk to, but I’m hoping if you’re reading this you at least feel encouraged to try. Free Your Mind have an online peer support group,  which is well worth joining if you need a safe space to talk. You can join here. You can make a start

 

 

So You Want To Write A Book? April 2017

If you haven’t started your book yet, have you tried attending one of my events?

Well, I know I’m not the only one to consider last month’s event an absolute hit!

Sherine Walrond had been a former guest at So You Want To Write A Book? so it was an absolute pleasure to invite her to speak, following the publishing of her new book I Love Me, I Love My Hair. During her speaking debut, Sherine gave an empowering and thoroughly informative talk on how she wrote and published her book. Equipped with handouts, Sherine invited the audience to write a dedicated schedule to plan and then write their books. Her enthusiasm was met with admiration and curiosity, as she gave a very detailed walk-through of the completion of a short book.

After a short break, which allowed the aspiring authors to mingle and network, I facilitated a creative writing activity. Aimed to get creative juices flowing, when people shared the fruits of their labour, we were all impressed and inspired at the level of writing talent in the room. It became very apparent that this was a very talented audience.

Axsal Johnson, a publisher of best-selling YUSA Life, was the second featured speaker. Making his first appearance at this event last year, Axsal returned to share his experience and knowledge with a room of future authors. He was animated and energetic in his delivery, and his talk was exceptional. What was brilliant was the levels of research he had gone to create the beautifully formed piece of work that YUSA Life is. He was able to give the audience some tips on what to avoid on their publishing journey, and also give them food for thought on what they are willing to invest to make their writing dreams happen.

We had a variety of raffle prizes, which included copies of my books, a discount to the upcoming SoulFam events and a free ticket for the House Of Ptah museum tour –  A big thank you to everyone who took part!

I also went to give a shout out to Natalie and Martin, who came all the way from London for this event. Once again, proving that there are people dedicated to their writing goals, even if it means physically traveling to get there.

I think it is fair to say that if you arrived at this event with no sense of direction with your writing, you would have definitely left feeling inspired and eager to write.

See the full photo album here.


Do you need a Writing Coach?

Whether you’re planning on writing a book, developing your blog or just want to build your confidence in your writing, get in touch with me for a free 20-minute consultation.

 

 

5 Reasons You Should Blog

It’s 2017 and blogging has become incredibly popular, but where does this leave you?

If you’ve been wondering if there’s room for you to make your mark, then I am here to enlighten you.

Why? Well, because the blogging world has yet to hear your perspective on a topic of your choice.

When I first began blogging, I didn’t take it seriously, I’ll be honest. Feel free to scroll through to my archives and find my early posts, and you’ll see the huge difference between then and now. I’ll go as far to say that I didn’t make much of an effort and I didn’t blog with any clear focus or plan. I just liked writing and that’s what I did, but over the years my outlook has changed and I’m beginning to see what an asset a blog can be.

I approach this platform with a different mindset now and I’m hoping the little nuggets of wisdom I have will be enough to encourage you to do the same.


You’ll find value in your own voice.

The awesome thing about blogging is that it gives you an opportunity to create an identity for yourself. Whether you write under your own name or opt for a pseudonym, the point is that either way this place becomes a focal point for where you find value in what you have to say. You become comfortable with your writing style, you begin to receive feedback from people you’ve never met but who love your writing. And that, that alone, gives you a confidence boost, plus confirms what you secretly knew all along: That you are destined for greatness.

It teaches you discipline.

It’s not enough to blog once a month, you’ll soon learn that to survive in the blogging community you need to be consistent, and regular. If you really care about your blog, you’ll pay attention to the most popular posts and start t cover that area more and more to please your following. You’ll learn to blog at least once a week, to promote often, and ultimately that the success of the blog depends on the actions you take daily. It sounds huge, and it can be if you don’t plan ahead and post accordingly.

You’ll gain experience and opportunities.

Similar to that of writing a book, a blog will open up doors and opportunities for you that you’ll have never imagined. People get used to seeing you post and promote your content, you develop a reputation for being consistent in your niche, and before you know it you’ll receive invites with all sorts of offers. Plus, as you become accustomed to blogging regularly, that extra experience will certainly have you picking up on trends much faster than when you did when you started out.

It will enhance your business.

Blogs are great for business. It offers an exclusive, sort of behind the scenes insight to what really goes down at headquarters. I treat my blog as an informal chat with my most loyal followers, sometimes sharing words of wisdom about life or tips about writing. I’ve used it to talk about my mental health, events I hold, my books, my coaching, all of which I then use to promote what I do. And that? Well, that brings me business, and all it cost me was half an hour of my time.

You’ll make international connections.

What I love about writing on the internet, in general, is that you have no idea just who in the world is going to see it. It’s easy to assume that all your friends and family are going to read your work, but usually, it’s the people who are complete strangers who will love your posts and read every one. And that’s okay. If it wasn’t for the internet, we wouldn’t the ability to reach people from all over the world with our words. I love that connection. It means my writing is travelling to places I haven’t been to yet, and that can only lead to even greater opportunities.

Are you convinced? Let me know what you think by posting in the comments below. I love to read blogs too so feel free to share yours!


Do you need a Writing Coach?

Whether you’re planning on writing a book, developing your blog or just want to build your confidence in your writing, get in touch with me for a free 20-minute consultation.

 

Change your life in 20 minutes.

Have you ever had a 20-minute conversation that could change your life?

Through the powers of social media promotion, I’ve booked in consultations with people who have ideas for books or blogs, and been inspired by the vision they want to share.

Although I coach, a consultation gives you more of an insight to who I am and helps us decide if we’ll be a good fit. A consultation is not the same as a coaching session, although you’ll leave feeling inspired and motivated to take the next step.

Here’s what you can expect from a consultation with me:

1. An introduction
This is where I’ll tell you more about who I am, what I’ve done and what I’m doing now. Although I post daily on social media, this will give you more of an insight to my experience, my areas of expertise, and anything else which enables me to be your Writing Coach.

2. All about you
This is where you tell me more about you, your writing history and your creative idea. whether it is a book or a blog.

3. Your needs
It’s important I get a sense of what your needs are, and this will be helped by everything we’ve discussed up until this point.

4. Questions
You’ll get an opportunity to ask TWO questions.

5. Evaluation
At this point, I’ll have a good idea on how we could work together. I will give you an overview of what will benefit you at this point, and give you an overview of what services I offer.

6. Conclusion
This is where you have a decision to make. How you decide determines how we move forward together.

And all of this in just twenty minutes. Intrigued? Click the details below for more information.


Do you need a Writing Coach?

Whether you’re planning on writing a book, developing your blog or just want to build your confidence in your writing, get in touch with me for a free 20-minute consultation