The birth of “Write Freelancer For You”.


Until now, Rachel Maree, has been my primary website where I published blogs and where you could reach me for any of your freelance writing needs. However, due to the growth and development of the freelance side of my writing business I have now created a secondary website to meet these specific needs. You can find my “Write Freelancer For You” website here. You will find a list of freelance writing services I offer, as well as useful links and blogs on freelance writing and business.

I hope you continue to follow my Rachel Maree website as my journey as a writer and freelancer continue.

 

30 tips to spring clean your writing.

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SPRING TIP #1: Keep a journal.

Journaling everyday helps to improve your writing, is great for reflection and is a fantastic tool for ideas and inspiration.

SPRING TIP #2: Add a writing warm-up exercise to your writing routine.

I challenge you to add a writing warm-up to your writing routine for 2 weeks and see if it makes a difference to your productivity and creativity. Let me know how you go!

SPRING TIP #3: Write everyday.

It doesn’t matter if it is only 10 minutes here and there around all your other responsibilities; the point is that the only way to be a better writer is to write. Writing everyday improves your practice, inspires ideas, and sparks creativity. Learn to take advantage of any down time to capture some of those words floating around in your head.

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SPRING TIP #4: Organization.

To run a successful writing business organization is keen. And what better time to get organized then the season of spring-cleaning! Make sure all your files are up to date (and backed up), clean up your computer, buy some lovely stationary and diaries to keep dates and projects organized, and keep your work area as clutter free and neat as possible.

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I love spreadsheets. Spreadsheets for timelines, projects, income, invoice trackers, publications….pretty much everything! I find them an easy way to keep track of what I am doing, and where I am up to. I am also a huge fan of to-do lists. The main key is to be organized, in whatever fashion that is for you.

SPRING TIP #5: Develop a writing routine.

Forming the habit of writing everyday helps to improve your writing and productivity. However a writing routine is not just about writing, it is about how you write, and how you organize your time to ensure you make the most of each moment.

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SPRING TIP #6: Take regular writing breaks.

The recommendation when sitting at a computer is to stand up, walk around and stretch hourly. You should do this when writing too. And not just a brief 5 minute break, a walk outside in the fresh air can help clear your head and improve your concentration and productivity when you return to your writing.

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Make sure you eat at regular times. It can be easy to forget, so I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to eat and drink if I am having a long writing day.

Taking regular breaks away from your writing helps clear your mind, refresh you and ensures you don’t become stiff and sore sitting hunched over your computer!

SPRING TIP #7: Motivation.

How do you find your motivation? What motivates you? How do you maintain motivation? If you can find the answers to these questions it is half the battle!

SPRING TIP #8: Inspiration.

The search for inspiration can sometimes feel endless. I find spring is a great time for sparking new ideas. Have a walk outside and see the buds of new growth, the sun breaking through the clouds and your ideas and creativity will sparkle!

SPRING TIP #9: Read, read and read!

Reading exposes us to other styles of writing, other forms, genres and voices. The more you read the more your writing will improve, and you will be exposed to more ideas and inspiration.

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SPRING TIP #10: Make time for your family and friends.

Whilst writing may not be a regular job with normal hours, it is still important to make time for your family and friends. You don’t want to miss making precious memories with your loved ones because you always have your head buried in your computer…and you know what they say, all work and no play turns you dull!

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SPRING TIP #11: Stick to time frames!

If you tell a client you will have a writing project to them in 2 weeks, make sure you stick to that. I tend to over-quote on how much time I will need in order to avoid the stress of not having work done on time.

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SPRING TIP #12: Social Media.

Social Media is an important tool to promote your writing business, network with other writers, build your reputation and to research other writers. However, it is a black hole that can suck us in. You may find that instead of spending valuable time writing you are surfing through various social media mediums for hours on end. The trick is to limit the time you spend on social media, and to ensure you use that time efficiently and effectively.

SPRING TIP #13: Develop a work/life balance.

One of the best things about being your own boss is you can choose how much work you take on. However one of the hardest is also saying no. Keep in mind that you need to maintain a healthy balance between work and living your life. One of my favourite sayings is you need to work to live, not live to work.

SPRING TIP #14: Do not rely on spell checkers to catch all mistakes.

Never trust a machine to do all the spelling and grammar checks! Nothing beats good old human interaction and checking of your work. It is a great idea to check your work on paper and on your computer, things may look different and show mistakes you missed before!

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SPRING TIP #15: “Rest” your writing.

When you have completed your first draft, “rest it”. Put it away for a few days before you take it out again to start the lengthy editing and revising process.

Once you feel you have a finished project, “rest it” again. After a few days, weeks or a month (whatever time frame you choose), take it out again and read it one last time before sending it to a friend, family member, editor or if you feel 100% confident you are completely done then send it to a publisher.

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The point of these “rest periods” is to take a break from your project and come back to it with a fresh perspective and clearer mind. This way you will catch mistakes you may not have noticed otherwise, and will recognise changes that need to be made easier.

SPRING TIP #16: Read other writers websites/blogs/articles.

Think of it as research! To find out what other writers are writing or reading about, then the easiest way is to research by looking at their websites, Facebook, google+, blogs, twitter etcetera. Not only will reading about what and how they write help you with your own writing, it can inspire your own blogs, posts and writing projects. One of the best ways to learn is from those who are more experienced and knowledgeable.

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SPRING TIP #17: Write yourself a schedule.

You are running your own writing business, and you must treat it as such. If you are writing for others, such as freelance projects, then obviously it is important to ensure you stick to the time frame you negotiated with your clients.

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If you are writing for yourself, however, then it is still important to develop your own schedule and stick to it. Such as, by this date I will have the outline completed; by this date I will have a first draft finished, etcetera. This way you will ensure you will actually get your writing projects finished, and it is a great feeling when you tick off a to-do list!

You can use a spreadsheet, calendar or good old-fashioned diary. Whatever works for you, but make sure you create an achievable schedule and STICK TO IT!

SPRING TIP #18: Avoid “overwriting”.

“Overwriting” is a wordy style of writing, wrought with repetitions, figures of speech and convoluted sentences. Try to avoid using too many words to describe something, if one word will do. Go for simplicity to convey your writing and I guarantee it will get your point across just as effectively without hitting your reader in the face with all those words.

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SPRING TIP #19: When undertaking large writing projects, turn off your internal editor for the first draft.

When you are writing a long first draft the best way to get all your ideas and thoughts out is to simply write, and keep on writing. Do not stop and correct or edit as you go. Turn off that little editor and judgmental voice in your head so you can get all those words out initially before you forget that great idea.

This can be difficult. I know I find it quite hard due to my innate need for perfectionism. However, the more time I spend writing long projects the better I am at simply sitting in front of my computer and letting the words and thoughts flow out of me. You will spend more time editing and revising, so this first draft is all about capturing your ideas on paper no matter how poorly they are written!

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SPRING TIP #20: Plot!

When writing a novel, developing an interesting plot is essential. It helps to ensure your story unfolds in a logical manner, whilst building tension and suspense to draw your reader in and keep them interested.

SPRING TIP #21: Read your old work.

If you are feeling lost, unmotivated or have lost confidence in your work then have a read through your old projects. It is a great way to see how far your writing has come. I know I have read back through some of my very first blog posts and cringed.

Reading back through your old work can also help inspire you and spark new ideas, or thoughts on how you can improve upon it and re-release it.

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SPRING TIP #22: Keep a list of all your publications.

I find it easiest to do this on an excel spreadsheet, with columns for dates, genre, format and publication type. It helps so that you can see how many of your projects have been published and also if you ever need to refer back to a project you can quickly find where it was published and those other details you choose to input into your spreadsheet.

And lets be honest here, the longer that list gets the better you feel! Think of it as a brag sheet if you want. It is a great way to see where you have been, where you have published and the footsteps you have left behind with your writing.

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SPRING TIP #23: Ask friends and family to read your writing.

If you have friends or family members who you know will be able to provide constructive criticism you should ask them to read your work before sending it to a publisher, or self-publishing. Their eyes will help to pick up on any mistakes or plot flaws that you may have missed in your editing and revising process. They can also provide feedback and encouragement before the intimidating process of sending your work out in the big wide world.

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SPRING TIP #24: Time management.

A concept I feel most people struggle with! Juggling your own writing business, especially if you are still working another job whilst attempting to get your business up and running, with family, home life and chores is a difficult thing to master. You need to work efficiently in the limited time you have, whilst ensuring that you leave time in your busy schedule for family and friends. I have found the best way to manage your time is to stick to your schedule and timeframes for work, whilst penciling in time for family, friends and most importantly, yourself!

SPRING TIP #25: Join an online or in person writers group.

Writing groups are a fantastic place to meet like-minded people, find sources for ideas and inspiration, and as a free source for constructive criticism and feedback. Whether you join a group online or in person, or several groups, doesn’t matter, the point is to find a group of writers in your niche and to actively participate in discussions with them. I challenge you to find a group of writers and to join them. Most importantly…..ENJOY!

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SPRING TIP #26: Don’t forget why you write.

Why do you write? What do you get out of writing?

I write for the love, passion and enjoyment I get from creating a great written project, no matter how big or small. I always get a small thrill upon completing a written piece. Never forget the positive reasons behind why you write. Always write for impact, and not income.

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SPRING TIP #27: Draw inspiration from your surroundings.

Look around you. What is happening nearby? What conversations? What characters? What scenery? Use your surroundings to form pictures and characters in your mind that you can translate to paper.

Where do you find your inspiration?

SPRING TIP #28: Do not procrastinate.

Your time is at a premium, do not waste it procrastinating! Learn to recognise when and how you procrastinate, and identify strategies to overcome it.

SPRING TIP #29: Keep your end goal in mind.

When your energy wanes, you lack motivation, and you feel as though you have lost your creativity and inspiration focus on your end goal. The sense of pride and achievement from seeing your name in print, being a published author, a successful freelance writer. What ever your end goal is, allow it to guide you through the tough times and keep your focused and writing!

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SPRING TIP #30: Never stop writing!

The final tip for this lovely spring month is to never stop writing. Writing promotes writing, and the more you do it the better you will become. Just like practicing at a sport or cooking, the more you practice the more adept you will become.

So never stop writing.

 

How to Create Powerful Writing

How to create Powerful Writing

Creating a powerful and memorable piece of writing is so much more then simply knowing proper spelling and grammar. You want to convey emotions and portray a picture, to draw your reader into your story so they can see what you see, and feel what you feel, when you write. You want them to be thinking about it long after they have finished reading.

I want you to take a moment and close your eyes. Think about a piece of writing that truly engaged you, that made you want to keep reading, that evoked emotions and passion and made it hard to put down. I want you to analyse what it was about that particular piece that resonated with you? What made it so memorable for you?

When you have roughed out a first draft, think about the following points to create powerful writing as you re-write and edit. They may help your writing to go from mediocre to emotive and gripping.

1. Know your audience

As a writer, your job is to know whom you are targeting with your writing. You need to know what will hold their interest, what language they will understand, what will appeal to them and the beliefs and knowledge they hold. This will help you to write a book that resonates with your target audience and will also help when it comes to marketing strategies.

2. Flow and readability

You need your writing to be readable and flow seamlessly to create powerful writing. The readability of your work is determined by sound grammar and clear writing that your reader will find easy to understand. Flow is created by consistency of tone, style and tense as well as logical transitions between scenes, dialogue, paragraphs or chapters.

3. Focused

Powerful writing has a goal in mind, an intended point. It may be that you are selling something, attempting to convince someone of something, explaining how to do something, or instilling a belief or moral through telling a story. It does not matter what your goal is, but you must have it clear in mind when you are writing so you remain focused and clear.

 4. Compelling

Powerful writing reaches out and grabs the readers’ attention. Find that one thing that is unique to your story and expound upon that, use it to create interest and intrigue, to cause readers to pick your piece or writing over others.

 5. Passion

You cannot make your reader care about something unless you care about it yourself. If you wish you could make a list of topics you are passionate about and develop writing projects from there. You can use your passion to make your intended audience care about your topic, or to heighten their emotions in regards to a topic they are already passionate about. Great writing grows from passion and emotion.

 6. Multiple Senses

You use your full range of senses of site, sound, touch, taste and smell when experiencing events in the real world. To create powerful writing, you need to evoke these senses in your readers through great description.

 7. Characters

A great tool to create powerful writing is to develop intriguing and complex characters that your readers will either love or hate. You must also give your audience insight into your characters. What makes them tick? What are their motivations and aspirations? What are their likes and dislikes? What sets them apart from others? The more your audience knows about your characters, the more they will relate to them and what you’re putting them through.

 8. Strong Emotions

Evoking strong emotions will keep your reader interested, and will ensure they want to know what happens next. Humans are emotional and for the most part social creatures. We want to feel like we are part of something; we want to feel empathy and sympathy. Our job as a writer is to make them feel happy, sad, angry, triumphant, and everything in between.

9. Point of View and Voice

The point of view and voice you choose to convey in your writing piece can have a strong impact on your audience and how they relate to it. Point of view will change how close or removed your reader is from what is happening in the story, and voice is how the story is being told. Is it humorous? Sarcastic? Matter of fact? Is it told from a childs’ perspective, therefore a childs’ voice? You must answer all of these questions and have them clear in your mind when writing. How you want your story to sound and to be conveyed will determine point of view and voice.

10. Less is More

Don’t use two words when one more powerful word is available. It helps to keep your sentences easy to read and avoids the pitfall of “overwriting”.

 11. Use an active voice

There is a big difference between passive and active voice, and how it will affect your writing. Powerful writing uses active voice to draw the reader in and evoke potent emotions. Be wary of being caught out by the passive voice!

Useful Articles on Powerful Writing:

 “8 Qualities of Powerful Writing” – Dustin Wax

“5 Powerful Writing Techniques That Bring Stories To Life” – Henry Herz

“Follow These Rules For Stronger Writing” – Writers Digest

 

Where do you find your Inspiration?

Where do you find your Inspiration?

Following on from last week’s post “Was Thomas Edison Right?” I started thinking about inspiration. I want to know where you find your inspiration? When your well of idea’s dries up, you are staring at a blank page with no creative flow, or you hit writers block during a project, where do you go or how do you spark those creative thoughts again? How do you overcome the dreaded idea drought?

No matter how much you love writing, and are enjoying your current writing project there will always be times when you suffer from a lack of inspiration. I know I do. I have a myriad of different sources for re-sparking the idea process to help the words flow again. For me, it depends on the mood I am in and also why I am suffering from the so called writers block, which technique I use. Every person is different, so will find different means and ways to find inspiration. Below are a few of my favourites that I have found invaluable during my writing journey and career.

Writing Warm-Ups

There are hundreds of writing warm-up exercises that are designed to loosen up your creative muscles and aid flow of thought. Some of my favourites are free writing, word jar and random word link. I find that they help me to relax into my writing, so when I turn back to my current project the ideas and words flow so fast my hands can barely keep up typing.

Books

I love to read. I could spend hours and hours curled up in one spot with a good book. And one of the best things about reading is you can draw inspiration and ideas from the plot, characters, setting, dialogue or themes of the book. If you find you are stuck, try reading a book by your favourite author or even branch out into a different genre.

Movies

Much like reading, movies can inspire great ideas for your next book. You may enjoy the lead character so much you decide to model your main character on them. Or a certain scene or dialogue may set off those creative sparks and before you know it you have outlined your next book!

Art

I don’t know about you, but I find looking at photos, prints, sculptures and paintings to be a great source of inspiration. What story is the artist trying to say? What emotions are they conveying? What does the scene/character/setting tell you? What would happen next? You can ask these questions, and more. Write it down if you want, you never know your next story may start taking form.

Blogs

Reading other blogs on any topic you wish can help jolt your brain into creative mode. Whether you are stuck for ideas for a blog, article, novel, and short piece or content, someone else out there is sure to have some inspiration for you.

History

Don’t know what your next novel should be? Try reading up on some history. There are many stories waiting to be told, whether fiction or non-fiction. Sad, happy, tragic, triumph, good and evil; our history holds many different themes and rich characters that combine to create inspirational stories.

Honouring our soldiers, Australian War Memorial, ACT

Honouring our soldiers, Australian War Memorial, ACT

Maheno Shipwreck, Fraser Island, QLD

Maheno Shipwreck, Fraser Island, QLD

Exercise

I find turning my mind away from writing for a while is a great way to develop more ideas. Go for a run, to the gym, a yoga class or any form of exercise you fancy and work out your physical muscles. Sometimes the ideas hit me whilst I am working out, other times they don’t hit until I am in front of the computer or journal again. Regardless, exercise is a great way to clear your head and work out any frustrations you have with your writing.

Walking/Nature

Take a stroll outdoors and marvel at the great outdoors. Appreciate the beauty of the landscape around you, whether it is rural or city. Use it to clear your mind and as a source of inspiration. Write what you see, smell, hear and feel.

Autumn colours

Autumn colours

Cross by the Lake

Cross by the Lake

Walking along the beach at Jarvis Bay

Walking along the beach at Jarvis Bay

Journal

Writing in a journal has long been recommended as a source of inspiration and a way of keeping your ideas together. It is a great way to get all the junk clogging up your brain out. Cultivating the habit of writing in your journal daily helps to clarify your thoughts, and ensures you never forget a great idea again! Write down your thoughts, inspirations, over heard dialogue, plot ideas, characters, dreams, or anything else you want. Read back through your journal whenever you hit a slow patch or writers’ block for ideas and inspiration.

Shower

I seem to always have my best ideas when I am in the shower, which is unfortunate as there is no easy way to record them whilst showering. It is also a great way to relax tired and achy muscles from hunching over a computer.

People Watching

People are always a great source of inspiration. Find a place to sit where you can quietly observe those around you. Listen to the way they speak, walk, laugh and sit. You can develop characters from those around you. Not to mention you may overhear some great story that serves as inspiration.

And finally…good old Google!

Simply search the topic you are currently writing on and you can find tons of great resources to help you out.

 

So there you have a few of my favourite techniques to help with inspiration and creativity. I would love to hear where and how you find inspiration!

 

 

 

Was Thomas Edison Right?

Was Thomas Edison Right?

Most people will have heard the famous Thomas Edison quote:

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”.

But how true is this for you?

I believe that inspiration gives you a starting point, the sudden flash of an idea that forms the skeleton of a story. But after that, it is your craft, skills, hard work and a lot of elbow grease that will see you over the finish line. Without that follow through and hard work your spark of inspiration will stay just that; a simple idea, an ephemeral dream, a flicker of light burning in your mind.

That is not to undervalue the need for continual inspiration. Inspiration provides the fuel to keep you going and the drive to finish your writing project. Once you have that initial idea the hard work starts of the planning, development, writing, re-writing, editing and formatting. However, along the way you may find you suffer from writers block, lack of motivation, doubt, or simply being uninspired. This is where perspiration (from all your hard work) can lead to inspiration. It sounds counterintuitive, but it is true. Once you start planning, writing and editing, once you gain momentum with your writing project, then further inspiration will follow. You all know what I am talking about. You may be editing a scene, dialogue or descriptive passage when you get another flash of brilliance, you can see it all unfolding in your mind. Or maybe you are stuck on a certain scene, so you take a break from staring at your computer. Perhaps you go out for a walk, when inspiration hits you again. You can see that scene as though you are living it yourself. And suddenly the words flow out of your mind, faster then your hands can keep up.

So for me, Thomas Edison had the right idea, but not the right balance. I think it is more like a 30/70 split. The initial inspiration would be nothing without perspiration. It is what you do with those idea’s that matters, and then to build on those ideas and write a best seller you need a little more inspiration.

So do you think Thomas Edison was right? Is genius one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration?

 

 

 

 

Time Management

Time Management

I have struggled the last few weeks to get any writing done. I have found myself crawling into bed at the end of the day, without turning my computer on or picking up a pen. This is no way to get my novel finished! So I asked myself, how can I manage my time better?

It used to be that on a Sunday evening I would sit down and plan out my week, almost to the hour. When I was at work, when I would exercise, when I would write, complete housework, shop, cook, catch up with friends etc. When I left nursing for 12 months of maternity leave, I thought “Great, now I will have more time for writing”. Ha Ha! What was I thinking?

It is hard to fit in everything with a little person to look after as well. House work, exercise, personal hygiene, shopping, walking the dog etc…..So how do I plan my time? How do I prioritise?

This time, instead of planning what times I will do everything, I set myself a writing task to complete each day. Be that as much as a whole chapter, or as small as one scene, planning a blog or my next writing project, or any other writing task. I set completion dates for each task and project so that I have to work to a deadline, which helps to keep me motivated and moving forward.

The important thing for me is whenever I get some spare time during the day I write. I also set aside an hour each night where I can dedicate my time and energy to bashing out some words without all the distractions of motherhood, day job and chores. I may not get as much done as I used to, but I am still working at something I love and gradually turning it into a career.

Lies About Becoming A Writer.

Lies About Becoming A Writer

I just read an interesting article “7 Lies About Becoming A Writer (that you probably believe)” by Joe Bunting.

He addresses 7 common myths about becoming a writer that we too often believe we need to follow in order to be successful or about how big that success will be. I have no delusions about how tough the journey is to becoming a recognised and published writer, and maintaining that success. However, this article drives the point home. Publishing my first novel isn’t about a get-rich-quick scheme, or a step to living a life of luxury. To me it is about personal accomplishment and pride. I have always dreamt of being an author, and I will achieve it!

I would also add another common belief to his list of 7 lies. Creativity and talent. (Yes I know, technically that is two additions)! Whilst having some creativity and a talent for writing helps, I don’t believe it is essential. If you have what you think is a solid idea, then start writing! There are so many sites out there that can help you plot and plan your idea. Or you can always hire someone to aid in fleshing out your idea and making it work. I have never thought of myself as a creative person, yet here I am making a career (or attempting to) out of writing. It is not about talent, creativity or inspiration. It is simply about a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment.

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King

 

When is your favourite time of the day/night?

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This is not a writing related post! It has simply been on my mind lately and I wanted to put it out there. When is your favourite time of the day/night? Not to write or create or work. I am … Continue reading

Where do you write?

Where do you write?

I have read many articles and blogs about treating your writing as your job. Which of course, it is if you are trying to make money from it! These articles and blogs talk about setting up a space in your house, or even to rent an office, where you can go to write.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot do this. For one, our house is simply not big enough for me to have a dedicated place. And for two, I believe that as writers we have the absolute luxury of taking our writing wherever we go. Laptops, journals, pens, books are all so easily transported. If it is a nice day out, then go write in the park! If it is wet and miserable then curl up on the couch. Where ever you are comfortable is where you should write! When it comes to writing, I think being relaxed and comfortable is more important then a set spot you write every day. Not only that but a change in scenery can be key to overcoming writers block and prompting your creativity.

I do not dispute the need to treat your writing as a job and try to stick to regular hours during the day, and not slacking off. But the plus of working from home is you can pick and choose your hours and where you work. As long as you get the work done!

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I was recently on a family trip away, and when inspiration struck I had my computer there to tap away on for an hour or so. The view from where I was writing was breathtaking. We were staying right on the river, and were surrounded by the native Australian bush. It was quiet, peaceful, and calm. The words flowed out of me as swift and true as the river in front of me.

I have said it a million times, and I will say it again. Writing is a very individual process; you need to find what works for you. If it is setting up an office space, then do so. If, like me, you enjoy taking your work with you and writing wherever you end up then embrace it! Use everything around you to inspire and create.

So where do you write? I would love to see a photo or hear about your writing space and where you go to create!

How Much is Too Much Social Media?

Social Media-3

I have found lately that I am spending all my time on social media. Whether it is updating my accounts, posting, or browsing other peoples’ profiles and pages, it takes up a big chunk of my day. When my writing time comes at a premium and I really need to be optimising it, I have come to the conclusion that something needs to change.

I was reading an article by Jane Friedman, “Why you should join all social media Networks” when it hit me. I don’t need to be constantly updating and posting on my social media accounts. Simply having the accounts help to create an online presence and reputation. Jane Friedman explains it well in this article, and it is something I am now going to follow.

So, my advice, don’t worry about constantly updating and obsessing over your social media accounts. Set up weekly email alerts so that you are notified when there is online activity on your sites, and try not to let the time you spend on them cut into your writing time.

Work Life Balance….What’s That?

Work Life Balance

There is a constant struggle to maintain a “healthy” work life balance. You have to work to live, that’s a given; but how much work is too much? Where do you draw the line? How do you maintain the balance?

Starting a new career as an author and freelancer is hard. You still need to have an income so you can live, and unless you are blessed with having great financial backing so you can write full time until your work pays for itself, then you have to try and balance employment, writing and life! I have found this is the most difficult aspect of my writing journey. My husband brings in money from his job, however I still need to be earning some money so we don’t go backwards. Technically I am trying to balance two jobs (three if you count being a mum) with every other aspect of living. And I know I am not the only one.

There are so many articles and blogs out there touting the benefits of work life balance. We all know why it is important to maintain this balance, but how do we do that? At the moment until I am earning enough from my writing career to give up my day job, then I have to continue working two jobs. The great thing about writing is you can do it anywhere! Down by the river whilst having a picnic, at the coffee shop, out in the backyard, anywhere! The important thing to try and remember is to seize any downtime I have and use that to write. So amongst the housework, the mothering, nursing, and being a wife, I write.

There is no “right” way of achieving work life balance. It is a very individual thing. Having said that, I believe it is unrealistic to max out in all aspects of your work and life at once. There simply isn’t enough hours in the day, week, month or year for everything. The key I found is to prioritise. To help me prioritise and ensure I have some fun during the week, not just work, I write out a list of what I need to achieve for that week in my ever present diary. Then I break it down into what I HAVE to do each day. At the moment, I usually only have an hour to write a day, sometimes more at night. So all the things on my list need to be able to be completed in a timely manner. Around what I absolutley have to do, including housework, cooking and my nursing shifts, I schedule in “family time”. To me family is my number one priority, so I have to make sure I spend quality time with them. My diary is scribbled on and Unknownhighlighted, wrinkled and torn. I would be completely lost without it.

I am a bit of an organisational control freak, so I have to-do lists for absolutely everything. With how crazy busy my life is at the moment, I rely on these lists to ensure I get all my daily tasks done. I have to work hard to stay motivated, and not procrastinate. If I waste time getting things done, then it cuts into the time I get to spend with my family.

The most important thing I hope you take away from this, is it is important to schedule in family or down time. You have to take care of yourself, and that is the secret to a health work life balance.

 

 

Motivation

Motivation

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

            -Jim Rohn

How to become motivated? How to stay motivated? What motivates you? For every person, the answer to these questions will be different. People find diverse ways to become motivated, and maintain it. What motivates each individual is also very subjective, and depends on whether they rely on extrinsic or intrinsic sources.

I find motivation is always hard to find, and none so hard then in the silly season. You become so busy with Christmas parties and preparation, last minute gift shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning! The list seems endless. Then after it all dies down you are just so tired. You just want to curl up on the couch with a good book and rest for weeks! The silly season is a good reason to rest for a while, take a break from writing, recharge your batteries and come back to it with a fresher mind and different perspective. This can actually inspire you and help make good progress when you sit down to write again. However, what about the rest of the time? The struggle to become motivated, and maintain it, is a big one. I know I labour with it, and that is what inspired this blog.

Basically we need to think to plan, but we need to feel to act. So, once you have the thinking and planning out of the way, how do you build up those emotions so you can get things done? Personally, I focus on what I imagine the finished product will be; the sense of pride I get from seeing a project through; and hopefully all the positive feedback I will receive! It seems I rely on a mix of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Take a moment to think about what makes you feel good about your writing? Why do you write? The answer to these questions will help you ascertain what motivates you. Use these to help keep up your motivation.

Lack of motivation can also hit when the writing project in front of you seems insurmountable. The sheer size and extent of the venture before you can be daunting and overwhelming. In this case, I break the overall big project down into smaller assignments that I can tackle one by one. Each time I tick of a task, it sends a little thrill of achievement and pride through me. This is what helps maintain my motivation and complete the bigger project.

You can create a “motivation board”. Like a mood board, use it to pin up all those things that motivate and inspire you. Keep it somewhere close to where you usually write. Then each time you feel yourself lagging, look up at that board and let it inspire and motivate you to keep writing!

How to Motivate Yourself at Anytime by Jane Genovese has some great ideas on motivation. It is well worth a read for more tips and ideas.

Motivation is a personal thing. You simply need to find what motivates you and use it to the best of your ability to keep going. The more you write, the easier it will become.