The Universe Has Your Back

53241108_2644483212233570_9144496946738626560_oOn International Women’s day I want to celebrate this little lady, Gabby Bernstein whose books and motivational speaking have made a real difference to my life. She empowers us all to trust ourselves, trust our intuition, and trust the universe, which always has our back don’t you know.

I highly highly recommend this book. I have read it and reread and I’m rereading it again now. It’s just the best for finding clarity in your own mind about what’s important and knowing that whatever happens you have a safety net to fall into at any time. Love it, and her, and everything she does!

Writing by moonlight

53469065_2642963545718870_8921937616975167488_nAre you an early bird or a night owl? Do you write morning pages while the sun rises, sipping on your coffee, or dimly lit by moonlight with a sleepy chamomile tea? We all find our creativity flowing at odd times – while driving, while washing up, while wallowing in the bath – and many of us regret the ideas we’ve lost as we’re falling asleep, believing we’ll remember them in the morning

I do keep a notebook by my bed for moments like that, but when I’m heavy with sleep I still convince myself that I’ll remember my ideas when I wake up, just so I don’t have to open my eyes. And then I forget them, of course, and wish I had sat up in the moonlight to catch the ideas as they floated by.

Moonlight has a magical tone, an undeniable presence in the sky that covers us all in a blanket of stars. Moonlight is the strangely perfect light for writing, for creativity, and for chasing our dreams.

The moon is pivotal in many spiritual lives as a way to refresh and renew our intentions. With each new moon, we have the chance to practice our own rituals – to refocus our dreams and set our manifestations in motion. Have you set your intentions for this new moon?

You have a superpower

53216074_2640205395994685_6342316225330151424_nGrey skies outside, blue skies inside. No matter the weather, you can transport yourself somewhere else for absolutely nothing. Just close your eyes and picture those blue skies, feel the warmth of the sun on your face, the sound of birdsong in your ears.

You have this incredible superpower called imagination, and you can use it at any time to transport yourself somewhere else, to change how you feel, you can even time travel if you like. Isn’t that amazing? And you don’t even need training, you already know how to use your power!

It’s important to practice though, to exercise your natural ability, to let your imagination run wild, to create bigger, better, more fantastic places, people, animals, and creatures. Your imagination is yours to do with what you will, you can use it all day every day and make your life magical, not just when you’re writing.

Embrace the weirdness, think outside the box, and see how quickly you can make yourself smile.

Your writing matters

52809889_2630894406925784_1769111571981664256_oAs a writer you inspire others with your stories. No matter what you write, someone somewhere is going to take something valuable from your words. Think about that.

What you have to say is important. What you do by creating worlds and plots and characters is a service to other people. We all need inspiring, we all need a nudge now and again to think outside the box. As a creative, that’s what you do. That’s your essential contribution, you are possibly shaping the minds of generations to come.

So don’t take your writing lightly. Don’t think it’s not important. People need to know they can take on, fight, and beat the dragons of their world. And yours might be the one voice they listen to, the one voice in its own way and from its unique perspective, that tells them they can.

Lolita

52715474_2629002293781662_3277369988867948544_oI’m a big fan of Nabokov and his despicable characters. Love them, love to hate them, love to get under their skin and understand what makes them tick.

I have written some despicable characters too, serial killers and proper weirdos, and I try to make the reader love to get to know them like I loved getting to know Humbert Humbert in Lolita. I‘m a big fan of an unreliable narrator, and a story that doesn’t play by the rules.

It’s such fun to imagine the thought processes that make up a truly awful person, to figure out how someone turned out that way, to backtrack to that moment that turned them, and that’s the trick to creating such a person

Every character should have a back story, a pivotal moment in their childhood or previous life that made them who they are before they even feature in your story. Especially the villains. They have to have reasons why they do things, anger about something, a murderous motives, or a warped view of the world.

Make your characters rounded with real life experiences, trauma, emotional scarring. There had to be a moment they remember changing, a moment that stuck with them, a moment that made them who they are, a moment that made them do what they do. Then they’ll be believable.

Should you write what you know?

53050605_2624162064265685_9060508255674957824_nThey say ‘write what you know’ but when you’re writing genres and characters that are the opposite extreme of your life experience, how can you possibly write what you know?

Don’t use that as an excuse. Don’t avoid subjects you don’t know. Do your research, get experience, use your imagination. Tell the stories that won’t be told by someone else, just write them from the perspective you do know. Yours.

You have a unique voice, a unique point of view, and a unique talent. Makethe most of what you’ve got and ignore any limitations you think there are, or anyone tells you there are. You can write about anything and anyone. You can claim to know as much or as little as you like

Writing fiction means you can make it up as you go along, writing fiction means you make the rules, writing fiction means no one has the right to question you whether they agree with you or not. You’re the decision-maker in your world. Not them.

Decorate the world with your stories. Bring the untold stories to the people who need to know them. The stories you don’t know, the stories that people like you, in your corner of the world, wouldn’t get to read

Combine what you know with what you don’t know, explore the possibilities of your creativity and push your writing as far as it can go. Write outside the box, write outside your comfort zone. You’ll surprise yourself with the things you didn’t know you know.

Other people’s shoes

52702634_2621330224548869_2467358875037204480_nIt isn’t impossible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You will always see everything from your point of view, no matter whose shoes you put your feet in.

This is a good thing. Each of us has a unique perspective, based on our life experience, circumstances, background… no one has the same perspective as anyone else, which means none of us will ever write the same and none of us will ever create the same characters. It also means there will always be some of you in every character you write. And that can be pretty scary, but if you embrace that concept it can help you write believable characters.

Find the humanity in them, find the complexities, find the good that balances the bad. No hero or villain will ever be one or the other, we all believe in ourselves and that whatever we’re doing is the right thing to do. Even the bad guys.

Being a writer is exposing, it makes you vulnerable, and your characters should feel that too. If you feel like you’re putting your deepest secrets on the page for the whole world to read, you’re doing it right.