Posted in Writers, Writing tips

Writers grow by leaving their comfort zone

The only way to grow as a writer is by leaving your comfort zone for the unknown gig.

Writers are told to write what they know. That’s probably good advice when you’re starting out. Writing should be easier if you know the subject well, right? (Sometimes it is and other times it isn’t.) At least you have a starting point, a subject or genre, you believe you know. Go ahead write what you know if you wish. You could even become an expert in your fields. I prefer to mix it up.
Freelancing (as a writer) usually means you take any job that comes your way (at least before the power goes off and you can no longer use your laptop). It’s not like we’re all rich like Veronica (Divergent) Green ($17 million at least! Hey, we can live in hope). Let’s face it, the job is glamorised. Endless book launches, literary awards nights, glamourous photo shoots, movie deals and hobnobbing with famous people. If that’s the case I’d have no time to write anyway.
People (who are not writers) believe we flow with ideas, have endless writing work in our inbox, have plenty of time to take long walks in the sunshine, write whole novels at the local café (JK Rowling is a freak!) and pound out book after book to an applauding readership who avidly buy everything you’ve ever written (in reality only your mum does that) and of course we are rich enough to buy a mansion and yacht (I’d be happy to fork out for a new car).

Writer Tip Be courageous
Why leave your comfort zone?

Serious working writers (those who get paid to write) need to leave their comfort zone (and that includes standing up, off your chair to stretch your neck every fifteen minutes) occasionally. If you write what you think you’re good at, remaining in a writing rut, you’ll never discover what else you can do. As Jack Canfield says, “Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.”
Years ago, I was looking for new writing markets. Numerous women writers had their stiletto in the door of women’s issues (something I thought I was good at). Cross that off the list. I adore pets (but so do 25 million other people – true RSPA statistic) therefore, though there was a market, many writers already had their paw in that gate. I’m into fitness, but so are that many fit young people (with bodies I didn’t even remotely look like in my youth, let alone now). You can see where I’m heading with this. So many markets are extremely competitive. Look outside your comfort zone.
Then I found a gap in specialist magazines. I read somewhere that Club Life magazine welcomed freelancers. I approached the editor with a pitch for a story about customer service (the idea came from working in hospitality). I was nervous about my pitch and far out of my writing comfort zone. To my delight the editor accepted my proposal, told me the pay and published a two-page article (fist pumps!).
Lately I’ve taken on all genres. I’ve gone from non-fiction (numerous subjects) to romance and now science fiction. Who’d have thought! When I was first asked if I could write sci-fi/fantasy, I said yes immediately. After hanging up the phone I was equally delighted and horrified. A new writing job (yay!) a genre I like to read but have never written (bite my nails). But I did it. I took the job and loved writing another genre. There just might be a thriller on the horizon. I also promised my niece and granddaughter I would write a children’s book. Now I can’t even pick which writing style I enjoy more. Each have their challenges but I’m learning every day.
By stepping out of my comfort zone; my writing, editing, planning and mindset have all improved. Try writing something you know nothing about. See how good it feels when you’ve accomplished that. Happy writing.

Posted in Happiness, Publishing, Year of Gratitude

Christmas Eve is the 358th day of the year

With Christmas Eve being the 358th day of the year I have 58 days of gratitude to make up for in my 365 days of gratitude. That’s lots of gratitude in a two month period.

Firstly, today I completed my last draft of Kendwa’s Secret and the cover (though there’s always time for a few more tweaks). My sister will be my first reader. I can’t wait for her response. So (drum roll) ta da!

Cover reveal:

Kendwas Secret cover lion front

I hope you like the cover as much as I do (some touch ups and etching to be completed).

Here’s the blurb:

Crocodile wrangler and wildlife ranger Kendwa Ely’s troubles didn’t begin when he buried his parent; they started long before that.

In Africa he is seven-years old when the unthinkable happens and he must stay silent. The years don’t dim the secret. In a constant effort to forget it, he travels the world, wrangling crocodiles in Australia’s Northern Territory, roping live alligators out of rich people’s pools in Florida, fighting for eco-tourism and bedding a constant stream of women.

That is until he meets Sharli Ahu.

Exquisite as a Hindu princess, Sharli has values, humility and beliefs. A strong, resourceful woman, she doesn’t need a man like Kendwa. She’d rather be caring for Borneo’s orangutans.

But Kendwa gets under Sharli’s skin. Even when he stuffs up there’s something sincere, strong and kind about him. Though, she has more important things in life than lusting after a wild guy like Kendwa.

In the jungles of Borneo, a venomous snake strikes and Sharli may be the only one who can save him.

Can their love grow, or will the shadow of his secret always be looming? Is it the catalyst for his biggest betrayal yet, or can he save the people he loves most?

Can true love survive the secrets people keep?

If production goes to plan Kendwa’s Secret will be out by June. Date to be announced. If you’re interested in a copy on release please email me through my Contact page. It is the prequel to The Zanzibar Moon. Make sure you get a copy of both.

58 Days of Gratitude

I ticked off two moments of gratitude with the manuscript and cover for Kendwa’s Secret, completed, but what about the other 57 Days?

Here goes. I’m grateful for:

  1. Being healthy
  2. Happiness
  3. Love and support from my husband
  4. My family
  5. My dog panting beside me (she’s terrified of the whipper snipper)
  6. Sunshine and summer showers
  7. Butterflies in my garden
  8. Bird sounds
  9. Wonderful clients
  10. Interesting stories
  11. Backstories
  12. Collaboration
  13. A writing mentor
  14. A new computer
  15. Purchasing Adobe Creative Cloud (so many wonderful artistic programs)
  16. Books, books and books
  17. Writing time
  18. Clean sheets
  19. Wet grass
  20. Housework done
  21. Soft rock music, like Matchbox Twenty or One Republic
  22. Full moons
  23. My grandson’s first birthday
  24. My granddaughter’s special hugs
  25. My children accomplishing their goals (or planning to)
  26. My boss selling her business while the planets aligned (everything worked out perfectly for both of us)
  27. Being offered more work
  28. Working from home as a writer
  29. Reading my stories in other books
  30. Living inside my head (there’s a lot going on there)
  31. Creating a new exciting fictional world
  32. Falling in love with my characters
  33. Meeting new people who will change me
  34. Finding inner joy
  35. Appreciating my Mum
  36. Walking barefoot in the sand
  37. Feeling seawater on my skin
  38. Christmas parties
  39. Catch-ups with other writers
  40. Buying Christmas gifts
  41. Avoiding shopping centres
  42. Receiving lovely gifts
  43. Cold beer
  44. Seafood
  45. Summer
  46. Rainforests
  47. Bush noises
  48. Sunrises
  49. Sunsets
  50. Friends
  51. Shared smiles
  52. Warm hugs
  53. Writing journals
  54. My office
  55. A reliable car
  56. A neck massage
  57. Love

With so few days left in the year I know I’ll still find more gratitude. Leave a comment and tell me the one thing that made you feel grateful today? Perhaps it’s was as simple as finding a car park in the crazy Christmas shopping frenzy.

Pair of flip flop sandals, sunglasses, Santa hat and camera.

And of course have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year.