The month of May.

What a month May has been!

At the beginning of May I split my writing business into two (Rachel Maree and Write Freelancer For You). In some ways I feel like I have gone back to square one in terms of building up a following and creating a strong online presence again. However, in other ways I am excited and proud to have reached the point where I could do this.

I have a few projects in the pipeline at this stage. Please stay tuned over the next few months and watch it unfold!

Blogs of May:

If you didn’t catch all my posts over the last month, heres they are:

 

 

How to achieve clarity of mind: letter writing exercise.

Following on from my blog about cathartic writing last week, this is a simple exercise I like to use to help with emotional cleansing and gaining closure. It can also help to warm up your creative muscles and rid you of any emotional baggage that may be bogging you down. By undertaking this letter writing exercise you exorcise the mental fog and gain clarity of thought so that you can progress with your writing.

“This writing exercise is simply drafting a letter that you do not intend to send”.

This writing exercise is simply drafting a letter that you do not intend to send. You can write (say) whatever you want in the letter, as you never intend to actually send it on to the envisioned recipient. You can address it to whomever you want, a past critic, a current critic, living or dead. You can write it to people, institutions, yourself, an event or even a higher being if you want. It is the chance to express yourself completely and purge your feelings and thoughts. If you are angry then allow yourself to feel fully into that rage. Write aggressively, be unreasonable. Say the things you would never say out loud or to a person’s face.

Are you struggling with unacknowledged feelings?

I believe that most of us are struggling with unacknowledged powerful feelings such as grief, rage, frustration, betrayal, hurt or suffering. Sometimes there is no way to express these emotions without destroying an important relationship in the process. And so they weigh us down and cloud our minds. By writing a letter addressing these feelings it can help you to understand the difficult issues and lay to rest those emotions and hardships to give you a sense of closure. The letter can help siphon off unhelpful emotions and baggage that may be holding you back. You don’t even need to keep the letter; in fact destroying it once finished can further enhance that cathartic release. Watching all those emotions and anger go up in flames and drift away can be incredibly freeing.

So what are you waiting for? Give this letter writing exercise a try and see how it makes you feel after.

I would love to hear your ideas on this writing exercise and if you have tried it, or something similar.

 

 

 

What is cathartic writing?

What does cathartic writing mean to you?

Cathartic writing to me means to cleanse or purge, to pour your heart and soul out onto paper as a form of healing. I draw on past hurts and experiences to create more emotive and powerful writing. I am not saying that everything I write about has happened to me. However, perhaps it has happened to a family member or friend, or I have read a story somewhere that resonates with me. You can put yourself into their shoes, use that powerful imagination we all possess to engage your reader and open their eyes to these experiences. Your readers want to be engaged, they want you to draw them into your story and form connections. The most effective and powerful way to do this is to tap into your readers feelings, empathy and experiences. The more emotion and vulnerable your writing is, the more you can create a relatable story for your readers.

We, as humans, have a powerful defense mechanism to protect ourselves from ridicule and criticism by over thinking our writing. We want it to be perfect and correct, but in so doing we can strip it of all emotion and feeling. However, your audience doesn’t want this. Your reader wants to see your vulnerability, they want raw emotion that resonates deep within them. By embracing the human imperfections of strong emotions and situations, you create the best stories. I promise if you write using raw, hard emotions it will shake your reader up and engage them so they want to keep reading and will remember your story long after they put it down.

What about you?

Enough about your readers, what about you? Why do you write? Is it simply to make money? Or because you love writing? Do you find it calming? Do you find it cathartic? Are you planning on publishing, or is it for your own personal benefit?

Do you keep a journal?

Do you keep a journal? I write in one, although not as often as I should. Journaling is a form of cathartic writing. You take the jumbled mass of emotions, thoughts and ideas in your head and purge them out in a tidal wave of writing. Not only does this help to clear your mind, it releases all those pent-up feelings. I love reading back through my journal and seeing what I have written. I find I can draw inspiration from certain events to put into my writing projects.

You never have to show your journal to anyone, it is for you and you alone. It can be as dark and negative, or as light and happy as you are feeling. It is a powerful tool to cleanse your heart and soul. You will find that you will write things in there you may never say aloud, but feel better for getting out. This to me is true cathartic writing.

Whatever cathartic writing means to you, tapping into the strong emotions behind it is what helps you create powerful and great writing. Whether or not you ever show it to anyone is up to you. But I can guarantee that the whole process can be healing and freeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar: Why is it so important?


Being an effective communicator and writer helps you make a positive impression on your clients and readers. Regardless of the language spoken, or the country of origin, grammar is the foundation of communication.

WHAT IS GRAMMAR?

Grammar is the structural foundation upon which speech and writing is built. It is how we effectively communicate our meaning. To be technical, grammar is a set of rules that deal with the syntax and word structure of language.

By studying grammar and gaining a clearer understanding of how our language works you become a more effective writer. It provides for a sound knowledge of how to shape words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs to form powerful and persuasive writing.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU AS A WRITER.

Simply put, using correct grammar makes you look more intelligent. Not only this, but as mentioned above it helps you to write powerfully, clearly and persuasively.

These days most communication happens through emails and messages. Using correct grammar and spelling is imperative to this form of communication. Not only are you trying to sell yourself as a writer, but you also want to ensure your ideas, pitches and messages are clear and concise. You do not want any misunderstanding. And there is no quicker way to have a client or publisher turn down your work then to present them with an unreadable and grammatically incorrect email, message or writing project.

LEARNING GRAMMAR

Learning grammar is worthwhile to improve your writing and therefore your chances of publishing your work. Correct grammar should be considered another tool in your writing arsenal. If you cannot be bothered to learn an invaluable tool, then why would people bother reading your work? You do not need to be an expert by any means, but a sound grasp of basic grammar will go a long way to improve your writing. Once you have mastered basic grammar it will become an instinctual part of your writing process, and proofreading and editing become less of a chore.

There are many books out there, as well as free grammar sites. Whether you choose to purchase a book or find a site that resonates with you and your learning style is up to you. My advice is to set aside a little bit of time each week, even an hour or two will do, to study grammar. You will find that your writing improves, and your work sessions flow easier and more smoothly with the simple addition of good grammar.

HELPFUL SITES:

Please keep in mind that I am Australian, therefore these sites are specific for Australian grammar. Some of the sites are also from the United Kingdom, as that as what we base our grammatical structures upon.

I would love to hear your opinion on the importance of grammar, and if you have found any particular grammar resource helpful.

Writers Block: Myth or Real?

Do you suffer from writer’s block? I used to think I did too. One day, when I had wasted my time producing nothing of value yet again, I had a brutally honest conversation with myself. I asked myself, do you want to be a writer? Yes. Then what is stopping you from simply writing? Writers block? The answer was no, not writer’s block. When given a deadline for my freelance writing by clients I had no problem starting and finishing those projects. So why couldn’t I do the same with my own writing?

The truth is, I no longer believe in the phenomenon of the so-called writers block. I used it as a convenient excuse to procrastinate and waste time, and perhaps even to avoid failure. However all it took was an honest pep talk, and a few simple tricks, and now any time I write I use my time much more effectively. So long “writers block”.

To overcome “writers block” I asked myself a number of questions, and answered honestly.

Question One

What was holding me back?

To be honest, it was fear of failure and criticism. It is a scary thing to put your writing out there to be rejected and judged. All those hours of research, planning and writing, you pour your heart and soul into your project. So, even though it isn’t, when you are rejected it feels very personal. An attack on you, not simply your writing. It is much easier to never write anything, then to risk being ridiculed and rejected.

Question Two

Why do I feel stuck? Why do I feel like I have hit the mythical writers block?

I felt that there were several reasons that I was stuck. First, and foremost was that I simply did not know where to start. I knew what I wanted to write, but I wasn’t sure where to begin. How much planning should I do? Should I start at the beginning, middle or end? How do I develop characters? Settings? Conflict? Dialogue? I put so much pressure on myself to write an amazing story from the get go, that it paralysed me and I ended up writing nothing.

Another reason I felt stuck was lack of confidence, which ties in with the whole fear of failure that most of us suffer from at one time or another. I kept asking myself, “am I really up for this? Will anyone want to read my writing? Can I earn enough to justify all the time and effort?” I was continually second guessing myself, which made me reluctant to write anything.

Finally, I believe I felt blocked as I didn’t know enough about the main theme and topics I wanted my novel based around. If you don’t know enough, or don’t feel confident about your subject then how can you write about it?

Third Question

Why do I feel I am so stressed and pushed for time?

I am a work-at-home mum, as well as part-time nurse so the time I have to dedicate to writing is limited. I believe these constraints and pressure led to me throwing up my hands and saying it is all too hard. So I didn’t write.

 Overcoming those barriers

So, how did I overcome all these barriers?

Fear of failure and rejection:

To overcome fear of rejection and criticism is probably the most difficult. I don’t know if that fear ever leaves you, but if writing and being published is something you really want to do then you need to grow a thick skin. Look at every rejection, each piece of criticism, as a lesson. Take these lessons on board, and use them to improve your writing or admission process. The point is to keep putting your writing out there; eventually it will be accepted somewhere, and with every acceptance your confidence will grow. In the mean time….a glass of wine and some chocolate whilst reading rejection letters really helps!

Not knowing where to start: 

The issue of not knowing where to start is quite common. The easiest way I found to overcome this is to write a rough outline or sketch of my novel and characters, and then simply begin writing. If I draw a blank on a certain scene or chapter then I move on and find one where the writing flows. Once again, it is just about writing. I use writing warm-up activities to loosen me up and get those creative thoughts flowing before I start writing my novels, and also during if I find I am staring at a blank page for a few minutes. They really do help. By releasing myself from the pressure of having the perfect plan, character sketches and settings from the get go, I wrote a lot freer and they developed naturally as my novel grew.

Lack of confidence:

The lack of confidence in your writing is really only something you will overcome with time and effort. As more and more of your writing is accepted and published, your confidence will grow, as will your skills and expertise at writing and applications.

Lack of knowledge:

Not knowing enough about your theme or topics is very easily overcome. Do your research. With the Internet at your fingertips there is no excuse for not researching and knowing your topic. If you don’t have Internet access, then use your local library. The more you know about your topic the easier it will be to write. If you want to write about a particular event, setting or activity in your novel then go out and experience it!

Perfectionism: 

Most importantly, I came to the realization that my writing does not have to be perfect the first time round. There is a reason it is called a first draft, or a rough draft. This first draft is to get all your ideas onto paper before you forget them, and then you review, re-write and re-create from there. It sounds so logical, right? But we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect from the get go, we forget that writing is a process of reviewing, re-writing and re-creating over and over again until you are happy with it.

Time constraints:

Time is a valuable commodity. As a work-from-home mum and registered nurse I found it hard to juggle everything. I find a solid writing routine, not wasting time with procrastination and always ensure I put aside time to spend with my precious family helps. I write a to-do list each week, and highlight those things that are an absolute priority for that week. It helps me keep things in order, and achieve those tasks that have to be done. The most important thing is to not waste the time you have. Do not procrastinate when writing, sit down and get the job done!

I hope these ideas help you to overcome any fears or difficulties you have with writing. I would love to hear of any more tips you have of overcoming your own hurdles. Feel free to comment below with them!

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.