9

How to get through a crisis of confidence 

When people ask me about writing, I think one of the questions I get the most is – how do you keep writing when self-doubt strikes? This happened the other day and I joked that most times I sit at the laptop I have a crisis of confidence but then I thought more seriously about the question. 

Just how do you keep on writing when faced with rejections, peer criticism, one star reader reviews and people asking why you’re not as successful as JK Rowling yet? 

Here are my top tips:

1. Know why you do it: 

It’s easier to keep going back to the laptop if you remind yourself why you’re there to begin with. Do you love creating characters? Do you get lost in your stories? Are you desperate to have a book in a bookshop? Why are you writing in the first place basically? You could even make sure you remember by putting it on a post-it so you can look at it when you’re struggling. 

2. Remember it will pass:

Don’t panic if you have a day when everything you write just seems rubbish or you’ve hit that horrid middle part and you have no idea how you’ll get to the end of your book. Take a break and breathe, recognise you’re stumbling and don’t stress about it. Read a book or do something you enjoy then go back to your story another time when you are ready to get over that hurdle.

3. You are not alone:

Every writer has a moment of self-doubt. Yes, even JK Rowling. I promise you. We have all looked at our words and worried they were all terrible. All writers have wondered if we’d ever get published. Fear is in our veins because this is our passion. If we didn’t care, we wouldn’t worry. Writing is hard and we’ve all struggled. So don’t feel alone – we’ve all been there, and we all will be there again.

4. Inspire yourself:

Try to turn the crisis around by giving yourself a pep talk. Out loud if necessary but you can also use anything positive to counter that pesky doubting voice in your head. If you’re published you could read a good review of your book or reach out to a writer friend to cheer you on. Dig out some good feedback from an agent or look back at a positive comment from your editor. Or check in with your mum and get her to remind you how amazing you are! Look back at your previous stories – you’ve written a book and you can do it again. Anything to lift you up and get you back on track.

5. Keep writing:

There is so much in the life of a writer that is out of our hands. You can’t know if you’ll get an agent or if your book will be published or how many copies you will sell. That can cause a lot of stress and worry but we need to remember that a lot of it we can do absolutely nothing about. All we can do is write. Write that story you want to tell. Don’t start second guessing in the middle whether it will be a bestseller or not, just keep going, get to the end and pass it on to the publishing Gods. You’ve done all you can do. Words are our superpower. So put that cape on and get your butt back in that chair because you can do it! 

  
How do you get over a crisis of confidence? Share your tips on the comments!

Victoria

xoxo 

Pre-order Random Acts Of Kindness for 99p! http://amzn.to/2vPgtuP

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4

Random Acts Of Kindness

  
I am delighted to announce that I have a new book deal! My debut novel The Second Love Of My Life was published last year and it hasn’t been an easy journey securing another book deal. I have had some lovely messages from people who enjoyed my debut eager to hear news of my next one and finally I can tell you all about it.

Random Acts Of Kindness will be my next book and it is being serialised in four parts digitally, which means you get to read the first quarter really quickly – you can download it THIS Decmeber! 

For a book about kindness, it’s inception was pretty perfect really. An editor at Simon and Schuster who I had worked with when I won a short story competition got in touch with my agent to discuss working with me again. It was lovely that she remembered me and my writing and was keen to bring me back on board. We met and talked about ideas for a story and we came up with the concept of kindness as something we’d like to work on together. So her act of kindness has turned into a series about kindness! 

Here’s the press release announcing the deal:

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/ss-sign-new-books-hepburn-and-walters-digital-originals-list-630926

And you can pre-order part one right here: 

http://amzn.to/2vPgtuP

In the same week the deal was announced, I had more opportunty to receive the kindness from strangers. Someone drove into the back of my car at a red light and caused a huge crash. There were police, ambulances and the fire brigade at the scene and I was taken to hospital as they were worried about my neck. Thankfully there was no serous damage but I’m been very stiff and sore and been emotionally in shock since, and I still can’t believe it happened. My car is a write-off. 

I’m writing this post on my sofa trying to rest and feel a bit less sorry for myself. I am so happy I have my new book to look forward to. I definitely experienced a lot of kindness after the crash which may appear in the series from the emergency services to the driver of the car in front of mine who was shunted too, which helped as did all the congratulations I had on social media about the new book. 

It really has been a tough year and to be honest I did think that my writing career may have stalled indefinitely. Giving up felt not only an easy option at points but once that I should make. Maybe I should go back to a more stable and less stressful job, I thought, maybe I wasn’t good enough to be an author. But I kept trying because I love to write and I didn’t want to give up on my dream, and at last that has paid off. It’s scary though. As a writer, so much is out of my control. All I can do is keep writing stories and hope that someone will want to read them. And I really hope you will enjoy reading this one. Kindness is most definitely needed in the world right now so it feels like a very timely book to be writing. 

I would love to hear about any acts of kindness you have received recently and I’m sure I’ll be talking lots more about kindness on here and the new series as we get closer to publication date. 

If you ever have any writing questions, please do get in touch and I can post some advice on here too. This blog has felt rather neglected lately so I would love to revive it with your help.

  
Victoria

xoxo 

1

To the Fools who Dream

  
I finally watched La La Land the other day and I loved it but particularly because I empathised so much with the two main characters who are in LA to make their dreams come true – one wants to be an actress and the other wants to own his own jazz club. Like most people with big dreams, they are struggling and are ready to give up when they meet.

When I was watching the film I actually asked my mum “do you think it’s better to have a dream but struggle to make it come true or not to have a dream to begin with?” The question hung over me all night. I don’t think there is a right answer. Like most things in life the grass probably seems greener on whichever side you’re not on.

I admire everyone who tries to make their dreams come true particularly in the creative world I find myself dreaming in because the struggle is actually real. It’s far easier to give up, to move on and try something else but then you’d have to live with the frustrating “what if?”  question – what if I had kept trying? 

  
The film deals with this question and the sacrifices you might have to make on your journey. I cried at the end of it. Sometimes a film feels like it speaks just to you. I was having a writer wobble when I watched it. It reminded me that for better or worse I am a fool with a dream. I will never know if I would be happier without my dream but I do know that giving up on it would make me unhappy. 

Once you have a dream it’s hard to shake off. We will struggle and we will fail and we will have those wobbles and wonder if we’re crazy to want to keep living this life. And yes I think we probably are! But we dust ourselves off and we keep on trying and keep on believing because we know that making our dreams come true is the journey we are supposed to make. 

Once you start dreaming it’s almost impossible to stop. There are always new obstacles to overcome, new ideas to inspire you, and the determination to stay where you want to be when you do make your dream come true. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer perhaps. I quite like this idea because then it is about the journey we go on and not just all about the destination. Maybe it doesn’t matter if you make all your dreams come true, it’s enough to have them and keep on working towards them.

I always come back to my favourite quote said by Walt Disney that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It” and I hope it’s true. That those of us who have a dream have it because we can make it happen. Even if it does drive us a little bit crazy.

  
Do you think it’s better to have a dream but struggle to make it come true or not to have a dream to begin with?

Victoria

Xoxo 

2

Write to the tap of your own pen

Scrolling through Twitter yesterday I saw a lot of tweets talking about writing every day in response to another article about the subject. I’ve read so many articles about how you have to write every day. They often say things like “if you want to be a REAL writer, you must write everyday” and make you full of self doubt if you don’t write the same way they do.

I really hope most of the articles deliberately exaggerate for the sake of a good headline / quote / tweet or to get us all taking because the idea that if you don’t conform to certain rules you can’t possibly dare call yourself a writer is just funny to me. There is no right way to write. There is no right way to be a writer. Otherwise we’d all be bestselling literary superstars living in mansions and sipping champagne. 

Being a writer isn’t easy. You can write as a hobby or as your job or both and some days you will likely struggle but you’ll also have better days and be filled with passion and joy. Most of us write because we love it. We might not have the time or space to write every day. We might not want to do this. Most people have days off from work. Most people see this as a good thing. Even if you love what you do we all need time away from it. We need to recharge, relax and breathe and experience other things. These other things might even end up inspiring our writing. 

  

  
The problem with writing tips is they become rules and you end worrying that if you do something different to them then you will fail. I don’t think there are any rules to writing. Everyone approaches writing differently as they approach their job, their relationships, and their life. Most professions will have hundreds of people doing them and all of them doing it slightly differently. We all have quirks and flourishes and life would be pretty boring otherwise. 

I suppose because writing can be so be tough especially on the road to being published, we’d all love to discover a shortcut, a sneaky guide to how to get there faster or with less pain, and that’s why writers will always be asked for their tips on how to write. But that’s all they are. Tips. Advice. An idea you can try if you like. Something that works for that particular person. But it should never be seen as a rule. 

I don’t believe that anyone has discovered a perfect way to write or a perfect way to be a writer. Writing is a creative pastime and we all need to create the way that works best for us. Writing is messy and infuriating and fun and challenging and freeing and some days you might love it or hate it, you might sit at your laptop or want to run and hide from it. But you always come back to it. Because you have to write. 

Carry on doing it your way. 

You’re a writer. 

And so am I. 

How do you feel when you read writing tips? Do you think you have to write every day to be a writer? 

Victoria

xoxo 

8

How do you put positivity into action? 

This week, my year of positivity has hit shaky ground. Fed up of worrying about health issues and not focusing as much as I wanted to on editing my new book, I’ve not been in the best frame of mind. I wish I didn’t find it so hard to stay positive when weeks go this way but I do. 

I’ve been trying to steal some positivity and inspiration from other people. But it’s easier said than done. I admire them, I agree with what they say but then I go back to my life after leaving their story and struggle to change a thing! 

  
I really enjoyed this article by C.S Larkin (@livewritethrive) on how to be positive as writers. Read it here: 

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2017/02/13/3-tips-to-help-writers-adopt-positive-thinking/

I really liked her idea of ‘faith it till you make it’ – so by telling ourselves we can and will be productive and overcome any obstacle in our way, then that belief will make it happen. This idea has come back to me time and time again reading non-fiction books. That by making positive statements like “I can finish editing this novel by the end of the month” and even writing it down, sticking it by your laptop and repeating it to yourself everyday, then you’ll believe you can do it and so you will do it. 

I seem to be collecting a fair few self-help and inspiring true stories to read. I’m definitely hoping that following advice from people who have put positivity into action then I can too. But it still feels just a theory to me. It’s as if I know what I need to do but I’m still stumbling with actually doing it. I am shaking my head at myself as we speak! 

I don’t know how to reprogram myself into not worrying, not being negative, not focusing on things going wrong etc into a brain that is positive and optimistic, focusing on good things, who believes that everything will work out okay. I just hope acknowledging that I am the biggest barrier to being positive is that first step in the right direction. But what is my next step after that? 

So, do you guys have any ideas? How do you turn advice from people into actions by yourself? How do you make positivity happen?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Victoria

xoxo 

2

Celebrating the small (and the big!)

  
I was wondering what to post next in my Year Of Positivity series when it was announced that my debut novel The Second Love Of My Life has been shortlisted for an award! It is shortlisted for The 2017 Contemporary Romantic Novel Award by The Romantic Novelists Association. Here’s the announcement in The Bookseller: 

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/rna-shortlists-480346

It got me thinking that celebrating positive news should be mandatory. And we shouldn’t just stick to “big” things but all positive moments can be marked in some way. At the very least we should recognise them if we are hoping to keep a positive mindset. It’s so easy to just think about and remember and go over the bad bits of our day that we can forget all the times we smiled during it. 

I am thrilled that my novel has been recognised in some way. It makes me remember that my novel is out there in the world and people can still discover it, and hopefully enjoy it too. It’s also a lovely acknowledgment of all the hard work I put into the story plus I get to go a ceremony in London next month and hopefully raise a glass of bubbly to the characters I spent so much time with.

I’m the midst of polishing a new story and it’s forever tricky for me to be confident with my writing and not let the self-doubt monster suck me into its clutches so I took a moment today to remind myself that I wrote a novel that not only was published but has found some readers who fell in love with the story, and I should never lose sight of that.

Celebrating all the moments that put a smile on our faces should be a big part of our year of positivity. I am going to really try to make sure I do this and try to find some time in each day to recognise everything good that happened. 

What has happened to you today that you’re going to celebrate?

Victoria 

xoxo 

2

When Positivity Runs Away

I have been writing about how to stay positive this year and continuing the series, I thought it would be interesting for us to talk about what we can do when we have a day when positivity runs away. It’s inevitable that there will be both good days and bad days during our year of positivity.

everything

I think being aware that you’re struggling on a bad day is half a step towards turning that day around. It’s good to acknowledge you’re struggling whether it’s because you’re not feeling well or your latest project has hit a standstill or something has gone wrong at work or even as simple as the weather is cold and miserable. It can all add up to making it really hard to keep that smile on your face.

When we realise we’re not 100% ourselves, we can think of ways to try to turn the day around. I thought I’d share my ideas and I’d love to hear yours too!

Here are my five top tips for turning a bad day around:

1.Look after yourself: Self-care is needed on a bad day so pour that bubble bath, make a large cup of tea, or just have an extra hour in bed.

2. Put a smile on your face: Curl up with Netflix and watch an episode of your favourite sitcom or pop a DVD in of a film that always cheers you up. One of my top comfort films is You’ve got Mail, or Disney is always a good bet to cheer yourself up.

3. Step away from the project: If you’re struggling with self-doubt or writer’s block or a work project isn’t going your way, have a break from it. Do something else like write a blog post or just read a book and come back to your project with fresh eyes the next day. Sometimes just having  break from whatever is getting you down will help you come up with the solution you need. Daydreaming counts as writing remember!

4. Change the scene: A good old fashioned walk in the fresh air can do wonders for turning a bad day upside down or go and get a hot chocolate from your local coffee shop. Even if it’s pouring down outside, you can change your scene by leaving your office and curling up with a blanket on the sofa and have that slice of cake you know you want!

5. Talk about it: Sharing the bad days can help push that negativity away. Get online and share your block with other writers or talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling. A good cry on someone’s shoulder can really help. And don’t forget that pets are there to cuddle and are guaranteed to cheer you up when you need it!

I hope that helps if you’re trying to catch that positivity. I think positivity is something I need to work on keeping hold of every day so when I’m struggling I’m going to try and do the above and hopefully it will come back to me.

What other things would you recommend doing when you’re having a bad day? Post in the comments below!

Check out the last post in my positivity series here. And please come and say hi on Twitter and Instagram too.

Victoria

xoxo