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Category: Writers
How To Come Up With Story Ideas

You’re a writer. You want to write a story, but you’re not feeling inspired right now. Or maybe you are, but you can’t come up with story ideas that pique your curiosity. You’ll need some techniques to educate you on how to generate tale ideas. And you’d want to employ these methods on a regular basis to generate narrative ideas.

Writing creatively is like a muscle: use it or lose it. Thinking of story ideas is a necessary component of developing that muscle. And wow, if you want to create short stories, you have to think of a lot of ideas. Read on for some ideas about doing it. 

Use Prompts For Story Ideas

Looking at writing prompts is the most straightforward technique to get story ideas. They can be found just about everywhere. Google and you’ll discover lists, lists, and more lists of things you can do. Prompt books, games, and newsletters all exist and can be helpful. There is a never-ending supply of ideas for writing prompts. There are even story idea generators online.

Writing from a prompt may seem like a waste of time for some authors because they believe it will prevent them from coming up with anything new. But remember, it’s the author who makes it unique. A hundred different tales will emerge from the same prompt. You are the only one who can make a narrative your own.

People Watching

People watching is the best way for authors to come up with new story ideas, hands down. There are a number of authors working on their computers at coffee shops. In addition to writing, they’re also eavesdropping on others.

When it comes to creating characters and storylines, there is no such thing as a blank slate. Everyone and everything that happens in our lives is put into context to tell our stories.

To come up with new ideas, you’ll have to pay attention to what others are saying. Eventually, your brain will become “tuned in” to what is going on around you without your conscious effort. You could overhear a few words being said in a shop as you go by someone, and then, wham! A fantastic story concept.

Pay attention the next time you’re out in public (or simply glancing out your window as people pass by). Be aware of your surroundings and stay in the now. You’re surrounded by a sea of possibilities.

The ‘What If?’ Question

Another great way to come up with story ideas is to ask yourself ‘what if?’. Just look around you; what if your kitchen exploded? What if a spaceship landed on your driveway? What if a stranger appeared in your doorway? What if you cracked an egg and money fell out? What if… what if…

Just asking yourself this simple question will give you a plethora of story ideas that you can take and expand on. What if you did that and came up with a way to fight your writer’s block? Amazing!

How To Get Your Blog Noticed

When you write a blog, you want people to read it; this is the main reason behind writing it in the first place. Therefore, you want your blog to be noticed, shared, liked, and talked about wherever possible. This can be a difficult task, but it is essential if you want your blog (and your website or business) to be boosted high up in the search engine rankings. Take a look at these tips for getting your blog noticed and implement as many as you can. 

Stay On Topic 

Having a blog that sticks to one main topic is a good idea. It means that people will know what to expect when they read your work, and it can prove that you are an expert in your chosen sector. Although some blogs do have varied contents, to really get noticed, you should ideally find the topic you are happy writing about and make that your main focus. Otherwise you can easily confuse people, and they won’t know that they should come back to your blog or that it could, in fact, be useful to them. 

What you write about is entirely your choice as long as you know something (or rather a lot) about the topic and can find a lot to say about it. 

blog noticed
Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Keep It Simple 

Most people don’t want to read something too technical and complicated – in many cases, they are looking for ways to make a potentially tricky yet important topic more accessible. As a blogger, your job is to take that topic and put it in layman’s terms. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing about a tax return, days out with the kids, cooking, book reviews, starting a business, or anything else; the key is to keep it all simple.

Use Social Media 

If you really want to boost your readership levels, you must use social media to promote your blog. Posting your link on a Facebook page (perhaps in a group, or on your own page or your business page) can potentially give you a huge reach, and many more people will read the blog, clicking through to your website, than otherwise would have done. They will also easily be able to share the content with their followers and friends, ensuring that even more people will read it. If you want to have your post in front of many thousands of people, you can even pay to have it boosted, but it may be possible to do this organically, so try that first before spending any money. 

Use SEO To Get Your Blog Noticed

SEO (search engine optimization) will make your blog noticed a lot more. SEO is about identifying important keywords or phrases and incorporating them into your blog post, and it needs to be done carefully and strategically. The search engine ‘bots’ will pick up on these keywords and phrases, and your webpage will be boosted higher up the rankings when people search. There are many different techniques involved in getting SEO just right, so it’s best to read up on them before you begin so that you can make the most of the opportunity to promote your post and make sure it is noticed. 

Are You Sabotaging Your Life?

Are you sabotaging your life? You may not realise it, but it could be that you are. There are many theories in this world that support the idea that what you think determines the outcome of your life. The mind is a marvellous, untapped resource that is potentially infinite in its influence over what you do and how things turn out. The Law of Attraction is just one of these theories, and it is fascinating to find out more about it.

Even if you don’t believe in how it works exactly, there is no doubt that having a positive outlook affects how you perceive things, and how you are perceived. So it is important to think positively whenever possible.

If things have been going badly with regards to your work or writing – or any other creative pursuit – then could it possibly be your thoughts and feeling about it all that is causing the problems? Could it be that you are sabotaging your life? Let’s take a look at how you might be, without even realising that you are.

sabotaging your life

You Make It A Competition

If you are constantly looking around you at what other people are doing, you’ll never be able to fully focus on what you are doing – and that can spell disaster for your current writing project. That is one of the best ways of sabotaging your life. Comparing yourself to others can sometimes work in terms of allowing you to set yourself a goal, but doing it all the time is distracting, and can push you off course from that goal very easily.

It is always better to be looking ahead, towards your next goal, and ignore what other people are doing. Creativity is not a race. It’s not a competition. It is a personal journey. That may sound a bit ‘new age-y’ but think about it; it’s completely true.

You Get Angry

Allowing yourself to get angry about things is another excellent way of halting the creative process and sabotaging your life. If something has irritated you – it could be anything, from a Facebook post by a fellow writer, artist, poet etc, to hearing about someone’s success in the same genre that you work in – the important question to ask is ‘why?’. Why are you angry about this? And what is that anger doing to harm your creative process (hint: it’s another way of sabotaging your life)?

Is your anger about being envious? Is it that you have a particularly deep competitive streak? Does the news make you feel less secure about your place in the creative world?

Whatever it is, remember that your own thoughts are taking you on a journey, and if you want that journey to be a fulfilling and successful one, then you need to dispense with all the superfluous feelings of anger and just get on with working your way towards happiness. Another artist’s success will not diminish your own. There is no need to be envious as your time will come as long as you work towards it and acknowledge that fact.

sabotaging your life
Image from Pixabay – ijmaki

You Complain All The Time

Complaining to yourself is a waste of time. Complaining to other people… well, that all depends on the complaint. A valid complaint should often be aired – in a well-thought-out and calm kind of way. That is how things can be done, that is how problems get solved. A general gripe about the state of things, about a tweet that you didn’t appreciate, about someone else’s success or writing ability… that’s usually less productive. Plus this kind of pointless complaining has a knock-on effect. Firstly, it takes up a lot of time when, you guessed it, you could be writing or painting or doing whatever it is that makes you feel complete.

Secondly, empty complaining puts you in a negative frame of mind. One small niggle and suddenly everything is less rosy. Unsure about that? Think of it the other way around – when you see something that makes you happy, or you get some good news, doesn’t your day immediately seem better? Brighter? Altogether happier? It’s true, and the same goes for negative things. Your day (if you let it) will go downhill. Don’t let it. Keep positive, and things will improve. That’s just how it works.  

Indie Authors Can Help One Another – And They Should

In many professions, competition is the norm. It is a fight to the top, and sometimes people get trampled. But with indie authors, it’s different. Or at least it should be. With writers, there is enough space out there for everyone.

I’m not talking about copywriters or freelance writers exactly – every one of them (me included) fights for the jobs that pay well or seem interesting. Heck, we even fight for those who don’t pay well and have us writing about things we have no interest in at all; the bills need to be paid.

indie authors
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Indie Authors

But indie (independent) authors are a particular breed of writer. In this profession, there is room for everyone to do whatever it is they want to do. Especially now that there is the option for self-publishing. These are the ones who do not need to compete with one another; there are so many different stories that they can write and so many genres (and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres, come to that!) that the variety is infinite.

Because of this infinite variety, indie authors really should – and generally do – help one another out. Working together is important; it enables everyone to move forward and find different markets that they might otherwise never have come into contact with. It will take time, but it is always worth doing – networking, offering advice, working on a ‘give and take’ ideal… it all goes to the greater good because when one indie author succeeds, it gives hope and opportunity to all the others.

How To Work Together

There are a few different ways to collaborate with other authors. One is link swapping. That could be posting or sending out alerts when a new competition or writing opportunity presents itself, or it could simply be placing the links of other writers on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your blog… If you link to theirs, they can link to yours, and both of your audiences will grow. It’s a fantastic way to find new readers for your work, and it’s immediate exposure too, meaning immediate income. It might not be much, but it’s something, and that’s how we all need to start.

Brainstorming is another excellent way to use other writers’ expertise and put forward some ideas of your own. Join in with (or create, if you can’t find one already) a monthly online meeting using Skype or Google Hangouts or Slack. There are many different options. You could even set up a secret Facebook group and use that. As long as there is an online space where everyone – whoever you invite – can discuss their writing, how they’re marketing it, any plans for the future or questions they might have, and so on. It’s a great way to swap ideas and discover new things.

Libraries are such valuable commodities, and so indie authors may as well use them too. Note down the ISBN of the books written by authors in your network, and ask your local library to order the book for you. If your entire network does the same for everyone, that will give all of your books a nice borrowing boost. It can be embarrassing to ask for your own book to be brought into a library, but asking for someone else’s is much easier and more likely to get done and yield results.

indie authors
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Apart from actually writing, the thing that takes up most of an indie author’s time is the research. This is research into how to market the books when they are complete, who to use as an editor, where the best value cover designers are, as well as the content itself. It can take an age when all you want to do is get it done and have your book out there for all to see – and hopefully read. This is where the knowledge of others can really save you time. Ask your questions on a forum and get answers – indie authors love to share! And who knows, you may be able to pay it forward and answer someone else’s questions while you’re at it.

When indie authors pull together, so much more can get done – and so many more will see you.

Writing A Story: How To Make Your Story Ideas Stronger

Let’s be honest now; writing a story and thinking up a story idea is not the difficult part of writing. Getting that idea down on the page and making it as strong as it can be… that’s the tricky part. Yet it’s something that you absolutely need to do if you want to make your story shine. Here are some tips on how to make your story idea stronger so that it can be the best version of itself possible.

What’s The Problem When Writing A Story?

Every good story has to have one central premise, and that’s conflict. No matter who is in conflict with whom or what, this element simply has to be there, otherwise you really have no story at all.

writing a story

So… what’s the problem in your story? What’s the big issue when writing a story that is causing your characters pain? What are they trying to get over, or achieve, or make better? Knowing this and making it a bigger part of the overall story so that not a single reader is going to miss it will strengthen your story no end.

Push The Character Further

Don’t be nice to your characters. At least, not all the time. We’re not telling you to go ahead and be George R. R. Martin or Stephen King them all (unless you want to), but they have to have difficulties in their lives otherwise no one is going to want to root for them. The story of a normal man or woman going about their daily business might be written well – it might even be beautiful – but unless there is conflict and unless your characters are pushed as far as you can push them, readers aren’t going to remember your writing once they’re done with it.

What you really need is a character who is just like them, just like the reader, and who has to go through pain and suffering in an effort to resolve (or not) the central conflict. This will be remembered and this will make your story much stronger.

What is the worst thing that could happen to your character? Take that idea and write about how they get over that problem, or how they let it take them down. You can go either way.

Combine Two Unrelated Ideas

Some of the strongest stories are those that are seemingly two completely different ideas thrown together. But what if you took those ideas and combined them into a story that no one had heard before? This is why this idea is so important. It’s why it needs to be considered.

writing a story

Open up a dictionary and find the first word your finger points to. Then do it again in a different part of the book. Take those two words and make a story out of them. Working out how to combine the two ideas will give your idea an added element of strength.

Write What Excites You

Every writer is told to write what they know. That’s fine, but if what you know doesn’t excite you, forget that particular piece of advice about writing a story. Instead, write what thrills you, what fascinates you, what you are truly interested in. You don’t have to ‘know’ it to do that because if you’re truly into whatever it is you’re writing about, you’ll learn what you need to learn.

If you write what excites you, your writing will be stronger and your readers will feel the passion you put into your words.

 

Why Do Writers Write?

Why do writers write?

It may seem like this particular question had a fairly obvious answer. Why do writers write? Because they want to. But I think it’s a little more complicated than that.

Firstly, let me clarify what I mean by ‘writer’. I’m not talking about full-time freelancers (like me); that’s a job and, despite it being enjoyable and flexible, is – when you get right down to it – about having an income. I’m talking about those who write for pleasure (not necessarily authors; authors are those who make a career out of writing their own thoughts, whereas writers could be tapping away at a keyboard without any need or want to be published – they just want to write). It could be fiction, it could be non-fiction, it might even be poetry. Short stories, novels, biographies, you name it. These are the writers I’m asking my question about.

Why do these writers write?

A writer... writing

Passion

Most writers don’t make too much money from their creative projects. Unless you’re Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or the like, it’s a little bit of change every now and then. But if you have a passion for writing, then you do it. Runner’s have what is known as a ‘runner’s high’ when they are competing or even just practicing. Writers get the same kind of high from their creative endeavours. Endorphins are released, and endorphins make you feel great. So you keep doing whatever it is that makes you feel so good. And if that’s writing, then you write.

Influence

A whopping 30 percent of the author market is written to help others in positive ways. Having a book out there that offers insights into living a better, more fulfilling life is something that excites a large number of writers, and this is the fuel behind their writing.

Retro writing tools

Entertainment

If a large number of writers like to write in order to help others, an even larger number like to write just to entertain them. I say ‘just’, but being entertained is actually a big thing; think of all the times during the day when you would have been bored had their not been something (book, internet, TV, theatre) to entertain you. What would life be like without something to keep your mind busy? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Release

For some, writing is the ultimate release. They can write anything they want, anything that comes to mind, and even if no one ever reads it (sometimes especially if no one ever reads it), the act of writing itself is what keep them writing. It’s a great form of therapy, and for those with too much going on inside their heads it’s the ideal way of letting some of it out in a controlled, even enjoyable way.

Why do writers write? The writers high.

Fun

Writing is fun. Not for everyone, of course, but for those with the creative brain to do it, it’s hugely enjoyable. Everyone needs a hobby, don’t they, and if writing is the one someone chooses, that’s great. Others may not understand it, but then if you enjoy football or fishing or running or rock climbing not everyone will understand that either. Each to their own.

How Indie Authors Can Help One Another – And Why They Should

In many professions competition is the norm. It is a fight to the top, and sometimes people get trampled. But with writers it’s different. Or at least it should be. With writers, there is enough space out there for everyone.

I’m not talking about copywriters or freelance writers exactly – everyone of them (me included) fights for the jobs that pay well or seem interesting. Heck, we even fight for the ones that don’t pay well and have us writing about things we have no interest in at all; the bills need to be paid.

But indie (independent) authors are a particular breed of writer. And it is in this profession that there is room for everyone to do whatever it is they want to do. Especially now that there is the option for self publishing. These are the ones who have no need to compete with one another; there are so many different stories that can be written, and so many genres (and sub-genres… and sub-sub-genres, come to that!) that the variety really is infinite.

It is because of this infinite variety that indie authors really should – and generally do – help one another out. Working together is important; it enables everyone to move further forward, and to find different markets that they might otherwise never have come into contact with. It will take time, but it is always worth doing – networking, offering advice, working on a ‘give and take’ ideal… it all goes to the greater good, because when one indie author succeeds, it gives hope and opportunity to all the others.

There are a few different ways to collaborate with other authors. One is link swapping. That could be posting or sending out alerts when a new competition or writing opportunity presents itself, or it could simply be placing the links of other writers on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your blog… If you link to theirs, they can link to yours, and both of your audiences will grow. It’s a fantastic way to find new readers for your work, and it’s immediate exposure too, meaning immediate income. It might not be much, but it’s something, and that’s how we all need to start.

Brainstorming is another great way to use the expertise of other writers, and to put forward some ideas of your own. Join in with (or create, if you can’t find one already) a monthly online meeting using Skype or Google Hangouts or Slack or Whatsapp. There are many different options. You could even set up a secret Facebook group and use that. As long as there is an online space where everyone – whoever you invite, really – can discuss their writing, how they’re marketing it, any plans for the future or questions they might have and so on. It’s a great way to swap ideas and discover new things.

Libraries are such useful commodities, and so indie authors may as well use them too. Note down the ISBN of the books written by authors in your network, and ask your local library to order the book in for you. If your entire network does the same for everyone, that will give all of your books a nice borrowing boost. It can be embarrassing to ask for your own book to be brought into a library, but asking for someone else’s is much easier, and more likely to get done and yield results.

Apart from actually writing, the thing that takes up most of an indie author’s time is the research. This is research into how to market the books when they are complete, who to use as an editor, where the best value cover designers are, as well as the content itself. It can take an age, when all you really want to do is get it done and have your book out there for all to see – and hopefully read. This is where the knowledge of others can really save you time. Ask your questions on a forum and get answers – indie authors love to share! And who knows, you may be able to pay it forward and answer someone else’s questions while you’re at it.

Basically, when indie authors pull together so much more can get done – and so many more will see you.

The Weird and Wonderful World of Writing Superstitions

Just as with many professions – musicians, sports players, even medical professionals and plenty more – writers have a variety of weird and wonderful writing superstitions that are as unique to each writer as their own writing style.

Writers, however, seem to have more than anyone else.

Whether that is because good luck and excellent timing can – by some – be seen to be the way to gain success in the fiction industry, or whether it is because the muse does not always deign to make an appearance when we want (or rather need) her to, who can say? The point is, writers have superstitions that offer them peace of mind. And a peaceful mind is often the first step in creating something beautiful.

 

The Weirdest Superstitions…

Edith Sitwell was a British poet, and she certainly enjoyed having a clear mind. However, the only way for her to clear that mind was to lie in an open coffin before beginning work.

Truman Capote would never, ever start or finish a piece of writing on a Friday. And neither would he write sitting down; he always had to lie down to get anything done.

John Steinbeck wrote all of his first drafts in pencil. Perhaps not so strange. But he did always make sure he had 12 sharpened pencils on his desk at all times.

Alexandre Dumas used colour in his superstitious ideas. Fiction had to be written on blue paper, articles on pink paper, and poetry on yellow paper.

Friedrich Schiller had to have the smell of rotten apples around him if he was to get anything worthwhile down on paper. Therefore, to ensure he could always write, he kept rotten apples in his desk drawer. Every now and then he would open the drawer and inhale the scent, boosting his creativity (so he said).

Isabel Allende writes about magical realism. She always starts a new novel on 8th January.

 

More Common Superstitions

Of course, there are some more common superstitions that many writers believe in – or rather, don’t want to not believe in, just in case. This includes the idea of not having 13 pages in a chapter, or not only including 13 chapters in a book. This might be why some books don’t end when it feels that they should! Other writers don’t like to end a book (or chapter) on an even page. More don’t like odd pages.

Some writers only ever think of the title of a book once it is complete (J.K. Rowling does this), but for others, there must be a title before any work can be done (this is how I work, as it happens).

Using a specific notebook, pen, typewriter or computer are also common superstitions. Or wearing a certain piece of clothing that brings luck (or at least words).

Whether or not these superstitions actually work is the matter of some debate. Those who cling to them will insist that they do, whilst others who don’t understand will say that they don’t.

But either way, what harm does it do? The writer enjoys their work, safe in the knowledge that they have carried out all the checks and balances that need to be done for inspiration to strike and the words to flow. And the sceptics… well, they can simply enjoy the finished product, can’t they?

Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

There are many theories in this world that support the idea that what you think determines the outcome of your life. The mind is a marvellous, untapped resource that is potentially infinite in its influence over what you do and how things turn out. The Law of Attraction is just one of these theories, and it is a fascinating read.

Even if you don’t believe in how it works exactly, there is no doubt that having a positive outlook affects how you perceive things, and how you are perceived. So it is important to think positively whenever possible.

If things have been going badly with regards to your work or writing – or any other creative pursuit – then could it possibly be your thoughts and feeling about it all that is causing the problems? Could it be that you are sabotaging yourself? Let’s take a look at how you might be, without even realising that you are.

Making It A Competition

If you are constantly looking around you at what other people are doing, you’ll never be able to fully focus on what you are doing – and that can spell disaster for your current creative project. That is one of the best ways of sabotaging yourself. Comparing yourself to others can sometimes work in terms of allowing you to set yourself a goal, but doing it all the time is distracting, and can push you off course from that goal very easily.

It is always better to be looking ahead, towards your next goal, and ignore what other people are doing. Creativity is not a race. It’s not a competition. It is a personal journey. That may sound a bit ‘new age-y’ but think about it; it’s completely true.

 

Getting Angry

Allowing yourself to get angry about things is another excellent way of halting the creative process and sabotaging yourself. If something has irritated you – it could be anything, from a Facebook post by a fellow writer, artist, poet etc, to hearing about someone’s success in the same genre that you work in – the important question to ask is ‘why?’. Why are you angry about this? And what is that anger doing to harm your creative process (hint: it’s another way of sabotaging yourself)?

Is your anger about being envious? Is it that you have a particularly deep competitive streak? Does the news make you feel less secure about your place in the creative world?

Whatever it is, remember that your own thoughts are taking you on a journey, and if you want that journey to be a fulfilling and successful one, then you need to dispense with all the superfluous feelings of anger and just get on with working your way towards happiness. Another artist’s success will not diminish your own. There is no need to be envious as your time will come as long as you work towards it and acknowledge that fact.

 

Complaining All The Time

Complaining to yourself is a waste of time. Complaining to other people… well, that all depends on the complaint. A valid complaint should often be aired – in a well-thought out and calm kind of way. That is how things can done, that is how problems get solved. A general gripe about the state of things, about a tweet that you didn’t appreciate, about someone else’s success or writing ability… that’s usually less productive. Plus this kind of pointless complaining has a knock-on effect. Firstly, it takes up a lot of time when, you guessed it, you could be writing or painting or doing whatever it is that makes you feel complete.

Secondly, empty complaining puts you in a negative frame of mind. One small niggle and suddenly everything is less rosy. Unsure about that? Think of it the other way around – when you see something that makes you happy, or you get some good news, doesn’t your day iimmediately seem better? Brighter? Altogether happier? It’s true, and the same goes for negative things. Your day (if you let it) will go downhill. Don’t let it. Keep positive, and things will improve. That’s just how it works.

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My pricing guidlines

Type of Publication

Type of Work

£

Magazine Writing & research per 1000 400
Magazine Editor per day 250
Magazine Sub-editing per 1000 120
Magazine Fact checking per day 200
Newspaper (regional) Writing & research per 1000 220
Newspaper (regional) Sub-editing per 1000 95
Newspaper (regional) Fact checking per day 200
Newspaper (national) Writing & research per 1000 700
Newspaper (national) Sub-editing per 1000 450
Newspaper (national) Fact checking per day 200
Online/digital media Writing & research per 1000 180
Online/digital media Sub-editing per 1000 95
Online/digital media Fact checking per day 200

MY RATES

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Get in touch

 

GET IN TOUCH

 

Email

lisamarie20010@gmail.com

Whatsapp

07710 611592

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WHAT I CAN DO

Blog Writing

A blog is an essential tool in ensuring your website is seen. I can create regular blog posts that will move you up the rankings and give you a better placement within your industry.

Ghost Writing

Have you ever wanted to write a novel, memoir or short story but don’t have the time? Do you have the ideas, but the words don’t flow? I can help. Contact me for a confidential chat.

Articles

I am happy to carry out research, conduct interviews, and write/edit articles of any length. Contact me for more information about my rates and services.

Web Content

From your home page to your about me details and everything in between, you want a website that has snappy, interesting, high quality content. Let me create it for you.

Sales Letters

If you have a product that you want others to know about, you need a sales letter that is going to get attention – and keep it. I can write that letter for you.

Emails

Are you thinking of starting an email campaign but don’t know what to include? Or perhaps you want to send a special email to that special someone, but you can’t think of the right words. Contact me and we can discuss exactly what I can do to help.

Product Descriptions

Selling products online can be an excellent way of making a business, but if your products sound boring and your descriptions are dull, no one will want them. I’ve written thousands of products descriptions, and I can make your products shine.

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REVIEWS

I studied English theory at university and have always been interested in the mechanics of writing, but it wasn’t until 2010 when my daughter was born that I started to write professionally. Although this was out of necessity (it was a job that I could do from home, and it brought in enough to pay the bills!), it soon became a passion. Since that time, I have been published in over 40 fiction anthologies and have written seven novels.

Find out more about my publications on my Amazon Author Page.

I am now a full-time freelance writer. The majority of my time is spent writing SEO-friendly blog posts for businesses in all kinds of niches from bakeries to florists to roofing specialists and plenty more in between. 

Between 2014 and 2020 I was the features and online editor for insideKENT magazine.

Today I live with my husband, daughter, and a cat called Cheryl in a cottage in the Kent countryside, writing, painting, and – whenever possible – watching horror films.

http://www.facebook.com/lisamarielambwriter

info@lisamarielamb.co.uk 

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How To Create The Best Playground For Your Children At Home

Kids love being outside because they get to try new and exciting things. Nature gives kids chances to learn, discover, and understand STEM education. Our front and back yards aren’t always safe places for kids to play, which is a shame. Parents want their kids to play in places that are safe and fun.

If you follow these tips, making a home playground for your kids shouldn’t be hard.

best playground
Image by Theodore C.S. Brown Sr. from Pixabay

Decide On The Best Playground Features

Start by making sure the home playground has things that kids will like. Think about how old the child is. Often, a child’s age determines how hard it is to use playground equipment. Get things that will make your child’s senses happy.

There are different kinds of best playground equipment, like water tables, sandpits, playsets, and intricate towers with swings and slides. To get kids closer to nature, you might want to add things like rocks that they can climb on. Make sure you buy structures that are strong, weatherproof, and fit your child’s needs.

Choose The Best Surfacing Material

It’s important to know that the play zone surface is an important part of a home playground. It’s important for the kids’ safety and comfort. By putting down the right kind of surface, you can keep kids safe and make sure they are comfortable.

Many home playground surfaces soften the impact of falls and keep kids comfortable. If you can’t afford the more expensive materials, you can use cheaper ones like wood chips, sand, and gravel instead.

Rubber surfacing is the safest and best choice for the best playground that kids can use. It takes up the kids’ weight and cushions their feet at the same time. Artificial grass for playgrounds is also a great surface material for your own backyard playground.

Install Fencing For The Best Playground

If the playground is only a few metres from your gated home, you need to fence it. Set up complete fencing systems with gates that can close and lock themselves. Your kids and pets will stay in the yard with these high-tech gate systems.

If you can’t put these kinds of gates in your yard, you might want to use garden hedges to make clear lines. These keep your children in the yard and keep them safe. Add a high-tech GPS tracker that kids can use to make sure you can find your kids if they leave the gated area.

How To Save Money On Your Next Move

Modern life often makes you move your home, business, or place of work. So, you’ll have to move your things and other household items, which will take some planning and preparation.

Moving doesn’t have to be hard and expensive all the time. Use the services of professional movers to get a lot of useful information about planning a move, or just follow the simple advice of moving experts to get things done quickly. Read on to find out more. 

Get Rid Of Unnecessary Belongings

Get rid of all the “trash” that has built up in the cabinets and drawers. If you drag around things you don’t need or haven’t used in a long time, you will have to pay too much for their delivery. Donate good things to charity or give them to friends if you don’t want to throw them away.

Use The Right Packing Materials

You can save money if you take care of your own equipment and fragile things to keep them from getting broken. Use things like blankets, foam sheets, cardboard, and packing paper. When you get your boxes from a moving company, they will cost more, and if you don’t use them, you may have to pay to fix them. Use things you already have, like old boxes and bubble wrap.

Don’t Overbuy For Your New House

You should take your time making a list of the most important things you will need in your new home. First, plan the move, unpack all the boxes, and clean the house. Then, decide what you need to buy for your new home. Don’t buy things ahead of time, because you don’t need to fill your new apartment with new things.

Move During The Off Season

The first thing you should think about when moving is the time of year. Many people do think that late spring, summer, and early fall are the best times to move. This means that this time of year is busier. Since there is a lot of demand, prices are higher. If you want to save money, you should avoid moving on weekends and during the summer.

How To Make The Most Of Promo Codes

Promo codes can be used in many different ways when shopping online. For example, when you use a code for shipping, you can ask for a gift. It’s best to use coupons that offer both free shipping and a discount.

And if you can combine more than one discount code, you can save even more. Read on to find out more about how to use a coupon code when shopping online. Here are some of the most useful tips for shopping online.

promo codes

Free Gifts Are A Great Way To Use Promo Code

Gifts are a great way to move stock, and they work best when they come with a certain amount of spending. You can let people know about the gift separately or add it to your code at checkout. Make sure to include a specific time and amount to qualify for the gift, and tie it into your buyer persona. Here are some ways to use a free gift to get more people to buy.

If you’re giving away a free gift with a purchase, make sure your offer says “while supplies last.” This makes people feel like they need to act quickly and keeps them from getting angry if you run out of the gift. Also, make sure you have enough of the freebie. Running out of freebies is one of the most frustrating things for customers.

Free gifts, samples of products, and discounts can all be used as incentives. A loyalty program is another way to get people to buy from you more than once. A customer loyalty program is based on a simple idea: give a free gift to people who buy from you more than once. If you give free gifts with purchases, customers will be more likely to buy from you. You can make a good impression on potential customers and get their business if you give them free gifts.

Coupons That Give Both A Discount And Free Shipping Are Better

Even though coupon codes can get you a discount on a certain product, it’s often best to combine a discount with a free shipping coupon. But you should think about the shipping costs and compare them to the discount hobby lobby coupon. Coupons that offer both discounts and free shipping are better when shopping online, especially if you want to buy a lot of things. It’s important to keep in mind that some stores have rules about which coupon codes can be used together and which ones can’t.

Some people may not be able to spend enough to get free shipping, but many stores offer discounts for shopping in-store. These kinds of deals are common on Black Friday, but you can also get them in the form of bonus coupons to save even more money. Think about which type of coupon is more valuable to you when deciding which choice is best. You should also think about whether it’s worth the risk for your business to offer both discounts and free shipping.

Stacking Promo Codes Can Be Tricky

When you shop online, combining coupons is a great way to save as much money as possible. When you use two or more coupons at the same time, it can be tricky, but you can save twice as much. Sign up for store newsletters or keep an eye on coupon sites to find out about the latest deals. If you follow these tips, it’s easy to stack coupons and save a lot of money when you shop online. Here are a few tips on how to successfully stack coupons online:

Using more than one coupon code when shopping online is becoming more and more popular. It used to be a common thing to do at grocery stores, but now more stores are letting you do it. Retailers like Kohl’s have made it easier for customers to save even more money by combining multiple coupon codes. One store, Kohl’s, lets customers use up to four discount codes at the same time on their website or mobile device. As the number of people who want to stack coupon codes keeps going up, more stores are starting to do it to keep up with competitors. But be careful as you do it. Stacking can cause you to spend more than you need to, so not everyone should do it.

Why It’s Important To Dress Comfortably

When most individuals consider the advantages of wearing comfortable clothing, they consider the physical comfort that is delivered. However, people who make it a point to dress comfortably on a daily basis might reap several additional advantages. The next article will go over some of the most important advantages of wearing comfortable clothing and how they can enhance your life in a variety of ways.

When You Dress Comfortably It Can Help To Improve Your Mood

When you’re feeling down or stressed, the last thing you want to do is put on an outfit that makes you feel bad. When you wear clothes that are too tight or scratchy, your mood can get worse. On the other hand, putting on a pair of soft, cosy pyjamas can help you relax and feel more comfortable. This can make you feel better all around.

Also, if your clothes are too tight, you might feel self-conscious about the way you look. This can also make people feel bad. You can avoid these kinds of bad feelings when you dress comfortably.

Lastly, when you wear comfortable clothes, your brain gets the message that it’s time to chill out, and that’s never a bad thing. 

Dressing Comfortably Can Help To Reduce Your Stress Levels

You already know that stress can hurt your body and mind. To improve your health as a whole, you need to find ways to lower your stress levels.

One way to do this is to wear clothes that are easy to move around in. When you are stressed, your body tightens up, which can make you feel bad. Wearing loose, comfortable clothes can help your body and mind relax, which will make you feel less stressed.

Also, worrying about how you look in your clothes will only add to your stress if you do it all the time. If you dress comfortably, you won’t have to worry about this and can instead focus on more important things.

When You Dress Comfortably You Can Get A Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is important for staying healthy. Unfortunately, many people have trouble sleeping because their clothes are too tight or too loose. If your clothes are too tight or scratchy, you will have a hard time getting the restful sleep you need.

Putting on comfy clothes to bed can help you unwind and fall asleep faster. Also, if your bed is comfortable, you are less likely to wake up in the middle of the night. This can help people sleep better in general.

In the end, there are many reasons to dress comfortably. There are many benefits to making comfort a priority in your life, like better moods and less stress. So, the next time you get dressed, choose clothes that make you feel good both physically and mentally.

4 Ways To Win Customers Back After They Return Or Cancel An Order

When you run a business, you have to deal with both known and unknown problems. We will talk about a specific problem that many companies could face and how to solve it. That problem is when a product is sent back or a service is stopped.

We’ve looked at a lot of companies that have this problem and we will talk about how a business can win customers back.

Offer An Incentive To Win Customers Back

As soon as they return or cancel your purchase, take urgent action. Make an effort to make it up to them; this will demonstrate your sincerity in apologising for not living up to their expectations. You could offer them a discount right away, or you can give them a free swap. In order to win customers back, you must respond quickly and make them a repeat customer.

Acknowledge The Problem

Accepting responsibility for your actions is the most effective strategy for retaining and gaining new clients. Ask your consumer why they’re feeling the way they are. Also, provide them with a remedy to this problem. This may help them focus and create a strong first impression, which might lead to a second meeting and ensure you win customers back.

Offer Discounts On New Products

If you don’t act right away, you might lose that customer for good. It is very important that you talk to unhappy customers right away. It doesn’t have to happen right away every time.

If you’re making a new product and focusing on fixing the problems that your customers are worried about, you can take your time, but it will take more work to win them back than it did before.

Focus On How To Win Customers Back In Groups

The first thing you should do is address any difficulties that the bulk of your clients are having. As a result, fixing this issue might help you gain a larger share of your current client base. You must address the issue and target a certain segment with your product or service in order to be successful.

Top Tips for Going Home After a Lovely Holiday

There’s always a little bit of dread when you think about going home after a lovely holiday, but after a perfect one, that feeling gets stronger. You start to miss the warm weather, the freedom, the late mornings, and how carefree you are when you’re on vacation.

This means that your last few days are sad because you can’t stop thinking about leaving that amazing place. But by feeling this way, you don’t enjoy the last few days, when you should be living and experiencing everything even more than before.

What can you do to stop feeling this way, enjoy your time off, and be okay with going back home? The following tips will help you when you don’t want your lovely holiday to end and you don’t want to go back to real life.

Enjoy The Time You Have Left On Your Lovely Holiday

Instead of letting yourself think about how those are the last few days, you should really enjoy and value those last moments. Live in the moment, enjoy that walk through the old town, read a book under that palm tree, swim in the sea, and go snorkelling.

You’re right, it will be back to real life soon, so why would you want to miss out on some pretty amazing moments on your lovely holiday? Take a deep breath in and open your eyes to see what’s around you.

Photographic Evidence

Yes, take many pictures! Not only for social media, but also because you’ll want to remember those times. If you spent it with family, that’s one of the best ways to remember it, so take pictures of it so you can look at them months or years from now.

If you start to miss your vacation, you can look at the photos and, if you try really hard, you can almost be back there.

Schedule Your First Week Back

After a lovely holiday, the first few days or week are the worst. The hardest part of being back home is getting back into a routine, like going back to school or work and getting up at a certain time.

Make sure your week is busy and full of things to do. This will give you a purposeful diversion and make the process easier. So, plan things to do with your friends after work, run errands, and do your laundry in the first few days. If you keep yourself busy, your first week back will go by in a flash.

4 Signs Your Business Is In Need Of A Bigger Office

It’s likely that if you have a successful startup, you’ll outgrow your first office and need a bigger office space. Moving can seem like a hassle, but it can lead to better organisation, a smoother workflow, more inventory, and more employees. All of these things can help your company keep growing. But how do you know if you should move? Here are a few signs that you need a bigger office for your business.

Standing Room Only

If your employees feel or look like sardines in a can, you need a bigger office. It shouldn’t be hard to move around freely to get things done. Staff spend a lot of time at work, so they should be able to spread out projects, set down items and inventory, or even just hang their coats in the winter. Also, it’s best if each employee has their own desk and doesn’t have to share with anyone else. If people on your team have to turn sideways to pass each other, it’s time to call an estate agent.

bigger office
Image by M W from Pixabay

Storage

If you’re running out of space to store inventory or files, getting a bigger office might be a good idea. Putting old papers and files in boxes is a good idea, but the stacks get big fast. Boxes of inventory can also be stacked, but these stacks eventually make it hard to open doors, make it hard to walk, and look bad. With more space, you’ll be able to find records and inventory quickly and store these things in a place where customers won’t see them.

Meeting Rooms and Private Spaces

If your team is always meeting in tight spaces or around a single desk, it’s time to move to an office with more meeting rooms. Someone typing on a computer shouldn’t be in the same room as private conversations or meetings with clients. It’s hard enough to talk on a conference call without a lot of noise and movement going on in the background. It’s also important to have a good place for breaks that people want to go to. Your staff will like having more places to plan and rest.

No Vacancy

If you have to turn away customers because you don’t have enough space, you need to improve your office. The hardest part of moving is packing and moving everything, so when the time comes to make the move, you’ll need a good plan. It can be scary to think about, but it doesn’t have to be. Movers for businesses aren’t just big guys with dollies. These companies are made up of serious business people who have the transportation, tools, equipment, and core strength to make moving easier for your business, employees, and current customers while getting you into an office with plenty of room for new customers.

If you decide it’s time to look for a new office space because your business is growing, remember that investing in a bigger place will help you stay organised and efficient and can be well worth the cost and effort in the long run. It will also make you look more professional to your current customers and give you more chances to find new ones.

Hidden Sources Of Dirt That You’re Missing When You Clean Your Home

We all know that keeping our homes clean is important. Because of all the bacteria in the air, you’re more likely to get sick if your home isn’t clean. This is probably why you spend a lot of time cleaning every week. But do you really know that your house is as clean as you think it is or are there hidden sources of dirt? Dust and dirt are good at hiding in your home, and there are a lot of easy-to-miss places. This can be a problem because it means that all of the dirt and bacteria are building up over time and that your house might not be as clean as it looks. If you want to make sure your home is a healthy place to live, it’s important to keep up with these dust and dirt sources that are hard to see.

sources of dirt
Photo by cottonbro

Air Conditioning Units Can Be Hidden Sources Of Dirt

The purpose of air conditioning is to keep the house cool and clean the air, but could it be doing the opposite due to hidden sources of dirt? If you don’t clean the filters in your air conditioners well, dust can start to build up on them over time. When you run them, they send all that dust back into the air, which is a big problem. A lot of people don’t realise that air pollution is one of the greatest potential dangers in the home. In fact, the air inside buildings is often more toxic than the air outside on the streets. Indoor air quality can be bad for a number of reasons, but dirty air conditioning units are one of the most prevalent.

To stop dirt and dust from building up on the filters, you need to take them out and clean them often. It’s also a good idea to have them serviced every so often. If you clean your air conditioners, you shouldn’t have any problems, but if you don’t, they’ll just make your house dirtier thanks to being hidden sources of dirt. 

Old Rugs

Just about all people know that carpets collect a lot of dust and dirt, which is why they vacuum often and sometimes give their carpets a deep clean. But a lot of people forget about rugs, even though they have the same issue. A quick vacuum won’t be enough to get dirt and dust out of the fibres of an old rug. But you can’t always clean them the same way you clean your carpets because they’re more fragile and you don’t want to damage them. So, every once in a while, you should take them to a rug rejuvenation service to have them serviced by a professional. They’ll be able to clean them well with gentle cleaners that don’t hurt the rug, so you can get rid of the grime and keep the rug in good shape.

Hidden Sources Of Dirt Underneath Furniture

When did you last move the couch out of the way and vacuum under it? You probably can’t remember, but don’t worry, we all do this. Moving all the furniture around every time you clean the house takes a lot of time, but you do have to do it sometimes. You’d be surprised at how quickly dust can gather under furniture, and if you don’t clean it up for a while, it can get pretty gross. It’s a pain to dust under furniture, but you can do it easily if you have a duster with a head that you can move. It doesn’t have to be done every time you vacuum or dust the rest of the house, but you should try to do it at least once or twice a month, if not more. If you do it more often, it will be easier because you won’t let it pile up for as long.

The Tops Of Kitchen Cabinets

In many people’s homes, the top of the kitchen cabinets is rarely, if ever, cleaned. That’s a problem because that area is usually one of the dirtiest. When you cook, grease, fat, and dust can build up up there. If you haven’t cleaned up there in a while or at all, it will be very dirty. The first time you clean it, it will be a bit of a job, but after that, it should be easy. If you do it about once a week, it will only take a quick wipe.

If you don’t deal with these hidden sources of dirt in your home, it won’t be as clean as you think it is, so make sure to clean these places often.

3 Ways To Make Your Next Zoom Call Fun

Since the start of the pandemic, a Zoom call has become more popular, and there are no signs that video calls will slow down. Some people do it every week because it’s the only way to keep in touch with relatives, especially older people, and friends who still keep their distance. As businesses start to open again, many people may not be as eager to see their families just yet. There’s nothing wrong with being careful, so if you’re one of those people who likes video meetings, here are some ways to make your Zoom call and FaceTime calls more fun.

Make Coffee Dates A Thing

One of the best ways to use a zoom call is to have coffee dates. Customizable best buddy mugs, for example, can be delivered as a surprise gift to be used during a phone conversation. This increases the excitement for the next phone call amongst the group and is also helpful for the hot cup of coffee you all love. DoorDash, Uber Eats, or GrubHub may also bring a coffee and croissant from a coffee shop to both of you at the same time so that you can enjoy them together in the morning. Coffee dates are convenient since you may meet early in the morning before everyone gets to work, in the evening after work, or on a weekend morning when you have more time to spend together.

Have A Virtual Cocktail Hour Zoom Call

If you’re not a fan of coffee or tea, you can always prepare your own drinks at home. When everyone has the ingredients and utensils, have a cocktail hour where you all may enjoy creating the same cocktail at the same time and sip while you catch up on current events during your Zoom call. Having fun with your female pals on Friday night after a hard day at work is a terrific idea. This can also be a great double date for couples to enjoy an evening of drinks at a favourite pub or club that would otherwise not have been possible.

Play Games

It’s easy to play games like Pictionary, Bingo, or Cards Against Humanity through a Zoom call, making it an excellent addition to your cocktail hour. With a group of friends or as a potential double date, this is an excellent way to kill time and have a good time. It’s an excellent reason to send the game of your choosing as a “just because” gift if no one in your group has access to or owns any of these titles. You may make this a tradition and have each person host a game night once in a while.

Baby Clothes That Are Safe and Comfortable for Your Child

Preparing to bring a new baby home is fraught with so many emotions that it is difficult for new parents to share their joy without also conveying some trepidation and dread. Aside with the never-ending supply of baby supplies, including baby clothes, there are also tales about how new parents’ life are going to alter, which may cause worry and anxiety. Babies’ lack of sleep, constant cycle of nappy changes, odd-hour feedings, and infinite quantities of washing are enough to create concern. Continue reading to learn why new parents take extra particular care with their baby’s laundry, as well as the most comfortable and safe textiles to outfit your baby in to prevent skin sensitivities from fibres.

Newborns have the most sensitive skin conceivable, and everything that comes into contact with it might irritate it. It may be a difficult tag or the washing detergent.  That is why it is critical to wash all baby items before placing it on their sensitive skin.

In addition to cleaning all garments, new parents and those providing clothing presents to new parents must choose clothing items with care. Aside from being warm and comfy, it should also be breathable and feel wonderful against a baby’s skin. The following are some of the best fabrics for baby clothes.

Organic Cotton Baby Clothes

One of the best materials for baby clothes is organic cotton. Organic cotton is free of pesticides and other dangerous chemicals since it is derived from natural seeds. Farmers use less water since they often cultivate organic cotton in tropical climates. That offers it an advantage in terms of environmental responsibility. If your child has sensitive skin, you may want to consider buying baby clothes made of organic cotton from one of the many low-cost manufacturers available. In addition to keeping newborns warm and dry, organic cotton can be handed down from one generation to the next since it is more breathable and washes more easily.

Terrycloth Baby Clothes

Your baby’s skin is fragile, therefore you’ll want nothing but a soft towel to remove any extra water from it after a bath. Towels and robes have long been made from terrycloth because of its absorbency and plushness. With terrycloth towels, washcloths, and socks, you can ensure that your baby’s delicate skin is protected.

Viscous From Bamboo

Bamboo is a great material for making clothes for your baby. Viscose made from bamboo is naturally good for a baby’s skin because it wicks away moisture and doesn’t cause allergies. Viscose from bamboo also helps keep babies warm, dry, and free of smells, so it’s great for baby clothes. 

Fleece

Fleece is a fabric made from synthetic materials. It’s fuzzy, soft, warm, and lets air pass through. Fleece is great for kids to wear as outerwear because it keeps them warm and dry. Because of this, it is often used for things like pyjamas and jackets for baby clothes. 

As you’ve read, it’s important to take care of the clothes that will touch a baby’s skin. You can dress your baby in any of these safe and comfortable fabrics.