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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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About MeAbout Me

I'm a content writer

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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 

MY STORY

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The Healing Power of Nature: Reconnecting with the Earth for Wellness

In our fast-paced modern lives, filled with technology and constant distractions, it’s easy to lose touch with the healing and grounding power of nature. However, reconnecting with the Earth can offer profound benefits for our overall well-being. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving mood and enhancing physical health, the great outdoors provides a natural prescription for wellness.

The Call of the Outdoors: A Natural Prescription for Wellbeing

When we immerse ourselves in nature, we tap into something primal within us. The gentle rustle of leaves, the soothing sound of a flowing river, and the sight of a breathtaking sunset all have a profound impact on our senses. Nature beckons us to slow down, breathe deeply, and embrace the present moment.

The Science Behind Nature’s Healing Effects

Research has shown that spending time in nature has a multitude of positive effects on our mental and physical well-being. Being in natural environments can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and boost our immune system. Studies also indicate that exposure to nature can improve cognitive function, increase creativity, and enhance overall happiness.

Ecotherapy: Nature as a Therapeutic Tool

Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy or green therapy, is an emerging field that utilizes the healing power of nature for therapeutic purposes. From nature walks and gardening to wilderness adventures and animal-assisted therapy, ecotherapy offers various modalities to support mental health, personal growth, and emotional healing.

Forest Bathing: Immerse Yourself in the Healing Woods

Forest bathing, a practice originating from Japan, involves immersing oneself in a forest environment and engaging in mindfulness and sensory awareness. By simply being present in nature and observing its beauty, we can experience profound relaxation, improved mood, and a sense of rejuvenation.

The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise: Boosting Physical and Mental Health

Exercising outdoors provides a double dose of wellness benefits. Whether it’s hiking, biking, jogging, or practicing yoga in a park, outdoor physical activity not only improves cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility but also enhances mental well-being by reducing anxiety and depression and increasing self-esteem.

Gardening Therapy: Cultivating Wellness in Your Backyard

Gardening is a therapeutic activity that allows us to connect with the earth, nurture living things, and witness the beauty of growth and renewal. It provides a sense of accomplishment, relieves stress, and promotes relaxation. Whether you have a spacious garden or a small balcony, cultivating plants can be a rewarding and healing experience.

Nature’s Soothing Soundscapes: The Impact of Natural Sounds

The gentle sounds of nature, such as chirping birds, rustling leaves, and babbling brooks, have a profound effect on our nervous system. Listening to these natural sounds can induce relaxation, improve focus, and promote better sleep. Incorporating recordings of nature sounds or visiting natural environments can help create a tranquil atmosphere in our busy lives.

The Role of Biophilia: Humans’ Innate Connection with Nature

Biophilia, the concept introduced by biologist Edward O. Wilson, suggests that humans possess an innate affinity for nature. We are naturally drawn to elements such as greenery, water, and natural light. By consciously incorporating biophilic design principles into our homes, workplaces, and public spaces, we can enhance our well-being and foster a deeper connection with the natural world.

Eco-Conscious Travel: Exploring Sustainable Destinations

When embarking on travel adventures, consider exploring destinations that prioritize sustainability and environmental conservation. Eco-conscious travel allows us to experience the beauty of nature while supporting local communities and preserving natural habitats for generations to come.

Choosing the Perfect Dining Table: A Guide

The dining table is the centerpiece of any dining room or kitchen, and it plays a crucial role in your home decor. It’s where family and friends gather to share meals, catch up on the day, and make memories. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the perfect dining table. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips to help you make the right choice.

Consider Your Space

The first thing to consider when choosing a dining table is your space. Measure your dining room or kitchen to determine the size of the table that will fit comfortably. You don’t want a table that is too big or too small for your room. Also, consider the shape of your space. A rectangular table works best in a rectangular room, while a round or oval table is better for a square room.

perfect dining table

Photo by Mike Little

Think About Your Needs

Next, think about your needs. How many people will be using the table regularly? Do you need a table with leaves that can expand for larger gatherings? Do you want a formal or casual style? Do you need a table that can double as a workspace? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your choices.

Choose the Right Material

Dining tables come in a variety of materials, including wood, glass, metal, and composite. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Wood is durable and timeless, but it can be heavy and require regular maintenance. Glass is sleek and modern, but it can show fingerprints and scratches. Metal is sturdy and easy to clean, but it can be cold and noisy. Composite materials like MDF and laminate are affordable and low-maintenance, but they may not have the same quality as natural materials.

Consider Your Style

Your perfect dining table should reflect your personal style and complement the rest of your home decor. If you prefer a traditional style, a wooden table with ornate details may be the perfect choice. If you prefer a modern style, a glass or metal table with clean lines may be more your style. Consider the colors and textures in your home and choose a table that fits in with your overall aesthetic.

Conclusion

Choosing the perfect dining table may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By considering your space, needs, material preferences, and style, you can find a table that will be both functional and beautiful in your home. Whether you prefer a classic wooden table or a sleek glass one, the right dining table will be a centerpiece of your home for years to come.

The Green Man: A Foliage-Covered Mystery

Have you ever seen a figure with leaves, vines, or branches sprouting from his mouth, nose, or ears? If yes, you might have stumbled upon the Green Man, a mythical being whose roots can be traced back to pre-Christian times.

green man

Origins

The Green Man is a pagan symbol that represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. He is often associated with spring and the renewal of nature. In the Middle Ages, this symbol became intertwined with Christian iconography and was depicted in churches and cathedrals across Europe.

Evolution

Throughout the centuries, this figure has taken on many different forms. In some cultures, he is a wild, untamed creature, while in others, he is a gentle, nurturing spirit. In medieval Europe, he was often depicted as a foliate head or a human face surrounded by foliage.

Symbolism

The Green Man is a complex symbol that can represent many different things. In some cultures, he is a fertility god, while in others, he is a symbol of the wild and untamed natural world. In Christian iconography, he is often associated with the resurrection of Christ and the renewal of the spirit.

Popular Culture

In recent years, the Green Man has experienced a resurgence in popular culture. He has been featured in everything from literature to music to television shows. Perhaps the most famous representation of Green Men is in the hit television show Game of Thrones, where he is depicted as a mysterious figure who lives beyond the Wall.

The Mystery of the Green Man

Despite his prevalence in popular culture, the origins and meaning of the Green Man remain shrouded in mystery. Some believe that he represents the ancient Celtic god Cernunnos, while others see him as a symbol of the natural world and our connection to it.

Conclusion

This figure is a fascinating and enigmatic figure whose origins stretch back thousands of years. Whether he represents the cycle of life, the untamed wild, or something else entirely, one thing is certain: the Green Man will continue to captivate and intrigue us for generations to come.

Relaxing at Home: A Guide to Unwinding and Recharging

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s essential to take some time to relax and recharge. However, with our hectic schedules, finding the time to unwind can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t need to leave your house to get some much-needed relaxation. Here are some tips for relaxing at home.

relaxing at home

Photo by Chait Goli

Create a Soothing Atmosphere

The first step in relaxing at home is creating a soothing atmosphere. Dim the lights, light some candles, and play some relaxing music. You can also diffuse essential oils like lavender, which are known for their calming properties.

Get Cosy

There’s no better way to relax than getting cosy. Put on some comfortable clothes, grab a blanket, and snuggle up on the couch. If you have a fireplace, light a fire and bask in its warmth.

Indulge in Your Favourite Activity

What’s your favourite way to unwind? Whether it’s reading, watching a movie, or taking a bath, indulge in your favorite activity. You can even combine activities, like taking a bubble bath while watching your favorite show.

Disconnect from Technology

Technology has made our lives more convenient, but it can also be a source of stress. Disconnect from technology by turning off your phone, computer, and TV. Instead, try meditating, journaling, or practicing yoga.

Treat Yourself

When was the last time you pampered yourself? Treat yourself to a spa day at home. Take a long bath, apply a face mask, and give yourself a manicure. You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

Spending time with loved ones is an excellent way to relax at home. Whether it’s having a game night or cooking dinner together, spending quality time with the people you care about can help you unwind and recharge.

Conclusion

Relaxing at home is essential for your mental and physical well-being. With these tips, you can create a soothing atmosphere, indulge in your favorite activity, disconnect from technology, treat yourself, and spend time with loved ones. So, the next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take some time to relax at home. Your mind and body will thank you.

Eat More Cheese: It’s The Perfect Food

If you’re a cheese lover, you’ll know that there’s nothing quite like a good slice of cheese. Whether it’s a classic cheddar, a creamy brie, or a tangy blue, there’s a cheese out there for everyone. But did you know that eating more cheese can actually be good for you? That’s right; it’s time to embrace your cheese addiction and indulge in the satisfying taste of cheese.

eat more cheese

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

The Benefits of Cheese: It’s Not Just Delicious, It’s Nutritious Too

Before we get into the cheesy goodness, let’s talk about why cheese is actually good for you. Cheese is a great source of calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It’s also high in protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. Plus, cheese is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.

So, if you’re looking for a healthy snack that will also satisfy your cravings, cheese is the perfect choice. And if you needed any more convincing, research has shown that cheese can actually help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

How to Eat More Cheese: Embrace the Cheesy Goodness

Now that you know why cheese is good for you, it’s time to start eating more of it. Here are some tips to help you embrace the cheesy goodness:

  1. Experiment with different types of cheese: There are so many different types of cheese out there, from mild to sharp, soft to hard. Try something new and see what you like.
  2. Pair cheese with other foods: Cheese pairs well with a variety of foods, from crackers and bread to fruit and nuts. Try different combinations and find your favorite.
  3. Make cheese the star of the show: Cheese can be the main ingredient in many dishes, from pizza and pasta to sandwiches and burgers.
  4. Don’t be afraid to indulge: Cheese is a delicious treat, so don’t be afraid to indulge every once in a while. Just make sure to balance it out with healthy foods too.

Photo by Ray Piedra

The Bottom Line: Eat More Cheese and Embrace Your Cheese Addiction

In conclusion, cheese is not only delicious, but it’s also nutritious. So, if you’re a cheese lover, there’s no need to feel guilty about your addiction. Embrace the cheesy goodness and experiment with different types of cheese, pairings, and recipes. And remember, everything is better with cheese – even a bad day. So, go ahead and eat more cheese because life is too short not to enjoy cheese, the more perfect food.

Breathe Easy: The Benefits of Breathing in Fresh Air

Breathing fresh air is one of the most important things we can do for our health and wellbeing. It is a simple yet powerful way to improve our quality of life. In this blog post, we will explore the many benefits of fresh air and how it can help us feel our best.

benefits of breathing in fresh air

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

Boosts Oxygen Levels and Improves Respiratory Health

Fresh air is essential for our respiratory health as it contains high levels of oxygen. Breathing in fresh air can help increase the amount of oxygen in our bodies, which is necessary for our cells to function properly. This can help improve our respiratory health and prevent issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory illnesses.

Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Spending time in nature and breathing in fresh air has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Studies have found that people who spend time in nature have lower levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress. This can help us feel more relaxed, calm, and centered.

Improves Cognitive Function and Brain Health

Fresh air can also help improve cognitive function and brain health. Studies have found that people who spend time outdoors and breathe in fresh air have better memory, concentration, and creativity. This is because fresh air can help increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, which is necessary for optimal brain function.

Boosts Immune System Function

Breathing in fresh air can help boost our immune system function by increasing the number of white blood cells in our bodies. This can help us fight off illnesses and infections more effectively. Fresh air can also help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with many chronic health conditions.

Improves Sleep Quality

Fresh air can also help improve our sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. When we breathe in fresh air, we can feel more relaxed and calm, which can help us fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply. This can lead to better overall health and well-being.

Promotes Physical Activity and Weight Loss

Fresh air is also essential for physical activity and weight loss. When we breathe in fresh air, we can feel more energized and motivated to move our bodies. This can help us engage in physical activity such as walking, hiking, or running, which can help us burn calories and lose weight. Regular physical activity can also help improve our overall health and reduce our risk of chronic diseases.

In conclusion, breathing in fresh air has many benefits for our health and well-being. From improving respiratory health to reducing stress and anxiety, boosting cognitive function and immune system function, promoting physical activity and weight loss, and improving sleep quality, the benefits of fresh air are numerous. So, make sure to take the time to breathe in fresh air every day and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.

Get Ready to Scream for Ice Cream with Creams Cafe and SCREAM VI

This March, everybody’s favourite destination for truly decadent desserts, Creams Cafe, is partnering with the release of SCREAM VI hitting UK cinemas on 8th March, Creams has created a frighteningly good limited-edition dessert, available from 1st – 31st March.

The chilling new SCREAM VI Sundae is a treat that’s not to be missed. This creepy concoction features creamy vanilla soft serve and coconut gelato, served with terrifyingly tasty blood-red strawberry sauce and a Creams Cafe signature wafer for the finishing flourish. Whether you’re a horror fan looking for the perfect pre-cinema treat or just a lover of the nation’s favourite dessert brand, don’t be afraid to head to Creams to give this petrifying pudding a try.

creams cafe

Available nationwide from 1st – 31st March, head to your nearest Creams to snap up this limited-edition treat for £8.95…but only if you dare. The Scream VI Sundae will also be available via delivery with Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and Just Eat.

As an extra special spooky surprise, Creams will be offering someone the chance to win a truly one-of-a-kind, money-can’t-buy experience. One lucky individual will win an exclusive screening of SCREAM VI with up to 23 friends of their choosing in a totally private cinema. As if that wasn’t wow factor enough, the winner will also be given a £250 Creams Cafe voucher, so they can order whatever sweet treats their hearts desire. Keep your eyes peeled across the Creams Cafe Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok channels from 1st March for full details on how to be in with a chance of winning.

A SCREAM VI Sundae at Creams followed by a frightfully fantastic screening of SCREAM VI – name a cooler combination?

Creams Cafe – the place where I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

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F: @creamscafeuk <http://www.facebook.com/creamscafeuk>

How To Make Waxing Less Painful

Waxing is a popular way to remove unwanted body hair, but it does have its downsides, and one of the worst is that it’s painful. Of course it is; you’re adding hot wax to your skin and then ripping it away, taking the hair underneath with it! Yet it’s so effective, so many people just suffer through the pain. The good news is that you can make waxing less painful; here are some of the ideas you can try.

Use A Numbing Cream

One way you can make waxing less painful is to use a numbing cream – read the labels and check that it will do what you want it do to and ideally it should contain lidocaine or something similar. Also, before applying read the directions fully – the last thing you want is to make a mistake right at the start.

The usual way to use numbing cream is to apply it to the area you’re going to wax and then wait for it to take effect, which might be a few minutes. Make sure you wear gloves when you’re applying it as otherwise your hands are going to go numb, and although the cream will make waxing less painful, you won’t be able to do much else besides wait for the anaesthetic to wear off and give you the feeling back in your hands!

Use A Cold Compress

Although using a cold compress won’t make the process itself less painful, it will help afterwards. Applying a cold compress to your freshly waxed skin will make waxing less painful overall – it will soothe the affected area and reduce the swelling.

All you have to do is take a clean cloth or flannel and soak it in cold water. Wring it out and then apply it to the irritated area. Most of the time, the pain will immediately lessen and ultimately disappear altogether. Remember, though, that a cold compress should only be used for a short amount of time, otherwise you might damage your skin. And as ever, if the pain persists or the skin becomes more irritated and inflamed, the best thing you can do is see a doctor.

Go To An Expert

One of the main reasons why waxing can hurt so much is because you’re doing it yourself. Unless you actually are an expert who does this for a living, it’s unlikely you’ll have the experience to do it in a way that causes the least pain. Because of this, another way to make waxing less painful is to go to an expert.

They will be quick, efficient, and they’ll do their utmost to make the entire experience a pleasant one (or at least not a horrible one). I’ve tried a few different experts, and the best experience I had was at Reynolds Retreat in Borough Green – but there are sure to be a variety of experts to choose from no matter where you happen to live.

What Are The Benefits Of Staying Hydrated?

Staying hydrated is an important part of a healthy lifestyle that is sometimes overlooked. As we get older, it becomes more and more important. Adults over 60 are more likely to get dehydrated for a number of reasons, such as a natural decrease in thirst and changes in the way their bodies work. Also, older people are more likely to take diuretics and other drugs that make the body lose fluid. Read on for some of the benefits of staying hydrated to help you get the most out of your body.

Enhanced Brain Performance

Mild dehydration can affect your memory, mood, ability to focus, and speed of reaction. Adding a few glasses of water to your daily routine can help you think more clearly, calm your emotions, and even get rid of the signs of worry. This is especially important for older people, who are more likely to get dehydrated and have trouble thinking.

Digestive Balance

For digestion to work well, your body needs water. If you don’t get enough, you might have bowel movements that aren’t regular, gas, bloating, heartburn, and other pains. Taking in more fluids might help you get back on your feet. It breaks down the soluble fibre in your food, which helps keep your digestion running smoothly. Mineral water is especially good, and you should look for kinds that are high in sodium and magnesium.

More Energy

Dehydration can slow down blood flow and cut off oxygen to the brain. If you don’t drink enough water, your heart may have to work harder to move oxygen around your body. All of that wasted energy could make you feel tired, slow, and unable to concentrate. You can stay hydrated and have more energy throughout the day by simply drinking more water.

Weight Loss and Weight Control

Because it makes you feel full, water helps keep you from reaching for unhealthy snacks when you’re in between meals. As an added bonus, it can aid with weight loss. Drinking more water before meals and staying hydrated is associated with significant reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and body composition in a study of overweight women.

About 60 percent of your body weight is made up of water, making it the single most significant chemical component of your body. You can’t go very long without drinking water. Every single one of your body’s cells, tissues, and organs relies on water to function properly, which is why staying hydrated is so crucial.

How To Take Care Of Your Team Better

When you expand your company and hire new employees, you also have responsibility for their well-being, so you need to take care of your team in the best way possible. Employee happiness, morale, and motivation are crucial to running a successful business and doing the right thing by your staff. To build a successful business, it’s essential to reward the hard work of your employees. Workers of all types yearn to be a part of forward-thinking companies that make their employees’ happiness a central aspect of their business plans.

Putting in the effort now will pay off in the long run, and with the time and money it takes to replace departing employees, it should be a priority. But where do you even begin if you’re brand new at managing people and you want to make sure they’re happy and healthy? Read on to find out.

Be Serious About Mental Health

Mental health, long ignored, is now receiving the respect it deserves, and the national debate about it has become much more open; thus, businesses need to be on the same page. Because of the prevalence of work-related stress, anxiety, and depression, it is crucial that workers receive the training and assistance they need to prevent minor events from becoming major ones and to encourage them to proactively monitor and manage their own stress levels.

Consider the stress levels of your employees and promote healthy work-life balance by facilitating things like outdoor activities, lunch breaks away from workstations, after-work social gatherings, and so on. It’s also a good idea for businesses to invest in providing their employees with specialised training in mental health support to take care of your team.

Think About Physical Health

Naturally, the other half of the equation is taking care of employees’ physical needs. Health and safety regulations and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be properly adhered to at all times in any workplace that has machinery or a warehouse. In an office setting, you might not expect to encounter many threats, but spending eight hours a day in one place poses serious health concerns.

In order to ensure that workers are appropriately configuring and using the technology on their workstations, it is important to promote activities such as walking meetings, regular screen breaks, and training. Regular eye exams, reminders to drink water and get up and move around every half an hour or so, and other such measures should be taken.

Offer Flexible Working

In a project-based work setting, the old work ethic of presenteeism needs to be replaced with a new one. Flexible work schedules are becoming the norm in most companies in order to compete for top talent and keep employees satisfied.

Work can fit a little better around other responsibilities and passions if workers are given the flexibility to choose their own working hours, the ability to work from home when feasible, and the freedom to take different types of lunch breaks. In most cases, everyone benefits from a fair system that provides for some leeway in decision-making. This improves employee engagement, loyalty, and productivity and helps you take care of your team.