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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?

Weird Writing Habits

Every writer is different. Every writer has their own style, their own way of doing things. And every writer has their own little quirks and habits. Some of them are about comfort. Some are about finding ‘the muse’. Some are just because they are fun or pleasurable.

What are some of the strangest?

 

Standing

Write standing up

Although the abiding image of a writer is of someone frantically tapping away at a keyboard (or typewriter), sitting at a cluttered desk on a squeaky old chair, some of the most famous and well-loved literary legends actually chose to do their writing standing up. Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll, and Charles Dickens are just a few of the many who preferred and prefer to write in this way.

And it’s not a bad idea.

It may not help the mind particularly, but it certainly helps the body. Standing at a desk has been proven to reduce the risk of obesity, reduce the risk of type II diabetes (and other problems that relate to metabolism), reduce the chances of getting cancer, and generally offer a longer life. This could well be a writing habit to emulate.

 

Lying Down

Write lying down

It sounds like an uncomfortable prospect, but many writers have found that lying down focuses them and gives them an extra boost of creativity. Perfect for when writer’s block strikes. It may not be exactly possible to lie down and type (although technology moves in mysterious ways, so perhaps in years to come it will be the norm), but with a notepad and pencil, jotting down the bare bones of a story or article is something that perhaps should be given due consideration. Mark Twain was a proponent of writing whilst lying down, as were Edith Wharton and George Orwell. Woody Allen swears by the process to this day!

 

Hanging Around

Write upside down

If you thought writing lying down was a feat, what about writing whilst hanging upside down? It’s what best-selling author Dan Brown does (and no matter what you think of his writing, you have to admit, he’s done well). He says he does it because it allows him to completely relax, and in doing so his creativity is allowed to flow. The more he does it the more creative he feels, and the more he writes. Brown has a few little foibles that he can’t do without though. Another is that he always writes with an hourglass on his desk. When the hour is up, he gets up to do exercise. Which, when you think about it, is an entirely sensible thing to do.

 

Looking At A Wall

Write looking at a wall

A wall. A big, blank wall. No pictures, no photos, no notes. Nothing. Just plain and boring. It’s perfect. It may not be inspiring to look at, but when it comes to sparking creativity and keeping a writer in their seat (or on their feet, or in their bed, or whatever) for extended periods of time, having something that is entirely dull and blank straight ahead is a great idea. It means there are no distractions. Writing is a delicate balance, especially writing fiction, and any tiny distraction can stop the creative flow in its dainty tracks.

 

Being Naked

write naked

Yes indeed, some of the finest writers who have ever existed wrote in the nude. Why? Well, why not? But also they felt it was freeing and allowed for that all-important yet all too illusive creativity to strike. In the case of Victor Hugo, however, there was an entirely different reason for writing without clothes. Whenever he had a looming deadline, he told his valet to take all of his clothes away. The only way to get them back would be to hit his targets. It meant he had to write quicker because he was cold, and it also kept him in the house.

Writing Horror – Screaming In The Dark

It seems an odd thing to do, to write horror. When there are a wealth of genres out there, when I could be writing about perfect love or fantastic dragons or gun-toting cowboys, why choose to create the most terrifying, the most soul-shredding, the most unwelcome?

My answer is a simple one: because I like it. I like horror.

I like to read it, I like to watch it, I like to think about it, and I like to write it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t.

As to why I like it, that’s a more complicated question, with a different kind of answer.

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As a child, I was scared. A lot. Most of the time. Not that I wasn’t a happy child, with a normal family and normal surroundings and normal friends. I was. Perfectly normal. But I was also perfectly scared. There was a seeping, creeping horror that hovered around me, enveloped me, and at night I would scrunch my eyes shut and hide beneath the covers in the hope that whatever it was wouldn’t see me because I couldn’t see it.

And there was, as far I can tell, as far as I can remember, no reason for it. Nothing that particularly stands out as being that one specific moment in which something happened – something ghostly and ghoulish and downright petrifying – that haunted me for the rest of my days.

I was a normal girl, but a strange one.

Being alone was bad. I hated it. These days I crave a bit of solitude, but then, when that fear stole over me, I only wanted to be around people. It’s just that sometimes, there were no people to be around. And so I created some. I reached the age of twelve and simply decided that I needed constant, immediate access to someone.

But who? And how?

I started to go to bed and instead of cowering under the covers I moulded myself heroes and heroines, safe houses and refuges. I began to make up stories. These stories became my talisman, protecting me from the real evil by pretending about it. It seemed to me that nothing in the real world could possibly be as frightening as the world I was creating in my head, and so my heroes were slain, horribly. My heroines were kidnapped and tortured. My safe houses and refuges were pillaged by monsters and demons and ghosts.

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And because I’d made it all up, just me, by myself, it wasn’t so scary after all. I enjoyed it. And I began to write my stories down. I began to read other people’s stories. I began to watch the films. Because it was all safe. It was all made up.

I’ve been doing that ever since.

Just don’t ask me to read or watch any ‘true’ horror stories.

They keep me up at night.

If you would like me to write horror for you – or anything else – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Why Do You Get Your Ideas From?

Where do you get your ideas from?

It’s that question. The one that writers detest and interviewers love.

But why do we dislike answering that one so much? Or do we? Perhaps, now, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy; we’re told that we should hate it, that’s it’s anathema to our creativity. And therefore, when we hear it, we do hate it, it does feel like giving away too much. Even if we have an interesting response. Even if we’re quite sure that our readers would like to know the answer.

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I don’t mind it. If I’m honest, I quite like it. As a question it’s much better than being asked why I started writing (umm… I just did… I just gave it a go and quite liked it… er… something about school and an English project…) or why I write horror (I enjoy reading it, I enjoy writing it) because I never have proper answers for those ones. I always feel a bit of a fraud, a bit like I’m grasping for something – anything – to say just to sound interesting and intellectual.

At least with that question I can answer with either a piece of pure fabrication, or complete honesty. It simply depends on whether I can remember where the idea came from, and if I can whether it was an interesting occasion. Although, admittedly, even when telling the absolute truth my answer will vary from day to day, story to story to novel to flash fiction to poetry… Because that’s the beauty of it. Ideas come from everywhere and nowhere. They are incredible, intangible things that appear in a dream or a cloud or are gleaned from an overheard word or a misunderstood laugh. They are magical, existing in nothing, invisible and incomplete until they are written down and given form and meaning.

If I were asked where I got my idea for my current novel, I might say it was the main character, Jude, who came first. Just popped into my head. Or was it a dream? Did I see him on a train, or walking down the street? Perhaps I based him on someone I know, or someone I’d like to know, or someone I’d never want to know. Or I could say that it was the thought of murders that looked like accidents, and that that idea came from a newspaper, or I looked at a bus and wondered what it would be like… well, you know. It could even have been a song I heard on the radio. Maybe I didn’t quite catch the lyrics and made up my own, and maybe they led me to my first line, which then set the tone for the rest of the book.

A head full of ideas
A head full of ideas…

Say anything. When asked that question, say what you like. Because who is to say what is right and what is wrong when answering, when telling the person who put the question what they want to know?

Equally, who can describe an idea? Not me. They aren’t there, are they? They aren’t real. Except that they are, utterly and incontrovertibly real. Without them we’d be nothing. And not just writers, but scientists, artists, doctors, teachers, lawyers, children, adults, anyone and everyone. Think about it… There, you’ve just had an idea. Just like that.

Now what are you going to do with it?

If you need help, advice, or writing services, please contact me.

Al Fresco Writing

It’s that time of year again. It’s summer. The time when bees buzz (although sadly fewer every year), the flowers burst with colour, the smell of cut grass hovers in the air (fighting for space with the scent of cooking meat and burning coals), and children play outside long into the evening as the sun hangs around for a few extra precious hours.

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Summer. Full of long, cool drinks and hot, lazy days. If we’re lucky and the weather is kind to us, of course. Summer. Paddling pools and deckchairs, Pimms o’clock at silly o’clock, and that feeling of not wanting to do much at all because life, the world, and your particular spot in it is so wonderful.

Writers, however, can’t just stop doing their thing. As Eugene Ionesco said, “A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” And a vacation doesn’t have to be two weeks away somewhere foreign. A vacation for a writer (or any ‘workaholic’, come to that) can be as little as a day off. Or an evening off. Or an hour off.

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The thing with writers is, we don’t necessarily want a holiday (not without a notebook anyway). Or a day off. Or an evening off. It’s just that in the summer, with all that fresh air and warmth, all that outdoor joy, all that world out there, we might be tempted for a moment. That’s why al fresco writing is so fantastic. Grab that notebook, that laptop, that tablet, find a comfortable chair with a little shade or a picnic table, or a sun lounger for that matter, sit back (drink nearby), and relax… Then get writing!

Or… if you would like me to do it for you… get in touch!

My Writing Place: The Deep, Dark Woods

I like writing about all sorts of things; flash fiction, poetry, short stories, novels… And these pieces of writing are in various genres; horror, romance, children’s, literary fiction, mystery… With over one hundred different projects, either completed or in process, I like to think that I’ve managed not to repeat myself when it comes to plot and characters.

The Deep Dark Woods

I try not to anyway.

But there is one thing that I do mention a lot, and I’m completely aware of it. It’s not always intentional (although at times it is integral to the plot), but whether I mean it to be there at the start of a story or not, ‘the woods’ often pops up.

What do I mean? I mean actual, literal woods. Deep, dark places full of trees and animals and scary things. Or peaceful places full of beauty and clearings of dappled sunlight and twinkling, tinkling streams that lead on to adventure.

I love to read about them. When I was younger, The Faraway Tree was one of my all time favourites, and the two poems that are stuck on the wall by my writing desk are “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare, and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

Trees in the deep dark woods

I love to write about them too. Sometimes my stories are set within the trees. My recently completed novel, a children’s horror entitled The Waldgeist of Wanderal Woods, focuses the entire story in the magical world below a lush, green, leafy canopy. Another of my short stories is called “The Woods Today”, and is about a rather nasty teddy bears picnic. And another, “Miles To Go” details the shock and confusion of a man who awakes naked in a snowy wood.

Equally, some of my stories just touch on the woods. In “Fairy Lights” the protagonists camp by the edge of a wood, not daring to enter. “One Man and His Dog” has the eponymous man looking towards the woods, but eventually going in the other direction. “Careful of the Castle” involves a woman sitting on a hot, sandy beach; but she wishes she was wandering through the shaded woods of her home town.

Fairy Lights

There is something so fascinating, so elemental, so mysterious and exciting about woods, inside or out, that I find myself drawn to them. Of course, it helps that I’ve lived near one for almost all of my life. Or rather, near a few of them. The very first house I can remember backed onto woodland. I have a distinct memory of playing in the garden, sitting on a swing that my dad made and which hung from a big old apple tree, and staring, hard, hard, harder, over the back fence and into the woods. I wanted to see something move. I never did, unless wind-waving leaves counted.

A few years later we moved, and this time the garden was bigger, and at the bottom of this one was a large meadow on which horses roamed. That was nice. That was fine. But it was what was beyond the meadow, just on the horizon, that delighted me – a patch of trees that I was happy to call a wood. I even climbed over the back fence on a few occasions and ran across the field, dodging manure, to reach the trees. But fear of what (or whom?) I would find forced my back home. I never did go in.

The house after that, the one in which I spent my teenage years, had an even bigger garden, and this time woods came with the land. Just a little bit, but my excitement was at intense proportions, and I spent a lot of time at the bottom of the garden, just inside the woodland, daring myself to go further.

The exit of the deep, dark woods...
The exit of the deep, dark woods…

I still dare myself. My parents still live in the house. Every time I visit, I think about it. Maybe one day I’ll venture in.

When I married, we moved to a pretty little end of terrace in a village. And yes, right outside our front door, was a patch of woodland. It was beautiful, but we outgrew the house and had to move. I now live in an old cottage in the countryside and all around me is farmland. But just down the road are the woods. The real deep, dark woods.

Will I go in? Or will I leave it up to my intrepid characters, as I usually do? Maybe that’s why I write about the places so much – my stories let me do the one thing I’ve always wanted to do, but been afraid to actually go through with.

One day, though. One day…

What Is A Ghost Writer?

I am a ghost writer. And it’s not actually as spooky as it sounds (although, to be fair, my favourite genre is horror).

What Is A Ghost Writer

It’s one of many services that I provide as a professional freelancer, but what exactly does it mean, and how could it help you?

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Ghost writing is the name given to the act of writing articles, blog posts, social media posts, books, stories, or anything else which is to be published under someone else’s name. I’ve produced hundreds of ghost written blog posts for various clients – many on an ongoing monthly basis – and it is their name that is seen when any reader clicks on the author link. Once I’ve written the piece (and, more often than not, posted it using the log in details I have been given), any ownership I might have had is gone; it all belongs to the site owner.

I have also ghost written a number of novels, as well as writing my own. One of these is about to be published, but it won’t be my name on the cover – it will be my client’s.

So what are the advantages to you of hiring a freelance ghost writer?

 

Your Time

Your time is important

Running a business is time consuming – there are many day to day elements that need to be considered and dealt with, and writing a regular blog might not be high up on the list, even though it is incredibly important. Hiring a ghost writer means that your web rankings can grow but you don’t have to lose your own precious time making it happen.

Once someone else is running your blog, the pressure is off you.

 

 

 

You are in control

You Are In Control

Even though someone else is writing the content for you, you as the client are entirely in control of what that content is and how it is used. The writer puts it together for you, but you are the one who uses it to your advantage.  This can be cost effective if you choose to re-use the blog post or article in a newsletter or brochure, for example.

 

 

Ability

Not everyone has the same skills

Your skills lie in your business – whatever the niche, service or product you are selling, that’s where your talent can be found. You might not necessarily also have the talent to craft an interesting, readable, thought provoking, shareable blog post as well. A ghost writer will.

And when it comes to novels and stories, the same is true – you the client could have the most wonderful plot, fully formed characters, but trying to put them all together might prove difficult for you if writing isn’t your ‘thing’. Or you simply might not have the time to sit down and craft an entire novel.A ghost writer is the perfect solution.

 

If you feel that a ghost writer would be the ideal way to grow your blog and website, to publish an article, or to write that novel you’ve always known you’ve got in you, then please get in touch.

Can A Writer Ever Really Retire?

Perhaps the question should actually be: would a writer ever want to retire?

Retirement

I don’t know. Currently, I can’t imagine ever not writing. What would I do with myself? Even if I’m not writing for clients (a rare event, granted, but sometimes my evening and weekends allow a little me time), I’m writing for myself. Novels, short stories, the occasional poem, even the odd blog post now and then (yes, it happens!)… It’s what I love to do the most.

Writing is a strange thing. As the old saying goes, even when a writer isn’t actually writing, they’re thinking about writing. They want to be writing.

So is there really any such things as a former writer? Someone who used to write for a living and now just doesn’t. And if these people do exist, how have they filled the void that used to be all about the words? Writing is, for many, a part of themselves. It’s not just a job, it’s a calling. And to give that up for something else, or to give that up for nothing at all, it just doesn’t seem possible.

Stephen_King,_Comicon

One of my favourite authors, Stephen King, retired once. Guess what he did during his retirement from writing? He wrote. And then he was published. And then he wasn’t retired anymore (not that he ever had been, in my opinion).  He just couldn’t help himself, and I, for one, am grateful for that.

But then, what about Shakespeare? In 1613 he just stopped. No more plays, no more sonnets. Of course, for some this is more proof of the astonishing, fascinating, and almost believable conspiracy theory that Shakespeare never actually existed in the first place (more on that in a later blog).

Charles Dickens carried out what can only be described as a ‘farewell tour’, travelling the country and reading his last novel, Our Mutual Friend. Only it wasn’t his last novel because when he died in 1870, he was halfway through writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Strangely, and rather wonderfully, this novel (half novel) was actually published in its unfinished state.

Drood_serial_cover

Let me know – could you retire? Would you retire? Do you know someone who has and are they any happier for it? Or do they still dip their pens into the ink every now and then when they think no one is looking? I am not sure that someone who used to write would be able to wake up one day and say, “No more. Today is the day I will not type a single word. And I never will again either.”

And what about other careers – are any of them really so easy to step away from? Contact me or leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Award-Winning Journalist Gives Prize Money to Charity

Moira Kerr is something quite special, not only in terms of her writing, but in terms of her humanity as well. The freelance journalist who hails from Oban won both the feature writer of the year award (this was thanks to three articles written for the Daily Record) and journalist of the year award for her diverse portfolio of articles, news reports, and features at the Highlands and Islands Media Awards.

Oban RNLI received a donation
Oban RNLI received a donation

Moira said that she appreciated the awards, and was excited to receive them – but that it was all down to her contacts, kept in her Smartphone, who kept her up to date with everything that was happening all across the Highlands and Islands. She called these contacts her ‘phone-a-friends’, which caused a laugh, but which is also absolutely true!In her spare time, Moira is a volunteer fundraising secretary for the Oban RNLI Lifeboat, and so she decided to donate the majority of her £500 prize money to that cause which is clearly so dear to her heart. She gave away £300, and it went towards buying the volunteers at the Lifeboat some Wellington boots which, they say, were much needed and very happily and gratefully received.

If you need any freelance articles, news stories, or blogging done, please contact me; I’m happy to help.

Writer for Hire

RatesRates

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

Contact MeContact Me

Get in touch

 

GET IN TOUCH

 

Email

lisamarie20010@gmail.com

Whatsapp

07710 611592

My ServicesMy Services

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.

Copy Editing & Proofreading

Have you written something that needs that extra level of checking? With my years of experience I can proofread or copy edit your work so that it’s the best it can be.

Social Media Management & Digital Marketing

Getting your digital marketing and social media strategy right is essential. I can provide and implement a social media marketing plan that works for you. Contact me to find out more.

About MeAbout Me

I'm a content writer

Excellent work by Lisamarie, on time, great quality and constant communication. Would not hesitate to recommend and in fact use again as soon as opportunity arises.

Andreas K
Andreas K

Lisamarie was great to work with - she did a fantastic job that completely met the brief and was delivered before the deadline.

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Helena W

Quick and brilliant, nailed the brief! Will work with her all the time 🙂

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Roshni S

Fantastic work A++++

Rob C
Rob C

It was a pleasure to work with Lisamarie, she adjusted to our workflow and process with ease and completed work quickly and effectively.

Geoff J
Geoff J

Lisamarie is a very good writer and is very easy to work with. She reacted well to my guidance and provided me with content I'm very happy to use. I look forward to working with her again soon.

Ola F
Ola F

Great work from Lisamarie, articles are exactly what we wanted

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Matthew E

Brilliant work from Lisamarie. I would definitely retain her again and recommend her to others.

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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!

Creams Socials

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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.