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Benefits of a Book Club

Joining a book club is one of the most effective ways to understand what readers really desire and expect from a novelist. Though, as writers, we often feel guilty for taking time away from our writing. The easiest way to solve this is to make yourself accountable by joining a book club and committing to being an active participant.

I’m a novelist who writes sapphic blended romance novels. I noticed a major improvement in my own writing when I joined my book club.

book club

You’ll gain much as a book club member.

You’ll gain a three dimensional perspective on what is most important in a book. Some of the greatest benefits and writing lessons I’ve learned have come directly from my book club meetings.

Join a Book Club to Read More

To be a better writer, read more. Writers have doled out this advice to aspiring novelists forever. A well-read writer is someone who is better equipped to churn out words that matter to a story. The more writers read, the more they will understand the subtle nuances that get readers turning pages. So, get your reading glasses ready, and hone your skills in other areas.

Join a Book Club to Read Stuff You Never Would’ve Read

You’ll read the good and the bad. Everyone has a different opinion on what creates that urge to flip to the next page when their eyes are tired but their curiosity says full steam ahead. You’ll be exposed to books that will take you on journeys you never imagined traveling. You’ll read outside your comfort zone, reach higher into the nebulous world of fantasy perhaps, the intoxicating rush of a heated romance, and turn onto the fast lane of action. This will widen your perspective and grant you a front-row seat to a whole new world of literature.

Join a Book Club to Gain Insight into the Minds of Readers

We’ve all said at one point, “Gosh I’d love to be a fly on the wall right about now.” Well, as a writer, there is no greater gift of insight than that of gaining access to the inner workings of the reader’s mind as she pours over words crafted by a fellow novelist. To understand what readers think about characters, motives, themes, plots, is to understand what makes a great book a great book. What better clarity can a writer possess?

A book club sits you on center stage in front of your readers. The view is spectacular and eye-opening.

Wishing you all the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. Let’s keep the conversation flowing… has joining a book club helped you become a better writer?

vision board

Succeed with a Vision Board

A vision board is a visual representation

It’s a visual representation of things and circumstances we want to attract. I look at vision boards as a playground for my dreams. I have one hanging in my dining room so I can’t miss it. Mine consists of a white dry erase board filled with inspiring quotes, messages of gratitude, as well as the all important goals laid out on colorful paper. I pass by my vision board often, and I make a point to stop and reflect on it at least once a day. If I see my dreams and all that I have to be grateful for so far, then I am more apt to take action.

A vision board acts as a system

I’m all about systems. Although, I’d classify myself as a creative person, I’m tactical in my approach. Without a system, I’d be spinning in circles with an out-of-control mind racing from one thing to another. A vision board helps me to achieve my dreams in a logical, practical fun way.

A vision board is a road map

I would not be able to succeed at running a publishing company, maintaining an active blog, writing lesbian romance novels, holding down a full-time marketing job, and enjoying quiet moments with my family if I didn’t have some sort of road map to help me sort out the steps. When laid out in front of me, the necessary action steps become apparent. I  know that to get from point A to point B on my road map, I need to do XYZ.

vision boardI’m a visual person. I need to see things clearly to understand them, to absorb them, to act on them. Many things are tossed into my path on a daily basis. Without the help of my vision board, these things could easily swallow me up whole and block me from enjoying a fine balance while achieving my dreams.

I’d love to hear from you… Do you use a vision board?

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

 


opportunity

Opportunity Is Everywhere

Opportunity exists all around us.

To see opportunity, we must open our eyes and trust our instincts.

I once had an opportunity handed to me on a silver platter. I lived in Rhode Island and worked as a hair stylist at an elite salon and spa. Then one day, a good friend walked in and told me her daughter’s stylist suddenly passed away at the age of forty and left a hair salon behind. Her spouse wanted to offer it to someone worthy in the hopes of honoring his wife’s hard work. That salon was offered to me. I passed it up. You know why? I was afraid I’d fail and never live up to the success of my current job. Well, guess what happened? Not more than six months later, I lost my great job because the elite salon and spa was sold. If I had taken the gift, I wouldn’t have been left vulnerable and jobless. I let fear rule and it won.

opportunityA missed opportunity can lead to regret.

I regretted not taking advantage of that gift. It would have offered me a great investment opportunity as I pursued my writing career. I let fear get in my way. I think many of us do that. Ten years wiser, if someone offered to hand me a fully-functioning salon, I’d certainly stomp on any fears in a heartbeat;)

Luck has little to do with gained success from an opportunity.

When opportunity knocks, we must be prepared for it. Many people refer to those who seem to have it all as lucky. Those who seem to have it all are not lucky. They are prepared. They’ve chosen to prep for those moments when opportunities filter into their lives. I’ve had several people say to me, “You are so lucky to have your lesbian novels out there and being read my so many.” I disagree completely. My lesbian romance novels are out there and being read not because I’m lucky, but because I’ve worked hard to prepare myself and my novels for this opportunity.

I challenge you to look beyond the idea of luck as the reason for success. Rely on your natural gifts and do the work to refine them, and you’ll surely experience all the success you’ve ever dreamed possible.

Here’s my question to you: What actions do you consistently take to prepare yourself for opportunity?

Wishing you all the best,
Suzie Carr, novelist

freewrite

How to get Creative through Freewriting

Freewriting is a great way to spark your creativity. The benefits are numerous.  When I write my lesbian romance novels, I freewrite every time. I do this to clear my mind of clutter and to purposely break the rules. By doing so, my characters come alive and let their voices be heard, my narrative voice comes out of hiding, and the ideas flow. This sets me up for a productive writing session. I set a goal, achieve said goal, and get busy doing what I love, writing my lesbian romance books.

Here are 3 reasons you should freewrite:

 

1. Freewrite to express yourself without rules

Rules and restrictions limit our creativity. When we fret over whether a verb agrees with its subject or whether a sentence is too passive versus active, we unplug the power of imagination. Writing is all about unleashing what’s deep in our minds. When we bind to rules, those powerful emotions that bring a string of words to life suffocate. Set yourself free by eliminating all judgment until you’ve gotten the words out where they belong. The only rule to follow when you freewrite is to set a goal of either time (10 minutes is highly recommended) or space (1-2 pages).

2. Freewrite to remove anxiety and pressure

When I first started writing books, I ran into major writer’s block. I would sit and stare at the white space and panic. I’d try to type a sentence and couldn’t even think of a single word. The pressure of filling white space with a saleable story can kill an idea before it even has time to live. To avoid this, temporarily rethink the purpose of this white space as a safe place where you can jot down any thought that pops into mind. The goal is to remove all pressure by clearing the mind of clutter and ultimately getting the words to flow.

freewrite

3. Freewrite to find your voice

Every writer has a style, but many struggle to discover it. When we freewrite we learn to find our unique style. By freeing our thoughts to spill out onto the screen, we are in essence allowing our opinions and true voice to come through. As writers, when we find our voices, we bring our writing to a whole new level. We uncover feelings we didn’t even know existed.

Whenever I sit down to write my novels, I always freewrite.

Freewriting puts me in a magical place where I set myself free to explore fantasy, reality, and everything in between. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed how freeing it can be.

Wishing you all the best,
Suzie Carr, Novelist

P.S. Let’s keep the ball rolling here… chime in if you will… Do you freewrite, and if so, how has it helped in your writing?