When Writer’s Block Strikes

And how to find the path through it


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, you’ll know what I mean when I talk about “one of those days”.

The days when writing seems to completely elude you and you feel like you’re trapped and frozen with nowhere to go and nothing to turn to. The kind of days when you want to write, but the mere thought of it terrifies you, because you don’t feel like the words will come. You feel like you have nothing to say, and even if you did, it probably wouldn’t be anything worth reading anyway.

This, is your inner critic talking. This is the culmination of all of your doubts and all of the things that knock your self-confidence.

The truth is that you can write. You do have something to say, and it is worth reading.

The truth is that the very worst thing you could possibly do is to give in to the block. Because, one day will turn into two, and two will turn into a week, and so on, and so on.

The difference between a successful writer, and a wannabe, is that they showed up and did the work. They ignored that inner critic, and persevered with writing, even when the doubts flooded in, and when the muse went on strike.

The key thing to remember, is that each day that you show up to write, is a day where you are improving. It is a day where you are honing your craft, and exercising your skills as a writer.

So, when you’re having a tough day. Maybe you’ve hit a block in your wip, or the words just won’t come. Just try to give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to write something ‘just for fun’. It may only be a snippet, but you never know, one day, you might look back on it and see the potential in that piece of writing. It may even become the foundation of your next novel, short story, or even blog post.

Remember, no time spent writing, is time wasted, no matter how bad you may feel about it at the time.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Interactive Noveling

Experimenting with a new way of storytelling

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I remember the You Say Which Way and Choose Your Own Adventure books from when I was younger. There was nothing more exciting than to be able to have an impact on the story I was reading.

I still remember the thrill of controlling the choices the characters made.

These stories used to be purely in book format, and at the end of a specific segment, it would give you two (or more) choices, and at the end of each, would be a page reference for you to turn to so that you could continue the adventure.

Nowadays, with the advent of ebooks, the ability to add hyperlinks and graphics is a game changer.

Books can become like an RPG game. These can appeal to all ages, and genders. They can be used in any genre, and can appeal to even the most reluctant of readers. These books make reading more accessible.

They are usually written in the second person, (you). This makes the reader a direct participant. Suddenly, you aren’t reading about a character, you are the character.

There are an increasing number of adult versions of the interactive novel, which rely heavily on the use of QR codes, and hyperlinks. These make the possibilities of storytelling even more endless.

Recently, I have been reading and playing about with an app named Twine. It is a bit of freeware, which is used to create RPG games, but can also be used to create interactive stories. The software itself is relatively simple to use, with only a small amount of coding (trust me, if I can work it out, you can!).

I am in the process of planning a middle grade novel, which I would like to turn into an interactive story. The main character is a dragon, who just doesn’t quite fit in to his world.

The thing about interactive writings is that they could be applied to anything. You could even start a blog series with different options for the reader.

The possibilities are literally endless!

And, as long as you have an idea, you can write one too.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂

Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

57

Ten Ways You Know You’re A Writer

The good, the bad and the crazy…

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

I have always known that I am a writer. I think it’s something I was just born to be. I love reading. I love stories. Really, a life without stories, is more than I could bear to think about. It would be the ultimate torture. In fact, when I am struggling to write, it feels a lot like I can’t breathe; as if a part of me is crying, and I don’t know how to help it.

That’s the thing with writing. The stories inside you are desperate to get out, and the struggle is being able to actually get them out.

In thinking about writing, I thought I’d try to compile a list of reasons how you would know if you’re a writer.

1. You study people and things, constantly looking for inspiration and ideas.

Everything has a story, and you feel that it is down to you to discover it.

2. You always carry a notebook.

Whether paper, or digital, you need something with you to write down those little sparks of inspiration, before they flit away from you.

3. You have a notebook hoard.

This is a guaranteed sign of a writer. I’m serious. Dragons have nothing on writers when it comes to hoarding… Some of these may be filled, but others may only have half a page filled. You love them, either way.

4. You’re always reading.

This is the key to becoming a better writer. You have to read. There is no other option here. Read. Read a lot. Read everything and anything you can. Even if the story is bad, you may add to your vocabulary. There’s always a silver lining.

5. You keep a running list of characters, settings and situations.

Friends, enemies, natural disasters. They all go down. Your house, your school, the local park. These are all perfect story fodder, and you’re constantly adding to them as the ideas strike.

6. Your idea of a good night involves pyjamas, a blanket, snacks and your laptop/notebook.

Seriously, what else could anyone need? Am I right?! That draft won’t write itself, so a night spent like this, writing dangerously, is the perfect option for any writer.

7. You live in constant fear of your inner critic.

Mine is named Muriel. I wrote about her in this post. She is mean and nasty and loves to make me put myself down. She hates it when I’m doing well and writing easily. She loves to put doubts in my mind, and will, if I let her, stop me writing altogether.

8. You can detect spelling and grammatical errors like a cat can find the only person in the room that is scared of them.

Seriously, does the term ‘grammar nazi’ mean anything to you? And pfft! Who needs spellcheck?!

9. You spend half your time in a dreamworld.

Yep, you’re quite happy to spend hours at a time with your own imagination, working out plot holes and ways to make your stories just that little bit better- that’s if you aren’t just stuck in an entirely new story altogether.

10. You are happiest when you’re writing.

Writing is my happy place. It is my refuge. When I am happy, or sad, it is the first thing that I turn to. It is the first thing I think of when I wake up, and no matter how bad I may feel when I start writing, I always feel better by the time that I’m done.

So, there it is. My ten ways of knowing that I’m a writer. Can you think of any others? Drop them in the comments. I’d love to read them. 🙂

Looking At Suggestions For Desperate Writers & Artists Seeking The Thrilling Spark Of Inspiration

Discovering Thoughts And Ideas For Bright Sparks And Brainwaves



Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash


This is the question that plagues all writers, most of the time. I wrote in a previous post about how to find ideas for your writing projects. You can read that post here.

In this post, I thought I’d give you some more.

The thing is that ideas are one thing, but being inspired about them is something completely different. In this post I will look at several different ways in which we can find inspiration.

As writers, we are in a constant search and quest for inspiration. It is what sets us apart from non-writers. We are always seeking out those little falling stars of sparkle, which we can add into our writing.

Inspiration can be found anywhere, even in the smallest of things. Think about standing in a queue at the supermarket till. You have someone in front of you, and someone behind you. What is their story?

One way to spark inspiration can be to try looking at things from a different perspective. For example, how would a child, or an elderly person see a situation differently? How would an animal see it?

When I first watched the Tinkerbell movie, I let the DVD play through and found there was a bonus feature, talking to the artists responsible for making the movie artwork. They were told to get out of the office, and to go out into nature, where they could look at their inspiration from different perspectives. For example, one of them laid on the floor, to see what the world looked like from a fairy’s height.

Another thing you can do is to keep a running list of ideas, quotes, and inspirations. You never know when you might need them, and looking back over them could just provide that spark that you’ve been looking for.

As well as a list, take photos, look on Unsplash for images that can provide inspiration. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. While I’m not exactly sure that I agree with that, I know that there have been times when a specific image has conjured up the inspiration for a story in my mind, and in those times, that image might well be worth its weight!

If you’re really struggling for inspiration, try stepping away from your desk. Go out, meet friends, go for coffee/tea/your choice of beverage. Take a walk in nature. Do what those Disney artists did.

Something I learned from Shaunta Grimes is to write down ten ideas a day. If you do this for thirty days, that’s 300 ideas, and while you may decide that some of these are absolutely useless, you’re bound to find a few gems in there.

Another thing that I have found very important to do is to put my inner critic back in her box. My inner critic’s name is Muriel. I wrote about her in this post.

The one thing that is almost more important than anything else, is to write every day. Another of Shaunta’s ideas is to set yourself a teeny tiny goal. Write new fiction for ten minutes each day. Do this, because in the long run, habit is more important and far more reliable and dependable than being inspired. You can be as inspired as you like, but if you don’t show up and do the work, then that inspiration is just stuck inside you like a butterfly caught in a jar, pattering out its life on the glass.

And THE most important thing of all… DO NOT GIVE UP!!

You are a writer. You can do this, no matter what anyone says, as long as you (to quote Dory) “Just keep on swimmin’”


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


On The Torments Of Living With OCD In Your Life For The Last Nineteen Years

Thoughts Upon Entering The Darkness Within The Disordered Mind And The Beliefs That Control It



Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

People think they know what it means to be depressed. What it means to have OCD…

They have no clue.

OCD isn’t about odd obsessions. Or only liking even numbers.

OCD is hell.

It’s being stuck in a neverending loop, where if you don’t do something, you have to live with a constant niggling, crippling doubt, and the only way to get rid of it is to do that thing over and over and over again, until it feels ‘just right’.

You hate yourself so much, and the more you have to do it, the more you hate yourself, the more you beat yourself up.

It’s a sickening, vicious circle that you have no chance of breaking.

Is that how people feel when they joke about OCD?? Is it?

They think it’s all just fun and games; that being a ‘little bit ocd’ is joke.

It’s not!
It never has been!

It never will be.

They don’t have a clue what it’s like for me. How long it takes me to do things… To get ready in the morning. To make food. To even leave the house.

If they knew. If only they knew, maybe they’d be a little less quick to joke!

It takes me over an hour to get to bed each night, because of my routines. I have to go to the bathroom over twenty times, just to make sure.

I twitch.

I have to perform rituals, and if I do them wrong, I have to start all over again.

I have to wash my hands over and over again; scrubbing them, and scalding them with boiling hot water, just to make sure that they’re clean.

I try to fight it, but then I worry. What if? It’s THE OCD question. What if I don’t do this? What if [insert terrible thing here] happens because I haven’t done this? What if? What if? What if?

Every time I do anything I have to think of the consequences. The results. Everything. EVERYTHING has to be pre organised and planned.

I can’t be spontaneous, because, what if something goes wrong. What if I do something unexpected and something terrible happens. What would I do then?

No one understands. People laugh at my little oddities, but they don’t get it. They don’t really see how important it is, and they never will, because they don’t live within my disordered brain.

I am not ‘a little bit OCD’. I have fully blown OCD, and it’s HELL! It is not a quirk. It is a living nightmare that I never wake up from.

It is not a joke, so please, don’t treat it like one…


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


The Thrill And Terror Of All Hallows And That Fateful Night

A snippet from the year that she stepped beyond her own limitations: a fictional tale



Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash

I’ve never really liked Halloween. That’s not true, I didn’t mind it, but it was never a truly central holiday in my mind, not like my Birthday, or Christmas. It wasn’t until I was 15 that Halloween became a big thing for me.

It was on that night that he came for me.

The day started calm and fairly normal. I would be staying home, watching TV with my family, nothing unusual. It wasn’t even until bedtime that it happened.

Halloween was almost over, when I heard a knock at the door. My dad answered it, and called me down.

It was him.

I’d seen him around.

I always saw him around.

He acted like he didn’t really see me, but I knew he did. He made sure I knew it too.

That night, he looked at me differently. He talked normally, but as he did, his neck twisted, and before I could do anything, he grabbed me, and pulled me out into the night.

The door swung softly closed behind me, and I was left alone in the dark with him holding me tight. I couldn’t scream, it was as if I was paralysed, and my chest wouldn’t force out the sound.

He looked at me, and I could see the moon reflected in his eyes. “I knew I’d get you eventually” he whispered; hungry. I still couldn’t speak, my thoughts racing with what was going to happen next.

He pulled me out of the garden and down the road, and before I knew it, we were hidden behind the Chapel at the end of the street. The old lady who looked after the building had clearly gone to bed hours before, leaving us entirely on our own, with no-one to miss us.

I didn’t want to think about what he was planning to do to me. I certainly would never have predicted what had happened next.

“I’ve been watching you” he said quietly, “As soon as I saw you, I knew you were the one”

I looked at him. I still didn’t trust him. How could I even think of it? Somehow, I didn’t think I had a choice.

He let go of me, and I shrank back.

I couldn’t run, my legs seemed to have turned to jelly, and I fell to the floor.

Standing over me, he smiled, and said 
“After tonight, your life will never be the same again”. I felt fear creep all over me, as the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. 
“Wh… what do you mean?” I found my voice. He smiled again and bared his teeth.

At what I saw, I tried to scream, but it came out as more of a whimper. 
“Don’t be afraid. I’ve been watching you. I know it might seem hard, but this is your path” he said.

I felt numb.

All alone in the churchyard, I knew that I had no choice. He knelt down and leant over me, brushing the hair from my face and neck; caressing me gently.

I began to relax, before gasping, as pain shot through me, and tears began to fall, the night faded from my eyes, and I slipped into unconsciousness.

When I awoke, he was gone.

I didn’t see him again for a long time, but what happened that night was to change the course of my life for ever.

I’d never been anything special. I never thought I would amount to anything. Most people thought the same thing, but that night changed it all.

When I awoke, he was gone.

So was the night.

I was left lying in the damp dewy grass. It was foggy, and raining a damp, misty rain that soaked everything. Getting to my feet, I felt different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt strong.

Powerful.

And I knew that nothing would ever be the same.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

“Girl, Put A Smile On Your Face, Replace Those Negative Habits And Just Keep On Running To Find Your Best Tomorrow, Today”

On Discovering The Benefits Of Exercising Every Day For Personal Mental And Physical Health



Photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash

We’ve all heard those words, or something of the same ilk, so many times. It sounds like one of the worst types of cliché, but is there actually some truth in it?

I was never any good at any kind of PE. I was overweight, and not in the least bit physically fit. In fact, I spent most of the night before a school PE lesson, trying to come up with ideas to get me out of doing it. And I spent most of the actual lessons, warming the bench.

The thing is that at my school, the PE teachers were the type that had favourites; those kids that were good at it all. They were always picked first for every team. This left very little time for those of us who weren’t quite as gifted.

I remember one particularly humiliating gymnastics class where the boys and girls were put together due to bad weather. I was trying to do what the teacher wanted, but I didn’t do it to his standard, so he thought it would be a good idea to criticise me, imitate me, and draw attention to my varied failings. Everyone laughed at me.

That was the last time that I ever did PE at school.

The thing is that school PE often sets kids up to fail. It seems to be all about being active for that hour and a half, rather that teaching them how to build a habit. There is no actual training.

Since school, I have had a love — hate relationship with exercise.

Recently, I started a ‘Couch To 5K’ program after being told that I should increase my cardio fitness to help with my high blood pressure.

This is where the epiphany hit.

The gradual progression and building up of fitness in this program is a far cry from the way things were done in school, where we were expected to do a 10K after running 800m, once!

I have also begun practicing yoga. This was partly for emotional reasons, and also to help my flexibility and to help me to ease any physical pains that I have.

On the days when I don’t run, I am doing weight training, to try and build up my upper body muscles. This is the one that I’m finding difficult, if I’m honest, but I am determined to stick at it.

The thing is that exercise has many benefits. They increase strength and fitness. They help to keep weight down. They help with general, overall health. Exercise also releases endorphins — the feel good chemical in our brain. We look better, and feel better.

I have found that, even on my worst of days, as long as I can make myself get started with my exercise, I always feel better afterwards.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Considering The Growing Use Of Current ‘Issues’ In Soap Operas

Thoughts about the way serial fiction draws upon real everyday life

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

I am a self confessed soap addict. I watch four out of the six UK soap operas, and have done for a number of years. I love them. I love the continuity with the characters, and I love the storylines.

A lot of people choose not to watch the soaps. They tend to look down on them, and think that they’re ‘trash’ TV, believing that they aggrandise and profit from serious problems, creating sensationalised storylines.

There is something of a conception that only ‘chavs’ and common people watch them. They are considered a ‘guilty pleasure’, and a number of people look down on those who do watch them.

Personally, I believe that soaps get a bit of a hard rap.

The thing is that the soaps are accessible to a wide range of people, whether young, or old, or from different backgrounds and cultures. They appeal to such a broad range of people, and deal with hugely relevant topics.

There are times when the storylines in soaps are light, and that is nice to have. These times balance out those storylines which can become far, far darker.

I have heard varying opinions of this tendency of soaps to show ‘issue-led’ stories. Some people feel like they are taking advantage of other people’s misery, while others applaud their brave choices to not shy away from these subjects.

I look at when a soap decided to cover a very controversial and very real issue in this blog post:

The thing to remember is that in these soaps, there is not only a hugely talented cast and crew that work incredibly hard on most days of the year to bring these stories to life. There is also a group of amazing writers and researchers that work together and do their job extremely well to try and ensure accuracy in their portrayal of these issues.

In the past, soaps have dealt with issues such as abuse, domestic violence, cancer, knife crime, dementia, knife crime, epilepsy, postpartum psychosis, and PTSD, to name but a few.

Of course, there are parts of soaps that are overly dramatised (this is a TV show, after all), but watching in between the lines, it is clear that there is a slew of hugely important issues that are being addressed, and brought into the public sphere, and I feel that this, is really the most important thing of all.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

The Journal Project

A study of different journaling techniques

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

If you’ve read some of my previous posts about journaling, then you’ll know that I have journaled all of my life, in one way or another.

I love it. It helps me to clear my mind, and to make sense of things. These can be thoughts, or things that happened in my day. They can be writing inspirations, poems.

The thing with a journal, is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. I have always had a very specific way in which I choose to use mine, but lately, I have been curious about whether there are any ways that I could expand my uses of a journal to include.

This is where The Journal Project idea was born. For the next year, I plan to take a different journaling method a month, and use it. They say that it takes around a month to build a habit, and so, I figure it’ll give me enough time to try out and evaluate the method, and enough time to decide if it’s something that I think is beneficial enough for me to stick to.

So, for this month, my chosen method is a doodle journal. I love art, and doodling, but I have a tendency to over think things, so I plan to practice letting my hand have free rein over the pages of my journal, in the hopes that I can release the perfectionist, and allow myself at least a few moments of reckless abandon.

I’ll post an update, and hopefully some photos, near the end of the month.


If you’d like to get updates and fun content from me once a week, you can click here… I’d love for you to join me 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Stages Of Grief

There can’t only be five, can there?


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


It is now 22 months since my sister passed away suddenly. I just woke up one morning, and went to wake her, to find that she had passed in her sleep.

What happened afterwards was this crazy mess of things that I still haven’t been able to fully make sense of. It was like one of those kids cartoons, where the character starts to make a snowball, and rolls it down a hill, where it grows and grows, until it is huge, and unstoppable.

The thing is, that that snowball needs somewhere to crash, and in this case, that somewhere was me.

People always say that you get through grief, because you have to, and that time heals. This is true. It does.

The only problem with this conciliatory piece of information, is that they seem to infer that grief is a linear thing, sort of like walking down a path, whereby you will, invariably come to the end of said path, and move on to another one.

This, my dear reader, is not true. Grief is not linear. It is not a straight line from A to B. Instead, it is an incredibly convoluted and complex mass of emotions.

Basically, imagine the biggest, twistiest fastest rollercoaster, which also has parts where there is an excruciatingly long climb before it tips you over the edge.

That is what grief is like.

People try to pigeon hole grief, and have allotted five stages to it. These are:

1. Denial and Isolation

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

We apparently spend differing amounts of time going through each stage, and until recently, if has been thought that people go through the stages in the order shown above.

I can tell you from personal experience, that this is not true. I have been through some of these. I haven’t experienced all of them yet. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will.

The truth is that these stages can be experienced out of order, in order, or simply not at all.

Sometimes, things are so difficult that these stages are blocked, and cannot be experienced, and this is completely normal, and quite common, too.

In tomorrow’s post I will look at each of these five stages of grief, and what they mean in real life terms.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.