BOOK BOYFRIENDS WE'D LOVE TO DATE

If you’re here for the Scavenger Hunt, please scroll to the next post

He’s handsome, dashing and makes your heart melt like butter on a sunny day. What’s more, he is at your beck and call and you can make a date with him for any time of the day or week you choose.

Yes, we’re talking about your latest book boyfriend. (Or boyfriends – we don’t judge.)

While he may exist only in your head and in the pages of a book, that’s no reason not to fall in love with him. And let’s face it, book boyfriends do have some advantages over real-life partners. You don’t have to nag them to do the washing up for one, and in your mind’s eye, they will also always be perfectly groomed (while simultaneously not minding if you haven’t washed your hair for a few days and are still in your pajamas at lunchtime). Plus, they don’t get jealous if you snuggle up with another bloke for a while.

Here are some of our favorite book boyfriends from the past few years. Which one would be your date of choice?

And if you’re looking for a new love, don’t forget to pre-order Cursed Lands for 22 stories of magic, mystery, and romance, and discover which men got our writers’ hearts a fluttering…


Jace Wayland (The Mortal Instruments)

“Tawny eyes with flecks of gold”. Yup, you had us there. While he can be rude and arrogant, we know this angel-blooded bad boy has a heart of gold, and his fearless exterior hides a soft, caring center. A greenhouse may not be our first choice of date locations, but if Jace is there, we’d happily chill out among the flowers and trees.


Gale Hawthorne (The Hunger Games)

It’s a contentious one… Are you Team Gale or Team Peeta? Peeta may be able to bake a good cake but there’s something about the strong hunter type which calls to us, and in our opinion, Gale didn’t get nearly enough book or screen time. Whether it’s tossing blackberries around or swimming in a wild lake, we’d love to get to know this Hunger Games hottie a little better.

Salvatore Brothers (Vampire Diaries)

Three is most definitely not a crowd if your two companions are the sexy Salvador brothers from the Vampire Diaries. Whether you preferred the books or the TV series, both had more love triangles that you can shake a stick at. Arguments about whether Elena’s heart belonged to Damon or Stefan may rage into the afterlife, but in the world of book boyfriends, thankfully, you don’t have to choose between them.


Eric Northman (True Blood)

We do love a good hate-to-love romance and none better than the relationship between Eric and Sookie in True Blood (based on Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels). With those Viking looks and a willingness to jump into battle at any moment, this is one boyfriend we can rely on to defend us to – and arguably beyond – the grave.


Raffe (Angelfall)

Brooding, mysterious and super-hot – the only thing that can top that is a willingness to sacrifice all for the woman he loves. Add on a sense of humor and a willingness to banter and this is one angel we would love to cross swords with. After all, in the world of our imaginations, we always have the perfect witty comeback on the tip of our tongue.


Cal (Red Queen)

If you’re anything like us, you spent most of Red Queen wondering whether Mare’s heart would go to Cal (or Tiberius Calore the Seventh if you want to give him his full title) or his brother Maven, and silently screaming “CAL!” all the way. He may not have Maven’s soft heart and soothing words, but his steadfast loyalty and strength won us over from the beginning.


Written by: Alison Ingelby on behalf of the Cursed Lands authors

I LOVE YA SCAVENGER HUNT is OPEN!!!

Welcome to my tour stop on the I ❤️ YA Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by the authors of Cursed Lands!

 
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All the hunt rules are on the main website: http://cursedlandsboxedset.com/scavengerhunt/. But a quick reminder: Find the secret word in BOLD in my blog post below and string it together with the words from all the other hunt stops to win the grand prize $100 Amazon Gift card!

I’m also hosting my own giveaway, so make sure you enter for your chance to win!

Cursed Lands contains 22 stories of magic, danger, and romance that lurk between the shadows and the light. Join our courageous heroines and heroes as they battle demons, governments, and secret organizations in worlds where fae, vampires, angels, witches, humans, and more fight for survival.

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My name is Elle Scott and I write YA stories that stretch reality. Always with a hint of romance. The story of mine that’s exclusive to Cursed Lands is Behind Glass.

“She’s the daughter of the Angel of Death.

He’s the son of the Angel of War.

They’ve both forgotten who they are.

In this fast-paced thrilling adventure, follow Eden and Kai as they discover their abilities and come face to face with a past that threatens their very existence.”


Now onto the important stuff for your SCAVENGER HUNT.


My word is:

“WHO”


You’re next stop on the hunt is:
A.J. Flowers
For the full hunt list, scroll to the end of the post.



BONUS GIVEAWAY

For your chance to win a signed paperback copy of my bestselling novel EVER MARKED, enter below.

I’ll also throw in a postcard and bookmark, along with a surprise gift.

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Sorry, this giveaway has ended.


THE FULL SCAVENGER MAP

1. Kim Cresswell

2. M.K. Chester

3. Emma Hamm

4. Claire Luana

5. Dorothy Dreyer

6. Elle Scott

7. A.J. Flowers

8. Krista Street

9. Alison Ingleby

10. Angela Kulig

11.  B. Kristin McMichael

12. Jenna Lee

13. Char Webster

14. K.A. Parkinson

15. J.L. Myers

16. Steven Whibley

17. Michael J. Allen

18. Lee French

19. Candace Osmond

20. Cursed Lands site-ENTER FOR GRAND PRIZE!

 

THANKS FOR VISITING. Good luck.

Elle x

I LOVE YA SCAVENGER HUNT

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We’re so excited to announce the official I ❤️ YA Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by the authors of Cursed Lands, a limited edition Young Adult Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Dystopian Collection!

 This massive scavenger hunt will be your chance to meet some new YA authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes! In addition to a $100 grand prize, many of the authors will be offering free books and other prizes!

 

HOW TO PLAY

Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: CURSED.

All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites in the correct order (laid out below), write down the special keywords in their blog post to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed secret story on the Cursed Lands website.

There will be one main giveaway for the Grand Prize, but most of the participating authors will also have smaller giveaways for free books, gift cards, or author swag, so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword!!!

TIMELINE

Participating authors will have their post up with their secret keyword, giveaway, and behind the scenes info about their Cursed Lands story by February 1! Readers just need to go through the list, find the words, and use the story to enter for the grand prize. The last day to complete the hunt and enter to win the Grand Prize is February 14!

SCAVENGER HUNT MAP

1. Kim Cresswell

2. M.K. Chester

3. Emma Hamm

4. Nina Walker

5. Claire Luana

6. Dorothy Dreyer

7. Elle Scott (THAT’S ME!!!)

8. A.J. Flowers

9. Krista Street

10. Alison Ingleby

11. Angela Kulig

12.  B. Kristin McMichael

13. Jenna Lee

14. Char Webster

15. K.A. Parkinson

16. J.L. Myers

17. Steven Whibley

18. Michael J. Allen

19. Lee French

20. Candace Osmond

21. Cursed Lands site-ENTER FOR GRAND PRIZE!

 

Come back February 1 to start the hunt!!!

 

 


 

 

12 OF THE BEST DYSTOPIAN, URBAN FANTASY, AND PARANORMAL ROMANCES READS

What was your favorite book of 2018? And, more importantly, what are you planning to read in 2019?

All our Cursed Lands authors are avid readers, and while we love keeping on top of new releases, we also get really excited when we discover an old series that’s new to us. After all, there’s nothing better than finding a new author you love and being able to binge read a series from start to finish!

If you’re looking for some new stories to read in 2019, here are some of our favorite dystopian, urban fantasy and paranormal romances books…


The Iron King (Julie Kagawa)

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Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school. . . or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth— that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.

Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face. . . and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The first book in The Iron Fey series is a PARANORMAL FANTASY ROMANCE story packed with enchantment, imagination, and adventure.



If you loved The Iron King, why not try…

Iron & Wine by Candace Osmond

Three mythical races. Decades of ancient war. And the love of one girl to save them all.

Read Iron & Wine in Cursed Lands.



The Elementals (A.L. Knorr)

The summer is over and the promised get-together results in an epic sharing of the transformational adventures that have gifted Akiko, Saxony, Georjayna, and Targa with their elemental powers.

When the Elementals are recruited by Petra to execute a super-secret global project that is supposed to change humanity for the better, it seems as though the girls will be rocketed to fortune and glory. But when they accidentally unleash a dark and terrible force, things deteriorate rapidly into death and destruction…

The sixth and final book in A.L. Knorr’s captivating Elemental Origins series is a YA URBAN FANTASY novel featuring elemental lore, simmering romance, and strong female lead characters.



If you loved The Elementals, why not try…

War of the Rose Covens by Lee French

Magic turned sixteen-year-old Sophie into her mother's favorite disappointment, and the feeling is mutual. After fleeing the Petal Society Coven, she's forced to learn the dark truth of why she's now being hunted down, and why even her new friends can't save her.

Read War of the Rose Covens in Cursed Lands.




Red Queen (Victoria Aveyard)

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The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .

The final book in the #1 bestselling DYSTOPIAN FANTASY Red Queen series was released in 2018, bringing Mare’s tale to a thrilling conclusion.




If you loved Red Queen, why not try…

Among Shadows by Nina Walker

Tristan thought becoming a Royal Officer would be exciting, but it’s turning out to be nothing more than glorified babysitting. That is, until he meets a Color Alchemist with wicked magic—things are finally getting interesting.

Read Among Shadows in Cursed Lands.




The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze (Rick Riordan)

The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg.

With the help of his demigod friends, Lester must unravel the riddles or the Oracle to prevent a Dark Prophecy coming true.

The third book in the mythology-laced YA URBAN FANTASY series, The Trials of Apollo, blends Roman and Greek Mythology with a modern-day setting.




If you love The Trials of Apollo, why not try…

Orion's Kiss by Claire Luana

Meriah will do whatever it takes to save her sisters from a deadly ancient curse. Even if it means killing the cutest guy she's met all year. Unless she can find another way…

Read Orion’s Kiss in Cursed Lands.



This Savage Song (V.E. Schwab)

Kate Harker and August Flynn's families rule opposite ends of Verity, a grisly metropolis where violent acts summon real monsters: bloodsucking Malchai; clawing Corsai; and soul-stealing Sunai. The truce that keeps the families at peace is crumbling, and August is sent to spy on Kate. But when Harker's men try to kill her and pin it on the Flynns, August and Kate find themselves running from both sides, in a city where monsters are real…

The first in a two-part series from the bestselling author of A Darker Shade of MagicThis Savage Songis an action-packed YA URBAN FANTASY story about a monster who wants to be good and a girl who is his sworn enemy.



If you love This Savage Song, why not try…

Loving the Legend by B. Kristin McMichael

Andrew Lucan wanted nothing more than to get out of the night human world, but all that has changed. Now he only wants one thing in life, Arianna to notice him, but first she needs to learn that monsters do exist and he’s one of them.

Read Loving the Legend in Cursed Lands.

Sanctuary (Matthew Mather)

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In the Day of the Nomad, oceans flooded the continents, the earth split open and poured darkness into the skies. A mass extinction event as the Earth hadn't witnessed in more than two hundred and fifty million years, the planet flung into a radical new orbit around the Sun.

Jessica Rollins survived, hidden away in a mountaintop in Italy, and has made radio contact with other survivor groups scattered around the wrecked globe—but the destruction is only just beginning.

The key to humanity's survival may lie in a backpack she recovered from her father, in the data he collected more than thirty years before as Harvard's preeminent astrophysicist. Information he died trying to protect. His final words to her circle around and around in her head...survive, no matter what. But at what cost?

The second book in The New Earth Series is a gut-wrenching post-apocalyptic DYSTOPIAN adventure – plausible, gritty and realistic.



If you love Sanctuary, why not try…

Icehaven by Kim Cresswell and M.K. Chester

Survival is only the beginning when August Madison finds herself resurrected in a frozen wasteland ruled by an iron-fisted dictator. He sees an opportunity he can exploit. She sees an evil she must destroy.

Read Icehaven in Cursed Lands.



Otherworld: Thirteen (Kelley Armstrong)

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A war is brewing and the first battle has already been waged. After rescuing her half brother from supernatural medical testing, Savannah Levine—a young witch of remarkable power and a dangerous pedigree—is battered, but still standing. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a maniacal plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah is fighting to save her world as witches, werewolves, necromancers, vampires, half-demons, and all the forces of good and evil—including the genetically modified werewolves known as hell hounds—enter the fray.

Uniting Savannah with Adam, Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and other denizens of the Otherworld, Thirteen is a thrilling conclusion to this blockbuster PARANORMAL ROMANCE series.


If you love Otherworld, why not try…

Shadows and Light by Krista Street

Being a supernatural healer isn’t easy, especially when a stalker wants you burned at the stake…

Read Shadows and Light in Cursed Lands.



The Dark Artifices: Queen of Air and Darkness (Cassandra Clare)

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war.

One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined.

Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

Dark secrets and forbidden love threaten the very survival of the Shadowhunters in the final novel in the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling URBAN FANTASY The Dark Artifices trilogy.


If you love The Dark Artifices, why not try…

Behind Glass by Elle Scott

A Nephilim with no memory of her past discovers she has telekinetic powers. When she accidentally uses her new ability in public she becomes the number one target for demons who hunt angels for their grace.

Read Behind Glass in Cursed Lands.



The Reckoners (Brandon Sanderson)

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Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

An action-packed URBAN FANTASY series set in a post-apocalyptic world from one of the masters of fantasy fiction.



If you love The Reckoners, why not try…

RUNE: A Chosen Chronicles Novel by K.A. Parkinson

For seven years Rune has lived among a group Lost Ones, content fighting the Dark in his own way, the past left in the past. But his ruthless Watcher has found him once again and the choice she offers him leaves only two options: fight against the most dangerous woman in the world, or risk losing the only people he's ever truly loved.

Read RUNE: A Chosen Chronicles Novel in Cursed Lands.



Halfway to the Grave (Jeaniene Frost)

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Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of those deadbeats is her father - the guy responsible for ruining her mother's life. But when she's captured by Bones, a bounty hunter and a vampire, she finds herself forced into an unholy partnership.

But before she can enjoy her newfound status as confident kick-ass demon hunter Cat finds herself, and Bones, hotly pursued by a band of killers. She's is going to have to pick a side - and fast …

Full of dark supernatural goodness with flashes of brilliant dark humor and love that shouldn't be, the first book in the URBAN FANTASY Night Huntress Series is sexy, supernatural and very dark.




If you love Halfway to the Grave, why not try…

Salem 2317 by Angela Kulig and Taylor Haiden

Nineteen-year-old Arwyn Blake has two jobs: kill the last non-magical nomads who dare call Salem home, and continue her bloodline by marrying a man she hates. But when an easy hunt goes suddenly sideways, she begins to realize the beliefs of her coven are built on a lie, and the only one she can trust is the strange boy with violet eyes.

Read Salem 2317 in Cursed Lands.



A Court of Thorns and Roses (Sarah J. Maas)

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

The start of a sensational romantic FANTASY trilogy by the bestselling author of the Throne of Glassseries


If you love A Court of Thorns and Roses, why not try…

Bloodlines: The Dark Fae Chronicles by S. K. Gregory

Seventeen-year-old Nova had no idea about her Fae heritage. Now the Fae have escaped their earthly tomb and are intent on killing the humans. Nova is the only thing standing between them and the fall of humanity. Which side will she choose?

Read Bloodlines: The Dark Fae Chronicles in Cursed Lands.




The Young Elites (Marie Lu)

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

This bestselling DYSTOPIAN FANTASY series features complex characters, heart-stopping fight scenes, and devastating betrayals.



If you love The Young Elites, why not try…

The Shadow City by Alison Ingleby

18-year-old Vesper's dreams of attending the Royal Academy are shattered when she's branded a criminal and dumped on the city floor to die. In the Shadow City, factions war and monsters roam the streets. But Vesper's biggest fear is the power she wields—a power she can't control.

Read The Shadow City in Cursed Lands.






Don’t Forget…

If you’re looking for some new books to read you can claim our bonus gift pack of 15 FREE dystopian, urban fantasy and paranormal romance eBooks when you pre-order Cursed Lands.

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Find out more at http://cursedlandsboxedset.com/






Post written by: Alison Ingleby on behalf of Cursed Lands Authors

Five Steps To Creating On Purpose

Writers block. Friends, it's real. And I think I've found the solution. Bear with me...

Ideas come to me regularly - so many "aha" moments at any given moment - but sometimes, when it's time to sit down and actually form the words, I choke. Well I used to, anyway. 

I would stare at my screen and my mind was filled with either absolutely nothing or way too many irrelevant things. I became distracted, stagnant, aimless, hello candy crush.

 
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I wondered why the answer to life's problems (aka a plot hole) always came to me when I least expected it?

  • Driving. Often I'd be struck with an idea to incorporate into my current novel series. You know, something that had been lacking in the world I created but didn’t know how to remedy. Months of re-writing the first draft, and baam, there was the answer on the road between home and the hairdressers.
  • Dancing. Other times, I would simply be having a happy dance moment in my living room when I received an epiphany about a random area in my life.
  • Shower. I'd be washing my hair listening to the new Coldplay album and all of a sudden, this wonderful dialogue between two characters started to take shape.

I thought, “You know what? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to control this part of me that creates, without having to wait for a sudden inspiration to hit? If I could seek it and for it to be there when I wanted, not when I’m freaking driving my car or having a shower!” Yes, yes that would be nice.

The first question I asked myself was how on earth could I call the inspiration to me, instead of waiting for it to hit me out of the blue? This led me to quiet contemplation and a fair bit of reverse engineering. And finally, I discovered the subconscious things I had been doing when I create.

And here, my friends, are the five purposeful steps that make up my creative process –from inspiration, to clarification, to motivation, to creation, to gratification – and how I think they may be of use to you. If you're a writer or any kind of creator.


INSPIRATION? BRING IT ON!

STEP ONE. Identify.

First of all, we need to identify when we get random moments of inspiration and what we are doing so differently during these times. For me, it’s mostly when I am driving, in the shower, about to go to sleep.

You know at the most inconvenient times, where I have to either scramble to write it all down as soon as I can, or put a pin in it and risk forgetting the whole grand idea.

It’s also when I’m most relaxed, and doing something else that I enjoy. Aha! Are you following me here?

You know what else I’m feeling at these times? Open, and free, and I’m not thinking about anything except the present moment. I think I'm on to something here. The pre-requisite for inspiration is this exact feeling! The feeling of not needing to be anywhere else at that moment, the feeling of not needing to even consider what’s on that to-do list let alone what’s next to check off. It’s just melting into the moment we are currently in. Which can only mean, when I’m sitting down to write I am not feeling any of those things – I am closed and sporadic with my thoughts. This discovery was the light bulb moment for me.

Here’s my current go to list that spark ideas:

  • scenic drive
  • carefree dancing
  • laying on the trampoline watching the clouds roll by
  • a walk around the block
  • gardening (this is new!!)
  • relaxing shower
  • laying in bed
  • reading
  • meditating

What’s yours?

Conclusion: Inspiration comes when we are doing something that requires us to slow down and embrace the RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, something that stills the mind yet opens the heart.

 

"The pre-requisite for inspiration is the feeling of being open and free."


A LITTLE CLARIFICATION PLEASE.

STEP TWO: Filter.

This is how I see it, and it’s a little odd but bare with me. Imagine a large funnel sitting on the top of your head: it’s open, it’s ready and waiting. This is where the ideas flow in. I believe it comes from God/the Universe/Spiritual Realm and when I am open the ideas can come to me easily. If you don’t believe in any of that, it doesn’t really matter – these steps will still work no matter where your faith stems. From heaven or our own minds; whatever you believe, the process is the same.

So now we are open, we’ve done step one and we’re in a present state of mind, allowing thoughts to come and go at will. We’re not mindless; our brains are receptive, yet nothing is forced. There is no desperation. No deadline. No drama. We’re not thinking about creating, there are no preconceived notions of how something should be to guide us.

Our imagination explores it’s way out into the funnel. After a thought enters our minds, we consider whether we like it or not. If we don’t, we let them leave as soon as they arrived. But if they pique our interest, we sit with them for a second. If we feel that bubble of excitement for it’s possibility – we let them flow into our hearts. The heart is most obviously the creation centre – where ideas grow into projects, words, photos, art, songs, etc.

This is your filter. For me, if the idea makes it's way past my head into my heart - I'm onto a winner.

Then, we write the idea down. ALWAYS WRITE THE DAMN IDEA DOWN.

 

“The heart is most obviously the creation centre – where ideas grow into projects.”


— MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless we possess the superhuman ability to complete a whole book/project in one sitting, we never have the time to finish the idea straight away. Especially as a writer, it can take weeks/months/years to finish a project. Most of the time, we are already busy with another project and the only opportunity we have is to write the idea down and come back to it later. Even if we somehow manage to get started at this stage, everyday we have to put the tools away and let the creation rest until the next day. Which leads me to the most vital step …


MOTIVATE ME BABY!

STEP THREE. Repeat step one.

So we had the initial spark and we really really, oh lordy, really want to see this project through. But Lord knows how hard it is to find the motivation to pick it up. Hi, my name is Elle and I’m a procrastinator.

I feel like sometimes creating things scares me. I know I love it, I know it calls me. When I’m amidst it all I get into this hypnotic type state and am absorbed in creating for hours at a time. But when I set aside the time and I’m ready to get down and dirty and spill those ideas outside of me, it takes a lot of hard work. A lot of procrastinating, a lot of distractions, a lot of building myself up for it. See the very first paragraph up there (Candy Crush, *cough*, Pinterest, *cough*, curse you Facebook and your addicting ways).

Have you ever wondered how some creatives are successful with the arts and some are not. I feel like I am on the verge on understanding why. Those who are successful don’t stop when they’re feeling blah, they find their own motivation. I think this step right here is KEY.

And what is this step? It’s exactly the same as the first. Do the thing that sparked the idea in the first place. It doesn’t have to be the same thing, but some action you know gets you into that open and calm, yet excited state. We need to remember to bring ourselves into the present moment and really enjoy it, we don’t have anywhere else to be (Facebook and emails and Netflix can wait).

Even our end goal can wait – sometimes desperation and yearning and fear causes the inspiration funnel to block. Published and wannabe published authors I'm looking at you. Stop looking at your book as though it will be a best seller. Stop squashing your creativity by giving your story the burden to make you money. Stop writing for the potential agent who might possibly put your book on their list. Those thoughts dry inspiration right up, and also attach fear to your writing. Yuck. No-one wants to read a book written by a scared writer. Those things matter, of course marketing and sales matter, but not at this stage. Not yet. 

What matters at this stage is being open and in charge of the "flow" of inspiration.

I have this song I love. I play it when I write. So now, whenever I hear it, it takes me straight to that feeling of writing. Instant inspiration. Find something that will take you there – really define your list of go-to actions that still and free your mind.

 

"Those who are successful don’t stop when they’re feeling blah, they find their own motivation."


WE’RE INSPIRED AGAIN, NOW WHAT? 

STEP FOUR. Make ze art.

This step is the most important, I think. It's the place where ideas wither and die, or the place where they come to life.

Once we get to that space of “YES! This idea, it’s awesome – there’s nothing else I want to think about right now than doing this!” That’s when we know we need to move. And I mean right away.

Get it out. For the love of all things beautiful, don’t just leave it inside. We need to choose our desired art-form (mostly writing or photography for me) and bring it to life. Friends, this is why we are creatives, to create.

The most lame yet simplest thing to do is JUST START. It bugs me with how simple it is. Like can’t there be some sort of incantation or click of the fingers that can suddenly switch me into work mode. But there is no other way. It’s that hard and that easy. JUST BEGIN. The funny thing is, once I type the first word the rest of them flow like cider on a hot day.

 

“…there is no other way. It’s that hard and that easy. JUST BEGIN.”


AND THEN? ARE WE DONE YET?

STEP FIVE. Share. Hit Publish.

With a friend, to an agent, online, in a gallery, to the world – big or small, just share. Don’t deny the world this glorious part of you. 

I'll give you a tip: a person's reaction to your work, isn’t where your gratification comes from. I can tell you, my joy comes from creating. Sure, I want my books to resonate and delight and inspire but that isn’t why I wrote them. I write because every idea ignites a fire within me, and I just have to bring them to life.

Airy fairy unicorn moment. Every idea is a brilliant chrysalis; it contains a butterfly that needs to be birthed and set free to fly where the wind takes it. It’s not up to me who the butterfly connects with, but it’s also not up to me to keep it hidden from sight.

So, put it out there, let that beauty fly free... and then? Start the process again. This is what we are made for.

 

“It’s not up to me who the butterfly connects with, but it’s also not up to me to keep it hidden from sight.”


FINAL THOUGHTS

And that is my process. I’ve done it for a long time without even realising, but putting it into context, into steps, has helped me ten-fold.

I can push through the writer's block and sail through the steps without pause. Practise is needed obviously, but being aware is the main thing.

I was dancing to electro music when I had the urge to write this post. Irony is, I’d had the idea to write it for a while but could never get the motivation for it, I could never find the words. But moving and being in the present moment allowed the spark to ignite. I followed my own steps, and it worked, here I am. 

Next time I get stuck in a creative rut, I know exactly what I am going to do. Stick that crazy funnel on my head and get active. Get out into nature, put my nose in a book, soak in the beautiful surroundings of the state I live in, lay on a trampoline and watch the clouds roll by, dance dance dance … and always, always, always carry a notepad and pen.

 
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