Creativity, writing

Helping Other Writers

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ― Maya Angelou

by Catherine Evans


Helping others seems like a strange way to work on your writing but please stick with me and let me explain.

Something happens in my brain when I work on someone else’s writing. I’m objective because it’s not my work so I know nothing about it. I’m reading like a reader would, but I’m also reading as a writer looking for flaws. I think about point of view, tense, punctuation, grammar, dialogue, character, story line. I’m conscious of arcs, inconsistencies, structure. I read for so many things and not always consciously, sometimes things just pop out at me. I become conscious of aspects that I may have learned about but previously overlooked.

Often times I’ll be annoyed by something in someone else’s manuscript and then, when I go back to my work, there it is! The exact same damn thing I had been noticing in the other person’s work. By critiquing another writer’s work, I’ve directly helped my own.

You wouldn’t think editing/critiquing someone else’s work would have such an impact, would you?


Ideas for helping other writers

If you wanted to do this, how could you go about helping? There are quite a few ways.

If you know other writers, it’s as easy as offering to beta read for a friend (be one of their first readers, after themselves), or helping a newer author by reading and commenting, often with small changes to help them learn. If you’re in a more formal writing group, you could organize chapter swaps, or judge a contest(s). You could attend a workshop (you never know who you might meet, or what you’ll learn). If you’ve been in the business for a while, you could run a workshop (gathering your ideas together, and trying to present them logically, can be eye-opening!).

Helping other writers doesn’t need such a formal setting either. Over a cup of coffee/tea you can brainstorm plot or character issues, discuss story ideas, talk at length about the industry or your fears or goals or plans.

When you sit and chat, you can go down conversation paths that shine new light on something that opens doors or activities you may never have thought of doing.

Sometimes meeting up for a cuppa can have you writing an article like this — which isn’t something I’d ever dreamed I’d do.

I’ve run workshops other than for writing, and no matter the topic I’m presenting, I learn things from the participants or other presenters. When I attend workshops, I’m there to learn whatever topic is presented, but I also pick up tips from the presenter(s) on presentation skills.

Recently I attended a workshop and the presenter had a marvelous skill at encouraging participants to share their work, something which I had been unable to achieve in workshops I’d run. Right at the start of the workshop, she shared her work by reading it aloud and talked about her experiences writing that piece. She then shared other people’s writing, and quotes from them. All of this was spoken. I had presented similar things, but in a written form. I wasn’t setting the example of speaking my truths, so I could hardly expect anyone else to do the same.

For many years I worked in agricultural research. When I moved into a more senior role where I had to present information to other scientists, I was quite terrified and intimidated. Fortunately, I had mentors who had vast experience.

One looked at me and asked, “Who did this research you’re presenting?” Well, that was easy, he and I had done it. “And who will know any more than you or I?” No one. Since it was the work we’d done and no one else had participated. I presented that talk with much more confidence — until he stood up and asked a question, then I almost turned into a puddle on the floor! Fortunately, it was something I could answer.

That same lesson applies to writing. If you’re speaking about your writing, your book, your process, does anyone know it any better than you do?


What if you’re new to writing?

What if you’re a new author? It’s not so easy to help others when you’re the one needing help. But if you’re in a writing group, there are roles you could volunteer to take on. There may be roles on a committee, administrative roles for contests, meeting organization, tea and coffee making.

When you get in and help, you never know who you may be helping, working alongside, or meeting along the way.

I managed in a contest for a few years. I began in my first year of joining Romance Writers of Australia because my first contest entry came way down the end of the field. The comments I received back weren’t so terrible, and I wanted to know how good the winning entries were. There was no way of knowing that other than volunteering to manage a contest.

I discovered that the entries that were finalists, as well as some further down the scorecard, were at a publishable standard. In fact, some entrants were offered publishing contracts during or soon after contests. I had a lot to learn and a long way to go. I read so many entries and so many of the judges’ comments as a contest manager that it was a brilliant, but steep, learning curve.

Another thing that happened when I was a new author, was that I was paired up with another new author in Romance Writers of Australia — we were called critique partners. In the beginning, neither of us had any idea what we were doing when we exchanged our manuscripts to critique and help each other. We could spot spelling mistakes, we helped each other with things like characters’ names and places, but that was about it. We had completely different writing styles and were writing different types of romance.

It was an absolute struggle.

Then we both began to learn things by attending different workshops or courses, and by going to the annual conference. We learned different things and taught each other by highlighting what we’d discovered in each other’s manuscripts. She learnt about using contractions in dialogue and highlighted all my stilted conversations. Wow! What an obvious thing I’d never noticed.

In the start, our pairing seemed like the craziest thing, yet it turned out to be a fabulous learning experience because by working together, we learned at twice the speed. If you’re in that situation and feeling frustrated, I promise as you each start learning different skills, you’ll end up moving ahead more quickly than if you worked alone.


Writing can be a terribly solitary occupation. Joining with others can give you such a buzz, helping others can make that buzz into real writing energy that can propel your writing career along.

Offer to help, smile, be positive, and watch the energy, and your writing skills, build.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium.


About Catherine Evans

From Medium:

Australian, writer and creator. Inspired by nature and living. Weird thoughts are entirely my own, and I know they’re often not like other people’s!

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Living Out Loud Pub, Newsletter, People, writing

Kickstart Your Writer’s Ear

Don’t you just love overhearing snippets of conversations?


I do.

I’m not a snoop but some types of random communication between strangers help to kickstart my writer’s ear — I like to tune into the way people talk, their quirky wisecracks and tone of voice.

It can be interesting research for any writer.

Why?

Because its real life now, that’s why. Every writer knows how important it is to capture authentic dialogue in their work. It’s the unique flavor of people and their conversations that we want convey in our creations. Even nonfiction writers who pen their wonderful articles here on Medium can learn so much from the art of listening, right?

Sometimes, its enough just to listen to the earth.

There are a few young men working outside in my neighbor’s backyard right now. I can’t see them. Too many trees in the way. But I can hear their laughter and quick witted banter over Sydney’s coolest radio station — their blue colored choice of music, tuned into Triple J.

J for …. Jives? Jockey? Jam?

I actually don’t know. Let the “J” remain as mysterious as the lady-jesting blokes out back. Yes. They have been chatting about females. Or rather, teasing each other about the opposite sex.

I’m not eavesdropping. Promise. But it’s a bit a hard not to hear them when volume control is nil. Anyway, they got me laughing. Here’s a little preview:

“You can’t tell me that’s she’s this and that. She can’t be all that good if you’re her only option.”

and…

“Maaate… does she even know your name?”

Heh.

Real life. Real love. Real conversations.

Now.


More Real Life & Love

This month, I have had the greatest pleasure in working with my LOL writers to bring their real life & love conversations to the page. We’ve had a little taste of just about everything — from wild African ventures to Holi Indian celebrations to soulful poetics to falling in love to the odd controversial piece.

I love being a part of the diversity that we are creating together for our readers, and honestly, I think that I am in love with all of you — gratitude, that you choose to house your good work here at LOL with me and Miss Sassy Lexi.

Check out the March story pages below. There is something there for everyone. ❤

Enjoy and Happy Easter to you 🐣

Kim & Lexi

#RealLoveNow


Julia E Hubbel ♥ Gerthy Bingoly ♥ Catherine Evans ♥ Jennifer M. Wilson
Wistful writer ♥ Genius Turner ♥ Kate Mackay ♥ David Gerken ♥ Kevin Horton ♥ Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA ♥ Kate Conradie ♥ Cynthia Webb ♥ Elna Cain ♥ Deeksha Agrawal ♥ Rosie Wylor-Owen ♥ Christopher Wills ♥ Clarrisa Lee ♥ George Frey ♥ Beth Prentice ♥ Kaia Maeve Tingley ♥ Em Hoccane ♥ Ana RyanKara Summers ♥ Michael Grimes ♥ Anna Foga ♥ Albert Heemeijer — Author at Balboa / HayHouse ♥ Surbhi Tak ♥ Ellen McRae ♥ Anna & Ryan ♥ HKB ♥ Amanda Clark-Rudolph ♥ John Gruber ♥ Lisa Richards ♥ Margaret Pan ♥ Sujona Chatterjee ♥ Taryn Watson♥ Kamay Williams ♥ LSK Ann♥ Francesco RizzutoGranPa-Festus♥ Khadejah Jones♥ Anand Choudhury ♥ Danielle Urciullo♥ Floyd Mori♥ Trudy Horsting ♥ Hugo Bertrand ♥ Emma London ♥ Lucas R. Marmor ♥ Akarsh ♥ Yangxier Sui ♥ Nicole Maharaj ♥ B Shantae ♥ Ashley Nicole ♥ Kendra D ♥ Spirit♥ Katy Garner ♥ Natasha Marie ♥ Harley Christensen


Click on the LOL page link to discover our latest stories

Gerthy Bingoly: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/gerthy-bingoly/home

Kim Petersen: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/kim-petersen/home

Loving Out Loud: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/loving-out-loud/home

Real Life Now: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/real-life-now/home

Creative Locomotion: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/creative-locomotion/home

Curation Magic: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/curated-stories/home


Also published by Living Out Loud on Medium



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Living Out Loud Pub, Newsletter, writing

A Writer’s Wine

Is the echo of their soul.

Just as I sit down to write this message for you, Never Tear Us Apart by INXS starts drifting through my opened office window. The neighbours are using their outdoor sound system. At least they have the fortitude to play decent music.

Kirk Pengilly owns the saxophone that carries along the summer breeze. I begin to smile but it hardly forms as the music transports me elsewhere. Now, the half-buried awaken within me and I’m trying to catch the breath of eternal soul, making wine from love and pain.

“We could live for a thousand years, but if I hurt you, I’d make wine from your tears.”

It’s got to be one of my favourite song lyrics of all time.

Then, I’m back at my desk and entangled with a ghost, and somewhat grateful that I have cried tears enough to make wine.

Words are a Writer’s Wine

And some of our most powerful stories are born from the pain of heartache, loss and love. At Living Out Loud, our writers are making wine and sharing those unique perspectives with those who are intended to read and learn from their great work, and we couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of it.

February has been our busiest month ever, and we are so excited to welcome and publish the work of our new writers as much as our regulars who continue to support our cozy little corner of Medium with their beautiful “wine” — every piece is helping to give life and shape the fabric of Living Out Loud, and it’s our pleasure to serve our writers and readers in synergetic, intoxicating connection.


Latest News

Miss Harley and I have recently created a Slack group for our writers so that we can keep in touch outside of Medium. Our Slack group is a great tool for writers to use in case they wish to express any concerns or questions that they may have about a piece, or even to just pop in to say “Hey” once in a while.

Spotify

We’ve also created a LOL Writer’s Collection Playlist on Spotify just for fun, and would love to hear about your favourite tunes so that we can make this playlist something really unique.

Slack

Join us! 👋 Let’s move this to Slack! You can sign up here: https://join.slack.com/t/livingoutloudpub/shared_invite/zt-lp6a7510-YpkWK6tUT0cpFxWMtdGCjw

Email

Or email us at Livingoutloud@gmail.com and we’ll send you an invitation.

LOL Writers Collection on Spotify:

  • Hit “like” so that you can access and listen to the playlist anytime on your own Spotify account.

Keep sharing the “wine”.

With love,

Kim, Harley & Lexi

#Love #wine #life #music


What are you listening to lately?

Many thanks to our writers…

Julia E Hubbel ♥ Gerthy Bingoly ♥ Catherine Evans ♥ Jennifer M. Wilson
Wistful writer ♥ Genius Turner ♥ Kate Mackay ♥ Harley Christensen
David Gerken ♥ Kevin Horton ♥ Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA ♥ Kate Conradie
Cynthia Webb ♥ Elna Cain ♥ Deeksha Agrawal ♥ Rosie Wylor-Owen
Christopher Wills ♥ Clarrisa Lee ♥ George Frey ♥ Matt Lillywhite
Beth Prentice ♥ Kaia Maeve Tingley ♥ Em Hoccane ♥ Ana Ryan
Kara Summers ♥ Michael Grimes ♥ Anna Foga
Albert Heemeijer — Author at Balboa / HayHouse ♥ Surbhi Tak
Ellen McRae ♥ Anna & Ryan ♥ HKB ♥ Amanda Clark-Rudolph
John Gruber ♥ Lisa Richards ♥ Margaret Pan ♥ Sujona Chatterjee
Taryn Watson♥ Kamay Williams ♥ LSK Ann♥ JT♥ Francesco Rizzuto
Khadejah Jones♥ Anand Choudhury ♥ Danielle Urciullo♥ Floyd Mori
Natasha Marie


Latest Stories…

Love and Relationships

#LovingOutLoud #passion #love

How to Increase Your Chances of Finding Love by Lisa Richards

Is a Woman’s Intuition Really a Man’s Worst Enemy? by Kim Petersen

What if You Hate Your Child’s Partner? by Kim Petersen

Take Love To The Next Level by Kamay Williams

The Revolution Will Not Be Sexualized by LS

Have You Encountered Someone from A Past Life? by Kim Petersen

Healing Is More Like A Rollercoaster Ride Than A Journey by Kara Summers

The Wound by LS

She Gets Hers, He Gets His, They Get Theirs by Francesco Rizzuto

Signs It’s Time to Let Go of Your Unhealthy Relationship by Lisa Richards

Were We Conditioned To Cheat? by LS

Rocco’s Last Request by Francesco Rizzuto

Modern Dating by Danielle Urciullo

The Parallels Between Love and Loss by LS

Your Relationship is Ending by LS

Dirty-Love Dozen by Kim Petersen

How To Have An Amazing Valentine’s Day by Kamay Williams

Read This Before You Propose Today by LS

Does Your Partner Inspire You? by Kim Petersen

Do You Scream Desperate to a Potential Partner? by Lisa Richards

‘I Needed to Lose You to Love Me’ — My Shero, Selena Gomez by Sujona Chatterjee

When Abuse Looks Like Home by LS

Why a Man Really Needs to Connect with the Orgasmic Feminine by Kim Petersen

The Story of Silent Acceptance by LS

Real Life Now

#LivingOutLoud #life #mindfulness

Perception: The Power to Reframe Things by Gerthy Bingoly

New Year, New Me by Catherine Evans

Why ‘Think Like a Monk’ Should be the First Book You Read in 2021 by Sujona Chatterjee

Is Your Greatest Flaw Your Biggest Asset? by Jennifer M. Wilson

Get a LIFE Already: Stop Letting People Manipulate Your Outrage by Julia E Hubbel

Rage Against The Time Machine by LS

Julia E Hubbel is so FULL of BS, and Jessica Wildfire is TOO. by GranPa-Festus

The Rejections That Don’t Kill You, Make You Stronger by Sujona Chatterjee

A Woman’s Intuition is Really a Man’s Best Friend by GranPa-Festus

How to Master the Art of Public Speaking — Wear a Mask by Sujona Chatterjee

“I See You,” The Meaning Behind Those 3 Little Words is Deeply Rooted in Our Past by Gerthy Bingoly

Coming Down From The High by LS

My Mother’s Shell by LS

Who on Earth Comes Up with These Questions? by Julia E Hubbel

3 Things Death Taught Me About Life by LS

Square Peg, Round Hole by Catherine Evans

Let’s Be Afraid Together by LS

You Know What Takes Guts? Asking for Help. by Sujona Chatterjee

You’re Born With Your Purpose And You Find It Over Time by Khadejah Jones

We Need To Break Up With Our Parents by LS

Exciting Fashion Trends for 2021 by Julia E Hubbel

10 Destructive Habits I Stopped Doing to Live a More Content Life by Khadejah Jones

Winter Weather Can Be Very Beautiful by Floyd Mori

3 Ways You Can Deal With Your Insecurities And Stand in Your Truth by Khadejah Jones

How I Overcame My Fear of “Unhealthy” People by Khadejah Jones

Don’t Sit Inside And Stew During The Pandemic by Floyd Mori

The Model Citizen by LS

The Negative Side Effects of Beautiful Women by Kim Petersen

Hello, It Is Me — Your Body by Sujona Chatterjee

Creativity

#CreativeLocomotion #poetry #fiction

Confession by Kamay Williams

Do You Remember Our Last Conversation? by Gerthy Bingoly

Let Me Out by A.j Thomas

The Light Switch by A.j Thomas


First published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Author, Books, Creativity, Science fiction, writing

Is The Current e-Book Era a Second Pulp Fiction Era?

By Christopher Wills

Image from Pulp Covers

In this post I will briefly examine the similarities between the current e-book era and the early twentieth century Pulp fiction era.

Note I am not suggesting e-books are pulp fiction; I am suggesting the current e-book era has similarities with the Pulp fiction era.

What is Pulp fiction?

Pulp paper was made from cheap wood pulp which was widely available in the 19th century. Pulp paper is still used today in newspapers, magazines and yes… toilet paper.

In 1896 the fiction magazine, The Argosy, was published on pulp paper with untrimmed edges and no images inside or on the cover. It was eight pages of serialized fiction. Within ten years it was a weekly magazine selling 500,000 copies every issue.

The Pulp fiction era is considered to have been between 1896 and 1939, although if one includes cheap paperback books printed after the war, one could suggest the era continued until the 1950s. Paper shortages during the Second World War brought a decline in magazine sales and after 1945 new paperback publishers, comic books and television helped the decline in pulp magazines.

In 2004 Sony released the Librie in Japan which is acknowledged to be the first e-book reader with an electronic ink display.

However the e-book era probably started in 2007 with Amazon’s issue of their first e-book reader, the Kindle. The name came from the idea of kindle as fuel to start a fire, so the Kindle was a metaphor for fuelling the love of reading. Wood kindle is like wood pulp – spooky. The first Kindle sold out in 5 hours.

The e-book was possibly invented in 1949 although that was a mechanical device so maybe it should be called an m-book. Another version of an e-book was invented in the 1960s but that was based on an IBM mainframe computer so it wasn’t very portable.

So what are the comparisons between the Pulp fiction era and the current e-book era?

Pulp fiction made it cheaper to publish and sell short stories and serialized fiction which created a boom in magazine publishing, meaning many more people were able to write for a living and many more people were able to access their writing by buying the cheap pulp magazines.

E-books have made it much cheaper to be able to publish short stories and novels which has led to a boom in publishing, meaning many more people are able to write for a living and many more people are able to buy fiction to read.

The staples of early Pulp fiction were the many short story magazines like Argosy, Black Mask and Amazing Stories where writers were paid by the word. Longer story meant more income for writers.

Kindle Unlimited pays writers by page reads which is effectively paying writers by the word. More pages more income for writers.

Pulp magazines and books developed amazing colourful book covers which clearly defined the genre of the stories inside.

To sell e-books one is encouraged to get amazing colourful book covers that clearly define the genre of the stories one is writing.

But one might ask, hasn’t this always been true of books?

No. Go to your bookshelf, or your parents’ bookshelf or a library bookshelf and look at the covers of some older paperback books in some genres. Some are amazing and well designed, but many are not. I looked up James Bond book cover art and discovered a variety of styles. Some paperback James Bond books had no images on the cover at all; they only had text stating the title and writer.

Book covers have always been designed but only in the last thirty years or so have some traditional book covers started to conform to genre styles. Think Chicklit or Mislit. Some genres like Science Fiction and Westerns have always had a genre style image on the cover.

During the Pulp fiction era new genres were created and these genres became established as part of the fiction canon. A couple of examples are Science Fiction and Hard Boiled Detective stories.

Today in the e-book era many new genres and sub-genres have been created and have become established such as Paranormal Romance and Military Science Fiction.

Some Pulp fiction writers were writing huge numbers of words per day; some wrote up to 8,000 words. Imagine writing 8,000 words on a typewriter every day. That must have been before RSI was invented 😊.

Today many e-book writers write a few thousand words every day and some “write” even more using voice to text technology.

This is a bit more productive than the famous quote attributed to traditional authors such as Flaubert, Wilde and Conrad:

“I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.”


Some Pulp fiction writers had more than one pen name as they wrote in more than one genre.

Some e-book writers today use more than one pen name for the same reason.

During the Pulp fiction era writers were paid on acceptance for magazine stories and the rates of payment were agreed in advance. This transparency and speed of payment helped with the payment of bills.

Today one advantage e-book authors have over traditional writers is the quick payment of money for sales and the transparency of the amount of money earned.

So there are similarities between the Pulp fiction era and the current e-book era. Some may have concerns that comparisons between the two eras could introduce the idea of e-books being labelled as Pulp fiction.

Let’s examine this briefly. Many great writers wrote stories for Pulp fiction magazines to supplement their incomes and as part of learning their craft. These include:

  • Agatha Christie
  • Louis L’Amour
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Arthur C Clarke
  • Joseph Conrad
  • Raymond Chandler
  • Philip K Dick
  • F Scott Fitzgerald
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • Robert A Heinlein
  • Frank Herbert
  • Rudyard Kipling – Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Elmore Leonard
  • Sinclair Lewis – Nobel Prize for Literature + offered but declined the Pulitzer Prize for Literature
  • H P Lovecraft
  • Upton Sinclair – Pulitzer Prize for Literature
  • Micky Spillane
  • Mark Twain
  • H G Wells
  • Tennessee Williams.

Personally I would not consider it an insult if my name was associated with some of those writers. What do you think?


About Christopher

Christopher has been a soldier, sailor, teacher, trainer and is now a storyteller. He has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and has recently qualified as a Tony Buzan Licensed Instructor in Mind Mapping.

In 2019 Christopher published a 3 book Military SciFi series and will publish a non-fiction book to help writers.

He has a website in development titled Soldier Sailor Teacher Trainer Storyteller at http://www.crwills.com

Social Media: Twitter | Facebook | Amazon


This post first appeared on the ALLI blog on September 23rd 2019

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Creativity, life, Love and Connection, relationships, writing

When You Ask Me Why I Love You?

What is your forever answer?

Every now and then, we might wonder what that special person in our lives sees in us, or ponder why it is that they love us.

“I love you.”

Love isn’t a word to be taken lightly, though, at the same it is one of those “habit” words that we so often get used to saying without always putting in the feeling behind the phrase.

Doesn’t mean that we not sincere. Not all at. I think it’s more that by saying those three special words, it somehow helps to keep our faith in each other, even when said mechanically.

Make sense?

I know it works that way for my children, who utter those three words to me countless times on any given day. Yes, I am blessed — there are people in this big wide-world who love me and who I love back with all my heart and then some.

Romantic love?

The last few weeks, love has been a running theme here at Living Out Loud. We have had the pleasure of welcoming and publishing some new writers, and we are excited about creating a loving community where readers and writers can connect and share their experiences and perspectives under one little nook of the web — a space that we share with anyone who wants to join us.

#lovingoutloud #lovebig

Thank you to our wonderful writers who have shared a snippet of themselves; their hearts and souls — the stuff that makes them real. In case you’ve missed out on the latest stories, I’ve bundled them together for you below.

But first…

Lexi’s Wants to Know Your Forever Answer:

Why do you love me?

I love you because….

  • You know everything about me and you’re still around.
  • You piss me off and laugh when I call you an asshole.
  • You instinctively know when I need a hug.
  • You let me be who I am and love me even more for it.
  • You still try to make me laugh.
  • When things get tough, you love me even harder.

What’s your forever answer?

Latest Stories:

#Love

Kim Petersen16 Facts About Love That Might Surprise You

Kim PetersenIs it Love Obsession or Dark Obsession?

Wistful writerTouch More, Love More

Kim PetersenThe Power of Polarity Between Men and Women

Kim PetersenIs There Ever a Time to Deny Real Love?

Kim Petersen: The Seven Sweet Sins of Love

#RealLifeNow

Jennifer M. Wilson: How to be Effortlessly Cool

Kaia Tingley 🌀 We Cannot Force Change

#Technology #Creativity

Kate MackayWhy Education Needs Virtual Reality During COVID-19

Kate MackayDoes Virtual Reality Have a Place in eLearning?

Kate MackayA Virtual Reality Classroom Adventure

Kate MackayHow Can Virtual Reality Boost Confidence in Children?

Kate Mackay: Can Virtual Reality Save Special Need Education During COVID-19?

#Spirituality #Creativity

Kim PetersenThe Creative Secrets of Shamanic Drumming

#Poetry

Harley Christensen: Please — Stop the Madness!


Thanks to all our gorgeous writers —what’s your “forever (or un-forever) answer”? — Julia E Hubbel Jennifer M. Wilson Wistful writer Genius Turner Kate Mackay Harley Christensen David Gerken Kevin Horton Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA Kate Conradie Cynthia Webb Elna Cain Deeksha Agrawal Rosie Wylor-Owen Christopher Wills Clarrisa Lee George Frey Matt Lillywhite Kaia Tingley 🌀 Beth Prentice

That’s all from us for now — until next time, keep #loving & #smiling #writing & #reading!

— The LOL Editorial Team

Kim, Harley and Lexi 🙂


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Creativity, life, mindset, writing

Seasons of Life


Hello friends,

Welcome to the very first Living Out Loud newsletter!

Super exciting.

So, the world is still spinning on crazy as we continue to move through transitional times, but the warmer days here on the Australian eastern seaboard are beginning to renew my sense of hope for the future — how are you doing?

We are moving into Spring on this side of the globe, and the new season brings cool themes like love, joy, hope and rebirth, which fits nicely with the recent launch of Living Out Loud (LOL).

New Beginnings

I’m a huge fan of Jim Rohn and his masterful lessons using the seasons of life.

Rohn:

“Life is like the changing seasons — you cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself. So, the first major lesson in life to learn is how to handle the winters …. There are all kinds of winters: the “winter” when you can’t figure it out, the “winter” when everything seems to go awry. There are economic winters, social winters and personal winters.”

Pandemic winters…

I don’t think anyone would debate how 2020 has brought along with it a long, cold winter. Rohn was right when he said that we cannot change experiencing the winters, though we change how we deal with them.

“But here is what you can do: You can get stronger; you can get wiser; you can get better. Remember that trio of words: stronger, wiser, better.”

The new decade has forced us to practice more humility than ever before — it’s forced change and transformation on both a global and personal scale.

This year has grounded us so much that many of us are reassessing our lives and really honing in on what’s important.

Love. Connectedness. Authenticity. Heart. Soul. Living Out Loud. Finding You.

With all of this in mind, it’s natural that change will always seem a little daunting as it eventually leads us toward a new beginning.

We want to know how you feel about change and new beginnings, because even though we cannot get in touch in real life, we are still connected here — through sharing our stories that will uplift one another as we embrace change together.

Lexi’s New Beginning Prompts

  • What do new beginnings mean to you?
  • How do you feel about new beginnings — embrace or resist?
  • Opportunity? Change? Trepidation?
  • In thinking about new beginnings, what’s one word that resonates?
  • Send us your article about new beginnings, or pop a reply below.

Now, in case you missed the latest LOL stories, here is some of what went down:

Creativity, Relationships & Real Life Now

Fiction

Poetry


That’s all from us for now — until next time, #BeLove & #RealLifeNow

– The LOL Editorial Team

Lexi, Kim and Harley

Originally published on LOL on Medium.

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Creativity, writing

Can Your Dreams Help You Write Better Stories?

Trust yourself and your dream messages.


We have all been there — ensnared in the middle of a cinematic dream that feels so real you think you’ve actually experienced it, even after waking. Maybe it was a nightmare that left you in a chilled sweat, heart racing. Or if you are anything like me, you’ve awoken deeply disturbed following a dark lucid dream. On the other hand, perhaps you’re fortunate enough to have returned from a romantic liaison with your favorite rock star — we should all be so lucky. Right? At least in our dreams.

Sigmund Freud believed that our dreams were the gateway toward unlocking the unconscious mind. Indeed, interpreting our dreams has long been an important technique used in psychoanalysis.

From Frontiers in Psychology:

“According to Freud, sources of dreams include stimuli from the external world, subjective experiences, organic stimuli within the body, and mental activities during sleep. Empirical evidence has supported some of these assertions. The self-organization theory of dreaming posits that memory consolidation, emotion regulation, and reception of external stimuli can contribute to dream content; hence, dream content can contain important information about the dreamer.”

Very interesting. But what exactly are dreams?

Basically, dreams are images and imagery, thoughts, sounds and voices, and subjective sensations experienced when we sleep.

Although science knows what dreams are, just like our imaginative mind, dreams essentially remain a large part of the great mystery of humanity, continuing to intrigue and enchant us.

We all dream.

And through our dreams, we discover a limitless realm of warped realities and private fantasy worlds. We dream about people we know or don’t know; or those who we’ve yet to meet or haven’t seen in eons— dreams even offer the dead a medium by which to make contact with the living.

Our dreams are mystical, orchestrated or disorganized glimpses into sacred secrets and repressed desires. Conjured from the inner-most parts of our minds to embody unusual and strange situations; peculiar feelings; a recalling of events. To forcing us to face our deepest and darkest fears; to premonitions of a future yet to unfold.

Dreams are our link into an alchemistic dimension — they are a convoluted part of us in some way. The sweet labyrinthine in our mind.

There is no limit to what the mind can experience during a dream, and there isn’t always sense or reason to what you end up dreaming about. Sometimes we remember them. Other times, we forget. Some hold significance and are meaningful. Others, are more like a random jumble of meaningless imagery with an underlying feeling.

That’s what makes our dreams so utterly fascinating.

Dream Theories

Scientists have hypothesized six major theories in attempt to explain why we dream. Jodie Tyley provides a brief summary in her article; The Six Leading Theories on Why We Dream.

Here’s a quick rundown…

  • Encoding our Day — Dreaming is an amalgamation of what we have seen in the passing day. Our brain has passed through so much information since its last sleep, dreaming is a way of it deciding what to keep and what to forget.
  • Emotions — Dreams could be tied to our emotions. If you’re feeling happy, you’ll have a more positive dream and if you’re stressed you may have a nightmare and so on. With less to think about at night, your brain processes slow down and your emotions come to the fore.
  • Emotions II — Conversely, some believe that your dreams are usually the opposite of your emotions. If you’ve had a hard day for instance, you’ll have a happy dream to lift your spirits.
  • Completely Random — Some say that rather than having any sort of function, dreams are just completely random impulses that happen while we’re asleep and aren’t meant to make any sense at all.
  • Memory Reboot — You may have only briefly glanced at something while awake but when you’re asleep your brain will investigate it further.
  • Freudian dreams — Freud claimed that when you were awake, your unconscious (urges, desires, wishes and dreams) was suppressed but when asleep, your primal impulses gained the chance to express itself and that is what dreams are made of; our unsuppressed and unconscious desires and dreams.

Personally, I’m down with Swiss Psychoanalyst, Carl Jung’s ideas about why we dream, he said that dreams reveal more than they conceal. Jung rejected Freud’s theory of dream interpretation that dreams are designed to be secretive, disbelieving that dream formation is a product of discharging our tabooed sexual impulses.

Jung’s dream belief states that dreams are a natural expression of our imagination and use the most straightforward language at our disposal: mythic narratives. His dream theory is still thriving in contemporary psychoanalytic circles.

“This mythic world of Jung’s is the realm of the archetypes, which are the universal energies of every human who is not only in conflict with society but also with him or herself.” — Ryan Hurd


If driving conflict is one of the most vital components of storytelling, then imagination is the foundation on which all stories balance — great storytelling lies first and foremost within the mystical realm of an author’s imagination, followed by their skill to execute their vision to story.

What comes out is what’s on the inside.

Reading a story is like entering someone else’s secretive world; a rare revelation into an author’s mind —hidden parts of their soul and snippets of their dreams spill onto the page for us to devour. What comes out is what’s on the inside. I’m certain that someone like Wayne Dyer once said something similar, only he was referring to our reactive impulses toward the outer world.

The thing is, the same is true about our dreams and words — written, spoken or otherwise — and every facet of our manifesting lives, experiences.

The Writer’s Dream World

I have dreamed of circumstances and events that have come to pass. I’ve dreamed of a love and a tender touch I may never feel. I’ve received visitors and messages from the long and recently dead; and I have dreamed of scenes and characters that are now forever inked in my books.

Dreams are a precious gift to a creative soul. As writers, we can learn to use the mysterious time during our sleep to connect with our creativity and the deepest parts of our imagination.

Did you know that some of the world’s most prolific writer’s have dreamt of their most famous creations?

Author of Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelly famously dreamt of monsters the evening before she sat down to write the book which became the blueprint of Gothic horror. And authors like Steven King, Stephanie Myers, H.P Lovecraft, Charlotte Brontë, and Robert Louis Stephenson have reportedly told of their slumbering bouts of inspiration that made it into their creative projects.

But why are dreams so creative?

From How sleeping and afternoon naps make you more creative:

“Sleep and dreams are some of the most researched aspects of neuroscience and psychology, but still some of the least understood. The ideas behind dreams and creativity come from the function of sleep in memory and the fact that, while we are asleep, our brains are free from the usual sensations and can, frankly, go crazy.”

Is it just me, or does the notion of getting a little a crazy in a way-too-serious-world sound appealing — even if only in our dreams?

Prince might have agreed. I wonder if his dreams influenced his very unique and fearless creative gifts he gave to the world; his very memorable legacy…

Aside from getting dream-crazy with funk-rock musicians, our dreams can open our minds to major creative breakthroughs and new ways of thinking. They are a manifestation of our experiences, inner-most thoughts, desires and troubles; and with a little TLC, they can help us tap into our imaginative minds to create scenes and characters in our fictional worlds.

Create With Your Dreams

Our dreams are fleeting. In general, the more time that has passed since you woke up from a dream, the more difficult it will be to remember what that dream was about. Keeping a dream journal is a great way to record what happens in your mind while you are sleeping so you don’t forget those little creative dream-nuggets when they come calling.

Keeping a Dream Journal will:

  • Help solve creative problems
  • Help you control lucid dreams
  • Help you to better understand your thoughts, creative ideas and emotions
  • Improve and strengthen your memory in general
  • Provide new perspectives and insights on a current creative project
  • Offer you actual scenes for your book
  • Provide a sense of creative direction

It can be helpful to fall asleep with your intentions set firm by talking to your inner-self and asking for creative direction. We often take our final thoughts to sleep with us, so choose them intentionally.

Whether you jot down a few quick takeaways during the night, record a detailed dream scene, or even sketch down your visions, you’ll be surprised at what your subconscious mind reveals and how you can incorporate your mystical dream elements into your creative work. It’s like turning an internal hidden lock and working with another part of yourself that is very much available to you.

Dreams can help you write better stories.

You’ve just got to trust yourself and your dream messages. Added bonus? By keeping track of your dreams for creative purposes, you may even discover something new about yourself. Maybe, you’ll even want to get your “Prince” on and get a little dream-crazy while you’re at it.


Originally published by Publishous on Medium

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Creativity, writing

Value Distractions to Be More Productive and Creative

Make conscious connections.


Why do you get your best ideas in the shower?

I don’t need to talk to you directly to know that there are days when you spend an embarrassing amount of time in front of expensive equipment staring blankly at the screen, only to later get your best ideas in the shower.

Right? We think that we need more focus, that we’re not motivated or talented enough. We begin to chide ourselves for our lack of productivity which can then fast lead into a negative feedback loop.

We think “If I just tried harder, worked harder, focused harder” then the ideas will flow and productivity will resume. Only, your brain feels like a dried-up prune with nothing left to give — it’s your biased brain signals that now have you suppressing ideas you see as unrelated.

By trying to force the ideas and creativity, you’re essentially shutting down new thoughts and ideas and hindering your productivity.

You are focusing too hard and it’s paradoxical. You need to be able to shut off distractions so you can focus and get your work done, but now you’re stuck.

Mark Fenske, co-author of The Winner’s Brain explains that some of our best ideas happen in the shower because “shampooing hair and lathering up doesn’t take a lot of cognitive focus — Other parts of the brain can start to contribute.’’

This means we engage in more free association and mind wandering: “And that’s really critical for innovation.’’

I get it. You want to be able to fulfill your creative potential and productivity during your working hours. But when you try to dig in and focus, you find yourself back at the start, frustratingly staring at a blank screen.

So, if you are stuck on a problem, or want to improve your productivity and creativity, an interruption is what you need to free up your mind and force an incubation period.

Shelley H. Carson, author of Your Creative Brain says: “A distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.”

The Blue Mind Concept

Wallace. J. Nichols is the author of Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do — Nichols reinforces Carson’s observations about distractions: “When a person gets distracted, his mind gets a break and the dopamine released during this time helps a person to create some new creative ideas.”

I am a writer. My income is solely based on my words — whether it be through client work or writing my own articles and projects. This means that if I don’t sit down and write each day, I won’t create revenue. I won’t get paid. Sometimes, I get stuck and feel as if I have no more words left in me to produce, or that everything I write is rubbish.

I used to feel guilty when I had an unproductive or uncreative day. But I learned to shift my mindset around both productivity and creativity. Now, I choose to appreciate and value the “distraction” times rather than resisting them.

These are the times when I might feel an urge to get to the water. Being around water helps to clear my mind, balance and ground me. So that when I get back to my desk, I’m ready to get back into it.

Being present with water does something to you — as a person and creative. Here’s why:

Time for Distractions

“A wide-open landscape of wild water is a beautiful, involved, intimate connection — it is something larger than ourselves.”- Nathan Oldfield

We were all born with the potential to create beautiful and meaningful things. It’s just we sometimes need to get distracted from the complex tasks from our daily life. Water and creativity have many things in common and are intertwined.

Nichols:

“Our body has a larger part made up of water and that makes sense when we talk about the correlation between water and creativity. More focus, energy, and our mental and physical fitness are a gift of water.”

We want to reach our full creative potential. We feel better when we’ve put in a productive day. But here’s the thing: If we don’t create blocks of time to self-care, we will never be able to realize and achieve all that we can.

Being near the ocean greatly affects mental well-being. You don’t even need to swim. Just being near the water naturally enables a meditative state. The visual stimuli your brain receives from viewing the water literally opens your mind to new thought experiences — creativity.

If you are fortunate enough to live near a body of water like I am, then you’ll have access to its many benefits such as:

Fresh Air: Air exposed to water, and especially seawater is charged with a good number of negative ions, this fresh air helps your body absorb oxygen.

Strengthened Immune System: Increased relaxation and decreased stress means a strengthened immune system.

Better Sleep: Exposure to water is known to relax the mind and body unlike anything else.

Greater Happiness: Scientists have determined that looking at and enjoying water floods the brain with feel-good hormones. This means that people exposed to water are often more relaxed and happier in general.


But you don’t necessarily have to live near water to gain the benefits of water. You can swim in pools, take baths or sit near a fountain so that you can hear the running water. It’s about finding a way to use water to distract away from your desk, replenish and connect with yourself.

Nichols Blue Mind Concept States:

“When you get into the water, your body doesn’t need stout muscles that uphold your body. Water itself will hold it and help you feel more relaxed. And when this happens your brain areas taking care of this muscles get a break.

Somatically, auditorily, and visually your body is getting a break, actually the rest. And the brain goes to its default mode, a contemplative and self-referential perspective. The freed-up brain areas now can work on other things, let say your creative thinking, and you feel a different way.”


Water is the great sustainer of life and can also be the great sustainer of your productivity and creativity. Even when you are at your workplace and busy going at it, take a break and drink pure water. As Nichols reminds us: “That’s what flow is — relaxing into what you know well and letting creativity happen. Water, literally and metaphorically, allows us to do that and allows you to move in all different directions.”

Water bodies resonate with each other — valuing distractions and consciously connecting with water can change your life for the better and will have a positive effect on your creative and productive output.

You just have to be open to it.


Originally published by Publishous 06/02/2020

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Creative Writing Energy Podcast, Uncategorized

Creative Writing Energy: Understanding the Mind for Creativity

The mind has many layers.


Creativity is one of the most fascinating challenges in contemporary neuroscience. In fact, very little about the nature of creativity is known. I like to think of it as a mystifying and wonderful complex side of our minds awaiting exploration.

Our capacity to create, produce new concepts and ideas is one of the most vital attributes of the human brain, and yet its neural basis largely remains a mystery – creativity and imagination cannot necessarily be defined or measured. 

I am not a neuroscientist, but I am a creative who often ponders the gift of imagination and creativity. It’s sure to be one of our most valued human traits, and has given us the tools to change the world through innovative ingenuity and insightful visualization. Creativity is also responsible for our ability to adapt to changes beyond our control.

But is creativity a conscious or unconscious process?  

In their attempts to understand creativity in the human brain, cognitive neuroscientists are led to the conclusion that the creative process arises from the unconsciousness rather than occurring as a conscious process, claiming that only 5 percent of our brain is conscious while the rest lies beyond our awareness.

The human mind has many layers.

Sigmund Freud believed that behavior and personality were driven by the constant and unique interaction of conflicting psychological forces that operate at three different levels of awareness: the preconscious, conscious, and unconscious or subconscious.

Here’s a quick overview:

The conscious mind

Rules thoughts, memories and feelings of which we are aware at any given moment. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally.

The preconscious mind

Consists of anything that could potentially be brought into the conscious mind. It exists just below the level of consciousness.

The unconscious or subconscious mind

A reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that are outside of our conscious awareness. The unconscious mind thinks in the expression of form such as images, memories, underlying desires and creativity.

It is our subconscious minds that influences our actions to fit a pattern consistent with our self-concept. It’s like an inbuilt master program. This is why our thoughts are so critical – we can actually reprogram our lives and self-concepts through the thoughts we create and believe.

Positive affirmations are a wonderful way to kick-start change through kind, motivational and prosperous-oriented bites of sound. That’s why we at Creative Writing Energy created a series of positive creativity prompts – to help instil positive thoughts and encourage writers to believe in themselves and their creativity.

The unconscious or subconscious mind is a fascinating part of the human brain because it holds much of the mysterious aspects about humans, our perceptions and our experiences. It also holds the key to our creativity and shines a light over the path leading toward higher states of consciousness; the Higher-Self.

Your Higher-Self is where dwells your higher-creative mind.

From Wikipedia:

“Higher consciousness is the consciousness of a god or “the part of the human mind that is capable of transcending animal instincts”.

Concepts of higher conscious has ancient roots dating back to the Bhagavad Gita and Indian Vedas. It is a belief held by Hindus and New Age thought alike.

In his Theory of Consciousness, Gerald Edelman makes the distinction:

“The higher consciousness or secondary consciousness from primary consciousness, defined as simple awareness that includes perception and emotion. Higher consciousness in contrast “involves the ability to be conscious of being conscious” and allows the recognition by a thinking subject of his or her own acts and affections.”

Basically, our higher consciousness is the eternal essence in each of us that is everything divine, perfect and love – It is our bond connecting us to the higher-universal intelligence.

The source of all light and life within you.

Becoming aware of and building a relationship with your higher-self is like opening a door to parts of yourself that you always sensed was there but you couldn’t quite grasp it.

Yes, it might sound a little on the abstract side, and that’s because it is. There is a reason why neuroscience and quantum physics cannot solve the mystery of life, creativity and imagination.

Analytics, scientific data and a logical brain can only take you so far. The rest has to be learned through intuition, faith and connection.

Connecting with your higher-creative mind takes deliberate practice and intention through creating the space within yourself and your life to get there. You must possess the desire to reach for more if you are reap the divine rewards.

Creativity and imagination abound within these higher spaces, as does a sense of tranquillity, profound connection, wondrous revelations and well-being.

Here’s a few methods and tools you can use to begin the journey toward the higher-creative mind:

  • Meditation
  • Reading Spiritual Text  
  • Earth-grounding
  • The Tarot
  • Oracle Cards
  • Yoga
  • Shamanic Medicine Drumming
  • Free-form Writing for Self-Exploration
  • Crystals
  • Yoga

Catherine Evans and I are going to discuss all of this and more during our Creative Writing Energy presentation in next month’s WriteHive 2020 convention, where we hope to help you pave a way to connect with and honor your higher-creative mind.

WriteHive 2020 is a free online writing convention featuring everyone from huge names in the literary industry to brand-new writers, and will be live across the world from April 18th - 19th.  

Check it out here: https://www.writehive.org/

We hope to see you there.


Creative Writing Energy will be presenting their panel on Saturday April 18th at 3pm EST!

We’ll be around to answer comments – come say hello!

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Uncategorized, Whispers

Beating Imposter Syndrome

by Rosie Wylor-Owen


Ambition isn’t simple. It’s a glorious hope of a better life, a contented life; maybe the ideal life that we’ve always wanted to lead, but it isn’t simple.

It feels that way when we first set out pursuing whichever dream we have latched onto with gusto. Isn’t it just a case of setting goals, taking a deep breath and diving right in?

I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember and the path to success seemed straightforward at first. Write a book and plonk it on Amazon, just like everyone else did. But before long, I realised that there was much more to self-publishing than I initially thought – I needed newsletters, advertising, a tantalising social media presence complete with engaging posts and hilarious tweets.

One thing was clear as time went on: the more I learned, the more I realised how little I knew.

Before I released my first full-length novel, Scorpio’s Grace in November 2019, I tested the waters by publishing a short story The Witch’s Touch. That soul-crunching combination of flinging my first piece of work out to the world for everyone to see, plus the realisation that I was woefully new to the industry, created a feeling I was all too familiar with. The feeling of unearned praise and bewilderment that someone might enjoy reading what I wrote: imposter syndrome.

My first 5-star reviews of The Witch’s Touch really sealed the deal. I was plagued with thoughts that the reviewers were just being nice or that their standards were so low that even my books looked good to them. From then on, every smidgeon of praise came with the same light elation and a side helping of despair. Because someone, somewhere was going to realise that every book I ever wrote was an overrated pile of garbage.

When I finished work on Scorpio’s Grace, my nerves were shot. This wasn’t just some short story; this was a full-blown novel. Over 6x the size, which would surely give everyone 6x the chance to realise that I was a fraud.

But as release day approached, the feelings of inadequacy got pushed to one side. Who had time for that when there was release parties to plan, newsletters to send and those side-tickling tweets to post?

By the time Scorpio’s Grace was released and had seen its first 5-star review, I had forgotten all about being an imposter. An occupied mind has little time to worry.

Two things happened when I finally took a moment to consider my self-worth again.

Firstly, I got a chance to reflect on what an amazing experience the release of Scorpio’s Grace had been. Organising the release and celebrating with author friends powered me through the process of publishing and scattered all thoughts of insignificance to the wind.

Secondly, I realised that if I hadn’t had the time to remember to feel like a fraud, perhaps I had worked hard enough to have earned just a little of my own self-respect.

Just like that, the 5-star reviews started to feel a little more deserved, and I began asking myself more positive questions. Questions like: are you really that bad an author if this many people enjoy your books?

Imposter syndrome affects a lot of creatives and it isn’t easily fought. For many of us, imposter syndrome will always be a factor in our lives, but we have a medium of control over how it affects us. Remembering past successes and taking a brief moment to enjoy some of those good reviews are crucial to building self-esteem based on realistic feelings of achievement.

As sure as the sky is blue, there will be a 1-star review on its way sooner or later to test our self-confidence without us constantly questioning our own abilities.

So, if Imposter Syndrome is preparing to strike, give yourself some credit. Remember a crowning achievement, read that good review or maybe, just maybe, gift yourself an unexpected compliment.

The battle to recognise our self-worth is never-ending, so our efforts to combat our doubts must be relentless. Grab a cookie, we’ve earned it!


Rosie Wylor-Owen is a book blogger at The Secret Library Book Blog and an urban fantasy author. Her books include Scorpio’s Grace, The Witch’s Touch and A Druid’s Secret, an upcoming novel in the Darkness Rising boxed set.

These are the best places to keep up to date on all Rosie’s magical antics:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rosiewylorowenauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosiewylorowen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rouli91/?hl=en

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rosiewylorowen/

Her website: https://rosiewylor-owen.com/


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