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Why Erotic Fiction Makes You A Better Writer

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Ah, writing.

It’s definitely a love-hate thing for me. I looove to gobble up well-crafted words on a page. Great writing is my soul crack. I can’t stop. The right words, in the right order, from the right person, at the right time = pure ecstasy. And I’m always ready for my next hit.

But when it’s time to write those words for other people? That’s where the hate part comes in.

As my fingers hover over my keyboard and I’m staring at a blank screen, a stormy mix of self-doubt, anxiety, and sheer panic rolls in. It’s painful. It’s hard. I sweat insecurity from every pore with each sentence I lay down. And, I keep going.

Many hours (or days) later when I’ve finally accomplished the word-smithing mission du jour, the satisfaction of having written something seduces me to fall in love with it once again.

So when this question came in about how to be a better writer, I was excited to share an unexpected writing lesson from last summer that has definitely, ahem, perked up my prose.

Since you’re likely a writer too, I’d love to hear all of your writing rituals, tips, tricks, and of course, any erotic fiction you feel I should be reading ;). Share your goods with us in the comments below please.

Selling Your Soul. May 12 NYC = Super Epic.

Danielle LaPorte and I spent the weekend together (along with our other maven, Kris Carr) and all I have to say is that Selling Your Soul is destined to be epic.

Like SUPER epic. In ways I can’t even begin to describe. We’ve also got some heavy hitters coming in from publishing, blogging, marketing and philanthropy. If you’re ready to up your game in a major and meaningful way, get yo ticket now.

Loads of lovin’

xoxo

Marie Forleo

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Read the comments or Add yours

Nathalie Lussier

Ooh yeah! I read so many business, personal development, how-to books… I like to kick back with a little romance. Actually I’ve got a stash from the library on hand and it’s the easiest way to get me disconnected from the web for hours and hours. ;) I have to be careful though, otherwise I’d just read 24/7.

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Amber

Hugely agree w/ Marie and you, Nathalie! I too have too have an addition. To chic lit. One summer, it was all I could do to stop. I made a deal with myself. Forced myself to get on the treadmill when I was reading and that was the only way I could read. Of course I cheated, but it was a great little motivator to work out too! :)

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Jenn

Amber, I had to do the same thing (make myself read on the stepper) otherwise, I was getting NOTHING done. Especially with the Twilight series. Got sucked into that and nothing got done – work or housecleaning. I couldn’t put them down.

Same goes for other fiction books. I LOVE to read, so I have to make sure I don’t start reading anything if I’m needing to get work accomplished on a project. I only allow myself to read articles and non-fiction business books in order to stay focused on my work.

It does help with understanding the flow of how a good article is written.

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Laura Hagan

LOVE IT Marie! Thank you!!

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Allison

Marie! This video couldn’t have showed up in my mailbox at a better time (as per usual). I like the reminder about story telling, it is so true. Looks like I am going to have to pick me up some good erotica this week!

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Elizabeth Jett

Hey Marie,
I’m fairly new to your newsletter but I love it and find it very inspiring. I was so excited by today’s video and the fact that you loved Knight of Pleasure because the project I’m developing is all about erotic/romance fiction! I take it as a sign that someone as smart and cool as you can admit to enjoying some fun,trashy entertainment. I can’t make the selling your soul event but I’m determined to meet you soon.
Best,
Elizabeth

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Claire Hayes

I see your email Marie and just open it up as quick as I can which is a good thing as I am about to write and was stuck! ta ….da….so today’s blog is going to be a story.. an everyday tale of a parent who fantasised about running off to the Big Apple in May…

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Melody Granger

I read fiction more than self-help and business books!

Feedback from friends, customers, family is… I’m developing some writing skills that keep ‘em hooked and reading ;-)

Now, what fiction should I read next????

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Suset

I am a rabid (yes, I meant to say rabid) reader, talore (I made that word up!), and editress. The one tip I always give clients (though my friends think I am harsh) is that they have to realize that the first draft is simply going to suck. There is no way around it. Once you are Ok with sucking the first time around, the writing flows. In fact, once you accept that the first draft is brain dung, you may actually birth a first version that is worth a dime or two.

Some of the best advice I have received myself: 1. Write on paper first (the connection is more immediate and intimate than if you typed away at a keyboard); 2. Become a rabid reader of everything and anything (some of the best theories in history sound eerily familiar to quantum mechanics principles); 3. Write boldly and fearlessly (unlike makeup, you can always scale back your writing if needed. Go big first)

Oh and I also love erotica and romantic lit. Though I don’t think these are the best, the first ones I ever read were Texas Tigress and Love’s Lost Angel by Sonya T. Pelton. For two provocative books on writing, and on how to make yours sing, I would try Sin and Syntax (you can’t go wrong with a title like that) and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire.

Oh lordy! This is sooo long. I do love my writing.

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Lauryn Doll

Thanks for these amazing recommendations!

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Rachelle Anslyn

lol, of course you are so right! I always have my nose in educational material… hardly the spice of life you get going into storyland. Hmmm expanding time is now what I need to get some fabulous fiction in. Maybe time expansion can be your next video!

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Stephanie McCullough

Love the tip. I’m in a writing rut at the moment myself, so it was perfect timing! My childhood friend, Katharine Ashe, writes really steamy, really great historical fiction. SUCH a fun escape – it makes me blush! http://www.katharineashe.com She just came out with a $1.99 novella for your Kindle. check it out!

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Lazarus Nazario

Great tip Marie! I needed the reminder!! :)

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Melissa Cassera

Great post Marie! I am the exact opposite – love writing for other people. Have serious trouble writing juicy stuff for myself.

Some of my writing tips include:
- Just start writing. Even if it sucks. Often just writing a bunch of thoughts, fragments, and run on sentences helps you get in the groove. It’s like writing foreplay, before you find the “spot” :)
- Have an arsenal of books and magazines that match your brand handy. I constantly take phrases and words from countless sources and put them all together in a journal or electronic file. This will help spark ideas.
- Read all of your writing out loud. If it sounds wonky or you’re tripping over words, re-write it.
- Write things that aren’t intended for the public. I write all about my embarrassing moments or private thoughts. Most of the time they come out pretty funny and I end up sharing them. Those posts are usually the most well read.

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Barbara

@Melissa. I like your writing tips and use most of them. I, too, will read all of my writing out loud. I also start writing with these in mind:
—write like you’re having a conversation with someone. This is especially helpful for me on first draft.
—write from the heart; with authenticity. People can spot a ‘fake’ from miles away.
Thanks everyone for sharing your awesome stuff!

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JOSH

Great video, baby.
I was particularly interested to see it because I read the title as
Erotic Friction. But Erotic Fiction is a close runner up.
Great stuff!
Joshy

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simh

Hmm.. not so sure! Visualization of what you are about to write is definitely the key – then you go on to verbalize it as though you are writing to your 5 yr old kid.

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Stephanie Watanabe

Love it! You’re SO right and just made me realize that I NEVER read fiction anymore. I’ve got a shit-ton of yummy biz books and other cool stuff…but I can tell now that I’ve been starvin’ myself of some juicy storytelling. Thank you Marie for being on-point with each and every post. xo

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Heidi DeCoux

Wow, good tips. I can’t even remember the last time I picked up a fiction book – I shall do some Kindle browsing tonight!

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Cynthia

Great tip…reading soft porn as eye candy…you never know where inspiration will flow through next!

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stephanie*

Hey Marie!
A recommendation for you :)
I m just reading some great (not only) erotic (non) fiction: Fire by Anaïs Nin. The unexpurgated diary of 1934 – 1937. You can completely dive into the thirties in New York and an artist lady’s soul. Thank you for your sharing, Stephanie.

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laura

Like that a lot. I always feel like you pull urgings out of my brain that I have not acted on, which helps me to feel that I have the right instincts, so great to have this forum. Smooches, indeed!

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Amanda

Awesome tip! Fiction helps to stimulate our imagination and story telling helps us to connect and journey with the characters. Inspiring us to create our own magnificent world through our words!

Amanda, XO

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Elsa

Fiction novels used to be my favorite past time EVER…. but i stopped when I began feeling guilty for not reading enough personal development/self help books.
So excited to hear that reading fiction can actually be a good thing after all!!
Thanks lady!

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Carrie Southern

Marie you are so fun! Carrie

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V&A

I suppose it has to do with putting your brain in a new mode. When you enter the fantasy realm of erotic fiction, you kickstart a fresh way of thinking.

I also like your second suggestion. Hard to do and only for the brave. The trick is to choose friends who aren’t afraid to be honest with you.

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Andrea Sydow

Love, love your video. One little comment if you allow…. the background music it´s a little bit of a distraction for me. First I did not noticed what was nagging on me because I am always so focussed on what you say and suddenly it occurs to me that the music was distracting me….. Smootchies from Berlin

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jean

I’ll never forget when I discovered DH Lawrence in high school. Lady Chatterey’s Lover! OMG…what a profound impact that story had on me…and hopefully my writing as well.

Great post, Marie.
:)

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B

Wow Marie,
I have listened & read your amazing insights for a while now.
You certainly have your own style & its a blast to have the pleasure of the
interaction you offer.
Thanx it’s an abundant infusion of all senses!
I write too, howeva.com it can be a brilliant write & then you re-read it & go, WT!! :) & then write it again.
My gf’s tell me off & say run with it B, it’s just you already know the info, so it’s not enlightening to you!! I laugh & say I want to B Better!..
So as far as reading, I’m like a vacum I have so much ‘stuff’ in my head I have to get it out or go crazy!
Thanx for all your insights, it’s refeshing to know there’s other people in the world who have as much passion for selling their souls… lol
Come visit one day, it would be great to have you as a guest.. :)
From
Bee
Gold Coast Queensland Australia
xxoox

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Monica Strobel

Hey Marie– I suggest reading a few romance books to pick up great compliment phrases for feeling Heroine mojo and to give to the Hero’s in women’s lives–to spice things up between them and jumpstart some romance. All compliments don’t have to be just sweet– spicy is good too! Yes, Inspiration comes from many places if you let it!

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Marsha Stopa

One of my favorite quotes:
“Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Marsha Stopa

Oops.
Just discovered that quote is from Jessamyn West, not Emerson.

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Casey

Marie, I laughed out loud when I saw you were covering this today as I was just telling my group program ladies this week that Erotic Fiction helps your health! Too good lady, too good ;)

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Kimberly

Wow. I viewed this Tuesday Q & A video right after sweating bullets struggling to finish a freelance article for the real estate website I write for — tough sledding, I-tell-you!
For me it’s way, way harder to write either A., about things that I’m not that generally interested in, such as this particular freelance assignment, or B., for someone else, no matter what the topic. But creating content for my blog? No problem! It’s usually a joyful experience and I often find myself totally getting into a “flow” state while doing it.
I think it’s that invisible wall/hurdle of knowing someone else is reading and judging when I’m doing the freelance assignments. Whatever it is, I’d like to develop a “flow” there too, so it’s not always so painful! ; )

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Andrea

Marie-
I’m so glad you wrote this. I always felt a little guilty about my Harlequin Blaze habit (super hot, 200 pg. romance stories that I highly advise you pick up). But if they made me a better writer, I don’t have to feel guilty anymore!

Also, the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris are so much better than the Twilight books. So much better.

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Rhonda Grace

This was awesome Marie!
I love your Tuesday Video Q&A.

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Mia DeBolt

Awesome tips, Marie! I think I’ve subscribed too much to the Zig Ziglar way of reading only non-fiction even though I know that I love a good trashy novel every now and then. What a great reason to read! You’re so right. The story telling will definitely help in business. Thank you, as always for sharing great knowledge! Love and “smooches”!

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Olga

Holly molly…so many of us jumping in with the comments. I love it!
To add my Erotic spice to the pot…inspired by Marie’s video I wrote a post tonight

‘How I had a Bank Account Orgasm’
http://www.iamfullyalive.com/bank-account-orgasm/

Let me know what ya think :)

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Denise Duffield-Thomas

Hilarious Olga – you certainly know how to write an intriguing and provocative title! Got me clicking on it for sure!

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Niccole Nelson

OMG!!!! The upper limit problem!!! May God bless you for sharing this information!! I will be reading that book The Big Leap as soon as finish reading Super Rich by Russell Simmons. I didn’t know that’s what my problem was. I mayu have just done the sabotage thing by sending you my last emil about my writings. OH my, this is so eye opening! BTW I love writing eroctic fiction and I will be sending some.
Writing tips: JUST WRITE! Get it out your head… Be present to the thoughts and find pleasure in the details! Don’t be concerned with who will like it, write for yourself and let others make their opinion of it and take from it what they will.

LAVA

Her lust for him was thick and hot like lava
She was enthralled in heat as her body became the volcano
As he sat there and watched her caress her body
He could see her temptation rising
As he took each step closer the arousal was intense
His eyes filled with hunger for her as he watched her explore the pit of her passion
Her body becoming radiant with the glow of ecstasy
He dared not touch her as to be engulfed in the fire
But the flame was calling him liken unto a moth
Her nipples hard and erect atop soft supple breast heaving up and down
As his lips were warmed with the heat of her skin
Her body began to tremble
His mouth consumed her breast as she released sighs of passion
She tingles with every touch
Sensitivity already heightened by the stimulation of her own touch
He pierces the core of the volcano
Pulls her up on his lap
Embraces her
She clutches him with her arms and legs
Now at the point of no return
Her body in the pursuit of orgasmic explosion
As he erupted he could feel the pulse of her pleasure
Emit the lava of her lust

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Lora Colautti

I absolutely love the simplicity of all of your ideas and suggestions! Every single one of them is always so doable. I’ve always read the self-help, new-age type books because I really like how I grow from them. I never once thought about branching out with what I was reading to help me as a writer. Now looking at reading fiction from a different perspective is totally exciting to me! And it’s like watching a movie because it’s an escape from the every day. I think you may have just semi-converted me Marie. ;) Thanks!

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Roxanne

I went through the same thing. For years I read nothing but business development, self-improvement, and other prescribed writing. I’d completely abandoned fiction. When I resumed reading fiction it definitely improved my creative writing. However, I didn’t realize – until now – that there was also a notable improvement in my business writing.

PS: I love that you’ve just given us a business-related reason to enjoy erotic fiction. LOL.

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Jessilicious

Hi Marie! :)

Oooohhhh, I LOVE this one – especially the erotic fiction part! ;) Great tips! And yes, I found Knight of Pleasure and put a hold on it at the library… :P

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Shakaya Breeze

This is SO fun Marie! Mmmmm love Pancho…
I agree with you about stories, and I love to take my readers on a journey…

I start with deep breathing, and maybe even get up and dance or do some primordial type movement to get into ME and my body, before I do any serious writing…it really helps me flavor my work with the delicious aromas and textures that make it come to life! And its FUN to escape the facts and step into my imagination. My work is about creating health and beauty and it can be about alot of dry Do’s and Don’ts…so instead, I like to weave in a bit of fantasy.
Every woman deserves a Fairytale life!

For example, for my book Naked Beauty (I sent you a copy! I hope you loved her!) I also took alot of dreamy barefoot walks in Nature, as well as Jasmine and honey candlelit baths to put me in the feeeeeling of what I was writing about so there could be a magical transmission to my readers. Its all about ENERGY!

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Anne Samoilov

I think I might just have to pull out some of my classic Anais Nin! I read a ton of the marketing, business, self-development books…I’m a non-fiction freak…but it’s been awhile since I read an actual story. Thank you woman! Great ideas. Also, the fear of sending your writing to your friends is a huge one! I have 1 friend who does copy-editing for a living AND she happens to be one of my dear friends…so when I send her something she gives me tough love in the best way possible. It’s been awhile, so I think I’ll be sending her some articles I’ve been working on.

-Anne

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Shani Delamor

With the first bite I knew the evening would be memorable. It was juicy, warm and touched me deep inside. My body quickly became excited and relaxed all at once. My head began to spin. I got a little bit of it wet, covered in the sweetness of the butter and the stinginess of the salt. Layer after layer my desire increased, I wanted to rush to the end, but knew that each taste built up the final destination. We finally discovered it, even after all this time it was steaming hot. But first it was necessary to make our way through the soft hair that protected the sweet, tender, flesh. I placed it on his tongue and watched as his lips closed to savor it. He then fed me- it dripped down my chin. I thought about how much I loved it and wondered why I didn’t have it more often. When the last bite was had, we threw away every last bit. Any evidence of our sexy artichoke was long gone.

Marie- Thanks for the great Post! Of course the EROTIC concept quickly perked my interest! I’ve never been a romance novel junkie, but I love to fantasize. My fantasies are always centered around food and romance. Sometimes to get excited about writing, I imagine a scene I’d like to experience and then go from there… that can be hard especially when dieting- who wants to dream about thick rich chocolate brownies when your only dessert is a piece of gum. If I’m blocked I usually go meditate for 15 minutes or walk outside.
xo Shani

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Heather

Great tip Marie! I always resist reading fiction books but if it’s going to improve my writing, fine, I’ll do it. Can someone recommend a few authors for someone who hates sappy or sad stuff? Perhaps I’ll start with the erotic fiction!

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Denise Duffield-Thomas

My fav writing tip:
I’ve got a subliminal learning CD – something like “unleash your creativity”. It has ocean sounds and then subliminal affirmations like …
… writing is easy
… I always have great ideas
The CD goes for about an hour, so I tune it – turn OFF my internet and just write for an hour straight. Beautiful.

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Heather C Stephens

Hi Marie,

This is my first time here and I love your blog and your video! Fantastic. I always laugh when my husband asks me to bring a romance novel to bed instead of something on personal development, business, or marketing. They are so much fun, and obviously, I’m a whole lot more fun then too! :)

I hadn’t thought of them as improving my writing abilities, so I’ll have to give that a try. As far as your suggestion of getting feedback from other writers, I’ve been part of a blogging community that has helped me to really hone my writing and improve in a short amount of time. It’s been fun, I’ve learned, they’ve learned, and we’ve all gotten so much closer because of the experiences.

Well, I’m off to bed with a slight detour to find a romance novel boxed up in the basement from our move a few years ago! I always liked Sandra Brown, JD Robb, Nicholas Sparks (although not steamy, very engaging).

Thanks for the fun post. I’ll be back!

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Rachel Anzalone

Thanks for this post Marie! Listening to you I realized that I’ve gotten so focused on what I “need” to read to educate myself that I’ve stopped reading for the pure enjoyment of it and words have become a necessary tool rather than a play thing. Reading that way has transferred into writing that way. Time to have some fun with it!
xoxo

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buff

YES!!! I have always been a passionate, voracious reader …but I have to admit that with all the business and personal development reading I’ve felt compelled to consume over the past couple of years, fiction has become a guilty pleasure. But you’re so right about how it stimulates the story-teller within and the natural-born writer-on-the-page.
Thanks for reminding me of the perfect excuse to indulge in one of my favorite passions Marie!

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Denise Duffield-Thomas

OMG ladies – these comments are getting positively STEAMY!

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Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Amazed to hear you sweat over writing – you have such a natural voice, it comes across like it just pours from you with utter ease. Very reassuring for those who encounter writer’s block from time to time, thank you for your honesty.

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Corrina Gordon-Barnes

In terms of a great read, I loved ‘Belle De Jour: The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl’ – now that paints pictures indeed ;)

For a writing tip, I like to read my blog posts/articles out aloud to myself (or to my partner) as that’s one of the best ways of knowing whether they scan right.

Cheers, Marie!

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J Linguini

Ms. Forleo requested some books that should be recommended to better your writing, and here’s one; not only is it fully of a great contemporary plot that feels like it could be you on it, the entire story was so applicable to me.. and steamy too, which I’m wishing was more applicable to my life. ;) The Sicilian Journals, give it a whirl.

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steph

You’re a burst of amazing energy Marie…great vid AGAIN!! And great tip too :)))

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Oswald

Great advice and an interesting take on things – I better get to it.
Let’s see – It was a dark and stormy night…

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Melody Soldan

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Denise Mooney

Great advice Marie! And I’m loving the comments here too. I’m a copywriter and a huge fan of fiction – I find it way more inspiring than any other form of writing. Funnily enough I just bought Fifty Shades of Grey the other day. Must be something in the air!

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Chrissa Reed

Hi Marie! I just stumbled across this video and I totally loved your advice – especially regarding reading more fiction. I couldn’t agree more! :)

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