7 things I love about being a writer

It can be frustrating to be a ‘writer’, it seems to me that many people don’t see it as a proper profession. So whilst you are sitting in your office, watching politics play out, having to stick with the 9-5 grind and doing something that doesn’t speak to your heart.

This is my light hearted look at being a writer

  1. I can start and finish at any time I like
  2. I can take time out to walk my dogs and reflect on my day
  3. My imagination is allowed to flow free
  4. Inspiration is everywhere
  5. I can work in multiple locations. That might be the beach, sun house, my office or a coffee shop – clearly not in my jammies
  6. Through the words that you and I write, we can change lives
  7. Writing is a passion and I get to do what I am passionate about every day

What are the 7 things you love about what you do?

Yesterdays make great books

I hated school, which on reflection was because school was not geared up for people like me, with a relentless thirst for knowledge, presented in an interesting way. Large classes, dull curriculum and herding sheep (or should that be lambs) through the education dip. At least to me, it was boring. I was reflecting this morning on what did excite me when I paid attention, and it was:-

  • Art – where I could just be and express myself however I wanted to
  • Maths – because it challenge me to think and there was a process to the solution
  • English Lit – only when I could read a part and become fully immersed in the story
  • English Language – writing stories – I couldn’t care less about the technical stuff (that comes back to bit you on the bum, doesn’t it)
  • Languages – because its all about words and communication
  • Science – because it was about life and possibilities

It’s too late for me to reminisce about school, I got expelled and so started an altogether different journey. So, yeah I ended up with a mass of qualifications later on, but these are not what define me. It’s the other stuff, the really tough stuff that make me what I am.

It’s the hard stuff that create yesterdays, that enable you and me to write great books. We have experience, we have lived. That’s not to say that there are no young people with great stories and books, but generally, it’s us older and sometimes not so wise ones who can ‘speak from experience.’

This experience to my mind needs to be shared. I want to create a Galactic Library, where all of the learning is stored to help those that follow understand the follies and adventures of the ‘ones that came before’. To be able to understand why we did what we did, how we grew as people and how we played our part to make this a better world.

Now is not the time to stop and stare, Put pen to paper and share, share, share…

If you could change the world with your words, what follies, adventures and tough stuff might you share? How about starting to map out your book?

Xipe Totec and the rebirth of the authentic author

As the snake sheds its skin, or the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, you the authentic writer will emerge if you connect to your soul purpose and write from the heart.

Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. Allen Ginsberg

Listening to your heart and letting it speak is connecting to your inner wisdom, your spiritual self, intuition, and insight. It is the part of you that truly knows you, but which may be hidden from you. When you are ungrounded and unbalanced your connection to you will waiver; it’s a little like tuning into a radio station; you need to fiddle with the dial until you get a clear, strong signal.

Who was Xipe Totec?
Xipe Totec was an important symbol of fertility, war and the coming of age of young warriors. The human skin that the god’s impersonator, otherwise known as an ‘ixiptla’ (live image), wore for twenty days during the spring festival of Tlacaxipeualiztli (March), was finally discarded during the period of Tozoztontli Xochimanaloya (April). This gesture signifies the shedding of the earth’s dry old skin in exchange for a new, verdant one that the rains would soon let flourish.

To get to the inner you, you need to switch off the noise in your head and feel your way through your body. Connect to your heart and soul; make your way around the container that is the human system. Feeling is often difficult for many who naturally connect to their heads, to question what is going on. This is something that I have struggled with, but with time and practice is does get easier to travel inwards and see, sense, feel, and just know what is going on.

The outer wrapper, your human skin, is what people see, and when you are in tune with you, that shines. To make it shiny takes time. So when you can find balance, which I believe comes through many things, one of which is writing and baring your soul to the paper, you can become grounded.

Being grounded is about feeling connected to you and having connection with the present, with the core of who you are and staying centred on what you do. When you are grounded and open to the universe, you become a channel for universal energy to connect to.

Stop for a moment and feel where you are, what do you notice?

Being connected to the inner you, means that you are listening in an inattentive yet focused way to what your heart and soul needs. When this happens, you allow yourself to become connected to everything and nothing and at the same time be open to intuition, ideas and imaginations.

When you write intuitively, you produce rich, delicious writing that your readers want to savour. You want them to lose themselves in your words and become a part of your world, to see a rainbow and help them to manifest their own pot of gold.

When everything comes together, it is like Xipe Totec shedding his human skin and being re birthed.

Stop for a moment and look at you and your business, maybe you are selling something, like coaching or consultancy services, which is essentially you and your intellectual property. How many times have you thought I need to find some way to package what I do and have to say in another way? What will you want to be remembered for? What legacy do you want to leave behind, a footprint of your values, passion, vision, and purpose, which could influence a part of someone else’s life, at some level?

Writing and publishing a book based on your purpose and message is a brilliant way to leave a legacy, share your authentic voice, and build your personal brand.

Becoming a published author is life changing. A book gives you the opportunity to share your message in a way that is unlike any other. Not only will you go through a personal transformation as you transition from writer to author, you will gain all the business benefits from showcasing your values, passion, vision, skills, knowledge, experiences and purpose. As a published author, you will be seen in a different light, and your sense of purpose will be cemented. As the subject matter expert, you will become the go-to person for insights about your area of expertise.

Imagine if like Xipe Totec you could emerge from your shell and shared your authentic voice and message – what would that be like?

 

References

http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/gods/god-of-the-month-xipe-totec

Picture https://www.flickr.com/photos/gwendalcentrifugue/5104673601/in/photostream/

 

 

Love letters to you #lovemelovenotes

This post is dedicated to Natasha Black who is truly beautiful and inspirational. I was nosing though my Facebook friends when I spotted #lovemelovenotes, which she had created.

As a writer who believes that writing heals, I was blown away by such a simple, yet powerful way to start your day and to remind you, to love you.

Last night I slid into bed, tired from a day of editing and formatting, within a second I was back out, asking ‘ what would I like to say to myself in the morning?’. Note written I headed back to bed.

Lying here, I have to tell you, I can’t remember what I wrote. I know mad! However, I am excited to find out.

Can you join in?

Hell yeah!

Here’s what Natasha says:-

  1. Write a note to you before you go to bed
  2. Put it somewhere you can find it
  3. When you wake, read and remind yourself why you love you (and others)
  4. Post on Facebook and your other social sites and use #lovemelovenotes to share with the lovemelovenotes community.

Thank you Natasha – I love you (and me).

Wait, reflect and sleep your way to a better book

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction. ” Pablo Picasso

Picasso, born Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad on the 25th October 1881 simplified his name to Pablo Picasso going on to become one of the worlds most famous artists. His life and over 22,000 pieces of art moved through many periods depicting his emotions, obsessions and state of mind, constantly changing styles and types of media. Like many great artists, his work started as simple sketches before he realised his final masterpiece.

My advice is simple. A book is your masterpiece; you must write, wait, reflect and sleep on what you have written many times before you share it with the world.

I have made many mistakes rushing to publish and in doing that learned some valuable lessons. A book, I have come to discover, is a labour of love and when it comes from the heart it will take time.

Write your first draft and wait at least seven days before you read it through. When you do, just read and then leave it. Make sure you sleep on it. Follow this pattern of read, reflect and sleep over a period that feels right for you. Amend what you will, if you have to.

When you are ready, brutally edit and then – wait, reflect and sleep

Picasso is right, you must destruct your first draft to create your masterpiece.

A word of caution, at some point, you must publish. Set a realistic date and go for it.

Happy writing.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Picasso

Voice – putting your voice into your writing

What is voice in writing?

If you listen to your voice on a recording it never sounds like you.  What we hear is the sound resonating inside us and the person we are talking to hears a different sound, because it is travelling to them in another way. When we write, we want our written voice to be like our talking voice.  So that when we speak it is slow enough for our reader to take it in (pace), clear (language and words) and at the right pitch and tone (punctuation) so that they make sense of it.

When people talk about voice you usually think of the noise that comes out of your mouth, and of course in part it is. When someone speaks to you, what do you get a sense of?

  • The person
  • Pitch and tone
  • Understanding
  • Emotion
  • Passion
  • Purpose
  • Something else?

Do you paint a picture in your head, hear sounds, get a feeling or a sense of all of those – what happens for you?

The voice is an amazing instrument and I for one, couldn’t begin to tell you how it all works. For a short period I was having singing lessons so that I could be a better speaker. I was amazed with the way in which my voice resonated in different parts of my body, sometimes in my stomach and sometimes bouncing around my skull. I tried to follow it, to understand what it was doing and why. I was encouraged to practise scales and make funny noises with my lips and tongue in strange positions.

What amazed me was that I let go of fear and gave it a go.

In finding your voice you also have to let go and just try it. Writing, like life, improves with practice. I always tell my clients ‘first drafts suck, the magic happens in the editing’.

Ways to connect to your voice

Write lots

Just put your pen to paper and scribble. Sometimes it will be good, occasionally it will be great, mostly it will be ‘first draft’ material. When I write in my journal, I just let it all hang out, when I reflect I am amazed at what I have written, not always, but often.

Take out what you don’t need

This is back to casting your magic wand over the first draft. Take out the rubbish, edit and be prepared to be amazed.

Write for a range of people

Pick a subject and write for people with a different levels of understanding for your subject. Write it for your target reader and then for someone who you think couldn’t care less about your passion.

Engage your senses

We have five(six) senses, try writing the same passage so that it creates a picture, sound, smell, taste and feeling. What words do you use, what words could you use to bring your writing alive and tempt your voice out from it’s hiding place?

Read your writing aloud

When you read what you have written back to you, does it sound like you? We often write in our heads. It will sound very different to you when you speak it aloud, but that’s ok because how we write and talk are meant to different.

Have a go at writing in different genres

Imagine that you were hosting your personal development (or whatever you do) workshop and teaching cowboys (Westerns), spacemen (Sci-fi) or Queens of England (History), how would you write the introduction? Which works for you and why?

What is your point of view?

Do you have a strong opinion about something? Do you care about injustice maybe for dogs, humans or any kind of creature? What would you do and how would you express that view?

Write often and write with passion

The more you practice at anything, the better you get. Pick a subject you are passionate about and let your pen fly, then pick something you know very little about and write with the same passion. Chose a writer you admire, copy their style, how comfortable does that feel? What needs to change to make it yours, so that you are connected to your passion?

Really finding your voice

Voice is so much more than the sounds that you make or the marks on paper, it is connecting your head (thinking and knowing) to your heart (love and life), discovering your truth (learning) and sharing your stories (your legacy), in your way.

What does your voice sound like on paper?

Urban tales of derring do

We all love a good story. From our early years of bedtime tales, to favourite novels, case studies of how we solved ‘that’ problem and books full of helpful advice.  We make meaning from stories. In connecting to the hero or heroine and their conflicts, we identify with them. Their story becomes our story, and we want to know how it turned out.

Not all non-fiction books lend themselves to stories. If you wanted to know how to master pivot tables in Excel, a story or two of accounting disasters and dinner with the auditor might not be relevant, if all the reader wants to know is how to – step by step.

At the other extreme are books which are full of case studies, which to be honest bore me. That is just me. I like a mixture of good old facts, stories and how to. I like to flick through things depending on my needs and mood. On the other hand, I have friends who love loads of case studies.

What often happens is as subject matter experts when we first write, we can be a little dry. Even if you do write beautifully and I am sure that you do, facts need to put on their sparkly pants to bring them alive.

How can you weave in a story or two into each of your chapters?

Cast your mind back to the last time a friend asked you for some help. What happened, did you say ‘well, yeah what you need to do is blah blah’ or did you elaborate and recall a tale of something similar that gets your point across? Chances are, and my fingers are crossed, that you told an urban tale of derring do.

An urban tale of derring do is a tale which is based on fact, shows courage, but which might be a teensy weensy bit embellished. Embellished in the nicest possible way, so as to convey your message and to connect the friend who is asking your advice to the solution.

What I mean is, imagine a friend is telling you of his/her diet disasters, they are bloated, tired and overweight. You may recount your similar failures at all diets under the sun. In telling your story, you might then talk about how you met a nutritionist who did hair analysis, and told you a whole raft of information about what was triggering your bloated tummy. When you followed her advice, the bloating went. You accompany the triumph with a pat of your now flat tummy and pull out your waistband to demonstrate that you have also dropped a dress or trouser size.

I am not sure what kind of learner you are, but I need to get a visual, a rhyme or some kind of emotional stimulus to make a fact stick.

If you are a natural story teller, chances are that you will, in your first draft be telling stories as you go along. The only thing here is to remember to weave the most relevant stories in and remember to close them off. No one likes a dangler.

If you are not a natural storyteller, then the easiest way is to write your draft and then come back and consider what stories you could tell where and why. Once you have your list of stories, you can work them in.

In both cases, your editor will be able to help you weave in the stories so that they flow and convey just what is needed.

The best way is to imagine you are at crashed on the sofa with a friend, cups of hot steaming tea (or wine) and you are just chilling and chatting

Trek to the furthest reaches of your imagination

Inspired yesterday by thoughts of other worlds. Today I want to invite you come on a trek with me. An adventure if you will, one that sees you using your imagination to create a reality that you love.

Many people have incredible imaginations, yet fail to acknowledge that they do. Whenever I run workshops, be it for journaling or becoming an author, I adore those moments when my writers read their work aloud. It is always an incredible experience. I close my eyes and let the words travel, I paint pictures and feel as if I am there.

What about the other writers, esteemed business people who may be writing erotica or sci-fi fantasy and are too shy to share this other side of themselves? I adore this quote, it really embodies what I feel it is to imagine.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.” Steve Jobs as part of Apples Think Different campaign

Do you live with lack of imagination and self belief?

For many years I lived with a lack of self-belief, sure, I had confidence, energy and enthusiasm, but mostly I put on a mask that I thought others wanted to see and went out to play. My mask hid who I really was and it became my shield. In shielding my identity, being someone who I thought the world wanted me to be, I lost my way.

  • Do you sometimes feel that you are stuck in overwhelm, struck by fear and secretly afraid of success?
  • Do you obey the rules because you don’t know how to break free and just be you?
  • Do you hide your light?
  • Are you afraid to embrace your purpose and walk your path?
  • Do you have a message to share, but you don’t know how to get it out there?
  • Do you think that others might consider you one of the ‘crazy ones? I know I did.

Be glad if they do think you are one of the crazy ones. The last line of the copy for the quote above says

“Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

We arrive in this world naked without words to define us, or masks to hide behind, we simply trust that we will be taken care of and loved. From those innocent first moments when no one tells us that we can’t be ourselves, our minds drink in what is possible. Then we grow up, discover, and learn that things are not possible and that often there is another tune that we must dance to.

Naive, unsophisticated, sheltered and obeying someone else’s rules becomes the norm. Our minds are awash with negative thought patterns, which programme us for a life that we think we deserve. We are complex and we create our own complexities. A complex is described as a combination of habitual patterns of thought, feelings, and behaviours.

These habitual patterns become what we believe to be true. Perception is everything. What comes in through our senses is processed through filters and becomes our truth. These are imprinted in our minds and so it is.

  • Just consider this for a moment. What we think becomes our truth.
  • How does that make you feel?
  • What if you could harness your imagination, and what you dream becomes your truth?

Throughout our lives these untruths continue to manifest. They come as the voices in our heads, AKA the mind chatter, the screaming monkeys, that endless, relentless stream of thoughts that wander around our minds distracting and demotivating us. When your mind is full of rubbish it is hard to concentrate on other things.

Encourage your curious child to come out to play

When the dark angels come to play with you, encourage your curious child out and give them all some crayons. Just because you can’t remember what it was like to jump in puddles, or leap over streams, catch raindrops from leaves, doesn’t mean to say you can’t start again and reach into your hidden depths, trek to the furthest reaches of your imagination and write a book. One which will change your world and very possibly the world of so many others.

There is something quite magical about words and how we use words to convey our emotions, thoughts, and ideas. In times of conflict powerful writers emerge whose use of language stirs something deep within us. They have trekked, adventured and journeyed and if they can, so can you.

Life is not an accident, all of the these things happen for a purpose and your purpose is to imagine what is possible and step into the next chapter of your life. A life which sees you becoming a published author and a bringer of imaginative realisations.

Welcome to the crazy world of writers who are here to change the world!

References

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=trek

Spaceship of my mind

After an evening of talking all things esoteric with a new writers group, I came home full of intention to write a blog about soul purpose and inspirational message. Yet my mind and fingers took off in an altogether different direction, potentially another dimension. And I will admit to being very tired. However, a challenge is a challenge and I must blog.

All in all not really that silly when you consider the following:-

  • To write you need space, not only space in your head, but space around you, space to think and space to express
  • A spaceship is a craft, writing is a craft and space ships you to the furthest galaxies of your mind, where you can tune into to the words that will help you to craft your book
  • Spaceships enable us to travel between moons and planets. The spaceship of your mind takes you on a adventure from thought to thought

That’s it.

PS don’t Google spaceship of my mind, you’ll get some really weird stuff.

PPS tomorrow I will be back on Earth for a more sensible blog