How to Become a #Writer Even if you Can’t be Bothered to Write

At the end of the twentieth century I was a performance poet – known as Agent Peggy Pegworth. This meant that I spent much of my time drinking wine and gigging in function rooms above pubs all over London. I met lots of great poets and even formed a sort of ‘poet band’ called The Radge Poets. If you don’t have time to write, then poetry could be the solution you are looking for. One of my favourite performance poets on the ‘scene’ back then was Paul Birtill:

“A kind of anti-Laureate who makes Philip Larkin sound life affirmingRobert Lloyd Parry, Ham & High

Paul describes perfectly the benefits of becoming a poet in this poem:

Work-Shy Writer

You get lazy people
in any field, I write poems
instead of novels. You start
at nine and finish at half
past and have the rest of
the day to yourself. Money’s
crap though.

Paul Birtill, 1998
Terrifying Ordeal: Poems

The crap salary did not deter Paul, who writes plays as well as verse and has had several poetry collections published.

However, I eventually retired from performance poetry due to recurrring bouts of stage fright and a lack of dependable income. (I became a hypnotherapist instead.)

But today is World Poetry Day, recognising “the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.” If you’ve ever found yourself saying “I don’t have time to write!” then poetry could be for you. It doesn’t have to take up much of your time. Radge Poet Ian Allsopp once wrote this little gem:

Do One Word Poems Work?

Yes.

I’ve made a short film of me performing one of my old poems to show you how easy it can be.


A poet finds delight

In the empty sky at night

The stars don’t shine they glitter

The birds don’t sing they twitter

 

The sun don’t beam it radiates

The rain don’t rain it contemplates

The worms that wriggle

When bluebells giggle

And rinses out our yesterdays

To make room for tomorrow

 

The city’s a hive of activity

Of multicultural intensity

And humans contain astounding extremes

Of venomous lies and heavenly dreams

 

These are fractions of fiction and things still unwritten

And writings a bug that has to be bitten

If you can never completely describe it, you know it

You know you are thinking a bit like a poet!

Check out more of my poems on the international community PoetrySoup

(You may also like: I Don’t Have Time To Write – Time Taming Tips for Writers, Bloggers & Infopreneurs)

Check out my book: The Theakletuffin Poem – A Peculiar Fairytale (Not for Children)

Up The Spout

Now it’s your turn. Can you write a really tiny poem, right now? Leave me a comment below.

THIS is the Sauce you are Looking for!

 The School of Special Sauce is Coming Soon…

I’ve not blogged on here for a while – which can only mean I’m up to something! I’ve been creating a new e-course and I am now testing it out on a few unsuspecting volunteers 😉 Monetize Title

No Studio? No Problem!

If you’re a blogger or entrepreneur who wants to create downloadable meditations, affirmations, interviews, podcasts, audio books and audio lessons, without paying for a professional studio – THIS course is for you!

To be the first to hear about the official launch date of this new course get yourself on the list for the Reinvent Yourself 101 Newsletter. (I never share or sell email addresses, your details are safe with me!)

Bad Kitty

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Module 1 Equipment and Software: 3 Low Cost Essentials
Module 2 Secrets of the Sound Engineers:How to Use Audacity® to Record Like a Pro
Module 3 Five Killer Resources for Sound: Easily Source Music and Sound Effects Without Paying Royalties
Module  4 Be Your Own Audio Tech:How to Edit MP3s That Your Listeners Will Love
Module 5 Mix Like a Master: Create MP3s!
Module 6 Sell Your MP3 in 5 Easy Steps

Browse my shiny new Amazon shop: Sexy Sound Recording Equipment.

Sign up to the Naughty List! Reinvent Yourself 101 Newsletter.

Three Short-Cuts for Reinventing Yourself in Record Time

UV dreadlocks

My USP: Hair that glows.

I have just realised that on this day, 19th November 2002 I went on my first date with my husband. And now here I am, 12 years later about to launch my new e-course Reinvent Yourself After Divorce. When we first separated 18 months ago I went through the usual grieving process, drank plenty of wine and cried over romantic movies. Then I went on a sort of journey of self discovery trying to figure out what I wanted to be next. I tried yoga, meditation, mindfulness, Buddhism, alcoholism, counselling, cognitive behaivoural therapy and pills for anxiety. I also tried visualisation, journalling, poetry, drawing cartoons, reading books, joining online communities, and buying online courses.

1) Take This 10 Day e-Course

I then picked all of the best ideas that worked for me and stuck them into a six week programme so that you don’t have to spend eighteen months trying all that stuff. I also realise that not everyone has six weeks to spare either – which is why you can grab the 10 day version for free!

2) Write Down Your Goals

I find that simply just writing ideas down can really help you to focus on changing things in your life. Since I published my Break-Up Bucket List in June 2014 I’ve managed to tick off several more things on the list, including visiting several friends that live far away, made some videos, created an e-course, and been on a foreign holiday. Other things have proved more challenging – like eat more fruit and drink more water. Why is that?!

3) Realise You’re Already Reinvented!

While you’re reinventing yourself it’s also fun to sometimes review the person you used to be.
I’m part of a business network and learning space on Facebook called No Desk Required:  A free mastermind led by freedompreneurs (and soul mates!) Star Khechara and Les-Paul Dawson. On Wednesdays we share what is weird and wonderful about ourselves, to get in touch with our “Unique Selling Point”.
Star says, “When launching a business many people hold back from fully expressing their true selves – especially the weird and quirky parts! We say weird is cool! Your weirdness is what makes you stand out, it’s what makes you different. Your weirdness is your USP!”
It was quite hard to choose a weird thing from my past to share. Should it be my degree in animation, or my career as a hypnotherapist? I opted for announcing that I once had waist-length dreadlocks made of orange and blue wool and glow-in-the-dark beads. I went to techno parties dressed in a UV fairy skirt and silver doc martens. I mean, hey! Who wouldn’t want hair that glows in the dark? Then there was the time that myself and four friends formed a gang of Special Agents called Dangerchix International – but that’s probably a topic for a whole other blog post.
The point is, who did you used to be and who are you going to be next? If you had a Break-Up Bucket List what would be next up for you to try? What sort of a person did you used to be in the past? Leave me a comment and let me know. And don’t censor yourself with a ‘sensible’ answer. What would you do next week or next year if there were no boundaries or limits?

The Break Up Bucket List

Love letterRecently I discovered this great blog called The Break Up List. When Ali Burns’ nine year relationship ended, she made a list of things she’d been meaning to do over the past few years but never quite found the time.

“A year and a half on, I feel like a completely different person. I no longer need My Break Up Bucket List to help me survive my break up, but I continue on with it because it helps me remember who I am, pushes me to try new things and enjoy life to the fullest.”

It has inspired hundreds of people to do similar and has been featured twice on The Huffington Post. There’s some really good advice in Ali’s 10 lessons learned from creating a break up list. I’m going through divorce at the moment and when I discovered her blog I immediately thought I should definitely make a Break-Up List! But then I realised I have one.

On New Year’s Eve I made a list of things to do in 2014 – some big like go on holiday, go in a hot air balloon, and some small like drink champagne, draw cartoons, and go swimming. I don’t think I’ll do all of these things in one year. I’m putting stars next to the ones I’ve done so far. It’s exciting to plan new adventures – and you don’t have to be divorced to do it. Are you gonna have a go?

The Break Up Bucket List

1. Drink champagne. ⭐
2. Eat smoked salmon. ⭐
3. Have fun with Star. ⭐
4. Visit Simon and Geka. ⭐
5. Go on a retreat.
6. Take up yoga. ⭐
7. Do Cosmic Kids yoga with my daughters. ⭐
8. Take up meditation classes. ⭐
9. Start doing self-hypnosis again. ⭐
10. Join the Zen Habits Sea Change Program. ⭐
11. Blog. ⭐
12. Draw cartoons. ⭐
13. Make videos. ⭐
14. Complete the Ecourse Entrepreneur course.
15. Sell ecourses.
16. Teach a workshop.
17. Visit Russ and Vicki.
18. Visit Claire and Chris.
19. Visit Anna and Scott.
20. Visit Zoe and Mario. ⭐
21. Visit Marsworth. ⭐
22. Save a deposit for a house.
23. Increase my income a lot.
24. Have regular business mentor meetings with Star. ⭐
25. Go abroad. ⭐
26. Become a safer driver. ⭐
27. Pass my theory test.
28. Pass my driving test.
29. Buy a car.
30. Go to the beach. ⭐
31. Spend a weekend beside the sea. ⭐
32. Read a book about assertiveness.
33. Eat more fruit.
34. Drink more water.
35. Write a book.
36. Edit book.
37. Get book published.
38. Paint. ⭐
39. Swim. ⭐
40. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
41. Complete all the exercises in the book Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind: Think rich to get rich
42. Do a parenting course. ⭐
43. Start a gratitude journal. ⭐
44. Read The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics)
45. Divorce my husband.

 

 

#BritMumsLive Ticket For Sale at Early Bird Price

BritMums LiveThe tickets now cost £95 but I bought mine last September at the Early Bird price of £82.65

Sadly I’m now living far away in Devon and due to childcare issues and financial reasons I won’t be going, and my ticket is now for sale. It’s fully transferable and I’m offering it for the bargain price of £80!

“BritMums Live! is the UK’s largest gathering of lifestyle bloggers and influencers — it’s the best place to connect in person, share inspiration, forge relationships with quality brands and PRs, and hone your blogging skills.”

BritMums write about everything from food, travel, crafting, parenting, fashion/beauty, and lifestyle but you don’t have to be mum to go to the event!

I’ve been every year and am gutted that I can’t go. I met great people, learned huge amounts at the many different workshops, was inspired by the speakers and enjoyed the free wine. It’s pretty much the high-light of my blogging year; so if you’re a blogger contact me now to grab this BARGAIN opportunity!

There’s more info at the EventBrite page.

07/05/14 Ticket now gone! Thanks for all the interest. xx

 

Meditation for People who Can’t Stop Thinking!

Meditate by Frogarythm on FlickrHave you tried meditation but just feel that you don’t really ‘get it’? Do you sit there searching for a Zen-like calm but within seconds you’re planning your shopping list or analysing the plot of last night’s telly programme?
You are not alone!
I too am challenged in the Zen department!

The Zen Challenge

Although I have a lot of experience with hypnosis I have only got into meditation very recently. In January I began practicing mindfulness with Leo Babauta’s Sea Change program, including a brief mindful meditation each morning. His Zen Habits blog also has plenty of tips and info about meditation. The Sea Change program suggests starting small; meditate for 5 minutes – or 2! But make it a daily habit. I decided to make my habit something I do upon waking up.  I’ve tried breathing, staring at a candle and chanting.
My mind still wandered a little though so then I experimented with listening to guided meditations. Leonie Dawson has a free meditation to listen to here Meditation for Healing.
Then I began going to meditation sessions at my local Buddhist centre. The centre I go to is a big house, not a temple. There is a community of about 8 Buddhists living there. They have a public classroom for meditation and a separate public cafe. The weekly classes include a talk, each one with a different theme. I’ve found it to be very relaxed and informal and it gives me plenty to mull over on the bus home.

Have you got it yet?

Finally, this week I tried using the Headspace Meditation App (a guided meditation and mindfulness app.) Take10 is their free meditation programme that gives you a taste of meditation in just 10 minutes a day for 10 days. Andy from Headspace says, “That’s less than 1% of your day, so even the busiest person can squeeze it in.” The important thing that I learned from this app was that I was trying too hard to meditate. I was sooo concentrating on getting it right and achieving something and doing it correctly – my mind wasn’t relaxed at all! So the blue sky animation really helped me to understand that even on a cloudy day – the blue sky (clear mind) is still there… “Rather than trying to create blue sky, a state of happiness and calm, it’s more a question of sort of setting up a deck chair in the back garden, just sitting back and waiting for the clouds to pass.”

Why bother?

Yes it’s something you learn slowly and progress with over time. So is it worth the effort? I stumbled upon this article Should Meditation be included in the Education of Our Youth?

“Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly.”

Meditation is not a quick-fix for my whole life, it is a new habit that I’m forming. But after years of not really ‘getting it’ I think it was Andy at Headspace who finally made me understand.

“Remember that idea of the blue sky, nothing to achieve, nothing to create, it’s all about stepping back and just allowing the mind to unwind, in it’s own time and in it’s own way.” Take 10 programme, from Headspace

Trying too hard

Are you trying too hard? Do you need to let go and just ‘be’? Who’da thought that chilling out could be this difficult?! What have you discovered when you tried meditation? Let me know in the comments below.

PS. I am not an affiliate of Headspace. I just like it!

Thanks to Frogarythm on Flickr for the meditation image.

Learn a quick and easy technique for appreciating the little things in life with this free 10 day e-course.

5 Inspirational Books for the Journey from Lover to Mother

Listography – My Life in Books


Different books may have accompanied you on this journey through life, sometimes just turning up with the right words at the right time. If you reminisce about the books that have made a difference to your life it can sometimes make you see how much you’ve changed over the years.

Today I’m joining in with Kate’s Listography and it was so hard to just pick five books!

1. Wuthering Heights

My passionate and dramatic teenage self was introduced to Heathcliffe and Cathy during one fateful English Literature class. It reassured me that romance should always be crazy and desperate, wild and destructive. I loved it it too much.

“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.”

2.Women Who Love Too Much

A self-help book for women who think that romance should always be crazy and desperate, wild and destructive. I read this in my twenties and began to understand why so many of my relationships had made me unhappy!

3. The Prophet

If I was only allowed to own one book ever, this would be the one. It’s like a guidebook for life; and poetry for the soul. It makes everything alright and answers some of life’s big questions.

“When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep.”

This book made Kahlil Gibran the third bestselling poet in the world after William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.

4.What Mothers Do: especially when it looks like nothing

When I gave birth to my first baby my entire perception of life as we know it completely collapsed and realigned itself into something different. There were a million guidebooks to this strange new territory and author Gina Ford wrestled in my mind with Sheila Kitzinger, Tracy Hogg and Janet Balaskas. Thank goodness for Naomi Stadlen whose sensible book reassured me that I myself was the best childcare guru for my own child. I think this book began to bring me back out of the depths of postnatal depression. It gave me confidence and reassurance.

5.Ramlin Rose: The Boatwoman’s Story

However, you need more than confidence and reassurance to bring up children on a narrowboat. Sheila Stewart’s fictional biography of Rose Ramlin is based on the stories of many real life narrowboat wives. It is a joyous story of struggle and triumph and a unique insight into a part of English culture that no longer exists. It inspired me, entertained me and reminded me what I loved about living on a narrowboat.

So what books defined you so far? If you’d like to take up the Listography challenge write your post with your 5 Books of your Life on your own site and then head to Kate Takes 5 blog to link up.

Inspire yourself! Use creative writing to issue a suggestion to your subconscious mind in this free 10 day e-course.

How to enjoy Valentines Day even if you hate it

Love letterIf you’re single, or if your partner is away this Valentines Day you may be planning to ignore the whole entire thing because it’s “too commercial.” Bah humbug! This is the perfect opportunity to have a Valentines Day that has been planned and designed by the one person who knows you best. That’s you!

Step 1:

Buy yourself a treat. Champagne, chocolate, flowers, or something a little more unusual. If you’re on a budget pick a posy of wild flowers. If you’re on a diet create something delicious but healthy. Check out the Mouthgasmic recipes on Star Khechara.com

Step 2:

Do something you really enjoy. Take yourself on a date, rent a movie you love. Or organise an entirely perfect day for yourself.

Step 3:

Write a love letter to yourself.

What?! That sounds ridiculous. And difficult. But it could be that it’s just been too long since you said something nice to yourself. I had a little help from Story of Mum. Every second Wednesday of the month Story of Mum host a make date.

What is a #somum Make Date?

It’s a chance for mums to get together on Twitter and tweet while we attempt to do something creative. I had absolutely no idea what to write to myself when I arrived on Twitter on Wednesday night this week. But after answering a whole load of questions I was able to write something quite lovely. Read How to write a love letter to yourself.

Watch this.

This is just beautiful. It’s not from Story of Mum, it’s from Soul Pancake. A video of some random people who bravely wrote love letters to themselves. Very cool.

And finally;

My gift to you. This free e-course will help you to appreciate yourself a little more.

Happy Friday!

love,

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What Jack Kerouac Can Teach Us About Life


I love Twilight Saga actress Kristen Stewart and I have loved the novel On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) since I was a teenager, so I was biased in favour of this film before I even saw it. But when I watched it recently I noticed with new eyes that what Jack had taught me as a teenager and what he can teach me now are two completely different lessons.

The book is an exhilarating freedom-grabbing, lust-for-life, crazy journey about a passionate friendship, rattled out in lyrical prose that washes over you like jazz and whisky. As a teenager I was infatuated with Jack’s hedonistic enthusiasm, and so I planned to live life to the full and never to say no to anything exciting.

Lesson 1: Live a Life of Passion

Now that I’m a grown-up I notice that I’m already close to Jack’s age when he died. (A dead brother in childhood and an alcoholic father contributed to a tormented life of alcoholism for Jack.)

The story is a loosely disguised tale of the adventures Jack had on the road with Neal Cassady. He renames himself Sal Paradise and calls Neal, Dean Moriarty. Dean was “tremendously excited with life,” and constantly looking for “kicks”.

Jack (or ‘Sal’) writes;

“The only people that interest me are the mad ones. The ones who are mad to live. Mad to talk. Desirous of everything at the same time. The ones who never yawn or say a common place thing. But burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.”

As a teenager and all through my twenties I was also in love with people like this; the mad ones.

“Dean does not feel responsibility towards others. He does not know the concept. Then again he feels others have some mysterious obligation to support him. I find it unspeakably distasteful.”

Sal: “But Dean gives everyone a damn good time just being himself.”

“He gives the losers tricks!”

Sal: “Maybe that’s cause you’re not seeing what’s really holy about Dean.”

“Oh! So he’s a holy man now? A religious figure in your eyes? Oh Paradise. What I see in him is compulsive psychosis, dashed with a jigger of compulsive psychopathy and violence.”

It’s funny, but in my hazy memory of the charming and exciting Dean I didn’t remember him being so selfish, or abusive:

“Where’s Mary Lou?” (Dean’s 16 year old wife.)

“We got in a ruckus and she called the cops on me!”

Lesson 2: You Don’t Have to be Wasted to be Passionate

I know that sounds obvious but it took me many years to learn that one!

I love Jack Kerouac’s passionate, lyrical, poetic, rhythmic writing, his lust for life and his thoughtful spiritual musings.

“Who are we now? Are you gonna tell us Carl?”

“I know that I rely on my friends and my family for money. I know there’s no gold at the end of the rainbow. There’s just shit and piss. But to know that; that makes me free.”

Do you have to be a Kerouac fan to love the film? Probably. It’s about jazz, poetry and drugs on the road with the Beat Generation. It’s about a quest for meaning and belonging in life which very much appealed to the teenage me.

Now as an adult, having survived a decade of excessive partying in my twenties I made a note to myself: Don’t die like a Kerouac. (Mediate instead of drinking!) I spent a decade travelling the English canals in my thirties and began to write a ‘beatific’ account of my life ‘On the Cut.’ Jack wrote On the Road in three weeks, typing continuously on a teletype paper roll. I know now that writing is a healthier passion than alcohol, and I know that the way to write my own book is as one passionate, intensive, undistracted project.

Lesson 3: Growing Old is a Privilege

The book ends with Jack’s whimsical, lyrical musings…

“…and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

And here in Devon when the sun goes down and I watch the long, long skies over Dartmoor and sense the roads I haven’t yet travelled, and remember fondly the time my friend once said to me that my poems are a bit like Kerouac’s; and I think of all the people dreaming in the immensity of it; and the people that never grew old, the people I loved who died young, I think of Jack Kerouac. I wonder why his father drank and if his father drank before him, and I think of lives cut short by alcohol and dreams that never happened, and I know that I owe it to this world to write and write some more, just because my teenage self was once inspired by Jack Kerouac. Yes I think of Jack Kerouac…

What’s your passion?

What are you going to do with your brief time here on the planet? Pick something right now and tell me in the comments below!

How to Take Charge of All Your To Do Lists

Productivity, To Do lists and goal setting can all sound very dull and business-like sometimes. If like me, your desk is littered with sticky post-it notes and paper To Do lists then this brilliant tip from Leonie Dawson could just change your life, and open up a world of possibilities.

The one thing I’ve been dreading on my own To Do list was to begin recording training videos for the new e-course I’ve written. This is a real challenge if you’re camera-shy like I am. This weekend I asked Star Khechara to help me overcome this problem. I hope you’ll agree that in this new video I am more confident than I was in my last video! (How to Vlog.)

It’s still a skill that I need to practice though so please do watch this three minute video and support me and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thanks 🙂

Get the: 2014 Create Your Amazing Year Workbook, Planner and Calendar now!

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