A taste of my own medicine
Robin Pascoe, one-time ExpatExpert, is one of my dearest friends and, over the 20 years or so of our relationship, we have settled into the roles of being each other’s cheerleader and coach. We’re both writers and authors and our lives appear to be on parallel paths, albeit a few years apart. Last week it was time for one of our regular catch ups. Robin goes for a walk at some ungodly hour of the morning in her part of the world, while I’m just switching off the computer for the day.
“So, how do you feel about your birthday coming up?” she asks with that trademark throaty chuckle in her voice.
“I hate it. Can’t bear to think about it,” I reply.
“I remember the year I was 59. I know, Jo. I know.” And she laughs again. “You are writing about it, right? By the way, you are writing, you know, for you?”
“Nothing? This was the year I wrote The Year I Took Piano Lessons, remember?”
“You must write about this, Jo. It’s what we do. When’s your birthday?”
“March.” I pause, feeling the enormity of the big looming number.
“Oh dear. A bit soon.” Now it’s Robin’s turn to pause. “How many days is it until you are 60? It must be about 60,”
I do a mental calculation. Feel sick and reply, “Guess so,”
"Write every day, half an hour. Set a timer. Write anything. A haiku, stream of consciousness, a story, a poem. Anything. Do this for you. It’s self-care. Okay?”
“Okay.” I can feel myself shrinking, curling up into a comma so that my body resembles that abominable 6 shape, with my head doing its best to hide from the truth.
“I’m your coach, remember? Promise?”
“Yes, Rob. I will. I promise.” Now it’s this writing mentor’s turn to feel the fear of the blank page. Not because I’m scared of writing. Not because I’m blocked. I’m simply terrified of telling the page that I will be 60 in just over 60 days because then it might actually be true.
And so, I left that call, opened a new document, typed the words Day 60 at the top and began. I tell you, half an hour is a very long time. Yet so many of my students wail that they don’t have time to write. I tell them that ten minutes is already a lot. My goodness I managed to write a lot in half an hour. It felt like an eternity. And it felt like an indulgence. I kept checking my timer. Were there really still ten minutes to go? And you know what, afterwards it felt SO GOOD. I had one of those “Where have you been all my life?” moments.
So here I am taking a large dose of my own medicine. I’m committing to writing every day. I’m doing it for me.
Introducing The Daily Inspirer
It's about time.
After 19 years The Monthly Inspirer has had a baby and I named it The Daily Inspirer.
From now on, over on my Facebook business page and on Instagram @JoParfittWriter I will post a picture of something that, when I first saw it, poked my muse in the ribs and planted surprising words in my brain.
It all started more than 300 days ago when my school friend, Kim, started posting a nightly #candleofhope image on Facebook together with a few words that described the candle that evening. Words like 'unfurling', or 'moulten', or 'more light rays'. Each morning I'd pop over to Facebook to see the next candle and the sight of the shiny red candle and the strong, upstanding flame made my day start that bit more brightly.
Kim is a silversmith #silverbykim and has a creative soul, so it's not surprising that her work resonated with me and was the catalyst for The Daily Inspirer.
Duly inspired, I am starting my own daily post. Each week we'll see a new theme. We'll start with Candlesofhope. Seven days, seven posts. I'll start with my comments and see what your muse prods you to write. Ready? Go!
See you on over at Facebook or Insta.
Want to learn to write life stories with SPICE?
We're still locked down over here. It's been months. As you may have noticed, I've used the time to run a range of online events, from my monthly free Speedwrite Live sessions, to my regular In Conversation Masterclasses, Writers' Circles and How-to Write a Book Circles. I can't tell you how much fun they are and how they seem to lift the spirits of all those who attend.
Anyway, last week, on a whim (I'm prone to whims as my oldest friends will assert) I decided to put a little post on Facebook to see if anyone might like to follow my 8-session Write Your Life Stories course via Zoom. 80 comments and three days later the class was full. So, by popular demand (and another whim) I have set a date for a second one. It starts on Tuesday 6th April from 3-5pm UK time and places are going already. Classes are limited to ten people. The course runs for eight consecutive weeks.
So, if you fancy writing a memoir, a how-to book, a blog, a better journal or want to write family stories as a legacy this is the course for you. Learn how to write stories that leap off the page, compelling characters, vivid scenes and realistic dialogue.
Visit my virtual events page now and see what's on offer.
Jacinta Noonan – Resparkliser
The start of the year can fill us with resolve to do the things we left undone last year and get at least some of our writing projects finished. But things get in the way. When we set our own deadlines it’s easy to let ourselves down. No one will notice but me, anyway, we think.
Enter the life coach.
Jacinta Noonan is an Australian certified life coach based in the Netherlands. She has decades of experience under her belt, is an ADHD specialist and runs a coaching practise called Platform B. I’ve often hired Jacinta to help me work through thorny issues – both business and personal – and am constantly amazed how much I can learn about myself and my motivations in just an hour’s session. Am I ADHD? Maybe, a bit. But then, aren’t we all?
“Not everyone is ADHD,” Jacinta tells me, “but we all suffer from a bit of ADT these days. That’s Attention Deficit Traits. This is caused by too much distraction in an overloaded world; how we scroll mindlessly through our social media feeds and channel hop, absorb our news in bite-sized snippets and short videos. It affects us all.”
On February 18th Jacinta joins me for another In Conversation Masterclass when we will unpack the subject of procrastination and work out why so many of us lack motivation, focus, and staying power. We’ll discuss the messy middle part of a process when the sparkle of starting a new project has dulled and the finish line seems too far away. We’ll talk about what makes so many of my mentoring clients have a wobble when their book is 95% done and want to throw it all in. After this you get the chance to ask questions of your own.
I met Jacinta almost 20 years ago when she attended my first ever Release the Book Within course in London and we became firm friends while I mentored her through the publication of her first book, My Perfect Weight. You teach what you know, right? And, yes, Jacinta suffers from ADHD but she also stuck with that book from the sparkly stage, through the trudge of the messy middle to the wobbly finish line. She knows her stuff because she lives it every day.
Three tips to banish ADT
Here are three of her tips that will help anyone to stay the course during 2021:
Sign up for my In Conversation Masterclass with Jacinta via this link or see more Masterclasses here.
Jo Parfitt's Monthly Inspirer