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.
...their eyes locked
The idea for today's blog post came to me in church. There was no singing allowed, apart from the choir, who sat two metres apart. The congregation too sat apart and only every other pew was used. A churchwarden opened the door to our pew and handed us our orders of service with recently sanitised hands. These are unusual times.
There is a point in the communion service when we are asked to give a sign of peace to each other. How were we to do that when hugging and hand-shaking are forbidden? I soon discovered that instead of stretching out my hand to those in reach I did all that was left to me: I scanned the space and sought out people's eyes and when I found a pair looking in my direction we locked eyes more firmly than ever before. With limited resources we did what we could, smiled broadly in an attempt to elicit a twinkle and gave a slight nod. The depth of connection in those moments touched me, causing my heart to give a little flip. Never before have I felt so engaged to those I was able to greet. And this is when the topic for today's post hit me...
You have to find a way to connect with your reader. You have to connect in the purest, simplest, most fundamental of ways and you have to make them notice you, really notice you.
For it was in the brief, deep moments of engagement in church that day that it was clear that real engagement is a two-way thing. Without us both taking it seriously there could be no engagement.
Seven rules of engagement
So how do you, the writer, connect with your reader? Sure, you make them notice you by making them laugh, entertaining them or writing exquisite prose. You can create tension and have a fabulous plot and a stunning cast of characters that keeps them turning pages. But it is only when you connect at a deep level that you can make their heart flip.
Here are some ideas to help you engage with your readers at that deep level:
It's a brand new year and I'm excited to share this brand new section with you this month. As you may know, since the start of the pandemic, I have been conducting Zoom interviews with skilled authors and experts on various aspects of the writing process. I call them In Conversation Masterclasses. I hold an average of one a month and it's always free to register. Not everyone can manage to attend the live sessions but they are always a goldmine of inspiration and information. So, now, every month, I am delighted to share some snippets of wisdom in both written and video form.
Below you will find extracts from my discussion with Dr Anisha Abraham who recently published Raising Global Teens, published by Summertime Publishing.
Jo Parfitt's Monthly Inspirer