Back in September 2020, I posted my very first blog on my new website, explaining why I’d quit teaching to write, coach and mentor others. At the time, I promised myself I’d write two blogs a week. With illness, childcare and various disasters since then, I haven’t quite kept up at the pace I was hoping to. However, I’m delighted to say that this is my 100th post! Worth celebrating, I think.
In the past year and a bit I’ve featured thirty brilliant writers, talking to them about their road to publication, their inspiration and the best advice they can give other writers. It’s meant I’ve read everything from poetry collections to flash fiction to memoir, and connected with some wonderful people.
Noticing lovely things around me helps to keep a sense of celebration in the everyday
I’ve also written over twenty pieces on writing advice. From editing to getting ideas, I’ve shared my thoughts on ways to help you be more creative, inspired and productive. I’ve also written a book on self-editing which you can buy here.
The rest of the blog has been my weekly musings. Everything from my experiences moving to France and having a bilingual toddler, to tips on positive mental health and being a working-class writer. It’s been lovely to share my various thoughts and journeys with others, and been a great way to produce regular writing.
But today, we’re celebrating. Now we’re well into January, it feels like all the excitement of the holidays is very far away. One of the reason I love that time of year is there are so many things to share and celebrate with others, all crammed into a few weeks. When it’s done, it can all feel pretty flat. I suppose that’s the reason that this week we had Blue Monday – apparently the most depressing day of the year.
I wrote the date on the cork from the champagne to celebrate being offered a publishing deal
So how can we keep that sense of enthusiasm alive? I’m currently working my way through The Artist’s Way, and one of the activities last week was ‘Ten Tiny Changes.’ You start with the phrase ‘I would like to…’ and then think of something you’d like to change, big or small. Mine ranged from painting my nails to signing up for a tap dancing class (haven’t done it since I was a kid!). So far I’ve only completed the ‘having a bath’ and ‘painting my nails’ items, but it gave me something to check off, some sense of success. Maybe you could make your own list and make a small change that you can celebrate?
For me, there’s also the imminent arrival of my first book (less than a week to go!) to get excited about. I wanted to do something, but figured that an in-person event wasn’t the best thing to do. I decided on an online party, but found coming up with a ‘theme’ a bit tricky. Of course it should be related to the book, but how can you make it light-hearted when my book is about sexual assault? I thought a cocktail party would be neutral, but then the main character is attacked while drunk at a party, so would that be inappropriate?
The book is set by the sea, inspired by all my years in Cornwall.
Then I realised that this was not the message I wanted to send at all. One of the reasons I wrote the book in the first place was to point out how ridiculous it is for women to be blamed for being a victim when they drink. Although the book is narrated by both the victim and the perpetrator, it’s a book that tries to break down the idea that we have to fear a monster hiding in the bushes in the dark. That the very real misunderstandings about consent and female sexuality in society are at fault. That assault can be sneaky and coercive, and until we address all of the ways it can happen we won’t improve rates of reporting and conviction.
So for all of these reasons, I decided that a cocktail/mocktail party would be great. After all, the existence of my book in the world is definitely something to celebrate, and I certainly don’t want to send the message that women shouldn’t drink for fear of what might happen! I’ve also signed up for Rape Crisis England and Wales ‘Stepping Out in Solidarity’ challenge so I’ll have something else to celebrate on the 8th of March when I (hopefully) reach my fundraising target, and I wanted to directly support people that are affected by the issues in my book.
Win a free copy of my book and hear from other brilliant writers at my virtual launch party!
I hope you’ll join me in celebrating my book launch, or in your own achievements and triumphs, no matter how small or how big. We all need to feel that fizzy sense of achievement throughout the year.
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