2018 ready.

Are you 2018 ready? Yes, or no it appears to be storming away at an incredible rate!

I was silent on this blog for the last part of 2017 because, to be honest, I hadn’t the heart to write anymore. After finishing my second novel, and the excitement when the team at Hardman&Swainson loved it, I had a summer and an autumn filled with ‘positive rejections’. This means my book was well received, very well received in some cases, but no offers were made. My mojo evaporated and disappointment prevailed. I felt bruised from the inside out. And then there was Christmas; it seems to get more twinkly every year, as each city tries to out sparkle the next. The lights distract us from the real darkness outside and for a couple of months we play along.  Our Christmas was noisy and busy and hectic and full of love, laughter, arguments and (a little?)tiredness. We lost teeth, we shed tears, my eldest at eleven ‘lost his Christmas spirit’ but we gained some great Christmas memories to bank.

As one year teeters and tips into the next I never feel quite ready. I get a worry knot in my stomach for those I love. The future can be a scary place if you stare at it too long. I always want to press pause, to enjoy the moment a little longer, saviour my family as they are.

On Monday I excavated the house of Christmas decorations and suddenly I felt better. I felt braver. I gathered up my courage all around me and I felt ready. I have the idea for my third book. I know what it has to be. I know what I want to write. I’ve gone too far down this road, and got too close, to give up now. I’ve set myself a due-date and so I’ll start, again. Word by word. No one said it would be easy.

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A few of my favourite reads from 2017

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Happy No-Resolution New Year!

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It’s that time of year again. As 2015 fades out and everyone exclaims, ‘Where has the year gone?’ We begin to look towards the sparkly unspoiled year ahead. It lies before us like fresh undisturbed snow.  As we lie around eating Christmas leftovers and feeling bored countless people will begin to make their New Year Resolutions. We will promise ourselves to ‘do more things’, lose the weight, give up this, give up that, drink less, don’t drink at all, exercise, be kinder, spend less, spend more, spend our time more wisely, blah, blah, blah and so it goes on.

I’m in awe of the women I’ve discovered through the #selfishmother network. Clever, (so, so clever), funny, brilliant women who manage to pack in unfathomable amounts between wiping baby puke off their shoulder and the school run. I think it must be our suffragette heritage that makes us attack each day as though our lives and sanity depend on it. I know many of you will be listing up your resolutions as I write this, well,

I’m here to say NO! I’ll be standing strong and giving a big fat two fingers to New Year Resolutions and here’s three reasons why I think you should too:

  • Because January is hard enough!

Most people fail with their New Year resolutions before the end of January. Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you set yourself up for failure during the hardest month of the year? It’s the dead of winter. The days are short and cold and everyone is recovering from their Christmas hangover. If you’re like me, you’re financially crippled. January is horrible. It takes guts just to face January, just to get through it. Who needs the extra pressure of taking up tiquando? What twisted mind ever thought listing things to ‘fix’ about yourself in January was a good idea? Here’s my proposal; if you want to start something new, why not do it in the Spring, that’s when mother nature makes her new year – make it yours too. Don’t feel pressure to start ‘afresh’ just because the calendar shows different numbers on it.  I bet if people made spring resolutions the success rate would be a lot higher!

  • Because you’ve done more than you think you have.

Scrap your ‘to do list’ for 2016 and write a ‘done it’ list. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by boxes left to tick why not celebrate your ticked boxes. I wrote about this in a previous blog, you can read it here. So, put the kettle on, or pour your wine and write down everything you’ve accomplished in 2015. No matter how small, or how amazeballs. Write it down.  You’ll surprise yourself and you’ll start 2016 on a high buoyed up by everything you’ve already done.

  • Because you are enough.

It’s 2015 and the unfortunate fact is that women still have to work twice as hard as men to get noticed, to get promoted, to even get near the glass ceiling. All too often our careers hit the buffers when our clocks time-bomb us into motherhood. It’s true that the majority of women, working or not, still do the lion’s share of the child-rearing and and the domestic duties. I’d love to do a survey on the gender divide of households when it comes to Christmas; who buys the teacher’s presents, the Santa presents, the nieces and nephews gifts, cooks the Christmas dinner, decorates the tree, moves the elf on the shelf – the list goes on and on. I know there are exceptions, I know there are some men who do their fair share, but let’s be honest they are few and far between. I’d like to state that I’m no man-bashing feminist. Feminist yes, but not because I hate men because I love men. I love my husband, I love my sons, I love my brother, I love the company of men, I love our differences and our contradictions. (I especially love it when one is handy to lift a heavy object.) But unfortunately, we are not yet truly equal in the world.

Girls, women, mothers, friends, I am here to tell you that you do enough, you are enough, you have enough. We produce other humans! And then we look after them, we clothe them, feed them, wash them, we love them. Whether you have given birth or not, you are still a caretaker of the next generation. They will follow your example. They will become what we have allowed them to believe they can become. That alone is enough.  That’s not to say you can’t do more. I’m all for doing more, but I am here to tell you that motherhood alone is also enough.

If you must make resolutions please do it for yourself; a resolution should be for you, and only you. Don’t do it because the magazines say you should, or because your favourite celebrity is doing it, or your next door neighbour is doing it. Do it for yourself, because you want to, because you need to, because you know it will benefit your life in a positive way. Only your reason is good enough. If you fall off the wagon, who cares? Enjoy doing it. If you consume more than your allotted calorie intake for January in one lonely day, make sure you savour every mouthful. Women, in everyone of you I see a hero.  In 2016 make a resolution to be kinder to yourself and start by saying No to New Year’s Resolutions!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and A Happy carefree New Year.

xxx