Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Richard Rodney Bennett

His death on Christmas Eve saddens me. I had the privilege of seeing him three times.

Once in the 1970s when he accompanied a singer whose name sadly I have forgotten. I do remember she sang a Berio piece that sounded like a radio being tuned between stations. Him I remember as elegant, cultured and amusing. As well as being a wonderful pianist.

Closer to his death I saw him twice with Claire Martin and what sheer pleasure they were to watch and listen to. So matched were they in their love of the songs they offered and so obviously great friends.

I heard his music many times on the radio and like other polymaths, his range of abilities across the musical genres maybe played against him being taken as seriously as he should have been as composer. He made it seem easy and that most important of abilities not possessed by all artists.

Accessible. His attitude was, come and share my love of this. And if we had any sense we did.

Sad to think I won't hear him again live because it was such a joy.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas wishes from Eileen Parr

It's 5am on Christmas morning. I'm not awake because I want to see if Santa has visited but I am awake before the rest of the family.

So I'm taking a few minutes to be grateful before we launch into a day of feasting and presents.

The first thing I'm grateful for is a history of happy childhood Christmases. I was surrounded by those who loved me and early in my life, encouraged to be part of the world of books and writing. Annuals and Enid Blyton books sitting at the foot of the bed to give my parents chance to sleep longer!

That love of books has been at the core of my life and I hope will remain so and I've seen it passed on to my nieces and now great niece. Many of the presents surrounding the tree downstairs are books.

And I'm grateful that as a family we emphasise creating experiences rather than merely acquiring stuff. My great niece did a rough count of the presents and we were amazed at how many. If it sounds as if we've spent a fortune, we haven't. Limits on spending turn us creative about what we ask for and buy for the others.

My sister spent some time last week, doing a trawl round the charity shops looking for books for one of my nieces. She came back in triumph having succeeded in finding some authors she wanted to pass on.

This year I'm especially grateful that I'm building connections across the world with those whose love of words leads them to help others with their knowledge, skills and passion.

My love of books and words and the pleasure and connections it's brought me over my life so far is beyond any economic value I can assign to it.

Instead it's opened up worlds for me beyond anything I might have imagined in childhood.

On this Christmas morning, I hope that there's something, whether books or not, that opens your life out in the same way.

All blessings.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Will you be a leader in 2013?

I have to put my hand up and admit I've always been bossy.

There I've said it.. and the world hasn't fallen in on me.

Except that being bossy backfired on me more times than enough in my twenties and thirties and so I started moving in the opposite direction... not being bossy.

Which was fine except I began to realise that in some company, I seemed to come out all wimpish.

Are you the one who's the centre of attention or hovering on the edge of the group?

Recently I went to our local theatre, amateur companies only, to watch a performance of Round and Round the Garden, one of Alan Ayckbourn's Norman Conquest Trilogy. In that is a very bossy woman who tries to organise everyone else. She fails of course because most of us resist being organised, even if secretly we'd like someone to take charge of all the things we hate to do.

So what is leadership anyway?

My trusty dictionary tells me that a leader is:

  • a person who leads, commands or precedes a group, organisation or country
Being out in front means high visibility, commanding has too many nuances of being bossy, but maybe precedes might work.

When I look at the verb what I find is much more to my liking:
  • cause a person to go with one by drawing them along
  • show a person the way by preceding or accompanying them
Recently I went to a TEDx on family and community and a young woman talked about leading by serving others.

Then I found a definition that said a leader was someone who had the courage to go first. Unlike the character in Gilbert and Sullivan The Gondoliers who led always from the rear.

How cand you and I be leaders next year?

During the Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering, I received some wonderful feedback. Much of it focused on the same points.

How the writer appreciated the practical nature of the interviews and how touched they were by the courage I was showing by being vulnerable.

Was it deliberate on my part? To a certain extent it was... because I knew that if I wasn't authentic then I might as well not bother to host the event. I am as I am, with all my insecurities and hang ups. And my talents and strengths. 

All of which I have to admit to.

What does 2013 hold for us?

Let's face it. We have no real idea. We make plans, we vision, we dream, we hope. But we have no real idea what will turn up from one moment to the next.

Whether positive or not, we will be surprised by the year. We'll take some decisions with clear sight and others more hoping for a good outcome.

What I'm challenging myself on for 2013 is becoming the leader I need to be. And I think it's important because I have a role to play in the greater scheme of things. 

Whatever the size of my dreams, whatever scope I'm envisaging, I will have to take the steps out in front... before I can expect anyone to follow me. Whether it's to be part of my community or as a helper to create that community.

So how about you?

What will you be the leader for in the next year?

I'd love to hear about your visions and your thoughts about leadership.

Let me know and if you're not already signed up for my Monthly Enfolding join our community

Monday, 12 November 2012

Lynn Serafinn on 5 fears of writing and marketing

Wednesday 14th November 7pm I'm lucky enough to have captured Lynn Serafinn and pinned her down for an hour. She's having a whirlwind year with the success of her book, The 7 Graces of Marketing and her Global Conference that followed it up earlier this year.

Lynn Serafinn is nothing short of a phenomenon: author, radio host, marketing and social media expert.

Not only that, she's holding a global vision for the way we do business. Her indepth analysis of what's wrong with the way we sell now and plan to change it, could revolutionise the way you do business.

Sign up here:
 Listen to Lynn Serafinn live or on replay

Sheila Steptoe talks Tuesday 13th November about her transformation on WFYH12

I've just been researching some more about Sheila Steptoe before interviewing her for #WFYH12 on Tuesday.

We connected in the summer and when I called her, I felt the waves of warmth coming down the phone towards me. Lovely.

This week we're discussing spiritual transformation and often the term has put me off by smacking of something out there and not applicable to the life we all lead. With jobs to do and bills to meet and people to get on with.

What I particularly like about Sheila is how down to earth she is. She relates what happened to her but connects it up to us as humans living a spiritual life.

I'd love you to join us.and gain some insight into how to create your own transformation... on a day by day basis.

Join us to listen live or on replay.

Julia McCutchen talks about Conscious and Creative Writing on #WFYH12

In-depth experience, loving guidance and practical wisdom. Julia McCutchen brings all three to the table whenever she talks to writers. I've appreciated her support during this event and am looking forward to discussing her approach to her own writing and mentoring others.

Join us Thursday 15th November 7pm.

Appreciation: Giving and Receiving

Since the Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering began, I've been receiving feedback.

Positive feedback - which is absolutely wonderful.

Because when you set about hosting an online event, challenges abound. For me the technical issues were and remain the things that trip me up the most.

What I have enjoyed above all else is the connection with the speakers... and the listeners.

I've been that holder of a space where people can meet. In the past I've done it in physical space like facilitating courses. But this was my first cyber-space event and to begin with I wondered how I could do it.

Really though it's just the same as if people were in the same room. Doesn't matter that they listen singly all over the world.

For me I imagine them all connected up and together.

That makes it easy and it seems as if those who listen are receiving the feeling that I'm transmitting.

Which brings me back to the appreciation.

One definition of appreciation is: recognition of the value or significance of something.

Over this last weekend I've been mulling over some ideas about giving and receiving appreciation.

Why we offer it, why we don't and why it can be hard to accept.

During the last few years I've listened to dozens of speakers on a variety of online events.

How often have I sent an appreciative comment?

I'm ashamed to say hardly ever.

What stops us offering appreciation?

It's not because I haven't found significance or value in the talks. Far from it.

Especially this year I've gained huge support and inspiration from listening to speakers talking about subjects as diverse as abundance, lessons they need to learn as they follow a spiritual path, and how to improve your health.

So what stopped me?

Inertia, lack of putting myself in their shoes and a feeling it wouldn't matter. Especially with the more well known speakers, I felt that lots of people would be commenting so it didn't make a difference if I didn't.

Now the boot's on the other foot so to speak, I understand exactly what it can mean to a speaker or host to receive a comment that the words have helped them.

So I'm immensely grateful to those who took the time and trouble to comment.

Which brings me the receiving of appreciation.

Why do we find it difficult to accept appreciation?

Years ago I worked in a block of serviced offices and next door to mine was a young woman offering secretarial services. One of her clients came in most weeks and I'd often meet him in the corridor or we three would share a coffee.

On one occasion he complimented me on a jacket I was wearing and my reply was along the lines of 'I've had this ages, etc etc.'

He stopped me and said, 'By not accepting I meant the compliment, you're rejecting my good wishes.'

As you can imagine it stopped me in my tracks and after that I made a conscious effort, and still do to accept        compliments, even when they take unexpected forms.

Do we appreciate ourselves enough?

If we're exhorted to 'love others as ourselves' how good a job are we doing for others when we don't appreciate ourselves?

Not very good. But when much of my upbringing was to stop me being vain, and not blowing my own trumpet then self praise is tough.

I know that when I reach the end of the Gathering and I sit down to assess how it went, it will be more natural to focus on the mistakes than on the sheer achievement of making it happen.

Which would put down those people who took the trouble to send me their thoughts and loving kindnesses. So I've decided that at the head of the review list is going to be a Didn't We Do Well item.

Big lesson for me there.

How do you deal with giving and receiving appreciation?

There's still time to join in with six more powerful speakers in Weeks 4 and 5 as we look at transformation and how we get our message out in the world.

Join us at

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Tom Evans, aka The Bookwright, on Channelling, today on WFYH12

Tom Evans, master at Bending Time and producing published books in 14 days, speaks on the subject of Channelling. at 7Pm UK and 11AM Pacific. Lively, direct and so supportive, Tom will share his views, ideas, and experience. to sign up. Live session and 48 hour replay.

What would it do for your writing and your business to be able to go from blank page to book in your hand in 14 days?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Janet Conner speaks on Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering today

Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul and The Lotus and the Lily, discusses how she came to write her first book and find the way of writing that has created a sacred new way of living for her.

Find out why I wanted her to speak on this event and what impact she has had on me.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering - Week 2

So thankful and delighted with this week's speakers for their wit, wisdom and generosity.

Elizabeth Marshall stepped in at the last minute for a speaker who had to reschedule and gave us gold nuggets galore about the importance of creating deep connections. Since she's worked with some of the top authors it pays to take notice of her. If she's good enough for Michael Port, Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki, who am I to reject her advice!

Derek Rydall offered such a strong and honest message he had one of my friends saying 'yes that's me and I need to change, NOW!' I love Derek's concept of Emergineering. It's back to allowing our message to come out, not forcing them.

Amethyst Wyldfyre challenged us on our responsibility to stand up and be clear in our message - the one only we can offer.

All offered nuggets and the calls, and generous gifts.

Still time to sign up and receive the gifts. The replays end Sunday 4th November Midnight Pacific Time.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Amethyst Wyldfyre asks - Are you Hiding Your True Power by not Speaking Out

A challenging interview in store for us today on Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering. Amethyst Wyldfyre offers a provocative perspective on how writers need to tackle these dangerous questions.

Like speaking out... and making money.

Still not reached your full potential? Do you know yet what your full potential might be... if you were prepared to speak out?

Come and join us in this most contentious conversation. Can we be heart centred... and rich? If not why not?

It's a topic that's been an obstacle for me for many years, and this year I'm tackling it head on. I do think it's time I sorted it. If that's you too, well join me as I talk to Amethyst. You can post questions if you join us live and I'll make sure they're covered in the interview.

Not yet registered for the event? That's easy to sort out - just go to Takes seconds to register.

Amethyst has long experience of shaking people up... to help them fulfil their potential.

I'm prepared... I think!

Come and join us and see what happens.

For more on Amethyst and why I wanted to share her with you,

For the Gathering Twitter conversation #WFYH12

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Derek Rydall and The Law of Emergence: why it's the only law you need to achieve your full potential

Today's interview on the Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering, is with Derek Rydall, Hollywood actor, script writer, and author.

Never made the Law of Attraction work for you? Find out why and how you can finally accept you're perfect as you are.

Sceptical? Come and listen to Derek and park your sceptism for an hour while he explains what he means.

Find out why there's a buzz of conversation over at #WFYH12 and join in with your ideas on what it takes to be a heart centred writer.

As you might expect of an actor, Derek is a powerful speaker, but his words are from his experience and from his heart.  To get access to all the calls go to:

For more about Derek visit

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Joe Nunziata on Busting Your Karma to Heal Your Life

Today on Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering, I'll be interviewing Joe Nunziata, author of Karma Buster.

Have you ever wondered why you don't make any headway and you keep getting stuck in patterns that make no real sense to you? Listen to Joe and let him show you ways to dissolve those patterns.

Eight years ago I met up with Joe, telephonically when he coached me as a newbie in the writing business. Practical, focused and thorough, he helped me enormously and it will be a pleasure to talk to him again.

As a practitioner, not a theorist, Joe always looks for ways that work to move you on. So I'm expecting an  energetic and life affirming session with him.

If you haven't yet signed up to our community of writers, check us out at
You'll find like minded people trying to develop as heart centred writers, helping each other because we know when one grows, we all thrive.

Make a connection on Twitter at #WFYH12

We'd love to hear about your challenges, your successes and your needs.

For more about Joe's work

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

WFYH12 Online Gathering

Taking time to reflect on yesterday. During the day I was such a mixture of nerves and excitement. All the hard work, all the technical challenges - not my favourite part - finally coming together to create a place for us to meet.

Logging into the control panel for the event it was wonderful to see people joining us.Checking on who was asking questions during the discussion with Raphael underlined for me that you do want to know how to deal with the challenges we face being heart centred  writers.

I listened to quite a few of Raphael's recent series about Teaching What You Need to Learn. This featured spiritual teachers from many faiths and opened my eyes to some of their challenges. It's easy to think that because they are out in the world with that tag of being spiritual teachers and counsellors, they have all the answers.

Just as Raphael was prepared to share his vulnerabilities and issues, so did the people he interviewed and I listened to them much heartened.

As he said, living with an undercurrent of joy is one thing, but we still have to face daily challenges. Being able to rest on a secure foundation does mean that we recover faster maybe when we get knocked off balance.

That's a theme I think Sue Morter will talk about later. Looking forward to speaking to her.

August Gold on Igniting Your Creative Voice

Tomorrow on Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering, I interview August Gold, storyteller supreme.

I've been following August's work for some years and what I love about her is her down to earth spirituality. Host of the Happy Hour w/August Gold in New York and author of The Prayer Chest, she combines deep rooted belief in Spirit with a challenging but compassionate way of helping people face the obstacles in their lives.

No time to meditate? Let August show you how you can find those precious minutes that can change your life.

Our third speaker in our first week theme of being in your body, August's high energy delivery will have you laughing, sometimes at yourself, and draw you nearer to the truth of who you really are.

Join us over at Sign up for free, listen for free or to be sure you have all these not to be repeated conversations to keep, check out the event package.

For more about August's work,

Over on Twitter check out the #WFYH12 for the ongoing conversation.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Dr Sue Morter on the bridging of spirit and science

On Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering tomorrow 24 October 2012 my guest is Dr Sue Morter, internationally recognised for her work on bridging science, spirit and human possibility.

As the second speaker in Week 1 of our 5 week exploration into what it takes to be a heart centred writer today, Dr Sue as she is known to many people, will continue the theme of grounding us in our bodies while we serve spirit.

From an early age Dr Sue was taught by her father to question the unexpected events in people's health. What caused them, why they didn't respond to treatment and what the individual could do to change matters.

Taking things back to first principles, Dr Sue has built up an impressive body of work and I look forward to a lively, challenging and stimulating discussion.

If you're not signed up for the online gathering head over to  You'll find a list of the speakers and their subjects during our 5 week exploration of what it takes to be a heart centred writer today.

For more about Dr Sue check out her website

Monday, 22 October 2012

Raphael Cushnir talking about emotional connection

On Writing From Your Heart tomorrow I'll interview Raphael Cushnir, a well respected author and personal growth coach.

His book The One Thing Holding You Back is a hands on, practical approach to dealing with emotions.

A large topic and one that threatens all our lives at some time as we stumble over unwanted emotions and become blocked by not letting them go.

What happens when we don't deal with emotion that hits us? Whether it's anger because we feel we've no control over our lives or grief at some loss of a person or position, not first acknowledging then clearing the emotion can result in physical and or mental stresses.

That pain in the neck you have at the end of the working day? Yes you might have sat in a draught at work... or it might be the result of unresolved conflict with a colleague.

It's a fascinating subject and I'm looking forward to learning from Raphael's experience with clients.

His techniques include the 2 x 2 process and one I love the sound of, cradling your emotions.

If you're not already signed up to the Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering go to:

Signing up is free. Listening to the interview can be free, live or during the 48 hour replay period. Or you can receive over 900 minutes of interviews and free resources to keep and listen to as often as you want, by upgrading to the event package.

For more information about Raphael's work go to:

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering

It's very odd beavering away, writing for this bit of software then that. Autoresponder message, emails, social media messages. So much of it is done here in my attic office with the huge window through which I can see blue sky and fluffy clouds.

The messages though are going out all over the world and that's the wonderful, exciting and miraculous journey they're taking. At the moment I have no idea about the people who are receiving them. That's what I want to happen as the Gathering begins and builds momentum.

Over the weekend, thanks to one of my speakers Linda Joy from Aspire Magazine, my contacts had quite a boost and I began to feel connected to others. That's the key intention of Writing From Your Heart. This is such an important time for all of us who attempt every day to live from the heart. Despite all the challenges and the obstacles, we open our hearts to others.

My daily meditation about the gathering includes a visualisation of me being a pin prick of light on the planet. Then I imagine other lights appearing all over the planet with connecting lines till I see a matrix of lines shooting off all over the place.

From the first idea, or I should say, nudge from Spirit, this event has emerged into being. I send it love and light every day and it is growing. What its outcomes will be I have no idea and it isn't important that I know all the connections that will be made during the event. All that's important is that they are made and we are all supported and encouraged as a result.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Writing From Your Heart Online Gathering 2012

Just been chatting with one of my event speakers, Linda Joy of Aspire Magazine. Lovely lady and so supportive of what I'm trying to do.

Which is create a safe space online for us to discuss how we can live and write from the heart.

For me it's been a scary topic for a long time. It's interesting that Sharon Crawford my wonderful telesummit trainer, remarked that the event website, reflected my gentle energy.

It took me a few minutes to accept the comment because I've tried to keep quiet about that side of me for a long time. In the business world, the gentle approach was not exactly the most successful approach. Certainly not 25 years ago when I went to a business meeting and was one of only 3 women among the grey suits.

Thank goodness it's changing now. And not only changing but accelerating as more people, particularly women are no longer prepared to put up a front.

It's been a year of significant change for me and I've surrendered to working from my heart in a way I never have before. Scary it has been... taking me into areas of activity I've never tried before.

I've had to face head on my tech phobia.
I've had to stick my head above the parapet in a big way.
I've had to accept the work Spirit wants me to do.

The only reason I felt able to do it is because I said I was doing it for other people.

Now of course I have to admit, while that's true, it's not the only truth. It can't help but be for me as well.
Just contacting all the speakers has influenced me and what will happen when we do the interviews I have no idea.

My life externally as well as internally looks very different now from six months ago. And I'm glad of it, because it was going nowhere as it was.

If you have any interest in writing from your heart, then I invite you to join our gathering. We begin on 23 October and that's such an exciting prospect. To be able to interview, 14 world class authors, speakers and agents of transformation.

Check out the website for the full list but they include Julia McCutchen and Tom Evans from the UK and Linda Joy and August Gold from the US. (and we have two Canadians)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sarah Robinson - Fierce Loyalty

Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities.

It's been a busy month and some of it has been because I was invited to be part of Sarah Robinson's Street Team for her book launch today.

Privileged to receive an advance copy to read and here's my verdict:

You should not be without this book.


  1. Sarah has a track record of creating successful communities, educational, business and non-profit.
  2. If you spend time building a community... without putting in the essential building blocks, your efforts are likely to be doomed to failure in the long term. And you don't get many second chances these days.
  3. You may be doing instinctively many of the things she talks about. If you understood how it worked, how much better would your results be?
As a consumer, individual, business person, how much do you long to be part of the kind of community Sarah talks about?

Wouldn't we all like to feel understood, valued and connected with others? I know I would.

Fierce Loyalty shows you step by step how to do it. Sarah is honest about what it takes but leaves no stone unturned to help you achieve your own Fiercely Loyal Community.

Check out what's she's offering (including many launch bonuses) at

However good you think you are at building a community, Sarah will offer you food for thought.

Fierce Loyalty is a winner. Without it you might not be.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Writing From Your Heart Online Event

For the past two months I've been taking this roller coaster ride. Not at a funfair, though it has been fun, at least some of the time.

In October I'm hosting an online event, called Writing From Your Heart.

It's a five week event, where each week I'll interview 3 speakers on different topics about writing particularly books, and what can happen as a result.

Terrifying. Exhilerating. Unexpected.

Each stage has offered a different challenge, especially the technology aspects because that's not been up till now a strong point. Given half a chance I'd revert back to the pencil and paper.

Can't ignore the technology any more and you know what, the more I do the more friendly the tools seem. Already half way into the process of making it happen, I've reaped so many benefits.

Who'd have thought that when I started I would link up to someone born in Nottingham, where I live, who now resides in California, that I'd listen to her online event, be inspired to approach two of her speakers, for them to say yes, for me to ask her to interview me for later broadcast and for us to enjoy a conversation last week that brought out even more similarities.

That sentence was breathless but it's how I feel many days. Breathless because I'm scared of some of what I'm doing and breathless because I can't believe what's happening.

Many of the participants in the Olympics when interviewed say things on the lines of, 'it's unbelievable, unreal.'

That's how I feel about what's happening to me and heaven knows I'm not experiencing the trials and challenges they've faced.

It took some courage for me to start but as Joseph Campbell talks about, you're supported by a thousand invisible hands waiting to help you'.

And so I have.

Many of my big challenges, technology wise are ahead of me. But I'm putting together a team of supporters and helpers from all round the country.

My speakers are global and so will my audience be.

What I love most is the idea of the connection. When I feel down about what I'm doing and how little effect I can have, I imagine a picture of the world with a single light where I am. Then I imagine lights all over the world, at first only a few then creating more and more till the connections become stronger between them.

I'm holding faith in my online event. Each day I flood it with loving energy and ask for the best possible outcome for all concerned.

It still frightens me though but as long as I can see enough light to take the next step then I'll be fine.

It's my birthday today and I can't wait to see what happens in the next 12 months.

How about you? What's currently scaring you, but you're going ahead anyway?

Thursday, 2 August 2012

My word of the day - Unbounded

Every morning I take some quiet time before my day begins. I use different meditations or exercises. This monring I used Frank Kinslow's Gate Technique.

In this you take a word from a list he reads out or wait for another word to emerge and then simply observe the word and what happens to it.

Sounded daft to me the first time I tried it but it's amazing what can happen to the word. I've seen mine dancing, sttretch out, turn into other words. It's about being a witness.

This morning unbounded turned into spaciousness. So today I'm going to take spaciousness as an idea through the day and see how I can live it.

Do you have any favourite meditations to start your day?

Jeff Goins writing blog

Found an interesting article on tribe building which is very much the buzz topic now.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Olympic fever

I was only going to stay up for part of the opening ceremony and watched it all. I was only going to watch a few things and every time I go down to make a drink or stop for lunch I'm dipping into the events.

Normally you wouldn't get me within miles of a rowing venue but I've just shrieked my lungs out trying to will the men's eight boat to the gold medal.

I'm sure after the two weeks are over I'll go back to complete indifference to the sports pages in the weekend paper. But how can I not get involved with so many of my fellow humans are trying their hardest to reach previously unheard of times and go beyond their personal goals.

In later blogs I want to share some of my goals and how I've been inspired by the athletes but it seems churlish not to leave this post to those taking part in the Olympics and the ParaOlympics to come.

Here's to all of them whatever their event or sport and wherever they end up in the competition.

Friday, 13 July 2012

A creativity walk

I'm planning a new book and recently I felt quite stuck with trying to work out the structure. In the past I've noticed how acivity helps, gets the oxygen flowing through the blood cells.

So despite the black clouds I made for our nearby nature reserve, Attenborough. As well as being stuck with the book, I almost became stuck in the real mud walking round.

With me I took a digital cassette recorder, such a gift for writers, and as well as recording some of my thoughts, recorded some of my impressions as I walked round.

At the unpromising beginning with diggers churning up the path.

Further on in the walk when I got distracted by a heron

Back to the start

I enjoyed the experience. It worked and I could recommend any writer trying it if it isn't already in your tool kit.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Inspiration and encouragement hit you in funny places sometimes don't they?

Last Tuesday I was standing in a queue in the tearoom of Rockingham Castle (lovely place to go, very friendly staff).

You know what it's like, when you walk in a crowded place to find a seat, you're met with a sea of faces and no apparent free seats. That's how it was.

In front of me several couples, behind me a couple and near me in the queue a woman who I assumed was in one of the parties. Long story short, the twos and fours got placed and she and I stood waiting. Till we started to speak and decided to become, for the sake of getting seats, a two.

Which we did almost instantly after our decision. Good move I thought.

Even better as we started talking again. I asked her, as you do, what had brought her to Rockingham. Turned out she was with an arts association party. Next question of course, 'was she an artist?'

No but she was a gardener.

Over the next ten minutes she told me the story of how she became a gardener, after a long career in IT, including working for the BBC. How did she decide to change to gardening?

On a train going home she met someone from her neighbourhood and told him she'd been offered a redundancy package. 'What are you going to do now',  he asked.

In her own words, 'out of my mouth popped, I'm going to become a gardener.' 'My wife's looking for a gardener' he replied and by the time they reached their station he'd taken her contact details. Two days later, his wife phoned, asked for help and her next career was launched.

She's never advertised, she's turning work away and trying now to downsize her practice so she can concentrate on more design work.

Fabulous fabulous story. So happy for her that it worked out. Obviously from the smiles that accompanied her story she loves it.

She asked about me but what I didn't tell her was that also on a train, though this time alone words had popped into my head about what next for me. For a couple of weeks I tried to fit it into a space that already existed but then it clicked. This needs a space of its own.

Over the next couple of months, I'll tell you more about it but for now I leave you with two thoughts.

If you're stuck about a change of direction, maybe take a train!

And inspiration and encouragement are only a conversation away.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Why interview a novelist if I'm advising non-fiction authors?

Yes I'll hold my hand up and say there was a certain amount of self indulgence in my choice of R J Ellory.

He's a thriller writer and I'm a long time fan. But there was a more altruistic reason too.

You can learn from him.  Why? Because he's a master story teller.

Confession time now - yes he knew I hadn't read any of his books before I met him last year. When I did read, A Quiet Vendetta, I wouldn't say it was the happiest choice for me. Full of blood and guts, yes lots of them and a great deal of other kinds of nastiness.

However, what it had that kept me reading was the parallel stories of two men whose lives collided, accidentally once and deliberately once.

Think about it. Your favourite novel. Maybe one you reread. What is it about the story that takes you back to the book, especially when you already know what happens.

Now think about the non-fiction book you want to write. What's the story in it that will keep people reading?

I tried something the night before I talked to Roger Ellory. I opened the book at random and began to read to see what would happen.

Bang! I was straight back into it. In this particular instance, making my way through a swamp on my way to commit a crime.

If you've watched people look at non-fiction in bookshops, what's their behaviour? Yes they'll look at the front cover, read the back, maybe the contents page. But often they'll dive in at random. Not read logically.

That's one of the tests your book needs to pass with flying colours. Hold the reader's interest no matter where they enter.

Hm. Maybe needs a good story?

To listen to the interview with Roger, go to Click on the Conversations about Writing page.

To find out more about him, go to  On both occasions he was charming, encouraging and interesting about writing and the writer's life.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

June update

I just looked at the date of the last post I made here. Can't believe it's almost three weeks ago. Still it has been a very hectic few weeks.

So what's prevented me from blogging. Apart from lack of discipline of course.

It would be too long, to go through the whole month but let's take a look at my last week.

I'm in the middle of a new enterprise. Hosting a telesummit. Decided in April to have a go and am taking a training with Sharon Crawford of Spiritual Messengers Worldwide. Fabulous decision to have made.

Already the support I've received from Sharon has far outweighed the purchase price of the whole package. Why?

Well I've had an hour long one to one Skype session with Sharon, helping me become very clear about the reason for doing the telesummit, the title and the speakers I wanted to attract.

That in iself, the speaker selection, is such an intense process. Yes I need some big names to attract the audience but that's not the only reason to choose people. Sharon and her co-host on the package Tamra Fleming have some great advice on the first audio call in the package.

And the documentation you need. Without the templates they provide, I'd have been tearing my hair out.

That's only one part of the whole enterprise. As I go through it I'll post updates with my ups and downs.

So I have been occupied with that. Plus my normal work which included an article proof read. Since it was a medical article destined for a prestigious journal it had to be done with especial care.

Then there was getting the new website up and going. I got myself in a real technological muddle about that. When everything is finally sorted out I might confess to what happened. But the site is live, including the first of a series of audio and video interviews that I've titled Conversations about Writing.

Gives me all the excuses I need to be nosy about all aspects of writing, publishing and marketing.
Take a look at the site and let me know what you think. Sign up for the monthly newsletter. Who would you like me to interview? Can't promise I'll manage it but I'll certainly try.

Added to all the other excitement this week, I almost invited a virus on to the computer, I ricked my ankle and broke a tooth.

Life certainly hasn't been dull this month.
Speak to you again soon.
As you can see June's busted out all over in all kinds of directions.


Sunday, 3 June 2012

What stops people writing

Last week I took a trip over to Creative Coffee at the Phoenix Arts Centre at Leicester.

I had a fun time meeting other writers... and would be writers.

Did more listening than talking which is as it should be. Listened to one person who was moving from an IT career to being a freelance editor and proof reader.

But most of all I listened to people who wanted to write but didn't, couldn't or wouldn't.

Their woes were centred round five problems.

  1. I haven't enough time.
All the people I met were in business. They're efficient goal setting and achieving professionals. What makes it different with the writing is that treat it as something 'separate'. Creative. Needing that moment of inspiration to start off.

The more I write and the more different things I write, the less I believe in writer's block and this inspiration stuff. Yes you need the initial ideas. But... once that is there, the rest is steady determination and application.

Which means giving it time. At the moment I'm rewriting a draft of a book I worked on about eighteen months ago. I've set myself the goal of finishing the draft by the end of July. So I need to write about a thousand words a day to hit that target. I've worked out it takes me under the hour to do it.

For me the trick is just to write it and not look back. That's fatal. When I've done the draft I'll take a week's break then start to fix it.

   2.   I'm stuck in the research stage.

This applies to many academic people one of whom I heard about last week. Got a brilliant idea, loves research, now can't find his voice for the book.

There really is only one answer. That's to write. Once you're into the writing, especially as he's writing non-fiction, the voice will come.
  3.  I can't find a publisher.

This is the first question people ask me. And it's often from people who haven't started to write their book.

These days, the question's become more irrelevant for many people. Self publishing has lost its crummy image and turned respectable. Digital printing has brought down the cost to manageable proportions for most people. And social media has opened up the world to promote what you do.

It's the most exciting time to be an author.

4     I can't get it out of my head onto the page.

Fear. That's what causes this. I know because I've suffered from it.

While it's in my head my book is perfect. Absolutely perfect. Any publisher would snap it up in an instant and turn it into a worldwide best seller.

On the page it might lack something. So I'll leave it where it is.

Shame because only once it's on the page can somebody help you with it. And the thing about writers and people in the industry is that they're helpful. They love everything to do with writing and books. They're passionate and committed.

So if you're at that stage, take your courage in your hands and begin.

 5. I can't find the right shape for the book.

This seems to be bound up with finding your voice and wanting to rely on the inspiration. I've been in groups where there's always at least one person with this approach to writing.

Without fail the tutor tries to persuade them to do some planning on the structure for the book. Simply because if you have a road map, it becomes easier.

I've heard stories of some writers who plan meticulously and never deviate from the plan. Some who plan then revisit the structure if they get stuck.

There are as many ways of completing a book as there are writers and you do have to find the way that suits you.. But that initial structure does seem to make sense - at least to get you going.

What I've realised in the ten years I've been writing for business and writing fiction and non-fiction for myself, is that if you're willing to accept help, there's no shortage of avenues to find that support.

Arts organisations, paid assessment services, writers' groups, courses, author events.

What's needed though from the writer is their participation. If you sit at home 'wanting to become a writer' but doing nothing about it you' ever will. Just as I'll never run a marathon because I don't run.

And it's a shame, because your book, could be the one that makes a difference to others.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Eileen Parr; new writing resolutions in June

It's a month since I blogged. Part of me can't believe that a month has passed since I did this. But when I look at what I've put my energy into over the last month I can see clearly where the time disappeared.

Since the beginning of the year I've given a lot of thought about where I want my business to go. I have let it run down somewhat over the last couple of years. Taken a break from the fee paying work and paid attention to writing fiction.

At the moment that effort hasn't offered me any concrete results. No publishing contract or link with a literary agent.

It's improved my writing though. Sending some off for a professional review in January I was pleased with the assessment. Showed distinct signs of my having worked to some effect.

The thing is that I don't think I'm just a writer. Like it or not I have that something inside of me that wants to help others progress. Came out all the time when I was employed even when I didn't label it as mentoring. And after years of my profession being guessed as teacher, I did go into teaching.

Only when I had something I was passionate to share though. At that time aromatherapy and reflexology.

So it seems I can't get away from that and I've decided to give it another whirl, this time to help writers.

One of the fun things I've done in the last month is to record some video interviews about writing. I've started a series Conversations about Writing which will begin to go live when my new website goes live next week. There'll be some podcasts to; I recorded the first of those with Farhana Shaikh in Leicester last week.

And that was another thing that demanded my energy. The website. The writing of it is no problem. It's the technical stuff that drains my energy. Getting all the bits to work together.

Still I'm improving at that too. Taking responsibility for it. Been bad at that in the past, relying too much on others to sort it out for me.

So all in all, it's been a hectic, but productive May. Here I am ready to go with a new website... and a new plan.

Let's see where it all leads me!