My Business Card

If anyone wants any help or advice, please feel free to contact me .IMG_1557

I know the importance of asking for help or advice, something it took me a long time to learn. Humility – to many, a dirty word – but in truth the most enlightening thing we can learn. I am incredibly grateful for my life and so if I am able to help, or guide, listen or advise, then I am happy to do so.

While I naturally charge for my services ( humility doesn’t pay the bills,) I am happy to give any simple help or support through these pages without charge. If in doubt – just ask.

Rosie

Putting my patience to the test.

I have just added my first two books onto Amazon ( kindle, Kobo inc) which has been hardwork & more than a Little perplexing. Not only did I have to learn the whole e-publishing thing, I had no idea how to format my manuscript correctly.

A couple of weeks ago I published my first book; Silly Tilly gets lost, but once it was online I discovered that I had made mistakes. I re- edited & republished, only to find that I’d done it incorrectly.
At the same time I was desperately attempting to complete and publish a book for charity, a compilation from my creative writing group. After an initial hiccup I figured out the system, but every time I thought it was ready, I’d republish, only to discover further errors. It took 18 edits in all, which must be something of a record. However it, like the Silly Tilly is now live on Kindle.

Naturally I’m delighted but I have to admit to nearly giving up. I’m sure that the errors were mating! They seemed to be multiplying! I wanted to throw in the towel so many times!
In my past I would have either given up, or made it passable & just accept it as ‘good enough.’ There may well still be unfounded mistakes, it was my first time, s perfection was probably unlikely, however I believe it now to be As near perfect as possible.

This has been a hard but useful learning curve.

I could have given up, or just made do, but wouldn’t have been satisfied. Perseverance was necessary. Anything worthwhile is worthy of it.
I will remember this lesson, I will also give thanks for the new skills that I have learnt.

Time to continue with book Three…..

The books in question are as follows:
‘Silly Tilly gets Lost,’ by Rosie Bright. Price £2.99 available on the kindle/ Amazon site.

This is a story about a cute, yet naughty Yorkshire terrier. It is the first in a proposed series & is aimed at aged 3 – 6 year olds.

The second book is a compilation book,from members of my writing group, with proceeds going to charity. It is filled with mainly humorous/ light hearted short stories & poetry, also included are many 50 word and 6 word stories.

It is called ‘When the Muse Strikes by Rosie Thomas with Wells Scribblers. Again priced £2.99 available on Kindle/ Amazon.

I hope that you will consider buying one or both. Your support will be much appreciated.

Rosie x

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Spreading your web.

Recently a friend asked how I tackled being alone when I first moved to this area. Was I lonely? Yes of course I was! I was 60, knew no-one & wasn’t sure where to begin.
There is really no definite formula that I can guarantee would work for everyone, however there is one tip that I believe always helps – that is to put yourself ‘out there’ and be pro-active, strangers are unlikely to knock on your door, begging for your friendship!

As I have previously said, at first, although nervous, I joined lots of groups and clubs until I found my feet and had begun to build a social circle, then I re-evaluated the usefulness of the clubs, dropping those that weren’t really working for me, leaving space in my life to join others If and when the opportunity arose.

Through these groups I was able to make contacts, through those contacts, further ones and so on. The point is that everything has to have a starting point. Wanting to make changes won’t work unless you actually do something about it.

As someone told me many years ago:

Nothing changes until something changes.

Think about it – then DO SOMETHING!

Loneliness is a dreadful thing and the longer the situation continues, the more difficult it is to resolve. That first step will never get easier, there will never be ‘the right time,’ the time to take action is NOW.

Don’t allow the fear to hold you back. Nervousness won’t kill you, it may feel like a step to far & that you’re not ready yet, but when is that likely to change? It is unlikely to. The first step is to make a personal commitment, the second is to walk through that door! Sure, so some people will turn and look at yo, just as people did when they first started, just as you probably will when newcomers join after you. It doesn’t mean that they are being unkind, generally they are just intrigued about who this stranger is, possibly wondering if this could be a new friend for them.

That very first time is scary, the next time it will be easier, soon you won’t bat an eyelid, so go on – do it! Make 2017 the year that your social circle will expand. But don’t wait till next month, or the spring or summer or your birthday, or any other excuse, because that’s all it is – an excuse, a reason to put off something that seems scary.

Please do it. Decide on something that you would like to join, ( if retired the local U3A is a good place to start.) find out details, phone up the contact number if there is one ( this will actually soften the blow), make a date to join and don’t let yourself talk you out of it.

Life is only as good as we make it so make it good!

Be brave. You can do it!

Take care

Rosie x

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Christmas illusion.

As someone who spends Christmas alone, I am saddened by the amount of people who tell me how much they dread the enforced jollity.

There are a couple of points here.
First of all, although I agree that family get together are rarely ideal, at least they are fortunate enough to be invited. However if it really is such a trial, why don’t they decline the invitation? Getting along with your fellow man can be tricky at any time of the year but when expectations are running so high, it’s so easy for arguments to flare up.

The other side is how false it all is. This whole Christmas thing has become a huge obstacle to sanity!

People inviting people that they don’t like or want to be with, others accepting invites that they don’t want to go to.

Giving gifts is the same – surely presents should be given for the right reasons, not because ‘it’ll do!’

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get this right?

Many people dread the idea of being alone at Christmas, others are horrified with the thought of their family sitting alone, so people are shipped across the miles so that they can sit there, uncomfortable, like a spare part.

In an ideal world families would be closer, always caring about their elderly or single members but this isn’t an ideal world.

Being alone at Christmas isn’t really any different from any other day – it’s our expectations that make it so.

I find it so false when Granny or Grandad or Great Aunt are invited & then treated as an incombance. What we need is more honesty and a more caring society.

Are people so short sighted to believe that most elderly people want to sit in a room full of screaming, overly excited children, fed totally unsuitable food, then are delivered back home once the family need to get down to some serious drinking. Why are there not more centres where older people can actually enjoy themselves at Christmas? Company needs to be good and interesting, for it to be enjoyable. Not for pensioners to be marginalised or patronised, but to actually offer the form of entertainment that they would actually enjoy.
No one should be forced to be alone at this time of year, but neither should they be coerced to go where they feel uncomfortable.

There will be a lot of people who disagree with this post but I feel it needs to be said. When our Children are young, Christmas is a wonderful, magical time, even when money is tight, the wonder on their faces as they spy the wrapped gifts and all of the glitter and glitz is what it’s all about. A good Christmas with family games, laughter and few treats is what we all aspire to, yet in reality it’s rarely like that. Alcohol, stress, arguments get in the way. Too much emphasis is put onto the achievement of the ‘perfect ‘ day.

So what would be perfect? Surely it all depends on the person involved?
Different ages will usually see things differently. Nowadays it’s all about money, buying the biggest, most expensive gifts. Is that really right?
What about Granny or Grandad? Do they just get chocolates or toiletries or some other thoughtless gift? I bet for many this is true.

Can’t we have a rethink? Putting the Christian aspect to one side, the social & economic drudgery that can be caused is a travesty.
I would willingly help out at a lively, cheerful alternative get together.yet there are so few available. I have previously volunteered at a homeless shelter on the big day ( & a great day it was) but why aren’t there more options? Eating out at Christmas as a single person is virtually impossible. I don’t want to be an imposition on my family but I would actually like to have fun too. Holidays at this time of year are beyond the reach of many pensioners so what choices do we have?
I’ve done the tearful holiday period, now thankfully I’ve come to accept how things are. I’m used to living alone and actually enjoy it, but not everyone feels like me. I’m fortunate enough to have a great social circle so although I won’t have company on the day, I have plenty of events both before and after.

There will be many who are loved and cherished who will be warmly welcomed by their loved ones, they are very fortunate.
With everything shut, too many pensioners will be totally alone, totally uncared about. This is so wrong.
Everyone who believes in the season of goodwill, wherever you may be, bear a thought for others less fortunate and maybe think of something positive that you can instigate for future years. It isn’t charity or pity that most pensioners want, it’s just a bit of genuine consideration.

Let’s put the ‘Happy’ back into happy Christmas.

I wish you all a lovely time.

Rosie x

Difficult Questions.

Having just read a post about homelessness ( happiness blog)
It has hit home how I am as guilty as anyone of not doing anything pro-active to help the homeless.
I care deeply & am in fact writing a novel that features this subject. I try to be friendly but feel awkward about my inability to make any difference to their lives. So I may give a little loose change – big deal! What help is that really? A coffee, then what?
Why are we, as a society, so afraid of upsetting the apple cart by making a noise about the plight of those who, through no fault of their own are without the security ( or comfort) of a roof over their head?
Are we really willing to attempt to help, or are we trying to clear our consciousnesses?
Why do we feel so uncomfortable?
I tell myself that I am caring & considerate, so why am I so impotent over this? Am I really doing all that I can? The answer is simple-no I’m not doing enough.
Caring doesn’t give them a bed or regular hot meals.
Caring doesn’t give them security or the opportunity to get back on their feet.
I suspect that I do more than a lot of people, yet really do so little. Why?
I guess I’m waiting for someone else to set up a workable initiative that I can join. Coward! Why don’t I put my energies into helping instead of simply being concerned?

The happiness blog posed so many questions which are reverberating around my head.

I want to help more. There must be a way. I’ve no idea what, but one thing is certain, bleating about it won’t change anything. Action is needed. Positive, practical action.

Will I do something major to make a difference?

To my shame, probably not.

Rosie x

I’m being honest. Maybe it’s time that we all were?
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Perseverance is the key.

As many followers will know, I’ve pledged to make a booklet in aid of BBC Children in Need. The idea seemed a simple one – just collect a small compilation of work from members of the writing group that I lead. I would comb bind it and persuade friends to buy a copy. What could possibly go wrong?

Hmm, I hadn’t considered a few pertinent points;
1) health has a habit of letting me down.
2) I had already committed to writing a novel during November for NaNoWriMo.
3) I’m rubbish at sticking to the basics!

Already burning the candle at both ends, my health was on a downward spiral & although I recognised it, I refused to do anything about it. I was enjoying life, why would I want to slow down?
A charity abseil that I was due to do was postponed. Concerned friends told me how washed out I looked, eventually agreeing, I took advantage of the postponed abseil weekend to take a break by the sea. A weekend stretched into five days. Sounds great? It was, but rather than rest, I chose to run around like a loon doing all things that tourists do! I came back even more exhausted!

With November looming, I prepared for the NaNoWriMo challenge, setting the plot, sketching the storyline, getting excited & eager to start. I told everybody, so that I wouldn’t back out & on November 1st I sat in front of my laptop & wrote my little heart out. This had been complicated by an unexpected change of storyline. A new idea swept into my brain the day previously & refused to leave, so I was really winging it, having not had any form of plan to work with.
For 4 days I wrote solidly into the night, delighted that I was ahead of my word count schedule. ( NANoWriMo requires that a minimum of 50000 words are produced during the 30 days of November)

At the same time I was organising the charity booklet & had persuaded fellow group members to produce short articles & poetry for me to print. All was going well until I fell out with my printer. It refuses to cooperate. I took this as a sign that maybe I should look into having the booklet professionally printed.
After a lot of googling & comparing prices, I decided to go with a local printing company. Since the cost was greater, so was my need to produce a better book. Sheets of A4 inspirations were being handed to me, all I needed to do was put them into order.

No. Life for me is never that straightforward.

I decided that the booklet should be smaller, A5 size. No worries. HAH!
Now remember that I am a pensioner who only learnt to use a computer about 5 or 6 years ago, apart from the absolute basics, everything has been self taught.
I had also been told that I needed to put individual files into PDF form, then number them, put them onto a memory stick & take it to the printers. Of course I had heard of these new fangled methods, yet had never attempted them. To say that I made hard work of it is an understatement! Googling, books & Youtube to the rescue. I probably could have handled it better, had it not been for me having a slight stroke.

At first I thought that I was simply exhausted, but apparently not. I’ve had several small strokes & a larger one, so recognised what had happened, mini strokes are common place in my family, so the risks have always been accepted by me as just a fact of life.
This one knocked me for six! I was totally wiped out, unable to tackle anything. I did try to do some writing but will need to rewrite it, as it was such rubbish. Unable to go out, my groups & voluntary job had to be put on hold. I became a social recluse.

I have a good relationship with our local newspaper, writing a monthly column for them as well as various small articles & letters, so I had asked them to promote the charity booklet. They happily agreed, asking for a photo of me holding the completed book, to which they would add a piece asking for local support. I would have been delighted, except that the booklet was still in the planning stage. I couldn’t figure out how to do the necessary set up of files.

I didn’t want to fail but it looked like I was going to.

For an entire week, with brain of mush & no energy, I have sat through the night trying desperately to work out how to set up the files etc. One night I didn’t go to bed at all.
Every day I learnt something new. Windows 10 & myself are not best of friends yet & I’m struggling to find my way around it, but every night I realised that I’d found out how to do a new task ( things that most people could do with their eyes closed.) Every morning, before breakfast I would sit at the laptop, ready to use my new found knowledge, only to discover that I needed to learn more, before I could proceed.

I didn’t give up.

In the early hours of this morning, I realised that I’d finally cracked it. I crawled into bed, knowing that I only had a tiny bit more to complete this morning, ready to go to the printers.

The phone woke me from a deep sleep at mid morning. I had a friend arriving at lunchtime. ARGH! I had come too far to allow it all to drag into next week. I had advertised the book to be ready for purchase, Children in Need being next week. I had to complete it. I needed to succeed.

With only a couple of hours before I was due to go out for lunch, I sat at my desk & with absolute determination I set about finishing it. My friend duly arrived, to find me still in my pyjamas. Fortunately very understanding, she made a cuppa while I tapped feverishly on my keyboard. I’m not sure how many times I said to her “Just one last file & I’m finished.”

The important thing is that I got there. A couple of weeks late & very sleep deprived, I was able to proudly hand over the completed flash drive to the printers’. Exhausted & brain dead, yet happy. I’ve no idea how well my work will reproduce in print, I hope it’s good. I want it to be successful, to raise some money, but for me it’s been a worthwhile experience. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve also learnt that perseverance pays off. The booklet should be ready to go on sale next week. I did it! Me! Little Ol’ me! I figured it out. Even if I’m left with egg on my face & a stack of unsold booklets, I managed to overcome all sorts of obstacles & am very pleased with myself. Yes ok so it won’t be professionally written, it’s only a small scale production, but I did it!

As for NanoWriMo? I had thought about giving up, having not written a word for a complete week, but have decided not to.
Allowing myself the luxury of a relaxing evening, I intend to recommence tomorrow, after a T’ai Chi workshop. There’s a very good chance that I won’t meet the deadline, but it isn’t important. I will write as much as I am able – I have the rest of my life to complete it. I accepted the challenge and will do my best but don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I’ve had a lot to cope with recently. But I have overcome it all & am still here to tell the tale.

My health is improving again. I’m eager to get on with my life. Bring it on!

Rosie x

If you enjoyed reading this, please ‘follow’ or ‘share’ all support is vital to a knackered old woman!
Until next time, take care.

Time to stop self doubt

Although I have been seriously writing for well over a year now ( blogging even longer), I’ve always introduced myself s an aspiring author, or would be writer. A short time ago someone took me to task over this. I’ve had several short articles published, as well as numerous letters, I also produce a monthly column in the local paper. That makes me a writer! Just because I have yet to win any competitions or get a publishing contract doesn’t alter the fact that I am a writer. Although yet to earn any money from it, I am a writer. I write everyday in some form or another, run a creative writing group as well as a writing for wellbeing one. Finally I accepted the title. However I was still slightly apologetic, almost sidled in, hoping that no one would ask about my qualifications. Why?

I left school at just 15 with no qualifications. I didn’t stay to take any exam. I was expected to go to work, which I duly did. I didn’t mind at the time, exam certificates didn’t mean much in the world of hairdressing, back in the 60s.
As my family came along, I began to regret not having anything behind me but told myself that I could do evening classes when I had time. It didn’t happen. By then, although I regretted it, it no longer seemed important.
Less than two years ago, being retired & living alone, I decided to take a creative writing class, then another followed by various workshops. I was hooked. I took a further class where grammar was high on the agenda. A stroke many years ago has erased most of my ability to put the correct names & terms for grammatical correctness. The teacher, although inspirational unintentionally caused me to feel inadequate. I already felt an outsider when friends discussed literature, my knowledge, by comparison was very limited. I enrolled on a Grammar course.
As I began the coursework, I realised that I knew what I was doing, knew how to use the correct formulation of sentences etc. Why was I doing this? At school I had always been an A+ English language & literature student, who was I doing this qualification for?
I decided to drop out. I have far more important things to do with my time. I was doing it to wave a piece of paper & say
” look, I’m as good as you now.”
I didn’t need to do that.

Of course there are gaps in my knowledge but nothing that I can’t get around. The stroke can’t be undone. Is it vital for me to remember what the correct terms are?
I write because I love it. I didn’t want it to become a burden.
Shortly afterwards I set up a creative writing group. I stressed at the outset that it was non teaching. I simply wanted to encourage others to have a go, to have fun. It has been an overwhelming success. Occasionally I get lost when some members discuss the classics or talk about writing styles, but I refuse to pretend to be anything or anyone that I’m not. Generally people appreciate my honesty, even if they don’t understand my reasoning.

One problem though, I still was an aspiring writer only, playing at it, not really serious. Except that by then I was.
I needed a change of mindset. When I’d begun, I had no intention of using it for anything other than pleasure/ therapy. Now I felt very differently about it. I intend to write for the rest of my life, to be successful too. A would be, will remain a would be. As a believer in affirmations & the power of positive thought, I decided to ‘rebrand’ myself.
I updated my Facebook profile photo, showing me writing. I introduce myself as a writer. I think in a totally different way.
I am shortly going to produce a collection of writing from my creative writing group, which we are going to sell for Children In Need. I am entering the NanoWriMo challenge to produce a 50000 word novel within the next month. I will, without question get some of my work into print. Whether I have to self fund, self publish or get a publisher, who knows? It’s not vital for me to know. One thing’s for certain – You’ll be hearing more about me in the coming years. I may never reach the heavy heights of a number one best seller, but I will definitely be producing some worthwhile work.
My name is Rosie – I’m a writer.

Security in self belief

Two friends visited today, as I have been unwell. One of these is a newly found friendship, hence this was her first visit to my home.

Strangers tend to be taken aback by my decor, as it is eclectic to say the least! Goddesses, Buddhas & Native American Indians vie with each other to find their place amongst a rather excessive collection of crystals. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that I am what can be called ‘alternative.’ Living in a retirement flat, my choice of decoration doesn’t appeal to many of the other residents, but thankfully I’m comfortable enough in my beliefs not to worry about their opinions.

The new friend who visited already knew about my chosen path, just as I did hers, however it was refreshing to hear her opinion of my chosen deities. She follows a diffent path, although we are both pagan, in fact until a few years ago, my chosen route was similar to hers. We had an enjoyable conversation, It was really interesting to discuss why I do what I do & having a slightly different viewpoint was stimulating.

After they had left, it set me thinking about the confidence that I have & my way of expressing it. For too many years I attempted to ‘fit in’ & even more recently I felt the need to explain or justify my beliefs. I no longer do that.

Is it an age thing,I wonder? Certainly my confidence has grown with the passing years but I think it’s more than that. I feel comfortable in my own skin now. I don’t need to appease anyone or attempt to justify anything. This has released me from the constraints that I had grown up with. I’m not just older ( & single) I’m emotionally free to be myself. I don’t need anyones’approval to be who I am. It is so liberating!

As long as I don’t hurt anyone or intentionally offend, as long as I can like myself, look in the mirror & see a friendly, kind person looking back, then I know that I am on the right track. The right path for me. I don’t need to conform to anyone else’s ideals because I’m strong enough in my own. It’s a lovely place to be.

I hope that you are able to feel even a tiny bit as contented with your choices, if not, think about why you live as you do, maybe you could consider changing? but only for yourself. Being true to YOURSELF is the key to happiness & ultimately inner peace. I hope that you are able to find it.

I wish you love, peace & joy.

Rosie x

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Accepting when to take a step back.

Unusually for me, I have been forced to take a spell of complete rest ( well, not quite as complete as I should!)
I’m a hard personal task master & dislike feeling useless or inadequate but occasionally everyone has to accept their frailties.
I’ve known that I have been over pushing myself but tried to convince myself that I was Superwoman, if I kept going, I would push through the physical difficulties & emerge triumphant. Of course this was never going to be possible!

I’ve been beating myself up for not updating my blog, falling behind with paperwork, not submitting stories to editors, etc. etc.

Pride?
Stupidity?
Stubbornness?

A bit of all the above and much more.
Now forced to have total rest, I’m paying for my stupidity, but it’s been a timely reminder.
None of us are perfect, nor can we push our boundaries beyond their full stretch. Equally none of us is irreplaceable. Being forced to swallow my pride & get someone else to take over the running of my writing groups, has been hard, but hearing how well they managed without me has forced me to rethink my superwoman status. I’m no superhero. Just me. And being just me is enough.
I’m thankful that I’ve been reminded of that.

Rosie x

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Thanks all x

Learning from disappointment.

I have had the strangest week!
I tend to overbook myself & end up burning the candle at both ends as well as in the middle. Not one to give in, I keep pushing myself until I come to an abrupt halt. Recently I have been approaching the halt sign & had tried to reduce my unnecessary workload before I hit it – however I needn’t have worried, it was taken out of my hands.

Having more than one commitment a day causes me extreme exhaustion & pain, however sometimes it can’t be avoided, Wednesday this week was one such day.
Although looking forward to the first event ( as a mental health champion with Mind/ Rethink at a freshers day talking to students) it was expected to be tiring. Knowing that I had an important meeting the same evening, I was a little concerned how to pace myself. I preplanned my meals, double checked bus timetables & was getting close to worrying about it.

The evening before, it got cancelled.

I used the opportunity to attend a different group, then of course began to beat myself up because I was still over stretching myself.

On my return I received a message to say that I wasn’t needed at the evening meeting.

Hmm, bit weird. Maybe the Universe was making my decisions for me?

Following a very exhausting day at my voluntary job yesterday, I felt dreadful this morning. A friend gave me the routine lecture about taking things easier, which led to a discussion about my upcoming charity abseil –

Just received an email telling me that it has been cancelled!!!

I’m beginning to see a pattern here.
As I rarely get stressed or worried about things, I emailed the abseil organiser asking to be notified if another becomes available,then decided to write this blog.

Just received an email telling me that another abseil is being arranged.

I wonder if the Universe is testing me or playing jokes?

It has however made me think whether I need to learn something from this. As always there was a very definite lesson trying to get it’s message across.
I have had to ask myself if I was getting a bit egotistical & full of my own self importance? Possibly I was. So many people do far more important & worthwhile things than I do. Of course to me, my achievements are big, but not to everyone else. I had been banging on about the abseil to anyone who would listen, probably boring the pants off them. Had I allowed my courage & determination go to my head? I had enjoyed the praise that I was receiving.

Humility isn’t simply a word, it’a life choice. Made for the right reasons. Not something done for glory, or to be boasted about. I had fallen into a trap.

Humility is about simplicity, about genuine care, about honour.
Part of me thinks that I should be ashamed, but isn’t that playing the same card?
I need to actually understand & learn from the lesson. Being ashamed isn’t the solution. I had strayed from my life choice, chosen to broadcast my glory. Been guilty of pride & tripped myself up. It wasn’t about doing anything wrong, it was doing things in the wrong way. I enjoy helping others, I do it because it helps us both. I don’t need to broadcast it. I’m no saint, just a person trying to fulfil my purpose on this earth ( as feels right to me). Helping someone so that you get praised isn’t what it should be about.

Acceptance & Humilty are all important. Or certainly should be.

I’m thankful for being able to understand what it all meant.
We are all trying to find our way through the maze of life. There will always be hazards, blocks & difficulties, without these we would be unable to appreciate when things are going well. The newer abseil gives me a chance to approach things differently. Yes I will still approach people for sponsorship but for the correct reasons – just to gain money for the charities, not so that I can bask in the glory of how brave I am. It lovely to be paid compliments but to accept them with grace is not the same as milking it for all it’s worth.

In gratitude & with humility I accept this lesson.

Rosie X

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Until next time, take care x