Why me?

I began this blog, bursting with positivity. I intended to write a post, at least weekly, hoping to inspire others, but despite good intentions, I wasn’t organised enough. Posts were written sporadically, occasionally two in one day, then perhaps a month or so before another. It wasn’t what I’d intended.

I was filled with recriminations, yet no matter much I blamed myself, nothing changed. I told myself I was a failure. I considered giving up, but before I could make that decision, life set it’s own rules. A succession of personal and health difficulties took away my choice. After a period in hospital, I expected things to return to normal (or what passes for normal in my world) within a few weeks, yet somehow, it’s been almost almost 18 months.

Since that period I’ve been unable to write anything worthwhile. My books, short stories, even my newspaper column fell by the wayside. Many times I’ve tried to find my muse, yet it seemed to have deserted me.

Already in the throws of deep depression, I felt bereft. Why couldn’t I write? It had been my coping strategy, helping me make sense of the world, but for some reason, I was left stranded. My self-esteem and confidence were dragging along the floor. Life seemed pointless. Two years previously, I’d been riding high. I live with EUBPD (emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder) so life can be a rollercoaster but this felt different. A long battle with DWP over my PIP entitlement had left me frail and exhausted, a mild heart attack soon followed. There was no point in writing- I had nothing interesting to say. My depression worsened, yet I couldn’t see that it was probably the cause of my writing block.
It took anti-depressants, good friends and a lengthy period of counselling with a wonderful psychologist before I faced reality.

I’m not Super Woman.

No matter what I’d like to be, I’m a disabled woman in my late 60s, living alone, doing my best to make a good life in difficult circumstances. Once I reconciled myself to those simple facts, things began to make sense. The fog began to clear.

There is nothing to prevent me from writing. I may not be Shakespeare or Wordsworth, but I have a gift and people tell me that my words help them, furthermore, my disastrous life experiences mean I have plenty to share with the world. So here I am, back again, writing my first blog in an absolute age. I’m a little rusty and not without a bucketful of nerves, but I’m doing my best.

Once I’m back in the swing of things, I’ll attempt to post regularly, but won’t heap unnecessary pressure on myself this time.

We aren’t given a life rule book, we just make it up as we go along. No one has any other choice. A fortunate few seem to have a comparatively easy ride, sailing through life with barely a blip, while others are constantly on the verge of collapsing under the weight of responsibility. Allowing the pressure to suffocate us is futile.

As far as I know, none of us has superpowers.

In life, some have been dealt a good hand, others not, but while some thrive on stress, others can barely cope. Yet even in the hardest lives, there is something positive to grasp.

We can’t all be highly successful or wealthy, yet we can still be proud of ourselves. Almost certainly you have a special talent. Are you shaking your head?

Let me show you…

Are you reliable?

A good friend?

Perhaps you are creative?

Are you extremely patient with children or the elderly?

Do people turn to you in a crisis?

Is your shoulder always available to cry on?

Are you loving and caring?

Perhaps you gave a natural affinity with animals?

Do you volunteer to help, or raise money for charities?

Are you passionate about the environment?

The list is endless. You might not find it easy to blow your own trumpet, but that doesn’t take away from your success. If even one person truly cares about you, you are a winner.

If you believe you’re failing in some aspect of life, don’t allow it to define you. Illness or circumstance can knock any of us off balance, but it isn’t the end. Lick your wounds if you need to, then get back up and continue your fight. For you, that might mean quietly, perhaps behind the scenes. Do it your way. As long as you don’t trample on others, how you get through your life is unique to you. You might be overlooked, even loved ones may fail to recognise your positive attributes, but don’t let that throw you off course.

You are a wonderful, unique person. Even if you think no one else believes in you – believe in yourself. Stoke the fires to keep your shining light burning brightly.

You are worthy, just as I am. We deserve the best possible life. It’s there for us, we just need to grasp it.

If you want life to change, you need to change it. If you sit and feel sorry for yourself (as I did), opportunities will pass you by.

Remember, success doesn’t need to be measured by income or status.

A good, kind person us worth far, far more.

Don’t just dream it. Live it. Remember, you have the world in your hands. Cherish it.

Rosie x

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Devonshire Delight.

 

I’m currently having a few days away at the favourite sea-side haunt from my childhood, hoping to rest, recuperate & regain my writing inspirational drive. Too much of my time is given to others, somewhere along the way I lost myself. I knew that a few days in solitude was what was called for, so here I find myself in Exmouth, spending money I can I’ll afford, but the cost of not doing it would have been far higher.

Earlier I met a lovely couple while I was scribbling a few lines, after falling under the spell of the marina. The man told me that he was an artist, yet he too had found himself too busy to take time out for his passion. This drove me to complete the marina piece. It is still in it’s raw state, but I’d like to share it with you.

To the couple who inspired me, apologies, I’ve forgotten your names already   ( possibly Jeff?) To them & all who find themselves being stretched so thin that they are unable to use their creativity when they want. Please, please don’t allow your creative juices to dry up under pressure of pleasing others. Take a little time out – NOW. Don’t allow feeble excuses to flow from your mouth. We all need to be true to ourselves & for those with an artistic bent, that means actually creating something before the drive is allowed to wither away.

Devonshire Delight.

To & Fro they rock, unwanted,  unneeded,  tethered, abandoned.   In comparative calm they bob, side by side, packed tight like sardines in their tin, floating in their bed of brine.

The mass of water still, just a ripple snaking across the surface from the stiff breeze. The near tranquilty belying the pounding, crashing seas, a mere few metres away. Here however, protected by the harbour wall, they are safe – removed from the chaos that nature has deemed necessary to inflict on this quaint sea edged Devonshire town.

Rangers Delight, Cup ferret, Arvor, Quick Silver, White Lady, Merlin V111 ( I wonder was there 1-7?  If so, I can only surmise their fate.) Unlikely names yet some aren’t even granted that dignity, just given a large, garish number adorning their otherwise sleek hulls.

Overhead a few flags flutter furiously. Two seagulls squabble over a discarded crust, their cackles cutting through the evening air, disturbing the idyllic scene. Above, storm clouds gather, racing to blot out the vestiges of afternoon blue sky. In the distance, indistinct idle chatter from couples taking an evening constitutional, heads tipped forward, collars raised against the impending rain.

Soon it will be dark, the inky night casting it’s blanket over the peaceful scene. But when dawn breaks these forlorn boats, with their coats of many colours will be in demand once more.                                                                                                              Trips into unchartered territory for some. Fishing expeditions. Pleasure cruises.   The sardine tin will be emptied until days end, when once again the entire scenario will be replayed.

This picture book scene will remain etched in my memory. Should I feel trapped or drained, I will be able to draw on it for inspiration. I chose to capture it in words, others may prefer pens or paints, others will use more modern technology. The medium doesn’t matter. What does, is not to allow the memory to go to waste.  When we are shown something so evocative, we are blessed. I for one will not waste it.

Rosie x

I hope that you enjoyed this little muse. Hopefully it will be the beginning of more regular offerings.

If you want to read more, please ‘Like’, ‘Follow’ & ‘Share’. Like most creatives, I write for  the love of it, but knowing that it is being enjoyed by others is like Manna from the Gods, food for the soul.

Until next time, take care. Rosie x

 

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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The price of suspicion.

I am saddened by the suspicion that is aimed at anyone who chooses to help others. I know that this can be a hard, difficult world, but there is a flip side. There are a lot of kind, considerate and caring people spread throughout the planet, so why aren’t they accepted & appreciated without having to justify their motives?

I was brought up to trust & give people a chance. Yes of course I have been used & abused but that doesn’t alter my belief that on the whole, people are basically good. There have been times that I’ve teetered on the edge of doubt, but I still prefer to trust humankind.

After many years of self survival through abusive relationships, I celebrated my freedom after divorce by dedicating my life to helping others. This has taken many forms from volunteering, assisting, donating, encouraging & showing general kindness to everyone that I meet.
Let me say – I’m no saint, I make a lot of mistakes and am not always as good as I’d like to be but I do keep trying. Too many people say the words but don’t put them into action. I attempt to live my life in a way that I feel brings harmony, it also brings me a great deal of pleasure!

There have always been doubters, those who can’t understand why I do something for nothing, I guess there always wil be, but it’s very sad.

This was brought home clearly today. I live in a retirement building & despite my best attempts, I have been unsuccessful in gaining the trust of many of my neighbours. I am not a typical pensioner, I am a child of the 60s who never really outgrew the hippy idealism. I believe in self expression, wear whatever I like & live a lifestyle that suits me, including being a non-smoking,teetotal,vegetarian. I don’t enjoy being glued to a television set, hooked on the exploits of various soap characters, or gossiping about anyone who comes into their orbit. I live a very busy, full life, so when home, tend to be hermit-like, listening to music while writing or reading. This is treated with absolute suspicion. I can accept that. I choose to be an individual, not a sheep. I enjoy my life.

Today I was reminded about the sadness that suspicion causes. I arrived home during the weekly tea gathering. Aware that I hadn’t socialised with my neighbours for a while, I joined them. I entered the room to mutterings of “oh look who it is, wonder what she wants?” I smiled & took a seat. After general chit chat, someone commented on having seen a poster about a book reading that I am doing soon & asked what it was all about? I explained that I had written a childs’ story book which I am due to publish via Kindle. I then told them about another book that is also due for publication, a collaboration between my writing group, that is being sold to raise money for charity. This was met with cross questioning – which charity? Who would be handling the money? How could I prove what we’d collected? Once I’d answered to general satisfaction, someone pipped up ” what charity are you selling your childrens’ book for?” Then I said something that was apparently absolutely abhorrent! – I answered that it was being sold for my own benefit. It took hours of hard work to create, why shouldn’t I benefit from sales? HORROR! How could I do such a thing?
I left the lounge, having difficulty accepting that attitude!

Over the past 4 years I have tried setting up various groups with little success. A previous exercise class being terminated when someone stole the television set that I used. Choosing not to involve the police, I appealed for it’s return, but it was ignored. Other events have met with indifference so eventually I decided to stop trying within this building, using my energies where they are appreciated. Needless to say, this hasn’t gone down well.

This has made me question the motives of the doubters. What do they get out of it? Can’t they understand that through their mistrust & suspicion, they have lost a willing, caring participant in their community? Now of course I’m vilified for putting my energies elsewhere.

None of this has changed my attitude, I still am dedicated to helping others, nothing will change that!

Isn’t it time that poeople began to trust their fellow man? Not everyone is out for what they can get. The bitter, suspicious neighbours have lost what I could offer, simply because it is easier to doubt, to look for the hidden agenda, unable to accept there was none. How many opportunities are lost worldwide through mistrust?

That is so sad. It’s personal choice of course but I prefer my way. With more love and less spitefullness, imagine the difference we could make to the world?

Rosie x

Thankyou for taking time to read this.
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It would be good to have you on board xxx

Was there life before trust?

As followers and friends will know, I believe totally that everything happens for a reason. I believe that the Universe has a plan for me and I am regularly tested, not to test me, but for me to judge for myself how strong my faith is.
I realise that to a lot of people this sounds like madness, but it matters not, I no longer need anyone elses approval – it works for me.

A week ago my world came close to crashing down around me. I had 3 major financial hardships in one day, meaning that I am going to have to rethink my life.
Although it came as a shock, I can now see the reason for it happening.
I’ve not got a very good relationship with money, over the years it has caused me much heartache, both in having it and not having it. Following years of severe financial strain during my marriage to an alcoholic, where I had to watch every penny & had no financial freedom whatsoever, when I found myself single, with money in the bank I couldn’t cope.

The money that was rattling in my bank account was thanks to the sale of our marital home, from a marriage that I had desperately tried to save.

How I hated that money!!!
Advice came thick and fast – go on a cruise, buy a huge television, buy all the things that I wanted. I tried, really I did. After a few months of renting, I bought myself a small flat, thus getting rid of a huge percentage of what felt like ill-gotten gains. I didn’t want any of the luxuries that friends told me to buy, I gave quite a bit away, then went on a silly spending spree. I would buy anything ‘pretty’ or ‘girlie’. After a life time surrounded by 5 sons and 3 husbands, pretty, girlie things were in short supply. The thing is, I didn’t really want these things and the novelty soon wore off.

Because my needs were minimal ( I don’t have a car, drink, smoke, do drugs, gamble etc) at first the money didn’t really go down much. I began giving a lot to charity, in a way it was penance for failing as a wife.
After a failed business attempt, where I lost quite a lot of money, suddenly there was very little left. So I began spending on credit cards instead.
I hated the years when we were living in such debt, yet I seemed hell bent on reliving it. I began buying all sorts of things, most of which I never used.
Worried that it could be the return of my mental health problems, I consulted a psychiatrist who assured me that it was a delayed reaction to my stressful marriage and that it would settle in time.

It didn’t.

The difficulty with any habit is that it can get out of control. I became the butt of many jokes about the amount of things that I was buying.
Thankfully, I came to the realisation that it was just comfort buying and that it was no more than ‘stuff’, not really even possessions. I began to declutter my flat ( well documented) I sold a few things but gave most things to a charity shop where I volunteer. Unfortunately as soon as I was getting rid of things, I was replacing them with further clutter.
I wanted to stop. I tried selling a few more expensive things but couldn’t bring myself to ask for anything like the worth, almost paying the purchasers for the privilege of rehomeing my things.

When my first credit card bounced, it came as a shock, never the less the spending continued on another card.

During this time I began to realise how much I despised many of the things that filled my home, so increased the decluttering/ donating. However this wasn’t helping me pay off my outstanding bills. I was running into big trouble and knew it!
I made many lists, cutting out unneccesary direct debits, working out how to save money, but nothing really changed. I looked at homeless people and felt dreadful, I couldn’t even help them because I had nothing left.

I prayed for guidance.

By now, having decided to raise money on my flat through equity release, rather than easing my worries, my haphazard spending increased, bringing no pleasure whatsoever.

Then my guidance came, but not in the way I’d expected.

My expected loan against the flat was refused, due to the high cost of the service charge, making it non viable. Boy was that a shock!
The same day I received two other financial setbacks,one being the quadrupling of my care contribution, also some anticipated extra money didn’t materialise. On top of all of that, adding salt to my already weeping wounds, my computer caught a nasty virus that cost an unexpected near £100 to repair.

I should be devastated, but actually I’m so thankful!

It has forced me to really look at myself and my wasteful lifestyle. My money could have done so much good, yet I wasted it, now with my outgoings far higher than previously and with no equity release to pay off my bills, life has to change. My increase in care contributions was beyond my reach, so I have been forced to cancel my carer. Although I’m nervous about it, as she has been my lifesaver, I realise that I am being told to take personal responsibility.
With no leeway on my credit cards ( all maxed out) it will take me years to get back onto an even keel. But with the financial shocks, coming all together, it has jolted me back to reality.

This week I have searched through my flat and found several things that I don’t use, so have successfully sold them. I have looked at my bursting at the seams food cupboard and have decided to use it up, rather than buy new. Rather than investing in another overflow freezer, as I’d intended, I can actually eat what’s filled up the old one. I have reduced my eating lunches out, choosing to eat at home instead. I have stopped a lot of subscriptions to sites that I rarely, if ever, use.

At last I feel more normal. I’m just a pensioner with a very small income, I don’t need to spend so wildly. However I’m not panicking, or too worried. Things will work out, I’m sure of it. Opportunities to earn money will present themselves. That’s what I’ve needed – to earn what I spend, to give it a value.

To many readers, this will sound bizarre, probably thinking that I don’t know what hardship is – believe me I do. I spent so many years without a penny to my name, convincing the kids that playing games by candlelight was fun, when in fact I had no money for electricity. Hiding from debtors, court summonses etc. Believe me, I’ve been there – for a huge chunk of my life! I now owe more than I ever have, with very little means of paying it off. But pay it off, I will.
Something will come to show me the way. An opportunity will show itself. I really believe that.
When things improve, I want to be able to appreciate what I have and own, not to come across endless carrier bags of things I’d bought on impulse and not even unwrapped. Thankfully my tastes are fairly simple, so most purchases came from second hand shops, I’m not into high living, expensive perfumes and the like.

Yesterday my mobility scooter decided to play me up, I need it for my independence, so will have to get that looked at too. But the Universe wants me to feel more humble and be more grateful for what I do have, not just spending money that I can ill afford, to buy something new. I understand that. I am so grateful for that understanding. Without this wake up call I could have totally gone under, but I don’t believe that this was the Universal plan for me. I need to be more honest with myself. More humble. Live more simply. Something will present itself. Maybe I should apply to magazines or similar, touting for freelance work? Maybe I should get my book finished/ published ?

I trust, absolutely and totally. I was living in a fantasy world. Being honest on here, and to myself has been very freeing. I will be alright. I will find the way that I need to put this right. I have many talents and skills that I’ve not felt confident about.

I give thanks to the Universe for this painful, yet powerful lesson.

Namaste🕉

Rosie x

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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.

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

Apologies for the haphazard posting but thank you for still reading my ramblings. Please share the link to this blog, to encourage me to write more regularly.
Thanks all x

                                                Thank you to a stranger

A few months ago, at the end of a blog that I was reading, the author gave some advice that has changed me.

The post involved the setting up of a writing group. The advice given was not to procrastinate about setting up your own group. It hit me square in the eyes!  I’d been thinking/ talking about organising a creative writing group but doubted my ability.  My confidence had been slightly shaken by the failure of a friendship group last year & I was afraid that another group would go the same way. After reading the blog I realised that I had to try. Even if it had failed, at least I would have tried. The only real failure is in not trying.

In my past I would have allowed my fear to prevent me from doing anything risky or difficult. However this isn’t my past, this is NOW.  I’m not that person anymore.  How could I extol the virtues of living in the moment yet only apply it to certain circumstances?  What’s the worst that could happen?  I might be the only member – would that destroy my life? Of course not!  It felt like that blogger had spoken directly to me. I immediately contacted her & told her that She had inspired me & that I intended to put plans into action immediately. I kept my word.

I made up a few posters asking for interested people, but still had no venue. At my local library I enquired if they would put a poster up for me, the reply was a proposal to allow me the use of the library to hold the meetings – no strings, no fees, just a good, bright area for our use.   I jumped at the chance, but still the little niggle of failure was eating away, willing it to go wrong. I have wanted to do something like this for a long, long time. I now had the bit between my teeth & wasn’t going to let go.

I persevered.

I ignored my doubts & threw myself into the preparations. I told everybody about the new group, even though, at that time I was unsure how it would operate. I certainly didn’t need to worry.  The first couple of weeks were nerve wracking but fun, with a handful of attendees. Then a week where no one came. I sat there by myself but rather than worry, I used the time constructively. That week taught me a lesson in humility. No matter how much I wanted to do it, I’m only as good as the effort that I put in. Maybe I was patting myself on the back without showing gratitude to the Universe, after all without gratitude & humility, I’d be no more than a hollow ego.    

The following week I had a few more members & since then barely a week has passed without newcomers. The newspaper advertises it regularly without cost so I am able to reach a wider area. Everything is ticking along nicely now & the group is nearing capacity. Maybe this will mean having to have a rethink on venue or offering it without any charge but I will cross that bridge if it comes to it.   I have learnt that although I orchestrated the group, it’s not MY group, I’ve simply been given the honour of gathering several lovely people with a common interest together. Should anything cause me to pull out, I’m convinced that it would still continue. It’s a lovely feeling.

As in so many things in life, I am learning through leading others. Each week I work out a variety of exercises for us to try, some I enjoy greatly, a few not so much but it doesn’t matter, it’s all practice. I have had to put structure into my weekly routine to allow for the group, this has also been helpful. Listening to some of the wonderful prose that is penned by relative newcomers is fantastic. I believe that we are all learning from one another. Long may it continue.

I hope that I am able to help this group grow & flourish, I also hope that I will know if the time comes to step aside. All of this has added another dimension to my life & it is all thanks to an unknown blogger.

I hope that this will encourage others to take a leap of faith & make their dreams come true. We are the only ones who put limitations onto our ideas. We tell ourselves that we aren’t capable or not good enough. What if we turn it around & start to believe in ourselves?  Things done with genuine intent have a very good chance of becoming reality.  I urge you to try.

Rosie X

Thank you for reading this, I hope that you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ ‘share’ & follow Rosieways. Your encouragement is worth more than I can say X

An unexpected Inspiration

imageThis morning I felt compelled to walk into town, despite having planned to do more to my book, ready for publishing. The urge was so strong that I didn’t even bother with my hot breakfast drink, made do with water. I felt really driven,  had no idea why.

Writing from home can be difficult with my playful cat, so I decided to go to the library  And get some work done in peace. On my way, I popped into the Oxfam bookshop with  more books to donate ( another batch  of decluttering !) Needless to say, I had a quick scan at the available literary books. Nothing leapt out at me, I turned to leave but a book in the spiritual section caught my eye. It was small & a little bit battered, I was intrigued!  It was ‘Opening the Doors Within’ by Eileen Caddy, founder of Findhorn.

Although I know about the work that Findhorn does & have great admiration for them, it’s not been right for me. I am extremely comfortable with my chosen path, albeit an ever evolving one, yet I just ‘had to’ buy that little book. Heading to the nearby coffee shop, I ordered my tea & settled down to read my purchase – WOW!

I could barely put it down, so inspirational! More than that though, it confirmed that I am on the right path and doing what is right for me & that things are turning out as they should.

Every one of Eileens’ words resonated with me. We could be working from the same script, with the exception that she refers to God, whereas I use Goddess. I also tend to use the term ‘the Universe’ or ‘Universal Energy’, as it seems to be more readily understood by those of differing faiths.  I’m in no way ‘precious’ about my religious  beliefs, it really doesn’t matter what it is labelled. What is more inportant is the issue of inner peace, humility & love, which is shared by most ( if not all) of the Worlds’ genuine faiths.

I now feel even more convinced that my writing & sharing of my love for life is the right path for me. I am frequently ridiculed or labelled  as a do-gooder, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s no insult because it means nothing!  I do what I do because it is right for me & I find that sharing my inner peace & Joy is a route to fulfilment!

This morning I listened to my intuition, I trusted myself. I was led to this wonderful little book. It will, without doubt enable me to do my work more effectively & with a better understanding of true humility.

It’s a really wonderful, empowering feeling.

Blessings & love to you all,

until next time, stay safe, be happy.

Rosie x