A New Opportunity to Write

At the End of November I wrote about my Inspired 2 Write challenge. I took an opportunity in 2015 to leap into a writing challenge. My daily blog is the outcome of that step off the cliff.

One of the things I’ve learned doing a challenge is how I use my opportunities when I’m doing something out of my comfort zone. Usually I take ages to decide to do something. I like to think it through from all angles. Opening up to my intuition has shifted me from planning to spontaneity. So I’m a bit more likely to take a leap of faith. Setting out on a writing challenge at short notice meant I had to take my chance without much thought. But I’m so glad I did. Something about not over-thinking has helped me to grab the opportunity with both hands and make it work.

As I approached the end of my first year of doing a blog every day I realised that somehow I had written thousands of words. How amazing that I had so many words inside me. That the consistency of blogging has become a normal part of my day. I felt so inspired to continue writing that I decided to set up a challenge to, hopefully, inspire others to join me in finding their writing voices. So there is now a Facebook group called Inspired 2 Write and on 1st January I invite you to join with us and start writing. The challenge is to write each day for 28 days and at the end have 4 blog pieces that can be used to get going with.

So how does this opportunity actually work?

First, let me know by sending me a message on my Facebook that you want to be part of the group. I can add you to the group so you can post your writing and get feedback or support. The group is open to complete beginners, those who have already started to write and those who want to get consistent in their writing. Each of the four weeks will have a theme to help you focus on what you are writing about. You don’t have to have a web site or blog to join in as I will ask you to put your pieces to the daily post using the comments option. Each day there will be a minimum number of words to complete but you are free to write as much more as you feel inspired to do.

Also, if you miss a day there is no need to double up. You can move on to the next day’s post. I am not looking at spelling, language or grammar. What I would like to find is your authentic voice. Each of us has a different style, subject matter and experiences to share. So I want to stress that there is no ‘right or wrong’ about the group. Your voice is equally as valuable and interesting as mine. So is your story. I want to listen to what you have to say. Not what people judge to be ‘good’ writing.

Here is the opportunity. What makes it worth doing?

I’m a great believer in making every chance count. I hope that anyone who joins in the challenge will enjoy discovering their voice. That the act of writing something every day becomes habit forming. Then that people are inspired to continue writing. Hopefully people will feel confident enough to start sharing their writing further than the group. Through a blog. Or in a writing group. Or by taking the next challenge. I host several websites so I am offering anyone who completes the challenge the opportunity to be a guest blogger. After all, I know you will already have blog pieces to share.

I also feel that inside all of us are many stories. Our experiences can help others who find themselves in similar situations. I think about many of the books I’ve read in my life. If those authors hadn’t shared their stories, if they had never started writing at all, I would have been left without a great source of comfort and support. Books turn lonely nights or difficult times into bearable times. They are an escape. Or a confirmation of connectedness. When you begin to write you begin to offer support, comfort and an escape to others. That’s a great result for this challenge.

So why grab the opportunity right now? After all it’s a holiday time when I want to relax.

I know there is a big energy shift starting from 1st January 2017. There is an opportunity to live our dreams. All it needs is that leap of faith. Or a New Year Resolution. Because I know that is what you will need. Resolution. And faith in yourself. I also know that anyone who joins in is capable of completing the challenge. That’s because if I can do it I’m sure anyone else can. I always wanted to write but lacked confidence. Yet when I went for it look how it’s turned out. I have finished a book now as well as writing every day. So for whatever reason you might be inspired to write please take that step off the cliff and join me at Inspired 2 Write ?

Day 411 of my blogging challenge.

Comments Widen the Debate

img_2354One of the things I really enjoy is debating. People who know me know I will discuss on and on and on. I want to understand how someone else sees the world. So I love the comments and questions of a good conversation.

When I opened my website to do tonight’s blog I found some comments waiting for me. It’s funny how sometimes the comments form a thread of their own. So I have decided to share a couple of the comments – from Emma and Paul – because my reply was inspired by thinking about what both of them said.

Dear Annie,
It was great chatting with you. I hope we can talk next week some more about what you do and what I do, and how we can mesh that together perhaps in a new blogging challenge.
I find it extremely difficult to write on daily basis under my own pressure to complete whatever I set out to do.
The group challenges help with the support and a lot more. I met so many friends from different walks of life on Bradley’s 30 Day Content Challenge.
Today, as we approach Thanksgiving in the USA, I am grateful for the challenge and the people that I have met; like you Annie. You have enriched my life and you have fueled my inspiration.
You are my moral support when I struggle to write and that is not even having a writer’s block.
It feels like a huge commitment putting your thoughts out, but it is important to keep on doing that.
I keep telling my husband that 100 years from now we will be known as a generation of bloggers and posters and texters…and on and on.
Maybe there is a benefit to all of this that I fail to see immediately as I am bombarded by materialism from all sides.
More later. Thank you, Annie for writing.

Hi Emma, thank you for commenting so honestly about writers block and the purpose of blogs. I believe that the internet has opened us up to the opportunity to listen to new voices and be exposed to new ideas. Learning about each other through our blogs removes the idea of us and them. It shows us that people the world over have the same issues and concerns. The skill is in putting out your authentic voice. And in being able to screen the endless chatter by locking in on those voices that feel authentic. I skip blogs where the subject matter is false, selling me something or shouting out ‘look at me’. Because there are some fab bloggers who tell it how it is for them. They make me think. They make me feel. I open my mind and discover interesting stories. That’s why a blogging challenge is such a good idea. Those who might not have a voice get a voice. Those who are struggling might feel inspired. And those who find their true voice can help us change minds, which changes hearts and eventually the world.

Another comment on Peacefully Painting Angels , from Paul, is “it’s very sad to my way of thinking, that creative activities we do naturally as children, are seen as a luxury rather than essential for our Wellbeing.” I agree with Paul. Writing is also such a powerfully creative activity. As children we use our imagination to explore or view the world in a very different way from the way adults see the world. As we fit into the social framework we stop looking at the world as a magical place full of possibilities. We end up in a world of rules and fear. Yet if we can return to writing we are once again allowing ourselves to be creative beings. Journals, blogs, diaries, stories, poems, songs. So many ways to explore both our inner and outer world. To share things with others and help all of us to see that we are inside the Matrix trying to free ourselves and get out. I hope that in a hundred years people see blogging as the beginning of a creative shift. A way of bringing writing back to ordinary people so that they can play, create, inspire. Writing is not about a classic story. It’s about your story. It has value to those who read it and can identify with it or be challenged by it. Who knows what marvellous voices there will be in a hundred years time. But perhaps our efforts to create meaningful communication between each other will be the start of a whole better way of talking to one another.

As always Emma, your comments have given me food for thought ❤️

I enjoy reading your comments. They are our debate. When you find a blog you enjoy, here or on another site, please take the time to comment. If you do you may find that you are taking your first steps into creativity. Into finding your own voice. Who knows – you might even want to join the next blogging challenge ❤️️

Day 373 of my blogging challenge.

Becoming a blogger?

BlogphotoFor a long time I resisted the idea of being a blogger. After all, why would the Spirit World need someone to speak online on their behalf. Aren’t there enough of us out there already? And what could I write about? Although I love my intuitive life why should anyone else? Ok, so I run a spiritual business and want to reach out to as many people as possible but is a blog the way to do it? Through all of my resistance my Guides kept on bringing back reassurance, explanations and ideas. They reminded me that a blog is a kind of online diary where the writer tells a story, shares opinions, hosts a discussion or presents info in a personal way. So writing a blog can be a useful way to build an online audience for something you are interested in or passionate about. In fact, many people blog & it’s one way of reaching people online that a spiritual practitioner might not have thought about. After a lot of discussion with my writing Guides I decided that I had nothing to loose if I tried blogging.

So off I went to research what I blogging was all about. I started by reading other people’s blogs. There are loads out there covering every kind of subject. I looked at all sorts of different ones – not only the spiritual ones – and enjoyed a lot of what I read. Of course, I found blogs that I decided I wouldn’t read again. And blogs that challenged my view of the world. And blogs with such a narrow focus that I decided those people must really analyse their subject to include so much detail. I started to identify the layouts I liked. There were neat design tricks. There was a lot of ‘too much information’. Or blogs that didn’t seem to be making a point. Colours and music that was over the top. Then I discovered video blogging on You Tube and drifted into a whole world of opinions, speeches and occasionally rants. Should the video be naturalistic or Hollywood standard? Me on film? Eeek! With so much choice where did I start. The beginning was actually to get a wordpress site of my own, pick a theme and start writing. What could be easier?

Of course it wasn’t quite that easy. I had to pick a theme and work out how to use it, upload and get it to go live on the internet. Free sites are plentiful as are free themes. But what to call my blog? Do I pick a clever name, a funny name, my own name? What if another blog already had my blog name? There are lots of psychic blogs out there. Why would mine be recognised? Having looked at many blogs I wanted my name to say what it was on the tin. I wanted people to know what it was about quickly and easily. And I wanted people to be able to find it when using a search engine. In the absence of any inspiration that was fresh, funny or witty about my job title I ended up settling on the simplicity of my own name. After all, I wanted to write about views & experiences I was prepared to own as mine. I also have Facebook and Twitter accounts that are in my name so they would all link in together in any search engine. That way there is a better chance I’ll be found by people looking for my blog. Blog name decided it was time to start blogging!

Oh no! Blogging is a habit. Posting one entry every blue moon isn’t going to get you readers or any kind of comments. Regular posts that people can look out for, follow the connection with and get to know you are the best. In the beginning I tried really hard to blog regularly. It never really happened. I hadn’t made the commitment to doing it. The blog posts came last on my To Do list so were a rather chaotic, random affair. Writing regularly – at least once a week – builds your confidence. It’s not the same as sitting talking to someone who is giving you nods, smiles and feeding back that they get what you are talking about. Writing is you imagining the other person’s voice, questions and comments. What you think is a really funny point may not translate to readers whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Lots of jokes are cultural so when you are giggling over a sentence your reader may not. Writing is also like having to talk for longer than 10 minutes on a subject you have picked with no repetition, hesitation or drying up. Of course you can pause, edit and rewrite over and over but too much reworking will show in the flow of the piece. Good blog pieces are at least 500 words long, clear and keep the attention of the reader for the whole piece. They also have to do that difficult thing of grabbing the reader’s attention in the first few lines. We click so fast through pages and sites that it’s easy to loose a casual reader. For a while I paused the blogging. Even if my Guides felt it was a good idea I hadn’t really made the commitment a blogger needs.

Several times I returned to the idea of blogging. Of restarting and sharing. It didn’t quite happen. Until the challenge that got me going. Could I blog for 30 consecutive days? Well, I’m at day 117 and aiming for 1001 consecutive days of blogging. How cool will that be? I’ve written about all sorts of things. They are only a fraction of the things I want to say. My Guides give me so much inspiration, either directly or through my life experiences, and I have found my writing ‘voice’. Now I write because I want to and my blog is high on my list of daily activities. It’s become a habit I don’t want to be without. Actually the biggest realisation of all is that I write not for anyone else but for myself. My writing helps me process my thoughts, feelings, views and experiences. If anyone else finds what I have to say useful in any way that’s an added bonus. Living a spiritual life isn’t about being perfect, a saint or somehow better than everyone else. I’m living a spiritual life when I am prepared to look at everything I do to see if it has been an act of love, forgiveness, gratitude and service. It’s the looking that is important. If we act without considering what energy we are creating for ourselves and others we are drifting off the spiritual path. We might not even come to know we are on it in the first place. To help me observe, think and choose differently next time I use my writing. My Guides use my writing to help me too. Often the questions I ask in blogs are answered in what I write in the next few sentences.

The creative process involved in writing my blog is amazing. I wasn’t even giving myself a chance to experience this creativity. So I’m glad that my Guides continued their instance that I write a blog. I’m proud that I’ve overcome my resistance. I’m helped every day by my opportunity to write. If you feel I have posted something useful for you thank you for finding and reading it. Now I have a challenge for you. Make your life more spiritual through your own creativity. Start a diary, a blog or whatever you want to call it. Write something every day no matter how little. Ask your questions and write your answers. Let the spiritual inspiration into your life and find more joy.

Day 116 if my blogging challenge.

Celebrate creativity

images-40Today is my 60th consecutive blog! I’ve doubled the target I set for myself when I took on Bradley Will‘s Learn to Blog challenge back in December. It feels a bit funny having got to another milestone. I’m almost reluctant to write about my day, as if, in some way, getting to 60 is the end of something. Yet tomorrow I can start on the next block of 30 days as I build myself towards my grand total of 1001 consecutive blogs. I’m not actually letting myself think about the grand total. Another 30 will do for me!

So why be reluctant? When I started to think about that feeling I recognised that I have lots of niggles about failure. In me is a perfectionist streak that has been honed to a fine point by the feedback from others when things I’ve suggested or tried have failed. For a lot of my life I’ve been surrounded by people who found it hard to celebrate their failure and, more importantly, failed to celebrate their success. Perhaps we were the ‘must try harder’ generation in school and life. The ones who nearly delivered but didn’t quite.

Even though my blog is becoming a regular habit – the best way to make sure I do it – there is still that fear of falling away from my promise to myself. Have I made it too hard on myself by setting such a ridiculously high target. My school motto was ‘Aim High’ and throughout my life I guess I’ve tried to do that. Perhaps my aim has been too high? Or not high enough? Because how big is high? I must have missed the classes where we were taught to celebrate everything we did – where failure was another word for creativity. That has been the hard part for me – learning that mistakes, muddles, messes were only ‘failure’ because the words had a negative connotation. Creativity is full of returning to the drawing board. An inspiration may need to be worked and worked until it’s form is what we wish it to be. I suspect that like cars & vacuum cleaners our ideas need some room to be tested to destruction too. Only then can we decide if we like what we have done. Perhaps success could best be defined as when we like or love what we have made, done, said or lived?

Over the last 60 days my creativity has been on public display. Have I liked what I’ve written? Mostly. Are their blogs that could benefit from being edited, rewritten or deleted? Probably. Have I enjoyed the freedom to post what I have created? Definitely. Is my blog a success. Absolutely. Am I going to keep going? Certainly! I hope you have enjoyed the highs and lows of my blogging endeavours. If you have stuck with me, or have dipped in & out, or perhaps only read this one thank you for taking the time to celebrate my creativity with me. I have no idea where this creative journey will take me but I intend to keep celebrating my creative ideas, good, bad or indifferent.

Day 60 of my blogging challenge.

My psychic life: Day 26

robinIt’s been a funny old day! My work last night & a workshop I was going to be doing today were both cancelled at very short notice. Then when I got up this morning I was feeling a bit under the weather and had to cancel the Psychic Club I was due to run this evening. Yesterday was a new moon so time for a new energy beginning. It struck me today that all the things I was going to do over the last 24 hours were actually ‘old’ energy.

I dreamed last night about being flooded and having to find a safe way to get to higher ground. This could be related to living in a lovely town that has had flooding in the past. The river was high yesterday and we all tend to keep an eye on it. When the flood siren sounded today I had to put my flood defense gate in front of my main door. So at one level the dream was surfacing my fears. At another level it could also be about excess emotion (water can represent feelings in dreams as can the moon). I have certainly been dealing with some personal emotional issues where the dam might burst at any time. Having to find a new way to navigate rough water has been on my mind for a couple of weeks now.

As I stood on the bridge this afternoon looking at the river level I noticed a cheery little robin on the side bank. The little chap was looking for a bite to eat. He kept fixing me with his eye. Each time he looked at me he danced a little closer to where I was standing. At one point it was as if he bowed to me. It was an enchanting moment. I felt the presence of my Guides reminding me about new beginnings (this is what robins represent). To embrace new beginnings it’s also important to clear away the old energy – another use for water, lol. So the flood in my dream & the physical flood in the town (there was a small breach of the river walls) may also be a reminder that I have to give myself permission to release energy right now.

We are closing the energy of 2015 and getting ready for a new year. It has been a challenging year, energy wise, for everyone. The shift has been from the fear of being who we are to the confidence to show our authentic selves to the world. All the people who have taken this 30 day blog challenge are aiming to share their authentic voice to a wider audience. To do so we have all had to let go of fear (of disapproval, of being public, of being vulnerable if we share, of being judged).  Being authentic is also about speaking with feeling, finding what we are passionate about and sharing that with others. Not because we want to please, or be famous or for approval. Sharing what we care about puts new ideas in front of other people. It gives those who share our passion a chance to connect with like-minded people. If we can show others how to be true to themselves too we are generating the energy of truth.

As was once said, the truth will set us free. Not just my truth, but our truth. I am certain that we do not enter into this Earth journey to be bad people. I am certain that we can all live peacefully together. That there are some truths that are universally shared among all of us. So in this energy of new beginnings let’s get focused on what we can do to generate the energy of truth. The new moon prompts us to look around for the opportunities that are being offered. The new day, the new year, the new authentic you are ready for launch. Let go of the old and welcome the new. Embrace the change and challenge of the new by sharing your authentic voice with as many people as you can.

We have a wonderful opportunity to manifest for the greater good of humanity with every wave of new energy – are you ready to start?