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Make a distinction

The only resolution I made for 2018 was to distinguish between the work I do for love – my own writing, and the work I do for money  – word-smithing for businesses.

Distinctions bring clarity. And clarity enables us to be creative, productive and to attract opportunities effortlessly.

One of my most favourite books is A Room with A View by E M Forster in which he champions love and truth over social niceties. Without the honest appraisal of what we truly love we will forever be “in a muddle” – and therefore less effective in our efforts.

Giving more focus to the things we love rather than the things we do out of obligation imbues us with clarity and power.

So it’s worth being honest with ourselves and making the distinction.

As a result my writing spark is back with a vengeance. I’m having fun writing my blog and new business enquiries are arriving at my door. Before I was muddled in my thinking about writing – so my focus and energy were confused and dissipated. I was perhaps falling for the assumption that having more things to focus on would rob me of time.

Rather having sharper focus on more distinct things feels like I have generated more time, and infinitely more ideas. Inspiration and words are flowing; and my skills are in demand.

The Journal Writer’s Handbook contains an exercise called Lists of Distinction, encouraging you to distinguish between your talents, gifts, skills and interests. Sharpening your focus on each throws up more clarity, more possibility and more choice about the things that lead you to a greater sense of creativity, fulfillment and joy.

Don’t be muddled. Be distinctive. Make your own distinctions.


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Filed under Creative process, Journal Writing, The Journal Writer's Handbook, Uncategorized

Time for self-authoring

My son has been helping me format The Journal Writer’s Handbook for publication on Amazon. Flicking through some of the exercises included in the book he remarked particularly on the ones called “Playing with Metaphor”; “Taking Responsibility”; “Hidden Voices”, and “Absolute Truths”.

These are themes and explorations he has been enjoying through the work of Dr Jordan Peterson, the guy who is taking the young male adult world by storm with his relentless intellectual honesty and dedication to individual self-improvement, through self-authoring, the study of mythological archetypes, and his tirade against the identity politics of post-modern neo-Marxism (Guardian readers look away now).

His recent interview by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 news may be the only thing you’ve seen by him. If so you’re missing a treasure trove of mind-boggling polymathic research and psychological commentary by Dr Peterson on youtube and his own website.

Personally I celebrate Jordan Peterson’s ability to engage such an impenetrable audience as 20 year old men. Even more I applaud his recommendations to use reflective writing as a great tool for self-improvement, and for setting oneself up with integrity and discipline.

When I first wrote The Journal Writer’s Handbook five years ago I had no idea who Professor Peterson was. Now I’m delighted to listen to him. More so because it’s my son that introduced me.



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Deepening conversations

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend a lecture given by poet-philosopher David Whyte at the Ashmolean Museum. I’ve been dimly aware of Whyte’s work for a number of years, but my interest intensified last April during a poetry retreat on Iona in the Scottish Hebrides.

Sure enough, and true to the Law of Attraction, having ignited my awareness, I then began ‘seeing’ David everywhere. When the ad popped up on my Facebook feed about the talk he was giving in Oxford I made my reservation immediately.

For three whole hours yesterday afternoon I was caught in a spell of contemplation and appreciation. Conversations are fundamentally the way we engage in the world, and with ourselves, so learning how to deepen them, and how to interrupt the same old narratives of our lives which don’t always serve us, was the most wonderful gift for a chilly Friday in January.

David’s new book is titled “A Timeless Way: The Art and Practice of Deepening Conversations”. Although not yet ready for publication he explained that it sets out six steps to effect change in our existing conversations – and hence in our experience.

Three hours was not enough to go through every step. But we were able to explore the power of just a couple of them – interspersed with and enhanced by David’s resonant, insistent poetry recitals and profound, amusing stories. It was a wonderful and nourishing experience.

The practice of conversing with ourselves is of course one which we undertake in our journals. However, the quality of the conversation we maintain may not always be of service to us. We all fall into the trap of repeating thoughts and beliefs which persuade us that we, and the world, are a certain way, denying ourselves the creative certainty of living a different kind of life.

David’s work gives us a template to shift and deepen our perceptions and our understanding, gently challenging us to consider what are the conversations we need to stop having, and what is our relationship to the unknown.

As I learned yesterday, turning our sincere attention to these questions for even a short time initiates a collective easing open of hearts and minds. The effect was both palpable and magical.

David Whyte’s Timeless Way

Sincere thanks to Paul and Marie of The Beyond Partnership for facilitating the event.



Filed under Philosophy, Poetry, Reflection, review, Uncategorized

Half way point

2018 is half a month old – which means so is my resolution to be more mindful of what I eat and to look after myself better.

A couple of years ago I discovered the Whole30 approach to food and I gave it a whirl – 30 days of eliminating sugar, grains, gluten, alcohol, legumes and dairy from my diet. I ended up learning how to prepare fresh meat, seafood, vegetables and fruit in delicious ways. I pretty much gave up my dependence on bread, developed the taste for black coffee, got a huge energy boost and lost twenty pounds.

Then I got lazy again and undid all my good work.

SO since 2018 started on a Monday, which means that I can track the date and the plan simultaneously on the calendar without having to do any adding up, AND since I am eager again to experience the energy benefits, not to mention to fit into my clothes better, I was inspired to give whole30 another go this month.

And it’s going very very well.


I’ve just moved into Tiger Blood phase. Energy is high, I feel positive, optimistic, and hugely inspired.

And inspiration is key. I want to feel full of energy. I want to feel comfortable in my clothes. I love the feeling of mindfully planning my meals and shopping for fresh ingredients that will transform into delicious dinners. I’m excited about my tastes changing, becoming more satisfied by fresh flavours rather than anaesthetised by the Sugar Dragon.

Plus I love crossing the dates of the calendar. Once a journaling nerd, always a journaling nerd.


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Filed under Goal-setting, inspiration, mindfulness, Self-Care, Uncategorized

Good vibrations

2018 is opening up before us and I wish everyone a very happy, peaceful and abundant New Year.

This is typically a time when we renew our journaling practice with more dedication. Reflective writing is a great meditation, giving us space to find our inner voice and express gratitude for what we have.

So I want to offer you a slightly different journaling approach to not only give you greater clarity but also to help you improve your experience moment to moment. This arises from my own understanding of the teachings of Abraham Hicks, and from applying a few different techniques in my own writing as a result.

For 2018 I’m advocating a much more mindful approach to reflective writing. Instead of allowing your pen to move across the page and regurgitate the same phrases you use to express your fears or anger or dissatisfaction, deliberately choose to open your entry with some positive words.

For example write ‘I want’ rather than ‘I don’t want’. Write ‘I appreciate’ rather than ‘I am grateful for’. Notice how focussing on the things you want and the things you appreciate will raise your feel-good vibe.

According to the Law of Attraction taking this approach will have the magnificent effect of attracting more feel-good experiences, and the more we relax, trust and enjoy the more we are making ourselves ready to receive.

So for a more joyful, abundant and love-filled year use your journal to practice the art of appreciation, and to evoke how fabulous it’s going to feel when you achieve what you want.



Filed under Journal Writing, Law of Attraction, Uncategorized

Go back in time to boost yourself out of boredom

One of the exercises I write about in The Journal Writer’s Handbook is called Back in  Time. It’s an opportunity to reflect and get in touch with the stuff you used to love as a kid – and perhaps recognise how much or how little of that you’re doing in your current life.

Of course, when you think back to childhood activities it might be a bit of a stretch to consider what the adult version of it might be – but have a go. You are bound to come up with something. When I wrote the book I was into cycling, and remembering how riding my bike used to be the thing I would spend most of my time doing at the age of 13.

The idea is, that if you feel in a bit of a rut, you might find inspiration from your childhood to shake things up a bit – a new hobby or pastime, or something to give you a clue about a new experience you might try.

Adolescent shyness and adult shame are terrible accomplices in knocking out our inner child. If we listen too closely to them we very readily lose our childlike sparkle unnecessarily. Reflective writing affords us the space to take a step back from our daily routine and gain a new perspective about what inspires us.

As well as bike-riding as a kid I used to love writing and performing comedy sketches with my friends at school. And ever since even younger I used to enjoy singing, dancing, performing and entertaining. I would always find an audience wherever I could.

At the age of 48 some might say I’d missed the boat to get on the stage. But then, 8 weeks ago, I saw an ad for a stand-up comedy course in my local area and I didn’t think twice about signing up. Maybe I would have thought twice if I’d realised from the get-go that I would be performing my first ever stand-up gig to a paying audience only two months later. But now I’ve done it I’m glad the temptation to not bother never crossed my path.

The course itself was excellent and the support from the coach and the other participants was brilliant, despite everyone feeling various degrees of terrified. It surprised me how much structure there is in joke writing, and how precise it needs to be, with as few words as possible. Brevity being the soul of wit and all.

On the night of the performance  I thought I was going to die from an adrenaline overdose 30 seconds before I went on stage.  My mind was blank and I couldn’t remember my first line. But once I was on stage and connecting with the audience it felt awesome. Everyone looked so engaged and happy – it was very encouraging. Hearing people laugh and applaud my jokes was a great feeling – and unexpected.

Afterwards I felt euphoric, relieved, and really proud of myself and the group. I also felt like a bit of a superhero in the eyes of my friends who all told me I was brilliant.

In the week since doing the gig I’ve noticed that I’m a lot less guarded with things that I say – I just come out with it without worrying what people think. I was always a bit like that anyway, but having done the gig gives me even more confidence and attitude!! I might lose friends…

The experience definitely got me back in touch with my ballsy inner child, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone whose idea of fun is to do something that scares you everyday.

Whatever you find when you go back in time in your journal could hold the key to a new lease of life. Go for it!

For more information and inspiration about stand-up visit



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Attract more good things to you through journaling

The Law of Attraction has created a New Age buzz for over a decade, ever since the book and film The Secret hit mass consciousness.

Before that it was the beautiful work of Esther and Jerry Hicks to bring the wisdom of the Law of Attraction to the world through the spiritual teachings of Abraham – a task which Esther, now a widow, continues tirelessly and generously.

For the past thirty years Esther and Jerry have been articulating a message that has caught the imagination of thousands of people who are interested in getting a blast out of life.

It’s been three years now that I have been practicing gratitude in my journal. Those entries where I have written about at least three things that I am grateful for on a daily basis reflect a life of appreciation and serenity, even though my felt experience may not have always played out that way.

So I started to get curious about how to turn up the volume on the good feelings that my journaling practice was beginning to evoke, and turn down the noise that interfered with the sense of well-being I was experiencing.

I learned that in writing about the interference, the whinges and the moans and the objections and the rants, I was actually breathing more life into bad feelings.  Recently I have understood from Abraham Hicks that focusing on these aspects reinforces them in our experience and attracts more of the same to us.

I naturally began to want to turn away from generating complaints and criticisms. It felt too bad to me to be constantly logging what I felt was wrong with everything. Whereas writing about the things that I appreciate, the beauty that catches my eye, and the good things I wish for myself and those close to me, would make me take more of the good feeling into my daily life, and encounter more delightful things.

At first it feels good to use our journals to get things off our chest. And there is perhaps an important ritual in doing so, such as burning our pages, or expressing our fears and judgements and then handing them over to a greater power to deal with on our behalf.

But as an on-going practice, writing down the things that we appreciate and are grateful for, no matter how small, stands us in good stead to achieve a more positive and joyful experience.

And that’s how journaling ought to be.



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