Tag Archives: belief

So, what motivates you? A simple thought provoking question.

motivation

One question that keeps cropping up just now centres around something we all have and something we are all capable of doing.

In a work sense, I was asked recently to name three things that motivated me.

In a personal (mad mad world) sense, I’ve been complimented on my motivation with regards to this blog and my book baby.

It’s got me thinking…..or should I say, it’s motivated me to think a bit more about this. (Seldom a good thing!)

My first port of call, as it is frequently for any topic up for discussion, my rather battered Collins English Dictionary. It says-

Motivate –     to give incentive to

Motivation –  the act or instance of motivating

Incentive of inducement

Desire to do; interest or drive

The process that arouses, sustains and regulated human and animal

behaviour.

Interesting…..

I’ve been mulling this over for a while, trying to establish what actually motivates me.

When I was asked the question in a work context, I was like a rabbit in the headlights. With only a few seconds to come up with my answer, I mumbled a rather bog standard money, recognition for a job well done and the satisfaction of seeing the job completed to a high standard.

If I’m honest, on reflection, two out of the three definitely motivate me at work. One less so. I’ll leave you to work it out.

At the time, most of my colleagues answered along similar lines – money, success, achievement, the thought of retirement on a reasonable pension.

In my own mad, mad world out of work, what motivates me? This has required more thought. A lot more thought!

Seeking inspiration, I consulted the Big Green Gummi Bear to determine his motivators in life. As expected I got a rather succinct three word answer. (For fear of incurring his wrath I won’t share them here.)

I consulted Boy Child, who looked at me blankly at first before saying he’d been motivated to get a summer job to get save enough money to buy a PRS guitar (and pay your way through university for a while, I hope) So I guess from his answer, I can deduce that money motivates him because it allows him to buy nice things. Most folk would struggle to argue with that.

I consulted a friend, who I consider to be one of the most motivated people in my circle of friends, and got a pleasant surprise in the midst of their answer. Family. A highly commendable motivator.

Over time I’ve discovered different things can trigger motivation in me. There’s no one single thing that motivates me. It’s a complex combination of things.

Books can motivate people to change their behaviour. After reading two books by Dean Karnazes, author and ultramarathon man, I was motivated sufficiently to get up off my butt and partake of some regular exercise. (To those reading this who know me – please stop laughing!) If you’d told me a year or so ago that I’d be sufficiently motivated to get out of bed an hour early to go for a run before work, I’d have sworn you were insane.

News articles/social media campaigns can motivate people. Remember last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? – were you motivated enough to take part? Or is that inspired? Hmm…. The perfect example harks back to my blog of a few weeks ago. A BBC news item in 1984 motivated Sir Bob Geldof to get up off his couch and come up with Band Aid and subsequently Live Aid. The rest, as they say, is history.

With regards to my creative writing, what motivates me to keep going is the moral support of others, especially my Infamous Five. My motivation to keep going after the launch of Stronger Within went through a serious dip a few weeks ago. A chance comment from someone ,who had read my book baby, was enough to re-fill my motivation tanks for a good long while. They quite frankly told me that, while they’d enjoyed my book, it wasn’t really their thing (fair enough) but that it had inspired them to keep reading other books. Job done! Hearing that I’d inspired someone to read books was certainly motivational for me!

When I’m writing out my weekly To Do list, currently there is a weekly word target to be met. Seeing this number steadily increase week on week helps to motivate me to keep going. (Exceeding the week’s magic number and the resulting buzz I get from it has proved to me that I am more competitive than I thought I was.) Typing for hour after hour several nights a week, especially after a long day in the salt mine, can be quite draining so my simple numbers game is the ideal motivator here.

Another motivator is a sense of accomplishment. With the undying support of a close circle of wonderful people, I’ve made a lifelong dream come true and am on the way to repeating it. I don’t have the words to describe how that feels but, every time I reflect on it, I smile to myself and feel warm and fuzzy inside.

So on reflection, what are my personal motivators? Accomplishment, satisfaction and the determination to keep going.

What are yours?

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Dream Come True! …….it’s real!

On Thursday 11th June a parcel arrived for me. (Huge thanks to my neighbour across the street for taking it in for me).

Instantly I knew what it was.

Secreted in cardboard packaging, I was holding something I’d only ever dreamed of holding in my hands.

Trembling, I carried it into the kitchen and sat it on the table, not trusting myself to look at it never mind open it!

Once I’d turned on the over for dinner and put away my bits and pieces of shopping, I carried my package upstairs to the bedroom and laid it down gently in the middle of the bed.

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I stood staring at it, still not believing that it was real.

I changed out of my work clothes then sat on the bed beside it, running my hand over the cardboard. Yes, I even took its photograph.

This was a never to be repeated moment in my life.

My heart was pounding. My hands were shaking. My throat felt dry.

Slowly I tore off the strip across the back of the package and caught my first glimpse of the contents.

A lump now filled my throat and unshed tears were stinging at my eyes.

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It was really real now.

Lovingly I slid the contents out of the cardboard sleeve.

I was holding it in my hands!

A huge smile of pride spread across my face as I tenderly caressed it.

What was I holding in my shaking hands?

The first ever paperback proof copy of my Book Baby – Stronger Within.

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Since its release on Kindle, there have been many emotional Book Baby moments that I’ll treasure forever- seeing it on sale on Amazon’s website for the first time; selling my first copy in the UK; selling my first copy in the USA and in other countries around the world; reading the first  5* reviews. It’s been an emotional creative roller coaster over the last few weeks.

Nothing however prepared me for the overwhelming emotion of actually holding it in my arms as a real “live” Book Baby!

The last piece of the dream was becoming a reality.

Book Baby sure has come a long way from the four tattered handwritten A4 notebooks that it began life as.

I know I’m biased but it’s beautiful. (Thank you so much to my Photoshop fairy godmother)

So after eleven days, has the feeling worn off?

No!

I’ve painstakingly re-read it from cover to cover, taking extra care not to break its spine, slotting in post-its at pages where the layout requires to be tweaked. I corrected one glaring spelling error. I corrected one “writing” error (I got left and right muddled up). I made one minor tweak to the wording of one section following a reviewer’s criticism of my non-USA language.

Even when it was brimming with post its, it still looked amazing to me.

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Corrections made, I submitted a second draft and ordered another proof copy.

I arrived home this evening expecting it to be waiting for me. No sign of it. A wave of disappointment washed over me. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

However as I sat on my front doorstep in the early evening sun, my neighbour handed me a cardboard package. (Huge thanks to next door!)

My heart began to pound and a smile began to grow.

I carried it indoors and laid it on the kitchen table then returned to the doorstep to finish off this post.

I guess I’d better go and open my parcel!

***The paperback edition of Stronger Within is available on Amazon now. ***

Make A Wish

Sometimes you don’t need a whole string of words to reflect the moment.

Sometimes you just need something simple to wish on.

Go on …..make a wish

 

dandelion tagged

The First Few Days of Book Baby Motherhood

Book Baby Blog collage

It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting in the sun with a coffee and some hot buttered cinnamon raisin toast, trying to get my head around the last few days.

What can I say about last week? Where to start!

When I uploaded my last blog post and launched Book Baby on the world I was physically trembling with nerves – scared nerves and excited nerves.

Walking into the salt mine as usual an hour or so later felt weird. I guess by then my own paranoia was beginning to creep in and I felt as though everyone was staring at me. The rational voice in my head told me not to be so stupid, to go and get a coffee and get on with some work – I did.

Throughout the day my phone, email and FB pages were lit up like Christmas trees as I was smothered in congratulatory wishes. Thank you!

The majority of the day was spent with a warm feeling of pride burning deep inside me – possibly fuelled by the 50 Shades of Red I turned every time anyone spoke to me about Book Baby!

I had bought a tiny bottle of bubbly on my way home the night before. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how to celebrate this momentous event. I’d gone through many ideas in my head but wasn’t confident that anyone else would be the least bit interested in celebrating with me on a Wednesday night or any other night for that matter. (I’m not a party person)

The Big Green Gummi Bear usually heads to the gym after work so I didn’t expect him home until late – hence the choice of a little bottle of bubbles. Enough for one small glass each. One wee toast.

He surprised me by coming home early, skipping the gym. He said he felt as though it was wrong to go to the gym and that he should come home and celebrate with me. That meant SO much to me!

We toasted the birth of Stronger Within together – should’ve bought a bigger bottle after all!

Then we were both looking at each other with a “Now what?” question hanging in the air.

Emotionally it all felt very surreal and, to be honest, it still does.

Even now, I’m still blushing bright red any time anyone speaks to me about the book. That little nagging voice of “Paranoia” has been whispering in my ear all week as I hear of more and more friends and family (including parents!) and friends of my parents (eek!) who are reading or planning to start reading my Book Baby- what if they hate it? What if they think its rubbish? What if they are laughing at me behind my back?

What can I say? That’s me through and through about most things in life! Still psychologically scarred from the dim and distant past.

So “Now what”?  The question is still hanging there waiting to be answered.

I’ve drawn up a short list –

  • Stop feeling so self-conscious and allow myself to feel proud of my achievement
  • Relax and let things take their course with Stronger Within
  • Re-connect with my characters and story lines. The rest of the tale isn’t going to write itself!
  • Learn how to stop blushing!

I’ve a feeling that the last one may prove to be impossible!

A Labour of Love

Hopes and plans and dreams (some of them nightmares) for Book Baby are dominating my creative mind just now so apologies if blog posts are short and sweet over the next few weeks.

Although affectionately known as Book Baby (among a few other choice names on occasion) this whole process has in some respects been a bit like deciding to have a child and then going through a lengthy pregnancy.

Should I? Shouldn’t I? When’s a good time? Can I actually do this?

There’s a lot of “foreplay” as you work out what fits where and then the creative juices find their natural rhythm and flow freely.

Since creating my KDP account a few weeks back and being in the throes of getting Book Baby ready to face the world, I’m rapidly realising that writing the original draft of the story was the fun bit and the easy part ….. a bit like making a baby 😉

For the last few months, with the support of my wonderful alpha and beta readers, I’ve been nurturing Book Baby, preparing it for its arrival into the world of Kindle rock romance fiction.

We are now almost exactly a month from my anticipated publication date and, to compare it again to a baby bump, I have a large unwieldy word document that is dominating my world, draining my dwindling energy reserves and keeping me awake at night.

Book Baby’s due date is fast approaching and I don’t mind confessing to being more than a little scared here. I’m excited too and feeling just a little bit proud of myself for getting so far.

Irrational fears of “what if’s” are torturing me in the wee small hours as I lie awake.

“What if KDP reject it for some obscure reason?”

“What if people think Book Baby is ugly?”

“What if I can’t cope with this once it’s unleashed on the world?”

“What if I’m not cut out to be a Book Baby mummy?”

Like all new “mothers” I’ve deliberated long and hard over what “outfit” my baby will wear when it first ventures out in the world. I still have a few options but I think I’ve finally settled on a cover design. Thanks to another wonderfully supportive artistic friend my Book Baby won’t enter the Kindle world naked!

So now it’s time to allow the last few pages of the final draft to develop, for the little vital add-ons (author’s note, legal disclaimers and the like) to be finalised and then, with one final labour of love, to deliver it safely onto the Kindle platform.

Book Baby was conceived while sitting in the early evening sun on my front doorstep at the beginning of May 2013. Now after a labour of love lasting almost two years, the end is in sight.

Book baby collage

The Night That Was Meant To Be

Ever get the feeling that some things are just meant to be? Perhaps it’s fate. Perhaps it’s luck.

A few months back I secured tickets to a concert that I felt sure was going to be “the one” that would realise a lifelong dream for me. (Well, twenty seven years long to be exact so not quite lifelong)

I was wrong.

A little over two weeks ago, a show was announced that was to be held in a small Glasgow venue on 7th November and would be for fans only. Pre-registration via the artist’s website was required in order to qualify for a code that would then allow you to attempt to purchase a maximum of two tickets. In my excitement and haste, I screwed up my registration. I realised my error less than thirty minutes before registration closed. Too late.

The lack of an email landing with a mythical code confirmed my error.

Gutted doesn’t begin to cover it.

Tickets went on sale the next day at 10am. From reports online there were technical glitches with the codes and subsequent sales. Lacking the necessary code I could only sit back and watch my fellow fans try to secure their golden tickets.

Ok , let’s be honest here, I sat back and sulked quietly, trying to console myself that I would get to realise the dream on 4th Dec.

Tickets were duly snapped up and I genuinely thought that was an end to it.

A glimmer of hope emerged around Tuesday lunchtime when a fellow fan hooked me up with another fan who had details of an unused code. There were rumours of balcony seats still being available. However, despite my best efforts online and via phone, I failed to secure tickets.

Gutted for a second time in five days.

Still sulking (big time by now) I was watching TV on Tuesday night, idly playing around on social media on my phone. A post by the artist caught my eye. There were limited tickets left! All I had to do was email the address quoted in the post. You’ve never seen an email sent so fast in your life!

Lady Luck was smiling on me and within ten minutes, amidst much screaming for joy, I held two tickets for the 7th November show in my trembling hands.

All day Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, I silently fretted that perhaps it had been a hoax. Worried that the tickets were fake and I’d been de-frauded out of my £20 and my credit card details. (Blame the paranoia on all the years spent working in a fraud team)

Even on the Friday evening on the train, chaperoned by Boy Child, I was doubting that this was real.

As I stood in the lengthening queue outside the venue, watching Boy Child chitter with cold in his t-shirt and jeans (yes, bad rock mum let him out without a jacket), I doubted that it was really real.

It was only once we’d cleared security (Boy was it tight!), entered the hall and I was standing in front of the merchandising stall that I allowed myself to believe that it might actually be happening.

Lady Luck was still keeping an eye on me as we took our places, two rows off the barrier slightly to the left of centre stage. Almost my ideal spot in the hall.

So who was I there to see? Who had I waited all these years to see play live?

The one and only – Slash.

Ever since I bought “Appetite For Destruction” on vinyl when it was first released, I’ve wanted to see him in concert.

I guess everything does come to she who waits. And, in true recent concert going for, shows are like buses – two have come along at once!

After a fabulous ninety minute set from Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro, which literally saw me swept off my feet by the crush in the crowd, my dream was only thirty short minutes away.

Boy Child had his eyes set on the mayhem that lies in front of centre stage and, with my nervous blessing, disappeared off into the crowd in the hope of finding a mosh pit. He did.

Standing in front of me was a young man in a checked shirt, who turned round and said, “If I stand here you’re not going to be able to see, are you?”

My reply was, “No and I’ve waited twenty seven years to see this guy live.”

His face was a picture and, in the perfect act of chivalry, he gave up his spot for me. Thank you, young sir!

Now I was one row off the barrier with a perfect view of the stage.

A creepy freak show intro played, closely followed by a blaze of lights, then there he was. Dream come true – Slash was on stage in full view playing “You’re A Lie”.

And the icing on the cake was that Myles Kennedy was out on stage doing the vocal chores! The cherries on this particular “rock” cake were, of course, the Conspirators themselves – Todd Kerns, Frank Sidoris and Brent Fitz.

For ninety minutes, I was held utterly spellbound as my dream became a beautiful reality. The mother in me did start to fret a little as the crowd surfing began and, with my heart in my mouth, I watched for Boy Child appearing over the crowd. Whew!-he didn’t…this time.

Hearing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” played live for the first time was incredible. A moment that will live with me for a long time. That song is possibly my all-time favourite song). Seeing Slash coax his numerous solos out of his guitar was stunning. Watching Myles strut his stuff alongside the super talented Conspirators was breath taking.

Only as the show came to a close with the wonderful “Paradise City” and I, along with everyone and everything in the building, was showered in confetti did I truly believe that all around me was real.

The dream had come true.

And, to return to the cake analogy, this rock chick is allowed, on this one occasion, to have her cake and eat it, as I am now counting down the days until 4th December when I get to live the dream all over again.

Some nights are just meant to be.

SMKC collage

A spiritual Sunday evening’s entertainment

Do you believe in ghosts? How many times have we all been asked that question? How many times have we answered it truthfully? My answer always remains the same- Yes.

I’ve had enough unexplained ghostly and psychic experiences so far in life to convince me that there is definitely something to this. Ghost is the wrong terminology to use here – in short- yes I believe in life after death and I believe that there can be communication between the “here and now “ and the “other” or “higher” side. I am however very wary of visiting mediums/psychics. I have also been advised on more than one occasion that I was a witch in a past life – a forest dwelling healing witch.

On two occasions I have been convinced (I use the term loosely in connection to the second occasion) to have a private reading done in a friend’s home. Both experiences were very different; both were in different locations. One involved Tarot cards; the other a single Angel card.  Both were accurate to a degree, the second one more so but, in all honesty, the second occasion really rattled me to the core. I’ll save that tale for another day.

Until last weekend I had never been to a professional medium’s theatre show. A friend invited me to accompany  her to see a world famous medium at our local theatre, as she didn’t want to go alone. (No – I’m not naming the medium.)  I was curious to see how this would work; I was anxious in case some talkative deceased loved one decided it was time for a public chat! The format was quite simple. No frills. One medium, two cameramen filming the audience and a table with a jug of water and two glasses on it. The medium explained that his “spirit guide” was with him and would assist with the communication from the “higher” side. (My friend and I both had the same thought that the “spirit guide” was a Native American Indian but, if he was, the medium never confirmed our suspicions) He also said he would have to “tell it as it is” or the spirits would give him into trouble.

In all the show lasted about two hours and he spoke to roughly a dozen members of the audience. There was only once that he failed to identify the recipient of the message being given to him to deliver. The dancing Mrs McDonald never found her Lynne.  Comments ranged from a reminder to get a broken door repaired before the house got broken into to a dressing down for one elderly lady for not taking her prescribed medication properly. The cynic in me picked up on the references to a lottery win for one person and the promise of a new puppy for another. A lot of what was said though was too specific to be guesswork and I don’t think there were any “plants” in the audience.

I was taken aback somewhat towards the end of the evening when he said he had a “sister of mercy” come through with a little girl looking for her mummy. The medium explained that when an unborn child dies either through miscarriage or still birth that they “grow up” in spirit and are cared for by “sisters of mercy.” He enquired of the audience as to who had lost a baby girl and gave a couple of other more personal prompts. Much to my surprise, he quickly identified the mother who held onto her composure while he delivered a fairly powerful personal message to her. The intimacy of this message made me uncomfortable for the first and only time that evening. Perhaps it should have been saved for a more private setting.

All in all it was an entertaining evening. I was thankful that my deceased loved ones remained silent. Maybe they were at the back of his queue of spirits. Would I go back to another public evening like it? Probably not. Would I like a reunion of everyone who was there, in say, nine months time?  Yes. I want to know if there is a baby girl weighing 8lbs 7oz born on a Tuesday in December to the rather surprised looking mother of three in the audience.