It’s 2017… Time to Kick Fear in the Bum (or Butt) Part 1

HAPPY NEW YEAR

…and welcome to 2017 AND my shiny new rejigged website. I hope you like it! It’s all rather efficient now and blog posts will be plentiful in the coming months- at least one a week… sometimes two.  This blog will be geared towards anyone in need of a bit of motivation, whether you want to be a writer or an astrophysicist (although I will be talking more about the writing process than astrophysics stuff because, well I know more about that!).

So,  (drum roll please) my FIRST blog post for 2017 will focus on Fear.

As a psychotherapist, I believe it’s good to talk. But don’t worry, I won’t be doing much of that today. I’d simply like to share a prelude to a piece I wrote way back in 2014 and a few months after embarking on my dream trip to Atlanta.

I had planned to stay in the USA for six months but ended up staying (on and off) for just over two years.  It was something I had wanted to do for a very long time, but had never found the ‘right time’. I can go on with the list of excuses, but it all came down to one word: Fear.

Neale Donald Walsch breaks this down as;

False

Evidence

Appearing

Real

 

There just may be some of you grappling with that rather annoying emotion that is fear. You may have been thinking about taking a leap of faith with something; new job, travel, whatever- but fear keeps rearing its rather unattractive head.  So, as a new year begins, it’s easy to get caught up with the ‘Happy New You’ talk and why not? A new year does bring with it a sense of renewal, but so does a new week, a new day a new hour.

I’m not going to list any self help points (okay maybe in another post). But, during my next blog post I will share with you, some of my story in the hopes that it will inspire somebody out there to just go for it!

Remember: don’t let FEAR win!

 

 

Hello… again!

Hello Dear Readers,

My promises to update this blog regularly… OK, I’m not even going to insult your intelligence. In my defence (or defense depending on where you are reading this)  I have been writing… I’m also going to appear at a few events during the upcoming weeks (nice change of subject there).

The first is an author Chat arranged by the Women’s National Book Association- Atlanta Chapter!

A bit about this organisation: The Women’s National Book Association was established in 1917, before women in America even had the right to vote. WNBA is a national organization of women and men who work with and value books and exists to promote reading and to support the role of women in the community of the book.

So basically, you get to ask me anything. Well not ANYTHING, but stuff about publishing and writing and all that good stuff.     blah-blah-blah-300x225

Tickets are available right here…


I will post details of other upcoming events closer to the time, as in the day before. No, not really…

 

Lola

 

 

Georgia On My Mind…

Hello All!

So, I’ve been here for a year and a half now. And in keeping with feelings of sudden nostalgia, here’s something I wrote back in October 2015… four months in.

How time flies.

*****

Georgia On My Mind…

Perhaps this was a pre midlife crisis.  
     Or maybe, it was merely time to un-play it safe, take a chance, pack a suitcase and leave the job I’d known for twelve years and jump on a plane headed to the United States.  
     Just like when I’d decided I wanted to finally write a book, I didn’t tell everyone of my plans.  Because, like the energy around me, I needed positive folk, those I knew would support my dream with a well meaning; ‘Go for it, Girl’ and not the carefully worded, ‘are you sure this is a good idea?’

I am a dichotomy of traits; outgoing go-getter /introverted planner.  

I was charting new territory having lived in England for most of my life, yet was no stranger to America. My first trip, aged nineteen involved working on an isolated summer camp in New Jersey with just an ounce of the confidence I now possessed.  This time, I was a fully grown woman stuck in a space that echoed with the chimes of, ‘the time is now!’
So I did it.
I leaped off the proverbial safety net and into to the uncharted waters of the freelance writer and into a country that spoke a different English from what I’d been used to.

The first two months were a haze of apartment hunting and poetry slams. Making new friends was not something I thought I’d be doing at this age, but clearly a necessity when exploring new surroundings.  The people I bumped paths with have been some of the nicest most welcoming I have ever met.  Consequently, it didn’t take long to feel at home and rather bloated (Atlanta is home of the fried chicken wing after all) as I ushered in this new experience. Of course, the daydreams I once harbored about this trip (when it was far from becoming a reality) differs slightly to what has transpired during my time in Atlanta. The daydream contained five main components;

1) I Will Write In Fashionable Cafes Surrounded By Other Writer Types

So far, the only coffee shop I have frequented is the mighty Starbucks, mainly because of its proximity to my home, crucial as I do not drive.  I once proudly vowed never to be a Starbucks type, preferring quaint family owned coffee houses with home baked cakes, but hey, needs must. I now even own a Starbucks card. Kill. Me. Now.

2) I Will Exercise (Almost) Daily

I am a woman of a certain age. I can no longer get away with a lack of regular exercise, as my lungs would attest after a short walk up a hill. The ‘but I do pilates once a week’ no longer cuts it. With a gym situated just a few yards from my front door, there are no excuses applicable.  Three months later, I have been in that gym once whilst the chicken wing consumption has risen astronomically along with my girth. I have blamed the hot weather for my lack of interest, but Fall is now upon us and I am ready.  I start today!

3) I WILL Maintain A healthy Eating Regime

Atlanta. Chicken wings. Please see above.

4) I Will Visit Vast Sections Of The American Countryside, For Inspiration

So far I have travelled to New Orleans, which was fantastic. But alas, this was to enjoy the annual Essence Festival, watch Mary J Blige, sample Louisiana’s finest cuisine and seek out a True Blood vampire.  I’m not sure how inspiring this all was, but I had a great time! I do plan to visit Savannah, South and North Carolina in the very near future, areas I am told are very scenic during Fall months.

5) I Will Write (Almost ) Every Day!

At the beginning of this trip, my writing mojo had left me, gone on a vacation and tossed me aside. Friends dispelled my fears with; ‘You’re in a new country, it takes a while to settle down.’  But as any writer will tell you, writing is  like breathing, therefore the absence of it made for an uncomfortable early experience.  
 
Now, I am almost four months in.  I am settled into my new home, the writing mojo has reappeared and I can end this article on a positive note.

I do however, remain addicted  to  chicken wings.
   

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(My Second & Last Post of 2015)

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So, 2016 is almost upon us and I’m still thinking, ‘where did the time go?’

My time in  Atlanta has been full of writing, sunshine and… writing. After ‘landing’ here in the good ‘ole South’- I was in shock for about six months. But now, a year and a half later, I’m still rather coming to terms with with just… being here.

Tragedy has struck, surprises (not all nice) have come, yet through it all, my faith in God has remained and here I am.

Still here.

I feel so very blessed,

As with the writing- I have been partaking in that- a lot. And all will soon be revealed on that front.

Be patient, my luvvlies, be patient.

I have visited Savannah where I marveled at beautiful trees covered in Spanish moss (wondering how they got there) and visited the first African American Church;  Chicago (where I didn’t try a pizza); a little German-town in Georgia called Helen (where I stood beside windmills and a  Hansel and Gretel cottage);  LA where I cheered at my first Martin Luther King Day Parade and Austin where I witnessed a lady walk around the street with no top on (apparently this is legal in Austin).

My dream is to drive across the West Coast, but considering I don’t enjoy driving and have yet to master the ‘other side of the road’ lark, we’ll just have to leave that fantasy alone for now. I am of course taking applications for any willing drivers… (I will pay in cupcakes).

As you can tell, this is a quick post to remind you I am still alive…. and writing.

I wish you all a wonderful 2016 and may all your wacky, crazy dreams come true!

 

Lola J

My NaNoWriMo Q&A…Three Months Late(r)

 

As many of my friends know, I have about a trillion email addresses yet only check one of them regularly. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the address Bob at Webucator wrote to. So, as a consequence, I’m rather late in responding to his kind request to write a piece for NaNoWriMo. Thank you for your patience, Bob! Here goes;

What were your goals when you start writing?

I just needed to get the story out. The one buzzing around in my head, keeping me up during the early hours.  A wonderful, yet crazy time- when the words come thick and fast and writers block existed nowhere in my  vocabulary.  I’d simply bask in the utter joy of sitting at the computer and placing thoughts onto a screen.  A clever sentence, witty paragraph, powerful chapters; it would all flow so effortlessly.

Of course a very first draft is mostly rubbish. 

BUT… it’s rather easier to edit garbage than, nothing.

What motivates you to keep writing?                                                                                                      books

The thought that at the end of this particular journey, someone on the other side of the world will (hopefully) be touched by my words, even moved.  This in turn (at least in my head)  is confirmation that I’m not indeed spouting nonsense and another human being can actually take something positive from what I have decided to share with the world.  

 

 What were your goals when you started writing? What are they now?

 In the beginning, my goal was to get this, something, anything, published. To become a published author.  Fast forward to now, with four published works under my belt – the goal remains the same;  a) transport contents of head onto computer screen b) get it published. Added to that, I have to make sure I’m constantly improving and growing as a writer. One day, I fully expect to read through my first novel and squeal self righteously; ‘Did I really write that sentence?’  

 

What motivates you to keep writing?

My passion for writing never dims. There are times when I procrastinate like crazy though.  Suddenly more interested in watching the latest reality TV show about toilets instead of writing.  But, ultimately,  I find immense joy in seeing my thoughts come alive on a computer screen and then inside a real life book, with pages and everything!

 

 What advice would you give young authors hoping to make a career out of writing?

 Young and old- never give up! There may be people around you, not as supportive as you’d like, but the trick is to see this as THEIR problem. Perhaps you’re doing something they’ve always fantasized about and it’s rather bothersome that you’ve actually taken the steps to make writing your reality.  It’s easy to say; ’I’m writing a book,’ but to actually sit down and complete one is true commitment to a dream.  Surprisingly, some of the strongest barriers can actually come from ourselves.  Planning your story and reading a hundred; ‘How To…’ books is okay, but when this goes on for months and then years- there’s a problem.  My advice?  Get out of your own way and start that novel.

NOW!

 

 Lola J

 

                                                                                                                  

 

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR FOLKS!

Changes.

 Sometimes, they are good, sometimes they are just…bad.

 Leaving the day job and trekking to the States was probably not the work of a sane woman but it felt right and still does.  A new country (one incased in a new civil rights battle that included protests in major cities) different culture… The changes were coming at me like a mass of tennis balls.  It felt exciting, raw and challenging. I was ready. 

Ready Set Go.

 And then the unthinkable happened.

 I lost a dear brother. Sudden and unexpected (as if deaths are ever expected).

 The inevitable fall out of grief is that you turn into a complete shadow of your former self and walking around like a zombie becomes both normal and acceptable.  On one such day, I found a child.

 I literally, found a a two year old girl walking along the street dressed in a princess nightie and cute lil’ slippers.  This already unusual scene quickly took on an urgency, when she decided it would be quite nice to walk into oncoming traffic.  Running across the road, I managed to coax her away from the road, take her by the hand and call the police.

She clung to me trustingly as the police asked questions she refused to answer and after an hour they managed to locate  her father (who’d fallen asleep whilst looking after her).  This clever little girl had managed to maneuver herself out onto the street  and away from a gated community and in the potential path of oncoming traffic and opportunist child-snathers.

 This was a long day,  yet one that, thank God, ended well. I hadn’t even noticed the change in my mood. Albeit temporarily, it had indeed changed.

Hope.

You see, before I’d decided to take that route, I had sort of wrestled with the reasons as to why it would be better to take the OTHER route. An almost comical scene which undoubtedly led me to where I was able to see that beautiful little girl.

 I do believe God put me in the right place at the right time as I was the only person on the street that afternoon.

 Later that night, the child’s mother called and in between gulps of tears, said; “You saved the most precious thing in my life today, how can I ever repay you? Thank you.”

But perhaps that little girl called Olivia actually helped ME.

 As I wait to see in the New Year here in Atlanta, the recent memories of loss and the feelings that accompany them are surfacing.  But I will not discount the greatness that has also occurred during the past twelve months. Walking from a car accident unscathed, tasting chicken and waffles for the first time and almost passing out because of how wonderful they tasted; the beauty of New Orleans; warm sunshine in December.

 The fact I am here typing this Blog, is a blessing I do not take for granted.

 See ya later 2014… and hellooo 2015.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

 

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When In Rome…

So, I’m still in America where I’m spending my first Thanksgiving!!  Hurraaah! The irony is, I will be spending the day with some wonderful Ex Pats from the UK!  I am taking along a rather large cheesecake as my contribution. I did have fantasies about turning up with a wildly inappropriately delicious Cheesecake from The Factory Cheesecake, but you know, Kroger next door is closer and as usual, I left it all to the very last minute!

Those who know me, are aware of my preference for all things sweet.  Admittedly, when I first arrived here from across the pond, I couldn’t get enough of ‘Sprinkles’, cupcakes,  ‘A Piece of Cake’ Red Velvet and of course the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake from CF. But having now exhausted such lusts, I can go whole weeks without them.  And my stomach is soooo appreciative of this!

 As for writing novels, I’m still ‘in’ – however like many, I have given myself  the day off today.  I may not be an American, but when in Rome…
 
 happy_thanksgiving_c_09
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Things Can Only Get Better…

 

sun

Having been in Atlanta on and off for the best part of four months, a lot has happened to take my focus away from writing. Moving to a new country, finding a place to live, and losing my dear brother.

It has been a trying and testing time.

But I have recently been able to continue with the writing, attempt to construct a story out of nothing and locate the mojo that keeps threatening to leave!

I thank God that the sun is still shining- a wonderful thing indeed!

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