FEBRUARY 2023 NEWSLETTER
It’s been a while since I last wrote about what has been happening with my writing career. Despite my Extreme Holidays Podcast going from strength to strength, other aspects of my writing career stalled during 2022.
Writing isn’t just an art, it’s also a business, and a highly competitive one at that. After splitting amicably with my literary agent last September after he had gained some high-profile writers and felt he couldn’t give me or my work as a debut author the time it deserved and I becoming increasingly frustrated with never hearing from him and my memoir – my life’s work – not being sent out on submission to publishers, I felt pretty down in the dumps.
But then I remembered something someone once told me: if you plant a tree in the wrong conditions, it will never grow. This is based on the Taoist principle of how humans associate with nature. In Taoism, trees are considered living beings and must be respected. Taoism also believes in the concept of yin-yang, by where everything must be balanced equally between yin (including the feminine) and yang (including the masculine). In essence, planting a tree in the right conditions not only protects the tree, but creates balance and the conditions for it to flourish and grow. You would never plant a tree in concrete as that is a sure way to cause its demise.
Humans are the same. We are living beings and must respect ourselves and others. We also must have balance. If you stick your feet in concrete, you will never walk the path you are meant to. Often it manifests as you being unable to achieve your goals or things simply not going right. You can have feelings of frustration, anger, pain and conflict.
If you plant a tree in the wrong conditions, it will never grow. Humans are the same. If you stick your feet in concrete, you will walk the path that you are meant to.
Looking back, for the last couple of years I have had my feet stuck in concrete. Nothing was happening in my writing career. For the first time in my life, I began having anxiety attacks. It felt like I was dying in side. If I was going to thrive, walk that path, I needed to get my feet out of the concrete.
And that’s exactly what I did. I pulled my feet out. I found some solid ground to stand on. I felt in the right head space to take action. I started entering more competitions, planning my next writing project. and looking at different ways to be heard and be recognised as a writer.
And now for the good news……
THIS FRIDAY – 3RD FEBRUARY 2023 – between 8pm to 10pm on BBC Radio Sheffield’s BBC Upload Show, you can hear me being interviewed by Ellie Colts and reading an extract from my memoir, AFTERSHOCK. I’ll be discussing the effects of PTSD on my mental health and what inspired me to write the memoir and how I overcame my demons during the writing process. I’m also be giving tips on how to write a memoir if you are thinking of writing one.
So don’t forget to tune in!
I made it to the shortlist!
Last Friday night, I received an email from the writer and lecturer, Hilary Bradt, who is also the co-founder and publisher of Bradt Travel Guides, congratulating me on being shortlisted for Bradt New Travel Writer of the Year 2023 in association with the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards.
I’m absolutely thrilled! It’s always been my ambition to be recognised as a travel writer and a dream to be invited to the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards ceremony at the famous Stanfords Book Store in London, along with some of the biggest names in the travel writing industry!
In March I will be heading there where the overall winner will be announced.
A huge thanks to the judges for selecting me and to the Bradt Guides, Stanfords Travel and Discover the World Teams!
You can read my entry here:
An Unforgettable Day in Iran
I’ve also just seen this fab review on Twitter which has made my evening!
Projects I’m working on……
I’ve been toying with the idea for some years to write the screenplay to my memoir since it was first suggested to me by my scriptwriting tutor during my MA (Writing) at Sheffield Hallam University. I finally made the decision earlier this week after hearing I had been shortlisted for the Bradt competition. I’ve always loved writing script even though I haven’t worked on one for the last few years, but I feel the time is now right to move this project forward and I always love a new challenge!
As with any writing project, a large percentage of the work is spent structuring the storyline so my lounge floor will be littered with story boards, scene annotations and the all important script treatment/outline (that’s the technical term for a 1 to 2 page synopsis of the plot).
Extreme Holiday Podcast
My Extreme Holidays Podcast is going from strength to strength with more enthralling extreme travel stories coming up over the next couple of months including a woman who spent a year in China in 1985 and a chap who completed an epic 57 day, 952 mile trek from the furthest Easterly point of Great Britain to the furthest Westerly point, part of which was done barefoot!
Also, Graydon Hazenberg will be returning in a new episode with his partner, Maree Samson, as they overland Africa in their 4 x 4 campervan called Stanley.
You can check out all the episodes to date, including my recent 5 week trip to Colombia here:
Until next time! (And whatever you are doing, don’t let your feet get stuck in concrete, make change and persevere!)
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