Are YOU in control of YOUR life?

I recently discovered a little gem, delivered in the form of a book, which was recommended by Jeff Goins – an inspirational guy who blogs about writing and marketing, creative business ideas and making a difference.

I’ve not yet finished this book, but it has reawakened in me something that I have long believed (and recently forgotten), and that is the knowledge that we are in charge of our own destinies. In fact, it’s not even that I had forgotten this, more the fact that I have succumbed to what the book’s author comes to describe as Resistance. If this sounds familiar, you might indeed have already read this book – aptly titled The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Because there is a little war going inside all of us. Resistance – as the beginning of this book talks about – is that little voice in our heads that prevents us from being productive, or making those all-important changes in our lives. That health-kick you keep promising yourself. That change of job you really want to go for. It’s the voice of procrastination, the nagging doubt that we won’t be good enough, that we will fail. By listening to these thoughts, we’ve already set ourselves up to fail. If you’ve ever read Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers, you’ll be conscious of that familiar feeling that stops you doing something you know will benefit you in the long run. Instead, you subconsciously (or, even consciously), make all the excuses you can come up with, not to pursue an opportunity. Often, one excuse is all you need to talk yourself right out of it. You then convince yourself that you made the right decision, and feel better for it. Because it’s so much easier to stay locked inside that comfort zone of those familiar slippers, that warm blanket; to stick with what you know, and not attempt to stretch yourself. Take that path of least resistance (excuse the irony here). Because any opportunity that can make you grow as a person, isn’t going to offer that instant gratification we crave as human beings. It’s going to be hard work, you’re going to have to stretch yourself, and what if the end result is failure, after all that effort you’ve put in?

This book has triggered a whirlwind of thoughts and I’m not even a third of the way through it yet. It’s actually got me sitting up in bed at 5am, drafting this blog post with a cup of chamomile because I can’t sleep, and overcoming Resistance. It has got me laughing Resistance in the face, ignoring the voice of ‘But I can’t drink tea and read! I have to go back to sleep so that I’m not tired in the morning,’ followed by, ‘I will still have to get the kids up and do the school run and all the other chores that await me!’ This book has enabled me to go one step further, and actually write 500 words in the middle of the night (it might be morning to some of you, but it’s still the middle of the night to me). And that is the first step to me resuming my life’s journey – on my calling to writing, on improving my health, and the next step towards the rest of my life.

As Steven Pressfield says in his opening paragraph of the chapter ‘What I do’; it doesn’t matter if the words I wrote weren’t that great. The only thing that matters, is that I reached my daily goal. I ignored that nagging voice that prevented me from achieving my work or desire. I overcame Resistance. You see, that one word, that has so much control over us, is the only thing stopping you from fulfilling your dreams and aspirations.

Click here for more information: The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

I’m curious…

Books and coffee

Are you sitting comfortably?

What’s your favourite type of story? I’m keen to start a new project… But I want to put it out there, and into YOUR hands, as the potential reader. What do you like it read? What kind of conflict do you like in your stories? What are your favourite types of characters? I’m not talking specifically about setting, or genre, but rather the characters you, as the reader, can identify with. What really gets you at your core in a powerful story? Of course, if you want to talk about your favourite genre, that’s fine too. Just think… Your input could be the inspiration for the next big thing. 

Leave me a comment below, or drop me a line at fionachapman1@gmail.com. I can’t wait to learn about what inspires you as a reader. :-) 

Fiona X

Be happy. Find your content.

Who doesn’t love a good play on words?

This blog post title is my new tagline – for my writing services – launched just last week.
Now that smallest person is sleeping through the night (hurrah!) I’ve got SO much more energy and am coming back with a big, hearty bounce.

IMG_4146

Be happy. Find your Content.

I’m starting with the launch of my business which offers article and blog writing services, and I’ve got plans up my sleeve for future fiction works, too. And boy, does it feel good! I’m excited!

You know that feeling when you know you’re in control? The one where you find your ‘happy’? Well, that’s me.

I hope you like my little addition to my writing business. If you do, I’d love it if you could share to spread the word. There’s always someone out there who needs some help with creating content, whether it be web copy, blogs or even offline material like promotional flyers or brochures.

I’m thrilled to be able to point people in the direction of these types of services, and so enthused to start writing fiction again.

Thanks for reading and for sticking with me through my ‘maternity leave’. 😊

Much love,

Fiona xx

Click here to visit the Virtual Ink Pad.

‘Real life’ stuff

When we choose to have kids, we don’t stop to consider everything else that comes with it. The kids in themselves are both a delight and a challenge – from the funky toddler dance to the threenager  tantrums, and let’s not forget how it’s the end of the world when your biscuit becomes two pieces. But aside from the joys and hurdles of parenting, I’m talking about the other stuff that some of us writers have come to refer to as ‘real life’. It’s the full-time job you wish you didn’t have to do as you would rather be at home with the kids (or writing). It’s the part-time work you’re desperately trying to find because you want some independence/opportunity to contribute to the household income/anything else to save you from the insanity of just small people for company, day in, day out. It’s the endless piles of laundry, the bottomless ironing pile, the stacks of paperwork to be filed. The dust-bunnies that you vacuumed only 3 days ago and the activities you have committed to just so you can have something for ‘yourself’. 

As a full-time mother who has done the work full-time thing and the stay-at-home thing, I honestly can’t say which one is the easier option. Because, while they (kids) are so small, it doesn’t matter if you have 1, 3 or – God forbid – more), being a parent and running a house and trying to maintain some sanity is bloody hard work. 

We’ve just returned from two weeks in Fuerteventura and I think the holiday blues have hit me already. I’m drifting around again looking at everything that needs to be done and wondering where the hell do I start? This isn’t supposed to happen post-holiday. But then, I remind myself that I have children now. This is my life. No matter where I look or what other crazy schemes I try to uncover to find the answers (I don’t even know the question!), I have to tell myself to make the most of these moments. Because, while I’m worrying about my career (or lack of), and my dwindling skills and confidence, my children are growing up. They won’t be small forever, and before I know it, they’ll be teens who might not want to spend time with their annoying and embarrassing mother. Life is so short and precious as it is. So I’m going to go and have a lovely cuddle with them both while they’re not fighting and causing havoc, and try not to fall asleep on the sofa after another night of being kept up by my sweet and innocent (cough) youngest daughter.

Parent or not, don’t let life consume you and just take a few moments to reflect on stuff. Real life isn’t going anywhere and will dutifully wait for you. Stay sane 😘xxx 

Book Review: The Dangerous Gift by Jane Hunt

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted one of these, and I’m sure some of you may be wondering if I’ve disappeared off the radar. The thing is, the smallest now-one-year-old-child (together with the four-year-old) is truly running me ragged, and it’s rare I get an opportunity (or, let’s be frank here, a dose of energy) to read. When I do get a chance to indulge, it’s usually at bedtime, and within about 5 or 10 minutes my eyelids are drooping.

So when I find a book that will keep my attention for just that little bit longer, you know it’s going to be a winner. As I mentioned in her cover reveal, I had the pleasure of reading the first three chapters of The Dangerous Gift some time ago, when my friendship with Jane was just blossoming, and we were bouncing ideas off each other and lending a supportive ear. I loved the story. I loved the suspense, and the way she kept me guessing, and was desperate to read more, and felt slightly dismayed that I’d have to wait to find out what would happen. So when she offered me the chance to review this book on publication (the news of which I was absolutely thrilled to hear), I jumped at the chance. Jane – let me just publicly apologise for the time taken to complete reading the book and posting this review, but I can assure you it was well worth it. With a little snippet each night (and some days when I could get away with it, a cheeky half-hour on the sofa with a cuppa), I actually savoured my first book in over a year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Dangerous GiftThe Dangerous Gift by Jane Hunt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After leaving the life she knew, having been rejected by her first love, Jennie Taylor must return from her new life in England to the Texan ranch and Jared – the very same cowboy who broke her heart – as the two of them are forced together again through tragedy. However, it’s just the start of things to come – as soon as she arrives her visit is fraught with accidents and threats; it seems there’s danger lurking around every corner. And with her feelings for Jared still running high instead of being behind her where she’d tried to put them, Jennie finds herself in turmoil as she tries to determine whether she should remain on the ranch and follow the path of fate, or return to England and her careful, sensible plans. Her life is in the balance but her heart wants to rule her head. After all, you never forget your first love, do you?

As with Jane’s other books, her descriptive voice is wonderful and she has a great ability to draw you into the story, on to the page. The end of each scene was left with a little cliff-hanger, just begging for you to read on to the next page (when you know you should be putting the book down and going to sleep). You’re invested in the characters, and you want to know what happens to them – will they get out of this alive? Can everyone breathe a sigh of relief yet…? Honestly? Don’t be lulled into a sense of security. Not only does this author keep you on your toes, but she manages to weave a couple of red herrings in there too.

The obvious chemistry between our hero and heroine, coupled with the brilliant suspense, makes a very well-written book from this lovely author.

View all my reviews

Thank you, Jane, for bringing me back into reading.

 

Cover Reveal! The Dangerous Gift – by Jane Hunt

I’m delighted to announce a cover reveal for my dear talented friend and author, Jane Hunt – showcasing The Dangerous Gift.

I had the pleasure of reading the first three chapters of this exciting romantic suspense novel some time ago, and can’t wait to read the full story. What a gorgeous cover it is, too, don’t you agree? The hero, Jared, is certainly a sight to behold! Now, I know I am married, but who doesn’t like a nice bit of eye candy and a great romance to sweep you off your feet and away from reality for a few hours?

You can read all about the novel, and the author, Jane Hunt, below…

The Dangerous Gift front cover

 

THE DANGEROUS GIFT by Jane Hunt

Release Date: February 9, 2016

SYNOPSIS

After a tragic plane crash kills Jennie Taylor’s guardians, she returns to her childhood home—and her first love, Jared Stewart.

At just eighteen years old, Jennie had left the Unicorn Ranch in Texas to seek a life in the outside world. But she wasn’t just running toward independence. Heartbroken and confused, Jennie fled her home after Jared harshly rejected her on the eve of her birthday.

Now she must choose between making a new life on the ranch she has grown to love, or returning to her simple but empty life in England. The choice seems obvious at first, but nothing in life is simple…

Jared is forced to share control of his beloved ranch with the woman he wants but can’t have.

When Jennie receives an anonymous note, she goes to Jared for support. But what she finds is more than she was prepared for, driving the two further apart than ever. When an old friend is murdered and suspicious accidents escalate, endangering Jennie’s safety, Jared becomes her reluctant protector.

Jennie knows Jared is hiding something, but does he really want her gone from the ranch? And if so, could he be the one behind the ominous threats?

Determined to prove Jared isn’t involved, Jennie turns detective. Can she succeed in her courageous but reckless investigation…or is the truth a dangerous gift she won’t survive?

COVER DESIGNER: https://www.facebook.com/TOJPublishingServices

 

 Jane HuntABOUT THE AUTHOR: ‘Writing has touched my life in every decade. At fifty, I took a risk and made writing my career, fulfilling a lifetime ambition.’

I enjoy writing blogs, book reviews and especially stories. Vivid imagery, atmospheric settings, strong females and sensual males are essential for my stories. Everyday life and ordinary people inspire me. How would someone react, if faced with something extraordinary? A thread of romance runs through my all my books, whether they be suspense, fantasy or historical.

I want to let my readers escape their lives for a while, experience new places, new people and most importantly, new emotional lows and highs My favorite parts of the writing process are; finding a person, event or place that makes me want to write a story about it and the writing itself; when your fingers cannot type fast enough, to transcribe your thoughts.

Family is very important to me. My two children are my greatest achievement to date.

I am an animal welfare supporter and regularly use social media to promote animal welfare issues.

Limitless Publishing: http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/jane-hunt/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jane.hunt.509511

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jolliffe03

Website: http://jolliffe01.com/

Blog: http://jolliffe01.com/blog/

 

FULL COVER:The Dangerous Gift full cover

Do we really have to have it all?

These past few weeks, I’ve been doing a little soul-searching. While I’m loving being a mummy to my now 9-month-old and 4-year-old (how did my little monkey grow up so fast?!), there is something distinctly lacking in my life.

On a daily basis, I think to myself ‘I did not sign up to be a housekeeper 24/7’, which is how I feel most days. Add to that a severe lack of sleep due to said 9-month-old still waking frequently at night and stealing much-needed rest away from me. It’s rare I get woken up only once in the night, on average it’s twice a night, and a lot of the time it’s before 6am. I don’t understand how anyone can function like this? And yet, on top of this, I’m looking at ways of working from home, as an aside from being a writer. Because, we all know, writing is a rewarding career choice, but it certainly isn’t a lucrative one. It’s been three years since I left the corporate world, and sometimes I find myself wishing I actually had a job, just so I could escape every now and then, to have time for me. You know – have a real excuse to get out of the house and do something that doesn’t revolve around nappies and food preparation and cleaning. Occasionally, I have to escape to the library, because things are too noisy at home. But as a writer, I feel as though it’s unjustified. Like what I’m doing is purely a hobby.

No, it is not a hobby. It is months and months of hard work, a lot of hope, a lot of rejection, and a lot of paranoia, with little reward at the end of it. So, what do I do? I look for other ways I can work from home and potentially earn some money. I have looked into working as a virtual assistant, where there is a whole heap of work available, providing someone is willing to give you a chance first. To be fair, I’ve only given it a few weeks so far, but while I’m juggling this, bringing up the girls, and trying to keep the house in order (easier said than done), I am running myself into the ground. So, last night, I picked up my journal, and a pen, and I sat down and I wrote. Real, dig-deep-into-my-thoughts writing. Something I haven’t done in over a year. And do you know what? I really enjoyed it. I realised that I’ve been neglecting that part of me that needs to write. I don’t know why. In some respects, I’ve been scared to tap into the creative side of me. And now that I’ve peeked in there, I can’t understand why I’ve neglected it for so long. I HAVE to do this. I made myself a promise years ago that writing was my chosen career path. Lots of things have got in the way of that, such as being pregnant twice, losing a baby and having a baby. Life has carried on, and I’ve had to move with it, and I’ve somehow lost sight of what it was I was supposed to be doing. Lack of confidence, perhaps? Too many life changes?

I don’t know what it is, but I do know that we should stop trying to have it all, find what it is that our hearts truly desire, the thing that makes our souls sing; and stick with it. And if we temporarily get sidetracked, it’s okay. Because the path you’re destined to take will still be there. I’m keeping faith in myself and my abilities, because writing IS my calling, and it makes me happy. It warms me like the sun on a summer’s eve, and it makes my soul glow.