Compelling characters. Imposter Syndrome. Make a Million in Menopause.

More gentle wisdom from children’s literature.

Hello, dear reader! Thanks for dropping by!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that over the past few weeks I’ve been posting a series of these darling quotes—along with my thoughts about them.

So far we’ve had quotes from J K Rowling (obviously), David Almond, Kate DiCamillo, Beatrice Alemanga.

I have a few more up my sleeve.

Naturally.

I don’t get ’em off the internet, either. I get ’em from my own bookshelf. It’s a labour of love, okay?

As to the quote above, I always tell aspiring authors not to agonize over themes and worthy messages.

Instead, focus on developing compelling, well-rounded characters and let them speak for themselves.

Well-crafted characters have an innate wisdom that readily shines through. Wisdom, surprises and even the occasional profundity, is what they give in return for your time and devotion.

Wholehearted characters, not cunning plans and ‘virtue signalling’, will give your work the depth you crave.

In the Scribbles Academy I urge creators, through unconventional writing exercises and prompts, to invent characters on the fly—with no agenda, no character bio, none of the usual creative writing hoo-ha that can lead us into the forest of perfectionism and far, far away from genuine, spontaneous, flawed and loveable characters.

TIP: Try this. Choose a random name (film credits are a great place to find them) and simply start writing.

That’s what I did with Tan Callahan.

And Danny Best.

And Angus Jack.

And so on.

Give me a name and from there on I’ll trust the process, the muse, my deep, dark subconscious to deliver.

Speaking of the darkness. The murky, urky darkness…

Have you ever suspected you might be stuck in backstory?

Or

Maybe you’ve been told your writing is beautiful but the story somehow lacks something?

If so, have a listen to my latest podcast. It will help you get unstuck. It might even help you nail ‘show don’t tell’, once and for bloody all! (It’s a tricky rule, yeah?)

Oh! And for something different, if you want know about me and Johnny Cash, listen here.

What else, dear reader?

Imposter Syndrome

I recently framed and hung (sounds like a Ned Kelly police report). No matter. I recently framed and hung a little piece of my own artwork.

You see, I realised that as far as visual art goes, I harbour a deep and toxic case of Imposter Syndrome.

I don’t believe I’m good enough, talented enough, qualified enough to call myself an artist. Even though I have sold artwork, been commissioned to make artwork, I still cringe at putting my work out there.

Vom.

But during some serious soul-seraching, I thought you know what? Stuff it. It’s time to take up some space in the art world.

So I put this little picture in a frame. It’s called The Answer.

I did not hang it in the toilet. (First choice)

I did not hang it in the Witchy Cottage. (Second choice)

I did not hang it in my studio (Third choice). (Btw are you liking my Dr Seuss allusion?)

I hung it in the entrance hall.

Yes, I did! Right at our front door for all the world to see!

Honestly. You never get comfortable if you stay inside your comfort zone, dear reader. You just get bored, frustrated and a bit bloody narky.

Better to jump over the that imaginary museum rope that keeps you safe, smug and stitched up.

TIP: Do it! If you haven’t already, frame a piece of your own artwork and proudly hang it in a prominent spot.

Chip away at that Imposter Syndrome. Don’t let it stymie your one precious life, dear reader.

Speaking of which, have you noticed how rife Imposter Syndrome is in our industry and in the arts in general?

With that in mind, our January interview in the Duck Pond will be with Dr Leila Davis who is an expert in Imposter Syndrome. Leila is also a GP, a Gestalt therapist, a savvy business woman and the most gentle and wise of souls. You will love this interview and I know it will help you shine even more brightly in 2021!

If you’d like to join the Duck Pond, we will be open again soon. Yippee! Jump on my mailing list so you never, ever miss a trick! CLICK HERE

Lastly, dear reader, if you’re interested in menopause, gender bias, money blocks and the joys of running an online biz and making lots of jingle, I think you’ll love this chat.

Sarah Leather is a business coach and mindset mentor (based in Ireland) who recently interviewed me on her punchy podcast, Make a Million in Menopause. It was great fun and the feedback has been super enthusiastic! (Language warning on this episode. Surprise, surprise! LOL!)

Okey dokey.

Bye for now, dear reader. When we speak again it will be a bright, shiny New Year. How freakin glorious will that be?

Thank you for travelling with me. May the closing of year bring you peace, calm and countless blessings.

Much love

Jen xo

PS I’ve been writing more museletters, lately. Are you on my mailing list so you can receive them? If not, jump on here, and we’ll stay in touch that way too!

Adieu!

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