Blog

My writing career

How to Choose a Content Writer

There are many things to consider, but I just want to bring up some three things that really are a must in making the decision in a content writer.

The first thing is, you need to like what the content writer writes.

Look at the style of the writing. Would it be something that you would like to represent you as a person? Is it couched in the language you might conceivably want for your own posting? If it isn’t, then that’s the first sign they’re not right for you.

And you know what?

It’s OK for a content writer to not be for you. They are all individuals and want to write for people in the style that suits them best. And nobody will be offended if you don’t like their particular style. So please don’t let that worry you.

The second thing is, you need to be sure the content writer is aligned with your values.

What do you hold to be the most important thing in your business? Is that the kind of thing they would subscribe to as well? Can you see something that tells you their values? You see, if your values are not aligned with each other, then you could find it very difficult to get the right emphasis you would love in your writing. Your values need to be portrayed in the copy you produce.

And finally, the best thing to do is to have a conversation with your potential content writers.

This is REALLY important because it is in this communication that you and they discover if you can actually work together. There are differences in character that you find you can and can’t work with. And it gives them the opportunity to discover if they can work with you, too.

So here are three things that I would advise you to take notice of if you are wanting to work with a content writer and for them to provide either a one-off piece or continue to write your copy for the future.

If you like my work, check out my Work with Me page and get in touch!
General

Struggling with the Thought of Success

The last few weeks I have found it difficult to get writing. I just felt down and like I had no inspiration whatsoever. Admittedly, I was trying to get everything done in the house and with Johnathan. All the while Kevin had the flu, but that wasn’t the only reason.

In fact, I had stopped responding to most outside stimuli. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that place where everything just seems like too much to do, but there isn’t any particular reason for you feeling like that? That was what it felt like.

Anyway, I was truly grateful to Ian Pownell for waking me up and getting me to the place where I realised it was just me getting in my way.

I had a fear of success.

I thought that maybe my whole character would change if I had money and I would become another person. Problem is, I couldn’t recognise it for myself.

The truth is that many people feel the same way. And it gets in the way of us doing what we were meant to do. I believe money is not there as an evil thing to turn you into a monster who takes it and keeps it and tries to get everyone else’s money as well as your own.

You may have lived with someone that had a terrible money story and this has coloured your view of money because you don’t want to be like that. And it’s ok to change your money story. You don’t have to be stuck with someone else’s.

If you take the time to acknowledge what is really going on here, you would see that really, you are not going to become a money monster. You can begin to tell yourself something different because that’s ok and give yourself permission to make that change.

Just remember you are an individual and can transform your belief into new neural pathways in your brain and start believing something else.

Yes, you might be bothered by the old thinking once in a while and that’s ok. You just tell yourself that you are changing it to something else.

Money in and of itself is not wicked. Success is a good thing. You wouldn’t ascribe evil to a chair or table. would you? It’s the person holding the purse strings that make it good or bad. What do you think?

Interviews

Being Vulnerable & Massive Change

I expressed to you my feeling about meeting my in-laws last week and how daunting I found the prospect. It’s like the first time you meet or begin to get to know a prospective new worker.

On meeting new people, there are many different feelings you possess and I think in business it’s no different to real life and vice versa. And it’s ok to have those feelings.

I really want you to know that it IS fine to have these feelings. When you first meet a prospective colleague you don’t know where the relationship is going to go. Will it be good or bad? Will it still continue or falter at the first gate?

Becoming Part of Their Lives

Meeting people, and becoming part of their lives, whether online or in real life, is a daunting prospect. But you don’t know if they will become your friend or someone important in your life or not.

And in-laws are no different. You have no idea how the relationship will turn out. Maybe you’ll be at odds with them for life or alternatively you can make a good relationship with them.

But I want to bring your attention to something that happened to me with my mother-in-law. We have had a rocky relationship so sometimes I wasn’t sure how deeply attached to each other we were.

Don’t be Scared to be Vulnerable

I was in hospital and discovered I had not only lost my baby but the breathing problems I was experiencing was not caused by asthma as I had thought but was actually multiple bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms (basically blood clots on both lungs). I was really scared and sent a message to my mother-in-law from there just saying “I’m scared” and 30 minutes later she appeared in my hospital room.

No matter whether you think business colleagues will support you or not, in your time of need, be vulnerable and see what happens. Give them the chance to see where you are and what you actually need. And provide them with the opportunity to see what they can do,

General

ANNOUNCEMENT

You may have noticed I have been MIA recently but I am back properly now and I will be writing for coaches or people who help clients who have self-esteem and self-confidence issues.

I enjoy writing and have done so since my teens. It always gives me a buzz and a deep feeling of satisfaction inside. None of it has been as enjoyable or fulfilling as that before I met Cathy Hilton and helped her sort her LinkedIn profile out. It was a tremendous joy to find that I saw what she had written and instantly knew where she needed to make changes. She had asked for help in a Facebook group and I contacted her and showed her how to adjust her LinkedIn profile and did another two articles for her.

In writing for other business sectors, I have discovered there is no other group that I enjoy as much or that has given me the same sense of satisfaction than writing for coaches. I believe what made it more real for me is the fact that after speaking to Cathy on facebook messenger, I could tell EXACTLY how she would write it and the bonus is helping other individuals.

Contact me here or on facebook for further information.

General

Being Scared while Creating A New Relationship

Have you ever had to create a relationship with someone in the business that you find daunting?

Maybe you are concerned because you don’t know how to prepare for them. Or maybe you are hoping to get some business from them to such a degree and you don’t want to lose this oppertunity. So you over prepare for the meeting in your mind.

I will admit I was more than concerned. And, truthfully, I was scared about meeting my in-laws a few weeks after Kevin and I had met and decided we wanted to be together. What if they didn’t like me and Kevin decided that he wasn’t going to marry me because of them? Kevin had been talking to me about his relationship with his parents. Early on, I realised that they were a really close family.

Maybe you know something about the relationships that your (possible) business has and are worried about muscling in on the group. Or maybe there is someone in the office that you don’t know well, but they have a great relationship with somebody you wish to impress in another team but it scares you to try?

When Kevin and I arrived at the house for Sunday lunch and dinner, Mary (his mother) offered me a cup of tea. I really do appreciate a cup of tea any time of the day. As she was handing it to me, I could see her hands were shaking.

I realised she was just as or even more terrified of me, as I was of her.

As you go to meet a new client and do new work for them, you don’t know if they have had bad experiences before. What if they are now wary of what you are going to do? In fact, for all you know, they could be as wary and scared as well. Even more so than you are. Truth is you never know what they are thinking or planning to do and vice versa.

If you are going into a job and are desperate for things to go well, just remember that they could be nervous as well. You don’t know what has gone on in their minds or lives before you see them.

Take heart, see and recognise that the fear that has held you up is not necessarily justified. The person you are talking to could be as scared as you that something will go wrong. Or that you will not be able to produce the work they need.

You can do this.

Just imagine that the people you are seeing are as scared as you.

Work out how you would put them at ease.

Show them that you are more than capable of doing the work required.
General

Gratitude VS. Appreciation: Digging into the Real Meaning

I saw a really interesting post from a friend and she said that instead of expressing gratitude, she now expressed appreciation. Her contention was that the words were used interchangeably and actually appreciation is a more positive word whereas gratitude can be a more negative one. So I decided to look into it.

These are the definitions according to the online Cambridge Dictionary.

Gratitude


noun [ U ] UK /ˈɡræt.ɪ.tʃuːd/ US /ˈɡræt̬.ə.tuːd/ also gratefulness

the feeling or quality of being grateful:
deep/eternal gratitude
She sent them a present to show/express her gratitude.
Take this as a token of my gratitude for all your help.

Appreciation


noun [ U ] UK /əˌpriː.ʃiˈeɪ.ʃən/ US /əˌpriː.ʃiˈeɪ.ʃən/
appreciation noun [ U ] (VALUE)

B2 the act of recognizing or understanding that something is valuable, important, or as described:
Max has no appreciation of the finer things in life.
The crowd cheered in appreciation.
Children rarely show any appreciation of/for what their parents do for them.
These flowers are a token of my appreciation of/for all your help.

Seeing the Difference

So you can see that they actually are different and my friend is right that you should not be using them interchangeably.

It is actually quite interesting that they are so different and actually more so than I had thought. Feeling is based on emotion whereas recognition or understanding is not. Or you could say that one is from the heart and the other is from the head.

Now I’m not saying that one is more important than the other. Gratitude is a good thing to practise but recognising what somebody has done is also excellent. I think from this, you could say that they both have a place in your life and should be practised every day.

Gratitude is based on yourself whereas appreciation is for others. Both of them need expression and to be part of your everyday life. I am never going to forget looking at these two words and the differences between them or actually use the words in the wrong context now.

General

Video Games & Teaching Moments

Where do I start with this? Let me go back a bit. Kevin had a video game – Pikmin 2 for the Wii. He played it for quite a few years on and off (well, more off than on). So about a year and a half ago, Johnathan was wanting games that taxed his mind and his analyzing ability. Kevin introduced him to the game as something he could do.

Well, Johnathan got on really well with the game and although he would ask for help, it was infrequent and for something that he simply couldn’t do. He could tell Kevin how to do it, he just didn’t have the skill with the remote or nunchuck. He played it in a very weird way – had the remote stuck in the left-hand side of the screen and left it there while he used the nunchuck.

Anyway, they completed the game and Johnathan was really proud of this – as he should be. It was a massive achievement. He had achieved something I didn’t believe was possible at his young age. Kevin and he would play the short games and occasionally he would go down and complete a cave again.

When Curiosity Gets in the Way

Johnathan is always very curious about how things work. He tends to go and interfere with the options and the settings, just to see what he can do. This could be a blessing, but he doesn’t have the background knowledge to know what to do. Kevin has told him to stay out of them in every game he plays but the other day he decided to go into them, as he does with other games. He basically wiped out the whole completed game on the Wii.

Trouble was he wanted to do it again, which would have been a good thing to do but he was leaving ALL the work to Kevin and not doing any of it. The fact is he did it all in the past and has more than enough knowledge and ability to do it himself. Kevin and I spoke about it together and we decided that he was going to do it again. Kevin was just going to be there for advice and help if he needed it.

Working on it Himself

Johnathan didn’t believe he could do it and was deeply upset at us asking him to. We told him that we knew he could – he had done it a year and a half ago. If he could do it in a bizarre way and complete the game, then he could learn how to do the game in a usual manner. We were well aware of his capability even if he was not.

So he has actually been doing it and succeeding. The game is teaching him skills that will help him in the future. Working things out for himself again is really rewarding. Every bit he is achieving, I am encouraging him that he can do it. Hoping he sees that it is possible for him to succeed.

Yes, Johnathan wiped out the game by accident, but we are using it as a learning and achieving lesson for him. He doesn’t have much confidence in his abilities so I am hoping as we encourage him, we can help him achieve whatever he wants to.

It’s wonderful to see Johnathan’s joy and delight over every bit of the game that he achieves. He knows that he can do these things now and I am hoping this is increasing his confidence. Unfortunately he doesn’t yet understand how to transfer his skills from one area of life to another. He holds them in separate sections in his mind but we are working on him recognising that skills are transferrable from one situation to another.

General

Alopecia and Finding Your Beauty

I must admit that I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this or not. Alopecia at any time is a touchy issue. And there seemed to be so many options as to why this had happened to me. I could have been losing hair for a number of different reasons.

One of the things that really got to me was the fact that people could see my head through my hair. I hadn’t realized how bad the Alopecia had got because I don’t often look in the mirror. It was when Kevin told me it was really bad, I looked properly. I saw different patches of my head through the hair.

All through the years, I have never been interested in getting my hair or makeup done “properly” or making myself “look beautiful.” To be honest with you, I never thought I was beautiful. In fact, I wanted to hide myself because I believed I was completely ugly and unworthy to ever do so. But Kevin called me his “beautiful bride” and now I actually believe it. My wedding day was one of the best of my life. I know we both look stunning there.

Now I don’t have anything against people that do their hair and makeup perfectly. If that is what you are into I have no problem with that. In fact, I have a friend who loves doing her makeup every day and expressing her need of creativity through the makeup on her face. And that’s ok. That’s what she loves to do. But it just isn’t me.

Finding Alternate Pathways to Beauty

So I have been looking for something else I can do that makes me stand out and look beautiful without having to worry about hair or face. In my past, I was told I couldn’t have long hair. So when I moved up to Scotland, one of the first things I did (or didn’t) do was grow mine. I haven’t really paid attention to it other than to brush and leave it. Maybe put some clips in or up in a quick ponytail.

However, no matter what I did or didn’t do, Kevin suddenly remarked that I had lost a load of hair and he could see my head through it. When I studied it, I realized that actually it wasn’t just one big clump but a few dotted around my head. I considered having it cut short, or a wig, or separate hair pieces for the holes.

Finding the Root Cause of My Alopecia

As one would with a situation like this, I went to visit the doctor to find out what on earth was going wrong with me. He informed me that it was a rare or uncommon side effect of four of my medications but it could also be low iron levels. So he took a blood test and my iron levels were down to 18 (which is really low) and I needed to get them up to over 100.

Still, my problem needed solving now. So what was I going to do? I didn’t want to go out with virtually no hair. It would look really weird and make me feel excessively uncomfortable. Then I suddenly thought of headscarves women wear while they are undergoing treatment for cancer. You could get them online quite cheaply, I discovered. That would be perfect. So I started to buy some.

Finding My “Thing” to Feel Beautiful

I said to Kevin that makeup and doing my hair just wasn’t part of my routine. It really isn’t me as a person. Colourful scarves are a beautiful expression of myself and I may as well accept that and use them to hide the Alopecia. They are something I am prepared to do before I go outside to make myself ready for the day.

I was out with the friend that loves to express herself with the makeup she uses and chooses. She combines different things and works out a different combination of colours of makeup and hair very day. In fact, I love to meet her and enjoy the different looks that she creates.

We were chatting about hair loss and I was saying that I am now enjoying wearing headscarves. She was saying how much she loves hair and make up while I commented that I might make headscraves my “thing” to enhance my beauty, instead of doing hair and makeup which I don’t enjoy at all. Then she said to me that it was typical of me to make the best of a bad situation and turn it to something good.

I responded that no, it was just something else that I could do to make myself finish being dressed and make me feel good about myself. Both Kevin and I try to see the silver lining on the grey clouds. I’m not saying we manage all the time but it’s part of our mindset and sometimes we have to come up with unusual solutions then we will.

Fresh Thinking

I think you tend to work out situations when the usual solutions are not there anymore. It’s something that you are used to doing as a disabled person most of the time. That is how Kevin and I work together because we know that together we can do so much more. I don’t know if any other group of people have to do this all the time, but I know for sure Kevin and I are.

So next time you are confronted with something like alopecia, or hair loss, look for the unusual solution. You will find that these are always the best. You don’t have to do what everybody else would have done, but find your unique answer.

General

Ripples from Kinship Care

If you missed the beginning of my kinship care story, Bringing Johnathan Home, please go to this post and read it first.

Having Johnathan in kinship care actually ended quite a few of my friendships. People believed that there must be something wrong with both Kevin and me for social work to remove our child. And they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore because of it. Not once did they sit and listen as to WHY Johnathan was removed.

Because of this experience, I don’t think I would judge a family whose child went into care.

Getting the Facts

I was not about to abuse my son JUST because I was abused. In fact, I know a number of people that were abused in their past and they have ALL been of the same mind that they would do their best to protect their child/ren no matter what. In fact, the urge to protect them was stronger than it would have been if they hadn’t been abused. So I don’t believe that is true, but I am aware it is the common mistake that psychology and other health services adhere to.

I’m not denying that some do, but I believe there are far more that don’t.

I have tried to forget what happened in his early life. From almost day one I knew that there was something different with him. The third day one of the nurses came in through the night and told me to turn the lights off at night so he would sleep in the pitch black. I told her not to because he would scream. She said that was nonsense and every child had to learn to sleep in black darkness and anyway he was fast asleep and wouldn’t notice. I said she could try if she really insisted. So she turned them off and he instantly started screaming in his sleep. She turned them back off and instant silence…. my point was proved…the lights stayed on.

The Pain of Loss

Giving the care of your longed-for son after 4 losses over to another being is beyond imaginable pain. I can’t think of anything greater. Because it touches you in every way: mentally, emotionally and physically. I assumed I would be breastfeeding him, but my milk didn’t come in. So he had to be bottle fed. And that was ok. In fact, it was better because it meant I didn’t have to supply milk to a baby that wasn’t even there.

Social work said to us to come back to them if we ever needed them and we did but it produced another problem.

One which they had a simple solution to; give your child away again.

That would resolve the current problem. Well, in some ways it does solve the current issue, but it also causes more problems for us again. I would never want to be in that position again. Johnathan, of course, would now have more knowledge of what was going on and be deeply upset as well.

I had been SO careful to buy things that I knew we could handle with our disabilities. I knew some things we would have to do differently from the “norm” but I expected that.

And I knew that we would work things out together as we always have done, but we weren’t given the opportunity.

General

Journey to Bringing Johnathan Home

The day after having Johnathan, I was sitting in the bedroom and two social workers came in. They had been to see me a couple of times because they weren’t sure how Kevin and I would handle the baby with the two of us being disabled. They didn’t take into account that we help each other and work to our own strengths.

I was greeted quite formally and told I wasn’t taking my baby home.

“I WHAT NOW? Of course, I will.” was my response.

“No, you won’t. We don’t know if you two will manage and because of your past we don’t know if you will have extra problems so we’re taking your baby.”

Did they know of the hurt and anger and frustration in my voice? I struggled to comprehend what was going on. This was meant to be the happiest time in my life and they were taking MY child.

To that end, I was never allowed to pick Johnathan up or feed or change him unless one of the nurses was with me. They all said I did a fantastic job and there was nothing wrong with my care, but the social workers would not listen.

So my friend (who was also my carer) offered to take Johnathan for me as a kinship carer. You see, we would have been allowed to see the people who were taking him but whether we liked them or not, we would have had no choice of who they were.

Heather & Johnathan

My friend took my son in and looked after him for me. I was another week in the hospital and dreading the day we had to leave him with somebody else. We knew Kevin’s parents weren’t able to look after him so I was and am truly grateful to Heather for her generosity.

We left the hospital and Heather drove us home in our car after we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. The week in hospital had been filled with singing to Johnathan and crying about losing him. We had lost four pregnancies before him and now my past would count against me and my son was being taken from me.

When we got home, Heather sorted everything out for us. I was so grateful! She left me with nothing to do and that was lovely. But the inevitable time came when they had to go. It felt like Heather and Johnathan were taking my heart with them and I was never going to get it back.

That night was one of the worst nights of my life. I wanted to be strong for my husband, but I couldn’t. So, I used the bathroom and then went to our room.

And I laid there on the bed, sobbing.

Kevin came in and pulled me into his arms. I knew it was because of me that they removed our son, not Kevin. I took all the blame on myself.

But you know what? There is no blame for my past.

It was what happened to me – nothing I did. This totally destroyed me mentally and emotionally. I thought I was the one at fault and so became unable to remember how to do simple things – like wash and dress a baby.

Never, ever take the blame for something you didn’t do to yourself. It’s a destructive force. It took me years to break away from that mind-numbing thought. But I AM a good mother. Everyone has told me so – including the social workers in the end. It took me a long time to realize it inside though. I felt like a total failure and believed that I could never do this alone. But there have been times that I can and have had to do it alone. And I did it, even when I have been poorly.

Getting Johnathan Back

We had to live 2 months of the year with Kevin’s parents so that we could firstly have Christmas as a family and secondly to prove that we could look after him. One of the months Kevin had to take off work completely so that he could be assessed to be sure he could do absolutely everything with our child.

And of course he could.

Those two months of my life were a hell I will never forget. My in-laws chose everything. I had never felt comfortable with them and I was sure at the time, they were judging me, although I am sure now they weren’t. There were a number of arguments with Kevin’s Dad and one night he put me in a flood of tears. I didn’t want to stay there. It was horrible because I had to drive them around as well as leave Johnathan with them if I had to collect or drop Kevin to or from work. We were not allowed to be alone with our son. Kevin’s parents were there in case something went wrong. They could stop it.

I never felt happy at their house, but had to stay there.

I didn’t feel comfortable enough to do anything around the house because Mary (Kevin’s Mum) is so particular with things. Smells and fear of Johnathan getting hurt or damaged by whatever I did to or for him was on the top of her mind, but she did allow me to just get on with it. I slept in the living room with Johnathan and Kevin went back to his old, single bed in his bedroom. I was the one who got up and fed and changed Jonathan in the middle of the night and cared for him. But this was something not seen by the social workers assessing us, of course.

Giving Johnathan back to Heather after the Christmas holiday for a few days and then gradually getting him back after having stayed with Frank and Mary and proving that we could look after him felt really odd and wrong.

And not only did we get him back gradually but when we did have him back, people would pop in at odd times to check that I wasn’t left alone with him, EVER. Kevin finally got the social workers to see that this was unnecessary and that was removed.

But it was still a while longer before they believed I was capable too.

Now we have it on record that we are good parents with the social workers. But there is a possibility of it going to back to social work all the time. I remember the time we asked them for more help, they said that the easier thing would be for them to take him away. So we have stopped asking for any help now. We pay carers ourselves and get the help we need.