On writing

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Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

We have lived in a construct, label-based, boxed-in reality, which is based on dualities, contrasts, limited choices based on ‘either this or that’, needing and having to influence others to agree with what we believe is the truth. Let me tell you something. None of it matters, it is just a story that had been created, told and designed to enslave and control, since the creation of ‘humanity’. We all fell for it, we all were born into it whether we had a choice or not. By the age of five most of us would have lost, rejected, supressed or moved away from what we intrinsically knew was true and unique for us. The price of conditioning into a programme has been high for us all with no fail, generation after generation. This has been applied to every aspect of human life. Writing is no exception.

You would have seen, heard, read and experienced the idea of writing needing to be an act of suffering, sacrifice, deep emotional pain. People approached it from that point for a long time with many deciding to check out through ending their lives, as the belief of ‘unless you do it this way, it is no good and you are not worth anything’. You all read things like, which are still circulating everywhere today ‘the first draft is shit’, ‘unless you go through the bad stage of struggle, you will never produce anything worthwhile and good’. Nonsense! Have you ever written poetry or anything just using your intuition, or experienced something that writes itself through you effortlessly and in a state of flow. That feels easy, soft, beautiful and very true to our hearts. Forms that come out perfectly on the paper with no need to word count, time watching or anything else. It is true creative flow. The way one writes cannot be separated from the way one lives. If that is so ask yourself a question ‘How do I live my life?’ How do I value myself, my time, what gives me meaning, etc. The list of questions is endless and can be attended to consciously and continuously if things are called for change.

One thing that we must understand is this. There is absolutely nothing bad in an expression, nothing. We cannot continue labelling our writing as good or bad. It is not this or that. It just IS. Whatever is being expressed by an individual cannot simply be labelled bad. We do it to ourselves fearing that if we don’t others will. Detach from what is a label, construct that one must struggle to create something good. It is just an illusion. All that matters is an experience of writing, an experience of a creative expression and, therefore, life itself. When you create you tap into life literary, therefore it can never be bad. How can it be bad? Labels are an intrinsic part of the programme that somehow values and focuses lack, unworthiness, suffering on purpose almost and so on. Sounds like we all have a choice, the thing is we always had a choice even though we didn’t think we did and, perhaps, as children we don’t have depending on the family we came into, but as adults we certainly do have a choice and a right to change things to what feels good to us. Writing is a unique expression, just like paining, playing music, crafting or anything that requires a different type of flow to how we are told the flow should be. There are no should or musts. All you have to do is recognise that this way of writing is what prevents the flow in the first place, what stops from your own voice being heard and blocks enjoyment of the whole process. Drop it all, create an anomaly in life and in your writing and go with that with deep belief that anything is possible when expressed without having to attach to labels, external opinions or anything else that creates a friction within us when we do it. We all felt that often.

Darkness receding

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Don’t you love the return of the light or do you prefer the warmth of the dark, comfy burrow that sustained you and your spark during winter? I love winter and its creative fire that it always brings with it. My energy is high, my intuition is sharp and my productivity flows seamlessly, as if it is meant to be that way. I have always loved the feeling of being contained, warm and nourished by the darkness and embraced its gifts.

I am opening up to light in the last week or so, curious about what it might bring. New beginnings on the horizon again, new growth, new stretching into actions, planting seeds. I also love early spring, its gentle and tentative appearance in a form of small yet vibrant flowers beginning to peep through the soil. I welcome those signs fully. There is something very delicate and innocent about early spring, as it is time of the Maiden. By the end of March she will be in full force with her presence upon the land and life will begin to burst fully in being.

What a fantastically rich winter it has been for me. From November until now I have not stopped in terms of being creative and productive. This period of time has gone very fast for me and I am excited beyond belief at achievements, collaborations and creative projects that have materialised. Beautiful period of time that also felt completely new and different, like life took up a gear and the direction I was going was exciting and way more challenging than before, but so rewarding. My belief in things aligning, divine timing and trusting my own intuitive knowing has strengthened hugely in the last three months, as things that had occurred could not have been made up or prepared for. It flowed just like it was meant to be. I have learnt to trust that flow and also enjoy it fully, to the last ounce. Offerings that feel the most nourishing to the soul, when they come, transform everything around and propel one into doing things seemingly impossible, yet there is this confidence, inner knowing and complete faith in doing something that will bring a warm and nourishing feeling.

Writing is such an activity for me that makes me feel like nothing else does. It is rich, delicious, warm, satisfying, all consuming. It is that one thing that when I I do it I don’t think of anything or anyone else. Time and space disappears. I have been learning so much.

My devotional to the land in a poetry chapbook came out last week SOUL LAND and it felt very containing, summarising somewhat, having put it all together it is a cosy feeling of achievement and most importantly self-expression that meant the world to me. I hope more people enjoy my spiritual/transpersonal love letter to the land and resonate with its contents. If you love Scotland, feel deeply connected to the land (any land), see nature as an integral part of our soul and enjoy raw and emotional words, the chapbook is for you.

Here I am, this morning sitting in my writing office, thinking of the next project and letting my intuition guide me. I have two new ideas in the pipeline, which I made a start on, but there is no rush, particularly during the next couple of weeks when we are called to be with ourselves before we are called into action again towards the Equinox.

If anybody interested in hearing about my experience on self-publishing vs traditional publishing, let me know in the comments. This year I am trying both ways and so far, I am more of a traditional publishing person (currently under contract with Moon Books) for sure. Self-publishing is a complex, expensive and not an easy option, but it is very individual. See what works for you. I will post some more updates on both types of publishing.

Enjoy the New Moon and let things come up to the surface gently. Observe the dreams, as we come out of the dark moon lighting into illumination of all things in a week or so.

Much love and many blessings!

Raw Nature Spirit

Please follow me on Instagram for updates on my writing and nature walks

Image: Scotland in winter

Isle of Mull whispers

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Isle of Mull, Scotland 2017

Outlines of Duart castle drew me in with its mossy and slate colours and ancient architecture. Like a hand of times long gone it stretched out to me across water standing in the rain on a ferry. Greens, pale blues and grey surround my senses and my heart leaps towards the land at a distance. I smell pines as I step off the ferry and quiet, oh so quiet. A bird tweets, invisible, and I catch the sound as a welcome home. My feet plant comfortably into the soil and I feel like running towards the forest, sea and be swallowed up by thundery sky overhead. I love the rain here. I barely notice it.

I know the place I want to go to, near Loch Don, not far, a piece of paradise silenced into simple yet magical beauty. A white cottage on a hill with deer surrounding it curiously poking their heads from behind its worn walls. Roses in the garden covered in glistening drops nicely quenched. I take my shoes off and walk towards the garden fence. Silence goes through me and I feel like flying. Next I want to melt into the place and become a stone, a blade of grass or a shell lying on a loch’s shore. Nowhere else I feel more a part of something beyond myself and deeply grounded in my own body. Here I remember who I am. That question gets answered every time the island calls and every time is like the first time I find myself again. It scares me how quickly I get lost when apart from this soul land and every time when it takes me back in I am born again. The process is both painful and ecstatic, distorted and transformational. It can be tiring too yet I wouldn’t change any of it. Wind’s gentle breath brushes my cheek and I inhale deeply the clean air from the land’s lungs. I fear to lose it, not to be part of it always, but I know that I find home here every time and that is hopeful, sweet, ‘balsam to a wound like’.

The house was to be sold and I am here to either say good bye to it or possess it for eternity…

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This came to me this morning just before Yule and I am so glad of it. There’s a promise in my vision.

Don’t forget to pay attention to your visions and intuitive glimpses during this beautiful time of darkness.

New spiritual

Yule log

In the last two months I have found my new ‘spiritual’, ‘other than’ space through writing. I have loved every second of my passion and particularly how it feels when engaged in it. It feels otherworldly and like nothing else. For that I am immensely grateful and feel joyful knowing I can step into that ‘dimension’, yes, it feels like another sphere all together, when I want to. It is not, of course, as simple as just sitting down and write, but I love that complexity, a challenge, which stretches me intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

As Yule is approaching I can feel my energy shifting into 2020 goal setting, or a visual and sensory plan I like to envisage. I usually go about this by tuning into my energy and how I feel, which is around, rather than purely looking at physical needs and demands of the outside world, so to speak. What I am discovering is that I feel I would like to step more into my Fire energy. Again, this is not unusual for me with the season of winter, but I think I have forgotten how much I missed it having spent a lot of 2019 in a place that explored more soft, sensitive, quiet ‘me’. You see with writing both are required and I love that. In terms of going forward I would like to step into the Fire of my own inner qualities and run joyfully with that. In the last few days I have had a pep talk with myself, got angry with myself (in a good way) and said ‘enough is enough’ in relation to many things in my life. It felt like an existential shift where I have come to more acceptance of belonging to this earthly world, whether I want to or not, and that I don’t always have choices and neither I should have. There is less discussion, introspection and analysis needed for me at this time and more being present in the physical that I need to manifest. Winter is the perfect time for me to do that, as every year my energy escalates, my mind clears and I become very productive and active. I love it.

In terms of my spiritual practice I would like to implement the elements I am referring to above, e.g. creating more of a routine, consistency and commitment to things I need to be doing. Arriving at what that might be will, of course, be done intuitively, as it is my most natural way of discerning things. The rest will be done in a clean, precise, organised manner. At least I would like to try. Many things have sort of disappeared into the background in terms of practice and I would like raise my awareness more and bring things back into practice, but with a new vigour, in a new way.

My plans are a lot about writing in 2020. That includes literary fiction and poetry and non-fiction on subjects related to earth-based spirituality. I feel excited to have a few projects in the pipe-line. My poetry book ‘Soul Land’ is coming out next year and I am extremely touched and passionate about that collection and in awe of how it came about all together. It was meant to be, the only way I can describe it.

My first step on the way to reawakening traditions will be searching for my Yule log and decorating it for the 21st December celebrations. I love Yule and I love darkness, which always feels super nourishing and comforting to my soul and my body adores cold temperatures. I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating Nature and all her beautiful gifts.

Blessed Yule!

My writing process so far

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I am near the end of my first-drafting a novel journey and learning, growth, inspiration and genuinely rich experiences that have come out of it so far are bursting out of me. I didn’t have specific expectations going into this process of what it is like to start and complete a work of fiction. All I knew that it was time and I needed to do it. I have written non-fiction and poetry before and writing fiction has proven to be a very different experience. Poetry was a unique, completely spiritual and intuition-based experience and non-fiction is something that I enjoy and approach with a different attitude. I enjoy experiencing and researching and putting my findings into words. I have learnt a lot about myself as a person, as a writer, as a woman undertaking a novel writing and many things have been re-affirmed for me. I have a bit longer to go and currently taking a break and reflecting on the journey so far. Many writers would relate to some of my lessons, I am sure, as I found hearing the old wisdom coming through with each experience I was having and nodding my head. I have read and listened to many authors’ lives and experiences by this point. Many nuances of the journey are my own, and unique, however, and finding a personal creative path and voice, to me, is absolutely necessary and the most exciting part of the process.

Here is a summary of things that I have learnt so far on my journey of writing long fiction:

You will hear this many times and it is a life-saver advice for sure. Do not edit as you write. Just write without going back and editing and re-writing. Keep moving forward. Editing comes later on. The first draft (there will be many) is just telling a story to yourself. This will help you progress, eliminate doubt, self-critique, etc., which is not what the first draft about.

It is possible to write anywhere, anytime and allowing for a needed process on any given day to unfold is important. Nothing should be forced. Drop preconceptions, unhelpful advice, expectations put on yourself or through others’ experiences. Do it your way. Daily I would make a decision where I wanted to write and on what device depending on how I felt. I experimented a lot and it was so interesting. For example, I asked myself or rather tuned into my feelings on the day what feels good whether it is my sofa with a laptop in the middle of afternoon or would it be on my phone while I was out for a walk or as my regular set-up at my desk in the morning. More often than not I just knew what I wanted. Intuition again is your friend no matter what you do. When I first started I wrote early in the morning every day and it worked wonderfully for me. I am productive and eager during mornings, but as time went on I allowed myself to experiment with other devices other than my desktop computer and other places. I also found the second spurt of energy or a clear space in my head often appeared between 2.00 and 3.00pm in the afternoon, so I took that. Another way for me to write that transpired was in the evening with noise going on around me, TV in the background and people in the room. I wrote on my phone a lot. At the end it was wonderful to know I could do it anywhere, at any time. I also feel that when it comes to the editing stage that is where my handwriting will come in. So far I haven’t used it in this process.

Things can’t be forced and breaks are allowed and you will know when you need a break. I went through days when I felt upset by what I was writing, or my character would hide away from a conflict that needed to happen, or towards the end I just didn’t want to think, read, write and do anything. It all happened. It took sometime before my story began living within me and characters really came forward. Then there was another period of time before they started communicating. Becoming aware of the characters was great and it helped me progress as they took over and story began to be told through their wishes and needs. I gave over control and proceeded according to what characters were saying and how they would answer questions I would ask of them.

I love, love, love intuitive downloads or inspiration flashes, as many would call it. When it comes it comes in this complete, clear form and writing is easy. This happened to me during this process too and I was glad it did.

I enjoyed setting a schedule and managing my time. It plays very well into productivity, results and increase in your writing speed over time. It is good and I found writing something every day is a great tool no matter how many words and in however many sittings. Focusing and commitment are definitely very important parts to a writing process. A balance between order, structure, routine and intuition/inspiration is a winning combo.

I learnt that I do not enjoy making things up when I intentionally do it (intuitive writing is a different thing) and prefer writing non-fiction on the whole, but this might change over time as I experience fiction writing more. I trust it will become clearer and for now it is too soon to tell.I am a visual, sensory that needs to see, touch and smell ‘a scene’, ‘an image’, etc. before I can talk about it. This is probably quite common. You can’t write what you can’t see clearly is true for me.

During my process I had a critique group going where the beginning chapters were being reviewed. I found it helpful, motivational and helped me self-reflect. Criticism is good and healthy.Reading on writing is very helpful and so is reading books in your genre. I finally understood the importance of reading in order to write and writing in order to know what your reading preferences are. Again, I came to a conclusion that I like a particular genre and prefer reading non-fiction.

Writing as a therapeutic process. I started this project with the intention of it being for myself, as a process of learning the craft, releasing a story that had been waiting for many years to be told and putting something to rest. I did just that through my heroine’s voice and her intentions she re-defined her journey and told me a different ending to the one I conceptualised before. Changing the ending of something is very powerful I can tell you. At the moment though, as she is very satisfied with how things ended and she loves it she doesn’t want to go back and look over parts of the story that still need her attention. So partly, I wait and partly I employ some tools to convince her to tell me more. Writing a novel is a great opportunity to re-write the ending of whatever story you might have been holding on to for whatever reason. It is also therapeutic because you are finding and using your own voice either as a narrator or through your characters. You hear yourself for the first time, as I did. It was revelatory and strange, but again, powerful.

Alternating writing with a physical activity, walking in my case, always walking, works for me. I would write for two hours and then I need to get out. Switching up activities kept the routine going and just felt containing and balanced.

This one is more for the future, as I plan my next step and it is beginning to write as ideas come through, not putting it off. Writing continuously is important in order to improve the craft and define your voice more with each book or a project.

I found the process incredibly rich, fascinating and so inspiring on many levels that I can say I am in love with the process, not necessarily with my book or the idea, but the process itself. It opens up so many avenues for growth and improvement and makes self-awareness and aspirations for the future clear. It is an organic and alive process too, which, if allowed to unfold and live, will bring a lot more insights.

Image: a mock cover for my novel that I created with a few others and found it helpful in my creative process. Goes back to the point about seeing things in images.