Updated: Apr 21, 2021
My reflections on a year of writing with The London Writers's Salon.
A little over a year ago I had made a commitment to write a book based on all my learnings from over 30 years of working with children; first as a Children’s Qualitative Researcher (Kids Brands Europe) and then a a children’s coach (NLP & EFT Kids). I had been training students in working with children and also of course actively helping children with their issues around mental health from anxiety, anger and low self-esteem to birth and childhood trauma. I also worked with mums and dads and those wanting to become parents. I wanted all my experience to be in a book as a gift to coaches who could not afford my training or who already knew a lot and just wanting more ideas from my creative world of metaphor and art therapy.
I started writing in between clients and student sessions, running workshops, tennis and cycling and my life felt very rushed and a bit manic.
Then came the pandemic, it had probably been happening in the background but I was too busy to listen to the news and it didn’t sound very good for those in China. It felt like miles away. Then it came closer and closer and we saw images of Italians singing across balconies. Then it arrived and we had lockdown. A friend of mine in the tapping community told me about The London Writers Salon, an online writing community that met every day at 8am to write together. I quickly joined as a way to ensure I started my day with some writing. I couldn’t believe how many writers there were on the call and from so many countries worldwide, all coming together to write. You could see people’s faces and look up during the silent writing time to see everyone was doing the same thing, writing. After the silence, we were called back to account; what had we written? Some gave their word-count, others said they’d written a scene, or a blog post, morning pages, an article. There were people writing screen plays, drama, poems, books, songs, food articles, a really diverse group.
For the second time in my life (the first was at The Transformation Conference in Brighton in 2018 when I was with my tribe of EFT Practitioners) I felt connected, ‘at home’ accepted and truly happy. My family barely know what I do, take no interest and simply wonder why at my age, I am still ‘working’. Only other writers know that writing is not work, it is life. It is what we do. We have to write. It is our passion, our reason for living. Writers do not write for money. We write for love, to share our story.
For me, if just one person, a mum or dad, a teacher, another coach, reads something I have written and it makes a difference in their life, then I am happy.
Matt and Parul run The London Writers Salon with such humility and gratitude for us all turning up each day. They are endlessly encouraging and resourceful, accepting of the input of others and enthusiastic. Over the months of last year extra sessions were added, weekly events where authors were interviewed, masterclasses for different genres and opportunities in breakout rooms to mingle with other writers in small groups and get to know the people behind the faces.
I felt encouraged to submit my book synopsis and chapter outlines to my existing publisher Hodder and to other publishers in the area of self-development. In a short time, Free Association Books showed an interest and as my plan was to write another book, more issue based, for parents, I was able to secure a two-book deal. So ‘Understanding children and teens - a practical guide for parents, teachers and coaches’ came out in November and next week ‘Empower your kids! A coaching guide for parents’ comes out.
I feel this has been in many ways a combined effort between me and The London Writers Salon because at home it feels very alone to have no-one interested, no-one to talk to about my writing or even my work with children; coaching and training. They are simply not interested and why should they be? To them I am a mother, probably like you, sometimes OK sometimes a bit annoying and I know they love me even though they don’t actually know me at all. They accept that I am a bit weird, a bit of a hippy with my crystals and oils, meditations and tapping but as long as I don’t bring them into it, share any photos of them online or talk about them in books, then they leave me alone to ‘do my thing’. None of them have read anything I’ve written so it feels like I have a secret life in my office looking out onto the garden with my hens and my new bird table. But The London Writers Salon does know and the writers online know how isolating it feels as a writer. They know how easy it is to feel disheartened when you can’t get ‘in flow’ or when you read through what you’ve written and think you’re a rubbish writer or when you read someone else’s work and wonder if you’ll ever write anything that good.
That buzz of being with other writers and the knowledge that at four different hours in the day, you can dip in and join them and that once maybe twice a week in the evenings you can broaden your knowledge alongside them, maybe join them for ‘open mic night’ on a Friday or a social speed dating (not romantic) social event, means that you are never far from your tribe. We are not alone. In our little writing pods all over the world we are connected by this amazing lunacy that is our writing life.
Maybe we are introverts too and that is why lockdown has suited us quite well. Give us paper and pen, a laptop, isolation, other writers to connect with and we need nothing more, just food, drink and sleep. We are perhaps a bit mad. Why do we do it? Certainly not for fame and fortune, but there is an earnestness, passion and commitment, like a drug that courses through our veins. We are writers. We can be a bit mad together in The London Writers Salon.
If you want to write with us you can join The London Writers Salon as we celebrate a year of writing in community.
And here are the two books I wrote this year.
Find out more from my website, browse my books and read about my training and coaching work.