Dear Muse

A lot has been written over the years about the difficulty of getting started, or maybe getting re-inspired after a hiatus, but nevertheless this post really resonated with me. I am only too conscious that reading about writing is also just another form of procrastination but it’s more fun than doing the ironing.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

mulloyBy Marla Mulloy

Write a letter to your muse, my writer friend said, in answer to my sad, self-loathing, whine about the writing life.  So I did.  I was mad.

Dear Muse,

I haven’t heard from you for a long time.  I wonder, are you having a nice time on your little holiday?  You must be having a holiday; you are certainly not paying any attention to me.  Perhaps you are on a beach somewhere in the sun, reading something that someone has actually written?  Or maybe you are simply watching people cavort in the sand or wander by the ice cream store, bored silly by my procrastination and delusion.   I realize I wasn’t the easiest charge you’ve had.  I realize I was hard to motivate, boring to watch.  Most likely, you are in my living room sitting in that chair that I placed near the small table where I…

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I finally finished my first podcast!

About six months ago I decided to make a podcast called “Finding your Passion”. My idea was to talk to interesting people about their life journeys.

I interviewed my amazing niece Olivia who lives in London and works for an innovation organisation called Nesta. She was visiting Australia at the time, so I was able to catch up with her in Perth. We had a great chat, most of which has made it into the final podcast.

After six months of editing the interview and fiddling around with it, I thought it was time to take the plunge and publish, so here it is. I hope you enjoy listening to my first ever episode. You never know, I might even make another episode!

The unfaithful blogger

It’s nearly the end of July and I’m conscious that it’s over a month since I posted on my blog. I feel a bit bad about that. I know that I usually use the excuse of “I’ve been busy” when I haven’t posted for a while and although this is true, there are plenty of times when I’ve been busy but I’ve still managed to write fairly regularly.

The real truth is that when I stop writing I can almost feel my confidence draining away. Those mean little voices in your head say things like “what were you thinking? Why would anyone be even vaguely interested in anything you have to say?” I’m not sure if you suffer from the same problem, but once I stop writing I find it increasingly hard to convince myself that I have anything new or interesting to offer.

On the other hand, I still find articles I’d like to share and I feel that perhaps someone out there in the world just needs a little boost, so today I’d like to share this article from the Book of Life on the Origins of Confidence. 

There are a couple of ideas in this article that I especially like. One is the notion that we have a variety of voices in our heads that speak to us. Some are kind and gentle and some are mean and critical, but we can choose to listen to the supportive voices. Typically this is the voice of a beloved parent or perhaps grandparent. This is the voice you should listen to. This voice doesn’t tell you that you are awesome. It just tells you that you are capable and you should give it a try. It’s the voice of the friend who knows your innermost secrets and loves you without judgement.

The other idea is that if things aren’t going to well at work you shouldn’t assume that this makes you unloveable or less of a person. The degree to which we succeed in our endeavours at work or at home isn’t related to what kind of person we are. It’s just work.

I heard a nice quote the other day that said that people don’t remember us for what we do or say, but for how we make them feel. I think this means that if we are kind to other people (and ourselves), that’s how we’ll be remembered. I like that idea.

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott: 12 things I know for sure


Today I’d like to share this wonderful talk from Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird and several other books on writing and life.

I especially like the point she makes about not comparing yourself to other people. What she is saying is that we are all a bit messed up and vulnerable but we keep this a secret from the rest of the world as much as we can. When we compare ourselves with others we are only seeing their public selves and not their real and often messy selves. If we could inside people we would understand that we are all flawed and therefore vulnerable.

There are also some funny comments about food. In a sentence she captures the notion that we can look after ourselves better than we do.


A little bit of love goes a long way

Sending positive emails to people you care about is amazingly effective. I’m really enjoying the experience and I’m happy to report that not only is it easy, I’ve actually started looking forward to that part of the day.

The emails have to be genuine but they don’t have to be long. So far I’ve emailed a friend that I’d lost contact with (great result), I’ve emailed a work colleague I like and respect to let her know that she’ll be missed when she goes off to start a new role next week. She was so chuffed! I couldn’t believe how such a small gesture meant so much.

I’ve also sent a couple of emails to relatives. Nothing heavy, just a few words to say that I appreciate them. I’ve noticed that it’s also making me feel closer to all the people I care about and much more connected. It’s as though the activity is having positive flow-on effects to all my relationships and making me feel less worried about being vulnerable.

You should try it and see what happens and maybe let me know. I’d be really interested to hear if it works for you.

A little dose of happiness

I was going to call this post “I’ve been bad” but I thought that sounded slightly flirtatious and a little bit coquettish and I certainly wasn’t after that effect. What I really wanted to say is that lately I’ve been breaking some of my own rules, especially at work, and I’m not proud of that.

I’ve been doing all the things I disapprove of including being negative about the organisation I work for and being negative about the future and my place in the world. I was feeling a bit unloved and unappreciated and this manifested by doing things like joining in with the gossipers and sometimes even adding some of my own gossip. It’s not really my style and I’m a bit ashamed of my behaviour, but it’s time to move on!

But today I’ve been thinking about agency. By that I mean the way we think about ourselves and the impact that we have on other people. I know in my heart that I’m influential. We’re all influential. We can make someone’s day with a kind word, and equally we can make people feel terrible with a thoughtless remark. It’s remarkably easy to affect other people.

Recently I’ve been listening to a podcast called The Good Life Project. The episode I listened to today featured Michelle Gielan, a CBS anchor turned positive psychologist researcher. She has some great suggestions about creating a fuller, richer and more positive life.

One idea I particularly like is to start your day by sending a positive email to someone you know. It doesn’t have to be long, in fact short is better otherwise it takes too long and gets to be a chore.

I’m going to start tomorrow and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Ordinary things

As I write, the neighbours are sitting on their verandah eating dinner together. Mum and dad and two kids. I guess it’s a bit unusual in this day and age to see such a stereotypical nuclear family, but nevertheless it’s lovely to hear them as they sit in the autumn air laughing and chatting together while they eat. It’s not perfect, the kids bicker and try to wrestle one another in an effort to avoid eating their vegies. Dad has to lay down the law about finishing their dinner before they are allowed to leave the table.

I find it really comforting in a way I can’t describe, yet here I am trying to describe what’s around me. Things that are ordinary but nice.

A few days ago I commented on the post of a fellow blogger who was concerned that she was writing about ordinary things. No great dramas in her life, just the day to day observations that go with raising a family. I told her that she shouldn’t worry about being ordinary. That what was ordinary to her could quite well be interesting and meaningful to others.

I meant what I said, but I have to admit that I avoid writing because I’m scared that people will find it ordinary or just plain boring. I also avoid writing from the heart because to reveal one’s inner secret’s and vulnerabilities is very scary, even though I know it’s also what makes us human. I love reading posts where people reveal a little of themselves and the way they see the world. I love the sense of connection that comes from recognising that other people have the same fears and interests as me.

So at this Easter time, here’s to you fellow bloggers. You inspire me. Please keep writing and sharing your ideas. You never know when you might strike a chord or touch a heart.