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.



Working through a slump

_TeaI’ve had a pretty bad week this week and it’s left me kind of tired and grumpy and feeling a bit flat about everything. I know that life has its ups and downs and there are plenty off people worse off than me, but I’m still struggling to regain my normally fairly chirpy disposition.

One of our beautiful greyhounds had to be put to sleep as he had cancer and things at work are a bit ho-hum as well so all in all, not the best week.

What should I do to feel better?

I’ve been thinking about things that will make me feel better so I thought I’d share some ideas with you in case you are struggling with life as well.
My first strategy was to drink too much alcohol. I wouldn’t suggest this to anyone as it really just leaves you feeling worse the next day. Alcohol is a depressant so if you’re feeling glum its not the best solution. It helps you get to sleep but then you wake with a raging thirst and just lie in bed mulling over your problems. Not a good strategy.

My second solution was to watch a lot of videos. This stops you thinking too much but is ultimately not terribly productive. I watched about 10 episodes of ‘Orphan Black’ which started off being really amazing and got really silly by the end.

Now I am wondering if the best idea is to just live with it for a few days and try to be nice to myself. I don’t feel as though this is giving in, it’s more about giving myself the chance to sit quietly and reflect on what’s important and not important. I know it sounds a bit cliched, but what matters is always about relationships and never about achievements or money. Funny that….

I’ve come to the conclusion that things will get better, but it will just take time.

I would be really interested in hearing from you if you have any suggestions for getting through a rough patch.


We all rationalise the decisions we make

This morning I watched an interesting TED talk about making hard decisions. Although the talk is a bit slow at the beginning, Ruth Chang makes some interesting points about the fact that we make decisions based on what we value and not on rational choices. We like to think that we are making rational decisions, but in reality we justify our actions to make them seem rational.

The same thing is true of decisions we make about items we purchase. We choose certain products because we would like to be seen as the kind of person who owns such a product or because it reminds us something else that we care about or value. But when we are questioned about our choices we say that this particular car has better fuel economy or this phone has a longer lasting battery or a better camera. In other words, we just make up reasons that sound sensible.

Perhaps we shouldn’t bother with justifying our choices in rational ways? Perhaps we should just say, I made this decision because it felt right or it made me feel good.

The same is true of choices we make about exploring our creativity. We say that we can’t write because we don’t have time, or we don’t have the space. This makes us feel better when the truth is usually that we are just scared. Scared about taking that first step, scared of exposing our inner thoughts to the world, scared that we will be misunderstood or laughed at. But we’re at the beginning of a new fresh year and what better time is there to take a chance on starting something new, or trying your hand at something different? You don’t need to have a good reason and why don’t need to explain, just do it.

p.s. let me know how it goes…


Blogging challenge: day sixteen

Every creative person needs admirers and mentors, but most of all they need other creative people who understand what they are talking about and can share and really understand the experience. Whilst your partner or friends can support you, only another creative person really understands what it feels like to be facing down creative block. Only fellow travellers understand the frustration of not being able to make a character come to life, or get a design to work.

You need at least one person in your life who truly gets what you do and why you do it. If you are lucky enough to have a person like this, you are truly blessed. If not, you really have two choices:

  1. Find someone (by joining a writers group or some other group for people who have the same interests as you do), or
  2. Invent someone. I know this sounds a bit weird, but imagining you have someone who truly understands you, can be quite useful. How great would it be to have someone you can talk to about your secret fears and your hopes and dreams?

It’s probably better to have a real person to say ‘I know exactly how you feel’ and it could be easier than you think to find that person, or group of people. Once again, it comes down to being a bit more open about what you would like from people around you. Opening yourself to new relationships or deepening the relationships you already have is often a matter of just being a little bit brave and letting yourself be a bit vulnerable.

Is this a crazy idea? Let me know…