All good writers must read and write a lot

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Hi all and happy new year. I hope your Christmas time was as relaxed and peaceful as it could be. It sort of saddens me to say that this is my first piece of writing in quite a long time. I am hopeful that will change this year. Although I am partial to a great quote, I do not tend to use other people’s quotes in my writing. This quote is particularly relevant to me and one which has carried me through the last six months or so. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”. Stephen King.

I came across this particular quote whilst researching how to write a book and how to become a good writer. It really stopped me in my tracks and shocked me, in a good way. It may sound strange that I had never really thought of the reading part. The only books I read as an adult were self development books, autobiographies, literature based on mental health. The only other things that I read were interior design magazines and still do. I can spend long periods of time immersed in a page with only images to entertain me. This for me, is where I can read the story without words and this excites me. I can see the passion, the art and the style within the confines of another’s living room. Carefully curated to show the inner workings of a stylists mind. A hot bath and numerous images of mid century furniture and I am away for hours.

Like everything else in my life,I don’t just want to be a writer I want to be a good writer. Writing itself for me is still quite new in terms of writing for others as well as myself. I want to learn how to grow in this area, grammar being one area that I need to focus on. Somehow I have forgotten a lot that I learnt in school and I would like to learn how best to set out my writing, ensuring that I keep my writing brief and relevant (I am known for going around the houses so may struggle here). I want to be myself. Raw in my writing, with a more professional edge.

My business has been going the same way this last year. I had reached the stage whereby I wanted to look at areas that I could tighten up, become more streamlined and all together be more professional. I know that my work as a counsellor in my own practice is work to a high standard however there are some areas of my business that I always try and improve upon each year. I can see from my previous year in business what I need to look at and how I can market myself in a more professional manner in order to grow personally, professionally and my client base itself. Reaching a level of maturity for my business naturally flows into other areas of my life and what I want to achieve. The last year I focused a lot more of my time on my counselling business and growing this. I put the work in and saw the results. This year I would like to invest more in myself personally, allowing myself lots of time to write. I know that in order for this to happen, knowing my personality as I do is to dedicate time to it. I need to allocate time and organise my time more effectively. I have unconsciously placed writing as less important. I want this to change. I know the benefits personally for me when I write. I am more open, my confidence increases, I am more alert and most important it allow me to share myself creatively.

I love my work, however because of this I tend to trick myself that it is not work. It is. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a counsellor is not something that you put a hat on for. It is someone that I am every day, a big part of my being. I am however not just a counsellor. I am multi faceted and like my art piece “Two headed beauty” (available through my website) says “why be one dimensional when you can be your true, multi dimensional self”. By neglecting this part of me, I have been neglecting myself. I am now aware and so I can change. Creativity releases me and makes me feel free and more alive. It brings me back to the now.

You can gauge when you are following a positive path when the feelings that arise within you feel ‘right’. It is that feeling which is hard to put into words. It is like a kind of magic. It just creates a feeling of peace (and many other feelings) deep inside. It is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. It just fits. I need to write more. I need to set myself a goal, a schedule that I can achieve. I want to write with progression as I have to be continuously learning and growing. I can not stagnate.

I always want to write raw and in the moment which I have. The difference today is that I have gone through the piece and edited it. I don’t know what if any difference this will make to how it is read. This is a learning curve for me and I am enjoying it. Please look out for my next piece where I will be talking more about how reading has become a big part of my life and how I hope this will enhance my writing.

Looking forward to sharing more with you

Sophie Marie

Helping others

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Hi all, it’s good to be here. I hope you are all keeping well and if you are currently being challenged as I am then I hope you have some support to keep you on your path.

I think I have a previous post about this however my desire to help people just keeps growing stronger. I support children, teenagers and adults in my work as a mental health counsellor which I love. This is a different kind of desire. This comes from deep down, deep within my soul. When I am going through challenges in my life, my opportunity for growth, this is when the desire burns stronger. I spoke to a lovely friend of mine the other day about my ideas for helping support more people. When I told her some of my ideas she said how kind and selfless they were. I know this was a compliment, however I actually disagree slightly in that on some level I feel that helping in these extra ways will help me also and so can not be purely selfless. I guess the difference now is that I am not trying to make myself ‘feel better’. I just empathise with people and their challenges, especially when those challenges leave you feeling isolated. This is a feeling I have had many times and I know how hard it is. I also now know that reaching out to others is a way of connecting. There is a deeper will to want people to know that by offering what you can, a simple message of encouragement or small token that ‘you are not alone’.

To feel this compassion from people is a feeling that can not be replicated. At Christmas time, my daughter and I were invited to an event held by Harv (domestic abuse charity) where we were shown all the donations that people had left for Christmas presents. It was very emotional for me as it was a very powerful message that people who had never met you wanted you to know that they care, you are in their thoughts and to remind you that you are not alone. There is no greater feeling.

The truth is, no one is alone. We are all connected to one another, to nature, to our universe. We either do not realise this yet or we have become detached, disconnected. The good news is that we can all connect again. Disconnection is temporary and in a way not even real. It is more of a perceived feeling as we can never truly be disconnected to who we are at our core and if we keep that with us always this will always keep us going. I feel the need to reiterate this as it is a very powerful statement. “We can never be disconnected from our core. If we keep that with us always, this will always keep us going”. I love this.

I can feel the flow more now in my words. Sometimes it takes time for the flow, sometimes it comes immediately. I just remember that it comes when it is ready, when I settle into myself and into my thoughts. When I am in the moment, in the here and now and being mindful. I can only be me now.

I just remembered what I started my post about and that was helping others. I am reading a book I got from a charity book shop in Hexham about compassion and it really is helping me cement my desire to help in a bigger way than I currently am. I know there is something a lot bigger in me and the ideas and thoughts are all coming to the forefront. I need to collect all of my ideas and put them together in the best way to showcase empathy, compassion and a willingness to support. I know I will use my art within this as art has got me to where I am now. Art was a huge influence for me. Art helped me to connect to my feelings and to reconnect with myself. Art helped save my life and I owe a lot to the arts.

I am going to put together an inspiration board to collate my ideas and thoughts and see how I can best put forward my plan. I want to show what can be done in your local community, how every little helps and how if we all share a bit of ourselves then we can all make this a better world for us all.

With hope and healing

Sophie Marie xx

Becoming more confident as an artist

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It has been a little while since I wrote. I have been working hard getting more paperwork up to date and cleaning out my studio.

I have known for a while that I need to speak with more confidence and conviction about my work as an artist. My daughter used to laugh and I shamed at my pathetic, under the breath acceptance of my art. Even more embarrassing was my hopeless fumble of words, uttering something about resin when asked about my style of art. I could laugh about it however I knew there was still a disconnect with my expression of the kind of art that I produce.

Looking at the positives, I had a very natural conversation a couple of weeks ago where I proactively described myself as a contemporary abstract artist with nothing but confidence and pride. I also happily connected this person to my website and we talked freely about creativity and the work that we do. It was truly refreshing and it felt very natural and easy. I felt at my most alive talking about my creative endeavours, just like I do when I am creating or writing. It felt really nice and something that I want to feel more.

We also spoke about blockages to creating and allowing things in our life to get in the way of what we want to be doing. This is what bubbles my excitement as it is why I do the work I do and why I live the life that I now live. In my work as a mental health counsellor, an artist and writing my blog I work to inspire people to be who they are and to live their own life rather than following another’s path. When I talk about my creative life it opens up others to do the same and they can then do the same. It is what I call the ‘inspirational cycle. We can all inspire each other and we should all inspire each other. It just starts with one word, one conversation.

I want to show the world my art, share my thoughts, my challenges, my inspirations, my life and how I am still the happiest I have ever been in my life. It now sounds silly to describe it this way as I know it is not temporary. My happiness is not dependent on external events. I am happy because I choose to be happy and to live life the way I know keeps me happy. There is no other way.

Don’t just choose happy. Choose to do the work that keeps you happy. Not temporary happiness. Happiness at your core. Happiness that makes you ‘you’.

Sending happy thoughts

Sophie Marie