Gazette column: The Severn barrage must go back to the drawing board

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about the Severn barrage and how, with the current proposal by a private firm now on the table, the whole project has to go back to the drawing board. To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Should the Severn barrage be stopped or changed? Or should it go ahead now? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

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Diary of a hopeful author: Self doubt – my running-naked dream

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

Some things scare the crap out of me.  Dogs, massive insects, seeing a fleece being teamed with heels. Republicans. They just make me freeze with fright.  But there’s another thing that scares the bejesus out of me. Something that, if I let it, would take over me and, like a fossil frozen in time,would immobilise me to the spot, never moving on, always preserving me at the exact moment I left off. That thing is self-doubt.

Doubting myself is my running-naked-dream, one of those where you look down and realise you have nothing on. Like a shadow creeping across a field, it dawns on you that you’re unclothed. Naked, wearing nothing but your birthday suit. In a room full of people. The agony that comes with this is that you are mortified, utterly, devastatingly mortified.

Self-doubt as a writer is a double edged sword. In my line of work, I have to approach people. I always have. I am, outwardly, what they call a ‘people person’. I am smiley. I have that annoying habit of engaging everyone in the room so they feel involved. I network, listen, understand, mingle. I nod at bad jokes. Think of it as a swan, gliding, confident, chin slightly beaked, whilst underwater, the feet are kicking, frantic, mad.

 Self-doubt, you see, is my swan feet. I am awash with the stuff. It cripples me, sometimes so much that I will start a project often only to stop it half way through declaring it to be ‘rubbish’, then start again from scratch.

Flip side is, I know I have a good radar, a kind of instinct I suppose, for what works and what doesn’t. This is the other side of that sword. It comes into play a lot in writing, thank God. It’s an instinct that tells me when to revise a chapter, when to really cut a joke out of a column and when not to write a blog on self-doubt… Trouble is, when you mix this handy instinct malarkey with this self-doubt cess pit, you end up with something that resembles an oil slick, something that renders you unmoveable, sticking you together until you are blinking through dripping oil and wondering how in the hell you are going to make it out.

This week I’ve had to approach people – and I’m drenched in doubt. I am freelance, my promo person is me. I am the one who has to shout about me, even if, inside, it’s absolutely the very last thing I ever want to do. The approaches this week I’ve had to make are to do with festivals, things like that, speaking, if you will, at big literature events. I have done this on a a few occasions before. Heck, in my marketing life guise, I’ve presented to rooms of over 300 delegates. I’ve been on the radio – live. I do actually like it. So, clearly, being there isn’t the problem.

It’s getting there in the first place that’s the issue. I just assume, you see, that I’m pants. It’s my default button. But I know it shouldn’t be, though.  And so, mercifully, just when I feel as low as a river in a drought, I get a life line, a little splash of rain. Writing is that line. Writing. I love writing. My dream. It flies in just in time, swoops me up and saves me.  The thought of writing is the thing in me that says, ‘just keep going, just do it, do it. Stuff it. What’s the worst that could happen?’

And that’s it, really, isn’t it, in all this writing lark, in this profession where you are critiqued by everyone, up against thousands of others, shooting your arrow to hit a target 100 miles away. Before you throw in the towel on it all, you have to stop, you have to, and ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’

‘Cos the answer is nothing. Nothing could really happen if you approach people, if you try, if you give it a shot. So why not just do it? Just sod it, and do it. The worst they can say is no, at which point you smile and move on to the next.

Because – and here’s the really scary thing -if you don’t do it, if you end up jacking it all in and packing your dream – whatever it is – into a box, if you find yourself about to do that, then ask yourself, in that scenario, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and I’ll guarantee you, that answer will scare you the most.

So me, I’m off to scare the living daylights out of myself and approach people. Sod it. Take that, self-doubt! I mean, what’s the worst that could happen..?

What scares the pants off you? What stops you from moving on and what do you do to get going again?

 Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about  the Severn Barrage in Gloucestershire…**

My Citizen & Echo column: Why hair is the mirror of who we are

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about hair, blessed hair, and how it is truly the mirror of who we are. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other lovely weekend stuff on there, too. 

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday. 

Hair – love it or loathe it? Does your hair reflect who you are or do you not give a monkies? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: Why I sometimes feel sorry for politicians

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about politicians, why I sometimes feel sorry for them, and why, with the proposal of a new super prison in Pucklechurch, political decisions have to be made. To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Do politicians have it tough when making decisions? Or do they have an easy time of it? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

My Citizen & Echo column: Why high heels are fashion’s yielding whip

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about shoes, uh-huh, shoes. And specifically why high heels, gosh darn them, are the yielding whip of fashion. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other lovely weekend stuff on there, too. 

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday. 

High heels – love ’em or loathe ’em? Or are you, like me, a flat shoes kind of person. Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: If we applaud fox hunts, the face of our county changes

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about fox hunting and why, if we applaud it, the face of Gloucestershire as a county changes. To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Should the fox hunting ban continue to be in place? Or is it a ban that, aswell as affecting tradition, should not and cannot be enforced? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Diary of a hopeful author: How to create a writer’s CV

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I’ve been writing my CV. Well, I say writing, more pulling together. I mention this because, after tonnes of in-depth research (surfing the web whilst swigging coffee and watching 30 Rock re-runs), I have discovered that these days, in the age of the Internet, email and dancing cats on You Tube, the paper CV is nigh obsolete.  Gone. Done. Kerrput. Okay, not totally.

You see, I work in, well, I guess you’d call it, media. Yes, I write for a living, but think how fast things move. If we want to get in touch with an editor, it’s via email. If we need some fast data, get on the web. If we need to order pizza, call on that smart phone.

My trouble is that my old CV is outdated. I worked in marketing and my CV is on paper, it’s all, ‘strategic planning this’ and ‘advertising revenue percentages that.’ Not really conducive to a writing CV were you’re after a job that lets you sit in your PJs eating custard creams and writing about pop music, politics and society all day long. And so to a little digging. Turns out online CVs are where it’s at. For a writer, because we have to, you know, get stuff to places fast, an online CV sits with that nicely, like balsamic vinegar sits with olive oil. It just goes. But, oh where to start? What does a groovy online CV look like for a writer? Do I have enough material? What will I say? Do I really have to have a picture of myself on it?

As it stands, that there internet thing turns out to be something of a marvel when it comes to answering all these questions. One quick Google and I have a whole host of info on how to create a writer’s CV. Things like this: keep it updated. Everything you write, log it, get it down. As a writer, what you scribe IS your CV. You are only as good as your next piece. Detail your experience first, then your education, then skills.

But why all this leg work? Well, you see CVs are vital to writing jobs. CVs are like your shop window – if it doesn’t look good, people won’t want to stop by. And so think of an online CV as the retail equivalent of a store website. Everyone shop has gotta have one as well as the high street store if they’re going to survive.

And so, too, for writers. Online CVs are essential now. They can be emailed at the click of a finger – mouse – to prospective employers, giving you an edge, with all your writing for them to view in one place. Hopefully. But what should they look like? A cracking website I found was by a journalist called Josephine Moulds. She is a freelance writer for papers such as The Guardian and The Telegraph. Her online CV is done using a WordPress site. It’s simple and effective – and she can keep it updated . Here’s the link – it’s worth a look if you’re in the same boat http://www.josephinemoulds.co.uk/

As for me, I now have an online CV, too. Well, I say, have. I will do. Just about 5% of it left to finish and then new job ops here we come. Oh, God, I hope so.  The next step will be drawing up a list of who I should contact, who I already know – and I’m all set to get on out there. And then I’ll get distracted and go shopping. Online.

How do you develop your writer’s CV? Do you put your CV online? Or is it paper all the way?

Links: http://www.josephinemoulds.co.uk/

 Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about  fox hunting in Gloucestershire…**

My Citizen & Echo column: Fitness DVDs – the nemesis of happiness

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about fitness DVDs – specifically celebrity ones – and why thet are the nemesis of hapiness.

I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other lovely weekend stuff on there, too. 

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday. 

Fitness DVDS – love ’em or loathe ’em? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**