Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Vitality Show Part 2

Well after we had lunch, we wandered round and bought a few natural products, then we headed back to the stage we were at before to listen to a life coach give a talk about making changes to your life. Her name is Louise Presley-Turner and has been a life coach for some years. Her job is to help people apsire to live their dreams and achieve their goals in life. First she asked us several questions which were: 1. Did you have a childhood dream and what was it? I couldn't think of one. 2. I can't remember what this was but I had wrote down, comes easy and writing about my interests. 3. What do you like doing in your spare time? Read. 4. What are your passions in life? Green/environment, natural health and beauty 5. If you had no limits with time or money what would you do? I put travel to write. 6. What is your long-lost dream you've had the last few years? Mine is to write full-time. 7. Is there something missing in your life? I put purpose. At the moment I feel as though I am just plodding on with my life writing what I want with no purpose. 8,. What have you either/seen heard that sparked interest recently? I didn't know then but now I think about it, it's being zero waste and how to do it. 9. What is your goal? To become a known author. 10. What is your goal to change your life? To get known for what I write and with help to promote myself. This is an exercise from her book The Game of Life. Then she talked about some of her clients and how she helped them reach out to achieve their dreams and goals. Then she gave us rules about our goal (again in her book). Rule 1:When you set your goal, it has to make you shout yes, want to tell people and make you scared about it. Rule 2:Needs to be achievable. If you set it for say 3 years time, bring it nearer to you. Rule 3: Be measurable. You can visualise it happening and what it'll be like when it does. Rule 4:Have to be committed to it. Rule 5:Has to be your goal and make you happier. Again this is from her book, which I bought and am reading through it doing the exercises. After that we wandered round and bought a couple of goodies, and I met the editor of a magazine that I'd sent a letter to. But although I'd told her I'd sent a letter and what I do, I didn't introduce myself and give her my card, which I had with me. Shall have to email her now. All in all I had a good time, which was tiring, found out I needed to get my BMI down and listened to inspiring talks that have made me think about changing my life. Can't wait to go next year.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Vitality Show Part 1

Last Friday my mum and I did our annual trip to the Vitality Show at Earl's Court. After refreshing ourselves and getting a map of the court, our first port of call was to the Rosemary Conley stand where they can weigh you for your body fat etc. Now I know that I have put on weight since last year due to not exercising as much as then but I was shocked to find out what I did. Because my weight has gone up, so has everything else bodywise, esp my BMI. My BMI is now just over the top of what it should be so I need to exercise more and am trying hard to do so as I don't want to go overweight. The amount of calories I have to eat to keep a steady weight has also gone up. After that I bought an exercise DVD and pedometer (which I have yet to get ready to use). Then we found our way to another area where I listened to a talk by a man called John Whiteman, who is a life coach. He talked about being happy and living your dream and how to do it. There are 3 main elements to do this: Balance, Momentum and Presence, and in those are 9 elements to work on. They are: Balance: Exercise. If you exercise you'll feel more energetic and so will all around you. I know I felt like that earlier after doing 40 mins of exercise. Personal space: Make sure you give yourself some me time and just be. Sleep : Sleep well and you will feel better. I know I do when I sleep so much better than other nights Nutrition: If you put in good food then you will feel good, but feed yourself junk food and you will feel bad. I can attest to this as on Saturday I ate half a bar of dark choc and afterwards I felt really low and down, it didn't help feeling v tired and I ended up feeling sorry for myself. So now I shall feed myself good fodd most of the time with a treat now and then. Environment: If you work with nice people you work better but if you work with people that are horrible, then you will feel that way too and stressed. I know a lot about this as a colleague I worked with was not nice and her attitude stressed both myself and our supervisor. Momentum: Achieve things and complete them. Learn new things every day and get some social connection. All will give you momentum and keep you going. Presence: Concentrate on the here and now. Focus on what you are doing or listening to and don't wander off to other thoughts. Focus on your feelings and senses. I found this talk quite inspiring and it has made me think what I need to do to be calmer in my life. Next time I will talk about another life coach talk and how she has inpsired me.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Yesterday I went to the RNA chapter meeting in Holborn and Jean Fullerton (Hi Jean) did a round table discussion about getting publicity for your novel. I won't get into details I just want to mention one thing that was said and what I mean. It was said that you need to get an angle or hook to your novel to get more publicity, and by this I took they meant a theme to your book. Now this is where I talk about a meeting I had on Wednesday to discuss publicity for Rosie. (Yes, I'm still promoting it).

It started when I saw an advert for a healthy eating progamme being run locally and Ithought, hey this is a good opportunity to get it out there again. So I phoned up and the lady was interested and she mentioned another centre that could be interested. To cut it short, I emailed the lady and for some reason she didn't get my reply but I emailed the company she mentioned. The man who runs it, Darren Taylor, got in contact with me and we had a meeting on Wednesday. I was very interested in what he does. He owns a company that collects old computers from companies, fixes them up (a team does this) and sells them onto poor people who can'f afford brand new ones. He also helps unemployed people start up as businesses or social enterprises. And this is what he mentioned to me about doing. He was very interested in hearing what I did and write, seeing as it is all about healthy eating and green issues, both which his centre is interested in. One of the ladies there runs home green workshops, and Darren mentioend that I should contact the lady again about the healthy eating programme, who is actually is fiancee. He also mentioned about coming involved with them, maybe volunteering at first then doing talks etc about what I write about. I am thinking about it. I have already contacted his fiancee but not heard anything so maybe phone her tomorrow to see if she did get my email. I am very interested in what they do as it is something that I am passionate about too. What did interest me is that he said he has put in a bid to save the libraries, and if he takes over then he wants to put solar panels on the roofs, and make the staff inside recycle, reduce and reuse more, with green activities and more activities. I so applaud what he wants to do for the community. I am seriously thinking about joining in and having another meeting with him to see what I can do to help, it will raise my profile. Another thing they do is have fairs, where I can sell my books. So we shall see. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Another success

My writing seems to come along very well these days as I had another letter published last week, this time in The Green Parent mag. It was letter of the month and I win some JASON natural toiletries. This rate I won't need to buy anything for myself for the next couple of years! The letter is all about praising a group of schoolchildren who wrote to Yeo Valley asking them to make their yoghurt pots recycleable and I said if they can do so can we as it will make the country more greener. Recycling plastics is one of my passions at the moment and anything that can be recycleable I make sure, at home or at Sainsbury's. I have registered the letter with the ALCS.

I am still hard at work on Georgina, creating more magic, and this afternoon I think I will be making the art teacher do something bad, as his lesson comes into it now. I am also working on a poem for a competition, and have sent another off for another competition. I don't normally write poetry but these days it seems to come to me just like that and feels right. I need another verse or two on the one I'm working on. I also want to start writing a story for another competition, which will be connected to the last children's short story competition that I won in 2005. Have jotted down lots of notes on that one and start later on.

That's my news on writing so far. Maybe next time will be about Asperger's again, if I hear from my GP.

Friday, 11 March 2011

And the diagnosis is...

I do have Asperger's syndrome. I had the assessment on Wednesday, which with a break for lunch, took 2 and a half hours. First I was interviewed by the dr about why I wanted the assessment, then about my family background. Then my mum was taken to another room by the researcher to be asked about my childhood, whilst I was questioned by the dr about that too. I remembered a few things about my childhood, the main one being that as a child I couldn't make friends easily, I rather tagged along with others and went along with what they did. Also I invited other children to my house but never went to theirs. Then I was asked about employment and how I coped with that, so told them about that. And that I was now much calmer and less stressed being at home than at work. They said that I'd get the diagnosis if what my mum said matched what I said, and thankfully most of it did. So they said yes, I do have Asperger's. They told me that they'd be writing to my GP with lots of recommendations for me to see various specialists and teams to have assessments locally to find out what can be done for me locally. The recommendations are for me to see the local mental health team, possibly a cognitive behavourial therapist, an occupational therapist, a clinical geneticist (it's possible that it's genetic and comes from my dad), and contact the National Autistic Society. Also to see a social worker to find out what sort of benefits I can get now I've been diagnosed. At the moment I don't get any money coming in as my job seeker's allowance has stopped and I am not entitled to anything due to having enough savings. So I wait to hear from the GP, and once I do I will make an appointment. A couple of other things cropped up that I may have. I could have Generalised Anxiety Disorder as I do worry and get anxious a lot. Also, my hole-in-the-heart and my female organ problems can be related as I could have a missing chromosome, maybe again due to my dad, I don't know. I think that's why I had a blood test after it all. It wasn't too bad, and the man must've done a very good job as I don't have a bruise just a small red dot where it happened.

So now to wait to see what happens next. Watch this space...

Friday, 4 March 2011

How to give a reading talk

Yesterday I went all the way to South Kensington to the Society of Authors office to hear a talk about how to give a reading, and learnt a lot. Here is what I learnt (from my notes):

If you are a member of the Society of Authors, read the check list for events at the back of the survey before you have an event.

Preparation: When you are giving a reading, always make sure it's agreed the length of time to read. If you feel that it's too long for you, then you can suggest that some of the time, the end, can be made up of questions. It is important that the length of your talk is decided and stick to it.
Access to the venue - Find out what time you can get there. Here I put my hand up and said that I usually do a trial run to a place I've not been to before to find out where it is and how long it takes to get there. When you get there, sort out the mic, a lectern if using one. When you give your talk/reading don''t have your back to a window as it puts you in the shade, and don't have your back to a mirror as the audience can start doing funny things behind your back if they get bored. If you are writing on a flipchart, write, stop then talk.

How to choose what to read:- It depends on the event, and what the organiser asks for. You can have a theme to your talk, or a route map of what you're going to read. Eg my book is about healthy eating, so I will target children and any healthy living programmes going. It is best to choose several extracts to read rather than a whole chapter as it will be more interesting. So read an extract chat about what inspired you to write it, read another extract etc... To make it easier for you, cut and paste your extracts from your ms into the talk document. And practice. Practice gives you confidence, makes you see the difficulty of any words and brings it to life.

Voice production - Be heard. Do relaxation and breathing exercises. We did there and had a giggle. And it gets rid of any tension in the body and releases energy. Be understood and project your voice clearly and have variety in your voice. If you have two characters speaking then give them different voices. Centre yourself when talking, and standing is better than sitting, as you can project your voice better. Be clear and give each word its weight and gives variety into your voice. Here is the 4 Ps Pitch, Pace (which words you want to stress), Pause (before and after words/sentences can emphasise it) and Power.

In the afternoon we all did a reading and most of us were nervous about it and it showed in our voices and stance. Then the speaker helped us make it better by telling and showing us how to improve our speech. Of course, I sped up my reading and knew it so in future I have to slow down.

Questions - if someone asks questions always repeat it. If no questions then say that 'a question I'm normally asked is...' Don't get caught with one person, if you do then try eye contact with another person in the audience, esp if they have their hand up, and you can get out that way. If you are caught in a conversation say that you can continue it after the talk. If you don't know what to say you can say interesting question, what does everyone else think?

To get expression in your voice, read nonsense poems by Loius Caroll.

All in all I had a good time. I gave out a few of my cards inc to the speaker and might be seeing another attendee later this month at the SCBWI social. I thought it was very useful esp as I plan to do lots of talks about my interests to other people in the near future.