Busy For The Sake of Being Busy: how I finally started writing my book

Do you ever feel like you're busy for the sake of being busy? I know I do. Here's how I finally overcame that. In this article, I talk about what happens when you're just filled to the brim with ideas but get so overwhelming that you never get around to starting and how I overcame that to finally get started on writing my book.

Living bravely in your own skin.

Living bravely in your own skin.

We each mark a place on a thousand spectra of human difference; our looks, our interests, our abilities, our interests, our values, our biases, our likes, our tastes, our gender, our sexuality. No two of us are alike and that’s a wonderful, fascinating thing.

Why I write. Psychology and the power of the story.

Why I write. Psychology and the power of the story.
You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say - Ernest Hemingway

Maybe that's what drives all creativity? All artists. All writers. All scientists. All makers. It's not a decision. It's a compulsion. A need to tell a story.

A good story brings the senses to life; captures hearts and minds. Changes lives.

This is a piece of my story. Tell me yours.


An award, 20 questions and a bit about me.

Things have been a little quiet here at Potential Psych Blog with a house move, house fix up (renovation is too strong a word for the paint job and clean up that we're doing), some consulting gigs and general life pre-Christmas chaos absorbing my time but I've got something kind of fun today.  Last month two lovely fellow bloggers, Dayarne at Wordsmith Communications and Jo at You Had Us At Hello BOTH nominated Potential Psychology Blog for the Liebster Blog Award.

What is the Liebster Blog Award? Good question.

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers, by fellow bloggers. As a way of recognising your blog and a way to connect and discover other fabulous blogs out there.

You get ten questions (but I've been nominated twice so I've got 20) I've answered them all below and I've also nominated some more fabulous bloggers to answer my questions. Sharing the love.  You might like to drop in on them and have a read and please drop in on Dayarne and Jo to say hi and read their gorgeous blogs too.

So here goes, starting with Jo's questions....

1. What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

English breakfast tea (brought to me in bed today) and Vegemite toast eaten standing in the kitchen.  Pretty standard.  One day I will have a house with a sunny breakfast nook where I will sit and eat breakfast in a leisurely manner while reading the paper. In about 30 years or so.

2. What's the last album you bought/downloaded?

Sad to say it was almost twelve months ago, on our last Christmas road trip. It was Neil Finn and Paul Kelly's, 'Goin' Your Way' (Live).  Fab.  Also the first album I've downloaded.  How modern am I?

3. Who’s the last charity you recently donated to?

I'm a regular monthly donor to Save The Children and UNHCR and I nominated The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation for this year's funds from family charitable trust that we have.  All great causes.  So many to choose from.

4. Who’s the first blogger you read and followed?

Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim.  She got me in with her Photo-A-Day challenge.

5. What’s you fave tv show you never miss?

It used to be Offspring *sigh* but now that's finished I'm enjoying Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell and the Chaser's Media Circus.  

6. Do you have a favourite mug, if so what’s written on it?

I have a lovely handmade pottery mug commemorating 25 years of Art Workshops at Buxton in Victoria where a little artists' community used to gather for classes and workshops and general fun each summer. My sister and I went annually with Mum when we were kids.  There was a tribe of children, old farm buildings to explore, paddocks to run in and the river for swimming.

7. You’ve just moved to a new school, and you must make friends with a group of girls. Which group would you pick?

a) The Pink Ladies from Grease (70’s)

b) Heathers (80’s)

c) Clueless (90’s)

d) Mean girls (00’s)

I'm an 80s girl so it probably has to be the Heathers, even though they were a nasty lot.

8. You’ve just won the jackpot, $25 million, who’s the first person you tell and the first thing you spend your money on?

I phone my husband and shout, 'Yay! We can pay off the mortgage and build our new house!' and I'll deck it out with all of the gorgeous homewares that I've lusted over for the last ten years but haven't bought because we've never stayed in one place long enough.

9. iphone or smartphone

iphone, for sure. 

10. The power cuts out for the night, how do you keep the family entertained?

Bundle them into bed as soon as possible and then go to bed myself and read by the light of my book light. That's what I'd like to do.  In reality I'd probably be busy tidying the house and doing the dishes and getting school clothes ready while wearing a camping head torch and shouting at the kids to get out of the way.

And now for Dayarne's questions....

1. Favourite movie from childhood?

I have fond memories of the original Muppets movie as Dad took us to see it and has since claimed that it's the best movie he's ever seen. 

2. Sweet or savoury?

I can do both but I tend to crave savoury more.  Give me a packet of Shapes over chocolate any day.

3. Favourite blog post you've written and why? Link to it!

Great question, Dayarne!  I think it might be my first as it was well, my first, and it was well received and gave me the guts to keep going.  It was all about finding the courage to start.  Here it is.

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?

New York!  Never been.  Would so love to go.  Top of my list.

5. Best road-trip song?

Hoodoo Gurus, 'Like Wow, Wipeout'.  Brings back memories of roadtripping with the surfer boyfriend and mates as a teenager, many years ago.

6. Go-to menu when you know you have guests for dinner?

I have inherited a chicken and vegetable filo pie from my mother and grandmother that's always a hit and can be prepared in advance and popped in the oven.  That's my kind of cooking.  Adapts well to seafood too.

7. Summer or Winter?

It's cold and bleak here in winter and winter tends to last from about Easter until November so summer is a lovely respite but... I loves me a pair of boots with jeans, a coat and scarf so it's probably winter for me.

8. Finish this sentence: It makes me sad when ...

I think of anything bad happening to any one of my family.

9. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Eliminate sadness and suffering, whatever its cause.  

10. Favourite Christmas tradition/s?

Putting the tree up on 1 December although that's moving day for us this year so who knows what will happen?  Our Christmases change every year depending which family we're with and who's place we're going to.  My boys are now six and three and I'm looking forward to starting new Christmas traditions with them.

Okay, so now it's my turn to nominate some fab bloggers for this award.  And the award goes to...

My questions for you are:

  1. What is one of your favourite quotes and why?
  2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
  3. If you had 30 minutes of free-time, how would you use it?
  4. Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad but it turned out to be for the best?
  5. What is your first memory of being really excited?
  6. What is something you learned in the last week?
  7. Top three favourite songs?
  8. Best thing about blogging?
  9. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
  10. What are you most looking forward to in the next month?

Positive Life: Book writing and the paradox of choice

About ten years ago I wrote a book with a fellow 20-something psychologist. It was a self coaching / self help book called 'Turning 30: How to get the life you really want'. (Very relevant to me ten years ago). The writing and publishing process was in turns, torturous and exciting and very informative. I know a lot more about the publishing industry than I did before and I'm still uncertain as to whether I'd do it again.

Something I did love about the whole book writing thing was the opportunity to legitimately spend time trawling libraries and the interweb in the name of research. I have loved researching since I was a kid hunting through the World Book Encyclopedia for school projects. There's something about discovering facts, following links from book to book and now website to website and building knowledge that excites a nerdy mind like mine. 

Today there are TED talks. A whole new and interactive way to learn stuff that didn't exist when I was working on the book, and another way to lose a few hours in the name of research.

The TED talk I'm showing off today is Barry Schwartz talking about the Paradox of Choice.  It's an oldie but a goodie and it was an idea I discovered back in the book writing days of 2005.  We wrote about the challenge for almost-30-somethings having to make decisions about careers, jobs, relationships, travel and finances in the face of almost limitless choice and the anxiety that this can create.  Today we'd probably hashtag this #firstworldproblems and I think in recent years there's been a move back to simplicity that is perhaps an antidote to the paradox of choice.  But maybe it's just that I'm no longer turning 30.  

If you haven't seen it before, here's Barry talking about the paradox of choice....


And here's the UK version of our book, just in case you want to take a peek.