After I saw the ARIA performance of of Not Pretty Enough/I Ain’t No Little Girl, and her induction to ARIA Hall of Fame, I feel immensely proud. Here’s why.
I’ve been in business for about three months now. It’s a good thing to remind myself of at times – I’m so impatient! If you read The Beautiful Beginning, you know I once marveled at people who start their own business. The whole getting started part mystified me. Now that I’ve been cogging along for a few months, I still marvel at people who start their own business and do well. Instead of thinking I’ll never be like them, I now wonder what I can learn from them. If you’re mystified on how to get started, here are three little pearls of wisdom just for you.
#1: Do the Work
My website was up: check! Facebook business page: check! Then what happened. Well, at first it felt like a whole lot of nothing. That’s when I realised it was up to me to drive this train, I had to keep it moving forward. I blogged. My blogs show who I am and what I can do. I gave myself deadlines and stuck to them. I published on my Facebook page, jokes and non-work content as well as sharing my blogs, like everyone recommends. You need a dream, a vision. But you also need to keep grinding through the ‘grunt work’ of generating interest, even when the person you need to keep interested is yourself. When I wasn’t sure what I was doing, I read other blogs on getting started. Listened to podcasts. I reached out to other biz mums, including my high school bestie and business mentor, Mikala from Inspired Office.
Mik suggested I join some groups for a free and easy way to learn, be supported, and start forming relationships. I joined Mums With Hustle Biz Club and Mums Starting Small Businesses (Australia). You know what you’ve heard about women not helping other women, because we’re like sooooo catty and competitive? Well surprise surprise – it’s a myth. It’s great if you can meet someone in person to collaborate with. The good news is that groups can also help facilitate this.
At times it seems that groups beget groups beget groups. I’m a member of several groups now, some specific to copywriting, others goal setting and planning – each have something of value to offer. I’ve started snoozing them so I can check the group when I want to, without it taking over my feed. Joining groups gives you a safe space to share ideas with others, ask questions, and grow. FB is a data-mining tool; use it to your advantage and mine it to find your own pearls of wisdom, even some gold. Social media may have many ills, but as a collaborative tool it’s fantastic.
Mindset is all. We live in the world, but we have words and worlds inside our heads. They directly affect how we see ourselves and what happens in the world around. If we keep telling ourselves we can’t: then we won’t. Everyone has heard that before. Let me tell a little story to illustrate the point.
I’ve always done ‘real jobs’. That’s what responsible people do, right? I learnt quickly writing wasn’t a ‘real job’ – I’ve been telling myself that for years. Late last year, I thought, f@#k it, and broke free of a lifetime’s habit of talking myself down. I started making time to spend writing. I wrote creatively. I wrote stories with beginnings, middles, and ends.
It was only small, but dedicating time to my craft helped me switch up my mindset. I started thinking of myself as a writer. Here’s the groovy part: as soon as I took myself seriously as a writer, other people did too. Believe. When you back yourself, you give other people a reason to think they should too.
To sum up, here are three little pearls you can take with you on your own journey. To be honest they work in business AND in life.
- Do the Work – Push on, because doing nothing will not help you achieve your goals.
- Collaborate – Social media groups make it easy to reach out to people in business of all experience levels
- Believe – mindset is such a big part of succeeding in business, and in life. Say ‘yes’ to yourself, don’t devalue your skills. You’ll find once you start really believing you have something to offer, other people will too!
That’s it for now team. Starting your own business isn’t always easy, but you can do it.
Need some more motivational reads in your life? As well as blogging to share my experiences as a businesswoman, I’m a freelance copywriter who creates cracking web content, sizzling sales pages – and of course, beautifully written blurb-alicious blogs.
Principal Blurb-ologist, Blurb-ology
I may as well get this out there: if there’s one thing I can never forgive you for, it’s your tuna mornay. The smell was horrendous, it looked like vomit, and I notice since my sister and I left home you don’t make that lovely meal for yourself…Just saying. It seems like you were wrong about my messy habits providing a breeding ground for spiders too. The only time I’ve been bitten was when a white-tail spider fell out of a very neatly folded jumper. It almost happened a second time, the spider dropping like a horrid lead balloon from neatly folded sheets. So there. But you were right about a lot of things.
‘Live your life while you’re young,’ you’d say. ‘Because once you have children, you live for them.’ Now that motherhood is a shared experience, I understand what this means, but your experience was so different to mine. I know what it’s like to struggle in those early years of motherhood, the expectations we place on ourselves, the expectations of others. I know what it’s like to struggle to find yourself – your ‘old’ self, your pre-children self – beneath the heavy mantle of motherhood. I found respite in childcare, just a couple of days a week to have some time to myself. I joined a gym and exercised regularly, with and without the children. I took up study. I wrote. My husband is loving and supportive; a hands-on father. For you there was no respite. There was no daycare, no OSHC, no family, no support. A demanding, lazy and resentful husband who never so much as changed a nappy. Such wasted intellect, those early years for you. Such hard work.
Yet I remember us dancing to Bony M and The Village People in the lounge room at Forest Hill, the smell of dust, dark wood and vinyl, and the great joy I found in the mystery of watching the records spin. You played us Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, ABBA, The Village People, The Mamas and the Papas. You played us Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face LP to ad nauseam, because it made us laugh and laugh.
I wonder if you think back on those times like I do? Taking refuge in sublime harmonies and a shameless love of mass-produced music; I still love them, and the fun and laughter we shared.
As we grew up, you never put pressure on us to find a partner, get married, or have children. You knew Motherhood is a wonderful thing but can take you to dark places in yourself you didn’t know were there. Before I joined the gym and found release and balance in my life, it was hard to admit I was angry and resentful at my own children. I would sit there during long night feeds just thinking ‘Beam me up Scotty!’. I was short-tempered, I was frustrated, I was becoming someone I didn’t like. As the baby Mr. 7 cried in his cot, I would tug at my hair like a crazy person, trying desperately to stay in the here and now, not descend into madness. You put aside horse riding, your great love – your great escape – for a period of years. Now I understand what it cost you. But you didn’t get angry, you were always loving, always gentle. You were so patient and kind, where I have struggled to find that with my own children at times. You showed a great strength and a great capacity to love that I can only hope to tap into someday: I’m so grateful. I’m so grateful.
You gave me a love of books and reading. A way to walk down the dark, dangerous and delightful paths trod by Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Cap, Snow White and Rose Red, Cinderella. In a world of evil stepmothers and absent, foolish and neglectful parents, I knew I had a mum who loved me, who was always there. Black Beauty, Charlotte’s Web, Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson; you gave me a strong foundation in verse and story. Through the years has been my love, my escape. Luckily books are much more portable than horses.
The smell of well-oiled saddlery and sweaty saddle cloths. Bridles, bits cleaned and hung on the walls of the shed; hole punches, saddle oil and soap. Containers of cotton, bandages and unguents for the horses. Coprice, chaff, oats in big barrels.
The sticky, dusty-sweet taste of molasses – even today there’s a jar in the pantry. The smell of sunshine and horse sweat; the sleek warmth of a well-groomed horse under my cheek. These things all remind me of you. Thankyou for being the outdoorsy, horse-mad, physically strong woman you were then, and are now. Thank you for showing me how to pursue your passion in the face of adversity.
Thank you for standing between us and dad when he was out of control and trying to hit us; thankyou for showing kindness and patience to counter his blustering rage. I sometimes wonder what my childhood would have been without you. Thank you for taking us to Little Athletics, gymnastics, swimming, pony club. I have to thank you for so, so many things.
We are both adults now. Both mums. You’ve held all three of my children, and they have grown to love you very, very much. Every so often, as I see myself in my own children in the flash of a smile, a gesture, the way they parrot my expressions and copy my mannerisms, I wonder if you see flashes of yourself in me too? For example, I’m sorry for losing it and falling down laughing when you picked up your saddle and somehow the stirrup iron swung up and hit you in the face. Two things about that: 1. Collapsing into wild laughter at wildly inappropriate moments is something I inherited from you, and, 2. I think you had your revenge that day in the NT when I fell down at Edith Falls. We laugh together: we’ve always been able to. We have cried together, shared our mental load with each other. We have sat in companionable silence out the back with a cup of tea, looking at the birds, the trees, the sky.
There are so many things I wish I could give you this Mother’s Day. It will be a phone call wishing you well, giving you my love. And this letter: I hope you like it. As ever, this girl wants her mum to be proud of her. I am so very proud to call you my Mum.
How will you thank your mum on Sunday? #blurbology #buildbetterblurbs #goodcontentgoodwriting #mumtrepreneur #mothersday #writing #copywriting
Mother, Loving Daughter, and Principal Blurb-ologist
It’s so important to embrace gratitude and give ourselves time to acknowledge it, to really feel it. Today’s impromtu post is a list of little things I’m grateful for today.
I woke up feeling happy and well-rested. Miss 10 Months held on to wakefulness until 2am the previous night. Last night she was down by 9pm and slept ALL NIGHT. I slept all night. I’ll say that again for added emphasis, I SLEPT ALL NIGHT. Sometimes when your baby’s been restless it’s hard to switch off when they do seem to be in deep sleep. I listen for them, I half expect them to wake up. I’m grateful because I did not do this. I shut down my laptop at a sensible time and finished the night reading a chapter of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens. I slept soundly, woke up responding to my body’s own natural rhythms and lay in bed a while appreciating how darn happy I was feeling. I heard the kids collecting millipedes outside, enjoying the new rain. The baby was still fast asleep. I got up because I wanted to, not because I had to. Ah, bliss.
It’s raining. It’s always a big deal when wet stuff falls from the sky in South Australia. At work we used to stop and watch it fall against the windows and down onto the city streets. This morning it’s raining softly and steadily. The rainfall varies between heavy mist, or soft, light sleet, to the always loved steady rain. I’m going to have to take wet washing off the line and spin it out again, then hang it around the house to try to dry it, but I don’t care. I grew up in the country and the rain and its various ways of falling, not to mention the frequency of the falls, were topics of much conversation. Rain is good for the soul as well as the land. I feel contented and connected to the earth when it rains. I feel more at peace with myself in the rain. More of my creative thoughts push themselves to the front of my mind when its raining. I’m grateful for the rain, and hope it’s also falling where it’s needed for our farmers.
It’s school holidays. Yes, you read right, I said ‘it’s school holidays’. I love the break in routine the holidays bring. I love having my kids play happily around the house (MOST of the time it’s happy play, ha-ha). Mr. 7 is tired by the end of term, he needs the break and values his time to do the things he wants to do around the house; writing his little books, playing with Lego, paper planes. Miss 5 started school this year, and although she has coped tremendously, she was tired and looking forward to holidays too. They deserve their break. As I type this the elder two are playing doctors to a bunch of the millipedes they’ve found which have been injured in the rain. Don’t ask me how. I’m grateful to smile as Mr. 7 says things like, “I don’t think surgery will be necessary on this one”, or sadly, “There’s nothing we can do for this one.” Miss 5 is dutifully checking for arthropods who are victims of drowning. Oh dear, now Mr. 7 wants to do an autopsy so they can “…learn more about the body.” Um, ok….
4. Red Grapes
Finally, Miss 10 Months loves eating grapes. Sure, it’s a little thing to be grateful for. The Flame grapes lately have been firm and sweet, and after giving them a wash and slicing them in half for her, she’s happy to sit in her high chair eating grape after grape after grape. Sometimes I wonder how many grapes she will take before she turns into one! Her grape-loving ways have enabled me to sit down and write this little gratitude list now while it’s fresh in my mind, and the feelings of gratitude and happiness is still wrapped around me like a warm, fluffy cardigan.
What are you grateful for? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear it 😉. #blurbology #goodcontentgoodwriting #gratitude
How My Miscarriage Helped Me Love the Little Things Even More
“[T]iddlers in a jamjar…Buttermilk and whippets…Rock-a-bye-baby…Washing on the line…When she smiles, is there dimples?…What’s the smell of parsley?”
— Dylan Thomas, 1953, Under Milk Wood
I read Under Milk Wood when I was in high school, and it’s been on my bookshelf ever since. One of the many, many things I loved about Thomas’ quirky radio play was the celebration of the minutiae, the mundane and day-to-day. When Captain Cat dreams of his “dead dears”, it’s the little things the dead ask the living of.
This is true of my own life so far, my memories. The smell of sweet peas. The sound of the rain on the roof. My children’s eyes on Christmas morning. The way my mother’s face can change in the blink of an eye, from happy and light to careworn, sad, and lonely. The hot, firm, slippery feel of your newborn child. As I get older I collect more little things that make me smile, or that twist my heart – or both. Little things like knowing when your child hurts you can always kiss it better; until one day you can’t. The touch of a partner’s hand as you walk along together, before that hand is wrestled away by one of the children – that little gesture a moment in time in itself. Just feeling the sunshine on your face in the morning. But big things have happened in my life too.
Having a baby is a big thing
I’ve been lucky to have three beautiful children. They make me smile every day; they’ve taught me what unconditional love really means. Motherhood can strip you down, lift you up and empower you, only to bring you to your knees pleading desperately to a non-verbal (and non-compliant) infant ‘Please, please sleep’ – all on the same day. Being a mother has taken me apart and put me back together stronger, wiser, and better than I was. Having babies is a big thing.
Losing a wanted baby is a big thing
A wanted baby takes on life as an idea before it becomes ‘viable’, before it becomes real. There is an instant love connection, a sense of excitement as you see your future. The physicality of losing a baby is hard enough, but the idea of the baby you wanted is what you grieve for. Explaining to my loving , observant four-year old who knew I was pregnant that the new baby wasn’t coming – that was one of the biggest little things I’ve done.
I’ll never forget his question: But where has the baby gone, mummy? My stilted and inadequate answer: She’s just gone.
I felt so many things in the weeks that followed. I felt that god hated me (I don’t believe in god, but there it was). I was angry that this had happened to me. I felt I was owed a baby, I deserved that baby – hadn’t I proved myself to be a good mum with the first two?? I felt a great wrong had been done to me by god, the universe, whatever. I wanted to get pregnant again as soon as possible to ‘make it right’, using those exact words to my husband. At the same time, when well-meaning friends and family told me that I would feel better when we started ‘trying’ again, I felt enraged. I haven’t finished losing this one yet, I thought but didn’t say. I felt grateful; for select friends and family, for my living children – how lucky I knew I was to have them with me, happy, healthy, and in my arms. I felt alone.
I felt distant from my husband. He was grieving too, while being ‘the strong one’ for me. I remember saying to him, This is happening to me. I didn’t have a D & C and the bleeding lasted for nearly 2 months. There will always be a tiny break in my heart for her. Just a little one: for she was just a little thing. An early miscarriage at 9 weeks. Of course I’m guessing at the sex, it hadn’t got that far. A tube-like, foetal pole. Aren’t medical terms great?
In medical terms, she wasn’t much at all. But I was a mother grieving for someone I was dying to hold, and never would.
Heaven knows what it’s like to lose a child you’re nursed and nurtured – this was enough for me. I exorcised my grief by journaling. I put a yoke around my anger by lifting heavy weights to help me heal. We decided not to have another baby. That was 2014.
On June 16 2017, our third baby came to us. She was big and beautiful, and has brought us all so much joy. Now it’s 2018, and she’s close to walking. Soon she’ll be like her brother and sister, walking ahead of me on the way to school and towards her own future. My heart fills and twists at this little thought.
Birth is common, miscarriage is common. In the larger scheme of things, they are little things, not big things unless they affect us. Wars rage on, regimes and superpowers rise and fall. Big things happen, and as I hear about the plight of people in Syria and similar places, I’m thankful big things aren’t happening to me. Through it all, the things that unite us all as humans are little the little things. “Tiddlers in a jam jar…washing on the line…rock-a-bye-baby…”; the things that make us vulnerable, the things that make us stop and draw breath; the things that make us smile. These things make us human.
And in case you’re wondering “When she smiles, is there dimples?” Yes. Yes there are – and they’re gorgeous little things.
It can be hard to find the words to write about grief and loss. I’m a highly empathetic blogger and working copywriter. If you find yourself choking on your own words but want to share your experience with others, check my Work With Me page and shoot me an email on my Contact page.