Sunday, 6 May 2018


Hands up if you agree with what I’m about to say:

Exercise plays a vital role to the success of one’s career!


Uhmm, YES, of course I’m right! (I’m a leo, we’re always right 😊 )

Ok but seriously, let me explain why.

If, like me, you are starting your own business, or you’ve had it running for a few months or years - you must already be aware of the pressures of deadlines, aiming to be successful in every step, falling, getting up, falling, getting up again and...doing all of this while balancing life, personal growth, relationships, family and your career on a daily basis.

Which is why sometimes, I'm sure you desire to escape to an exotic island and bathe in the sun all day while sipping margaritas with Jensen Ackles and Channing Tatum. Because, let’s admit it, the exhaustion of reality can be unbearable. *Even though we love your jobs to bits and wouldn’t change it for the world!*

Slight adjustments though make it easier to achieve what we want. When exhaustion sets in, as contrary as it sounds, the best formula is - to get up on your feet and create a sweat!

And here are the reasons why:

Exercise rejuvenates the mind. It releases a chemical substance known as serotonin which is – and this is my best way to describe it - ‘a healthy feel good drug.’  The more happier or content you feel throughout the day, the more you’re able to achieve all your little goals which will, in time, add up to your ultimate goal/s.  
Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression and anxiety. If you are depressed or an anxious person, or even someone who gets angry easily (I suffer with anxiety), note that exercise plays a major role in helping to alleviate those obstacles. Believe me, I’m a less anxious person when I have an exercise routine going on. And those around me are happier too because I’m not constantly swearing them or telling them to wash their hands every minute.

Exercise replenishes your ENERGY levels so that you can take on the challenges of the day ahead. (You know that list of things you need to do daily…well it becomes easier to tick off if you have more energy and a focused mindset.  But be careful of over exhaustion, also known as a burnout. Putting TOO MANY things on your to do list each day is setting an unrealistic expectation and you will end up burning yourself out.)
When you exercise you are breathing in more oxygen and getting the blood flow going which results in a high boost of energy and and this allows your body to work more efficiently.

Exercise of course, keeps you healthy and fit! If you are someone starting off your career or you already have a business, I’m sure you don’t want all your hard work to go to waste by dying prematurely from an avoidable sickness. Nor do you want to spend more time in the hospital than at your desk creating and working if you can evade it. (Unless the nurse or doctor at the hospital is REALLY HOT. Ok, just kidding.)

After a day of exercise, you will realize how much better you sleep. Physical activity is a great way to guide you into the next day, because the rest you get after working out, permits the body and mind to relax and recharge itself during that six to eight hours of sleep we need. (Notice how people who work out often, wake up with vigor and are always ready to embrace the day.)


Exercise keeps your body at a healthy weight and this is a physical upliftment. Most of the time, when you are happier about your body and the way you look, you have more confidence and certainty in the person you are. This in turn, can steer you to seize opportunities for your career or for yourself when you need to - without insecurity blocking your path. Confidence is one of the biggest keys in having and maintaining a successful career. Even if you fail, which we all do many times, and that’s OK, it’s confidence that can keep us going. (And I’m talking about inner confidence as well!)

So there you have five points on why exercise is so essential to the person you are, especially if you are career focused.

But I know at this stage, you’re going to say, I don’t have time to exercise! I have a gazillion things to do each day! I get that…because I’ve said that on numerous occasions too.

Nevertheless, go to your planner and try to move things around a bit. Open up just thirty minutes a day for three to four days a week. It won’t be too difficult to do believe me.

Done…? Good.
‘Cos that’s all the time you need to exercise - half an hour a day; three to four times week!

Once you start on an exercise routine you will discover how amazing you look and feel, how much energy you have and how daily tasks don’t feel like a chore.

All in all, you get to be fit and you get to achieve goals in a much more productive manner and for me I think…that’s a pretty good package deal!

Remember though, exercise always goes in conjunction with healthy eating and drinking plenty of water. When it comes to eating, I’m not talking about crazy diets or starving yourself because that is the worst method you can choose to be healthy. Simply have three small meals and two or three snacks throughout the day and make certain that ninety-five percent of what you consume are saturated with nutritious bites. Leave five percent for some guilty pleasure treats like dark chocolate.

In my following blogs, I will show you some of the fun workouts I do and those that have made a positive impact in my life.

For now though, happy exercising and creating everyone!

Do you agree with me that exercise is an imperative step towards moulding a successful career? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 23 March 2018

How to find your creative muse - an adventure blog.

As an incessant planner I, well…plan everything. I even take it upon myself to schedule and plan stuff for those I see daily so that they too have a plan! (Sorry roomie and ex bf’s!)

 Now me being a planner is not always a good thing, especially for a creative person. I mean, if I’m scheduled to write at 5-6pm daily and I suddenly have this inspirational writing surge at 2pm, it kinda makes things difficult for me because then…do I cease what I’m meant to do at 2pm and instead write OR do I wait for this unexpected writing force to remain in my brain for an extra three hours till my scheduled time?

Oh, the dilemmas of an artist planner.

Anyway, the good news is, I’m slowly learning to balance what I need to. Meaning, I’m attempting to be more spontaneous on things that don’t need adherence to the hands of a clock.

Which is why last week, I made the choice to temporarily steer away from my Sunday routine (my Sundays are usually filled with exercise, designing, writing, cooking and deep conditioning my hair) and instead welcomed a last-minute invite by my friends to explore Hazelmere Dam, in my province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. (My first ever trip to that dam.)

Come Sunday morning, I was all set to go. Wearing my black fitted shorts (thank goodness I did plenty of squats that week), a black and white striped tank top, green sporty hat, silver hoop earrings, and cute black and white flats, I felt the excitement within me stir. Plenty of food, assorted snacks and bottles of wines were all packed, and the new ‘spontaneous’ me was prepared to head off.

An hour later, we arrived at our destination.

The weather, despite the humidity, was perfect for an outdoor adventure. A slight wind caressed the air while the tranquility of the sun poured out over green trees and grass. The dam, displaying its vast area and calmness, was a brownish-blue magnetic field filled with that translucent liquid we all require.

Many families or lovers took time out to attend Hazelmere that day, with some of them jet skiing or fishing while others braaied. (Also known as a barbeque.)

For a minute, I imagined, maybe this is what heaven would feel like - a place immersed in inner and outer peace, and where friends and strangers occupy every minute in bliss and fun while munching on the most satisfying of foods.

The place is a photographer or an artist’s dream, and after snapping a few pictures for myself, my friend produced something even more captivating – his dinghy boat, operated by a motor and which fits a maximum of four people or three hundred kilograms.

Because it was my first time to the dam, I was given the opportunity to go on the dinghy with three other friends. Bear in mind, that the last time I did any swimming was about twelve years ago and even at my best, I’m a feeble swimmer. If I was pushed into water, I can honestly say I most probably would drown – and drowning is a big fear of mine!

However, I was thrilled at the fact that the boat was available and I could go on it in order to experience a bit more of nature.

With wine bottles, glasses and chips, we stepped into the dinghy and off we went. The placid water allowed us the most beautiful of rides – we floated gently across the gigantic dam; breathing in the serenity of nature while passing by an array of green scenery. Various birds and monkeys treated us to an amazing sight as they playfully weaved themselves amongst the trees. Even the ride itself had a calming effect on us; we could have closed our eyes and drifted off for hours with no worries.

The whole experience took about thirty minutes and I didn’t want to leave the boat when we got back to the others!

After our braai and towards the late afternoon, my friend suggested we ride on the dinghy again, but this time we ride around the other side of the dam.

Two of my six friends, who are not fans of water, declined the ride and so I jumped at the chance to take their place. Yet again, with wine and snacks in hand, we stepped into the boat and wandered off into the land of liquid.  

There was good, relaxed conversation, sips of wine and a feeling of stress evacuating our body as the boat glided over water. Sitting there, with my legs dangling out the boat and soaking in the enchantment, I realized how exquisite and therapeutic nature was!

 But… as the formula of life goes - nothing ever stays constant and as we sat talking about past adventures, dark clouds suddenly loomed, signalling a warning. We remained calm though as everything around us was mild.

Within a couple of minutes however, a bright flash of lightning produced itself in the distance and seconds later an almighty thunder roared. My friend estimated that the storm was twelve minutes away and we would reach our friends on land, just before the storm would hit. I looked around and to my growing concern, noticed that we were the only ones on water! Goosebumps travelled along my arm as the sunny day quickly morphed into bleakness; and it seemed as if mother nature was about to release her wrath.

I prayed that we would reach the others before the storm commenced but that wasn't meant to be. In what felt like less than five minutes time, a heavy downpour of rain emerged, soaking every inch of our bodies. The wind had rapidly built up and caused the dinghy to sway in an erratic manner.

We were out in the middle of the damn and still away from the grassy area. I knew then - it was time for me to panic!

 Bright flashes lit up the sky, while the furious rain pounded down, as if it could not contain its excitement knowing we were trapped in its realm. A boisterous thunder screamed from the heavens, letting us know who was in charge.

 The dinghy could only travel at a certain speed so while we swayed, we held onto each other, hoping the boat would not topple - that we would not get struck by lightning - and that we would reach the others in time.

Flashbacks of the movie, “The Perfect Storm” entered my head, and even though we weren’t in a tumultuous ocean, it was still scary! A dark grey moved in, setting a baleful atmosphere and everyone on land was by that time, taking shelter in their vehicles.

I kept thinking that if the boat subsided, would I be able to swim?! Can one still swim after never having swam for years and years? Or was this how I would die?

“Jade, laid to rest because she chose adventure rather than sticking to her schedule.”

 (We didn’t have life jackets on BTW, even though there was a sign saying that life jackets were compulsory.)

Rain continued to shower down, and us, in our minimum clothing, felt its icy cold droplets hit our flesh. Lightning and thunder appeared between shorter seconds and the once calm water, now looked ready to spew anything out of it’s hold.

(I think I even started praying in about five different languages that I didn’t know I could speak!)

But then suddenly, somehow, this magical moment dawned on me, and I looked up.

The ‘chaos’ around me, was the most breath-taking sight I had ever witnessed and mother nature, I realised, was not angry. She was just feeding the earth in the most beautiful way she does. All fear absconded; I could see we were nearing the others and I utilised the last six minutes to sit and revel in the beauty of that majestic storm.

It was one of the most wonderful moments I had ever lived.

The boat continued to move side to side and the grey was turning into black, but still, I sat and watched the storm while experiencing it with the greatest of fascination.

Finally, we reached the grassy area just as hailstones appeared. The rain refused to subside and we packed the boat and quickly ran into the vehicles with our soaking wet bodies and where our other friends, dry as can be, sat, waiting for us. All jackets and blankets got wrapped around our bodies and then...they started the car and off we drove, back to Durban…

I love nature and outdoors but I’m not someone who goes out often. Experiencing such an intense adventure at the dam was both different and amazing for me. Although sadly, a few people, throughout the years and on different occasions did drown at the dam, may their souls rest in peace - so we took a huge chance on not wearing life jackets.

(Also note to self: Make certain that next time we read up on the weather forecast!)

All in all, I regretted nothing of Hazelmere and would do it repeatedly! There was this renewed energy within me and I was so glad that I hadn't stuck to my Sunday routine.

A few days later, sitting in my bed with a cup of hot tea, I reminisced about that day.

My lesson that I took away from that encounter, is that sometimes – especially as an artist - it’s vital to break away from work for a little and do something that’s different and gets the heart pumping in a non-dangerous and exciting way. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone every now and then should be practised, because it creates a sort of welcoming muse. I know for me that after that Sunday, I had such energy, motivation and bliss that my creative juices were flowing like a grand waterfall. And it wasn’t solely because of the storm; riding in the boat during the day when all was calm, was just as inspiring.

So, to all creatives out there, and even non-creatives -if you ever feel you’re stuck in a rut, or producing the same type of work over and over again, or even if you need a creative spurt, try doing something out of the norm. The good energy you bring back will create abundant motivation.

Again, I mention do NOT do something that will endanger your life and make sure if need be, you take all proper precautions with what you decide! (Like I know now, I need to wear a life jacket if I go out to the dam.)

Also, doing something different every now and again can help you reap the rewards of seeing things from a new or unseen perspective, and you can use that to assemble into your work.

It’s something every person needs at times.

**Sometimes - but not everytime 'cos routine is vital peeps - breaking out of routine and doing something different is just ONE of the ways of rejuvenating your ideas and getting the creative flow going. In my blogs to follow, I will speak more about other ways of overcoming artistic block and finding and keeping your creative muse.**

So…here’s to happy (safe) adventures, not always sticking to routine and…wonderful creating!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloween - A true Ghost Story.

In the spirit of Halloween (get it?) I decided to post a blog about this wonderfully eerie celebration.

*Be warned...what you are about to read is my own experience laden with dead souls, mystery, an ominous yet beautiful Victorian styled home and two innocent dogs. (Don't worry, no humans or animals were harmed during the writing of this blog or during the actual events itself.)*

So if you have the courage to, best bring out the marshmallows and gather around the crackling fireplace for halloween will not be complete without a true ghost story to inspire some hair raising chills...

Y'all ready for this?

First a quick lesson on the history of Halloween:

As you know, Halloween is celebrated yearly on 31st October.

It started off as a Celtic festival known as Samhain some 2000 years ago. This took place in a land we now call Ireland. (Yep, Halloween is actually Irish...imagine that!)

The Celts celebrated their new year on 1st November which marked the end of summer and the start of a cold, dark winter. They believed that the night before New Year, the line between the living and dead became blurred.

In other words, dead souls wander earth on the night of 31st October, mingling with the living. Muwhahahahaha!

The use of masks came about hundreds of years ago, when people were scared to walk the streets on the spooky night of October. They believed that dead souls would recognize them and the use of the masks would make the ghosts believe that they too were a spirit.

During the decades, Halloween has evolved into what is now more of a party and celebration with costumes ranging from fun to sexy to weird or wacky and scary.

(Like me as a she-devil and my one of my sexy besties, who dressed up as a witch, to celebrate Halloween this weekend at a themed night club. For us ladies, dressing up is always the best part!)

Two elements, traditions and superstitions are still gently touched upon; one of them being telling ghost stories around a bonfire.

Which brings me to my main point.

The fire has started, marshmallows are roasting and I'm about to relate my own personal experience of a ghostly tale...

It all began on a dark, spooky night...(Actually it began on a really bright day where the birds chirped blissfully away and the sun shone in all its awe. But for effect, I will be dramatic.)

My parents, siblings around my age and my twenty-seven year old self, had just moved into a gorgeous home. (I wish I had pictures of that place but that home no longer exists as it once did.)

It was an enormous three - story house which boasted five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large game room, an enchanting fireplace, spacious garden, pool etc.

What I loved about that place was that amidst the modern decor, the black and white painted home emanated an old school appearance with its stunning Victorian architecture, wooden flooring and Gothic styled balconies.

For me it also evoked a magnetic feel, not only because of it's towering size but also because, from day one, I sensed a tragic darkness weaved into the walls. That feeling was so powerful that I would often sleep with the lights on. (I have a strong sixth sense.) My sister felt the same way as I did.

But like a horror movie, it was one room that caused the hair on my arms to stand on end. That was the fireplace room and whenever I entered it, a dreadful wave overtook my mind resulting in me not wanting to stand in that space for too long. I felt whatever tragedy took place in that house...happened in the fireplace room.

Because of that, my sister and I decided to investigate the history of the house but that was futile. The only thing we learnt was that when the house was first built English soldiers lived in it and during the 1980's it was turned into a bed and breakfast.

Our next step was to make friends with the elderly man and wife who resided across us. We heard that they were the only residents in that small road to know about the history of our place as they had lived on that road for many, many years.

We set up a date to speak to them but it never happened. For on the same day that all was meant to be revealed to us, the elderly man sadly, passed away in his sleep. His wife had understandably spent weeks and weeks mourning and thereafter sold the house and moved away to live with her children.

We never saw or heard from her again.

Of course the whole incident is more life being life in its unfortunate way rather than eerie co-incidence, but we never got to find out the history of the place and we were back to square one.

Now the house, situated in Tropical Durban, meant there was no need for the fireplace to be used. So we decided to turn the fireplace into a beautiful guest room. The room itself was large and could fit a king size bed in it with additional space for cupboards etc so it made for a very comfortable and homely invite.

The first outsider to stay there was my mums sister...however that was short lived! For on her first night sleeping there, she got up just after midnight in a state of panic. Running straight to my parents bedroom, she insisted she wanted to go home immediately!

After trying to calm her down, she revealed to us that she had witnessed a terrifying black shadow in her room. The figure glided suspiciously, as if an angry shadow had come to life and was searching for revenge of some kind.

After everyone in the house admitted that none of us was in the fireplace room that night, we all became a bit perturbed. (My family, and me to some extent, do not really believe in ghosts).

We chalked it down to my aunt either being dramatic, dreaming or having her mind play tricks on her.

Nevertheless, she did go home that night and we were still perturbed.

Two months later, my sister's boyfriend was too tired to drive home so he slept over in the guest room. (We did not relate anything to him about the room being 'haunted' or about what my aunt saw.)

Next morning, we were greeted by his unusually shaken up self.
He confessed that he did  not have a good night sleep due to the fact that he had woken up at midnight hearing a strange noise. The noise he said, turned out to be a black spirit roaming the fireplace room for quite a few seconds and then vanishing into thin air.

At that point my siblings and I began to wonder about the authenticity of ghosts as well as my deep, unsettling feelings about the fireplace room.

Another month later, a family friend stayed over for a few days with us. Now this friend does not believe in ghosts and just like my sister's boyfriend we did not say anything to her, prior to staying, about a black figure in that room - seeing as we were unsure of it ourselves and we didn't want to scare people away.

Similar to the other two guests, she too woke up the next morning to let us know her frightful experience in seeing a distinct black figure gliding along and then vanishing.

She was visibly nervous but her strong courage and open mind allowed her to spend a few more nights in that room, albeit with the lights on and the door open.

This then caused me, my brother, sister and two friends to resume investigation. My sister had purchased an Ipad and we put it to effective use by downloading a ghost app -one that records supernatural energy using electronic voice phenomena and (EVP) and electromagentic field (EMF).

Gathering our bravery, and our two dogs, the five of us toured the inside of the house while the app was on.
It had picked up slight paranormal activity here and there but the minute we stepped into (yes, you guessed it) the fireplace room, our dogs, who up until that point, was only allowed into our lounge and a relevant size section of the house they stayed in, began barking and jumping wildly while at the same time the app went crazy, highlighting the intense presence of supernatural energy around the room!

All five us immediately shrieked and ran out, including my muscular, big sized brother -who one can describe as a Corleone in the Godfather movies.

We made a pact from that day to close off the fireplace room but soon after, due to personal reasons, that gorgeous house was sold and the new owners broke it down and rebuilt it to suit their fashion.

Unfortunately, we never got to find out who the black shadow was and the history of that home.

I had always felt though, that that place harbored spine-chilling stories, one that could stay with you your whole life and one that would make the most hardened of hearts...believe that dead souls do exist on earth.

And maybe, just maybe, they expose themselves on the 31st October every year.

What ghost stories have you encountered? I would love to hear!

Happy Halloween...

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

How to deal with a Harvey Weinstein.

Two words.
Harvey Weinstein.

A further two words.
Sexual harassment.

That's the topic flowing through Hollywood right now and seeping into the rest-of-the-world territory.

And quite frankly this makes me p****d off! (And also hungry since it's 11am and I haven't eaten my usual breakfast of custard flavored yogurt smothered in muesli, bananas, almonds and honey but mostly...I'm angry.)

This story awakens a sad sense in every man and woman to just how prevalent sexual harassment is by people of power. And the cherry on top of the breakfast is...these sexual offenders almost always get away with it!

Anyway, if you haven't read what's going on with this creepy dude...let me sum it for you.

Meet Harvey Weinstein, adept film producer, director and co founder of Miramax - an entertainment company that produced movies like Pulp Fiction, The Crying Game etc.

Now meet the tons of ladies in Hollywood that have come forward alleging that (during a three decade period, at one point or another) Harvey assaulted them sexually, raped them, forcibly gave them oral sex, made sexual advances and / or groped them inappropriately.

His victims include Carla Delevingne, Mira Sorvino, Patricia Arquette, Asia Argento, Rose Mcgowan, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and many other ladies.

Some of the victims declared that at the time of Harvey's sexual misconduct, they were young, up and coming actresses who were afraid to expose Harvey due to the possibility of their career being threatened. (Harvey did warn some of them to keep the incidents a secret.)
A few of the actresses also claimed that after rejecting Harvey's sexual advances, their acting roles impeded.

Now I ask - how is it ever OK to treat women as sexual objects and also indirectly threaten their career?!

Would it be OK if the same thing happened to their daughter, sister or mum?!

Plenty ladies stated that during their meetings with Harvey, as soon his sexual attempts began, like groping them, trying to get them naked, appearing naked, asking them for massages or asking them to watch him shower etc (WTF Harvey?!), they would say no and many evacuated his presence. Others were forced into oral or vaginal sexual acts. They remained quiet about the occurrences due to fear.

But a few of the women in Harvey Weinstein's case did bring to light Harvey's sexual behavior, either by telling others about Harvey, or, as in the case of Amber Gutierrez, who in 2015 reported to the police that Harvey groped her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. Nothing was done to Harvey but Amber got labelled as a publicity seeker and her image sadly, was tarnished.

Now (ONLY), in 2017, is Harvey being investigated for at least four past charges of alleged rape by some of his victims. He has taken blame for his sexual misbehavior but states he didn't rape anyone and that all sex was consensual. (Insert unconvincing face here.)

 I've never been a victim of sexual assault or harassment but I see it often and read it. I can imagine the fear, awkwardness, trauma and disgust these ladies had to put up with just because Harvey felt he could treat them as objects and not as a respectful, EQUAL human.

Unfortunately Hollywood has been engulfed with dozens of Harveys throughout the decades in a world filled by the stereotypical pressure of beautiful ladies, glamour and fame all camouflaged in a vessel of darkness and abuse. There are also Harvey's in a lot of work places and it's rare for a guy like this to change as long as they know they can get away with it. But what happens if they know they CAN'T get away with it...

Combating sexual offenders in the workplace.

To a woman that's worried about the stability of her job or career, and therefore is tentative about reporting a sexual offense, they should know that the laws of a workplace states that sexual harassment is NOT allowed, even if its the boss or CEO that happens to be the abuser.

Note : I personally feel that the employee should know exactly what constitutes as sexual harassment and what doesn't. For as much as I agree to punishing every arrogant male imposing sexual actions to unwilling females, I do believe that there are plenty good men out there whose actions are merely playful and innocent and should be treated as just that - innocent. Hence I mention the need for research on what is sexual harassment and what isn't.

If sexual harassment does occur, the victim (who can be male or female but statistically this happens more to females) needs to address the offender verbally and ask them to please stop their misdemeanor. Or the victim can speak to human resources department to take more formal action and for further advice.

In the case of Harvey Weinstein, where influence, money and power allowed him to get away with this type of behavior, it became a conflict on whether or not to report his actions. The victims expressed that they felt awkward, scared, alone and chose silence to keep the peace and not jeopardize their career; although the intense trauma and guilt stayed with them throughout. This is not something any female or person should have hanging on their shoulder!

Effectively, the more awareness and light shed on this topic, the more the offenders will realize that sexual harassment will not be condoned and will think twice.

It was admirable to see many of the victims step forward and speak out against Harvey and even more amazing to witness men and women, especially in Hollywood, who are standing by their side. It's a clear stance against sexual abuse of any kind and shows that women - all around the world and in any field - will NOT tolerate their bodies being used against their will, for sexual satisfaction and / or to further their career.

I also feel non victims need to vocally and mentally support those who have experienced sexual assault, stand by their side and do the best they can to ensure that the Harvey Weinsteins of this world do not get away with disrespectful, demeaning behavior!

With actions spreading more knowledge and opening up ones eyes to this common topic and with a strong support system, females (and men who are targeted) can win this fight and play a huge role in discouraging and ceasing the behavior of people like the great, talented, Mr Harvey Weinstein.

NO wait, now it's just...Harvey.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

How to focus on writing during personal life changes.

For me the year 2010 started off like any normal year would -: self- promises of making and sticking to all things healthy, having a good mindset and being optimistic, writing, more writing, editing, even more writing, aiming to finish my novel by year end,...and trying not to fantasize about physically torturing every incompetent person I meet…ok, maybe that last point is my vice only 😊.

BUT, by mid 2010 a field of unforeseen changes had spewed into my personal life which made it hard to focus on the things that I planned on achieving. Hence I labelled 2010 the year of changes. Until…

2013 came along and a whole series of unwanted and wanted changes occurred. Now I know changes are inevitable and we all experience them often. But the changes I’m highlighting are those good and bad changes that make the biggest impact and difference in your life, the ones that steer you down adventitious paths.

2013 became one of those years and by the end of it I christened that the year of change!

But now I need to erase that label and hand the title over to 2017. Why you ask? Because these are the changes in my life so far...

This year started off with a mutual decision that I no longer was going to be living alone. In March, my space was invaded by a wonderful man and I had to adjust to new conditions and rules that comes with living with your significant other.  Then, one of my best friends dropped the bombshell that they would be relocating to another country far, far away. Two months later said person was gone. (And unfortunately, distance triumphed over friendship and that close bond rapidly withered.)

At the same time came the news that my rented flat of seven years was going to be sold. This then led to the arduous task of looking for a new place to move to and four months later my man and I moved into our new beautiful flat. Which again took a whole lot of readjusting.
To top it off my amazing dad, whom I was so close to, recently passed away. He was such a fit, healthy 72-year-old so his sudden death was a piercing shock to us all. (I still haven’t overcome the shock.)

 In addition to the above, other changes happened -and..yep…2017 hasn’t freakn ended yet!

If, like me, you are one of those writers that has one or two or ten of those ‘year of changes’ how do you stay focused and write during that crazy period??

At first I found it difficult to stick to a consistent schedule of writing. I would write plenty for a week and then some shitty or beautiful change would happen. This ended up taking most of my time to sort out (for either days or weeks) and in between that I would write, if I was lucky, two sentences a day! And they were mostly awful sentences.  

Until I got all Jessica Jones and realised that I can’t avoid change and I will never stop writing so I had to fight! (Not literally of course, although that crossed my mind too.)

But I had to fight for giving myself space to write and making sure I wrote! I scheduled myself every hour from 5pm-6pm to write. That only worked for a week!

Because as much as routine is good at times especially for someone like me who loves routine, life cannot always be scheduled. Neither can writing. You can try and if it works, well then, my hats off to ya’.
But to other writers who work and study and have families in between, it’s hard when you must suddenly work late, or your child is sick and you have to sit for hours at the doctor while your kid vomits on you.  

What I found effective when change was happening was to… breathe. And never put too much pressure on yourself during a drastic change.

 If it’s a sad, stressful or time demanding change, then take the time out you need to deal with it! You have to. Thereafter come back to your writing, even if it means weeks later. I tried to balance the two and it was futile. It’s always best to write with a clear (clearer) head rather than write while worrying about the change or being exhausted, because then you won’t be focused and there’s not much writing you will be able to do.

If it’s a big change that’s not so demanding and gives you a few days in between to write, then use those days to write.
And the only way you'll be able to do that is to take a day off to relax. Maybe though you can only afford a few hours to relax. That’s fine. But the most imperative thing is to make some time to unwind and do something like visit the theater, dance to your favorite music (yes 80's music counts), go to the beach or eat chocolate and cheesecake while lying naked in bed watching Vampire Diaries (ok, again that’s my personal thing) but you get the picture. Even writing down your feelings and emotions in a journal might help you relax.

During any change in your life it’s always good to take a few hours at least to rest the brain and then come back to your writing! You will be able to pour out your emotions so much better if you’re able to get into ‘the zone’ and the only way to focus is to have a somewhat stress-free mind and that can come only after relaxing. (Also, not watching You-Tube while writing helps. *Insert my guilty face here*)

Always embrace the changes in the most positive way you can - whether it's a good, bad or scary change. Having a positive mindset helps in achieving career goals and improving your personal lifestyle.

Hopefully, your year is not as full of crazy changes as mine is, or it’s a heap of good crazy changes. Regardless, don’t forget to take a step back when you need to, breathe, take time off to relax and then tackle that writing and changes head on! Even if writing takes longer than planned (which happens often especially if you don’t have a deadline and there’s too many changes) but the main thing is you will be able to write better, sturdier, won’t lose your love for writing (and you won’t swear your cat and dog daily.)

For that I say - Happy changes! Happy writing!

P.S Who knows where my next adventure (change) will take me..