Hello, and welcome to this coming-together, this idea, this virtual meet-up about writing as solace and balm for a restless mind.
I encourage you to read this page in full, and if you’re interested in joining this free space, open for five days from Monday, March 30th, please fill out the registration form at the bottom of the page.
Why this, and why now?
For about three years I’ve been writing almost every day. Some of this writing has been sent into the ether, on web platforms such as Medium or Facebook or LinkedIn, on posted on my website, or sent to the people who are signed up to receive regular emails from me.
I try to share a short piece every day, every Saturday morning I send out a bitesize email titled “Three Things”, with three snippets of things I’m reading, watching, noticing, pondering, laughing at, crying over, writing about or grappling with, and about once a month I send out a longer essay or blog on a topic that needs a broader canvas.
But much of what I’ve written has not been published anywhere, and much of that will probably never be published anywhere. It’s scattered between handwritten notebooks and Google Docs and website post drafts.
And I realised that writing to publish, or writing to be read, is only a part of what makes writing so special. Because so much of the value of writing is in the writing itself.
Writing helps me to organise my thoughts and think more clearly. Writing helps me to have a better understanding of things: to better understand myself, to better understand the world, to better understand how those two things — me and the world — should work together.
Writing has helped me to calm my agitated mind as I got to grips with depression after many years of predictable downs, and helped me to navigate the perils of a world that already seemed so in flux and so uncertain even before the collective challenge and circumstances all of us, all over the world, find ourselves in now, in the spring of 2020.
In short, I think the practice of writing helps make things better, less perilous, more acceptable.
The art of writing … well, that can come later, if it’s to come at all, and others will be the judge of it in any case.
Who it’s for
This invitation is for those who might have considered or tried writing in the past, either in a private journal or diary or on a public forum.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a complete novice or an accomplished writer. What matters is that you think there might be something locked inside, and you’re willing to try writing as a vehicle to bring it out.
The global pandemic of 2020 has created a crisis for our healthcare systems and our crisis response teams. But if we’re honest about this, there has been a lot of restlessness and agitation in the world for many years now. Our mental health has been a constant challenge, and mental health services and treatments are under increasing strain. Insomnia, depression, anxiety, workplace stress, trauma and addiction appear to be at an all-time high. We are living through a technological revolution in the way we do everything: from how we work to how we parent, from how we’re educated to how we read, from the way we communicate to how we borrow books from the library.
Add to all this upheaval the current virus pandemic, causing a global health emergency and the implosion of several of the world’s biggest economies at the same time, and we have a recipe for things to get much more challenging, for tens or hundreds of millions of people, at the same time.
Through all of this, our biggest asset is ourselves. It will need a collective social effort to build new norms and new societies and new economies, but within that collective social effort are us, as individuals, with the constant swirl of thoughts and dreams and hopes and fears that occupy our minds.
The practice of writing can help.
For many people it will not be easy or straightforward. It will, almost inevitably, surface difficult feelings or emotions.
But through this conversation between our outer and inner selves, on the page or the screen, there is the chance to explore who we are in a deeper way than we’ve ever done before, the chance to embrace what we find there, with all our imperfections; and the chance to express that self through words on a page.
I’m confident that some people will end up writing things they want to share and publish far and wide.
And that’s great, but that’s further down the road, and it’s not for everyone.
The first step: to just write. This is your invitation.
How it will work
It’s a coming-together, online, for maybe half an hour or an hour a day, for five days.
It’s not a course, or class, or program. It’s not a challenge or a mastermind group.
All of those things are great, and have their place, but they don’t apply here.
Instead, this is a space to write, and a permission to write. We will talk about writing, and you can go away and give yourself the room to write however and whatever you want. It’s an invitation: an invitation just to sit, and think, and feel, and write.
I will offer some suggestions for things to get you started, and I will answer any questions you might have about the process.
This is writing where the primary readership, at least at the start, is us ourselves. It’s writing as an honest conversation with our deepest self. It’s writing as a way of channeling our thoughts and hopes and fears, and getting them out onto a page, where we might be able to look at them anew.
Just as important as what it is: What it’s not
It’s not a meditation circle, and while I do have a coaching accreditation, this won’t resemble any of the coaching I do in my work with clients.
Nor do I pretend to offer any counselling or mental health treatment or advice. There are qualified and skilled people and organisations out there if you need it. And if you do find you need to talk about your troubles, and you find writing is not enough, there are helplines available all over the world. In Ireland and the UK, I recommend the Samaritans, whose anonymous, faceless, gorgeous volunteers where there to listen to me during two of my lowest moments a few years ago.
Where and when
The calls will take place over Zoom (registration link at the bottom), and we will start on Monday, March 30th at 8pm Irish time.
(Timezones always trouble me, but for anyone interested in joining from abroad, I believe that’s 2pm EST, and 11am PST, or you’ll find your time zone here.)
We will convene each day at the same time until Friday, April 3rd.
I have also created a Facebook Group for the purpose of connecting with all of you, and to allow you to connect with one another, if you so wish.
And finally, for those who’ve never heard of me before, who am I?
I am a writer, podcaster, coach, speaker and accidental entrepreneur. Since 2016, when I enjoyed the painful breakthrough of experiencing an emotional, financial and spiritual rock bottom, I’ve been discovering my place in the world.
My background is in media, specifically in digital media and journalism. I’ve worked for Maximum Media, named two years running by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s fastest-growing media companies, and also for some of Ireland’s leading non-profits, including the Irish Cancer Society and Age Action.
That — my professional life — all took place before the crash-and-burn awakening of 2016.
For the past three years I’ve been advising and consulting with companies and organisations across a range of industries in the field of digital media, marketing and communications.
I’ve also been writing, speaking and podcasting as part of my Life Well Lived Project, which aims to offer support and guidance for people all over the world to navigate their own individual life challenges, embrace their one-time-in-history uniqueness and live a life of purpose, energy and fulfilment.
This year, just before the virus and economic collapse, I set about combining these two things — my advisory/consulting work with my Life Well Lived Project — in a new business venture aimed at serving mission-driven businesses through coaching and communications services. 3000 BC is where mission meets marketing.