August 2016 · Здравствуйте!
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Marginalia: Notes written in the margins of a text. Rhymes with Australia!

Greetings, friends & Russian spammers

It's been 29 months since the last newsletter and 350 new people have joined the list... 99% of whom are Russian spam bots. Howdy to you all!

After such a ridiculous absence I wanted to explain what this newsletter is now about, so you – upright citizens and spammers alike – can see if it takes your fancy.

These 29 months have been all about bellyflopping into the self-employment pool. I'm chuffed to report my copywriting biz is now fully booked, and I even get out of my PJs most days!

But at times I get so immersed in the work that I neglect to do fun writing. Or when I do write I get all flappy and self-doubty. I regress to the whiny ten-year-old that used to say to my teacher during creative writing class, "I've got nothing to write about!".

(He actually started calling me that. Oh here comes Miss I've Got Nothing To Write About!". How shit is that nickname?!)

Part of my Operation Foxy By 40 Project is to stoke those creative fires. To write and explore and move and make stuff just for fun. You know, "filling the well" as good ol' Julia Cameron would say.

So Marginalia is my notes from the road. On the first Friday of each month (lady needs a deadline) I'll share bonus stories, handy tools & tips I've tried out, topics I'm to wussy to write about on the blog, plus occasional special guests.

I hope you enjoy and please sing out if you have any ideas/tips/thoughts to share, I always love to hear from you!

And to the spammers, I'll forward my bank details shortly.


The wisdom of 60

While I’m aiming for Foxy by 40, my mum Sharon (aka The Mothership) has just hit the Big Six Oh. 

During her recent Scottish visit I asked her what she wished she’d known when she was my age. She said unto me:

1. Ditch the drama

Looking back I see everyday dramas of my own creation. I'd write too-long to-do lists that were impossible to complete. I’d moan to my friends how this or that was going wrong, or how extremely busy I was in my teaching job. I took some pride in that busyness.

Today I'd ask myself - is this a real problem? What is the priority here? Like if a certain ginger daughter repeatedly fails to hang the washing on the clothesline in the precise manner I'd like, is that actually a big deal? In hindsight maybe it wasn’t. Maybe ;)

2. Done is better than perfect

I was always up ‘til 3AM at report card time. I had about 150 report cards to sign off. First I’d examine each one for the content, then I'd grill them a second time for spelling and grammar.

Would the world have ended if I'd let a typo through? These days I'd trust people to do their job instead of chasing perfection. Life is short!

3. Hit the road, Shaz

I was scared shitless the first time I visited you in Scotland. My friend Richard had to shove me through the departure gate. But being pushed out of my comfort zone was a turning point. I wish I’d travelled years earlier; even small-scale adventures when you were little.

Travel taught me that everyone has an interesting story to tell. And even if I get on the wrong bus like I did in your village the other day, there’s always someone to help. Even if we can’t understand each other’s accents.

4. Boldly go after what you want

I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: the principal of a school. I’d been teaching in the same town for a decade when a role came up at a school a few hours away. I knew this was The Moment to do the thing I really wanted to do. I think I surprised a few by packing up and leaving, but sometimes you need to start over to move forward. So many good things came from that one change.

5. Look after yourself... or else!

There was a long period when I completely lost myself in work. I neglected my hobbies, my health, my sleep. Downtime was non-existent. I was running on empty and constantly stressed. And then my body and brain said enough and I got ill. 

I'd love to tell my younger self, don’t be so bloody serious. Make time for fun! If you don’t replenish your energy levels, the wheels will come off.

6. Show your heart

When I was your age I was guarded and afraid of getting hurt. So I wasn’t vulnerable with telling my Important People about how I felt about them. These days I make a big deal of letting them know what they mean to me. You have to say the words and do the good deeds. Show them your heart while you still can.

Cheers, Mum!

Things of the Month


A creative thing

When trying to rediscover your creative muscles it's good to set the bar low.

The 1 Second Every Day app asks you to capture just one second of footage of per day, then cobbles all the seconds together into a lovely film that sometimes makes your life look more interesting than it is... then other times is a stark reminder to leave the house more often.

I've been at it since January and it's an easy, addictive way to start paying attention again. Without it I might never have captured our cat chasing a blueberry around the living room. Momentous!

A comforting thing

If you need a break from the relentless noise of the news, try my ultra cheesy daggy-as-heck playlist Together In Perfect Harmony.

Sing along with Kenny and Dolly, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Bee Gees, Destiny's Child and many more melodious magicians. When they go low, we go high.

Catching up

Recently on the blog: Breathe into a paper bag · Meditation with Don Draper · Here's Ziggy · The Rise of Habit Woman (interview about life, lard, etc) · the last 29 months in nutshells: 2014 and 2015

Forward to a comrade
Copyright © 2016 Shauna Reid Writes, All rights reserved.