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... Start where you are

I have a little, slightly nerdy secret... that fills me with utter joy... and has, on occasion, presented me with thoughts of a less joyful nature.

Stationery... there, I said it.

I love stationery... All of it... paper, notecards, post-its, paper clips, staplers.... ... ooh and pens, especially fountain pens

- I spend ages feeling pens to assess their weight, balance and varying degrees of writing smoothness

This love goes waaaaay back, to when I was very small. My Dad found an old fountain pen in a drawer and I asked if I could please have it. We went out and bought a bottle of Quink together (which, some weeks later, I knocked over, splashing it all down a freshly painted lounge wall - sorry Dad )

Pens, writing, words = yum!! I'm so thankful these things play a huge part in my world or work too

Above all else within my stationery-fetish, is my love for notebooks - I ADORE notebooks, journals, diaries...

Those custodians of our shopping lists, worries, inner-most thoughts and dreams.

Spaces of magic, inspiration and nurturing.

Oh, the excitement and freedom of that first, crisp, brand new page... just waiting for you to fill it with utter genius! The new notebook, purchased especially for your brilliant new business idea or life project. Yay!

... and then comes the block!

"What do I write? Where do I start? What if it’s all nonsense? Or scribbles. What if I make a mistake or change my mind?

- I’ll ruin the page, the whole notebook in fact.

And it’s such a lovely notebook. I think I’ll just pop it away... until I’ve got something more useful to write in it... until my thoughts are clearer... until I feel more confident... and ready"

And then we get frustrated with ourselves, for NOT writing anything in the damn book! - Maybe you’ve felt this way too?

We can tie ourselves up in knots with things like:

  • doubting our abilities or skills, or

  • questioning the importance of our thoughts and dreams...

  • getting so caught up on perfection that making a mistake feels SO uncomfortable that we never get started at all

And so it can be hugely comforting to remember that every single page, in fact every single line, or tiny space in the notebook is a place to start... or to start again.

If ‘ruining the first page’ is what’s worrying you, how does writing down your thoughts on the back page feel?... or in the middle?

It’s YOUR book. You are in charge – I get a weeny little voice in my head that whispers “start where you are – that’s all we can ever do”

Something inspirational on the front page can light you up, greeting and inspiring you every time you open your book, and can help your thoughts and ideas to flow... so, perhaps a favourite quote or poem... or family saying.

Above all though, it’s worth remembering that everything you write, whether it’s a shopping list, a ‘must remember to...’ or your secret thoughts and dreams... is valuable (especially when you look back on it at a later date)

"Every single word you create is absolutely precious and wonderful. Because it’s a reflection of YOU, created by you, in a given moment of your life. At that precise moment in time. Your precious and wonderful life - YOU are precious and wonderful"

What if today was the day you began to write what turned out to be your memoirs? a much needed book to help the world? ... or a world-famous best selling novel?

I thought I’d finish with a beautiful poem from Julia Ferenbacher

Love, Jo x

Advice from an Oak


From her rooted spot in the sunlight,

oak whispers the familiar words:

Start where you are.


So, I do.


I start here with steaming mint tea, rhododendrons

blooming pink, this always-fear of the loud, blank

page - with the worry that, perhaps,

I can't make any of it beautiful.


I'll start with the whole wobbly

mess of me - with the stubborn feeling

that I am missing the thing

I am supposed to find

and I don't know why or what's next

or how much time.


I'll start here by listening

to this deep and beneath voice,

the one that aches and asks

and asks and aches to be all the way allowed,

all the way heard. Here with quiet, blank

page that opens wide to each finally-freed word.


I'll start by inviting you to your own

blank page, by daring you to allow

the whole wobbly mess to tumble finally free -


until every last crumb of a thing

crawls, curves, bows its stubborn way

to beautiful.


- Julia Fehrenbacher


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