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A word about Impostor Syndrome (and why I’d rather be with it than without it)

A thought on Impostor Syndrome (and why I’d rather be with it than without it).

On Friday, as you might have seen from Saturday’s video, my partner thought a bunch of people at the professional writers’ meet-up he came with me to for the first time weren’t actually writers.

Because that’s what they said about themselves.

(My partner works in the film industry. Where, as you can imagine, NOBODY says “Oh, I’m not really a filmmaker…”. Ever.)

This afternoon, I joined two of my colleagues and two of our MA students to be filmed discussing our courses. I caught myself thinking whether I shouldn’t mention the exercises we’re using that were based on my own book.

Nobody censored me, other than me.

Here is what I want to do about it. Feel free to join me if it resonates with you too:

I will value, discuss and celebrate my work of itself.

I will enjoy when people are surprised I have a PhD, an ISBN number, or anything else. Because I’m changing what those things look like to those people. It’s not about me. It’s about them.

I will notice (not judge, but notice) when I think “but so and so wrote that which is much more established/impressive/famous etc” and acknowledge how irrelevant comparison is. No one else in time and space can write what I can. Letting comparison and self-consciousness have the final word means everybody loses.

I will name the “who does she think she is” voices in my head. I know who they are. They’re just an echo, of something that didn’t matter in the first place.

I will remember everything I write is imperfect and everything you write is imperfect and everything everyone has ever written is imperfect — but real, in the world. Because it got better with every draft so the message made its way into the world. I will remember perfectionism never gets around to connecting with anyone — but authentic does.

Here are three books I love and am proud I wrote. Here’s to the ones that will follow.

#writingcoaching#writingcourses#author#authorslife#lecturersofinstagram#southwestlondon#writerslife#writingmotivation#mondaymotivation#bookstagram#booksofinstagram @blackshuckbooks @hodderbooks

The Writers’ Gym Podcast Ep.1 – with Jennifer Steil

I’m so happy to be launching the Writers’ Gym Podcast. Each episode explores an author’s unique mix of memory, imagination, observations and questions about the world, and how that translates into their unique stories. There may be only seven basic plots but there are infinite original voices — come and unleash yours as you develop your creative curiosity, build your focus and explore the goals, exercises, tools and techniques to discover what you really want from your writing — and what your writing really needs from you.

A painter doesn’t need permission to mix any colours they like. Yet, as writers, our memories, imagination, observations and questions about the world and ourselves come with “not supposed to go there” stamped all over them. How can we give ourselves permission to beat those blocks? Multi-award-winning author Jennifer Steil joins me to talk about about what kept her writing through kidnap, cancer treatment and everyday life in the three countries she calls home. Join us here.

Seven Years, One Umbrella and a Happy New Page

Somewhere in the depths of my digital memory, there’s a photo from seven years ago. 

In that photo, I’m standing in a park in Richmond, under this same umbrella. I’m smiling, I’m somewhere beautiful and safe. But everything is strange and everything is terrifying. I don’t know who I am in that moment; everything’s lost or feels like it doesn’t fit anymore.

I promise that woman in that moment (and I promise you, today) that these things were true then and they are true now:

✍️ It WILL change. YOU will change it. You and the things that matter to you most will be stronger on the other side of realising you deserve better, then how to find — and be — better.

✍️ Self-esteem is not 20:20 vision. We never realise how much energy went in trying to fit into other people’s templates until we stretch out and discover how much more of ourselves is available to us and where we truly fit.

✍️ Thriving is often around the sharpest of corners, but that version of your life is real and it’s waiting for you.

✍️ Most of us find it incredibly hard to find the self-esteem to ask for, and indeed offer, help. Yet when someone reaches out to us we feel the gift, and compliment, it truly is. Never be afraid to give and never be afraid to take.

Love and thanks to every one of you, my friends, colleagues, family, everyone I’ve written for and with, coached and been coached by in 2022. Never hesitate to message me.

If someone you know needs to hear this — share it, but text them your own words too. #Keeptalking, #keepwriting, we’re all part of one conversation and it’s richer for every one of us being in it as we all turn this same new page tonight.


Angela Badalamenti

I have a personal ‘gateway’ to my writing. There’s really just the one reliable way in, if I want the day to be all it can.

Often, when clients or colleagues ask me about writing music, I’m cagey. I turn the question back and am always happy to learn what yours is. Yet I don’t answer too specifically. 

Before today, I’d have told you that’s because no two writers have the same ritual. That it’s all about the courage and curiosity of finding your own and not getting too hung up on someone else’s.

But that wasn’t true. Well, sure, it was literally true. it just wasn’t the reason. 

I discovered @angelobadalamentiofficial in a single jolt to the heart of a few chords in an unreleased song in a documentary about an album it wasn’t on, the early 1990s: ‘Is It Raining in London?’ was his collaboration with my first love @paulmccartney but it was @twinpeaks @davidlynchworld that brought me to where I now, mentally and emotionally, live. I try and start somewhere else at least once a week, but when I hear the title track my brain and body know what’s happening, that I’ve arrived exactly where I need to be.

Music goes somewhere words can’t — even in the most articulate and honest moments and expressions, we still see ourselves at our clearest in music, privately and without any words at all. There are no excuses in music, no boundaries between the thoughts we link and the feelings we allow to settle and surround us. Words let us hide as much as they let us reveal. Music, like what I call God and you might call the universe, is beyond that. Much like Twin Peaks itself, music is about a truth that’s nothing to do with plot coherence. We find ourselves there, and there are no words. None are needed.

Rest in peace, maestro. 


#angelobadalamenti #ripangelobadalamenti #writing #writers #twinpeaks #isitraininginlondon #composersofinstagram #write #welcometotwinpeaks @welcometotwinpeaks #tuesdaytransformation #writingtips #writeyourstory #writeyourworld #keepwriting #writingcoach #writingcoaching #confidence #confidencecoach #findyou #theowlsarenotwhattheyseem #findyourself #damnfinecoffee #damnfinecupofcoffee #twinpeaks #audreysdance #newshoes

Writing and Confidence Coaching Vouchers

What’s the one gift your writing self needs from you this Christmas?

Whatever your answer, it’ll come down to time and space to give to the book that’s in you, out of you.

Until Christmas Eve, I’m offering a limited number of Writing and Confidence Coaching Digital Vouchers at just £45 for one hour. Or, if you’d like them printed and part of a unique Christmas card, let me know in your email.

Vouchers must be used by 1 March 2023, or can be transferred as partial payment for any course that starts in January 2023.

Book now!

Focus and Flow: a masterclass in confident creativity

I’m really happy to share that, on Wednesday 9 November, I passed my first ICF exam and am now officially ACC (Associate Certified Coach).

October was quite the month: not only Green Ink Sponsored Write for Macmillan Cancer Support, my first full one as a visiting lecturer at Roehampton University (where I did a module of my PhD in 2017 and my BA twenty years ago!) and the first post-lockdown in-person course at Olympic Studios, but the first anniversary of my cohort beginning our business and personal coaching course. I pursued a coaching qualification so I could know I was giving my coaching clients the best service I could possibly provide. The wealth of skills, techniques, ideas, concepts, colleagues, supervisors and friends was the most personally and professionally enhancing experience I could have asked for. I truly believe the difference in my life and my coaching is already felt by all my clients, friends and family – just as the difference coaching makes in them is experienced by the people in their lives.

Finding coaching meant finding a language and ideology for what was always at the heart of my teaching, lecturing and directing. In the end, it’s all about making that unique story, that unique performance, that unique person, the most themselves they can be. And discovering yours is the root of authentic confidence, of creativity, of clarity in life and work as well as on the page or stage. That’s what my new masterclass Focus and Flow is all about: how to make, instead of hope to find, time and opportunities to live, work and act from your creative mindset.

To start bringing your life, work and art into alignment with the goals and values that make you ‘you’, join me Wednesday 30 Nov, 6.30pm GMT.

Meet the Sponsored Writers 5: Sophie Hannah

I’m Sophie Hannah, I write crime fiction including psychological thrillers, detective fiction and Hercule Poirot continuation novels.   I became involved with the Sponsored Write thanks to Rachel Knightley who is one of my ‘Dream Authors’ — a member of my online coaching programme for writers, Dream Author!

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

Yes, I’m generally very motivated by a deadline and find the challenge energising. Constraints of any kind, including ones to do with time, can be very inspiring because narrowing down the options forces you to think more creatively. 

Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

Macmillan Cancer Support provided invaluable help to a friend’s parents when they were dying, it’s an absolutely vital organisation which gives so much support and comfort, I am incredibly impressed by the charity and all the amazing work they do. 

What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

I love it! I’m going to be writing two poems for the anthology: one from the point of view of Wilfred Owen and one from the point of view of Philip Larkin — both will be protesting from beyond the grave about having been ejected from the GCSE poetry anthology!

Meet the Sponsored Writers 4: Penny Jones and Alex Davis

Hi I’m Penny Jones and I’m a part-time writer, part-time nurse and part-time procrastinator, which all in all keeps me busy. I tend to write horror fiction and this is my third year of writing horrible little tales for what is usually a very uplifting anthology. I think I was introduced to Rachel Knightley who organises the Sponsored Write through a mutual friend Steve Shaw who runs Black Shuck Books and who has done all the editing, typesetting, etc for the anthology for the last few years. 

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

I am useless if I don’t have a deadline. If you send me an invite for an anthology or a request for a manuscript, I will usually have it with you a month prior to the deadline, but as soon as I’m told “Whenever” to deadline queries then that is that, you’ll be lucky if you ever get it. I’m so bad at not having a deadline that I actually utilise the editorial and 1:1 services of another of this year’s writers, Alex Davies, to write the book I’m currently working on. So the time-limit on the Sponsored Write is a godsend for me.

Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

Touch wood I’ve been lucky enough to never have to utilise the charity personally, though they have been a wonderful resource and support to many of my patients through the years.

What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

My first thought was about the rabbit in the Natural History Museum. It’s an exhibit showing a rabbit dying and rotting and showing how it feeds the earth and brings life back full circle. But as the theme was put forward by the legendary horror author Ramsey Campbell that was quickly followed by my second thought zombies.

Absolutely anything else you’d like to share! 🙂

I’m so excited to yet again be part of such a wonderful fundraising experience, and I look forward to chatting to you all on the day.

I’ve been involved in the writing industries for the better part of twenty years, and that has taken in teaching and workshopping, running events both large and small, one-to-ones and mentoring, editing and proofreading… I studied Creative Writing at the University of Derby and from the minute I left I was determined to explore what could be out there within the wider field, and I feel like I’ve certainly done that in the time since. Being busy has always suited me just fine!

Writing-wise I’ve had a science-fiction novel out, entitled The Last War, but most of my shorts and poetry would be horror and gothic. I’m currently writing a dark fantasy project called ‘The Faceless’, which is part of the PhD I’m currently studying for. It’s one of three novels I’ll be writing looking at different interpretations of the Slendeman creepypasta, and I’m having a blast with it so far.

The Sponsored Write has been on my radar for a number of years – there’s a great community of writers who have always supported it, so it’s been a real pleasure to be involved.

2) Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

Oh, absolutely – my life is full of deadlines in virtually everything I do! The diary is always full and the to do list usually runs over at least a couple of pages. But it’s simply about getting everything done – I don’t think I could manage to work any other way really, because I seem to constantly be juggling so many things at any given time.

The time limit for this one definitely appeals to me, as does the idea of a theme – I’ve always loved writing with that sort of stimulus, something to get you rolling and perhaps take you in a different direction creatively. I’m almost happiest if someone gives me a topic and I can just go off and right to – I know that’s not something everyone loves to do, but it suits me perfectly.

3) Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

I’m certainly well aware of the brilliant work that MacMillan do, and really pleased to be able to support such a good cause. They’re an absolute lifeline for so many people out there, and it’s wonderful that the Sponsored Write is able to support them.

4) What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

It’s a fascinating one, and has a sort of gentle quality that I really like. Life is always renewing itself day on day and year on year, so there’s a fabulous optimism there. It also speaks in many ways of societal change – nothing is ever settled, and things are always changing in politics, technology, sociology… there’s a very individual human level to it but also something larger than that.

I think it’s also a potentially challenging on for someone who largely writes horror, because of its very optimism.  That’s not to say that I won’t be looking for a dark direction to take it in of course – we’ll just have to see where the imagination goes. But I have a suspicion it might end up being something a little different to my usual, which should be fun and interesting to write.

5) Absolutely anything else you’d like to share! 🙂

I wanted to add a big thanks for the invite to take part – the Sponsored Write is a hugely exciting project producing a great cause, and it’s a pleasure to be included among such  phenomenal range of talent taking part. One of the things I’m looking forward to seeing myself is the variety of stories that come through – one of the things I have always loved is that you can give ten writers the very same stimulus and they will invariably come up with ten wildly different stories. Anthologies like this are, for me, the perfect bottling of the unique creative process we all have – and that’s one of the reasons I love reading them so much. It’s incredible to see directions emerging that would absolutely never have crossed your own mind.

Meet the Sponsored Writers 3: Katharine Orton and Nic Lamont

Hi! I’m Katharine Orton and I’m the author of two books for children, Nevertell and Glassheart, with my latest – a fantasy adventure called Mountainfell, filled with cloud dragons and dangerous magic – set to be published in November ‘22. You may not believe this, but Rachel Knightley, who founded both the Green Ink Writer’s Gym and Sponsored Write, is actually my oldest friend, the two of us having first met as tiddlers in reception class! One day (many years after reception), she very kindly asked if I’d like to take part in this special fundraising idea for Macmillan that she’d had … And I’ve been proudly taking part in the Sponsored Write more or less ever since.

Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

I love deadlines. Much like the late, great Douglas Adams, I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. But letting deadlines zoom past me is absolutely not an option when it comes to the Sponsored Write – so the pressure is on!

Many of the writers involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Are you happy to share your experience of the charity’s work?

Macmillan were an amazing source of support when my mother-in-law lost her partner to pancreatic cancer, and have been a wonderful support to other friends and family over the years. My auntie is also actually a cancer nurse, so I know what an amazing job they do.

What’s it like being in a Sponsored Write?

Fun, rewarding, challenging. Everyone should have a go!

What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

I think it opens up a lot of intriguing possibilities…

Absolutely anything else you’d like to share!

Please support us by donating anything from the price of a coffee to those dusty millions you forgot you had (I know, right, if only!). If you like short stories as much as you like doing a good turn for charity, then this is most definitely for you. And perhaps next year you might even like to take part in the Sponsored Write yourself!

Hello! I’m Nic. I’m an actor, comedian and writer based in Kent. I originally began writing sketches with my comedy partner Adam in our duo The Twins Macabre and we were very lucky to have our work featured on BBC3 and BBC Radio 4. Since then I’ve written dark comedy plays that have been produced in London theatres, and a solo show which is a punk-rock retelling of the life of Mary Shelley. I was so pleased that Rachel got to see my Mary Shelley show and thrilled to be asked to take part in this year’s Sponsored Write! 

Q. Are you a “deadlines person” outside the Sponsored Write? Is the time-limit part of the challenge or the attraction?

I know it’s a bit nerdy… but I do love a deadline! Whenever I want to write a new show, the best way for me to get it done is just to book it in at a theatre and work towards that. I’m somehow both a perfectionist and a bit of a dreamer, so deadlines really help me to stop judging my own work too much or spend too long pondering. So, I’m actually really excited for the time-limit of the Sponsored Write to really focus on what I create. 

Q. Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

Whilst not direct experience of Macmillan, cancer unfortunately has had an impact on my family in the past and present. Someone very close to me has recently started their own battle with cancer, which makes this cause all the more important to me. I know that Macmillan do incredible work, their values being ‘with strength, with heart, with ambition’ – what a brilliant force of positivity to put into the world. 

Q. What do you make of this year’s theme, ‘Constant Renewal’?

What a wonderful theme chosen by Ramsey Campbell! It’s a theme that is both broad and overarching, but very intimate too. We all go through transformations in our lives and they can be earth shatteringly huge, or tiniest everyday shift. I think the pandemic forced everyone to stand still for a second and renew their values, be it in relationships or careers or just buying more houseplants. As someone who has dabbled in many different forms of performing, and having recently become a mother, I feel I am constantly renewing what I do and my role in the world. This is a great theme to spark the imagination and I’m looking forward to what I and the other writers create! 

Q. Absolutely anything else you’d like to share! 🙂

I am excited for this to be taking place in October! Autumn is really my season; I was born in October and am a lover of all things spooky and Halloweenish. A pumpkin-spiced coffee will no doubt be my rocket fuel on the 15th! To find out more about me check out @nic.lamont 

Ghosts, Reflections, Retellings, Social Media, Selves.

Social media can be social. It can connect us. We can make friends, find the people who need our services, find the people whose services we need.

But it can also scare us off, reveal not what is out there but what fears are in here. Not about others so much as about ourselves.

Much like mirrors do, in every👏 single 👏 ghost story 👏 I 👏 have 👏ever👏written!

Mirrors. Seriously. 

Here’s why they scare and fascinate me…

We don’t see ourselves when we look in the mirror. We see a reflection. Something created in response. Never the thing, the person, the place. Even a memory is a recalled perception, never the thing itself. A retelling. 

Each retelling, though, is a new draft, truer to itself than the last. An essential truth even if not a literal one. Like our stories on the page, we are becoming more ourselves each time we learn more about our own story, gain another perspective on it, about who we choose to be and what we choose to learn.

When we look at social media, it can only make us unhappy when we see ourselves instead of the other. 

As if the choices, achievements, joys or sorrows of others are any reflection on us. Or, even if they were, as if it means there’s any less space in the world for our own.

There is space for you, all you can do and all you can be.

The other is not ourselves. Everyone is free to celebrate and share who they are and what they can offer the world. Even your reflection isn’t really you.

But it’s certainly got things to tell you, if you’re ready to listen, and to choose what happens in the next chapter…