Non-Fiction November Recommendations

It’s non-fiction November and I love it.  There are SO many wonderful non-fiction books, everything from creative non-fiction and memoirs to literary journalism and essays.  There is something incredible about reading something and knowing that it is a true and lived experience.

These are just a few of my favourite non-fiction books that you might want to think about picking up this November…

71UzoY91DTLThe Outrun by Amy Liptrot

I loved this book.  It is a memoir following Amy Liptrot through a point of major change in her life of extremes.  Going from living in one of the most remote and quietest parts of Scotland to a hedonistic lifestyle in London that quickly spiralled out of control and finding her way back again.  It’s incredibly moving, beautifully written and gives an amazing insight into the mind of an addict.  This book will also make you want to desperately visit the Shetland Islands!

51D5+AsHk0L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

This book is so unique.  Nelson is also a poet which I think comes across in her work because the sentence structures are so stunning.  This memoir reflects on the woman’s body through the lens of Nelson’s relationship with her body when she is pregnant and her gender fluid partner’s body as they transition.  The text is very fragmented and jumps around time like she is trying to piece all her memories together.

9781408859261The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury

This is one of my favourite books of all time.  Katharine Norbury’s memoir is  one of the most beautiful books I’ve read.  It combines memoir and nature writing, following Norbury’s journey to the source of a river in the UK after she has a miscarrige.

This book does broach the subject of miscarrige, although its not discussed in length, I think its worth giving a trigger warning for a very sensitive subject.

91h3nXHn+dLMen We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Ohhh this book!  Writer Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life in just five years!  In this beautifully written memoir, Ward reflects on her relationships with these men and what lead to their deaths, as a way to look at the circumstances that young black men who live in poverty often find themselves in.  Let your eyes be opened and your heart moved by this incredibly honest book!

coverNo Is Not Enough by Namoi Klein

I am reading this book at the moment.  It is about ‘shock politics’ and how someone like Donald Trump (who she calls the ultimate logo) can become President of the USA.  Although it’s about America, a worrying amount is relevant to the UK at the moment!  It also looks at how we, as societies can stop letting fear taking over and bring unity back. As Klein says, ‘This is a look at how we arrived at this surreal political moment, how to keep it from getting a lot worse, and how, if we keep our heads, we can flip the script.’

51dyNorWnNL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer by… me!

Given that it is non-fiction, I kinda feel like I have to mention my book.  Part self-help and part memoir this book moves from diagnosis to getting the all clear, trying to offer everything that I learned along the way.

 

Do you have any non-fiction books that you would recommend?  If so, please leave a comment in the comments section below… I am always looking for books to add to my list of books to be read!

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Happy Reading! x

Why September is the New January!

Why September is the new January graphicThere is something incredibly renewing about September.  The earth may be beginning to shut down for the winter but in doing so, it becomes more alive.  Tree’s become more vibrant and colourful, new produce is being freshly harvested.  The earth is changing so visually, it is like the world is inviting us to consider how we can make changes with it.

And it is not just the earth that evolves at this time of year.  Work picks up as people are ready for new projects they put on the back-burner over the summer and full of ideas to put into action.  Social engagements get busier as the kids head back to school everyone heads back into the office meaning that we can all get a semblance of a routine back into place.

Seeing a huge proportion of the population returning to education also serves to ignite a feeling of wanderlust and working to your next achievement.  You do have to wonder if this is a psychological conditioning that comes from our whole childhood, teaching us that September see’s the start of something new – a new school year, new teachers, new (and the very exciting) back to school stationery.  Is that something we carry into adulthood, the feeling that September is a new beginning?  Maybe, but there is no denying that September is a much more transitional time of year than January, for the earth and for us.

With the autumn transition comes a return to self, a renewal, a chance to consider what we would like the achieve in the last quarter of the year – and beyond.  What we would like to do for ourselves.

January may have the market sewn up for new beginnings and resolutions but in reality, the 1st January is basically the same as the 20th November – except your knackered and skint after Christmas.  However the change between August and September, that is when things are really changing, and why Autumn is the perfect time for trying something new, considering changes you want to make and making new *school* year resolutions.

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If you fancy trying Creative Writing as your autumnal resolution, sign up for my free

Let’s Start Writing Workshop 

It is going to be super relaxed, super fun and an amazing chance for you to start thinking a little more creatively and to allow some simple techniques to get you started writing.  I have designed for all of the tasks to be easy, under 10 minutes and each email is filled with tips and hints.

Remember to pass on details of the course to anyone else who might be interested and I can’t wait for us to get started!

Nx

 

 

So exciting!

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I get a lot of questions about writing and where to start.  There is no doubt that starting is the hardest part, so I had the idea to help you do just that!

This September I will be running a free

LET’S START WRITING WORKSHOP

From Monday 11th September till Sunday 18th September I will send you a daily email with a discussion, tips & hints, examples and a small task for you to complete.

You don’t need any previous experience and you won’t be sharing anything so don’t be nervous.  This is just about and for you.  All writing prompts will be Creative Non-Fiction based meaning all tasks will ask you to draw from your own life and experiences, so again, no need to be nervous about coming up with epic novel ideas.

And… September is the perfect time to start because…
Changes in seasons always spark inspiration, classes start in September and (arguably more importantly) it means you have a valid excuse to get involved in a bit of ‘Back to School’ stationary shopping!

Sign Up Here and wait for the first email to hit your inbox on Monday 11th September

If you are worrying about writing, read my last post But I Can’t Write to remind you why you totally can!

This is going to be super relaxed and super fun and I can’t wait to see you there in September! xx

But I Can’t Write?!

Unknown-1.jpegThis has gone through your head, hasn’t it? I know it has.  You know that you want to write but then the fear and the doubt creeps in, takes the pen from your hand and tells you to go sit down and stop getting ideas above your station.  I know this because this is one of the biggest things people tell me whilst also telling me how much they would LOVE to write.

It might not just be that you believe you can’t write.  It could be a belief you hold on to that everything needs to be perfect before you write, that you need to ensure you know everything before you start, a fear of failure, or a fear of success, you don’t think the time is right, the environment is right, your house is tidy enough… whatever it is, it all comes back to the little voice in our heads telling us do NOT put yourself out there.

Ultimately you are lacking the self-belief that you can do it – and you shouldn’t be!

And I get it, I totally get it!  Even though I have had a book published, articles published, a short play performed, a First Class Honours degree in Creative Writing, been accepted to Cambridge University and write an award-winning blog, I still have that same little voice nagging in the back of my head telling me that I can’t do it and I’m not good enough!

So if you are feeling it, remember – feeling ‘the fear’ is fine. It’s normal. But you can never let fear control you because then it distracts you, demotivates you and will leave you regretting things you’ve never done.  Take control.  Get those thoughts and fears out.  Dispel them by using them to fuel your writing.

Write about what you are afraid of. What could go wrong?  What’s the worst possible outcome?  But then write about why you are going to do it anyway.  Write a list of all the amazing things you are going to gain from writing. Acceptance. Understanding. Perception. Control. Creative living. A place for your stories and memories. Ten minutes out of your day when it is just about you and your thoughts. The ability to control your own narrative… write down anything that is positive. In fact, do that now…

Write a list, right now, of at least 5 things you will gain from writing…. Go!

Amother idea… Whenever your inner critic comes screeching into your mind, make a note of what they are saying, give yourself some time to reflect on it and then write your critic a letter, giving them some advice on how to be kinder.

Another common thing people tell me when they are asking about blogging or sharing their story is – but there are already so many blogs about cancer / serious illness / make-up / whatever it is you want to blog about, out there!

And I always reply with this… Yes, there probably are BUT only you can tell your story your way. Only you know what it was like going through the things you have been through.  Only you know how you feel about certain books / make-up / parenting.  Only you can write that specific piece of creative fiction.  And if you don’t tell it, you are denying the world from hearing what you have to say.

Don’t worry about what other people are doing – just worry about all the awesome stuff that you are doing.

Sometimes it’s just about giving ourselves permission to write. So take this, here and now, as your permission to write and to allow writing to help and heal you. 

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There is always going to be a day when you start. Everyone, even JK Rowling started at the beginning, having never had anything published, looking at a blank page, wondering if anyone was ever going to give a shit.  Is the first thing you ever write going to be exceptionally amazing – maybe not, but it is going to be a hell of a lot better than a blank page! Seriously, no one is ever going to read that!

 

Happy Writing! x

P.S. I wanna read what you are writing so if you have a blog / book / anything, please leave the link in the comments below so that we can all take a look.

Today is National Writing Day!

National Writing Day a one-day national campaign to celebrate the power and pleasure of writing.

For National Writing Day everyone is being asked to share the ‘View From My Window.’ This is just a little activity to give you the chance to express your vision of the world around you, whatever that may look like.  Write what you ‘see’ when you look out of the window.

I am going to combine this with the ‘morning pages’ technique that I talk about in my book, where you just write, without editing or any concentration, just let the words fall out of you for 5 minutes and see that comes out.  If you want to join in the conversation, please do post what you write in the comments, I would LOVE to read it, equally if you want to keep it private, that is totally fine too – just WRITE!

Begin with the line, ‘The view from my window…’

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The view from my window is noisy.  With the types of noise you only hear when it’s quiet.  The sound of a neighbour’s radio, workman hammering on a roof, birds rustling on branches and the distant echo of a train.  Sounds pour through my window, all offering me a chance to see what is outside before I look.

But my eyes see something different.  A stillness.  The sun is made of more fire than light today and even the overgrown hedge branches are trying not to move because of the heat.  Bees aren’t moving, hiding in shady spots like lizards underneath rocks, desperately hoping not to be exposed.

But the brightness.  Like one of my daughters drawings when everything is the brightest, biggest version of itself.  Never one to paid a twilight sky navy it is a clear day, the sky coloured with the brightest blue in the box.

With nothing there and no one moving there isn’t much to look at, and yet, everything in my world is shown there.

Visit National Writing Day for more information about this awesome day!

Nicola B and the TWO Big C’s

I actually can’t believe that I posted this blog post 3 years ago! And still the importance to keep informing and spreading the message continues… Life with a colostomy…

Nicola Bourne

photo copyObviously the first one is Cancer.  But I have another big C, in a lot of ways it is a bigger C, certainly to me, so big that I often don’t really speak about it.  The other big C is my Colostomy.

For those who don’t know, a Colostomy is when you have part of your large intestine removed and what’s left diverted through the abdomen wall.  There are occasions when the procedure can be reversed but not in my case.  Truth be told, I struggled with finding out I needed a colostomy more than finding out I had cancer – cancer I could deal with, this I couldn’t.  I thought it was the absolute worst thing that could happen to me and I went into a very strange denial, praying it wouldn’t happen right until I woke up from my surgery.

I actually said if I didn’t have kids…

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Write Away!

Ever wanted to write a book but unsure where to start? Ever wished you could have 2 bestselling authors show you how? Then I have awesome news…


I am so excited to be helping put together this Creative Writing evening with Bibliomaniac where we will have authors Leigh Russell & Helen Cox showing you their tricks of the trade! 

No experience needed, no pressure, just an evening of fun to unlock a little creativity.

An evening of creative writing with Leigh Russell and Helen Cox
Harpenden Arms (upstairs)

8-10pm

Tuesday 25th April 2017

£25*
**TICKET PRICE HAS BEEN REDUCED TO £15 FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY**
*ticket price includes 1 free drink & nibbles and 2 hours of a creative writing activities led by two incredible authors 

TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE!

Whether you’ve been writing for years or whether you’ve never picked up a pen before, come along for an evening of fun activities that will give you ideas, tips and advice as well as the chance to have a go at writing something in a secure and supportive environment!

How to write about your cancer experience – the webinar!

image1Hello all you lovelies!

Did you see the webinar that I did with the fabulous Coaching Emily last Thursday as part of my Virtual Book Tour?  If not, great news, you can see it here…

It was a fantastic experience and the time flew past, meaning that it is actually over an hour but, hopefully it’s worth it.

Once you’ve watched the webinar you will know that there is our unique community supporting people after cancer on Facebook, set up by a qualified coach and health psychology specialist – Coaching Emily herself!  If you’re not already a member, you can request to join the group here…

And if you want ALL the information, then please do grab a copy of the book here.

Only one more stop on the Virtual Book Tour so I will see you there on the 31st March!