I’m a private person but I’ve been thinking about sharing more of my story online. I’ve had an incredible response to anything personal I’ve ever posted, from mental health, bereavement, domestic violence, you (yes, YOU, dear reader) have given me the most support. You connect with me more on these posts than anything I write about writing, and it makes sense really.
People connect with people. I’ve been selective about what I share over the years, but the time is coming for me to reveal all.
But before I dive into all of that, here’s a few sprinkles of Annika Spalding to get you started.
1. I love Mariah Carey and have done since I was a child. I used to take out the CD Covers so I could read the lyrics and sing along to her songs. They are so uplifting, especially her old stuff. When I found out she was also mixed race and was so poor she only had one pair of shoes (or something like that), 9-year-old me felt like I’d found someone like me. It gave me someone to aspire to be, not necessarily for the music (I definitely cannot sing, honestly), but more for the confidence and the overcoming of adversity.
2. I love tulips. I never used to buy fresh flowers, but in my early single mother days I was very low. One day I bought myself some flowers, some tulips, while doing the food shopping, as a gift to myself “just because.” It brightened up my living room and added a bit of life into a space I felt quite trapped in.
3. I am totally winging this whole life thing. I’m being serious. Life plans, life goals, I’m literally operating without them right now. 10-year-old me wanted to a) write a book b) go to university and c) work as a Children’s Worker in a women’s refuge. 31-year-old me has a) published six books and has two half-written on her laptop, b) has just been awarded a 2:1 in Creative and Professional Writing BA (Hons) and graduates in September 2018, and c) did that job over five years ago and LOVED it. So, right now I’m back to the drawing board, having achieved my life goals, figuring out what to aim for next.
4. I’ve set up a Patreon profile… but I’m letting fear stop me from doing anything with it! Literally set up my whole page, membership tiers, benefits, planned content, created page header, ALL THE THINGS, but I haven’t pressed publish yet. I haven’t even submitted it to be reviewed. And the concept is great, artists get paid to create art. The writer that I am puts out free content everywhere all the time, the writer that I want to be plans to share her personal story and raw work on that Patreon profile. It will be a great way for my loyal followers to support me, and also an incentive to FINALLY start writing about my own life. Ideally a whole book, but I’ll start one piece at a time. I’m stalling, mostly because of fear. What it nobody cares? But surely, there’s only one way to find out, right?
5. I don’t like avocado. There, I said it. Judge me if you like. Still don’t like it.
6. I cringe about my first book, Shattered Dreams. Not because it is awful, the story is good, but because it is full of errors. I should have hired an editor but this was almost five years ago and I was just so glad that I’d finished it. I didn’t even have a plan for what would come next, and I certainly didn’t know I’d write five more books. I haven’t pulled it from Amazon because I want to be honest about where I began. If I was to write the same book now, and indeed any fiction at all now, the improved writing skills would be beyond noticeable. I take great comfort in that. I really did begin as a beginner.
7. I’m not going to visit my mum’s grave any more. This is a new decision but I already feel better about it. I feel like she is all around me, all the time. Sitting at her graveside is a reminder of her death, the funeral, our loss. It’s too painful. I can never stay longer than ten minutes and the emotions that arise affect me for days. A counsellor said to me, then why do you go? I said, because I have to. She said, do you? And then I realised that I don’t. I can decide how I choose to remember her. Someone suggested creating an area in my garden to plant some flowers for her and use that as a memorial of some kind. I quite like the idea of that. Nurturing something, watching it grow, witnessing new life, remembering her that way.
8. I once wanted to open up a coffee/bookshop. It was quite a dream, with gorgeous old leather sofas, big mugs, homemade cakes, bookcases stacked with the work of local authors, open mic nights and community meetings… I even had a name for it! But I can’t see myself making cups of coffee and baking cakes all day, so I’ve opted to use the whole idea in one of my new books instead.
9. After writing 6 books, a whole Creative and Professional Writing degree and a bunch of blog posts, I have FINALLY got myself a desk! No more typing away on the sofa or on my bed or at a cafe, although all of these places certainly have their benefits. I’m liking the fact I have a focused area that I can be creative in and for the most part it’s easier to concentrate in here. I waited until I finished my studies so it felt like I had really earned my desk.
10. I bought myself a life coaching course but I’m like, am I really going to do this? I know the world has an overflow of life coaches at the moment, do I really want to give myself another title? I’ll start the course with no expectations, and aim to use it to enhance all of what I already do. To be frank, I think I’d make a GREAT life coach, but I want to be sure I’d be doing it for all the right reasons. Plus, having learned the hard way about boundaries, I guess part of me is still learning about how to put them in place in all areas of life. I want to be at my best in any capacity, life coach included. Maybe the course will teach me more about that.
If you learned something new here, have a question, would like to know more, or just want to give your opinion on something here, post it in the comments below!
Lots of love,
Have you subscribed to my podcast yet?
I’d like to bring your attention to Episode 6: The story behind Shattered Dreams.
Shattered Dreams is an engaging read that follows the brutally honest journey of a woman who finally leaves an abusive marriage. More than just a fictional story, I explain the inspiration behind the story and the purpose I hopes it serves. What is fact and what is fiction? Listen and find out.