Tag Archives: Carolyn Hughes

The Grand Blog Tour arrives at the House of Dreams!

I’d like to thank Katina Wright for inviting me to take part in the Grand Blog Tour this week. I love Kat’s blog because it’s a joyful celebration of creativity and it’s very pretty. Here’s the link Wright Story

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Everyone on the Grand Blog Tour has to answer four questions, and they’re every writer’s favourite questions to answer.

 1. What are you working on?

I wrote a children’s book about writing years ago and always intended to do one for adults some day – that day has come! I’ve got lots of fabulous contributions from my friends in the Scattered Authors Society, and absolutely no quotations that I’ll need to get permissions for (this is why)

I think this book will sit really well alongside ‘Writing in the House of Dreams’ so I hope to publish it in the New Year, a few months after that one comes out in September.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

It’s hard to say, considering that my work covers lots of different genres, but doing something different feels important to me. There wouldn’t be any point in writing something someone else has already written.

When I wrote my bullying books they were – and as far as I’m aware, still are – the only self-help books that focused on psychological self-defence, helping children to deal with high levels of anger and fear in bullying situations, to maintain their self-esteem and overcome any feelings of shame. When ‘Bullies, Bigmouths and So-called Friends’ came out in 2003, the Independent reviewer asked, ‘Could this be the first self-help book for children?’

With my dream book, I didn’t want to do a dictionary/interpretation kind of book because there are already so many books of this kind on the market. I wanted to tell my own dream adventures and offer some practical writing activities that could give others a glimpse into how each dream experience feels, even if they don’t recall their dreams. I don’t think anyone else has done this but even if they have, my own story and the exercises from my ‘House of Dreams’ workshops are obviously unique.

I think my writing book will be different too – as ‘How to be a Brilliant Writer’ was an unusual writing book for children, but I never talk about my work-in-progress. Sorry!

3. Why do you write what you do?

I write to entertain, but also to share ideas that have made my life feel richer. I love new challenges so I choose projects that are going to stretch me and take me into unfamiliar territory.

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m allergic to timetables and routines so I found the years when I was having to fit my writing in around school and playgroup quite challenging. These days it’s completely organic. When I’m at the pondering, pre-planning stage I might spend days at the beach or tramping over the moors. When I’m actively sorting out a plan, I like to take power naps because I find things organise in my mind while I’m asleep.

Once I start the actual writing I can work 24:7 because I never know exactly how the book is going to be and I’m excited to find out.

Then finally, when I’ve finished my first draft, my redrafting works in a nice steady nine to five kind of way, and as soon as I’ve send the MS off to my agent, I crack open a bottle of bubbly.

Now it just remains for me to take the Grand Tour forward to other blogs I think you might love. They’ll will be joining the tour on the 5th May.

Abi Burlingham is a children’s author I’ve got to know over the last few years through blogging and social networking – I’ve never met her but I think of her as a friend. Her blog is about art, life and writing, which is a great mix as far as I’m concerned. here’s the link

Carolyn Hughes writes about recovery and emotional healing on her blog called The Hurt Healer, which has a following of thousands. Like Abi, she’s another friend I’ve never met 🙂

Tessa Hillman has a really unusual blog called Yoga Stories where she offers stories on demand. She’s a good friend I actually have met, and meet up with from time to time.

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Authentically creative, by Carolyn Hughes

Carolyn Hughes is a writer with an interest in addiction and mental health issues. Her popular blog is The Hurt Healer and she has a lively and rapidly growing following on facebook and twitter

Carolyn Hughes
Carolyn Hughes

I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole ~ Jung

Like many writers I want my work to be recognisable by its unique and individual style.  For me, it’s crucial that what and how I write reflects my authentic self.  Anyone who has read my blog The Hurt Healer will be familiar with the fact that I share from the heart. It’s a deliberate approach to enable readers to relate to and hopefully be encouraged by my words.  Authenticity means being genuine and real.  Much as I would love to reveal only my good side, to be true to my work I have to disclose my whole self.

It is no coincidence that I am only now finding my writing voice as it has taken a long time to find myself.  Years of battling with depression and alcoholism meant that I had very little idea of who I was. How I presented to the outside world was very different to how I felt inside. It was only through having the courage to challenge my past at every level that I was able to start the journey to healing and so begin to find personal identity and my authentic self.

My aim though isn’t just to be authentic, but to be authentically creative.  And the key to writing both authentically and creatively lies with the unconscious.  For me the unconscious is a limitless place in my mind where my spirit and soul meet. It is a place where I can visit those painful issues that used to torment me. But instead of being overwhelmed I can now bring them into my conscious, safe from their power to harm me.  So as I communicate from my unconscious, so I hope to reach the unconscious of others and in doing so share a collective moment of authenticity.

The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind ~ Freud

Recently I’ve been looking at how I can reach further into the depths of my unconscious and take my writing to a new level of creativity.  I’ve started to look at the constituents of my dreams. This is a wonderful way to tap into those hidden thoughts and images that make up the psyche, as well as exposing my inner truth.

Examining my dreams however has only been possible from a position of emotional recovery and psychological stability. In those dark days of depression and alcoholism my night-time experiences were fraught with darkness and fear. The erratic and terrifying nightmares that emerged reflected my complete inability at the time to manage my physical and mental anguish.

Jung once remarked that nothing was ever lost in the psyche.  That is an horrendous thought for anyone who has tried to block out the past in the hope that the pain would stop. The idea that all thoughts, memories and emotions never disappear but remain forever can be frightening. Yet I found that there was indeed a freedom to be found in allowing the unconscious to simply ‘ be’. I stopped fighting the emergence of the dark side and celebrated the arrival of the good side. By no longer fearing my thoughts and dreams I was free to live authentically and to write openly too.

Il ne faut jamais regarder quelqu’un qui dort. C’est comme si on ouvrait une lettre qui ne vous est pas addressee ~ Sacha Guitry

I couldn’t mention dreams without including one of my favourite quotes. A general translation of this is; “You should never look at someone who is sleeping. It is like opening a letter that isn’t addressed to you.”

It is a quote I came across many years ago at a time when I was experiencing my first love.  After one of those deep conversations that you have in such relationships I remember feeling that he hadn’t been entirely truthful.  As I watched him sleeping I remembered the quote and realised that I had been right to doubt him.  His real emotions were disclosed on his face as he slept.  So dreams aren’t just for the benefit of the dreamer!

Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy ~ Freud

Being new to noting my dreams, I must admit that at first they did appear to be made up of bizarre representations that made little sense and made no contribution to my creativity. But as I made more of a conscious effort to remember them and to focus on not just what they were about but how I felt, they became significant.  

Very often it’s in that winding down time between waking and sleeping that a word, phrase, image that comes into my mind and gives the essence to a piece of writing. Other times it’s a complete dream that a memory from the past, an issue of the present or an aspiration for the future.  

Sometimes this works better than others depending on the obscurity or relevance of my dreams. Yet the importance lies in allowing that writing to happen regardless of whether it makes sense at the time. So although I may have rearranged the words to make them flow, I haven’t messed with the essence of what my soul may have whispered to me.

I may never reach the purest form of authenticity or be famed for my creativity, but I will continue to write from the heart with my unconscious and dreams as my guides.

 How do you write authentically and creatively?