Sunday, 30 December 2012

The key to a better 2013.

You choose the kind of year you're going to have.

Decisions can change the course of our lives.  And, sometimes, they’re difficult and we need courage, stamina and wisdom to go through with what we know to be right.

As I look back on 2012, I’m pleased I’ve made some good decisions.  In my life, it has been rare I could say that.

Financially, I chose to change jobs to one that pays more, even though it isn’t my desired career.  I knew I needed more money coming in, and now the future looks brighter as a result.  I won’t see the dividends of this choice for some time, while I pay off my overdraft etc., but it was the right choice.

The new job was also the right choice for my mental and emotional well-being.  Changing jobs is always difficult: it’s frightening and stressful.  But I knew, if I stayed in my previous role, I’d be on the road to stress-related Depression again.  So I made the tough choice: I took the new job, ignoring the voice telling me: ‘Better the devil you know.’

That voice is often wrong.

It’s tempting to take the easy route, especially when the better choice can take years to pay off.  We might stick in the job we don’t like because it’s safe and we know it inside-out.  Or we might spend on credit so we can have what we want, rather than look to save for the life we hope to have in ten years.

It's up to you if you want to be
in the 'driving seat' of
your next year.
As 2013 begins, I’m looking to keep making good decisions.  For example, first off, I’m selling my car: I don’t use it much and it’s an expensive luxury to have ‘just in case’.

For this coming year, think about where you want to be and what you want to be doing by 2014.  Then start making the choices now that will move you closer to those goals.

And, when faced with difficult decisions, don’t be put off making the right choice.  It’s the way to a better life in the long run.

A very happy new year to you all and all the best for 2013.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The infinity of writing a book. (Or, ‘How to complete great tasks.’)

Sometimes the end of the writing process
can feel very far away.
Since finishing my album, I've turned my attention to my writing.

I'm pretty proud of myself for this, because it's what I said I would do, and also because I find it harder to stay focused on: writing a book is a long process, it's difficult to see the end and I’m easily distracted along the way.  Recording an album feels very finite in comparison – the end is almost tangible, so I strive all the more for it.

Some of this 'finiteness' comes from experience: I've recorded albums, I know how much work they are, and how long they take, so I give myself appropriate time scales to complete them.

For example, I know it would be foolish for me to advertise that my next album will be out next year when I haven't even started writing any new material.

To overcome the 'infinity' of writing a book, I have started to set myself achievable goals.  I think this is how to approach any large, or scary, task: break it down into smaller tasks you know you can achieve. 

Moving house?  Don't think about that, think about packing a box – you know you can do that, you've no doubt done it before – then pack another one.  Slowly, your whole house will be packed away and you'll be ready to move.

Writing a book?  Don't think about that, think about writing 1,000 words (or if that's too many, 100) – you know you can do that, you've done it before.  Then start thinking about the next 1,000 (or 100).

Don't be hard on yourself, expecting to finish your great novel in 6 months.  Give yourself time – it doesn't matter how long it takes, really – perhaps it will take longer than you realised (I know my album did!).

But eventually, through completing your achievable, non-scary, finite goals, the book will take shape, almost of its own accord.  

At least, that's what I'm hoping.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Love: an introduction

Love: it’s all around; it’s all you need; it will tear us apart.

In life there are many things we love: families, girlfriends/boyfriends, events, pets, pastimes...
‘I love it!’ we cry. 

And often we do – cry – because of love.

Love can sneak up on us, lift us higher than we’ve ever been before – or maybe ever will again – and bring us joy unimaginable.  And sometimes we can fall from those heights to equal – or perhaps even greater – depths, just as quickly as we fell ‘in love’.

But what is life without love?  This time of ours, marked out by birthday milestones – 30 years can pass by in a flash, and we bear the scars of loves found, lost...papered over.

Love can be unrequited (is there anything more painful?) or rejected; it can be risky and reckless, or perhaps real and rooted.

Love can lead us to so much: a new relationship, a new passion, a life of companionship, or a cherished memory.  A ‘labour of love’ could lead to a PhD, a novel, or even a new album.

You never know what the future might bring if we just ‘love’.

(My new album: 'Love?' is out this Saturday, 15th December 2012.  Check it out @  But don't worry, I'll post about it again next week to remind you!)