Do you remember that classic answer to the interview question: what is your biggest flaw? The answer that still does the rounds and is intended to impress: I’m a perfectionist. Although, perfection is not a goal I chase nowadays. It has taken years to understand that perfection takes a toll. It breaks backs and spirits.… Read More In Pursuit of Perfection
Do you believe that each of us has a unique gift to share with the world? I do. I look at my children now and am aware of the responsibility to introduce them to new experiences and knowledge so they can uncover their passions and begin to understand who they are at their core. Recently… Read More On Self-Discovery
I am sad. There I said it. I don’t like to be the sad one. Not that there’s anything wrong with being sad: we all feel like this sometimes, and some more than others. In fact, I’d argue that if you don’t feel sad sometimes then your skin is probably too thick, and you might… Read More Sadness
I’ll tell you how I’m feeling today, if you tell me too. Not for us, the false niceties papering over our humanness. Not for us, the filters to smooth out our skin on social media, to give the grey pallor of our faces a sunlight hue. I’m tired and overwhelmed, and I know it will… Read More Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?
We went to the beach at East Wittering, a few hours drive away. The sea air was bracing, the sand between my toes cool. Beach huts in primary colours and bold patterns stood against the grey sky. The baby fussed, and I was secretly pleased to leave our frisbee-playing big kids in their father’s care… Read More Yin and Yang, and the Folly of Absolute Certainty
Many moons ago, I wrote about the benefits of journalling. I journaled as a child, continued sporadically as a teen, and then with increased regularity after reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which recommends morning pages as a conduit for creativity. Then I had children. Often, it’s not an alarm that wakes me up, but… Read More Writing for Introspection vs Writing for an Audience
‘Has the world always been broken?’ asked the girl, eyes laden with sorrow Her grandfather knotted his fingers together, paper-thin skin over cobweb veins and considered which truth to convey Should he comfort her as he longed to do, until her heart had no knowledge of hate or unfold to her the wisdoms he had… Read More Broken World, A Poem for My Daughter
I know the answer to this question, and if you are like me, you will be jumping up and down saying: everything! Everything is fair game in art. It is the role of the writer to imagine new worlds, entertain, explore themes, and ultimately to hold up a mirror of truth. It is why the… Read More What is Fair Game in Art?
This wasn’t the post I had planned for today, but sometimes inspiration happens to make you bump your schedule. This weekend I was inspired by a workshop I attended called On Being Human led by Jen Pastiloff. If you haven’t heard of Jen already then look her up on Instagram or Facebook. You’ll find beautiful… Read More On Being Real
It’s been over two years now since I clambered up to the rooftops, cupped my hands together and admitted what I had known all along: I wanted to write, not just for me, but for readers. I thought that learning the craft, finishing and submitting stories might lead to modest sales. In fact, writing stories… Read More Reader Reviews and Big Brother
Today I feel lost and broken and sad. I’m sitting in the conservatory of the house we rent in Geneva. The doors are open and a light breeze is playing with the hem of my dress. The sky is a blue blanket dotted with wisps of cotton. I want to fly into it and disappear.… Read More Coping with the Tide of Life
We went back to bright city lights and siren calls bleak rain over stacked chimney pots where the big clock stands proudly amidst carved buildings of yellowed stone sticky pubs and well-trodden streets, in which street lamps cast familiar shadows We travelled back to the rhythms of my childhood of parental love and my grandmother’s… Read More Making Home
“One’s first diarist,” suggests psychotherapist and essayist Adam Phillips, “is one’s mother who links facts for one, holds the pieces together.” Forget the priest’s confession booth or your mum. There are more places than ever for confessionals today. Social media is a constant flood of inner thoughts memorialised. Still, the art of keeping a diary… Read More Why would You Write a Journal?
In case you missed it, it’s Nanowrimo (I’m hearing trumpets, triangles and all sorts in my head right now). I’ve been writing my socks off and so far I’m on track. Tough spots are lurking for me around the corner though as I tend to get saggy middle of the month syndrome. Still, for now… Read More Not for the Faint-Hearted: Using Critique Groups to Accelerate your Learning
My head has been a whirr this week, as my final day at City Hall came and went, amidst leaving cards and speeches and the sense that a significant phase of my life has come to an end. I was a school girl when I first became interested in politics. I’d gone along to a… Read More On Passion and Integrity
This post was written for the What I See Project, which is asking women globally what they see when they look in the mirror. It’d be interesting to hear male answers to the question too, but for now it’s women only. You can find out more about the project and contribute your own video blog… Read More What I See Project: What I See When I Look in the Mirror
It’s no secret to followers of this blog or my twitter account (@nzstelter) that I write. I write daily. I write reports, briefings, proposals and correspondence for my day job. In my own time, I continue writing. I journal, write stories or blog posts. I invent stories for my daughter. Writing allows me to crystallise… Read More Feeling Like a Writing Fraud
Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses In 1989 my seven year old ears pricked up at the repeated mention of a name in our house. My extended family are big film and music lovers and it would have been more in keeping for them to be discussing Bollywood star Salman Khan. But it was Salman… Read More Should Writers Ever Self-Censor?
After I published my first proper blog post yesterday I tweeted about it and sent the link to half a dozen family and friends. The chosen few, as it were: those who have been supportive of my writing dream or at least know about it. Not everyone does. I didn’t share the post on… Read More Leaving Fear Behind