"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Bridge of Dreams

New Year's Eve is always a nostalgic time as we think back on our lives.  Sometimes the past just needs to be remembered and acknowledged in some way, to honour where you have come from, and also where you are going.

As I was digging out the Christmas trimmings earlier this month a folder of art prints fell into my lap.  These were prints that I had put away several years ago because they didn't really suit my tastes anymore, but they were too nice to throw away.  Among them were a couple of Monet prints, the ones pictured here in this post, which had been given to me as Christmas gifts when I was just 21.

At the time they helped brighten up the tiny flat I lived in, but they were never really me... They remind me of a rather trying phase in my life which is why they were put away in a folder.  At 21 I was working two jobs just to pay basic bills and survive, the flat I lived in was far from ideal and being young and ambitious I lived on the dream that one day I would be a published writer, though the whispers behind my back went something like this...

"Poor Marie, she'll never make anything of herself. She thinks she's going to be a writer...she's a barmaid and a care assistant, not a writer!"  

I'd had a few jobs as I struggled to get published and unfortunately all people could see back then was a young woman who drifted from job to job and they commented accordingly.  After all, no-one can see your dreams except you, so it was a fair assumption to make, that I was going nowhere and not making anything of my life.  All the real work went on behind the scenes, while they were tucked into bed sleeping.  Late at night I was writing and sending out book proposals and so on. Alas I was the only one who took this writing work seriously.  Thinking back on that time I am reminded of a quotation I read online somewhere and which stuck in my mind...

First they laugh. Then they copy.

When the odds seem stacked against you; when you are not sure how you are going cross from your present into your future, you need to trust that you are stepping onto a magical, invisible bridge that will carry you safely to where you want to be.   I don't blame people for thinking I wasn't going anywhere - on the surface of my life back then, that is the way it must have appeared to them but my achievements in publishing since that time speak for themselves - I need no other endorsement. 

Sometimes people just do not have the breadth and depth of mind to comprehend your dream. They are not just being mean.  It is after all, your dream, not theirs...they will only understand it when you have made it your reality and it is staring them in the face on a daily basis.  They need to see proof; then, for one reason or another, they will rally to your cause...but while ever it is just an ambition, you're on your own with it! How they emotionally deal with the success of your dream is also down to them, not you. 

As a new year fast approaches in the next few hours lots of people will be thinking of what they want 2017 to bring them, but I like to wonder what I will bring to 2017?  For it is in our personal efforts and achievements that our life experience becomes positive or negative.  Anyone can sit and moan about their lot in life, complaining that they can never get a leg up or a foot in the door or catch a break etc. Complaint is easy.  Achievement takes effort.  If you simply cannot be bothered with your own life and drift through it in a state of apathy then how can you expect to see great results? 

I have just six months left of my psychotherapy training so 2017 will be the start of a second professional career for me.  To honour the past I have come from, I am going to put the two Monet prints into the clear sleeves on the front of a couple of A4 ring binders, to make pretty covers.  These folders will be used to keep my clinical notes in when I am seeing clients in placement.  In this way, my past is used as a focus for my future...a reminder that once upon a time, people thought I was going nowhere fast and now I have not just one, but two successful and professional career paths. 

Whatever your ambitions are for 2017, don't let the naysayers get you down or keep you from your dream...remember, they can't see your dream, only you can. Next year you may well have realised your 2017 dream too.  

And if you hear some sneering and sniggering  along the way, just remember...First they laugh. Then they copy. 
Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Thinking of You

Katy Perry - Thinking of You

Little Mix - Secret Love Song

Thinking of you at Christmas and always
 Love M x

Thursday, 1 December 2016

WRITER'S DREAM; Switching Genres...Moving On

The end of an era beckons...

The air tonight has the bite of frost in it, so I am curled by the fire with my laptop and a home-made Pumpkin Spice latte (made with Baileys Pumpkin Spice) which is delicious.   December has begun and with it the thrill of anticipation of a new year to come. My birthday was just over a week ago and so this time of year always feels like a fresh start to me as my solar year begins anew.

It is an exciting time and a new future glimmers on the horizon of my life.  Over the course of this year I have been reassessing my writing work, pondering on where I want to take it and I have come to the conclusion that I am actually in the process of switching genres.   This has been happening so gradually I hadn't really noticed, yet now it has come to the point where I need to make the final leap, once and for all and become more of a mainstream self-help and psychotherapy writer.   

There are several reasons for this.  First of all it feels like a natural progression of my work and it is something I have been working towards with my night classes for the past three and a half years. 

Secondly the Mind, Body, Spirit market is not what it was when I first started out in the late 1990's when it was a huge upcoming trend.  It hasn't weathered the financial crash that well; some magazines have folded, others are fast losing readers and struggling to stay afloat, publishing houses have closed down their MBS imprints completely. Budgets are now so tight that there is little room for freelancer fees and the market on the whole has shrunk to the size of a pin head. 

A big part of being a writer is keeping an eye on the market and I noticed this shrinkage beginning some years ago, which is why I started psychotherapy training.  It was obvious that the MBS genre was starting to sink - bookshops no longer house the large MBS sections that they used to have on display and while I am sure the genre will recover in time, I couldn't sit back and wait for that to happen.  I needed to branch out and I have successfully published my first psychotherapy pieces this year. 

It is impossible to move forward into your future if you are clinging on to the past.  Part of reinventing yourself is letting go of what no longer serves you best.  For me this means letting go of my regular witchcraft column with Spirit&Destiny magazine, and while I might still write magical features on a freelance basis for other magazines, on the whole I feel that my work on Wicca has come to an end.  I have been writing about witchcraft for 20 years!  I have published books, features, columns, home-study courses and music, all on a witchcraft theme.  I have been Spirit&Destiny's highest paid keystone columnist for well over 8 years so I've had a great run with them, and with witchcraft as my topic...I am rather bored of it now though.

Also it is impossible to maintain ones Unique Selling Point as a columnist when another writer is blatantly emulating one's entire format, within the pages of the same publication!  It has been irritating, saps away enthusiasm and I have thought of leaving the magazine a couple of times in recent years, but then part of being a trend-setting best-selling author is that other writers will try to follow in your footsteps.  Still I am moving onto a new topic of expertise and a new genre now, so it hardly matters, because anyone wanting to follow in my psychotherapy writing footsteps will have to pay for and sign up to four years of training first, which is bound to be slightly off-putting! 

Even a dream job has its downside and mostly I feel a sense of relief at leaving the column behind...No more full day photo-shoots to endure. No more urgent text required, for no fee, to help fill out a staffers feature.  No more editor requests for my original ideas only to see those ideas written up by a staffer, leaving me a great idea down and not a penny up in payment!  It's like that scene in Devil Wears Prada when Andy throws her phone into the fountain then breaths a sigh of relief to be free of it all - that's a bit how I feel too. 

I feel ready to nurture my new psychotherapy and self-help topics and to keep publishing those instead, rather than witchcraft items.  And although the team at S&D are not a fan of this change, my editors at Time Inc are supportive of this fresh topic so I will still be writing nonetheless and you can still read my work in your favourite magazines, with the exception of Spirit&Destiny - I finish with them in February 2017. 

In addition I have the remainder of my final year of psychotherapy training to complete too, with essays to write over Christmas (and beyond!), so I will be busy with that.  Once that course is completed next summer I am hoping to go on to do a Masters Degree in a year or so, in order to further my writing prospects.  

You cannot become a butterfly without first going into the dark chrysalis, so while it might seem as if I am not doing much, I am actually working hard and pushing my writing career up to the next level.  This is going to take time, so the blog might take a back seat for a while, but I will do my best to keep posting on progress!  I know those readers who have followed my work for years are likely to stay with me through into a new genre and a new era, even if there are bumps in the road to come...for those who only want to read about witchcraft, I have left a large back catalogue of work for you to enjoy.  

I will always be pagan, magic will always fill my life and will no doubt find its way into my blog posts and tweets, but I feel that my stint as a popular Media Witch, a Wiccan Icon as I was once dubbed,  has come to a welcome end.  A new era of writing beckons...I hope my readers are as excited by this as I am.
Blessed be.