Black Lives Matter Personal Audit

Hello!

You may have noticed, or equally may not have noticed, that I’ve not been around much online. And when I am, I’ve been sharing stuff which I hope amplifies voices from people who don’t look like me: Specifically Black People and the Black Lives Matter movement.

I’ve been trying to give more space to BIPOC, this includes trans and non binary folk too.

Many people posted a Black Square on Instagram and then reverted back to “normal” activities. This hasn’t sat right with me. I didn’t post a black square, (and that doesn’t mean I’m better or worse at this than you) I just posted my thoughts about the BLM movement. I have continued to share resources in my Stories.

I am learning too and prepared to make mistakes.

This doesn’t mean as white people, we cant share our own lives; What I mean is, Read The Room. Does sharing another picture of avo toast seem appropriate when there’s a revolution going on?

Everyone will have their own individual take on this, and yes, some people use social media as a form of escapism, to be entertained. Don’t forget, there is joy in Black Lives too. A great example- Candice’s feed is FULL of joy…

And some people have their livelihoods on Instagram, sharing products that they make and sell (and similar) are these people supposed to not work? The answer is incredibly nuanced, and as a White person, I’m figuring this out too.

What I can say is this; The people I do follow who have small businesses and make/sell stuff HAVE been vocal, and continue to be vocal about BLM. If they haven’t, I’ve either unfollowed, questioned them or muted- depending on who it is.

I believe Followers are looking at Influencers (yes, I dislike those words too, but I mean anyone with a following in this case) for guidance on this and if people are being quiet because they don’t know what to say, then that gives their followers the excuse to be quiet too; because so-and-so isn’t talking about it so why should I?

This Vice article goes into more detail and, “...navigating a new political reality in which centring yourself and selling product is the last thing followers want to hear about.”

What I’m getting at here is that we (white people) need to continue this learning and unlearning. I wanted to check myself, give myself accountability, so I’m sharing this audit with you. I may not share this every month but I intend on keeping tabs on myself and make sure I am doing something every month.

This month I have;

  • Read, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Written to my MP twice; She replied today.
  • Shared resources in my Stories on IG.
  • Replied to newsletters from folk I subscribe to if they haven’t mentioned BLM, calling them out in a gentle but positive way. The replies have been mixed, many saying that they don’t know what to say, others saying they don’t need to say anything because their biz is diverse already…
  • Created a page on my blog dedicated to BLM resources.
  • Spoken at length with my husband and children about what is happening, and what has gone before.
  • Downloaded (but not yet read) This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell. This is a really good one for reading with kids, I’ll include it in an upcoming Book Video.
  • Also downloaded and going to read ASAP: Superior- The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini.
  • Posted resources in my kid’s school PTA Facebook group, which I’m ashamed to say went down like a lead balloon.
  • Signed and shared multiple petitions in an effort to bring justice, improve lives and begin to create systems that can ensure equality for Black people.
  • Intentionally diversified my feed, and yes that means I’ve unfollowed some white folk as well.
  • Virtually gathered with friends for deep discussions on BLM, our whiteness, and surrounding issues.

I’m not saying all this to get a pat on the back or a prize; this isn’t a competition. My aim is to keep myself accountable to doing something each month. I hope you are doing something each month too?

Behind the Scenes

Hello, I’ve another video out.

What is going on with all this video content?

Well, I’m enjoying making these videos, and although I know they aren’t brilliant. There’s only one way to get better and that’s with practise. I love learning something new and this is ticking my boxes at the moment as well as feeling like a way to connect with people.

This video is a quick look at my writing set up and what I do if I get stuck on a plot point or where to go with a character. Please feel free to ask me any questions and I’d love some likes and subscribes if you enjoy the content.

If there is anything you’d like me to make a video about, just me know.

Enjoy!

Writing Resources (most are free!)

Writing and creating under lockdown.

Hello, I hope this finds you well and coping with life right now.

I find that my creativity gets pushed down the priority list in times of stress, when really it should be near the top of things I should be doing. Having a creative outlet eases the mind, allowing a feeling of productivity, joy and challenge. It fills your head with something else, perhaps even excitement, about something other than the thing that is on your mind.

Creative writing resources (many free) under lockdown
Creative writing resources (most free) under lockdown

Many folk have rediscovered cooking meals from scratch, this is creativity. Gardening, also a form of creativity. Even Home Schooling, perhaps enforced creativity, but show me a parent who isn’t winging it everyday. That is pure creative thinking.

Today I wanted to share with you some brilliant resources for those of you that write creatively, or would like to. Perhaps now is the ideal time to start?

  • Writers HQ have loads of resources for writers. Many of them now free due to the lockdown situation. They are running virtual writing retreats and workshops amongst other things. Check out all their stuff here.
  • Future Learn has loads of free courses too. A wider variety of subjects, but there are many creative ones on there. I’ve just started How To Make A Poem, which is being ran by Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • I’ve also just signed up to Story Arcana, Caroline who runs it is updating the course so was having a flash sale. I use tarot anyway, but in the self paced course she teaches methods to help develop characters and plot lines and more, using the cards. It’s closed now, but coming back in August, all updated and new so if you are interested you can sign up to be notified here.
  • I love The Freewriter’s Companion, and the free weekly writing prompts that you can sign up for are brilliant and always get me writing. I’ve kept all of them in my inbox. Highley recommend! Sign up at the bottom of this page.
  • Literary agency Curtis Brown also have a sister wing to the agency, Curtis Brown Creative. They are delivering a Weekly Writing Workout, like a writing lesson delivered to your inbox each week. Also free! Sign up here.
  • Arvon writing retreats are well regarded in the writing world but obviously they are closed for in-person retreats. They’ve created an online programme of events. Some are free and some have a fee. Have a look here, Arvon At Home.
  • Reedsy has a huge list of resources for writers and those who are self publishing. Really you could sign up and do a new course with them for the rest of the year, there’s so many! Here is a list of the courses and here is a short story prompt generator. Really worth signing up.

Phew- I hope these eight places to try will stimulate your creativity. Have I missed anything, is there something you are trying online to stay creative? Please share.

Let me know if you sign up or try any.

You might like;

  1. Productivity tools for doing creative work
  2. How I started writing a book
  3. Four places for great writing advice
And in video format if you prefer!

Pin this for later;

Recent Reads with Video

Hello hello hello!

How are you? Are you adapting to this new world? Are you well?

I realised recently that it had been an AGE since I’ve shared with you what I’m reading. So here goes.

There is also video. Yes, video! I’ve relaunched my channel, although not sure if relaunched is the right word as I never used it all that much. I do have one video that has had loads of views from about four years ago. All about how to wear a headscarf.

Reading books in the company of a cat and covid19

Here’s my list since September, these are books I’ve finished.

  • The Southern Reach Trilogy encompassing Annihilation, Authority & Acceptance. By Jeff Vandermeer.
  • The Complex by Michael Walters
  • The Coma by Alex Garland. Side note have you watched DEVS on BBC2 yet?
  • Underland by Robert MacFarlane
  • The Confession by Jessie Burton
  • Dark Pines by Will Dean. He has an excellent YouTube channel for writers. Also, I believe his e-books are all 99p at Amazon at the time of writing.
  • The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland
  • The Penguin Book of Hell compiled and edited by Scott G Bruce
  • The Devil Rides Out By Dennis Wheatley

And books I’m currently reading;

  • Brick Lane Short Story Prize Longlist 2019. Great for my current short attention span, thanks Covid19.
  • Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann. I’ve made it to page 20, but this is the opposite to a short story. The whole think is stream of conscious thought from one character. I put this down and picked up the Brick Lane book above. I may go back to it as it is a library loan and I’ve got it until lockdown ends!
  • Motherland by Tetyana Denford. This was sent to me as a gift, from Tetyana who has self published this creative non-fiction novel. I’m right at the start of the tale of her Grandmother and her life escaping WW2 and beyond. Really enjoying it so far.

There are more books on my bedside right now, but I wouldn’t say I’m actually reading them. More looking at the pictures and researching for my next novel.

What are you reading at the moment? Have you lost your reading mojo? Or rediscovered it?

Here is my video. Please like if you can, and subscribe if you enjoy.

Creating Connections

Hello. A very quick one from me today. I’m relaunching my YouTube channel!

What YouTube channel you might ask? Well I do have some videos on there from a few years ago. Feel free to check them out too.

In these strange times I want to connected with you beyond these words on the blog.

And I want to give myself some accountability for my writing. To share how I’m getting on and share my writing path so far.

Please watch the intro below, like and subscribe if you fancy!

Thanks

because of lockdown youtube