Saturday, 24 September 2016

Life at the End of Your Comfort Zone

What does your comfort zone look like? Is it a warm, safe space that you never want to leave? Do you want to leave it but worry about doing so?

This time last year, my comfort zone was torn apart when I moved house. Everything I'd ever known and loved was being packed up and moved across town. It was uncomfortable and painful and I fought it tooth and nail. I wanted to stay in the warm, happy space that I knew. I didn't want to be anywhere else. Yet this move was only the start.

It's a theme that's continued well in to this year. At least once a month, I've had to face up to another fear, whether that's going to a venue that I greatly dislike or learning how to communicate with people. I've met people I never thought I'd meet and done things that, two years ago, I'd have laughed if you'd told me I'd be doing them. 2016 has, for many people, been a year of upheaval and change whether it's been in their personal lives or through watching their favourite musicians die.

Yet it's also been a year that's shown many of us where we're supposed to be heading. We've discovered who our true friends are or that our career needs a shake up. The comfort zones that we know have been taken apart and reassembled elsewhere.

It's uncomfortable when your comfort zone starts to dissolve. You may feel frustrated, depressed, and angry. You may get upset with the people around you and have trouble controlling your emotions. I know that all of that happened for me, and is still happening. Little by little, I'm being taken away from the places I used to know and being put somewhere completely new. It's unnerving yet, at the same time, it's exciting. I've wanted to do different things for a long time and now, slowly but surely, they're happening. There are times when it's still distressing but I know that it's part of the growth that I need to go through to become the person that I'm supposed to be.




If you know you need to be somewhere else in your life, get ready for things to happen in order for you to get there. It may be a move, or a loss, or something entirely different. You may have people put on your path who are sent to teach you something, or even to guide you to the next place. Keep your eyes open and trust that things happen for a reason (Again, a year ago, I wouldn't have believed that to be true. But so many things have happened that have lead me to believe that so many things that happen to us have a reason behind them). Let go of everything you know and go with the flow because who knows where you're going to end up!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Letting Go

Dreams are awesome and everyone should have at least one. Whether it's getting that perfect job, starting a family, or finishing that book you started six years ago. Dreams, and the processes that go with them, are a healthy part of life.

However, sometimes there are dreams that we just have to let go of and hope that the universe beings them back to us.

If you'd told me this time last year that I'd be writing two non-fiction books, I'd have laughed. I was deep in screenplay territory, crafting the perfect story for the big screen. Getting it just right was essential. Besides, it wasn't my first go on such a ride. I've worked on screenplays before. I've written treatments for other people. Little parts of me have already made it into cinemas or on TV. I'm not a novice when it comes to the world of broadcast media.

One of the advantages of spending four years in film school is that my writing is apparently already fairly visual. Several people have uttered the words, “It was like watching a film”. So I was fairly confident that I'd find someone out in the world who'd give me an answer on my current idea.

The story started out as a novel and as slowly built into a script. From there, back stories, outlines, and treatments were created and, finally, the whole package was sent out in to the world.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited a little more.

I knew not to pester people because I knew that I'd be asked to be patient for a little longer.



In April of this year, twelve months after the first copies had started to make their way out into the world, I decided it was time to try something else. By then, I was already working on the idea for the tribute bands book and decided that, if the film was supposed to happen, then it would.

So I reluctantly put my dream of selling a screenplay on to the back burner and knuckled down to my latest project. In July, I added a second non-fiction book to the roster. In August, I went back to working on an anthology that I'd started back in February.

Releasing myself from the stress of the wait seemed to fuel me in ways that I may never understand. No longer was I checking my email with baited breath. No longer was I watching my phone from the corner of my eye. Instead, I'd said, “Okay, if this is meant to happen it will happen. Someone, somewhere, will pick that up and think, 'This is just what we want'. But, for now, I'm going to concentrate on other things.”.

It was hard to reach that point of letting go. It was hard to free myself from the daydreams of being back on a film set and of finally seeing the finished article. But I knew that, deep down, it was the right thing to do. Since then, everything I've been working on has seemed to flow like water from a mountain.

You have a right to have dreams. Some are easy to start working on. Eating healthier, looking for a better job, losing weight. Others are based on the whims and choices of others, leaving us to do little other than wait.

But every dream has the possibility of coming true, even if it has to go on a back burner for a while. Because who knows what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow may bring that phone call. Or, somewhere across the world, someone could pick up your manuscript and say, “Hey! This is just what I've been looking for.”.


Give in from time to time and go with the flow. But never give up. Because you don't know where life's going to take you.


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Staying Positive

There's a million books on how to be positive. But it's not always possible as there's a myriad of human emotions. There's no way for us to stay happy and positive all the time. Things happen that push our patience and inner happiness; bills need paying, arguments arise, the car breaks down. We begin to wonder if we'll ever get to where we want to be.



These past few weeks have been rough ones for me. There's been an ear infection, followed by some dental surgery, and ending with a thankfully minor accident that left me feeling a little knocked around. I'm grumpy, tired, achy, and not feeling 100%. All I want to do is to delve in to the books I'm writing but my body won't let me. It needs to rest. It needs to eat the chocolate, drink the tea, and read that fun book. It needs to listen to the funky music and to stretch out the aching muscles.

Needless to say, I'm trying not to let the past few weeks grate on those around me but it's hard. Sometimes we can't always control how we feel. Sometimes we need to feel the pain to remind us what how it feels when we're happy. Sometimes we need the exhaustion to remind us that we're pushing ourselves too hard and that, for a while, we need to rest. Sometimes we need to get angry just to remember what it's like when we're calm.

Being positive doesn't mean being happy all day every day. Being positive means not letting yourself stay in the darkness and the pain. Being positive means moving forwards no matter what stands in your way. Being positive means putting your best foot forward, even if you don't feel like it. Being positive means being you, even when the world wants to tear you apart.

Don't let yourself get stuck in the darkness of the bad times. Look for the light around you, for the people and moments that make you smile and realise that life is worth living. They may be fleeting, but they'll be there, waiting to help you. And once you've stepped from the darkness, turn and help the next person behind you.


No matter what you're going through, you can do it.

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Butterfly Brain

Why do you always have more than one writing project on the go?

This is a good question and something that's come up time and again. At the moment, I'm currently writing two non-fiction books as well as a series of short stories. And yes, it can get mind-boggling which is why there are spreadsheets and calendars to help me keep track of everything.

The reason I do it is because it actually helps me to focus. For me, switching between several projects helps to keep them all fresh in my mind as well as helping me to keep an interest in them. I'm one of those people who can get half way through a project and suddenly lose enthusiasm. Before I know it, I have a hard drive full of half written books and stories (this is also the reason that you haven't seen Book 4 from the Veetu Industries series. It will arrive at some point, I promise!).

https://pixabay.com/p-1073165/?no_redirect


Having a number of projects on the go also allows me to rest when one of them becomes too tough. Sometimes it's like hitting a brick wall and you find yourself living in a haze. You can't find the right words or phrases and everything feels hopeless. Having a second or third project gives me the chances to come back to the first one with fresh eyes and a rested brain. Working on non-fiction projects has reawakened fiction muses that have lain dormant for two years. On the flip side, losing myself in a fantasy world for a few hours allows my brain to think up avenues in which to take the non-fiction books.

It takes some work to juggle several projects at once and, yes, it's tiring. But it's fulfilling and, most importantly, it makes me happy.


If you want to work on several things at once, take it slowly. Map everything out using whatever you need (I personally use calendars, spreadsheets, and flow charts). Learn to step away from it all from time to time and just take time out for yourself.

"Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." - Earl Nightingale

Friday, 12 August 2016

This Is Just a Tribute - Update 1

I thought it was about time to give you an update on the two projects that were launched in July.

The first is a book dedicated to some of the world's hardest working tribute bands. Of the two books, this is going to be the one that takes the longest to put together because, while both books are a labour of love, I want this one to be something that everyone is proud of. All of the bands are being hand picked by myself and my family and I'm focusing on one interview at a time. This gives me a chance to research the band and to customise the questions to them. Thank you to everyone I've spoken to in regards to this book and thank you so much for your kindness and generosity. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of you in the coming months.


The second book is one that I spent around eighteen months debating whether to write and is dedicated to documenting the stories from Foo Fighters fans. It's a fun piece to work on and everyone's love, joy, and enthusiasm are making it a pleasure to put together. There's currently 15 interviews for this book. Ideally, I'd love to get between 20 and 25 so if you'd like to take part, please feel free to email me at:

rae (at) raegee.co.uk

Alternatively, you can answer online at:


If you want more information on the fan book, you can find the original post here:



A few people have asked why I'm writing both books side by side and the main reason is that I like to stay busy. It's also easier to record interviews when all the equipment is set up rather than putting it in to storage and taking it out a few months later.

At the moment I'm saving transcribing the recorded interviews until later in the year. My apartment currently feels like a blast furnace and I'd rather not be sitting right next to an equally hot computer! So the transcribing is a job that's going to be done when the nights draw in and all I want to do is curl up with a cup of tea.

To every person I've spoken to so far: Thank you. Your passion and love for what you do are the driving forces behind these books. You're the ones who keep the music going and support it along the way. 


We all need a bit of this. :)
(Tea is optional!)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Living for the Music

Music. If we've spoken recently, chances are we were talking about music. Either playing it or being a fan of it. I've enjoyed these conversations immensely and feel so blessed and honoured to be putting peoples stories in to words.

However, up until a few years ago, I'd never been to a concert. Some of it was through fear of crowds (being 5'2” doesn't help). The other reason is my hearing.

Because I hear too much.

I have a condition caused by my ear canals being too narrow, which focuses sound onto a tiny area of the ear drum. In turn, it means that I can hear very high and very low end frequencies, something which most people lose with age.

The first concert I went to was Rage Against the Machine in Finsbury Park. Thanks to it being outside, the sound dissipated and meant that I didn't come home with tinnitus and a migraine.

But not all concerts are held outside and, like many people, I was desperate to go and see my favourite bands play live.

We discovered a solution at the BPM show in Birmingham. While it's primarily a trade fair for the dance music and club industry, they also had several vendors who dealt with hearing loss and protection. One of the products they carried were tiny ear plugs with interchangeable filters. These little filters would take out the frequencies which were deemed dangerous to my hearing.



Last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to upgrade my over the counter earplugs to a pair of custom fitted ones. Sleek, beautiful, and comfortable enough to sleep in, they now go everywhere with me. On top of it all, I can now go to a concert happy in the knowledge that I'm going to enjoy the music as much as everyone else around me.



I'm an advocate for looking after your hearing. Whether you go to concerts or work in a noisy environment, one of the things you can't get back is your hearing. Once it's gone, it's gone.

There are a number of people and places that you can turn to for help with your hearing.

Action on Hearing Loss were the people I approached at the BPM show. They have advice on a wide range of hearing subjects and their shop stocks a range of products.

Alpine MusicSafe Pro Filter Ear Plugs were the first ones I used.

For custom made ear plugs, Google for local specialists. Mine came from Specsavers and cost around £130.


Look after your hearing and, most of all, keep enjoying the music!

~~~

I'm currently writing two books on music. One is about tribute bands while the other is about Foo Fighters fans. If you'd like to get involved, please feel free to email me at:

rae (at) raegee.co.uk

Or get in touch via the comments.

Thank you!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

When You Support Artists...

This post is dedicated to everyone who's ever bought my books. This is for those who support and love me because, without you, none of this would exist.

When you buy a book (or anything from any kind of artist), you're not just buying a product. You're helping them to keep going. You're helping to pay their bills, buy research materials, or replace a slowly dying computer. Without supporters, there would be no art.

Recently, I decided to clear out some of my stock. I had a couple of boxes of print books that I was using as a foot rest under my desk. They needed to be out in the world, being loved and read by other people. I also needed a new piece of equipment. So I listed the books on social media and was overwhelmed by the response. Thanks to all of you, in less than a month, I was able to buy what I needed.

The equipment in question is a Zoom H4n, a small multi-track recorder that, with a bit of studio wizardy can be plugged in to a phone. This allows me to record interviews without having to physically be with someone (and without putting too much pressure on my shaky internet connection and ageing computer). It's small enough to fit in my hand so can go wherever I go. It's perfect for what I want to do.



You're not just fans. You're not just readers. You're beautiful human beings whose constant support and encouragement are the engine in any artists life. You allow us to expand and try new things. You give us the opportunities to put out more of the work you love. Without you, this world would be far bleaker.


Thank you so much for all that you do, from buying books to writing reviews to just being there. You're an important part of my life and I hope that I get to share many more projects with you.