How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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Paying Taxes – WTFHIBD episode 8 (part 3)

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Last week I continued telling you What The Flippin’ Heck I’ve Been Doing with my life. I talked about my NOW List and finally going up inside a lighthouse. You can read that post here.

This week I’d like to conclude this short series of posts by talking about…

Goals

Ugh!

I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t say things like that but sometimes, just sometimes, it feels like I’ve had the same goal(s) for the past decade!

I haven’t.

I can pull up my goals document, and I can see every goal I’ve ever set myself since 2008, and over time they’ve changed quite a bit.

Back in those early days my primary goal was merely to replace Credit Card Banking with something that I actually enjoyed doing.

Over the next couple of years that goal got more specific; by 2011 I’d admitted to myself that being a full time novelist was where my true ambitions lay.

But as the years continued to roll by I soon realised it wasn’t enough to simply replace Credit Card Banking – not even if it were enjoyable – it had to pay the bills too!

Last year I almost gave up. You can read about that here. But the short version is that despite two novels under my belt, an agent that believed in me, a publicity deal with Amazon themselves, and some tentative enquiries from Hollywood about the movie rights for The Truth About This Charming Man (yes, really!)… financially things were grim.

But that was last year.

In the past twelve months things have moved on somewhat: I’m now doing more speaking gigs than ever before (why not get me along to entertain your group?). My books (all of them!) are selling better than ever, and my accountant tells me that if I keep going at this rate, I may have to pay tax. And I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I’d ever aspire to that!

But more than that, interesting things are afoot: My third novel just came out (you can read about that below), and I’m several chapters into my fourth.

There are times when I feel like I’m going nowhere, or going backwards. There are other times when I feel like I’m so darn close to getting what I’ve truly wanted… and yet, somehow, it’s still just out of reach!

But nowadays, whenever I look back – back to where and when I started this happiness journey – I realise that I’m further ahead than I ever thought I would be. I’ve transformed my life. For the better. And the next time I’m asked to tell you all What The Heck I’ve Been Doing, I know it’ll be better still. And that’s what keeps me going forwards.

But less about me.

How are your goals going? Why not let me know in the comments (if you’re reading this on the blog or social media).


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My third novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited period.

It’s the tale of Adrian Turner. Mountaineer, Secret Agent, Fireman… Ade would dearly like to be any of these things. Though he’s trade them all to win the heart of feisty Public Relations Executive, Paige.

Instead, our hero is a disillusioned school teacher, on suspension, after an unfortunate incident with a heavy piece of computer equipment. And somebody’s foot.

And Paige? Well, despite being his girlfriend for the past eighteen months, she still seems to have one foot out of the door and hasn’t quite committed to leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom. Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian. A man who in almost every way imaginable is better, taller, wealthier, hairier, and infinitely more successful than Ade.

Is Paige still in love with Sebastian? Maybe. But why then did she suggest they get away for a few days? Some place romantic…

But when Adrian finds himself in Slovenia – with Sebastian in the room down the hall – he realises there’s serious possibility that he’s in danger of losing his job, his mind, and the woman he loves…

Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

 

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Lighting My Life – WTFHIBD episode 8 (part 2)

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Last week I started to tell you What The Flippin’ Heck I’ve Been Doing with my life, and I talked a little about how I’ve rediscovered the joy of Boxing Day. You can read that post here.

This week I’d like to talk about…

My NOW List

For those of you who don’t know (where have you been??) a NOW List is basically a Bucket List, but you’re not going to wait until the end is nigh before tackling the items on the list. (If you don’t know what a Bucket List is, go have a listen to this radio interview).

I think I’ve confessed this on a previous blog, but whilst so many people love the idea of a NOW List I actually find it a struggle to tick things off.

Part of the problem is that most of the things I’d really like to do require either time and/or money – and like many people, I’m short on both!

HOWEVER, a few weeks back I FINALLY got to check off an item which has been sitting on my NOW List for YEARS!! (So long in fact, I thought it might have been mentioned in the book… that really would have been embarrassing)

The item was this: GO INSIDE A LIGHTHOUSE.

Quite why it took me so long to get around to it is a bit of a mystery; of all the things I’ve done over the years, this was probably one of the cheapest (£4 a head, plus petrol) and easiest to organise.

And was it worth it? You betcha. You can see from these pictures that I had a stupid grin plastered all over my face, and a week later it was still there.

It was such a successful trip that it renewed my enthusiasm for the old NOW List. I grabbed my diary and set aside an afternoon to plan my next adventure, which resulted in me adding two new items, and booking them, for the coming weeks.

               

But less about me.

Have you ticked anything off your NOW List recently? Why not let me know in the comments (if you’re reading this on the blog or social media).

Come Back Next Week…

…When I’ll be telling you about my Goals. Until then…


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My third novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited period. Yes, novel! I write fiction too. Perfect if you’re looking for a light, laugh-out-loud entertaining read.

Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

 

Doing Everything, Being Happy – WTFHIBD episode 8 (part 1)

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Last week, thanks to facebook showing a reader one of my old WTFHIBD posts as part of her ‘memories’, I got an email suggesting that it was “high time” I updated everyone with what I’ve been getting up to!

Well I couldn’t really argue with that, could I?

So over the next few days I’ll be answering that age old question ‘What The Flippin’ ‘eck Have I Been Doing’ …only I’ll be doing it in three parts, because there’s quite a lot to cover.

So today we’re going to talk about Boxing Day…

Boxing Day

It was June 2016 when I last updated you on my life. June! 2016! Where does the time go?

In that last post I confessed that my regular Boxing Days (click or tap here if you think I’m talking about December 26th, because I’m not) had fallen by the wayside – with disastrous consequences. You can read about that here.

But sixteen months on and I’m happy to report that not only am I having a regular Boxing Day, but most weekends are also spent doing fun things – be that be planned, or spontaneous.

As a consequence last year was the first time ever that I ran out of space on my Trophy Board, and had to add an extension! See here (or tap the Trophy Board pic to the right).

This year I had to add the extension even earlier, and there’s only a tiny bit left in the corner for the last three months of the year.

At this rate I might have to start clearing down the board every six months!

But the most important thing is not how many ticket stubs I’m collecting, how many theatre programmes, or how many restaurant cards, but how much happier I feel. And I can honestly say that whilst my mood might fall and climb during the course of a typical week, the general trend is ever upwards compared to this time last year… and many, many previous years.

But less about me.

How have your Boxing Days been going? Why not let me know in the comments (if you’re reading this on the blog or social media).

Come Back Next Week…

…When I’ll be telling you about my Now List. Until then…


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My third novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited period. Yes, novel! I write fiction too. Perfect if you’re looking for a light, laugh-out-loud entertaining read.

Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

 

Also writes fiction…

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I’m always quite surprised when I meet someone who wasn’t aware that I also write fiction.

For instance, if you follow me on facebook then you’ll know that earlier this year I finished working on my third novel, which even as we speak is sitting with the powers that be having it’s fate deliberated. And in the last month or two I started writing my fourth novel, which is turning out to be a lot more complicated than I thought it would, and is beginning to make me wonder whether I’ve lost the ability to string two words together.

My first novel was The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl – a quirky, lad-lit, easy-reading rom-com. My second novel, The Truth About This Charming Man, is also technically a rom-com, but with a hefty dose of crime-heist / mystery thrown in for good measure. Of all the books I’ve written so far, it was in many way the most challenging.

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

I came up with the idea for The Truth About This Charming Man many years ago when I was part of a small theatre company that ran Murder Mystery events for discerning clients. One evening a fellow actor walked into the dressing room and told us that he was off to Australia for a week. ‘Very nice’ we said, but he didn’t share our enthusiasm. Jeremy was flying half way around the world to claim a body.

It turns out that in Australia, a body can’t be released until it’s claimed by a blood relative. It didn’t seem to matter that Jeremy had never actually met his Great Uncle, the Aussie Authorities just needed him to fly out and place his signature on a piece of paper. A task which was not only costly, but extremely inconvenient for our Jez.

Which was when I had an idea: Did it really need to be Jez that flew out to Aus? Couldn’t one of us take on the role of Jez, and fly out on his behalf? Would anyone notice? Would anyone… care?

More than that, perhaps Jez was the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps there was a whole slew of potential clients in need of the services of professional actors. After all, haven’t you ever needed to be in more than one place at the same time? Haven’t you ever wanted to send someone to a boring social event or meeting in your stead? Haven’t you ever been tempted to hire someone to play your boyfriend for the evening in order to keep your colleagues, family, and everyone else, from asking why you’re always single?

Those are the sort of thoughts that make me want to sit down, and write a novel…

So, if you’re a fan of Nick Hornby, or Mike Gayle, Rom Coms or Heist movies, or theatre, or just a bloody good read, then The Truth About This Charming Man could be right up your street.

Click here to leap over to amazon – or type buythebook.today into a web browser. You can download the book to your phone, tablet, or whatever device you’re using to read this blog for £1.99, or purchase the paperback for £7.99.

Still need more convincing? How about a sneaky look at the first chapter?

Read the rest of the opening chapter, for free, here.

Charming, fabulous, witty and easy to read book,
cannot wait for the sequal!

says amazon reader Lynn Wedge

Reading this in an email? If there’s a gap above that’s where a video would normally appear. Jump over to youtube to watch it.


TTATCM sidebarHot news! 

The Truth About This Charming Man is 99 pennies for the month of May 2017. Download the book for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle, today.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

(The FREE kindle reading app is available for everything. Seriously; EVERYTHING.)


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Looking after my heart – WTFHIBD episode 7, part 3

boxing day

This week I’ve been telling you how I’ve been applying my ‘happy’ principals to my life, in a feature that I like to call What The Flippin’eck Have I Been Doing…

Yesterday I talked about my NOW List, the day before that GOALs – but today let’s talk about Boxing Day…

(If you’ve got no idea what I mean by Boxing Day, other than assuming it’s got something to do with the day after Christmas – it hasn’t, at least not in this case – click here.)

Boxing Day

Up until March I was still having a Boxing Day every four weeks or so, not necessarily on the 26th, but usually around the end of the month. Then for reasons that I went into earlier in the week (see here) it didn’t seem right to take a day off from trying to find gainful employment. I couldn’t afford the time. At least that’s what I thought.

In retrospect, that was probably a mistake – because those two months of solid stress (whilst simultaneously trying to give the appearance of being a laid back relaxed kinda guy) took it’s toll. At times I felt very ill indeed, including one incident when inexplicable chest pains made me wonder whether I might be having a heart attack.

Turns out I wasn’t.

Still, it was enough to make me sit up and think, and this month I’ve had not one, but two Boxing Days – and boy howdy do I feel better for having them.

There’s something about waking up with an entire blank day ahead of you – a day when you can do whatever you like, given the opportunities available – that can revitalise your spirit in a way that a planned day of recreation just can’t. It’s the spontaneity I think, or the freedom. Maybe both. And the less spontaneous a person you happen to be (or the less free), the more powerful that effect seems to be.

So for instance, on Saturday I got up late, took a trip to the local petting zoo, then drove into London and had dinner in South West London with Felicity Kendall sitting at the next table, before coming home and opening a bottle of Champagne. I woke up on Sunday feeling lighter than I have done in a very long time. And Saturday was a day that I will remember for a very long time.

But enough about me

How about you? Are you still having Boxing Days? Care to tell me what you’ve been getting up to? Feel free to drop me a line, here or on facebook, or post a comment below.


TTATCM sidebarFor just TWO more days my SECOND novel, The Truth About This Charming Man, is only 99p for your kindle, smart-phone, tablet, or computer. If you like the way I write, chances are you’ll like this. Visit BuyTheBook.TODAY to find out more and buy the book… today.

 


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NOW that’s what I call WTFHIBD episode 7… part 2

nicole kidman

This week I’ll be telling you how I’ve been applying my ‘happy’ principals to my life, in a feature that I like to call What The Flippin’eck Have I Been Doing…

Yesterday I talked about GOALs – click here to read that post – but today let’s find out what I’ve managed to tick off my NOW list over the past year.

My NOW List

So, since the last WTFHIBD post, it’ll probably come as no great surprise that most of my energy has been spent concentrating on goals, rather than my NOW list. Or to put it another way – I’ve been desperately trying to make a living, and ‘enjoying myself’ hasn’t been my primary focus. Which I admit is probably a mistake, and one that I’m endeavouring to rectify going forwards – because even if making a living has to be the primary focus, I’m firmly of the belief that it too should be FUN, and anything but desperate.

That said, somehow I have managed to tick a handful of items off the NOW list in the past twelve months. Let me walk you through the highlights…

Theatre

I love theatre. I get as excited about the theatre as most people do about going on holiday. For me, going to the theatre feels like a holiday! Unsurprising then that I made it the theme of my latest novel, and about two years ago I made the conscious effort to see at least one item of live theatre every single month.

Now that’s easier said than done – and somewhat expensive – but in the last twelve months I have managed to see at least one production a month, sometimes more, and all without breaking the bank.

(Very occasionally I blog about the shows I’ve seen – as well as movies and books – over on my other blog)

dawn french

Nell Gwynne

 

private lives

“A different wine with every meal”

This has been on my NOW list for the longest time. I’m not even sure how it got on there in the first place, or why the idea appealed to me so much, but at the back end of last year I got treated to a five course dinner, with matching wines, at the Jugged Hare near the Barbican. And it was everything I hoped it would be. Despite having a stinking cold, we rolled out of the restaurant satiated and very merry.

Well worth adding to your list if the Jugged Hare are still running the promotion.

Hidden London

It’s well known that beneath our capital city are numerous tunnels and tube stations which for one reason or another have long since been abandoned. Every now and then I’d come across pictures of these eery places on the internet, and eventually decided that I didn’t want to look at pictures… I wanted to see it for myself.

After a bit of googling I discovered that The London Transport Museum very, very occasionally do tours to the abandoned sections of London Underground network, and so three weeks ago I donned a fluorescent jacket, and disappeared under Euston station for an hour or so.

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Going forwards

 

In a few weeks I’m finally going to have a go on a segway, but in the meantime you can keep track of my NOW List adventures by LIKING the How To Do Everything And Be Happy facebook page.

But enough about me

How about you? What NOW List items have you checked off? Feel free to drop me a line, here or on facebook, or post a comment below.

And pop back tomorrow to find out whether I’m still having a Boxing Day once a month.


TTATCM sidebarFor three more days my SECOND novel, The Truth About This Charming Man, is only 99p for your kindle, smart-phone, tablet, or computer. If you like the way I write, chances are you’ll like this. Visit BuyTheBook.TODAY to find out more and buy the book… today.

 


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Faith, Hope & Clarity (The Truth About Peter Jones) – WTFHIBD episode 7

piggy

Yes folks, it’s time, once again, for your favourite self-help ‘guru’ to fess up and tell you how I’ve been applying my ‘happy’ principals to my life, in a feature that I like to call What The Flippin’eck Have I Been Doing…

I’m going to break this into three parts, so come back tomorrow and Wednesday to find out about my NOW list, and BOXING days, but for now let’s start with GOALS.

My GOALS

Since I last penned the last WTFHIBD post, I’ve spent most of my goal-related energy concentrating on just one of the three goals I set myself (so much so, that I can’t actually remember what the other two goals were). That goal was this:

My total writing income exceeds my outgoings
Deadline: June 2015

So how’s that going, I hear you ask.

Let’s put it this way… not as good as I’d like.

Now that’s not entirely surprising. My potential for disappointment really knows no bounds. I’m the kinda guy who having found a £10 note on the floor, would be wishing it could’ve been a £20 instead… I’m definitely a glass half empty kinda guy. The first time I got a major book deal, my agent – having told me it was a generous offer for a first time author – was (rightly) appalled when I threw all my toys out the pram and declared the offer an insult! So, even if my latest novel was sitting somewhere near the top of the charts (any charts!) chances are I’d still not be satisfied. But it’s not at the top of the charts. Nowhere like it. And my income consistently falls short of my monthly outgoings – worse still ‘writing’ makes up only a fraction of that insubstantial income.

I’ve been in this situation for a while. Six years in fact. That’s the last time I raised an invoice in my previous guise as banking consultant. I walked out of a corporate office with a years money in my savings account, and hoped that would be the very last time I donned a suit and tie. But now that pot of money has all but gone. And a few weeks back, faced with this grim reality, I stopped writing my third novel… and started looking for full time work.

Here’s what I quickly discovered about job-hunting; it’s horrible. 

In many ways Job Hunting in the 21st Century is very similar to Online Dating. My life became one long dull routine of signing up to websites, completing profiles, uploading my CV, searching for jobs, and sending out messages. And just like my dating experience, I soon discovered that today’s online job market has it’s equivalent of Cam Girls (agencies), Scammers (agencies) and Spammers (agencies). There’s even a job hunting app where you swipe right for interested, and left for not-interested! And just like my dating experience (and the dating experience of most men) it seems to make absolutely no difference whether you actually have what the job poster is looking for because (just like the dating experience of most women) their mail server has probably collapsed under the deluge of applications thereby making it extremely doubtful that an actual human being will ever see your message… let alone reply!

I’d like to say that just like my dating experience I figured out what actually works, and became a master at online job hunting – there’s probably another self-help book in there somewhere. But the reality is I became very depressed, and pretty difficult to be around. Every day was a constant reminder that in the only way that really counts (ie. being able to pay the bills), I’d failed my goal. Which means I’d failed as an author. I was being forced to give up on that career. Worse still, I was already failing at being able to be anything else.

Well-meaning friends tried to cheer me up. They pointed out that it was pretty impressive that I’d “lasted this long”. They said phrases that included the words “a good innings“. You can probably imagine how much better that made me feel.

And then – just when I was at my most desperate, when I had begun to pick and choose between which bills I absolutely had to pay, and which I would have to let slide into arrears – a miracle happened. Or, to be more accurate, a cluster of mini-miracles; minicles you might call then, or miraclets – whatever they’re called, they saved the day.

Firstly, after making a silly sixty second video-promo for my latest novel – The Truth About This Charming Man – Amazon decided to put the book in their June Summer Promo. Financially it probably won’t make a huge difference, but it was nice to know that someone, other than me, thought my book was worth plugging (and if it’s June 2016 as you read this then it’s still only 99p if you fancy taking a punt. You can watch the sixty second video below (or here)).


Secondly, thanks in no small part to other friends and fellow writers, odd bits of freelance work started to land in my inbox. Not huge amounts, but enough to give me a paid-break from the hell of job hunting. My sanity started to return.

And finally, the phone started to ring: Someone had heard me speak at so-and-so event, would I be able to come to their group? XYZ Society had been let down by a fellow speaker – would I be able to fill the slot? {Insert name of WI group here} was celebrating their birthday in July / August / Sept… and they’d like me to come and entertain them…

Word of the 45 minute talk I give telling the story of how I came to write four self-help books, and the follow talk up explaining how I met Kylie Minogue (sort of), had reached some sort of tipping point. At the start of this month I found myself doing not one talk a week, but two, or three, sometimes two in one day.

facebook cover photo 2016

I always knew the talks were popular – after speaking I’d generally sell more physical books for £7 than I’d ever sell in a week on amazon for £1.99, but still the penny didn’t drop. Not until an out-spoken, feisty white-haired lady, walked right up to me a week or so ago and told me straight; “why are you bothering with the writing,” she said, “you should be putting all your energies into doing this.”

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it earlier.

Going forwards

So does this mean I’m giving up on writing? Not even slightly. My talks are about my writing journey – so starting next week I’m picking up that third novel again and I’m going to have it finished by the end of the year. But, the lion’s share of my energy is going to be spent moving the thing that I’ve always thought of as a ‘side-stall’ (ie. public speaking) front and centre.

You’ll already find a page on facebook dedicated to my speaking-adventures – if it looks like the sort of thing that might amuse you, or others, click the FOLLOW or SHARE buttons… maybe BOTH!

And if you belong to a group or society and you’d like me to come along and amuse you for an hour with tales of my writing adventures then drop me a line – either here or on facebook – but for the first time in a long while I’m going to take my own advice; I’m going to do the thing that actually works, in preference to the thing I’d like to work. Wish me luck.

But enough about me

How about you? What GOALS have you been working on? How’s that going? Feel free to drop me a line, here or on facebook, or post a comment below.

And pop back tomorrow to find out whether I’ve ticked off any items on my NOW List, and whether I still have a Boxing Day once a month.


TTATCM sidebarFor three more days my SECOND novel, The Truth About This Charming Man, is only 99p for your kindle, smart-phone, tablet, or computer. If you like the way I write, chances are you’ll like this. Visit BuyTheBook.TODAY to find out more and buy the book… today.