Episode 302 – Writing it all down with Cathy Rentzenbrink

Cathy Rentzenbrink

It starts off as me working out what I think, and then it becomes something I’m going to share with other people… The point at which I allow myself to start imagining a reader is really important.’

Writing isn’t just a tool for communication, and your book isn’t just a product. In this thoughtful and practical conversation, best-selling author Cathy Rentzenbrink reveals how she approaches both life writing and how-to writing, and charts the looping, iterative progress that allows you to develop your ideas from exploration to exposition.

She also shares her own writer’s tricks for managing energy and getting unstuck, and explains the importance of avoiding kitchen-sinking…

And if you’re thinking that you’re not a writer, there’s good news for you: your business communication skills may be more transferable than you think.



Cathy’s site: https://cathyreadsbooks.com/

Cathy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatRentzenbrink

Alison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bookstothesky

WriteBrained: A 28-day exploratory writing adventure: https://pi-q.learnworlds.com/course?courseid=writebrainedcourse

The 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge wait list: https://alisonjones.leadpages.co/proposal-challenge/

The Extraordinary Business Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447064765612358/

The Extraordinary Business Book Club bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/extraordinarybusinessbooks

Alison Jones: I’m here today with Cathy Rentzenbrink, who’s the author of The Sunday Times best-seller The Last Act of Love and of A Manual for Heartache, Dear Reader: The comfort and joy of books, and Everyone is Still Alive. It took her twenty years to wrestle her own life story on to the page and she loves to use what she’s learned about the profound nature of writing the self in the service of others.

Cathy has taught for Arvon, Curtis Brown Creative, at Falmouth University, which is where we met, and at festivals and in prisons and welcomes anyone, no matter what their experience, education, background or story. She believes everyone’s life would be improved by picking up a pen.

So welcome to the show Cathy, it is brilliant to have you here.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: It’s a pleasure to be with you.

Alison Jones: When you talk about life writing, you really are talking about pure life writing. And when I talk to my authors about life writing, it’s about weaving their story into a business book. So I’m really interested to talk about the sort of the dynamic between those two. Let’s start with the pure stuff. So why do you think it’s valuable for people to write about their own life?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Well, I suppose writing is just a part of communicating, isn’t it? And I think often what writing gives you is, unlike say talking to someone, writing provides a space in which you can spend quite a lot of time working out for yourself what it is you think and feel about things before there’s any temptation or obligation to share those opinions with other people.

So I more and more think of it as a kind of, it’s my melting pot, it’s the place where I work out what I think about… well, for me it doesn’t start from the point of view of like, I know loads of stuff, I’m going to write these things down so I can share my wisdom with the world. It’s not really like that.

It starts from a point of view of almost confusion, and then I’m going to work out what I think. And then if I end up with something that I think might be useful to other people, if I end up with product, then that’s great. And then I go on and do that. And the great thing about it is, this is why I’m quite evangelical about it, everyone can access that bit.

You know, obviously not everybody can get their book published or win a prize or whatever, but everyone who is basically literate can have that opportunity, that luxury I would say, of using writing to help you hone your thoughts and help you hone your opinions. And again, just slightly moving towards the business book side of things, hone your message, hone what it is you want to contribute.

And I think that works, for me that works across the spectrum of things, whether you’re a vicar writing a sermon, or whether you’re a business owner working out how to communicate your brand, it is not that dissimilar for me, really.

Alison Jones: Yes, and that’s a good point. And what is it about the process of writing that achieves that? What is the magic by which all the mess turns into sense?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Well, yes, I mean that’s a very good question. I do think there is a magical element to it.

My general feeling is that you have to do it. You know, you have to turn up at the desk, you have to turn up at the page. You can’t wait for the muse to strike you whilst you are out getting drunk, having chats. So you have to kind of put in a bit of graft, but if you put in a bit of graft, then I do find the next stages are often a little bit magical.

And again, that’s for everyone, that’s not just for literary novelists.

And some people will have probably experienced it maybe even, writing a speech, you sort of start off, if you stick with it, if you stick through the self-doubt and the why am I doing this and the whatever, at some point you often access a little bit of like, oh yes, that is good going there. And I’m not quite sure where that idea came from.

 So I think there is a bit of magic in it. But you know, hard work and then if you work hard, you get a bit of magic. It’s important for me that it’s that way around.

Alison Jones: There is an awful consistency around the applying the bum to the chair that comes out in pretty much every conversation in this podcast, it’s heartening to know it isn’t just business books. It’s every form of writing.

What you’re talking about in a sense, is what I call exploratory writing. That writing we don’t even really quite know what you’re going to write before you sit down and write it. And it’s the act of the writing that helps it all come out. But of course, a book at the end of the other end of the scale is the sort of expository writing. It’s where you’ve got a message and you’re communicating it as effectively as possible.

Do you, as you write, have a sense of crossing that boundary? I mean, I know it’s a continuum, but is there a point where you’re like, I am now ready to start focusing on the person who’s going to be reading this, rather than me the writer making sense of it? Or are you kind of almost writing for yourself the whole way through?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: No, it was very much like that. So, and I do, I mean the one becomes the other for me. So what starts off as personal writing then sometimes, but not always, eventually ends up as product. I mean, that sounds like, nothing wrong with products, but it ends up as communication. You know, so it starts off as me working out what I think, and then it becomes something I’m going to share with other people.

And I again, feel it’s not like there comes a day necessarily, but is very defined as a stage. Sometimes when I’m teaching, I will put up a slide that says BR, AR and try and guess what I mean. People don’t get it, but it’s before reader and…

Alison Jones: …after reader.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: And so that point at which I allow myself to start imagining a reader is really important. I mean often I do that the early stage. So often at the ideas stage, I’m imagining a reader. So like right at the beginning, I might think oh, I really want to write more like with my writing book, Writing It All Down, I want to write a book that’s going to be helpful to people. I want to write a book that’s encouraging. I want to write a book that will help people make progress to their project. I want to share everything that I know. I want to explore all the mistakes I’ve made and then help people work through those mistakes with a bit more ease and a bit more joy.

So I think about it at the idea stage, but then I tend to have to have a period where I’m not, because it paralyzes me a bit then. If I’m worried about what people think, I can be a bit perfectionist.

So then I have a, after the ideas bit, I have a period where I just think, okay, well, let’s gut this subject for myself. What do I think? And then, and then again, later on in the process, I’ll then spend a lot of time thinking about the reader.

And I mean really a lot of time. I’ll be, you know, I read every draft aloud multiple times. But it’s sometimes, if people are stuck, I have found if you’re stuck, it can really help to just forget about a reader and just do it for yourself.

Or again, it all depends on what sort of person you are, which is so fascinating.

Also, if you’re stuck, it can be that you’re actually a bit lonely. So if you’re stuck, another thing that can help is just imagine you’re with a stranger on a train, and they’ve said to you, what do you want to write this book about? And then you think, okay, well, how would I reply, how would I go back to the beginning, but how would I talk to a stranger on a train?

So I use all these techniques to get work out of myself. And then I, you know, I’m really, really, really focused on readers. And I love hearing from readers. It’s like it’s one of the reasons why I’m in it really. But I often, I call it the death of the reader, there’s this big stage where I just have to get away from that feeling of being observed or that it’s got to be too good at the beginning.

Alison Jones: That’s absolutely fascinating and I love that. And I remember reading in the book about the death of the reader, but also the, in a sense of the creation of the ideal reader, that’s that person with whom you feel you can be completely open and honest, and that interplay between them.

And I think this is a part of the craft of a writer isn’t it, you get to learn that there isn’t one way of writing, it’s a long process and it requires shifts of states and energy and tricks that you play on yourself, to keep it moving and to get past the different blocks.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Yes, I think that’s really important. And one of the key things for me is I’ve stopped expecting it to be easy. You know, I used to get into terrible troubles because I thought if I was talented enough, then I would find it more enjoyable. It still seems very odd to me that given the sacrifices I make for writing and the fact that I’m completely obsessed with it, I never really want to do it.

Alison Jones: Having done it, it’s great, right?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Having done it, it’s fantastic. I feel amazing, but I never really want to do it. Obviously that’s writing books, but actually it’s also everything that I think will be really relevant to your listeners, to your business book listeners or to business holders. Because I am also a small business person these days, which tends to be not how I think about myself, but that’s something that accidentally happens when you write books because there isn’t a way to do it that isn’t being self-employed.

And then people keep telling you you’re a brand. And gradually after a bit of like, gosh, am I? You sort of slightly finally accept it. And then it’s, and actually just choosing to then find that quite interesting. But I often have this period of, so the idea stage I love, the idea stage is amazing. I might be out for a run or talking to friends or just staring at the sky and I’ll think like, oh, I could do this. So this surge of energy initially, and then I’ll get bogged down often in the details of it.

You know, so if I want to put on some sort of event and I’ll feel really confident all the time I can deliver the event, but I’ll get bogged down in the oh, but how will people pay? You know, I’ll get bogged down in some bit of thing.

And then of course I’ll have to write copy for it, which is more like writing a business book probably than writing a literary memoir. That again will be quite a lot of effort. And at one point, I’ll have to think, right, I’m going to almost forget about the reader, but I am just going to think, well, what is it I want to offer with this.

After a couple of drafts of that, where I feel I’ve honed what it is I want to communicate, what it is I want to contribute. I’ll then flick and I imagine myself as a reader pressing the link to this course say, what’s that person getting from this, how’s that appearing to them. I’ll ask a few people to have a look. So something I did recently, everybody agreed the tone is brilliant. And then someone pointed out, I hadn’t actually said it was happening online.

Alison Jones: Crucial details.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: In my head it was so clear this was going to be a Zoom masterclass that I hadn’t actually said that. So again, just had to put in the word, this will have, well, actually I think a bit of I had a fact section, so in that I put in the, you know, Zoom. But it’s all that thing.

And then launched it to the world, felt very anxious about that but as soon as it’s out of me, then I feel fantastic. It’s great, looking forward to it.

So those stages, and it was really interesting because I’ve just done this, and it was really interesting doing it and comparing it to writing whole books, that it’s kind of effectively the same thing. But the problem with book writing is that getting bogged down in the details bit can last forever, you know, and that question of how am I actually going to write 70,000 words that are all in the same order? That can like really paralyze you.

So what a lot of my work is about working out how do I, how I miss the excitement of the idea stage, remember how satisfied I will feel when I will finish, so that I will be able to navigate the ups and downs, the ebbs and flow of my own confidence with the idea, you know, so that’s what the whole project is about.

Alison Jones: Yes. And it’s very interesting that sort of microcosm of, you can apply we know how to do a blog post. We know how to launch an event, you know, those smaller things. Actually, you just have to think and scale that up and use those tactics at the bigger scale as well.

The sense of planning, I think, is interesting, because as you say it’s the starting energy, it’s so clean, isn’t it, it’s so exciting and pure.

And then you sort of get into the soggy middle, but when I was reading your book, it was really interesting that you were saying the planning thing is kind of putting the cart before the horse. You know, if you’re writing memoir, you can’t plan it out because the whole point is that you only uncover what it is you’re trying to say as you write.

Whereas of course, when I’m working with business book authors one of the things I tell them is it’s going to be a hell of a lot easier to write this book if you do the planning upfront. So that interplay between leaving it loose enough that you uncover actually the message that you want, but also putting in place structure so you don’t just end up lost in the wilderness, what do you think about that? what’s interesting, of course, is that you’ve gone from writing pure memoir and now writing more of a kind of how to book. Did you feel that balance shifting in those? A leading question.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Yes, I mean, very much so. And again, the main thing I would say about this is this is what writing is really. I think people in general really misunderstand what writing is. They think writing is about writing one beautiful sentence, then writing the next beautiful sentence. Whereas for me, writing is actually all about, almost how you tolerate the confusion between having the, you know, that clean stage of I want to say this and how you tolerate the confusion, the gap between your aspirations for the project and the current dog’s breakfast you see before you. Or that sense of like, how do I even start?

So I think if you have something specific you want to communicate like, again so I wrote, I definitely wrote my writing book Write It All Down. I would have written that more like a business book because I wanted to write a book that was useful to other people, that shared what I know about writing. I was also helped structurally with that because I do teach residential courses.

So I decided to take as my rough structure the way I would communicate information to a group of people who were coming to spend time with me in real life. And that led me to, and again, then it’s hard to do because with writing, as with lots of things, it’s not really that there’s these things you need to know on day one. And these things you need to know on day four.

 You’re zipping and zooming between them all the time. So it’s like holding space for that. But it did lead itself to that kind of approach. And I would definitely think if someone’s writing about like that, again, also business book, a really helpful thing to do I would start with that is like a brain dump at the beginning.

Not necessarily worrying, what can distress people with planning is they worry about what order they’re putting things. I would go even before that and start with, what is it you want to say? And even like mind map that, and then you might get down, you know, you might have six things and then you might think, oh, there’s that? And then you might end up with sixteen things and then you think, actually, well can I refine this down.

For now, let me pick three of these and let me work out how those are going to work and put those together before I decide what’s happening in the rest of it. Because I do find that if I over-plan anyway I just find it really difficult.

It’s not at all for me. It’s not a tool that I think it’s somehow more creative not to plan, it’s that I physically can’t do it until I’ve, so I think of it now as like I chip away a bit of rock. And then I find a few diamonds or whatever, or uncover little alleyways. And that shows me where to go next. So I like to have a, if I’ve got nothing, that distresses me, so I like to have a sense of what the next step is.

So I often just think, well, I’m going to do that, that and that. And then I’ll see how that reads and then I’ll decide where to go next. But I might have this big brain dump, mind map, that’s my current idea of where I want to get to.

I definitely think it’s better not to necessarily just sort of sit down and try to write one word after another for 70,000 words.

Alison Jones: There are people that can do that but they’re quite rare aren’t they?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Quite rare, really not very many, not very many at all. It depends as well on your relationship, I think, with linear thinking, some business people are really good at that. As in, what I mean is, are you the sort of person that likes a critical path. So, if you are that sort of person, then you will respond well to writing a plan for your whole book.

So my husband’s a critical path person. On the other hand he wouldn’t want to write a book. He thinks the idea is horrible and has no idea why I enjoy talking to strangers about the secrets of our lives so much, you know. Whereas I’ve never liked critical paths. I want to be open. I want to be, it’s something about it’s not that I don’t want one, I long for the clarity of it, but it just kind of doesn’t, I can’t sit down and make one for a whole project. I need to take a step and then see how that looks and take another step.

One thing, whatever way you are, I think the thing about planning and structure is you always want to think of it as how can I have a useful framework that will help me organize my ideas and get it written. So.

Alison Jones: That’s what it comes down to isn’t it? It’s not that this is the right way to do it. It’s just bloody well try things out and see what works for you.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Yes, absolutely and don’t restrict yourself. Sometimes again, sometimes my longing for structure has led me into too a restrictive pattern, where I’ve really fell foul of trying to, like with my writing book actually, I planned it in four parts and for ages I thought I had to write this fourth part. And then I just one day you know, I was planning that the fourth part was going to be about publishing, sharing. And then I woke up one day and just thought like, actually, no, that’s really wrong. I don’t need to. Why do I think I need to write about, you know, I do include a half day of it on residential courses because people tend to want to know, but I don’t in a book need to include that, there’s loads of books about getting published. Like I just don’t even need to have it.

And then I thought like, can it be really true? Because then I’m a lot closer to being finished than I thought I was. And then I kind of, that was true. So again, I had this new four part structure in mind and then realized that actually the fourth part wasn’t in this book, might be in another book or might be for someone else to talk about, you know.

And the more I write, the more I see that, and I think this will be really important for your listeners, you’re working out what’s going to go into this book i.e. this container, in the same way that you think what goes in that podcast, what goes in that blog post? What goes in that speech to my people? What goes in that letter to my subscribers?

You know, it’s not that we have to bung everything in everything, it’s often working out what’s going to sit best where.

Alison Jones: And actually, if you try and overfill the book, you kill it and it sort of dies under its own weight.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Yes, I think so and definitely I call it kitchen sinking and all beginners do it. You just try to shovel everything into the same, you know, the first chapter is creaking under the weight of everything. And basically trying to say everything you know all at the same time.

 It was really useful for me and, I think sometimes people really underestimate transferable skills actually. You said something earlier on about we know how to write a blog post. We just need to grow that. And I think often people can be almost a bit too respectful of writing or writing books, whereas actually I’ve never yet met anyone who when I, you know, people who think they know nothing, know nothing about writing.

And then when they tell me about what their life is and what they do, and I immediately see lots of ways in which their knowledge is going to really help them to write a book. So I think we can really underestimate transferable skills and everyone will bring a different set of skills to the book writing process and a different way of doing it, but anybody who’s gone through that process of, okay, let’s have a brainstorm and then let’s see, you know, kind of like product development. Again, it probably would help to think of the book, putting your own book through that sort of product development process.

Alison Jones: It’s such a great point because I think an awful lot of people think of writing as something rarefied and different, and they kind of step into different shoes. And now I’m a writer. And this is new to me. And actually, you know, feeling yourself more resourced, feeling that you can bring probably a unique set of skills and experiences to the job of writing.

It’s quite empowering. Isn’t it?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Yes, and I often talk to people who’ve done, you know that are used to doing presentations. You know, used to doing really big sales presentations, and they haven’t worked out that what they’re doing in a sales presentation is they’re using themselves and their energy and their emotions and their story. And then they’re using PowerPoint slides to construct a narrative.

 And people that are used to doing that are really good at making again, making like a bin of content if you like, making the mind map, making that into a journey, because they’re used to doing that for their clients. So again, if anybody can do that, then they’ve really got like a head start on how to construct a narrative.

Alison Jones: That’s really I think, a positive message for business people who often feel a bit of imposter syndrome when they step into the kind of the writer role, is actually a lot of the stuff you’ve been doing in your business is all about telling your story, crafting a message, thinking about the impact you’re making, structuring stuff and having a central message, which as you say is, you know, avoids, I love the kitchen sinking, sinking under the weight.

I love that.

This is a kind of a mean question because we’ve sort of been doing this the whole podcast., but if I said to you what’s your kind of one, if they take nothing away from this podcast apart from this, what is your one best tip for a first time business book author?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: It’s to explore, like work out how to find your voice. Because again, if you imagine making a speech or making a presentation, what you would be aiming for in that is to be coherent. And you need to do that in your book as well. You need to work out how to be coherent, but you don’t necessarily have to do that from the off.

You can explore a bit on the page, explore the voice, but what you’re aiming for ultimately, your finished product, you are working towards clarity and coherence.

Alison Jones: And I’m going to dig into that a bit more, sorry, but when you say explore, I mean, you talk in the book about things very close to my heart, free writing, prompts, timed writing. So if someone’s going to, how do I explore Cathy? Just give us a little bit more of an exercise they could try.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Yes, so, I mean loosen yourself up a bit. And again, you might find that you want to write your book in your corporate voice, but actually mostly with books, you can go for something a bit more intimate. So say you’re used to writing a speech to present to your staff or say you’re used to writing, I don’t know, newsletters that go out to your subscribers.

Just sort of sit down, it can really help to get off the computer and just take a writing prompt something like ‘I remember’. Just write something a bit more personal, but it doesn’t mean I’m saying that in your business book, you should have loads of personal anecdotes about your memories of your first pet. It’s just playing with the voice a bit. Just thinking, do I like this? How is this going down? How do I like this? How do I like the way I sound with this?

And then you want to, it’s kind of like just experimenting really: how can I get the energy up in this? Because all books, it doesn’t matter what they are, all books have to be interesting.

So like, you have to think that, you know, the reader has to be attracted to the voice. And the voice, again, just means it’s the sense of personality and presence that’s somehow slightly magically in the book. So it’s working out that really, it’s working out how I want to sound.

And you can think like, where do I, you can ask yourself where do I feel most myself. Often what we’re aiming for with voice is just how to sound like yourself. Often what happens when people aren’t used to writing, and are scared of thinking themselves as writers, is they then go into the sort of odd overdrive where they try to be writerly and that’s almost always a mistake.

So don’t think you’ve got to get a thesaurus, don’t think you’ve got to use different words than you already use. Just work out where do you feel at your best? Where are you at your most confident? What’s your like peak thing. If somebody had to watch you do anything, what would it be?

Where do you feel best? I mean, it could be like playing golf or swimming or playing with your kids, but wherever it is, trying to get a little bit of that vibe into the writing. Try to think how you can get a bit of that enthusiasm and keeness into the writing.

Alison Jones: I love that. So almost like recalling a state and bringing that with you into the new domain.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: State is everything, which is something I’ve worked with this fantastic person recently who’s writing a business book, but from his perspective of being a kidnap operative, so we did a lot of work shaping how we were going to get the personal elements of the story in, but essentially within a framework that is still a business book, how you too can use lessons of kidnap negotiators.

But it was a really enjoyable process for me because and actually we worked out very minimal personal story, with the idea that he could then write a memoir about all the massively interesting things that happened to in his life, but that to first of all, just aim for quite a slim again, coherent, clear vision of this will help you do this and this will help you do that, if you see what I mean.

Alison Jones: At the risk of wandering into an entirely new and separate podcast conversation, something really interesting that strikes me there, I mean you sort of said about loosening yourself up in the exercise. I remember, which I love doing actually, one of the first times I did free writing, I think the prompt was something like the first room I remember, and I was blown away by all the stuff that came out of that.

So doing that stuff I think is incredibly powerful. It helps with the craft of writing, helps you find your voice. It also helps you surface your story and notice what’s important. As you said, nobody wants to hear about your pets and your first room in the, in your business book. So how do you decide what is self-indulgent and what is actually really helpful and relevant for the person who’s reading your book?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Well, I don’t really think anything is self-indulgent because I see it all as just being part of the journey. And one of the things that helps me visualize this is if you think of an iceberg, so Ernest Hemingway used to say about fiction that the author needs to know the whole iceberg, but the reader only needs the tip of the iceberg. So I think of all this as iceberg.

So you write down something about your cat and actually that’s just helping you find your voice. Sometimes, you know, that cat anecdote, that might work really well depending on what your business is. That might work really well in some kind of post or some kind of speech, or one of the other things about books is if you do write a book, then you’re always then wanting to write articles sort of around the book.

So lots of stuff that we might take out of the, I’m always saying this to people, like I said, I don’t think that’s the first chapter, I think that’s a standalone piece for The New Statesman, that you could do on publication. You know, it’s that kind of thing. So you always need more content around the book, but for the book itself, what you’re doing is you’re iceberging, so that you can then really hone the tip of this iceberg.

Really have clarity then about what it is you’re communicating with other people.

Alison Jones: That’s a great image.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Another really exercise, I think, and again, you can do this with all writing, personal, business writing, whatever it is, write as fast as you can, what you want to say, edit it. And then at any point, say it’s like thousand words, set yourself the exercise that you’ve just got to lose two hundred and fifty words and you’ll often find then that actually it’s a better piece of writing as a result because you have to sacrifice one of the strands or you have to sacrifice that paragraph that sort of follows on from that, but then kind of slightly detracts from the whole.

So I mean, I do find it fascinating and as you can probably tell, that interplay between that sort of creative thing, and then you do the really rigorous, so, you know, in the before reader bits, I’m just like I can do anything. Like if it just, if it wants to be cats, it wants to be cats.

And then the after reader bit is sort of like, well, I don’t think the cat stuff really lives here.

Alison Jones: See, I’m now thinking, you know, think how well cat videos go down on social media. I’m thinking, you know, the whole cat anecdote thing that could be a new business book trope.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Well, who knows. I mean, people do love, as my husband pointed out the other day, that my own Instagram content has become quite cat heavy since we got our kitten.

Alison Jones: I bet you’re getting loads of engagement on it as well.

Recommend a book for us Cathy. I’m going to leave it completely empty. Any book you want to recommend to us frankly?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Well, I did think of a business writer, so the books I really like, I have bought two is, the writer I really like is Cal Newport and Deep Work and Digital Minimalism, because again, I think it’s that thing of, so they are both books which talk about how we need to rescue our attention from continually being hijacked by modern life, which I think is that’s the big thing I think with writing. And I would go as far as say with ideas.

Again, if you want to make an idea happen then I think you’ve just got to close down some browser windows, get away from the screen, go back to a notebook and write down the six things you have to do to make the idea happen. Certainly for me, I have to be really careful about how much social media I’ll allow myself, because if I start consuming other people’s content, it’s just like I’m detonating a bomb in my brain. I won’t then see my own pathway clearly at all.

So they’re both really good books about how to make time and it’s that for me, it’s like you stop expecting it to be easy, carve out time, respect that time, and then know that, you know, and then you will be carving. You’ll be hewing it out of the rock face. Know then that if you do that, one foot in front of the other, keep learning, open mind, then you will get to where you want to be.

Alison Jones: This’ll be going out towards the start of 2022. And I think that is a brilliant insight and resolution to carry forward into the year if writing is on your personal purpose agenda.

 Where can people find out more about you Cathy?

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Well, I’m obviously not there that often, but I do do a little bit of the old social. So I’m…

Alison Jones: I’m so glad you’re back on Twitter.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Do you know, I often thought I accidentally permanently deleted myself. So my original Twitter is long gone, but I did start again. And every so often I do think why am I doing this? But then people send me nice messages saying that I am a little bit helpful or whatever. So I do stick with it.

But again, as I said, I carefully control myself, but I’m @CatRentzenbrink on Twitter and on instagram. And then I can’t remember what my website is, cathyreadsbooks, I think, possibly, but again, if you Google me, you will find me. And I do put effort into keeping up my website because people find me for teaching and mentoring that way, and my books, of course. So Write It All Down is out on the 6th of January. So will be out now. And that again, that has my Twitter details on the flyleaf.

Alison Jones: You’re going to have to stay on Twitter now.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Yes.

Alison Jones: Brilliant. I honestly could talk to you all day, I’ve loved every minute of this. Thank you so much for your time, Cathy.

Cathy Rentzenbrink: Massive pleasure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.