It’s, oh, so quiet…

3rd August 2020


Remember this massive hit from Bjork?! It’s the first song that popped into my head when I started writing this.

Hello Gorgeous people!

Yes, this is my first blog post in a while.

Not the best of ideas to slacken on the old self promotion and I know the value of consistent posting. So, why has it taken my so long to post something this time?

Turns out I decided not to share my recent writing for a few reasons.

Why am I back now?

Well, why not now?! I’ve got to dip my toe back in the water sometime, so I may as well get on with it! (Real talk.)


In March, me and my husband had several symptoms and were told, in no uncertain terms, to stay indoors and definitely not to visit the doctor. Not that I could actually get out of bed anyway. It was horrible, draining. I’m not going to on about it because we both recovered eventually and neither of us needed hospital treatment. It really could have been so much worse.

We were ill before lockdown happened and did the necessary quarantining time. What was incredibly disconcerting was the weirdness of the world we crawled back into. Once we felt able to go food shopping, we were met with half empty shelves and an inexplicable lack of toilet roll.

What the hell is going on?

Actual mood, since then. I’ve been confused, discombobulated, left in the dark and lost before. But never this consistent ‘WTF?’ that is fully settled in to my being.

I imagine I’ve shared your ‘Wheel of Feelings’ experience – give it a spin and see where we land for the next five minutes. You could win: fear, hysteria, anger, frustration, sadness, pain, isolation, hatred, sympathy, empathy, selfishness, abject terror, eerie calm…where will it stop? What will you win in this round?! (If you’ve never watched Wheel of Fortune, this will mean nothing to you. But you catch my drift.)

None of my experiences are any different to anyone else’s. I’ve benefited from reading how others feel because it’s reassuring to not be the only one. But I haven’t felt like anything I have to say would be useful to anyone. It would be more of a self-indulgent “AAAAAARRRGGGGHHHHH!” to the universe. And that can just stay put in my notebook!

Black Lives Matter movement

I have a lot of feelings and words about this.

But mine is not the voice that needs to be heard.

Working from home

I considered writing something about working from home life and maybe adding some tips. But, ‘who the hell do I think I am?’ took over. Yes I’ve been working from home for about five years now and I like it, under normal circumstances.

But now we’re in the upside down, it’s more about surviving the best way you can.

No one that’s chosen to work from home also chooses to simultaneously home school their children. People are stuck, trying to look after their families and get some productive work done. There is no choice. There is no escape.

What the hell have I got to suggest? Nothing, that’s what. Nothing universally useful anyway. I’ve offered myself as resource to those home schooling, because I’ve got some actual knowledge and experience there. And, apart from sharing any information I’ve found useful or entertaining, that’s it. You do you. The best that you can.

Self improvement during a pandemic

Now, this was something that really could have grown legs and sprinted straight into a full blown, cathartic rant!

I’m going to sound like a grumpy old woman for a bit now. So you can skip the next couple of paragraphs if you’re not in the mood.

I believe that you don’t always have to find something good in everything. Sometimes thing’s are just shit.  Sometimes there’s nothing good. Or there’s nothing good to be seen right now. Maybe the positive note will sing out for you at a time of later introspection. And it’s lovely to share these little crescendos of joy when you have them. (Not so grumpy yet, is it? Wait for it.)

But do we have to turn everything into a lifestyle competition? (There it is!)  No I’ve not lost a stone or unearthed an unexpected talent for whittling spoons. I haven’t learned a new language or ‘discovered a passion for’ anything (except Wispa Golds, but that’s more of a rediscovery). And I’ve absolutely no intention of doing so.

It’s great if you’ve been able to do cool stuff during lockdown. I love gif cheering to those celebrating any achievements! (Yes, that’s a thing now, ‘gif cheering’.) But you’re not doing it wrong if you haven’t.

If you’re lucky enough to avoid the plague, your family are healthy and safe, and you still have an income – you’re doing it right. Bonus points if you’ve maintained loo roll stocks throughout! (That is something future history/psychology/sociology students will write essays about.)

That’s the condensed grumpy old woman rant over now. Be glad I resisted the full version – it went on for a while! I just worry that the recent popularity of asking, ‘what positives have you got out of lockdown?’ may be making a lot of people feel even worse. (And I appreciate that journalists, content creators and presenters are all just trying to put a different angle on it.)

Adding to the noise

This is my usual mental hurdle that I must o’er leap in order to publish anything. My problem, essentially. I don’t want to waste people’s time with something that’s just a regurgitation of something else. I’m not aiming for total originality here. I just know that I want to be either helpful or entertaining when I write something and send it out into the world. If I feel that’s not possible, I don’t see the point.

Some of the topics I really want to get into will need a lot of research in order to do them justice. Now I love the research aspect of client work, so I really love researching things I’ve initiated. And I will. But I have to use my time wisely.

(Or maybe consider that what I actually want to do is a masters in semantic derogation, or children’s literature, or ‘story’ as communication, or why some sounds are more appealing to say than others. If I ever win the lottery I will simply shut myself in a turret, at whatever university will have me, and stay there forever!)

In the meantime, I need to be realistic about time allocation.

But part of the point is from a business angle. I write for other people much easier than I write for myself. And I need to back myself by swapping my emotional head for my business head for a few hours. (Well hello surpressed Worzel Gummidge memories, you can go back where you came from!)

Pack the Wheel of Feelings away and focus. As Adriene (of Yoga with Adriene) says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.”

Back to my basic principle: how can I help?

How can I best help my clients and how can I support my writer colleagues?

What I’m going to do?

Right now, I’m going to step away from this and probably have a biscuit (got the orange Clubs in). Then I’ll come back and edit. Agonise for exactly three minutes – I am going to time it – and then post it.

After that I’m going to get out my planner, notes and researched stuff and create my next three month’s content plan. And then I will write that content at the time I’ve agreed with myself.

Just like before.

Sounds so simple. But if 16 years of classroom teaching taught me anything, it’s that consistency requires a lot of energy. So I also need to work out some personal energy efficiencies to make sure I’ve enough to go round.


Here are some people that have helped my get my thinking back into gear:

  • Glenn’s @allgoodcopy newsletter – particularly his most recent one involving pigeons and Picasso.
  • Alice’s little purple book of wisdom – Real title ‘The Little Book of B2B Blogging’ by Alice Hollis. Everything in one place, written with absolute clarity and incredibly practical. Also, astonishingly, free.
  • Muskateers networking group. Recently discovered group of people bringing genuine helpfulness, supportiveness and positive news from the business world.
  • John Espirian – I’m investing some time into my LinkedIn account and this man’s generosity with his wisdom on the subject seems to be endless. Feels like I’ve got somewhere to start and a bit of a roadmap now! Wish me luck!
  • Cole Schafer @honeycopy – I love his Sticky Notes newsletters. He’s a marketing/advertising mastermind. But my favourite one has been his description of welcoming June, an adorable pitbull puppy, into his life. All the cuteness.
  • #ContentClubUK people and other twitter friends: Your willingness to still have a laugh, take teeny weeny things very seriously (eg: recent ice lolly debate) and share beautiful things boost my spirits.
  • Photo by Karine Germain on Unsplash

Now, to the biscuit tin….!

Sugar rush induced final thought…

Hopefully this has had a ‘oh good, it’s not just me’ effect on someone else. Knowing we’re not alone, even though we may be far away, is very powerful.

Claire McCabe


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