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Lucy Paget: Living Bravely and Creatively

It is hard to know how to describe Lucy Paget, so wide-ranging are her skills. Perhaps polymath would be the best word for her: Writer, Osteopath, Business Owner, Yoga teacher, Nutritional Herbalist, Chef…the list goes on. Lucy has helped thousands of people the world over to reclaim their physical and mental wellbeing, to embrace life and to live intentionally.

I am delighted to welcome her on the blog today, generously sharing insights into her own creative processes and how we as individuals can connect with our innate wisdom and joy.

 1) Please can you tell us a little about your writing background? When did you start writing and where has your writing journey taken you in the past?

I’ve written stories since I was a child.  I remember starting small stories that spiralled out of control getting bigger and bigger. I gave up on each one I started because I didn’t have the tools or a teacher who could help me plan and structure the story as it grew.

This pattern continued into my twenties but then something changed:  I had story ideas that stuck and no matter how big they got I couldn’t discard them.

One story in particular grew and grew, and in stops and starts I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, and then I stopped.  For 10 years I wondered when I’d get back to it.

And then my life changed with the unexpected death of my mother.  Quite suddenly I was untethered from the woman who’d helped shape what I did in the world.  I went to a life coach and worked through grief and worked through other patterns I’d adopted that had me caught and stuck and tired.  I saw it was time to stop what I was doing for work and give writing a chance.  I stopped working and told my clients I was taking 3 months off to get a book written that I’d been working on for 20 years.

But here’s the curious – and in retrospect obvious – thing that happened.  At first I didn’t enjoy writing. I found it tiring. My imagination wasn’t simply ‘on tap’ for me to switch on and off. And when I did write I’d manage an hour and then feel tired.  For months I went through a kind of reclamation and rehabilitation process. I knew this was what I wanted to do but I’d been inattentive to writing for so long I needed to patiently prod and work at finding the doorway to my imagination. I had to learn the craft of writing that I’d blithely assumed would come naturally to me.

One day I took a section of my novel to a local editor and instead of the praise I expected she’d give me, she tore my story to pieces, pointing out grammatical disasters everywhere. This almost stopped me  – again. Her advice was to study grammar. To start at the beginning of my novel and pick the story apart grammatically. I tried this but it felt like something was drying up and withering in my being. I realised I needed to disregard her advice. I’d get to the grammar after I’d recovered my imagination – and hopefully along with my imagination – my ability to tell this one big beautiful story that had waited patiently for so many years.

After 6 months focusing on writing the story began to flow.  After a year I realised I was ready to see a few clients again and keep writing. It’s looking good… I’ve got momentum… I’ve created the time to write… I think this novel will get completed:)

2) Why, in your opinion, is storytelling so important?

It helps us understand and make sense of the world. As Lisa Cron says, “Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution—more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.”

Stories can act as magical portals that refresh us, inspire us, fill us with wonder. For this reason I rarely read dark or depressing stories. I choose very consciously to put beautiful stories into my mind because stories stick.

I also think storytelling is an important way to learn history. Real historical events become more personal and more fleshed out when told through the lens of story (fiction and non fiction).

3) What is your favourite non-fiction book on the writing craft?

Lisa Cron’s book, Story Genius. THANK GOD for this book, it’s helping me navigate story structure AND helping me understand why story is important which helps me feel like what i’m doing is worthwhile and good and … yes, important.

4) Who is your all-time favourite author?

I don’t have one…I have books that at different times have changed my life a little here, a little there. I love magical stories: C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe & Philip Pullman’s trilogy of His Dark Materials are my top two in this area.  And I love things that are written delicately and beautifully. I have loved Ann Patchett’s work, especially Bel Canto in this area.  And I love beautiful poems, especially those about nature: Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver and William Stafford.

5) What can you tell us about the story you are working on right now?

The story I’m writing is about a little girl, Sophie, who is born with only a shred of her soul, exposed for all the world to see, on the outside of her body. She’s told her light is bad and made to keep it hidden.

Above all, she desperately wants to fit in but she never can – and she never will.

Throughout the story she is tested again and again by her desire to fit in, and the light that shines brightly and guides her to do things no one else can.

There are magical creatures both good and bad.  She forms alliances with a cat who holds a shred of her soul; with a creature, half man half coyote; and with a butcher who also doesn’t quite fit in.

Above all Sophie must learn to trust her light.  There is something more at stake than fitting in: her own life hangs in the balance as does the fate of her strange world.

6) In what ways do you think that what we put into our bodies can help with  our creative pursuits?

I think this is SO important. I’ve worked as an osteopath for 12 years and helped thousands of clients both with hands on physical therapy and nutritional and herbal support.

I believe deeply that when we are healthy and energised creativity flows. When we are healthy we have the energy we need to pursue our unique purpose in the world.

I’ve got a whole section on my website www.lucypaget.com/nourish that’s full of my thoughts on this very question.

7) Please share your top tips for enhancing creativity!

Top tips for enhancing creativity include:

  • Making creativity a regular thing – showing up day after day – maybe just for a little while at first – but showing up
  • Meditating – some of my best ideas come when or after I meditate
  • Taking walks – as soon as my brain is tired it’s time to go for a walk and let things settle and clarify
  • Setting up space – sometimes I go to a coffee shop to write, sometimes i write at home – I like to write in a space that feels clear and beautiful

To find out more about Lucy and her work, visit her website, her facebook page and her instagram account.

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