Category Archives: On Hope

On Hope

Tea, Cake & Inspiration

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‘If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you.’

Lewis Caroll – Alice in Wonderland

You are all cordially invited to a global tea party. Here in my head, as at the Hatter’s party, ‘It’s always tea time.’ I imagine that at the most monumental moments of history, someone somewhere in the world was having a cuppa. And there’s really no bad time for tea. For those of you with me from the beginning, you may remember a wee Facebook post of a picture about a month ago announcing a tea & cake launch party. The date cometh this week – the 30th August. For those of you who think it’s mighty stingy inviting someone to a launch party without putting on the refreshments, I totally agree. So, for anyone who lets me know they’re ‘coming,’ or lets me know afterwards that on the 30th day of August they did indeed drink some tea and/or eat some cake that could be construed to be in the honour of Right Ink On The Wall, I shall put some pennies in a teapot for my chosen charity, Room to Read. If you ‘post’ me a wee pic of your tea/cake, I’ll double your personal contribution.

I’d like to reflect on the last four weeks and talk about four beams of inspiration that have played parts in them. I’ve come into contact with a lot of material to encourage and inspire – I’d like to list the best of business, books, blogs and bits of ‘making the world a better place.’

Business – How often does a branding business ask you to lead from your heart rather than for your pocket? Thought Cloud does just that. Its founder, Kat Kinnie, inspired the launch of my blog as well as being the writer of the first blog I ever subscribed to (not counting Bunny). Kat is writing a book on conscious branding and I connected with her to explore the most important aspect of setting up my business – not what I was doing, but why. Before our sessions, while I was in no way treading water, I’d equate my exploration of the idea of branding with snorkelling. Perhaps, every so often in my musings, there’d be an element of free-dive. What I experienced with Kat was a deep-sea dive, discovering a colourful reef at the bedrock of the business and spotting previously hidden species of fish. Kat is an inspiration in herself, being the first British woman to set up her own business in Australia, while on a holiday working visa, and through that business gain sponsorship for herself and sponsorship status for her company in the tightest of timeframes. She asks you to imagine a world in which you make a healthy living doing what you love and doing good at the same time. She shows you it’s possible.

Book – Actually, let’s say ‘author,’ as I’ve attacked her entire back catalogue in the last wee while and don’t want to focus on just one book here. The writer is Anne Bishop – expect another blog post on the inspiration to be found in the realms of her books – there’s too much to say here!

Blog There are so many blogs I’ve come into contact with in the last month that have made me smile, laugh and learn. One entry has even made me cry – and that’s the one that tops my list. Mary Louisa Locke wrote a guest post for Joe Konrath’s amazing blog, ‘A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.’ It is a tribute to her father and to the idea that it is never too late to follow your dreams. There are always second chances. Click to read: On Second Chances and Role Models: A Tribute to my Father

Making the world a better place – I mentioned my chosen charity above, so a word about what I’m supporting. I’m supporting the hope that it’s possible to change the world, even if it’s only bit by bit, brick on brick. I’m supporting the belief that ‘world change starts with educated children.’ I’m supporting the idea that the greatest impact can be had here by focussing on literacy and gender-equality in education. Room to Read asks you to imagine a world in which every child has access to an education. This non-profit NGO was founded by John Wood, who left Microsoft to do so after a life-changing experience in Nepal. Of everything we make at Right Ink On The Wall, 10% is donated to changing the world. That’s 10% of revenue, not profit. Imagine a world in which every business does the same.

So, please join me on Friday – whether it’s my Friday, over here in NZ, or your Friday, somewhere else in the world (how weird is it that someone’s yesterday can be your tomorrow?). Raise a cup of tea and take a bite of cake and think how sweet it is that Right Ink On The Wall is in the world – encouraging you to pause for thought / sugary treats. Oh, and your question for the week – RSVP?

Rabbits & The Corporate World

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‘To come to the end of a time of anxiety and fear!

To feel the cloud that hung over us lift and disperse –

that cloud that dulled the heart and made happiness no more than a memory!’

– Richard Adams

Watership Down and the lesser-known Tales From Watership Down are two of my all-time favourite books. I’ve read and reread Watership Down and fall in love with it every time, which means I relished the chance to revisit the world when I discovered the tales. I popped down the rabbit-hole again when writing my dissertation at university. My question was: ‘Is fulfilment possible?’ And the work was a discussion on utopia, dystopia and the theology of hope, composed partly because the subject fascinates me and partly as an excuse to read as much utopian literature, fact and fiction, as I could get my hands on.

At Cambridge, there was a wee group of us known amongst ourselves as the bunnies. I’m not exactly sure how this evolved, except perhaps out of the habits of my then roommate, who 1. loves bunnies, and 2. addresses everyone with this endearment. The bunnies were my close-knit fellowship in college. Perhaps if we’d pursued Footlights, The Bunnies could have been the next Monty Python. Anyhoo, this post is dedicated to them (the bunnies, not Monty Python).

But, what does this all have to do with the corporate world? I hear you wonder. Well, that’s where I left idealistic Cambridge to go. I struck forth for The City, the big-smoke, the bigger pay-packet, the twinkling lights, the buzzy brilliance. It’s known as selling out for a reason and the corporate world was not for me. However, while it’s not where I’m supposed to be, connecting with that world was an important and valuable step on my journey.

The same can be said for Hazel and his companions when they touch other warrens on their quest for Watership Down. Although Efrafa is a dystopic nightmare of a warren, with safety bought at the price of freedom, the rabbits met there by Bigwig and the lessons learned there are beyond valuable for the warren founded by the wanderers.

Fiver has a vision. It’s not just for somewhere where the grass is greener and not just for somewhere that isn’t under imminent risk of extermination. His is a dream of a better place – a safe, peaceful, just society, where it’s possible for someone like Hazel to be made Chief Rabbit. On the way, they encounter Cowslip’s warren. There is certainly peace and plenty here and nearly all of the band are seduced by it, but they discover that the cost is the risk of death and the disconnection from those who meet it.

Life at Ernst & Young hit its peak when I was sent to Edinburgh, seconded to Lloyds Banking Group to work for Scottish Widows. For me, this was a prettier place and I was happy, to a point. I even found myself thinking, I could be happy here, less stressed, I could stay. But there were still the snares of long hours and work I wasn’t passionate about, which could jump up and grab you at a moment’s notice. I’m not saying that EY is the corporate equivalent of Efrafa, by the way, I very much enjoyed my time there and learnt a lot. Some of the people I met there are among my best friends. And many thrive in the corporate world and love their work. Equally, however, I know many who feel lost and trapped. It wasn’t the warren for me, and in this post I’m writing for others who wish they could escape somehow and end up somewhere they love.

I’ve now found my Watership Down. I’m as far away from The City as you can get over here in New Zealand’s South Island. It’s not just the place, though, it’s what you do there. I’m building a business so that I can make a living doing something I love. It’s not been easy, but it’s been worth every hop of the journey to get here. I extend the warren of my work every day and I hope for others to follow their dreams too. So, I ask you this: Where is your Watership Down? And how are you going to get there?

Right Ink On The Wall – An Intro

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‘Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything’ 

Euripides 

Who am I and what am I doing right now?

I’m Sara. I’m the founder and owner of a business called Right Ink On The Wall, which believes in making the right mark on the wall of the world and provides proofreading and copy editing services to authors and businesses with the right ideas.

I’m sitting on a mountain in New Zealand at gone 8 o’clock at night, near a fire and a DJ, having boarded for a few hours in the dark, listening to music and thinking about launching a blog to complement my business.

I’m a late adopter. It’s not that I’m purposefully slow or sheepishly follow the crowd once I’m sure it’s safe… But I’ve only just converted to Apple, have only recently acquired a Kindle, have only this year started reading blogs (never mind writing one myself)… And the idea of a touch screen phone upsets me on a deep and distressing level. I’m mostly distressed because I’m scared they’ll soon stop making buttoned phones altogether.

I’m a strong believer that a blog should have a purpose, even if the purpose is to motivate someone to write regularly and it’s about any old thing. This blog is going to be a bit about books, a bit about business, and a bit about making the world a better place. I’m not saying the blog itself will make the world a better place (though I hope so), but that it’s going to, sometimes subtly and sometimes overtly, be all about hope. Hope and happiness.

That’s why I want to write a blog – to talk about what I’m doing with my life and with my business, to talk about what I’m reading and what I’m writing, and to encourage and inspire people to have hope. I always hoped to do a snow season – I’m now in my second. I always hoped to have my own business – I now have one, doing something I love. I always hoped to travel and live abroad – I travelled until I ended up here, happily kipping in Queenstown, living the dream. I always hoped to write a book – watch this space.

One of the messages of these posts is that hope without action is futile. If we want to change something in our lives, or change everything about our lives, we have to do something about it. I spent a lot of time moaning about things and hoping that things would be better one day. It was a bit of an epiphany when I realised I could do anything I wanted to and that the only thing stopping me was myself.

I like the blogs that end on a question. My first question to you is: what do you hope for? And what are you going to do about it? I currently hope to be a better snowboarder… And I’m off to do some more runs.