Episode 9 – Finding Meaning through Children’s Stories

An interview with Tracey Thomson on her journey as an author and how we can find meaning through children’s stories.

So with me today is Tracey Thomson, a locally based author of children’s books, and these are children’s books with a message. They’re all designed for children’s well-being. But we’ll also be talking about Tracey’s own journey to become an author and how this has helped her find meaning after a change in career.

Michelle:             So good morning, Tracey. Thank you ever so much for coming and joining me this morning.

Tracey:                 Hi Michelle. Thanks for having me.

Michelle:             That’s wonderful. So as usual, local women, but this is a local woman without a local accent. So where do you come from Tracey?

Tracey:                 Well, the accent might give it away. I’m from Scotland originally, but I’ve been in Guernsey for over 20 years now. I always think my accent’s gone but obviously.

Michelle:             Well, it might be gone when you go to Scotland, but it’s definitely still here. So you’ve been in Guernsey for 20 years?

Tracey:                 Yeah, over 20 years now, yeah. It’s supposed to be a quick stop on the way back to a job in Edinburgh, but here I am. It’s a lovely place to settle I have to say.

Michelle:             So, I’m really interested to find out well, what brought you to the island? And this new adventure of yours, writing children’s books, how did that come about?

Tracey:                 Well, what brought to me the island was I used to be a mental health nurse. So I trained in Scotland, worked in Germany for three years, and felt a bit homesick really and was heading back to Scotland, but had the opportunity to come here and work for a bit on the way. Met my partner, and here I am.

Michelle:             The rest is history.

Tracey:                 Lovely family, yeah. Exactly.

Michelle:             Yeah. So mental health. How long were you in mental health?

Tracey:                 About 10 years in total actually. I trained in Fife, worked in Edinburgh for a bit and then worked three years in Germany, and three and a bit years here in Guernsey as well. Yeah, seems like a lifetime ago, but yeah, it was a big part of my life.

Michelle:             Right, yeah. And after that?

Tracey:                 Then I, I moved to finance, the sort of …

Michelle:             Oh, like we all do, yeah.

Tracey:                 Quite a common story here, isn’t it? But I loved it actually. I was ready for a change and especially when the kids came along. I worked for a great company, who were really flexible and I managed to combine work with term time arrangements. So yeah, I had the best of both worlds. Worked for a really lovely company who supported me as a mom working, and I loved it.

Michelle:             So how did the transition come about from finance to children’s author?

Tracey:                 Well, my career in finance was going really well. I was promoted to the board of the company that I worked for, but not long after that, I guess life got in the way of work. My family, in Scotland, my parents had some health issues. My partner’s mom has lived with us semi-independently for quite some time. She’s 92 now, and it just became apparent to us that she would need a bit more help as time went by.

So we were just juggling, spinning too many plates. I guess it’s just a typical story really, but we’ve got two kids and life was too busy. And we, as a family, made the decision that something had to give, and I decided to stop work to focus on family commitments for a while. To be there at home for my partner’s mom. To have more time to spend to go out to Scotland, and more time for us as a family, more time with the kids. And writing and publishing books was never part of the plan. That’s just a bonus.

Michelle:             Yeah, and it does sound to me like there’s a whole other podcast in there, in terms of that transition. Because it’s something which it’s really, there’s a lot of it going on at the moment, of women having to take career changes. So, yeah … but I mustn’t digress after that subject, because we’re here today to talk about your new career as a children’s author.

Tracey:                 Yeah, I’m still getting used to that term, actually. Children’s author. So I’m really quite new, but I am loving it. It’s a complete unexpected bonus of me giving up work and being more at home.

Michelle:             Yeah, so the motivation behind this. I read somewhere on your bio that you’ve wanted to do this for a long time.

Tracey:                 Well, I wrote some of my stories years ago, when the kids were quite young. My first book, Daisy the Hedgehog, I think I wrote that story about 10 years ago. And yeah, I just didn’t really have the courage to do anything with it. It was more sort of bedtime stories with the kids and enjoying reading with them, but also enjoying making up my own stories and putting a few down on paper.

Michelle:             Absolutely, I mean I remember when my daughter was about seven or eight, it was always, “made up story mommy, made up story”. And I did a whole series in my head of blackberry bunny stories. But so it was kind of like –

Tracey:                 You need to write them down.

Michelle:             Well, it’s actually something that used to go through my mind. So maybe we can talk about that later, it’s where do you start? Because I couldn’t draw what was in my head. But so you went, and there must be so many mothers out there that have done this with their children. Made up stories, and those stories have got lost in the ether.

Tracey:                 Yeah, and that could have very easily happened for me. But being at home, and if I’m honest, I found that last winter was quite a wet, dreary winter. And the change from being a professional, having a purpose every day, being too busy, but still having a purpose and a routine to your day to being at home, it was quite difficult actually. And so revisiting these stories, and taking a story and making it into a book and then the other side of what I do is, I’ve started writing well-being articles for children, for parents, to deal with issues that children might have. And that really helped me to feel, to have a purpose in the day.

It can be quite depressing I think, the change, although the first few months were great.

It’s like I’m walking the dog and the novelty of not having to go to work, but I think after the summer ended and winter set in, it was important for me to have something to do and this is definitely given me purpose.

Michelle:             Yeah, I know. I can totally identify with that. When I took my career change from being director in the finance industry. That first year, I call it my long year of the soul, because when you start looking forward to Deal or No Deal, you know you’ve got to find something else.

Michelle:             So I think this idea of immersing yourself in children’s stories seems wonderful. So I’ve seen there’s two titles, there’s Daisy the Hedgehog and another one called Show Me. So tell me a little bit about Daisy the Hedgehog. What’s the book all about?

Tracey:                 Daisy is a hedgehog who wants to play football, but as you can maybe imagine, playing football when you’re covered in spikes doesn’t always work. So she, no one will let her join in. She has spikes, the ball will burst. So Daisy doesn’t join the football team, but she has another talent. She has other special talents that she can bring to the team, and that’s what the book’s about. It’s about finding a way to help Daisy to join in. It’s about accepting that maybe she can’t join in the conventional way, but there are other things that she can bring to the game.

So it explores Daisy’s feelings; Daisy feeling a bit sad, a bit lonely, a bit left out. But I think it also promotes acceptance and tolerance, and how we can find a way to bring others, to be inclusive and let others join in.

Michelle:             Lovely, so a really lovely diversity and inclusion story.

Tracey:                 Yeah, I guess it is. Yeah. I mean at the end of the day, when I was writing it, I didn’t have all these thoughts going through my head. It was about a hedgehog. And yeah, and how the struggles that kids sometimes have if they’re not quite the same as everyone else, if it’s difficult to join in or if you’re a bit shy or yeah, have those struggles.

Michelle:             Yeah, lovely, and Show Me, what is that one about?

Tracey:                 Show Me is really about helping kids, young kids, to become more active. It’s, for me, it’s quite shocking the statistics on childhood obesity, and not just obesity, but also anxiety in children and issues with low self-esteem. And I, for me personally when I was younger, exercise was a huge part of may life and for my children it’s really important. I can see the benefits, but I think if it’s too prescriptive, then I think certainly as kids get older we can sort of push them away a little bit from sports, so it’s about having fun. It’s about getting kids moving and having fun.

It’s a collection of verses where every animal has its own specific action. So penguins waddle, frogs jump, and it’s just … the kids know what to do. You show the kid the picture, read the verse, and the kids get it straight away. They join in and do the actions, and it’s about making exercise fun, helping parents to help their kids become more active and maybe distract them away from the iPad, or the television.

Michelle:             Yes, and the parents can join in too no doubt.

Tracey:                 Oh, absolutely.

Michelle:             Yeah, I had my first grand-parenting experience last summer. Up in Edinburgh actually, because that’s where my grandson is. And we invented a falling down game, and I must have done that, I don’t know, 100 times by the end of it. I thought, the grandmother has been exercised here. Yeah. So it sounds like lovely stories with a lovely message. So how are you getting this message out there to people?

Tracey:                 Well, that bit is very difficult for me, and if I’m honest, I’m making it up as I go along.

Michelle:             Oh, aren’t we all.

Tracey:                 The stories, the writing comes quite easily to me. I really enjoy it. Social media, marketing, PR, that is a completely different beast. I have no idea what I’m doing there, but I’m just making it up. Yeah, and it, again it’s part of my new, my journey. Sounds a bit cliché, doesn’t it? But it’s part of my new experience and I’m enjoying that as well. And my family are on board with that. My partner, I’m so lucky, he’s a software developer, so we have a website that he has created that we work on together. And my daughter, she keeps me right on Instagram, which is completely new to me. But she’s given me tips there, and she does the photography as well, so it’s great for all of us. We’re coming together.

Michelle:             That’s lovely, so what’s your website?

Tracey:                 It’s just my name. It’s www.traceythomson.com.

Michelle:             Alright. Okay, well we’ll put a link to that in the show notes. And your Instagram?

Tracey:                 Children’s_wellbeing_author, but with my name Tracey Thomson as well.

Michelle:             Right, okay. So well again, we’ll put a link to that so that people who are listening can click on there and have a quick look. It’s a lovely website.

Tracey:                 Oh, thank you.

Michelle:             And I saw on the website that there’s some work that you’ve been doing with primary schools.

Tracey:                 Yeah, well I’ve been fortunate that a lot of primary schools locally, and the library actually, have invited me in to read my book with the children. Both of the books. So yeah, I’m getting out there and it’s great because my kids are past the bedtime story stage now, so it’s a lovely opportunity to get out there and chat with the young kids and get feedback, as well, on the books.

Michelle:             Yeah. So what about the Guernsey Literary Festival?

Tracey:                 Hopefully yeah, I’ve been invited to take part next year.

Michelle:             Lovely.

Tracey:                 So again, this is all taking me so far out of my comfort zone. But it’s a great opportunity and I’m so looking forward to that very much.

Michelle:             Yeah, wonderful. So, these are books with a message. And with having a mental health background, what are the big issues that you’re seeing out there that children need to deal with at the moment?

Tracey:                 Well, I think I should start by saying I’m, first and foremost I’m a mom, I’m not a professional anymore. My background is in mental health, but I, like any mom, I see how my kids  get through school, and I see what’s on the news and it seems to be that anxiety is definitely on the increase for kids.

And there seem to be some links with just our modern lifestyles. How busy we are, the increase in use of electronics for kids means that their sleep patterns can be quite disrupted. They’re not active as they once would have been. And that definitely, I think, has an impact on children’s mental health.

Michelle:             Yeah, so you wrote an article which I was referring to right in the beginning about sticks and stones. So what’s the message within that article?

Tracey:                 Yeah, that article is about verbal bullying. And just when playground banter is taken too far, when banter becomes bullying really, and the impact that can have on our children. And just really contains some tips on how we as parents or teachers, or carers, how we can help kids. How we can spot the signs to start with, and how we can intervene and give kids some ideas on how to cope if they’re suffering from bullying or yeah, interventions.

The articles I write are written in quite plain language, but the research that underpins the articles is … There are links through the articles to the research, so I’ll give some tips on how I think best to do, what you can tell your child to do, if they are feeling that they’re under pressure at school. If they’re anxious, if they’re being bullied, if they’re having problems. But there’s also links to research to professional articles or to sites such as Childline or the NSPCC, where you can research it further as a parent, or a carer, or a teacher, and find out more about the issues.

Michelle:             So, I mean these days there’s more research than ever before. There’s more help than ever before, but why do you think this problem has gotten bigger? Because it certainly seems to have. Is it social media?

Tracey:                 Well, they’re certainly more awareness. I think the issues have probably always been there, to a certain extent in various forms. But I do think that social media plays a huge form, a huge part in the issues that children face.

Not necessarily directly because of the use of social media for children, but we as parents are busy on social media all of the time. Our lives are busier in general, and I think, yeah I think research is starting to show that social media, although it opens up a whole new world for us and has so many positives, there are definitely negative impacts on our lives as parents and our kids’ lives through overuse of social media.

When I went to school, you’d come home, you’d shut the door, and that was it until the next day. If you’d had a hard time at school, or if something was bothering you, you got home, you closed the door, you were safe. That couldn’t intrude on your life as much as it can now with Snapchat and various group chats, and all the different social media apps that kids use out there. It must be very difficult to switch off I would think.

Michelle:             Yeah, yeah, I was reading an article last weekend about how the people in Silicon Valley are sending their kids to screen free schools, and really limiting the time, basically Steiner Schools. Limiting the time that the kids can spend online. And I’m thinking that’s a push that’s coming from the place where this is being invented.

Tracey:                 Yeah, full circle there, isn’t it?

Michelle:             Yeah, yeah. So it must be having a big impact. And I wonder, as a parent, if you’re always on your phone whether the kids are getting that mirroring that they need so much from parents? You know the …

Tracey:                 Yeah, absolutely, I think kids do what they see rather than do what we tell them to do, don’t they? And I have that dilemma a bit myself at the minute with my writing, because I have, Facebook was something for me that I dipped into very occasionally a few years ago, and now I have a Facebook account and an Instagram account for my writing, and my daughter’s involved in helping me with that. And I do wonder if there’s an element of maybe hypocrisy there if I’m saying it’s you have to limit it, but I’m, I wake up in the morning and check my phone. So it’s something that I think we as parents have to regulate as much as trying to regulate it for our children, definitely.

Michelle:             Yes, because if we’re not kind of leading by example, then how, where are they going to get the messages from?

Tracey:                 Yeah, exactly.

Michelle:             Yeah, very interesting, and I think it’s a very complex topic that people are working with.

Tracey:                 Yeah, and I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m trying to do I guess why bit. Parenting is difficult. It’s such a hard job and I think well, if one of my articles or my books helps one family, then job done. I’m not pretending that I’m going to give you all of the answers, or that my book is going to make your life so much better, but I think it’s a step in the right direction and I really feel it’s important to me to try to give something back in that way.

Michelle:             And I’m interested how writing these books has helped you and your mental health? By having made such a big dramatic shift?

Tracey:                 Yeah, well, it’s been great for me. It’s really, as a family it’s been good. As I’ve touched on, we all work at it together. I’ve got a son who’s a teenager who behind the scenes is involved but he’s very much sort of a 15-year-old boy, and doesn’t want me to publicly get him involved in it. But for me, personally, the shift from a professional structured job to being at home, and being a carer, it’s massive and I think it could be quite isolating. It could be … The novelty of the free time and the lack of structure, for me, became an issue over the winter.

It was a wet, rainy, dreary winter last year here in Guernsey, and the books really helped me to feel positive.

Michelle:             Yeah, so it gave you a purpose?

Tracey:                 Definitely. I’ve also become involved locally with the children’s panel, the CYCT organisation. And I sit on the mental health tribunal panel, again going full circle back to my mental health days, and again I love it. It just really, for me, it’s very fulfilling. I enjoy that role and it’s very rewarding.

I would recommend it to anyone if you have an opportunity to volunteer, because I do appreciate as well that I’m lucky. We made a choice as a family that I would stop work and not everyone can do that. I really appreciate that, and for us it’s not like it was an easy decision. We miss the paycheck every month, but it’s definitely been the right thing for us to do as family. Absolutely, and for me it’s much more fulfilling. I feel I’ve gone full circle. I feel like I’ve gone back to my nursing and my mental health roots, albeit it in a different way, but it definitely feels like the right thing for me personally.

Michelle:             Yeah, and I think you’re pointing at something really important here, is that we’ve kind of been indoctrinated and I feel a little bit guilty about this myself, having run the Women’s Development Forum for about eight years. Which really the underlying message was stay in work, lean in, do it. Compete equally with the men, and take those senior positions and keep going at it. And I feel that’s sort of kind of almost a little bit ironic really, because I had a burnout at 47. And chose to do something completely different with my life.

And I’ve stopped the Women’s Development Forum now because I feel, actually we need to take the pressure off women. And if we have got the opportunity to step back from it and we need to and we want to, then we need to kind of make it okay, because there still is a little bit of that oh, I should be doing something more important than this. I should be competing.

Tracey:                 Ah, yeah. I think I justify my lifestyle quite a bit now, because I was so used to being so busy for so long. I do, sometimes people will ask me what do you do? And I find it quite difficult to answer, and probably give too much because I feel like I have to justify being at home, which is nonsense, isn’t it? Because my priority is my family here and my parents in Scotland, as much as I can prioritize them.

Michelle:             Yeah. Because at the end of the day it is still in society falling to women to do the caring of elderly parents and young children. And we’ve had, for the last 20 plus years, the fact that we should be doing that and being on the board. And it’s not really possible, is it?

Tracey:                 Oh, it’s very difficult. And I think something has, for us something had to give. And I’m really pleased with the choices that we made. I enjoy it. I feel truer to myself in a lot of ways doing what I’m doing. Although, I do have to stress that I did have a great employer. I enjoyed working and they gave me the flexibility to do some work from home, some in the office, and I was very lucky there. I don’t think everyone, for sure, has that opportunity. So for me, although it was difficult to juggle everything, a lot of it, it came to sort of a decision point when, crisis point if you like, when external factors came crashing in on us and we had to choose.

Michelle:             Which makes it even harder when you’re not doing it because oh, I’ve got a dreadful employer and it’s awful and it’s dreadful. Having to make that decision, well no, I’ve got to do this for the sake of myself and the sake of my family. It ramps up the guilt almost, doesn’t it?

Tracey:                 Yeah, you do. You feel that you have to justify your choices, which is nonsense because for me what is more important than family? Shouldn’t have to justify that at all. Although, as I’ve said before, I appreciate I’m lucky to be able to make that choice. Not everyone can walk away from their job.

Michelle:             Yeah, absolutely, totally agree. But the other thing that was coming up while you were talking is so many times I meet people, and the first thing they say to you, especially as self-employed, is, “Keeping busy?” And you go, “Oh yes, you know, I’m so busy.” But I am busy, I’m down my art shed and I’m down the beach having breakfast. I’m doing this. Yes, and I’m working as well, but it’s that kind of almost that modern push that we should be busy.

Tracey:                 Yeah, that busy is successful, when actually sometimes it’s nice to do nothing. I find now, I’ve sort of, it’s coming up for two years since I stopped work and if my week has too many appointments I start to get a bit jumpy. I’m quite happy being by myself. I don’t mind at all. There’s nothing better for me than taking the dog for a long walk on the beach, and I’ll just relax in that way.

Michelle:             Yeah. Lovely, lovely. Yeah, I’m feeling very deprived because I haven’t had my morning on the beach this week, because I’m too busy.

But the other thing that was really going up, because when you were talking before and I’m thinking yeah, I remember now my blackberry bunny stories I used to tell my daughter. I’m sure she remembers them as well.

So if I was to decide I’m going to put those down, I’m going to write them out, if I can remember them because it’s going back. How would I start? I mean I could write it, but where do you go to then make that into a book?

Tracey:                 I think that’s one of the things that stopped me for years, actually, from taking it to the next step and making a book. For me, the stories I’ve written are for young children, and what’s key to the story is the illustration. And I, sadly, don’t have that talent. So for me, a huge part was finding an illustrator, and I didn’t know where to even start. But for Daisy the Hedgehog a friend recommended a freelance site. And then for Show Me, I was home in my home town of Dysart, in Fife, and there was a craft fair running and I met a lady who had little notebooks and pictures. I thought wow, that’s exactly how I see this next book coming out. She’d never done a book either, so that, the second one was chance. The first one was a bit of research, and getting a few samples, and just being lucky to find someone who could put into a painting the image that I saw matched the story.

Michelle:             Yes, yes. I think that’s really important because you know, my blackberry bunny definitely looks a particular way.

Tracey:                 Yeah. You’ve got to be able tell the story in pictures for young children, haven’t you?

Michelle:             Yeah, and the pictures are lovely in Show Me.

Tracey:                 Yeah, she’s done … It’s Martine Greig, is that lady’s name. She’s done an amazing job, yeah. Really good. But then even then that’s just the start of it though. You need to format the book. You need to decide on the layout, edit, insert the words. And then, yeah, then find a publishing platform.

I’ve actually written about this and put it on the website, because for me it stopped me for years taking the next step, and if anyone else out there is looking to self publish, then you might just get some tips on the website on my self publishing rules.

Michelle:             Right so, you’ve actually spelled out how to do it with the links to these sites that you’ve found.

Tracey:                 Yeah, exactly. I mean it’s very much me, and my story, and how I did it. There are other ways to do it, but I thought even if you take a few tips from this it might help you move to the next step. And it was difficult, it was a learning curve, but I enjoyed it. But I am happy to share that knowledge, because it can be difficult to take that leap, can’t it? From having your story in your head to publishing a book is a huge step.

Michelle:             Yeah. So the books themselves, are they available now on …

Tracey:                 They’re available through Amazon. The platform, the self-publishing platform that I use, is the Amazon self-publishing platform, which is great, because they then have a link to the book on the Amazon website. I don’t have to publish on mass, and I don’t have to have stocks of books. And the whole way they, you purchase one book and it’s printed and sent straight to you. So it seems like it’s a really easy way to do it, for me.

I’m giving Show Me away electronically for free to schools, nurseries, libraries. There’s an electronic version on the website. I mean, it’s for anyone really, but it’s in a PowerPoint presentation format, with the idea that schools can show the book on their smart boards, and in assembly, and class, and the kids can get involved that way. Libraries can run interactive story times by putting the book up on their board, or on their iPads or laptops. It’s just a case of running it.

I’m of the opinion that the more people can use it, then the better.

Show Me isn’t about, well none of it’s really about making money. It’s all a bit of a personal journey for me. It’s not about profit. It would be great if I sell lots of books further down the line, but certainly at the minute, it’s just about getting them out there and kids having fun with Show Me. The illustrations are so gorgeous. I just think the more people that can see them, and do you know, the more kids that waddle like penguin and jump like a frog, then great.

It’s all good fun and it all gets them active and … And Daisy the Hedgehog, as well, I’ve offered free books to all of the primary schools in Guernsey, so they haven’t all taken me up on the offer. So if you’re out there listening, and haven’t got your copy at school, the offer’s still open, but I’ve given quite a few books away for free to schools in Guernsey, to charities, to youth clubs, in Scotland as well.

Michelle:             Lovely.

Tracey:                 Just to try and for me, to get the message out there, but also just to, just so people can enjoy them. I’ve really enjoyed making them, and I want people to be able to enjoy reading them.

Michelle:             That sounds wonderful. So, what next? Where are you going with this?

Tracey:                 Next is a squirrel with attention, a hyperactive squirrel with ADHD. Hopefully over the winter time. Yeah, I just want to keep on writing.

I went to school recently, and I was reading Daisy the Hedgehog, and a little girl asked me if I had any more books planned, and she suggested that I write another book about Daisy the Hedgehog, about when Daisy’s feeling shy. And the book could tell Daisy how to make friends. And then I thought, yeah, that’s got to happen, hasn’t it? Because I think kids can, all kids learn so much more from a hedgehog than they do from us. If we can get the message out there in a colorful, and entertaining, and light way, and it helps a few kids, then great. That’s what its all about really.

Michelle:             Yeah, that sounds wonderful. So this is something that you’re able to kind of weave in with the caring duties and …

Tracey:                 Yeah, absolutely. This isn’t my number one priority, although it’s important to me. I had a library event a few weeks ago, but had to cancel it last minute because my partner’s mother wasn’t well, and that’s just how it is. The event went ahead actually. The library staff were amazing. They just, they had all the resources and they ran ahead and went with the session. But for me, it’s about being at home and it’s about my family commitments, and this is just an added bonus really. So it’s good.

Michelle:             So how long … not to sound like a cheeky question. Not how long is your mother-in-law going to live, but it’s more a case of where do you see this panning out?

Tracey:                 Do you know, I really don’t have a clue. I’m really making it up as I go along, and just going with it. Yeah, I don’t know. Two years ago publishing a book wasn’t even on the horizon, and I’ve done two now so, and I’ve got a third one to come. I’m just going to carry on and we’ll see what happens. And do you know what? I can’t recommend it enough.

If there’s something that you want to do, go for it. Just give it a go and what’s the worst that can happen?

I think I’m at an age now where, well I don’t … 20 years ago, I would have been full of self doubt and too shy to take this publicly, and the stories I wrote were for my kids and no one else, but now I’m of an age where I think well, do you know, what’s the worst that can happen? I’m enjoying it. I’m getting so much positive feedback, from parents and kids who are also enjoying the books, and if my articles help a few families and give a few pointers then I’m just going to carry on and we’ll see what happens. Who knows?

Michelle:             Yeah, and I’m wondering whether this is actually one of the plus sides of social media. Has it helped you kind of put yourself out there and get the courage to do something like this?

Tracey:                 I think, for me, it was I didn’t know how else to do it. Because I’m not, I have no experience with marketing or PR. I’m a mom at home who’s making this up as she goes along is the truth of it. And social media was accessible. And it seemed like an easy way to put my message out there. But if you look at either Facebook or Instagram, there are very few pictures of me. So I still need to, I still need to carry on and I need to have a bit more courage and be a bit less self-conscious in that respect. I’m hiding a little bit, I think, behind the books.

But yeah, it’s been great for me and my family. As I say, my daughter and a friend do the photography and I just think it’s amazing. They have great fun with that and help me out a lot. So it’s really a family affair. Even the dog gets involved. The dog is the most photographed dog in Guernsey. Yeah.

Michelle:             So I mean a lot of our message here, at Female Potential, is how do we as women stretch into the possibilities of life? How do we, and it sounds really like the circumstances that have been presented to you, through needing to care for elderly family members, have catalyzed a completely different shift, which has helped you stretch into your potential.

Tracey:                 Yeah, absolutely. I’m just loving this. I’m really enjoying it. And yeah, I really recommend, if you’ve got, whether it’s a book or another creative escape that you have thought about doing for a while and haven’t had the opportunity to do it, or the courage to do it. I think for me, I mean really, again, it came down to correct timing but also courage. Because hitting that post button on my first, “Hi everyone, I’ve written a book.” It took me a while to …

Michelle:             Push that button.

Tracey:                 Yeah, push that button. It was a scary moment. It’s like well should I, shouldn’t I? But I’m so glad that I did. The feedback has been so overwhelmingly positive.

Michelle:             Yeah, and also I think it helps us learn to fail as well. I live constantly in this kind of experimental world where I’ll try something and see if it works, and some things I do work, and some things I do don’t work. And it’s learning to be able to do it and say right, okay, I’ve learnt from that and now I can move on and do something else.

Tracey:                 Yeah, I think you’re right, and I think there will always be people who don’t agree with what you’re doing or think maybe it’s a bit silly, but I think that says more about them than it does about us. And like I’ve said before, I’m of an age where I think well, really I don’t care as much as I once would have done. I’m happy to give it a go and fingers crossed.

Michelle:             Yeah, wonderful. And I think that’s a really good message to leave on. Have a go.

Tracey:                 Yeah. Absolutely.

Michelle:             Okay, brilliant. So thanks ever so much for spending the time with me this morning. And good luck with the next book.

Tracey:                 Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Michelle:             I’ve got a copy of the books here, and I can assure you they are really beautiful. So please do check out the links on the show notes.

Until next time, bye-bye.

Tracey Thomson Website 

Guide to Self Publishing

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