Why the book? We’ve been told that it’s Alchemy for the Bitter and Twisted Self!

So why write a book, you may ask? it’s a question we asked ourselves often – we hadn’t planned to write a book, and not only that we had a completely different idea of what we were going to do instead, that didn’t involve writing a book!

It’s amazing how when you start something… like say tidying up a basket full of wool…  you find out there are loads and loads of threads in it that need untangling and unravelling, and of course, they are all connected in some way; that’s how the book seemed to be created… one thing led to another, then another, then another, until finally, we had the makings of the book.

Of course, this is not a blog telling you about how to write a book… we’re not experts by any means… but we have to say that the walls became post-it city for a while, all just covered with headlines of possible chapters – or not as the case maybe after second, third or twentieth consideration. And then… how do you find the content? What do we want to say about that subject? Who or what inspired us to dig deeper into ourselves? What story to use and why… after all, we’re hoping to inspire other women of a certain age to go beyond what society says they should be doing a lot of the time – but have we done it ourselves? And how did we do it? And how to make it light and entertaining but actually have a point?

We’ve discovered that in digging deep inside ourselves to understand all of this, what seems to be superficial often turns out not to be – or maybe it is light and funny on the surface but isn’t underneath. It’s been finding the essence of things that we’ve had to discover on this journey of writing a book. And keeping things positive – after all, nobody wants to read a lot of moaning on!

Anyway, this is our first book and it’s been quite a discovery that, after having been scriptwriters and journalists for years, to write a book is a whole different ball game. At the same time, we wanted the book to say something and ultimately be about other people, not us. So we use the stories about us to illustrate our ideas and points of interest (and hopefully add some celebrity stardust and fun to it) but the most important thing is that it inspires and motivates other women – a tall order we know but our motto is “if we can do it, then you can do it”.

So what we are trying to get across is hopefully some hope and optimism that, yes, life can give you some really difficult and tough experiences, both in the workplace and out of it, and that you can get through it – a bit like ‘if you’ve got lemons – make lemonade!’. So at the end of every chapter there is an exercise designed to help readers get in touch with your feelings about the topic we’ve explored, and then transform the energy into something creative and new. We’ve tried all the exercises of course! And we’ve also recorded them so there will be an opportunity to get them on audio.

We know we’re not the only women on the planet who are experiencing what it’s like to reach a certain age and become invisible; it was quite a shock but we’re not invisible anymore – why? Because we’re not having it and we don’t want others to have it either. And we think it starts in media.  Why media? Because that’s where our social norms are created… if we see older men and younger women all the time on TV or films or magazines, or on the radio, then that becomes normalized.

We focus on media because we don’t see enough representation of women who look like us – women do age by the way! Very importantly as well, younger women don’t have any role models for becoming older and it becomes a frightening thing for them. What we are saying is that it need not be… and media needs to reflect that.

There are ways to make sure we are seen and heard; not using a stick to beat men over the head with, but more of empowerment for women to own their rightful place equally in society in the workplace with men.

When we talked at a Soundwomen futures conference for women in radio a few years ago, afterwards so many women in their thirties and forties came up and said they were scared of losing their jobs when they reached a certain age. Women need to know they can get older and still exist in their profession! And it must start in media… and then it can filter through into society.

We came into media at a time a lot of women were being made to leave it. We’ve had up and downs, disappointments, and successes… but we’ve always managed to find the funny side eventually. It helps being a duo as we egg each other on and pick each other up. But then we have never been the sort of women to moan on; we always want to find a solution or a way to feel happier and more optimistic, and our commitment has been to not end up being bitter and twisted ha ha.

In fact, that’s our party line – if it makes us feel miserable, disappointed or defeated, bitter or twisted, we’ve got a spin on its head. So that’s why we bring in a lot of celebrities, a lot of humour, a lot of crazy stories, because that’s what we committed to: having fun, laughing, being creative and inspired.

One of the comments we’ve received about the book is that it is like Alchemy for the Bitter and Twisted Self! But more about how that works the next time…

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