I'm heading off to UTOPiA in a month and having been nominated for a couple of awards for my book 'When Sorrows Come' and my series, 'Beautiful Freaks', I was feeling under increased pressure to find a drop-dead gorgeous evening gown (not that I need any encouragement, I love evening dresses)
However, several weeks later and having tried on over 40 different dresses, every single one somehow wasn't right - either that or it looked pretty much the same as one of the 5 I have already hanging in my wardrobe.
I was sat having a coffee, feeling a little deflated when I got to thinking that £200 / $300 was a hell of a lot of money for a dress I was going to wear just a handful of times. I began to think of ways that I could perhaps spend that money more wisely on attaining my life-plan.
Coincidentally, the very next day, we stopped off at a new shop that had opened in my home town. It is the HQ office of a cocktail hamper company, founded by an interesting female entrepreneur. She wanted to create an office that was a joy to work in rather than the industrial unit office she had currently been renting. She chose one of the cute little Victorian fronted shops that had once been a florists, and now, as well as having a pretty office, she opens up the front of it as a tiny miniature cocktail bar.
EUREKA, I would take that £200 and hold a perfectly miniature book launch party / signing. The cocktail bar will take just about 10 people - the perfect number of people as one of my very first solo signings.
Then, life is strange; there are several other creative projects happening in my life at the minute, and for some reason, they all seem to be connecting with one another. One of these projects is working with women in the local community who have turned their back on traditional, patriarchal corporate jobs and professions to pursue their own path, create their own companies, and to sell their own services. TAP (The Academy of Possible) has recently been established, and it's a social evolution project that aims to connect women with skills with one another, so we can become cheerleaders and supporters for each other, both on a very practical sales level, and on an emotional, motivational level.
As part of these two strands of my life, I had the idea that I would use the miniature signing in the miniature cocktail bar to make a miniature documentary on the theme of #StartSmallDreamBig, with the aim of inspiring other people to take that first step into doing something bold, social and extraordinary.
I'm not going to lie, the thought of a signing, where I will be reading, petrifies me. I'm still coming to terms with my identity as an author - which by 8 books down, I should have nailed already. And yet, there are reasons why I am 8 books down and never done a social launch party for one of my books... reasons that are complex and reasons that I know many others share.
That's the aim of this project, to inspire folks to step outside of their comfort zones, but in a safe way - a bit like a controlled explosion, only just not with quite so much wreckage - although who knows what will happen with the added ingredient of cocktails.
I'm being ultra brave, and fighting the fear by inviting a local journalist, the manager of a local national book store, and a high profile blogger to attend and be of the 10 guests that will be invited. I don't know if they will come, but I do know that if you don't ask, they definitely won't come.
And if the filming is rubbish, if the reading is wobbly, if the whole thing is a little less than perfect, it doesn't matter, it will be perfectly imperfect and I will have learned a whole lot of lessons.
Watch this space for more updates on this project, and I really look forward to hearing where you arrange your miniature signings having been inspired by this idea.
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