Hi! I’m Yvonne Spence, author, blogger, and maker of dreams come true. This photo is of me at one of my favourite places – beside the ocean. Cape Cod, to be precise. As a child, I stood on the Atlantic Ocean’s eastern shores and felt awe as I imagined people on the other side, going about their lives. We were both connected and divided by the vast expanse of water between us.
I grew up, and left the islands of my birth. Life was busy, at times chaotic, and I mostly didn’t pause to ponder that deeper side of existence. Eventually I grew tired of feeling afraid and of running from life, and became interested in the vast ocean of being that is beyond our thinking minds, the ocean where, when we tap into it, we discover that our true nature is peace.
I don’t follow any religion, but a phrase might you hear me say is, “I’m not a Buddhist, but…” Like Buddhists I don’t see God as deity, but as a lifeforce in everything: in the ocean, and in the sky, whether turquoise, grey or navy blue and filled with twinkling stars, in forests, animals, and noisy cities filled with people. Yes, in people. We might seem intent on destroying our beautiful planet, but I don’t believe humans are bad or evil. From my own experience and what I’ve observed in others, destructive behaviour is fuelled by fear, and fear can be healed and transformed into love. That is why I write. I write to help others find the beauty in themselves, in this world, in other people. I write to pass on what I’ve learned, I write to help you live the life you dream of, to help you let go of fears that hold you back.
My short stories have been published in several anthologies and magazines and one was a prize-winner in a She Magazine contest. I have an MA in Creative Writing, which I was working towards when our second daughter was born over 3 months prematurely. After the initial shock, I found ways to get back to writing when it felt almost impossible, and I share some of what I learned in the Creative Writing Tips here. I’ve also worked as a Creative Writing tutor, teaching adults and children.
My writing has been featured on the Good Men Project, and along with my teenage daughter I have debated on Brain, Child.
One of my personal essays will be in the Her Stories Project anthology, So Glad They Told Me, due out in the summer, and another in the Monkey Star Press anthology, Mom for the Holidays, out in the autumn. Both these essays are about the early days with my second daughter. I am currently working on a book about those early days, which will provide support to mothers going through what I went through then. I’m also working on another novel.
But this blog isn’t just about me – it’s about you too. Without you, what would be the point? So let’s talk about you.
Perhaps you are a beginning writer, looking for tips. If so you’ll find them in Creative Writing Tips. Or you’ve been writing for a while and feel blocked? Check out my posts on Overcoming Writer’s Block. My suggestions are different to many others, and although they involve taking a deep look inside yourself, that won’t hurt! In fact, it will lead to more self-compassion. You can’t lose. You’ll walk away knowing that you can do it, and that you are worth it! Because you are.
Speaking of compassion – even if you aren’t interested in writing, but you find it hard to feel compassion for yourself, you’ve come to the right place. I’m passionate about spreading compassion, including for ourselves. In January 2015, I started the blogging initiative 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, check out my posts on Compassion and our blog, or join our Facebook Group, where people share posts they’ve written and support each other.
Maybe you don’t write, but love to read. Then you’ll love my book reviews of novels and non-fiction books that all in some way foster understanding and compassion. If you are passionate about deep thoughtful fiction, you will also love my novel Drawings In Sand a novel about a mother in recovery, or my story collection Looking For America: Short stories from the Shetland Islands. (Yes the title story draws on my childhood experience of gazing out over the Atlantic.)
If you are an editor or agent and would like to work with me, I’d love to hear from you! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a book you’d like me to review, you can use the same email address to contact me. I only review literary fiction or non-fiction books in the parenting, self-development, mindfulness or psychology categories. I never publish unfavourable reviews of independently published books – if I don’t feel your book is a good fit for me or needs editing, I’ll let you know that privately. I want to help support fellow authors!
Whatever brought you here, thank you for coming and I hope you enjoy what you read and find it useful.