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The Eliot Effect

Have you ever been so pumped up to do something that you totally think you can do, been filled with motivation and spurred on by adrenaline to finally make your dream project come to fruition and then....pfffffffffffffft. Nothing. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Doing this blog is an example. I've started them before but ran out of ideas after a post or two.  I was complaining to my friend that I was dying to do something after so many years as a stay at home mum but wanted to do something on my own terms. She suggested starting a blog to document how I was doing. So...over a year after that conversation, here I am!

I had an epiphany one day that I could write things for other people for money. This turned out to be "copywriting". If I wasn't going to be a world famous novelist by the time I was 40 (revised from 30), this could be the next best thing. OK, so what do I need to do? Maybe a course, read some books, set up a website, get some sosh meeds going and launch my new career. Woo hoo! Let's go! Alriiiight! Pfffffffffffffft.

I believe I suffer from something known as "The Eliot Effect". Please note, this is a medical term, made up by me. If you don't know, a band called Five Star were / are "Romford's answer to the Jacksons" and were flying high on a Saturday morning kid's TV show sometime in the 80s when a naughty rascal called Eliot phoned in to ask "why are you so fucking crap?" While I'm fairly sure this was not the catalyst for the end of the band, it is an incident that many people will associate with them and no doubt it got to them, too. And that's what I hear in my head all the time. If I'm not immediately acting on all my ideas..."why are you so fucking crap?" If I'm not cold-pitching every second God sends or releasing a new blog post every Monday..."why are you so fucking crap?" If I am actually doing something but it's not turning out the way I want..."why are you so fucking crap?". Eventually it gets to you. Eventually you start to believe it. The voice makes you think you ARE crap so you just stop trying.

Eliot (or somebody pretending to be him) did eventually apologize to Five Star via Twitter in 2019 but the fact that it was still a memorable incident 30 years on shows how insidious insults and doubt can be. We probably all have an Eliot living inside our heads and it's up to us to try and keep him in check. Unfortunately I've let his whispers get to me for far too long. But you know what? Piece by piece I have managed to get my crap together. Last year I completed a Diploma in Copywriting from the Blackford Centre. Earlier this year, I launched this blog. I have done jobs for friends to get real-life writing examples for my portfolio. Last month I (finally) published my professional website. I have set up flimsy Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to seem more legit but hey, I can work on those later. I have received actual money for a job I have done - even if it was only a few dollars. It was the first time I have earned my own money for nearly 8 years. It was the first time I have earned money for work I have personally created EVER. And that felt great. The point is, looking down from the pile of bits and bobs I have scraped together over the last few months, I can see that I have started to build some sort of foundation. I don't know how big this empire (or this metaphor) will grow but I do know that in order to succeed, there will have to be a big ol' sign out front saying "No Eliots Allowed".


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