10 Motivational Quotes from Walt Disney To Get You To Happily Ever After (AKA Published)

This week I did something insane. Something I never thought would actually happen. Something I was pretty sure by the end the odds were never going to be in my favour for.

I published my debut novel!!!

White as Snow is officially on sale on Kindle and I can officially call myself a published author. In many ways, I just hit Happily Ever After. If this was a Disney movie, this is where the prince and princess would ride off into the distance as we fade out to credits while some Disney starlet we’ve never really heard of attempts to re-sing the signature song.

But I won’t lie. There have been days (months, nah scratch that, years) that I thought this day would never come. This book has been ten years in development. It has had four complete rewrites, most of the characters have changed name at least once, it even had a genre swap at one point – and let’s not even get into the sheer number of drafting and editing versions it went through. And on the days when I hit my low points, I needed all the motivation I could get.

Finally seeing the word “LIVE” on my Amazon bookshelf filled me with a mix of emotions. Ecstasy. Disbelief. Oh-My-God-What-Have-I-Done. But most of all, I felt pride. I felt a sense of sheer accomplishment. Even if the whole world hates it. Even if I never sell so much as a single copy. It is mine. I did it. It’s been a hell of a journey and I survived. I saw Happily Ever After and I did not stop fighting dragons until I got there. I might be bruised and scared, but I’ll tell you something, it was 1000% worth it.

Therefore it seemed only apt on the eve of my first great step into authordom and given my novel is indeed a fairytale retelling, that I turn to the Godfather of them All. The Master of Magic and the Man who proved Happily Ever After is out there for anyone willing to fight for it – Mr Walt Disney.

Disney is a huge part of what made me the writer I am. There is no doubt that my fascination with fairytales and all things magical came from a steady childhood diet of the best of the Mouse. And as I grew older, and came to appreciate things beyond pretty princesses and catchy tunes, I came too to admire the sheer craft of his unique ability to bring such startling storytelling from those around him.

In a very personal sense, his imagining (namely Walt Disney World Florida) is also to thank for me having the courage to pick this project up and take it from the (awful) story it was back then and turn it into the (I’m pretty proud of it) novel it is today. In my second year at Uni, I had the fortune of working in Orlando for three months in Magic Kingdom. I left the UK that summer just another graduate resigned on her path to a nice sensible little job in an office to pay the bills who didn’t even give her writing a second chance. I came back three months later a writer. A lot of that was to do with the amazing people I met out there but some of it was also about being inside one man’s dream. Though I always did find it heartbreaking he died before it opened. I remember sitting that day in induction training at the University of Disney (because yes there is such a thing – I have a diploma and everything) and thinking how terribly sad it would be for your dream to come true and you never knew it.

His background too, is inspiring. This is a man who came from nothing. The boy who used to do the paper round in worn out shoes in the snow. He was told time and time again that it wouldn’t happen. To give up on his dream.

But he never did.

Sometimes (when I really want to depress myself) I think about what the world might have been like if Disney had listened to the naysayers. If he had just thrown his hands up and gone “screw it” and given up on his little mouse. Whatever you may think of Walt (because trust me I know he wasn’t all candy floss and chalk paintings), his determination is one to be admired.

So here are my favourite Disney quotes – the words of wisdom that have kept me on track this past decade and remind all of us, no matter where we are in our journeys, that Happily Ever After is out there – we just have to keep fighting.

1. THE gentle reminder that imagination is not something only for children

Disney Quote2. the PEP talk we all need to hear every once in a whileDisney Quote

3. THE “Chill It’s not as bad as you think it is” Motto


4. THE remember why we do this in the first place reminder

5. THE “Anything is Possible” BOOST




7. THE “Get on with it” prompt


8. THE “BELieve in yourself” vote of confidence


Important to remember when you are staring at your draft in week three hundred and twenty-one and despairing.

9. THE disney equivalent of “if it doesn’t scare you, you aren’t doing it right”

Disney Quote

And the moral of the story. I am scared witless if I’m complete honest about the next phase of the journey I’m on. To use another old adage, we create our own luck. Happily Ever After isn’t an accident, it’s the result of years and years of hard toil, pain and tears. Never ever let it be said that writers aren’t courageous.

10. the Tribute

Finally, not a quote but I watched this documentary years ago and this final two minutes will always stick in my mind. I’d like to think Walt is out there somewhere and he can see that the vision that started as one man’s dream, is now one shared by the world.


All that is left to say is…

Have a Magical Day!!



The ‘Write’ Regrets: Beneath a Writer’s Soul

I remember when I first heard this song, while I wasn’t blown away by Ms Messing’s vocals, I fell in love with the lyrics. If this song does not speak to every single writer out there… well I guess you are the lucky ones. I write for a lot of reasons but a part of it is writing myself out of my own life, and this messed-up world we live in. I can make right the things that go wrong. I get to control the ending. And I get to leave something behind. It’s based on an Arthur Miller quote:

“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.”

I hope when I look back at my life, I look back to see the right regrets.

Beautiful lyrics to be found below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txAOVa_QRu8]

A writer has the empty page where he can set the scene
He puts the actors on the stage or on the movie screen
The characters all say the words the writer wants to hear
And then my friend; a happy end

But when the writer steps outside that room where he is king
He can’t control when lives collide or what the lovers sing
And so he hides behind his words the one place he belongs
And in black and white he can rewrite the wrongs

Where he can find the strength to say what those he loves should hear
And just erase mistakes she’s made then make them disappear
Where he can change the plot so he’s a hero not a louse
And when the curtain falls there’s not a dry eye in the house

A writer hopes to leave behind a work no one forgets
And when he writes the end to find he has the right regrets
A writer has the empty page where he can use his pen
To mend his heart and try to start again

Following your Dreams

Following your dreams is hard. It’s not particularly what any of us want to hear but its the brutal truth. In fact, there are days when I come to the conclusion that following your dreams plain and simple sucks. Don’t misunderstand me, I will never let go of my dreams. These days the word ‘dream’ has become a bit of a dirty word. Saying the words “I’m going to make my dream come true…” tends to get the same face as all those women on the X Factor who say they are the next Whitney Houston and then open their mouths and sound like cats being strangled. It’s sad. But it’s true. A lot of people consider dreams almost as secrets we all have but something we aren’t meant to take seriously. Particularly if you are smart. Then you really get the incredulous looks when you say your dream is to go into anything creative/arts.

The problem with dreams is you’ve got to believe. Dreams, if you ask me anyway, take three things. Luck (of which I have very little), Hard Work (of which I do a lot) but most importantly, Self Belief. To use a very bad (and corny) Disney analogy, Cinderella said that “Dreams are a wish your heart makes” and as anyone who has ever watched a Disney movie knows, to make wishes true you have to Believe. Okay, too corny… I know. But the underlying moral is right. To quote (once again, I apologise for my repetition across posts) “It’s hard to keep momentum when it is you that you are following.” Particularly with writing, in a busy lifestyle, every time I sit down to write a word, sentence or page, I’m so aware of the other things I could do with my time. Things that pay me mostly. Whenever I feel guilty, I have that ‘am I good enough’ conversation with myself. And I will be honest, there are times when I come back with an unmovable no, and come exceedingly close to packing it all in. On those days, the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that if I stopped writing altogether, I’m pretty sure I’d loose the small amount of sanity I still possess.

To get to my (rather rambling) point, the reason that a lot of people get to fifty, look around and wonder where their dreams went is because a lot of people are afraid to try. I work in a people based environment so I get asked a lot about my intentions for life, and I will be brutally honest, there are days I want to go home and cry because I’m sick of the judgemental looks. The ‘grow up and get a real job’ speeches that pure strangers have the cheek to give me. Believe it or not, I’m a pretty decent cynic, so I know that the chances of my dreams actually coming true are slim but I don’t see why that should be any reason not to try. So this post today is dedicated to anyone who ever had, has or will have a dream. They think us dreamers are loopy or nuts but they are wrong. A thanks to all those people out there who remind me I’m not the only one struggling up this mountain. And a ‘keep going. It’ll happen’ to anyone who is feeling self doubt.

Below are links to some of my favourite songs to listen to when I need to be reminded of why I keep at it…

That’s Life: Michael Buble

I just love this song. Sinatra or Buble, that’s just taste but the lyrics are just perfect. It sums up that up and down movement in life and with its easy jazz rhythm it always makes me smile and most importantly, it makes me get up and keep going!!

Crazy Dreams: Megan Hilty

I sing this song to myself quite a lot. I don’t find it sad, I find it uplifting and inspiring. It also has a very important message that I have to remember “Crazy Dreams really do come true.”

Every Storm Runs Out of Rain: Gary Allen

I know a lot of people associate this song with the loss of something important but it works just as well for life in general. Another good song to remember that no matter how violent the storm, the sun always comes out in the end. 

Rain on my Parade: Lea Michele

I chose this particular performance on purpose. I like it for three reasons. Firstly, because Lea Michele is living her dream. Secondly, because I love this version of this song, it has so much bite and determination. And thirdly, the look in her eyes. You can see in them that she’s not going to let anyone stop her and I think that’s pretty inspiring.

Dream On: Glee

Okay, so I’m a little bit of a Gleek. But I honestly, prefer this version to the original, judge all you like. I love Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris. I also love the song and the lyrics. If ever there was a song about keeping on dreaming no matter what is thrown at you, this is it. 

Gives You Hell: All American Rejects

This is my guilty pleasure. This is my ‘turn it up to full volume and scream at the top of my lungs when I’m having a bad day’ song. Honestly, try it. I like to picture the faces of anyone who ever said I would fail. 🙂 

Tony’s Opening: Neil Patrick Harris

This one is more for those theatre people out there (of which I like to consider myself an honouree member). Every lyric in this song is completely true. It makes me laugh and it makes me remember my six year old self watching Grease and wanting to be Sandy. I admire any man who can go on stage and celebrate his dream as brightly and colourfully as this.

In Search of Inspiration: Alternative Music (1)

My sister first introduced me to Lindsey Stirling a couple of months ago. All I got was a single text message with a youtube link and a ‘you have to listen to this’. Growing up in the UK, neither of us watched America’s Got Talent (from which this incredibly talented young woman got knocked out) so it was by chance we fell across her. And I’m really glad we did.

Lindsey is a violinist like you won’t believe. Only someone who plays themselves will understand just how hard what she does is to do. She mixes a modern electric sound on beautiful big classical tracks, most famously on a Phantom of the Opera medley, the video link is below. A video, which she explains at the end, she directed and filmed herself. It’s another nice thing about Lindsey, her videos are enjoyably quirky and a little bit of fun but also atmospheric. I’ve also linked to a video she did with the Piano Guys whom I’ll dedicate a post to later on this month.

Again, I’m not going to say much here but just let the work speak for itself. Take ten minutes, shut your eyes and just listen. Let her music take you away to a world built of clouds, or of a battlefield torn apart by magic, witches and vampires, princesses and kings, suitcases and businessmen, whatever your imagination chooses. Hers in the kind of music you can loose yourself in completely.





In Search of Inspiration: Surreal Photography (1)

Today, is a short post. I fell across Taylor Marie McCormick by accident. She is a 19 year old photographer. She’s amazing.

I’m not going to say too much but rather let her work do the talking. What McCormick loves to do is take an already beautiful shot/photograph and give it a surreal edge. I’ve spent hours just trawling through her archives. It’s rare I fall across a Flickr account where every photo provides me with a new story. Please check out her Flickr account — whether as a writer, an artist or just a casual observer, let her artwork take you away to a new kind of Wonderland (her project name: Project 52).

Her main page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lalasiy/

Project 52: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lalasiy/sets/72157628108346338/