✨ The Hyphen Book Club ✨
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Hi friends—

I can't believe how much the world has changed since we last spoke. I don't where to start. Except for: how are you doing?

(Not in a Joey Tribbiani kind of way.)

Things have definitely been put into perspective these last couple of weeks. I can't stop thinking about our wonderful NHS. While we stay at home, they save lives, and it's truly remarkable. I will never ever forget the clapping for our carers moment this week. But of course, clapping isn't enough. I know there's loads of crowdfunders going around but I decided to donate here,

In my last newsletter I excitedly, innocently, announced my event with Helen Fielding author of Bridget Jones (one of many book events to celebrate my novel OLIVE), and of course, only a few weeks later, everything got well and truly cancelled. I can't pretend I'm not absolutely gutted. I feel like I've spent my whole career working up to this point in my life - the chance to launch my debut novel. But after having a big ugly cry, I have decided not to wallow, and find new ways to bring it to people online. I know I'm lucky. It's shit for everyone. Weddings have been cancelled, work has been cancelled, people are worried about their loved ones and my heart really goes out to everyone right now because we're all grieving for something.

During these #StrangeTimes, I wanted to offer some more booky content. In these times you think 'what can I offer?' and feel totally helpless. But then I thought: books!! I can offer book stuff! This isolation period has made me want to slow right down and read physical things instead of scrolling the news. So I am very excited to have launched a virtual book club this week, called The Hyphen Book Club! I had a snazzy logo made for it, and decided to give this newsletter a make-over also. Come and join the club HERE. The first pick is On Being 40(ish) : Fifteen Writers on the Prime of Their Lives and we will be discussing it over on the Instagram page next month (April 13th, but I'll remind you nearer the time). See you there. <3

I hope you are OK, keeping cosy, keeping healthy, getting some fresh air every now and then and stocking up on isolation books/films/podcasts. As Daniel Bedingfield once said, we gotta get through this. (I was going delete that line, but sometimes, you have to let the cheese win.)
Emma xo

A not-so-productive day in isolation.

Can we all agree that it's totally OK to not be your most productive self right now? I mean, jeez, can we just collectively go WTF and let ourselves off the hook a little? I've found myself feeling quite creative on certain days, mainly because the noise has stopped (literally, the noise outside my window, and the general 'buzz' of life has ground to a halt). So I've been able to be more reflective and think more deeply, but I've also been having some extremely unproductive days, and you know what: that's more than OK! Here's a little example for you.  A little unproductive day-in-the-life.

8.00am. Wake up.
8.01am. Open one eye and remember the 'sitch' we're in. Ugh, what time is it?
8.02am. Let out big sigh.
8.03am. Look at Paul and think "wow, I haven't wanted to kill you yet. How long will this last?"
8.03am. Take a sip of water from a loud water bottle. Wake Paul up, oops.
8.06am. Shove a bit of 'First Defence' spray up my nose, just for fun.
8.30am. Have a shower. Try not to let my brain drift into negativity. Think about all the things I'm really grateful for. Food. Family. David Attenborough. Teabags. Tomato ketchup. Friends. Oprah. Modern technology. Inside the shower, nothing feels different.
8.36am. Tut at myself for being that wanker who has Aesop body soap. (Oh no, we're running low)
8.40am. Lotion up my whole body. Anxiety makes my skin dry. Or something.
8.45am. Paul is up. I ask him nicely to make me a cup of tea. 
8.50am. I make the bed, as if I'm art-styling a magazine shoot. Fluff the pillows, smooth out the sheet.
8.53am. I sit in a towel on bed for a while, staring at the wall for a bit, then scroll through my phone.
8.54am. Drink the tea Paul has made me, and the toast he's given me. My dad brings my mum tea every morning and I've managed to get the tradition going here too.
9.20am. Realise I need to stop staring at the wall.
9.21am. But I can't.
9.22am. Come on.
9.21am. Get dressed. Veryyyy slowly. I don't put on a bra.
9.34am. Can't be bothered with make-up but I do put on some red lipstick just for fun. 
9.40am. Read the news, and sigh again.
10.00am. FINALLY sit down my desk, and open my laptop.
10.13am. Adjust my back rest. Guys, if you're working from home, buy a back rest. This memory foam one for £20 is good, for example.
10.20am. Reply to some emails.
(BTW, I once read that emails are often read in a more negative tone that the sender intends, because without body language/hearing someone's voice regularly, we miss out on that crucial bit of human communication. So it's good to do occasional video calls instead of emails, and it doesn't hurt to keep emails chirpy and upbeat during these times. I find it helps during long periods of not seeing someone face to face.)
12.00pm. I'm starving. HAVE LUNCH. FOR A WHOLE HOUR. Today I made a halloumi salad, and put my 'dancing' playlist on shuffle. Bananarama 'Cruel Summer' comes on and I can't help but find the dark meaning within it.
1pm. More emails. 
1.30pm. I go on Apartment Therapy website and search 'tips on how to make small flat feel bigger.'
2pm. Record a remote podcast.
3pm. Check my 150 Whatsapp groups and share bizarre memes and weird voicenotes for an hour. 
4pm. Get tetchy, go for a walk. Listened to Daniel Radcliffe's Desert Island Discs. It was very good but WHAT is that accent?
5pm. Do some yoga exercises with my Darcy Bussell workout DVD. Get annoyed that she's filmed it on a beach. 
6pm. Can I have a drink yet?
6.02pm. Start cooking dinner. A comfort-food chicken/mushroom/leek pie with loads of butter and mustard and cheese in it.
7.30pm. Pour the biggest glass of wine ever.
7.45pm. Do a quick Zoom call to family.
8.00pm. Eat dinner. With more wine.
8.30pm. Read a book. With more wine.
9.30pm. Is it bed time yet?
9.45pm. Randomly think about someone I went to school with 12 years ago and look them up on Facebook.
9.50pm. Go on Twitter and write a tweet that I think is very witty but then save it to drafts. 
10.30pm. Is it bed time yet?
11pm. Bed.
It's hard to do any good work when you're distracted by endless noise. This app Tokimeki is my favourite new discovery. It allows you to go through your Twitter contacts one by one and 'Mari Kondo' your feed. Are you following online what brings you joy? Check it out here and enjoy the decluttering.
I had some lovely feedback from people this week on my latest Ctrl Alt Delete podcast episode with happiness consultant Samantha Clarke. Sam's expertise is around helping people feel unstuck in work situations, and helps people come up with a strategy around loving their job more, or how to leave their job. Hope you enjoy it, it definitely had a calming effect on me.
If you're feeling like it's harder to get dressed these days, why not submit a fancy photo of you in an OTT outfit to the Instagram account @WFHfits or add to the Twitter hashtag #DistanceButMakeItFashion. This was mine, and it really did cheer me up doing emails in a ridiculous dress.

Thanks for subscribing! If you enjoyed it, why not forward to a friend?

See you soon.

Emma xo

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I'm Emma, the person behind this newsletter. I am the bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method and the soon-to-be-published novel OLIVE, and creator of the hit podcast series Ctrl Alt Delete — a podcast for creatives that starts off talking about work, then follows wherever the conversation naturally goes. You can also follow me on Instagram here, and Twitter here.
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