I sat next to her at the lecture I went to this Saturday and within ten minutes she’d offered me half of her egg and cress sandwich. It was delicious. I admired her pink fluffy jumper and she told me I looked much younger than 37. I was smitten.
We got talking and it turns out that I’ve actually been following Charlotte on Facebook for months. She has a page called called ‘May the Thoughts Be with You: Ideas and Wisdom to Inspire Your Days‘ where she posts illustrations with inspiring messages on them. They make me smile every day.
I didn’t know the back story but the project started when Charlotte was suffering from severe depression in 2008. As a way of clawing her way out of the hole she was in, she tried to think of one positive thought a day and posted it on Facebook.
She then started to do illustrations to go with the quotes – even though she had no artistic training – and things grew from there. Hundreds, then thousands, started to follow her and friends told her she should make the pictures into a book.
She did. She published it herself and walked around shops with the books in her rucksack, asking them to stock it. It quickly became their best-seller. She quit her job as a legal secretary to get a stall on Portobello market to sell them. She sold 5,000 copies.
Natalie Imbruglia bought copies for her friends, including Kylie and David Walliams, who started following Charlotte on Twitter (I nearly had a heart attack! she says).
A friend of a friend then brought her to the attention of Hay House publishers (who publish F**K It) who offered her a book deal. She’s now about to be a mega-bestselling international author in the USA, Canada, Korea and the UK.
I went to the book launch last night (Charlotte’s the kind of person who offers you her sandwich AND invites you to her party even though you’ve only been talking five minutes) and it was one of the most inspiring and feel-good nights I’ve had in a long time.
Her mum danced the can-can for entertainment (she was BRILLIANT!), Charlotte sang on stage with her musician boyfriend and you could have bottled all the love in the room.
I went home sober as a judge but high as a kite.
It was a good reminder that we don’t need to read books to be inspired, quite often you only need to talk to the person next to you to remember that real people are doing brilliant things every day, often in the most difficult of circumstances.
If you want a lovely inspiring present please do buy one of Charlotte’s books or prints. That’s an order and she’s not even paying me to say that, I just think I love her almost as much as I love F**K It. And that’s saying something. May the Thoughts Be with You: Ideas and Wisdom to Inspire Your Days
PS – yesterday was a TRIUMPH – no booze, bank balances checked and an outstanding VAT bill paid, mediated twice, did a semi-run thing, and worked like a little demon until 4pm when I collapsed in a heap and ate chocolate. Luckily giving up chocolate is not one of my goals.
HOW ARE YOU ALL DOING?! PRETTY GOOD FROM WHAT I CAN TELL FROM YESTERDAY’S UPDATES.
MY GOLD STAR FOR BEST PUPIL YESTERDAY GOES TO LONESTARSKY WHO WROTE 1,000 WORDS OF HER BOOK. SHE PLANS TO WRITE 1,000 WORDS EVERY FOR THE REST OF THE MONTH. WHOOP WHOOP. LET US ALL BE MEGA AMAZING BEST-SELLING AUTHORS.