I’ll admit it: I’m a hugger. There’s nothing I like more than getting up close and personal with another hairy human. I hug my husband, child and dog as often as they’ll let me. I hug friends. I hug hello and goodbye. I hug taxi drivers and shop assistants. I’d hug the guy who makes my coffee if I could reach over the counter. In fact, if you live locally and you haven’t experienced a hearty Toon hug, then please get in touch, I’m ready and willing.
But why do I love hugging so much?
Well according to the interweb, hugging is good for you. From a medical standpoint it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, boosts memory and floods your innards with the ‘feel good’ hormone oxytocin.
Just ten minutes of hugging a day can give you a more positive outlook, and apparently those couples who regularly entwine themselves in a huggy fashion have a stronger emotional bond.
Yoga teacher Marcus Felicetti advises us that if we get our quota of ‘eight hugs a day’ we can combat sickness, disease, depression, loneliness, anxiety and stress. Sounds awesome, right?
But if you’re not a natural hugger, or don’t have anyone regularly willing to submit to a good hard hugging – what then?
Well, a company on the East Cost of America has developed a solution – by offering professional snugglers for hire with a range of ‘snuggle buddies’ who promise to sooth away your stress with hugs.
Expect to shell out anything from $60 for an hour-long cuddle, or if you’re in need of some more intensive hugging, they also offer a 10-hour overnight package for $400.
(N.B. The service markets it’s self as entirely platonic – so those wanting a little more than a hug need not apply.)
Of course, touch therapy has been around for a long time in one form or another and has been used to treat a variety of physical and psychological ailments.
Health experts argue that after touch therapy, such as massage, there’s a noticeable reduction in the action of the hypothalamic area of the brain (which controls the so-called flight or flight response’). Touching and hugging comforts and relaxes us, stops us feeling threatened and therefore promotes a sense of security and well-being.
It’s clear that there are many people who could benefit from some serious hugging, which is the reason Juan Mann started his famed FREE HUGS campaign (www.freehugscampaign.org), hugging complete strangers to brighten up their lives.
Although he was eventually banned – due to public liability issues (seriously!) – the spirit of his hugging manifesto lives on!
So today, if you’re feeling a little blue (or know someone who is) reach out, hug them and share in the warm glow that comes from platonically and physically connecting with another human being.
Let’s face it, we can’t all wait around for a book deal or an agent to come knocking on our door. That’s why I love it when writers take the initiative and make things happen. Eda Utku asked if she could share her latest competition on my blog and I thought, ‘why the heck not?!’ Take it away Eda…
I was just reading a blog article by one of my personal copywriting heroes, Kate Toon, about writing sexy copy.
Among her six sensual tips is the importance of using the right words to describe a product or service.
She explains that, even when describing a pleasure device (vibrator), some words are downright turn-offs while other words are sexy.
So how do you work out which words are lame and which got game?
After repeatedly testing words and copy and seeing what works and what doesn’t, expert copywriters develop a knack for finding the right words.
I’m convinced that all good writers are excellent seducers.
With great writing readers quickly find themselves under the writer’s spell. Without realising, it the reader is thinking and feeling exactly what the writer intended.
That’s the kind of writer I want to be.
Now, I’m no master of the craft (merely a student), but luckily I have access to extraordinary writers (thank God for the digital age, eh?) whose style I can emulate.
And through this process I can work towards finding my own voice.
Sydney Reads Contest
In order to help me find my voice I’ve decided to launch a reading competition. Here’s how it works:
- From January I’ll be releasing a short story on the 12th of each month
- I’ll be distributing to cafes and beauty salons in Sydney and LA
- The stories will also be available for download on my website
Win an iPad
In return for reading my stories and giving me your feedback, you could be the lucky owner of a brand new iPad Air Wi-Fi 32GB.
Hopefully this feedback will help me improve my writing.
I don’t ever want to get to a level where I think clichés are OK. I need to put my readers first and never underestimate their sophistication. This mantra is what some of the best copywriters live by.
I know that all the great writers are tough critics of their own writing and that’s what makes them so awesome.
The desire for constant improvement kicks off the journey towards growth in any area of life. I’ve already got the desire; I just need a little help from conscientious readers like you, with mastering the art of reader seduction.
So, here’s hoping 2014 brings me the thing I crave most. Better writing!
What are your writing plans for 2014? Please feel free to share below:
EdaUtku is a marketer by day, writer by night.
We were delighted to be invited to Wahroonga Beehive preschool to read Wobbly Jim to a class of 40 mini pirates last week.
Will and his wench, Kirsty (sadly Kate had to work), read the book to kids aged 4 and 5, who loved the Merry Pig and all the bits about the yucky things Wobbly Jim likes to eat.
After the reading the class broke into groups of 20 and Will showed them how to draw Wobbly Jim’s head and then the Merry Pig. It was lovely to see how attentive they were and the level of enthusiasm to have a go.
One little boy’s mum had only just commented to his teacher last week that she was concerned about his ‘stick figure’ drawings, and yet he drew the most amazing WJ and Merry Cow!
The teachers enjoyed it too and had a go at drawing as well. Odessa (Will’s mini pirate aged 8) came along too. She helped hand out paper and assisted those children who were having problems with their drawing skills.
Overall the kids loved it! They’d been excited about a real life illustrator coming in as their teachers had been discussing what authors and illustrators do.
But the most excited of all was Will J.
“That was one of the best things I’ve ever done – to sit there and see the enjoyment they get from reading the book and to see them drawing some of the elements is what this whole journey is about!! I didn’t expect that when I started this whole thing – thanks for getting me involved Kate Toon.”
Will and his team will be travelling to more Beehive centres over the coming months.
We’re delighted to announce that Wobbly Jim can now be purchased at the Boatshed at Woronora.
Jon and his team were great supporters of the book, during our Pozible crowdfunding project so it’s great that they’ve order lots more copies to sell to mini pirates.
The Boatshed has a cafe, B&B-style double rooms and of course boat hire!
Where is the Boatshed?
You’ll find the boatshed at 131 Prince Edward Park Road Woronora NSW 2232. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page.
Special offer for Wobbly Jim fans
Next time you visit the Boatshed just say ‘Yarrr I be loving Wobbly Jim’ and you’ll get an extra half hour of canoe hire FREE OF CHARGE!!
So get along to the Boatshed at Woronora, and sail a boat like a real pirate. Yarrr!
Unfortunately due to Will and Kate’s hectic schedules we can’t start posting out Wobbly Jim until Tuesday 19th. So this means:
- AUSTRALIAN WJ FANS: Should have their book by the 22nd Nov
- GLOBAL WJ FANS: Should have their book no later that then 29th Nov
(All depends on the postie!)
Sorry for this slight delay, we were expecting the book from the printer much earlier and now it’s arrived the day before Kate goes away!
Watch our first mini reviewing telling us his favourite bit of the book:
“I like the shark bit”:
We’re super excited at Wobbly Jim and here’s why:
THE BOOK ARRIVES FROM THE PRINTER ON MONDAY!!
This means we should be popping it in envelopes and sending it out to you really soon (and definitely before Christmas).
Thanks to everyone on our Facebook page who helped us decide on a design for our first magazine ad. We plumped for a combination of the two designs.
Other exciting things in the pipeline include:
Gnostic Forest on the Central Coast have agreed to stock our book and given us a free ad in their magazine. Thanks so much guys.
We’re having a reading of our book at Coast 175 at Ettalong Beach on the Central Coast. It will take place at 10am on the 4th of December 2013 – come along to hear Kate read the book and buy your signed copy just in time for Christmas.
We’re in the process of setting up an affiliate program, which means you can sell the books and earn some cash from each sale. We’ll keep you posted on how to join.
We’re currently on the look out for book shops and chilren’s book shops that might be willing to sell the book. So if you have any suggestions please let us know below.
Kate, Will, Wobbly Jim, Sue and Dave.