I’m having a bit of a reflective moment with Red Tree Writing. It’s grown and evolved and rambled over the past nearly two years, and it feels like time to pause and take stock.
Part of the taking stock is about looking at what I offer and how I offer it. I have ideas, plans, all swirling around in my head. Changes are afoot. I need to slow down and map them out. Much like I do with my mentoring clients on our days together. It’s so true that we often offer to others what we need to do for ourselves…
Anyway, as part of my taking stock (and, if I’m honest, probably a procrastination technique too) I thought I’d tell you about Red Tree Writing. Why the name came about and what it means to me.
So, the most mundane answer is that we have a red tree outside our house. Here’s a picture of it. It’s a bit wrinkly and autumnal at the moment, but it always makes me smile. And I usually work from home, so that tree’s important. All trees are important, come to that.
The second reason is this book, ‘The Red Tree’ by Shaun Tan. Have you read it? It’s utterly beautiful, both in images and words. I bought it years ago when I was feeling low, and its message of quiet hope sustained me through some dark weeks. It felt like it was written just for me, especially as the girl’s a redhead too. That idea of being there for people – in my case helping them understand their message, who it’s for, and finding the words to power it up is a core ethos of my work now.
And the third, most important, reason is my eldest daughter. She’s called Rowan. Rowan means red and is a red tree of sorts – it has bright, cheerful red or orange berries. And I know it’s a cliche for people to have big lightbulb moments when their children are born, but Rowan joining us was a massive wake-up call for me. She woke me up to what was important in my life, how I wanted to be spending my time.
And she made me take stock of what ‘work’ meant to me. When she was born I was in a job that had lost meaning for me. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons (for me anyway): security, fear of not being able to do anything else, familiarity. But it was sucking my soul dry. And I realised that I didn’t want Rowan, or her sister, to grow up thinking work was something you had to do just to pay the bills. I didn’t want them to become people who lived for their days off.
I wanted them to see that work could be a way you felt fulfilled, a way to connect, a way to make a contribution to the world. And I realised that in order for them to see that, I had to live it. So, after much research, learning, training, agonising, stopping, starting, mistake-making (that continues, of course)… Red Tree Writing was born.
And now I work with clients who care deeply about what they do, who are here to make the world a better place, in big ways and small. Work is a place of excitement and sanctuary for me (as well as a bit of a grind sometimes, especially when your email breaks, you still have a website that looks like a building site and you’re not sure where the future’s headed). I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How about you? Why did you choose your business name? Do tell! I’d love to hear your stories.
Oh, and I’m spending lots of time over at www.facebook.com/redtreewriting these days. It’s where I open my offers first, chat about the importance of coffee, share writing tips, vent frustrations… the lot. I’d love to see you there.