Chapter 28: Writing a screenplay

Have I talked to you about how I have more self-confidence than sense sometimes, or is that just implied?

giphy (4).gif

It probably isn’t a cool, humble thing to admit – but for whatever reason (strong self-awareness, Narcissistic Personality Disorder?), I really back myself to achieve my goals – especially when they play to my strengths.

And especially when they don’t include math.

Lord Jesus, am I terrible at math … 

So when I was listening to the Rachel Hollis podcast the other day and she mentioned writing a screenplay, something in my head went:


Girl, YES.

It was like the stars-aligned and then exploded into shooting rays of colour and light and “Oh, but, OF COURSE”!

I love movies. I love writing dialogue. I hate writing scene-setting prose, and the length of a novel makes me clench my cheeks in intimidation.

I found my dang format!

But then I thought …

How the hell do you write a screenplay?

giphy (1).gif
Do you feel like this is going to be a GIF-heavy post? I feel like it’s going to be a GIF-heavy post.

Which is always the bloody way, isn’t it.

You get pumped about trying something new and exciting, and then you realise you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, which is in fact why it’s both “new” and “exciting”.


So, I did what any self-respecting nerd would do, and I went to the library, which is where I learnt two distinct things:

  1. I don’t know crap about searching online library catalogues. A delightful woman named Dawn* saw the idiocy in my eyes, and thankfully came to help.
  2. My son is a local legend. I’d heard from my husband that our one-and-a-half-year-old was a hit with the ladies at the library, but seeing it in the flesh was truly something to behold. I could barely move for dreamy-eyed women. It was like a Justin Bieber concert.


Thanks to “Dawn”, I managed to track down some literature to help me on my authoring quest, and left the library feeling like Pattie Mallette, with Funny On Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career In Comedy tucked under my arm.

giphy (2).gif
Pattie Mallette is Justin Bieber’s mum. It was a niche joke.

What am I planning to write?

Honestly, I’m not totally sure. But the general vibe I’m aiming for is a jumble of Clueless, Bridesmaids, anything starring Noah Centineo, and a dash of Flight of the Conchords.

And I’d like to emphasise the words “aiming for”, because my first draft will most certainly suck baubles.

But that’s pretty much how life works when you try anything new.

If you’ve never done it before, you’re going to be bad at it … until you’re not.

The trick is not giving up in the …

Source: @hayleydrewthis on Instagram

Setting goals and taking names

Last week was Matariki, the Māori New Year. It’s a time of reflection, hope, kindness and kai (read: noms) – and a great opportunity to give yourself another January.

It always feels harder in winter to really sink your teeth into a goal. It’s dark (SO. DARK), cold and generally grim, and the lure of Netflix and procrastination is so much stronger than in summer.

But, that’s also exactly why it’s the perfect time to start a new goal.

  • A). Because there’s literally nothing else to do.
  • And B). Because it’s a surefire way to bring some light and excitement to an otherwise dreary time of year.

Not convinced?

If you’re feeling a bit lacklustre and uninspired, I recommend listening to this episode of the Deliciously Ella Podcast – How to Break a Habit & Make Lasting Changes, with Behavioural Change Specialist Shahroo Izadi.

I loved her episode so much, I ordered Shahroo’s book, The Kindness Method and started stalking her Instagram on the regular.

Because that’s all a goal really is – making a new habit, and sticking to it.

giphy (3)

And if you still need some inspirations, just Google “Leslie Knope memes” until you start channeling that Big Knope Energy.

What would you love to have a go at this winter? Tell me in the comments, and give yourself a lil boost of accountability. 

Kate x

Chapter 26: Breaking up with anxiety

I like to think of anxiety as a bad boyfriend: it lies to you, makes you freak out, and is generally a real dick head.

In the past, I’ve had some fairly crap patches where I’ve had anxiety attacks (shaking, sore stomach, chaotic mind, that kind of fun jazz), and stages where I’ve had mild sense of unease – like there’s something I should be worried about, but I can’t quite remember what it is …

This mental health joy ride seems to be triggered in part by my hormones, with the worst of it happening when I went off the birth control pill.

Thankfully, these days it’s just relegated to feeling a bit “off” the week before Aunt Flow comes knocking.

But it’s still unpleasant, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to to dump anxiety like the bad, lying boyfriend he is.

Thank u, next

I think it’s worth noting that seeing a doctor or counsellor is a good idea if you’re experiencing anxiety.

I didn’t. But that’s because I was in complete denial and terrified of there being “something wrong with me”.

But the thing is, one in four people will experience a period of mental health difficultly in their lifetime.

That’s a quarter of the population.

It is insanely common, it is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is something we should talk about more.

Dr Quinn Medicine Woman

Because my anxiety is both reasonably low-level and strongly linked to my hormones, I decided to see Maree, a Medical Herbalist, for a gentle, natural remedy to help balance my hormones and calm my mind.

She stocked me up with:

    A herbal tincture of St John’s Wort, lemon balm and a myriad of other clever flora and fauna
    A super-powered women’s multivitamin
    And a probiotic.

Herbal remedies tend to take a little longer to really build up in your system, but I can honesty say, my symptoms have already significantly reduced since I’ve been taking the above concoction.

And. Thank. GOD.

Other things that have helped

  • Sharing with loves ones. I am so thankful for my husband, beautiful mum, and friends for going through this with me. Life is meant to be lived together, and a problem shared really is a problem halved.
  • Cognitive techniques. I’ve been listening to Psychologist Dr Caroline Leaf’s podcast, and she has great practical tips on how to manage and calm your mind.
    Regular exercise. One word: endorphins. Several others: feeling like a bad ass, using up excess energy (that can be easily confused with nervous energy), better sleep, improved self-esteem … shall I continue?
    Reducing sugar and fast food. Hands up if you experience a ‘crash’ after mainlining sweet treats or a big greasy burger? They’re Tasty – but problematic, because you’re throwing yourself onto a food-fuelled emotional rollercoaster, while also trying to get off your anxiety-powered rollercoaster. It’s all too much unnecessary turbulence, babe.
    Meditation. I’m a Christian, so I like the SoulTime app, and meditating on scriptures/rolling them over in your mind (things like, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”). But if you’re not that way inclined, HeadSpace and Calm are very good apps as well.
    B r e a t h e. Being deliberate with taking big deep, calming breaths during the day helps lower cortisol levels and tricks your body into thinking you’re safe, and moves you from ‘fight or flight’ to ‘rest and digest’.
    Mantras. When I’m feeling jittery and on edge, I’ve found repeating mantras like “I am calm”, “I am joyful”, “I am powerful” really helpful. A) Because your brain is smart/dumb and will believe what you tell it. And B) Filling your head with these statements leaves less room for toxic, unhelpful thoughts.
    Being in nature. I love nature and find it really calming in general, but the oxygen that comes from trees is also really helpful when you’re feeling anxious and aren’t getting in enough air #science.

Although I have a psychology degree (I really was in denial – I know the dang DSM for anxiety!), I’m obviously not an expert on mental health.

These are just techniques that worked for me.

To find what works for you, get in touch with your doctor or a counsellor.

If you’re in New Zealand, you can free call or text 1737 anytime to anonymously speak with a professional counsellor.

Speak up, girlfriend (or boyfriend). You don’t need to go through this alone, or forever!

Why am I sharing all this?

To be honest, I didn’t really want to.

I didn’t want people to know “my stuff”, or to think that I’m weak.

But then I remembered that when I was at my most anxious, the most wonderful thing in the world was finding out that it wasn’t just me – that other people had struggled with, and overcome, similar stuff.

It made me feel hopeful and less alone, and it’s my hope that this post can do that for someone else.

Because the truth is, you’re not alone. You’re not broken. You’re having a crap time, and you’re in a bad relationship, but life will get better.

Mental health issues aren’t caused by you being weak.

Generally speaking, they’re caused by a genetic predisposition coming into contact with an environmental stimulus.

Ie. You need both a family history/genetic predisposition, and something to happen in life that triggers this issue within you.

Having one or the other does not mean you will develop mental illness – and having a mental illness does not define you.

It’s just a thing that happens sometimes, and it’s something you can fight to overcome.

Even with chronic conditions, there are generally always steps that can be taken to make things comparatively better than they are currently.

Be brave.

You can and you will get through this.


Kate x

Chapter 23: Brainy Talk

I have an attention span shorter than that tiny tyrant, my son Ezekiel Napoleon.

I get bored easily, and just as easily excited by shiny new ideas and hair clips.

Which basically makes me a toddler.

If a toddler was an enthusiastic go-getter, and also a little bit of a flake.

Loves the start of a new venture; hates the daily grind of making it happen.

This personality quirk is particularly unhelpful for long-term success, because as any cheese or wine advertiser will tell you, good things take time.

Long-term success requires long-term commitment and hustle, which if you ask me, is a giant pain in the ass.

But – and I mean butt – this blog has helped me turnaround that tendency.

I’ve had to stick at things: regular writing, weekly podcasts, Instagram content, I’ve completed two terms of improv, and I ran a bloody half-marathon.

Through thick and thin, long after the excitement and novelty wore off, I stuck with it. And heck, you can too.

“Dreams won’t work unless you do,” – John C. Maxwell

Psych 121

Have I mentioned that I have a Psychology degree?

I actually totally do, so let’s put it to good use for a hot second.

The human brain is very clever, but it can also be a real jack ass.

I’m talking about neural pathways.

These are the well worn tracks in our mind that have been created through repeated behaviours. They’re the bunches of axons, called tracts,  that have joined up through repeated use – like a well-trodden path through the bush.

These pathways create efficient shortcuts in our mind so we can do things easily and without thinking – like driving a car, or applying contour.

Which is helpful, but also incredibly unhelpful, when that habit or behaviour isn’t a fun or healthy addition to our lives.

What has this got to do with anything?

Homie, it has everything to do with everything, because it means you not screwed.

It means there’s a reason why some behaviour or ways of thinking feels like it comes naturally to you, but it also means you can create a new reality and a new you.

You just need to create a new pathway.

But, howww?


It takes around 66 days to create a new habit.

That’s 66 days of consistently, mindfully choosing a different path.

Which tbh, seems like a long time. But the time will pass anyway, so you may as well be moving in the right direction.

I’m still confused Kate, give me an example

I always wanted to do a half-marathon.

But I’d never trained outside before, and I’d never run more than 10km in my life.

From past experience, my subconscious knew I would give up, because that’s what I’ve done before.

My battle was to not give up, and to convince my brain I wasn’t going to by consistently hacking at that scrubby bush to create a new path.

How did I do that?

Tiny victories.

  • Doing a 15min jog outside
  • Doing a 5km ParkRun
  • Cracking 10km (that was such a good day!)

These were all milestones that continued to prove to my brain that I could do this thing it thought I couldn’t.

And the rest, as they say, is history … See: “Chapter 20: Half-Marathon

Learn more about brainy stuff

Want to know more about neural pathways and changing habits?

I recommend checking out this article. I used it as a reference, and it definitely explains neuroscience better than me!

What habits would be at the top of your to-change list? Or what positive, new habits are you going to try and form? Go on, give it a go – I dare you!

Kate x

Disclaimer: I do have a Psychology degree, but I’m not actually an expert in this field. This is just the Basic White Chick explanation of neutral pathways and habit changing/forming. I recommend you do your own research if you really want to knuckle down and make some changes, or to talk to a professional if you have significant mental health concerns you want to tackle. Much love.