Caroline Millington multi-award winning journalist with a wide ranging experience across television, digital, social media and print media, including commercial and marketing campaigns. She is now Digital Producer at Loose Women for ITV. Fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Trust and part of Team Gav Aid raising money for charities in memory of journalist Gavin Reeve-Daniels. Caroline has recently added a new string to her bow: Author! Her book “Kindfulness” is released this week. We cannot tell you how pleased we are at Those London Chicks that Caroline is having another chat with us! Yay!
Wow Caroline a book. Tell us about it?
Kindfulness is all about putting yourself front and centre of your life. Ultimately, I believe we’re all responsible for our own happiness. And there are lots of ways in which you can increase your happy by being positively selfish and making sure you’re your happiness is a priority. From ditching guilt, learning to love and appreciate your body, cutting out toxic people in your life and setting boundaries in relationships. I hope there’s something for everyone to take away and apply to their lives to be happier.
As friends, I remember you saying to me that writing was one of your dreams. What inspired you to write a book?
Yes, I remember us having that conversation. But I don’t think Kindfulness was in the planning then. I always thought I’d write fiction and always had ideas for novels. But then I ended up writing a self-care book instead. It took me a long time to get there, I was full of self-doubt to be honest. But that’s all part of Kindfulness – to be as kind to yourself as you are to your best friend. To be your own cheerleader. So I stopped doubting myself and went for it!
You did it! Congrats! Did you ever think it would happen?
I’d love to say, ‘Yes, I knew it would happen’ but the truth is I was really unsure of myself. I’ve been a journalist since 2000 but never written opinion pieces so writing a book based on my personal experiences of therapy and self-care was a leap. But it’s proof if you can tap into that self-belief you can achieve anything! I started to believe in myself and then others believed in me too.
How did it come about?
I was having a particularly difficult time in early 2016 with self-esteem and a low mood. Having experienced depression when I was a student I didn’t want to slip back and a friend recommended her therapist. It was one of my first acts of kindfulness before I even knew it. Later that year having worked on my emotional wellbeing, I came up with the idea of kindfulness – putting yourself first, being positively selfish and being kinder to yourself in all aspects of your life. I wrote a detailed proposal and got in touch with a literary agent who had represented friends to ask for feedback. I pitched the idea of kindfulness and she loved it so much she took me on as an author in summer 2017.
Tell us about the moment you got the book deal?
I met up with Ellen from Head of Zeus in late 2017 after she initially offered me a book deal for Kindfulness. We talked the idea through and in January 2018 I signed a two-book deal! It was a real pinch myself moment but felt totally surreal. Although it had always been a dream to write a book, I’m still shocked it’s actually happened.
“You are enough. Believe in yourself. Speak up.”
What is your writing process?
I had a tight deadline to write Kindfulness – just two months. So I used annual leave from my day job to write over long weekends and my social life took a back seat. I wrote at home on my sofa with Classic FM or MTV on. There were a lot of cups of tea consumed too. It’s an isolating experience and I could go days without seeing anyone but it was a matter of putting my head down and trying not to procrastinate. A real lesson in self-motivation! I tackled one chapter at a time, fleshing out the detailed proposal I’d put together and using research, surveys and studies. I also added expert advice from my brilliant contributors and did a Kindfulness survey to get feedback which was a real eye opener. So many people clearly don’t put their own needs and feelings first, I knew the book would really resonate with people. My top tips for writing: set yourself deadlines; give yourself word count to hit by the end of each day; reward yourself with your favourite TV show – I watched a lot of serial killer documentaries for some reason!; take regular breaks and try not to spend all day cooped up inside; be kind to yourself and make sure you congratulate yourself for getting through it. It’s not easy!
I try! I have to constantly remind myself to practise what I preach. It’s definitely something you have to keep trying to do. I’ve definitely formed better habits when it comes to looking after my health and body, I try not to get caught up in self-flagellation and give myself a break. Kindfulness isn’t a miracle cure but I hope readers will be more self-aware of how negative they can be towards themselves and give themselves a break.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Women. All sorts of wonderful women: my sister Leanne; Maya Angelou; Byrony Gordon; Katie Piper; Oprah Winfrey; JK Rowling. Women who speak their truth and change lives by doing so.
What type of books you do like to read?
Thriller mostly. I loved The Girl Before by JP Delaney. And I love Matt Haig, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Shonda Rimes.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given that you live by or hold dear?
I read the 5 by 5 rule recently: If it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes upset by it. I think that’s a good mantra.
Are you generally a half glass full or half empty person?
I’m a generally happy person who always sees the best in people or a situation. That does leave you open to disappointment sometimes. So I’d say I’m a glass half full kind of person and try my best to keep it topped up.
We at Those London Chicks are all about positive thought equals positive outcome. What would be your ultimate dream that you like to see come to fruition?
I love the idea of law of attraction and have a list of everything I’d like to achieve. I’m currently working on my second book which will be out next year. In the next 12 months I’d like to do some life coaching courses as it’s an area I’m obviously interested in. But the ultimate dream is to simply be happy.
What would say has been your ‘crowning’ moment so far professionally or personally and why?
Professionally is was winning Best Deputy at the BSME Rising Stars Awards 2016 – a lovely highlight before I decided to leave the world of magazines. And producing the Loose Women Lighten The Load Hero award which is presented at the Mind Media Awards – it’s fantastic to get mental health issues talked about. Personally, being asked to be a godmother.
If you could go back in time Caroline and speak to your 16-year-old self. What would you say?
You are enough. Believe in yourself. Speak up.
You work with various charities in your spare time. Why is “giving back” important to you?
I think charity work is the perfect way to show kindness to others. I was invited to join CFTwo who fundraise for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and really enjoyed doing some good. I met my friend Ashley who has CF. She had a successful double lung transplant a couple of years ago. She’s a huge inspiration and I’ve done all I can to raise awareness of the importance of signing up to be an organ donor. That’s the ultimate act of kindness.
Finally, what’s next for you?
I’m in the middle of writing my second book, The Friendship Formula, so will be busy with that and work until Christmas. Then I’m heading to Bali for a much needed holiday!