Meet a member: Lucy Maddox

After Lucy, a 26er, clinical psychologist and writer, got in touch last week to share the news about her latest book A Year To Change Your Mind, I was intrigued to know more. Read on to find out what I discovered.

Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what do you do?

I grew up in Totnes in Devon, town of crystal healing and gong showers in the High Street, and a lovely place to be a teenager. I now live in Bristol after a long sojourn in London – so I feel like I’ve come closer to my roots (but not too close!) I’m a clinical psychologist – I’m currently doing a part time PhD trying to make an intervention for staff who work on mental health wards for teenagers, to help to prevent compassion fatigue and burnout. I do a small amount of NHS clinical work. I also love to write, and I’ve recently published my third book which is called A Year To Change Your Mind, about how ideas from the therapy room can help any of us with our everyday lives. 

Where did your love of words come from? 

I’m not sure… I’ve always loved writing. I am an only child and I think there’s something comforting about making your own worlds up as a singleton, so maybe partly from that. My parents read to me a lot too. 

What made you join 26? And how long have you been a member?

I was following 26 member Tim Rich on social media and was really interested in the projects he kept posting about, so I joined in to see what it was all about. 

Have you been involved in any 26 projects? 

Yes – 26 Leaps with the Bloomsbury Festival. I wrote about Sir John Barbirolli, previous conductor of the Halle Orchestra and found it fascinating and moving to talk to people who had known him. I came along to read it out at the day and really enjoyed connecting in person too.

What’s your ideal scenario for writing? (A coffee shop? Quiet retreat? With or without music? What do you do to get yourself in the right frame of mind?)

A café. Background noise is no problem, unless it’s loud music with lyrics which I find interferes. I also write in my study at home. I try not to wait to be in the right state of mind but to sit down and do it anyway – although I find that easier when I have a clear project.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m in a bit of a hiatus at the moment, but I’m trying to keep a practice of writing without having a big project – sketches of how I’m feeling or what is happening around me. I’m juggling my PhD with looking after my toddler at the moment so slices of writing time are precious. 

Could you tell us about a piece of writing you’re particularly proud of? 

I’m proud of writing A Year To Change Your Mind during maternity leave. It was a mad idea and I never would have done it had I known how hard having a baby can be, but actually it was great as it made me keep writing, and I’m proud of the result – I like to think it’s a light touch but useful offering. 

Where do you get your inspiration? 

Thoughts I find myself returning to again and again, small scraps of things I note down but that then turn into something bigger. I think when I have a regular writing practice more ideas come but I sometimes also have a bit of time where I’m seeking inputs more than outputs: books, exhibitions, podcasts… I have less time for that now but every so often I’ll have a binge. 

– Interview by Sophie Gordon 

– Author photo by Esme Buxton

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