I recently signed up to a ten-day writing course created by the brilliant and illuminating Alexandra Franzen.

Each day a new love note pops up in my inbox with an audio recording (Miss Franzen’s voice is like a warm Summer breeze), a lesson and a writing challenge for me to do.

I’m enjoying the process so far. Actually, I love it.

Breaking the tasks into small-sized daily chunks is proving both fun and practical.

Today’s Lesson…

This morning’s lovely lesson and challenge was geared around amplifying focus and minimizing distractions around us in order to accomplish whatever task or work needs to be completed in our business, or life.

With that came a fun little task of writing a letter to someone in three minutes.

If three minutes on the clock wasn’t long enough, we could set the time for another three minutes.

The idea and goal with this lesson was to build our mental muscle to learn to respond to distractions in the world in a way that wouldn’t compromise our ability to focus.

So there I am – ears perked, heart open – listening to the audio file where Alexandra Franzen is talking about all the distractions in the world and learning to adapt to them and not allow them to override our laser focus on the task at hand.

Then, ironically, the loudest dog starts barking during her recording.


Does she lose her focus? No.

Does she stop the recording and start again? No.

She makes a joke of it and mentions the presence of the dog’s bark on the call, then continues to talk as beautifully and articulately for the rest of the recording.


As I write this, I’m sitting at a park in my neighbourhood, coconut water in hand and the sun beaming on my body; just how I like my writing environment to be.

Out of nowhere, the loudest construction work starts; the noise is ringing right in my ears.

It’s loud and consuming, beckoning me to take notice of it, trying to absorb all of my mental capacity and seductively toy with my ability to focus on the task at hand (writing this), but I persevere – pausing here and there to pry the flesh from my juicy coconut.

The timing of this distraction is beautiful. It’s a potent and classic case of what Alex is talking about in her lesson today:

“The world is full of stressful situations, procrastination-options and distractions.
This is reality. This is not going to change. (Maybe a little, depending on the choices you make about your surroundings. But to a large extent, the outside world is… outside of your control.)
What can change, though… is your ability to respond to distraction.

You can strengthen your mental muscles and cultivate the ability to focus, no matter what.
The primary question is not:
“How can I get rid of all of the distractions in the world?”

But rather: “How strong can I make my mind?”


So back to today’s lesson: ‘write a 3-minute letter to anyone you wish: a friend, family member, colleague, celebrity – anyone.’

I decide to write to myself – I want the extra challenge – and I decide to write the letter by hand; how often do we carve out time to write a hand-written letter to anyone these days, let alone a special love letter to ourselves?

Seldom at best I believe.

I set the timer on my phone for 180 seconds.

‘Pop’ goes the lid off my favourite pen.

Blank page primed.



Dear Nicole,
I’m writing today because you are loved and you deserve to hear it.

You inspire many people by being you; beautiful, wholehearted you – yes, even with all your perfect imperfections and flaws.

You are the creator of your destiny: life and how you live it is up to you.

You deserve to feel loved every single day – and remember that you are – always.

You can always tap into the love that is truest of all – the love that resides within your huge humble heart.

There are no limitations when love is at large.

Learn to trust in your heart above everything else; it knows no negative ego or fears. It can clear any worries or hesitations you have about living the kind of life you want to live.

Re-set the clock: 180 additional seconds }

You sometimes feel fear. Doubt. Uncertainty. Disappointment. Anxiety. Anger.

If you look beyond the pain of all these limiting emotions and stare love square in the eyes, you will remember the answer to everything:

Love and let love wash away your fears.

You grew up feeling unloved and alone, wondering if you were worthy of love, wondering if there would be room in the world for your love, when all along the love you doubted the most, was the love you had for yourself.

What I want you to know most of all is this:

+ You are so loved, always, infinitely.
+ When you feel unloved, remember to spread and share the love that resides in you out into the world and more love will come back to you.
+ You can be a shining example of love conquering all and inspire others through your courage and strength.

I love you, Nic.

Why are we all here? To love and be loved.

It’s that simple.

From your number one fan who loves you infinitely, always,
Nicole x


360 seconds of laser-sharp focus and the task is complete. I think I aced it, but I know that’s not the point of the lesson. In fact, I think the insights I gained far exceeded Alex’s desire for this lesson.

I learnt that:

+ When we set our mind to something, we can achieve anything
+ The way we think and feel about ourselves is way more important than what anybody else ever could
+ Breaking any task into small sized portions is more conducive for productivity – as is setting a timer for tasks
+ Carving out time for creativity is an act of self-love
+ You don’t need a partner or secret admirer to receive a love letter

I now invite you to take part in a fun writing challenge if you’re up for it:

Let’s call it,

‘The 6-minute Love Letter’

(thanks for the inspiration Alexandra Franzen)

1) Take out a notepad and pen or your journal.

2) Set a timer for six minutes.

3) At the top of the page, write ‘Dear (your name),’

4) When you hit ‘start’ on the timer, you’re going to write a love letter to yourself.

Allow the words to flow onto the page without judgment or hesitation – and without editing as you write.

This is creative writing; it doesn’t need to be perfect.

If you need more time, hit reset on the clock and another 360 seconds is yours.

Continue this process until you have a love-soaked letter to yourself as a keepsake forever.

{Ideas if you get stuck for inspiration}:

What have you learnt about yourself in the past year?
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?
What would you tell your 15-year old self if you could?
If someone else were describing your wonderful self to someone, what would they say?
What do you want to be reminded of always?

Ok, off you go… let your scribble and scrawl overflow from your heart, onto the page.

You can do this.

One finished, you will have a beautiful gift just for you that no amount of money could buy.

++ I highly recommend Alexandra Franzen’s blog if you haven’t had a chance to marvel at the art of her written word. Many of Miss Franzen’s articles are filed under my ‘favourite blog posts’ bookmarks folder on my computer – and for good reason.

How did you go with your 6-minute love letter? I’d love you to share a line or two of your creative writing.


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