Bookmark with Anna Geary

Pic: Evan Doherty

From the books which made her laugh to the ones that made her cry, Anna Geary, broadcaster, former All Ireland winning camogie captain, and now author of her own debut, Anna’s Game Plan, talks books, motherhood and grief…

What book are you reading right now?

I’m reading the fifth and final book in the Aisling series, Aisling Ever After. Even though I’m laughing out loud while reading this, there is a tinge of sadness too, because I know that it’s the final one. Maybe it’s because I’m a culchie but I totally know people like this in my own life! Such brilliant writers. I’m a big fan.

First book you fell in love with?

Growing up I loved Jacqueline Wilson. I think, probably, the first book I ever re-read was Double Act.

A book that made you cry?

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. The illustrations are gorgeous, the messages in it are powerful. It’s another book that’s on my bedside locker.

Pic: Evan Doherty

A book that left you thinking about it days later?

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey. I love it, I love all the learnings in it and I love the way she makes you think. That’s definitely a book I’ve loads of pages turned down in, and one I go back to again and again.

A book that makes you happy?

During lockdown I got back into reading fiction. It was an escape and a way to de-stress away from screens. I came across Emma Hannigan’s, The Gift of Friends. That was a book that made me happy and I liked that it was based in Ireland, I could really connect with the story. I feel the same about Graham Norton’s books. I’ve really enjoyed reading them because you can almost picture the places in your head.

A book that changed you?

Think Like A Monk changed my perspective on rest. Because I like the hustle! I am a doer; I like feeling productive; I like writing the never-ending to-do-list. But I suppose he got me to think about the importance of recovery and rest and how doing nothing is really good for productivity because it re-energises you. As a sports person it’s definitely helped switch my mindset.

A book you wished you’d written?

Probably Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s a brilliant book if you want to learn how to build sustainable realistic habits. I think it first came in to a lot of peoples lives during lockdown, but it continued to be a brilliant seller because it’s so practical and so easy to understand.

This is your first book Anna, how are you feeling releasing your second baby out into the world?

This was an incredibly long process in some ways because this book was swirling around my head for years. Having the confidence and ignoring the imposter syndrome took courage, but I’m incredibly proud of it now. I recently voiced the audiobook as well, I suppose I wanted people to listen to the personal stories in my voice as some of them are quite vulnerable. Because the nature of the book is around wellbeing it deals with big issues like self belief, body insecurity, about not having the confidence to step out of our comfort zones. It’s about giving people practical tools and tips to help with all that. I am excited about people reading the book, but of course
nervous as well because I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable. But as Brene Brown says you just have to bloody lean into that vulnerability!

How did you find the writing process? Where and when did you write?

It was challenging at times to write the book when pregnant and then with a newborn! I am, I suppose, quite an organised person. I like structure but I found writing difficult because I’m not a writer, and when I wasn’t in the headspace to write, I wasn’t disciplined. What I found good was going on walks and voice-noting my thoughts. Then I’d listen back and it would allow me formulate those thoughts and ideas would spark. The bulk of the book was written when I was pregnant and even into the early weeks after I had Ronan. When I was feeling it, I had to go for it, and then I’d do marathon sessions.

How did writing the book help you, especially with motherhood and grief (Anna’s 34-year-old brother passed away only last November)?

In terms of grief and energy levels, I definitely had to delve into my own book and use some of those exercises! So, I can attest to the fact that they do work! On days when I wasn’t feeling particularly productive or positive, I had to tell myself to practice what I preach! The last few months have really made me dig deep, I’ve had to just put one foot in front of the other and find ways to get through every day, finding pockets of joy to focus on. I suppose the book did help give distraction and purpose on days when I didn’t want to do much else.

Pic: Evan Doherty

How do you want your book to make people feel?

In a nutshell, I want people to feel better about themselves after reading it. And, I really want people to understand that if you can change your mindset, you can change your life. It’s about making small little tweaks, not big changes, but all those little tweaks add up. Whether you’re into the behavioural sciences, or not, it doesn’t matter, this book is just a really practical toolkit. I’d love it to be in handbags, I’d love to see pages turned down and coffee stains on it. Writing the book has made me realise that you can reinvigorate yourself.

Anna’s Game Plan, published by Trade Paperback, priced at €16.99, is out now

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