Writer’s Block

I want to write but the words are trapped in my mind. I keep writing and deleting, writing and deleting, writing and deleting. Sometimes writing feels cathartic, other times I look back at what I’ve written and wonder why I wasted my time. So much time that could have been spent doing ~productive~ things.

My head aches with the amount it is holding. There are deadlines, conversations I had years ago, emotions, story ideas, plans, memories, what I’m having for dinner and where did I leave the phone charger, but when I sit down at a blank page, I can’t force any of it out.

I get up, make a coffee, go for a walk, have a shower, eat an apple. I do all the things that should make my reset button go off but the words are still stuck. I meditate, run, practice yoga, read in the hope that it will trigger one of the ideas to come to fruition but still there is nothing.

I use paper, I type, I dictate to my phone but it all sounds wrong. I can’t get the emotions across, I can’t articulate myself, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

I beat myself for writing (It’s a waste of time). I beat myself up for not writing (Why aren’t you trying harder?) It’s a cycle, a vicious circle that seems impossible to break.

I toy with the phrase ‘writer’s block,’ as though giving it a name makes it valid. It’s just a phase, I tell myself. I’ve come out of it before, I’ll reappear again.

I force out poems, creative pieces, reflections. There’s no life in them. I tap away at the delete button, embarrassed that I ever thought that they could pass for writing. I’ll take a break, I tell myself. But in my head, I’m worried I’ll never come back to it.

Yet somehow, I know I’ll return, like a moth to a flame. I am addicted to writing. I crave the feeling of blood pumping through my fingers as I type, the way I can relive my memories, the worlds that I create, the solitary act that never feels like loneliness.

I have writer’s block and I think that’s okay?

Rachel x-x-x

 

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Slowing Life Down

Life has been zipping by for me lately. I can’t believe we’re already two weeks into the new year and I don’t feel like I’ve had a second to myself. Whether it’s because I’ve not been making time or the opportunity just hasn’t arisen for a good soak in the bath with a book and a glass of wine, things need to change.

Last year I really bought into the idea of slow living. I made more time for me, reflected on my hopes and dreams, practiced mindfulness and yoga and really made an effort to do more of the things that make me happy, and less of the stuff that doesn’t.

This year, however, I haven’t really thought about the things I want to do more and less of, until now, and in true blogger style, I’m sharing it with you.

More Books

Every year I try and read as much as possible and this year is no exception. In 2017 I read a total of 54 books but this year I want to beat that. After being a little bit of a YA snob for the last few years, I’m wanting to delve more into that genre, as well as trying out some new genres that I’ve never really read before.

If you want to be my friend on Goodreads I will happily accept. Find me here!

Less Stress

I’m not very good with stress. I keep it all tightly packed in my head until things become too much and I have to lie face down on the floor until it subsides. You get me? I want to continue with the meditation I was doing last year and get back into yoga. It’s so perfect for those moments when you need to get out of your own head.

More Sleep

Sleep and I have never been friends. Most nights I lie awake unable to fall asleep and on the rare occasions that I do nod off quickly, I wake up in the night. Turns out waking up 5 times a night isn’t normal which is something I only learnt last months, oops. I stick to my bedtime routine, I don’t go on my computer any less than an hour before bed and I try to wake up at the same time every day so if anyone has any tips on sleeping, I’m all ears!

Less Caffeine

I know, mad, right? Who am I without caffeine? Two years ago I cut sugar from my hot drinks and now the time has come to cut the caffeine. As much as I love coffee, I hate being reliant on caffeine and I feel it so badly in a morning when I’m desperate for a mug the second I get up.

At the moment I usually drink 3 cups of coffee a day but I’d like to get rid of that first morning one to help myself wake up more naturally. Realistically I’ll probably just switch to decaf because I’m still really going to need that tasty coffee fix.

More Writing

The final thing I want to do more of is writing. I’ve being trying to get back into journalling for some time now, nothing fancy, just getting my thoughts down on paper every day. But I’ve been struggling to get into a routine. Do you write in the morning or at night? Let me know what works for you!

I’m also wanting to write some more fiction. After taking part in NaNoWriMo last year, I’ve really got the bug for creative writing so I’m hoping some great ideas pop into my head soonish!

What are you trying to do less and more of in 2018? Let me know the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

 

 

 

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Seeking Direction By Choosing A Direction

I’m just as unsure as you are about where I was going with today’s title. In the last few months of 2017, I was really unclear about the direction of my blog. I often felt like I was floundering, trying to come up with blog posts ideas that didn’t quite fit what I wanted to write because I felt it was what I should be writing. However, after a refresh over Christmas and a good long planning session, I’ve decided to make a few changes. Maybe I don’t know which direction I’m going in for sure just yet, but I’ll make a start on this one and hope for the best.

Content

I’ve always been intent on the idea that No Space For Milk is a mental health blog first and foremost. But as my blog has progressed, so has the direction I want to go in. As much as mental health is still something I’m going to talk about here, there’s going to be much more emphasis on self-improvement. I asked on Instagram what you like reading and it was clear that most people enjoyed my long form rambling thought pieces which is great because those are what I love writing. So there’s going to be loads more life rambles, reflections and personal development posts.

Books

I’ve spent the last year half-heartedly writing book reviews. I’ve toyed with full posts per book, monthly roundups and theme specific posts but my heart just isn’t in it. I love books more than I love most people but writing book reviews just isn’t for me. I want to read the book, feel the emotions that pour out of the page and let the stories live on in my head long after I’ve read them, but I just really don’t want to write about them. Heck, I barely even read book reviews (Shout out to Lauren EvieAlmost Amazing Grace and Adventure and Anxiety who always get it so right and make me want to buy every book under the sun!). I’ve been desperate to find a format that works for me and my blog just isn’t the place for it, which leads me onto my next point quite nicely…

Instagram

Oh Instagram, don’t we all love to hate you? I fell out of love with you long ago but this year the game is on. You’re going to see a lot more books on my Insta. I want snappy reviews, immediate reactions to what I’ve just read and pretty book covers, whether that’s through Instagram stories or on the grid. Listen to me using ‘on the grid,’ who do I think I am?

I’m also stuffing any kind of schedule. Look at us all running round trying to post at the right times to get maximum engagement. Jokes on you because the algorithm is still going to screw us all. Even if it tells you the best time to post is 7pm, would you even believe it? We all know Instagram is that girl who says she drank 10 vodka cokes but couldn’t even get through 2 without vomming behind the Chinese takeaway.

Twitter

Twitter has long been my favourite social media platform. I just love instant gratification, okay? But seriously, Twitter is the best place to make friends and find new blogs and this year I’m going to do that to the max.

Last year started off with the best intentions, I was going to schedule tweets and join in on Twitter chats but it kind of tailed off. However, this year I’m shaking off the failures of last year and starting again. I can’t wait to discover some amazing new accounts.

Writing

And one last thing, I’m writing an e-book, kind of, sort of. I say kind of because my crippling self doubt won’t allow me to say anything more concrete. At the moment, I’m going to keep schtum on the content matter, just in case things take a slightly different turn while I’m writing. But for now, I will just say it’s non-fiction and I’m excited about it.

Here’s to 2018!

Rachel x-x-x

 

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Year of Calm

Happy New Year! I’m waiting for something to feel different, the same way as I do on birthdays. Do I feel older, wiser? Does it feel like time has been reset? Of course not, but New Year is the perfect excuse to decide how we’re going to improve ourselves in the coming year, let go of the past year’s turmoils and achieve the goals that felt so out of reach last year that we’re now creeping towards.

I always make resolutions. They’re often the same as the previous year: get fitter, eat less sugar, be more organised. I find that I improve year on year, but we can always get even better, can’t we? This year I’ve set myself some goals but I’ve also set myself an overarching theme for the year. 2018 is my year of calm.

Excuse the airy fairyness of this coming paragraph but 2017 was the year of growth of me. I pushed myself, learnt things about myself and realised that if you really want to change things, you can. I learnt how to say no more, how to say yes more and how not to feel guilty about saying either of those things. I blogged regularly and I read more than I ever have in my life. I joined the gym and picked up musical instruments that I hadn’t touched for years. But there’s still room for improvement.

In my bid for calm, I’ve set 3 goals for the year.

1. Saying goodbye to bitchiness

We all do it. We all make snide comments behind people’s backs, subtweet others and tear down others when we’re not feeling so great about ourselves. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in 2017, it was that tearing others down does not build yourself up. We can all succeed, we can all be happy. One person doing well takes nothing away from you. This year I’m saying goodbye to bitchiness by using my journal as a place to pour out my feelings, instead of speaking to other people. Yes a little bitch here and there helps us feel better sometimes, but in the end it’s not doing yourself any good and it’s potentially going to harm someone else.

2. Making meditation a habit

When I meditate, I love it. I can feel the calm wash over me just by taking a few minutes out of my day to think about absolutely nothing. But, I’ve found it’s all too easy to ignore meditation when you don’t prioritise it, and that is usually the time when you need it most. This year I’ve added meditation into my habit tracker to force myself out of my own head at least once a day. I can’t wait to feel the benefits of this.

3. Cutting ties with toxicity

I’m always a little reluctant to use the word ‘toxic’ (a post for another day, perhaps?). But during the past year I’ve definitely held on to some relationships that were making me feel negative about myself. This year I’m making time for the people that do matter, and trying to realise that I can’t keep everyone happy all the time at the expense of my own happiness. Whilst it’s not always possible to completely cut ties with some people, it is possible to distance yourself and not allow their actions to effect you negatively.

What are your resolutions for 2018? Let me know down below!

Rachel x-x-x

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The Death of Original Ideas

I recently sat down to plan a novel. After my somewhat successful month of NaNoWriMo, I really wanted to push myself past the 20,000 words I’d already written and write something brand new. I already had a couple of plot ideas floating around in my head and so I started to plan. But barely a few minutes in, I hit a brick wall. Everything I was writing down felt too familiar.

I’d fallen into the trap, that creative black hole of ‘it’s all been done before.’ And I finished my very short period of planning feeling deflated, incompetent and honestly, just really boring. Was it really true that I didn’t have an original idea?

I sat with this for a few days. I felt at a complete loss and it bled into other areas for a while. Why blog if all the posts have been written before? Why contemplate a blog newsletter when the internet is already saturated with them? Why do anything when everything has already been done?

The dawn of technology has been both hugely inspiring and soul-destroying for creativity. It has allowed humanity to do things we could never have dreamed of, whilst also forcing original thought into a thing of the past. Not only that, but we’re constantly confronted with what those have done before us. All those missed opportunities, the ‘if only I’d done that sooner,’ or ‘why didn’t I think of that?’

But on reflection, I’ve realised that I’ve been looking at this all wrong. It’s not that I don’t have any original ideas. I have loads. They’re just all big ones. They’re risky. Ones that would take time, effort and a leap of faith.

It’s not my lack of originality that’s holding me back. It’s my fear of failure, it’s a worry that I can’t do these things, so it’s easy to stay in my comfort zone and continue plodding along. Whether that’s creatively, career wise or my personal life, I have to step outside of the safe area and walk head first into the part of my brain that’s brimming with weird and wonderful ideas.

It isn’t that technology has meant that original ideas have died, it isn’t that any of us are lacking the ability to produce them, it’s something within us that is struggling to break that mindset. And it’s time to fix that.

Rachel x-x-x

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Spring Cleaning My Life

In spite of the bitter cold and gloomy mornings, January is one of my favourite times of year. I love a fresh start and I love preparing for that fresh start in December. Organisation is my thing, truly nothing fills me with the same kind of happiness as a brand new notebook, filled with plans and goals for the future. December is the perfect time to give your life a spring clean and get into action ready for the new year.

Start Early

Starting before January 1st will really help to get ready for the start of January. The last thing you want is a panicked few hours filling in your new diary on December 31st. Make a list of any deadlines, birthdays or other events that you know are coming up in the next year so that they’re all ready to put in your planner. Then fold pages or stick post-its in the info in your current diary that will need transferring over.

Choose A Planner

Choosing a new planner is a big deal. Do you stick with your old friend from last year (mine was a blank Leuchtturm 1917) or do you get risky and try a new format? Maybe you’re going digital? Whatever your decision, find something that suits your needs and won’t take you ages to set up. Simplicity is key.

Have A Clear Out

As well as being a great time to make resolutions and get organised, the end of the year is a perfect time to give your living space a bit of a tidy. After Christmas, spend some time getting rid of things you don’t need anymore, tidying up your drawers and creating a living space that will maximise both productivity and comfort for the coming year.

Set Goals

This is my favourite part of the end of the year. Setting goals helps to keep you on track and to see how you progress through the year. Whether you’re making resolutions, monthly or weekly goals, make sure you write these down so you don’t forget them! I like to set a page of my planner aside to create goals for myself that I can refer to at the start of every month and then set myself smaller monthly goals as well. Your goals should be as specific as possible so that you’re more likely to reach them and make them attainable so that you’re not aiming for something that’s just not possible for you yet.

What are your tips for getting ready for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

 

 

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