April Showers

April has been a month of happiness and weirdness and sadness and stress and love.

Finally I am bursting with a need to write. My creative juices have been zapped by an endless mountain of assignments, lists and job applications. As a result my blog has been a little dead of late, something that I’m hoping to change however sporadic the posts may be. I have felt disillusioned with blogging recently. Everything has already been said, Instagram is “the thing” now and while yes, I like it, it doesn’t give me the satisfaction that blogging does. For the last few weeks or months (it feels like I’ve been away forever), I have been worried about getting back into the blog world, worried that I am speaking into the void, that my posts are for no one. But on reflection I’ve realised that my posts are for me.

I have never written to impress or for views, it doesn’t interest me, but nor do I want to ever say that I am a “writer”, not a blogger, as though there is some kind of hierarchy. For a long time I pondered how I could be part of the blogging community without really feeling part of it. I don’t have a niche, I just write about the things going on in my brain and I like reading about the things going on in other people’s brains. But most of all I love the feeling of writing a post and getting a comment from someone saying “I feel like that too,” no matter how mundane the subject matter.

Life right now is hectic right now. University is ending, I need to nail down a job and a flat and move to the other side of the country, amongst a million other life things. But blogging is what has got me through all the previous stresses of the past few years. For a time I have been cautious to pour my heart out into my blog, to share how I’m really feeling, to take risks in my content. But I want to get back there.

So we can debate whether blogging is dead and decide which new platform is going to steal our attention for the next few months but for me, right now, blogging is well and truly alive.

Rachel x-x-x

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Twitter Etiquette and Why I’m Sick of the Blogosphere

I’ve been a little down on blogging recently. I thought it was a lack of motivation or that I had nothing to say but I’ve noticed it’s actually more about the blogging community. Feel free to eye roll because goddamn how many times do we bloggers get on our high horses about this?

I started blogging a little less than two years. In that time my blog has gone from being solely about mental health to more of a mix of lifestyle, mental health and general wellbeing with the odd book review for good measure. I’m so pleased and grateful for how my blog has grown over the last two years. I never imagined that anyone would read it let alone be publishing blog posts out to 5,000 Twitter followers.

But in a way I yearn for the days when I had a couple of hundred people following me because I know that I was braver with my content. I was happier to tweet my opinions because I wasn’t scared of people smacking me down in an instant. The other day I was out with a blogging friend for coffee and we talked about how we often felt scared of posting things online in case they offended someone or triggered an argument. As a quiet person, the internet has given me a platform for sharing my opinions. It has given me a place to be able to articulate my feelings before saying them, to discuss differing opinions with others and most importantly to learn from others. But in recent months, social media, Twitter in particular, feels like a breeding ground for anger, wild goose chases and hostility.

There appears to be a belief on the internet that “calling people out” is okay. It’s an almost daily occurrence on my timeline that someone will post a tweet, someone else will take offence, share it around, and before you know it, the whole blogosphere is talking about ‘drama’. Then of course, the buzzword ‘bullying’ will crop up and there’ll be yet more #drama about whether it is or isn’t bullying and why and why not we shouldn’t be throwing that term around.

What happened to polite discourse? When did we all turn into animals lashing out before re-reading to see if you’ve misunderstood or if someone has just made a throwaway comment. Twitter is a great platform for educating people and if I said something offensive then I’d be more than happy for someone to correct me on it, politely, preferably in a private message. Not retweeting the comment with a eye roll emoji and an explanation as to why it shouldn’t have been said.

Nobody is perfect and we all say things online that we shouldn’t. But sometimes we say things online that we didn’t even know we shouldn’t. There’s a fine line between pointing something out to someone and going out of your way to embarrass and upset someone in return. And the blogosphere just doesn’t seem to be getting that balance right.

People shouldn’t be scared to post their opinions, or to post anything in fact. Sometimes I spend far too long editing a tweet to make sure that it can’t be misconstrued into something that will upset someone. Maybe you could say I shouldn’t be so bothered about it. Why am I getting into such a tizz over the possibility of someone reading my tweet and being offended by it? But right now, for me, it’s not really about that.

It’s about this gang mentality of taking sides where sides don’t need to be taken. I really don’t think any one person should be telling anyone else what to do or say or believe. Sure, we can suggest that a specific tweet might be taken the wrong way but going around thinking everyone needs educating because they don’t share your opinion is patronising, not to mention rude.

This was basically a big ramble because I don’t have any answers except to say maybe we could all try to be a little kinder and not jump to conclusions so quickly. Because that’s the only way I can see the blogosphere improving its community right now.

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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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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Favourite Bloggers 2017 #3

It’s time for 5 more of my favourite bloggers! Check out parts 1 and 2 here!

Vee Wilde

Vee is basically just really cool. She’s a fifth of the best Whatsapp group on the planet and posts are always really interesting and unlike much you see elsewhere in the blogosphere. I love how individual Vee is and her Instagram is total goals.

Fave Post of 2017:

Oh Where The Craft Would Take Me is my favourite of Vee’s post this year. I know nothing about Wiccan or witches so I love learning about it through Vee. This particular post was my favourite because I really want to visit more places in the UK next year so this gave me some inspiration.

Abbey Louisa Rose

There aren’t many people that I would happily have stay in my flat without ever having met them but I took the plunge with Abbey because she didn’t seem like a murderer and luckily I was right. Abbey is the most kind hearted, intelligent and hard working blogger. Everything Abbey writes is so well thought out and her posts are always so professional.

Fave Post of 2017:

On Being Unfashionable was my favourite post from Abbey this year. It really spoke to me, having never been into what was fashionable but still liking clothes. Also the photographs are the cutest!

Rebecca Moynihan

I met Rebecca for the first time in November last year and just under a year later we spent a weekend away in Edinburgh. Rebecca’s blog is incredibly relatable, always intelligent and has the most beautiful photography. Basically she’s just the best.

Fave Post of 2017:

Can I choose them all? No but seriously it’s so hard to choose my favourite of Rebecca’s posts because they’re just all so good. One of my favourites is Allowing yourself to be emotional because I totally understand the sentiment of this post and I think it’s really inspiring.

Sian Blogs

Sian is another incredibly kind and intelligent blogger that I love following. I met up with Sian last month and we ate burgers and milkshakes which was all kinds of wonderful. Sian’s blog is one of my favourites because it’s really unique. So many blogs feature long form posts and whilst I love that, I also love Sian’s shorter posts, like her photo diaries and 5 Rad Things series.

Fave Post of 2017:

I knew I had to pick one of Sian’s Trek America posts for this but choosing one was really hard. In the end, I’ve gone for Touring Las Vegas because the photos are phenomenal.

B, Rambling

I found Bethany through my good blogging pal Gwennan at Twenty Something Meltdown and I’m so glad I did. Bethany’s blog is a collection of think pieces, travel posts and beauty and I always immediately click on her posts when I see them on my timeline. B, Rambling is definitely one to watch in 2018!

Fave Post of 2017: 

Again there were so many posts to choose from but my favourite of Bethany’s this year is I Don’t Have Any Dreams because I’m so bad for wishing my life away, dreaming of what my life could be like in the future, without giving any thought to the now. This piece really drilled that home to me.

Rachel x-x-x

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Negative Nancies Need Not Apply

Bloggers love nothing more than to declare the blogging community ‘unsupportive’ and throw around that old chestnut ‘negativity’ like there’s no tomorrow.

When I first started blogging, I tried to insert myself into the mental health blogging community. On the whole I found the people were welcoming and I was so motivated by what others were doing that I wanted to succeed myself. Quickly, I began to forge real friendships with people from lots of different communities (shout out to my fave Whatsapp girls), and I truly felt supported by them.

Nowadays it seems like everywhere I look, people are berating the blogging community, accusing it of not being supportive enough. A community where people like Jemma at Dorkface has spent a whole day promoting others through her Twitter account, where Bethany from B,Rambling features her favourite posts of the week in a Monday Medley, where Queen Beady routinely shouts out her favourite accounts on Twitter and Instragram.

When are we going to stop complaining and start recognising the enormous amount of support in this community that’s happening all of the time?

I’ve always felt like Twitter is a positive place on the whole. It’s people retweeting other’s selfies with ‘yaaas’ or a ‘damn girl.’ It’s retweeting posts that you love and want others to see.

Maybe it becomes harder to see the positives when you become so intertwined with social media that you confuse it with your own self-worth. Suddenly you have 3,000 followers but you don’t have the tight knit community that you felt like you had at 500 followers. But if you’re following the right people, you’ll see that support is a huge part of the community, and it’s everywhere, every single day. I can’t scroll down Twitter without seeing someone retweeting someone else’s post or sharing a list of their favourite blogs.

The blogging community isn’t negative at all, at least not from where I’m sitting. There are always going to be cliques in the blogging community, it’s human nature. But you don’t have to be part of one to feel the positive effects of the community. Just being yourself is enough.

(P.S. if you’re not following the people I mentioned above, what you doing? Get following!)

Rachel x-x-x

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