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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Dealing With Difficult People

I am a professional conflict avoider. I can’t actually ever remember having an argument with anyone that wasn’t my parents or boyfriend because I always just bite my tongue and try to put the disagreement out of my head. However, not everyone goes around wearing their I hate conflict hat on like I do.

Last year there were a few times when I had to deal with some difficult people and while at the time it felt awkward and horrible, I’ve learnt a few things from it that I want to share.

Weigh Up Your Options

As someone who doesn’t like conflict, my usual response is to stay quiet, remain polite and not say anything when I’m finding someone difficult to deal with. However, I know that this isn’t always the best reaction and that sometimes you have to be upfront with people when they’re causing you a problem.

You have to decide whether confronting someone is going to have negative repercussions for you or the other person and whether you feel like telling them straight will actually help the situation or not. There’s no need to confront someone if the only thing you’re getting out of it is feeling better by letting off steam.

Be Honest

This is something I find really difficult. Whilst I’m always honest when asked my opinion, I find it very hard to say “You hurt my feelings” or “You made me feel X way when you said X.” I don’t like people knowing that they’ve upset me but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and be brave enough to tell people how they’ve really made you feel.

Take Advice With A Pinch of Salt

On one occasion last year, someone who I previously had a lot of time for, told me that the way I handled a situation was wrong and then proceeded to lecture me on how I should have dealt with it better. Their suggestion was to have gone in all guns blazing, which if you know me at all, you will know that this is never how I deal with things.

I listened politely through the lecture, smiled in the right place, and then seethed once I’d left. This person has an extremely different attitude to life than I do. Everyone is individual and whilst I welcome advice usually, I’ve learnt that sometimes people are just coming from different places. For me, a chilled, more mindful approach works just fine.

Don’t Regret

However you’ve dealt with a situation involving someone who has made things difficult for you, it’s really important not to regret how it went. You can’t change how you handled a situation and even if you’ve been in the wrong, sometimes sorry just won’t cut it. There’s not much you can do about this other than moving on and trying not to feel full of regret. Even if you’ve come to blows with another person, all you can do is try not to let the same happen again next time.

Distance Yourself

Rightly or wrongly, sometimes I find the best way to deal with difficult people is to simply distance yourself. Sometimes this is really easy when the person doesn’t mean anything to you or it’s someone that it’s easy to avoid. Other times, it’s really difficult. Either you’re living with that person or you come into contact with them regularly. It’s totally okay to ignore messages if you think your reaction will be an outburst or end badly. It’s also alright to say “I’m not up for having this conversation right now.”

Rachel x-x-x

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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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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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