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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NaNoWriMo 2017: Did I Make It?

I could sum up this post in a word and simply say ‘no’, but that wouldn’t make for a very good blog post, would it? So instead I’m going to draw it out and say no in a much more convoluted fashion.

If you don’t already know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place in November each year. You win by writing 50,000 words towards a novel or any other creative writing project during the month.

This month I planned a little in advance. I had characters, a setting, a general plot and I was feeling good. And then on October 29th I chucked it all out the window and decided I didn’t like my idea. So I started afresh and things went well for a while. My novel really picked up momentum and I was enjoying writing fiction like I never have before.

Then my parents visited for a week and it was my birthday and life just in the way a little. At one point I was writing 2,500 words a day just to keep up but I was still falling behind and I just felt totally disillusioned with my plot. By the end of the month I’d managed just short of 24,000 words.

To start with I was a bit upset. I’d wanted to reach 50,000. However, on reflection, I’m really happy with what I achieved. I’ve never written anything like 24,000 words. I don’t think I’ve ever even reached 10,000 words of a novel so really I should be proud of myself.

Along the way I learnt a lot about how hard novel writing is, not to mention all of the editing that was around the corner and I certainly improved my writing by managing to write almost every day. And in the meantime I’ve bene playing around with a few new novel ideas so by the time the next NaNoWriMo comes around, I might have even managed to write more than 50,000 words of something. Who knows.

One thing I’ve definitely gained from this year’s NaNoWriMo is a new found love of fiction writing. Whilst I’ve dabbled in the past, I never thought writing a novel was really possible for me, but now I’m determined to make it a reality.

Did you take part in NaNoWriMo 2017? Let me know in the comments.

Rachel x-x-x

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Having An Affair With Creativity

The other day I was listening to Liz Gilbert’s incredible Magic Lessons podcast. If you haven’t listened to it before and you’re into all things creative then listen to it. The particular episode I’m writing about today was  Ep #7: Sexy, Dirty, Nasty, Wicked, where Liz tells an art teacher who’s in a creative rut to have an affair with creativity. She recommends that the art teacher take up a new creative hobby and do it in stolen time, when she’s not tied to other responsibilities, and to make sure that it’s something she’s doing for the love of creativity, rather than to put out to other people.

Normally I love Liz’s words of wisdom but I found myself rolling my eyes at this one. Having an affair with creativity sounded ludicrous to me, just a fluffy idea with no substance. But a few days later, the idea came back to me.

I’ve felt creatively stuck for a long time now. A while ago I wrote about getting into creative writing again, so that feels like some progress but I still felt like I was missing something in my creative life. And so I pondered over Liz’s words. After a year of putting my life online through my blog, doing something creative in secret felt a bit odd. To have something I can do just for me?  Doing something that doesn’t have to be perfect because I’m not showing it to anyway really appealed to me.

So I decided I was also going to have an affair with creativity. I chose a creative activity that I loved doing as a child and now I’m creating without the worry of making it ‘good enough’ or comparing myself to someone else online who does the same thing.

For me, I often find creative activities ‘pointless’ if I’m not showing them to someone else. I think it feels like wasted time, perhaps? So I’m attempting to combat this by creating art for art’s sake.

Maybe at some point I’ll share what I’m working on, on the blog but for now, it’s my secret affair.

Rachel x-x-x

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