Keeping it simple

Like loads of people I know, I have a LOT of interests. It’s really easy for me to get caught up in whatever’s new and interesting. I love discovering new things and like to collect ‘stuff to do’.

It was in the months before I ‘returned to Earth’, moved back to Lincoln and decided to start from the beginning again that I made a pact with myself. I said “Ollie, you’re a writer now. That’s what you are.”

Mostly, it was an attempt to stop myself from being distracted whilst shopping. I’d already bought myself some coloured pencils, and received various colouring books to help ‘relax’ with. I felt that this wasn’t such a bad thing. It’s therapeutic and I would give it a go, but I had to draw the line.

Wanting to better myself in other crafts was only going to weigh me down, and drawing my focus away from what I wanted to be really good at was a sure-fire way to make me feel miserable in the long run. So I ditched the desire to learn how to draw, I decided I didn’t need to try making greetings cards again. I’m not a jewellery maker and I didn’t want to start any kind of needlecraft!

Writing it was!

Of course, it could never just be writing. After the purchase of my first DSLR and the not so careful documentation of the animals I encountered on my travels it made sense to me that photography could come a close second to writing. I love taking photos, and I love writing.

I thought, in the beginning, that I’d find it hard to stick to these two things. There are plenty of days when I wander down the ‘crafts’ aisle in The Range however, and don’t feel a pang of need to make exciting purchases (even when they have exciting Iron Man card making sets!!!). I’m a writer. I don’t need cute buttons and stamps, I need notebooks.

Notebooks, I can forgive. Eventually they find themselves being used for something, and certainly I think that the sheer number of notebooks I have for various things is important to the way that I’ve organised my life. A book for my Morning Pages writing, a notebook for thoughts relating to BPD, a book to track my day-to-day accomplishments, a book for a diary that I write in before bed, one of those cool three-year one-sentence-a-day books, a positivity notebook, a notebook for new word discoveries (which is quite full now, thank you Stephen King).

Limiting the things I want, and accepting that I’m allowed to make purchases if I’m going to make use of the things I buy was actually pretty liberating. My most recent purchase was with photography in mind.

I bought a little carry bag for my camera waaaaay back when I first bought it. It was practical at the time. I needed something to keep it in, and knew that with all my other luggage it would have to be portable. Things had changed a LOT when I got back home. I had a rucksack that I was using every day – as it’s always been, really. Something I could carry my laptop in, the shopping, a drink, NOTEBOOKS. What I found though, was that I was going out on day trips and seeing fun things but my camera was nowhere to be seen. BECAUSE, of course it was at home. Tucked away nicely in its bag. Useless.

I found this on amazon, and it arrived on Monday!

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It is perfect. There’s enough space to stick my laptop in the main part of the bag if I want. The top space is big enough for my wonderful A5 notebooks!! The outside compartments are big enough to hold my re-useable Starbucks cup and a brolly. The inside has it’s one zip up compartments and then of course, as you can see – space for my camera!! (Also, very importantly. The zips are all key chain friendly! You can see, right? Look at where Mr Kangaroo is hanging from.)

It’s been great, and it’s given me so much joy and most of all it means I’ve been taking photos.

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The Importance of Recording

One of the most useful things that I do now, is to keep a record of my daily ‘accomplishments’.

Right back in the beginning it was something that I attempted, but found that it was demotivating when all I did – day in, day out was sit and watch Netflix or play video games. Since then I’ve been able to learn to forgive myself, be kind to myself and show the same patience I’m capable of offering complete strangers.

Now, it feels like my most valuable tool.

For a long time I focused on working through a Bullet Journal to record and motivate myself on a day-to-day basis, and although I absolutely adore the concept and the work and fun that goes into keeping a journal like this, I found that a very different approach was important to help me to put together the foundations for my recovery.

A Bullet Journal actually created a wall between myself and my goals. When I would start a day with a beautifully thought out spread and only one goal to mark off I found it difficult to be attached to it, and equally difficult to go through the process of writing that same, single task over and over for days on end.

Giving up just wasn’t an option, so I chose instead to re-think my approach to keeping a daily account of my life.

My therapist was the first person to suggest that I keep a log of my daily activities. On a simple A4 gridded sheet of paper, with two boxes for morning, afternoon and evening I vaguely accounted for the ‘major’ things that I did every day. At first, they were incredibly basic. I ate food, I watched TV, I played video games. I met with a friend, I went for a walk.

It was the first time I’d recorded my day-to-day life as retroactively, and there were a few days when I completely forgot to write about what I’d done and therefore entire days were forgotten. I’m pretty sure that usually there was nothing significant about the things that I’d done, until I walked back into therapy and re-counted my week. Little things that seemed important when I’d done them, and then insignificant when I came to write down the last few days of activity were forgotten.

That important phone call that I’d been putting off for months to the bank, that form I filled out, the brief discussion I’d had with a friend or family member. Each and every single one of these things were important to my overall recovery from a very dark place that I’d managed to put myself in.

I kept these diaries for four weeks until I decided that enough was enough. My Bullet Journal had fallen to the way-side and turned into something like a book of lists (Books I owned and wanted to read, Holiday Destinations for the future, DVDs I owned, movies I’d watched) and I knew that whilst I was using those relatively small A4 sheets to log my weekly comings and goings it wasn’t going to satisfy me.

As a lover of notebooks and stationery, it wasn’t difficult to rifle through my ’empty notebooks’ drawer and find something to use to start logging my days, and even better that I’d found the perfect use for a notebook. (One of the reasons I have so many is that they’re all in there waiting for the perfect purpose. Sorry, notebooks.)

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So it began.

Almost 2 weeks later, I’m still swearing by it. Claiming that this act, and this act alone is the one reason that I’ve managed to pull myself up out of the funk I’d fallen into is a huge stretch of any imagination, but I feel very strongly that it has contributed to my continued improving mental health and will keep doing so much!

I write the time my alarm went off, and the time I actually got out of bed. Writing it down makes it a fact, and gives you a solid thing to refer back to. I find that when I am struggling the most I lose all sense of time and feeling and life. It’s easy for me to forget how I felt only a few hours ago, when I’m so preoccupied with the current moment, and the thoughts that are in my head at that time and in that place. So I feel it’s very important (for me) to be able to refer back to previous days, not to make negative comparisons or to judge the ‘value’ of the things I’ve done in the present day but to be able to look back and see, from hard factual evidence that ‘things’ over all are better now than they’ve ever been.

Thinking too hard about the shape of my life exactly a year ago would only promote a desire to reach out and take ownership of how I felt back then, in a time when my recovery was in it’s very early stages, and I feel very strongly that it would be detrimental to my health, but if I’d kept the same log I have now I might be able to recognise instantly the stark contrast in my mental health. Of course, it’s arguable – that if I’d kept a log back then, like I do now that perhaps my life would be very different but I also believe very strongly that it’s taken all of these incredibly small steps over the span of a year to get here at all and without them it just wouldn’t be possible.

We can’t fast forward progress, and we can’t force it. There are clear steps in any recovery that have to happen before you can continue on your way. That’s why we call them steps. It’s quite easy to visualise for example, the steps that might lead up to the second floor of your home and to accept the reality of the fact that before you can get to the tenth step, you have to make it up all the ones before that first.

Progress

I was going to come back with a huge update on my progress, but I feel like the whole thing would be very complex and complicated, long and possibly boring so I’m going to start from where I am right now.

Living in the moment is something I have being hearing here, there and everywhere at the moment, which might be because I’ve started listening, or because it really is something that’s taken a grip on the kinds of social circles I run in.

All I know is that yesterday, sat in my 14th therapy session – I understood what it felt like to be content with the way that things are right in that moment.

Getting to this point has not been an easy, or simple drive. There really was no direct route and it’s something I’ve heard all the time, both before I started to ‘get better’ and through this duration (which is by no means anywhere near it’s end, I’m completely and utterly sure!)

As always, I want to be able to write so that maybe, just maybe something I say is helpful for someone else. Our experiences are all so different, and I know that what works for me won’t necessarily work for others, but I also know that so much of the support and advice I’ve been offered over the years which worked for other people didn’t work for me. I’ll keep going on about it, mostly because it’s a part of my life and I understand it now, but the difference between a diagnosis of depression and one of Borderline Personality Disorder is one I wish someone had made for me years ago.

That there are people ‘out there’, who are just like I used to be – in a constant uphill battle with themselves trying to work out why they feel so up and down is upsetting to me when the answer could be something quite so simple. I won’t reiterate the feelings I’ve lived through from confusion as to why I could not connect with others in my experience of depression – that’s all in another blog post from months ago I’m sure.

The last month of my life has been the most successful since I returned to Melbourne well over a year ago, but that’s not to say that I didn’t have to go through the last year to get where I am now.

Since travelling, my life has been full of comparisons. Right now there’s a lot of thought in my head about where I was last year, and mostly two years ago. I try hard not to dwell on it, but it’s difficult not to get the facts straight in my head. On this day two years ago I was staying with a friend in Washington State, just over a week into my epic journey. The thoughts and feelings I had then were so incredibly different to the outcome of it all, but I don’t really regret it, and even if some part of me does I am doing my best to challenge that thought and change it.

I could get upset that I took the money and ran rather than opting to pay off my debts. (It wouldn’t have covered it). Sat here right now I can think of a hundred things that I feel I ‘should have’ done, but as part of this entire process I am learning to challenge my thoughts and ultimately be kind to myself.

I forgive myself on a day to day basis, but to manage that I had to force myself back until I was in a place where I had absolutely no expectations for myself.

It was difficult, and for a lot of the time I felt very uneasy about the path my life was taking. There are pieces of advice, and things that people say to us which stick out sometimes, and I don’t think I will ever forget the words of my GP to me whilst I was in Melbourne. After making the decision to go home and recover I went on excitedly to tell him that “and then, maybe in three years or something I’ll be back working full time.” 

He turned to me, (he’d been writing something down) and he smiled and said, “Ollie. Stop thinking about what you’re going to do, and don’t make those kinds of goals.” We talked, briefly – about this idea that making goals like that for the future were only going to set me up for disappointment.

It’s taken until now, and I mean 3 months of ‘calming down’ whilst I stayed at my Mum’s, and 10 months settling back down in Lincoln, seeking out and going through therapy to get HERE. Here is just the beginning (and even that I think I’m not really supposed to bank on) but I know that even if things dip again, I can find this place.

This place is actually pretty comfortable. It’s not about the location, but the process. Obviously.

As someone who likes to claim to be a writer, one thing I’ve made sure to do for myself is to write. I write in a diary before bed, I write a daily account of what I do by the hour (which I believe is a part of schema therapy to try and establish routine – it’s been working), I try to write 3 pages a day of whatever comes into my head (Thanks to Morning Pages) for the inspiration.

It’s only been maybe a week or two of trying to establish a routine that I’ve finally managed to accomplish these things, but the most important thing has been to forgive myself when I’ve not managed them. Even though I’d tried to brush off the things that I don’t like, I ended up bringing it up with my therapist. She asked me what the problem was with spending two of my days pretty much just watching Netflix the entire day. Asked me who I knew who didn’t like to spend their evenings watching TV sometimes, or their weekends.

Accepting that my perception of a ‘normal person’ is twisted and unacceptable is going to take a while, just like the many other perceptions that I build for myself.

For the first time in a long time, I can see results. I can see that I’m forming a better opinion of myself, moving forward and doing things that I enjoy without stressing myself out over whether I should be allowed to do them.

Tools

I’ve been using a LOT of tools to help me get to where I am now, and I wanted to share some of them with you. x

Sleep Time – An app for the phone. You set a time that you want to wake up by, and by tracking movement on your bed, the app will (do it’s best) to wake you up during your lightest sleep phase.

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Daily Activity Diary – This was given to me by my therapist, weekly. I’ve found it’s been really helpful to keep a daily log of what I’ve done – I update it at least once a day, but try to keep on top of it for a more accurate record.

Therapy – I can’t stress this enough, and it’s actually really upsetting to me when I hear that so many people are unable to access therapy. Just having someone that you see once a week is so helpful. Some useful things you can possibly do for yourself that I was asked to do by the therapist are:

  • Set a two hour window to go to bed between. (I started with 11pm – 1am, but this moved to 10pm-12pm)
  • Make sure you’re eating 3 meals a day
  • Write a list of POSSIBLE activities

Calm.com – I’ve been using this both from the website, and the app. Even after the initial 7 days of calm, there are other guided mindfulness activities you can do for free.

Be kind to yourself.

Retail Therapy

Last week turned out to be a pretty difficult one for me.

After scoring a grand total of 0 (zero) on the Department of Work & Pensions criteria for eligibility for ESA (despite scoring 20 on a PHQ9 test done with a mental health team member – within their highest bracket of depression.) I hit a low.

I won’t go into my very sore feelings about the current system, and the hoops I had to jump through just to know that there was something I could do, and no I wouldn’t be committing benefit fraud by signing on when I’m not able to work. Those are likely for another day, when I’m not in a state of flux.

No, this is about Saturday.

The story starts the night before, as so many stories do. Imagine my horror when I realised that the laptop charger for my beloved MacBook was no longer working. The white outer cable had split, exposing wires which somehow had frayed over a very short period of time. I made an executive decision there and then that tomorrow would require a trip to the StormFront shop in Lincoln.

It was a blood good job that ‘No Spend April’ had been such a beautiful success until then, because it meant I had more than enough for the £65 replacement.

Facing the crowds (it’s Lincoln, I hear you say what crowds??) wasn’t such a big deal for me when I had such a clear, and very important goal in mind. I’m not a poster child for ‘living without technology’. One day without the laptop is fine on my terms, but when the desire to do something online sets it’s difficult to handle. A lot of my current, daily goals actually actively require the use of the internet. (Funny how I managed that! =P)

I’m not going to lie, I really had to stay focused on my end goal whilst I was out. Keeping my head down and hunting for pennies to supplement this huge splurge was useful in making sure I didn’t clock each and every person around me. I dread to consider the notion that I might have completely blanked someone I knew in town. What I would say ran through my mind a fair few times, but I was on a bit of a high I felt sure I could manage.

After skulking around the desk at the Apple store, uncertain whether some of the people across at the other side were in a queue, or waiting to be seen, or being helped I quite happily took time in staring at the very thing I needed to purchase. It didn’t take long to manage to make eye contact with someone who was clearly looking for their next customer and it’s really easy to explain something when you’ve brought along the offending power cable with you.

Ten minutes and £65 later. I was a happy bunny. The status quo had been restored. My connection to the wired world was assured! Now I could happily banish all creeping fears of a day spent at my Dad’s without a laptop to the bin – no longer could they linger in the back of my mind and poke and prod, using up the resources I quite clearly needed to function properly in the rest of the day to day to and fro that needs brain power.

The trouble with being a happy bunny without care is that my mind starts doing that thing where it wanders.

I’ve been BulletJournalling on and off for a while. I started out with a gorgeous, A4, lined Kikki K number all the way from Melbourne. It lasted into the middle of February and I traded it for a wired, A5, orange covered grid notebook from Waterstones. It was supposed to be perfect. I carefully accounted for all possible difficulties. I only used one side of the page, I numbered my pages, I left space for a contents page.

Only those moleskines. With their joined up pages. There’s no worry that the pages might get caught in the spiral when you turn them.

I was on a mission.

And so, I began bimbling. It’s a dangerous thing. I ventured into Paperchase – where I purchased a reduced, new case for my phone, a cute card that was reduced, and most importantly a care for my Mum for her birthday. They’re all valid purchases! I’ve needed a phone case since I upgraded to the iPhone 5! The birthday card was well over due, and reduced cards are wonderful, aren’t they?

From there I took on WHSmith. The only place I know in Lincoln which stocks VeganLife magazine.

The next stop was Waterstones, just around the corner and would you believe it. They’ve got Gridded Moleskines, at about £2 less than Paperchase.

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Into the basket it went. (It’s a proverbial basket.)

The next stop was the post office, to send my Mum’s card – but hang on just a minute. I can’t stand there in the Post Office queue without writing in Mum’s card.

Impromptu, yet necessary stop at Costa Coffee needed! Of course. A packet of their finest (vegan!) crisps, and a large, soy chai tea latte. (and on another note – I need to get in touch with Costa on account of the fact that they no longer sell their vegan fruit crumble. :( :( :(.)

So, I sit. I drink. I write in my Mum’s card. It’s good. Great. Fabulous.

Except, whilst I’m there by Costa – I might as well pop into Holland & Barrett and see what they have for sale! More money spent.

Next stop, the post office. Finally. The card is posted! (and has three days to make it’s journey. Eep.)

I’m not done yet. Going home to an empty house just means risking the chance of upset – so I take a wander through town. Actually. I’m still kind of hungry and you know what, I haven’t been to Cafe Shanti in a while. So why not treat myself?

It’s a grave error on my part, really. Yes, I love the place. They do good food, at good prices, with wonderful staff and lovely customers.

Ruddocks is on the way.

Ruddocks have it. Ruddocks. Have. Dotted. Moleskines.

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The price doesn’t matter. The fact that no less than an hour earlier I had already purchased a gridded journal doesn’t matter. I have it in my hands. This is the thing that is going to make Ollie Bullet Journal history! Victory.

I buy it. I even enquire into whether Ruddocks can get VeganLife in, rather than have to go to money grabbing, WHSmith. (It wasn’t the best experience.)

Naturally, my journey’s last stop is Shanti. The usual of course. Vegetable Lasagne and some kind of wonderful fruit tea in the cutest tea cups.

It’s the story of how I managed to completely and utterly decimate my bank account in the space of approximately two hours.

The story of how I decided that I really don’t need the second Moleskine. (which I ended up taking out of the packaging, despite knowing I wasn’t going to use it.) It’s why I’m setting up a giveaway on the Bullet Journal Junkies Facebook page, and just maybe why you’re reading?

ACCOMPLISHMENTS! In a world of negatives.

I know that I have successfully neglected to write content for this blog for far too long now, and it feels like the only thing I have actually managed to accomplish recently. It’s not necessarily true though, is it?

It’s so important to focus on the good things. The positives. Even if you have to add copious amount of humour to try and make it easy to talk about and what not. So without further ado, I present to you!

MY LIST OF THINGS I DID BUT DIDN’T WRITE IN A TO DO LIST SO I COULD CROSS THEM OFF

  • Continued mastery of Sleeping Skills
  • Creating warm blanket cuddle pockets for cats
  • FFXIV
  • Thinking about eating healthily
  • Managing to eat a healthy, balanced meal about once every three days
  • FFXIV
  • Avengers Academy
  • I left the house one day for chips
  • I owe the guy at the chip shop 20p (Without freaking out, although I remind myself of this debt pretty much every other hour.)
  • 1 (one) load of washing
  • Saving money by only wearing pyjamas for four days straight
  • Cat cuddling
  • FFXIV
  • Live Commentary whilst watching Daredevil with housemates
  • Not eating enough apple seeds to cause cyanide poisoning. (A+++)
  • Cat communication (They only know one word, but I have found them to be very expressive in using it!)
  • Sharing hilariously cute videos on Facebook
  • Not responding to ridiculous ‘But Bacon’ arguments against veganism
  • FFXIV
  • Staying up until 3.26am to post this

 

On books

As a writer, and a part-time reader I, like so many others, love books.

There’s nothing better than a second-hand book store, or the book shelf in a charity shop, and sometimes, best of all. Sales.

I recently went to a bookseller here in the UK called Waterstones, and was delighted to find that they had three tables full of books for sale. Some of them were half-price, some of them were £5, £3 and some of them… were a whopping £1.

The best time to look at books, is when you have nothing else on your agenda. I’m really lucky in some ways that right now the last thing I need to be doing for myself is setting outrageous goals. That’s for another day (isn’t everything) though.

I think I picked up pretty much every book. If they weren’t £1 I put them down again.(I don’t have money for books right now!) Some I put back down right away because they just didn’t appeal to me, others I glanced at the blurb and set them back down, and there were a select few where I did that test – you know the one. The one where you read a few paragraphs and you’re supposed to work out by the second page whether it’s something you could keep reading or not.

Exactly five times I ended up at the end of the first chapter before I realised that not only was this definitely a book I needed to buy, but I probably needed to forget everything I’d just read because I have a SYSTEM when it comes to books. It’s like this.

HERE is a picture of the books at my bedside. These are the books I am currently reading.

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and then there’s a huge pile of books in my to-read pile.

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There’s a bigger question going on in my head right now, and the war I have with myself over it, whenever I start to think about it is pretty inconclusive every time.

What do I do with my books when I’m done with them!?

In my future, or as I like to say to a lot of my friends. “When I grow up, I want to have a house with a library and study.” In my head I have this gorgeous, perfectly lit room, with tall, second-hand bookshelves, a really comfy reading chair, and an incredibly well organised desk with an iMac and a twirly chair underneath it.

Sod the rest of it. I want a functional kitchen and a living room with a television and perhaps a PS4 (or PS10, whatever they’re on by the time I can afford something to call mine.) It’s my desperate dream to be well enough known author to live on writing alone, whether it be through book sales or free-lance work or something, idk.

ANYWAY. The problem comes at a certain point. As well as reading, and books, and writing I love BookCrossing

I absolutely love the idea of book crossing. There’s something great about knowing that you can ‘release’ a book somewhere and that someone else might enjoy it just as much as you did. Whilst I was in Melbourne, book crossing was the platform by which I discovered an amazing author, Bevan McGuiness, and without it I wouldn’t know the world of the triumvirate and that’s such a sad notion.

There’s a problem here though – and maybe you’ve noticed it yourself.

If I release these books in the wild once I’ve read them – I won’t have anything left on my shelf by the time I get those great big book shelves. Yeah, there are some books I just can’t part with. Through experience I’ve learnt that parting with my graphic novels is just a little too heart breaking, and of course there are books that particular people have bought for me that I just cannot part with. I’m a fan of getting friends to scribble a little note in the front page of books, even if it’s just the date and who gifted it to me.

Perhaps I’ll just have to be super selective about the books that I give away, but then I keep coming back to the bigger problem. What’s going to end up on my bookshelves?! I’m not even sure who my literary collection would be for. I have no intentions of having children of my own, but of course that’s not to say I won’t be that awesome ‘Auntie’ Ollie with the awesome library in her weird little house?

When I’m rich and famous maybe I’ll just be able to buy every book I’ve ever wanted, but where’s the fun in a collection that hasn’t travelled the world with you, or been carefully put together over time?

Clearly, there are just too many difficult decisions to make in life!

I’m doing it, this is really happening.

After I got my Science GCSE results back the second time around I decided that it was probably time to ditch the dream of becoming a vet. The truth was – and I knew it even back then, I just wasn’t academic enough. I’d lost interest in learning, and was spending so much time online writing in one way or another that the idea of taking classes very quickly became a joke.

I don’t think I ever managed an entire week in Sixth Form during my last year there, and when I dropped out I don’t think anyone was surprised. It’s not that I didn’t have drive though. No sooner had I dropped in to start the process at the Job Centre, less than a week later I was employed! It stayed that way for a long time until just over a year ago and at the time it was the most devastating news I’d ever been given.

It became clear to me that working with children with autism was something I was good at, and although I still stand by my belief that I could, did, and would be able to support people with autism in the future – it’s my dream job because of what it was to me in those last few weeks at work. Despite the imminent redundancy, and the constant confusion that I know recognise came with not understanding my own actions (which I strongly believe were influenced by BPD), I felt safer than I had ever done working in a class with colleagues who truly worked together.

Looking forward, at the path I want to take when I finally return to the U.K – I’m not sure that such intense, full time work will crop up so easily. I know, thanks to my new diagnosis that the things I found hard were things that people with BPD find hard. I know that I have needs as an employee that are liable to change at the drop of a hat, but I still maintain, whenever people ask me – that I would be able to work with a class if I knew that I would be working with the same set of adults and children throughout the day. I know the first few months will be hard, until I feel comfortable and get a sense of ‘knowing’ the people around me. Hopefully, with some therapy the process will take far less time, and maybe some of the more difficult parts of every day life will be easier, not just for me, but the people I have to work with.

Until then, I have found something I am enjoying just as much as I’d always hoped I would!

A career as a Freelance Writer wasn’t always in the forefront of my mind when I thought about writing as a job. I have a creative mind, and a desperate desire to write a best selling novel and I know I have the concept there, and the ability to do it. It took me a long time before I started looking into doing other work for people – and it turns out I feel pretty confident that I’m doing a good job of it. The end of this week brought with it a surprise request for not one, but five articles. It’s the start of something that I hope continues, but the only way is up when the work starts to come in!

I’ve handed in the work that was due, and am currently hanging on to find out my client’s thoughts and feelings about the work I’ve done – but I don’t feel as anxious as I thought I might in this type of circumstance. I offered my continued work – should what I produced not come to any standards and at the end of the day it’s just a person on the internet, and not someone I would have to work with on a daily basis and fear that something I say or do might make them angry/frustrated/upset/worried/concerned.

To feel confident in my ability to say to someone, ‘Yeah, I’m a writer.’ is a feeling I’m proud of, and although it might not stick with me come the morning (because it seems increasingly true that when the highs come that little higher than usual it’s because there’s a low coming right after.), right now I feel like I could confidently express myself as being a writer. A published author in fact!

Here’s hoping things keep moving on in the same way.

Edit: Because just look at those reviews!

I should be writing.

It’s been three weeks since I turned up in Cold Bay, and since then I’ve had hardly anything to worry about – at least in as much as I don’t have to worry about getting anything done to be particularly functional. I’ve been really lucky to have this opportunity and it’s done a whole lot of ‘good’ for me in ‘getting over’ my thoughts.

I’ve stopped thinking about things that usually ‘bother’ me during the night, I’ve stopped obsessively trying to make as much money online as possible, I’ve stopped obsessing over being online and stopped worrying about what’s going to ‘happen’ when I get home. Basically, I’ve managed to find a place where I’m pretty calm.

Right now, it’s calm and there’s been a bunch of stuff on the TV just now about what it is to fail, and the people who are household names now who faced failure and job loss and loads of rejection from various sources. It’s pretty inspiring but I feel like I need to be focusing myself to work toward something positive.

So now I’m trawling through the internet for tips on staying motivated, finding motivation and keeping it long enough to find success. I’m already thinking about the things I need to do ‘right now’. There’s a desk in the room I’ve stolen from my Step Dad until I leave which I know I could use better than I am doing now. There’s plenty of space and it’s not going to be hard to set up something for every day that’s a clear, calm space!

Often I get moments of inspiration, and it’s usually at the most inappropriate time – you know, like when you’re juuuuust about to fall asleep and you start writing lines and lines and lines in your head and you know you’re going to forget all about them come the morning but you don’t have the energy to get up and write. Mum suggested I keep a book by my desk to write, and that seems like the most logical thing to do! Why haven’t I done it yet? Good question.

Next, I’ll be looking out for an interesting website or forum to start picking ideas up from, and try not to get side-tracked wanting to create my own website for just that reason. There are always so many things that threaten to distract me.

Until then, I’ll mention the location of my writing ‘services’ again; here. Five Squid

Watch this space! =D

The Liebster Award

liebster

The Liebster Award is designed to recognise new bloggers, or ‘undiscovered’ blogs with fewer subscribers

These are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Display the logo for the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Nominate up to 10 other bloggers

Okie dokie, first thing’s first – I want to thank Amelia over at Borderline Amelia for the nomination. =D It’s nice to be on your list.

The Questions:

1.) If you could be famous for one thing, what would you like it to be?

Well this is easy! I’ve always wanted to be known for my writing. Being an author has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember and I’m already half-way there I suppose. =P

2.) Do you have an all-time favourite song?

Oh boy this is a tricky one. I have a LOT of favourite songs, bands and singers and music is one of those topics that I’m so broad about there’s no specific genre that suits me either. There is one song that springs to mind, however, because I love it for a few reasons. Tomorrow is Another Day by Modestep is going to have to be my answer. One of those songs that you can take meaning from and also just listen to like you would any other song.

3.) If they started selling a flying car, would you buy it?

Pwahahahaha! No! Are you kidding??? It’s bad enough the amount of ridiculous driving people manage now and the number of lives people risk every day on the ground without adding so many more dimensions to it. It’s a sweet concept, it really is but no.

4.) How much time do you spend writing blog posts? Do you just write and publish, or do you spend a while perfecting each post?

I have no patience. I’m a blog-and-go type of girl. I have ALWAYS had a problem trying to perfect the things I’ve written and even when I’m writing essays for courses now I can never manage to proof read, and often even when I have someone on the sidelines waiting to read something over for me I post it ahead of time anyway! It’s probably the biggest thing I need to tackle as a writer. I have a novel written, but every time I so much as look at it I shudder. I know I can write better but it’s tedious to go through the whole thing to edit it. Someday, I’ll have to manage it, else I’ll never be as successful as I’d like to be.

5.) Do people in your ‘real life’ know about, or read, your blog?

For a long time, especially as a child my online life was very separate from my real life. Now I just keep it all out in the open for everyone to see. I worry – because I know that I can be very one-sided about things, and especially because of the way that I write sometimes I can ‘say’ things online that I don’t mean in the way it reads. The other day my Mum told me that the friend she was talking to on Skpye asked her to tell me that I should keep writing and she likes the way I write so…

I guess I’m going to keep writing and not mind too much who is reading along.

My Nominations

This is the tricky part.

This blog is so new that I’m not following many people at all. I’m going to add nominations as I go. =D

Writing, Publishing, and Feedback!

Years and years ago, I used to write on an incredibly regular basis – back when my job was just a job and I wasn’t nearly as emotionally invested in the place I worked and the children I worked with.

Remembering a time when I used to churn out a whole chapter in only an hour or two seems ridiculous now, but on reflection I suppose the quality of that writing just went to show how much time I’d poured into it. Coming up with the plot was easier then, it didn’t matter what people thought of it.

However, the response I got to the stuff that I was churning out was awesome! I definitely miss the thrill of posting a chapter on Fictionpress and as early as the very next morning, someone would have left a review or a comment somewhere to insist that I continue the story and make sure I did this, or that.

If I thought that it wasn’t breaking all kinds of copyright rules, and wouldn’t lead to some sort of plagiarism I’d be more than happy to post like that again. At least, once someone had proof read it first. I’m still rubbish at proof reading my own things, and even when I do my damnedest to make sure I’ve corrected every possible mistake they seem to slip through the net with alarming ease.

Getting feedback is something that certainly positively affects my ability to get right down to it and write. Whether positive or negative, whilst you’re in the process of creating something it’s always helpful to have someone, even anonymously giving pointers and offering advice and direction. The first novel I published through fictionpress was probably directed by the comments far more than I recall myself – but that was such a long time ago, I can’t quite remember the details exactly!

I’m sat here considering the pros and cons of offering access to a password protected area to ‘publish’ chapters online, chapter by chapter. Of course, there’s the fact that Kindle offers the very prompt uploading of new versions of a story, that it would be quite easy to simply add another chapter every time it’s written.

Suddenly I have another avenue which I am keen to explore!