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I noticed something kind of odd the other night while I was shovelling chips into my mouth and looking forward to sitting down properly so that I can demolish the burger that was in my bag standing around the geography section of Waterstones Piccadilly.

I was feeling very creatively inspired.

Not even to write anything in particular, but in a general sense. I just wanted to walk a little further down, take a seat in that cafe (which I love) and start writing. I mean it was a work day and a Friday night so I had nothing on me but my phone that I could write on/with and so the urge was kind of pointless but it was there anyway. I think it’s what inspired me to write Saturday’s post in about 15 minutes because the words just flowed quite easily.

This isn’t the first time this has happened either. I found myself in there a couple of weekends ago and wrote two posts in a hour that I had been struggling with for days at that point. And I was feeling so creatively pumped that I was convinced that I was gonna go home and continue with that and surprise I did not because it just wasn’t the same.

And it was only when it happened again on Friday night that I realised that a part of me was putting off writing and stuff because I was waiting for the moment that I would feel inspired to do so. Let’s be real, that gets you nowhere.

I haven’t really been inspired to write for weeks now, maybe even months. It comes in burst sure, but I am so easily distracted that when I move away to do a bit more research to get to the bottom of this idea and have it be somewhat realistic I end up in some kind of Wikipedia hole that becomes a YouTube hole and then the inspiration is gone and the thing is usually mid sentence and I have no idea where I was going.

But I’m not really going to get anywhere with it if I am waiting for those small burst of inspiration that hardly ever come. Or when they do it’s at really inconvenient times like when I’m working out, or in the shower or walking to the station and don’t really have the time to slow my walk down which is what always happens whenever I start using my phone. And I can’t rely on one specific Waterstones to always be on my side, because it just the one. I’ve been in others and only felt inspired to buy alllll the books.

I’m writing this post in bed surrounded by two massive piles of books on either side of me because I’m running out of storage for them and so they are the only place I can put them now, but my point is I am surrounded by literature. And I guarantee that none of the books staring me in the face every time I wake up were written only when the author felt inspired to do so. No, they were written because words were put on a page and then those words were edited and edited and edited until they formed the book that is now on my desk and my bedside table.

All this to say that I really need to stop just waiting for inspiration to strike me to write the thing, because that hardly comes and the idea is in my head. And so, I just really need to start writing the thing, hating the thing and then editing the thing. And then maybe, just maybe I can finish the thing…

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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Final 2017 Check In

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So 2017 has well and truly come to a close even though it’s only been 3 days since the clock ticked over to midnight signalling a new year, but as such I am due a final check in from my 2017 ‘Intentions’. As I mentioned in Checkpoint 5 this one will just be a quick summary of the year as I went quite in depth in that one.

Without further ado, let’s wrap last year up:

1) Take Better Care of My Hair – This has moved along fine. I am getting another hair cut at some point this month because you gotta cut it to get that length. I’m keeping it moisturised and super hydrated. I’ve just gotta keep this up, but I’ve got into a routine with it and so I consider this one a success

2) Take Better Care of My Skin –  I’ve been using Glossier for two months now and my skin feels a lot better hydrated. I’ve dropped tea tree oil from routine completely and haven’t really noticed that much of a difference. I still keep getting breakouts on my forehead but they clear up pretty quickly and I’m currently pretty happy with where I’ve got my routine to.

3) Tone The Hell Up – I never really got my diet back under control and then December hit and then it just all got worse. Not massively or anything, but yeah the diet overhaul that starts next week (because nothing happens in the first week of the year in my life) will be real. Also going to look at my workout breakdown week on week and see what I can change there. Mainly looking at how I can get Pilates/Yoga back into my routine.

4) Start Saving Properly – No, this ended badly. But yeah, this year will be the year.

5) Get Better Organised – This has rolled over into this year. It would be nice to know that it’s a habit come summer to be honest. I’m aiming for it earlier.

6) Try And Be More Creative/Just Write More – I’ve kind of made my peace with where I’m at with this one. It’s been a bit of a mess for the most part but I’m at peace with its status. I’m going to get back to it a bit more this year mainly because I want to finish a couple of things to be tied up and done.

And that’s my final check in for 2017. I can actually only cross two off the list completely and consider them to be habits, which is a third of them…ah well.

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!


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Alright, Let’s Do This?

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All the way back in October (I think, it was around the for sure I guess, it had to be before November at least) I declared my intentions to attempt Nano last month.

And so I went in with the best of intentions and had all these plans and all that jazz and then like clockwork, and seriously there was a part of me that always expected this to happen, I lost all motivation.

All of it.

Any creative buzz I felt buzzing underneath my skin and settling into my bones in the months prior to that just faded away without a trace.

I got just under 6,000 words.

And they all happened within the first week.

I think.

I kind of lost track of it all to be honest.

All I know is that after about two weeks I did not look at the document once.

It was open, I cast a glance to the tab pretty much every day. I looked at the website a couple of times after that (I think). I just sort of fell all the way off the wagon.

In the past when I’ve done that I have felt super guilty because I felt like it’s just a month of my life and it’s just 50,000 words. If I got into a habit with it then really doing that many words a day isn’t really that hard. I do that usually anyway what with writing posts up for here and everything. But I just don’t do that when it comes to Nano.

I have done a couple of times, but for the most part I just go in relatively blind which is kind of pointless. And I spend a lot of time playing catch up. Which is exactly as difficult as you think it would be. Rolling word counts are a bitch. They are my enemy. We do not get along.

And we really fell out this year.

I kind of didn’t care.

I didn’t feel bad about it.

Work got stressful last month and it’s still stressful. I found myself falling into Netflix binges and YouTube vortexes, I spent a lot of time writing blog posts instead and working out and reading and all that other stuff.

And I didn’t look at the document at all after a while. And I didn’t care.

The desire has not yet returned to start writing again. I’m mainly just focusing on keeping on top of things and finishing up that reading list of mine, which I am still currently on track with and for some reason am still surprised by.

But I’m not worried about it.

I’ve realised that I’ve come to a point with things where I just accept that sometimes the desire is there and sometimes it hibernates. I’ve just got to go with it and not stress about it because that makes it all the worse and that benefits no-one, especially me.

I will look at the document at some point and I will address the fact that I currently have two different novels on the go and neither of them have fully formed plots as of yet, the middles are just kind of murky. I will get to that.

I don’t know when. But I will…

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

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Checkpoint 5

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This check in is late I think…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I honestly cannot figure out the timings of it. I’m pretty sure it’s late. It should have happened last month but November was otherwise engaged and so it has to open December, which is gonna be festive-ish I guess. I’m not a big Christmas person until it gets to about the 20th and then I’m over it come the 27th. That’s it, you kinda get festive me for about a week, but during that week I go hardLike, I wear a Christmas jumper every day and always buy a new one to wear on the day.

This is kind of festive themed I guess. I mean it’s terrifyingly reaching the end of the year and this is the time where people start looking back at what they had intended to do for the year and seeing whether they’ve achieved it or not. This isn’t quite closing out the whole year because I wrote it up when it was supposed to be written but have only just had an opening to post it, the final check in will come some time in January when I do a 2018 version of this, but this is the last comprehensive update of the year. So without further ado:

1) Take Better Care of My Hair – There’s not really much more that I can do with this one. I had my second haircut of the year back in July and I am due another one in January (hell yeah perks of having hair that only needs two haircuts a year). I continue to wash, condition and deep condition my hair each week. Which is arguably kind of pointless given that during this season so far (meaning winter) and the fact that I work out 5 times a week it spends most of its time tied up. But it remains moisturised and there is some length coming to it and it’s plodding along. Leave in conditioners are my friends and I’m always trying new shampoos and new hair masks. I’m kind of done with this one. It’s become a habit at this point.

2) Take Better Care of My Skin –  Okay, so I have moved away from Lush products since the last check in. This happened mainly so I could see what Glossier hype was all about. I’ve got a full post coming about this later this week but it’s come with a new cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. My skin is looking less oily which is good, but the breakouts are still there and I can’t quite figure out why they are happening. I really need to get back to cleaning my face with Dark Angels once a week again for an extra exfoliating kick mid week but I keep forgetting. I mean I’m not treating my skin badly or anything, it’s just decided to go through a second puberty.

3) Tone The Hell Up – Look at some point in October my diet fell to shit and for some reason it now ebbs and flows. I’m not beating myself up about or anything and I kind of make up for it by regularly working out and stuff so I don’t feel bad about it or anything, but I really need to start shaping up with that again. Diet is like half the battle with this one. The exercise is routine now. It happens 5 times a week, I do cardio twice a week, I lift once a week, I do some bodyweight stuff that is basically just planks and squats and I do barre because nothing burns quite like the barre burn. Physically I have baby biceps that come out to play now and I can lift weights now which is changing things slightly and like, I have the hints of abs and my legs are hella toned. Did I do that for the aesthetics? Hell no. I did it to get stronger, to get moving, to help cope with my every day stresses and just really sweat the day away. But the aesthetics of it isn’t a bad thing. We’re approaching Christmas at this point, and while I’m not going to go crazy I’m kind of not naive enough to think that I’m going to completely overhaul my diet in amongst alllll the food. So this will trickle over into a 2018 goal.

4) Start Saving Properly –  Look, this has not gone well this year. It just hasn’t. But I think this is good. It’s forced me to really assess the whole situation properly and truly look at better ways to be saving money and how to get everything under control. So yeah, this has failed. In so many damn ways. But it can only go up from here.

5) Get Better Organised – The diary I bought does get used. But again, it remains super sporadic. It’s habit that I’v never had before and trying to get into one is proving hard for me. I’m choosing Sundays as the day where I sit down and just plan things out. And then I need to keep referring to it. In a similar way to how I do a face mask every Sunday and go through the hair washing process on a Monday, I just need to form a habit of it. And I have the motivation for it, so it’s getting there.

6) Try And Be More Creative/Just Write More – I’ve learned this year that I need to not force this. I need to just let it do what it wants to do. And some days it wants to write 3,000 words in a day and others it wants to write 0. I need to learn to fall into this and not feel bad or feel like a failure when I don’t. I also need to not just let myself fall into a habit where I do not write anything for days on end. It’s just kind of frustrating the way it works, but I need to stop worrying about that. I also think that I am going to start making a habit of just writing for half an hour each night, and not just for this blog but outside of it. It’s just half an hour and yeah sometimes that half hour will fly by in a flurry or words and sometimes it won’t. I just need to roll with it and not fight it. My NaNo attempt was behind from day 2 and it sucked, but it wasn’t the end of the world and realising that lifted a huge weight that I hadn’t even known I was carrying.  So yeah, I have written more and I’ve also not, but this is a ongoing thing for me and I have written a lot of stuff so I consider it a win.

And that is the 5th and final full check in for my 2017 goals for the year. Some have been good, some have been truly ignored and nothing has come from them. Some of them are ongoing beyond just this year and this was just the foundation for them.

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!


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Letters to Autumn 28

Letters to Autumn 28

Dear Autumn,

Remember that fucking story that I kept talking about and kept saying how I wanted to work on it next month for NaNo?

Yeah, I do too.

And yet at some point on Thursday morning I got hit with this new idea. One that seemed to hum away and not leave me alone for the whole day. It wasn’t one of those ideas that I had, thought might have been a good idea and then let it slip into the mess that is my thoughts. No it was one of those ideas that stuck.

That decided that it might maybe have some legs to run with. And it is completely different to the original thing that I am STILL working on…

Where is has come from, I honestly could not tell you. Well, maybe I could, but I didn’t think it would get the mental momentum that it did. And I find myself trying to just push it to the back burner because I have whole other thing that I want to focus on, but it’s just there.

Niggling away at me to the point where I am now apparently going to spend my weekend planning it out. And I mean starting from the bulbs that need planting in order to see some roots grow and flowers bloom kind of planning out. There are no real characters here bar the one who started this whole mess.

I don’t know where or when it’s set. I have a vague idea of what the fucking plot is. But it’s super vague. It’s not even a backbone. It’s like one femur (is that the one in you leg… or your arm. I could Google it. I should Google it) and then one of those tiny bones in your foot or ear. It’s almost nothing. I don’t know who any of the characters there are. Or how many there are. I don’t even know how old these people are.

It’s mildly terrifying that I seem to be itching to do this.

But then I’m also kind of excited about it…I’ve gone mad.


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Letters to Autumn 23

Letters to Autumn 23

Dear Autumn,

I’ve been back to my regular life for a week now and in a manner that surprised nobody really, least of all me, I fell straight into a creative slump. As in I didn’t write anything for the entire week.

I mean I finished a letter that I was halfway through writing and then I opened this one and just didn’t look at it. It remained a completely blank page up until Saturday when I realised that I was running out of the cushion that I had so well created for myself last week.

I mean I did start something on Friday lunchtime because it was buzzing around in my head but it ran of steam very quickly because it was never really a fully formed being and like I said it was lunchtime and I had to actually get back to work. The stupid idea had already caused me to lunch at my desk which I kind of hate doing…but have done 3 times these week.

But other than that 200 or so words and a paragraph for a letter I wrote a fat load of nothing.

I kind of fell back into that bad habit that I complained about on some level earlier in the month. And I expected myself to fall back into this habit which is the worse part of it all. I knew that as I fell back into my normal routine after 5 days of relative laziness that there would be a huge adjustment period because I just wouldn’t have the energy to try and produce the way that I did last week. And I’m trying not to let the fact that I’ve done this get me down.

However, it has now left me in a position where I ideally I want to wrap some stuff up before the end of the month and I now only have a week to do that because I’ve just thrown last week away.

So this week is basically now going to be just writing up book reviews, getting back to my actual reading list for the year (because the number of books that I am ahead of schedule for has dwindled a little and it’s making me panicky…not really, but yeah) and starting to get a plan together for next month because I have that small task of trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Damn, writing it down has really made it real. Better get to it.


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Still Talking About It

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I do not know how many times I have talked about creativity in my life on this blog, but it’s been a lot and I can’t imagine that I am going to stop any time soon because it continues to be a thing that plagues me. It’s like this friend that you know you should maybe cut out of your life but also want to impress it immensely and so you clutch on to it in a bid to impress it. And so you find yourself in this weird cycle that seems almost to break out of.

This is relevant to something I swear.

I went through this phase in August when I was just super creative and words just flowed out of me and I ended up with a document that housed nearly 15,000 words of workable material. It was great. Then that all just dried up and I stopped being able to actually produce a sentence.

Okay, obviously I am being dramatic, but I did stop looking at the document for a while and then I stopped having ideas related to it and it all just kind of dimmed out and I accepted that the fickle friend I call my creativity had just sort of left me.

Then, because I’m an idiot, I had a book delivered to the wrong Waterstones and so had to schlep my ass to Piccadilly Circus to collect. And because I was making the trip up there anyway I decided that I might as well just sit in their downstairs cafe and see what happens (and try not to buy anymore books, which I failed at because I am weak and some books are just too pretty to say no to…). And well, I finally finished something that I was arguably supposed to have written a week ago and just couldn’t get down onto the page.

And that was all well and good and then just as I started to eat a blueberry muffin (which was the first one I had had in ages and I forgot how much I loved them) I finally had a new thought and opened up an old word document and then just found myself writing. A sustained idea. That actually made sense and slotted into the general arc that I have vaguely planned for this thing.

I typed out everything that I had in my head and then discovered that it sort of trickled out in a place that I can go back to when I go back to it. Which wasn’t yesterday like I had planned when I came home, but is something that feels to be on the horizon.

This also isn’t the first time that this has happened to me once I walk into the hallowed halls of that building (it’s next door to a church, this almost works). And it makes perfect sense that creativity just starts flowing when you’re surrounded by other peoples’ work that has made it’s way into the world. It’s kind of hard not to be inspired there. And basically it came at time when I really needed it because I was reaching a point when I was almost frustrated at my lack of productivity.

It just seems a little inconvenient that whenever I find myself in a massive rut that I just have to make an hour (or so) trip to a giant bookshop (where temptation is rife) and just eat cake and drink coffee. Although I do love spending time in there.

By the way, I am totally aware that this is most definitely psychological and that it would definitely work if I just got out of the house and go somewhere else, but I am a cliche and a sucker for working in cafes and the like because a part of my brain switches on and I get shit done. I’m gonna have to travel for that anyway, might as well travel to one of my favourite places in the world.

And now I have something to work with again and somewhere to go and a renewed passion for this project. Although I am still also putting off the inevitable when it comes to planning out the nitty gritty of it all still…I’ll save that for another day.

For now though, I’m gonna go to cardio barre and work on this scene a bit more once that is done.

And thank the Waterstones gods for their cafe and the injection of creativity.

I swear I might stop talking about creativity one day. I doubt it though…

Parentheses count: 4. See you tomorrow!

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