Pushing Through Doubt

Some days, writing seems so easy and the feeling of having something to say carries you through the tiredest moments. These days are ones I struggle with, when I can’t seem to locate my motivation, either through sheer lack of energy or the constant fear of not being good enough or worth reading.

Self-doubt is one of the biggest factors in not meeting your full potential, simply because you can’t fathom what that potential is or don’t see it as something within reach. I think a lot of creative people probably struggle with this. We like to consider ourselves as these agonised beings, struggling through sufferance. When often we can be our own biggest problem. Some things I’ve tried to try and push past these thoughts of fear or doubt:

  • Removing myself from the environment – going for a shower, run or even just moving to a different space.
  • Collaboration – talking things through with people can help reassure
  • Positive reinforcement – combining a known strength with something you’re less sure about and hopefully reinforce a positive attitude
  • Making mistakes – sometimes the only way to learn is to try

Today, I struggled with what to write about. Tomorrow, I might look back and just think this is a load of waffle. But the important thing right now is that I stuck to a commitment of blogging regularly.

Tomorrow I’m taking a trip to the hospital before work, so I might introduce you all to my health issues and how I deal with them on a daily basis.

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Tiny Writing No. 1

Today I am feeling pretty uninspired and kind of exhausted, so I thought the best way to try and get out of that funk would be to try some writing prompts. I then thought this could be a fun little series that I dip in and out of going forward when I have the urge to post something but can’t figure out what I want to write about. This is taken from the 642 tiny things to write about book.

The prompt…

The first or last paragraph of the book you lack the courage to publish 

(This is kind of cheating as I’m going to put up a few paragraphs – it’s also an updated version of something I wrote for Almost Amazing Grace)

 

The change was never something I anticipated. It just happened one night.

It was kind of like an out of body experience. One moment I was sitting on my bed flipping through a bio-analytics textbook, the next my skin began to bubble, my bones shifted and my muscles burned spasmodically. There’s nothing quite like the sound of your own bone cracking. I’ve come to decipher between a clean break, an egregious snap, and the crunch of the irreversible. And yet, my body always bounced right back.

There are very few things that can make you feel both mesmerically euphoric and utterly trivialised. That was how I felt right now, in this moment, with my body grinding against at least half a dozen strangers. Sweat and ragged breath filling the air as we move through it. And yet, the rhythm of the music that surrounded everyone overrides any politically correct daylight standards. The fact that I was on my fourth Bacardi and coke added to the confidence of my shapeshifting. Not a person, a fluid soul that rasped at the body without sound. Music fed the soul that alcohol famished – a perfectly executed cycle. My skin crawled with the vibrations of the bass and the melody echoed through my own vocal chords. The words burned my throat and I could anticipate the hoarse conversations I would fail to have the following day. But in that moment, the unfaltering fact was: I. Did. Not. Care.

The nights were the worst. Not knowing if I was going to get my regular hours or if I’d spend the time writhing in pure agony and wake up with gaps in my memory. But then those breaks disappeared; I wished they hadn’t.

Vivid flashes of pounding against the ground; waking up to find leaves in my hair. None of it made sense, until it did. Then the shedding began. At that point, I really couldn’t deny it anymore. I still didn’t want to believe it.

People that say they can’t dance are liars. They just haven’t found the right music to suit their body. For me, there’s nothing better than the pacing build of a song just before the hook, where the room spins with drunken delight. Swinging your hips like nobody’s watching, because the odds are… nobody is watching. Everyone else is too absorbed in their own euphoria to pay attention to the way your heels click against the springboard or how many inches your arse is from the floor. Unless, of course, their sole aim is to do just that. Those are the ones you have to keep your guard up for.

It was getting more frequent and I didn’t know how to control it. I watched as my skin flecked with fur, a periwinkle grey.

 

And that’s all I have for you tonight!

Hope you enjoyed it!

 

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Gritty Love: A Poem

I’ve been reading a lot more poetry recently. I used to digest it endlessly in my teens and I went through a phase of also writing it whenever I had a spare moment. I wrote so much that for a long time I thought I’d exhausted my poetic thoughts. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that poetry came back into my life and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Small Press – Big Ideas

Howdy y’all,

Day 5 and going strong. Today I thought I would share a few small publishers that I’ve heard a lot about recently and think that they could do with a shout out. In case you don’t know yet (have you been living under a rock?!) I work in the publishing industry – I dig books pretty hard. And if you’re unfamiliar with the lay of the publishing land there are a handful of larger publishers, like Penguin Random House, Hachette Livre, Harper Collins etc that have lots of publishing houses within them and then there are a whole host of indie publishers. I’m going to flag some of the smaller emerging companies who I think are working on some exciting new projects and you should keep an eye on.

 

404 Ink

Run by two incredible women Lauren Jones and Heather McDaid, 404 Ink is a literary magazine and book publisher, who have so far publisher two issues of their magazine and a collection of essays by women, Nasty Women, and Hings a shot story collection by Scottish writer Chris McQueer. They accept open submissions for the magazine of fiction and non-fiction with a set theme for each.

 

Trigger Press

A fledgling publisher dedicated specifically to publishing books around the subject of mental health. I’m a big advocate of speaking about mental health and set up the Mental Health Awareness Readathon a few years ago. So to see this subject being the sole focus of a publisher is something I’m really glad about. (Also totally not biased but two lovely people I know work there and they will work the butts off to make sure the books are awesome).

 

Three of Cups

A new micropublisher (every thing micro is exciting) dedicated to giving a voice to those not conventionally heard in the media. They are currently crowdfunding for their first publication, an anthology called On Anxiety and surpassed their goal yesterday with incredible speed! I suggest you check it out asap.

 

Dome Press

The latest venture from publishing industry all-star David Headley, founder of Goldsboro books and DHH Literary Agency, their focus is to champion great storytelling. With David’s firm grasp on the industry I have not doubt this with me another bow to his string and I look forward to seeing the new talent that emerges and how the press will integrate with the other businesses.

 

There are always new and exciting innovations happening in the industry and I urge you all to check out these guys and support their endeavours! And if you know of any other new presses popping up be sure to tweet me over @HowlingReviews

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You can take the girl out of Hull…

When did you shift from being home to ‘my parents’ house’? When did my room become the spare room; my keys, the spare set? The sheets are dusty with my four-month-old aroma. When I walk through the door, the hardened exterior that weighs on my shoulders cascades to the ground and I can breathe in the familiarity.

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What I’m Reading Right Now

I’ve spent a lot of time this year moving about from place to place and I really started to lose the value of just losing myself in a good book. As I mentioned back in May, when I’m going through a period of sad, I either block the world out completely with books or I won’t touch them.

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Email Bankruptcy; among other things…

Email bankruptcy is a term that I’d never heard of until earlier this week when a friend of mine did exactly this. She deleted all emails past a certain date and then went through and deleted or sorted the rest of them.

Part of getting back into the swing of things, naturally means getting organised. There’s so many things that I’ve been procrastinating and putting off for silly  (and quite frankly lazy) reasons. I won’t bother to bore you with the minutiae of why, but I thought it might be a good exercise for myself to list some of the things I want to start doing. Partially to improve my self-care but also so I can start endeavouring to be happier in my own time.

This starts, ever so blandly, with sorting out my email inbox. The way I communicate is solely digital, so to have 13,655 unread emails in my inbox, it’s quite a harrowing task to have to go through all of them. But, let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of self-satisfaction when you sit back and look at the blank screen.

 

It seem daft to think that something so small could make this much of an impact on my life but I’m hoping that this will kick start a more proactive approach to the way I communicate and that this will continue to barrel roll into other aspects of my life.

What this really all boils down to is habits. Building something into my routine that I otherwise wouldn’t give the time of day. I need to practice better habits in the hope of taking better care of myself. I learnt the hard way that you really can only rely on yourself to strive and push yourself to be your best self. No one is going to come and do that for you.

It’s time to stop sitting at the sidelines of my own life and take control.

I’m very conscious that deleting a few emails does not a change of life direction make and that this probably sounds a little ridiculous. But this is the catalyst to a more proactive attitude to making this happen.

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Bullet Journal Basics – Equipment and Essential Spreads

Bullet Journal Basics: Equipment and essential spreads

A while ago I came across the fascinating cult that is the Bullet Journal phenomenon. For anyone who hasn’t heard of this; firstly, where have you been?! Secondly, you can find out all about it from the original creator Ryder Carroll.

I’ve always found that my diaries and to do lists never quite fit with exactly what I wanted from a planner. When I came across the bullet journal, I was thrilled to try out something different and the dozens of Pinterest boards about the boundless possibilities of spreads, I was hooked!

This post is to show you all how I’ve been using my bullet journal and the basics that you need to get started.

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