Reader, I’ve Moved…

I live in the South of England now. Shamefully, it’s been at least a month since I updated here with a ‘real’ blog post. Not that book posts aren’t ‘real,’ but we all know you’re here for the nitty gritty and constant drama that I bring to the blogging world (I joke).

Blogging has taken a major backseat for me recently, not least because I’ve been busy with ~life things~ but also I’ve just not been feeling it, you know? Social media has felt like a chore and while I have been writing, I’ve had zero inspiration for blog posts.

The fabulous Amy wrote this post last week which couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I had already been planning a similar post but Amy got there first so that’s one less job for me to do.

But like Amy, I want to get back to basics with my blog. I want you to see the things I love and I want to continue to write these rambling stream of consciousness posts because 1) they seem to do well and 2) more importantly, they’re my favourite to write.

Having also moved to a totally new part of the country, I have so many things to share about the wonderful places (read: coffee shops) I’m visiting. I’ve also taken up a couple of new hobbies that I want you to see a lot more of on here so watch this space.

Until later,

Rachel

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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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Twitter Etiquette and Why I’m Sick of the Blogosphere

I’ve been a little down on blogging recently. I thought it was a lack of motivation or that I had nothing to say but I’ve noticed it’s actually more about the blogging community. Feel free to eye roll because goddamn how many times do we bloggers get on our high horses about this?

I started blogging a little less than two years. In that time my blog has gone from being solely about mental health to more of a mix of lifestyle, mental health and general wellbeing with the odd book review for good measure. I’m so pleased and grateful for how my blog has grown over the last two years. I never imagined that anyone would read it let alone be publishing blog posts out to 5,000 Twitter followers.

But in a way I yearn for the days when I had a couple of hundred people following me because I know that I was braver with my content. I was happier to tweet my opinions because I wasn’t scared of people smacking me down in an instant. The other day I was out with a blogging friend for coffee and we talked about how we often felt scared of posting things online in case they offended someone or triggered an argument. As a quiet person, the internet has given me a platform for sharing my opinions. It has given me a place to be able to articulate my feelings before saying them, to discuss differing opinions with others and most importantly to learn from others. But in recent months, social media, Twitter in particular, feels like a breeding ground for anger, wild goose chases and hostility.

There appears to be a belief on the internet that “calling people out” is okay. It’s an almost daily occurrence on my timeline that someone will post a tweet, someone else will take offence, share it around, and before you know it, the whole blogosphere is talking about ‘drama’. Then of course, the buzzword ‘bullying’ will crop up and there’ll be yet more #drama about whether it is or isn’t bullying and why and why not we shouldn’t be throwing that term around.

What happened to polite discourse? When did we all turn into animals lashing out before re-reading to see if you’ve misunderstood or if someone has just made a throwaway comment. Twitter is a great platform for educating people and if I said something offensive then I’d be more than happy for someone to correct me on it, politely, preferably in a private message. Not retweeting the comment with a eye roll emoji and an explanation as to why it shouldn’t have been said.

Nobody is perfect and we all say things online that we shouldn’t. But sometimes we say things online that we didn’t even know we shouldn’t. There’s a fine line between pointing something out to someone and going out of your way to embarrass and upset someone in return. And the blogosphere just doesn’t seem to be getting that balance right.

People shouldn’t be scared to post their opinions, or to post anything in fact. Sometimes I spend far too long editing a tweet to make sure that it can’t be misconstrued into something that will upset someone. Maybe you could say I shouldn’t be so bothered about it. Why am I getting into such a tizz over the possibility of someone reading my tweet and being offended by it? But right now, for me, it’s not really about that.

It’s about this gang mentality of taking sides where sides don’t need to be taken. I really don’t think any one person should be telling anyone else what to do or say or believe. Sure, we can suggest that a specific tweet might be taken the wrong way but going around thinking everyone needs educating because they don’t share your opinion is patronising, not to mention rude.

This was basically a big ramble because I don’t have any answers except to say maybe we could all try to be a little kinder and not jump to conclusions so quickly. Because that’s the only way I can see the blogosphere improving its community right now.

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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Favourite Bloggers 2017 #3

It’s time for 5 more of my favourite bloggers! Check out parts 1 and 2 here!

Vee Wilde

Vee is basically just really cool. She’s a fifth of the best Whatsapp group on the planet and posts are always really interesting and unlike much you see elsewhere in the blogosphere. I love how individual Vee is and her Instagram is total goals.

Fave Post of 2017:

Oh Where The Craft Would Take Me is my favourite of Vee’s post this year. I know nothing about Wiccan or witches so I love learning about it through Vee. This particular post was my favourite because I really want to visit more places in the UK next year so this gave me some inspiration.

Abbey Louisa Rose

There aren’t many people that I would happily have stay in my flat without ever having met them but I took the plunge with Abbey because she didn’t seem like a murderer and luckily I was right. Abbey is the most kind hearted, intelligent and hard working blogger. Everything Abbey writes is so well thought out and her posts are always so professional.

Fave Post of 2017:

On Being Unfashionable was my favourite post from Abbey this year. It really spoke to me, having never been into what was fashionable but still liking clothes. Also the photographs are the cutest!

Rebecca Moynihan

I met Rebecca for the first time in November last year and just under a year later we spent a weekend away in Edinburgh. Rebecca’s blog is incredibly relatable, always intelligent and has the most beautiful photography. Basically she’s just the best.

Fave Post of 2017:

Can I choose them all? No but seriously it’s so hard to choose my favourite of Rebecca’s posts because they’re just all so good. One of my favourites is Allowing yourself to be emotional because I totally understand the sentiment of this post and I think it’s really inspiring.

Sian Blogs

Sian is another incredibly kind and intelligent blogger that I love following. I met up with Sian last month and we ate burgers and milkshakes which was all kinds of wonderful. Sian’s blog is one of my favourites because it’s really unique. So many blogs feature long form posts and whilst I love that, I also love Sian’s shorter posts, like her photo diaries and 5 Rad Things series.

Fave Post of 2017:

I knew I had to pick one of Sian’s Trek America posts for this but choosing one was really hard. In the end, I’ve gone for Touring Las Vegas because the photos are phenomenal.

B, Rambling

I found Bethany through my good blogging pal Gwennan at Twenty Something Meltdown and I’m so glad I did. Bethany’s blog is a collection of think pieces, travel posts and beauty and I always immediately click on her posts when I see them on my timeline. B, Rambling is definitely one to watch in 2018!

Fave Post of 2017: 

Again there were so many posts to choose from but my favourite of Bethany’s this year is I Don’t Have Any Dreams because I’m so bad for wishing my life away, dreaming of what my life could be like in the future, without giving any thought to the now. This piece really drilled that home to me.

Rachel x-x-x

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