Why, As A Writer, I’m Taking A Break From Books

I’m taking a break from books. (Or so I’m going to try.)

On average I read 4-5 books a month. That’s a lot of words to compare to my own, and I’ve decided that I ought to stop complaining I don’t write enough when I spend so much of my time reading.

I used to bring books to accompany time and space, my bag overflowing with one too many books. But now I’m starting to see that books are different to my own creativity. They are there, they are permanently in print, they create noise in my head. They are the expectation – I have to be as good as these to be published; to be read. I have fallen so far into admiring others I have started to doubt my own use of words. I’ve always known I can write as they do, its only lately I’ve started to realise I just haven’t been giving it enough time. I must live and breathe my own creations. Picasso didn’t look at paintings trying to figure out how they did it, he picked up a paintbrush and made strokes that felt right. I want to write because of the infinite possibilities a keyboard presents when I open my MacBook. After all, for every word I read, I could be conjuring one for myself.

As I’ve grown in London, I’ve observed that London is a city of expectation. Expectation through external stimuli, through noise, even something as small as facial expressions. As a young, aspiring writer this has proven to be hard…. I’m sure as any young person, trying to make it in this city, it’s hard.

Through time, I’ve discovered my laptop provides a silence that nothing else can. I can sit in the most noisy of cafes and hear nothing. When I am sitting in front of a screen I can achieve anything, write anything. Literal infinite possibilities the alphabet provides. With my laptop in hand, I can go anywhere in London; Anywhere, and it will always lack expectation.

I love books so much, but I love my completed projects more; my stack of poems, my nearly finished novel, my website and articles full of poetic monologue.

So here I start, indefinite days without reading any word of another. My to-read pile will just have to wait.

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Three Ways To Get Enthusiastic About Work

It’s something we all struggle with at some point – a lack of enthusiasm to work the ‘nine to five’. Doesn’t matter how much we love the job, sometimes the happy vibes are nowhere to be found.

So that brings us to today’s blog, three ways to get enthusiastic about work.


1. | Why do you work?

This may seem like a silly question, but think about it for a second. Why do you work where you do?  Does it allow you to live a certain way in a particular area? Does it pay well? Is it your passion? (If it is, not sure why you’d be reading this, but whatever) OR do you work because it allows you to live out your passion when you’re not working?

More often than not, when you’re in your early twenties – like me – where you’re working isn’t usually your dream job, but you’re doing it to support something else. I work, to allow myself to live in London which in turn gives me opportunities to further my writing career.

So, figure out the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing, and remind yourself of it every time you have to clock into a shift.

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2. | Make the most of your free time

Other than seeing work as a means to an end, another way we can find enthusiasm to work is by not living and breathing the work place. Ever have a week where it feels like all you’ve done is eat, sleep, and work? Yeah, well me too. And it sucks! We all want to feel like we have life outside of work rotas and uniforms.

So piece of advice numéro deux? MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FREE TIME. Book those events you want to attend, go for that audition, or simply… leave the damned house! Even if it means you go sit in a café and sip on a soya latte whilst reading a magazine, do it! Or if you work the ‘nine to five’, drop the whole “I’m tired act” and invite your friends over for a bottle of wine; go to the cinema. Make sure you’re spending your money on things other than the commute to work, and the bills. We earn money to live, not to follow the same old routine day in and day out. Spend your free time, fulfilling your passons; do what you love!

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3. | ‘Be the energy you want to attract’

We have to work, that’s the reality of it. I’m not here to tell you how to get out of working, because if you want to lead an exciting life, chances are you’ll need money for it. HOWEVER, HOW you work is a whole other ball game. I read a quote the other week which literally changed my perspective on work attitude like that *insert finger snap*.

“Be the energy you want to attract”.

My third and final way to get enthusiastic about work is to look at energy with a different perspective. Depending on where you work you have no idea who you’re serving, or working with.

Imagine this, you could be an aspiring actor, and one day you’re chatting up a storm to this guy, and you’re all passionate and excitable, then turns out hes a director at the National Theatre and ba-da-bing, you have a foot in the door. Conquer from within, and be the energy you want to attract. See work as another platform to further yourself, because it will be if you say it is.

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Screenshot the quotes, save them as your screen savers or lock screens; remind yourself of them everyday.

Only you stand in your way.

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Fake It Till You Make It | The Self Series

Have you ever had a day when you’ve been moody, and someone has said “fake it till you make it”..?

I was thinking about this the other day, and not because someone said it to me, but because it has been so drilled into my head that I’ve started saying it to myself. So here it is, the latest instalment in The Self Series – all my tips for faking it till you make it.

Blast the happy tunes 

This is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down, but studies have shown that your mood is likely to improve if you actively try and feel happy whilst listening to upbeat tunes. So, next time you’re feeling down,  put on something slightly upbeat, light some candles, flick on some fairy lights and make an effort to make it a vibrant space. Before you know it, you’ll at least be tapping your toes.

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Dress for the mood you wish to be in

How we present ourselves plays a big part in how we are perceived – not only by others, but through our own eyes. For example, if you wake up and you’re in a mood of ‘I just can’t be bothered today’, by putting no effort into your appearance, you will only feel worse about yourself. So, when you have days like this, try and make a point of showering, putting on your favourite items of clothes, and doing something with your day. You don’t have to go to-the-nines, but at the very least wander out and grab a coffee.

Use your clothes as your voice of energy, instead of actually trying to act all energetic. It’ll do your mood wonders.

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Pose it up

My main man, Aristotle, had an idea that has stuck with me since I studied him in uni:

To be virtuous, one must act as a virtuous person would act.

So, to be a confident happy person, surely we must act how a confident happy person would act – right? So, next time you feel like crawling into a little ball of self-pity, strike a pose in which you deem as confidence and competence, and your physical might just alter your mental.

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Remember we are the only thing that stands in the way of our mood improving. So, next time you’re having a substandard day, or you’re struck into a bad mood, try one of my three top tips for faking it (till you make it). And don’t worry, I’m still trying to perfect the art.

Stay confident, stay happy.

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My Experience With Writer’s Block

Writer’s block was never something I gave much thought to.

I tossed the word around after a few days of less-than-desirable pen to paper action. However, it wasn’t until I realised that I was experiencing writer’s block for real – in it’s full force, a period of over a few weeks – that I gave the title some credit.

By definition, writer’s block is…

“the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.”

And in my reality, it was exactly that… and more. I was battling with a pensive sadness because I wasn’t writing. So, after being unable to write for weeks on end, I sat (and if I’m completely honest I sulked whilst doing so) and I thought about how I could figure this out; it wasn’t as if my passion for writing had just disappeared over night… right? In  an attempt to find the answer I listened to myself, and the energy around me, and the verdict was that every fibre of my being was crying out for me to show it something new.

So I did. And here I am, sitting in a café in Bath, Somerset.

The first day of my three days away, I sought out Bath Abbey because when I travel I enjoy historic elements – I’m a true tourist when I wanna be. But what I didn’t purposely seek out was the Square at the back of the gorgeous building. Within this square, a square surrounded by benches, was a man. He was centred and in solitude – only a guitar to keep him company. He was playing beautiful Spanish music and after my trip to Spain, where Spanish buskers brought joy to my ears every path I went down, I felt no choice but to sit and listen. I sat for two hours in the chilled sunshine, wearing my favourite sweater and a smile upon my face. What did I do while I listened? I observed those around me, and saw all the unique faces as potential characters and sentences.  And, as if the music went in my ears and broke down the writer’s block my brain, I exploded with ideas. It was as if I had had an epiphany. I whipped out my notebook with a dramatic flair – that belonged in a film – and I wrote. I wrote poems, a short story, and I had the biggest break – creatively speaking – for my book.

Finally.

After three weeks of not even adding a teeny tiny apostrophe to my book, I was now thinking too fast for my hand to keep up. And now, barely 48 hours after sitting in that square, I’m still writing. I’ve added 4 new chapters to my book and altered the narrative perspective of a quarter of what I’d already written. It has been a lot of work, but I’ve enjoyed every second. (Especially since I had an excellent excuse to seek out cute coffee shops and drink coffee for hours on end).

So, what was writer’s block for me? It was frustration, mood-swings and a sorrowness I couldn’t figure out; like being a passionate skater, and then waking up one day without a clue as to why you can’t stay on the board for more than a second.

And how did I diminish my writer’s block? I removed myself from the normal routine of my London life, to give my brain new faces to characterise and new places to think about. Every one of us will get our own form of writer’s block (for our select passions) if we don’t stimulate our minds. We need to get out more and work our brains.

My brain stopped giving me what I wanted, because I stopped giving it something to really think about.

I won’t do that again.

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Why We’re So Scared To Make Sacrifices And How To Take The Plunge

sacrifice (ˈsakrɪfʌɪs/) verb – to give up (something valued) for the sake of other considerations

 Have you ever made a sacrifice? Why?

In 2015, as everyone knows, I moved to London; away from my family, and the life I knew, to selfishly start a new one. It wasn’t until last night, as I was walking across the Millennium Bridge in Central London – the skyline lit up for the evening – that the word sacrifice slipped into my mind. I had never thought of my move as such, but yet it is an entirely accurate word to describe the adventure.

I sacrificed security in the known, for the unknown. I sacrificed my safety and happiness, at the risk of finding it in a foreign place. So, what is this word – positive or negative? As much it may sound negative, I believe it to be both. You’re not going to get anywhere in life unless you’re willing to put yourself first. And yes, I sacrificed valuable time with my family to seek adventure. However, if you’re passionate enough, those of importance in your life with support you; they’ll make a sacrifice also.

With selfishness comes selflessness.

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Did you start 2018 with an intention of making dramatic change in your life? Have you put your idea into action by starting plans? If not, ask yourself why. Postponing change is nearly always down to either fear or fear of sacrifice.

Be the one to take that risk, offer up something in your life right now with the intention of only bettering your current situation! If you go all in, you’ll get everything you want out of it. I have moments of ‘Oh my goodness, this is my life’ all the time – because I made the choice to try and make it in London; I did it, and I am doing it.

I made the choice to try and make it in London; I did it, and I am doing it.

Yes I had to make sacrifices along the way – but everyone that I left behind are supportive of my decision, and everything else was worth sacrificing for the endless days of excitement, creative expression and happiness I now have. From 2015 until this very second, my excitement and passion for this city hasn’t faltered. And I don’t think it ever will.

It wasn’t until last night, that the word sacrifice slipped into my mind. It was in that moment that I realised everything good in life comes from moving onwards and upwards. And unfortunately if you try and take everything with you, your life will be too darn heavy to climb the mountains you so very want to conquer.

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Welcomed with open arms

Well, it’s 2018, it’s a New Year and I love it!

For a lot of people, it’s the time of fresh starts and goal-setting. I know it can be a bit of a cliché; intentions, and changes, but I know personally having such a dead-set start date provides more motivation, and a point of comparison.

This year, I’m putting my goals out there. I’m holding myself accountable through my website, and my readers. I’m hoping that it may also inspire some of you to do something similar, or give you some New Year’s intentions ideas.

So, what are my intentions for 2018?

(emphasis on the words intentions, and not resolutions)

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That’s right, I’m jumping on the health-goal-setting band wagon. But this time, I’m making it simple. Don’t eat anything processed.

Eat whole foods, things with ingredients I can read, and foods only it their natural form, or as close to it as possible.

Fresh fruit, fresh veggies, new recipes and more cooking at home. Yes please.

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yoga

Something I’ve always done, but not everyday. Yoga is something I thoroughly enjoy, and this year I want to add it into my daily morning routine.

I intend to start my days earlier, and wake my sleepy limbs and mind with yoga as soon as I rise.

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write everyday

I’m writing a book.

…and in 2017 I actually wrote half of it.

This year, I am going to write everyday and get this book published! (The ultimate 2018 goal)

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So there you go. My three intentions for 2018. Small enough to be doable, but suffice to make serious change in my life. Find some intentions of your own, no matter how small, and make them habit. Push pass the point of falling back into old routine, and make this a year of self-determination and change.

“When intention becomes action, it becomes habit.” – PB

What are your 2018 intentions? 

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My Winter Must-Reads

Winter is not only great for aesthetics – who doesn’t love a good palette of bare brown trees – it also hosts perfect reading weather. The sun goes down earlier with each passing day, and you slowly find yourself reaching for your favourite scarves and woollen hats. I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold out and I’m wrapped up warm, my favourite thing to do is grab a cup of coffee and a good book.

So, here it is – something different for my blog, however right up my alley – my book recommendations for this Winter.

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” ― Bill Watterson


The Diabolic  S.J. Kincaid 

Initially this was a book I found quite hard to get into. HOWEVER once I began to understand the world and the narrative perspective, I was hooked! This is an extremely diverse world, and main character Nemesis keeps you questioning moral throughout. It’s a story of how far you’ll go for love, and what characteristics deem a human being.

“Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.”

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You Are A Badass Jen Sincero

This is hands-down, one of my all time favourite books!

The cold weather can sometimes bring on uninspiring moods and unwanted laziness. When the season makes me feel like this, I like to read something super kicky-up-the-assy. And this is that for me. Need I say more? I can also highly recommend the audio book of this – read by Jen herself –  I listen to it walking to and from work; not only does it distract me from the cold, it’s exhilirating with a leaf pile worth of humour.

“By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.”

[Here’s a picture of my tapestry, because I’ve even leant it out. *cough* read it *cough*]

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How To Stop Time Matt Haig

A book recommendations of mine would definitely be incomplete without something written by Matt Haig. I walked into a bookshop, saw it on the new release shelf,  and bought it – without reading the synopsis. Matt Haig is just one of this authors who never disappoints – and with How To Stop Time, he went above and beyond. Being mostly based in London, I loved that I could relate to the places the main character, Tom, mentions. However, this book takes you on a journey with relationships Tom makes and breaks, and distances, such as America and Australia.

“Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.

He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries…”

I’m going cut off the synopsis there, please just pick up the book and read it. Not only will it occupy a full, rainy day spent indoors, it will keep you enticed from the first to the last page.

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Nemesis Brendan Reichs

Last but 100%, certainly, absolutely, to-the-nines, not least is Nemesis by Brendan Reichs. Some may argue this is a YA fiction novel, but for me it was an exceptional plot that I couldn’t predict. I’ll give you a snippet of the synopsis (which is extremely long because the book is jam-packed) so you get an idea.

“It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.”

HOW ARE YOU NOT HOOKED ALREADY? It ended on such a cliff hanger, but I erratically searched the internet for a glimmer of hope for a sequel, and it’s coming my friends.

It’s coming.

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“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” – Stephen King

Be sure to comment your favourite wintertime read down below!

Happy reading & happy Winter and festive season to all!

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