Creating Just For The Hell Of It: Shame, Fear and Self-Care

It may be pretty obvious, as I have this little blog and did I creative degree, but writing is something that I really love. When I was a child, I would spent hours scribbling in notebooks and typing up stories, journal entries and poems. I was never afraid to share my work and on several occasions would hand out copies of my ‘books’ (ie. ten or so pages bound together in a folder) to friends, family and teachers.

And now I’m in a funny period of my life where I’m free from any major commitments, like school, and have a lot time on my hands. I keep thinking about all of these creative projects and things that I’ve wanted to get stuck into for the longest time and sometimes I’m successful (see any recent posts). But at other times I feel like I’m holding myself back.

THE PASSION AND THE PRESSURE 

As I explained in a recent post I have finally gotten myself back into reading and I am now reading a lot of fiction once again. This is something that makes me so happy as I finally feel like I’m pulling bits of myself together again. A bit of a dramatic way to describe reigniting a hobby, I know, but that’s how I feel.

And with reading a lot comes this burning desire to write a lot too. Like I said, this is something I used to do all of the time when I was a kid without any structure or plan. I would just pick up a pen (or open a word document) and get writing.

I didn’t think much then about whether what I was making was good or something people would want to read. I simply just made stuff because I wanted to and I had the time.

I feel like so many people have similar stories from when they were a kid, but then it always seems to fizzle out by the time we hit our teens. It’s so sad.

We suddenly become so aware of everyone else and become fixated on their opinions that it gets in the way and we stop being as creative as we once were. Of course there are other factors, like having less free time and so on, but I think this is the main reason.

THE INSPIRATION AND THE GOAL 

I’ve been re listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, that I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here and I think it’s been a combination of all these aforementioned life things  (the free time, the reading and the podcast) that have got me thinking a lot about this subject.

You already know, if you’ve read any of my past posts, that comparison is a major issue for me and it is a major barrier when I try creating things. And when I think about it now, I get so mad at myself.

For me, writing has always been a passion. It’s been the one thing that I have loved and actually felt like I am quite good at. Yet I still find myself restricting what I do because I’m not good enough or I’m not qualified enough or other people are just way better at it than me.

How frigging daft is that?

I know that we all get like this. I don’t know what your passion is, but I bet you could do it more.

Anyway, I’ve now had a realisation, or I guess I’ve just reconfirmed for myself, that I can just make stuff if and when I feel like it.

Writing non-fiction is something that I have been doing for so long now, what with my journalism degree and this somewhat lifestyle based outlet. It’s something I love and will continue to do, of course, but I now want to give myself permission to start writing other stuff too.

I stopped writing stories and poems when I was back in school, because I knew there were others around me who were better at it and who cared about it more than I did. But now at twenty one, with my degree still fresh from the printers, I want to start getting back into writing whatever I fancy- even if it doesn’t go anywhere.

THE SELF-CARE EFFECTS

Making stuff just for the hell of it is a wonderful and freeing experience. I know I talk about self care a lot on this blog, but this really is relevant to that conversation as well.

Allowing yourself to get involved with hobbies or activities that excite you is definitely an act of self-care in my book.

You’re being kind to yourself, you’re taking time out for yourself and you’re no doubt learning a little bit as well, whether that’s about who you are or about the craft.

So if you’re considering doing something creative, even if it’s something that you feel like you have no knowledge on or you think it won’t work out or whatever, I urge you to try it. Allow yourself to have a bit of fun and don’t put so much pressure on yourself!

It’s only art after all.

Please come and join me in this journey of making stuff just because we can and because we love it. I can’t wait to see what I get up to now I’m allowing myself and I’m so excited for you too!

Elizabeth Gilbert


I’d love it if you’d like to share some of your creative bits or even those that inspire you!

Best of luck and happy making.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert*

Brene Brown on ‘Big Strong Magic’

Your elusive creative genius: Elizabeth Gilbert (TED)

Am I Qualified To Be Creative? itswaypastmybedtime

Am I A People Pleaser? Ninkcompoop

 

Finally giving a fuck: justkissmyfrog

*(affiliate link used)

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Five Non-Fiction Books To Gift This Christmas

Buying Christmas presents can be a real struggle. You want something that will be perfect, something you hope they’ll love and treasure for a long time. But also, let’s be real, without spending too much money.

Books are such an under-rated gift I feel and are something that can be easily slept on. Okay they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but what better time to introduce someone to the joys of reading than at Christmas? Books can be such a personal gift and something that you can really tailor to suit the person you’re shopping for.

Here are five non-fiction books that I think would make wonderful gifts for various people in your life:

I feel like I’ve talked about this book so many times because it’s impacted me so much since I first read it. This book would be a wonderful gift for pretty much anyone as it talks about issues regarding creativity that I feel like we all face. It’s such an inspirational, positive book that’ll change the life of the reader for the better. To get a better feel for it, I’d recommend you check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk or her podcast, but trust me it would be a brilliant gift!

I’ve already talked about this book too (check it out here) but that’s only because I love it so. It’s another one that will totally change the life and mindset of the reader for the better, and it’s a particularly good one for the women in your life (obviously). Caitlin is such a funny and honest writer which makes this book so an enjoyable one to read. It’s a modern feminist staple that’s so relatable. It’ll make you laugh out loud and if that’s not a good gift to give, then I don’t know what is.

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I frigging love Carrie. I’ve been a subscriber of hers for years (see her channel here) because I think she’s such a lovely and honest person. This is her first book and it’s almost like a guide for young people on how to face the tough things in life. Carrie talks about everything from friendship and romance, to self-esteem and the future and it’s such a heart-warming, comforting read. It may be a one for the younger readers in your life, say preteens onwards, but I know it’s something they’ll treasure and remember for years to come.

This one is the perfect gift for the bookworms in your life. Although the hype around this book may have surpassed a little, it’s such a brilliant read and I feel like it will last way beyond it’s years. It’s a collection of essays from various authors, including Zadie Smith, Janette Winterson and Mark Haddon, on the topic of books. There’s discussions on digital readers, libraries and the age-old issue of not having enough time to read as well as many more. It’s basically a celebration of books and reading it really fuels any passion you might have for these little objects. An essential for any bookworm, I’d say!

I’m aware that this one might only be relevant if you have any Miranda Hart fans in you life, but you can take inspiration and seek out any other comedian/actor/entertainer’s book and gift those instead. As someone who is a fan of Miranda I really enjoyed this book and know many other who have too. In a similar manner that Carrie’s All I Know Now, Miranda attempts to guide readers through life’s difficult moments in her own funny little way. It’s another one that will make you laugh out loud and it’s perfect for making you feel less alone.

I hope this helped you last minute shoppers. What books would you like to receive as a gift?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

*Please note, affiliate links are used.

 

Feel-Good Female Reads for Mother’s Day

It’s Sunday once again and I’m back with another bookish post. In honour of mother’s day and celebrating the wonderful women in our lives, I’m here with three books written by women for (mostly) women that are sure to make you feel good.

HOW TO BE A WOMAN: Caitlin Moran

Buy it here

71iZ9y2pBzL.jpgI owe a lot to this book. It taught me not only how to accept and be proud of myself but also how to embrace my gender and, crucially, what feminism is. It’s a touchy subject for some people but it doesn’t have to be. Caitlin is such a funny, honest and open writer and this book will make you laugh in that ‘thank God it’s not just me’ way. She makes everything we fear as women approachable and normal and opens up so many wonderful discussions. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

 

EAT PRAY LOVE: Elizabeth Gilbert

Buy it here

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If you’ve seen a couple of my previous posts you might have guessed that I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book Big Magic and have become totally obsessed with it and her. Eat Pray Love is of course her most famous work and I’m sure we’ve all heard of it before. It’s the story of Elizabeth rediscovering herself through travel, after the breakdown of her marriage. Although I didn’t love this as much as Big Magic, Elizabeth has such a soothing voice that you can just feel through the paper and she opens up some really interesting discussions about marriage and self-worth. Overall this is just a very reassuring book that proves that no matter what happens, things will work out in the end.

 

IS IT JUST ME?: Miranda Hart

Buy it here

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If you’re familiar with this comedian and her BBC sitcom, Miranda than I’m sure you’ve already read this. In true Miranda style, this book is this wonderful woman’s ‘guide to life’. Using personal anecdotes that feel very similar to her skits on her show, Miranda discuss everything from social awkwardness to marriage, babies and so on. This one is kind of specific to fans of Miranda due to her very specific style. If you don’t like her comedy, you won’t like this so don’t bother. But if you need a little pick up, this book is sure to cheer you up again.

 

I hope you all have a wonderful day and make sure to do something lovely for the wonderful women in your life.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

**Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used. Buy purchasing through these links, I will receive a small percentage as commission. So not only will you get an awesome book but you’ll be helping a student out too!

Book Haul: The Non-Fiction Edit

Happy Sunday people!

Today is a totally different post to anything I have done before on this blog- as you can tell from the title, it’s a book haul.

I love books but I don’t often like to spend a lot of money on them (as a poor student I often feel too guilty, ha!). Then recently I discovered that money I was wasting on things elsewhere could be better spent on books and I decided to go on a little splurge.

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L-R Stop What You’re Doing and Read This; Eat Pray Love (Elizabeth Gilbert); Not That Kind of Girl (Lena Dunham); The Opposite of Loneliness (Marina Keegan); Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert); Books v. v. Cigarettes (George Orwell)

I have wanted a few of these books for a while and decided that while I had a little money I would treat myself.

Normally, I like a mixture of fiction and non-fiction but lately I seem only interested in the latter. As you can see I have tried to get a few collections of essays and short stories as I hope this will help inspire me to write more, regardless of what I’m doing.

I may do some book reviews in the future once I have read them but I am very excited to dive in.

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Taking pride of place on my shelf

If you have read any of the above or have any other recommendations for me please let me know your thoughts, etc.

Also any feedback on this style of post would be much appreciated too! Just trying something new here.

Have a wonderful day and speak soon,

Rachael.