Story time

Like every social media site on the internet, WordPress has added a ‘story’ feature. A quick post feature where users can add a picture to their blog, as an easy update.

Now, if I am honest, I’d say I was sceptical. I felt it was a bit of a gimmick, just jumping on the trend that has taken over since Snapchat and TikTok became popular. I didn’t use the feature for the first few months, just tried to post actual blog entries. Hit it old school.

This last week or so, I have still be struggling to be creative, so uploads haven’t been very frequent, as I struggled to say what I wanted. I couldn’t find the words. And when there is a lull in posts, it is easier to keep not posting, rather than create new posts. It feels like there is pressure. A pressure that I give apply onto myself, mostly because i feel like I ‘should’ be writing. It becomes easier to stay away. So, I decided to try the story feature. Just selected a picture from my phone’s camera roll, and added a sentence of an annotation.

That was it.

It has meant there is no lull in posts, it means I am still adding content. The best thing is, the story posts just sit on your blog like a normal post. And it made a difference. When I wrote this post out, it came out so much easier that writing has been recently. I am keen to see if this works long term.

Changing Spaces

This year, I have had this blog running for 10 years. That is a huge part my life. I was at High School for less years. It is pretty crazy, and something that I forget.

My blog has had the same look for the last several years. It works great for what I need, but it feels boring. I have decided to give things a bit of a fresh look. Not really sure what kind of thing I am looking for.

I guess, it all depends on where I want to take this blog in the future. I do a lot of writing, but do I bring more pictures into my posts? Try to make my content more varied? It is hard, because, I know what works for me, what keeps me coming back to post time and time again. Writing is a release for me, something I can do to relax myself after a bad day. It has become a place which has documented some of the most trying times in my life. And, I feel like I have grown attached to this site, as a result.

It is why I have always been scared to try and remodel things. It could end up looking awful, and I just won’t like it. I guess, the good thing is, that I will always be able to try something else if one thing doesn’t work.

So, just a warning, things might appear out of sorts on here for a bit, whilst I figure out what I am doing

Radio Static

There is a constant chittering of noise in my brain. Some would call it ‘white noise’, the kind of noise that allows for intense focus. Except, the racket rattling around inside my head is so loud that it doesn’t allow for any type of focus at all. Which in itself is a headache, especially when you require focus.

When I was younger I used music to drown out the nonsense. The internal monologues that berated every action I undertook, and it was exhausting. So sometimes it became easier to avoid things, to bury my head in the sand. If everything I did was so bad, then why do anything at all. But, this didn’t fix anything. I felt as big a failure in my bed, as I did at my job. It didn’t matter what was going on in my life, I was never able to silence that ‘inner critic’.

To get past this overly critical thing, you have to re-train your brain and how you think. And that is what I have been trying to do over the last few years. Whilst, I am a lot more productive than what I used to be, I still have a very long way be able to believe in myself and what I do 100%. My mental health is still up and down, in general, but I am taking steps to make it better. And that is all that a person can do really. Battle to find an alternative to the static.


Milestone

Today I finished work as normal and got a wee congratulatory message from WordPress about having 200 people subscribed to this very blog. It feels pretty big, but it also made me wonder about a few things.

img_0743
It made me think about how useful milestones can be. I guess, the most common thing they are used for, is to be a target. To have something significant that you can work towards. It is really useful, and is used in everything from school education to weightloss to saving money. And having a goal is a proven motivational tool. Or it can be.

I have a lot of experience at setting goals and doing nothing to achieve them. These targets are usually something I do really want, but I just get a little over-eager in planning things. Like I’ll get so far, and then I’ll just give up. Because whilst my target is there, it begins to feel like I make a lot of effort and I’m no further in reaching my goal. Over time, I have learnt I work better with smaller goals. Wee bits at a time.

For example, I have tried a lot of monthly blogging challenges in the past, and I have failed them all. I made a change this year, and tried to simply post something every day. No end goal in focus, just the short termed goal. And it has worked, we are nearly at the end of January, and I was able to post something every day. Because the goal was more achievable, it was easier to get a momentum going.

It is nice when your smaller goals, do add up to a bigger milestone. It’s a satisfactory feeling. There are 200 people following this blog, and that feels pretty special. This blog has been about expressing myself, and that is about it. Other than posting regularly, there has been no real targets for me. It’s all fairly natural.

Thank you to anyone who has followed this blog over the years. I appreciate that you took the time to take a wee bit of interest in whatever nonsense I ramble about. ❤

Don’t Like Asking

Happy Sunday! I hope you are having an enjoyable and relaxing day. I did my usual, went to the gym, and then did nothing else. It is Sunday, after all. But, after deciding that I didn’t want to watch The Day After Tomorrow for the twentieth time (it’s not that good), I eventually started watching YouTube. And in particular, the wonderful Tessa Violet. Someone whose content I have been enjoying for a number of years.

Anyways, I was watching one of Tessa’s videos from a few months back, where she was talking about insecurities and how asking what other people though of her, made her feel uncomfortable. And that got those rusty cogs in my head spinning, slightly. What do I hate doing? Well, I hate asking for help or advice. I am a ‘think about it and just wing it’ kind of girl. I don’t know why that is, but it is how I have been as long as I dare to remember.

It’s why a lot of my entries here, end up being almost like advice blogs. Sometimes, there is no almost about it. I know that I have problems, I am more likely to search on YouTube or even WordPress, for articles or videos on my issue. This sounds a bit silly to some, but normally the advice given on these sites are not professional, they are just people speaking honestly from their own experiences. And that means, I can get helpful information without bothering anyone I actually know.

You see, that is a big problem about anxiety. You get so bogged down by your own problems, that you get the bizarre logic that sharing what’s wrong will just bog that other person down too. And, everyone else has enough problems going on, without dealing with my crap too. That mindset is one that has developed over years, and it means that as well as struggling to share what I am going through to an actual person, I can’t approach the subject at all. If I do, I panic, I freeze up, and I kind of fall apart. So it is easier to keep it to myself.

The internet has become a rich resource, and not just the generic help sites, I mean the user created content. Maybe it is because, I like reading or listening to another person’s experience. If I can relate my problems to someone else’s then I get strength to find a solution. And then, noone I know is bothered by me and my crap. It is easier that way.

Struggling

This week, so far, has been very difficult, productivity wise. Like, I set out these plans, and some of them aren’t working. Forming new habits are really hard, and I think it is easy to forget that, when you set yourself tasks.

I have posted every day, so far. And, whilst I was ahead of myself last week, this week, I am ‘putting it off’. It’s not that I don’t want to do anything, I do, it’s just I can’t stay focused long enough to do anything substantial. So this wee gap, between spending time with family and going to bed, has been used to write. It’s not so much a writer’s block, more of just pure procrastination.

I. Hate. That. Word.

Procrastination.

It’s the idea that people have this programme in their minds, that simply ‘puts things off’. As an adult, I have had enough experience to know that putting stuff off never works. The number of sleepless nights I had because I didn’t do work for school or college, and it was deadline time. It was not good. But still, all these years later, I leave everything to the last minute. It is one thing that annoys me about myself.

But, when I think about it, or chat to friends about it, they procrastinate too. No matter what it is, people can feel like they can’t be bothered. It made me think, that maybe procrastination is natural. That, if people had the choice, they would love to just watch funny videos on YouTube all day. But they can’t. People have to function, and sometimes trying to function knowing those funny videos are out there is hard. You have to show discipline. You have to make effort. And sometimes, no one wants to make effort.

Maybe we need to be easier on ourselves. Understand that everyone gets to where they can’t be bothered. And we need to either push through it, or decide it is not important enough. I think that is what I want to come of trying to commit more. That if there is something, that isn’t worth ‘pushing through’ the distractions, then I shouldn’t do it. Quite hard to know when to let something go though.

Sometimes it would be nice if life had a guidebook like the Computer Games do.

Irritated

Nothing worse when you pour your heart into a blog post, only for it not to post. For the last day I was trying to post on WordPress, only to get an error message. Which was irritating. I saved the post to my drafts and took to trying to fix the app. 

The general advice for when mobile applications get iffy, is to delete and then re-install the app. The app started up again fine, but when I tried to find my previous post, it had vanished. Which was a pain, particularly seeing as it was a rather personal post that I really couldn’t bring myself to type up today. 

I am hearing that there is a few problems with WordPress apps right now, particularly with the most recent update. The advice is to try and sign out, and sign back in using your username instead of email address. If that fails, re-install the app, like I did. If you do have problems, WordPress Help are available on @wordpressdotcom and are very quick to answer. 

Happy 5th birthday

3rd of May 2009 was the day I logged started an account on WordPress. A lot has happened in that 5 years and over 500 posts, and, in my usual form, I missed the actual day. So this is a belated celebration.

The original idea of this blog was to document my life as a graphic designer, something that kind of went a bit wrong. I still aspire to get paid for creating things one day, but if it ends up with being a hobby, I think I’m okay with it. I have also ended up loving writing a lot more than I did originally. I have documented a lot of my thoughts and feelings into posts, and as a result I have grown rather fond of this place.

I have been able to speak my mind, and say things in a way they matter to me. That is something that is rather liberating, and a luxury that not everyone can have. I am thankful to have a place where I can write my thoughts so freely. Blogging is something I’d advise every person to do, it’s a great way to release pressure.
It has helped me through a lot.

Initial Aspirations

When I started this blog, I had many ideas and thoughts of what I would use it for. It would be a creative blog, where I would post images of what I had made, and use it as a promotional tour for my business. In retrospect, I think I aimed a little high.

Firstly because being at college, and struggling through a few years of forced creativity, has lead to me going from one artistic mental block, to another. Secondly, I just am far too scatter brained to make my blog about one thing. I maybe should organise it better, but nothing in my life is very organised, so it maybe wouldn’t reflect ME if it wasn’t a bit of a mess. Some excuse, right?

I have always been an over thinker. A person who seeks importance in the most stupid and trivial things. My interests in things can get intense, but will also suddenly wane after a short period of time. I want to express my love and experience so many different things, that I always find myself looking for ‘something else’. Whilst some things such as favourite bands, movies and books will stay with me, I can’t exclusively care about a favourite thing. I think that liking new things can be a challenge, a challenge that should be welcomed.

Because I try to be interested in so many different things, I find that what I want to talk about changes every day. One day I will want to talk about Benji Madden sneaking into Scotland without my knowledge, the next day I’ll be talking about some political land mine. Whilst this leads to me being very sporadic, I like the idea that I have a place to express my thoughts in a accessible manner.

So whilst my initial plans for this blog haven’t come true, I still am happy with it. I have made this blog my online ‘home’ for the last few years, and I have become very attached to it. I find that WordPress is a great blog host, and find that is the best managed blogging site on the net. Trust me, I have tried almost every blogging site going. I like everything from the multiple platforms you can blog from, to the twitter feed. I think that the simplicity of using the service, has been crucial for me staying here for so long.

I guess I am feeling very retrospective. Whilst the majority of people I know say I waste my time writing a blog, I will always scoff in their faces. If a person has the freedom to express themselves without fear, no matter how they do it, they will never waste their time.

Homesick

After all the carry on getting the art blog up and running, I have been posting over there and have inadvertently left my internet home (ie- here). I didn’t mean too, it just happened. I wanted to update something, at it was easy to update over there because of this ( http://splittingink.blogspot.com/ ).  And no matter how much I use blogger, I am always a WP lover first.

Almost sounds like a line from a bad romance novel, a really, really bad romance novel. But dammit, I am going to get back on top of things. I am going to be using the internet a lot more over the next week, mostly because I HAVE NO MONEY!! Yes, the typical aspect of internet usage, it peaks as it gets closer to payday. Coincidence, I think not.

Anyway, if you have a sec, click on the link above, to go visit Splitting Ink, a collaborative art blog I am doing with my friend Paul, and his mate Darren. It is something we are trying to do, to try and get ourselves motivated to create new things. I post on a Monday, so I will have to complete a piece of work, and write an accompanying entry, to be posted early every Monday. Should be interesting. As you are well aware, I do try to post at least once a week on here, but I hope it will start to become more frequent again.