Daily #100: Daily #100

Well, I reached 100 posts! Yeah, I didn’t do it perfectly (as I just forgot a post the other day), and I took a break for my holiday, but regardless, I’ve written almost solidly for 100 days. 500 words a day at least. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • It’s bloody hard. I thought that 500 words would be a relative doddle, but after about a week and a half of it, my topic bank ran dry. Suddenly, I had to think up topics on the spot. Often, there wasn’t a topic at all – I just discussed my day. This leads me onto the next point:
  • Not everything will be good. If you’re writing every single day, with the goal being just to commit to writing, most of what you come up with will not be very entertaining at all. For me, that was part of it – I wanted to be comfortable with putting out mediocre content, to be come okay with putting out mediocre writing in general. Ever heard the phrase “kill your darlings”? If you struggle with perfectionism, throwing out ‘junk’ is one of the best ways of pushing past it. It stops you from being precious about the words you put on the page.
  • Be prepared for those days. The days when you can’t write a post, whether it be for lack of time or lack of being bothered. If usually write in the evenings as I do, think ahead if you’re going to be going out. Be ready to whip up a post on the fly if you have to, and if you’re more prepared than I am, have a few posts on standby for just such an occasion. If you’re really feeling professional, maybe even write your posts a couple of days in advance.
  • It’s okay no matter what your blog is for. A lot of blogging communities online focus on two things: finding your niche, and making money. It’s all about analytics, sessions, and SEO. But it’s okay if your blog is not about that. Sure, if you want to make money, niche-based content blogging is the way to go – but you’re allowed to do it for the enjoyment, for the creativity, if you want to. Don’t feel like you have to conform to pressure to put out a certain type of content.
  • I’m not sure whether I want to do this long term. I’m not saying I’m about to quit, but I can’t see myself creating this much content centered around myself indefinitely. At some point, I’m going to switch to concentrating on just my creative writing projects. Sometimes this commitment can seem like a barrier to getting more progressive work done.

As I said, I’m not saying I’m going to quit, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue the daily series for much longer. I might minimise the post length to just a diary-style post instead, it just post when I have something specific to say.

100 days is a long time. It’s led to 31,000+ words written (and I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve written more words than that on my novel draft in the same amount of time). I’ve talked about things that matter to me, and things that don’t matter to anyone but me. I feel like I’ve achieved my goal of proving I can commit to writing – commit to anything, and I look forward to continuing however I choose to.

Daily #99: Tough conversations

I nearly forgot again! I’m still getting back into the swing of things after my holiday, and I keep forgetting to get this blog done.

Today was fine – in fact, work went really quickly, so it was nice to feel like I wasn’t there for too long. After work, we tried a new noodle dish I was interested in, and we both liked it! We’re going to have it again soon.

I’m not going to go into the topic here, but I had a fairly tough conversation with my partner this evening. It was something that has been on my mind for quite a while, and has been stressing me out. I finally plucked up the courage to raise it, and it went surprisingly well, all things considered.

I still struggle with crying often when I have a conversation in which my emotions are laid bare. I think it’s some kind of defense mechanism. Fortunately, my very understanding partner knows that me crying doesn’t necessarily mean I’m upset, and we’re still able to have rational conversations despite me being in tears.

We got through the conversation, and I feel like I know him better now. Apologies for being so secretive – the purpose of this blog isn’t to air every detail of my relationship!

At work, we were talking about Netflix, and I got a whole bunch of new series to watch. At the moment, I’m almost finished with You, which I’m enjoying. One of my colleagues commented that it seemed too “trashy” for me – but I enjoy it. I like the intrigue, and although it can be a bit cliche at times, it’s kept me hooked all the way through. I can’t wait to see where the end of the second season goes.

In other great news, Spirited Away us now finally on Netflix! This is one of those films that you need to watch before you die – it often shows up on those lists, and for good reason. I’ve been telling everyone I know to watch it, including my colleague who is adamantly against watching “cartoons”. It has one of the few dubbed versions that I like, so there’s not even a language barrier to worry about! I’ll give here the same advice as I have my colleague. Let yourself get drawn into the world. Don’t take it too seriously, but appreciate its consistency and the craftsmanship. Don’t go in with expectations, because it’s not a film that’s made to meet any. Despite that, it sits solidly in my top three films of all time.

Another new Netflix addition that I’m interested in starting is the series I Am Not Okay With This. It seems to have a similar tone and theme to Stranger Things, In the sense that it is set around the 80s by the look of it, and there’s a girl in it that has superpowers. It looks like it could be good, and it’s got great reviews so far. Looking forward to starting it soon.

This was a bit of a whirlwind post, but I’ve had to write it on my phone this evening. Hopefully I’ll be more put together tomorrow.

(Not so) Daily #98: Unplanned intermission

Well, it was bound to happen at some point – I forgot to blog yesterday. I didn’t really have a good reason for it – I had a good few hours where I just lazed around in bed. In the afternoon, we went shopping for a dress, which I then wore for an evening out.

Although I was fairly busy, I’m not going to use that as an excuse. Nor am I going to beat myself up for it (well maybe a little). It happens, and though I’m disappointed, I’m just going to carry on as I was. There’s nothing that can be done about it, because as much as I’d like to, I can’t turn back time.

In this instance, the impact on myself is quite low. But that stance of “can’t change it now” is something that has taken me a long time to learn, and been hugely beneficial to me. I was always (and still am sometimes) someone who held onto things for a long time. If I embarrassed myself, I’d never forget it, and the negative emotions associated with it would never leave me. Now, while I don’t think anybody really forgets those embarrassing or negative moments, I refuse to allow them to keep a grip on my emotions for any longer than they should.

It’s a struggle, for sure. My mum showed me a tactic which helps me to get over something in my mind – I ‘draw a line’ with my hand in front of me, then I step over it. While that isn’t a magic trick, I’ve trained myself to let go of things once I’ve stepped over the line.

The key to using this technique is to know when to draw the line. If you try and do it too early, it’s too difficult to make yourself get over the event, and the line drawing just doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, you’ll not be able to use it effectively in the future. In my opinion, to use the line, you need to wait to draw it. Fully process the event, reason with it, work out what you’re going to do next, then draw the line. As you make your step, you have to force yourself to let go of the negative emotions around the event, and look forward.

If they start to spring back up, you push them away, behind the line. It’s sheer force of will, but once you’ve successfully achieved it a few times, you can achieve it again. The line becomes an increasingly stronger barrier, until you’re able to quite easily put things behind you.

Anyway, my missed blog is behind the line. There’s nothing I can do. All I can do is continue to write more blog posts from now on.

In other news, Friday was payday, and I got the first bonus from my new job! It’s really good to have some extra cash floating around – even though HMRC seem to have messed my tax up yet again, so I’ll need to call them tomorrow to get it sorted out.

Daily #97: Breakfast burrito

A big part of the cruise was the fact that almost all of the food offerings were free and unlimited. It was mostly served buffet-style, so you could go up and plate your own food, or staff would give you a plate for you.

For example, my partner indulged heavily in an unlimited burger bar – you go to the counter, and you’re handed an open bun containing a smash burger with cheese, and a handful of fries. You then head over to a counter where you can load up your burger with as much salad, toppings, and sauces as you like. And once you’ve eaten it, you’re free (and not judged) for going back and getting another one straight away.

This setup led to my discovery of breakfast burritos. I only recently came across burritos, as they’ve previously been limited on what they offer for non-meat eaters. But since being introduced to them, I’m hooked. And the cruise offered them to me, for free. After I discovered that they provided burritos stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese and salad on the first day, it made up my breakfast for the rest of the week. You simply asked for what you wanted, then you could turn around and top up at the salsa bar.

Usually, I’d balk at the idea of such an open plan, unhygienic buffet. However, everyone was very respectful – there were staff hovering around, ready to clean up messes and spills and replace serving spoons, and nobody messed around with the food that was available. Overall, I was able to get past the shared food thing and I enjoyed it for what it was.

There was also a restaurant on the ship, but we only attended once. It was also free, which was bizarre. If you, for instance, ate a starter and enjoyed it, you could simply ask for another one – and once you were done, you could just stand up and leave. However, we only went once since I wasn’t a fan of waiting for the food, and the actual taste and quality of the restaurant food didn’t seem to be any better than that served in the buffet. The only difference was that the food was brought to your table, but as my partner and I are still a little picky, being unable to choose how much of everything we had was a disadvantage to us.

Another of my favourite food options was the pizza bar. It was manned by a disconcertingly smiley man, who gleefully asked us what we wanted, and would present a freshly-baked pizza to us a few minutes later for free. And it was available 24/7, so should we get a craving at 4am, there someone would be, ready to make a pizza for us. As we were sharing, we even got a heart-shaped pizza made!

Pretty pizza, pretty scenery.

Overall, food was one of the best things about the trip, and it was great knowing that no matter what, I could get on board and eat to my heart’s content if I needed to – one of the perks of cruising, I suppose.

Daily #96: Flash fiction #3

Another competition entry! This time, I placed second in the competition, which I’m really happy about. I enjoyed writing this piece as I could personally identify with it, to an extent. The prompt this week was “write a story about a seed growing in an unlikely place”. Hope you like it! Any feedback is welcome.

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Daily #94: Normal service

I’m back!

First things first, I was correct to take a break for my holiday. During the trip, there were multiple days when I wouldn’t have been able to get a blog post out, and I would have resented myself for it. So, being the unprepared person that I was (with no posts lined up), I was right to release myself from the commitment for a week.

I’m back in the saddle now though! I’m going to keep going to 100 posts and beyond, and see how I feel about it after having a break.

In other news, my holiday was really great. There was a lot of sun, sea and sand, as well as a wonderful cruise ship with all the free, unlimited food I could want. Each day, we visited a different Caribbean island, and got to explore for the day before getting back on the boat for the evening.

The travelling was intense – though I’ll address that in another post, I think. It was my first long-haul trip since I was literally five years old, and I wasn’t a big fan.

The cruise ship was a destination in itself – there were bars, restaurants, a pool and water slides, as well as plenty of space for lounging in the sun. Inside, there was a very 90s-looking area called the Atrium:

I think the thing I liked most about the Caribbean, and the thing which sets it apart from closer beach locations like around the Mediterranean, is the sea. While in places like Majorca, you can enjoy the beach and have a little paddle, the sea is often so full of seaweed and murky that it’s not tempting to go in much deeper than your shins.

The Caribbean Sea is crystal clear, and so warm. I’m not a beach person at all, but whenever we stopped at our ports, I’d try and get into the water at some point. The water is this cartoon blue, and what struck me is that it wasn’t just clear at the beaches – even against the rough rocks of the sea wall, it was clear enough that I wouldn’t mind getting in. We went out on a jet-ski at one point, and even when we were many metres from shore, there wasn’t a sliver of seaweed in the water. Swimming in it was like being in a bath when you’ve left the water to sit for a bit too long. The temperature wasn’t warm, but once you were in it, it felt warm.

That’s not a beach. That’s just the dock. It looks like a pool.

Getting to have a look at those seas was the highlight of the trip for me. That, and the fact that the cruise ship supplied unlimited, free breakfast burritos. I could go back as many times as I wanted, and I had far too many.

I’m going to spend the rest of the evening just chilling out. I might try and do some more of my novel draft, to get back into it after this break I’ve had.