How To Cope With Writers Block In Lockdown

Hey everyone!

Soooo, I’m back with a little how-to on something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately — something, I’m sure, we’re all familiar with. Writers block has plagued everyone at some point or another. Even if you’re not a writer, you know the exact feeling I’m talking about from being stuck on ideas when you need to come up with something new but just cannot seem to find the inspiration you usually do.

Writers block can hit anywhere, at anytime, but after the first few months of being in lockdown, it has become insidious. For a while, I thought maybe my trouble with creating new blog content was low motivation (which has certainly played a role), but I’m starting to realize that it’s nearly impossible to write blog posts about my life and experiences when all I’m doing my best to spend most of my time at home.

After a certain point in lockdown, I started to feel I had written out almost everything I had to say about the current situation, how I was reacting to it, and how to cope with it all. However, it’s hard to transition back to normal content when I’ve yet to transition back to normal life. I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to come up with new ideas, until I realized how mundane lockdown life is compared to how life was before — even though my life was already rather repetitive with work and school. I still had other experiences; travelling, going home, balancing a busy schedule, trying new things — all things that are no longer really a part of my life. Back when I had more going on in my life, I had more to share.

Now, I know that none of these tips really do anything to help with the current situation in particular — they’re just my personal tips on dealing with writer’s block. However, hopefully you can use this experience to learn how to deal with feeling stuck creatively in the future, practice your craft, and become a stronger writer for it!

Daily Free Writes

This was a tip suggested to me in many of my classes in university that I always kind of brushed off as useless until I properly gave them a chance. I know this is likely different for everyone, but most of my best writing ideas do not strike me randomly, in fact, most of them come to me WHILE I am writing. Inspiration can come from anywhere, obviously, but when your brain is focused fully on writing it will actively generate ideas more frequently.

I’m sure I can’t be the only person who understands the feeling of getting a wave of inspiration while writing, that leads to another, that leads to a domino effect of ideas that I almost feel I cannot write out quickly enough to keep up with. If you know the feeling, just remember you never get there unless you are writing first. Inspiration is a lot less likely to strike out of nowhere, and you can’t just sit around forever until it does. Take matters into your own hands and just go for it! Whatever you start off with in your free writes will likely be nothing special (or even downright terrible), but as you get into it inspiration will start to flow more freely. Give into it and let it take you wherever it will!

Make A Cute Writing Set-Up

Next up, create a space for you to practice writing in that you love. Ideally, wherever you’re going to work should be comfortable, well-lit, and quiet. Past that, your workspace should be somewhere you love spending time in and should inspire you to spend more time there — because the more time you spend there, the more time you spend writing! Finally, your writing set up should be decorated in a way that makes you happy — whatever it is that helps to create the right vibes for you. So hit up Pinterest, save a bunch of workspace ideas that you just can’t get enough of, and work some of that inspo into a space of your very own!

Take Breaks

This piece of advice kind of goes against most of what I’ve already said, however, if you’re feeling burnt out, there’s no point in trying to force yourself to write when you really just can’t. Take some time off, whether its half an hour, or a night, or a whole week — it’s really up to you. Whatever you need to feel refreshed and ready to tackle your latest project with everything you’ve got.

Write More, Cut More

If you’re feeling stuck, you’re better off putting down absolutely idea you have than trying to edit yourself as you go. This is kind of the same idea as practicing with free writes, but if you’re too worried in the moment about whether or not what you’re writing is engaging, exciting, or even making sense, you’ll only be holding yourself back. Instead, just write it all out and refine it down to the best bits later — you’ll be able to tailor it into a great piece with enough editing. However, there’ll be nothing to edit if you never start — so just go for it and figure the rest out later.

Keep An Idea List

While most of my inspiration does hit me either while I’m actively writing or thinking about what I want to blog about, we all know that feeling where inspiration hits you out of absolutely nowhere. For when moments like these strike me, I like to keep a little list at the ready in my iPhone Notes app to jot it down as quickly as possible, before the idea gets away from me. My worst habit is coming up with ideas and just believing that I’ll remember them — because how could I ever forget such a great idea? And yet, time and time again, if I don’t write it down I don’t remember it when it comes time to write out a new post. It’s frustrating, but if I have my list at the ready in my phone I’m much more likely to write it down and remember it. And don’t just write down the good ideas — try to write down EVERY idea. Just like I said above, just because your idea isn’t quite there yet doesn’t mean it can’t be workshopped into an amazing post idea.

Read More & Get Inspired!

Finally, one of the biggest ways to get inspired as a writer is to actively be keeping up with what others in your niche are writing. (Or, honestly, even those not in your niche. It’s important to be taking in inspiration from all kinds of sources to help broaden your perspective and scope!). Reading other’s blogs should bring you excitement and shouldn’t be solely for reaping ideas — the point of this isn’t to simply plagiarize other’s blog posts. However, reading what others have to say will help to give you ideas for similar posts, get your creative juices flowing, and inform your opinion of what’s currently being discussed in your blog niche to help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Not that you need to be — your blog is all about what YOU have to say, after all. However, it’s always important to know what’s popular amongst what people are creating, reading and sharing. Plus, it might just inspire your new greatest post! Always try to keep an open mind and take in as much as possible, so that your craft as a writer is always growing and moving forward.

Hopefully, after reading through this list, you’re all feeling a little more inspired than you were before. The takeaway of this post, I hope, is that there’s really no way around writer’s block — the only way is through. While pushing yourself too much will leave you tired and frustrated, you won’t get anything done if you don’t try. Inspiration always hits us when we least expect it — and often, it comes randomly while we are actively writing. With a little effort, time, and luck, even with life’s current circumstances, you should be back on track before you know it.

If you’ve been feeling frustrated with writing lately, or have some other personal tips for getting past writers block, drop a comment below! I’d love to hear any advice you guys have. While I’m working on it, I’m still struggling a lot with new ideas for content and I’d be more than happy to try anything you guys have to suggest.

Happy Sunday everyone, hopefully you all have a great week planned out! And just remember — while it feels like our current reality will last forever, it won’t. One day in the future, things will be different and right now will be nothing but a memory. Keep going.

Much love,

Meredith

How To: Have a Productive Self-Care Day!

Hey y’all!

As usual, I hope everyone’s been feeling their best and being productive lately, but if not — then this is the post for you! Even though things have been returning to semi-normal lately with COVID-19 (at least, they are here in Vancouver), I’ve personally been finding myself feeling stuck and super unmotivated. This whole year has been strange, and while I did kind of appreciate having the months of free time to relax after the crazy year I’ve had, suddenly, tasks have been piling up and I’ve been feeling stressed all over again. And frankly, I know I’m not alone in feeling like this.

As weird as it was transitioning to lockdowns, it’s been even weirder transitioning back. At this point, sitting around the house feels normal, and going out and being busy feels weird. However, not transitioning back quickly makes me feel as though I’m falling behind — even though there’s only so much I can do right now, if I don’t spend all my time getting things done, it feels as though I’m failing somehow.

If you’ve been feeling the same, its okay — it’s hard to accept, but with how weird the world is right now it’s okay to be feeling lost or unmotivated (which is something I’m trying to be okay with myself). However, you do have to do your best to push through it and get back on track. It’s hard to find balance between not being too hard on yourself and not letting your life fall apart, but I think I’ve found a little solution I’d like to share with you all that helped me feel a little better.

I’ve posted many, many times before about the importance of self-care, but I’m also aware of how challenging it can feel to put time aside when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, when your anxiety is getting the better of you, it can feel downright impossible to take any time off for yourself at all — but it really is vital to your health and well-being. However, I’ve made a plan for those of you who aren’t feeling up to taking a full break — and you get to take a whole day off for self-care while still getting stuff done!

If this sounds like the kind of think you’ve been needing, then plan out a day this weekend (or whenever you have a day off) to dedicate the whole day to this productive self-care plan — and try not to schedule anything else and overwhelm yourself. Of course, you can totally alter the plan to fit your needs best, but don’t push yourself — the whole point is to take it a little easy!

Step One: Sleep In A Little!

First things first — it’s important to get some rest. Whenever it is that you usually wake up, try setting your alarm half an hour to an hour later. You want to ensure you wake up feeling well rested, so you don’t want to forgo the alarm completely — I personally always feel like when I just let myself wake up naturally I always feel groggy and out of it the rest of the day. How you decide to do this is really up to you, but I generally just like to set my alarm about an hour later than I would get up usually — so I get to sleep in without getting carried away.

Step Two: Make a Healthy, Special Breakfast

My favourite way to start out my days off is by making a nice breakfast from scratch. I try to go for something healthy, but tasty — not something I’m just eating for the sake of eating healthy. My normal everyday breakfast, while still delicious (I eat yoghurt, fruit, almonds and granola literally every day), can become a little boring if I don’t switch it up every so often. On special days, I like to go for avo toast with poached eggs and veggies, but this one is really up to you! Take time to treat yourself and make your fave breakfast from scratch.

Step Three: Yoga/Stretch/Meditate

Okay, so this is something I do everyday — but if you don’t, give it a try. If you’re not down for a whole yoga session, just take some time to stretch out a little and try to tune in with your body. As for at-home yoga practices, Yoga With Adriene is always my go-to! From there, I’d recommend following up with a guided meditation — which can be anywhere from a few short minutes to much longer, depending on how you’re feeling and how familiar you are with meditating. I usually go for about 15-20 minutes personally, but depending on whatever you’re down for you can find any number of guided meditations through apps or (my personal go-to) on YouTube!

Step Four: Clean and Organize!

Next up, you’re going to want to dedicate some time towards deep cleaning and/or organizing. The key to having this still be self-care is not pushing yourself to complete it all in one day, but rather to simply get a little bit done so you can feel a little better about your space by the end of the day. Depending on what the state of your space is, I’d recommend getting little handiwork tasks done, Marie-Kondoing all the things that no longer serve you out of your life, or just a good old-fashioned deep clean. Don’t rush it, and try to make it as enjoyable as possible! Put on some music, either a pump-up playlist if you need an energy boost or some meditation music if you need to relax, and do whatever it is that’ll make you feel a little more at ease in your home.

Step Five: Work on Your Hobbies/Passion Projects

After you’ve finished up with cleaning, take some time to either dedicate towards your hobbies or passion projects. For instance, this is the time that I’d personally dedicate towards my blog, so I can get ahead on my posts. However, if you don’t really have a passion project or anything to catch up on, spend a little time on your hobbies! Another thing I would consider dedicating this time to is sketching. Just make sure its something enjoyable, relaxing, and involves active participation!

Step Six: Take Out Dinner

Treat yourself and order some Take Out or Delivery — why not? Take a night off from making dinner and just go for whatever your heart desires. And I’m not just talking ordering whatever it is you always get when you don’t have the time or energy to cook — get something you’ve really been craving and go all out!

Step Seven: Netflix & Chill

These next two steps are really sort of interchangeable, depending on what you enjoy and what you’re feeling by the end of the day. However, after a day full of relaxing-yet-productive activities, it’s also good to take some time to unwind completely. If you’re into it, take a few hours to binge some Netflix — either put on that movie you’ve been meaning to watch forever, or catch up on that TV show you’ve been watching — whatever you’re feeling!

Step Eight: Regular Self-Care

Finally, either during, after, or in lieu of Netflix, take some time to do some good old-fashioned self-care. This step is really the most up to you — maybe you want to light a candle and do a face mask, maybe you want to participate in a nighttime meditation, maybe you’re really in the mood for a long warm bath, or maybe you’re down for something else entirely. Your choice! Just take a little time to pamper yourself and try to let go of any residual stress you’re still holding on to before the day is up.

Hopefully, after taking this day off to yourself, you’ll be rested, relaxed, and ready to take on all the tasks you’ve been needing to complete. Personally, since doing this for myself I’ve been feeling a little more motivated — it’s weird, but I feel like the stress of this year (even though we’ve all been stuck at home) has left me burnt out, and it helps to take time off intentionally to get back on track.

Happy Sunday, everyone, and hopefully you’ve all got a nice, manageable week ahead! It’s finally starting to feel like summer here in Vancouver, which is both a blessing and a curse — summer is my favourite season, but also I don’t have air conditioning in my apartment (so you can see my dilemma here). Anyways, I hope you’re all doing your best to make the most of this summer, regardless of the circumstances! Get a little fresh air and sunshine, since we’ll all be back to fall before we know it.

Much love,

Meredith

My May Bullet Journal!

Hey everyone!

We’re getting close to the end of the month, which means it’s time to start up my bullet journal for the next month! I started bullet journaling at the beginning of this year, and it’s been a great way to keep track of my goals, to-do lists, and habits. This year has been an absolute roller coaster for me, and while I haven’t always kept up with it regularly, I’ve found it to be an invaluable tool for keeping myself sane during Social Distancing. Since I’ve been finding it so helpful, I figured I’d share some of my favourite ways to bullet journal so they can help you stay on track for the month of May, no matter what it throws at you!

Right now, everything in life is pretty uncertain for all of us — it can be hard to find a balance between staying on top of your goals and responsibilities, taking time to de-stress and taking care of your mental health. I’ve found that bullet journalling is a great way to do this — you can use it in so many different ways, and it gives you a little more freedom and creativity than a regular agenda (which, TBH, I haven’t used once since this all started in mid-March). I’ve included all the pages, lists and trackers I’ve created so far for May, but if you’re already an avid bullet journal user and you have any other ideas that you’ve included for the month, drop a comment and tell me about it! I’m always interesting in finding new ways to expand my journal and it’s many uses.

My Mood Tracker

This one has been my favourite, and so far, my most important use for my bullet journal lately. It’s a lot easier to check in with yourself when you can actually visualize how you’ve been doing. I keep track of my mood with a colour-coded list of 7 possible moods ranging on a scale from really amazing to downright terrible, as well as an “unsure” for when I really just don’t know how I’m feeling. Every night, I fill in each day with how I feel about the day overall right before I go to bed. As time goes on, the chart helps give you a visual of how your mood has been over the month — good or bad, it’s important to know so you can best take care of yourself.

My Habit Tracker

First of all — I don’t own a ruler and didn’t really consider it “essential” to go out and buy one with the current world situation, so I know the lines are super messy — I had to make do! I’ve been getting in to habit tracking lately and it’s really helping my stay on track of things I’m hoping to do every day (or almost every day). A lot of these are things that I aim to do every night, so when I go to fill in my tracker it helps me to remember if I haven’t done them yet. As well, for blogging and working out, it really helps to to visualize if I’m keeping up with my goal or not — especially since it’s so hard to keep track of days lately. This way, there’s no way I can go a week without working out and not even notice it — I’ll be able to see it in my tracker!

My Goal Tracker

I’m trying to keep my goals pretty small for this upcoming month to help me unwind after the year I’ve had. Yes, I could try to jam-pack this time off with as many goals and plans as possible — but I’m starting to realize more and more lately how much I need to give myself a proper break. A lot of my goals for this month are also hobbies of mine, so it’ll help to keep me busy and productive without pushing me too hard. Plus, hopefully after Social Distancing I’ll be caught up on all the little goals I’ve been putting off for a while (like decorating) so I can properly catch up on my blogging!

My To-Do List

I’m hoping to use the month of May to catch up on all the little things around the house I was putting off while being so busy last year. A lot of my to-do list is just decorating and little fixes, but I want to be sure I get it all done by the end of the month, especially before I start my next job. With this handy little list, I’ll be able to keep track of everything I need to do, and have it all in one place so I don’t forget it. Plus, I’ll be able to visualize how many tasks I have to complete as the month goes on!

My Blog Tracker + Brainstorm Page

In the front few pages of my bullet journal, I have a year-long plan of all the blog posts I’m going to make. I have this page so I can brainstorm ideas of what I may post over the next month, and once I’ve solidified my plans I add them to the year-long calendar! This way, I won’t end up writing stuff down there that’s just a possibility that I don’t end up using, and I can keep track of all the ideas (both good and bad) that I have — which can be handy to reference even in later months.

My Boredom-Cure Brainstorm Page

Social Distancing really is a weird time. While I kind of desperately needed a break from life, it’s not all that relaxing to spend every day lying in bed scrolling through my phone. As well, I know myself, and that I have to be careful about falling into the trap of slipping into a depression when I have nothing to do — once I fall into it, it’s hard to get back out. I’m keeping this list of little things I want to keep myself busy with over the next month, so that when I feel like I have nothing to do, I can check up on my options! A lot of these are past hobbies that I haven’t had time for over the last year, so I’m really excited to be able to pick them back up. As well, I intend to add to this list over the next months with any new ideas I have, so I never run out of activities! (Also, yes, I did buy a Nintendo Switch just to play Animal Crossing. I’m a little obsessed — it was my favourite game as a child. If you wanna visit my island, HMU!).

My List Of Shows To Watch

Something I’ve been finding lately is that as soon as I finish a show, I feel like I’m at a loss for what I want to watch next — which is silly, really, as I have so many shows and movies I’ve been meaning to watch forever. However, when one show ends, it can be kind of overwhelming and annoying to scroll through endless titles — so I end up picking something at random and forget about everything I’ve been meaning to watch. I’ve started this list to keep track of what I want to watch next, so that from now on I never have that problem! Plus, I’m super excited to catch up on a lot of these shows — many of them are my favourites. The best part about this is that as I see things I want to watch, or remember even more TV shows or movies I’ve forgotten, I can just add it to the list!

Chores and Meal Lists

This little page is just for me to remember both recipes I’ve been wanting to make when I don’t know what I feel like eating, as well as my chore list for cleaning days so I don’t miss anything. I’ve seen a couple of bullet journals where people write down their favourite recipes, which is something I’m probably going to do in the future, too. This page is really a work in progress and new to me this month, but I’m hoping to have a more solid list and use for it by the end of May.

Little Daily Schedules

This one probably won’t be super important this month, but on days that I actually have a whole list of things I want to do, I’ll write them down here the night before to ensure that I don’t forget anything. I’m always the worst about just “remembering my lists”, thinking it’ll be fine. However, my list always ends up a little scattered in my mind, or I forget something. Or — especially with all my free time — I decide it can be put off to another day, as nothing right now is really set in stone. I’m hoping with this little page, I’ll be able to solidify daily plans when I need them so I can feel more motivated to get all my tasks done by the end of the month!

And that’s what I have so far for this month! This little journal is always a work in progress for me — I’m hoping to find more practical uses for it over the next month to ensure I use it every day. If you’ve been using a bullet journal to help stay on top of things this year, I’d love to see your ideas! Taking the time to write things out is more helpful than I ever realized before I started this journal, plus it really is fun to design and decorate it. (While it may not be perfect or beautiful, I have plenty of time to practice over the next month!). As well, if after these tips you find you’re still struggling with Social Distancing, you can always check out my fifteen tips to survive Social Distancing to help you through this next month or so.

Love you all, and happy last week of April!

Xo,

Meredith

HOW TO: Keep It Together During Busy Weeks

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

Sooooo, once again, I’m delaying my Lash Lift post. I know, and I’m sorry! At this point I’ve had it done — I just really want the time to take good photos where you can see the effects and really perfect the post for you guys. It’s a post that’s been a long time in the making, so I just want to be sure it’s the absolute best and most informative it can be!

That being said, unfortunately, I’ve still been having a crazy week (clearly…my apologies for the delayed post — again! I swear this is the last time it’s going to happen). Between having a term paper due Thursday, Poetry class assignments (also due Thursday, because of course), a crazy busy week at work (between the amount of Canucks games, Lacrosse games and UFC Fights this week, its been a little overwhelming) and getting ready for my trip to Mexico (!!!) exactly one week today — I have been overwhelmed as heck.

Since I once again had to delay the post I had planned, I figured I’d share with you a little list of ten tips on how I’ve been surviving this week! Hopefully, for those of you with crazy weeks of your own coming up, you’ll find some advice here that’ll help you get through the busy and stressful times and make it to the other side in once piece.

  1. Get some sleep!!! It’s tempting to stay up super late to get everything done, especially when you’re on a roll. But not only will you end up regretting it the next day, but it’ll slowly start to build up and take more of a toll as time wears on — making it harder for you to keep up.
  2. Make sure you’re eating regularly. This one may seem super obvious — but when you’re having a really long day and feel like absolute garbage and can’t quite figure out why — you probably just need to eat more. Plan ahead for days when you know you may have to delay meals (for me, this is longer work days) and stock up on some snacks. My personal fave to get through long shifts are Clif Bar’s Nut Butter and Fruit Smoothie filled granola bars — soooooo good.
  3. Make sure you’re still keeping in touch with friends and family — you really need that support.
  4. Set aside daily time for self-care, but don’t overdo it! Taking time to take care of yourself is a necessity — but there’s a line between what you need and just procrastinating. If you’re having a ridiculously busy week, try to limit yourself to maximum one hour a day. You can always make up for it next week if you need to! But anything more than that may just be a guise to put off important tasks. If you need good self-care ideas to formulate a structured one-hour plan, be sure to check out my list here!
  5. Plan everything out well in advance. Even if you don’t follow the plan to a T (stuff always goes wrong — you can’t sweat it!) just having everything written down will ensure you don’t forget anything.
  6. On that note, be sure to limit tasks that need to be done ASAP to busy weeks — everything else can be taken care of later. Even things that feel super important to you and keeping your life together, such as cleaning, meal prepping, laundry, etc., can slide for a few days if it helps you complete all your tasks on time. Just remember — it’s all about balance!
  7. Obvious one — but stay hydrated.
  8. If you have a lot of tasks that are going to take a while to complete, try to break them up into smaller segments and switch it up every few hours. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this really helps me avoid burning out.
  9. Don’t overdo it on caffeine! It’s hard, I know. Sometimes during the crazy weeks it feels like that coffee is LITERALLY the only thing that’s going to help you survive the next few hours. However, if you’re already feeling kind of exhausted, you don’t want all that caffeine to impact your sleep. Even if you’re still falling asleep quickly, too much coffee can impact your quality of sleep — meaning you won’t wake up feeling refreshed and ready the next day. (If you really feel you can’t go without it, try decaf! If nothing else, hopefully the placebo effect will have you convinced it’s what you need).
  10. Be sure to reward yourself for completing tasks. You’ve been having a rough week — you deserve it! Not only that, but rewarding yourself for checking tricky tasks off your checklist will help to incentivize you to keep going. (It’ll also help to refresh you so you don’t feel like the week is one never-ending struggle — you need breaks!). Try to stick to little rewards after each task, and try to take a whole day off after you finish everything up — you need it! Take the day to relax and catch up on all the self-care, sleep, and alone time you’ve missed since your life got so hectic.

Happy Sunday everyone, and hopefully this next week goes well for you all! (And if it DOES happen to get a little intense, at least you have a little advice that’ll help make it easier!). If you have any other advice that helps you get through the tough times, or just want to vent about the week you’re having, drop a comment below! This week is going to be a bit of an intense one, but once I make it through to the other side I get to head down to Puerto Vallarta for a week, which is making it all worth it. Be sure to stay tuned for next week’s post about my experience getting a Lash Lift (seriously this time, I promise!) as well as TWO new travel posts coming out in the following weeks.

Here’s to surviving this week — or even thriving, if you’re lucky! I hope you all achieve your goals — we’re almost halfway through February, after all!

Much love,

Meredith