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

My June Bullet Journal!

Hey y’all!

A lot has changed in the world since I shared my May Bullet Journal last month. I talked all about how during lockdown, while I had absolutely nothing to keep me on track, my little journal was invaluable to keeping my routines, mental health and goals in check.

While I’ve used and loved bullet journalling before, the way it helped me stay on track over the last month has been incredible. I’ve kept up with old and new daily routines nearly every day without fail, gotten a lot of tasks I’ve been meaning to complete forever finished, and being able to visualize my mood over the last month has helped me check in on myself during a time when it really is the most important.

I don’t know that I’m going to be making a habit of sharing my journals each month, as I do feel that would be awfully repetitive. However, the world has changed completely, once again, over the last month — which poses new challenges and goals to keep track of. In Vancouver, restrictions are slowly being lifted — restaurants are slowly reopening, beaches are open to the public, and we’re all allowed to hang out with up to six people in person. It’s a slow start, but the world (for the time being) is starting to feel a little more normal.

As such, I have totally different goals for the next month — while I want to ensure I keep up the good habits I’ve formed over the last little while, I also need to start applying to new jobs, making more of a point to get outside and create new content, and hopefully even incorporate workout classes into my schedule. The point being — this month, while still not even all that close to being normal, is going to be crazy different from the last. It’s still just as important as ever for me to be keeping track of my goals and checking in with myself, so I wanted to share how I plan on doing that for others who are a little nervous for what June may hold!

Mood Tracker

I’ve already shared this one with you before, but this was my first time using a mood tracker for an entire month and actually sticking with it every day. I had started one just before May when I shared the tracker I’ve been using over the past month, but it was only for the second half of April and I wasn’t great about filling it in every day. This month, I’m taking my mood tracking a step further by adding a wider range of categories to help me determine my mood for the day more accurately.

New And Improved Habit Tracker

This habit tracker has been unparalleled in terms of being a useful tool to ensure that I stick to habits I’m hoping to create. Not only does it hold me accountable and increase the likelihood of me sticking to habits even on days when I have low motivation — it allows me to visualize how successful I’ve been at incorporating these habits into my life. As well, in terms of things such as skincare and taking my medications, it serves as a reminder to do these before bed if I haven’t already. This month, I’m adding a few mew categories — I’m breaking up workouts into yoga and workouts, as I intend to maintain my daily yoga routine while incorporating spin classes, running or HIIT into my days as well (but not every day — I know what I can handle!). As well, I’m breaking down medications into meds and vitamins, so I can hopefully have an easier time remembering to take the daily vitamins that I need, which I’m still not great about. I’ve added one to remind me to practice my Japanese on Duolingo (why? no reason — it’s something I tried a year ago and I love the idea of being able to speak three languages). As well, I left one blank — just in case!

Job Hunt Schedule

This one is a new one for this month — I’ve been working on creating a plan for applying to jobs to ensure I can be as efficient and successful with it as possible. Since this will be my first post-grad job and the job market is definitely a little weird right now, I want to make sure I’m staying on track and making daily progress.

June Goals

This one is pretty standard — I make a checklist of everything I want to accomplish before the end of the month to help me visualize and remember all of my goals. It makes it a lot easier to keep track of what I’ve done and what still needs doing — and even if they’re things that can’t be checked off until the end of the month, it still serves and an important reminder every time I check in to see the progress I’m making. This list is more for month long goals, rather than tasks, so this list more helps to remind me of things I should be constantly working towards.

June To-Do List

This list, on the other hand, is all the tasks I need to complete by the end of the month. Unlike the goal list, these are just things I need to get done and out of the way. I guess an easy way to think of it is that my goal list is for long-term tasks and activities, whereas this is for short-term — and once I complete a task it’s over and done with. This list helps me keep track of everything that I need to just finish up and get out of the way, and it feels great every time I’m able to check one off the list.

June Brainstorm & Blog Tracker

This month I’m taking my blog brainstorming a little further to really help me flesh out all my ideas, so that I can be free to be as creative as possible and work through all my ideas — whether they work or not, or just need to be saved for later on. As well, I’ll be including those blogging, Twitter and Instagram trackers I mentioned earlier, to help me visualize how frequently I’m creating content and utilizing social media.

June Chore Schedule

Since over this next month, it’s likely I’m going to be spending more time being out and about and a being a lot busier than I was thing month, I’m creating a chore schedule for the whole month to ensure I keep up with everything and keep my home clean and organized. I’m scheduling everything from weekly cleans to monthly deep-cleans and reorganizing, so I can be sure to complete them in a timely and appropriate manner to keep any of these tasks from being pushed aside for too long. Hopefully this will help bring balance to my life when it starts to get a little busier and keep me from getting overwhelmed with tasks, as I’ll know when to do stuff and whether or not it is done.

I don’t know about you all, but I’m both incredibly excited and nervous for what the next month is going to hold. On one hand, I’ll be able to see a few friends, maybe go for a meal out, and hopefully spend some time outside without worrying as much about everything going on. On the other hand, I’m really nervous that I’ve become too adjusted to my stay-at-home life, and that I’m going to have trouble finding the energy and motivation to stay busy and away from home all day, as well as putting in the effort to look put-together and maintaining my newfound routines. Having this journal ready to go for the next month at least has me feeling a little hopeful I’ll be able to use it to stay on track and make June a success.

I hope you’re all adjusting well back to normal life, whatever that means for where you live! It’s strange how some places in the world are now completely back to normal, whereas some still have full restrictions — whatever lies ahead for the next month, it sure will be interesting. I’m sending positive vibes out your way, and hoping that you’re all able to stay safe and have a successful June and achieve all your goals, whatever that may mean for you! (And if you want to share those goals, or your own methods for keeping track of them — drop a comment below! I’d love to hear all about it).

Stay safe out there, and happy end of May! No matter what you’ve been through this month, it’s finally almost over. We’ve almost made it through.

Much love,

Meredith

My One-Year Bloggiversary!

Hey friends!

Sooooooo, I have some news — as of May 3rd, I have officially been blogging and sharing with y’all for one year!!! (Yes, I kind of missed it. I know! I’m sorry. It’s been a crazy month, plus I bought my domain back in February (not May) of last year so it didn’t notify me. I promise I’m writing it down for next year.).

Small details aside, I’m really excited about this. Not only am I really proud of myself for committing to this blog, it’s kind of crazy to see how I’ve grown and improved as a writer over the last year. While I kind of cringe looking back at my very first posts on this blog, I know I had to start somewhere and that I’ve become a more skillful writer with time and effort. As such, I wanted to do a little update of my first ever post where I shared 10 facts about me. As well, I wanted to elaborate a little on what I’ve learned, what’s changed in my life, and where I hope blogging takes me in the future!

So, without further ado, here’s 10 (updated) facts about me!

  • I am currently 22 years old residing in Vancouver, Canada. Well, I’m 23 now, but otherwise this is still true!
  • I have a degree in Psychology from UBC. At the time that I wrote this, I was really struggling with what was going on in my degree — even I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen, and as such, I just wanted to pretend I had graduated and finish up my remaining two classes quietly. With time, I realized how harmful that was; not only do I hate being dishonest, but I was kind of lying to myself. It was a brutal and stressful year, but I made it through. And now, I’m officially a UBC graduate with a major in Psychology and a minor in Creative Writing!
  • I am an alumna of the Kappa Kappa Gamma organization. This hasn’t changed, but I have become a lot more aware of the long-lasting impact my sorority has on my life and how I can still lean into those friendships and rely on my sisters, even in the hardest of times.
  • My hobbies/favourite things include exercising, travelling, makeup and skincare, as well as hanging out with my friends. I don’t really know what I was going for with this one — it’s a little all over the place and doesn’t really include any hobbies (although I was a little too busy for them at the time). My REAL hobbies include blogging, photography, makeup and art. (Obviously I still love skincare and my friends — but those don’t really strike me as hobbies, per se).
  • I’m a HUGE cat person. My parents have a Siberian Forest kitten named Dmitry and he might be the love of my life. Dmitry is now one year old! This is him now, I miss SO much.
  • I’m originally from Toronto, Canada and I moved to Vancouver at 17. Still true! I haven’t been back in a while, sadly — especially since with the current situation, it seems like I may not be able to anytime soon.
  • Tea over coffee but I still love both. I actually only really drink coffee when I’m working — and even then, I mostly drink lattes. Plain roasted coffee is great sometimes, but I don’t make it at home all too often. Tea, on the other hand? I make tea usually twice, sometimes three times a day. I wasn’t kidding when I wrote this, I really, REALLY love tea.
  • I LOVE the outdoors, plants are a huge essential in my home decor. I just put up the two cutest little plant pots on my wall, which is pretty fitting here! (If you want these for yourself, you can get them from Umbra!).
  • I’m an aspiring Wedding Planner. This is still true, but unfortunately I’ve graduated at just about the strangest and most uncertain time for the job market. Who even knows what the wedding industry will look like after this? So, fingers crossed, but I’ll be keeping an open mind.
  • My absolute favourite beauty line is NARS (with Tarte being a close second), and my favourite skin care line really depends on the product but I’d have to say probably Naturopathica. This is so funny to me, because this honestly sounds a little dated — these feel more like my opinions of two years ago. However, nowadays, I’d have to say my overall favourite makeup line would have to be Anastasia Beverly Hills. As well, my favourite skincare brand is probably Biossance (with Herbivore as a close second).

It’s so weird taking this time to look back and reflect — it really has been such an intense year. When I wrote this post initially, I was fresh out of my 2019 exam season and grappling with what was going on with both my degree and my future, as it was all so up in the air at that point. Being a recent graduate is definitely never easy for anyone, and I know from watching all my friends enter the post-grad life that it’s far from an smooth transition. It’s intimidating searching for jobs, and starting your first job post-grad can be overwhelming. It’s tough to stay in touch with a lot of your university friends, especially those that move away, have conflicting schedules or are still finishing their degrees. Post-grad life is incredibly isolating at first. I’ve heard time after time from each and every one of my friends how incredibly lonely they felt for the first year or so. But not only did I have to go through all of this myself — I hadn’t even actually graduated yet. I still needed to get a job, and finish up my classes. It felt like I spent the whole year in flux — I had all the aspects of post-grad life and struggles, without the actual degree.

I wouldn’t say it ever got much easier or less scary over the last year. I always felt like I was two steps behind. I transitioned from my on-campus apartment to downtown life, my incredibly intense new job and online classwork faster than I could ever keep up with. I never had any time to socialize, keep up with friends, or do anything for myself. I didn’t have the ability to fully move into my apartment with how busy I was, and I spent months without having any furniture at all. Beauty treatments I used to keep up with regularly became a thing of the past. All I had time for was trying to catch up. I spent a lot of the last year not really living, but surviving.

This isn’t to say that it was all bad. In the last year, I got a chance to do a lot of travelling, which I am so very grateful for. I finally did finish up my degree, and I’ll be able to have a little virtual graduation this summer and put that chapter of my life to rest. As well, I think I’ve come to realize I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. I have dealt with so much in the last year, and even when my worst issues were just juggling my classes and seven day weeks at my job, I made it through in one piece in the end. If you had told me last year what this year would have been like, the changes my life went through and how much I would end up losing, I wouldn’t have believed I could have survived it all. But I did.

I kind of feel like I’m finally beginning to wrap up this year of my life and move on to the next phase, and honestly — as monumental and educational as it was for me, I can’t wait to put it behind me. It’s weird thinking ahead to the next year and what it’ll hold for me and my blog — everything is so uncertain right now, there’s no point in really setting any solid plans. However, I do have some ideas for where I’d like my blog (and life) to go over the next year — for starters, I’m hoping to have more time to dedicate to creating content (both for my blog and Instagram), as well as finally being able to reach out to brands for collabs. I’m hoping to settle into a real routine and find a full-time job that I love. Most of all, I’m just hoping to be able to really take the time to put together posts I can be proud of, week after week. This blog is a huge passion of mine, but I don’t often have a lot of time to dedicate towards it — but hopefully by this time next year, I’ll be able to change that.

Before I go, I just wanted to give a little thanks to all of you for supporting me over the last year. It really means so much to me that so many of you care what I have to say, and I love being able to share my thoughts with all of you. While this year has been pretty rough and it’s been tricky coming back from my hiatus, it means a lot seeing the support I’ve been getting since. So thank you, all of you, for making my first year of blogging so fantastic! I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me. Let the journey begin!

Xoxo,

Meredith