I know it’s a little late, but I hope you’ve had a wonderful welcome to 2023 🙂
Our festive season was so lovely – although, I’m not sure all of our furry babies were too impressed with their outfits… Haha!
Although I’m just getting over a horrible bought of the flu, which doesn’t help matters, I reckon January felt approximately 476 days long! While I haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy riding the horses, and Cai’s walks have mostly been on the pavements instead of fields as it’s so muddy, I’m looking forward to lots of adventures – with both the horses and Cai – as soon as the weather has improved and nights are lighter 🙂
In the interest of transparency, I feel it’s important to shine a light on darkness as well as the brighter times. I’ve been struggling with high levels of anxiety for a few months – which has made the winter weather seem all the darker, at times.
I’m beyond grateful for my fabulous family and friends (including my gorgeous animal family!), because they support me through everything; and I take at least a moment to be thankful for all the beauty I’m fortunate to have in my life, every day. However, sometimes, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life can become overwhelming – especially when emetophobia is involved.
Having been held hostage by emetophobia, and its associated anxieties, for over quarter of a century, I felt enough was enough and finally dusted off ‘The Thrive Programme’ textbook I’ve had in the bookcase for eighteen months and made a start on the course. So far it’s been slow progress, but that’s because I haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I should be – though after having a setback while I had the flu, during which I had a terrible panic attack, I’m determined to push through and get on with the course.
Mental health should definitely be as highly regarded as physical health, and I’m done putting myself last all the time. I’ve had it pointed out to me by loved ones that I need to start considering myself and taking care of myself first – so, I am more determined than ever to get ‘The Thrive Programme’ done and dusted; it’s about time I took away the control emetophobia has over my quality of life 🙂
I watched the impressive buzzard in the below photograph effortlessly lift themselves up and out of the fog encompassing them… Nature is on our side, if we take the time to learn how to harness our own power through being calm. Which is why, alongside vanquishing my demons, I’m going to do more of what I love (e.g. spend more time with my husband/family/friends, take Cai on more adventures, ride my horses more often, revel in my own literary creations, read more fantastic books, take up photography again, etc.) – since that’s the reason I work so damn hard constantly. So, please take this as your sign to do the same – life is too short not to relish the wonderfulness in your life; striving to reach a goal isn’t worthwhile if it costs you your health.
And, on an even more positive note, I finally have a plan for my own writing. This year, I’m focused on moving forwards with my literary endeavours; most namely, completing my YA series and its accompanying dyslexia-friendly versions. I also have sooo many other story ideas and endless scribbled notes that could prove to be the kindling that sparks my next novel or series of short stories. So, please ‘watch this space’!
In the meantime, I’ve edited typos in “Larry” and “Animals’ Guide to the Human Race” for the final time (I mean it! Haha) and they’re available in eBook format, as well as paperback and hardcover 🙂
When I get the opportunity, I’m also hoping to update The Emet. Review website and Instagram page – I’ve just been a little too busy to do so for a while, for which I apologise! Though in case you’d like to pay The Emet. Review a visit, here’s the website address: https://emetreview.wordpress.com/
Anyways, I’m going to stop typing now and spend some quality time with Gareth and Cai 🙂
I’m always apologising for being busy, though this time, I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to include a brief (well, brief in terms of my writing) update along with my hope that all is going wonderfully well in your life – if it isn’t, please know you are not alone 🙂
So, I finally completed my Stage 2 modules as I study for BA(Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing with the Open University. Due to my ridiculously heavy workload, I initially intended to complete one module at a time for the final Stage 3 section of my degree, though I’ve given deep thought into what I’d like to achieve, and have had endless discussions with my loved ones about my terrible attempts to forge a work-life balance – I’ve come to the conclusion that if I am to relieve pressure long term, I’m going to follow their advice and study full time from Sept/Oct this year, so I’ll have less pressure on my time as of June/July 2022. That means I’m going to take a small step back from taking on new ghostwriting clients with lengthy projects – if you’re a prospective client with a lengthy project, I apologise! But I have to focus on improving the quality of my assignment scores, since I achieved 80%-95% for Stage 1 modules (though I did complete them part time, around part time employment) and only 65%-75% for Stage 2 modules (completed around self-employment; the hours for which I spend working I dread to count!). I am still accepting smaller projects, such as blog posts, website content, articles, and short stories 🙂
I am not at liberty to discuss any aspect of ghostwriting projects – as I sign confidentiality agreements for every project – though I can let you know that business has been incredibly busy, for which I am exceedingly thankful! Unfortunately, I did experience my first (and hopefully last) setback in my ghostwriting endeavours, when a client failed to pay the final fee for their project; they disappeared the day after I sent them the final document. I admit that my trust in the basic, moral goodness of human nature was tested, and though I have chalked it up to being a valuable lesson learned, it was also the catalyst for my decision to pursue the completion of my degree full time as I reassessed what I’d like to achieve through ghostwriting. It saddens me that despite my best efforts to help people and make a difference for the better, someone could be so thoughtless as to waste my valuable time and effort – especially since I’d turned down other projects to help the client, as there was a tight deadline and I was told the project meant a lot to them. So, I have decided to focus on completing my degree, and whilst I will continue ghostwriting and proofreading, I am only going to take on projects I know I’ll enjoy, as I am going to spend more time on my own writing whilst I pursue a primary school teaching career (unless, in the meantime, I manage to emulate a fraction of J.K. Rowling’s success with my own novels, enabling me to write for myself full time; which is highly unlikely!).
I have always been driven to make a difference for the better, something I have strived to do through ghostwriting and proofreading – for instance, I’ve taken on many projects free of charge for charitable organisations, alongside my busy work schedule – though have found that my love of writing has been tested on occasion when I’ve had to work 14-hour days while struggling to juggle everything going on in my hectic schedule. Enduring a miscarriage – as well as suffering with my mental health as a result of the constant stress caused by the struggle against the rising pressure of everything – has taught me that life is too short not to do what I love for a living. Whilst I love writing – and have earned more money through ghostwriting than any other job I’ve ever had – I cannot sustain the level of work I have been. I’m not making as much of a difference for the better as I intended through the type of ghostwriting work I do. Although I am going to continue working for several of my fantastic clients, for whom I provide ghostwriting projects regularly, I will be dedicating more of my time to achieving success with my own writing (since I’m able to do so for my clients, I may as well try writing bestselling pieces formyself too!), and I am going to work towards becoming a primary school teacher; following in the footsteps of many amazing female relatives before me, primary school teaching is a career I expect to be as challenging as it is creative, but will allow me steady, structured working hours and the ability to work as part of a team and ‘switch off’ at the end of the day (instead of being immersed in my solitary work 24/7) – enabling me to make the most of my life, whilst still making a positive difference to many young people’s lives 🙂
Moving on from my career aspirations, I created a special book for my niece (whom I hadn’t seen for a year due to pandemic lockdown restrictions) for her 5th birthday. She’s going through a tough time with her health, so I felt it would cheer her up to have a book created specially for her 🙂 Whilst I still have a lot to learn in terms of illustration and typesetting a fully-illustrated document, I thoroughly enjoyed working on Evelyn-Rose’s book around my crazy work/uni/life schedule; it helped me channel stressful energy into something positive. In case you’d like to view it for yourself, the link to the listing for “Evelyn-Rose’s Magical Adventure” is here.
Something I’d been debating for many years was getting a second tattoo. My first experience was traumatic, to say the least, so I’ve spent years researching and pondering whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Though I am pleased to say that I did go ahead with getting a tattoo, inspired by a photograph I’d taken on the last family holiday we went on with my wonderful grandparents – something my late Nan and I talked about for a while was my getting a peacock butterfly tattoo, so I hope she’d have appreciated my decision to finally go ahead with getting it done 🙂 As it happens, butterflies are also representative of the beauty of change, of hope, and of triumph through adversity – a fitting testament to my life experiences.
I have been revelling in the beautiful weather lately, taking every opportunity I can to get Cai walked and ride/spend time with my horses, as well as to delve back in to another of my hobbies – photography 🙂 I’ve not been feeling quite myself, so I’m currently working hard to exercise more and eat healthier, in hope of losing weight, improving my strength, and toning up; I’m pleased to report that it’s only been a couple of weeks since I finished my final end-of-module uni assignments, though I feel better already for spending more time out and about. You can follow some of Cai’s adventures on his Instagram page.
However, as often seems to be the case, my injuries have made being more active far from straightforward. Not only has my hand been more painful lately (due to increased exercise through following YouTube HIIT/Pilates videos, horse riding, Cai pulling on his lead, etc.), but I have discovered that my jaw is dislocated and has been causing me major issues in the form of pain, swelling, and headaches – I had mistaken the issue as being an impacted wisdom tooth for a long time; it was the thought of having another tooth removed that put me off making an appointment with the dentist, but if non-invasive treatments don’t work, I might have to go through some pretty unpleasant surgery on my jaw o.O
My boyfriend, Gareth, and I have a few events to attend this year, as well as a few days away in Edinburgh to look forward to this summer – and I’m working hard on improving my self-confidence – so, I’ve spent a little time practising using make-up. My skin has been terrible lately – which I imagine is largely stress-based – and that hasn’t helped me feel better about myself. Whilst I’m nowhere near as great at using make-up as I’d like to be, I’m hopeful my face painting/sculpting skills will continue to improve…
I’ve been working hard to improve my confidence whilst driving, and am pleased to be making progress 🙂 I even went to the cinema a couple of days ago, for the first time in around 18 months!
Annndd I’ve decided to dedicate as much time as I can to my own writing by taking it more seriously – as such, I’ve signed up for Mslexia and WritersHQ, which will help me gain confidence by interacting more frequently with fellow writers. I’ll be making more time to read books from fantastically inspirational authors too, to improve my writing as much as possible and ‘switch off’ – just received a mega Waterstones order; anyone else love that ‘new book’ scent? 😉
I hope to be more active in terms of content creation for my blog from now on, so you can expect more interesting posts than this – such as a short story series, book reviews, and a variety of posts about all things literary, equestrian, and mental health 🙂
Anyways, I hope all is well with you; I look forward to reading messages about all the exciting things happening in your lives too!
So, it has been an inordinate amount of time since my last blog post – my apologies to those of you who enjoy them! However, as the title of this post suggests, things have been stressful. You might want to get yourself a lovely cup of tea and some super chocolaty biscuits, because this is going to be one lengthy rant (sorry!)…
Cannot remember whether I mentioned previously the whole car debacle – in case I haven’t, here it is: I purchased a second-hand car six weeks ago. It was mechanically sound, drove nicely, and was reasonably priced. Then, en route home, the damn thing started playing up. I’m definitely not the most confident driver, and I prefer to drive automatic cars because they’re more comfortable with my hand injury, so when the stupid thing kept slipping out of ‘Auto’ mode and getting stuck in first gear, that wasn’t helpful. It broke down at least three times in two days. The lady I bought it from kindly offered to take it back and refund the money, but I’m aware the lady is a single mother with three young children who needed a car – so I didn’t feel it was the right thing to do to burden her with it; I told her I’d keep it and get it sorted out, so she didn’t have to worry about it. To be fair to the lady, she was extremely helpful in trying to contact the previous owner in attempt to get him to pay the repair costs – he didn’t, but she made sure our complaint about the car was heard, which I really appreciated. After having two mechanics look at the car, as a last-ditch attempt to get the damn thing sorted, I searched for a local diagnostics garage; luckily, the one I found has been fantastic. Although they’ve had the car a total of four weeks (out of the six weeks I’ve owned the thing), despite their generosity and doing a lot of work on it for free, after I spent hundreds of pounds getting it fixed, we had a discussion today in which they felt it isn’t reliable enough for me – it just wouldn’t put up with the type of use I’d be expecting of it. The car drives superbly, it’s just more suited to someone wanting to travel around town as opposed to long distances through country lanes and over pot-holed farm driveways. Thankfully, the garage have kindly offered to try selling it on for me, though I am going to have to accept a huge loss on what was supposed to be a positive, lifestyle-changing investment. I am now on the lookout for a pink automatic, because I have decided I’m not compromising on the colour of car I’d love; I’ll let you know when I find my perfect car (which I am determined to do, even if it takes a while!). In the meantime, please enjoy this photograph of the number plate omen that I completely missed 🙂
Moving on from stressful cars, there was a sudden explosion of ragwort in the horses’ field last week. Probably the hot, wet weather – but ragwort is severely toxic to horses so has to be removed from grazing pasture. Therefore, spent hours pulling ragwort with my family and some friends with horses at the yard; which was stressful when the horses kept trying to nibble at the plants, thinking it was some sort of treat we were shoving into bags! Eventually, after much sweat, blood (from brambles, mostly), and tears (from stinging nettles and having flying insects attack us), we got the job done 🙂
I’ve had a heck of a lot of work lately – which is beyond wonderful! However, I continue to fail at time management. This is a constant strain on my physicality (i.e. headaches from staring at screens non-stop) as well as my mentality (i.e. not taking breaks, even on weekends, which leads to random debilitating anxiety attacks). I love my job, I truly do. I am infinitely thankful to be able to do something I love for a living, especially after the up-and-down experiences of working for companies. I’ve also just received the first batch of study materials in preparation for my uni course re-commencing in October – I adore learning, though my gosh are these some enormous textbooks!
I am failing miserably at fulfilling my own sense of self, in that I am continuously putting myself down and piling on my to-do list – instead of heeding my own advice by taking even a moment to be proud of my achievements and actually reap the rewards I’ve earned. My constant state of stress is stressing out my loved ones too, which is what bothers me most of all. This is where that good old adage “do as I say, not as I do” comes into force! I’m going to re-visit the fantastic advice given by family, friends, and kind social media strangers a while ago when I posted about this sort of thing on my personal social media pages – I am determined to fight my anxious tendencies and will learn to trust in my own abilities, as a writer and as a human being. And I promise to let you know exactly how I do that the second of its discovery 🙂
Whilst you’re awaiting a positive, life-affirming blog post from me, I hope you’ll be enchanted by these photographs I’ve taken over the last few weeks (the numbered photo collage depicts a change in light over a few seconds, taken during a lightning strike a few days ago). I do love nature, and photography 🙂
If you’ve made it to here, please reward yourself with your favourite sweet treat – thank you! I hope, at the very least, my blog post has given you a human insight into the world of a ghostwriter… 🙂
I’m sorry it’s been a while, I have been *exceedingly* busy – I hope you’re staying safe and well!
That’s why I decided to write about some of what I’ve been doing the last few weeks. I will admit, however, that I cannot share anything about the ghostwriting projects I’ve been working on, aside the colouring books I produced on behalf of my Mum 🙂
The royalties from these colouring books are being donated to the NHS until 1st June (and beyond if sales remain steady), as even though my Dad works for the NHS, my family wanted to do something more to help toward the pandemic situation. In case you might be interested, Mum’s colouring books are available here.
I’ve spent quality time with my gorgeous dog and beautiful horses. They help me deal with anxieties, stresses and pressures of the current situation, as they’ve helped me deal with so many difficult times throughout my life. Not only are they a comforting presence, their lives are my responsibility – so even if I feel like cwtching up in bed with a blanket and Disney films all day, feeling sorry for myself because I’m missing loved ones, I can’t. Because they need my care and attention no-matter what 🙂
I did have a near-miss when riding yesterday though; I failed to thoroughly check my horse’s bridle, and thankfully I’ve trained her well enough for an insecure bridle not to pose a problem, because I didn’t have cause to notice until I removed her bridle!
Moral of the story = ALWAYS check your tack before riding… o.O
As my family have done for the last decade, we continue to help look after the sheep at the farm we keep our horses at. The girls have only produced one lamb between them this year – though he’s been castrated and the lady who owns the farm decided we’re going to keep him, which is lush! She named the lamb Osian – and he’s *nearly* brave enough to approach us 🙂
I’ve also taken some time to enjoy photography again, an interest of mine I have been tempted to take up professionally though never have. I love the beauty of nature and wildlife, as well as getting used to all the features on my mobile phone camera that I’ve not yet spent the time doing – I suggest having a go at photography if you’re in need of a new hobby during lockdown, it’s fun; I also made friends with geese living at the farm 🙂
I had a go at applying make-up once too; I am definitely not skilled at that! Haha. And whilst I respect anyone able to apply make-up to perfection, it made me realise the finances and time such people must have to invest to be able to do so. I sincerely hope that people applying make-up do so because they enjoy enhancing their features, as opposed to hiding their real self. If confidence is dependent on one’s exterior, that isn’t healthy. So I hope that one day I’ll be able to help people feel more comfortable and confident to be themselves; using make-up as an enhancement to their already perfect features (if at all), instead of a mask behind which to hide with their insecurities.
I have exterior insecurities of my own – my nose, for one. My nose was broken by my family’s horse when I was 10 years old; I remember the pain as though it were yesterday! (#owch) Though in dealing with the feelings of having what I always used to perceive as being a ‘larger-than-average’ nose, I learned that actually, there’s nothing much wrong with my nose. Every person is different, as such, their bodies tell the story of their life. I realise now that I shouldn’t be anymore ashamed of my nose than I should be of the surgical scars I have on my right hand, because they’re part of *my story* – and if I’m honest, when I look back at my story and everything I continue to strive to achieve, I am proud of who I am becoming and how I’m getting there. That’s not to say I don’t have my wobbly moments when I completely lack any sense of self-confidence, I’m human so of course I am naturally self-critical, though I’ve mustered the strength to stare adversity straight in the face as I kick it in the nuts, before making the decision to walk on by – if I can do that, there’s nothing stopping you either 🙂
Something I did that I still don’t do often enough is practice self-care. Obviously I shower every day, brush my teeth, look after my hair, try to eat healthily, exercise, etc. – though self-care is so much more than that. In my case, self-care meant that on a day I felt burdened by pressures I put upon myself, I decided to take a step back to have a relaxing read in the bath, then dress in colourful clothes and remind myself that it is absolutely alright to allow myself time to deal with anxiety, stress, worries, and feelings of alone-ness (not loneliness, however; since I am fortunate to be surrounded by family and able to see friends from a distance at the farm) that accompany being away from my boyfriend for such a long time. I was working in excess of 12 hours a day, and I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to work out that staring at a screen for that long is bound to have a detrimental impact – for me, that happened to be headaches and dizziness; symptoms I am lucky to have only ever experienced rarely. In attempt to work instead of addressing my anxieties, I accidentally forgot that unless I took care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to give my all to anything – ghostwriting projects, writing my novels, caring for my animals, helping my loved ones through this lockdown, etc.
Lesson learned here was that we are allowed to take time to recharge. One should never feel guilty for having to indulge in proper self-care 🙂
Finally, I try to keep my social media content positive as possible during these turbulent times. Though I tend to neglect social media posting in favour of completing work most of the time, I have created a few posts as my own little contribution toward the sense of community seeing us through this awful pandemic and lockdown. So, in case you needed some thanks for all that you’re doing to save lives, here’s my message to you…
Thanks for reading my latest blog post!
Please stay safe and know that we’re all in this, together <3
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