What is writing to me?

Writing is a pain in the arse.

Writing, to me, is feeling absolutely overwhelmed even though your mind is completely empty. It’s feeling like you’re in a fight with your brain because you can’t find the words you want to put out there. It’s fighting with your brain because you feel too stupid to articulate what you want to say. Fighting because you’ve been itching for hours to do the only thing you thought you were good at. It’s the writers block that has been going on for days, for weeks, for months. It’s feeling that now you haven’t been able to write anything for a day, you probably won’t be able to write anything for a week. It’s feeling like the person who wrote stories when you were younger is not the same person, because you can’t pull out the motivation or imagination that was able to create so much back then. It’s having a white, blank page glare back at you for so long that the screen warps and it feels like the icons and buttons are laughing at you. It’s watching the word count flicker back and forth as you dislike what you wrote five minutes after finally typing it out. It’s frowning so hard and tapping at your skin in hopes this will force words out.

It’s envying the people who didn’t struggle with the class coursework, it’s feeling like you might not have the capability that everyone else has. It’s worrying that you’ll never be able to move anyone with your writing. That your prose will never give anyone goosebumps. That your poetry will never make anyone’s heart throb. It’s watching words repeat and getting sick of them. It’s trying to bring new words into your vocabulary and second guessing yourself because you’re not sure they fit well. It’s like having a puzzle dumped in a moving river and trying to gather it all together but losing parts one by one as they get pulled into a whirlpool full of everything you’re stressing about. It’s laughing at your own metaphors because anybody with common sense could think of a better one. Writing is feeling like everything you want to say and everything that comes from the heart is dissolving as soon as the idea even passes your mind. Writing is feeling there’s no point to even note your idea down because you’ll instantly find flaws in it.

But writing is also the best skill I have in my life.

Writing is therapy. It’s finally unscrewing the overflowing, pressurized bottles inside and letting all the bubbly mixture pour away into a delicious mixture. It’s knowing that sometimes the words you manage to scrap together will flow beautifully and sit comfortably just like the feeling of sitting in front of a cosy fire in the winter. It’s finishing a long piece of coursework and feeling satisfied because you did that. You put all your heart and soul into it. Writing is getting the anger out. It’s letting yourself breath, it’s unfastening the frown in your eyebrows and letting your hands exercise. It’s distracting yourself from the defeated feeling, it’s distracting yourself from the stressed feeling. It’s proving to yourself that you’ve gotten better and stronger than you were when you were younger. Writing is having people tell you that they love your writing. It’s having people tell you that something you wrote related to them hard. It’s seeing your poetry at an exhibition, it’s your tutor telling you that your ideas would be publishing material, it’s having people tell you that they can’t wait to see you become the writer you’ve always wanted to be. It’s sticking at your blog for three whole years through heavy depression, through manipulation, through bullying, through bad jobs, through the low confidence. It’s knowing you have proof to show you survived and that you kept doing what you loved. It’s living life and seeing beauty in a sweet coffee you had on the commute to work or the song of a gorgeous bird making you smile on a walk home. It’s keeping all these feelings, these memories, these glimmers of hope and knowing one day you’ll be able to express them in so many different ways whether it’s a poem, a children’s book or a blog post.

Writing is knowing you have a voice and using it for great things.


Youtube vs. Wordpress

Youtube is an extremely popular social media/blogging platform in these recent years and a lot of ‘youtube stars’ can go on to amazing opportunities like appearing on tv shows, radio appearances and invitations to premieres and events. It seems like a dream job for a lot of teenagers to make videos discussing  their favourite things or joking about like stars including Danisnotonfire or having a youtube channel with tons of subscribers watching as you play video games and commentate however it is a massive struggle to get to the place some of these people do. You can hardly just quit your job and depend on running a youtube channel when you only have one or two subscribers.

Lately I’ve pondered working creatively on both my blog and a youtube channel and tried to explore the process of making videos, talking to a camera and video editing and I am on and off about it. Some of the differences I’ve noticed from doing one or two videos is that, personally, I feel it’s a lot less pressure expressing through writing. Maybe that’s based on my personality and comfort zone. I am quite an introverted person but I love expressing my feelings, opinions and talking about stuff, however growing up quiet and shy, talking for long periods of time can end up with me stammering, falling over my words a bit and going off on a tangent.

My latest video I uploaded last night was me talking about my favourite phone apps – something I believe if I had written this piece, maybe I could of gone into more descriptive reviews of each app, however when you are making a video, you feel you’re on a time limit and to captivate and draw in a new audience – nobody ever really wants to listen to someone drawl on unless they’re already along for the ride of a youtuber. Let’s be honest some youtube videos I only watch the whole thing and stay until the end of the video because I like the personality and as someone who is introverted, my personality isn’t going to be fully presented to somebody watching me however through writing is might be. I can’t mispronounce or forget what I had to say as I type and if I feel I have missed an important point, I can go back to it later.

Another difference to youtube expression vs. writing expression is possibly it is easier for a lot of audiences to sit down and read my blog. When you’re commuting, scrolling through a post and skimming it allows people to take more information in than a video where you may have to concentrate and have the volume up. Blogging is also a lot easier process for someone with a busy schedule or impulsive ideas, such as myself. A lot of effort has to be put into a good video where you are discussing a subject. You think of your idea, make notes or even a script for your video, sit down, get the lighting and camera ready, film, put your film on the computer, go through all the editing, rendering and then finally upload/process on youtube. However, say I want to talk about something important or I have a writing idea randomly, I can easily sit down and write about it.

Finally, the one favouring point that draws me towards writing is that I can be a lazy bum behind my laptop, however if I want to make a youtube video I feel very pressured to make sure I look decent and pretty in my videos. I am extensively picky about how I look in photos and videos and after I’ve uploaded my videos, a bad habit of picking out flaws in the way I look or act in my video kind of overcomes me. I do not have that insecurity with my writing which means I feel much more happy, proud and comfortable with it.

So yeah, thought I’d share my feelings about writing and youtube! Feel free to check out my youtube videos if you want, I may upload some more in the future but I definitely feel dedicated to my writing.

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

Dear 11 year old Helena..

Dear baba me,

I miss you. I miss being you a lot right now. Sometimes when I look at my nieces I can see myself in them but I’m so proud of where they are. They’re a lot stronger than we were, I think. Not that you didn’t try your best, cause I know you did. But I know how easy it was for you to get upset. I remember when you looked at secondary school options and learnt that you had to learn about life and death in RE and you cried because it scared you. I remember when you used to offer to help the teacher with paperwork at lunchtimes in primary school, because you were too nervous to go outside. I remember when your sister told you she was pregnant with Ellie and you cried because you knew you weren’t the baby anymore. Can you believe that? Imagine telling Ellie that in a few years. She’ll find it hilarious.

Do you remember that last holiday in Clacton before you started high school and you were walking down a road from the beach holding dads hand and telling him how you were scared you wouldn’t make friends at high school? And he told you you’d be fine. Mum and dad had so much hope for you I think. I wish you had spent more time with them instead of hiding behind the computer or in your room. Mum used to think you were going to become a writer but you didn’t quite go for that option. I hope we didn’t upset her. I’m finally deciding I want to do something in English now and writing and I’m going to try and get in a big university and study it. Does that sound cool? Or scary?

Do the kids at school still make you cry and want to stay at home? I wish I could cuddle you and tell you it’ll be ok. A lot of people will make you cry as you get older. I wish I knew how to have prepared you, but even now I don’t. They really don’t matter though. Nothing is wrong with you and you are an absolute beauty. You know your gorgeous, curly locks? I cut them recently and I regret it. Hold onto those locks for as long as possible, they were lovely on you. Also if anyone says you’re fat or pudgy, ignore it. I envy the size you’re at because you were tiny and healthy. I don’t know why the other kids made you believe something was wrong with you. It’s something that stays with you for years sweet, believe me.

Little one, I wish I could go back and make things right for us. We got kind of screwed over a lot and it isn’t fair. You deserved better and you deserve better than how I’m treating us now. I’ll try and be better for you and try and look after myself.

Goodnight x

Train Rides

This year I think I’ve been on train journeys more than I have done in my entire life. Growing up I always imagined trains as a transportation you get when you’re going on a big journey, much like a plane or even a boat. However now I probably use trains more than I use buses.

Not that it makes train rides feel less adventurous. In fact, as silly as it may sound, train journeys feel different every time I get them. Even if I’m going to the same place.

You have the morning train. It’s crowded and weirdly warm. The only sounds are the buzzes of people’s music in their headphones or the sharp flick of newspaper pages turning. The grey, fuzzy sky gives the train a weird sense of comfort, the lights in the train are on and it emits a fluorescent glow and people are slowly waking up to the day.

The afternoon train can be different. This is the train where you’re already awake. Your eyes don’t strain when you look out to the countryside view shoot past and the train is mostly empty so you can indulge in the fervour of your own headphones and the radiance outside. It’s the kind of train you get when you have a day off work. When you feel free and laid back because you have no worries about being too late or too early. You can just be in complete relaxation as the train glides along the tracks.

The evening train has a lingering stench of beer and handsome perfume, but it gets your blood pumping and your curiosity heightened. Different conversations and stories flit across the air of the train from different groups and the contrast between matte black trousers and shiny, new nightclub dresses let the world know that tonight is going to be different for everyone. Some people might fall in love tonight, some people might get in a fight. But at the end of night everyone will wake up with the same bittersweet hangover.

File 18-12-2015, 8 42 14 p.m.

In 2016 I hope that I’ll explore more places in the UK and it’ll be very exciting if I get to visit Huddersfield and Leeds for University interviews. Is there any places you hope to visit in 2016? Share!

Thanks for reading,

Helena x