Journal Entry on getting organized

Hello. Hope you are ok.

I like to kid on I’m organised. I’m actually not – my Dropbox is a mess, my notes on my phone are filled with ideas I keep telling myself to write on paper, my laptop has duplicated every single file so it’s a trip finding which Word doc. I am working on and my to do list is seemingly even longer by the time I get to Friday than it was on Sunday evening.

I become overwhelmed very quickly and procrastination sets in. My need for perfectionism gets me into a funk as well. When I am feeling depressed, the least I feel like doing is getting organised before I can even get to a project I am working on. It’s like my cleaning mantra, if I stuff everything into a cupboard it’s there, it’s fine, it’s out of sight. When in reality it has made a mountain out of a molehill.

I started using Microsoft’s To Do app a few weeks ago and it’s been a useful tool. As long as I don’t look at how much I need to do and focus on one task, I’m good. How easy is it to not look at all the tasks and flip the fuck out? Not very easy. I have split my tasks into categories of my writing, my freelance writing, my blog, social media posts – and that’s a lot.

My problem is I want it all and I want it now. That is, of course, detrimental to the quality of the work I am producing. I am trying to learn it’s good to brainstorm, plan, edit, and make something the best it can be. There is no rush or timeline. I must remember to enjoy what I am doing and slow the fuck down.

I think as well not being very confident I churn out all sorts, so I can get that kick from producing and feeling I’m doing something. Giving that appearance of being busy. I do think as a once ‘good girl’ my worth is tied into grades – into results and with depression, people always thought it was laziness. That’s what people thought I was. Lazy Kate. I put myself under so much pressure when I was 17/18. It was stressful. As hard as I tried, people still didn’t like what I was doing, or not doing in their eyes. I couldn’t change their perception of me. It made me deny I was depressed. I thought I was lazy. I thought it was my fault. This is me being a lazy bitch and it’s not illness, it’s laziness. That fucked me up for years. It’s amazing on the outside what mental illness ’looks like’ to people. I was a typical teenager – ‘difficult’ ‘insolent’ ‘lazy’ I was fucking depressed. I walked around, feeling like shit and hating everyone, the world, myself. The majority of my classmates and teachers took the mickey. I’m sure it must have been hilarious on the outside looking in. A socially isolated, struggling with puberty, and depression, self-harming young girl who was desperately looking for a connection and understanding. She never got it, so she ended up in a toxic relationship that nearly killed her.

That’s enough for now. Thanks for reading. Let me know how you get organised. Also how are you finding this new editor?

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Brain dump on self-doubt about writing book reviews.

photo of person wearing yellow converse shoes
Photo by Toni Ferreira Ph on Pexels.com

 


I found myself nervous writing reviews for collections of poetry. I must give that context, in terms of my depression and where my confidence is. I found myself reading other people’s reviews and they were like works of art. They could be describing the book in a couple of sentences, saying what they think and making it sound compulsory to read that poetry collection. I mean, I can get in a real funk with my need for perfectionism. It makes me procrastinate and urgh, give up sometimes. Because how on earth do you reach perfectionism? I forget I pretty much write reviews for myself to begin with, to get my thoughts down, to discuss and ask questions. Most of the inspiration felt in reading poetry collections usually prompts my own poetry. I find it easier to be afraid people will tell me I’m wrong about my opinion in a review, than in my writing because I’ll tell them to piss off. Poetry can take up any form and it’s subjective. Not everyone will like what you write. It’s the same with why I gave up writing fiction. If I stray from poem form, I feel uncertain. I think I’m not a fiction writer. When you can learn to be. It isn’t easy. But I can learn about those things I struggle with, like structuring chapters, the story arc and all those other bits with fancy names. Then maybe I can finish that story, which has been 13 years in the making.

 
This only comes from myself, by the way. I don’t have terrible memories of people criticising my reviews, or my stories. I can remember people not being keen to read my writing. Obviously, I remember teachers at school trying to teach me about putting paragraphs into my writing and how capital letters were important. But I was privileged that I got a lot of what they taught me, I loved reading fact books and encyclopaedia’s, enjoyed spelling tests and treated times tables as if they were Brussel Sprouts and I have always had ideas. My imagination has always been active. In secondary school writing became my outlet for being socially inept, so thankfully I did have my primary school education. Writing is instinctive.


 

A sweary brain dump on anxiety and counselling

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Hello

 
My counselling finished. I cannot afford it. After a year and however many months of trying to access help, I got it – from a women’s centre close to where I live. It has been 8 months, I think, of one session a week. I feel lost, to be honest. The decision was taken out of my hands. After last month’s depression and feeling lonely, I don’t think not having anyone to talk to is useful. It is shit. I am freaking out at being told I can start up again when I like but will be given a different counsellor depending on availability. I am sick of telling my story repeatedly to professionals. Especially when I’m like ‘oh, it’s fine!’ and they’re like, ‘that must have been tough for you,’ so I don’t like the thought of entrusting another person with my past. I know I’m no-one special and my experiences are not unique, it isn’t that a big deal.

 
I feel like I have opened all these wounds from the past and the memories are overwhelming at times. I haven’t figured out how to deal with them. I just feel shit about them.

 
My anxiety feels through the roof at the moment. I’m thinking about appointments I need to make after lockdown and even supermarket trips have an added layer of anxiety because of social distancing. It makes me feel like shit when you are in the supermarket and waiting for a person to finish picking up what they are getting from the shelf and they deliberate and change their mind and after three minutes I realise they have no idea I am there, waiting for them to move. Coughing doesn’t sound like a good idea to do now and I lose my voice in social environments, so after looking stupid, I go and get something else and come back when it’s free. It’s a worry I have, that I have no presence, that people seem to not notice me. It makes me think am I dead, am I invisible, is there something wrong with me?

 
No, people are knobheads, Kate.

 
The anxiety pisses me off. I have always had it and thought I was used to it and I actually realise it’s isolating and people are writing what they are going to do when they get out of lockdown and seeing friends and going to the beach and whatever. I’m writing stuff like see the doctor, go to the dentist, etc. because I haven’t in so long because anxiety is like ‘bitch, please. You really think you could do that without fucking up. Stay in your lane,’

 
Anxiety about my health is huge. I don’t think people appreciate what it takes, to phone to get an appointment and then building yourself up to go to the appointment. You’re thinking about what to wear, the bus, should I walk, the weather, what will happen in the appointment, what will I say, will I be taken seriously, will I be waiting long, do they have a toilet in the surgery, will they ask me to use the self-service machine I’ve never used before to weigh myself and get my height, will the receptionist be nice, will I be able to speak, will I make a fool of myself, what if I’m late, what if the doctor thinks I’m wasting their time, will they even look up from their computer at me, will I get a chance to speak my mind, what if I break the chair, will the surgery be busy, will everyone stare at me, what if the doctor doesn’t do anything, what if the doctor fobs me off, what if they give me medication and I have to tell them I cannot afford it and no, I’m not on benefits so I cant be exempt from charges, what if I don’t know the right stop to get off the bus, what if it rains, do I need an umbrella, which coat do I wear, will I get too hot, should I take a drink, should I take snacks, what am I going to do after, I’m going to have to walk past the railway tracks, it’s too loud, too many people –

 
You get the idea. Time becomes irrelevant. The appointment takes up every waking minute of every day leading up to it. I try and stay busy and distracted but it’s hard. I wish I could take my head off at times.

 
I know it’s ridiculous. I know if I could snap my fingers and not worry and be anxious, I would but I seemingly cannot. It’s the way I live. Every part of my life involves thinking too hard about it and I am in my comfort zone and when I dare try to do something new, anxiety pulls me in. It wants to save me from looking stupid and being rejected. It’s a nice thing of it to do, but it’s a hinderance, rather than a help. I realise that. Counselling has been one step out of the comfort zone, and it was positive. It was one day a week I left home and had a purpose. I was consistently going, my routine changed. Because it’s difficult for me to leave the flat without a goal, I need a reason to go out and other than shopping, visit to the public library, I got nothing. I have no-one to help me with that. I think a person could be of help. I have my boyfriend but, you know. He’s probably suffered as well. He’s outgoing but now he doesn’t do much either.

 
It’s frustrating because I nailed it late last year. Went out at least 5 days out of 7 and when my boyfriend and I went on holiday, we went out every day. I might have a good couple of days while on holiday and then I want to stay in the hotel room and not leave. It’s a positive we have been on holidays. It hasn’t been easy. Going to the shop to book the holiday, going to Primark to buy holiday clothes, packing literally everything in case we have burglars while we’re away, the travel to the airport, then navigating the airport, security, hours to kill, queues to buy an overpriced newspaper and bottle of water, delays, boarding, the transport to the plane, getting onto the plane, off the plane is horrendous and then queues to get through the airport, toilets, finding our luggage, transfer to the hotel is awful, check in, finding our room, food control issues so must first go the supermarket and buy supplies, restaurants, the beach, public toilets, body image problems – the list is endless and I do shut down. My boyfriend knows I’m not there at all and knows not to ask, just get me through the airport, onto the plane and to the hotel.

 

No-wonder I get burnout.

 
I tried to find positives here. I’m trying, which is good.
Thanks for reading, Drop a comment if I said anything that made sense to you.


 

No Fee LIST of Submission Calls

I don’t know about you, but I am aiming to get more of my writing published this year. This blog is a (short!) list of literary journals/publications that are accepting writing & art at the moment. Don’t forget to read the guidelines on their website, they can vary from publication to publication!

If you have any questions about the whole submitting your writing process feel free to ask in the comments & I’ll try & answer. Continue reading “No Fee LIST of Submission Calls”

Poems House for Demolition & Letters by Deryn Pittar.

HOUSE FOR DEMOLITION

Memories chase me down the slippery verdant path,
through the gate with its rusty spring.
I nod to the passion fruit vine
still visiting the neighbours,
leaving crop as payment for their space.

A climbing rose has embraced the Judas tree.
The roofline steeples its hands in prayer
giving thanks for the harvest,
and begging for rain.

The laced veranda and weather-board bodice
hug the red front door.
It swings to my touch.
A waft of lavender and mothballs greets me,
a cobweb strand brushes my cheek.

In my old room, sunlight prisms through bevelled glass
scattering rainbows on the wall.
Dead flies decorate the windowsill
and the smell of mown grass creeps in through a window crack.

I open the cupboard door,
deaf to the screech of its hinges.
My fingers seek the noggin in the dark
finding the soft leather cover still there.

Small pages stuck with damp,
speckled with mould,
encase the scribbled voice of a child.
Reclaimed, held close,
The words echo against the beat of my heart.

Diary retrieved,
I leave.

LETTERS

Albert and Julia Featherstone-Cox
have a beautiful elegant blue letter box
with wide hanging eaves to keep out the rain
it sits on a cleverly curved welded chain

The Smiths down the road because of their debtors
have set up a cream can to hold all their letters.
Placed on its side with a slot in the lid
through the slot all their letters are carefully slid

At the end of the lane where the Postie won’t go
stand six mismatched mail boxes – all in a row,
odd colours, odd heights, lichen-dressed and rust stained
they appear like a queue of one legged cranes

My mailbox is small, I don’t get much mail
and what I do get is consumed by the snails,
I get emails and texts and junk mail – a few
but what I crave most is a letter from you

One I can read, full of love and your pain,
one I can read and then read again
to put in my pocket, to fondle and muse
on our time spent together on that great ocean cruise

when passion ignited two elderly hearts
an autumn of love – and now we’re apart…


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