I have not posted here in a very long time. To have to say that is not what I wanted when I started this blog. But it is a fact, and I will not pretend that it isn't.
The truth is, that sometimes it can be extraordinarily hard to work out how you really want to spend your time - and even harder to act on it. When I first made this blog, it was because I thought that in the future I might like to become a wildlife or nature journalist, and that to have a blog would be a good idea. I put a lot of pressure on myself to write like a journalist, because I thought that's what I wanted...but all it did was make me feel that I couldn't write what I wanted to write. I thought that I needed to do Serious, Meticulously Researched Articles about important global issues; about conservation; about things that I am passionate about...but that honestly I'm neither informed enough to write about nor blessed with time to research, as I would if it were my job. As a result, I felt defeated before I'd even begun, and so I didn't push myself to progress with writing anything at all, and the blog very quickly fell silent.
I'm not a journalist, and right now, when my life is filled with studying, writing like one doesn't really make me happy. All I am is a person, who loves the country and the wild spaces that made her.
Like a true heroine of a Victorian novel, I was doing some thinking today, on a walk in the pouring, freezing February rain (but, unlike these unfortunate women, I had a waterproof to prevent the classic tragic 'I've caught a cold and died' ending that would make all this thinking redundant) and I realised that how I feel when I'm outside is how writing used to make me feel. It should make me feel empowered, free, happy...not pressured or intimidated.
I consider myself to be a selfless person. A hard worker. I'm conscientious and driven and dedicated to my studies - to an extent that frankly isn't always necessary. These things often result in me perhaps focusing too much away from myself, not giving myself the time and the attention and the love that I deserve. Writing is a part of this; it did - does - make me happy, and it's something I don't want to lose.
Writing is a part of me that feels like it's been missing for a long time, that got lost somewhere in the exams and the revision and the Learning to Achieve. If I'm going to stand any chance of getting back into it again, into loving it like I used to, I need to write on my own terms, in my own way - and I need to be brave enough to do that, even if it means that no one wants to read what I write.
So, as of 2017, there are going to be some new rules:
1 - I will write what I want, when I feel like it, and I will not put pressure on myself to write anything in particular or a certain number of times per week or month or year.
Disclaimer: This probably means some random pieces of fiction may appear in the form of short stories or snapshots.
2 - I will do more to further other creative interests. This one is already in play! I've started a photography Instagram with the username clutteredmind_wildheart (Go to it here!). Posting on it and getting such positive responses is making me very happy and really inspiring me to continue - if you've managed to read this much of this post, reward yourself by checking it out! It's all photos of the outdoors, mostly in the Lake District (and quite a few of my dog) :)
3 - I will write in my own voice. Blogs are supposed to be personal, and I know that I can write about the outdoors and the natural world, all the things I'm passionate about, without feeling pressured to sound like an article or a journalist. I can write like me. Even if no one else wants to read it, I will enjoy writing it.
4 - I will not be afraid to be creative - if I want to write a poem, I'll write a poem. No one has to enjoy it but me.
5 - I will make the time to write. I will make time to get out into the outdoors, where I feel most at home. I will enjoy my time. I will stop standing in my own way.
I am the heroine of this story, and I will write with my heart.
I hope you decide to stick with me and see what comes out! Thanks for getting through this one; it's mostly been a cathartic exercise for me, but I hope good things are inspired by my starting over.
Here's a picture of Pippin looking very happy on his first ever visit to the Peak District, to reward you for getting through all this Annabel Stuff :)