Samhain: My plans for the year ahead

As a Pagan, Samhain is when I celebrate the beginning of a new year. Although the calendar new year inspires a natural sense of looking back, Samhain is when I look forward. It’s when I feel the greatest sense of potential and possibility, when I get excited about things to come. Instead of making resolutions, I decided to set some goals for different areas of my life.

I’ve noticed other people talking about setting a focus word for the year, a concept that feeds into all their plans and goals, and a reminder of priorities when setting objectives. After a year of experimentation and discovery, I feel like it’s time to focus. So my focus word for the coming year is FOCUS. Yes, I tried to find an alternative word that meant the same thing because I don’t like repeating words in sentence, but focus pretty much hits the spot ūüôā

Writing

My first big writing goal is to take part in NaNoWriMo 2017. It’s my first NaNo and my project, 22 Cards, will be the longest book I’ve written to date. Because NaNo is all very new to me, I’m aiming for the 50,000 word target but my real focus is on enjoying and learning from the experience. My other writing goal is to publish my novella, Car Thieves, in early 2018. I’m going to aim to publish 22 Cards before the end of 2018, but I’m not honestly sure what the editing process will be like for a book of this length, so this is definitely more of a guideline than a strict deadline.

Blogging

I absolutely adore blogging. It’s an outlet for non-fiction writing, a fun way to connect with other creative people, and a great platform for sharing my photography and fiction. I’m trialling a blogging schedule in my bullet journal at the moment and aim to plan my posts more in advance, with space left for spontaneous posting, rather than just posting things as they come to mind as I’ve been doing since I moved in to this site last year.

Social media

My social media goal for the coming year is to prioritise Twitter. I’ve been using Twitter since 2008 but I started to use it a lot more actively over the last few months, taking part in hashtag games and events for writers, and spending more time connecting with the writing community. It’s been so much fun sharing my work there and meeting like-minded creative people, so I’m really looking forward to what the next year will bring.

Wellbeing

My wellbeing goal is more about maintenance than new things. I recently returned to a consciously structured morning routine involving meditation, yoga and beginning the day feeling relaxed and enthusiastic. My goal for the year ahead is to maintain this routine because it has such a positive affect on how I feel for the rest of the day and my ability to be productive and happy.

So those are my goals for the year ahead. Blessed Samhain and a happy new year to all my Pagan and witchy friends ‚̧

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons and join my exclusive community of extra-awesome readers and art appreciators!

You can also drop some change in my online tip jar (or buy a book after you’ve read and enjoyed it)¬†with a simple and secure one-off payment through¬†PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Month in review: October 2017

Last time I did a month in review was July. I’d like to say there were deep and meaningful reasons for waiting until October to do the next one, but there weren’t – I just forgot. Now that I’m bullet journalling again, I’m hopefully going to get better at not forgetting things! On the subject of bullet journalling, I shared my November set-up, so I’ll talk about that again in a few weeks and let you know how it’s going.

October was the first full month of Silver the kitten living with us (and of course he has his own Instagram). Silver likes to paw at my phone and he even opened the Instagram app by himself so maybe he wanted to check out his profile.

Autumn is in full swing and everything looks super pretty at the moment, which is great for photography. I started to reclaim my yoga and meditation practice, and even got to be an existential horror superhero, thanks to my friend Laura (who is an amazing artist).

My biggest mission of the month was preparing for NaNoWriMo. I wrote about it at the start of the month and then again at the end of the month. I also spent a lot of time thinking about writing, especially the supportive online writing community I’ve found and the value of paying creators, and I wrote some poetry¬†too.

With Samhain at the end of October, it’s the last month of my year and I love the feeling that something new and exciting is about to begin!

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons and join my exclusive community of extra-awesome readers and art appreciators!

You can also drop some change in my online tip jar (or buy a book after you’ve read and enjoyed it)¬†with a simple and secure one-off payment through¬†PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Yoga and meditation: Reclaiming my daily practice

In my recent post about combining my bullet journal with digital planning apps, I mentioned wanting to return to my yoga and meditation practice.

My physical ability to do pretty much anything has been particularly craptacular¬†for the last few weeks (for a bit of background to the craptacularity, please read ME and me: Living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), so as much as I’ve love to jump straight into half an hour of yoga a day, I know it’s not practical. Even if I could somehow force myself through an intensive routine, it would leave me profoundly exhausted and in agony for days afterwards, which kind of defeats the purpose of doing yoga in the first place, right?

So as much as my natural state of being is do all the things immediately, I know it makes sense to gently ease back into my daily practice. This five minute morning yoga routine from the amazing Yoga With Adriene is totally perfect for me right now.¬†It’s short, simple and packed with basic moves to wake up the body with kindness – just what I need in the morning!

Before my yoga practice, before my morning coffee, even before I get out of bed, I begin my day with a short meditation. This has been a bit difficult to keep up with over the last few weeks, since Silver the kitten came to live with us. He thinks beds (and couches and floors and everywhere else) are his own personal playgrounds and humans are just big, warm chew toys, but he’s started to be a little less hyper in the mornings now, thankfully!

When I wake up already feeling calm and centred (it does happen occasionally, honest!), I set the Relax guided breathing timer on my Fitbit and do my own meditative thing. More often that not though, I wake up in quite a bit of pain which isn’t great for feeling chilled, so I turn to my favourite meditation app – Insight Timer.

Insight Timer is free (yay!) and has literally thousands of guided meditation sessions to choose from. You can search by topic and length, so no matter what I need, I can always find something that suits. I have had a few huh? moments but it makes sense that not every teacher or session will resonate with every user. If you’re new to the app, I fully recommend listening through a few guided sessions when you aren’t actually in meditation mode and bookmarking the ones you love so you can easily find them again.

This week I’ve been dedicated to starting my day with meditation and yoga, and I’m feeling the benefits already. Even though my pain levels have been pretty hardcore this past few days (guess who put their back out carrying a small box of cat food on Monday), meditation and yoga have helped me to maintain a more chilled out state of mind. I know that once NaNoWriMo starts, I’ll need all the chill I can find, so I’m grateful to have this opportunity to reclaim my routine before November arrives.

I want to make it clear that I am NOT claiming yoga or meditation are cures or treatments for any physical illness or disability. They are simply two tools in an extensive arsenal that help me to cope with the symptoms I live with, as well as to get my brain in gear for a creative and productive day ahead ūüôā

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons and join my exclusive community of extra-awesome readers and art appreciators!

You can also drop some change in my online tip jar (or buy a book after you’ve read and enjoyed it)¬†with a simple and secure one-off payment through¬†PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Acceptance and self-care during the tough times

It’s been ages since I posted a personal update here, so I figured it was time. The last little while hasn’t been great in some ways. My health has been not so good, even by my standards of ongoing not so good health, but it took a serious dive about a week ago. The background to this is pretty much impossible to summarise, but I shared some detailed information about it here in July, so if you read ME and me: Living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis the rest of this post will make a lot more sense.

I went from physically struggling but sort of coping to literally cannot in the space of a day. All it took to push me over the edge was a couple of nights with not quite enough sleep and one busy-ish day. This is a thing that happens and after almost a decade and a half, I should be used to it. But I’m not. A crash like this never stops being awful, at least partly because I have no way of knowing how long it will last. Sometimes it’s a couple of bad days, other times it’s a couple of bad weeks, and then there are times when it lasts for months or longer. The non-crash times are still pretty rough, but I can mostly handle those.

At the start of last weekend, I was a total mess. I couldn’t sit up, feed myself or get to the bathroom without help. Breathing was difficult because it requires energy to breathe and I didn’t really have any. I was super grateful to be able to get online for a bit and feel like part of the world, albeit not the physical world.

Over the last few days, I’ve gradually reached a point where I can sit up for a bit longer at a time, make simple food for myself once a day and potter about the flat slowly as long as I’m careful. Frustratingly, I can’t use my walking frame or canes or more than a day at a time because my arms, shoulders and upper back can’t take it. If you could see my arms and shoulders, this would sound ridiculous. I have substantial muscles that I’ve worked hard to build. They just don’t always function the way I’d like them to.

As much as I’d like to be all bright, shiny and positive all the time, it is really hard to maintain consistently high levels of enthusiasm when things are like this. I keep reminding myself that I don’t owe anyone fake smiles and I have no obligation to be an Inspirational Disabled Person or prove that I’m Trying Hard Enough, but it’s not just that. Enthusiasm is my natural state of being. I get excited about stuff. Like, annoyingly excited. I’m highly motivated and love to be productive, and it busts my head when I can’t be.

So I’ve been feeling pretty down. It takes a lot for me to actually recognise that and even more to admit to it. It’s not like an all-encompassing depressive episode or anything because I still feel happy when I’m writing, or chatting to people online. I still feel inspired to take photos and have really enjoyed getting back into setting up tiny still life scenes that I can work on and photograph without having to stand up. So I’m generally OK, I think. Everything isn’t awful. I’m not falling apart in an ongoing way.

But I do fall apart in small ways. I’ve been doing quite a bit of waking up crying, avoiding mirrors and breaking down over seemingly insignificant things lately, and I’ve been struggling to process the realisation that in-person social interaction is contingent on doing things that will make me severely ill afterwards. I’m grateful that I get invited to things, even if I can’t usually go to them, and that I have friends I can talk to online, but when it comes to actually seeing people and doing stuff, most of the time I just can’t. If it was temporary, I’d be able to deal with it better. But it isn’t. It’s my normal. When I’m feeling physically less terrible I can be more philosophical about it, but when I’m feeling like this, when I get out of breath from sitting up at the computer and typing, it just makes me sad.

So I’ve been trying to strike a balance between accepting and processing the (completely understandable) sadness, and focusing on things that help me to feel less sad. I’ve been burning my favourite incense, colour-coding my notes in Scrivener with pastel rainbow shades (my NaNoWriMo project is beautiful!), drinking delicious tea, sitting on the back step and watching the birds in the garden or lying on the couch with the door open and listening to the rain.

As well as the social interaction realisation, I’ve also realised that it is entirely possible to recognise all the joy and beauty in the world while still feeling sad. Those are not mutually exclusive events, but it’s hard to stay up-beat all the time. It’s hard not to be angry with my body. And I don’t want to be angry with my body. I don’t feel comfortable with the battle/fighting language that is often wrapped about the experience of living with a disability because I am not at war with myself. I’ve learned from experience that always pushing harder and being in a state of conflict is counter-productive, that it’s healthier to find acceptance, and that acceptance is not the same as giving up. It’s just being OK with where I am now, wherever that may be, and understanding that the best way to get to a better place, however temporary that is at any given time, is to look after myself.

I recognised some troubling old patterns and coping mechanisms nudging at the corners of my mind, so I’ve taken steps to deal with them sensibly. When I feel like any aspect of my life is out of control, I start to think about not eating, as if that will fix everything. That is A Bad Thing and I absolutely cannot indulge those feelings because I know where they lead.

So yesterday, I removed everything to do with food and calories from my Fitbit dashboard because that stuff isn’t relevant right now and I’d found myself getting really stressed out every time I thought about not being able to exercise or having to prioritise accessibility when it comes to what I eat. I feel relieved now. Being able to keep an eye on my heart rate and sleep cycles, and make sure I remember to drink enough water (I am terrible at that!), is really useful, and when I’m in a place where the other stuff is relevant to my existence again, I can easily pick up where I left off.

Right now I’m working on self-care. When I have a little bit of energy, I work on character development and outlining for my NaNo project, or I scroll through Twitter or Ello, or I chat with my fellow DeviantArt volunteers. If I want chocolate, I eat some chocolate. I wear my comfiest pyjamas. I cuddle the cat a lot. I listen to my favourite music and watch trash on Netflix. And it’s good. It’s helping. It doesn’t help what’s happening in my body, but it helps me to cope with it.

I’m hoping to be able to manage a trip to the supermarket tomorrow with my husband. I know that doesn’t sound very exciting, but I haven’t been able to get out of the house for over a week now and I’m going kind of stir crazy. Also, I suck at online food shopping. It’s been a few days since I’ve used my canes, so hopefully my upper body will deal with those for a little while. I don’t have any major plans until October – a weekend of witching and indulgent food with friends mid-month and a couple of nights at a lovely hotel over Samhain with my husband – so if a supermarket mission ends up wiping me out for ages, at least I don’t technically have to be upright again for a few weeks.

In the meantime, I’m really excited about my writing projects and photographing small things, I’m enjoying my Patreon adventure (my Patrons are amazing and I’m so appreciative of their support!) and I’m grateful for all the good stuff ‚̧

Finally, please read the Matchstick Theory. It’s a disability metaphor, like the Spoon Theory, but way more accurately reflects how energy and ability resources are affected by external factors as well as day-to-day needs and choices.

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons and join my exclusive community of extra-awesome readers and art appreciators!

You can also drop some change in my online tip jar (or buy a book after you’ve read and enjoyed it)¬†with a simple and secure one-off payment through¬†PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

July in review

July has been such a busy month! All through 2017, I’ve been getting that feeling that time is flying by, passing too quickly. July has been different. It’s the last day of the month now and the first day feels like it was forever ago.

This month, I had three major missions. The first was Camp NaNoWriMo. This is the second time I’ve taken part and I really enjoyed it. I now also have the first draft of my next novella, Car Thieves, and am looking forward to starting to edit it.

The second major mission was launching my first novella (written during April’s Camp NaNoWriMo), Stone Flowers Grow In Cold Places. This was a pretty scary thing to do, but over 200 people have read it in the last couple of days which is really exciting for an unknown author publishing their first book through their own little website and two online publishing platforms they’ve only been using for a few months! I’ve had some really positive feedback, both for the book itself and for finally publishing a thing, and it’s been trending on Tablo since a couple of hours after I posted it, which feels incredible.

The third big thing was launching my Patreon. ¬†This was scarier than launching the book and even though I’m still very much at he beginning of my Patreon journey, I’m super excited that I’ve had some monthly pledges already. David, Peter, Spitfire, David and Roberta – thank you, you lovely, supportive people!

This month, I posted two things here on my blog that I was really nervous about posting. The first was¬†ME and me: Living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis¬†and the second was¬†Five things I learned from living with a chronic¬†illness. The reason for the nervousness was that I don’t talk about this stuff in detail online very often so it felt huge to open up about something that affects every area of my everyday life. The response to both of those posts was amazing and I am endlessly grateful to everyone who commented and shared the links on social media. As unnerving as it is to know that literally thousands of people had seen those very personal posts, it also feels really good to know that I’ve helped people to learn about an illness they either hadn’t heard of before or didn’t know very much about.

I also shared a second vlog on my YouTube channel, thanks to my wonderful friend Nicole who loaned me a camcorder so I don’t have to use the front-facing camera on my phone to make videos! I haven’t done much on YouTube since launching the channel a couple of months back, but I do intend to make more videos, hopefully when I don’t look completely exhausted and am talking a bit more coherently than I’ve managed in the two I’ve uploaded so far.

Final July thing – our back garden is almost finished! I take basically no credit for this because it’s all been my husband’s hard work, although I did do lots of driving around with a car full of wood and turf. All the raised flowerbeds are built, the lawn is an actual lawn rather than a patch of grass and a patch of mud, and we’ve started thinking about what plants we’re going to get. My strawberry plants finally got to move out of their pot on the bedroom windowsill and into their new outdoor home (see photo above). When my friend Robin gave me those plants, they were tiny stems with a couple of leaves, but they’ve grown up beautifully and I’m so excited about being able to eat my own strawberries grown in our garden.

The last day of the month feels like a new beginning. Yesterday, I was hit with a big blast of meh, the kind that happens when you finish a bunch of stuff you’ve been working on. This morning, the meh had mostly lifted and I felt excited and happy again. I spent some extra time at my altar this morning then smoke cleansed the entire flat and garden. As soon as I’d finished smoke cleansing, it rained for about five minutes – the perfect thing to wash away the last of the meh (and help the new turf bed in).

I’m looking forward to what August brings, beginning to edit Car Thieves, finding out more about how to promote my Patreon and enjoying the rest of the summer. I hope you’re having a wonderful summer (or winter, for my friends in the southern hemisphere) ‚̧

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons and join my exclusive community of extra-awesome readers and art appreciators!

You can also drop some change in my online tip jar (or buy a book after you’ve read and enjoyed it)¬†with a simple and secure one-off payment through¬†PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Five things I learned from living with a chronic illness

The response to my ME and me: Living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis post has been so overwhelmingly positive and supportive that I want to write more about living with a chronic illness. One of the recurring themes of the last thirteen years has been discovery – I’ve learned so much about myself, the world and my place in it since experiencing life from a different perspective.

It’s easy to trot out cliched advice like “Never give up!” and “Stay positive!” but life isn’t always that simple and often that advice is nothing more than ¬†a demand for you to experience your illness or disability in the manner most palatable to society while ignoring your own needs.

Learning to truly believe the five lessons listed here was a hard-won battle for me, but with each new bit of self-acceptance came new strength and new joy. I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers, but hopefully I can offer some food for thought.

You don’t have to fit the recovery narrative.
It would be amazing if everyone who was sick or injured could follow a simple set of tried and tested instructions and get better. It would be even more amazing if this looked exactly the same for everyone and happened within a predictable time frame. This is exactly how it happens for some people, but others may be living with the effects of illness or injury for many years, or even their whole lives. Many people live with degenerative conditions, so it’s not just a case of not getting better – it’s a case of definitely getting worse. If you don’t fit neatly into the recovery narrative box, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you’re weak or not trying hard enough. Not everyone gets better immediately, or at all. Your experience is still valid and you are still deserving of acceptance. That also means accepting yourself.

You aren’t a professional inspiration.
Speaking of narratives around illness and disability, everyone’s heard of the inspirational disabled person, whether it’s the amputee who climbs mountains or the gold medal winner at the Paralympics or the person who lives with a chronic illness and is able to work full-time. Apart from it being totally condescending to take an “If that person can do it, I – an able-bodied person – can do ANYTHING” attitude (yuck!), it’s also unrealistic to assume that everyone with a disability or chronic illness is affected in the same way or lives with the same opportunities and limitations. Obviously I’m not in any way trying to minimise the achievements of people who manage those big, visible, awesome things, but it’s important to remember that if you can’t climb mountains or win medals or work full-time (or at all), that’s OK too. You do what you can do. Your value is not contingent on how ‘inspirational’ you are to people who will only ever see you as a one-dimensional representation of a concept they don’t even understand.

You don’t owe anyone ‘fine’.
I tend to focus on what I can do, the things that make me happy, and all the amazing blessings in my life. If the options are “Oh my god, this is terrible, the world is terrible and everything is going to be terrible forever” and “This is tough, but I can get through it”, I’ll go for the second option every time. It’s how I cope and it helps me make it through the hard times. The problems begin when I apply this to how I communicate with other people, specifically when I try to cover up when I’m struggling or pretend to be coping better than I am. It’s OK – in fact, it’s healthy – to learn how to say “I’m having a rough time and I need support” or “I can’t manage that today, but thanks for inviting me”. You are under no obligation to explain your life in detail or to justify yourself to anyone, but you’re also under no obligation to pretend to be doing better than you are at any given time.

Sometimes the easy way is the best way.
I adore cooking. One of my favourite things in the world is creating delicious, healthy recipes, making tasty soup or chilli to freeze for a week’s worth of lunches, and experimenting with ingredients I’ve never tried before. I even enjoy food shopping because I get excited thinking about all the things I’m going to make with the bargains I find. A lot of the time though, I’m simply not able to trawl around the shops or stand up in the kitchen for long enough to cook, so I rely on more accessible options. On those days (or weeks), I’m not microwaving a ¬†bowl of tinned macaroni cheese as an alternative to cooking an amazing home-made pasta bake. I’m eating it as an alternative to eating nothing. I’ve started referring to food as accessible rather than convenient, and it has made such a different to how I think about it, as well as to how other people understand my situation.

You are allowed to have fun.
I’d hazard a guess that almost everyone living with a disability or chronic illness has experienced sharing a photo of a day out with their family, or talking about a party they went to, and had people respond negatively, assuming they mustn’t be that sick if they could visit the beach, go for a walk or have a night out with friends. When people respond that way, they don’t understand the whole situation. They don’t get how much pain you were in during the car journey, how difficult it was for you to walk to the place where you took that photo, how many days or weeks it took you to recover from that one late night, how much you have to sacrifice to have those happy days. Virtue is not earned through suffering and self-denial, and it’s not suddenly your fault you’re sick because you went to a concert that one time. Everyone needs to kick back and enjoy themselves sometimes – it’s good for the soul – and if someone judges you harshly for that, maybe it’s time to reconsider how much space they deserve in your life.

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons and join my exclusive community of extra-awesome readers and art appreciators!

You can also drop some change in my online tip jar (or buy a book after you’ve read and enjoyed it)¬†with a simple and secure one-off payment through¬†PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Warmth from within and without

warmth from within and without

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a miscellaneous life stuff update here so I figured it was time. As I write this, I’m curled up in an oversized armchair (bought by my 6ft 4in husband, so perfectly excessive for 5ft 3in me), listening to a station on Play Music called Beautiful Piano Ballads (Play Music stations are my new obsession, don’t even get me started), drinking chai and inhaling the glorious aroma of a chocolate scented candle on my altar, blessed by the glow of early spring sunlight streaming through the french doors. And you know what? I feel relaxed. Genuinely, completely chill for the first time in ages.

In my last job and the connected volunteer work I was involved with until late last year, this is when the busiest time of year would have been kicking off. I would have been barely coping with an insane amount of work while under a constant barrage of expectation and pressure over things that sat too uneasily with my personal values. It’s not that I didn’t deeply enjoy parts of it, but it was like when you get back from a camping trip where you were caught in a storm and your tent leaked and you twisted your ankle on the way down the mountain – even though it was exhausting and painful, you still did it again because you survived the ordeal and only remembered the amazing bits. I’m not throwing total shade¬†on ex-volunteering-and-job¬†because it gave me so many incredible experiences and introduced me to some of my best friends. It’s pretty fucking fantastic not to be doing it anymore though, even if leaving it behind gouged a chunk out of my heart in the shape of things that could not be made OK enough for me to continue.

For the first time in ages, the onset of spring feels like the arrival of a close friend bearing coffee and hugs rather than a close friend bearing a hastily packed parachute and the suggestion of sky diving. I’m not really a spring kind of person and I usually get my energy buzz on in the autumn, but this year is different. It’s good. I feel inspired and excited but without all the nervous twitching and insomnia that usually goes along with those things. ¬†I feel free.

Right now, I’m writing a book. I am honest-to-goodness doing the thing I’ve said I was going to do for the last thirty-something years. I’m also learning how to write a book as I write the book so it’s not going to be a masterpiece but it is going to be a learning experience and whatever comes from it will be sent out into the world in some manner. My goal is just to finish it and to have grown from the experience. Then I will write another book and it will be better. I’ve already decided this is how it’s going to go.

Since I started on this project a couple of weeks ago (I rambled about it here), I’ve been allowing myself to write whatever comes into my head and embrace the joy of happy brainspew. I have a kind of beginning and a kind of ending and a vague idea of what might happen in between. My characters have been revealing their voices and their histories. I’ve been asking them questions and letting them answer in their own time. The next bit of the mission is to solidify their identities through mood boards, personality tests and other getting-to-know-you stuff. Once that’s done, I’ll be better positioned to understand how they’ll navigate the world that is the as-yet-unplotted story.

I’m also enjoying social media in a way that I hadn’t really felt able to in a long while. I’m using Facebook less and less because even with the wonder that is the FB Purity Chrome extension it still generally irritates the shit out of me. I still have my artist page where I post stuff relating to my writing and photography, and my FB-based writing group totally owns my soul, but I’m just not feeling the personal-connection vibe on Facebook-in-general anymore.

I’m using Twitter¬†and Tumblr a lot more often than I was (Tumblr is basically internet crack, seriously, I could lose hours on the mobile app way too easily), and I’m posting my writing regularly on Medium. I’ve been falling out of love with Instagram since they took away the chronological feed, but I still post there and have a browse when I have time and can get the app to work without crashing. I am, and will probably forever be, attached in so many ways to DeviantArt, where I’m a photography Community Volunteer. The thing with DA is that there’s a lot of stuff I’m not into on the site, but it’s so easy to customise my experience so that I don’t see any of that stuff. I don’t see it as a professional platform but unlike people who hate the open-to-all-standards aspect of it, I adore the fact that it’s filled with people of all ages and skill levels. It’s had, and continues to have, its ups and downs but it’s a place where I learned and grew so I’m happy to support other people learning and growing there.

My new favourite is Ello. Not to sound too hipstery but I was there at the beginning when it was invite-only and was spoken of as an alternative to Facebook. It has evolved into a creative hub and I love the tightly knit community, especially the awesome writers I’ve met there. It still obviously has a long way to go and things change constantly as it finds its feet, but I feel welcome and at home there. And there’s no advertising, so the user is not the product, which is great. You should all join Ello right now. Seriously. Do it.

This has become a massive ramble so I’ll leave it there and go put my characters through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I hope you’re all having a good week.

‚̧ Tanya

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons and join my exclusive community of extra-awesome readers and art appreciators!

You can also drop some change in my online tip jar (or buy a book after you’ve read and enjoyed it)¬†with a simple and secure one-off payment through¬†PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!