Daily Prompt: Notorious

I am notoriously bad at attending social events. I don’t ever mean to be so flaky about it all,  but although my intentions are generally honourable when I initially say to people ‘Yeah, sure, I’ll come if I can make it…’ I frequently find myself finding a last-minute excuse that allows me to back out of whatever it is I’ve agreed to, and I just don”t go.

The thing is I truly want to feel OK about large gatherings, whether formal or informal. So I keep agreeing to attend in the hope that this time it will all be fine. I tell myself that it’ll be OK so the thought of looking lost and lonely and stupid standing in the corner all on my own won’t freak me out too much. But usually I freak out anyway and avoid the risk.

Yet here I am for the second year in a row planning to attend the Annual Blogger’s Bash to be held in London next month – and I’ve even bought my ticket, so I’ve committed myself to putting my money where my mouth is. I stressed and fretted so much before going to last year’s bash, but in spite of my reservations once I got there it was absolutely fine, everyone was really friendly. I met so many lovely people, and this year I hope to meet many more.

One of the things I found most heartening was that everyone in person was just like they were on their blog – in one sense we were complete strangers, but in another we knew each other quite well. So blogging for me has become so much more than just an online space to explore my creativity – it has turned out to be not only about being an individual blogger but also about belonging to a wider blogging community, which is an amazing gift.

So hopefully I’ll be seeing some of you at the bash next month – you’ll easily recognise me, I’ll be the one standing alone in the corner freaking out, slightly flushed with nervous red blotches, waiting for the floor to open up and swallow me whole… 🙂

Daily Prompt: Notorious   

A-Z Challenge: Just One More Thing

So that’s another April Blogging from A-Z Challenge successfully completed – woo-hoo! In spite of having quite a lot going on in real life at the moment I nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed the daily posting part, but oh how I missed the one-stop-shop linky list page this year.

It’s definitely not a complaint, because I do appreciate it must have been a huge challenge in itself to keep updated throughout the month – but it was certainly sorely missed, by me at least… Still, roll on next year… Hmmm… I wonder what theme I’ll choose next time? 🙂

Daily Prompt: Zero, Zip, Zilch…

I realise I tend to be quite erratic with my blog posting. It’s not intentionally irregular, it’s more that I just never know in advance when I’m going to feel like sharing stuff, or not.

Some days I’ve got a lot to say, with untold images and words falling over themselves clamouring for attention – use me, use me, they all cry at once – look, I fit this prompt perfectly!  And yet on other days I have zero, zip, zilch. No matter how delicious the prompt, I remain untempted, untouched by inspiration, silenced either by introspection or apathy.

However, I have to say how I am on my blog is pretty much how I am in real life, either a feast or a famine of emotional outpourings of one form or another. I appreciate that my lack of consistency and need for spontaneity leading to somewhat irregular posting may create problems for anyone following me, but I guess what I’m finally learning to say in life is that this is me, this is who I am, take me or leave me, but I’m no longer going to go through life apologising just for being me…  🙂

Daily prompt: Zip

A-Z Challenge: Day 20 Update

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m so personally preoccupied with so much other real-life stuff this time around (like being in the process of trying to sell our London flat so we can move back to Scotland), or because I genuinely miss the convenience of the common-ground Linky List for all cross-platform participants, but sadly I’m seriously struggling to maintain the same enthusiasm as with my previous two A-Z Challenges to check out a reasonable sample of everyone else’s A-Z posts each day.

I do appreciate that it must have been one hell of a lot of work for the team to keep the list updated constantly, and this year there is a specific WordPress page to link each individual letter’s post to (thank you, that really helps a lot), but even so it just doesn’t feel the same, somehow? I really miss being able to scan through the one-stop-shop-style list for fun blog names or specific topics that catch my eye; no comprehensive list makes it all so much harder for me to keep up, so many apologies to all for my distinct lack of engagement with other participants this year, it’s not been intentional.

But nevertheless I’m still enjoying the challenge of keeping up with my own daily posting, however minimal my commentary may be on each Leytonstone photograph I’ve shared so far. With six more days (and letters!) to go, I’ve found getting through the entire alphabet featuring only local subjects photographed no more than five or ten minutes walk from home actually has been a lot of fun. Especially as, if all goes to plan, this will be my last London-based A-Z…

So, with three weeks down and one to go, one way or another I have to say my April 2017 Blogging from A-Z Challenge is one I’m not likely to forget in a hurry!  🙂

Daily Prompt: Timely

I always try wherever possible to respond to blog prompts in a timely manner, but often  the prompt has already been replaced by its successor before I’ve even a chance to think of an appropriate post, whether created in images or words or a combination of both.

Sometimes the prompt simply doesn’t inspire me at all, sometimes it touches a raw nerve and triggers something far too deep or distressing to go into at that time, or sometimes I simply find myself overtaken by events in real life and just run out of time.

Whatever the reason, I try to remind myself that it’s only a prompt, and it’s my blog space either to post on or not as I choose… I suppose at heart I’m still geared towards being a people-pleaser, doing whatever is expected of me, and old habits die hard… 🙂

Daily Prompt: Timely

 

 

2017 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

I’m a bit of a tail-end Charlie in getting my act together with the Blogging from A-Z Challenge this year. To be honest I wasn’t sure I’d even participate this time round, because we have a lot going on at the moment in the real world. But the closer it gets to April 1st, the more I feel the familiar pull to at least try to join in with something rather than nothing. I mean, I’m already facing a lot of challenges in life at the moment, so surely one more can’t hurt…

So – in for a penny, in for a pound! This year I’ve decided to keep it super-simple, and stick close to home with a straightforward agenda. I tend to post lots of local London images anyway, so my aim is to post at least one new (as in taken recently, and not posted before) photograph each day, taking us on a whistle-stop A-Z tour of Local Leytonstone Life; simple snapshot images of ordinary everyday things around me that capture my attention, yet don’t take me out of my daily routine too much… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Short

I decided yesterday that, as I’m coming up to my first anniversary on Image & Word (on 1st April – woo-hoo!), I’d maybe look for a different theme that may help express the remit of my blog a little better. Something that helps highlight my photography and poetry and random rants and ramblings, something bright and clear to look at and easy to navigate… should be easy enough to find, right? Wrong!

Being a cheapskate means I need to find a free theme to choose, which inevitably reduces my options, but I suppose that’s fair enough – after all beggars can’t be choosers. So I tried on pretty much every free theme available, to the extent that I spent pretty much the whole evening in the WordPress dashboard dressing room, exploring available colour schemes and layouts and fonts – and yet here I am today, wearing exactly the same blog theme I was wearing before… sigh!

With some, I liked the layout but couldn’t live with the colour schemes. With others, the colours and fonts were perfect, but something niggly about the layout or navigation bothered me. Somehow everything I tried fell short of what I already have – so here I am, wondering if I should perhaps just try out a new theme every day or so for the next while, to see if any of the ‘falling short of perfect’ themes might actually start to grow on me in the meantime?

So I’m telling myself ‘Go on, push the boat out, live a little – be brave, bite the bullet and try something new’ because I worry about becoming too set in my ways, too fixed in my viewpoint as I get older – and changing my blog theme, whether temporarily or permanantly, is hardly going to change the world, is it? And if I really don’t like the look and feel of anything else however many others I try out for size, I suppose after a while I can always change it back again… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Short

Daily Prompt: Expectation

When I first started blogging on WordPress three years ago, I’m not at all sure quite where my expectations lay. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I persevered for five or six months in my initial guise before finding myself feeling hampered by my self-imposed rather narrow remit.

So I decided to try again with a different blog, starting anew with a slightly broader outlook towards my intended content. All went well with my second blog for a whole year and a bit, until some of the difficulties of real life intruded inevitably on the virtual and suddenly I stopped posting, and stopped reading others’ posts, just like that…

Then after a full seven month gap away from WordPress and all things bloggy, I started to wonder what all my old blog friends and aquaintances were up to, and I realised that I actually missed it all very much. But instead of going back and picking up where I’d left off, I started all over again once more – new blog, new name, new relaxed attitude, and ten months on I’m still here, still happily blogging along in my own little piece of the blogosphere.

When WordPress sent me my three-year anniversary notification last week, I was absolutely delighted. I realised I’ve come such a long way since those early days of blind trial-and-error. My blogging expectations are so much clearer nowadays – this is simply my much-cherished personal creative space, and I really enjoy the daily interaction with other bloggers across the globe.

Some people have steadfastly stayed the course, resolute from day one. Others come and go, just like I’ve done, withdrawing for a while before returning at a later date, reinvigourated and raring to go once more. Some post once a month or so, some weekly, some daily and some several times a day. Some blogs (and posts) are more serious in content, some are for fun, some beautifully wordy and some infinitely more visual.

I love dipping in and out of all of them regardless, and truly miss people when they disappear without warning, worrying that something bad may have befallen them but hoping above hope that all is well with them. I certainly intend to continue blogging on into the future. I can’t promise I won’t ever take a break again at any point, but I can promise I’ll let you know if and when I do… 🙂

Daily Prompt: Expectation

Losing My Way

Losing my Way…

I think I need to change the way I blog

It seems I’m losing focus week by week

Through metaphoric mud and word-bound fog

I’m wading day by day through landscape bleak

Life’s full of stress right now and things feel tough

Can’t see much further than each challenge set

My clarity of purpose not enough

To keep new blog posts flourishing – and yet

I’m hoping that by altering my view

My motivation finds another way

Ensures my blog, revitalised anew

Lives on in hope to post another day

Creatively I’m longing to break free

Of old constraints that choke and challenge me…

I’m really not in a very good place in life right now, but I’m doing my best not to lose sight of finding little spots of happiness wherever I can. And maintaining my blog does bring me happiness. I really do enjoy blogging, but somehow I feel I’ve got myself stuck in a bit of a deep dark rut with it all. So recently I’ve simply been trying my best to keep up with all the challenges I usually enjoy participating in, just to keep posting something rather than nothing, but even that’s not feeling enough any more.

But then, I suppose I’m feeling stuck in a rut with a lot of things at the moment, miserably slogging along as best I can, so really my blogging experience is simply reflecting my current life experience for now. Much as I wanted to keep this blog as a purely positive creative space, I have to appreciate that creativity in whatever form is a good thing, so perhaps instead of always having to find some forced positivity to present on my blog I simply need to take things as they come and let the feelings flow onto the page however they may manifest themselves?

I’m passionate about photography, and I love writing poetry, and at its core that’s what this blog is supposed to provide for me – a creative outlet for sharing my images and my words, whether positive or negative in tone. I think I need to find that simple point of focus again, maybe work on being a little more balanced in the content of my posts for a while, and see if that helps me find my way clear again…

And in the meantime, thanks for sticking by me, I always appreciate the company, especially through the darkest days when the tiniest pinprick of potential light at the end of the tunnel seems such a long, long way ahead 🙂