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Happy Birthday to Me | Millicent Nankivell
Happy Birthday to Me | Millicent Nankivell

As a child, my birthday was quite possibly the most exciting day of the year! I was growing up and that meant I got to have more fun, right? (Let’s not overlook the fact that there was also cake.) When I hit twelve though, something started to change. I still enjoyed my birthday, and for some years still looked forward to it, but I did spend a portion of my twelfth birthday in tears to my mum “but I don’t want to grow up – I want to be a kid forever!” – what brought this on, I can’t remember. Suddenly though, growing up seemed pretty scary.

Then came the next stage of my life. The one where I learned that things don’t always go how we plan them, and that not everyone who enters my life is going to have my best interests at heart – even if I have theirs in mine. It was the stage where more than ever before, I felt left behind. Stupid. Like I didn’t measure up.

Every birthday marked another year as a failure.

I would try and get excited about it, because I’ve always loved celebrations, and if I didn’t at least try then I knew I would spiral further. By then my depression had taken a stranglehold of my life and I wished so hard that it would go away.

About a year or two ago my outlook changed again though. I still felt like a failure, but I had hope again – hope that things would get better. Something else started happening though. For all my faults, all the things that I felt were short-comings, and my continued string of failures behind me … I started to feel gratitude again. Which led to me finally starting to just accept that this is who I am.

Happy Birthday to Me | Millicent Nankivell
My dork of a younger sister and I at Airlie Beach ♥

I’m never going to meet my crazy ideals for who I should be, because they’re just that – crazy! My life isn’t going to be perfect (or even easy) – but whose is? Nobody is going to understand me, as long as I don’t understand myself! I am crazy, messy, scattered, hyper, at times inappropriate, socially inept, generally just anti-social, sometimes lazy (I think I’m a cat in a human body), distracted, whacky, weird, totally uncool, and I will never fit in. Ever.

I used to be proud of that last one. I’m not sure when I lost that. I’m becoming proud of it again. Because for every one of those things I’ve started to learn that I still have positive attributes that not everyone is going to see, or appreciate – but they exist nonetheless. I’m creative, curious, apparently have infectious enthusiasm, stronger than I knew I was, determined, amusing, eager to help, apparently give good hugs (though I’m incredibly awkward about it), community minded, passionate about things I believe in, weird, totally uncool in the coolest ways possible, and I will never fit in. Ever.

Because I was born to stand out.

Millicent and Lu | Millicent Nankivell
So yeah … this day was the first time I had the honour of meeting the gorgeous Lu (four days ago marked this as a year ago … Lu … we’ve been “real life friends” for over a year now … what.)

At risk of being too cheesy, life is a journey. Here is a list of 28 things I’ve learned in my 28 years on this planet:

01 | Age is just a number. Your birthday is a celebration of you making it another full rotation around the sun – quite incredible when you think about how fragile life really is. What a remarkable thing birthdays are!

02 | Irrespective of what you believe, faith is so incredibly important – but so is hard work. God delivered Noah (and company) from the flood – but first Noah had to build the ark.

03 | Further to that thought: persecution is something that in some capacity or another we all experience at some point in our lives. It’s never nice, and it’s never easy, but hold your head high – these things will only make you stronger. It’s an opportunity to grow.

04 | Not everybody is going to want to be your friend, and that’s really unfortunate for them that they can’t see your value.

05 | You’re never too old for Nerf guns or to build blanket forts.

06 | People who want you to give up on your hopes, dreams, and aspirations, are the people you need to give up on and walk away from (as quickly as you can. Then when out of eyesight – RUN!)

07 | If you have a good family, they are likely to hang around like a bad smell. A really familiar and reliable one that have got your back.

08 | We’re all artistic and creative. We’re all taught to doubt and second guess ourselves.

Liz, Jem, and Millicent | Millicent Nankivell
It’s also just over a year since I met the lovely Liz and the amazing Jem!

09 | A little sunshine is good for your physical and mental health.

10 | Rainy days in front of a crackling open fire, with a cup of tea and a good book, are good for your soul.

11 | The only thing more crippling than the fear of failure, is the realisation you’ve missed or thrown away opportunities due to your fear of failure.

12 | Pizza is never a bad idea. Have another piece.

13 | How can you possibly expect yourself to love someone else, if you can’t even love yourself? It just doesn’t work. Treat yourself with the respect you deserve and take care of yourself.

14 | Everything is made of triangles. Legit.

Angel, Lu, and Millicent | Millicent Nankivell
Even if only for Lu’s benefit … Angel, Lu, and myself at a very important business meeting.

15 | The day you stop learning new things, will be the day you die. There is always something new to learn.

16 | Gazing at a starry night sky will always be humbling and moving.

17 | Be passionate about your convictions, but considerate and compassionate toward others who are passionate about convictions that don’t align with your own.

18 | It’s okay to be interested in things that other people think are lame. Equally, it’s okay to think things that others are interested in are lame. Never let yourself feel awkward about it, and it’s not worth the investment of your time to pretend.

19 | Don’t gossip. Remember when you hear your friend telling you the secrets and rumours about your other friends, that they’re doing the exact same thing to you behind your back. Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead. Equally, when you find out a friend has been gossiping about you, that doesn’t give you the right to retaliate. If you have secrets that you need to share – keep a journal, and keep it hidden.

20 | Girl gangs are amazing. It may take you ages to find the girls who fit into your girl gang (also, they might not all be from the same friendship groups – that’s cool too) but when you do, you’ll discover their friendship is undeniably the coolest thing in the history of ever.

Millicent, Liz, Erin, and Angel | Millicent Nankivell
I don’t even care that this photo is out of focus – I love it! Myself with Liz, Erin, and Angel.

21 | Emasculating men is not cool, not funny, and not what feminism is about. Treat your fellow humans with respect.

22 | Roaming the halls of your school with red ink dripping from your hands and arms while pretending to be a zombie (no reason, just because) is both perfectly acceptable and totally normal.

23 | That fear you have that people are all staring at you funny because they think you’re weird? *nods* It’s true. They do think you’re weird. Most of them think it’s awesome (and the ones who don’t are seriously missing out) and they wish they were as weird as you.

24 | Never be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There is no shame in needing help.

25 | Life doesn’t necessarily ever get better. There are good times, and there are bad times. Always. You just get stronger and learn how to laugh at yourself.

26 | You’re allowed to say no.

27 | Anger is as important and natural as any other emotion. Let yourself feel it. Really feel it. Deal with it constructively. Then let it go. Holding onto anger is like swallowing a slow moving poison that bubbles in your veins and corrodes you until you’re just a hollow shell. Additionally, learning to forgive yourself is hard, but vitally important if you want to let go of anger.

28 | You’re never going to be able to make everyone happy. Don’t be a people pleaser. Be honest, open to knew experiences and opportunities, and dedicate time to activities that are constructive and make you happy. Worrying about what others are thinking of you is not going to achieve anything – nor is it any of your business.

Maddy, Millicent, and Amy | Millicent Nankivell
Haaaawwt … Maddy, myself, and Amy

I feel like I’m officially out of the age-related gray area. I’m 28 now. I’m in my late twenties. Apparently this means that I’m old and all hope for me has officially gone. I have wrinkles. I’m not married. I don’t have children. Let’s not talk about my job situation…

You know what though? I don’t care.

You’re never too old to start again, and every day is another blessing, another chance to try again. My life end goal: to die young, as old as possible, and to always give everything my best shot.

Bring on 28!


GIVEAWAY


Because I’m a bit of a hobbit, I felt it was only fitting this means I give you guys something to celebrate my birthday! There are a few giveaways below! One is Australia and New Zealand ONLY, but the rest are all open to International entrants! What am I giving away, you might ask? I’m going to be giving away some of the books that I’ve read in the last year and absolutely fallen in love with. Paperbacks of the complete Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead (Australia and NZ – sorry they are different heights, but you know … books), and ebooks (International) of Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier, Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash, and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater! There are also two Amazon Gift Cards up for grabs – $5 from me, and $5 from Jem!

TERMS & CONDITIONS:


Bloodlines series is AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND ONLY – everything else is International
I will email winners and they have 48 hours to claim prize before another winner is selected

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Creative People Need To Be Using Google+ | Millicent Nankivell
Creative People Need To Be Using Google+ | Millicent Nankivell

I never make much secret of the fact that my favourite social network is Google+ but when I talk about it, people just don’t seem to get it. So I’m going to spell it out for you as loudly, and as clearly as I can. I think that Google+ is brilliant for creatives like myself, and I feel you’re really robbing yourself if you’re not using it. I know in general terms it is really quiet on there, but it isn’t the ghost town it appears to be.

Among the reasons you should be utilizing this social network, is the fact that when you share your blog content, you’re putting it right into Google’s hands. Using Google+ is a great way to help your content be found and seen. Simply posting links to your content isn’t really enough though. To optimize it, you still need to treat it like any other social media site. Share some personal thoughts, a bit of humour, and don’t forget to help your friends out along the way by sharing their content too. Whatever takes your fancy, really – it’s fun!

I bet if a group of us worked together we’d have our own awesome little community on there, commenting on each others posts and sharing each others content in no time. Google+ is really only so quiet because people say it is – it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. “It’s so quiet”, so no-one uses it, and it actually becomes quiet. Get on there and make some noise!

At the beginning of the month, I threw the idea of a 30 day challenge out there: use Google+ for 30 days – just give it a go. Some people fell by the wayside immediately, others haven’t updated every day but have increased their general usage which has been great, and others have stayed true to the challenge and even though it was only a small handful of us doing this, I’ve had an increase of activity on there which has been a lot of fun. (One of the others who joined me on this challenge said the other day that she’s used Google+ more than Facebook since starting the challenge!)

Beyond challenging people to use it though, there is already an active community on there. It’s comparatively small when placed beside the likes of Facebook and Twitter, but it still exists and is active – particularly in the arts, technology, and science fields of interest. I’m in a number of active writing, art, photography, and blogging communities on there, and slowly but surely fandoms are also growing in activity.

Google+ also plays less into the like cycle – at this stage this is probably due to its quiet nature, but the people using it are more likely to only add you to their circles if they have a genuine interest in the content you’re sharing.

For those of you who think this is all well and good, but find Google+ overwhelming, last night I filmed a Hangout on how to use Google+ for beginners. It requires you already have a Google+ account, but as long as you’ve done that, I’ll talk you through the basics of the Google+ interface, how to make and use circles, where to find people to connect with, and privacy settings (though I kept calling them “security” settings, I apologise).

I hope you find this helpful! (And if you’re wanting to use G+ more often, feel free to add me to your circles – I tend to post fairly frequently now)

My Friends Are Better Than Your Friends | Millicent Nankivell
My Friends Are Better Than Your Friends | Millicent Nankivell
I cropped out their faces in case they have aversions to you seeing them, but they do all have beautiful faces! These creatures are my friends. My oldest group of friends. Well, some of them, they aren’t all there. These guys were among those who helped pick me up and dust me off after a particularly nasty fall a few years ago, and I am eternally grateful to them. It is pretty sad though that this is the only photo I could find of close-to-all of us in my collections … come on guys – poor form!

Last night my mind drew a blank. I was quickly trying to dredge up what I’d shared on my blog since I began my restructure and began panicking, because I knew I had five posts, and could only think of four. Not a good sign. Then my mind began panicking further when it realised that this was going on before my restructure…

For whatever reasons, I had always feared my “Real Life” friends (I hate that term! Gah!) reading my blog. I don’t like confrontation, and I have no doubt I share things on here that they would disagree with. Immensely. I also really hate being wrong. It’s terrible. Plus, I have this strange psychological thing where blogging to the unknown masses? Yeah, I have no issue doing that at all. People who have known me my whole life? … *builds and camouflages protective fort* pleasedontjudgeme *waves white flag*

I knew that at least every now and then some of them had been on here. Sometimes I was cool with that. Sometimes it made me uncomfortable. Sometimes I think they host little tea parties among themselves to sit and think up awesomely hilarious ways to mock me and my blog – I’m never sure whether to laugh or to cry at that thought – then I have to remind myself a) to stop being so paranoid, and b) I’m not that special (just maybe in league with some of the other ridiculous blogs I know they read… *flails*). Then last night at youth group, one of my oldest (HA!) friends told me she reads my blog and whenever I make a new post she’s on here reading it “you know that right?” and then the conversation ended because the nights proceedings began.

Yes My Sister Is My Friend Too | Millicent Nankivell

Um. *waves* Happy birthday! Because I know apparently you’ll see this here now *nods* and no, I didn’t realise that prior *facepalms* Upon finding out, my brain kept switching between “YAY! SHE READS MY BLOG :D :D :D” to “what incriminating and awful soul-destroying things have I put up on my blog that may have hurt her, or made her mock me…?” but mostly it was the former.

So here I ask, how do the rest of you who blog feel about people you know reading your blog?

I know when my mum has been here in the past, she read everything in a disinterested monotone then asked me why I do this, before proceeding to tell me I sound melancholy. *facepalms* Thanks mum!

Friendship Is Friendship, Whether Online, Or Real Life | Millicent Nankivell
I mean, what happens when you meet your online friends? Are they then real friends, or were they already real?

I know though that as I’ve become generally more mentally stable again (yay!) the idea of people I know reading my blog has bothered me less and less – and in spite of my minor internal freak-out last night, I’m kind of excited about it (even if you do snigger into your cup of tea while reading it).

Also, in regard to my previous post on here, thank you all so much for the positive feedback (you should all check out these response posts too: I want to do everything and that’s ok! and The Millicent Effect)! I had myself so worked up expecting the worst, and it turns out it was for nothing. The tension is slowly starting to leave my body (though the ripper stress headache lingers and caused my brain to turn into a zombie after sleep deprivation: a brain hungry for brains is pretty self-destructive) and I’ll hopefully be back to creating awesome stuff and doing awesome things this week!

For those of you who are going to the Every Move book launch tomorrow night, I look forward to seeing you there! Please come and say hi! xx

Wake Up Bloggerverse | Millicent Nankivell
Wake Up Bloggerverse | Millicent Nankivell

As much as possible I want for my blog to be a negativity and controversy free zone – because there is enough of that nonsense elsewhere on the internet and all throughout our lives anyway and I believe that most of the time it doesn’t serve our wellbeing or development at all. With my recent (still in progress) blog restructure though, along with Pip Lincolne’s commentary on the like cycle followed by Lila Wolff’s thoughts on the pressure to perform and bitterness, and now last night a heated debate with my friend Angel related to the topic of #PTAChat… I decided I needed to share a few thoughts of my own about blogging and ideas surrounding what makes one “successful”.

“Find a niche and be genuine”


Some of you may be aware that I’ve done a few blogging workshops now and I’ve read a lot of material online about blogging and business. This doesn’t make me a guru or a person who even knows what they’re talking about – rather just curious and interested in learning. So please feel free to disregard everything I say and take this instead as a well-meaning opinion piece.

One of the biggest take-home things in my research though, is usually that you need to find a niche. Followed by you need to be genuine.

Because people can see through a lack of authenticity.

Eventually those who have risen through the like cycle and don’t really have any authenticity behind them? Well, it’s horrible to think about because it will likely hurt them immensely, but odds are they’re eventually going to crash and burn.

Just be yourself!

Niches are also a shaky topic when it comes to blogging though. They’re something that work really effectively for businesses, absolutely, and some bloggers also find that niches work really well for them. What I find alarming is when bloggers are being preached to by others that they need to have a set niche or they’re going to fail as a blogger. I’ll talk more about ideas surrounding success later, but I think it’s about time we started paying more attention to the idea that most of us are multi-passionate.

So often now I’ve seen so many bloggers divide their passions between separate blogs, all in the name of staying true to their niche, and I find it painful to watch. I know how time consuming it can be trying to manage just one blog, the kind of pressure and strain these people must be putting themselves under makes me worry for their wellbeing. Often too, the two different blogs end up attracting a lot of the same readers…

When people visit a blog, if they enjoyed reading the post they landed on, the first thing they’re likely to look for is your about page. Your readers want to know more about you – they want to connect with you. As such, they’re likely to want to follow all of your work. Why not just be genuine and put it all in the one place?

Why not be yourself and own your weird quirks? Nobody else on this entire planet is exactly like you and if you give yourself over to sharing all the things you’re passionate about in your blogging space – whether it falls into your niche or illustrates you to have various passions – people are going to have an appreciation and respect for that.

It’s just honesty.

“You need to build your numbers”


Grow your lists! This is another of those things preached by the uber successful, but is it really necessary? (… says the girl who has just started setting up a newsletter because people keep saying what a great way it is to keep people coming back to your site …)

It’s not a terrible idea, and indeed some readers find it beneficial receiving a newsletter in their inbox – but if you don’t want to write one? Then don’t. There’s no need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. To be honest, I don’t know how I’m going to go writing one.

It’s okay to say “no”.

Stand out from the crowd and learn to say no

More concerning – and closer related to the like cycle – is this idea that your social media followers indicate your level of success or how worthy you are of being listened to. If this makes you sweat it? Stop. It’s not worth stressing about.

You won’t have overnight “success”.

You don’t want overnight success, as it tends to mean you’ll spark and fade. Instead you’re going to burn steadily, your light growing stronger with time, hard work, commitment, authenticity, and the ability to say “no”.

This means you probably aren’t going to immediately get gigs with the big brands you idolize, or get the books you lust after from the big publishers, or whatever it may be that your big dream goal is in blogging. Here’s a bit of harsh tough love for you: suck it up, princess.

There are more important things to be doing than worrying about what freebies you can get your hands on. Why are you blogging again? Surely it’s not because of freebies, because if so, you’re on the list of those who are highly likely to crash and burn.

Do you need some ice for that sting?

Now that we’ve gotten that harsh note out of the way (and I apologise for dragging this down), let’s consider some of the other things you could be focusing on when you’re building your blog.

Things like injecting passion into the content you’re sharing, and developing meaningful relationships and connections with your devoted readership (bless your little cotton socks Renee, your support and frequent comments mean the world to me ♥).

If you’re multi-passionate but trying to stay in a niche due to a fear of losing readers or not reaching big numbers? While I can understand and have compassion for that fear as I too have been subjected to the niche-drill, I now perceive it as weakness and dishonest – both to your readers and to yourself. I’m not talking about losing readers from sharing negative or controversial content either. I’m speaking in reference to simply daring to step outside your niche. Odds are that if you’re multi-passionate and sticking to a niche, you’ll become restless and people will get bored of you eventually anyway, because much like me with my Adrian Ivashkov addiction (sorry Kimberley – haha), you become unrelatable.

Be authentic. Connect.

In my experience so far with publishers (here in Australia at least), I have only been asked for my social media stats once. And you know what? They didn’t give a damn that they were low, because there is always room for growth and they saw potential in my ability to connect with the readership I do have. Mostly they’ve been more interested in what I enjoy reading, to ensure they send me books I’m inclined to enjoy and give a positive review – because then it’s a win for me as a reader, and a win for them and the author as far as good publicity goes.

I don’t know if you’ve figured this out or not yet, but I’m actually a pretty fussy reader. As such, I’m really glad this is their approach and that so far they’ve been more than happy to add me to their blogger lists.

Wake Up Bloggerverse | Millicent Nankivell

The like cycle is a dangerous trap, and I loved quite a few of Pip’s thoughts on it. The following two were perhaps my favourite, though:

1. Being well-known does not mean you know well.

2. Let’s be canny explorers of our own lives and likes and loves instead.

If you’re passionate about something, you’re going to explore it, and you’re going to be desperate to want to understand it as best as you possibly can. You’re going to then want to share what you’ve learnt and discovered because you find it fascinating and captivating and you want others to share in your awe and wonder. That doesn’t mean you’re always going to be right, and sometimes you have to gracefully acknowledge your shortcomings (we all have them though, so don’t be too hard on yourself – learn and move on).

Be cautious where there are large crowds gathering and examine things for yourself. Sometimes those people have large numbers because they have been doing what they are doing for a very long time and have worked hard to get where they are. If they got to the top quickly? Don’t be afraid to ask why. Sometimes it can be genuine, but followers are something that can be purchased these days, and it’s throwing the rest of us off. Don’t allow yourself to feel small and insignificant because someone has greater numbers than you on social media. Don’t aspire to be that person either.

Aspire to be 100% your own original self.

As a note: I do believe that most bloggers work really hard – no matter what stage they’re at – they’re always trying to strike a balance regardless of what approach or method they’re using.

Of course, if you’re blogging in the name of big business, then disregard this post and go do some courses in business and media and become polished and shiny and get those big numbers and many kudos to you. If however (just as an example), you’re an artist not necessarily looking to make the big time, just wanting to bring some joy to a dark world like I am: offer your readers some of yourself. You’re not likely to become big overnight, if ever. So blog because you love it, and first write with yourself in mind ♥

A random thought on blogger etiquette


When I first got back into blogging, I was so excited! I was commenting on everyone’s posts, and sharing them on social media, and thinking “Awesome! Friends support friends! I’ll share my friends hard work and I know they’ll do the same for me!” …

Well, I’m going to try get back to sharing my friends hard work, knowing that they won’t do the same for me – because it’s the right thing to do. It’s disappointing, but I refuse to let myself get down over it like I used to. For ages I thought I must have been doing something wrong, or that perhaps I was a terrible blogger. Now though I realise that people are so absorbed in their own journeys and reaching their own goals that they don’t necessarily feel they have time for helping other people in their life. Or they’re focused on their own niche. Or maybe some of them really are that selfish that they don’t want to send readers to posts other than their own, and that’s okay too. People eventually end up growing out of that – either that or their readers start seeing through that.

Or maybe I have bad friends. Or I really am an awful blogger. But I choose to reject those two ideas.

Wake Up Bloggerverse | Millicent Nankivell

If you’re a blogger reading this? Be sure to help the community by sharing content created by other bloggers, because it will help them keep their head held high for one more day as they march the messy battlegrounds that have started to appear in the bloggerverse.

In basic list form, these are my blogging rules (but as per Pirates of the Caribbean, they’re more like guidelines (or even just suggestions)):

  1. Share what you’re passionate about. (Just remember to be socially acceptable and avoid being a train-wreck blogger)
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Be honest.
  4. Connect with and care for your readers.
  5. Don’t be a jerk.
  6. Don’t be ashamed of what you create and share.
  7. Support other bloggers.
  8. Share your friends content, even when they don’t offer you the same courtesy.
  9. Generally just be considerate of others.
Thoughts on the definition of success


My blog is still being re-constructed, but as you may be able to gather from the list of future links in my sidebar, I will be blogging about a multitude of topics – all things that I care about and find engaging.

My love of reading books and sharing them, because I want to be able to have beautiful discussions about them with other people who loved them, and I want to encourage others to give them a try. The all-consuming desire I have to write, that sometimes tears my mind apart when I get stuck and can’t properly express what I need to. The burning passion I have for beautiful imagery that other minds produce, and the sheer frustration I experience when I can’t take an image from my mind and commit it to an illustration. My fumbling as I learn more and more about how to try preserve a memory in a photograph.

My love and respect for blogging and the bloggerverse, and how coding languages are as diverse, messy, and as beautiful as any spoken language. The fun I have when I get the opportunity to meet other talented and kind-hearted people from within the blogging community. The importance of women in our lives, and how we’re all strong in different ways – don’t underestimate the power of girl gangs. Further to this, fangirl should not be treated like a dirty word.

I also want to be able to share my creations with you, and offer you some tools to maybe assist you with your own creative endeavors.

Does all this mean I won’t monetize my site? No. Does all this mean I don’t have a clearly defined idea of success (or is my idea of success solely rooted around making money)? No.

One Dark and One Golden { Fanart } | Millicent Nankivell
Fanart I was inspired to create from The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead.

My idea of success is relevant to me as an individual and I think we all need to develop our own personal ideas on that front. This is what success looks like to me:

Success will be inspiring people to read books they otherwise would not have given a second thought – even if they don’t enjoy them, as long as they give them a go. Success will be inspiring someone who doesn’t enjoy reading to go and pick up a book and fill their imaginations with something beautiful that doesn’t require additional visual stimulus. Success will be breaking down the ageism and sexist barriers that apply to the term fangirl – encouraging women to own it, no matter their age, and disregard the haters. Being a fangirl merely implies you’re passionate about something, and it’s okay and always age appropriate for males to get excited over things like sports, and now even the nerds of society are more accepted (about time! Now it’s time lady nerds got more respect though, thanks) – it’s time women were allowed to be openly passionate. Fangirl should not be a dirty word used to make us feel immature. Similar to this, success will be watching the breakdown of the idea that you have to grow out of reading something like YA fiction, along with the idea in general that YA fiction is just for teens. That’s absolute utter rubbish. Success will be seeing that I manage to inspire young (and not so young if you’re after a change) creatives to take the difficult steps toward following their creative passions – because being an artist (a term I use broadly) is damn hard work. Kudos if you’re brave enough to take it by the horns and chase it.

What does your idea of success look like? Are you a multi-passionate blogger? If so, how do you manage to strike a balance between the topics you cover, and do you think that sticking to a niche is really all that important, or something that is only relevant if you’re building a business?

I realise this post will most likely be taken as an unpopular opinion – and that’s okay. I needed to get this off my chest though, because I’m so sick of seeing hard working bloggers fall by the wayside or feeling disheartened. It’s tough, and blogging is grossly over-saturated. Remember though that there really is no one else just like you, and if you’re being honest, and working hard, something will work out. Eventually. Be creative, and be patient.

Build an empire based on kindness, creativity, curiosity, and exploration. Define your own rules. Your blog is your own space, and your tribe will find you one day. Stop trying to follow someone else’s formula for success. You’re bigger, braver, and smarter than that. The internet is ever-evolving. Make sure that when you change and adapt with it, that you maintain your integrity.

Sunlight pouring through the Autumn leaves at the Rhododendron Gardens
Sunlight pouring through the Autumn leaves at the Rhododendron Gardens

Over the last few days my writer’s block has been bad. The kind I haven’t been able to shake off, even though I know it’s just some stupid mental hurdle I’ve thrown up in front of myself because I can feel it in my bones that I know I’m onto something. Whether that’s success or failure, I won’t know until I try. The point is that I need to try, and for whatever reason, I’m afraid to fully allow myself to sink into this project. Probably fear of failure, because that is what it usually is.

So yesterday I took myself up to the Rhododendron Gardens in Mount Dandenong (it’s beautiful up there. If you’ve never been, you should fix that one day) and I took a stroll with my camera. My hip injury slowed me down, but as I had my camera and a notebook handy, that was okay. I could sit and soak in my surroundings as required, and take my time taking in the scent of the flowers and watching the leaves that were slowly starting to fall. The Vitamin D probably did me some good too.

Kookaburra's don't always sit in old gumtrees

Why did I go up there, you may ask? Simply put, I needed to go somewhere that I knew would help me to feel re-energized, and maybe even help to re-inspire me. Incidentally, it did help – just not in the way I had hoped, but that’s okay. This is a process, one that is apparently going to take longer than I’d like it to, but things have a funny way of working out in the end anyway.

Getting out in nature and admiring it’s natural artistic and musical presence is something that always has the tendency to calm me down and still my fears at least a little. It’s a reminder that there is so much more out there, and that really I’m so small in the grand scheme of things – and my problems even smaller.

The views from the Rhododendron Gardens are majestic

What do you do when you’re feeling trapped? When creative block is getting you down, what are your favourite ways to tackle the beast?