Self Doubt and Creativity

I love Sylvia Plath, back when I was at university, not knowing who I was or what I was doing (although that’s still ongoing). There is something about Plath that spoke to me in so many different ways, but there is something she knew well. The fight between self-doubt and creativity.

I’ve always found myself to be a creative person, writing stories and poems since I was small, singing, acting, dancing. When you’re young, for many there is no such thing as self-doubt, you dream and you do, that’s it. It’s only as you get older that a voice pipes up in your mind, not of hope, but of doubt.

For the past few years, I’ve had my heart set on writing a book, my laptop currently full of ideas and different starts. I have poems and song scrawled in notebooks at mine and my parents. I can’t help but have these ideas come into my head and keep going. That said, they remain unfinished and I know why. That little monster of self-doubt creeps in eventually and makes me want to get rid of it all!

With all this in mind, I want to get rid of my fear. I want to break free of my self-doubt and internal criticism. So, I’ve started just writing and not reading over it as soon as I finish. I’ve also been listening occasionally to the audiobook of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

How do you help yourself when it comes to self-doubt and creative fear? Let me know in the comments below.

Going, going, gone- Goodbye Dissertation

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If you are following me on any social media, Twitter, Instagram any friends I have on Facebook I now apologise for the avalanche of dissertation related posts for the past few weeks. It really has been my life, every minute I had ‘free’ was spent on my dissertation, reading, editing, re-reading, having a meltdown, carrying on and finally submitting!! Yes today at about 2.30pm I finally handed in my printed and bound dissertation and it felt so good. So, so good.

It doesn’t mean I’m finished, I have two more assignments to finish and submit before everything is done but I do feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I know for a fact I handed in looking exhausted and I don’t really care about that because I am absolutely exhausted! I’m hoping that the next two essays don’t leave me working until 3am (they’re a lot smaller) and so I’ll just feel better.

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THE selfie I’ve been waiting to take for three years

I’m in two minds about whether, if I started my degree all over again, I would take a dissertation again if I had a choice. Looking back on this year and the stresses and strains I’ve had because of my health and my body I would probably been better doing two special studies, but hey ho it’s done and dusted now. Sylvia Plath will always hold a special place in my heart, hell I think I could even write a book on her if I wanted after all the research I’ve done for this! I mean I’m not going to, Sylvia is now just for pleasure reading. On that thought, ah pleasure reading, the TBR list is piling up now!

Honestly, I just feel so happy that it’s over and yes there are niggling little thoughts but I’m pushing them aside. It’s done, it’s over and there’s nothing I can do about it now. Buh-bye! Thank you to all of you who have commented on blogs, liked them, sent me messages on Instagram and Twitter, it feels like I have my own little support group when I’m struggling. So now, onwards and upwards, I’m halfway through submission and come the 3rd May it will all be done!

Time to start my Dissertation!

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The moment has finally arrived, I’m starting my dissertation and like the true geek I am I couldn’t be more excited! A lot of people are interested but confused about why I’m going to look at Sylvia Plath and why I like reading her work so much. Sylvia’s work is not sunshine and flowers, yes it is dark but there is also such a poignant beauty to it.

Now I’m not one of those people who thinks that we should glamourise Sylvia and her struggles with mental health, it’s not something she romanticises. I think it’s one of the reasons that I fell in love with her novel The Bell Jar I could understand how the character of Esther felt, how by extension Sylvia felt (the novel is heavily autobiographical) because it is incredibly honest and truthful. If you didn’t know, unfortunately Sylvia took her life at the age of 30.

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I think there’s just a lot I can relate to in Plath’s writing, like the quote above. There’s a lot of confusion in her work and just trying to work out who you are and how you fit in the world. Which leads me on to what I’m going to be studying (assuming it gets approved). I want to look at female identity in the works of Sylvia Plath, specifically the role of the ‘traditional’ female. I just feel like when I’m reading her work there’s this huge anxiety with who she should be and how she should act as a woman and it’s something I relate to, so that’s what I’m going to write 10,000 words on. Simple, right?

I’m really excited to get started, research and kind of start what might be a career for me, the start of my academic life. Yes, I sound like a total nerd. Of course I am really nervous too, it’s big piece of writing and there’s a lot of independence to get used to but it’s going to be great sharing this journey with you!

Book Review: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – Ned Vizzini

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“Sometimes I just think depression’s one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there’s so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.”

Craig has a good life, he goes to a top school in New York, has a loving family and a good group of friends. Craig is also depressed. After deciding he doesn’t want or need to take his medication any more, a few nights later he decides that he’s going to kill himself. But something stops him that night and he finds himself checking into a psychiatric ward and into a completely new world. To get better a lot has to change and Craig has to get to know himself.

There are books in life that somehow just explain your life. They make you feel like you’re not alone and you’re not as crazy as you thought you were. For me, It’s Kind of a funny story was like that. I’ve only ever read one other book that understood how I felt was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. You see, Vizzini’s main character Craig is a perfectionist, he wants success and if one thing goes wrong he spirals he starts to ‘cycle’ which, if you’ve never experienced it is a bad thing. Thoughts keep coming and coming until you can’t think straight,sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe. His high ambition and determination takes over his life to the point that the majority of his cycles are about the work he’s going (or lack of it).

A few people have criticised some of the actions of the teenagers on the ward and I’ll admit that, at first, I was sceptical and thought could things like this really happen? Then I remembered I was reading about teenagers, and I think that’s something you have to keep in mind while reading this novel. Craig isn’t an adult and while some of the things he struggles with might be hard to understand as an adult I can fully remember these feelings and emotions as a teenager myself.

I can fully praise this novel for its portrayal of what it’s like to have a mental illness as a teenager and also for reiterating that you should never just stop taking your medication. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to read something and just feel every bit of what the character is going through; the anxiety, the need to achieve, thinking that you can handle everything when in fact you’re only slightly getting better and last but not least finding a creative way to release all the frustrations. The reason that Vizzini can write this so well is because he himself has lived it. Like Plath’s novel, Vizzini’s is semi autobiographical; he was in a mental health unit as a teenager. On a personal level, I don’t think that experience ever truly leaves you. I’m inspired by him and incredibly saddened to learn that he took his own life a few years ago.

I want to give this novel five stars *****. This really is something else, not only is there a positive portrayal of young people with mental health conditions but also of teenagers in general. Craig does nothing wrong except try, and I think that’s more common than a lot of people realise. People with mental health problems can have a perfectionist side, which without help can take over, I certainly know mine does. I want everyone to read this because it is amazing, educational and I found that it really gave me some hope and someone to connect with. Go and pick a copy up now!

Review by Chloe Metzger