Why Do I Write?

Sometimes we need to go back to the beginning. To understand why we started to do something, so we can appreciate the journey. I have been creatively blocked for a while and most of the art I have created has felt forced. I decided to take a short break from writing poetry and posting it to Instagram, not because I don’t adore the community on there, because I do, but because I had forgotten my roots, my reasons for writing. I started to question why I write and it led me to find some of my old poetry, poems and stories I wrote as a young child and teen.

When I opened up the dusty Pokemon tin that lives in a drawer beneath my bed, I smiled at the stack of paper that had been folded neatly, hidden away in a box for nearly two decades. This is where it truly began for me as a writer. I started penning down poetry when I was 7 years old and stories at 10 years old. One of the first poems, that I managed to find, was about a dog and it was written when I was 8 years old.

A sweet poem with simple rhymes. Although I am quite impressed that I rhymed “food” with “intrude” at such a young age. Once I knew how to rhyme, I was unstoppable. Many poems followed. I was a unique child. I even knew it at the time. I always felt different, I was compelled to carry a notebook and pen and write, sketch, doodle anything that lived inside my innocent and growing mind.

I always say to people, even now, that I didn’t choose poetry, it chose me. Whenever I feel uninspired or want to give up writing altogether, I remind myself that some things are much bigger than me. The universe wanted me to be a writer. It wanted me to be a storyteller. I must continue. I must write. It’s in the innermost parts of my soul.

As I grew up, my language and themes naturally evolved. I would write about the seasons, dreams and what I can only describe as puppy love. Rhyming couplets, dotting my i’s with hearts. I did have a chuckle at some of the things I found. I was drawn to a poem titled Dreams, that I penned when I was 11-years-old and felt a warming sense of nostalgia, remembering a positive little girl that believed in the beauty of her dreams and had not yet been broken by the upheaval of this calamitous world.

Life is like a balancing beam, if you fall get up again.

— advice from my 11-year-old self.

At 12 years old, I was more ambitious than ever to pen stories. But no one knew it. Everyone saw a shy preteen who liked to perform on a stage to grow her confidence. But I kept the writer part of me hidden. I became self-conscious, as most teenage girls do. I didn’t believe in my talent. But in hindsight, reading this work back with adult eyes. There is clearly talent emerging…

The sky is griddled with pink and grey. Black rain falls. Moonlight filters through the trees. Each blade of grass glistens, spiked by frost. The breath that escapes me is dazzled. Like a stone falling in a pond, circles and circles of love ripple through me.

— excerpt from Descriptions (aged 12)

By 15 years old, I had written many stories and poems. A lot of them were typed at this stage, as like most teenage girls growing up in the early 2000’s, I was glued to a computer screen. But, I found this short story, a poignant tale of a daughter visiting her mother’s grave. I guess my love for melancholic stories and using emotive language to draw the reader in started here.

My throat was dry like the ancient stone walls surrounding the church. I knelt down, holding back the tears. The pain of guilt overwhelmed me.

— Excerpt from a short story (15 years old)

Now I fast forward, to now. At 28 years old. I have a published poetry book Darkness & Light, which is a ten-time bestseller on Amazon. 4.5k followers on my poetry page on Instagram. A successful collaborative poetry project called First Line Poets and an anthology on the way. I am proud of myself. Despite the setbacks, the obstacles, the years that passed by without putting pen to paper, I truly found my love for writing again. I think we always find our way back to things that are meant to be.

So, I fondly tucked away these poems and stories back into my childhood memory box. They have given me the push I needed. To keep moving forward. To keep writing. To keep carving stories and writing my truth. The moment that my pen stops moving, I lose the essence of me, who I really am. I am a writer, a poet, a storyteller. Stories live in the marrow of my bones. It is up to me now, to write them and share them with the world.

Colour Me Calm: The Adult Colouring Book Craze

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We all remember the joy that colouring books brought to us when we were small, our parents would give us a colouring book and some crayons and we would stay quiet for hours, focusing on staying in the lines, with our tongues sticking out and wrinkles on our forehead.

Unfortunately, as we turn into adults we close the doors on our childhood, we forget everything we used to enjoy and focus on making a living, worrying about money and what we think we should be doing with our lives. We tell ourselves that everything we did when we were children should be left in the past and we should just be adults, responsible adults who have lots of important decisions to make.

I’ve always loved colouring, as a child I would entertain myself for hours, scribbling and drawing and using felt tips to colour in blank silhouettes of cartoon characters and princesses. This is why I stopped. There were no colouring books suitable for adults, until now. It might be the latest craze that will fade into obscurity in a few months time but I think it’s an excellent idea to get adults in touch with their inner child. Instead of getting caught up in the anxieties of modern life, why not sit down, switch off your brain for a little while and colour? Brilliant.

Studies have shown that colouring is a great way to relax and turn off the world. We’re so animated all of the time, whether it is scrolling down our Facebook news feeds to see what our friends are up to, working in a busy office nine hours a day or travelling on trains and buses, we find it difficult to just stop and focus on one thing. Psychologists say that colouring stimulates areas of the brain that are related to motor skills, the senses and creativity and when we enter that creative state of mind, naturally our worries melt away, it’s the perfect relaxation technique.

Some adults will shake their heads in dismay at grown-ups sitting down with a box of crayons and a book of patterns to colour in on a Friday night but if it transports them to a place where they feel calmer, happier, even nostalgic then what’s the harm? I have always found colouring to be therapeutic and since buying my ‘adult’ colouring book, I have found a new hobby that enhances my creativity, makes me feel calmer and keeps me entertained when boredom hits. The first day I opened my new colouring book, I left my laptop screen and coloured for nearly three hours. I think that’s the longest I have been away from a screen for a while.

If you feel like you need an escape from your every day life and want to reconnect with your childhood innocence then pick up an adult colouring book from your local book shop, try it, you might be pleasantly surprised.