In my quest to earn money over the summer months I have neglected this blog somewhat and this post is the start of me trying to get my writing back on track. Getting various aspects of my life on track seems to be a bit of a theme at the moment with many drifting off course. Sometimes I think that’s all life is; a constant journey where all roads lead to a similar place but the challenge is to take the most simple route. At times it is easy and the path from A to B is clear and obvious. At other times it seems to be more of a battle with several obstacles that need to be negotiated. These problems don’t have to be alarmingly large but the accumulation of lots of different issues can lead to a road block in an area of life. There is something to be said for the negotiation of these road blocks and the satisfaction getting back on the right path can give you. I apologise if all of the above sounds like a lot of waffle but like I said I am out of practice and small steps are needed right now.
Be it through work, family life or helping friends out I have come the conclusion that if I am good for nothing else I can set up a furniture removal company. Whilst I say this with an element of jest it does seem to be a part of my skill set that others find quite valuable. I made the decision a couple of days ago that if all else fails in life I should probably look into it!
At the back of my mind I have been thinking sporadically about what I would like to do for my final year project. I have an idea of where I’d like to go and have tentatively started making inroads into gaining contacts. My biggest fear for the idea is that, like most journalism, the idea is heavily reliant on getting the right contacts and enough of them. I think the rest of my week might well be spent trying to get a network set up and as much information I can use as possible.
On top of this I have spent time trying to get some more work experience. It hasn’t been an easy process which has led me to question my cover writing and CV writing skills. I do have some time lined up at a newspaper but would definitely like to spend some more time gaining practical skills. I think this is going to be another important item to add to the ‘to do’ list.
As well as the work I have been doing I have tried to make the most of my summer so far and have spent plenty of it with friends and family. It is good to have a strong set of people around you for advice and down time and in that respect I am very lucky.
Final thought, would you rather be chased by 1000 duck sized horses or ten horse sized ducks?
Of late I have struggled with keeping my brain engaged and finding inspiration for writing. It’s not something I have ever struggled with before and it is painfully frustrating. I have started and scrapped a whole host of pieces on various subjects over the last few weeks. I just cannot seem to focus on anything to give it the attention to detail and finesse writing deserves. A lecturer told me very early on that if you don’t enjoy what you are writing then it most likely won’t be your best work and in all honesty I am struggling to find the love for any of my work lately. In the past I have been whole heartedly satisfied with the writing I have produced. It may sound big headed but if I have written something I am really happy with I love reading it. It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to write something I like even if it doesn’t always get the audience I think it deserves.
In the past I always hated my work and before I came to university I could think of nothing worse than writing articles on any subject. Over the last few years I have learned to enjoy writing and I am hoping that penning my current frustrations will get me back to that stage. I have spells where I can write prolifically, waking up in the middle of the night with an idea I have to get out of my head and typed as soon as possible. At my worst (now) I am scratching around waiting for an idea to pop into my head or fall into my lap. I was asked by a friend to help out with something they have been asked to write for work yesterday and I couldn’t have been happier to have received the request. My relief was twofold; firstly I have the opportunity to write something where the idea has been mapped out for me and secondly it’s nice to be trusted with a project. It helps me realise that my work is appreciated by some and that I have the skills needed to help others.
My idleness has not helped to get creative juices flowing and I am currently spending a lot of time trying to think of ways to make myself more active in more ways than one. I am lucky enough to live in an area that provides a beautiful backdrop for walks. Everywhere you go where I live there is a view and at times it is very easy to take it for granted.
This weekend saw my mum throw a surprise barbeque for my dad who turned 60 last week. The day was a huge success with loads of family and family friends. It was nice to reminisce about water fights in the summer as kids and previous family outings and get togethers. I should throw a blanket thank you out to all those who helped out and turned up and made it such a wonderful day.
My brother seemed to enjoy himself a great deal and it gave him the opportunity to take some snaps with his new camera which I am sure he won’t mind if I share here.
The last couple of weeks have been frustrating due to a lack of Internet but there has been an almost uncanny and constant theme. It feels as though there are a continual stream of new things happening and for every one of these events there is an end to something else.
My parents returned from what my dad likes to call a couple of ‘geriatric gap years’. It is easy to see they are both a little apprehensive about returning home despite being pleased to see friends and family. After taking the plunge and living abroad I know from personal experience that it can be really tough coming home. It’s not that you don’t miss people it is just a sense of what you have left behind in a foreign land after building a new life for yourself.
The weather has been outstanding during the holiday and this has made the time I have shared with my friends at home all the more happy. As I returned to uni today I couldn’t help feel a twinge of regret that I wasn’t going to see certain people for while.
With regards to uni it is the beginning of the end of year two. This means a lot of assignment work, volunteer work and work experience to come in a very short space of time. It is amazing to think that I am nearly two thirds of the way through my time in higher education. I know it is a cliche but the time really has flown by and this time next year I will be feverishly looking for fulltime work whilst finishing off my final pieces of university work.
I have a lot to look forward to between now and then and I am determined to make the most of the time I have left. It is all starting to seem very real now and I can only hope that with some more hard work and a little luck along the way all of this will have been worth it.
This next bit might seem more political than it is really meant to but really it is just a summary of how sad modern day society can be; Recently a local institution that has been around longer than myself announced it could no longer afford to compete with the likes of Amazon and has been forced to close its doors at the end of the month after decades of successful trading. I would like to use this opportunity to thank those who have worked so hard to make the Forest Bookshop the awesome shop it has been. There is nothing quite like the level of personal service you get from small business and it is a great shame to see it go. There are still some amazing deals to be had from the stock that remains so please do go and say your farewells if you live locally.
At the same time there have been a few people opening and starting new businesses in the area of late and I would like to wish Laura Pugh, Stuart Jenkins and Justine Jones all the best with their respective new ventures. I know a lot of hard work and sacrifice is made when starting up and hope all the local businesses in the Forest of Dean prosper in the coming years.
I have been somewhat neglectful of this diary of late and for that I can only apologise. As I type this I am at a friends house taking advantage of the Internet. There is none at home at the moment and that makes a lot of things fairly difficult.
It still amazes me that I have become completely reliant on the world wide web. Having not checked my various email accounts for a few days I am procrastinating a touch because the thought of opening them is filling me with dread.
Truth be told I have had a good few days doing very little work and need to get back into the swing of things quickly. I have a very busy period coming up between now and the end of the uni year with loads to cram in.
There are a plenty of reasons as to why I haven’t done too much. Obviously the lack of Internet hasn’t helped but the amazing and glorious sunshine has had me on the move. When you get into a routine of doing a set amount of work every day there is an overwhelming sense of guilt that takes over when you don’t for a few days.
With my parents returning from Cyprus over the easter weekend I have had a really pleasant few days catching up with them and spending time with my nephew and brother and sister.
Sorry to keep it so brief this time but I need to crack on with some work! In the time honored tradition of new media ‘there will be more to follow shortly’.
The back end of last week and the weekend saw the end of any self indulgence with regard to my time, at least for the time being. I have lots to think about and get on with in the coming weeks and months and I am looking forward to getting focused and producing good work and crossing the finish line that is the end of my second year at university.
That being said I was looking forward to Friday more than ever as I knew it would be the last time for a while that I would be able to do anything as extravagant as take time out for myself on weekends. They say all work and no play makes you a dull man but at the moment it is all I can focus on and to be honest I am really looking forward to it.
Friday took me on a trip down memory lane and to Bristol to see Less than Jake, an American ska band who I have enjoyed listening to since my early teenage years. There was lots of dancing and singing as you would expect and a huge amount of fun was had by all.
Saturday saw me catch up with a friend who I haven’t spent time with in years, he had been through a tough time and it was good to have been a helpful distraction. The weekend gave me a bit of an epiphany. As much as it is nice to be there for your friends and help them in any way you can you also have to make sure you take enough time for yourself. I am happy to take responsibility for my problems and I realise now that you can’t always get the help you are willing to give to others. Some people don’t have the time or inclination to help out as much as they may want to. It’s no ones fault it’s just life.
I have alluded to my workload in recent posts and many who are in full time employment might see that as a bit of a joke. University is fantastic. You acquire new skills, make great contacts and have the opportunity to meet important people. That said if you want a job relating to your degree when you graduate you have to be prepared to put in the hard yards and more often than not that means working for no pay.
The idea behind this blog is two fold. Firstly I can keep a collection of my thoughts and document them for myself and others to read. Secondly it gives potential employers an opportunity to read something written by me. I try and post at least once a week but I am aware that is not all that frequent. On top of this I contribute work to a couple of websites and this is something I really enjoy doing. I am also in the process of trying to obtain work experience which means filling out forms, tailoring my CV and sending out cover letters. Next on my list of things to do is provide coverage for the local hustings and work with a group of students on all things election based for the next few months. All of this before I have even mentioned anything to do with assignments. Whilst this workload might be daunting for some people I have a strange sense of excitement attached to the next few months and hope I can make the most of the opportunities available to me.
Tonight I am attending hustings at the cap n gown in Worcester and will be hoping to get some content for a story I need for an assignment whilst also seeing if any copy I get can be sent out to local outlets such as the Worcester News or BBC Hereford and Worcester. As with anything in life it is important to be well read on your subject and so I have been trawling the net for information on candidates and party policies. The subject for tonight’s debate is climate change and the environment, something that will be in the minds of many voters as Worcester regularly floods.
I am grateful for being back in Worcester and back with easy Internet access. Getting my head down for the next couple of weeks is a must as my parents get home from a couple of years abroad in early April and I hope to have something tangible to show off to them for my efforts.
Today marks ten years since a very good friend passed away. To mark the occasion my friends and I got together on Saturday at his football club and celebrated his life. We shared fantastic memories with each other and his family and the night was an awesome reflection on Peter’s life.
If I am completely honest the build up to the event had me feeling a strange sense of nervousness and my stomach was full of butterflies all day. I have an uncanny knack of piling a ton of unneeded and often imaginary pressure on big social events only to relax as soon as I get there and have a wonderful time. I think the impact and realisation that ten years had passed got the better of me on the day and as I walked in through the doors I was a nervous wreck.
The second I saw Pete’s mum and dad I realised how stupid I had been. Here I am worrying about a series of ‘what ifs?’ and there they are proud as punch that we can still come together and raise a glass to our good friend.
It has been a good while since I sat down with that many of the boys and had a good drink and chat with them. I love the fact that as soon as we come together everything else goes away and we still laugh at the same stupid things and waste hours talking about football. Then there are the girls. I have to say I am part of a really tight community, a community that infuriates me at times but at times like this I am proud of. The girls are always there, no matter what. I have always found them to be a sturdy crutch to lean on, seeing them together and catching up this weekend brought a smile to my face.
As the room began to slowly empty Peter’s dad came over and offered the few of us that remained a drink. The sly old fox that he is lead me and others to believe that we would be partaking in a Southern Comfort and lemonade. As it happens we had a good slug of Southern Comfort and Southern Comfort! Either way it was a nice way to toast Pete and I’m sure he would have approved.
The night then got a little messy as I was talked into continuing the festivities elsewhere. I should have known better but it’s all fun and games I suppose. I spent most of yesterday feeling sorry for myself and delaying the one errand that I needed to do which was to pick up my bank card that I left at the pub!
As the evening came to an end I felt thankful for the childhood I had and the people in my life. When I walked in through the door something happened to me that hasn’t happened in a great number of years. I collapsed onto the sofa and began to sob uncontrollably. I don’t know where it came from as the night had been one full of laughs. My guess is that a cocktail of alcohol, reflection and guilt for my nerves got the better of me. Whatever the reason a flood of tears left me and I felt exhausted and refreshed at the same time for the experience.
I should probably throw out a blanket apology to anyone who saw me post 11pm Saturday night as I was particularly well oiled at this point and probably a bit of a nuisance! Something about my drinking partner at this time brings out a strong sense of mischief in me and I can only imagine we were funny for a time before becoming an irritation!