When I had tried to work on this blog and other ones previously, I just couldn't keep at it and they soon fell by the wayside. I think this was because I didn't need this blog, whereas when I started it again this time last year, I needed an outlet.
The start of last year was really hard for me as my mental health was in such a bad place. I didn't really have an outlet and I didn't make time for myself to be creative. I went to work, wrote for other people, came home and was too tired to do much else. My depression made me put on weight and not want to go out and see people, which then made my depression worse.
In fact, it was shortly after restarting this blog that I got signed off work for a month because my mental health had declined so much. This blog then became the thing I got up for every day. I made myself go out and do things and made time for myself so I would have things to write about and be in the right frame of mind to actually write something.
This blog has been a constant thing for the last year and has helped me to actually think about what I want and what I want to do. It's made me look for new experiences, step out of my comfort zone and actually be honest with myself.
I think this is why I've been able to keep at it, because it doesn't become a chore a to write. At no point have I ever had to force myself to sit down and write a blog. I usually give up time doing other things so I can write something. While I do have a rough blog plan, if I don't feel like writing about the topic I had originally intended to, I just write something different.
Some days, all I do is write blogs for myself, which is usually when I end up with several blogs in drafts and no pictures to go with them. I may write all day for five days a week, but there is something really freeing about using a day off just to write what I want to. I take my time, I don't feel stressed and I just go with it.
The weeks when I don't get a chance to write a lot are usually ones when I start to feel stressed. Because my blog has become such a good way for me to express myself - even if I'm only telling you what my latest face cream is like - not having the time to do so makes me feel pretty down. This genuinely adds to my stress levels, which in turn sets off my anxiety.
However, when I then get a chance to write something, I feel almost instantly better, even if my plate is still totally full. I enjoy the process and usually feel so much more chilled out after putting something down, even if it doesn't get many page views in the end.
The last year has made me fall back in love with writing, so I actually feel ready to pick up projects that I had put down more than 12 months ago. I'm really ready to get back to my children's stories, the novel that has been taunting and the numerous other things that have remained unfinished in a sad folder on my computer.
I'm going to start carrying a notebook around with me again to jot down ideas as and when they come to me. I'm not going to feel guilty about letting my mind wander when I'm walking to work or doing something simple, rather than thinking about what I need to do in a day. I'm also going to keep going with this blog, not because I feel I have to, but because I enjoy it so much.
So thank you. Thank you for sticking with me while I rambled on this last year. Thank you for every page view, like, share and comment. And, most importantly, thank you for helping me stick with this blog that has been so important to my recovery and creativity.
Here's to another 12 months of Lost in the North.