It’s really hard looking at a blank page. It’s intimidating. It’s a bit scary. I’m worried those first few words will set the tone for the whole page, and probably the next page, and maybe all the pages after that too.
For me, bordering on obsessively compulsive as it is, I evaluate the success of that first page based on how neat it is. I assess the consistency of the form of my words and my letters. I look at the form of each line and each paragraph and whether the form starts to fall apart as my eye moves further down the page. Does the last paragraph look lazy and tired when compared with the first?
Last September, I worked for a month as an (unpaid) intern for a women’s digital magazine. The prospect was initially exciting – I had discovered this particular website through Pinterest. Their Pins littered my feed and their apparent popularity was enticing. Thousands of followers, thousands of repins. Their aesthetic was sleek, polished, glamorous, wholesome, cool. I’d jumped at the opportunity to join them as an editorial intern for a month (expenses paid, they initially advertised, although this didn’t actually pan out).
I was an aspiring writer, keen to write about women and women’s issues, keen to find a platform that exclusively focused on women and women’s issues. Maybe a startup women’s digital magazine, like this one, was my future?
In a slightly odd twist of fate, I’ve gone back to school. My old school. Nearly five years after I skipped out the front door with my exam results and King’s College London future in hand, I was back, this time as staff.
It’s been nearly six months since I last wrote. I can’t believe it’s been so long. I can’t believe how much time has passed and how much has happened. So much has happened, so fast, that I’ve felt a little like I’ve been a spectator of my own life. Or maybe this is what it feels like in the eye of a storm – like life is whirling madly around you and you’re simultaneously at the centre of it but outside of it all too.
Where do I even begin?
I struggle a lot with “new year”. I struggle with New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and January. Let’s be real – I struggle with the whole year after that, too.
I just can’t handle the overwhelm around this period. The pressure is so intense – the pressure to have an amazing New Year Eve’s, the pressure to start January 1st as you mean to go on, the pressure to change overnight and fulfil all those New Year’s resolutions overnight… It doesn’t happen for me, ever. And then the depression and demotivation set in. The feeling that I’m a failure because I’ve ruined 2017 already and it’s barely started.