Monday, 20 January 2014

The Struggle.

I will not buy a new book today.


Buuuut I’m just going into this bookstore to have a look. Just to see what I might buy on a day when I AM going to buy a book, which is not today.


Huh. There’s a lot of pretty books in here. Ooo, I haven’t read YOU yet! Or you. Or you. Or you! That’s okay. I’ll, um, read you next time.


Don’t look at me like that.


Stop it. I have so many books at home already. I should read them first.


Stop. That.


ALRIGHT!! I’ll just buy one of you. One more book can’t hurt, right?


Oh. You’re a series. Well I can’t exactly separate you from your book family, can I??


Oh, these books are part of your family, too? But they’re not in your series, they’re just in your genre…No you’re right, I shouldn’t discriminate.


Are these part of your family?


What about these?


These too??


Screw it – I’ll take ALL OF YOU!!!!


Hi. I’ll just have these 267 books, please.





The struggle.

It’s real.
One thousandth of my collection.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Success is my only mother-fking option; failure’s not…


When you’re pursuing a dream, I think it’s pretty safe to say you have to be optimistic. You have to believe there’s a chance you can succeed, otherwise why are you even trying? That’s what everyone says, anyway. In reality, though, it’s harder to be optimistic than it looks. You get hit with rejections, sometimes your creative mind decides to pack up and leave, and real life often creeps in and steals both your time and your energy. Sometimes it gets to the point where it’s all you can do not to curl up in the foetal position and rock back and forth chanting ‘I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.’ I had one of those days this week (minus the chanting), and I had to go seeking inspiration to pull myself out of it. Luckily, I never have to look far. There is inspiration and beauty everywhere. The trick is to find something that inspires you to suck up your fears and your doubts and just go for it.

For me, the thing that inspires me the most (aside from the obvious) are the people who go all in. They do whatever is necessary in order to make their dreams a reality, even when fear, doubt and failure all come knocking at their door. I’ll admit to being more than a little jealous of the people with the courage to do that. It’s no small feat. Imagine all the fear, doubt, and insecurity. Imagine how much negativity you would be faced with from people who mean well – statistics about the success rate of people in the industry you are pursuing, horror stories about people never making it despite years of trying, grim glimpses into your future as a starving artist offering to write (paint, sing, dance) for food. I am truly amazed by all the people who find the courage to stand in the face in all of that and say, “You know what, I don’t care. I’m doing this.” I want to be one of those people. I’m getting there, slowly. But sometimes we all need a little push, so with that in mind, here are just a few people who inspire me to do whatever it takes to become the person I want to be:


Kurt Cobain

For those of you who don’t know (and I’ll try not to be horrified), Kurt Cobain was the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter in the band Nirvana. Before Nirvana’s success, Kurt never had or wanted a ‘real’ job (that is, a job that could lead to a career) because he only wanted to make music. He worked in a series of low paid jobs and even lived in his car for a while because he couldn’t afford to pay rent. There’s something beautiful in that.

(Source: Kurt Cobain: The Journals. Side note – This a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. At first I thought it was disrespectful to read someone else’s journals, but he wanted them read. He said so in the journals.)



Much like Kurt Cobain, Eminem worked in a series of low paid jobs while trying to break into the music world. He struggled with poverty and personal issues, but he didn’t let anything deter him from pursuing his dreams even though practically everyone around him was continually telling him he would never amount to anything.

(Source: Various interviews and the movie 8 Mile, which is based on Eminem’s life. If you haven’t seen 8 Mile, you should. It’s right up there with Artifact on my inspirational films list [though let’s be honest, you can’t really compete with Artifact])


Walt Disney

When he was young man, Walt Disney was fired from the newspaper Kanas City Star for not being creative enough. He then acquired an animation studio called ‘Laugh-O-Gram’ which he later drove into bankruptcy. Still he kept on trying and moved to Hollywood with his brother, where they created their own cartoon series, which was the beginning of you know, Walt Freaking Disney Studios.

(Source: Huff Post. Side note: I freaking LOVE Disney.)


JK Rowling
We all know this story, but I’m going to ahead and include it anyway because I just love it. Harry Potter was rejected for ten years by multiple publishing houses before it was finally picked up by Bloomsbury. It is now the one of the most successful book series ever. Like ever, even more so than 50 Shades of Twilight Fan Fiction Grey. If that’s not a reason to keep trying then I don’t know what is.
(Source: Pretty much every article written about JK mentions this. Mischief Managed.)

Dallas Buyers Club (Written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack)
The script for Dallas Buyers Club was rejected 137 times over 20 years before it was finally picked up in 2012. It is now nominated for a total of SIX Academy Awards, and has won like a gazillion awards already. (And I do mean a gazillion. Certain members of the cast are winning awards almost every day at this point…/cough :p)
(Source: Los Angeles Times. Dare To Live.)

Oprah was fired from her first on-screen job as a reporter because she was told she wasn’t good enough to be on TV. But she kept pursuing her dream and is now, you know, OPRAH.
(Source: Business Insider.)



Jared Leto
(I can see you your rolling your eyes from here. YES I’m going to write about the Mars boys. Again. Come on, now. Whose blog is this?)
Jared Leto. Again, we all know this story (and if you don’t, you haven’t been paying attention) but I’m going to include because, well, dreams = Jared in my mind. I can’t think of one without the other. Jared dropped out of high school, went to art school to become a painter (because he wanted to be a painter or a drug dealer, as you do), dropped out of that, went to film school to become a director, thought he’d have a better chance to become a director if he was an actor first, and now is Jared Freaking Leto: Rock God, Golden Globe Winner (SQUEE!!) and Academy Award Nominee (and let’s be honest…That Oscar already has his name on it.)
Despite proving himself again and again, he is STILL ridiculed for wanting to both act and make music (because apparently you shouldn’t be allowed to succeed in both), yet he ignores all the people who try to bring him down and does whatever his heart leads him to do (which includes acting, directing, making music and creating and owning four companies*). That’s admirable on a level that I cannot even begin to explain.
And then there was that time that Thirty Seconds To Mars got sued for $30 million dollars and he** fought it and won…But that’s another story. Seriously, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No-one inspires me like Jared Leto does. No-one.
(Source: My brain. My brain holds more Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds To Mars facts than is healthy.)

And he just won the Critic's Choice Awards for Best Supporting Actor yesterday, too :3

Shannon Leto

Before Thirty Seconds To Mars, Shannon was working construction jobs, getting into trouble with the law, battling his personal demons and didn’t really know what he wanted to do with his life. He saw music as his saving grace, and put his entire heart and soul into making it happen. He has said a number of times that without Mars, he would either be locked up or dead.
(Source: See above.)

Tomo Milicevic
Tomo had pretty much given up his dream of making music for a living, and had made plans to sell his gear because he didn’t want any reminders of his broken dream. The very next day he got the call to audition for Thirty Seconds To Mars, a band he already loved*** He was so certain he would get in the band that he bought a one way ticket to LA, then told Shannon and Jared that they should stop looking because he was going to be their new band member.
And now he is.
(Source: See above.)


These are just a few examples out of dozens of people I could write about. People who did whatever was necessary in order to be great. I want to be one of those people. I want to know that even if (when) I fail a hundred times, I will keep moving towards were I want to be. You don’t get want you wish for – you get what you work for. So on the days that the weight of what I want threatens to consume me – or consume you – let’s just take a deep breath, and remember we have the power to become anything and everything we’ve always wanted to be. Every single person you admire started somewhere. They aren’t special, or lucky, or blessed with the power to snap their fingers and make things happen: they worked for what they wanted. Granted, some people do seem to fall into success, but I’m not so interested in them. I like to hear about the people who want something so bad that they to whatever it takes to get it. Those are the people I admire. Those are the people I want to be like. Those are the people who give me the will to succeed. And I will succeed. I have to believe I will. After all, success is my only option; failure’s not.
TITLE LYRICS: ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem
(Apologies for swearing in the title, but you know, Eminem.)
**Yes I say ‘he’ because if you watch Artifact, you’ll see that Jared sheltered Shannon and Tomo from a lot of what was going on and carried the burden on his own.
***Tomo joined the band after their first album, 30 Seconds To Mars. He started playing with them during their second album, A Beautiful Lie.
Updated on Sunday January 19 to include THIS:
Ladies and gentlemen, that right there is a picture of Oprah, Constance and Jared at the SAG Awards this morning (where, in case you were wondering, Jared won another award. Naturally.)
My life is complete.
Picture from Getty Images (and I found it on Twitter. Thank you, Twitter!)
If it isn't obvious, Constance is Jared and Shannon's mother. Also known as 'Mama Mars' or 'Mama Leto'. Haha :p

Saturday, 18 January 2014

In Defence Of Our Dreams: KATIE

‘In Defence Of Our Dreams’ is a project where I interview various people about their pursuit of a creative life. Pursing creativity and wanting to do something different or special with your life can be very challenging and disheartening at times, so I’ve always loved to read how other people are coping with it and how they find the drive to carry on when things are difficult. If you’d like to know more or you’d like to take part, look HERE.

Welcome to another instalment of In Defence Of Our Dreams. In today’s edition I am talking to the gorgeous and talented Katie, owner and creator of the design brand Katie Michelle. Not only is Katie talented and wonderful, she also happens to be my real life BFF (Yes I said BFF. What of it??) but don’t let her terrible choice in friends deter you! Katie is following her dream of having a creative inspired business and has even made some personal sacrifices to do so. I sat down with Katie earlier this week and we spoke about our lives, her husband, my raging love for Thirty Seconds To Mars (which certainly is raging), and our families. Oh, and I interviewed her for my blog, too :p


Welcome Katie! Thank you so much for taking part in In Defence Of Our Dreams. To begin, tell us a little bit about Katie Michelle.
Katie Michelle is me! My first and middle name actually, and it is the brand name for my designs :) 

So Katie Michelle is a design brand. What type of things do you design?

I create a range of design motifs such as repeat patterns, images and pictures.  I guess you could say that these designs are really my “product”, but to launch my design range I will be applying them to stationery items.  In the future I hope to release my designs on other goods such as home wares.  I dream of having a range of kitchen items, linen and things like lampshades.  Just visualising it now makes me so happy.  I guess it is combining my interests: I love stationery, I love decorating and I love art and design.  So I guess Katie Michelle is really that – combining my loves into something that people can then actually use in their own lives and homes, and hopefully love too.

A sample of Katie Michelle’s designs.


That’s a really beautiful way to put it! And as a proud owner of a Katie Michelle tea towel (Merry Christmas to ME!), I can tell you that people will love your designs :) How long does it take to create each one?

It depends on the design I guess.  At the moment I can spend a fair it of time trying to translate the idea in my head into an actual work using the design software and drawings, as I am still learning the computer side of things.  As I get used to the functionality of the software things will start to be resolved in a more reasonable time frame, but the first few designs I created took days.  I was watching YouTube tutorials to try and learn the skills I needed.  I also tend to sit on things for a while before I tick them off as complete.  I find it can be good to have a break from something and come back to it with fresh eyes and new energy.

I definitely agree with that. Time in the drawer is invaluable. What made you want to become a designer?
My grandmother was an oil painter and my nana was a knitting, crochet and cross stitch genius.  My mother and a close family friend were craft business women and they operated in partnership together for a long time, selling at stalls and things.  They were able to pursue their passion, support one another and earn money (well, a little) whilst both being stay at home mothers.  I had a lot of creative influences growing up and always did various creative things.  Focusing that energy has been a little more difficult.  I have so many various creative interests and have always wanted to do something in this sphere, since it has always been such a big part of my life. 


Creativity often runs in families :) Now I know that this year you made the big decision to go part time at work so you could follow your dreams. Can you tell us about us a little bit about that?

I have a very normal and practical “paying bills” desk job.  I have been doing various office jobs since I graduated from uni. I never intended for it to be long term, but I confess I just kind of got stuck in it.  It took me a while to really commit and start directing my life toward this dream, but after losing a beautiful friend who was a real creative inspiration and encouragement to me, it just hit home that you can’t wait and really have to do things now.  I promised her I would do it, so despite money and stupid judgmental people (who think working in an office less somehow equates to lunacy) I managed to secure an agreement with my work for reduced hours.  Just having that extra time and feeling more engaged with life has given me more creative energy.  I have been lucky and it was a great decision.

Good on you! You should be very proud :3 What’s the hardest part about pursuing a creative life?
For me, it is probably other people’s judgement. There are people who believe it is naïve to think you can do this as a career, or that it isn’t “financially viable” or whatever.  I get some interesting responses when I tell people what I am working towards, and sometimes it can be hard not to buy into their world-view too.  You also have to remember people have different taste, so not everyone will like what you do, and that is totally fine. 


Very wise words. Not everyone is going to love you, no matter who you are (I swear Jared lives in my brain. That was a Letoism, for those of you playing at home :p) What is the best part?

Hmmm, has to be a tie between the moment where you have the initial idea and all your creative brain space is working away, and then the moment of actually concluding the work and having an end result.  The middle part can be frustrating sometimes (not always!). The parts I enjoy the most are the initial surge of energy as ideas are generating, and the excitement you feel when you then finally have something to show for it.  When I actually sell some of my designs I imagine that’ll feel pretty good too!


Haha, I imagine it will! What has been your biggest learning curve?

I am still learning the business side of things.  There are constantly challenges with that, and I’m still finding my feet.  It has also been some time now since I used any kind of creative design software, so I am re-teaching myself how to use it. That has definitely been a challenge at times.


You know what they say...Challenges help us grow :) Who or what inspires you?

So much inspires me; where should I start? I think being in the world is the most important thing.  Sometimes I feel as though I should be chained to my notebooks or my computer, just pumping out work and ideas.  But the times I feel the most inspired and have the most going on in my creative brain space are the times I get out and just live.  Nature, people, architecture, art, music, fashion, decorating, food; the list continues.  Inspiration really can come from the weirdest and most unexpected places.


So true. I also find that I feel like I’m ‘wasting’ my time if I’m not working, when in reality if I didn’t have other things happening in my life, I’d have nothing to write about. Now music is a huge inspiration to me, so I have to ask…Who are your favourite bands?

That’s a difficult one.  I am not very good at choosing favourites.  I like so much and have such wide and varying tastes in all kind of things, and music is no exception. 
Like you though, I would have to say that Coldplay have been a long-term love.  I also recently saw City and Colour, and they were AMAZING!  I have been really loving Haim, and London Grammar lately.  Alt-J and Foals also get a lot of love from me, as well as great female vocalists like Bat For Lashes and Imogen Heap.


Ah, Coldplay. My first musical love :) I read somewhere that your first *real* love will show you that your first love wasn’t really love at all…Hmmm…Interesting :p :p If your life had a soundtrack, what would your theme song be?
I only get one?  Hehe :)  That’s way too difficult; you know I am not good at choosing favourites!  I’ll just talk general soundtrack - there would definitely be some Sia: Breathe Me, City and Colour: Northern Wind, and probably Madonna: What It Feels Like For A Girl.


Love all three of those songs (though just quietly, I prefer the Glee version of What It Feels Like For a Girl…Don’t lynch me!) What is your ultimate creative dream? If you woke up tomorrow in a world where you could do anything, what would that look like for you?
Ultimately I think it would just be amazing to see people using Katie Michelle items. I would love to be in a café one day and just see someone writing in a journal I made.  That would be an awesome feeling.  To see someone you have never met liking your design and choosing to buy it to use as a part of his or her life would be incredible.  If I could work on Katie Michelle as my full time job (and hopefully no longer from home) that would be even more amazing.


That would be amazing :) Final question…If you could give one piece of advice to people pursuing a creative life, what would that be?
Don’t give up on yourself.   You have to make sure not to let the haters, naysayers and the pessimists get to you.  Keep your chin up!  (And if you have lovely friends and family who can help you and believe in you too, then all the better J)


Awww…That was directed at me, right?? Right?? :p
Thank you so much for taking part, Katie! If you’d like to find out more about Katie Michelle designs (and you should be cause they are AWESOME), you can find Katie:

On Twitter: @designedbykatie

And on her website, which is coming #soon! (I will link to it once it is up and running :) )

This interview has been edited, but the overall answers have not been changed or manipulated.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful

I really love this, so I thought I'd share it with you all. From Business Insider:

Everyone should read it. It's great. My favourites are:

You have to get up earlier than you want to.

because I find that exceptionally difficult (Granted I've been going to bed when the birds are waking up lately);

You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
because I've been doing a whole lot of both lately, and;

You have to try and fail and try again.


You can read the rest here (or by clicking that giant link on the top of this post :p)

Which ones are your favourites?

(Article link originally tweeted by @TheBlondeTheory)

Friday, 3 January 2014

In Defence Of Our Dreams: INDIA

In Defence Of OurDreams’ is a project where I interview various people about their pursuit of a creative life. Pursing creativity and wanting to do something different or special with your life can be very challenging and disheartening at times, so I’ve always loved to read how other people are coping with it and how they find the drive to carry on when things are difficult. If you’d like to know more or you’d like to take part, look HERE.


Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my fellow writer and creative-life-pursuer (that’s a thing, okay) India. First interview of the year! Go team!


Hi India! Thank you for taking part in The Pursuit Of A Creative Life. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name's India. I'm 17. I was born in D.C., but I was raised in Maryland for my entire life. I've had a continuous passion for writing for six years. I also have a passion for art and drawing. I have read over 300 books in the past four years. I'm currently a senior in high school. I'm a 4.0 AP student, but I don't think I want to be known for that.



You’re a journalist and a fiction writer. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Last year I was the editor of my school's newspaper and wrote a variety of articles from music reviews to editorials, but unfortunately I moved and my current school doesn't have a school newspaper. I was introduced into the world of fiction by the Twilight and Harry Potter series. After reading the novels, I wanted to be famous for having an impact on the world through writing.



An admirable goal! Who or what inspires you?

My main inspirations are my mother, who has made it through so much and made it through in one piece, Thirty Seconds To Mars, who have helped my through a lot by not only their music but also their message to never give up, and J.K. Rowling because I believe that her writing is just so detailed and her background story relates to me.


Pretend you’ve been given the power to do anything you want to do without fear of failure. What would you do?

If I were given the chance to do something without the chance of failure, I probably go for my goals of attending UCLA rather than staying local and not risking messing up in life.



You know what they* say…“Try and fail, but never fail to try.” It can be really hard to let go of that fear, though. What is the hardest part about pursuing a creative life?

I think the hardest part about pursuing a creative career path is the uncertainty of success. There’s probably a higher demand rate for ‘common’ jobs rather than there is for writers or other creative professions. I've heard countless stories of writers not making it. Even my old journalism teacher told me stories about how he used to eat ramen noodles and not have much until he finally got somewhere.


That uncertainty can be very daunting. Still, we wouldn’t give up our creative goals for anything, right? What do you like the most about pursuing a creative life?

I love that there's no one to tell your brain how to work. People can't tell you what to believe or how to act. You get the opportunity to put your opinions and emotions into your work and no one can change that.


I love that. It’s so true. I love the freedom of expression in all forms of art, be it traditional artworks, dance, writing or music. And speaking of music...Who are your favourite bands? It’s a vital question!

My favourite band by far is Thirty Seconds To Mars. I'm an Echelon, but I also listen to My Chemical Romance (I'm also a Killjoy), Pierce the Veil, Imagine Dragons, Linkin Park and Paramore, just to name a few. Although those are my favourite bands, I listen to just about everything from Taylor Swift to J.Cole.


Can I just say, you have excellent taste in music. If your life had a soundtrack, what would your theme song be?

If I had a soundtrack to my life "City of Angels" would be my theme song. In the song it says "I'm seventeen and looking for a fight." That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm fighting to overcome the many obstacles in my life so I can get to the City of Angels.



I love that. If you could share one piece of advice to people hoping to live their dreams, what would it be?

One piece of advice I would have is to never give up. There are always going to be people who think your dreams are stupid and not worth it, but you need to know that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. If you fight hard enough, you can break through the walls that are holding you down. Also, you need to learn from the criticism you receive. If you mess up in the spelling, make sure you have spell check or a dictionary handy. If you are bad with communicating your ideas, take a class on it. Whatever you do just don't give up because you'll always wonder what could have happened if you didn’t. In following your dream, you end all possible doubts of what if and it could've been.


Excellent advice. Thank you so much for taking part, India! If you’d like to know more about India and her work, you can find her…

On Wattpad: India's Profile

On Wattpad again: Did I Kill Her?

On Instagram: 30secondstoindia

On Twitter: @Mars_Love412

And on quotev: indialuvs30stm


*’They’ being Jared Leto, because, well, reasons.


This interview has been edited, but the overall answers have not been changed or manipulated.