I think this is a game plan… (Diary 3)

2018, career, fitness, lifestyle, writing

Hello!

When I planned to write this post (though, side note, should I write a post about how I plan my content?) I was expecting to write about how I was taking a step back from applying for jobs – I’ve been applying basically non-stop since about March and nothing had come from it other than a lot of money spent on three unsuccessful interviews and a whole ton of rejection emails. So I was going to talk about making the most of my time at home, working and saving as much as I could, finish learning to drive and try again next year – when all the graduate schemes are open again and hopefully this time I’ll find something that works for me.

But, if you haven’t guessed already, that’s not what I can write about because it’s not true for me any more.

I found basically the perfect job – part time flexible hours at first, building into something more over next year, being a PA and Admin Assistant and PR Exec and Social Media Assistant all in one, it’s local, I can carry on with my volunteering and work at my dance school, it was just perfect. And after a very informal, chatty interview last week I’ve got the position! Official Freelancer with work coming in, need to figure out invoices and maybe get an accountant kind of work and I still can’t quite believe it (but I’m so excited about it).

It’s only sods law that two other jobs that would be pretty brilliant have cropped up too but will see how all of that goes – things are kind of working out for me and after feeling like everything was a bit piggly (just for you Miss Debbie!) and I’d been left with the crap at the bottom of the barrel for months now, I don’t think I couldn’t be happier about it.

So what’s going to be the focus of my ‘diary’ post now? Well I got a job, I’m loving my home life of volunteering at my dance school and going back to tap classes, alongside that I’m really enjoying working out and eating healthy and I’m seeing results (unfitness update coming up in the next few weeks!), I’ve worked on really shortening my to do lists and prioritising the things that really need doing and that’s working really well for my productivity and overall I’ve feeling fulfilled, busy and motivated.

Obviously, not 100% of the time – I don’t want to talk about the bad stuff here (I half have a post planned for that too), I want to talk about the good times right now but for transparency’s sake, I wanted to clarify that I’ve not turned my life around to being a happy, productivity person every single day because no one is, that would just be ridiculous.

But I’m feeling really good right now!

November has also been extra busy because I’ve been taking part in NaNoWriMo and it’s stressful, but really inspiring to be a part of this community that wants everyone to be a winner, no matter how many words they’ve written! I may be behind on my word count but I’ve written 27,037 words in just 20 days starting from nothing? That’s actually insane! (Just don’t think too hard about the people who wrote 50k in three days because that is just mental)

One of the things I said in my ‘things I’d tell my teenage self‘ video has really stuck with me since I made it – everything is hard work. If you want something to be the best it can be, it’s going to be hard work but once you’ve accepted that, put the work in to whatever you’re passionate about, then it’s so rewarding. I’m throwing myself headfirst into my freelance position and I’m going to make a life for myself – no ifs, buts or maybes, I’m going to do it.

And it’s going to be brilliant.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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a diet and exercise update | unfitness

2018, fitness, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve done a couple of fitness posts and I’ve recently made a fairly big change in my approach to my diet and I thought I’d note it all down 1) to document it for my sake and 2) for anyone else who might have recently put on a lot of weight and had to start shopping plus sized that needs a bit of motivation.

[ e x e r c i s e ]

I’m actually kind of struggling with working out right now – my mum has a treadmill and a rowing machine in her garage and it’s kind of full of stuff waiting to go to a car boot and it’s a bit soul destroying and I didn’t want that kind of relationship with exercise. So I’m not pushing myself, but I do quite enjoy going for walks so I’ve been adapting my exercise by incorporating it into walks – taking a longer route to go do my errands, making sure to keep up with the pace of anyone I’m with rather than making them slow to me and maintain a consistent pace.

At the moment this is working for me, I’m working on upping my pace and considering maybe trying running but I think that is quite a way off yet. At the moment, with the stage of weight and fitness I’m at I think cardio exercise is enough and by the time I’m a bit fitter I might be able to afford a session or two with a personal trainer who can hopefully give me some advice on how to get that six pack.

Because obviously that’s the main goal.

(though I’d quite like a little arm muscle, just a tiny bicep y’know)

[ d i e t ]

This is where my biggest development is right now – last week I decided I needed to take a stand on it, I need to cut out snacking and train myself to feel satisfied with a smaller portion size because it’s got out of hand.

So, whilst that may all sound a bit severe it’s really not – I’m making sure I eat breakfast in the morning to get my metabolism going, I’m having a reasonably sized healthy lunch, no afternoon snacking (which is tough), a reasonably sized (mostly) healthy dinner and an evening treat less than 200 calories. And being a bit less strict at the weekends.

I tried tracking it on my FitBit app for a few days and it came in at about 1000 calories a day though I think it’s probably a bit more (but I gave up because it was really hard to input everything individually) but I’m not massively calorie counting – I’m aware of how many are in what I’m eating but I don’t really know how many I’m having in a day because I don’t want to be someone that adds them up. I’ve had a pretty unhealthy relationship with food before and I’m very aware of slipping back into those behaviours.

It’s working well for me at the moment – in the first week I lost 3 pounds and I’m hoping for the same kind of progress in the coming weeks. I think ‘dieting’ this way is going to work long term because it’s not cutting lots of things, reintroducing them and getting fat again, it’s adapting my life to be healthier and hopefully being a healthier person because of it.

But we all know what I’m like for getting over excited, blogging about something then falling off the bandwagon!

[ w h a t   n e x t ? ]

Going forward is all just a work in progress – continuing to work on my relationship with both diet and exercise, hopefully finding a fitness regime that really works for me and I enjoy it (which is something I’ve been working on for literally years) and hopefully stick with this not-diet because I really do think it’ll effect my health in the long run.

Everything is a work in progress, but that’s why we document isn’t it! To see that progress and not forget the steps we took along the way.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

previous fitness posts:
unfitness – starting a few steps back
unfitness – when the going gets tough, listen to your body

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taking a break – disappearing from the internet

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello,

It’s been a long time since I last uploaded a blog post. In fact, I didn’t upload anything at all in July – the last post I wrote was about the 24 hour gaming marathon I did at the end of June and then July just got away from me.

I felt like I needed July – June was so manic busy and I just thought July was going to be my month for myself. And in a way it was because I didn’t blog at all in the month. But it was because I was quite busy and I had a lot going on in my head and I just couldn’t focus enough to write a blog post.

I needed space – I’ve talked about how I’ve been having a bit of a blogging crisis recently and most of it is because I gave myself a schedule of uploading three times a week and whilst the regularity was good for me at the time and it made me upload consistently, I felt so detached and ingenuine in what I was writing. Everything felt formulaic and as if I was doing it for followers and that’s not what I want from my blog and I’ve figured out a way to try and combat this.

Rather than making a list of ideas and allotting them to specific days and uploading three days a week and sticking rigidly to a schedule, the way I’m going to try having a list of post ideas and just working on them one at a time – writing one out, playing around with the draft and making it the best it can be and making sure I have good pictures without giving myself the time limit or the deadline of getting it up by a certain time on a certain day.

I want my posts to be more genuine and be a truer reflection of me – I feel like my blog and the words on it aren’t an expression of who I am and I want to spend the time on my blog to make my words mean something.

I miss writing, even writing this post feels a little bit like coming home and I’m glad to have got the ball rolling again. Having a month off was completely unexpected, but I think I needed it to reach a conclusion, make a plan and find the focus to want to get my love for blogging back.

I’m not sure any of this made sense, but I’m excited and glad to be writing again.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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2016: In Review

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

This year has been a really monumental year for me – it’s had it’s ups and downs, both personally and globally, but I thought now is definitely the best time and review the year month by month, looking back on a year in the life of the girl behind Sophie Counts Clouds.

Now that sounded pretentious, I’ll roll with it.

01-january

January: photography deadlines and Lucas’s birthday

Photography took up a lot of my thinking space in January and I did produce two of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken in these shoots. I also got to see Panic! At The Disco for the first time and it was my first concert with my boyfriend, Lucas.

02-february

February: Channel 4 work experience and dance competitions

My first ever Valentine’s Day in a relationship (I still love that elephant globe with all my heart), getting to spend a week in London with Channel 4 was incredible but I vividly remember the week full of really early starts in London then getting home Friday night, unpacking my suitcase and repacking for a weekend staying off in Birmingham for a dance competition. But I loved being so busy.

03-march

March: uni got busy and editing my monthly vlog was slow

March was when I fell a bit behind – editing my ‘February’ vlog was taking a really long time and assignments overwhelmed me a little bit. But I also became part of a couple who bought 70 creme eggs and I felt really good about my body – so a pretty good month all in all!

04-april

April: first year ending and Nick’s birthday

My sister turned my boyfriend into Deadpool, my best friend infinite ever turned 19 and Lucas and I went on our first proper date for a day out in Bournemouth and I wanted lots of cute photos with the beach huts. I then learnt that Lucas doesn’t like being my photographer.

05-may

May: got a job and first MCM ComicCon

A family visit with lots of pictures taken, fun trips to the pub with my friends and meeting the YouTubers I love at ComicCon – May was the start of what hoped to be a really incredible summer. I got my dream job at my favourite stationery store which I then got fired from in September. So we won’t talk too much about that.

06-june

June: first summer away from home and Nan’s birthday

I decided to stay in Southampton over the summer because coming home would be difficult for personal reasons and I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend. Each had their pros and cons and the summer was quite emotional time for me, but June was when I had my favourite galaxy hair, I surprised my Nan by being home for her birthday and I went on a Centre Parcs holiday with some of my family.

07-july

July: worked my first festival and really struggled with my money

I got to work at my first music festival! It wasn’t a festival I’d ever attend but it was the most fun work experience I’ve had this year. I also moved into a proper studio apartment with my boyfriend (which, again, had it’s pros and cons) and felt very independent and grown up… still not decided if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

08-august

August: Summer in the City and lots of creativity

I got to go to my second YouTube convention and it was so inspiring – August was when things started looking up personally and when I started feeling really uncomfortable and stressed at work. The release of Pokemon Go meant I also spent a lot of the summer outside and walking around which did help my mental health a little bit too!

09-september

September: first birthday away from home and second year

Lucas, Nick and I moved into our flat for the next academic year and I officially became old (i.e. not a teenager). September involved a lot of seeing my friends for the first time in months and feeling the stress and anxiety of summer slip away as I became happier and happier.

10-october

October: deadlines and dancing

I really started to enjoy uni at this point because I was really organised and I went to an independent cafe at 9am and did lots of work and became the most annoying hipster in the world. Unfortunately my granddad passed away in October, but it made me think about how wonderful his life was before he got ill and I was supported by my amazing friends – those I refer to as ‘my boys’ are featured on the left.

11-november

November: stress and positive feedback

A lot happened in November, from left to right; my family visited, I presented a TV bulletin, I got to see ‘The Wind in The Willows’ as press and write a review, I got to act a little bit in a friends assignment filming, I met Hazel Hayes and Jack Howard at my second Panic! At The Disco concert of the year and I did a package on the Busted signing in HMV Southampton and both Busted and HMV liked it on twitter. Assignment had ins were high (I think it was four in this month?) but I did get a couple of really great marks back, so a mixed bag.

12-december

December: busy but social, full of festivity, friends and family

With my last deadlines approaching and my organised approach to university falling to pieces, I somehow made it through the last deadlines of my first semester and from there on out it was socialising and Christmas festivities. I had the most amazing party with my Southampton friends, I got to see my friends from Ecuador for the first time in over a year (twice in one week!), everything was full of Christmas cheer at my favourite time of year, I’ve found a hair colour that I really love and I got to have a good old catch up with my oldest and dearest friend Katy.

In hindsight, 2016 has been incredible. The year ended on an incredible high and whilst it had it’s dips and my mental health has been more of a challenge this year than ever before, I’m really ready for 2017.

Please tell me all about your 2016 in the comments! Bring on the new year!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Why I call myself a Lifestyle blogger

2016

Hello!

I’ve talked before about how I don’t like putting myself into a niche or a category with my blog so I don’t have to limit my freedom to write, but if I have to, I would describe myself as a lifestyle blogger.

I say this because I blog about my life and my lifestyle which is what lifestyle should be, right? That’s how it made sense in my head.

However, most lifestyle bloggers write about make-up and clothes and fashion and very girly things which I don’t write about much. Don’t get me wrong – I like writing about make-up and clothes but I just don’t that often because I have other things I like to write about too!

So where do I fit in the blogosphere? I don’t want to stop writing about make-up and clothes to move away from lifestyle but also I don’t want to limit myself to just music or books or current affairs. I like writing about travel and my other hobbies as well as whatever else I want to blog about.

So, I’m going to continue calling myself a lifestyle blogger for now, until I find something I might fit better that is! I should probably do some research. In the mean time – do you think there’s any particularly topic you think I’m good at writing about? Or is there any particular direction you would like to see my blog go in? Your feedback means the world to me so I’d very much appreciate your comments!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Nearly 20… Thoughts from 19

2016

Hello!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this at all, but it’s my birthday on Sunday (September 11th… 9/11 I know) and this year I’m turning 20. When I wrote ‘growing up – being in-between‘ I talked about being so conflicted about having to be responsible for myself but not quite and I feel like being 20 is a really big part of that. It’s the first age that really separates you from teenagers and the comfort blanket of an age that ends in ‘teen’.

So I thought I’d write a few words to really show how much has changed for me in a year; where I was when I turned 19 and where I am now at nearly 20.

19; a few good friends at home, terrified of moving to uni but already making friends with flat mates, depressed, anxious, worked my ass off to get my A Levels and proved a lot of people wrong, lost a lot of friends and facing a lot of change, desperate to go back to Ecuador and travel, want to see the world.

20; going into my second year, the best group of friends I could ever ask for, just moved into a new flat with one of my best friends and boyfriend, networking to promote my blog and YouTube channel, brand new blogging project in ‘The Student Seat‘ that I really love, still depressed and anxious but motivated, working hard online and offline to turn my passions into a career or income, still desperate to travel but genuinely planning economically, just lost my job due to ignorant managers and no fault of my own and moving past it, in a stable and happy relationship with a man who knows and loves me better than I know and love myself; happy.

Bring on 20!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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The Last Update Monday?

2016

Hello,

This week’s a weird one for me because I don’t have much to update you on really! But I figure this is a good place to end the ‘Update Monday’s with just a little bit of what I’ve been doing this week and then a fresh new start next week.

A fresh new start when I’m 20, how scary. My birthday is on Sunday and it’ll be my first birthday not at home or seeing my parents at all which is going to be a really weird sensation for me. I’ll be with my boyfriend and a few of my Southampton friends are about (but most aren’t back for uni yet) so it’s not like I’ll be alone on my birthday but, for some reason, I feel like this birthday’s just going to be really different and not just because I’ll officially be at the beginning of my 20s.

But the day is looking to be pretty quiet and chilled which is nice because I’m currently super stressed and anxious having just found out we’ll be moving flat again (yes, for the third time!) on Friday but this will be the last move until next July when we go into a house (hopefully).

Somehow we have to get all of our stuff from the 9th floor down to Flat 9 on the ground floor and we’ll have a kitchen/living room window that all the smokers will be able to look in through but we won’t have to worry about broken lifts or fire alarms anymore, it’ll be an even shorter journey to uni and we’ll be in a corridor that always smells of clean laundry and goes straight to the common room.

Pros and cons?

I am going to miss our view though, I love the 9th floor view and I am going to miss it so much.

Not much else has happened in this past week really – I’ve been working quite a bit, I’ve got my probation review today so I’ll find out whether I’ve passed, whether it’s going to be extended or whether I’ve failed. I’m surprisingly nervous about the whole thing and I really genuinely have no idea which way it’s going to go. I can’t think of any reason why I’ve failed it but that doesn’t stop my anxious brain saying ‘everyone hates you, the company want to get rid of you lol’. I’m trying not to listen.

I’ll let you know how that goes on Wednesday!

UPDATE: I lost my job. Never going into the Paperchase Southampton store again. Lol.

I’m feeling really good about blogging at the moment – I’ve got a bunch of posts planned up until the beginning of October because I just keep having ideas, ‘The Student Seat‘ is going really well and the post I wrote yesterday about easy recipes for students was really successful and I’m excited to have my next monthly vlog up on Saturday 10th!

It sounds really lame, but I can’t wait to get back to uni and have a bit more of a regimented routine in my life – I need order and a reason to get out of bed again!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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September? | Update Monday

2016

Hello,

The point of the Update Monday posts was to talk about my progress in rewriting my book and doing daily workout challenges. Except the book drew to a slow no-progress point at around 30,000 words and working out didn’t happen.

So what’s the point?

It’s not like I”m sitting around all day moping or doing nothing, I’m still doing stuff – I’m sticking to blogging three times a week, I’m planning YouTube videos for making content regularly again, I’m working with some friends on a short film, I’m helping Lucas make content for his channel and working a part-time job too.

Alongside going back to uni where I’ll be maintaining another blog, news day work and assignment work too, as well as joining a couple of societies and having a social life, I’m going to be a busy little be when October comes around.

So in terms of exercise, I know I need to get back to it for health reasons but the lack of motivation and the mental health problems are real strong. I think when I go back to uni I’ll go back to the gym (yes, I’m still paying for it) and make it a bit more of my routine, hopefully. I’ve got my fingers crossed. I might start doing some shorter workouts at home too, presuming I’ve got room in the flat.

Writing wise, I’m aiming to read more in the next couple of months and I’m hoping that’ll motivate me. So right now nothing’s happening, but I’ve definitely not given up on it yet.

I might try and continue Update Monday’s if I still have updates to make, I guess – if I have something to say or something I’ve done but Monday might just become another day on my blog. I hope that’s okay!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Depression | Update Monday

2016

Hello,

I’d be lying if I said that these past couples of months hadn’t been a struggle. I’ve been trying to document my workout regime and weight loss and the writing of a 100,000 word book in two months but it’s not been anything like that and every other post has been a story of extreme ups and downs.

This month I’ve been feeling very sporadically – I’ll be sad for absolutely no reason (which is literally what depression is, I know) with no kind of stimulus, it’s just like my brain shuts down and my chest hurts and I don’t want to move and I just want to sit and eat and not exist.

In June I was busy, productive and happy – I was packing to move out of halls, I was getting lots of shifts at work. My mind was occupied both in terms of having something to do and in that I was blogging every day so creatively I was completely on top of everything – every post seemed to be about organisation in June because that was how I felt, super organised and in control.

Since then I’ve just felt empty. I’m still blogging and I did a lot of editing for YouTube and I’m trying to be as creative as I can be. I’m working as much as I can and trying to keep myself busy but I just don’t feel as satisfied, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything. The only way I can describe how I feel a lot of the time is sadness, in it’s simplest, most basic form.

I don’t want to sleep – every night I just lie awake and it’s like my body is trying to punish itself because I just have no desire to sleep. I think such awful, dark thoughts that I actually scare myself, I’m surprised that I’m letting myself think these things.

Often I just feel completely lack lustre and have no energy, even to do things that normally make me really happy – like writing, making videos and even working out, to some extent.

And don’t even get me started on feeling tired literally 100% of the time.

That’s why I couldn’t stick to working out or actually rewriting my book – because I’m genuinely afraid of failure and to face that I’m already failing by being so behind, just makes me want to ignore it and not acknowledge it but I can’t; I feel guilty for not being motivated.

I’m so scared of getting help, the thought of trying to tell another human being what goes on in my head, particularly when they’re a GP Doctor who really doesn’t care about me at all and won’t believe anything I have to say as anything more than ‘she’s a hormonal student being melodramatic’.

I’ve tried talking to people, people I trust and a couple of professionals but no one quite seems to get it and a lot of the time I get told that I’m definitely feeling one way when I know that inside I’m not. I can’t go through that again.

I don’t really know what I’m doing or the point of this post. I am getting better at handling myself and trying to push through the down days and pull myself out of it.

I guess I’m okay, just not right now.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Summer in the City Day 3! | Update Mondays

2016

Hello,

The fact I’ve merged these two posts together is down to the fact that I was so tired last night when I got back that I never got round to it. So I thought I’d do these two posts together to make up for it!

SitC Day 3 was shorter than I’d have liked it to be in an ideal world, but it worked out for the best in the end.

I waited to get in at 11, as I had the previous two days and when the doors opened, I wondered casually (as opposed to all the girls running and screaming) towards The Midnight Beast’s stand, to buy myself a t-shirt and one as a present for Lucas (because I’m a good girlfriend) and then, me and the friends I’d made wondered pretty aimlessly around until we decided we wanted to go and queue for the Short Film panel.

We went an hour and twenty minutes before the panel started, but we also were the first people in the queue and got to be front row so… totally worth it.

14012936_10206839504887010_913519755_o

The panel was hosted by Elliot Gough (far right) and featured a few of my very favourite YouTubers and filmmakers so I was really keen to hear what they had to say.

The thing with a lot of these panels as that you do end up hearing a lot of the same things – if you want to make it you just have to keep making things, churn out loads of content and keep practicing. At the end of the day, it’s all storytelling.

Sammy made a good analogy that getting into the industry was like climbing up the steps of a ladder and YouTube, in a way, is building a new ladder to climb up. And to further the analogy, it’s much harder to climb up the ladder when millions of people are trying to.

They reiterated that you need to be constantly making things and putting stuff out there, whether it be with writing or any skill. Hazel Hayes then said that showing promise can be more important than having loads of views or subscribers.

Short films can work as proof of concept or as a shorter form of an idea for a feature film, a series or a generally bigger idea and a lot of these filmmakers works was originally an idea for a feature film or something that they thought could possibly be continued but they wanted it to be rounded off and seem complete as well, so the YouTube audience wouldn’t be left feeling unfulfilled.

And in terms of management or getting funding, it’s best not to have a “baby” project. If you put so much into an idea that you’re then reluctant to let it go and don’t have any other ideas, it’s unlikely that anyone’s going to take you seriously so be working on a few things at once.

One thing I figured out whilst listening to that panel is that I’d really like to write something that’s very dialogue heavy – I really like writing dialogue and it would be nice to have that challenge and write about something that matters to me.

It was a really great panel and I’m glad it was the last thing I went to at SitC. After the panel, a bunch of us wondered around a little bit – having another look around the convention (like we didn’t know it inside out at this point!) and then went for lunch. And it was at this point that the others went to another panel and I went to the hotel to pick up my suitcase and get the train home.

I was absolutely shattered from the weekend and I didn’t want to be fighting with rush hour London on a journey home where I knew I’d be struggling to stay awake. I’m glad I left when I did because the underground journey was easy and there was a train at the station ready to leave in less than ten minutes when I arrived at Waterloo and I was home by 6, eating Chinese and watching Robot Wars by 8.

A lovely, relaxing evening to end an absolutely brilliant weekend.

And I suppose, I don’t want to ruin it really by saying I haven’t worked out or written a single word at all this week. I’m struggling with motivating myself and being able to think positively right now – depression is a difficult thing and it’s so hard to let myself fail when I’m so scared of failure but here I am, failing. Sorry.

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts about Summer in the City,

Sophie xx

 

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