37 things to expect when you visit New York


New York is one of the most romanticized destinations on the planet; a cultural mecca, fashion capital, and the location for the most “make it in American” stories. In September 2013, I became the walking cliché: the girl who moves to New York to ‘make it’ as a writer.

This is what I found.

  1. New York is a fundamentally weird and idiosyncratic place. The less you expect normality, the easier it will be to adjust.
  2. You will get a lot of mail that isn’t for you. I’ve gotten more than enough mail for my apartment’s former tenant that I could steal her identity if I were so inclined.
  3. The exterminator comes once a month and sprays the perimeter of each room with foul smelling toxins. It’s best to leave right after. It’s also best not to ask any questions about the contents of the spray.
  4. Toilets are weird here. The water level is very high and they flush in very dramatic fashion. Some of them flush automatically which still scares the hell out of me.
  5. It’s best to pretend that you don’t see the mice/rats/other vermin that scurry around. In the interest of self protection, you’ll soon learn to automatically avert your eyes.
  6. It can be cheaper to order in than cook. Seamless is your friend.
  7. There are twelve kinds of coffee and six types of milk in my local coffee shop. You will be asked to make a huge quantity of decisions on a daily basis.
  8. The most frequent question you’ll be asked is: debit or credit?
  9. Carry cash. Some of the sweetest places don’t take card.
  10. People expect organic produce as if it were oxygen.
  11. Every woman in Park Slope is pregnant, owns a large dog and has a kid (or 2) in a stroller. Don’t get in the way of the strollers. They will run you over.
  12. There are dogs of all sizes and breeds everywhere. Apparently rates of doggy ownership shot up after 9/11. At first. I judged dogs in outfits and dogs with shoes. After spending an icy winter in NY, I don’t judge anymore. People treat their dogs like children. Do not approach.
  13. New Yorkers have an odd relationships to personal space. It’s a crowded city; we’re all living on top of one another. And yet, the invisible wall means that you’re not supposed to catch the gaze of your fellow subway riders.
  14. If you read on the subway, people will read over your shoulder.
  15. Get used to domestic rows happening on the streets. “You don’t love me!” “Baby, I do love you, baby”. Every night, 8pm, like clockwork. I do think he loves her. I don’t think she loves him.
  16. It’s a paranoid city. People are watchful and cautious. Respect that.
  17. There’s almost nothing that you can’t do alone. The city provides entertainment at every turn.
  18. Don’t try to go to everything. You will burn out. Much of joy and quirkiness of New York is best observed by just walking the city. You’ll see raw humanity on every corner.
  19. At events, people focus more on instagraming than listening. Everybody’s on Apple.
  20. There are powerful women everywhere. I’ve lost count of the number of panel events I’ve attended where there’s a silent token man. (This is also because of the events I frequent, but the presence of powerful women has struck me more here than anywhere else I’ve ever lived.)
  21. People talk/sing/dance to themselves on streets and subways.
  22. People think you’re strange if you randomly try to talk to them. Accept that direct-ness is a New Yorker’s modus operandi.
  23. There’s a palpable lack of solidarity with folks who are down on their luck. I saw a young black man targeted by an aggressive police force, and unfortunate homeless men being mercilessly humiliated. New York embraces successful people, and ignores those who struggle.
  24. Street harassment is everywhere. (Some) men can be brazenly misogynistic. Sunglasses, headphones and long hemlines make it easier.
  25. New York’s rental market is worthy of its reputation. My toothless, bra-less, screaming, Italian 90-year-old super is just about the craziest human I’ve ever met.
  26. Everyone you meet has a really interesting job. Or at least, a fascinating job title. This city is built on personal branding.
  27. Don’t wear headphones all the time. You’ll miss out on the best over-heard conversations.
  28. There are a serious amount of planes flying in and out all the time.
  29. There seem to be a lot of gas leaks.
  30. The novelty of doing laundry at one of those laundromat places wears off very quickly.
  31. As an Irish person, it’s never worthwhile to try to explain what a hot press is. (Tweet this.)
  32. During winter, you’ll need one of those unattractive lagging jacket style coats.
  33. Watch you bank account. I was ‘accidentally’ recruited for a bunch of direct debits that I didn’t ask for. Demand it, and you will get your money back.
  34. Learn the difference between UPS (the courier company) and USPS (the United States Postal Service).
  35. Post boxes are blue. Those other structures that I attempted to put my letters in are water tanks.
  36. Notice the aroma of New York – it’s not always good, but it is distinctive.
  37. Celebrate the everyday. Life in New York is intense and overwhelming. Stop and absorb the chaos.

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The Reading List #39

I was luxuriating in New York’s spring season – retiring my winter coat, digging out my flip flops and lathering on the sunscreen – only to step out to snow on Tuesday morning. Sometimes you just have to laugh; I moved to NY in the middle of the longest, darkest, coldest, most Polar Vortex-y of winters. I think we’re almost at the end… #famouslastwords

Now, links..

Have a great weekend! I’m spending it with Alexandra Franzen and a gaggle of soon-to-be-friends at her Write Yourself Into Motion Workshop. You might find me on twitter/ instagram, or I might be, ya know, living in the moment.

Ireland, you’re my home

The moment the airplane tyres jerkily touch down at Dublin airport, my heart does a little leap. I’m home. I beam, with pride, relief and exhaustion. Emotion swells up in me, but I hold back the tears. I don’t want to be a cliché, the ultimate object of derision in Ireland. As a nation, we’re not an emotional bunch unless there’s cause for it, or alcohol involved.  If I’m flying Aer Lingus, my heart swells again when the prim voice of an air hostess welcomes me home as Gaeilge “fáilte mór roimh go Baile Átha Cliath”.

I step out into the chilly Dublin airport. I feel my shoulders relax; I’m among my own people again. They get me and I get them. Instinctively, we know each other. I notice the accents, the inflections, the posture, the gait and the outfits of each passenger, placing them within a context. I feel less like an alien, because these are my people.

A middle aged fella with fuzzy hair poking out from under his flat cap walks not with a limp but a crooked-ness, as if his left side is his favourite and he’d rather go easy on it. I hear a lady clear her throat. Through that guttural sound, I locate her accent; south county Dublin. She’s irked to be in among us economy folk. During the boom, she flew regularly but only business class. She considers Ryanair’s cheap seats as just one step above transportation in a cattle prod.

There’s a kid crying. I notice the sharp, scary intake of breath.  The cabin braces itself for the roar to come: “waaaaaaah” he bellows. It doesn’t stop. An air hostess hands him a bright yellow lollipop. He sucks it, and fires it into her hair. His mother’s face reddens, mortified.

In the airport, I feel Ireland embrace me. I see how clean and organized it seems, but know that it’s only for show. We’re trying to impress the visitors. It’s nice to feel inside the joke.

I can pick out the retuning Irish folk from the immigration queue. They’re sauntering, silently appraising the tourists in the queue as if they had the power to deny their entry. The flat-capped farmer clears his throat loudly. It’s a sound intended to establish his presence, “all you visitors are encroaching on my territory” he seems to say. The foreigners shrink, I smile.

The guard at immigration has a twinkle in his eye. He likes to see us young Irish folk coming home. “What are ya doin’ in New York?” he asks, not because he wants to know but to remind me that I’m in Ireland now and my high flying New York routine won’t work here. “Ara sure, workin’ away”, I respond dismissively. “Good”, he says, and stamps my passport. My nonchalance is the key to the door.

I am of this tribe. This is where I belong. Among this flawed, imperfect nation of tribal, island people. We tell self-effacing stories, work like maniacs and drink too much. We’re generous souls, but critical thinkers. We’re warm if we like you, and dismissive if we don’t. We are proud and humble, small-minded and curious, forgiving and contrary. I am of this tribe. I belong here.

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The Reading List #38

At last, it’s Spring! Yay for that! Get yourself outside from some fresh, clean, bright air and take some reading material. Some of these are long, but worth it. Happy weekend! (Also, I watched Friends with Kids’ this week and it was surprisingly thoughtful/fun. And, I’m giving Mad Men another go. Am I the only one who finds it dull?!)

I’m in Washington DC this weekend  for work (& fun). You’ll find me on twitter or instagram.

Book Review: Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon

I’m one of those nerdy readers who takes notes as they write. I’ve also been known to take notes in the cinema/while watching TV. I’m one of life’s note-takers. Austin Kleon’s ‘Show Your Work’ is a short, incisive read encouraging us creators to well, show our work. It’s a potent little book, with great actionable ideas. Here’s a bunch of lessons I learned, as well as some of my own notes.

  • If I had to sum up this book in one sentence, it would be: share something small about your work, everyday. (But, don’t become human spam. No-one likes spam.)
  • Creativity is a social activity. Great work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Get out and work IN the world. I love mellow cafes, libraries, galleries and parks for writing. Meet people & build a community.
  • Work is about the ideas you share, the quality of connections you make and the conversations you start. Everything else is gravy.
  • The gap between mediocre and good is narrower, than the gap between doing nothing and doing something. So, start now.
  • Curiosity is a superpower.
  • There is an advantage to knowing less – you can innovate more easily.
  • “You can’t find you voice if you don’t use it”
  • If your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist. Get a website and build a mailing list. Think of your online presences as a multimedia narrative you construct about yourself.
  • Read obituaries. Reading about death teaches you how to live.
  • We all love to go behind the scenes. Take photos of your workspace. Share your influences, inspiration and tools. At the end of creating, go back and find one snippet to share. (This was a big take away for me. Amber does this really well on Instagram.)
  • Answer the daily Q: What are you working on?
  • Documenting your work helps you see it more clearly. You’ll notice themes and trends as well as fresh opportunities for expansion.
  • Find cracks in your day for creative work. Mine are:  my lunch break, 5pm-7pm, 6am to 8am and my weekends.
  • Don’t share everything. Protect your privacy. If in doubt, don’t share it. (I say this as someone who just minutes ago wrote something stupid on the internet. #hardlesson)
  • Structure matters. Visualize the scaffold on which your work unfolds. I usually draw my ideas as I write them. Structure is neat, tidy and logical which is the exact opposite of life/creativity. So, crop & edit at will.
  • Forget the big idea. Have lots of little ideas.
  • Start teaching. It adds to your work, and generates more interest in it.
  • Be interested in other people’s work. It’s the ecosystem in which your work lives. Think of it as a conversation, in which you are just one voice.
  • Get out of the way of the work. Put it out there, let it breathe, and stand on its own two feet.
  • Make more stuff for yourself. THIS WAS MY KEY TAKEAWAY. The idea of writing for myself feels rather quaint, but I know I’m gonna love it.
  • “Be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.” – Austin Kleon
  • Don’t quit. Take a sabbatical instead. You need perseverance to survive through the peaks and troughs of life.

& with that I’m off to write things for myself, take pictures of it and have more ideas*

 

 

*not really. It’s past my bedtime & I’m dreaming of fresh mango and Grey’s Anatomy.

 

The Reading List #37

This week, I worked like crazy, joined a new yoga studio where people have regular bodies and finally read ‘Daring Greatly’.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  • “16 hour work days, plowing through lunch, and abandoning your social life is old-school entrepreneurship” Shannon on sustainable business building.
  • What’s the difference between happiness and meaning?
  • In the writing life, “the key is just to find work that won’t steal all your energy and kill your spirit”.
  • Ann Friedman on the evolution of a ‘dream job‘ in media.
  • On commodity journalism.
  • “If you don’t have any shadows, you’re not in the light.” Another interesting take on creativity from Justine.
  • I love asking difficult questions too.
  • How do you define success in publishing?
  • Jennifer Lawrence And The History Of Cool Girls.
  • It’s great to read  honest, heartfelt entrepreneurial stories. Like this one.
  • “This is not a love story. This is a story about love.”
  • Wow, she’s good. Danielle on letting go of dreams.
  • I just discovered Ana’s new blog & have been loving her  weekly round-ups. (via Jessica)
  • Smart, insightful, inspiring interview with Michelle & Jess on The Lively Show.
  • Mindy Kaling is a fucking Indian Woman.
  • Why “banning bossy” is just a distraction: “Which is why it’s so frustrating to watch Lean In try to expand girls’ options by restricting the way we talk about them. It’s counterintuitive, and it makes feminists look like thought police rather than the expansive forward-thinkers we really are”

I’m gonna be back in Washington DC next week for work (& fun). I can’t wait to return to the city I once called home. My schedule is already pretty tight, but recommendations of things to see/do/eat would be great.

The rest of my reading lists are collated here. Or, you can find me in twitter or instagram.

82 things I’ve done (& wanna do) in New York

This week marks my 6 month anniversary as a New York resident. (what?! Did I really do this?) If you’ve been reading along, you know that it hasn’t been easy. It’s been a giant adventure.

Since the beginning, I’ve felt under self-created pressure to have the “New York experience”. I’m not quite sure what that is, but I think it has something to do with the excited look people get in their eyes when I say that I live in the city of dreams. That idealized vision of New York life bares little comparison to my day-to-day which is mostly about work. During the freezing winter months I spent a lot of time existing in what I now know is the sacred NY trifecta of work, Seamless and Netflix.

Now that spring has finally arrived, I’m planning new adventures and thought I’d share some of my ambitions with you. I’m gonna cheat and include a couple of my favourite things from the last few months too. I gotta say that as an introvert, this list is deceptive. I also spend a large amount of time at home, in my sweats doing absolutely nothing. As a girl on a budget (this is an expensive city!), I’ve focused on cheap/free activities. If you’re visiting NY, you might find a couple of non-touristy things to do.

DONE LIST:

  1. Moved house & dealt with the crazy broker/real estate market. (I did this twice, because I’m a crazy person!)
  2. Got a job.
  3. Joined a very hip yoga studio where everybody has a funky haircut.
  4. Learn to navigate the city without getting lost. (Learned which one was the Empire State building)
  5. Learned how to properly give my address. When I first got here, addresses seemed like hieroglyphics with a series of letters and numbers, but no actual words. Now, I get it.
  6. Learned how to identify post boxes from trash cans and other random sidewalk structures.
  7. Nested. Made my apartment home. Discovered a love of flat pack furniture.
  8. Did laundry in one of those laundromat places. (The novelty of this has certainly worn off!)
  9. Secretly cry on the subway – a classic New York move.
  10. Experienced a magic Christmas in New York. Highlights include: wandering the winter markets with my small tub of chickpea curry for dinner, have carolers burst through the door of Starbucks dripping with joy (and snow), leaving Penn Station on Christmas Eve, to visit family I never get to see & my first real Christmas tree. Missed Ireland.
  11. Experienced a real American Thanksgiving in Atlantic city, with many different varieties of pie and a Turkey Trot.
  12. Experienced enough snow to get thoroughly sick of it.
  13.  Knit a scarf.
  14.  Meet some of my internet friends in person. So far: Michelle, Monica, Jenny, Kylie, Nikki, Hillary, Dave, & a bunch of others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.
  15.  Emailed random people, inviting them for coffee and making friends. This has been a surprisingly successful strategy.
  16. Attended events which allow me to meet random interesting people: Just Love, Desire Map book club, Cheshire Parlour, Lean for Social Good conference, Smart, Pretty Awkward’s blog party, co-working hosted by Nikki, a book launch, Creative Mornings.
  17. Quit Facebook. This has nothing to do with New York, but has made me a happier human.
  18.  Went to an Oscars party.
  19.  Visited Times Square. Ugh.
  20.  Went to Macy’s during the sales – meh!
  21.  Walked The High Line. Lovely. Gonna do it again soon.
  22. Attended a political fundraiser. I was at Marianne Williamson’s New York fundraiser last week. (& also Bill de Blasio’s election party.)
  23. Go to Happy Hour. (Drinking in the afternoon felt strange)
  24. Have a classic boozy New York brunch. (again, 11am is an odd hour for drinking).
  25. See a TV show/film being shot. (Accidentally bumped into The Carrie Diaries being filmed.)
  26. Eat at Katz. (I sat at the table made famous by When Harry Met Sally.)
  27.  Order a weirdly named cocktail. Lovely Girl at Clover Club has been my favorite.
  28.  Do a photo a day project on Instagram. In progress. Loving this project.
  29.  Visit Baltimore. To be honest, Baltimore wasn’t on the ‘must see’ list, but I’ve good friends there that I wanted to visit. PLUS, House of Cards was filmed on their block which was pretty cool.
  30.  Visit the MOMA.
  31.  Visit that other art gallery that everybody talks about. aka The Met.
  32.  Find a local farmer’s market where I can chat to growers about vegetables. (Usually,  I just buy over-priced pies.)
  33.  Visit someplace in Upstate NY. I took a rushed trip to Cold Spring in need of greenery last year. Strongest memory: the diner with a yelling waitress.
  34.  Go to Strand books. Love it. Always come out financially poorer, but mentally inspired.
  35. Read lots of books.
  36.  Have a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery, which was made famous by SATC. Underwhelmed.
  37.  Visit 911 memorial
  38.  Visit St Patrick’s Cathedral
  39.  Go to the top of the Empire State.
  40.  Visit Chelsea Market. Loved it. I’m going back for lobster rolls.
  41.  Go to Smorgsboard.
  42.  Go thrifting/flea markets – done, but more to do.
  43.  Got hooked on coffee. Hooked.
  44.  St Patrick’s Day Parade – I missed the main one since it was a Monday and I was in work, but the Brooklyn version was weird/fun.
  45.  Visited Queens.
  46. Took a quick trip to Ireland.
  47.  Worked from New York Public Library & loved it.
  48.  Saw Sarah Silverman speak. Funny girl.
  49.  Watch the Sunday morning political shows. Unimpressive.
  50.  Experience the infamous NY dating scene. Bleurgh.
  51. My favourite place so far: Washington Square Park. Best moment : over-hearing a conversation about baby spas. Or having lunch and listening to jazz. Or lying on the lawn and closing my eyes.

STILL TO DO:

  1. Visit Coney Island.
  2. Visit the Guggenheim.
  3. Visit Ellis Island & look up my ancestors.
  4. Wave at Lady Liberty up close.
  5. Go to World Domination Summit in Portland.
  6.  Take Alexandra’s Write Yourself into Motion class.
  7.  Visit the Museum of Sex.
  8.  Try a ‘dine in the dark’ restaurant.
  9.  Try one of those restaurant/cinemas that serve dinner at your seat during the film.
  10.  Try Trapeze
  11.  Try Soulcycle
  12.  Go to silent reading party.
  13. Visit the West Coast.
  14.  Visit Las Vegas.
  15.  Visit Boston.
  16.  Visit DC.
  17.  Go to the ballet.
  18.  Go to an opera (I’ve never been).
  19.  Have an entirely raw meal.
  20.  Take the free ferry to Staten Island.
  21.  Go see a Broadway show (or 2)
  22.  Go to Shakespeare in the Park
  23.  Be in the audience for filming of a late night show.
  24.  Hire bikes and cycle along the Hudson River (and/or Central Park).
  25. Go to an outdoor movie.
  26.  Visit the Cherry Blossoms in Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
  27.  See Niagara falls. (not sure I’ll get there on this trip)
  28.  Read the New York Times in Bryant park.
  29.  Visit Grumpys, the cafe made famous by Girls.
  30.  Walk/Run Brooklyn Bridge.
  31. Do the Sex and the City tour.

EXTRAS FOR EXPERTS:
Check out Rachel’s tips. & here are Scarlett’s.
I love ‘The Skint’ for random stuff to do in the city. Brokelyn is good too. And, Time Out.

What are your favourite things to do in New York? Have you any recommendations for me?

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Winter Reading List 2014

This New York winter has been long, dark and mighty cold. As I type, on March 6th, there is still snow on the ground. The inclement weather meant plenty of time for reading and I’ve devoured some fantastic books. Here are a few recommendations:

How Should a Person Be – Sheila Heti
This novel/memoir blend defies easy categorization. It drew me into a world of art, sex, drama, relationships and chaos, in the best way possible. It’s the kind of book that breaks your heart but in a really good way. Worthy of the hype. A must read for anyone who wants to do creative work.

Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
I read this last summer, and the prose is still rattling around my head. A series of advice columns on everything that life has to offer: love, death, friendships, relationships, drama, grief, betrayal, forgiveness, truth and struggle. This book is about what it’s like to be human. The best book I read in 2013.

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
I rarely read fiction, and young adult fiction is a genre I’ve never really tried. Yet, these two characters and their teenage existence drew me in. It’s a visceral, often uncomfortable read, but a powerful one. A master of characterization.

The Affairs of Others – Amy Grace Loyd
I bought this largely because it’s based in Brooklyn, where I now live. It’s the story of a young widow and the tenants in her apartment building. It’s complex and wise and driven by the clear-voiced (& complicated) protagonist. If I say any more I’ll have to yell, SPOLIERS. So, let’s leave it at that.

The Desire Map – Danielle La Porte
I didn’t want to enjoy this book – the online hooplah was a little off-putting, but it’s a solid, soulful and very interesting read. The first part covers the theory of desire; the premise of setting goals with soul that are rooted in how you want to feel. The second part, the workbook, is made up of a selection of prompts and questions to put this practice into action. A very worthy addition to the goal-setting lexicon, and a lovely read.

I Shouldn’t be Telling You This – Kate White
Whenever I feel overwhelmed with a problem in life, I try to find a book that might offer a solution. When I started a demanding new job, this was the first thing I read. It’s a solid career guide, full of actionable advice from a real-world perspective. These ‘how to’ books always leave me feeling a little inadequate, if I’m to be honest, but it’s still worth a read.

Brain on Fire – Susannah Cahalan
This fast-paced memoir tells the story of a 24 year old journalist’s descent into madness, after she contracted a rare virus. It reveals the tentative line between normalcy and chaos, the importance of getting a second (or even third) medical opinion and fragility of our sanity.

Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
This book came to be at the perfect time. I’d just moved to New York, felt very lost and couldn’t quite remember what the hell I was doing. This book has gone from being a story to a movie, a movement and now a cliche. Despite that, the book itself is very, very good. Gilbert is warm, funny, wise and honest. Her writing is clear and compassionate; I recognized myself in her fragility in every chapter. For women in transition, this is a great read.

The Forgotton Waltz – Anne Enright
On lazy Sunday, I was craving a bit of Ireland and bought this. One line from the blurb grabbed me: “the incendiary egnomania that accompanies secret passions”. It’s the story of a 30-something Irish woman who has an affair with an average guy, without really knowing why. Of course, the secret comes out and the consequences unfurl deftly at Enright’s hand. Lovely read.

For more recommendations, check out my summer reading list. There are a bunch of more book reviews here too.

The Reading List #36

Articles:

Darling, just freaking do it.

One simple ritual to make each day flow.

10 best sex scenes of 2013 (NSFW)

“You have to plant yourself in exposed, vulnerable circumstances to experience true joy.”

I just discovered The Great Discontent.

What romance really is.

“it’s this forever-outwards movement away from our true selves that makes us sad and sick

I’m obsessed with podcasts of late, in particular Jess Lively’s The Lively Show & the ‘With Purpose‘ podcast.

This is a long but fascinating story inside the proposed biography of Julian Assange.

Rather than FOMO, what about JOMO aka The Joy of Missing Out.

The always insightful Michelle shares A Can’t-Mess-It-Up Checklist For Entrepreneurship

You are now free… to rest

This made me LOL: Annoying Things My Boss Says.

Promptly added most of these books to my ‘to read” pile. There are some more great ones here.

I love this re-think of “failure“.

14 Qualities of the Sexually Liberated Woman

What’s your favourite position?

For  additional reading, you can find other posts in this series here.

Don’t Quit in the Middle

(This is one of those blog posts where I seem to be advising you, but I’m really just reminding myself. :)

Have you ever looked at your clock at 11am, certain that it must be almost bed time? That’s been a big feature of my life these past few months. Moving to NY and building a life here has been flippin’ exhausting! Like “go to bed at 4pm on a Saturday” kind of exhausting. I’ve spend the winter months devouring books and Netflix much more than having the “New York experience”.

I’m in the middle of building stuff. As anyone who’s ever built anything knows, there’s a long (looong) drudgery phase. The work is exhausting and never ending. The uncertainty is pervasive and exacerbated by financial pressures. You’re teetering around the edges of failure, and peddling desperately to outrun it. We (in this entrepreneurial sphere) say so, read the articles and commit to more “self-care”. And yet, I always imagine that my meltdowns and craziness are unique.

If you’re in the middle right now, DON’T QUIT YET!

If you’re overwhelmed with stuff and unsure about the way forward, you’re not alone. (I’m there too.) If you feel like quitting, you can. If it feels like you’re on the wrong path, you should quit. But if it feels like the icky mid-creation, gunky idea-gestation growth phase, you should try to stick it out. Because, truly, the best is yet to come. (Tweet it.)

It’s impossible to see the landscape clearly from the “building” vantage point. It’s time to put your head down, work hard and grind towards the dawn. Sometimes, you will quit. Because it’s too hard, or because it feels intuitively off. But, in general, it’s best not to quit in the middle. The only way through it is, well, through it. It’s like swamp land. You gotta plod through. Tap into your entrepreneurial stamina. Dig deep to find the determination. Then, put your ass in the chair and work.

While this is theoretically sound advice, the practical application is HARD. So while you’re building, make it as easy for yourself as possible.

For me, this means:

  • My favourite new practice: Plot out my week, and then actively decide what I’m NOT going to do & delete it.
  • Staying off the internet (I love it here, but it’s loud and makes my head fuzzy!)
  • Lots of (legal) stimulants
  • 
Escapism via great TV, books & movies.
  • Weekends off (It’s not always possible, but I aim for it!)
  • Leaving the house most days
  • Take-out (Seamless, baby!)
  • A limited amount of “planning” (which is really just another form of stressing for me)
  • Early to bed & a pre-sunrise alarm for some Clare-time before the work day starts
  • Limiting the decisions I have to make (Wearing the same pair of jeans and heels. The same breakfast of eggs, avocado and wholewheat toast everyday)
  • Guilt-free resting, ‘doing nothing’ time and occasionally, a little meditation.

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Thanks to Jenny Blake who uttered the magic words: “you should write a blog post about that.”