A Guide to Creating

I believe that all humans have a desire to create: to put thoughts out into the world in a beautiful form. So here it is: A Guide to Creating!

1. Pick a medium

Pick a medium you feel comfortable in and find beauty in. From writing, drawing, music, film making, photography, cooking, fashion; there are so many to choose from! Just make sure you have some basic skills and you are passionate about it.

2. Supplies

Gather supplies that inspire you to use them. I’m not saying to go out and invest hundreds of dollars into paint and canvas, but if you can afford it, treat yourself to some good quality supplies. It really makes a world of difference. However, if you are living paycheck to paycheck have no fear! You can create multitudes of projects with just paper and pen.

3. Atmosphere

Get yourself into a creative headset, however you can. For me, I need chill music, a table to spread out on, and an idea in my head. Make your creative time a sacred time of peace. Set aside time, set aside a corner of a room, and get in the mindset to express.

4. An Idea

This is where most of us trip up. We can feel ready to create, but we must have a general idea of what we will create. But writer’s/artist’s block is a simple problem to fix, especially with the internet at our fingertips. Look up recipes, or find some writing prompts. Try to see what the pros are doing. If structure ain’t your thing, then try to look for ideas through other mediums. You’d be surprised at how many creative writing pieces of mine are inspired by song lyrics. At the beginning stages, don’t worry if your idea is unoriginal; that’s what editing is for! Also, don’t be afraid to abandon old ideas. We all get stuck, and there’s no point in trying to work with something that doesn’t excite you.

5. Create!

Just do it. Don’t think too much about the technicalities. There’s really no guide to this step- just let your thoughts and emotions pour out of you.

6. For when you inevitably get stuck

There is always a low point in any creative process: the point where nothing turns out right, and it seems like you’ve just wasted all your time to create a piece of crap. Don’t let this voice talk down to you. Know that this happens to everyone, and then brainstorm what could make it better. At this point, don’t be afraid to change your original idea. Sometimes you must completely scrap your original idea, and sometimes you must only tweak a few elements. Use your best judgement until you are satisfied with your work.

7. Translation

This is only a step for those of us who want to share our work with the world. Fortunately and unfortunately, we each have different languages we think in. So, if you wish to create something that others can relate to, you must translate your work into something the public can understand. This will mean different things for different people; writers must revise and edit, artists must outline and create tangible shapes, film makers must add a narration, etc.

The process could start now. If you’ve always dreamed of doing something creative, today is the day to go out and do it! Close your screen and go follow these steps. I’m here for you on this journey. Feel free to share your work with me in the comments! Happy creating!

Advertisements

Reading Harry Potter for the First Time

I have never read Harry Potter. You may now kick me out of the book-lover club. I know, I know, it’s bad, but I don’t have a sappy “Harry Potter changed my childhood” story. Honestly, I was never a fantasy fan growing up. I preferred to read books about girls like me. I still am just dipping my toes into the fantasy pool, and it’s terrifying and confusing, but also fun.

So, this summer, I have decided to bite the bullet and finally read Harry Potter. What prompted this, you ask? Well, the fact that I still haven’t read the most popular children’s series was always nagging at the back of my head. I knew it would happen eventually, but today I watched this video by one of my favorite BookTubers, Zoe Herdt, or ReadByZoe. She announced that she’s hosting a Harry Potter read-a-thon! This is the push I needed. I’m going to do it!

Going into this, I am not sure what to expect. Harry Potter has changed so many lives, but those people read it as children. Will the magic be gone for us older people? I hope not, but I have seen multiple critical reviews by people who read it later in life. But hell, I am still dangerously susceptible to magic. I will do an update/series review at the end of the summer, when I finish the series.

Let me know what you think of the Harry Potter series! Have you read it a million times, or have you never even thought about touching it? Also, let me know if you are going to be participating in this read-a-thon, and we can buddy up and encourage each other!

Addressing the Name of this Blog

“Listen, I know

This one’s a contradiction because of how happy it sounds,

But the lyrics are so down.”

– Not Today by twenty one pilots

Listen, I know

The name of this blog is a contradiction because of how happy it sounds,

But it’s content is so down.

Okay, but really though. When choosing a name for this blog, I went with carefreemanatee because 1. It freaking rhymed!!! 2. It was cute, and 3. It wasn’t taken (how?!?!). I don’t exactly remember how I came up with it in the first place, though I suspect it was with the help of a username generator.

But its been 2 years since I’ve created this blog (with no content on it until last month, might I add) and it just doesn’t feel right anymore. Sure, it’s still cute and rhyme-y, but it’s just ironic that a blog that talks about anxiety has the adjective “carefree” in the title. I am the opposite of carefree. I have a mental disorder that prohibits me from being carefree, for God’s sake!

No, I don’t think I’ll be changing the name of this blog (though if I do, I’m definitely going to do a play on “Annie are you okay?” from Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal- have I ever mentioned that my name is Annie?). This post was just to acknowledge the irony elephant (or should I say manatee? No? Okay.) in the room surrounding the name of this blog. And maybe it’s just ironic enough to be a juxtaposition.

Yeah, sure, that was what I was going for all along!

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is such a funny thing. Nostalgia is a fondness or yearning to return to past times. Nostalgia can feel like putting on your favorite comfy sweater, or it can feel like an aching in the chest for something that is impossible to have.

I’m a very nostalgic person- but really who can blame us teenagers? Our childhoods may have well been yesterday, and childhoods, to any age, are perhaps the most appealing times of our lives. No responsibilities, no judgement, just living in its purest form. But we forget about the not so great parts of childhood too- having no responsibility, having little emotional intelligence, throwing tantrums, being bored, and so on.

Nostalgia happens because we glamorize our pasts. We see only the highlight reel of yesterday, and it only gets worse the more time goes by. When we are in a nostalgic frame of mind, we conveniently forget about all the not-so-great moments of our past until it seems picture perfect- unlike our lives now, perhaps.

So is nostalgia a good or bad feeling? Well, my silly friend, there are no good or bad feelings! But it is important to both feel what we are feeling and also to make sure we are not falling into any thought holes. So, let us be nostalgic for times past, but let us not be hasty in imagining the past as perfect, as the present never seems to be.

Writing Fiction is Hard

One night last week, I got the crazy idea in my head that I wanted to write a book. Now, this was not the first time I’ve considered this, but it was the first time I’d thought about actually sitting down to write a goddamn book. You see, the concept of having written some great story that reflected all my ideas in life that gets published sounds like an amazing idea! But writing 100,000 words that interweaves plot, character, setting, and a theme? Never mind doing it well? It just seemed impossible. I have an even deeper admiration for authors than I had previously.

So, I went about making a plan. If I am going to write a book, I’m going to write a goddamn book. I’m not going to half-ass it, it’s not going to be shitty. I’m going to do it right. 

I’m going to start with a less lofty goal of writing some short stories in order to hone my craft. The way I see it is, with any form of art, you have to have some skill before you can begin to truly express yourself in your art. I don’t know if it’s true, but I feel like it’s what I need to do. Then, once I have written and have been enjoying writing for a good while, I can make the decision to make the leap into novel kingdom. I need to make a sure this commitment lasts.

But it turns out that writing fiction is MUCH harder than I expected! Once I had a story idea, I sat down with a notebook, and immediately wrote myself into a corner. So I tried again- and immediately wrote myself into another corner. Then I got frustrated and ended up convincing myself to hate my story idea!

My biggest mistake was not planning ahead of time. I know this is a highly debated topic in the writing community- To map or not to map? That is the question- but for me, planning is definitely the way to go. See, I only had a very vague idea of my characters and no plot at all. I had set myself up for failure and frustration by trying to jump in right away.

Luckily, my journey doesn’t end here. I have pondered my story for about a week, and I think I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do with it, and I am ready to start my first draft!

I guess that’s what I should be doing in the first place- actually writing instead of writing about writing. See? Right there- I wrote myself into another depressing corner. This is an important subject to write about, and I bet a lot of my writer friends out there can relate. So no, this isn’t a stupid post, but yes, I will write today. So there, anxiety.

Ah, another blog post sidetracked by my trusty friend anxiety. To summarize and conclude: writing fiction is hard, props to all the writers out there, and the secret to writing is to plan and then to just fucking write!

“Tell me about yourself.”

This raw and uncut journal entry was inspired by this pin I found on Pinterest:

“Tell me about yourself.”

Well, I love reading and I love writing. Reading introduces me to new ideas, and writing allows me to introduce my own ideas to the world. I guess I’m an addict to the English language. Animals can make me laugh and cry, maybe more so than humans can. I want to travel and fall in love and live life 100%. I love warm weather. I miss my childhood home dearly, and I’m both terrified and excited to grow up.

“Okay, now really tell me about yourself.”

To be honest, I’m more insecure than I thought I was- I guess I got insecure about my insecurity. I’m scared that no one will love me for who I really am, on the inside, underneath all the bullshit I present myself as. Have I mentioned I bullshit my personality? ‘Cause I do. I’m scared I’m not as mature as my peers- socially (in terms of partying and drinking and dating and shit, which I have done none of), as I honestly believe I am more mature mentally. Is that bad to say? Whatever, it’s what I believe. I could probably live in isolation for a few months. I’m scared that I’ll never fall in love, and I’m even more scared of falling out of love, and I’m even more scared of someone falling out of love with me. I’m not really living life right now (I leave my house 2 times a week for therapy and only have 2 barely friends). And I hate that I am doing nothing to change that (I could go out and be social and go on adventures, but I don’t). I get exhausted all the time. I get obsessions over weird little niches. I don’t feel ready to grow up and leave home. To be more positive, I am the most compassionate/empathetic person I know. It is a blessing in that I have deeper emotional connections with people, and a curse in that I feel everyone’s negative emotions as well. I love my smile- or maybe I love to smile. I am fascinated by my own mind. I am really bad at keeping a conversation going. I am an introvert and a homebody. I am scared I am alone in all of these things. I didn’t know I was holding all this inside me. I guess I was just waiting for someone to really care about the answers to this question.

April Movie Wrap Up

This month I read… drum roll please… 5 movies! Man, I guess April was a bad month for watching movies too. What the heck was I doing all April?! Anyways, here are my reviews:

1. Beauty and the Beast: 7/10 stars 

Image result for beauty and the beast

Maybe I’ll make another post on my, ahem, opinions on the, ahem, Disney remakes. Nonetheless I gave into the hype and saw this in theaters, and it was pretty good! The CGI made it an extra magical experience, and I liked how they made the Beast, and others, into a deeper character. My biggest criticism would be the pacing- it draaaaaaged on at some points. Also, don’t be expecting any new story lines or anything- this is a true remake that doesn’t stray from the original plot. So, do I think this movie was necessary? No. Did I enjoy it? Yes- Disney played their magic on me yet again!

2.  The Social Network: 9/10 stars

Image result for the social network poster

 

This was a rewatch, but it doesn’t matter because this is still one of my favorite movies of all time. It is such a great example of showing flawed characters- even Mark freaking Zuckerburg showed his asshole side in this movie ABOUT HIM! Everyone is complex, and this makes you, the viewer, conflicted as to whether you should be cheering for them or booing them. And this movie doesn’t have a happy ending either- it ends as many things do in real life, and it leaves the viewer not knowing what to think, but in a way that they will continue to ponder the movie for days after watching it.

3. The Fundamentals of Caring: 9/10

Image result for the fundamentals of caring

This one was beautiful. It is the story of a disabled young man who dreams of seeing the world but never ended up leaving his house, and his caretaker with a sad past who wants Trevor to live his life to the fullest. Remember, this is my able-bodied perspective of the movie, so take it with a grain of salt and try to seek out reviews by disabled people. In my perspective, this isn’t some movie that uses disabled people as inspiration-porn (trust me, Trevor can be a dick) but rather shows the real life of this disabled man. I am having trouble describing why I love this one so much. It is funny, it is sad, and it is real. The relationships Trevor grows with people, especially Ben his caretaker, are so phenomenal. I’m sorry if this one wasn’t very coherent- just take it as a sign that I loved the movie.

4. Keeping Up With the Joneses: 5/10 Stars

Image result for keeping up with the joneses

Meh. I don’t ever LOVE action movies, and I’m tending to find the same with action comedies. There actually wasn’t a whole lot of comedy outside the occasional Zach Galifianakis gaff. It served well as a family movie night movie, but it was just another case of Hollywood throwing their money at well-known celebrities and at stunt men to create another haphazard “film.” I’m being a little harsh- I did laugh at some of the jokes, and I did feel the suspense it was building, it’s just nothing new from the Hollywood action scene.

5. The Circle: 8/10 Stars

Image result for the circle

The Circle, based on the book by Dave Eggers, is the story of a monopoly technology corporation, and an intern who goes up its ranks and discovers its dark secrets and the power that it wields. This movie has been getting bad ratings, but I don’t really see why. Well, that’s not right. I do see where people are coming from and I myself was frustrated with the abrupt ending and with the amount of questions the movie raised and didn’t answer. But overall, this movie blew my mind. It brought up so many interesting controversies like our codependency on technology, the importance of privacy from corporations, and how power can become addicting. I would say to watch this movie just for its premise and theme, but you can decide for yourself if you liked the rest of it.

 

April Reading Wrap Up

This month I read… drum roll please… 4 books! April was probably one of my worst reading months of the year. Something needs to change- I need change my priorities and put reading and writing first. But anyhow, the books I did read were some great books, so here goes:

 

1. How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh: 5/5 Stars

Bawse_final-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow. I was blown away by this book. The biggest lesson I learned from this book was that there are no shortcuts to success- you have to let go of pride and FOMO, and you have to just get the work done. Maybe this was already one of your values- have no fear! This book was so full of real advice, it is definitely one I will be returning to at different stages of my life, and whenever I feel lost or unmotivated. The motivation factor alone that you receive from this reading experience is enough for me to beg you to buy it.

I should probably mention that I was already a fan of Lilly Singh before I read the book. When a heard she was writing a book, an ADVICE book, I was already sold. I watch her vlogs and receive so much motivation and inspiration from her work ethic, and I am so glad she delivered her message in the way she did.

I should note that if you are not familiar with her work, you may find her humor… different, or hit-or-miss. She also includes lots of stories about the production of her projects and about Hollywood business in general that some may find completely unrelatable. But honestly, those are my only criticisms.

In conclusion, this is a book I will definitely be rereading and returning to through my life and also recommending to people in need of motivation. 5 stars!

 

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: 5/5 Stars

Perksofbeingwallflower1

Wow again. This book blew my mind. I related with the characters so deeply- especially with Charlie as I am a wallflower that tends to only observe life while others are actually living it.

At some points, this book did seem to be trying too hard to be deep. (“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” Who says stuff like that?!). But overall, the plot, the characters, what we learn about Charlie in the end, it all worked so beautifully well. Maybe the personal impact the book had on me skewed my rating of the quality of the book. But then again, isn’t it the impact the book makes on you that is the true test of quality?

I don’t know, but I do know that this is a book I still, and will continue to, think about constantly. I wish I could do it more justice in this review, but its message of the true high school experience hit me so deep that I can’t seem to put it into words.

 

 

3. Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton: 3/5 Stars

soul-surfer

For some reason, I randomly got the urge to reread this book. I have no idea why! But I did, and it was on my shelf, so here we are. This is the story of Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer who got her arm bit off by a shark when she was fourteen, and then returned to the water to continue her surfing career.

I’d say that the first half of the book is a pretty good memoir. She talks about her life and interests both before and after the attack, and of course goes into detail of both her perspective and of what happened during the attack. I am fascinated by these rare tragedies, don’t ask me why, so I was super interested, and she didn’t disappoint.

The last half of the book, however, seemed like she had run out of stuff to talk about and was just trying to fill up the pages. She just went off topic talking about her parents, Hawaii, and her faith, which are good subjects, but didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the book. Maybe it’s my fault for expecting her to focus on the attack more, but it is what it is. It’s also important to note that this is written by a fifteen-year-old surfer, so don’t be expecting literary genius. All in all, a good story still.

 

4. All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher: 4/5 Stars

9781615192946_p0_v3_s1200x630

I love Carrie Hope Fletcher on a deep level. She is such a kind and creative person, so I was excited she would be writing a “big sister advice book.”

And this was overall, a solid advice book that covers most, if not all, aspects of our lives. I liked that it gave REAL advice- for example, that being kind will get you far in life, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices in a relationship or when working towards a goal. Too many advice books are too radical, and this was not.

My only criticism is that this was not a ground-breaking book. There was lots of cliche advice that we’ve all heard before. It’s great as a book that compiles all the miscellaneous lessons we learn in life, I just wished it introduced something new.

Nonetheless, I would still definitely recommend this book to teenagers and young adults who are trying to figure out how this confusing world works, as Carrie did a wonderful job guiding me along.

 

That’s all for this month, folks! Be sure to follow me on GoodReads if you want to see my book reviews earlier! https://www.goodreads.com/anniea26