Blog Post: Writer’s Block

There are few things more disheartening to a writer than acknowledging and admitting that they are experiencing writer’s block. Yet, this is where I find myself. Once again I am staring at a screen trying to find words to tell a story that I know every minute detail of. Trying though to put the words down is like writing in a foreign language, the words I use never seem right, nor do they do justice to the story I am trying to tell.

Like all things I know this time will pass, but now more than ever I am ready to embrace writing as a focus within my life. Indeed my work has improved, and been published this year, and I have found in poetry a means of expressing myself that I never truly believed I’d be able to access.

With time away from college, and prior to starting University in September I wanted to reflect on where this inability to engage with my work comes from, and the only correlation I can find stems from my experiences of depression. It is often when I am most depressed that I turn to writing, and in some respects that may be what happened last year.

Last September I was faced with my worst nightmare, and though I lived through it, my mother did not. My family lost her to sepsis, suddenly and gave us no chance to say goodbye. Twelve months have passed, enough time for the people around us to return to their lives, forgetting that ours would never be the same, nor any of us the same people.

As a full-time carer of a sibling with significant support needs, I had to step away from work and the burden of supporting someone with limited understanding through grief has been harrowing and beautiful, much like my mother’s death itself. I returned though to college even before my mother’s funeral, because I knew that if I gave up on writing then, I would never return to it, and not only did I complete my course, but got the A required to study at my university of choice.

I did all of this either sleeping on a floor, or a couch or eventually sharing a bed with my other brother. I have a flat twenty minutes from my parents house that I have been to seven times in the last year, and have slept in once since my mother passed away. The displacement which has come with facilitating the need of my family, has inadvertently stripped me of my entire way of life. No home, no possessions, no time to myself. Two or three hours of sleep per night, and no income other than student bursary. This is just the tip of the iceberg that has been my life, but it is something I have had to acknowledge and doing so leaves me with little else other than my pride.

And yet pride, is probably the thing I struggle with most. I find it difficult to commend myself, but this is something that I am working on and when I do stop to acknowledge the things I have done in this year alone I realise I have the potential to do so much more, but first I had to give myself the time to mourn, to grieve and to recover. Once my course was over, I found myself at home almost every day, with no work, and no time to get a job I was forced to acknowledge how hard this has been. But doing so was as necessary for the benefit of my own mental wellbeing, as it was for those I cared for.

I will start writing with purpose again soon, of that I’m sure. Until then, I will write. Whatever comes to mind, and when it becomes purposeful, I shall remember that time doing nothing can still be time being spent productively.

Help Needed

Hello Lovely People,
Since August 2018 I have been studying an HNC in Professional Writing Skills, it has been an amazing course that has transformed not just my skills as a writer but my entire life. All going to plan I start studying at university in September, but before that I need to secure an A for my Graded Unit; the final submission of the year.
In little over 24 hours I have to submit my final Graded Unit for marking, but I am still working hard to compile some research. I really need help, and anyone who can spare two minutes to complete this survey would be doing me the biggest favour.
I will really appreciate any help that can be given with this.

Kind Regards,

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Personal Blog: Icarus

I feel today like Icarus.

Though I found my wings with them I have flown too high, too fast and with no heed to that which lies beneath me.

Now as the wax melts, and my feathers float from my arms one at a time. I see each one and acknowledge how far it has carried me.

I weep, not because I am falling, but because I know that for a moment I was free, and that freedom may never come again.

Personal Blog: A Dropped Ball

Last week I began the transition of ‘Forever Distracted by Life’ from an infrequently used writing portfolio to a daily posting, collaborative writing space.

Up until this morning, my scheduled posts have gone ahead without a hitch, but this morning I dropped the ball. As always the name of my blog makes me smile because lately I have been so distracted by life that my planned targets and schedules haven’t quite worked as they intended. But rest assured I still intend to keep sharing, and regularly. I just needed a catch-up day to sort the content for the time ahead.

Much like when I began transitioning my diet to a primarily plant-based diet a few blips along the way aren’t going to make me throw in the towel. I just need to evaluate a little and get back on it. In the meantime, thanks to those of you who have been reading regularly I really appreciate everyone who engages with my work.

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Personal Blog: On The Train

One of my favourite places to write, is on the train. Every journey to college, becomes a space to create and in particular poetry.

Where do other writers do their writing? Where is the weirdest place you’ve found yourself writing?

Sonnet: 8th September 2018

This was the day on which my mother died.

On this day, I learned the meaning of pain

And though time has passed, this hurt will remain

Long after the tears that have fallen dried.

I have forgotten, but I cannot hide

From truth, anymore than I can from shame.

I have lost the one who gave me my name

Taken farther than the waves on a tide.

I believe that I will see her again

Though departed from her physical form

I will still know when my time may come

Already she waits patiently till then

As life without her becomes our new norm

We work hard, to try to remember mum.

2019©DSCoremans

Personal Blog: Challenge Accepted

As most of the regular followers (as I understand it, there are some out there, do feel free to say ‘Hi’ sometime) of Forever Distracted by Life know I have in the last few months been bitten by the poetry bug. Having never really engaged with poetry beyond the mandatory level of academia as presented by High School, I never felt ‘worthy’ of reading poetry, let alone writing it. But as soon as I was introduced to the poetry unit on the course I am currently studying at college, it was as though I had suddenly learned a new language. A language which allows me to express things I have never before been able to put into words.

Once I started writing poetry, I started reading it. And not just the poets of history, but the poets of today. By following some of the blog authors that have engaged with some of my work, I have found myself immersed in wonderfully insightful and relatable poetry. 

Some blogs, in particular, I find myself going back to regularly.

https://reowr.com is a site I find myself on daily at the moment as it is full of great poetry and regular challenges being thrown down. This mornings sent me down a rabbit hole of writing that has already filled pages of my notebook, and has given me a few more things to share over the next couple of days. 

The challenge posed, was to write a poem using the ‘Zanze’ poetic structure.

If you aren’t familiar with the style, or are interested in taking part in the challenge yourself, I highly recommend checking out the original post here: https://reowr.com/2019/01/08/when-the-mountains-a-zanze-and-a-challenge/#comment-10179

I have already shared my first two attempts today. Which you can find here: https://dscoremans.com/2019/01/08/freeform-zanze-fearless/

And here:

https://dscoremans.com/2019/01/08/zanze-fearless-ii/

2019 © DS Coremans

Personal Blog: 2018 A Quick Reflection

Christmas was hard this year.

It hasn’t been easy or wholly enjoyable for some time, but this year was the first Christmas without mum.

Life, for the past few months, has felt a little like going through the motions. So it was no surprise that Christmas managed to sneak up on, and then past me before I could really process it.

Those that got in touch over the festive period I very much appreciated hearing from. Even now though, the thought of replying and acknowledging reality leaves me with a knot in my stomach that is twisting and making me feel more and more ill as the days go by.

Anxiety is crippling me lately, and in the last few weeks, in particular, it feels like it is shutting me down both physically and emotionally until the very idea of trying to function leaves me a wreck.

I cannot go it alone, I understand that I need help, but asking for it is hard. Asking a stranger is ultimately easier to do than a close friend. The closer a relationship the more likely that rather than being able to pretend or hide how you are, you will be forced instead to be who you are at that very moment in time.

2018 wasn’t a bad year, far from it. But it was the hardest year I have ever faced, and it has taught me more about who I am as a person than I could have ever hoped to learn. It wasn’t always easy, and I am thankful for the support network I have. Even with such a strong set of friends and support though I admit that it hasn’t been easy.

After my mum passed I began thinking again about suicide. Not as a course of action, but as an option. One which I acknowledged, but more as a reflection of my past. Like getting hung up on old thoughts. As well as my support network of friends, I have been working closely with a counsellor for almost 18 months. Thankfully I can detach myself from these dark thoughts, knowing them as memories rather than desires.

I started going to counselling after losing myself to life in 2017. I had to take three months off of work to get my head straight, and it was in this time that I began to address what was important to me. I looked at my life and did not recognise how I had gotten to where I was. I looked at my life and did not recognise the person I had become. This was the hardest thing in the world for me, to realise I had spent so much time looking after other people, that I had no idea who I was as a person.

I felt insignificant, worthless, and of little value. Yes, I have great friends, but I didn’t feel like I was worthy of their friendship. I began to avoid people because in my head I was protecting them from my company. Depression and anxiety lead to irrational thinking, you can tell yourself you are well, but this is a lie, and until you recognise it as such, you will perpetuate negativity in your own life, wilfully living a harder life than you need to, seeking this hardship as a self-imposed penance for your own existence.

Gradually I came to realise which of my thoughts were rational, and which were not and slowly I became calmer. Not all of the time, but generally.

My life changed considerably over the course of 2018 whether I was ready for it, or not. The end of a long career, the loss of the same part-time job, twice in the space of three months. Moving to a new flat, but never being there. Becoming a full-time guardian and carer, again, and having to put someone else needs first at all hours of the day; providing waking night support. The complexity of a relationship and ultimately the end of nine months spent with someone I grew to love. Recovery from surgery, two weeks of quarantine, and three weeks of Tonsillitis, my first broken bone. Then, of course, there was the loss of my mother, this was the hardest of all things, and something I still find myself in disbelief of often.

But the challenges weren’t all bad. I applied for and was accepted into college, despite everything else going on. I got in and have so far not only completed work but done so well. I have learned more than I ever thought I would and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am doing what I should have been doing all along. I joined a band, and after eight months of rehearsals we played our first paid gig, and have more lined up. Despite the relationship not lasting, 2018 was also a year in which I fell in love, and was loved in return; getting to share my life with someone in a way I never had before. The best part of this last point was when my mother met my ex and got on well with them. Considering how little time I have given to relationships in my life, I was so thrilled my mother got to see me being loved before we lost her.

And of course, I wrote. More than I have ever written in such a small space of time, and intend to keep on doing so.

I hope that 2019 is a continuation of all of the good things I have had in 2018 and that the harder things push me onward, serving as reminders of just how far I’ve come.

The one thing I hope people take away from what I’ve learned is that there is always help available you just have to have the strength to ask for it and the patience to accept it. Life is hard, and it will challenge you whether you are ready or not.

If you are feeling lost especially, don’t give up. It’s harder to make good decisions all of the time than it is to make bad decisions just once. But some bad decisions can only be made once, and if you just persevere I promise you will find something worth continuing for.

Sometimes you have to give up on the things that you are comfortable with or that you are good at, these things may be easy, but if they do not offer you fulfilment, you will invariably never find what you need the most. Be selfish, do things that are just for you and no-one else. Try things you haven’t done, push yourself when your first reaction is to throw in the towel. But if you try and it hurts, walk away and hold your head high knowing that you gave it everything you have.

Love, yourself before anyone else. Be beautiful, be yourself.

All the best when it comes.

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Personal Blog: One Hundred

This moment has been coming for days. Weeks. Months.

Years. Four of them to be exact.

On the 18th May 2014, I posted on Forever Distracted by Life for the first time.
My first post, ‘So. Let’s Get Started…’ was my statement of intent. A first public outcry of my desire to be an author.

Writing has been more than just a passion of mine, but a desire. For the most part, I considered it a pipe-dream, one which I never really believed I would do anything to make happen. For years, I was right. Life was too distracting. Too many things vied for my attention, and writing never seemed important enough to pursue above anything else going on.

Yet as time moved on my desire and compunction to write grew, plaguing me whenever I tried to ignore it. The few times I tried channelling this creative desire led to outbursts of emotional writing coupled with the development of a long-planned fiction project, which rather than refining grew arms and legs until I had no idea where to begin.

Without trying, writing kept happening, but unrefined and uncontrolled.

In August of 2018, my life changed when I returned to college to study writing full-time. For many reasons, 2018 has become for me, a year of transition. Slowly, I learned more about who I was and not only what I wanted, but how to make that happen. My life is very different to the one I was living in May 2014, but what has remained the same is my desire to create, and my belief that doing so will be the catalyst to a life that leaves me feeling fulfilled.

So why is today important?

Today, at 13:00 my 99th post will go live, having been scheduled to follow post 98 which went live at 12:30.

By the time this post is live, I will have finally made it to post 100. I cannot begin to tell you how amazing it feels to have finally made it to a landmark moment that has taken me years to reach. I hope that this is just the beginning of my writing journey, but as I celebrate this personal achievement I want to thank every single person, who has ever read a post of ‘Forever Distracted by Life.’

Your likes, comments and kindness have kept me going during some of the more challenging periods in the last four years, and I know that in the future they will continue to do so.

So Thank You, and hopefully, it won’t take another four years before I get to celebrate the next one hundred posts.

Darren Syme Coremans

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