4 Years On WordPress | Best Bits

Well, well, well, Happy 4th Birthday to my WordPress account! *pops party popper*. When I started these blogs a few years ago, I never imagined they would lead to such amazing opportunities.

Let’s throwback to some of our best bits in the wonderful world of WordPress…

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Milestones:

Four years is a huge commitment to one blog for me, admittedly I do have several WordPress blogs, but all on the same platform. I love that I have been able to link them and easily switch between the four of them, so thanks for that!

Earlier this year we hit another amazing milestone, which was 500 WordPress followers, and you guys are from all over the world! Thank you, everyone, for your support, and putting up with my erratic posting schedule.

Books:

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WordPress was and always will be a huge part of my creative process, particularly when it comes to writing books. I published my first novella, The Snow Killer, originally as a series of blog posts, which transformed into a twisted serial killer fiction novel. I loved every minute of it, as it launched my dreams as an author as set me on a path to novel writing.

I originally started my life as a blogger on BlogSpot, (which I rediscovered and was hit with a wave of nostalgia whilst researching this post) [my BlogSpot page] but after I was introduced to WordPress, I have never turned back.

Since then, I have self-published several e-books, with the help of WordPress as a blogging and promotional tool, and met many of my close author friends through the website – as well as some amazing book reviewers and bloggers.

Articles: 

In 2016 I wrote an article about my transition from loathing to loving John Green, and its current view total is 6,153! (Correct of 29.11.17) Read the article here…  It ended up being read by Hank Green (also famous and very creative brother of the author, and was shared all over WordPress and Tumblr.)

That article made me realize the true power of books, and that the time taken to be passionate and involved in your work, is far more important than dishing out half-finished books in order to hit a deadline.

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I’d just like to say thank you again for all of your wonderful support, and here’s to an amazing 2018 with WordPress!

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Audiobook Review and Reflect: Talking As Fast As I Can – Lauren Graham

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I’ve just had that ‘staring-at-the-wall-with-a-fresh-book-shaped-whole-in-my-heart’ moment. Loralie Gilmore (I mean, Lauren Graham) just spent four hours reading me a book.

I was in the city today, so I’ve been on a lot of trains and tubes. It was a new experience to listen to someone talk to me as I tapped in at London Bridge Station, or raced down the stairs to catch the next Northern Line tube. Her soothing voice filling my head. She had me in fits of laughter, followed by bursts of sadness or melancholy. I suspect I looked slightly deranged on public transport today.

In the background, as I absorb and write this review, There She Goes – The La’s, plays quietly through my headphones. I felt the need to listen to The Gilmore Girls soundtrack; stopping Stars Hollow from leaving me straight away. There’s a warmth in my fingertips that I only get when I need to write.  It’s late, so I’ve got a hot chocolate sat, steaming in my chilly office space, waiting to be sipped.

It is strange, listening to her voice. I can picture her, sat with her legs curled up on a comfy sofa, coffee cupped between her hands. She’s telling me her story, her life. But it’s like hearing a familiar tale with a whole new character. I know it, and yet I don’t.

Loralie Gilmore raised me. I was Rory. Luke was my step-dad. Books made me safe. I’m back in Stars Hollow, however now it has that dewy glaze of a warm memory. That’s what it’s like listening to Lauren Graham read Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore To Gilmore. 

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Talking As Fast As I Can is a charming, delightful book, and makes for an interesting audiobook on Audible. Graham takes us on a journey from Kindergarten to the end of filming Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life.

She shares a lot, the usual witty anecdotes, but also some deep, personal information that anyone may have left out. Lauren Graham’s attention to detail is also someone quite wonderful to observe. She goes on a tangent about a blue coat from The Gilmore Girls set for several paragraphs, which is simply enchanting to read.

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Lauren Graham makes every single word seem and sound magic. Speaking in particular for the audiobook, hearing her read the book herself gives it an added layer of intimacy which is missing from some audiobooks. You can hear the laughter in her voice when she recalls a conversation with a beloved friend. Her tone carries the weight of the time they found of Gilmore Girls was over. She sounds… affected. It is beautiful to listen to.

I realize this is more of a Lauren Graham worship than a review of her book as a format, or as a piece of writing. Perhaps I have been influenced because I listened to it rather than read it. But all I know for sure is, Loralie Gilmore just told me a story, and I loved every minute of it.

If you are a fan of Gilmore Girls, of Parenthood or just of the wonderful Lauren Graham as a human being, I strongly urge you to read or listen to this book. It’s life-affirming, charming and downright enjoyable to consume.

 

Gilmore Girls Spotify Playlist:

 

500 Followers, A Milestone Post

Since it’s conception in 2013, this blog has had many purposes, many milestones, many birthdays. It is the one safe place; the one continuous space, where I can write freely and know my words will not only be seen but appreciated.

I just wanted to say thanks, to old and new followers – you make it worth posting. I know I am a bit of a sporadic blogger, but my work/life balance leaves something to be desired. I really appreciate the loyalty.

Thank you all so much for the love and support, and I hope we will be seeing more of each other soon.

Love, Mel ❤

Graduation | 1 Year Later

12015242_10153531992797488_4467283861848174181_oA year ago to the date, the Creative and Professional Writing BA (Hons) Class of 2015, graduated.

We were nervous and stressed and our robes were trying to strangle us. We had rogue family members randomly popping up to take pictures, and we spent our time either losing our friends in the crowd or readjusting our gowns.

We had spent three years stuck in cupboard seminar rooms, only 11 people in our year at any one time, freezing cold and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Lectures were nearly always followed by alcohol, in the true spirit of sticking to the writing cliches, a tipsy wobble home to do our assignments. Quick nap or dinner and you were ready for  a night out.

It is safe to say that university was one of the most turbulent, stressful, broke, enlightening and friendship-filled eras of my life. I do not regret a single second – including the time I got so drunk that I had to go to class wearing sunglasses in the middle of December… yep… pathetic is the word you are looking for, my friend!

It is the time after university, after you’ve graduated that nobody prepares you for, not really. You are of course advised to get a job in your studied profession, but that doesn’t work for most students. We end up behind bars or retail or office jobs, slugging the 9-5 with everybody else.

You tend to lose your confidence, your passion, you lose motivation for your talents. As a writer and graduate of Creative and Professional Writing, it was never going to be easy to get a job, let-a-lone a career in creative writing. So instead, I did some writing projects and got a full time retail job, thinking it wouldn’t be a distraction. Oh boy, how wrong was I!

I have barely written anything for my current novel – compared to what I planned to write anyway –  and my poetry has all but resorted to a quick Instagram post every week. I am struggling to write, read and do anything creative.

But that is my fault. I spent three years training for this year, training myself for my future career goals, and I am wasting that. It has taken me a year to realise that I am not the writer I was whilst at university, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t be.

It’s time to get back into not only my writing, but also my studies. I’m going to go back to my studies and get my Masters degree (hopefully) in Creative Writing and go from Melissa Holden, BA to Melissa Holden, BA MA. Time to pull my socks up and get back out there!

Personal Changes | 22 Blog Series

Obviously, we go through a lot of changes and stages in our lives; whether that be physically, mentally or emotionally. It’s a part of life. But sometimes it’s nice to throwback and see how our hair looked ten years ago, or what on earth we were doing with our eyeshadow, but we never really remember changing or deciding to change.

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I’m no exception to that, but the difference is: I’m a divergent. (#bookreference!) I have so many elements to my personality that sometimes they explode out of me all at once, and sometimes the sneak out in the form of clothes, hair, make-up etc.

I like having a look through my old TimeHop photos (my Facebook spans nearly ten years – so there’s always something to cringe at… mostly hideous typos and kohl eye liner).

So I thought I’d share a few terrible throwbacks that show just how much I’ve changed over my tender twenty-two years.

I’m only going to share photos from my university and post-uni days as I would rather not share my acne-ridden teen years, so here goes!

Fresher Year of university and it’s 2013… I dyed my hair… a lot!

Second year of uni: 2013 – 2014 and I’ve still got pretty short hair, I’d lost a bit of weight and started to discover the vintage look… not always successfully! I’e still not learned to smile (properly) in photos.

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Late 2014: A red bob, and I’m definitely still rocking an emo fringe, but I’ve stepped up my pout game a little by this point!

20150709_103344It’s July 2015 and I’m in Berlin, Germany during my ‘I only wear t-shirts’ phase. I also wasn’t afraid on wearing shorts – despite the thigh rub that killed – and that were far too short for my chubby-and-proud legs.

Jump to August 2015 and my 21st birthday, I’ve still got the red hair, but it’s a bit brighter now – and a lot longer! I’m wearing glasses 24/7 by this point and had not yet discovered the miracle that is contact lenses – but (not that you can tell by my face), I was pretty happy with how I looked that day.

I’ve still got that tan jumpsuit, but despite losing a little weight since then…it doesn’t fit anymore. Bizarre!

Weirdly enough, these photos were only taken ten hours apart… and yet I look like a totally different weight/age/everything!

And now we’re in 2016 and I’ve finally got rid of my red hair – I truly loved it but my desperate need to travel and save money meant that going back to my natural blonde was going to be healthier, easier, and more cost-efficient! I am also growing my hair and it’s currently the longest it’s been since I was about eleven.

I would love my waist-length hair back one day, but I think that it might be slightly unruly whilst I am travelling around the world.13735534_10154275938312488_3013438026863761897_o

I think 2016 was also the year I finally learned about naked eyeshadow palettes, contouring, bronzer…and I finally mastered the winged-eyeliner-without-looking-like-Cleopatra look.

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And now, August 2016, we’re rounding up my twenty-first year with vintage glasses, highlighted cheeks, en-fleek eyeliner and bright blonde hair. Plus – I can finally paint my nails without it looking like a five-year-old went mental with crazy colours!

But the important thing is: I’m happy with who I am and who I’m on the way to becoming. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too. And that’s worth more than a million likes on Instagram to me.

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Don’t forget to read the rest of the 22| Blog Series! 

Happy 22 Years To ME | 22 Blog Series

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Today is my 22nd birthday (hurrah!) and whilst they’ve not always been happy birthdays, there is something little about each new year that makes me smile.

Like my sixth birthday and my bouncy castle (which I hated) collapsed on a girl I didn’t like.

My ninth birthday when my dearly departed step-father gave me a book of bedtime fairy tales.

My twelfth birthday had Pirates of The Caribbean and blue slushies.

My fourteenth birthday was spent in a Subway wearing prom dresses and converses.

My nineteenth contained dancing, vodka, and Chinese food.

My twenty-first led to my pub being filled with all my favourite people celebrating my birthday with me.

And now my twenty-second is me, my best friend, afternoon tea in Bills, and Finding Dory. What more could a girl ask for?

So here’s to another year of the little things; the happy moments that make getting older worth it.

Happy Birthday, Me. 🙂 

Don’t forget to keep track of the 22: Blog Series

22 Blog Posts For 22 Years | Blog Series

In two short days, I will be celebrating my twenty-second year on the planet, so I thought I’d celebrate it with a new blog series!

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This time, it’s a blog series full of all the things that make me… me. Whether it’s my obsession with all things vintage, my love of tea, my struggles as an indie author, or my day-to-day life. I’m sharing it all with you guys!

Here is a list of the blog posts you should be expecting over the next few weeks, starting with the first post on 18th August 2016 – AKA, my birthday! and ending twenty-two days later (in theory…).

  1. Happy 22 Years To Me
  2. Personal Changes
  3. Is Being A Witer A Risky Career Move?
  4. The Fraudulent Writer | Prose
  5. Instant Culture
  6. Relationships
  7. Why Is My New Novel Is Taking So Long to Finish?
  8. Throwback to the 90s
  9. How to Add a Little Vintage to Your Life
  10. Look book: Summer Author Style
  11. How To Use Social Media To Expand Your Readership
  12. My To-Read List
  13. Me Before You Book and Movie Review
  14. Finding Dory Review
  15. A Bookish Day Out (Writerly Things to do in London)
  16. Doubts Every Writer Has
  17. Why I’ve Never Tried to go Mainstream with my Books
  18. Life After University
  19. How To Motivate Yourself To Write (or do anything)
  20. Short Story
  21. Long Poem
  22. 22 Reasons I’ve Never Given Up Writing (Quick List)

I really hope you guys like the series, and I hope it gives you a bit more of an insight into why I started this blog in the first place.

Peace!