OCD Is Not A Joke

So why are we so quick to trivialise it?

From https://www.apost.com/en/blog/how-sensitive-is-your-ocd-radar/2197/

I saw this on my news feed and it made me really angry.

Far too often, OCD is used as a term to apply to people who are perfectionists, or who like things done a certain way.

This does not mean that they have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I saw another meme online a while ago, which stated “Just because I like things a certain way, doesn’t mean that I have OCD, it just means that I like shit done right”.

This is so true. People are always so quick to say that their “OCD” makes them do something as if it’s just some kind of random quirk.

Take it from someone who suffers on a daily basis (yes, SUFFERS)! This illness is not a quirk that I can pick up and put down.

Tell that to my aching muscles that are so tight from twitching already, but I can’t stop until it feels just right.

Tell that to my red and swollen hands that I’ve just had to scald with water.

Tell that to my chin, where I have picked and picked, just to get that single hair that has suddenly appeared from nowhere, that no one else but me can see.

How I wish that I could just pick these things up and put them down when I want to.

Imagine sitting on the floor, almost in tears because you haven’t managed to complete your routine ‘just right’ and now you have to start again.

Does that sound like a fun quirk to you?

Yes, being a perfectionist is part of it. We tend to see them: all of the small, insignificant things that no-one else notices, but what all of these memes and “How OCD are you?” quizzes miss out on are the crippling fear of these things not all being lined up in a neat little row.

Imagine seeing a pencil on a desk that’s not straight and worrying that if you don’t straighten it out, then your Mum will die.

Imagine straightening it up, and a moment of calm before the doubts that maybe it’s not straightened up enough come creeping in, and you’re left feeling like you have no choice but to keep straightening it over and over again until it feels ‘just right’.

Is it funny now?

From: https://me.me/i/people-who-always-feel-the-need-to-correct-other-peoples-20101873

I’m not saying that this research is untrue, but really, it just helps to further the misconception. I, too, correct grammar when I see a mistake. I do the same with spelling. This is not a part of my illness. I do it because I think grammar and spelling is important. There is a right, and a wrong way for it to be.

This is not the case with my other obsessive compulsive tendencies. A lot of the time, there is no right or wrong for these, only my perception of them.

Imagine if I were to say that my ‘diabetes’ was going into a hyper just by looking at that dessert on the menu… would that be amusing? I think, more likely, I would get some very strange looks, and some very judgemental ones, and yet, when people say that their ‘OCD’ is not happy, people just smile and laugh and nod.

In the UK alone, approximately 12 out of every 1000 people suffer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

For them, this illness (because that is what it is) is a crippling, life consuming thing that they must try and live their life around.

It isn’t just a case of “Oh, that sign is slightly crooked, let me correct it because it offends my eyes”, it is more a case of “Oh my goodness! That sign. It’s not straight. I must straighten it. If I don’t, then my house will burn down, possibly with my family inside it”

It is a completely unrealistic, and irrational fear, and do you know the craziest thing?

More often than not we know it’s stupid and we spend hours telling ourselves this; telling ourselves off, but when it comes down to it, we still have to do it.

We still have to make that sign straight, and then check it, and check it again.

This is something I can’t even imagine choosing to label myself with. I would give anything to not have this label, but it’s one I am cursed with, and one that I have to live with.

So, to all of you out there, that choose to do these ‘OCD’ Tests, please, just think a little before you share them on social media.

I understand that to you, it is just a fun quiz, and a bit of a time killer, but if you really had OCD, you would be begging for that little bit of time back, because we sacrifice so much time to our illness on an daily basis, that we can sometimes lose hours at a time, just trying to get away from the most recent compulsion that threatens to completely overwhelm us.

This is my reality. This is my life. It is not a joke. It is not fun, and it is not something that should be ‘tested’ for and commented about in such a flippant manner. I wouldn’t dream of making a joke about asthma, or cancer, or pneumonia, so why is it ok for you to make a joke about an illness that makes me and thousands of other people worldwide’s lives miserable.

I would give anything not to have this condition.

It is the dark shadow always hanging over my shoulder, and the chain I must carry behind me.

Please don’t try to give yourself the same chain, and please don’t make light of mine.

If you can joke about it, then you clearly have no idea what it’s actually like to live with it.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


Brainstorming Ideas

Some of my tried and tested techniques

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, chances are, you’re a blogger, or at least a writer. The chances are that you know the struggle to come up with new ideas.

This is the question that I get asked all the time: “Where do you get all your ideas?”

The thing is that there is no simple answer. I’d love to say that a fairy-like muse swoops in and drops off ideas for me every day, but that simply isn’t true!

The truth is that I have to search my imagination and rack my brains to find my ideas, just like everyone else.

do have a couple of tried and tested techniques, though:

1. Write lists.

Write lists of anything and everything. Write lists of words that stand out to you. List names- you never know when you might be searching for that exact one for one of your characters. List settings, and situations. This is an absolute blessing when you’re really struggling for an idea.

2. Look for a prompt.

There are so many sites with these on, and often one prompt will just stand out to you. Once you have that, start freewriting- even if you think it’s rubbish. I guarantee that you’ll find a story fragment in there, if you just look hard enough!

3. Just start to write.

I know it sounds too simple, but freewriting, or stream of consciousness writing is a veritable goldmine. You will either find something to write about, or at the very least, you will find that you’ve emptied your head of all those thoughts, thus freeing up your mind to be creative. It only has to take ten minutes- give it a go. It’s never failed me yet!

4. Read.

If you’re really stuck, look to the stories you love- the books that you could read again and again and not get bored with. You’re bound to find a spark of inspiration in there- after all, there’s something in them that you connect with- something that keeps you coming back to them!

5. Play “What if?”

I really love this one! I simply look at a situation, (real or imagined) and write down a list of what if’s.

For example: If we take the Harry Potter books…

a) What if Harry ended up in Slytherin?

b) What if Voldemort tried to kill Neville instead of Harry?

c) What if Harry had listened to Malfoy and not befriended Ron?

d) What if Harry had refused to believe that he was a wizard?

e) What if Snape had actually liked Harry?

Here, you have five ideas, all primed and ready to go. Now, I’m not suggesting you try to rewrite Harry Potter, (although fan fiction can be really good fun, and an excellent way of keeping those writing muscles active when the dreaded writer’s block strikes!) but you could try this with any of your own stories- you never know, you might actually come up with something you enjoy writing more!

So, there you have it! Five of the ways I use to brainstorm ideas.

Have fun!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


NanoWrimo

And why I’m breaking the rules

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

This year, as with every year since 1999, thousands of writers around the world will take on the challenge to write 50000 words in November. I defy anyone that writes, to not know this.

The thing is that Nano can set you up to fail if you don’t approach it right.

I’ll be honest, I have failed at Nano more times than I have succeeded-

So, this year, I’m doing things differently.

I’m not aiming to write a fully functioning first draft of a novel in thirty days. Hell, it takes Stephen King three months to write a novel, and he is a writing genius, and prolific, to boot!

Instead, I plan to write the first 60,000 words of a novel draft.

This will not make a finished novel- not even close.

That’s the problem with Nano- it leads people (myself included) to believe that a novel finishes at 50000 words, when that simply isn’t the case.

Not even a middle grade novel averages 50000 words. You would need to add 5000 words to it to get an average middle grade novel.

Another issue with it is that a lot of people think that come the 30th of November, then will have a novel that’s completely ready to submit to an agent or a publisher.

This is not the case. There is so much more to writing a novel than just getting the first draft on paper- truth is, that is really where the hard work begins.

For this year’s Nano, I plan to just have fun with writing. I am just going to show up, every single day, and use this month to get my daily writing habit back on track!

Good luck, Wrimo’s!

Onwards to the 30th!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

My Favourite Scripture

Journeying with God

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

As a Christian, I have read the Bible a LOT. I try to do a full read through every year.

In doing this repeated practice, I have found that some verses just seem to stand out to me more than others.

I don’t know why this is, but I’m okay with that. I like to think that it’s God choosing these verses to communicate to me in a certain way.

My absolute favourite verse can be found in Isaiah 41:10, and it says:

“Fear not, for I am with you. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Having spent the best part of my life being bullied and put down, often scared to even go outside my front door, this verse brings me great comfort.

It isn’t necessarily the most dramatic, dynamic, or impactful of verses, but there is something in it that speaks to me deeply on an emotional and spiritual level.

I choose to believe that this verse is God, telling me that He is right beside me, and that it doesn’t matter what’s coming at me, because He will be there, and He will never let me go.

What are your favourite verses?

Let me know in the comments!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


Always Be Yourself

Because no-one else can be…

Photo by Katrina on Unsplash

I’ve posted a lot about personal issues since I started this blog; about things like my health, both physical and psychological.

What I haven’t posted about is how I have extremely low confidence. I struggle a lot with this. I doubt myself, and question what I am doing constantly.

I am getting better with this, though. I am in the process of trying to learn to accept myself, with all of my faults (however many there are).

The thing is that I was made to be intrinsically ‘me’. Nobody else has the exact same blend of qualities that I do. No one else can bring what I can to this life, just like I can’t bring what any of you can.

We are all created to be completely different, whether this is in looks, abilities, emotions, personalities and talents.

We must all accept this, and learn to accept ourselves, with all the good (and bad) things that we bring with us.

We need to see that while we may be different, that doesn’t mean that we are wrong.

have to be me. And you have to be you, because in the end, when it comes down to it, no-one else can be.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


Stacey Dooley : Women Who Fight Back

A commentary

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a big fan of Stacey Dooley. I have a LOT of respect for her, and know that I couldn’t do even a quarter of what she has done.

She’s not perfect, and I think she’d be the first person to admit that. She makes mistakes sometimes, but then, so do we all. I think sometimes, that she is judged a little too harshly by some people, bearing in mind their own track record!

Some people say that she’s just a ‘chav that got lucky’, but I think this is complete, ignorant, rubbish. The truth is that she had a humble upbringing, and that she was offered an opportunity, which she grabbed with both hands, and let’s face it, wouldn’t we all do the same, given half the chance?!

Stacey gets an awful lot of flack online from trolls and random haters. People criticise her for being young and ignorant. One politician, recently snidely likened her to a ‘white saviour’ when she shared a photo of herself with a young child of African decent, on one of her documentary shoots.

I often wonder where these people get their half baked views, and would be interested to see if, given the same opportune ity, they would take it in the brave way that Stacey does, and no matter what you think of her, we cannot deny her bravery for going to often ravaged, dangerous and possibly war torn countries.

I bought her book several months ago, and while I was excited to read it, I thought that it would be just the usual type of celeb autobiography. It wasn’t. It was far more than that.

Instead of focusing on telling us her entire life story, we see a far less self-centred approach in this book. Here we see snippets from the lives of the people that Stacey has met and interviewed over the years. We are given an intimate look into her feelings and thoughts, that perhaps, there wasn’t time to show on screen.

The book is split into sections, with each one focusing on the lives of seemingly ordinary people, caught up in terrible, and extraordinary circumstances.

In each one, we see the incredible strength of the women (because it is generally women involved in these documentaries). Stacey takes us all over the world, from Columbia, to Iraq, to Japan, showing us a small snippet of what it is like for these women.

Her honesty and compassion is clear to see, and the way that she can empathise with these people, even being moved to tears by some of the horrific stories, just shows her strength and ability as a documentarist.

This book is fast paced, and as a reader we are led from one situation to another. It is not an easy read. In fact, there were several times, when it got to be too much for me, and I had to stop reading for a while.

In conclusion, though, I feel that this book is an incredibly important one, and one that everyone should read. There were some people in this book, that I had never heard of before. For example, the Yazidi women. If you don’t know of them, then please google. I honestly couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard anything about them on the news!

This book is one of the best, and most harrowing books that I have read this year, and I have no hesitation in recommending that you read it too.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

When Writer’s Block Strikes

And how to find the path through it


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, you’ll know what I mean when I talk about “one of those days”.

The days when writing seems to completely elude you and you feel like you’re trapped and frozen with nowhere to go and nothing to turn to. The kind of days when you want to write, but the mere thought of it terrifies you, because you don’t feel like the words will come. You feel like you have nothing to say, and even if you did, it probably wouldn’t be anything worth reading anyway.

This, is your inner critic talking. This is the culmination of all of your doubts and all of the things that knock your self-confidence.

The truth is that you can write. You do have something to say, and it is worth reading.

The truth is that the very worst thing you could possibly do is to give in to the block. Because, one day will turn into two, and two will turn into a week, and so on, and so on.

The difference between a successful writer, and a wannabe, is that they showed up and did the work. They ignored that inner critic, and persevered with writing, even when the doubts flooded in, and when the muse went on strike.

The key thing to remember, is that each day that you show up to write, is a day where you are improving. It is a day where you are honing your craft, and exercising your skills as a writer.

So, when you’re having a tough day. Maybe you’ve hit a block in your wip, or the words just won’t come. Just try to give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to write something ‘just for fun’. It may only be a snippet, but you never know, one day, you might look back on it and see the potential in that piece of writing. It may even become the foundation of your next novel, short story, or even blog post.

Remember, no time spent writing, is time wasted, no matter how bad you may feel about it at the time.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Interactive Noveling

Experimenting with a new way of storytelling

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I remember the You Say Which Way and Choose Your Own Adventure books from when I was younger. There was nothing more exciting than to be able to have an impact on the story I was reading.

I still remember the thrill of controlling the choices the characters made.

These stories used to be purely in book format, and at the end of a specific segment, it would give you two (or more) choices, and at the end of each, would be a page reference for you to turn to so that you could continue the adventure.

Nowadays, with the advent of ebooks, the ability to add hyperlinks and graphics is a game changer.

Books can become like an RPG game. These can appeal to all ages, and genders. They can be used in any genre, and can appeal to even the most reluctant of readers. These books make reading more accessible.

They are usually written in the second person, (you). This makes the reader a direct participant. Suddenly, you aren’t reading about a character, you are the character.

There are an increasing number of adult versions of the interactive novel, which rely heavily on the use of QR codes, and hyperlinks. These make the possibilities of storytelling even more endless.

Recently, I have been reading and playing about with an app named Twine. It is a bit of freeware, which is used to create RPG games, but can also be used to create interactive stories. The software itself is relatively simple to use, with only a small amount of coding (trust me, if I can work it out, you can!).

I am in the process of planning a middle grade novel, which I would like to turn into an interactive story. The main character is a dragon, who just doesn’t quite fit in to his world.

The thing about interactive writings is that they could be applied to anything. You could even start a blog series with different options for the reader.

The possibilities are literally endless!

And, as long as you have an idea, you can write one too.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂

Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

57

Ten Ways You Know You’re A Writer

The good, the bad and the crazy…

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

I have always known that I am a writer. I think it’s something I was just born to be. I love reading. I love stories. Really, a life without stories, is more than I could bear to think about. It would be the ultimate torture. In fact, when I am struggling to write, it feels a lot like I can’t breathe; as if a part of me is crying, and I don’t know how to help it.

That’s the thing with writing. The stories inside you are desperate to get out, and the struggle is being able to actually get them out.

In thinking about writing, I thought I’d try to compile a list of reasons how you would know if you’re a writer.

1. You study people and things, constantly looking for inspiration and ideas.

Everything has a story, and you feel that it is down to you to discover it.

2. You always carry a notebook.

Whether paper, or digital, you need something with you to write down those little sparks of inspiration, before they flit away from you.

3. You have a notebook hoard.

This is a guaranteed sign of a writer. I’m serious. Dragons have nothing on writers when it comes to hoarding… Some of these may be filled, but others may only have half a page filled. You love them, either way.

4. You’re always reading.

This is the key to becoming a better writer. You have to read. There is no other option here. Read. Read a lot. Read everything and anything you can. Even if the story is bad, you may add to your vocabulary. There’s always a silver lining.

5. You keep a running list of characters, settings and situations.

Friends, enemies, natural disasters. They all go down. Your house, your school, the local park. These are all perfect story fodder, and you’re constantly adding to them as the ideas strike.

6. Your idea of a good night involves pyjamas, a blanket, snacks and your laptop/notebook.

Seriously, what else could anyone need? Am I right?! That draft won’t write itself, so a night spent like this, writing dangerously, is the perfect option for any writer.

7. You live in constant fear of your inner critic.

Mine is named Muriel. I wrote about her in this post. She is mean and nasty and loves to make me put myself down. She hates it when I’m doing well and writing easily. She loves to put doubts in my mind, and will, if I let her, stop me writing altogether.

8. You can detect spelling and grammatical errors like a cat can find the only person in the room that is scared of them.

Seriously, does the term ‘grammar nazi’ mean anything to you? And pfft! Who needs spellcheck?!

9. You spend half your time in a dreamworld.

Yep, you’re quite happy to spend hours at a time with your own imagination, working out plot holes and ways to make your stories just that little bit better- that’s if you aren’t just stuck in an entirely new story altogether.

10. You are happiest when you’re writing.

Writing is my happy place. It is my refuge. When I am happy, or sad, it is the first thing that I turn to. It is the first thing I think of when I wake up, and no matter how bad I may feel when I start writing, I always feel better by the time that I’m done.

So, there it is. My ten ways of knowing that I’m a writer. Can you think of any others? Drop them in the comments. I’d love to read them. 🙂

Looking At Suggestions For Desperate Writers & Artists Seeking The Thrilling Spark Of Inspiration

Discovering Thoughts And Ideas For Bright Sparks And Brainwaves



Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash


This is the question that plagues all writers, most of the time. I wrote in a previous post about how to find ideas for your writing projects. You can read that post here.

In this post, I thought I’d give you some more.

The thing is that ideas are one thing, but being inspired about them is something completely different. In this post I will look at several different ways in which we can find inspiration.

As writers, we are in a constant search and quest for inspiration. It is what sets us apart from non-writers. We are always seeking out those little falling stars of sparkle, which we can add into our writing.

Inspiration can be found anywhere, even in the smallest of things. Think about standing in a queue at the supermarket till. You have someone in front of you, and someone behind you. What is their story?

One way to spark inspiration can be to try looking at things from a different perspective. For example, how would a child, or an elderly person see a situation differently? How would an animal see it?

When I first watched the Tinkerbell movie, I let the DVD play through and found there was a bonus feature, talking to the artists responsible for making the movie artwork. They were told to get out of the office, and to go out into nature, where they could look at their inspiration from different perspectives. For example, one of them laid on the floor, to see what the world looked like from a fairy’s height.

Another thing you can do is to keep a running list of ideas, quotes, and inspirations. You never know when you might need them, and looking back over them could just provide that spark that you’ve been looking for.

As well as a list, take photos, look on Unsplash for images that can provide inspiration. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. While I’m not exactly sure that I agree with that, I know that there have been times when a specific image has conjured up the inspiration for a story in my mind, and in those times, that image might well be worth its weight!

If you’re really struggling for inspiration, try stepping away from your desk. Go out, meet friends, go for coffee/tea/your choice of beverage. Take a walk in nature. Do what those Disney artists did.

Something I learned from Shaunta Grimes is to write down ten ideas a day. If you do this for thirty days, that’s 300 ideas, and while you may decide that some of these are absolutely useless, you’re bound to find a few gems in there.

Another thing that I have found very important to do is to put my inner critic back in her box. My inner critic’s name is Muriel. I wrote about her in this post.

The one thing that is almost more important than anything else, is to write every day. Another of Shaunta’s ideas is to set yourself a teeny tiny goal. Write new fiction for ten minutes each day. Do this, because in the long run, habit is more important and far more reliable and dependable than being inspired. You can be as inspired as you like, but if you don’t show up and do the work, then that inspiration is just stuck inside you like a butterfly caught in a jar, pattering out its life on the glass.

And THE most important thing of all… DO NOT GIVE UP!!

You are a writer. You can do this, no matter what anyone says, as long as you (to quote Dory) “Just keep on swimmin’”


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.