Saturday, 10 January 2015

Six ways to cut the crap | The Small Desk

By crap, I mean trash, I couldn't think of something that would sound catchy for trash. For most of my adult life I have had an unhealthy addiction to trash TV and trashy magazines. I stopped reading trashy magazines a while ago, but that was more to do with finding the sidebar of the Daily Mail. I know that watching and reading this stuff can be addictive and is easy to turn to when you want to switch off, but I do find myself constantly having to remind myself that the trash I am consuming should not influence who I am. This is easier said than done. You see Kim Kardashian with her perfect makeup, knowing it is something you will never achieve because a) you don't have a makeup artist and b) you don't have the products or the time! Trash TV and trashy columns on celebrities do affect society's measure of success. I have written about this before, but success is something that is personal and becoming a celebrity should not be portrayed as the highest form of success.

I could go on. I have been really trying to make an effort to 'cut the crap' recently and have found six easy ways to do so. Most of them actually revert to forms of media that existed before the Internet! Usually watching or consuming trash is done in down time, therefore I wanted to think of things that would replace it but would still involve you sitting still and relaxing. 

No. 1
Listen to the radio. If you work in an office this is a really good way to give your eyes a break from a screen. Recently I have been listening to BBC World Service, which, depending on what news story they are reporting on, isn't always what you might call relaxing. However they have some really interesting stories on there, for example one of their documentaries talks to people all over the world about their love for onions! It helps you to connect to the real world, bringing you news from a wider range of countries than most TV news channels.

No. 2
Read about the world. Even if you're not planning on going to your dream destination for a while, pick up a guidebook and daydream about what it might be like. Sometimes I also like browsing an atlas, is that weird?!

No. 3
Read more blogs. I am completely in love with the Bloglovin' app. I follow quite a few blogs and can read through all the new posts on my iPhone using the app. Once you've read the new post it disappears from your feed. There is so much new and good writing out there in the blogging world, plus a lot of people share their stories of REAL life. The Small Desk is also on Bloglovin'.

No. 4
Read well written magazines. My two favourite magazines at the moment are Frankie and Cereal. I found Frankie magazine whilst in Australia. It is an Australian magazine but I have seen issues in Paperchase before. You can also subscribe to it. The writing and photography is in a sort of blog format. My favourite article was about hitchhiking. They spoke to lots of people about their different experiences of hitchhiking: one guy accidentally gave a lift to a murderer on the run! 

I'd heard of Cereal magazine through Instagram and various bloggers. I was lucky enough to get a copy for Christmas from the boyf and I am so pleased with it! It is a travel and lifestyle magazine. They have the most gorgeous photography and inspiring writing. The Editor and Founder, Rosa Park is one to follow on Instagram. With this magazine, of course it is not ordinary reality, but it is not trashy and is incredibly creative.

No. 5
Write a journal. This was one of my New Year's resolutions. I am not encouraging you to write in it every day, like I am doing, but just once a week or even just when you feel the need. I find writing a diary a great way to reflect on the day and allow myself some thinking time.

No. 6
Read a book. Again, one of my New Year's resolutions was to read more but it is also helping me to read less trash. If I'm at a loss as to how to spend my evening or my commute I am now turning to a book rather than celebrity gossip. Obviously I'm not some sort of saint and if I forget my book or I'm super tired I will still turn to the trash! To get myself reading I've bought three bestsellers and prize-winning books: Elizabeth is Missing, The Miniaturist and Mrs Hemingway. I've not started any yet as I'm still trying to finish Bill Bryson's Australia book. Have you read any of these? Also, do you have any more tips on how I can cut the crap for good?!
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  1. I have never, ever had a problem with crap like this and the only reason I can think of why is because it doesn't stimulate me in any way. I care not for the Kardashians and I don't read "Women's Magazines" and I sincerely wish I could offer the reason why: I basically just don't like it. I admire that you've admitted it's bad for you even if you enjoy it and, whilst enjoying something shouldn't be damaging, it can be (examples are smoking, drinking and various other habits that are conflicting).

    I think the best way is to keep reminding yourself of why you think this "crap" is, indeed, CRAP. Maybe you need to commit these thoughts to paper-you mentioned a journal-because having a thought is different to having an ideal. There is a danger that you could remove your crap-love of crap-magazines to crap-books (and they do exist!) but on the whole, books are a healthier bet (maybe stay away from the Richard and Judy Book Club choices though).

    This is a silly, long post but I needed to comment on this because it's something I've become much more aware of lately; probably through reading more blogs. I disagree that reading more blogs will help you overcome this (mostly because I've read a lot of blogs where they talk and preach about this "crap") but if you avoid those blogs then, yes, of course. There is a nice medium between "more blogs" and "too many blogs".

    And there's no need to distance yourself completely from the Celebrity Culture we have. Let's face it, it's quite unavoidable unless you live under a rock. Like R-E-A-L people, Celebs have their own ideals and thoughts on things like this, so admiring someone even if you don't know them isn't a terrible thing, but it's important to really understand where that admiration comes from and certainly where it's going.

    Sorry for writing a comment longer than your actual post (!) but this really touched me (in a non-sexual way (promise)). If you wanna talk about your feelings on this a bit more I'd be so happy to listen :) This is something that interests me quite a lot.

    1. Firstly I want to say thank you for taking the time to write such a long comment! I am really pleased that the post has provoked such a reaction.

      The books I've bought are award-winning novels, but I agree, you're right, you could start reading crap books instead.

      In regards to blogs, maybe I should have mentioned a few where I think the actual writing is good. For example: Spitalfields Life.

      Do you have a blog where you talk about these sorts of things?


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