4 April 2016

A new beginning

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
This post is another landmark one for me, as it heralds not just an anniversary, but also the end of an era and a new beginning. 

On 8 April 2013, I launched The Reluctant Perfectionist with a piece called 'Straighten It Like Beckham' and resolved to publish an article every Monday from then on. Today rounds off three years of weekly posts, delivered through life's rain, shine and sometimes boulder-sized hailstones.

Over the years, I've written not only about OCD, anxiety and perfectionism, as I'd intended, but a whole host of other conditions, such as body dysmorphic disorder, compulsive skin picking, spartanism and misophonia. I've also discussed the impact of world events, such as the Paris terror attacks, and covered television documentaries and reality shows featuring mental health.

Writing these pieces has been a reflective process, which has taught me a lot about myself and my behaviours, as well as providing me with the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world who are undergoing similar experiences.

During this time, it's been great to see the profile of mental health being raised, particularly in the political arena, with movements like the Equality for Mental Health campaign - led by MP Norman Lamb - gaining a huge amount of support. 

Having reached this milestone, I've made the difficult decision to stop posting weekly. My perfectionist nature wants me to keep going - and going and going - but I know that the time will inevitably come when I miss my target for reasons beyond my control. I prefer to stop while I have both an unbroken record and three complete years of posts under my belt. It feels so much tidier, and more satisfying, than giving up after, say, three years, four months and two weeks.

So, 157 posts and 81,382 words on - a novel's worth, in fact! - it's time for a change.

In future, I plan to post at least once a month, but not on a set day or week - quite a radical departure for someone like me, who loves routine and order and structure. It feels a little scary, but also liberating. If you want to be sure never to miss a post, you can sign up to receive these by email - see the top of the menu bar to the right.

I'll be keeping the other pages of my website up-to-date, so look out for future events and book news. And if you're an individual wanting information, or an organisation or member of the press seeking an interview or a guest post/article, please do contact me at helenbarbourblog@gmail.com.

I toyed with the idea of giving up blogging altogether, but I know I'll have information and stories to share with you in the future and I wouldn't want to 'retire' and then, like some ageing rock star, make a shuffling and embarrassed comeback.

The timing is perfect for another reason: I have finally found a new part-time job, which I begin next week, so it's an ideal moment to redirect my energies into promoting my novel and securing more paid writing work.

Wish me luck - and I'll see you in May!

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