Alexa Jade is a blogger living in Southampton, with a lot of empathy for social issues and movements in mental health. She is committed to self-growth and you can see this in her post ‘Why I blog’. You can see her entire portfolio, which consists of a tempting array of blog-posts on creativity, mental health and lifestyle, here. I wanted to team up with an experienced blogger – she’s been writing online for the past decade, and her blog was launched in 2017 – because I wanted to recognise the shifts that have happened in the industry since COVID-19. There were bound to be more readers happening across her profile, finding comfort in the world of self-care and creativity. More than that, I was curious to know how an experienced writer found the highs and lows of lockdown, what her productivity levels had been like, and how creativity had helped her mentally.
First of all, she assured me that she was one of the lucky ones, who had a room dedicated to creativity in her house. Not everybody has this privilege in lockdown, and for many, it’s a dream to dedicate a spare room to crafts and writing. As a writer, Alexa’s work often features the idea that a hobby is more than a pastime, so naturally, when you take your passions seriously, if there is the option to physically make room for them, you’ll jump at the chance. As you can see below, I fell in love with the idea of this room on the spot when I saw it, complete with positive affirmations, and pastel colours to neutralise any negative energy that lingers from being in lockdown. She told me that there were many pluses to having a craft-room, or office. Motivation is easier, as there’s space to spread out and work on larger projects in a room that compartmentalises your creative brain. However, she mentioned that wherever she is in the house, she will be stitching away at her crafts, or writing, even while watching television. As someone who has PTSD, Depression and severe anxiety, Alexa finds refuge in ‘throwing myself into a project’. She maintains that some of the best of her creations and blog-posts have been unplanned, arguing for the necessity of spontaneity in creativity. Her mental health issues did get worse in lockdown – understandably. For her, creativity is not simply an outlet but a way of empowering herself when in a low mood – it relaxes her, but it also makes her feel confident when other people notice. She created a small heart plaque one day on Instagram, and it was then shared by Cricut Official, which helps people lead creative lives. As their blog has over a million followers, it empowered Alexa to believe in herself, and gave her entire day a lift of confidence.
I wanted to see whether her website had been growing in stats since the first lockdown, and she assured me that it had grown in a major way. From a blogger’s point of view, the engagement received from posting during lockdown has felt to Alexa like a very supportive circle. She has received lovely messages commenting about people making their own steps to feel better mentally through creative outlets. This is something that she finds mind-boggling, as a naturally humble writer, but she is grateful and empowered by the idea that many are turning to bloggers for support during this crisis. Maybe it’s because they often hold up an authentic mirror to society and its problems, by showing the everyday details. She suggests also that it ‘connects people to reality – even if it’s a virtual one’. I agree completely that people find comfort in the insight of bloggers, because as a teacher of fiction and non-fiction, I abide by the idea that reading a good piece of writing is useful for many reasons. It’s simply about cultivating empathy for the other, another person whose experience of lockdown may be different to yours; enjoying cultural references and feeling heightened by the stirrings of reading a beautiful sentence; for writers and thinkers to connect, and join in on a conversation that is as old as time; lastly, to experience something outside our own lives.
Because Alexa made the leap years ago to start blogging, she found a community through social media platforms like Twitter, one that opened conversations on mental health. And there’s more good news to come – she has had so much success with her blog and handmade items that she’s in the process of launching her own shop, going full-time with her own company. I had never met a full-time blogger and crafter whose business it was to write and create, so it was a privilege to gain insight into someone who had created that reality for themselves. She credits Facebook Marketplace with being able to pick up many bargains to help her business grow; a few people who had started their own business at the beginning of lockdown actually sold their belongings to her when they gave up (luckily for Alexa). She’s sold handmade items for a few years now, but lockdown has ‘admittedly helped me decide to go full-time‘. Her official shop launches on Wednesday at 9am, and I will be sure to post a link!
Finally, I wanted to know whether it had been a long road, to get to being able to work on her dreams full-time. Many of us can only dream of a lifestyle of writing and creating for money. This was the only question that she found a little complicated to answer. She said that, unfortunately, she had been unlucky on the health front for the past two years, which naturally meant that she was unable to hold down a full-time job. So starting her own business and taking it at her own pace is something that is really benefiting her mentally and physically. She keeps a daily goal setter to remind her of her progress, which helps her grow too. Really, her blog has been a lifeline mentally, and the support of many has given her the momentum to keep going. So leave a comment below, if this interview has helped you in any way, and she’ll be sure to read it!