How To Keep A Blog Going

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A lot of people have spoken to me about how to sustain a blog. It can be easy to be enthusiastic for the first month or so and then let life take over. For me though, I wanted to make my blog an integral part of my life, so I had it in my mind that this was going to become embedded into my daily routine. Of course, life throws things at you from time to time, but if blogging is what you love, then time can be set aside easily.
I decided to share some ways that you can keep your blog going, even when you are rushed off your feet.

  1. Bitesize it.

    Sometimes I don’t have the time to sit down and write a blog post all at once. The way I deal with this is by doing it bit-by-bit. For example, when I wake up I often have an idea for an article and jot down the title and introduction. Then later on, when I have time for a break, I begin to write some content and look for relevant information. Producing bitesize segments of blog posts, I eventually have a publishable article by the end of the day.

  2. Have a back-up

    Because you can never tell when you are going to have an emergency to deal with, I find it useful to have a couple of evergreen articles up my sleeve ready to publish on a day when things go suddenly downhill. For example, when I am Ill, I can then publish pre-saved material which is about a subject that doesn’t depend on a particular season.

  3. Keep momentum

    Blogs grow because of consistency. There is no doubt that there will be times when ideas run dry and you may be tempted to not bother writing a new post for a day or two. The trouble is, when you start to lose momentum, you can become lazy and slow down your rate of blogging. Your blog readers are very loyal and come to expect consistency, so reducing the amount of articles you produce can result in less interest and make your blog less visible.
    There are many brilliant bloggers who produce lists if ideas for blog topics each month and they can be invaluable when it comes to sparking ideas. Producing a shorter article on a dry day can be one way to maintain interest and keep your momentum.

  4. Don’t get trapped in a niche.

    This is probably contrary to so many other blogs that you read but ultimately, if something outside of your usual niche takes your interest, then why not write about it? Now and again I drop in an article about something which is on my mind and I make no apologies for it. I respect bloggers who can divert from their niche now again and stick to things they are passionate about, rather than just try to fit a mould.

  5. Enjoy it

    You have to love what you do for it to be a beneficial process. If you find joy in blogging then go for it! Keep the pace and maintain the quality. If not, then perhaps the truth is that blogging isn’t for you. Either way, follow your heart.
    For more information on starting your own blog click https://jamieadstories.blog/2021/07/11/how-to-start-a-blog-easily/.

Working From Home – In The Mix

As Boris announces today that he wants everyone to return to their offices again to enable the economy to keep growing, it made me think more about this. I am lucky enough to do a mix of work, but the majority of it is not from home. My dream is to eventually work mainly in writing jobs, but even then I hope to have a good balance of work in a workplace and at home.

There are so many advantages and disadvantages for working at home. I like the idea of finding a reasonable balance between the two. Here are the pros and cons of home working:

Advantages

1) No travel. Good for the environment and saves time being wasted.

2) No need to spend on snacking. All the food and supplies you need are already at home. This can be a downer too as you may be tempted to eat and drink more when working so close to a fully filled fridge.

3) You can take better control of your timetable, unless you are unlucky enough to have been given back-to-back zoom calls all day.

4) You are your own boss. Well, not literally, but at least nobody is actually breathing down your neck as you try to hit a deadline. At least if you need to buy some time you can say that the internet is down. Who will know?!

5) In theory you will get much more done. No distractions from chatty colleagues or noisy photocopiers can be used as excuses for a lack of productivity.

Disadvantages

1) Although you don’t use any fuel, you may find it harder to make a distinction between work and home. Travelling to work is often a good way to disconnect from your home life and give yourself the brain space needed for a day at work. I often unpick a day on my way home from work and usually by the time I reach my house I am ready to move on and chill.

2) Pets and family members can get in the way. At work you won‘t be dealing with fighting cats or intrusive dogs. Kids won’t be arguing over computer games in the background. Of course office hours are longer then school hours so there is bound to be an overlap.

3) I found that when I had a period of working from home I missed the social interaction of being around my colleagues who always give me a sounding board and regularly cheer me up with their humour. Let’s face it, nothing beats a good face to face gossip either.

4) You are using your own supplies. At least at work everything is there for you. Working from home leads to dealing with printers, restocking ink and regular trips to the post office. Although you can claim for these, they can take up a lot of valuable time.

5) You can get tempted to relax whilst at home. I know people who end up getting up later and staying in their jogging bottoms all day. Sitting around can lead to bad backs and putting weight on. That trip into the office can involve walking or cycling and getting your daily dose of fresh air and exercise.

So yes, I like working from home a lot but it comes with a down side. Personally I have a mix of both and like being able to have some days at home and others in a busy environment. Perhaps in future I will manage to make it a 50:50 split between them both.

For a related article about working from home click here.

If you enjoyed reading this post please comment below your thoughts about working from home. Also please consider following my blog. This will help me build a platform so that one day I can work on it from home more.

Remember What You Read (Studying Tips)

Throughout my career I have always worked in the field of education. From marking University essays to tutoring and moderation, I have done it all. This article will link my love of reading to my passion for learning. I thought it would be helpful to share some learning advice just before everyone gets back to studying.

Learning involves remembering what you have read.

So let’s begin by talking about making notes. When we study we read a lot of content, but unlike when reading a story, we usually are bombarded with a lot of facts that we have to try to remember. Stories come and go but learning needs to somehow stick.

Here are a few pieces of advice regarding learning to remember facts.

1) The devil is in the detail.

Yes, education requires a lot of factual recall. In the old days, you would write facts down hundreds of times until you remembered them, just as children rewrite their spellings multiple times before doing a weekly spelling test. The trouble with repetition is that after a while you move on to repeating new facts by rote and these ones take over from the previous ones. Kids often learn spellings for a test and then not use those words again for a while and so forget how to spell them again.

What am I saying here? Don’t try to learn every single detail. Learn and remember the facts that are most important. Then find ways to link these ‘super facts’ to smaller snippets of information or reference points. For instance, when learning about water transference in cells, by all means commit to memory the term ‘osmosis’. Then learn an associated example or reference point.

Some facts take a while to get rooted in your memory.

Remember ‘Osmosis’.

Related info – tree roots transfer water into their roots because the roots have a lower concentration of water molecules than the soil.

2) Technology can’t remember things for you.

We all depend on technology and I am no exception to this. I feel like my arm is detached if ever I cannot find where I left my phone. However, past experience has taught me that notes on paper and in notebooks can be so much more accessible than typed information stored on a laptop or iPad.

That tried and tested method of making maps of facts with connecting arrows is still a very efficient way to make sense of a subject. If my topic was glacial geomorphology (the study of glaciers and how they alter the landscape) I may have a map (formerly know as a mind map) with bubbles for key terms and lots of bullet point lists scattered around under headings. I could wake up in the morning and revise a series of facts before I’ve even had my breakfast, merely by consulting a wall map.

3) Annotation

Highlighter pens and post-it notes are still relevant.

Just like when an author edits their story, making notes across your work is very useful. Coloured pens and highlighters got me prepared for many an exam over the years and certainly have their place in the learning process.

Having a system where you know how to find vital revision facts or case studies is useful. Perhaps you could use green post-it’s for pages linked to key topic overviews and orange for pages with diagrams on and maybe red for hot topics or examples that stand out for you.

4) Little and often.

Revision can consume you so it is important that as you start to learn a subject you give yourself reference points as you go along. Also, throughout the year, return to different subjects regularly, especially those which do not stuck in your memory so easily. With me, learning geography, I always found facts about rivers easy to recall but anything to do with soils always went straight over my head. Therefore I would have to keep recapping details related to soils on a regular basis.

Trying to list key terms or five examples of something or other was my way of revisiting a topic and trying to keep it fresh. For example, I might list soil composition types. Lists and mini self-tests are tried and tested methods for keeping information locked in.

5) Practise test skills

Just like in school, it is important to keep the skills you need to answer questions under pressure up to date. Sometimes timing yourself to write an essay can help you to focus on a subject and keep you fresh. By fresh I mean used to writing answers against the clock. If you do not train your mind to apply this very specific way of doing things then you may find yourself stuck in a real exam. Practise makes perfect, so making opportunities to rehearse unpicking a question and formulating an answer in a given time is really good.

I find that rehearsing the process really helps when it comes to revision generally as it removes distraction and room for finding other things to do. When I set aside 30 minutes and challenge myself to practise the steps of sequencing my answer on paper, I also find areas I am remembering effectively and can then work out where my gaps in subject knowledge lie and build my revision around these.

If you enjoyed this article please drop a comment below. I will write more tips for students in the future as it all links in with my reading theme. Please consider following my blog and helping me to grow.