Tag Archives: planning

My 2019 Bullet Journal Set Up

Hey guys and welcome to my very first blog post of 2019! Today I’m going to be sharing my 2019 bullet journal set up! I won’t be including my monthly pages as I’m planning a separate post on those. I’m also planning an ultimate guide to bullet journaling for writers, so look out for that one in the foreseeable future!

Without further ado, here is my 2019 set up..


First up is my front cover. I wanted to keep it simple so along with the year I drew some mountain as to represent the climb you go through in life. The quote is one of my favourite writing quotes – and brings together what writing means to me.


Mission statement, blog vision + word of the year.

I’m not 100% happy with my mission statement and blog vision, but it’s something I’m going to continue to work on and edit until I’m happy with it. The reason I’ve written it down in my bullet journal already is because I wanted to see it evolve. I also then have a baseline as to where I started and how I’ve changed over time.

2019 goals.

I’ve spilt my goals into sections – books/reading, blogging and writing. I don’t have any particular personal goals this year – I find those are the ones I tend to fail at and I want this year to be about growth and change. If you’d like to see a more in depth post on my 2019 goals, a link to that post is here.


2018 stats overview + most popular posts.

I chose to include this because I wanted to see how my blog improves from last year, and I also wanted to keep track of the posts people enjoyed in 2018 so I know what content to keep creating.


2019 blog stats.

I know numbers aren’t everything, however I like to keep track of them so I can see how well my blog is performing, and if there’s anything I can do to improve what I’m already doing. It also helps me as it gives me motivation if I’m in a blogging slump. It shows me how well my blog can do and that in turn gives me the oomph to create new content.


Books I’ve read.

I’ve also kept this page simple with title, author and rating. In the past I’ve had a complicated what I’ve read page with date started, date finished, genre etc, and it gets to look so messy on the page. This is why I’ve gone for something more simple this year and left all all the complicated stats to Goodreads.

Savings tracker.

So this year I’m saving for a very exciting (but terrifying) prospect. I’m not going to go into to it yet as it’s very personal but it is something I may share in the future. I’m not sure I’m happy with the layout of the savings tracker but it does what I need it to so it’ll do for now.


2019 reading challenge.

One of my 2019 goals is to complete a reading challenge. I decided on the Popsugar challenge and I’ve written down all the prompts so I can highlight them when I’ve completed each one. I prefer highlighting to checking boxes as I love adding colour to my journal and I feel like this is a super easy way to do so.


Future log.

Lastly, we have my future log. I’m useless at remembering things especially when they are months down the line. I’ve also added a section for book releases. With so many amazing books coming out this year there are bound to be some that I forget about, and now I don’t have to!


Planner supplies used.

TinkerPad Bullet Journal

Docrafts Brush Pens

Highlighters

Washi tape

Do you bullet journal, or do you prefer another form of planning?

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10 Helpful Tips For Studying As A Distance Learner

 

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Hello everyone and welcome back to Blogtober day 18. Back in 2016 I started my BSc (Honours) in Health Sciences. University is something I’ve always planned on working towards but because of my health conditions campus university just wasn’t an option. Distance learning has given me the opportunity to gain a qualification. There’s no travelling to campus uni, no physical lectures with lots of people, no bustle of campus life – none of which I’d be able to cope with, either mentally or physically.

Don’t get me wrong – it isn’t easy. The amount of motivation, concentration and self direction you need to get stuff done is massive and exhausting. Saying this, distance learning is an amazing thing that has given me and so many other people the opportunity to succeed.

The good news is there are ways to make it easier for yourself when you are studying as a distance learner. I hope these tips can help new and current distance learning students make the most of their studies.


1. Plan Ahead.

I can’t stress how important it is to plan ahead. I’ve got myself into some right pickles where I’ve not planned the work I need to get done for the week. It’s especially important to do this as a distance learner because there are only a few (optional) physical classes or lectures to help structure your learning.


2. It’s not about how much you get done – it’s about getting something done.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t get everything done you wanted to. Spread out your workload throughout the entire week so you don’t get overwhelmed. The main thing is going in the right direction and it’s okay if some days you can’t manage to do much.


3. Take breaks when needed.

Breaks are so important. Taking regular short breaks will help you retain more information and improve your concentration. If you were at a campus uni or college you’d have 10/15 minutes break in between classes. Just because you’re studying at home your brain still needs that time to reset. There’s a reason those breaks are there. Grab a drink and relax for a while and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.


4. Don’t worry too much if you get behind.

You can always catch up. Worrying about it is the worst thing you can do. One thing I’ve learnt is that worrying about being behind has sucked away my motivation. I’ve then ended up not doing anything, resulting in me getting even more behind.


5. Organise your study space.

One of the things I struggled with last year was not having enough space to get my work done. Before I moved house I was stuck in one bedroom because my house wasn’t accessible. There was no space to breathe and it wasn’t possible for me to have a study area. Everybody has different preferences and you don’t necessarily need a dedicated space. However, I do think it’s important to have somewhere you are able to spread out so you can see everything you’re studying.


6. Don’t be afraid to ask for extensions if you need them.

I’ve been learning that it’s okay to ask for an extension if I need it. Sometimes things in life crop up or you get sick and you can’t complete your assignment on time. It’s better to ask for an extension so you can have extra time to achieve to the best of your ability.


7. Ask your tutor if you need help.

Don’t feel like you’re being annoying. It’s their job to answer your questions and help you achieve the best marks you can.


8. Give yourself enough time to do your assignments.

And some more. Don’t leave things until the last minute. Anything can come up that means you’re unable to work on your assignment – flare ups, an emergency, internet breakdown etc.


9. Remember you don’t have to stay at home if you need a change of scenery.

The beauty of distance learning means you can study anywhere. If you need a change of scenery and don’t want to be stuck in the house you can go anywhere that has WIFI. Coffee shops, libraries, even the local park if its a nice day (if you have your study materials offline). Don’t feel like you have to stay in the house when you don’t want to.


10. And lastly, even though you’re distance learning, it doesn’t mean you’re alone.

There’s forums, Facebook groups, tutors etc. There’s a wealth of help from people who are studying, have studied at distance learning, and tutors to help you out so never feel like you’re alone.


That’s it for my tips for studying as a distance learner. Are you at university, as a distance learner or not?

My Experience Of Writing A Novel (So Far!)

Blogtober graphics with leaf and black cat

Hey guys and welcome to day 16 of Blogtober. Today I’m going to be writing about my experience of writing a book. One of the things I want to do on this blog is share my passion of writing, and take anyone who wants to join me on this journey. There are many blogs in the writing niche – just like with the beauty, lifestyle and travel niches. I firmly believe everyone experiences life in a different way, so anything anyone has to say matters and will be different in some way.

The book I am working on at the moment is my very first full length novel. It’s a Young Adult Fantasy novel set in a Kingdom at war with a powerful witch. It’s so hard not to talk about it – but I’m so wary of putting too much about it on the internet, because you hear horror stories about people stealing other writers work.

Let’s get on with it shall we! Here are my experiences about how I’ve found writing a book so far ..


I’m not the type of writer that can go in to a story without a plan. I need some kind of idea on where the story is going to go. When I first started planning this book, I had this elaborate to do list of all the thing I was going to plan before I started writing. Only halfway through this ginormous list, I was like ‘I’m done, I’m so bored and I’m losing the will to live.’ I got to the point where I wanted to start writing,

Honestly, I think it’s working out better that way. Most of the major plot holes have been fixed but I still have a lot of flexibility to allow my creativity and characters to go off in whatever direction they want to.


For this book in particular, the characters didn’t just pop up fully formed like some have in the past. Snippets here and there of their lives and personalities crept out bit by bit and I really had to dig to discover more about them.

Originally my main character was called Feather and she stayed my protagonist until halfway through the outlining process. Then all of a sudden I decided to scrap her – and she was completely gone from the entire story. I wasn’t connecting with her the way I had with the other characters and I feel that’s super important for the story.

One of my other characters – Arabeth – took centre stage and to me she’s like a force to be reckoned with. She’s so much more complex and fits better with the other characters, surroundings and story.


What can I say about world building without scaring you off haha. This was actually the hardest thing for me to plan. Trying to figure out some of the more technical, aspects like climate, geography and government was completely exhausting and at times a complete nightmare. I was and (still am) worried things aren’t going to make sense or I’ll have a tree where it isn’t supposed to be. I think I got so obsessed with small aspects that I started to lose faith in the story. It was then when I decided it was time to abandon the world building and get on with the story. I can always fix things later if I need to.


I started writing my first draft on the 3rd October. It’s going better than expected. At times I feel like my fingers are running away without me and the story just flows from my brain to the page. Other times I feel like my brain is frozen and I can’t write anything. I guess that’s just what happens when you write a book, it isn’t going to all be sunshine and roses. The first draft is getting it down on paper, getting down the building blocks so later you have a foundation to build your house on.


That brings me to the end of my experiences of writing a book. Let me know if you enjoyed this – I’d love to continue documenting my writing journey ☺️

Are you writing a book, let me know in the comments? Is there anything you can connect with if you have ever written a book?

7 Tips For Writing When You Have a Chronic Illness

I’m a writer, I love to write. I’m always tapping out or scribbling down something. It saved me from a lot when I was a child. When I was scared or alone or hurt, I’d grab my pens and pad and start writing a story. I’d disappear into this make believe land I’d created inside my head. I’d write about things that were so far from reality, that I wouldn’t have to think about real life anymore. The ultimate dream is to write a book and have it published. I dream of walking into my favourite bookstore and seeing my book on the shelves amongst all the books I love to read.

Improving as a writer means discipline. It means finding the motivation from somewhere inside to write. It means writing when you have zero motivation or inspiration. It’s hard to keep that up no matter what but when you feel like your brain is on fire it can feel impossible.

Becoming a good writer takes time and practice, and the only way to improve and learn is by putting pen to paper. I’ve been taking some time lately to find ways to help me battle the brain fog so I’ve compiled some of the tips I’ve found helpful when writing with a chronic illness.


1. Pace Yourself.

Don’t force yourself to do a ridiculous amount of writing everyday. If one day all you can manage is a line then that’s ok – well done you for writing something! Don’t be tempted to burn yourself out if you don’t feel well enough – you might find that forcing yourself to finish that one piece could mean you aren’t able to do anything else for the rest of the week. If you find yourself losing concentration consider taking a break. Grab a drink, go outside and breathe for a while.

2. Write Everyday.

Like I said above – if you can only manage a line, then write a line. The most important thing to remember is to get something down everyday. Keep your brain active, keep challenging the brain fog so you don’t get bogged down. You can even set a reminder on your phone or stick a post-it note on the fridge so you don’t forget.

3. Celebrate Your Achievements.

I think it’s important for any writer, whether you have a chronic illness or not, to celebrate any and every achievement (no matter how small). It’s helpful in maintaining motivation and reminding yourself that you can do this.

4. Stay Organised.

This is important for any writer. Whether you use a bullet journal, a planner or a digital app. One of the biggest things I’ve found when I don’t use my bullet journal is that I become overwhelmed with all my projects and I end up not getting anything done.

5. Always Carry a Notebook.

Whether you use a traditional notebook or a digital app, it’s important to have a place where you can write down your ideas. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve lost great ideas because I’ve not written them down right away.

6. Don’t compare yourself to other writers.

I’m guilty of this myself. Sometimes it’s hard to not get frustrated when you see other writers powering through their novels when you’re struggling to gather the concentration to write anything. But at the end of the day – it isn’t how slow you go, it’s about the end product. I still haven’t found peace with the fact it takes me longer to get stuff done because of my illness (not just in the writing world, but with other things in life too). I’m trying to get better at not comparing myself to others. It’s a work in progress but comparing can be so detrimental in your writing journey.

7. Try Audiobooks.

One of the most important things a writer can do is read. But sometimes when you suffer from symptoms that can prevent you from reading a traditional book or a eBook, you don’t get a lot of reading done. Audiobooks can help because you don’t have to hold a physical book and read the words – all you have to do is listen. Audible can be slightly expensive if you don’t have a lot of money – but here is a free app available on the Apple App Store. It’s hasn’t got the biggest selection of books as it’s free but there are still some great finds on there. Charity shops also sometimes have cheap audiobooks, and your local library should have a decent selection to choose from.

8. Above all else, believe in yourself.

Having a chronic illness (whether it’s a physical or mental illness) is tough going but it doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams and goals in life. It may take a little longer to get there, but you can still achieve everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Keep going – you’re doing great.


These are my top tips for writing when you have a chronic illness. I hope there are things in here that can help you on your writing journey.

Do you have any tips for writing with a chronic illness? Let me know in the comments – any help will be much appreciated.

Writing How To: Strengths and Weaknesses of Planning & Pantsing

Hey guys! This post is inspired by a massive change I made recently to the novel I’m currently working on. I was sat there, 3/4 of the way through my plan and I decided I hated my protagonist and I wanted to change them. I realised how much of a pickle I’d be in if I hadn’t been planning my novel extensively. I’d be halfway through my first draft and have to completely rework the entire plot. It got me thinking about the different ways in which writers plan their novels and I’ve come up with the strengths and weaknesses of the two main methods.


Planning.

Planning is pretty self explanatory – it’s when a writer creates an outline in which they can work from when writing their novel.

Strengths.

  • You can fix plot holes as you notice them.
  • Characters are more fleshed out.
  • You’re less likely to hit the blank page syndrome.
  • It gives you a clear direction.

Weaknesses.

  • You run the risk of losing interest in the story.
  • It takes agessssss.
  • You might feel like you can’t deviate from the outline.
  • It can curb your creativity.

Pantsing.

Pantsing refers to writing the book ‘by the seat of your pants’. When someone goes into writing a novel without an outline to guide them, it is known as pantsing.

Strengths.

  • You won’t get bogged down by all the details and can get right on with the story.
  • You’re less likely to get bored.
  • You have the freedom to write whatever comes to mind.
  • You find out what’s happening at the same time as the characters do.

Weaknesses.

  • There may be more plot holes to fix after you’ve finished your first draft.
  • Characters might not end up as fleshed out as they need to be.
  • There’s more work when it comes to the second draft.
  • You may get hit with writers block.

 

I’m definitely in the planning group. I wish I could be a pantser but I need a plan to guide me when it comes to writing my first draft.

Saying this – always remember to do what works best for you. Every writer is different and what works for someone else might not work for you. I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful if you’re thinking about or are currently writing a novel.

Are you a planner or a pantser? Let me know in the comments, I’m interested to know 

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