5 Ways to Improve Your Blogging Productivity

Friday 30 October 2015

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Over the past 6 months my productivity has been all over the place when it comes to blogging. Sometimes I have written 5 posts in a row and gotten up to date on everything to with my blog. Other times however, I haven’t been able to write at all. The motivation just wasn’t there, causing a severe case of blogger’s block. When I started my blog I did some things from the get go that would help me in such times. 

1.Write in Advance!

As often as I can I try to write my posts before I publish them (she says writing this post the day it goes up!). Sometimes the has even been weeks prior to the publication date of the post in question. Whenever I write a post I will type it up and schedule it as soon as possible! The more posts you have waiting to be published the less stress you will have further down the line.

2. Create a Schedule

I created my schedule before I had even shared my first post. Having made my blog on a Sunday evening, I didn’t put that first post up until the Monday. I decided on that Sunday that I would post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, to break up my week and allow some free time for homework and my hobbies etc. on the weekends. This helped keep my stress levels down as I wasn’t worrying about constantly producing posts and I know the dates of every blog post I will ever put up, and therefore helps with point 1 as I can stack up these pre-written posts.

Creating a schedule has also helped my view count. Readers will get to know your schedule as you post, particularly if you mention it in somewhere like your About page. They will know when to come back to find new content. But, then again, you’ve got to make sure you post when you say you will otherwise you’ll feel the guilt of not having posted when you see your views rise that day.

3. Start a Series

I have a long running series called ‘5 Fridays’, where I post a list of 5 things… on a Friday. As you can probably tell from the title, this post is included in that. As my blog has no real niche, I can write about really anything in this series. In fact I’ve written on topics ranging from Disney soundtracks to books that have changed my life and steps to self love.

These posts are usually quicker to write as they have the same format. It’s really quite simple: choose a topic, write a brief introduction (or none at all) , decide on 5 points and expand on them.

Having a series means that some posts are much less time consuming than they need to be - which gives you more time to write more blog posts!

If you like this post you might like: How Blogging has Affected my Writing

4. Carry Around a “Blogging” Notebook

For my birthday I received two notebooks (and bought another one when I went shopping with my friend Katie… oops!), but I have only started using one of them. It’s really cute and I love the message it has on the front of it! I have owned millions of notebooks for practically my whole life - I love them. However it has only really been in the past 3 weeks that I have been using one for the specific purpose of blogging. I carry it with me anywhere and everywhere, so that if I get a sudden idea or inspiration for a post I can write it down in something more substantial than the notes app on my phone. I have written posts on the bus to and from school, while it is particularly quiet when I’m on prefect duty and really anywhere where I have a spare moment. I’ve got so much written in this one notebook already.

I don’t just write blog posts in that notebook though. I have some smaller pieces in there, 3 lines some of them. Little observations on life and the world that wouldn’t really fit into a blog post. I don’t know quite what I’m going to do with those yet - maybe they’ll never be published. That’s for me to decide.


This one’s more of a life tip in general I think:

Before I started Year 11 I bought myself a weekly wall planner. Not like the ones we are given in school, where I write down homework I am set and things I need to do in the school day. This planner is much more personal. For a start it has teacups printed on it! Back the point Jemima… 

I write all sorts on my wall planner. From birthdays and trips to upcoming blog posts and homework due dates. I scribble my life onto it. And it hasn’t just helped me with my overall productivity it’s made me feel better in myself.

If I feel that I need a break or a relax then I can write down when I am going to do so. I write down notices on when I’m going to go out for a walk or go to a friend’s house. It’s all there, sorted so that I don’t put too much stress on myself.

So there are my tips for blogging productivity. Please bear in mind that I slip up and fall behind as well and I’m sure every blogger does. It’s just about doing your best in a way that suits you.

Jemima x

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My Imagination Land

Wednesday 28 October 2015

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We spend a lot of our time daydreaming- imagining what could be. We easily drift off into another world. A world where everything is better; our lives are sorted and ideal. 

But maybe that’s the problem.

Perhaps we spend too long in our own little lands of make-believe. Sometimes we can be engrossed in our daydreams for so long that our idealised paradises become our daily norm. And then, by the time we awaken into reality, we crash down with an unwelcome jolt. It’s frankly a shock to the system.

I feel like I have been falling into that trap lately. Wandering away into the land of "what-if"s and "could-be"s, when I should be focusing on the here and now. Looking forwards to the future - to my future. I should be working to ensure my future is filled with happiness, not daydreaming about how good it could be if one thing would happen and magically make everything fall into place.

Sometimes I need to give myself a wake up call - kick myself up the bum and get the cogs of my brain into motion. Get myself out of that daze and into the crystal clear world of reality.

Yes, I may be young and dependent now,  but in a few short years I’ll be out in the world on my own. And I cannot daydream constantly then.

Yes, you could say that daydreaming is part of a writer’s job description, but the amount of time I spend in my imagination can sometimes rival that of the time I spend in actual life.

I find my mind slipping away, off into a new world or the life of a new character, when I have just opened up my computer to finish an essay. If I’m not too careful I will become a permanent resident of my imagination, unable to focus on anything real or tangible. 

Of course, that doesn’t sound all that bad to me. I would much rather live in the land of make-believe and fantasy than the work filled, serious one we inhabit in reality.

Some of the best ideas can sprout from a minute spent in my imagination. Anything seems possible when limits aren’t pressing down on me from every angle. I am limitless and free. The term ‘impossible’, is impossible.

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I am a night owl

Monday 26 October 2015

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I am a night owl. 

I find consolidation in lying awake at night - when no one else is around and the only thing that stirs outside are the wise old birds that glide through the darkened, star strewn sky with their wings outstretched in a moony fan of feathers.

 I am comforted by the solace I can only seem to find when the Sun has dimmed. Only then can I fully collect my thoughts and file them into some, meagre, sense of order.

 When I look up into the great abyss of darkness and light that our tiny little rock floats within, I am filled with a sense of awe I cannot find anywhere else. I stare up. Gazing into the infinite expanse of glittering stars and glowing planets. And each time I cannot quite begin to comprehend that we are the only consciousness out there. But then, at the same time, I am confounded that we actually exist; the likelihood of our being is nearly impossible. We are impossible.

That’s such an odd word: impossible. 

Such a phrase should be its very definition. Why did we suddenly decide that something could never be achieved? We should be thinking that we could accomplish anything. It tends to be those who do so that use their talents and lives to the fullest. They are the ones who create the most impact on the world as we know it.

Maybe, once in a while, we ought to become one of them - just long enough so that that defiance of the impossible becomes embedded in our very being - a part of who we are as people.


My friend Katie and I went shopping today, you can see her post about it here.

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5 things to tell yourself each morning

Friday 23 October 2015

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1. I am brilliant, even if not everyone recognises that

2. I can do this

3. I am worth it

4. My life decisions cannot be made by anyone but me

5. I believe in you


p.s. 60th post!! How did we get to this many? Thank you everyone for reading and supporting me!

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Thoughts on Thoughts

Wednesday 21 October 2015

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I’ve been very busy lately. So busy that I’ve hardly had time to breathe. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. My life seems to be flashing by - a blur of homework, exams and schoolwork. My workload seems to be dominating my time; taking over my life so that I have time for little else.

There always seems to be another essay to write, another fact to look up. Everything is fighting for priority - piling up into a mountain of stress and panic; I am just waiting for the day that it all comes cascading down in a whirlwind of lined paper, deadlines and pens that have had all their ink used up.

My head is cluttered with thoughts half-finished. My room with the leftovers of an afternoon of solid work - revision tools and analysed texts. I can almost feel the weight of the uncompleted work pressing down on me from above. Yet be brought into existence and creeping up from behind.

It’s like I am stuck on a roller coaster and can’t get off. The time for me to relax and do something for my pure enjoyment seems to have gone completely. Even though I know it hasn’t.

When I am not doing schoolwork I am writing, watching a film or Tv show, or reading a book. However now, I cannot help but feel a bit guilty while I am doing so. Is that wrong? That I feel bad about taking some time out for myself?

I enjoy school. I really do. I love seeing my friends, taking in new information and learning. But when I can do nothing else because of the increased workload I have been set, I begin to become weary. Weary through both physical and emotional tiredness.

My brain is heavy with thoughts passing by, some partly formed, others ready to spread their wings and fly, fully fledged and raring to go. I feel like I need a pensieve. Something to clear my mind; to declutter it - make it clearer and more ordered. Brush out all unnecessary thoughts with a feather duster.

All my thoughts are so tightly packed together, crammed in one by one, that I can’t get each one down on paper before another has taken centre stage. I can’t tell the half thoughts and the finished thoughts apart anymore. They just squish into one big jumble of ideas and opinions.

I finally know what Professor Dumbledore was on about.
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To Shave or Not To Shave

Monday 19 October 2015

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It has been the social norm that women, young and old, should shave their bodily off for a good few decades by now. We are used to seeing women with hairless legs, armpits and sometimes other parts of the anatomy (some of which are more intimate than others).

Such a pressure can make young girls who are new to the world of shaving and hair removal, quite uneasy and self-conscious.

A lot of my friends started shaving in Year 8. We were 12 or 13. Suddenly the conversations had as we changed into our PE kits, had evolved into that of the smoothness of our skin, the distress in not having shaved in 2 days and the effect shaving ha had on the aesthetics of our legs. 

Everyone seemed to have started shaving - or at least, started talking about it.

It was like some elusive club, the way they talked about it. A club that I felt obliged, yet reluctant, to join.

I felt like I had to shave my legs in order to gain the rank that those around me had already achieved. I had to do this to, well, maybe it was to gain their respect? Feel like I had earned their friendship? Maybe, I feared that I would lose that friendship which I held in such high regard, all because I hadn’t started to shave my legs yet.

Looking back at it now, nearly 3 years later, it all seems so silly. But then and there it seemed a pressing matter. My 13-year-old mind overthought everything so that any conversation could be taken and morphed into something that was the complete contrary of what the speaker had meant.

In later years I would realise that a strong friendship could never be abandoned due to something as small as shaving. And if a friendship does break down over something as petty as that? Your “friend” was never truly your friend.

I started removing my body hair properly in Year 9. I say ‘removing my body hair’ because I use a hair removal cream instead of actually shaving because of the sensitivity of my skin. When I first started using this cream I was, well, a little uneasy let’s say, because I was not “shaving” as I believed everyone else was. It was still different; I was still not part of the elusive club. But it did the job with less risk of accidentally cutting myself and getting bright red rashes in my armpits and on my legs.

Currently, as my 16-year-old self, I hardly ever “shave”. Particularly now that the cold claws of winter are beginning to creep up on us from behind. Last summer, I probably “shaved” my legs about 2 or 3 times. I do not see why, when the temperature outside has dropped to freezing, that I have to shave my legs; I would much rather use that layer of hair for its intended purpose: to insulate my body in an attempt at keeping it warm.

And the same applies to the summer months: I will mostly likely remove my hair due to the increase of heat. I don’t want to be sweating more because of one layer of insulation I could easily have removed.

Perhaps, what I’m really trying to say here, is that I couldn’t care less if someone - male or female -shaves or not. I am perfectly content when I have “shaved” and when I have not. I make a choice whether or not I am going to “shave”, and I don’t want anyone, not matter how important they are, telling me I have to.

Shaving you body hair is, and should be, entirely your own, independent decision.

I know people who are disgusted by body hair, so shave it off. I know people who don’t give a damn about body hair so don’t shave. Both opinions are valid and acceptable. It’s their body to do with how the please.

Shaving shouldn’t have to feel like an act as compulsory as brushing your teeth everyday. And we should try to remember that women were not born hairless creatures.

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5 things I love about Autumn

Friday 16 October 2015

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1. Cold Weather = Cosy Jumpers!

I get cold quite easily and I seem to be forever complaining about the temperature - I’m never satisfied. However, feeling all snuggly and warm in an oversized jumper is one of my favourite things. I’ve got loads of fluffy and cuddly jumpers, and if one of mine isn’t what I am in need of, then I borrow one of my dad’s. Borrowed clothes always seem better than your own, right?

2. Autumn Colours!

Browns, greys, reds, oranges… I just love the colours that come with autumn! The whole season is like some drawn out live action mood board.

3. Seasonal Tea Favourites!

Each year I seem to binge drink a certain tea for the entire autumn, and for the majority of the winter too. Last year it was vanilla and redbush (black ,no sugar), however this year I am finding my love for Earl Grey (the situation on milk and sugar is the same) has grown as the weather has grown colder.

4. Candles Candles Candles

I seem to get more and more obsessed with candles and all the other little scented melt-things you can get. One of my favourite autumn scents is cinnamon, and it has made a regular appearance almost every year. I just love the way I can leave my room for a second and then return to a room warmed from a scent that dances up my nostrils. It creates a cosy atmosphere that I cannot help but associate with autumn.

5. The Fireplace Coming Out of Hibernation! 

One of my absolute favourite things to do is curling up by the fire, listening to the logs crackle as they burn, a book open on my lap and a cup of tea steaming by my side. Something so simplistic, yet so calming.

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That Time I Turned 16

Monday 12 October 2015

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So, as some of you are aware, it was my birthday on Saturday. I turned 16, an age that many people put a lot of pressure on. 

One of the first things someone said to me was “How does it feel to be 16?”. I, of course, answered how I would always answer such a question: “Just like I did yesterday.” For that’s what we really celebrate when we have our birthdays: an extra day of living. One second I was 15, then the next I was an entire year older, apparently capable of more in many people’s eyes.

16 has always seemed like such a “grown-up” age to me. Many Disney princesses are 16, many characters from YA books are 16, many characters from films are 16, and that made me, as a little girl, view the age of 16 as much more mature and adult than I feel now.

At the moment I don’t feel adult or grown-up in any way in the slightest. I am willing myself not to grow up as I don’t want to - I want to stay young and responsibility free, but I know that can never be the case unless time suddenly stops and we all stop ageing for the rest of eternity. 

But, even though I still want to remain a little kid forever, I did enjoy my birthday. I enjoyed it a great deal. 

My grandparents had been down the week prior and they stayed until 10am, in order to wish me happy birthday and see me as I opened their presents - something I really loved as we don’t get to see them as much as did before our move.

That afternoon, my mum and I went to Winchester to do some browsing in the shops. Despite having lived relatively near the city for little over a year, I had not set foot into the Winchester city itself (something many of my friends kept urging me to do, seeing as it is - and I quote - a very “Jemima” place). 

Needless to say they were correct in assuming I would love it as the whole place filled me with an excited buzz I rarely get. The high street was gorgeous, new shops housed in old (and very cute!) buildings, mixed with independent shops all different kinds. There was a market on, which naturally brought a variety of different sellers, products and people. It’s fair to say it enthralled me. Each little avenue, coffee shop and stall. And there was even a place that sold scones with clotted cream and jam - my favourite!

In the evening, me, my family and some of our family friends went out to a local Indian restaurant where we were stuffed silly with plenty of curry, onion bhajis and papadums!

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday and to everyone who made it an absolutely fantastic day!

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5 things I achieved when I was 15

Friday 9 October 2015

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My sixteenth birthday is tomorrow, bringing a whole new year of madness into my already chaotic life. This in mind, I thought I would share with you 5 things that my 15-year-old self has achieved:

1. Settled into a school 200 miles away from my home

Those of you who are new here may be thinking that I travel 200 miles to school every day – that’s not what I meant! Last year I moved 200 miles from sunny Wales to a slightly sunnier England, thereby starting at a new secondary school (you can read my post about it here).  This was very difficult for me, but given little time I felt a lot more comfortable in my new surroundings – having met some amazing people who made me feel right at home. Even if the place I still consider home is hundreds of miles away.

2. Travelled across Britain alone via train

In the Easter of this year I went back home for a week. Staying with my grandparents, I had an incredibly busy week seeing a lot of friends in various different parts of the county.

But, of course, I had to get there somehow. My brother was going away on scout camp that week and with my parents working they could not bring me down themselves. This lead to me, with violin, suitcase and backpack in tow, heading across half of England through to South Wales where I would meet my grandparents at their tiny local station.

This was a big thing for me, as, while I was very used to trains and the way they worked, I would be totally alone. By myself, and among strangers. I felt comfortable during the journey, but it was tiring and afterwards I felt relieved that it was over.

3. Written 24,500 words of a novel!

I started writing this novel about 5/6 months ago and ever since I have fallen in love with my characters. I actually wrote a post about how I wish I could have more time with them, but life inevitably gets in the way and I can’t have my way. But, hopefully, it will be completed by this time next year.

4. Gained self-confidence

When I first became 15 I was not in a very self-confident state of mind. Having just moved 200 miles away from the place I call home, I knew little about the people I now call my friends and felt very insecure about myself as a person. Now, I consider self-love, self-respect and self-confidence to be a journey. Yes, I have used the dreaded J-word. Maybe at some point in the future I'll write a whole blog post about this, seeing as it does deserve more than just a paragraph. However, I am proud of the steps I have taken in the past year to feel comfortable and happy in both my body and my mind and  am sure that what I have learnt about myself will remain with me for a good long while.

5. I started a blog!

7 months into my 15th year I created a new small space on the Internet, that I could fill with all my thoughts, dreams, opinions and musings. I fell in love with everything that surrounds blogging. I called my blog Another Ranting Reader and I started posting on there 3 times a week. And I won’t be stopping any time soon.

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Autumn Fever

Wednesday 7 October 2015

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It’s reached that time of year again, when the leaves turn yellow and become crisp and fragile. The rain decides to fall down announced only by the moody sky, ready to pound the ground and our homes ruthlessly. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer – shortening our time outside, and forcing us to turn on extra lights so that our houses look like little mini suns -  glowing and shining a yellow colour. The air has gotten colder luring us back indoors where we stoke our fires.

Honestly, it’s my favourite time of year. Everything just seems better in the autumn. Don’t ask me why, for I could not tell you. But there’s something in the air… something indiscernible that makes the world of difference.

Maybe it’s the thought of the Christmas drinks coming back onto the Starbucks and Costa menus, or the pre-Christmas buzz that seems to be present everywhere you go – I just know that I love everything about this time of year. And a lot of my friends do too.

Summer can tend to be too hot. Sweltering and sticky days await us, even here in the UK. Something that, certainly for me, is not desirable in the slightest. I hate humidity and honestly prefer a good night in, wrapped up in old jumpers with a large mug of tea, than out in the ridiculous heat.

Not that I don’t like the summer. It’s just that, for some reason or another, things seem to be more awkward and inconvenient in the summer.

We all seem to look forward to the time when autumn comes back around again. (Once September is over and done with usually, for those of us still at school.) It’s a general love of this time of year that fills us all with happiness – however rainy it may be.

The colours of the season bring the world alive, when really the opposite is happening. Golds and browns and yellows and greys; these colours are beautiful and captivating.

Maybe, in the end, that’s why I am in awe of Autumn.

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Why I Love Coffee Shops

Monday 5 October 2015

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There’s something about coffee shops – big brand and independent – that I really love. They fascinate me.

One of my favourite things to do is to just sit, preferably with some tea to hand, and people watch. For coffee shops are, well and truly, the best place to do so. Coffee shops attract people from all walks of life; people who are so very different to myself, yet are, almost certainly, similar to me n more ways than one.

There are old ladies and new mums meeting up for a catch-up over cake, noisy families trying their hardest to quieten down their little ones, couples – both young and old – best friends, gaggles of teenagers coming in after school, and there are those who work in solitary, with their computers and notebooks stretched out across a table. All of whom have voices that carry through the air to anyone who happens to be listening.

I know it’s often deemed bad to eavesdrop, but I find that it’s my best source of inspiration. From brief snippets of overheard conversation we can learn so much about the way we work as humans. To hear the funny things the people around me say and do; the stories they tell and the emotion and drama they tell them with, is a real treat.

At some point, when I am listening to a group, I will always end up with a smile on my face. Humanity never ceases to amaze me. Whether it’s a little kid and their mother, or an insignificant, all-important chat amongst friends. Greatness, kindness, happiness and love are integral, vital, ingredients of making us human.

And coffee shops are, and will probably always be, the best place to view that. In all its flawed and beautiful glory.

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