Smoke and Mirrors: How to Avoid Hating Your Blog in 2018

Blogging tips

A new year always begins with the same pattern in the blogging world. My emails, reader and social media feeds become¬†filled with targets for the next twelve months and an influx of New Year’s Resolution bloggers will start to appear in the comment section on my blog or across various Facebook groups.

The next few weeks will be filled with an overwhelming amount of conflicting information and I can pretty much guarantee that most will disappear as quickly as they arrived. For some, the novelty of having a blog wears off pretty quickly. For others, there’s a disappointing realisation that thousands of views can’t be achieved simply by pressing the publish button.

However, for the ones that stick it out, it can become a minefield of self-doubt and, at times, a huge knock to their confidence in their writing abilities. Continue reading

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Reflections On a Challenging Year

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After the presents have been opened, all the food has been consumed and the parties have ended, many of us go through the process of reflection on the year that has passed and set ourselves targets and challenges for the next.

I decided a year ago that 2014 was going to be my year. This was the time where, after experiencing a very difficult time in 2013, there was going to be changes. There was indeed change – I lost my little friend who had been my constant companion for thirteen years, I was hospitalised for nearly a week and had to take five weeks off work to recover (which put a strain on my relationships with some of my colleagues and has affected my health permanently), our charlatan landlady decided to sell the house we had only moved into six months previously, forcing us to take out a loan and find somewhere very quickly while I was still recovering from my illness, The Bloke lost someone dear to him for the third time in three years and had to take on the extra strain and pressure of supporting me while I regained my strength, and my workload tripled.

However, it hasn’t been all bad – I was able to establish a better relationship with family members, my sister got married to a lovely man, my other sister met the man who I think she is going to end up with, and throughout I have been supported by the best group of friends that anybody could hope for.

My New Years Resolutions have followed the same pattern for the last few years and the resulting list will give an idea of how successful I have been in achieving these goals over the last twelve months:

1. Lose weight and get healthy. As I write I am the heaviest I have ever been. Ever. Seriously, ever. Things now wobble that aren’t supposed to wobble and have never wobbled before. A taxi driver asked me a few months ago when my baby was due and then proceeded to give me diet tips when I informed him that I wasn’t pregnant. I can’t fit into my sweat pants. Beautiful dresses that I wore a year ago now don’t go past my hips… However, I do exercise more – I jog sporadically. And by sporadically, I mean that I have been for a total of seven jogging sessions in the last twelve months, totalling about 20 miles. That’s less than three miles a month.

2. Stop smoking. While I don’t smoke anywhere near what I used to, I have been known to enjoy a cigarette or ten when I’m drinking. Or stressed. Or celebrating. Or walking to the bus stop.

3. Take the time to send birthday cards to my friends in other cities. Number of cards sent via post in the last year? One. My friends mean a lot to me and the good intentions are always there, but the execution is decidedly poor.

4. Take more care in my appearance. The last time I got my hair cut? Eighteen months ago. I haven’t really bothered wearing make up since my birthday in November. I spend the majority of my personal time dressed in hooded sweaters and jeans, very much like the teenage boys that I teach.

5. Save money. My current savings account does indeed have money in there: 0.47p. Genuinely. After a years worth of work on a good salary I have successfully managed to save a whole 47p. That should pay for a chocolate bar… Just.

6. Be more organised. I don’t even want to think about the stacks of papers and files I need to sort through. Or the washing that needs to be done. Or the… let’s just say that I have collected a lot of stuff, and it’s everywhere.

2014 was not a year of living, it was simply an existence – getting by from day to day in the hope that things would soon improve. The real truth is that certain aspects of my life in 2014 were not how I imagined my life, and indeed, who I, should be, and at the age of 33 now is the time to stop pretending that a mere existence is acceptable.

For 2015, I have decided that I will get rid of all of my previous superficial goals and replace them with just a single one: I am going to take the risk.

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What about you guys? Have you any goals for 2015?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks