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There are many platforms for bloggers. All good in their own way, but many bloggers ( myself included) use WordPress.com. I fell into blogging hard many years ago. I wrote on various platforms back then. Mostly poetry, book reviews and short stories. At the time I was just testing the waters, and I wasn’t a very serious blogger. One thing I have remained shy about though is making video -blog content. I feel far more comfortable sitting in my chair, tapping the keys of my laptop and sipping my delicious herbal tea.
I suppose it was easier to blog back then because there was less competition. So you could be more relaxed and write at your own pace. Now we have many, many blogging competitors some of whom are really very good and covering a lot of different areas. I admit I love reading other people’s blogs and learning from them.
I moved to WordPress three years ago and I have played with the settings, and I just find it fascinating; I moved my beauty business onto WordPress three years ago. But, I was very busy with my clients so I spent less and less time blogging and used it mainly for information billboard purposes.
After the lockdown came into force, I had to make the hard decision to close my beauty business that I had operated since 2007, I had a beauty room in my home and covid-19 made me rethink about having people in my home and possibly passing the virus on to my children. Being a single mum of three I had to find a new avenue to make an income. I don’t like the idea of being on benefit so I retrained and started my life coaching business. I also have an online shop where you can find inspiring, motivational books to help beat whatever mental struggles you are currently facing. Don’t forget to visit and if you want to support me then feel free to buy something.
In my time using WordPress I have found that you have to ask people to follow you or whatever else you want help with. Think about asking/telling your beautiful readers the following:
- Ask them to follow you- whether you have a free or premium account just ask and you will find that most people are kind and willing enough to give a helping hand
- Tell them why they should subscribe. I find it helps to tell your readers why you want them to follow your blog.
- Tell a story to kick- start a conversation instead of writing posts that give too much information.
- Your posts have to contain life and establish a real connection between you and your readers
- If you have other methods to get your readers to follow your blogs or subscribe to your website do share it on comment below to help other bloggers, thank you.
Most importantly have fun writing your blogs.
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When you are reading do you find yourself asking ‘what does this sentence mean?’ Or ‘how can I explain to others what I have just read?’ Have you experienced embarrassment about expressing your thoughts in reports that you had to write?
Different people experience dyslexia differently. Some are able to read books and reports but struggle to process the information to help them understand it. This is frustrating and humiliating for many people who have dyslexia. Your disability usually causes you to take jobs where you will be safe from embarrassment. Even if you are smart and intelligent enough to do a particular job or business you are still afraid that other people will call you dumb for not being able to explain what you have read in business meetings or take accurate notes. To make things even more stressful, diagnoses on people whose first language is not English is difficult. All you are told is that your difficulty might not be dyslexia at all but could simply be a language barrier.
At school, I had a teacher who came once a week to help me with my reading. I speak French and English fluently, but I needed help reading in both languages. When I was growing up in Switzerland, I was the oldest kid in my class. I was what they called a dumb kid. At the age of eight, I was struggling with counting numbers from 1-10, do basic maths, and I didn’t know my alphabet until I was twenty-seven. It didn’t matter how many nights I practised, nothing stayed in. My family called me many names. The word ‘stupid’ was a common one at home and at school.
When we lived in the French-speaking part of Switzerland I was told that my difficulties were because I was born in Angola and when we were there we spoke Portuguese, and that was the reason I was struggling at school. So, when I was about nine, I decided to stop speaking Portuguese and focus on French. When I turned eleven, we moved to England, and my brain went back to ground zero. It was blank. So, I was in high school with literally no basic learning experience behind me. No alphabet to navigate me through the books, no numbers, and I was stressed. I cried silently. To compensate for my learning disabilities, I was always in the midst of fights and getting told off.
Before I left school, I saw a career advisor, and I expressed my desire to teach young children. I was advised to go into hair and beauty instead. Even today the thought of teaching young children scares me. I keep thinking that I am not smart enough, I don’t know anything to teach them. So, I have made learning my life- long friend. I study hard, but then I take a few days off and everything is forgotten. If I have deadlines at college or university, I have to study day and night non- stop until I finish everything because stopping for me is not an option.
I hate having learning disabilities, so when I had my children I decided that they would only speak one language: English; have one culture: British; so as to minimise their chances of catching my learning disabilities Even with all that, my kids each display learning disabilities like mine. It breaks my heart when my kids share their school experiences; how their brain just goes blank or they cannot understand the lesson until it is over. It is a case of information-processing delayed.
I was told I might have dyslexia, but it could not be properly diagnosed because of English not being my first language. I can’t speak Portuguese anymore. I can speak French, but I cannot read or write in French. I can speak English, and I can write with the help of Grammarly apps and help from friends, I read mostly via audiobooks.
The International Dyslexia Society said in a report that about 700 million people have dyslexia. Having dyslexia does not stop us from pushing hard to learn. I have overcome some of my learning obstacles and continue to do so. Because of my learning disabilities, I resorted to using procrastination. I became my own internal bully: ‘I’m not good enough. I’m not going to remember anything so why bother. They are just going to fail me because I’m not academic enough.’
I left many jobs out of fear. I was fine until I was offered more responsibility that needed paperwork to be done or reports to be written or letters to prospective customers. I was afraid I would not be understood so I would run away by quitting the jobs. On the outside, it looked like I was lazy and had no interest in having a job, but on the inside, I was scared that people would laugh at me. I was scared to make mistakes that could cost the company I was working for money. I worked at Alders before they shutdown. I was a supervisor and my manager did all the paperwork, so I just did the practical stuff. I was happy until I got promoted to manager at another branch. Fear overtook me. That fear leads me to have nightmares that caused a 21-year- old with only £41 in her bank account to go to Victoria station in London and catch a coach to Leeds.
The longest job I have kept was my beauty business. I worked on my own. I slowly developed my own system of completing paperwork, and slowly got into enjoying reading and that is when I started taking online courses to study at my own pace. I have spoken to other people who procrastinate because of fear of their learning disabilities, and I believe we should help one other. This why ‘Learn Together Grow’ was born. Having learning disabilities does not have to be a hindrance, and we should inspire others to see it as an opportunity.
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She gazed through the bedroom window. Angry clouds hurled every atom of their contents as if they had not a moment to lose in getting on with making the day as difficult as possible for another poor soul. She had to collect the children from school. As she summoned her resolve to move, the phone rang. Flying downstairs like a cat frightened by thunder she grabbed the phone terrified that she would be a second too late. She wasn’t. There was that bass voice, coming across the English Channel (or ‘La Manche’ as he had always insisted upon calling it). Trembling, she got her words out, ‘Jean-Pierre, how are you?’
‘Oui, je vais bien. I am okay. Is this how you say it?’
She and Jean-Pierre had met on a week-end break in Paris. Love came quickly, and seeped away, step-by-tiny step when she was back home. Back home where she belonged with her children: Sam and Lisa.
Stepping off the fight from Paris that Sunday evening she believed it could work. But six months on she knew all was not well. It had become very costly. He never contributed financially. Broke, always broke. With two kids and no job, romance with a French artist was not exactly practical. Romantic, yes; practical, no. He was barely working. She was supporting him financially and resented it.
He did not understand why she had become distant.
‘You don’t want me now you are back to UK?’ he said accusingly. He did rejection well. ‘Speak in French, don’t understand English well. Your French is good, okay?’ But her mind could hardy function in English never mind French. Last night she had taken her children shopping. On their return, dense choking fumes had emerged from under the bonnet getting into the car. It was dark, and it was terrifying. In the middle seemingly of nowhere and with no signal on her mobile. Her feeble but frantic attempts to attract the attention of the few passing motorists were studiously ignored. She could hardly blame them: a smoking car on an unlit country road, a wildly waving woman.
As she stood listening to Jean-Pierre, thoughts of the night before came flooding back. She recalled looking at her children on the back seat, little ones having every confidence that mummy would deal with the situation. She remembered image after terrifying image skidding across her mind like a series of nightmares. She closed her eyes as tightly as skin on a drum praying as she had never prayed, ‘God, send your angels.’
She turned the key in the ignition. The engine reached within itself and found some life. The smoky fumes were still there, but life was also there. The smoking, groaning car made it back, just. Reaching the front of the house, knowing its job was done, sensing it had delivered its precious cargo, it stopped. The angels had carried out their assignment.
Her evening slumbers had restored her perspective. She had spent the morning taking stock, and the car to the garage. The low-throated French voice asked
‘Are you still there, ma cherie? ‘
What sort of time was this to be thinking of love and romance?
‘Yes, I’m here.’ she replied, ‘ just thinking about the car, whether it can be fixed and how much they are going to charge me.’
‘I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there to help you,’ he said, without conviction.
‘You know it’s over between us, right?’ she said sadly.
‘Why is it over?’ came the reply with a seeming sob.
‘Our relationship is over, but you don’t want to believe it. You look for signs of life, but unlike my car’s engine there is nothing to re-ignite. No life within to revive. Nothing to bring us safely home, nothing amidst the smoke and the fumes.’
She glanced at the clock. It showed 3 pm. She was glad of the excuse to tell him that she had to go and collect the kids from school. She peered through the small window in the front door. It looked bleak but there were now breaks in the angry clouds. ‘Au revoir.’ she murmured
‘Yes, he said. ‘A bientot.’
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The sky is grey
The Earth is cold
The ground is wet
The trees are crying because the branches are cracking
The cracking branches are saying their goodbyes to the falling leaves
The wet grass embraces the dying leaves
The dying leaves have left their home until the next time
For a new season is awake.
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Sitting on a mesh garden chair stained by old bird poo
Listening to the neighbours’ kids crying over something or other
Listening to the morning glory of birds chatting to one another
I know they’re a-chatting
One whistle and after a second or two the other whistles back
There are other birds chatting, but these two are distinct
It’s like listening to my girlfriend and me chatting
We give each other a few seconds to reply
We chat for hours over unimportant matters
We have been chatting like this for well over twenty-four years
And listening to these two birds there was something familiar
The same pitch of whistling from one to the other
I can’t see them because the garden trees now have beautiful green leaves
I have listening for about 20 minutes
No sound of them stopping anytime soon
It’s quite beautiful really
Me being this silent for this long without uttering a word, first thing in the morning
It’s times like this I need to remind myself ‘Just listen’
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Is this you? You have to get something done; really, really have to get it done, but you put it off for a few days, the days become weeks and the weeks become ……? Then you decide to do what you were putting off; but out of nowhere, you have an inspiration to do some gardening, and then when you have done the gardening you decide you must wash your car and then you think it is a long time since you were in the pub so you go and have a pint and then the deadline is fast approaching and you go into panic mode.
I did not realise the impact of procrastination upon our society until I started digging into the subject.
There have been researches into the matter by psychologists. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, I personally believe the procrastination habits in society have increased massively. COVID-19 has put us into lockdown, taking away our freedom of choice in many ways. In an astonishingly short space of time things we once took for granted have gone. Disappeared. And we wait and wonder when or if they will come back.
I used to volunteer for two charity organisations: Emmaus and Family Action both support vulnerable people. And both of them have had to create new and safe ways of supporting people via telephone, video chats and social media groups, which is great, but I do wonder if the increase in our online activities has also made us a bit lazy and increased society’s levels of procrastination.
There are many reasons we procrastinate. Here is just an example that applies to both men and women.
We have instant access, literally at our fingertips. Want to eat pizza or Chinese? Just open an app and your order is delivered to your door. I use the internet and social media sparingly. I place orders for food on special occasions. Please understand. I think there are advantages to the internet and social media platforms. But they can lead very easily to distractions which so easily cause procrastination.
If you are self-employed (or work from home) the temptation is extremely high. Running a business is hard. You have to rely on yourself for motivation, planning, creating websites, finding ways to attract people to your website etc. and then you see a pop-up game. It screams at you ‘just take one minute and play me’. Next thing you know you are hooked. Why? The stress and anxiety from your business and, maybe, the lack of income from your business venture causes you to look for temporary relief elsewhere.
Procrastination comes from our thoughts, emotions and consciousness. Mostly we use it to self-distract. Procrastination can cause people to become poor, gain weight, lose jobs. The list goes on. The process is something like this: I have no clients for my business; no clients means no income; I have no clients and no income, therefore, I am useless. And once you start to believe that you are useless, the thoughts in your head get louder and more aggressive so you need a way to deal with them so you start overeating, you start playing online games, you start watching YouTube. Anything except dealing with the roots of the problem.
Do women have an advantage when it comes to procrastination?
Whilst procrastination affects both men and women, I believe that women are at an advantage in that they do talk to their girlfriends in a way that men don’t talk to their friends. In what way does that assist with procrastination? Because they want to have something to boast about. That is the motivation. It is as simple as that. It is a sharing of lives, a sharing of life’s achievements. I am speaking as a woman. We tell our girlfriends about new projects, and then the next time we meet we know we will have to give an update on how things are going. We instinctively compete with each other. Whilst we do procrastinate, we have an incentive not to do it. A fear of being left out of the loop. A fear of being seen to fail.
Men, on the other hand, whilst competitive in some ways (sports, girlfriends etc.) are not ashamed to be seen as procrastinators. So, men, if you know you are procrastinating, and know it; do something about it. Don’t waste your talent. Analyse what is going on in your life. Calculate what procrastination is costing you. And seek the help of a mentor or a life coach.
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If you are a writer there is so much you have to do in pitching your work to magazines, newspapers, publishers etc. Starting to write the actual story or feature can be the easiest step but continuing to write you may well come up against the well-known writer’s block. I know this only too well. I joined a writers’ group a while back before COVID-19 changed all our lives. I love writing. I would start an article, but then my mind would just stop. The flow of the river would suddenly disappear as if diverted down some subterranean cavern. I was given an opportunity to write some articles for a dating site – Plenty of Fish– you may have heard of them. I blew the opportunity because I kept putting it off, I did the first draft and sent it off. They asked me to review the work, but I felt so stressed that my mind’s creative mode would not breathe life into anything.