Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #25 – Becoming A Morning Person

Hey readers!

So first of all, I’d like to apologise in advance for the lack of posts over the next couple of weeks. I honestly am trying to get better at posting regularly, I really am, it’s just that, as many of you will know, it’s currently ‘exam season’. This means, that like hundreds of other students at the moment, Alice and I have exams! So we’ve been busy studying and preparing ourselves, and will be for a few weeks more, so won’t have much free time to write blog posts (I am currently writing this on my 10 minute break from studying that is now entering hour 2 – justifying this by “I sat an exam today, I deserve a break”)

That actually brings me onto my next point for this post – exams. I had the idea of doing a “study tips” post – original idea, I know – but when thinking about what I’d actually write I had no clue. I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t have any tips to hand onto other people. I just sit down, write notes and work, really. The only thing that I might perhaps say is get started early so you’re not left cramming it all at the last minute (something I do because otherwise enter PANIC MODE and get nothing done at all), but other than that, I’ve got nothing.

However, just because I don’t have any exam/studying tips doesn’t mean that my studying hasn’t given me anything to write about. This is because during the time I had off school in which I was studying, I found myself becoming very productive in the morning. So that’s the topic for this post – becoming a morning person (yet another extremely original idea).

Before this year, I have never ever ever thought of myself as a morning person. I hated getting up in the morning, I was always tired and never wanted to do anything. But when I got some time off I made the decision that I wanted to become better at getting up early and getting stuff done earlier in the day – so being the 21st century person I am, I clicked onto YouTube and searched “how to become a morning person”.

So here is my list of tips and tricks to become a morning person that work for me personally, collated from a whole bunch of YouTube videos and various other sources. I can’t guarantee they’ll work for you guys too, but it’s worth trying them out if you really want to become a morning person.

  1. Establish a time to wake up. There’s no point trying to become a morning person, if you’re waking up at 6:30 one morning and 11:00 the next. You need some routine in your life. Decide on a time you’re going to wake up every day, and stick to it. I would recommend setting an alarm at first, although once you’ve been constantly waking up at the same time for a while your body will adjust to it and start waking up at that time naturally.
  2. Get enough sleep the night before. If you’re running off 3 hours of sleep, I don’t think it’s very likely that you’re going to be productive. In fact, in that case, it would probably just be better to stay in bed and catch up on your missed sleep! I think I once read somewhere that the optimal amount of sleep is 8-9 hours every night, so try and go to bed at a time where you can have that much sleep and still get up in the morning. For me that meant going to sleep at/before 10 pm, as I wanted to be awake by 7:30 the next morning (that’s 9 and a half hours, I know, but it worked for me).
  3. Put your devices/screens away at least ½ hour before you go to sleep. I was once told – quite a while ago so apologies if I’ve remembered wrong and this is incorrect – that if you go on your phone or computer or another device immediately before going to bed then it’s harder to fall asleep. I believe it’s something to do with the radiation that the devices emit, but I’m not 100% sure that that’s the scientific reason behind it. But even if it isn’t, I find that putting it away half an hour before I go to sleep helps me to relax and unwind so I get to sleep better.
  4. Put your alarm where you can’t reach it from your bed. From personal experience, if I can reach my alarm from my bed and turn it off without moving, then I just tend to roll back over and fall back to sleep rather than getting up and being productive. When my alarm is on the other side of the room, then to turn it off I actually have to get out of bed and move to turn it off I don’t go back to sleep and am actually productive.
  5. Have a drink. Again, this comes from something scientific I saw that I may be remembering incorrectly, but from what I recall the video I watched with this in said that if you have a drink of cold water when you first wake up in the morning it gets your metabolism going and makes you more productive, or something like that. Even if that isn’t scientifically correct, it’s quite refreshing to have a nice drink in the morning, and helps to wake you up.
  6. Make your bed. There is no scientific thing behind this point, but I’ve found that making my bed when I get up helps as I feel like it’s then been made and I’m not getting back in and that’s that.
  7. Have something to do when you get up. Don’t get up and have nothing to do. Have a purpose, something to do. For me, during my time off, it was studying. I would get up, study for as long as I felt like (I don’t like time restrictions), then went and had breakfast. It was a system that worked for me, but it might not be something that works for you! Maybe you need to eat immediately, or perhaps if you go and have a shower straight away it’ll help to wake you up. Just make sure you know what you’re going to do, so you can get started on it and be productive and not spent hours wafting around doing nothing because you weren’t prepared.

And that’s it! My simple 7-step guide to becoming a morning person. After about four days of doing this, I actually began waking up naturally at about 7:30, which I felt really good about (as it made me feel like I was making progress), ad started getting lots done in the morning.

Of course, there are plenty more methods to becoming a morning person and getting better/more sleep and becoming more productive etc. So here are a couple of useful YouTube videos that I watched and pulled some of these tips from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdF7d7TdjfM (studyign on YouTube, also posts very useful stuff about studying and stopping procrastinating and being more productive etc.!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TLn_WoFTb4 (krist & yu on YouTube, posts lifestyle videos covering a wide range of topics and also a bunch of Japan Vlogs)

Of course, being a morning person is not for everyone, and that’s okay! Some people are really productive at 11:30pm at night and in 10 minutes can do all their studying for 3 exams and dust an entire mansion at that time, but personally at about 9:30 I shut down and can’t do much past that time, which is why I wanted to become better and getting stuff done early on

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for this post. I hope you have enjoyed this more structed post that has a clear topic rather than just my rambly ramblings that I normally post, please let us know if you do! You can contact us in the comments on this site (www.writeaweek.wordpress.com), via email (writeaweek@gmail.com), through tumblr (http://write-a-week.tumblr.com/) or on Instagram (@writeaweek)

Bye!

~April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #24

Hey readers!

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post – I gave myself several topics to write about then completely forgot about all of them, so ended up with nothing to post. I made myself of a list of what they were going to be about and when they were going to be posted and everything, but who knows where’s that’s been lost to.

So, about books. I’ve read 3 books (2 full books and 2 half-of-books) since my last post: Perfect (Cecelia Ahern), Auggie&Me (R.J. Palacio), Goldfish Boy (Lisa Thompson) and Lord of Shadows (Cassandra Clare)

Perfect was just perfect (excuse the terrible pun, tehe) to say the least. I absolutely loved it. For those who don’t know, it’s a sequel to a book called Flawed, which is about a dystopian world where those who do bad things are branded as Flawed for their wrongdoings. In my opinion, Perfect was a great sequel to this, picking up very well from the cliffhanger of the last book and providing an interesting plot before a nicely rounded off end that was just right, if you know what I mean?

As for Auggie&Me and Goldfish boy, I’ve actually written a couple of short reviews over on our Instagram page. But in summary they’re both well-written YA novels that would be a good read for anyone interested in that genre of reading.

The book I’m currently reading is Lord of Shadows by Cassanda Clare. It’s the sequel to Lady Midnight / the second book in the Dark Artifices Series. Honestly, I love these shadow hunter books so much!! There’s the Mortal Instruments, the Infernal Devices, and no the Dark Artifices… and they’ll all so great. I’m not very far into Lord of Shadow yet (I walked into the bookshop yesterday and to discover that it had been released by finding it on the shelf!) but I love what I’ve read so far.

Aaaaaand I think that’s all I have to say in thos post! Sorry it’s been a bit short and didn’t have much substenance, but hopefully I’ve have some more structured posts up in the near future with an actual topic they’re centred round rather than just my rambly rambles

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #23

Hey readers!

So for once I actually have something to talk about in a blog post (*party poppers “Hello Internet” style*), but before I begin I’d just like to say sorry for the absence of posts recently. I’ve not posted in… a long time, and I honestly have no excuse for that. I just lacked motivation, so no blog posts happened.

So, what I wanted to talk about today was a Writing Tool I recently discovered called Hemingway. Basically what it does is highlight all the ‘bad’ things about your writing/what could be improved on in it, such as sentences that are hard to read, or unnecessary words, or where you’ve written with a passive voice rather than an active voice, so you know what can be improved on. I’ve found that for me the most useful part is highlighting hard-to-read sentences, as I often do find myself rambling on for too long and overcomplicating what I write (aaaaand I just proved myself right there, didn’t I?) It can also give you a word count, a letter count, and an estimate time for how long it takes you to read it. This might be useful for when planning a speech or a debate or some other form of public speaking and you only have a certain about of time to speak for. Or it might be nice just for interests sake!

For example, I put the above paragraph into Hemingway (I have since edited the above paragraph slightly as I wrote it on a different day to the day this is being published, but the point still stands), and this is what it showed me:

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In summary, it was a bad paragraph.

Personally, Hemingway is the only writing tool that I use. I’ve seen things about another tool called ILYS (that hides what you’re writing so you can’t get distracted by editing until you’ve reached your word count goal) that looks good, but when I googled it, it turns out you have to pay money for it, and I’ve not actually seen that much about other writing tools. It doesn’t really matter though – I quite like being able to go back and read over what I’d written and edit as I go along, otherwise I feel restricted and lose motivation. What about you? Do you prefer to write freely and do what you want when you want, or do you prefer to have structured writing time dictating what you do and when?

As it’s been a long time (about a month) since my last blog post, I’d have expected myself to have read a lot since them, however, it’s not been as much as I would have liked to have done. This is for one simple reason: my TBR pile. I have found, over multiple occasions, that the predominant reason for why I get into reading slumps is because my TBR pile is too big. I think it’s just the fact that there’s a physical manifestation of how many books I want to read/should have read but haven’t, and it gets me down in the dumps, and as a result I just tend to… stop reading. However, to combat this, I have returned a bunch of books from my TBR pile to the library (but written the titles down for future reference) and hidden the rest of my TBR pile – made up from books that I own – under my bed so that I can’t see it. Problem solved!

So, now for the rambly part of the blog post where I talk about the books I’ve read…

I’ve managed to finish Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan which I’d just begun when I wrote my last blog post, and I really enjoyed it. One element I really liked was how it told the different stories of multiple different people, but how they all linked together somehow. It reminds me of a story I began writing a while ago – about the same time that Alice began writing her now novel-length story, in fact. In that there were several different characters who all lived completely different lives, but as time went on their lived began to overlap. That reminds me, I really wanted to finish that, maybe I should go back to it?

After Two Boys Kissing I read a book called The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and let me tell you, it was AMAZING. I have a confession, and that confession is that I only decided to read it because I saw a bookstagram which posted about how many Harry Potter references it had in it, but I am honestly SO glad that I did. I LOVED IT. It’s a book that I’ll definitely recommend to everyone – however it does have longs of swearing, and it all about a murder and justice for the murder and guns and shootings etc. so it might not be for everyone. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and along with hiding my TBR pile it’s recently helped me out of the reading slump.

Now I’ve moved onto Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern. IT FINALLY CAME OUT. Alice leant me the first book – Flawed – back around Christmastime, and immediately after finishing it I messaged her to ask if I could borrow the sequel mentioned at the end, and got the sorry message back that it wasn’t going to come out for another 4 months. But now it has come out, and I am reading it! Hooray! I’m about halfway through now, and I love it so far. So many twists and turns and unexpected events!

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for today, so this is where this blog post it going to end. If you have enjoyed this post please do let us know via the comments on here or our Instagram page (@writeaweek). Also, if you see any free writing tools we could try out, or have any book recommendations, or there’s something you’d like us to write about, then also let us know.

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #22

Hey readers!

This week I’ve had quite a bit of free time on my hands, so I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. I finished book number 4 in the Medusa Project Series at the end of lat week, so I had to go to the library to get the next one out, and managed to come home with 7 more books… typical me.

So after finishing Hunted (The Medusa Project #4) I moved on to Double-Cross (Medusa Project #5), which I really enjoyed. It was written from the POV of Nico, and despite the fact that it was book 5 of the series I really don’t think that it is one of those series that’s just dragging along and really should have just ended about 3 books ago. There was also quite a big plot twist (kind of… although it was hinted at in the previous book) which made it even more exciting and so I really enjoyed it!

The next book after that, and the final book in the series, is called Hit Squad, which I moved onto immediately xD. This book was from the POV of all the characters, starting with one then moving onto the next after a few chapters. I found this nice as when the characters split up it meant that the readers weren’t left guessing what was happening with the other group of people, which was good as they split up quite often.

HOWEVER after finishing what I thought was the last book of the series I saw a page at the back mentioning another book in the series… so I hopped onto the website and found out that there was a book number 2.5 which I had missed out! It wasn’t a bad thing, because it can apparently be read as a stand-alone book so I didn’t miss out any details, but it was very exciting news. Especially as there is also a free download of it (as it was originally released for world book day or something like that). So I have now downloaded this short book – called “The Thief” for anyone wondering – off www.sophiemckenziebooks.com and I’ve started to read it. I have been reading it a bit slowly as I’ve bee reading it along side the other books that I’m reading, only reading it when I want something to read but don’t have my actual book with me.

The next book that I moved on to after the Medusa Project series was one called “Shooting Stars” which is written by Allison Rushby. It’s about a 16-year-old paparazzo who is sent undercover to take some sneaky photos of a teenage heartthrob/singer/songwriter but along the way learns a lot about herself. It’s not the type of book I’d normally read – I tend to enjoy fantasy/dystopia novels most, rather than gushy cliché teenage romance novels – but I thought I’d give it a go and I’ve actually really enjoyed it. It also has one of those endings that makes you feel warm and happy inside, which is a nice feeling to have.

After Shooting Stars I began to Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. I’ve read one of his books before – Every Day (which I really enjoyed) – and half of another one (I got half way through Will Grayson Will Grayson then realised it was written by two different people and decided I’d start it again another time because I’d got very confused) so I figured I’d give this book of his a try. I’m about a third of the way through at the moment as I’ve ben reading it rather slowly, due to the fact that it’s written in a quite different style from what I normally read. I think, but I’m not 100% sure, that it’s written from the POV of dead people. Specifically, gay dead people, who are watching over the lives of various gay boys, who the story is written about. I think, but it never actually specifies or tells you who the “we” are that it often refers to, so I could be very wrong.

As for the next book that I’m going to read… I actually have a pile of about 10 books that I can pick from to read next, but I think I might read Afterlife by Dee Shulman next. Afterlife is the third book in a trilogy that I started reading a while ago, but after reading the second book the library that I go to didn’t have the third one in and so I got distracted by a different book then kind of forgot about it until I saw it on the shelf of the library the other day and got very excited. The whole trilogy follows the story of a Roman gladiator (well technically he’s a Greek slave gladiator) and a modern day girl who are somehow linked by a mysterious disease (and I’m not going to say anything more because SPOILERS ARE BAD)

The book I’m excited to read in the near future however is Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern. I didn’t read the first book, Flawed, that long ago, but it has seemed like such a long wait for this one to come out! I feel like I need to shorten my pile of books-to-be-read first though so I might not be able to read it immediately.

Anyway, I think that’s all for this week’s blog post! I’m going to try and do something new and different for next week, so provided nothing gets in the way of that keep your eyes peeled for something interesting.

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #21 – Cumulative Post

Hey readers! So: a quick introduction before I properly start this post. This week I’ve decided rather than write a long blog post at the end of the week, I’m going to write a little short update each day and stick them all together to create something to post at the end of the week. So now you know what’s happening here, read on!

Wednesday:

Hello! So I am a failure, and forgot to write anything for this both yesterday and the day before. But at least I’m writing now, right?

Currently, I’m about halfway through the second book of the Medusa Project series by Sophie McKenzie. I am enjoying it (I think?) However the plot/certain characters are annoying me quite a lot (by their actions). But I suppose that’s just part of reading a book, right?

Um now I’m not really sure what to write… This is just meant to be a short little update but I feel as if it’s too short? I might just have to leave it here though, as I have nothing else to say.

Thursday:

Hello again! So it’s Thursday.. and I’ve actually remembered to log on today and write this! I’m so proud of myself… xD As I’m writing this though I’ve realised that the one problem about writing a short post every day is that I have nothing to write about. My longer posts at the end of the week don’t usually have much content, so writing with just one day to write about is going to be even worse… let’s see what I can do

I have managed to finish The Medusa Project: The Hostage today though. It’s a relatively short book so it only took me a few days to read it. I definitely enjoyed it, although like in Hidden I think the characters seemed a lot older than they actually were? Again (like in Hidden) they were 14 years old, but they seemed about 16 to me. I think that tomorrow I’m going to go and get the next book (The Rescue) out of the library and read that next.

Sunday:

I may or may not have drastically failed at this cumulative blog post thing… I’ve only remembered to write anything 3 out of the 7 days I was meant to do it for. Oh well – it’s a start, at least?

Since Thursday I’ve begun the next book in the Medusa Project series, called The Rescue. When I was at the library getting it out I saw at least 2 more books in the series: I hadn’t realised how many there were! But at least the library I normally go to has all of them (I think) so I don’t have to visit about 20 others like I normally do when looking for a book this one doesn’t have.

I’m quite close to the end of this one, only 51 pages away from the end so I think I’ll finish it in time to start the next one tomorrow (or the day after if I have lots of work to do). Then I’ll be on to Hunted, which sounds exciting.

One thing I like about this series is the fact that all the books are written from a different persons POV. I can’t remember who the first book was written from, but book 3 was Ketty, book 3 is Ed and book 4 is Dylan (so I’m assuming book 5 will be Nico?) It’s good because it gives you an insight into each characters mind and what’s really going on behind their outer façade, but without jumping all over the place from character to character and getting a bit confusing.

Anyway, I think that’s all I have for this weeks post… next week the post might come mid-week as I’m very busy at the weekend, but hopefully our thousands of readers won’t be too upset about that? (in case you can’t tell I’m being sarcastic – we get 1 view per post if we’re lucky xD)

Bye!

~ April