Thursday, 18 December 2014

Things I learnt in 2014

This should be a Dec 31st post, but to be honest I'll probably be feeling too lazy on that day to do any sort of blogging. Once I'm in full holiday mode, it can be difficult to get me out of it... so I thought I'd look back at 2014 now and share some of the things I've learned over the course of the year, some of which are writing and blogging related, some of which aren't...

1. How to gut and clean a fish

Well, I did it once in Canada...I'm not sure I'm qualified to demonstrate this skill to others though. I'm proud of myself for not being at all squeamish despite all the blood and guts!

Me and my lovely friend Ruth...Sorry for the blurriness!

2. How to write an email pitch

Keep it short, to the point and make it clear exactly what it is you're offering and what you can do for them. Use a formal writing style. 

3. How to get more blog hits

Occasionally stepping away from my typical blog subject matter[like this post for instance] definitely seems to increase traffic. My post on Zakopane [though it was actually really about Krakow] got far more hits than a lot of my other posts. I also learned not to be afraid to promote the blog on social media...though I hate to admit it, it really does work. 

4. How to actually use blogger

I've attempted to use blogger in the past, but it was only this year that I fully worked out how to use it properly, including how to do pages, how to add plug-ins and how to alter the layout. 

5. How to shoot a gun

Again, I did this once in Canada...not sure I'd actually be able to teach anyone else how to do it, as I wasn't very proficient at it. I even managed to break the first rule of shooting a gun...which is never point it at someone else's face - even if it's just for a moment with the safety on! 

6. That I don't need to schedule everything when I'm travelling

I'm someone who loves to plan, and map everything out in advance...however this did not work to my advantage when I was in Poland last summer, as I'd booked [and paid for] a whole week in Zakopane and only four days in Krakow. I'd booked for longer in Zakopane because I wanted to replenish myself in the beautiful Polish countryside and I wanted to see another side to Poland, but after a few days there I found that I far preferred the city charms of Krakow. I found myself hopping on a coach back to Krakow and spending extra money on a hostel room there, despite already having a room in Zakopane [it was too late to get a refund]. Whilst I will still book some things in the future in advance such as flights, I will try to give myself more flexibility if I go on a long trip again so as to avoid situations like that again.   

A Krakow Square

7. That I need to buy a warmer sleeping bag.

Every night I camped this summer was a night spent shivering violently, so if I go camping again - I will use an all seasons one and not a flimsy summer one...

8. How to use a leafblower.

Aim it at the ground and turn it on. That's pretty much it [although turning it off can be a problem...]. Also, always wear ear protectors when using one!

 2014 was a pretty good year for me - I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring! Happy New Year!

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