I properly started blogging weekly when I moved to China. Before that, it was once in a blue moon so I didn’t really count it as ‘blogging’. Once I had moved to China, I had university everyday for at least 4 hours, I started a teaching job which I did twice a week for 2 hours each time (plus an hour for travelling to the apartment) and I ‘attempted’ to blog weekly. As well as having all of these to do weekly, I also had my social life which, being in a new city and a massive city like Shanghai, was very hectic as there is so much to see and do.
There were weeks where I had to sacrifice one or two and it was usually blogging. Knowing I would have weeks where I wouldn’t find time to blog I had to organise my week in advance. University work took up A LOT of time as I would be learning loads of new vocabulary, grammar, contexts everyday…I’m still struggling to understand how I managed it in the first term. It has got more hectic and manic as the months have gone by so how do I go around managing it all?
Being the reason why I am here is to study, I take university as my priority so this usually takes up most of my week. I mainly save weekends for my social life and to take a break away from the study scene. My university timetable has changed since the first term and now I am in everyday 8am-11:30am, Chinese take it very seriously. This is actually a perfect schedule to have because it leaves the whole of the afternoon free. However, truth be told, having to get up everyday at 7am is proving to be quite difficult. After university is finished, I go and grab lunch nearby. There is a street down the road called University Road which is crammed with many cafes and restaurants, perfect for students to study at. I will either go to a cafe and study for a few hours after class or find a quiet place in my lecture building. Making my way back home, I’ll either stop at a street stall for dinner or go to a restaurant with friends. With this as my schedule, how do I fit in work and blogging?
Teaching twice a week was a perfect amount of time for me to stay focused at university but to also get a bit of income every week. The family lived a couple stations away on the metro so didn’t take up too much time but I eventually quit this job and moved onto a different family which was a lot further away, by about 20 minutes. This doesn’t sound a lot but together it’s 40 minutes on a metro one way. The real reason I took it was because it paid well (£30 an hour!). However, I wasn’t prepared for what was to come as the child knew very little English and didn’t understand a word I was saying. How can parents expect their children to learn when they don’t know anything the teacher is saying…it’s all very confusing. I quit after the second lesson (I lasted very long didn’t I) because the child cried non-stop for half an hour because she didn’t want to learn English…I wasn’t very surprised. For the past three weeks I have been job free but am hoping to start another next week for only 2 hours a week, much more manageable.
For the first term of university, blogging was a bit all over the place. I literally did it when I had time to. Eventually I got into the habit of going to Starbucks after work and writing posts for a few hours before I collapsed. The time difference, surprisingly, made it harder because I couldn’t promote posts until the day after (this was before I discovered scheduling websites). Now, however, it is a lot easier because I have expanded my blog topics to Lifestyle, Travel and Photography, including a segment on my year abroad, so I have more to write about. Also, because of university here and back home becoming a little more hectic as this year comes to an end, the workload has increased so I haven’t gone out as much as I have previously; this means I have time in the day to sit down and be productive with my blog. I have found time to improve my photography, improve and promote my social media accounts, formatted my blog differently, etc.
Having all these things to do does put on a lot of stress but I always say this; university is priority, work is optional and blogging is a hobby. Even though I am work free at the moment, I am hoping to stick to my current schedule of university work and study during the morning and afternoon, work in the evening and blogging at the weekends and whenever I can in the week.
It is not as hard as everyone thinks and you just have to go about it in a simple way. Don’t make it manic for yourself. Loads of people are doing it, if they can, you can!