My New Blog Planner: Free Printables Included

freeprintables_rockinrandommom

For the past two weeks I have thrown myself into my blog. Part of that is the result of my recent break-up but the other part is because I had a goal.To finally make my own blog planner! Free printables at the end of this post.

*Please note that this is for personal use only*

Doing The Research

I haven’t had a planner in over two years and that one was expensive so I wasn’t going to replace it. Then I stumbled upon a blog post on Pinterest of all places (it’s my least favorite social media site) and found free printables of other bloggers’ planners.

I found their ideas and organization interesting and inspiring but I wasn’t too keen on their designs. The creative in me really wanted to make my own planner that was more personal to me but also to my goals and my blog. Naturally, I dived into research mode and started googling away. I found a few tutorials on how to make my own planner but again, none of them fit what I wanted to do.

Enter Microsoft Word

That’s right! I used nothing but Microsoft Word. For most of the pages I only used the blank document. It took a lot of time to figure out how to use a lot of the tools in the program because I’ve never used them before. Like making a table. Wow! Long story short that involved A LOT of trial and error.

I never saw Microsoft Word for more than just writing but I have found that it is a handy tool when creating my own blog planner. Now I’ve read a lot of tutorials and most of them use two or three different programs. They have a lot more experience than I do and I am just starting out on this planner/printable thing.

Making My Own Design

It took some time for me to come up with my own design for my blog planner. It’s still a work in progress for me as I explore more program options and get more creative but for now I have found my design. I grabbed most of it from Microsoft itself but I am proud of what I came up with.

blogplanner_rockinrandommom

 

Organizing My Planner

I had to think about what was most important to me for my planner and organize it to my liking. Before doing that though, I also went back and forth to Walmart and Target searching for the right holder for my blog planner. After buying three different 3-prong folders and discovering they couldn’t hold everything, I finally found what I was looking for at Target.

I found a three ring flexible notebook binder made by Mead. It’s a hybrid of the binder and the folder and it works really well for my planner. Other bloggers choose to go to Staples and have their planner converted into an actual planner. That’s a great idea! I will probably do just that for next year. Meanwhile, with only 5 months left I just wanted to stick to the binder plan.

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blogplanner_rockinrandommom

I’m really happy with my blog planner! I have a great system in place and by having this planner I am more organized. Something different from other bloggers who make their own planners: I added a writing section. By adding this section to my planner I am scheduling in some of my writing. At least I’m making blocks of time when I know I will be more focused on it.

I also added my daily schedule, which isn’t just about my blog, nor is it about writing. I schedule my daily life in there as well. This way I can keep everything I have to do in one place and won’t get too overwhelmed and forgetful. I’m really proud of my daily schedule. I made two different designs and will include both in the downloads.

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These pages look much better downloaded. Promise!

As I get more involved with creating planners, I would like to make more designs for people. I want to change things up a bit and work more with my Paint Shop Pro to make better designs. I had so much fun creating this! For now I will leave you with these Free Printables to download.

Cover Page

Yearly Calendar

Yearly Blog Stats

My Yearly Finance Tracker

Monthly Stat Tracker

The Monthly Blogging Goals

Monthly Calendar

Linkies

Advertising Tracker

Affiliates

Blog To Do List

Contacts

Giveaways

Social Media

Sponsers

Weekly to do list

Freelance Work

Writing Ideas

Random Notes

And for the Daily schedule:

Daily Schedule #1

My Daily Schedule #2 page 1

Daily Schedule #2 page 2

I hope you like my first design! I am loving it! Please feel free to download any or all of these and let me know in the comments what you think.

Thanks so much for reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

 

I am linking with:

My Random Musings
Monday Stumble Linky
Reflectionsfromme
Cuddle Fairy

A Blogging Good Time

Lucy At Home

My Blogiversary and Other Summer Craziness!

blogiversary_rockinrandommom

Whew! I don’t know about you but this summer has been a busy one! With all the summer craziness I haven’t been on for most of July. First, I had my blogiversary that I actually forgot about because I was busy making my second YouTube video. Then my 39th birthday creeped up on me! I finished that day off with strawberry wine and ice-cream cake!

summercraziness_rockinrandommom

 

MY BLOGIVERSARY

July 14th marked my one year anniversary for my blog! I know I should have done something special to mark the occasion, like a giveaway or something. Honestly, I don’t know how to do a giveaway and I didn’t know what I could possibly give away…Wait, maybe I do have something… *has a light bulb moment*

Anyway, I had meant to send Becky from Cuddle Fairy or Trista from Domesticated Momster a message asking them but I forgot. Ladies, how do you do a giveaway? *wink wink* These two ladies are my go-to for all things blog related. They are so helpful! You ladies rock!! Be on the lookout for this post coming soon!

MY BIRTHDAY

summercraziness_rockinrandommomYep! I just turned 39 years old and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that in another year I will be 40. What boggles my mind is that I only have one more year left of my thirties and that makes me sad. I have learned so much about myself in the last decade. Probably more  in the last ten years than all of my years put together. I love my thirties and don’t want to leave! This, too, will be another post after the summer craziness!

 

MY BLOG

Did you notice the new setup? The new banner? And my new animated signature? I made that myself with my new program, Paint Shop Pro!  During the process of finding a theme though, I got frustrated! I thought I would buy a theme that looked really nice in the preview. Turns out this theme came with all sorts of directions and things I needed to download. Something I DIDN’T WANT! I just wanted something simple with the feature to make my own banner my own way and design my blog my own way. This theme was anything but simple

Instead of giving up on paid themes I decided to buy a cheaper theme that looked simple enough but that too, proved to be a waste of my money. So, now I am back to a free theme and I have seriously considered learning how to make my own damn themes just so I don’t have to go through this shit again!

 YOUTUBE

My channel started out great! Then I got sidetracked with trying to keep a busy, hyper-active 9 year old from destroying my house and before I knew it my channel had fallen by the wayside. It’s not all his fault though. I want my next video to be perfect (by my standards) but with the summer craziness, I haven’t had time to concentrate. Not to worry though. I will be back to making those videos! In the meantime, you can watch my Game of Thrones review below!

SUMMER CRAZINESS

The summer started out well enough. The boys had a week off from school before starting their camps. I could only afford to pay for 4 weeks worth of camp for Conner so after the first two weeks, he has had the last three weeks off. Three weeks that almost drove me to the brink was packed with so much fun that I can’t contain myself any longer.

As many of my readers know, Conner is my ADHD kid and has lots of energy. He also gets bored REALLY QUICKLY! What happens to me him when he gets bored? Let’s just say he decided to have a Styrofoam battle in my living room… I’m still finding little pieces of the shit in my cushions! When we got all that cleaned up, he found more Styrofoam in my bedroom and decided to build a mini fort with it. IN MY BEDROOM!

summercraziness_rockinrandommomMy solution: Swimming!! Swimming was my favorite past time growing up. There wasn’t a summer without swimming when I was a kid. I love the water! I wanted to share that love with my boys and I was hell bent on teaching Conner how to swim. So almost every single day, we went swimming. One day we would go to the public pool. The next day we would go to the lake or pond. On a few occasions we went with friends.

We also attended a fundraiser for Veterans.  They had bounce house jousting and face painting for the kids!  We also saw not one but TWO double rainbows!! Tomorrow Conner goes back to camp for the next two weeks and I will have more time to focus on blogging and all of you beautiful people!

Thanks for reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

 

 

 

I am linking this with these rockin’ linkies:

My Random Musings
Pink Pear Bear
Rhyming with Wine
Diary of an imperfect mum
DomesticatedMomster
Cuddle Fairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes are Happening!

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You may have noticed that I haven’t been as active on my blog lately. There are several reasons for that. I have been involved in a few projects around my house in addition to some writing projects. Changes are happening in my life that have kept me otherwise occupied.

Writing my first E-Book:

A while back I was asked by several of my readers if I would write a book about some of my experiences growing up that lead to my journey to healing, happiness, and forgiveness. I have been struggling with this for awhile because my childhood trauma is intertwined with others that I respect too much to expose their own stories. However, recently, I have been giving this a lot of thought and have come up with a solution – a way to tell my story without telling someone else’s. So, I am going to start working on this project with the goal to have the book finished by Christmas, if not sooner.

Writing my Fiction:

For those of you who have read my fiction on my blog and want to know more, I am still working on this story as well but I will be making some changes. You know how it is. We writers are constantly revising and re-writing. That’s how it has been with The Vampire and The Zombie Hunter. I’m making a few changes because I really want to get this story right before I share it but I will share it so don’t you worry!

YouTube:

I recently spoke of this and basically came up with some pros and cons of starting a YouTube channel. Since then I have done a lottotally_rockinrandommom of research and basically it’s like starting a blog. You have to have your YouTube name that matches what your content will be about. There are banners and thumbnails and gaining subscribers…It was enough to give me a headache. Haven’t I already been through this with my blog?

Yeah, which is why I feel more equipped to take this project on. I want to use my channel to do previews of music, TV, games, etc but I also want to leave room for speaking about random things that I don’t really write about on my blog. I wanted to have a different YouTube name but for promotions sake, I’m going to keep it with my blog name because I’m lazy and don’t feel like making other social media accounts just to promote my channel. Haha!

Active Living:

March and much of April really sucked! My boys are I were sick through all of March and the weather for April was just plain depressing which really messed with my mental health. Because I wasn’t getting the physical activity I normally get I was feeling sluggish and lazy and that led to irritability and bitchiness. That needed to change so come May I was determined to get my life back on track. I started back with my hiking, which has been so awesome and my boys made my Mother’s Day really special! I’m back and feeling better than ever with more confidence and thinking more positively.

So the next few weeks at least, I will be less involved in linkies and not writing as often on my blog because I really need to concentrate on a few other things right now but I won’t be gone long and I am sure to make an appearance here and there just so ya’ll don’t forget about me:P

Thank you for reading!

mysignature_rockinrandommom

 

 

I am linking this with:

Domesticated Momster
My Random Musings
Rhyming with Wine
Pink Pear Bear
Reflections From Me
R is for Hoppit
Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough
Single Parent Pessimist

 

 

To YouTube or Not to YouTube

toyoutube_rockinrandommom

Lately I have been toying with the idea of starting my own YouTube channel. I have an account but it’s for personal use and I’d like to keep it that way, especially since my youngest uses that one to watch all of his Minecraft videos.

I am considering starting a new channel that would focus on me reviewing – or talking about TV shows, movies, video games, and of course…MUSIC! This would free up my blog to talk more about other topics such as parenting, mental illness, among other things.

However, I am apprehensive and these are the reasons why:

  1. My YouTube Channel Name – I don’t want to expand my blog name to my channel for a few reasons but the biggest reason is because I want to focus on my reviews and won’t be talking about the things I talk about on my blog, including my boys.  I want the name to match the content of my videos. With that being said though, I’m not the greatest at naming things so coming up with a name is going to take me some time.
  2. The Logistics – I love going onto YouTube and watching various music videos and looking up different gaming tutorials when I get stuck at a certain part of a game. I find these videos really helpful but as far as uploading my own videos, adding links to my blog and social media and just all the other little details of running a YouTube channel, I am a newbie.
  3. Internet Trolls – I have been very lucky so far with my blog not getting any internet trolls because I am not a huge blog and I like it that way but expanding myself to YouTube may invite those attention seekers (because we all know that’s what they are) that just love causing drama. I hate drama but I am also very good at ignoring the drama. It’s called the delete button. Starting my own channel would invite this into my life. Am I ready for that?

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Now here are some of the reasons I want to start a YouTube Channel:

  1. Time and Desire – I have a strong desire to voice my opinion about my favorite shows, movies, games, and music but  I don’t always want to, or have the time to write about them. Recording videos of me talking about these things would free up time in my schedule and I also believe that those who read my blog regularly might enjoy getting to know me better in this fashion.
  2. New Knowledge – Getting to know the logistics of YouTube and how it works will not only give me a new experience of technology and gain new knowledge but it will also help me to learn all I can about the ins and outs for Conner, who wants very much to have his own YouTube channel to talk about video games like Minecraft and such. He really wants to emulate his favorite YouTube Heroes and his dad and I finally agreed to allow this when he turns 10. This is something he has been asking to do since he was 5. Now, though, I haven’t enough experience with the site or the knowledge to help him and protect him online.
  3. Adding My Voice – There are already so many videos out there that talk about all of the things I talk about and adding my voice to this vast ocean of other voices may be a struggle but I believe that I will add my own unique insights that others may appreciate, plus, I think it will be fun!

While making my own YouTube channel may invite internet trolls and unnecessary drama and haters, I also want to use this outlet to further express myself, as well as learn all I can through my own experience to help my son with his own channel. I still have more research to do on YouTube but I am hoping that this will be a positive experience for me and eventually, for Conner.

What do you think about me starting a YouTube Channel? Any tips you can give me before I decide to embark on this endeavor?

My Random Musings

 

Thank you for Reading!

mysignature_rockinrandommom

 

 

I am linking this with:

 

My Random Musings
Agent Spitback
Cuddle Fairy

Writing, Guest Posts, and Life

writing_rockinrandommom

The past two weeks have been a bit…Overwhelming. I got sick, which slowed down my workouts and therefore my motivation to do much of well, anything, but I have also found myself on significantly more linkys than I had originally planned to be a part of. Don’t get me wrong, I love the linkys that I am participating in. I have a few favorites that no matter what, I will keep participating in but I have also added a few new ones, in addition to my own. To top that off, I have also joined two fabulous Facebook groups, WayWow Community run by the awesome Nikki and Blogger Club UK run by three lovely ladies Debbie, Laura, and Becky. These are all wonderful avenues to getting my blog out there and networking but it has also left me with very little time for writing.

freetime_rockinrandommomThis past Wednesday I went over what my typical blogging and social media day looks like and I calculated that I spend 4 hours linking up to the awesome linkies that I am a part of. This includes commenting and sharing other’s posts on social media. I try to comment on at least 3 posts per link and I try to leave decent comments. I very rarely leave short, generic comments as they really don’t benefit me or the blogger I’m commenting to.

Then I spend another 2 hours posting on my Facebook groups and working on my own linky to which I comment on everyone who posts. That’s a total of six hours a day Monday through Friday that I am promoting my blog or others’ blogs. By then my kids have come home and sitting for that long wipes me out. This is not counting:

  • 2 hours, 2 days a week writing new blog posts
  • 2 hours, 2 days a week writing new posts for other blogs/sites
  • 2-3 hours every day checking and responding to emails
  • 2 hours every evening doing homework, dinner, and showers (yes, I have to remind my boys to shower)
  • 1-2 hours every day working out (this includes hiking, Xbox Fitness, and the gym. I alternate my workouts)
  • 1-2 hours every other day cleaning (this usually waits until the weekend)

There is seriously not enough time in the day. This is also not counting the things I haven’t had a chance to do since the start of the year, such as continue writing my supernatural fiction, and start organizing, researching, and writing my first E-book.

Part of my dilemma is that in the evenings and on the weekends I take a break from my blog and most social media writing_rockinrandommomto spend that time with my boys. I have found myself writing long into the evenings and dinner didn’t get made, homework didn’t get done, and my youngest complained that I wasn’t spending time with him. Talk about the mom guilt! But trying to get it all done between the hours of 6am and 3pm has proven to be a bit more challenging than I expected.

Not to mention sitting down all that time – I just cannot do it! My body literally starts to hurt after only 2 hours of sitting. This is why a desk job is definitely not for me! So, I am going to take some time to figure out my blogging schedule. I need to be more detailed with my time. I am really thinking I need to take advantage of the Microsoft word calendar. Maybe that will help. I’ve tried wall calendars and even a schedule book but to no avail.

I also need to have some time to actually write what I have been intending to write. There are several guest posts that I need to write, aka, want to write, and write my stories. Writing my stories actually gives me more inspiration to keep blogging. It helps rejuvenate my passion for my writing and for my blog and to be honest, I’m starting to lose some of that so I want to nip it in the bud now.

I am still going to be participating in linkys but I may be reducing some, at least for a few weeks. I will also still have mine open as well. Basically, I am going to revise some of my old posts that haven’t gotten much love and post those to the linkys and Facebook groups. This frees up some time that I normally take to write a new post so that I can write my other stuff.

To all of my fellow bloggers: If you have any suggestions for me on how I can better manage my time, I would love to hear from you in the comments. Please, please, help a sista out! I know that I have a bad habit of putting too much on my plate. That’s one thing that I need to work on, LOL!

I am linking this up with:

Pink Pear Bear
http://www.reflectionsfromme.com
Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough