Friday, 5 September 2014

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging


I can’t believe I’ve been blogging continuously for almost seven months! Looking back to the start of the year, I realise just how na├»ve I was. Some things that are obvious to me now, didn’t even cross my mind back then! The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my short time haunting this corner of the internet is that there isn’t any one perfect method of blogging. The only method that matters is the one that works for you personally. It’s taken me quite a while to settle in, and I’m constantly learning new things and new ways to approach blogging. I wanted to write down a few things that I wish I knew eight to ten months ago, when I was considering starting a blog. Heck, I still struggle with quite a few of these points!


It’s Time-Consuming!




This is a fairly obvious point, but I personally didn’t realise just HOW time consuming book blogging can be. I knew I would have to dedicate several hours a day to writing blog posts, visiting other blogs and everything else, but I didn’t fully factor in all the additional things that manage to eat up precious time.

Take one single book review for example. First of all, you have to read the book. I’m not the fastest reader on the planet, and I like taking my time reading and fully enjoying the story. Let’s average out and say a book could take anywhere from 5 – 8+ solid hours of reading. This will vary so much depending on page count, how much I love the book etc. Then you have to write up a review, and this can vary too, depending on how much you have to say about the book. Say, at least another hour for writing and proof-reading, and a little more time to schedule the review, and you could have anywhere from 6 – 9+ hours of your life dedicated to one solitary blog post!

This is making DNFing books look extremely appealing, isn’t it?


Don’t Force Yourself to Write!


There is nothing worse than staring at the computer screen with all your brilliant ideas floating somewhere far, far away from you. I’ve had this happen to me so often and it’s so frustrating! I’ve gotten to the stage that if the words aren’t coming, I save what I’ve done and come back to it later. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a hobby, and it shouldn’t be stressful!

On the same token, my best advice is take full advantage of those beautiful days when all the words are flowing freely! For me, they don’t come around all that often, but when they do, I can manage to draft up three or four reviews in an afternoon.


Take a Day Off


Finding that balance between blogging and life can be a slippery slope at the best of times. No matter how many hours I put into blog related things, the to-do list keeps growing and new tasks keep appearing all the time.

Back in June, I hit a blogging brick wall and no matter what I tried I couldn’t get around it. I kept putting pressure on myself to write blog post after blog post that I wasn’t feeling, and it ended up affecting my reading and my mood in general. It got so bad I began toying with the idea of walking away from my blog completely. One evening when I was shutting down my computer after getting very little done, I thought this Saturday I’m not even going to look at the blog. For one day, I’ll forget it exists. You know, it was the best thing that could have happened! A weight was lifted off my shoulders that I didn't even realise was there.

Everyone needs a break, even from the things we love to do, and this is something I really need to turn into a mantra!


Blogging Schedules



I’m a master procrastinator. If a loophole exists to extend a deadline, I will find it. If I’m in the wrong mind-frame, my blog posts are not going to get completed no matter how much nagging, cajoling, persuading or bribing is done.

Like so many bloggers, I jumped in and started posting without having any sort of schedule in place. I went by the seat of my pants, and what I managed to write up today would be on the blog tomorrow. This was manageable for the first month or two, but the longer I blogged, the more pressure I kept putting on myself. I knew I would have to come up with some sort of system that suited me and help to give me some free time back.

The best piece of advice I could ever give a new blogger is to have and maintain blog posts scheduled a few days or a week in advance.

I’ve tried this method in August, and it’s made such a big difference to me. I have more time to read and do all the other stuff I want to do and I feel so much happier blogging. And this leads me into my next point…


You DO NOT have to post every day!


I currently have the habit of 5-6 blog posts a week, with a spare day kept for when inspiration hits, or to squeeze in an extra review here and there. This is in no way set in stone, and some weeks this will shrink to 4 posts. Other weeks, I’ll have 8 posts! It all depends on how much I have to say in that particular week.


ARC’s/Review Requests



When I joined NetGalley, I was like a kid in the proverbial candy store. Then, the review requests rolled in. It’s such a strange experience when the first email arrives in your inbox, and an author is asking you to read their book! Like the vast majority of new bloggers, I took on way too much.

As awesome as it is to accept and receive review requests and ARC’s, they can add up so quickly. Say you want to tackle your ARC list of 30 books, and you can usually read 8-10 books a month. Well, potentially, there goes the next three months of your reading life… I think this is a lesson each of us need to learn for ourselves! I really need to create a plaque with “Blogging is a Hobby” on it so I can see it every time I sit down and log into the computer! There shouldn’t be any pressure on my shoulders. My advice: find your ‘reading for me’ vs 'reading ARC’s' limit, and stick with them.


Have FUN Blogging


Honestly, I think this is the most important. Go with the flow, and follow your moods! That crazy bookish idea buzzing around in your head? Write it down and go for it! If you’re in the mood to join all the meme’s – do it! Write silly reviews, funny reviews, short reviews, long review, negative reviews and serious reviews. Try new things, even put a new spin on old things. Find what makes you love blogging, and throw caution to the wind and do it.


Thanks for reading! What pieces of advice would you give yourself, or to a new blogger, that’s considering starting a blog?


All gifs are from giphy.com

20 comments:

  1. All good advice. I've been out here for some time and I do it for enjoyment as much as helping authors get reviews. Sometimes it gets too much and I take a break and nothing much happens for months depending on my own everyday schedule too. I have stopped accepting review requests at the moment so I can substantially reduce my TBR, this means that I don't have to constantly post reviews and thus takes the pressure off. But you are right, you do what suits you :)

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    1. Stepping away from the blog was so hard for me to do when I first started. It was the shiny new toy, and I kept going and going until burn out hit. I love both reading and blogging, and it can be such a struggle to pay attention to both equally :) Taking a long break from the blog does have such a nice appeal! My fear would be when I return I wouldn't have the same love for blogging as I have now. I guess I'll find out one day, when I do walk away for a month or two! Thanks for stopping by Jane!

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  2. Yep, yep and yep to all the things you said! I've only been blogging for 2 months but wow is it time-consuming! I feel this weird need to have to post everyday and it's killing me haha. I haven't gotten all that many review requests but I'll remember your words if they start coming in :)

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    1. Ohh yes, I know that guilty feeling when I don't post for a day so well! For me, I don't think it'll ever completely go away, but having a day to do other things is worth it in the end!

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  3. So true! I wish I had known all of this, especially the review request part :)

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  4. I don't always plan ahead, even after two years of blogging, but I read a lot of books, so I have reviews scheduled already up until the end of September...
    I think the fact that blogging is very time-consuming might have scared me off in the beginning if I had realized just how hooked on it I would become. But I do love blogging, visiting other blogs, and sharing my thoughts about the books I read, so I'm happy I didn't know ;)
    Great post, Alma. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. Oh gosh, having all reviews taken care of until the end of September sounds heavenly! That's something I'd love to be able to build up. Thanks Lexxie, have a great week!

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  5. Great advise and I agree while heartedly with all of them. After 18 months blogging I still get a fright when I realise how time consuming it is.
    And I love your advise on not forcing it. I had to learn that the hard way. I tried to have a discussion every week but then my well ran dry and I was out of ideas. I drafted a few that I had no real feeling for so I just left them in drafts. But taking a break and leaving them to grow meant I could come back and revive them with a different approach.
    My biggest piece of advise is carry a notebook and jot ideas in it. Creativity strikes at all kinds of odd moments!

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    1. Completely agree! LOL, I've had days I've sat at the laptop for hours, staring at Word trying to think of something to say or trying to write up a review, and nothing happens. Instead, I've listened to three of my Spotify playlists... twice!

      I love your advice to carry a notebook with you! I'm terrible at scribbling random thoughts on scraps of paper, and they end up getting lost. Thanks for stopping by Trish!

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  6. WOW! Love this post, you've definitely summed up all my feelings about blogging. I never realised how time consuming it was going to be either. I am trying to get ahead on scheduling but so far I have failed. I was 5 posts ahead recently, but then that shrank as I ran out of time and ideas and inspiration. I SUCK AT SCHEDULING. I wish I'd got a months worth of posts ready before I'd begun blogging. Oh well. I am going to take part in the Blog scheduling version of NaNoWriMo though, which is all about getting 30+ posts scheduled during that month.

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    1. Thanks Charnell! Oh the same thing happens to me! When I have a week scheduled I end up thinking, 'Grand, don't have to do any posts for a few days' - then four days fly by and I'm back to having only one or two posts scheduled. LOL, I don't think I'm meant to be an organised person. It doesn't come naturally!

      Oooh! A blog version of NaMoWriMo?! I must have a look into this! Just thinking of having an entire MONTH scheduled in advance is heavenly.

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  7. Great post. I personally find it overwhelming when a blog I follow has multiple posts in a day. I usually only visit one... maybe two of them before moving on to check out other blogs.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

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    1. Thanks Kristin! I tend to read the post that catches my eye most. I use Bloglovin' as my main way to follow blogs, and it's so overwhelming if I skip a day! Seeing 200+ posts to read is very intimidating :D

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  8. Great advice; most of it I've experienced for myself, but it's always good to get a reminder :) Thanks for the post! Very nicely written!

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  9. Such great advice! I didn't think about time management when starting my blog either, but scheduled posts help so much (when you remember to write them). I try to stay about a week ahead of schedule, and I'm great when it comes to reviews - other posts, not so much.

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    1. Oh yes, totally agree. Reviews are the easier posts to write for me too - the topic is already chosen! Thanks for stopping by Katie!

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  10. So true! Especially about the ARCs. I have about 25 in my to-read/review pile, and now that it feels like I have to do them, I really don't want to read them at all!

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    1. Oh my goodness, I feel the same when my ARC list goes manic! When I clicked on the request link, I wanted to read them so badly, and now that I have them on my Kindle app... they don't appeal as much. I've had to be so much stricter with myself... it doesn't always work, but I try! Thanks for stopping by Kendra!

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