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 naïve 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!
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!
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.
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?
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