In just a few short days (six, if we’re being exact) I’ll have been at this blogging thing for exactly a year and I honestly don’t know if I thought I would get to this point when me and Sandra first started out! Especially since it was a spur of the moment decision with no real plan or idea behind it. All we knew was that I really wanted to start a blog and Sandra was lovely enough to jump on board!
For today’s post, I thought I would talk about some of the things I’ve learned over the past twelve months.
Being Open To Change
This is basically the one tip I always leave whenever someone asks for tips for new bloggers because it has been the most useful one to me.
Even though Sandra and I started without a real plan, we quickly realized that we needed to change things and actually come up with a plan – which we did and that worked well for a while until it no longer did so we changed things again. That’s pretty much the story of this blog, guys. Change.
Things that have changed over the past year:
- the design (both in smaller and in bigger ways)
- the posting schedule (so many times too)
- the people blogging here (it went from Sandra & myself to just me)
- the content (and it’ll probably continue to change)
I feel like this is something I definitely still need to work on and realize that it can be a great thing rather than worrying about if people will continue to stop by and visit once I get back from a break. But I have to say, taking breaks has really helped me in getting my motivation back so many times. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and just not think about blogging for a few days, a week or a couple of weeks. Whatever helps you.
How To Reduce Stress
I’ve talked about my love of posting schedules before and I think that’s one of the best ways I’ve reduced the amount of stress I put on myself about blogging. By having a schedule, I know exactly when another post is supposed to go up and I can work towards it – under perfect conditions. I do often enough end up writing a post the day of, but it doesn’t happen as often as it used to so it’s not that stressful.
Having a schedule can also help you come up with types of content you want to post on your blog. You can create a schedule were you post certain types of posts throughout the week (a review, a discussion or a tag, etc) and can keep your content exciting and fresh that way! It’s 100% something I want to work towards again in the new year!
Only Reviewing Books You Want To Review
Sometimes it feels like we should be reviewing every book we read and that can put quite a bit of stress on your reading experience and your overall enjoyment of the book you’re reading. Which is why I’ve decided to mainly just review the books I read in quick monthly wrap-ups or mini-reviews if I can tell that my wrap-up is going to be too long.
Of course, if you’ve requested review copies, those are books you should 100% be reviewing. But don’t force yourself to finish the book. If you aren’t enjoying it and making yourself read it just put it down. You can always write a DNF review and list the reasons why you didn’t enjoy it. There are simply too many books out there that you could be reading instead!
It’s Okay Not To Read
During the first half of 2017, I would sometimes feel guilty about not reading any books or not enough books (in my own eyes) during a given month and it took me quite a while to understand that it’s okay if I don’t read anything. Sometimes it’s more fun to binge something on Netflix or watch a million hours of YouTube. You are allowed to enjoy something other than just books. You’re not just a book lover. There are many more aspects to you and you should explore them all without feeling guilty about it.
Reading A Ton Of Books Can Be So Much Fun
Pretty much since the second half of 2017 started I feel like I have been reading so many more books every month and while I still haven’t figured out where that reading motivation came from – I am loving it! Sometimes I don’t even realize I’ve read 5+ books during a month until I start writing my wrap-up and I love it. And that’s as okay as not reading a lot or anything. And there is no actual single number that determines what ‘a ton’ of books are. If you’re someone who reads a book a month and reads two the next month – that can be a ton to you. And there’s no pressure to read any amount of books either. You do you!
Talking To Bloggers Outside Of Their Blogs Is So Much Fun
You may or may not know this about me, but I love Twitter. A lot. I am constantly on there and tweeting the most random things at any given hour of the day and ever since I started following a bunch of bloggers on there too and just started talking to them about the most random things my blogging experience has been so much more fun.
I am someone who is really bad about opening up about personal stuff – it takes me months (or a few too many drinks, if you’re my friend Elvire) to feel comfortable doing that. But just tweeting back and forth about random stuff has already helped me feel more comfortable talking to some bloggers about other stuff too or to ask about stuff which I would never do because I felt like I was using the person – which is something I hate.
‘Selling’ Your Blog And Yourself To Publishers Is Weird AF
If you’ve ever wanted to request review copies from publishers, you’ve probably had to introduce yourself and your blog to them and tell them why they should work with you, right? That’s such an awkward thing to do for me. But I’ve been doing it more often lately, trying to see if any UK publishers would be willing to add me to their blogger databases and I think I’m slowly getting better at it? It definitely helps when you’re able to talk to a single person rather than just a whole department.
I find it easier when I know who I am talking to (even if it’s just a name) because it feels less awkward and more personal. I’ve luckily had a great experience with a representative from Fischer Verlage (which includes Tor’s German division) who is now my go-to person for any kind of review requests from their catalogs which is such a relief.
As fellow bloggers, what are some things you’ve learned and do we share any lessons learned? Let me know in the comments down below!