8 Things I’ve Learned – A Year Into Blogging

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)

Taking Breaks

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.

lets chat 1

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!

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39 thoughts on “8 Things I’ve Learned – A Year Into Blogging

  1. Love this! One thing I am working on this coming year is to only request books I actually want to read. It sounds strange when I actually say it, why would anyone request books they really don’t want to read in the end…..but I do it!!!!

    I am in the UK too and want to put myself out there to publishers but I have no contacts and am unsure of how to word it!!! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I actually totally get what you’re saying! Sometimes I’ll find myself requesting a book because I’ve heard about it and am curious too but I probably wouldn’t have picked it up upon release right away. It’s definitely something I need to work on in the future!

      There is usually contact information on the publisher’s website – they’ll either have a general PR email or you’ll be able to find specific people for the age group you’re trying to request titles from! If you need any help, you can use the contact form on my blog and I’ll be happy to help you out! 🙂


  2. This was a great post! I definitely need to learn to take breaks, as I’m writing this and supposed to take a small break from blogging, hahaha. It is so great to be able to chat with other bloggers about books and all things, but… I don’t open up too much and I know I can’t tweet personal random things like everyone else is doing. It’s just who I am. ANYWAY that doesn’t prevent me from chatting with amazing people and it is one of the BEST things. we always should remember that a comment is appreciated and goes a loooooong way to make new friends 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a great post! And super helpful. I’m actually going to bookmark it so I can come back to it later. I really want to work on creating a posting schedule in 2018, I think that will help me be more consistent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes, I totally agree! I always feel really awkward promoting myself in ARC requests to publishers — but I REALLY want to read those books, so I have to do what I have to, right? 😂 Even then, I still refrain from complimenting myself too much, because I just feel so weird.

    And I 100% agree with reducing stress with posting schedules! Knowing that I need to post on a certain day and exactly WHAT I need to post really helps me stay focused and responsible. But even tho I have a posting schedule, it’s still stressful with commenting on others’ posts & replying to comments.

    And YESSS. I mean, I think I read an average amount of books a year — 100 books. I’ve seen people who read 100+, even 200+ (I know someone who’s at 980 books right now!), but I also know people who read 50 books a year, or 20, or 10. And of course, the amount of books doesn’t make you any more or less of a reader, which I’ve always struggled with realizing, especially because I’m a pretty slow reader compared to other bookworms. (And there I go again, comparing myself to other readers. 😂)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, yes – exactly! You gotta do what you gotta do! I rarely actually compliment myself I just do a more general approach where I talk about where I would mention the book I am requesting and how often I post and stuff like that.

      Oh yeah, definitely! And I also often find myself reading a post but then not wanting to comment which seems kind of mean especially if it’s on someone’s blog who regularly comments on my posts! But I’m hoping to do more commenting and finding new blogs next year thanks to a challenge type of thing I signed up for where you’re supposed to visit 365 blogs in 2018! 😀

      I used to constantly compare myself to other readers too and thinking I wasn’t ‘enough’ of a reader because I read way less than what I usually see on Goodreads but sometimes I just really don’t feel like picking up a book for days (or weeks) and that should be okay too!

      Yesterday, while looking through the books I read this year to gather some numbers, I realized that I only marked 3 books as finished in September and all of them in the last couple of days and I was wondering what I was doing the rest of the month – well, turns out that was when I fell down my Marvel Netflix show hole and binged pretty much everything that had been released up until that point. And it was FANTASTIC. But just looking at the numbers made me go ‘huh????’.

      Also, I think comparing ourselves to others is so easy to do. I mean, if you’re around online you pretty much see all kinds of things you can compare yourself to others with. Be it how many books they have on their shelves, how many probs they have, how many ARCs they get, etc. you pretty much have to make a conscious effort NOT to compare yourself which can be pretty difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah, I definitely get the feeling of reading posts but not wanting to comment! Usually in that case, I leave the post “unliked” to remind myself to come back to it when I’m in the mood, haha.

        And same! I feel like comparing ourselves to each other is just like a second nature to us now?? It definitely takes a conscious effort NOT to compare ourselves!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post! There’s so much truth in it.
    On top of all the lessons in your post, I’m also sticking to the “do what YOU want”-lesson. Some people tend to switch their blog to other people’s standards, losing their motivation and fun in blogging entirely. The pressure of living up to other blogs is real sometimes but we should be able to push it aside and do what we want with our own blog. It is our own little corner for a reason.

    Congratulations on your blogiversary!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that’s definitely something I need to keep reminding myself of too! I used to want to be like other bloggers who were doing really well but I quickly realized that it’s just not who I am as a person. And I’d rather be my ‘boring’ sounding self, than sounding like another blogger just because they are doing really well with their blogging voice.

      Thank you, Kathy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, indeed! I had a small period like that as well but ended up saying “Well, if you can’t even be real on your own blog, there’s definitely something wrong.” and kind of repeat that every time I’m frustrated about my blog “not being good enough”. :’)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. So many great lessons! Being flexible and starting a schedule is really helpful. And I love how many blogging friends I’ve been able to make.
    And yeah, forcing yourself to read a book is hard. I don’t recommend it. 🙂 If it’s not working for you, pick up something else. Watch a tv show or go on a hike. Blogging doesn’t need to dominate your life.


  7. Happy Blogversary!! 🎉 🎉 🎉
    There are many great points to your post that really made me think 💕 (I’m so sorry that my comment is so long, I kind of got carried away 😅)

    I so agree on being open to change! This year I finally did change a lot about my book blogging and it was the best decision I ever made. I blogged a year on Tumblr, but never got much out of it, because there isn’t really a good way to comment on posts. Back then I was using this platform because I didn’t know anything else and was scared to move my blog to another website. I’m very glad I finally got myself together and moved to WordPress 🙂

    Taking breaks is something I definitely need to learn, because I haven’t taken a break from blogging since I started in June 2016 and I feel like this is something I can work on. Sometimes you do need breaks to recharge.

    I didn’t start out having a posting schedule, but by now I swear by it. I always plan out my posts beforehand and love using a calendar to write in what posts I want to do this moth. It always gets me excited to write the posts I truly want.

    When it comes to reviewing books, I definitely want to change my habits a bit as well and not Review everything anymore. Of course books that I have a lot to say about and Review copies will always appear on my blog. But books that were just okay? Books that I don’t have a lot to say about? Those Reviews are going to be shorter and only going up on my Goodreads account.

    100% yes to allowing yourself not to read! I read a lot more this year than I originally anticipated and was fine with that. However, the last three months were very stress filled and full of anxiety, making my reading slow a little. I have to be honest that I felt bad about that, felt like I had to read like I usually did. I changed a few of my habits, but most importantly I’m going to start 2018 with a smaller TBR than the months before, so I don’t stress myself 🙂

    I definitely need to search out the Twitter accounts of more bloggers as well! I’m pretty bad about opening up as well, because I’m super awkward, but I do try 🙂

    Oh yes, I’m really awkward when it comes to trying to get Review copies and having to talk about my blog. I never know what to say without sounding weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never apologize for long comments, Caro! They might be my favorite thing ever! 😀

      I used to be on Tumblr quite a lot until probably the middle of 2016 but then with school and everything, I just didn’t have the time anymore. But I never used Tumblr to blog or anything. Just to reblog and post fandom related things. And I loved it so much. I kind of went from blogging to Tumblr and then back to blogging in the past decade.

      I really need to start planning out my posts again too! It’s what I used to do when Sandra and myself first started out but then that kind of went out the window and I’ve just been posting whatever I feel like ever since. I do miss it sometimes though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww that’s nice to hear 💕

        I started out being on Tumblr mainly to reblog and post fandom stuff as well, but then I wanted a book blog, so creating one on Tumblr seemed fitting for me at the time. Now I’m here, but I still use my Tumblr for reblogging all sorts of fandom stuff 🙂

        I’m getting good at setting up my schedule, but I really need to work a bit more on when to write my posts. Maybe you can find a balance between planning a bit but also leaving room for spontaneousness 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I did that when I was still blogging on Tumblr, but now I’m getting pretty good are prewriting. The only problem is that I now write posts when I’m supposed to be doing something else 😅 Good luck, you can definitely do it 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Um, okay, so WordPress cut off my super long comment??? What the heck??? But ignore whatever that says and just know I totally agree with you on learning it’s okay to change your blog and that it’s okay to not read every once in a while, and also writing request emails to publishers is super weird and blogging is stressful and I suck at making it not be like that. XD

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We all learn so many valuable lessons the first year blogging, it all sounds very familiar and you make great points but I also think that every new blogger will just have to experience it for themself. It’s an affirmation but you can’t avoid making the mistakes, taking on too much at first etc. It’s nice to hear though that we all made the same mistakes and we’ve all come to the conclusion that we don’t have to look and measure ourselves to other blogs. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I just… don’t promote myself in ARC requests all together because it’s too awkward and I don’t know how??? I just talk about why I’m interested in the book and some general stats about my blog but I could never gloat and be like HEYYYY MY BLOG IS PERFECT AND THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD APPROVE ME 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post. I’m new to blogging and getting used to the idea of throwing my thoughts out there for the world to see. I just started communicating with other blogger and so far it’s been a great experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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