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You registered on WordPress.com one year ago.
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Do mine eyes deceive me? Have I fallen through a wormhole and experienced a time warp? Have I finally cracked from college stress and started hallucinating? Have I fallen down and hit my head off a rock? Because there’s no way in HELL that a WHOLE YEAR has passed since I started blogging! What the heck?
But nope, it appears that it’s actually happened! I logged on about five minutes ago and lo and behold, a little WordPress badge was waiting for me. Every time I get one of these achievement badges I get a little embarrassingly emotional; I mean, it’s not like I’ve done something huge or particularly worthwhile, but still. It’s nice to see progress! So imagine my surprise when I saw my 1 year anniversary badge! The first thought that ran through my head wasn’t deep or emotional, it was “how the fuck have I kept at blogging for so long when I’m so damn lazy?“*
*seriously, I’m unbelievably lazy 😀
But then the second thought that ran through my head was “I stuck with a project I set my sights on, and I’m proud of myself!”
Ayyyyyy, no, not really. My ACTUAL second thought was “for God’s sake, time flies by so quickly I’m practically a veteran at this stage.”
Anyway, joking aside, it’s time to get into the cringy, heartfelt stuff! Yay!
I wasn’t sure what to include in this post besides a happy speech and a few thank yous, but then it came to me: I’ll discuss what I’ve learned from blogging! I think I’ll also do a “20 facts about me” post or a Q+A in future, but Q+As scare me 😀 If you have any questions, I’d love to hear them, but no pressure though! If I only get a handful I’ll just add them to my “20 facts” post. But before I do any of that, a few quick things:
A HUGE thank you to every single person who has liked a post of mine, followed me, commented on anything I’ve written, gushed about books with me, tagged, nominated, or mentioned me in anything, and even those who took a second to stop by my blog and have a look around! You all made this year of blogging worth it. And I’m not perfect at this; I still consider myself a “newbie” even though it’s been a year, because a) it takes me a while to get comfortable with something steady like blogging, b) anything technical involving online stuff freaks me the hell out and c) I never cared about being “perfect” nor particularly professional, it’s all just a learning curve for me.
I really want to give a special shout-out to some of the fabulous people I’ve come to know through blogging; I honestly never expected to connect with people so well! And because I’ve told no one in real life about my blog, it’s nice to have such a supportive community of like-minded people to gush about books with! So, a big thank you to the following stars who have kept me going: Olga, Laura, Tiana, Rendz (told ya we started a few days apart!), Sophie, Nadwa, the Twins, Mandy and Maya, as well as many others I can’t possibly all name but hopefully you know who you are! One blogger in particular deserves a special thank you, and that’s Sophie @Blame Chocolate. Sophie was one of my first followers and commented on my first posts, and because she’s a blogger with a large following and amazing posts, Sophie’s attention and kind words really encouraged me to keep blogging! So thanks a million for your support, Sophie 🙂
(Another special thanks to Olga @Olga’s Oddish Obsessions; that girl is as bonkers and hyper as I am and I love her blog so much! Keep doing you, girl!)
Finally, I’d just like to say that I’m super proud of the work I’ve done so far; sometimes it’s slow going, and sometimes I’m over the moon when I surprise myself with my progress! Sometimes I’m not in the mood to blog, and sometimes I feel like writing three posts in a day. It’s been a fun ride, and I’ve proven to myself that I could do it. So here’s to another year! (Oh Lawd)
What I’ve learned from blogging:
This blog was a spur-of-the-moment decision that I made at around 2 a.m. on a September morning. I notice that all my spur-of-the-moment decisions happen in the early hours (I’ve mentioned before that I decided to join the circus at like 2 a.m. and signed up for classes before I could stop myself 😀 ) I’d like to think it’s because I am most creative at that time, but it’s more likely that I’m so sleep deprived I don’t think clearly, looking a little something like this on my laptop in the darkness:
The idea for starting a blog began as a small thought in the back of my mind: could I actually set up a blog and consistently keep at it? Honestly, the idea scared me; I’ve never been comfortable with computer stuff, and setting up the blog alone was stressful as heck. I actually think I started losing hair from the stress! (Not literally 😀 ) Now, after a year, I’ve gone through a lot, altered things, kept some things the same, and basically have continued to go with the flow. Here are few things I’ve learned that I’d like to pass on to newer bloggers out there.*
*I’m by no means a professional nor a particularly good blogger, but I’ll pass on my wisdom nonetheless 🙂
1. Don’t be discouraged. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you’re struggling to set things up, fit blogging into your schedule, etc. These things become easier with time!
2. Never, ever give up. There were times when the thought of blogging just didn’t excite me, mostly due to college stress. To work around that, I took the occasional hiatus just to clear my head. Don’t be afraid to leave the blogging aside if it becomes too chore-like, but don’t give up!
3. Comparison is healthy until it’s not. It’s great to find encouragement by looking at some of your favourite bloggers and seeing what works and what doesn’t, but constant comparison leads to stress, and that isn’t worth it. Believe me, I’m still 42.3% sure I lost some hair from stressing out 😀
4. Accept the pace your blog is progressing at. You’ll have days when you feel on top of the world; at the start I had a very slowwww development, but I was still thrilled at every new follower, even if it was only one a month! You’ll see some other bloggers that have been blogging for a month and have already surpassed you in terms of EVERYTHING, but rather than stress about it, be proud of the work you’re doing!
5. Don’t measure success in terms of likes/followers. Obviously it’s nice to progress and see that you’re getting an audience, especially if you want to take blogging seriously, but be proud of the work you’re doing rather than focusing on how much attention you’re getting. That will come in time.
6. Remember why you started blogging in the first place. I’m speaking exclusively to book bloggers here, but I’m assuming it’s because you love books (no shit, Sherlock Holmes). If you find your focus shifting negatively, and blogging is stressing you out, keep those happy thoughts of books in mind 🙂
7. Change is acceptable, but change and originality aren’t the same. There’ll come a time when you’ll gradually alter the way you do everything; you’ll develop better skills, better formats and perhaps even change your entire blog’s appearance! That’s okay! But never feel pressured to be just like everyone else; if you have your heart set on a particular idea or look, keep at it! If it’s making you unhappy after a while, then by all means feel free to spice things up a bit. But keep a little bit of your originality there. Like, my blog page is fecking maroon! Why? To this day, I don’t know! What was I thinking? It’s ugly as hell 😀 😀
Has it hindered my progress? Who knows? Who cares? Probably! Lots of things probably have, but heck, I’m still learning! My maroon blog is an eyesore, most likely! But I think it’s super fun having a maroon blog, so I’ll stick with it lololol. Will I ever change it? Maybe, someday. But for now, I’m keeping it the way it is because I always wanted a colourful blog 🙂
8. You don’t need to cross off a list of specific “blogging topics” to be a “good” blogger. I found myself feeling a bit incompetent sometimes, because there appears to be a format to book blogging in particular and I just can’t keep up! But I realised a while ago that trying to stick to every single traditional “book blogging” topic was never going to work, and it doesn’t fit with why I started blogging. So don’t be afraid to develop your blog according to your tastes. For example, I rarely do book hauls, because I rarely (consistently) get a set of books at once. I’d love to be able to write more haul posts, but it doesn’t come naturally to me and probably never will. That’s alright though! I can choose other things to write about. 🙂
9. Different people adopt things faster than others, and if you’re afraid you’re not quite there, it’s okay! It’ll come to you.
10. Decide if you want something more than a hobby blog. If so, you’ll need to be strategic about how you blog. I’m quite casual and have a loose routine, but that’s just because this is a hobby of mine. If you want followers, and opportunities from publishers, be vigilant but don’t stress yourself out over it! Social media really helps, but I ain’t saying that from experience lol. I’m not a gal of the times, so personally social media isn’t something I focus on too much. But if you want great connections and more platforms, social media helps!
11. Don’t take on too much at once. Trust me. Unless you’re super organised (which I most certainly am not!) Let things build gradually.
12. The pressure to keep up can be overwhelming, but it’s okay to take a step back. Like I said above, I’m a little outside the times. I don’t read every new release, and when I found myself stressing over it, I took a step back. I still read and review popular books, but I’ve also realised that I prefer choosing books to read and review according to what I’m interested in! So, are you worrying about reviewing that 2007 release while everyone else is reviewing ARCs? Don’t. You’ll reach that point of reviewing newer releases eventually, but don’t feel pressured to drop everything just for those!
13. The blogging community is fantastic! I can’t stress this enough; if I was stuck or stressed there was always someone to help. Interaction isn’t just beneficial for your blog, it’s extremely fun and you get to see some awesome blogs, read some amazing posts and make some great friends! So, being a hermit blogger won’t help you develop. Interact! 🙂
Finally (and most importantly):
14. Have fun! All the points above are super somber and gross, and just a few of my personal experiences, but THIS point is the most important. Blogging is incredibly fun when you focus on exactly what you want to post; for book bloggers, whether you want to be minimalist and only post book reviews, or want to do everything under the sun from book hauls, to tags, to ARC reviews and Top5 Wednesdays, it should all be fun! So enjoy every second, and measure your success on how it makes you feel; the rest of it (followers, etc) will be a great bonus! I never cared about going above and beyond in terms of followers and likes, and when I found myself wondering why I was going so slowly, I just reflected on what I wanted from blogging and focused on my writing; because of that, every small achievement feels amazing and I’m allowing myself to progress at my own pace 🙂 Is this my way of saying I’m okay with progressing at a snail’s pace? Yassss. I’m so zen 😉
If you’re still here, thanks for reading all that! Obviously, I am a blogging guru and simply had to share my expertise! Seriously though, this year has been mad, fun and hard to coordinate, but I’m thrilled that I’ve kept going. I’m looking forward to the future! Until next time 🙂