I’ve been in a right old blogging slump recently.
When I first started blogging last year, the excitement and the discovery of having my own little slice of the internet pie took over my life for a while. I met people from all over the world who were interested in the same things as me, and wanted to talk about books as much as I did and still do. It’s the most incredibly inspiring feeling; finding people on the same wavelength as you (love you guys!). The first few months of blogging was like a revolution for me. Ideas were pouring out of my head left, right and centre and my fingers were constantly itching to put words on the screen and send them out into the world.
But what happens when you’ve established your blog, hit your stride with your writing style and then, BAM, life gets in the way? How do you stop your blog from becoming a chore, and ensure that it stays fresh, consistent and ultimately, fun?
The end of 2016 was full of lots of exciting happenings in my ‘real’ life, which I wouldn’t have changed for the world. I moved out of my family home and into a new house with my boyfriend and I got a new, much busier job, which I love. Both of these big things, and lots of other little things, mean that blogging took a backseat for me, at least much more of a backseat than I would have liked.
Now I’m settled, and 2017 is just getting started, I want to share some tips and goals with you guys for what I hope will spell more consistent, fun and engaging blogging for me this year. I know so many of you are incredible at balancing your day-to-day lives and your blogs, and I’d love to hear how you cope with blog-related stress, and what tricks and tips you use to keep everything ticking over!
Blogging goals for 2017
Post twice a week
I think twice a week is a pretty manageable goal for me, between work, socialising, sleeping and actually reading! My posts per week have fluctuated massively since I started last February – sometimes I’d post four or five times a week (how?!) and other weeks I’d post absolutely zip. Nada. I’ve never actually laid out an ideal number of posts per week, but I hope that this will help to keep me on track.
More original content
I love doing tags and reviews are essential for me, but I’m never more happy with the way my blog runs than when I’ve thought up something bonkers or new to write about. My posts on books and cocktails, Netflix and book recommendations and how to get over book hangovers were some of favourite pieces of writing from 2016, purely because they were so much fun to put together and talk to you guys about. Generating more original content and different posts is definitely something I’m aiming to do more of this year.
Engage with new bloggers and welcome them into the community
I’ve said it so many times, but the book blogging community really is so kind and just generally lovely. I felt really welcome almost immediately, and was really appreciative to the more established bloggers who brought me into the fold and helped me to get involved and find out what was what. I don’t necessarily consider myself established, but this year, I’d love to pay it forward. If you’re reading this and relatively new to blogging, please please drop me a line (either in the comments, or on firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can collaborate on something fun! Likewise to those of you who I already know and love, let’s think up some snazzy stuff together.
Get a logo
God, this has been on the list FOREVER. This has to be the year where I finally get it done. I get such logo envy and my design skills are pretty damn basic, so I’m gonna have to source some clever artsy person and put them to work for me. If y’all know anyone awesome, please nudge me in the right direction! ❤
WRITE GODDAMN NOTES WHEN YOU READ, SAMMIE
Yeah, I really need to master this one. Hence the shouty capitals.
Tips and tricks for more consistent blogging (hopefully)
Schedule, schedule, schedule
Self-explanatory. Whenever I schedule posts in advance, I feel so much more chilled and in control of my writing, but I’m so disorganised that I rarely utilise the tool. Basically, I need to write when I feel inspired and happy and chill and then fit the posts into a schedule, not force myself to write when I haven’t blogged for an AGE and then flash publish.
Make graphics in advance
Again, self-explanatory. I always think I should do this and I never do. One of the best things I did at the end of last year though was to create one generic header for all of my reviews. It not only makes the posts more easily identifiable and more ‘branded’ (lol), but it also means that I don’t spend 34 and a half hours swearing at both my phone and Canva because of poor picture quality and lack of aforementioned design skill.
When I went on holiday last year, I scheduled a few posts in advance for when I was away. Great, because it meant my blog was still ‘live’ while I was away, but also not so great, because it meant that while I was on holiday I was still making mini-edits to posts and replying to comments. As much as I love you guys, blogging can be mentally exhausting, so I’m definitely going to be better at self-care and giving myself sometime to recharge my batteries and my brain this year. It’s OK to have time to yourself, and no one will get angry or forget about your or your blog while you take advantage of a sunny weekend, a shopping trip or simply a few days snoozing on the sofa under a cozy blanket. Looking after your mental health = better, happier blogging.
Don’t get crazy with ARCs
All book bloggers know that ARCs can be one of the massive benefits of blogging. Book bloggers weirdly seem to be the only sort of bloggers that don’t get paid for posts in the same way that a beauty blogger or a gaming vlogger might do for promoting products in their content, so ARCs can go some way to compensating you for your time. As much as I love getting an unreleased book in the post from a publisher or being approved for an advance review copy on NetGalley, these deadline-fuelled reads can be one of the most stress-inducing aspects of blogging. Basically, the moral of the story is to read what you want, when you want, and only request the ARCs that you really, really want to read and have the time to commit to. Trying to speed read a book before the publication date and the the subsequent guilt when you don’t finish it or want to DNF it isn’t fun. Trust me.
My name is Sammie and I am a notebook addict. I have many a beautiful notebook and diary just waiting to be filled, but I’m pretty sporadic when it comes to using them. When I first started Bookshelves & Biros, something that really helped me to come up with ideas was jotting down fun things that I’d seen, quotes that I’d loved or bits of book news that I’d come across. I haven’t done so much of that recently, but having a notebook and a pen handy for when inspiration strikes is so handy and super useful. Some of my favourite posts have come from one line or one word of messy scrawl in an old notepad.
Set aside time for blog hopping
I am always apologising for being rubbish at replying to comments and catching up with all of your seriously uh-mazing content and it is literally because I am both disorganised and quite easily distracted. One thing that I’ve always found helps me is to set aside an hour or two a week on a certain night to catch up with everything I’ve missed – it means I spend less time online overall, because I’m not distracted by other stuff.
What are your goals for better, happier blogging in 2017? Do you have any must-know tips or tricks for keeping blogging fun or consistent? Advice on how to stop blogging becoming a chore? Let me know all in the comments!