Taking my own advice

Hello (she says and her voice echoes around the internet and disturbs the spiders in their webs). How are we all? It’s been a while. Tell me lovely, interesting things you’ve been getting up to in the comments. I’ve missed responding to comments.

In my last post, I was having a bit of an existential crisis. And that’s totally okay. It happens. It is a part of life. Recognising that you’re having issues and working on them is all part of self-care.

Upon writing that post, I decided to take my own advice and have a bit of a break from blogging – I was incredibly busy with some exciting freelance work and keeping up with both paid work and blogging on top of my full-time day job was getting a little difficult. But I’ve loosened up my schedule and we are back in business.

Since I’ve been gone, I’ve mostly been marathoning things on Netflix and it’s been bliss. I also had some lovely family time, went on several dates with the other half (including a visit to the Black Living Country Museum and seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming), went to see the Addams Family at the Birmingham Hippodrome with my wonderful Mum (review to come) and spent last weekend feeling pretty fabulous with my friends while dressed as a space/moon princess. I was blind all day because I wasn’t wearing my glasses but I reckon the hazy vision only added to the otherworldly vibes of the day.

Posts will be a bit sporadic while I get back into the swing of things (you may even get two today… maybe) but we shall definitely be swinging again soon. (Oo-er.) I will also be responding to all of the emails you’ve been sending me so watch your inboxes!

Have a lovely evening, bloglings, I’ve missed you.

Top Tips for a Successful Blog!

So, I’ve been around for a while, often inconsistently and with little direction, but around I have been. I have had long periods of not updating, planned absences and unplanned ones. I’ve been blogging intermittently for a long, long time, first on Blogspot, then on a little sub-domain kindly gifted to me by a friend, then on my own domain, and now here, on Word Press (which is by far my favourite).

I thought it would be nice, as a break from the normal routine, to share some things that I have learnt about blogging while still maintaining your sanity (though that part is debatable).

Here we go!

Write posts in advance

Schedule, schedule, schedule! I try to always have at least one week of blog posts ready to go (my last planned blogging break was only a break because I hadn’t done this – more on that in a later entry). If I’m being really productive, I will have two!

This takes a lot of the pressure away from having to get posts up and really allows you to enjoy writing them, to take your time and really write the best post you can write. A rushed post is never going to be as polished as you would like (she says, when her posts are definitely not polished in the slightest…).

I don’t always write my posts in advance, I tend to schedule my Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday posts but I always allow myself the freedom to post outside of the schedule if I want to, or if I have an idea the I absolutely have to share right now.

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 If you have an idea, write it down

I have lost so many great post ideas because I didn’t write them down when I thought of them. Well, I say ‘great’, I don’t remember what they were so they could be complete trash.

Of course, I’m not saying you should write the post the moment you think of it. That would be ridiculous. I think of a lot of my posts in the shower and I certainly don’t take a pen, paper or electrical device in there but as soon as I get out, I scrawl it into a note on my phone and then transfer it into a giant google doc I have for exactly that purpose.

Sometimes, I start a new post and just include the title. Normally I do this when I want to write the post sooner, rather than later. (I have several of them sitting in my drafts right now.) Either way, write them down or else they will float off to the ether, never to be seen again.

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Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers

This is something I have fallen victim to. A lot of the blogs I follow have new posts every day and always have something witty or insightful to say about the subjects they’re blogging about. I pore over people’s monthly round up posts and marvel at everything they have achieved, and all the books that they have read.

I often wonder howHow do they get through that many books in such a small amount of time? That’s a stupid thing to wonder. For several reasons (a lot of them specific to book bloggers).

People read at different speeds, the amount of books you can read in a month doesn’t define your worth as a book blogger. It is your love of books and willingness to blog that makes you a book blogger.

The blogging community is vast and diverse. The person you’re comparing yourself to could be in high school, they could be full-grown adults with full-grown careers and children to boot! They could be like me, twenty-somethings who are still trying to make their own comfy little dent in the world. They could be male, female, non-binary, they could own a cattle farm in Guam (if there are cattle farms in Guam, I have no idea). They will have commitments and constraints on their time, or maybe they won’t, maybe blogging is their full-time work.

Other bloggers will have opinions that differ from yours, neither your nor their opinion is more valid than the other and neither diminishes you as a blogger. You don’t agree, write a blog post about it! Write an insightful article about why you think the way you do.

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Post what you want to post

So you’re a book blogger but you have this really cool idea for a food post, what do you do? Post it! If you’re interested in it, it will be interesting to the people who like reading your work. People are passionate about what other people are passionate about.

I have a few posts waiting in my drafts which have nothing to do with what I normally post, and every so often I post about my life and one day, I want to post about my outfits (when I wear something I am particularly pleased with); I will always post about books and words and folklore, but I will include smatterings of other things that interest me because this is my space to do with what I will.

Don’t be afraid to post outside of your little blogging box, it’s refreshing and there will be someone out there who will enjoy it.

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Engage with the community

For a long time, I didn’t follow other blogs. I existed in a vacuum where I was just writing my own stuff and not looking at anyone else’s. I got a fair few followers but very little engagement. I didn’t receive many comments, and when I did I don’t think I replied. When I started to blog regularly again, I made the decision to really make an effort with other blogs and it’s been great!

You will have seen that I’ve done a few tags recently, which was something I never thought would happen. I have people commenting on my blogs, and really engaging with my content. It’s so lovely to actually know that someone out there is reading your work and taking the time out of their day to let you know what they think of it but that only happens if you’re willing to do the same.

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Don’t be afraid to take a step back

Blogging shouldn’t be stressful. If you feel you need a break, take one. Your followers will still be there when you get back and they will understand. Your well-being is and always will be more important than your blog.

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I hope you find these helpful and would love to hear your top tips too! Have a wonderful Tuesday, pals.

The Versatile Blogger Award

Back in March, I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by the lovely Romana from ABookNerd13 back in March – I am slightly behind in my tags (I definitely have at least one more to get done), whoops.

So to kick this off, here are the rules

  1. Display the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  3. Share 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 7 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blog.

I really love awards/tags which involve listing facts, even though I haven’t actually done one before. I like talking about myself, what can I say? It is with that in mind that I present seven potentially interesting things about my good self:

  1. I am incredibly afraid of heights. If I am enclosed, I’m fine, so flying isn’t a problem, nor was the London Eye back when I was 18. stand me on a chair, however, and I am suddenly unable to function like a normal human being. I also have trouble with uneven staircases, and natural staircases, and any staircase with gaps between the steps.
  2. I find distance difficult to process. I am forever glancing at my satnav when it tells me that I need to turn off in 700, 500, 200 yards. I have no idea how far away 700 yards is, or how far away a yard is. My depth perception without my glasses is abysmal. It is a problem.
  3. When I was little I added two extra lines into the middle of my Es. My reasoning was that the middle line would get lonely.
  4. I can’t tie my shoelaces like a normal human being. I have to make ‘bunny ears’ and tie them that way. I just can’t understand the normal way.
  5. I have a giant sweet tooth. The way to my heart is chocolate, preferably with some kind of hazelnut component. My other half has made it his mission to supply me with hazelnut chocolate Easter eggs. He’s doing well so far.
  6. I like it when people cancel plans. Well, unless I’ve pre-paid for said plans or already started travelling for them. I love having an extra day to chill and do whatever my tiny introverted heart desires. I used to hate it because I didn’t have a huge amount of spare time, and any spare time I did have had to be planned in advance. Now I have more, and I enjoy doing absolutely nothing with it. That or writing, creating, freelancing, binge-watching things on Netflix.
  7. I can listen to the same song on repeat for hours. Sometimes, I have a sound I want to listen to and nothing else, so I do. I sit in my little bubble and listen (my bubble often being my car, my beautiful little blue car).

I’ve chosen a couple of my new followers to tag, should they choose to. You should check them out. :)

The Buffy Project

Alicia from Story Garden

Vihasi from Everlasting Smile Wisdom

Ula from simple Ula

Cafe Book Bean

Ami from luv to read

Brandi from Brandilyn Gilbert

The Blog Catcher #1: Charlieinabook & MassiveHassle

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Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts, which I am tentatively saying will appear every Thursday for the forseeable future. The Blog Catcher is my way of sharing the great blogs I stumble upon/read regularly with you guys! Each entry will feature two or three blogs and this is the first. How exciting!

As this is the first, I thought I would feature people who I know who also happen to have brilliant blogs.

Charlieinabook is run by Charlotte Morris, who also writes reviews on MuggleNet and creates content for InclusiveMinds. As you may be able to tell by the name, it has a lot to do with books but not just books: publishing. Charlie goes to all sorts of wonderful publishing events and writes about them in her blog, the latest being held at The Story Museum about Fairy tales!

Under her belt, Charlie has lots of great internships and experiences, from David Fickling Books to Headline, including a day assisting Neil Gaiman, of which I am insanely jealous. Her blog is a great place to haunt if you love Young Adult and Children’s fiction, especially inclusive fiction, and marketing/publicity/social media greatness. She’s also incredibly good at live tweeting, giving her a follow on Twitter is highly recommended too.

The second blog is very different and run by Marianne, MassiveHassle.com is a feminist goldmine. She writes very candidly about things that matter, a recent post wrote honestly about her attitude towards her body and how that attitude came to be – Marianne’s blogs really get you thinking. They can be snarky or serious but they’re always entertaining to read.

She doesn’t just blog, she also creates various link farms (one of which introduced me to the beauty that is Mary Lambert), sharing things she finds interesting, which I have found I find interesting too! If you’re interested in pop-culture, gender, feminism and a bit of healthy fangirlism then MassiveHassle is your kind of place. Plus, she collects fictional maps – who doesn’t love a good map?

If you have any blogs you think I should check out, let me know in the comments! I always love recommendations. If you have a blog, I’d love to see that too!

A Month, an apology, and perhaps an explanation

That is how long it’s been since I have updated this blog. I had a round up planned for the new year, a selection of interesting things I found (mostly via YA Highway) and read throughout the year, a selection of important things that happened in 2012 in the publishing industry, a selection of books which I thought were brilliant. But it’s been a month. And that hasn’t happened.

January was supposed to be a time of productivity, work, finding placements. (The latter I have at least attempted to no reply… so far.) January is not going as planned.

I have to apologise for the lack of updates and for this entry as well, and for the sparse entries that will follow. I didn’t want to make this blog too personal, only including the important things like Graduation (and the pretty cupcakes that occurred around that time because everyone needs cupcakes sometimes), so I will keep this short: on December 29th, 2012, I lost someone  and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel. I don’t know how long it will take, it’s always different, but I do know that I will try to update this more often with interesting bookish things. I just need to get back into the swing of things again.

I can be good at this blogging thing. I really can. Sometimes.

Hello world! (WordPress summed it up well, I think.)

Hello World, hello WordPress.

This is my first blog here and it will definitely not be my last. No, you’re not seeing things. They are really there. The posts below were  imported from my old Blogger account – I didn’t want to leave them there, abandoned, as I embarked on a new blogging journey. (This also explains why they are horribly formatted, and shall be fixed in the coming weeks.) I have since deleted the posts from my old blog, these will be replaced/updated in time.

Here you will find, as below, blogs about publishing, photography and life at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies and beyond. While I may do the occasional blog like those below, I don’t think I quite have the time to keep up three entries a week (as is evident by the huge gap between the last post and this one; dear future-followers, I apologise).

So, without further ado, I proclaim this blog open for business.