Reflections

I Blogged Every Day in November!

computer, hand, laptop

So today is the last day of my “Write 500 Words a Day” blogging challenge. I made it 🙂

I would like to reflect a bit on my experience. The hardest part of daily blogging is coming up with new ideas every single day. I wrote on a diverse range of book-related topics. Perhaps, that’s why readers haven’t been bored by my content (from what I gather, anyway). But I don’t always have interesting ideas. Even though I came across a lot of thought-provoking content in my school books, I often chose to write about “easier” things. I enjoy reflecting on themes in the books I read, but such reflections are definitely the most time-consuming posts to write. I’d rather vent about my day.

My readers probably learned more about me in the past month than ever before. I certainly don’t regret anything I’ve posted, but I am aware of this shift, and so should you if you are an aspiring daily blogger. Because I want to keep my blog book-related, I will not be continuing daily blogging in December. I will certainly blog regularly. But I am not interested in making public every last detail of my life.

Above all, this challenge taught me discipline. I had to write every day, even when I didn’t feel like it. Some of my posts were written at 1:30 am. Not ideal, since I’m a morning person. But I did it anyway. No one who is successful works only when he/she feels like it. Success requires discipline. Writers have to develop a writing habit.

I consider myself a writer because I am a graduate student in the humanities. I am not simply a professional reader. I encourage all graduate students to start a daily writing discipline and to consider themselves writers. Not all writers are novelists. If you want to know why I call myself a writer, read my recent post on writing in graduate school.

Although I will not be daily blogging in December, I will continue to write 500 words a day. Most of my writing will admittedly be school-related. I have a number of term papers due at the end of the semester. Writing 500 words a day is probably not enough to reach my word counts, but it’s the writing habit that matters. How many students binge-write their papers a few days before they’re due? I am not accustomed to writing drafts, but no one writes a good paper on their first try. I would like to have the time to rewrite my papers if need be, but that’s definitely a long-term goal that I may not meet in December.

Finally, I will try to schedule in my daily writing in the late morning when I’m the most awake and have the most free-time. We often tell ourselves that we will get to an activity when we have the time, but we never have the time. We have to purposefully make the time. I am not a great writer, but I now feel a need to write every day. I accomplished a self-directed and self-imposed project. I feel motivated to try new things.

Reflections

Tips For New Book Bloggers

I recently “celebrated” my one year blogging anniversary. I can’t say that I know all the ins and outs of blogging (html etc.) but I think my limited experience could be of help to start-up recreational book bloggers. So here are my tips:

1) Read what you want to read.

Yes, YA bloggers have the most followers, but if you don’t like YA or don’t generally read books categorized as YA, don’t feel pressured to do what’s popular. I read mostly Classics. At first I thought I was alone in my interests, but boy was I wrong! There is a community for every book lover.

2) Set a book buying limit.

I guarantee you that if you start blogging you will also start buying more books. It’s inevitable. Your TBR (To Be Read) pile will grow out of control unless you set a book buying limit.

3) Book blogging is a hobby, not a career. 

Unless you are a professional book blogger, you should never feel stressed out about blogging. It is a hobby. You earn no money from doing it. Bloggers are constantly afraid that people will stop following their blogs if they don’t blog consistently, do book hauls, or participate in memes/reading challenges, etc. They won’t. Hardly anyone follows one or two blogs. Most bloggers follow at least 50 blogs, so don’t feel stressed out that you let the ball drop on one reading challenge or didn’t post for three weeks. I am a case in point. I am a very eclectic reader. Although I mostly read Classics, I don’t review all the books I read on my blog because I often read books that I feel are not appropriate to review on this blog (ie. theology books, Christian devotionals, etc.). Because of this, I sometimes take a few weeks off from blogging. I don’t think I have ever lost a follower. If I did, oh well. Maintain your freedom as a blogger and take time off if you need or want to.

4) Request ARCs sparingly or not at all.

Only request ARCs (Advance Review Copies) if you have many followers and (most importantly) if reading and reviewing ARCs fits with the overall theme of your blog. I hardly ever read contemporary works, so requesting ARCs has never been a temptation, but I have followed quite a few bloggers who regretted requesting ARCs because they constantly felt pressured to review them or were disappointed by the kind of books they were reading. If you request ARCs you have to review them, so don’t request them unless you have the time and the desire to read and review the books you receive from publishers. Always ask yourself “Why am I blogging? What do I hope to get from blogging?”

5) Interact with other bloggers

If you want others to follow your blog, you should interact with other bloggers. Like I said earlier, there is a blogging community for everyone. Post constructive comments on others’ blogs, and you will inevitably get followers.

Most importantly, have fun! We in the book blogging community are generally a nice bunch of people. Most of us started blogging because we didn’t know anyone with whom we could discuss books. When it comes to blogging, only do what you love. 🙂