I'm a little late to this, but over at Small Review the event Busting the Newbie Blues is being held! As part of it, new and old bloggers are asked to answer some questions so others can get to know their blogs. I decided to answer the New Bloggers questionnaire, so here it is!
When did you start your blog?
I actually first created my blog sometime early 2010, but with my work and studies at the time I…well, to put it bluntly, I sucked. It wasn’t until about March last year that I really started blogging regularly, though there have still been some stops and starts throughout the year as life became a little too hectic. That’s why though it’s been almost a year I still consider myself a new blogger - I’m still learning and trying to get it as right as it can be for me.
Why did you start your blog?
I’ve always loved reading, and I’m always happy to gush about what I’ve read. But there aren’t a lot of people in my life who read the same books I do! I’d been following certain book blogs for a long while though, and so finally decided to give it a go myself. Originally I had wanted it to be some fun outside my work and studies, and I even at one stage thought I might use it to stay organised…I really don’t know what I was thinking! Now I simply blog because I enjoy it!
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Much like my biggest challenge in everything I do, it’s being organised and planning ahead! I wish I had posts scheduled weeks in advance, especially reviews. Some of my stops and starts are simply not making the time to get reviews and posts written! I very willingly admit that I am a highly skilled procrastinator. It’s something I’ve tried and failed to overcome, many times.
Sometimes I get in review writing slumps too, where I second guess everything I write and really struggle to get my thoughts out. I keep feeling like I’m writing the same stuff over and over again, you know? So then I fall behind on being organised again! I really wish I could read a book and then write a review…sometimes to get out of a slump I’ll read another book, and then I’ll end up with a backlog of reviews to be written and posted. Even now it’s like that! It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.
What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
I don’t know if I find anything absolutely discouraging, exactly. Well, at first I was a bit disheartened by how little followers I had, but that’s changing these days the more I keep at it. I’ve read a lot of blog posts by other bloggers about not letting it get to you – to just keep getting out there, writing reviews, participating in memes, and so on – and that’s helped. Little by little the more I post and comment, etc, the more I feel like I’m not doing it for nothing – or not nothing, but that I’m not alone? If that makes sense.
Now that I think about it, the lack of comments on my reviews can sometimes be discouraging. I get a lot of comments on the memes I join, but it’s not the same for my reviews. I suppose because I’m not adding them to any linkys, like with the memes?
What do you find most encouraging?
How willing the blogging community is to help – not even just me personally, but by posting about problems they’ve faced, advice they’ve found helpful, and what not, for everyone to read and learn from. Most times I find I don’t even have to ask, because someone already has and the answer is out there. I might not even have to go looking for it because this support is always being offered within the blogging community and so I’m always seeing it!
I also find comments encouraging. Knowing that people are reading – and interacting with, in a way – what I write always helps! Though it happens rarely, when it does it’s always a big boost!! That, plus author comments - they leave me both awed and terrified!! I’ve had a couple post a comment on my blog or reply to/retweet my review links on Twitter, and it blows me away to think they’ve read what I’ve had to say about their work.
What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
Reviews and design are a big factor here for me. When I first started I was conscious of how long reviews were, how they were set out, etc. Same with what a blog looks like, what is featured in the sidebars, and so on. I feel that my blog is very basic, and I’m pretty okay with that…though I have begun to think about a redesign. I’m not sure I’m that confident with the html skills, etc, to get it looking like some of the blogs out there though! But then I also realise my blog really needs to be me and mine, and so I don’t want to replicate too much anyways.
What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
I guess sometimes I see blogs that have too much going on, like too many widgets and whatnot in their sidebars, and that’s something I want to avoid. Sometimes it just takes too long to load a page because of it, or it makes searching for something harder.
I also try to avoid spelling mistakes, etc, throughout my reviews. When I read reviews with the same, it always pulls me up. I know it happens - we're only human after all - but I almost learn my reviews by heart I re-read them & nitpick at them so many times!! I'm not sure if that's such a good idea though, I may be simply putting too much pressure on myself!
Any advice for other new bloggers?
Really only the same advice I mentioned earlier - get out there and give it a go! Join Twitter to share your review links, etc; visit other blogs and leave comments; join in memes; take part in reading challenges. Just get you and your blog out there!
Any questions you'd like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
Yeah, I have a few in relation to the challenges I face. Like, how do you stay organised with your TBR piles and posting reviews? How do you fight the review writing blues, if you ever suffer from it? Any tips for getting people to comment on your reviews?
Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments.
I don’t really have anything to say about my blog. I would really appreciate some constructive criticism, however! Is there anything I should change about my blog, for example? I’d also love it if you’d read a few of my reviews and let me know if you think there’s anything I should change about them – are they too long? Is there variety? Anything at all! All advice would be much appreciated! Here are some links to some recent reviews:
Matched by Ally Condie
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
The Traitor and the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Thanks for taking the time to stop by to read this and check out my blog!