I've been blogging for over a year already...
It was Winter 2016 when I decided that I really needed to do something in order to keep me sane (for lack-of-better-terms). Being a wife to an amazing husband, mother to an adorable toddler (we are also expecting a baby boy), a full-time employee, along with all of that other demanding life stuff, took up majority of my time. However, most of that time is me doing things for others (which is truly a blessing!) I just wanted to look for something that I could focus my attention on when I did have some downtime. Instead of watching movies (which I like to do), I wanted to focus more on reading. It was something I had always done, but got away from for a few years because of college.
I grew up on not really a farm, but out in the country where I was always involved in outdoor activities–mostly horseback riding and training. Showing took up a good twelve years of my life (which I gladly gave), along with a peppering of sports, extra-curriculars, and then some more. If you don’t get the picture: I was always incredibly involved in multiple different activities. Naturally, living this lifestyle molded me into a mess of chaotic organization, so when I wasn’t doing one-hundred things at a time, I didn’t know what to do to myself.
After my husband and I were married, we bought a house where I couldn’t sustain my horse. In the midst of one year, nearly everything I had been mega-involved with disappeared. It was a sad stage of life for me, to part with the old and take in the new. However, I welcomed the life to come with my husband. I realized though, that I didn’t really have an active hobby.
A friend and I have been working on writing a book series over the course of two or three years now. In order to build some credibility, I was told by fellow authors and bookish folk that starting a blog was a great way to do this. It was around that time that I also really took an interest in writing reviews for books, so I thought, I’m going to start a book blog!
So I did.
Only recently, had I realized how little I’ve posted about blogging itself. When I decided to start reviewing books and blogging, I dove in without really having much (any) of a plan.
Sometimes, jumping in and learning to go with the flow isn’t all that bad. You have the freedom to do whatever you please! However, I found that over this course of time, I spent nearly all of my time only blogging about my book reviews, and participating in a few reading challenges, cover reveals, etc., here and there.
This isn’t necessarily bad. However, it doesn’t really help establish my brand on blogging itself. I’m not surprised it took me this long to realize some of these things because it’s how I work–I jump in full-force, not really knowing what to expect, and planning to learn along the way. I have learned a lot, too–and now I have some strategy.
Blogging takes some trial and error. There isn’t really a way to do it right or wrong, it’s a combination of everything you do as a whole. When I started getting approvals for eGalleys of books, I went a bit berserk and requested far too many. I was, quite literally going book crazy.
(I'm so funny...)
So, I got in a little over my head. I had to play catch-up right from the beginning (but I liked the challenge.) I wouldn’t recommend this method for others to use, but it definitely forced me into commitment right from the start!
I certainly didn’t anticipate how much time and effort blogging takes! But after burning myself and learning from my mistakes, it’s slowly getting more manageable.
If my testimony has scared you, please, don’t be. I made the mistake of getting in over my head right away, but that doesn’t mean you will. Most people are better strategists then I am, so that will definitely help benefit them in the long-run. I had to learn some of that. Thankfully, Book blogging has helped me do that! It’s also opened a new world to me, with tons of wonderful bloggers just doing what they like to do: talk about books!
I think blogging could be beneficial to anyone who just needs an outlet. You don’t even need to have a consistent theme or topic you discuss! (Although, it may help you when starting out.) I’m amazed at the diversity, versatility, and uniqueness by every blog I’ve come across.
So, there’s a little of the backstory as to what got me into blogging. I’ve spoken with many others who started for various reasons. That variety is what makes the realm so interesting, if you ask me!
Here are some reasons why blogging is great, and why you should consider blogging as well!
It helps to pass the time: get more organized!
I’ve experienced for myself the benefits blogging has. For one, it’s helped me manage my time for effectively. Instead of filling my “free” time with frivolous things, I sit down and read, write a review, read other’s posts, write something, etc. It helps me appreciate the time that I do have instead of wasting it away, and to stay focused. I’m not always the best at this because I get distracted, or I have too much to do, or…you get the picture. But it could definitely be a useful tool to those who like to have a schedule and know what they will be doing, and when!
It's a wonderful outlet for creativity!
Your blog is your own. Meaning, you have the freedom to do whatever you like with it! You can customize it to your liking, and create whichever content you want to feature on it! I’ve seen many types of blogs, all with their own unique flare. It’s fun to be able to make something your own. In an age where much of what we do is digital, it’s nice to be able to express ourselves in that way, too!
While my blog mainly focuses on books, I’d like to expand it to also include my artwork. I’ve been a hobby artist for years, and would love to share some of that with others, too!
Engage your mind: challenge yourself to think outside the box
This point goes along with the previous one about creativity. Create! Do new things! Write about topics that you wouldn’t normally–or ones that you are passionate about. Ask questions! Host discussions! Really, the options here are endless!
Make new connections
Book bloggers are probably some of the nicest people you will ever meet. But, you want to know a secret? If you are a nerd, and nervous to geek out about books and gush about how much you love them, don’t fear; book bloggers reciprocate. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t grow up (or currently have, for that matter) many friends who read a lot. Sure, I’ve made an effort to find those who do. But, they simply aren’t in my proximity. Stumbling upon the bookverse has been a great experience for me, and I’ve met some wonderful people from all over the world!
This isn’t exclusive to just book bloggers. There are people who blog about all sorts of topics that I’ve interacted with who have been really wonderful to get to know!
To put it in short terms: you can make new friends!
Practice your writing skills!
Seeing how one of my main reasons to start this blog in the first place was for writing, it actually helped me out a lot in regards to improving my writing overall. (I definitely still make mistakes though!) Even if I’m not working on creative writing, composing book reviews takes a lot of work and brain power. It takes a lot of effort to string one’s thoughts together into a coherent review (that will hopefully be helpful to whoever reads them). Writing blogs and reviews have really helped me focus on writing well. I can see this only as a benefit as it helps to exercise that part of my mind.