For What It's Worth

Friday, January 26, 2018

the friday 5




& this week I wanted to touch on the:

5 Truths/Tips about blogging


1.Truth: We’ve all felt like an inadequate/awkward/shy blogger at some point.
Or at least every single blogger I’ve ever talked to has. I think most book-ish people tend to be shy anyway so when we finally take the plunge into blogging, we’re a little unsure of how we’ll be received. We compare ourselves to others in style, numbers and quality, and find ourselves lacking or overwhelmed by the end goal (followers) rather than the journey.  

It's not just you. Promise.

2. Tip: Speak up! Don’t be afraid to contact other bloggers if you’re struggling or have questions. We’ve all been through it. Need advice on how to request arc’s, make graphics, HTML code? ASK!! I’ve had so many questions over the years and my fellow bloggers have always been willing to help me out or just be a sounding board when I felt like throwing in the towel. You are not alone! It may seem like every other blogger has their shit together but that’s rarely the case. We all go through ebbs and flows.

* Related – don’t be afraid to contact publishers or authors either! The most they can say is no. And that has happened to ALL of us. No matter our popularity or following. 

3. Truth: We are own worse critic. For some reason bloggers tend to berate themselves and apologize about EVERYTHING. Our blog isn’t as pretty as the other blog, we’re not posting enough, we don’t have high quality posts, our reviews suck – they’re too long – they’re too short, we have typos in our posts, we’re not reading fast enough, we can’t visit and comment every day…I could go on forever! We're really, really bad about this.

We never hold other bloggers to these standards. I hope! If you do - well, you're kind of a jerk lol We understand that sometimes you burn out and need a break. We realize that there might be one or two typos, or that you might not want to read YA anymore. So why do we expect perfection day in and day out from ourselves?

Relax! Give yourself a break. Blog without guilt. For most of this is a hobby and we have other things going on. As we should! Try to treat yourself with the compassion you would show to someone else. 

I can’t think of too many other hobbies that require so much WORK and you’re doing it! You’re here! While taking care of your family, working and everything else you need to do in a day. You're already winning this blogging thing.

4. Tip: Learn to adapt and find what works for you. You might need a very strict blogging schedule to stay on track. You might like to wing it and go where the blog takes you. You might need both of those things at different times in your blogging career.

I, personally, don’t do well with scheduling but I’ve done it a few times when I wanted to get back into the groove of blogging regularly & then abandoned it once I found my way again. 

There are dozens of challenges on both blogs and Instagram to join if you need a little kick in the pants. Or maybe you need a break and come back refreshed! It’s all good.

Take inspiration and advice from other bloggers but DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. There is no one way to blog.

5. Tip AND Truth: Be yourself! The most important thing to a blog is your *voice*. I’ve seen blogs with the most basic of designs – nothing fancy - just a plain old blogger template, no social media, irregular posting schedules, odd topics and they still have a steady following. People can tell right away if you are just in it for free books or just cranking out the posts to fill the days. 

I follow all kinds of blogs that don’t necessarily cater to what I love regarding topics or books but I love their honesty, passion and attitude. Whether it’s serious in depth reviews, silly pics or the way they approach blogging life with a laid back attitude... being authentic and honest is key. And it does not mean you have to be all YAY and excited on your blog but you can be!– just be YOU.

Here are a few posts I've seen around lately that I felt were related to this topic:

My Pixie Blog - with her version of 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging
Bout of Books - Bout of Books is a fun group read-a-thon with blog prompts (next one is 5/14- 5/20/18)

Happy TGIF! & what are some of the things you've learned through blogging? Or tips to help other bloggers.

54 comments:

  1. Yes! Be yourself! I love when people really let their personalities show on their blogs. I feel like I'm getting to know the "real" you, or at least the you that you feel comfortable sharing with the world. I enjoyed Greg's post yesterday, too!

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. Exactly. You don't need to share details or anything but knowing the bloggers personality and likes/dislikes also helps me trust their opinions more and make it feel like I'm visiting with a friend.

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  2. I love this! I've only recently started blogging so these were really helpful to me. Great post :)

    Charlotte | https://charlotteidek.com

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    1. Welcome to blogging! & I'm glad you found it useful :-)

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  3. Yes to all of these. Being our own worst critic is so true. I apologize for stuff all the time and that is silly but I can't help it! Being yourself is so important!

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    1. I just wonder how many of us think the same thing when visiting other blogs. I know I don't care of bloggers need a break or try out new things.

      Not every thing works for every blogger/follower but I don't believe we are judging each other as harshly as we judge ourselves.

      Maybe because it's more personal and we feel like we're putting a piece of ourselves out there. We feel like we could be rejected??

      I've gotten better about it and just do what works for me - no guilt.

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  4. Oh my gosh! You have some great insight! I. Am. My. Own. Worst. Critic. I criticize myself all the time! All the time. I worry that my personality doesn't shine through. But people seem to read my blog. Maybe not a ton of people, but I still get comments, so that's something. I just need to cool it with the criticisms.

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    1. I think we all do it at lest at some point.

      I almost quit so I had to come to some sort understanding that this can't be my whole life and to just have fun with it or leave.

      Easier said than done but we have to give ourselves a break. We do't treat other bloggers that way. We are understanding of their changes/ups/downs.

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  5. You are so right.I remember when I started blogging, I thought the big bloggers will not want to associate with a newbie blogger, that is so not true. I always love meeting new bloggers and making new bloggy friends. I also agree about blogs with content and their own voices. I do not follow blogs that just spam me with cover reveals and blitzes. I want content not ads. Great post, Karen.

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    1. They are all so nice! And honestly, most don't even consider themselves big. They're just managing their blog like the rest of us.

      I really believe that we all struggle at some point but it doesn't always show on some of the blogs until they all of sudden up and leave from burnout. I wish we would all be open about it more so we don't feel like we're failing if we can't do it ALL.

      The same - I don't mind promo posts but if that's all there is or I know the blogger doesn't even read those books then I don't enjoy following those blogs.

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  6. I had to learn to adapt. I use to do a lot of blog tours and quickly not only got burned out but was stressed out. I find that if I read books I want to read or been dying to read I can read like 20 books a month, versus just wanting to review books to gain exposure with the publishers

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    1. Blog tours and promo posts are HARD! Even when they make it easy and provide everything and html code. It's easy to get overwhelmed. I haven't' done anything like that in a long time. I would like to hep authors more but I have to find a way that doesn't stress me out lol

      I am exactly the same! I can read really fast (20 books too) if I'm happy reading what I want. Reviewing all those books you don't love just to get that one book you might want isn't worth it to me.

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  7. Yessssssss to Learn to adapt and find what works for you!

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    1. There's great advice out there but the key (IMO) is to not take it as gospel and incorporate what works best for you.

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  8. Oh I totally agree about being authentic. If you are going to blog and have it be something fun that you enjoy, you have to be you. I love that bloggers are so friendly and if I have a question, they are willing to help me find the answer.

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    1. They really are! I haven't run into anyone that wasn't nice or helpful to me over my 8 years.

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  9. It took me FOREVER to get over my fear of contacting people and inserting myself into conversations to meet other people. I'm still not the best, but I'm doing better.

    And it's sooo important to highlight that we've all felt (still feel) inadequate in this game. There will always be someone to compare yourself to, it doesn't matter what stage of blogging you're in.

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    1. The same! I had been blogging for at least 5 years before I ever contacted a publisher and that's because a friend yelled at me to do it lol

      Not everyone said yes but that's fine - quite a few did!

      Blogging can be really weird. You only see one side where you think every other blogger is super cool and is getting all the books, followers etc but I've found that arc's are really random - it's nothing personal and even the most put together bloggers can be struggling.

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  10. I love 3 and 5- so true- but these are all great. Being yourself *nods* such an important message. And speaking up, reaching out- to authors and publishers as well as fellow bloggers- can be intimidating, but so rewarding as well once we take the plunge! :)

    Great post. and thanks for including mine as well. :)

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    1. It's hard (for me anyway) to trust reviews or recommendations if I can't get a feel for you as a person and what your likes/dislikes are. that's why I trust bloggers over trade reviews.

      I'm not a thriller/mystery reader but reading your reviews over the past few years has made me want to give them a try and because I kind of *know* you and what your tastes are, I can tell what might work for me.

      It's SO scary to put yourself out there but I've never had anyone be mean to me. Even if something was a no - it was done politely. I think it's scary for everyone - even authors so I try to keep that in mind.

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  11. Yeah, I think getting started talking to people, asking questions, joining the community, etc. if often one of the hardest parts! But yes, you have to find what works for you, and definitely be yourself! I also follow lots of bloggers who don't read what I like simply because I like the blogger!

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    1. It is. I never even THOUGHT to email anyone or ask them something on twitter. Why would they talk to me? lol I'll sound like an idiot. but everyone is really nice and has been through it themselves at some point.

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  12. Yep! I think grasping these truth concepts about blogging will maintain the pleasure and longevity in blogging. So glad you put these timely reminders up, Karen!

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    1. If you're at it for any length of time, you will go through it all. It's hard to maintain that level of creativity, enthusiasm and just plain have the time for that long.

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  13. Love love love these posts so much, I think the “do what works for you” tip is so important. I kind of go back and forth with scheduling. Sometimes I’m awesome at it; other times I suck. But you know what? That’s okay. So much frustration comes into play when we constantly compare ourselves to the achievements of our peers but we’re pretty awesome on our own :)
    thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful weekend!! Xoxo

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    1. Thanks Charlotte!

      Yes! What works at one point in blogging - might not work at another time. It's all good.

      I know I really struggle with schedules and a bullet journal would totally freak me out. And sometimes I feel like I neeeed to make myself master that because that's what works for everyone else. But it makes me so miserable and unproductive. So I've learned to embrace my inner pantser lol BUT - there are times I need the schedule to get back on track.

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  14. Such good advice. You know you are my blogging yoda...
    Jen Ryland Reviews

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    1. That's funny because I consider you my blog yoda. lol

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  15. Finding your voice for sure. I follow a number of blogs I don't have much in common with other than we like to read but I enjoy seeing what they're doing and how they're doing it :)

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    1. Same. A good *voice* is more important to me.

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  16. Another brilliant post and so accurate. I know I feel like a shy blogger when it comes to commenting on a new blog or speaking to people on twitter. I am always too critical of myself and that's simply because we always want to be the best we can be and so that leads to a few criticisms from time to time. I think the most important thing when it comes to blogging is be yourself, as soon as you try imitating bloggers you lose your personality and you become forgettable which is never good.

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    1. Thanks Becky :-)

      I think blogging is a really personal hobby and you're inviting hundreds of strangers to look and judge you so it's easy to feel like a failure if things aren't going well with stats/followers etc.

      but, just like books - not every blog is for every person. All you can do is talk about what you love and hope there is someone else out there who likes what you have to say.

      I went through a phase where I didn't think my reviews sounded professional enough and I totally lost my personality and people stopped reading them. lol

      I think it's really important to take inspiration from others but be yourself.

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  17. This is great! I was so shy when I first started out (tbh I still am most of the time), but I've gotten so much better about interacting on Twitter/going to other blogs!

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    1. I am too. I try to push myself though. Sometimes the computer is a nice shield lol

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  18. I wish I could make graphics...I guess I should ask :)

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    1. I have a basic understanding and use Picmonkey/PEXEL/ Canvas with digital clip art I buy on etsy but I can't do anything advanced or from scratch.

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    2. Picmonkey is awesome and really easy to get a handle on. I use it and recommend it too. :)

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  19. Quote:
    "For some reason bloggers tend to berate themselves and apologize about EVERYTHING."
    LOL. I guess we are indeed guilty of that - more or less, maybe now and then, but we ARE. I loved what you said about treating yourself with the same compassion you would show to others. And someone should make "BLOG WITHOUT GUILT" t-shirts! It's such a great slogan.

    Quote:
    "I can’t think of too many other hobbies that require so much WORK and you’re doing it! You’re here! While taking care of your family, working and everything else you need to do in a day. You're already winning this blogging thing."
    What a great blogging motivator you are - I can see you as Lucy in the Peanuts now, behind a little stand with a "The Motivator Is IN" sign! LOL.

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    1. A friend of mine (who has since quit blogging) had made a blog badge with that saying. I always try to remember it when I'm getting stressed.

      And who knew?? Maybe my career path is to be a motivational speaker! Which is SO funny because I'm such a cynic and not a rah-rah persona at all lol

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  20. Karen, you are right in so many things in this post. When I first started my blog, I felt as if I was not doing well enough because others had thousands of followers and I had none. So, I had quit for a couple months until I felt as if I could actually commit to writing and not seeing immediate results. That is the thing that no one tells you about. Not everyone becomes an over-night sensation; however, all the bloggers and YouTubers I watched or read said that they saw their channels and blogs explode in a matter of days. You pushed me to ask a book publisher for one of my most anticipated books of this year. I am currently waiting for an answer, but like you said, one of things they can say is no. Thank you for being an awesome blogger!

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    1. I started just when everything was taking off so there were a lot of hops and new bloggers who all followed each other. I could get 20-30 new followers PER WEEK.

      That's why I think stats and that kind of thing can be deceiving in a way. My 3's are still large but from before. I don't have the same # of views as I did back then. At all! And so many people just follow for giveaways and never come back.

      It's hard to know what makes people take off while others languish. I think a lot of it has to do with how aggressive you are (not in a bad way) with participating in things and taking to people. I did that a lot at first but I just burned out after so many years of 7 day a week posting. And most people do - even a lot of the top bloggers aren't blogging anymore or take breaks.

      I hope you get that book! And if it makes you feel any better - I just got rejected for 2 in a row lol Even though they've said yes to me in the past.

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  21. Yes to all of these! I was so shy about contacting other bloggers and authors but once you do it and you realize how nice people are it's the best. And yes I am my own worst critic 😂

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    1. People are so friendly and helpful! I think we've all felt awkward and shy so we get it.

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  22. This is good to know! I know I'm not dedicated enough to have my own blog but I do enjoy visiting them. It's only in the last few months I've started leaving the odd comment here and there.

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  23. I have always felt too shy and insecure, and also disorganized, to do a "real" blog. I may get over myself one day, but probably not any time soon.

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    1. You have a REAL blog!!!

      It's up to you how far you want to take it (and that changes for me - I take months off, just blog once per week, 5 times per week, different topics) but you're out there sharing with us so you are a real blogger :-))

      I love your blog.

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  24. These are all great tips and things I've noticed in the blog world. I know I'm a fairly shy person in real life, but I think blogging lets me have more of a voice...and we should all use the one we have! :)

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. It feels a little safer?? We finally met our people so maybe we're willing to put a little more of ourselves out there (behind the safety of the screen lol) with blogging.

      it's really helped me push through a lot of my phobias and insecurities.

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  25. Sadly #3 is so true. Not just with blogging but in all aspects of life it seems. f on;y we could sometimes see ourselves as others see us and give ourselves a break. We'd probably be (pleasantly) surprised!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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  26. When I was first starting out I think the tip about adapting to suit yourself would've been the most helpful. I was SO hard on myself about regular posting and participated in a bunch of memes even though I didn't enjoy them at all. Thankfully I've realized that (as you said), being myself and speaking up is the way to connect with other bloggers rather than going along with whatever's popular at the moment!

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  27. Excellent post - 100% to that final point! :)

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