I’ve been blogging for about 9 months and I haven’t been as consistent in posting as I thought I would be. When I first started my blog, my aim was to create a space where people could come and simply check out what I’ve read and what I thought about the book. I found a roadblock really quickly – I could only post once I had finished reading something! Even then, I would force myself to write posts about every book I had read because if I didn’t, there’d be no content. Looking back, I don’t think I put in as much thought into blogging as I should have.
Fast forward to today, I have been trying to think of ways to make my blog about more than just book reviews. I’ve drawn some inspiration from Booktube and other book bloggers and I’m feeling a little less overwhelmed. I mean, I can write about ANYTHING and I don’t have to feel that just because I’m a book blogger, that only means I can post book reviews. I’m definitely still working things out in terms of what to post, but I’m not putting pressure on myself to be compelled to write about everything I’ve read. Instead, I’ve decided to focus more on what books I felt strongly opinionated about or books that I could discuss that go beyond the synopsis of the book.
I continue to learn lessons about blogging as I go along but that being said, here are a few things I wish I knew before starting my blog:
It’s a lot of work and requires a lot of planning
I didn’t fully understand or appreciate the amount of work that’s required to keep a blog together. Constantly having to come up with ideas and keeping your content engaging is a lot harder than one would think. Planning is really the key to success when it comes to blogging. I can’t say that I’m great at this yet but knowing what to post and having quality content to post takes time. This means my initial strategy of writing a post and hitting the publish button is ancient history and only leads to inconsistent posting! Have an idea of what you want to post and when – this will make your job a little easier. I am constantly looking up ways to help me plan my posts – maybe I’ll put together a post on that once I’ve rounded up a few ways!
You will want to quit
I’m being 100% honest here – I’ve thought of giving up my blog just because I wasn’t being inspired to write and I wasn’t getting any reach with my posts. My reach can still be much better but it’s growing slowly. As I mentioned before, I thought a book blog was only about book reviews and that made writing a chore and something that I was dreading! I’d often be left thinking “why am I forcing myself to do this if I’m not enjoying it and if no one’s actually reading it?”. Thankfully, as I’ve start reading blogs by fellow book lovers, I’m beginning to feel more inspired and a little less overwhelmed.
Consistency is key
I never realized how much of an impact consistent posting has on creating a reader base. While I’m still struggling with growing my reach, I have noticed that when I post more regularly, I have a better chance of having people follow my blog and join me on my reading journey. I know that blogging is not about numbers but it does help to know that people are actually reading my content and find me interesting enough to keep up with my reading journey! Think of having a conversation – you could be making some points or sharing your opinion, but it has a bit more meaning when someone is listening to you rather than it falling on deaf ears.
Quality over quantity … always
I’m sure this can be said about anything, really. With respect to posting, there’s always points in the month where you’ll think to yourself “it’s been a while since my last post … oh my God, it’s been 3 weeks since my last post! I’ve gotta get something up … NOW!” No matter how badly you feel you need to get a post up, make sure that you do not compromise the quality of your post just to get something up. On this point as well, spend the time it takes to properly edit and format your post for consistency. I think my point on planning will avoid you feeling the need to post sporadically when you realize it’s been a while but even the most diligent planner will come to a point where they realize they’re due for a post!
This point can be taken in two ways. The first is to remain true to your voice. Write as you would speak (for the most part). I find that the more formal you get in your writing, you tend to lose your individual voice and that can lead to you coming up with posts that don’t feel like they came from you. This can also lead you to be compelled to alter the way you express yourself in order to appeal to others. This isn’t good in the long run and can end up be demotivating.
The second way to interpret this is to be true to your opinion. The book community is quite supportive, positive, and encouraging. This means you should never be afraid to share your true feelings on a book. Not everyone will like every book – even if it’s a favourite among the community! For example, I didn’t quite understand the hype around Eleanor & Park and felt that I had to share my thoughts and describe why I didn’t like it. It’s alright not to have a popular opinion – that’s what makes you, you!
I can say with certainty that every blogger faces moments where they feel they aren’t getting anywhere or are feeling uninspired. To anyone feeling uninspired to write or to keep their blog going, just remember why you started your blog and let that continue to be your guide. Sometimes, you just need to think outside of the box and I really find that reading other blogs inspired some ideas for me. I wish I thought of that sooner!
What do you wish you knew before you started blogging? Share your comments below!