June Round Up

june 2016

Read 6 Classics (12/12). | Made muffins. | Read 3 retellings (7/10). | Wrote spine poetry. | Tried 12 Lush products. | Made another YA inspired dessert. | I don’t usually include updates on this one, because it’s enormous, but this month I’ve really made an effort to make recipes from more of my cookbooks, and I’m so pleased with how it’s going! (Cookbooks: 28/46). | Made a mug cookie! | Reached 500 instagram followers. | Walked the dog. | Spent (part of) an afternoon drafting blogposts in a cafe. | Hula hooped! | Dyed my hair. | Had a picnic! | Invested in new underwear. | Made strawberry ice cream. | Picked berries and made jam. | Wrote blackout poetry. | Made a raw dessert. | Made salad in a jar. | Took new headshots. |

Goals Achieved: 19 (93/366)

Urgh, still lagging behind…

I’m a lot more hopeful for July though – work should quieten down a little, and hopefully the house stress will be over, and the army stress is done for now – there’s not really much excuse for not achieving much! I’m hoping to complete Camp NaNo and finish my novel in July; as well as trying out all of my cookbooks. I’m also planning to get back on the exercise wagon, and I’ll be attempting to beat my number of pages on Goodreads. I’m in the mood for a few longer term goals too, so I’ll be trying to know out some of those 30 day challenges… wish me luck!

 

 

Blog Posts I Have Been OBSESSED with in June

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Most of them weren’t even published in June. OH WELL!! (Better late than never, I guess…)

 

Eva’s post on how to finish your first novel has inspired me to finish my mermaid slasher story (yes, new followers, for reals) in Camp NaNo next month. Yaaay! Only six months after it was SUPPOSED to be finished…

Also, this writing itinerary is my game plan for Camp NaNo success.

Love this 11p Vegan Peanut Butter Granola. I added dark chocolate chips to mine!

Amber has social media guilt. Me too, Amber, me too.

Amy’s road trip essentials have made me DESPERATE to plan my own road trip… hopefully to Scotland???

Also Amy: things you’ll only understand if Harry Potter is your life.

I’m so excited about (another) Amy’s new house! We’re currently arranging move in dates (it’s looking like the beginning of July), so I can totally understand her enthusiasm!

I ADORED Elizabeth’s Giselle inspired look – I’m planning an Eilonwy Disneybound soon, so this is great inspiration!

I’ve been trying to be more positive this month, so Bethany’s 15 things to be happy about list came at just the right time!

Sophie’s guide to living with childlike wonder was such a lovely read!

YES to Hannah’s thoughts on insta-fied relationships. Real relationships are hard work guys – it’s less about surprise bunches of flowers and more about 3am phone calls because your boyfriend is drunk at some festival and decides he misses you. (Still kinda cute though, so I forgave him!)

26/52

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HALF WAY THROUGH 2016!!!

1. Most important thing first: my boy is joining the army. He had his interview this week, and although he didn’t directly make it on to his officer’s course, he has been offered a 12 week leadership course to complete BEFORE his officer’s course. It’s all very complicated, but the long and the short of it is a) he’s leaving in September to go and train, and b) it’ll be a 56 week regime, and c) I’m so proud but nervous.

ALL THE EMOTIONS!!!

2. Other fun things: I bought some old-fashioned weighing scales and weights, so I can feel like a Victorian when I bake. We’ve had lots of dates to make up for the fact that PB is away ALL THE TIME at the moment. I bought two books because it’s National Bookshop week. We baked far too many cookies. I managed half a day of a vegan detox before giving up.

3. Books read: Passenger; These Shallow Graves and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I’m really into my Classics at the moment – more so than I’m interested in YA, anyway… so maybe look out for a few more classic literature posts soon!

Ummm… that’s about it. How was your week?

Recommendations | Leaving School: A Reading List

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It’s that time of year again (in Britain, at least). Millions of teens are having their last few weeks at school. Soon they’ll go off to college, or university, or… not.

It’s a stressful time. I’ve been there. I went through university interviews and exams and all of the necessary pressures I needed to get on to my teaching course; but didn’t actually REALISE I was going to uni until mid-August. And then I refused to leave the house for three weeks. (But that’s another story.)

I don’t know. This post might be useless to you. But if there are any of you who are worried/nervous/scared to try something new/unsure of where to go next in life, here are some books I would prescribe for you.

No, they won’t change your life. But maybe they’ll ignite your excitement, or help you feel like someone else is feeling the same.

 

For the one who doesn’t know if univeristy is right for them: Radio Silence | Alice Oseman

Okay, so I didn’t LOVE the plot or characters of this, but I DID adore the whole ‘you-don’t-have-to-go-to-uni-just-because-you’re-smart’ aspect. That was an area that I really sympathised with Frances for, ’cause I’ve been there. University isn’t a massive deal in England any more, it’s more of an expectation for a lot of people. And some people get steam rolled into it, which isn’t great. Anyway, what I’m saying (and Alice Oseman writes more elegantly) is that there are other options out there that might suit you better. Have the confidence to research them if you have ANY doubts about whether or not uni is right for you.

For the perfectionist: Extraordinary Means | Robyn Schneider

Yes, this is a love story set in a slightly dystopic world rife with tuberculosis. But at it’s core, it’s really the story of an overachieving lad learning to stop pressuring himself, and actually have some fun. I’m actually really sad that I didn’t discover this until AFTER I was through with education, ’cause it might have encouraged me to stop working myself to death to get my first class degree, and actually enjoy the experience of university. It’s supposed to be a time for memories, right? Well, for me, all I remember about those three years was work. If I had my time again, I’d try out new things and explore a little more. If you struggle with perfectionism, Extraordinary Means might just motivate you to shake things up and live a little.

For the anxious: Fangirl | Rainbow Rowell

Hah, it’s basically on every list I’ve ever written ever. But for those of you who are afraid of university, Fangirl could be an amazing comfort. I won’t lie, my university experience was creepily similar to Cath’s first few weeks, except it lasted for three years. But again, in Fangirl, Cath lets go of some things and starts to enjoy life more. Also, if you’re considering any sort of creative writing degree, Fangirl will push you into it. Just saying.

For the un-excited: Emmy & Oliver | Robin Benway

Urgh, I love this book. It’s so cute and happy and normal! Again, Emmy & Oliver doesn’t exactly focus on school/university, but it does encourage you to start making decisions for yourself. Emmy was expected to go to community college by her friends and parents, but decided that that wasn’t the life she wanted, so she got out and applied to universities and MADE her life her own. It’s a really encouraging, motivating read, that never fails to make me feel excited for the future!

(Despite the fact that university is in my past and was not so great and all that. BUT YOUR EXPERIENCE COULD BE AMAZING, IF YOU LET IT!!)

For the one who wants to be prepared: The Historian | Elizabeth Kostova

Ooooh, a wild card. I absolutely LOVE The Historian – a rewrite of Dracula from an almost academic perspective: it’s creepy and atmospheric and will fill you with wanderlust and the desire to LEARN. It’s not the easiest read, definitely a grown up book; but for me, that’s a good thing. Because a) it’ll get you into the mindset of reading for uni (because all those research papers ain’t fun), and b) it’s almost a semi-classic, and what’s more fun than that? Anyway, I cannot read this and NOT be inspired to start studying again.

 

So. Hands up who’s leaving school this year? (You young whippersnappers, you! *shakes fist*) Read any of these? Do you plan to? 

Series Review: The Wrath & the Dawn

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The Moth & the Flame

Oooh, I liked this one. We need more of Despina and Jalal – I love their relationship, but it definitely felt under-developed in the main books. Aaand I really super loved the glimpse of Khalid pre-Shazi; pre-curse. It almost felt like a different man – he was focusing on building a SWIMMING POOL, ffs. And Ava… I have mixed feelings about that. As much as I can recognise that people in relationships usually have a past, I like to ignore that fact. I’m very much a believer in first loves, I guess, and as much as it makes me sad that Shazi was Khalid’s, it makes me more sad that Ava wasn’t. Sob.

However, I DO RESENT HAVING TO PAY £1.49 FOR A 37 PAGE EBOOK.

 

The Crown and the Arrow

I think, out of all the short stories, this one was my favourite. And I’m just sad that it didn’t have a part in the real book, although I suppose it would have revealed Khalid’s heartbreak too soon… but yeah, we should definitely have had more of the wedding in The Wrath and the Dawn. Aaaaand it KINDA reveals Khalid’s motivations for visiting Shazi, but not for sleeping with her. I’m still confused about that, to be honest. I mean, WHY her?

Still bewildered.

 

The Wrath & the Dawn

LOVED IT. Loved it last year, loved it when I re-read it this year. It’s so refreshing to read something set in Persia – the culture and food was fascinating. I’m a little bit grumpy about the vague supernatural element though (why does EVERY BOOK have to be about someone with magical powers??), but I get it. It’s a sort of fairytale retelling. Magic is kind of integral, I guess.

Oh, and I loved Shazi. I think I’d like to BE Shazi, once I’m done with being Celeana. She’s just so confident and… well, maybe a little too perfect, but we’ll forgive her for that. And I like Khalid, too. The romance is nice, and I like the fact that it’s a YA book that kinda celebrates sex in a relationship.

The only thing I didn’t like was the ending – I HATE it when my love interests get separated. It makes me feel anxious and worried and I JUST WANT THEM TO BE TOGETHER AND BE HAPPY.

 

The Mirror and the Maze

Well, that was nice extra chapter, wasn’t it? I do think it would have made more sense IN the book though, rather than as an extra. I was always super confused actually, ’cause the REAL ending (in The Wrath & the Dawn) was bewildering – Khalid wrote Shazi a note and how was he so calm and what was going on and WHY WEREN’T THEY TOGETHER??? But this does make a lot more sense.

Far too short though. Just sayin’.

 

The Rose and the Dagger

Urgh, I was so nervous about reading this. Mostly because I didn’t know how long it would take for Shazi and Khalid to find each other again. As I said, separation anxiety is REAL and STRESSFUL!! Anyway, I read it, and yes, it was stressful. But in a good way.

I do have to say though, I’m not sure this was as great as The Wrath and the Dawn. I mean, I’m still 5 starring it, but… it’s a slightly lower 5*? I loved it, but… eh, there was too much desert and not enough posh castles and archery and KHALID. And I’m really not sure how I feel about Jahandar (is that his name? Shazi’s dad, I mean). He wanted to help, and I know he was corrupted, but… I can’t make out whether the ending is happy or sad. Aaaand I kinda feel like The Rose and the Dagger was a bit… rushed? Like the whole curse thing – over and done within one chapter. I don’t usually say this, but I actually think it would have benefited from being split over two books, just so everything (Shazi’s power; the curse; the dragon guy’s comeuppance; Isra and Rahim; Shazi and Khalid; Desperina’s betrayal… I could go on). But despite that little grumble, I have to say this is probably my favourite series of the moment. HEART HEART HEART!!

Can I just take the time to say now I’d like to add Calipha to my list of future job titles? It’s such a good royal term – pretty, but powerful, don’t you think?

 

Okay. You know the drill: have you read this series? Do you want to read it? Thoughts on [insert random character/event here]?

Book Blogging | How I Plan a Month’s Worth of Content in 30 Minutes

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Oooh, how Pinterest-worthy was that title? (Feel free to pin away, my little Bloggy friends. Or not. Whatevs.)

Anyway, how are you enjoying my book blogging series so far? I mean, there’s always seventy billion posts about how to blog, but they’re never all that applicable to book bloggers, you know?

Okay, so I’ll walk you through HOW I plan first, and then we’ll move on to how I generate content.

A Look into My Planning Routine

Usually on the last Friday/Saturday of the month, I’ll sit down with my blogging notepad, Blog Planner and beverage and get my plan on. Yes, I bought a special planning pad, but to be honest any blank calendar will do – sometimes I’ll print off several copies, so I can plan my instagram content at the same time (tbh, I NEVER follow those social media plans, so it’s a bit of a waste of time). I’ll mark out my blogging days – usually that’s every other day, with a weekly round up on Sundays, but occasionally I’ll mix it up a bit (after everyday May I have a surplus of ideas for June, so now I’m blogging 5 times a week).

To fill in the calendar, I actually write my post ideas onto post-it notes, which means I can move them around and mess about with them as I like. First I put in any series that I’m playing with – like my monthly round ups on the last blogging day of the month, and monthly TBRs for the first. I aim to post one ‘review’ per week, and they usually take the form of a 19 Thoughts Review; Re-read Review; or Currently Reading review, so I’ll plan for one of these each week (these are the ones that get moved around the most!). I’ll add any topical posts, such as reviews of bookish films or readathon posts; and then fill in all the gaps with other post ideas… like the ones below!

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Tips for Generating Content Ideas

Find Current Themes.

People seem to like reading about things that are going on in their world, so I try to look out for exciting things/celebrations that are happening each month. For instance, the whole book blogging community went mental when Me Before You came out earlier in June, so I made sure to plan a post comparing the film and book versions… which meant I needed to read the book. This can be quite tricky – different things happen at different times depending on where you are (I’m thinking of the US National Doughnut Day that did not exist in England, for instance), but generally readers seem to appreciate relevant and topical posts.

Set Priority Reads.

So each month I set myself a TBR of books that I really do want to read. Not necessarily for entertainment purposes, but because I think they’ll help craft a good blog post. For instance, I recently read Jane Eyre, and happened to stumble upon a whole trove of Bronte-a-like novels that NEEDED to be made into a post… which meant they needed to be read ASAP while JE was still fresh in my mind. Similarly, after the level of excitement for the 50 ideas post, I figured we could all do with a bit more blogging support, so decided to re-read some of my old blogging guides with book bloggers in mind. It’s not a ground breaking idea, but it does help me feel more organised and purposeful when reading.

Something Different.

I’m sort of branching towards a bookish lifestyle blog niche at the moment, so my content is already pretty unusual. Still, I try to maintain a balance of things you’ve become familiar with and things that are a little bit more… out there, in terms of posts. This is probably the hardest part – just thinking of something that excites me, and may excite you too. My favourite thing at the moment is just doing something that I think will be enjoyable, and trying to relate it to a book – it’s so much easier than you think!

Or Not.

I call this technique ‘piggy-backing’ or ‘magpie-ing’, and I feel the need to point out that it is NOT copying. Copying other bloggers isn’t okay, unless you’ve been given permission, but you can share ideas. For instance, I’m quite often asked if people can borrow the idea of 19 Thoughts posts, which is always fine as long as credit is given! Borrowing an idea from another blogger is a great way to add a little bit of new content, and it might be a lovely change for you – just ASK PERMISSION! Alternatively, find a discussion on another blog and build upon it yourself. A lot of my early discussion posts were inspired by other bloggers, and it was a great way to ease myself into more creative post ideas.

If All Else Fails, Join in with a Link Up.

Everyone loves a good Top Ten Tuesday list, and a Sunday Post link up is a nice way to review your reading week. I’m also a fan of the occasional First Page, First Paragraph Tuesday, and I know What I’m Waiting For Wednesday is very popular too. There’s basically a tag/link up for every day of the week, but while they are a great way to show readers your personality, I would recommend scheduling a few as back up posts, for when you really can’t think of anything else. Too much of a good thing can be dull, you know?

 

And that’s it! As I said, usually this whole process takes me around twenty – thirty minutes, and is actually super enjoyable. I love me a good planning session!

 

Do you have a blog planning routine, or do you prefer a ‘pantsier’ approach to blogging? Share any tips in the comments!

Bookish Adventures: A Bluesey Quest to Cabeswater

So. Round two of the pretending-to-be-a-book-character-to-make-my-life-more-interesting project. This time we’re being Blue and Gansey from The Raven Cycle! (Although a) the boyfriend had NO idea about that, and b) it would have been more fun if Noah had deigned to join us, and c) this is England, not Henrietta.)

Anyway, here’s a TIIIINY bit edited and possibly made up in some places account of our recent trip to Cabeswater.

(Oh, and Nana, if you’re reading, just look at the pretty pictures. Don’t try to make sense of the words.)

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*Whispers* I THINK we found something. You know, if you squint a little bit you can almost imagine that this is Cabeswater…

“It smelled wonderful in the middle of this field, though – all grass and trees and, somewhere, water, and lots of it.”

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I FOUND RONAN’S FARM!!! (Yeah, I know I’m not his biggest fan, but doesn’t this look like some fairytale-perfect dreamed home? It just does.)

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Speaking of Ronan… hey, I know this isn’t some Latin jokey thing, but it’s a carved rock. That’s about as close to mystical we’re going to get in my part of the world!

“Arbores loqui latine. The trees speak Latin.”

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And here we found a magical stream! It was full of fish, but then I thought ‘yucky fish, please leave’, and as you can see, it’s now void of life!!*

*No, this did not happen. Also, this ‘stream’ is the baby part of a little known river called the THAMES.

“Beneath his hand, the water shifted and darkened, and Blue realized there were a thousand tiny fish just underneath. They flashed silver and then black as they moved, clinging to the faint shadow he cast.
Adam asked, ‘how are there fish here?'”

 

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Obviously we held hands but didn’t kiss, ’cause that’s the chaste romance that Bluesey share. Also, I decided not to dress like a book character in favour of a sensible anorak, jeans and boots combo. And the boy un-Gansey-ed it up with… a hoodie, instead of his polo shirt. Classy.

“She wore heavy boots she’d found at the Goodwill (she’d attacked them with embroidery thread and a very sturdy needle) and a dress she’d made a few months earlier, constructed from several different layers of green fabric. Some of them striped. Some of them crochet. Some of them transparent.”

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I’m not sure how to turn this into a Bluesey reference, except to say: IT LOOKS LIKE A FAIRY PATHWAY, and that is mystical and magical and this may as well be Henrietta, amiright?

 

So. Have you found Cabeswater yet?

 

 

25/52

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1. Another pretty quiet week… my boyfriend has his second army interview coming up next week, so we’ve just been relaxing and trying not to get stressed! We went strawberry picking yesterday, and now we have a glut of the most delicious, juicy strawberries. So far I’ve made this strawberry ice cream, and I’m making strawberry jam today, but we still have one untouched punnet!

2. We’ve been given a move in date for our house! We’re supposed to exchange on the 4th of July, but PB’s away that week (he’s basically away every week at the moment. Sob.) so we’re not moving in until the 8th. I’m getting nervous – there seems so much to sort out, and the only way I’m dealing with it is by burying my head in the sand and focusing on things that don’t really matter.

3. I finally finished Villette this week! But now I’m not sure what to read next. I said on instagram that I would read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but I’m just not feeling it… someone choose for me, please??? (Your options are: An Ember in the Ashes, Passenger or Wuthering Heights. Thank you!!)

 

How has your week been?

Literary Eats | Watford’s Sour Cherry Scones (Sort of)

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Sort of, because a) they’re not made in Watford, the wizarding school in Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On – or any other magical school, for that matter, and b) the ones in the picture AREN’T sour cherry scones at all.

Hear me out, okay?

Urgh, you guys. You have NO IDEA how hard it was to find a good recipe for these.

The first batch I made were just… sh*t. They took about an hour to bake, and even then, the inside was doughy and raw and bleh, and the outside… well, they looked like rock cakes. But less yummy.

And then the second batch… well, they were okay, but they just looked like boring little biscuits. I know Simon eats his with butter – LOTS of butter – but I’m a good little English girl, and that’s just not a scone for me.

So I gave up, and decided to make something else. I stumbled across a chocolate shortcake recipe in one of my MANY recipe books, and fiddled around with the recipe a bit. Oh, and then we ran out of cocoa powder, so I used hot chocolate powder and created some rather anaemic/wholemeal looking chocolate chip scone things. By the time they were sandwiched together with some cherry jam and clotted cream, they looked like the perfect English scones that I’d imagine Simon enjoying at Watford.

So there’s a happy coincidence.

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“I just can’t pass up the scones if they’re there. They’re soft and light and a little bit salty. Sometimes I dream about them.”

I have adapted the recipe to include sour cherries – not only does it make this Literary Eats edition more authentic, I think they sweet-sour chew would pair beautifully with the dark chocolate chips. Yum.

Either way, how horrendously delicious do they look? That’s a fluffy chocolate (and cherry, if you use my recipe) chip scone, stuffed full of thick, pillowy cream, and slathered with a lovely layer of rich, tart cherry jam.

Apparently when I describe food, I MUST include two adjectives. How annoying!!

Anyway, these are Watford’s sour cherry scones, but not as you’d imagine them. They’re daintier and lighter and urgh so perfect. Love, love, love.

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“Penelope gets us a plate of cheese sandwiches and a mountain of warm scones, and I tear through half a block of butter. (I eat my scones with big slabs of it, so the butter melts on the outside but keeps a cold bite in the middle.) Penny’s watching me like I’m mildly disgusting…”

Better than Watford’s Sour Cherry Scones – Adapted from Home Sweet Home
Makes 8 scones

370g Plain Flour (and extra, for dusting)
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
80g Caster Sugar
65g unsalted Butter
45g Milk Chocolate Chips
40g Dried Sour Cherries
60ml Double Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs
30g Demerara Sugar

Cherry jam and Clotted Cream, to serve.

First, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Stir through the caster sugar, then add the butter, rubbing it into the dry miz with your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the chocolate chips and sour cherries and stir through.

In another bowl, whisk the cream, vanilla extract and two of the eggs together. When combined, pour into the dry ingredients and stir until it forms a rough (probably dry-looking) dough.

Sprinkle a little extra flour over the surface, then turn out the dough. Pat it until it’s about 4cm thick, then take a round cookie cutter and stamp out scones. Place these onto the lined baking tray, and repeat until all the dough is used up.

Place the scones in the freezer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170c. When the oven is at temperature, beat the remaining egg in a small bowl, and brush this over the scones. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar, then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until firm and golden. Leave to cool.

When cool, assemble the scones by cutting them in half and serving them with butter (a la Simon), or layers of cream and jam. Yum!

 

Book Blogging: Tips from Blog Inc | Joy Deangdeelert Cho

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I read another info book for you… this time it’s all about blogging. Yay!!!

(Speaking of which, I have quite a few blogging resources and courses under my belt now… anyone interested in reviews/recommendations? ‘Cause if you are, I’m turning this into a series. (Maybe I’ll do that even if you’re not, just to keep you on your toes!)

Anyway, let’s talk Blog Inc.

Okay, so there are some chapters that are a little vague or common sense-ical (I’m sensing a theme with these blogger-written non-fiction books, aren’t you?). Let’s face it, if I’ve bought a book about blogging, it’s probably because I want to improve my already existing blog… so that whole chapter on what a blog is and what one consists of is probably a bit pointless, you know? Having said that, Blog Inc does have a few little gems of wisdom for the much over-looked book blog niche.

 

Voice

Voice, voice, voice. If you’ve read ANY article on blogging tips (including my own!) you’re sure to stumble across someone telling you to develop your writer’s voice. And they’re all a bit vague on how to achieve that, sadly.

Really, the key to having a strong writing voice is practice. Write blog posts. Lots of them. Work your way through this list. Write at different times of the day (first thing in the morning I tend to be more introspective, whereas in the evening I get hyper – so MORE brackets and capitalisation and triple exclamation marks!!!). Write in different spots – your bedroom, living room, the cafe down the road (hah, I wish…) – see whether any of these places bring out aspects of your personality in your words. I write as I think. What you see now is literally what is going throug my head at this moment in time (albeit with better spelling), but you may hate that. You might prefer Topaz’s fairytale prose, or something entirely different. You do you, and you do it A LOT. There’s no other way to find your writer’s voice.

… Eh, I guess that’s less geared towards book bloggers, and more advice for every blogger. Great start, Beth.

 

Be Social (Oh No)

So now we’re on to the advice I should listen to: get social. Blogging is, as you already know, just a form of social media, so it stands to reason that you need to engage. Really, there are two reasons for book bloggers to socialise. The first: because other book bloggers are lovely, and there’s really no reason not to talk to them. Read a review of a book you want to read. Instead of just reading and clicking away, take two minutes to share your thoughts (there’s a whole chapter on blogging etiquette and commenting 101 in Blog Inc). Read a review of a book you loved/hated. DITTO. Read something else entirely: YOU GET THE PICTURE. Make new friends and followers and all that jazz.

The second (and this is important to book bloggers especially): our niche is sooooo small most blog readers have no idea we exist. And actually, some readers of beauty/lifestyle/insert niche here blogs may be longing to find someone who talks about books almost all the time. So be brave, and go outside of your comfort zone. Try commenting on blogs that aren’t in the book blog niche. Hang out on the Bloglovin’ popular page and just click stuff. Read. Leave a meaningful comment, and maybe include a link to your own blog. Congrats – you’ve just introduced someone to your blog. Maybe they’ll hate it. Maybe they’ll love it. But because you showed an interest in them, they will show an interest in you. It’s human nature, apparently.

 

The Ever-Lasting Trauma of Finding Content Ideas

Urgh, the book blogger’s eternal struggle. I mean, if you’ve been blogging about books for a while, you’ll probably have worked out that reviews may not the most popular thing to write. So while in theory every book you read will give you content, that content might not be meaningful, or fun for you! (I HATE writing reviews, and you can totally tell, I think.) And finding out there ideas can be difficult.

I’ll be honest: I’m quite proud of my blog content. It’s different, and that’s what people have come to expect from TQP. I can’t put into words exactly HOW I come up with post/series ideas – they just appear based on what I’m reading and my interests. Literary Eats, for example, came of me combining my obsession with food with a love for reading. It’s simple, but it works.

And I think that’s the key thing: write about what interests you. Blog Inc suggests keeping an ideas notepad, or an app on your phone to store content inspiration – I’d go one further, and keep a notpad/app to store ANY inspiration. If it interests you, chances are you’ll be able to make it fit your blog. And as an added bonus, your interest will come across in your voice… which means other people will start being interested, too. For instance, my Bookish Adventures series is based upon days out that I’ve taken with my boyfriend simply because I wanted to. It wasn’t until I was there (or sometimes until after the event!) that I realise I can create a new post out of it.

 

Other Bits and Bobs

As book bloggers, content is literally all around us – you just might have to twist it slightly to fit your blog. That’s completely fine, and actually will bring about something completely unique to you.

Oh, if you’re interested in setting up a WordPress blog but have no idea how to do it, there is a pretty informative chapter on all that jazz in Blog Inc. Or you could just find a tutorial online. Just saying.

Oh, and also: there’s a whole chapter on turning your blog into a business that actually involves some of the financial/legal requirements for your to do so. That’s pretty helpful, if that’s what you’re looking for (I appreciate most book bloggers are not, so I won’t go into too much detail.)

 

Soooooooo, overall: would I recommend Blog Inc to book bloggers? Ummmm… probably not. I mean, if you want an easy read about your favourite hobby, go ahead – just be prepared that it might be too shallow (and then suuuuuuper niche at the end). If you want a not-too-expensive prop for blog photography, it TOTALLY works. If you want a basic understanding of your hobby, and maybe a little inspiration for your next steps, Blog Inc is PERFECT. But if you want some real, targeted support? Nah.

 

Have you read Blog Inc? Was it helpful? Actually, have you read ANY helpful blogging books so far?? I really enjoy reading them, so let me know your recs!

 

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