As I’ve mentioned in my September wrap-up post, the blog has hit 500 followers recently, for which I’m again deeply grateful. I couldn’t have done it without the support of this wonderful bookish community I’m proud to be a part of. As a thank you to all the wonderful people who support me, I wanted to do a blog post on any one aspect of book blogging that would be helpful for all book bloggers out there. I did a quick Twitter poll regarding this and the most wanted topic was how to grow your blog. While I was initially considering it, I don’t think I’m the best person to talk about this. I feel like there are other things I have better experience with and the first thing that popped into my mind was on how to maintain a balance between blogging and other things in life. I want to quickly mention that I will be tailoring my advice for book bloggers, but all bloggers who do it as a hobby can probably take away something from this. Also, if you find this to be helpful, please let me know in the comments if you want me to make this a recurring series, and if yes, what topics you’d like to see in the future. With that out of the way, let’s jump straight in!
Tip #1 – Set Your Priorities Straight
The most crucial step to being organized is to figure out your priorities. There are always 101 things to be done, which becomes especially tough when you’re an adult. As a college student, I would easily find time for reading and blogging, but after starting work I’ve just been unable to catch up with my to-do list. Of course, this varies from person to person, but no matter what stage in life you are, there are probably some things that trump blogging in your list of priorities. Figuring out how much this means to you will allow you to carve time for it or let it go when some more important things come up.
Tip #2 – Stick to a Timetable
Many people tend to post whenever they want and I feel like it’s going to work fine if you’re in the initial stages. If blogging is an aspect of you want to improve on, I highly recommend having a schedule. I myself post on three days a week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I also know what kind of posts go up on each day, so I don’t struggle with ideas at the last moment. However, it might be hard for someone to keep this fixed like I do, which is completely understandable. I would encourage you to find a schedule that works for you. Maybe posting twice a week is doable but you don’t know exactly which days – that’s still an excellent starting point.
Tip #3 – Schedule Posts in Advance
I think we all have a good enough idea about the amount of free time we’ll have at least a week in advance. One thing I do not recommend is posting sporadically. Let’s say you have a lot of free time at some point and have 10+ ideas you want to write. In my opinion, it works best if you spread them out over a few weeks rather post them all on 2 days and take a break for a month. This is where scheduling posts will save you a lot of unnecessary stress. When you know that you have a busy week/month ahead, try to plan your time in such a way that you have a posts up your sleeve for when you just don’t have the time for blogging.
Tip #4 – Take Breaks
Sometimes, despite all your well-laid plans and forethought, life gets too hectic to be able to blog consistently. Or perhaps you’ve had a burnout and don’t know what to post anymore. Maybe you need to take a step back due to your mental health. I don’t think you should push yourself to blog even in the wake of such situations. It will only add to the pressure you’re already under. Always remember that this little corner of the internet is yours and yours alone, which means you always make the rules. If you think taking a hiatus is the best way forward, then go ahead and do it without feeling guilty. Most of the time I find that I come back with more energy and enthusiasm to start blogging again after a break.
Tip #5 – Find Your Social Media Sweet Spot
These days it isn’t enough to post something and forget about it. Most of my book blogging friends also manage Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and so on. Blog posts are promoted on any or all of a blogger’s social media. When you start blogging, start collecting data on which social media is driving traffic to your blog. Or try a few different ones to see what’s a good fit for you. Then pick three and invest all of your time on those. I personally like to limit myself to Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Of course, three is my comfort zone that I decided on after experimenting, but perhaps one or even five might be better for you. Maintaining 10+ profiles on different social media that are in different states of neglect isn’t going to help and you will probably lose a large chunk of time trying to keep up with them all.
Tip #6 – Request Books That You Really Want
I find that mostly newbie bloggers make the mistake of requesting more books than they can finish in a lifetime. Let’s face it, no one likes to push through books they aren’t enjoying for the sake of a review. When you’re new to platforms like NetGalley, it’s tempting to hit the ‘Request’ for every book that catches your eye. However, I strongly advice against doing so. Of course, I get that it’s a privilege to get to read books before their release date and when you see the popular bloggers getting the opportunity, you feel like you want that too. I’ve been guilty of this myself. Now that I steadily get offered books for review, I’ve realized that I’ve taken on more than I can handle, which is affecting my reading and book blogging life. Don’t make the mistake of requesting 100+ books just to DNF them later and instead work on making your profile so irresistible that you get approved for the books you actually are excited for.
Tip #7 – Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure
You’ve probably heard this as a teen quite a lot, but I think it applies to all stages of life equally. Don’t feel obligated to read YA just because you think your blog will have better chances of success if you do. Don’t request books you don’t care about just because everyone else is talking about it. Don’t give up on writing book reviews just because everyone says they don’t get good traffic. Always be true to yourself and only do things out of your interest. I guarantee this will make not only blogging less of a chore but also have a positive impact on your life. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should blog and read only as long as you’re having fun with it.
How do you balance your life and blogging? Do you have any more words of wisdom that I’ve missed out? Have you ever taken a blogging hiatus or adjusted your schedule to accommodate other things in life? Let me know in the comments section below.