Saturday, 25 May 2013

Discussion: Blog Management

I've been reading a lot of blog discussions over the past few weeks that have been all about how people find the time, energy and motivation to blog, and blog regularly, and I think that it is about time that I weigh in with my own views. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with blogging- I absolutely love blogging, reading other peoples' reviews, occasionally commenting on others' blogs (although I am not nearly active enough in this), and, most especially, reading. I hate that should I not blog for any reason, I make myself feel guilty for not having tried hard enough. (For proof of this, see various posts that casually mention my lack of posting, or are dedicated promises of "must try harder".)
Since getting myself a full time job, my blogging efforts have dramatically reduced, and I constantly manage to make myself feel bad for this- and to be honest, all of the self-inflicted guilt tripping often makes me not want to carry on blogging, because I set myself targets that I know that I can't keep. It's not even necessarily that I don't have time to blog, but more that I don't have time to read the same number of books as when I was unemployed, and so have far fewer reviews to churn out. I have also stopped various memes and features (such as top-off tuesday and teaser tuesday), and while this has saved me some extra time in my week, it has made my blog look just a bit empty.

So, what is the answer? Well, each to their own, but I have been trying to work out what woks for me (and may work for others too. Who knows, right?)

Changing my reading patterns- Audiobooks on buses

Trying to find the time to get my reading fix is difficult, until you start to add up the amount of time I spend on buses during the week. Just my bus rides to and from work start to add up to some pretty impressive hours Monday to Friday. 40 minutes each way to work from my house, or 1 hour and 20 minutes each way from my boyfriend's house to work (and the sad thing is that in a car these are 12 minute and 18 minute trips respectively). That's a lot of reading time, and even more listening time (as I can listen while I walk to various stops and between various buses), hence, a change to audio-books.

Plus, this is great because I can be borderline comatose every morning, and effectively having someone read the book to me. And, as another little bonus, it saves my eyes for the brutality of staring at a computer screen for 8 hours straight. Whoop, less eye strain for me.

Not getting distracted

I used to write reviews with about 10 other tabs open on my laptop- goodreads, facebook, tumblr, twitter, about three other blogs, cracked.com, maybe a recipe or two, and youtube. This made it so easy to have sensory overload and get massively distracted mid review. Then I would go back to it another time (or later the same night), forget my point, and spend hours making a little progress before getting distracted again.

More recently I have imposed some limitations on myself- I will literally only have one other page open at most, and that is usually goodreads if I need a refresh on a book's blurb and to get the cover image. And the result is that I get much more done, much quicker.

Blog when I feel like it

This works in two ways- if I try to blog when I don't feel like it, then I get barely anything done, and when I do, I am never happy with the result.

Secondly, if I feel like blogging, then if possible I will do it, even if I can't get near a computer. I write reviews on paper on the bus, write notes to myself on my phone, and borrow my boyfriends laptop if I don't have mine to hand. The same applies for writing in general- it has become an increasingly regular sight to see me jotting down notes, ideas and phrases at the oddest of times, such as when drunk and pre-drinking- and surprisingly, I can even sometimes read it the next morning.


Don't have a reading order on my to-be-read list

The more I try to structure my reading patterns, the less I seem to read. Whatever book I had planned to read (because it looked incredibly exciting/funny/interesting/other fundamental good-book characteristic) next suddenly seems a lot less interesting, and another one that I can see on the shelf is now whispering my name. "Rachel," it says, "read me first. I'm much more interesting than that book."

It seems that I operate best when I follow my instincts to be a creature of whim. (Anyone who has been to a restaurant with me knows this well.)


Review as soon as possible (but not too soon)

There are books that I read months ago that I haven't reviewed yet. And now, after all this time, I probably won't review them at all. My initial reaction has faded to a distant memory, and the general plot has probably become a bit muddled or forgotten. It is best for me if I leave it a day or two after finishing a book before I write my review, to make my thoughts a tad more coherent than "oh, wow" or "bore snore" but if I leave it too long I lose motivation.


What do you do to optimize your blogging? Let me know in the comments below, or link through to your own discussion posts on the matter.

4 comments:

  1. I love reading about other people's blogging process.

    For me, I've got a routine and I STICK TO IT. I like to knock out a couple of blog posts in a sitting, so I have a nice healthy backlog of posts all queued up and ready to go.

    The other thing that I do (and this always amazes me) is that I set a firm MAXIMUM number of posts I'll do in a week. Never more than three posts a week! Something newsworthy just happened in the kidlitosphere and I NEED to post about it, RIGHT NOW? No problem, I just pick another post to bump forward.

    It keeps everything flowing smoothly, and prevents my blog from looking too feast or famine-ish with 7 blog posts in one week, and then nothing for a month.

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    1. Thats a great idea, Madigan. The temptation to put out content as soon as its written is often too much for me, and I have been guilty of bringing queued posts forward to suit my whims. Keep it up and thanks for commenting :)

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  2. These sound like great ideas! I've found the same thing is true for me when writing reviews. I have to close out all the other "distracting" tabs (I'm looking at you, Twitter!) besides Goodreads. I get them done so much faster that way, because I can actually stay focused, rather than getting distracted and then losing my train of thought.

    Good luck putting all these into practice. :D

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    1. Thanks Sharon, here's hoping that they work. Twitter is such a fiend sometimes, especially as people update so much more often than facebook. Thanks for commenting :)

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