Tag Archives: blogging

10 Lessons I’ve Learnt From Blogging So Far

Blogtober graphics with leaf and black cat

Hey and welcome to Blogtober day 21. It’s been 5 months since I started blogging and there are many things I’ve learnt along the way. I’ve had many blogs before but never found my calling. I’ve never let myself just write about what I want because I was too busy trying to fit myself into a niche box.

Here are the things I’ve learned about blogging so far..


Don’t pressure yourself to do more then you can manage. Back in August I made the wrong decision by trying to post too many posts in one week. Safe to say it failed and I hardly posted anything that month. I took that time to decide what direction I wanted to take my blog and realised I needed to plan ahead if I wanted to succeed.


But there are ways to make it easier. Namely apps that you can use to schedule things ahead of time. I have a post here of tools that may be helpful to you.


If you have an idea you’ve never seen done before don’t be afraid to publish it. Same goes for posts there a lot of – just because someone has already talked about a subject, doesn’t mean your post won’t be unique. Everyone has something to say, everyone experiences things in different ways and don’t be afraid to let that shine through your writing.


You don’t need to spend money if the app/tool in question doesn’t work for you. The only one I’m planning on spending any money on is Tailwind, and that’s after I’ve used the free trial to assess whether it works for me as a blogger. Even if everyone else is raving about an app, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t bother with it.


This is probably the hardest lesson I’m learning. Be proud of what you’ve achieved, writing blog posts and all the other things you have to do for your blog is hard work and it takes up a lot of time. If someone comments something nice on your blog posts, take it in and be proud of it.


Keep an eye on what blog posts have done well and which ones haven’t. Inevitably in the blogging world there are certain posts that will do really well and some that won’t. Keep track of it so you can create more content that’ll people will enjoy.


Up until a few weeks ago I didn’t have a clue about Pinterest. Yes I’ve used it for years, even before I started a blog, but I never knew how to utilise it to drive traffic to my blog. Thanks to Tailwind I’m now slowly seeing improvements and seeing more and more people are coming over to my site from Pinterest. I still have a lot to learn – but it’s definitely worth investing time into.


This is probably a really controversial comment but I fully believe that as long as you have passion, as long as you write about what you want to, then niche isn’t important. I made the massive mistake in the past of sticking to one topic and I lost all motivation for my blog. I felt like I was trying so hard to stay in this box that my passion wasn’t able to come through, and I wasn’t writing to the best of my ability.


I can’t tell you the amount of mistakes I make when I’m writing a blog post and there’s always something that I miss. I’ve also been getting my best friend to check over my writing because I can guarantee there’s always something I’ll miss!


Never let anyone change you. One of the most important things I’ve learnt is stay true to yourself, no matter what.


What have you learnt from blogging so far?

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8 Fantastic Tools To Help You On Your Blogging Journey

Blogtober graphic

Hey guys and welcome to Blogtober day 13. In today’s post I’m going to be talking about the 8 tools/apps I use on a regular basis to help me with my blog. There are so many apps/tools out there and it’s hard to find the ones that will work for you – I hope this post can introduce you to some new tools!


Headline Analyser by CoSchedule.

I always struggle with deciding on blog titles – never knowing how best to structure one, or how to name it to make it appealing. That’s when I found this website and it’s honestly helped me so much. A score of 70 or higher is seen as the most engaging headline.

Free.

Browser.

I also love how it shows you the word balance – giving you an indication of what types of words to include to raise the score.


Canva.

Free – paid plans available.

Browser | App Store | Android.

I use this app to make my heading graphics. I also used it to design my header, logo and signature graphics too. There are a large range of images you can use along with fonts – and all for free.


PicMonkey.

Free – paid plans available.

Browser | App Store | Android.

There are some things I couldn’t design in Canva so I got this app to see if it would be better for me. I use Picmonkey to add my handle to my photographs and design my Pinterest images.


VSCO.

Free – paid plans available.

App Store | Android.

This is the app I use to edit my photographs for my blog and instagram. I love this because it’s so simple and easy to use and I never use the fancy settings that some other apps include.


Tailwind.

Starts at $9.99 (£7.59) Free trial available.

Browser | App Store.

I’ve heard this program mentioned since I started blogging and honestly never bothered to have a look to see if it could help me. I don’t know why I put it off for so long. I’ve not been using it for long but I’m already seeing a difference in how much engagement my pins are receiving and thus views on my blog. This is mainly used through a browser but the app allows you to see your scheduled pins and rearrange them.


Hootsuite.

Free – paid plans available.

Browser | App Store | Android.

Let’s face it – I am terrible at Twitter. I struggle to keep up a presence and find it extremely exhausting to constantly be on there. I started using this app a few weeks ago to schedule some tweets when I’m feeling overwhelmed with social interactions, and it’s working well – I’m able to write the tweets up, schedule them in one go and then I don’t have to worry about it once it’s done.


Planoly.

Free – paid plans available.

Browser | App Store | Android.

One of the things I’m trying to improve on is my Instagram feed. I’m not all that good at keeping with my theme because I find it hard to visualise what it’ll look like with the other pictures. This is why I love this app – it gives you the opportunity to view what a photo will look like once uploaded to your Instagram. You can also write captions and schedule – all in a beautifully designed app.


Evernote.

Free – paid plans available.

Browser | App Store | Android.

This one is one of the apps I included in my Apps for Writers post and I have to add it into this one as well. This is my favourite note taking app ever. I’ve tried out many different ones and I always seem to go back to this one.


There you have it – my favourite apps that help me in your blogging journey -hopefully they will help you too. I love reading your comments and interacting with you all, and using these apps help me enough so that I am able to do that.

What are your favourite blogging apps? Let me know in the comments!

My September Wrap Up and October Goals

Blogtober graphic

Welcome to Blogtober day 5 and today I’m going to be wrapping up September and talking about the things I’d like to achieve in the coming month. September was a month of craziness but I still managed to get some productive writing and reading done!


books read

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini.

I really wanted to like this. It started off promising and just went downhill from there. I got 3/4 of the way through but I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I was so bored and I didn’t connect with any of the characters.

Rain by Virginia Bergin.

I LOVED this book! The whole concept of the rain being contaminated and that getting even a drop on your skin can kill you was fascinating and something I’ve never seen before. It was adventurous, fast paced and at times – fun. I loved the characters, especially Ruby.

Storm by Virginia Bergin.

I enjoyed this as much as the first one – if not more. The story continued well from the first book and the new characters were just as interesting as in the first. I got through this quite quickly and I’m kinda sad it’s the end of the series.


Did I achieve my September goals?

  • Get back into blogging (achieved)

In August I made a big mistake with trying to take on too much. Learning from my mistakes I decided to take September a little slower. It definitely worked and one of the things I’ve learnt is I need to plan ahead!

  • Read 2 books (achieved)
  • Reach 320 followers on WordPress (achieved)
  • Reach 1200 followers on twitter (not achieved)

Twitter is a great place to promote your blog and gain new viewers. However, for me, it seems to take a lot of energy and time I don’t always have. So this month I took a break and wasn’t posting a lot so I didn’t reach my follower count this month.

  • Learn more about Pinterest (achieved)

My goals for October.

  • Begin decorating the living room

I really want to get my living room done for Christmas – which means I need to get a move on. It’s a huge project because there’s going to be a hand drawn mural!

  • Read 3 books.
  • Complete Blogtober (without melting into a puddle).
  • Start my first draft!

So I finished my outline for my novel and it’s now time to write the first draft! I’m equal parts terrified and excited and I can’t wait to get started.


What did you finish reading in September? Did you achieve all you wanted to?

Top 10 Tuesday: Series I Probably Won’t Finish.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’d like to find out more or take part you can find out more here.

This weeks topics is ‘Series I’ve Given Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish’. I’ve changed my post to ‘Series I Probably Won’t Finish’, because let’s face it – I change my mind on a monthly basis. There are so many series I’ve mostly given up on which makes me feel so ashamed haha. I hate it when you’re excited to get into a series except you read it and you don’t enjoy it. It’s so disappointing. Without further ado, here are my top 10 series I probably won’t finish.


1. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard.

I didn’t know Pretty Little Liars was a book series until after I’d watched the show. I got to the 7th book and gave up. I preferred the TV series in this case and it’s not very often I say that. The book series dragged and I felt it should have ended at the 5th or 6th book. It’s definitely not one I’m going to finish.


2. Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings.

The 2nd book isn’t even out yet but I know I won’t be continuing with this series. I really wanted to like it, I even tried to force myself to like it but it just wasn’t enjoyable for me. I originally read the eBook they released containing the first part of Zenith and didn’t like it. I wanted to give the re-released, full version a go, and it was a lot better than the original but it was still not the greatest. I’ve watched Sasha on YouTube for years, and I hate saying I didn’t like her book – but I’m honest so there we go.


3. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige.

I read the first book and loved it. I started the second one and got halfway through and gave up. I just wasn’t enjoying it at all which sucks because the first one was so great. I tried to plough through but I found myself not reading at all because I wasn’t enjoying it. So therefore I won’t be finishing this series.


4. Cell 7 Trilogy by Kerry Drewery.

This was another book which I loved but had the same problem as Dorothy Must Die. The worst thing in book land is when sequels don’t live up to the first book.


5. Enclave by Ann Aguirre.

Now, I liked this book. And it isn’t because I hated the book that I won’t be finishing it. The second book has been on my TBR for 2 years but I just don’t have any interest in picking it up. I probably won’t finish this series, but who knows maybe I’ll change my mind!


6. The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

I debated whether or not I wanted to put this on my list because I really enjoyed the first two books. But I have books on my TBR I’ll probably choose over this series, so I’m not sure I’ll ever get to finish it. We shall see.


7. The Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong.

I read the first two books and have never been interested in picking up the 3rd. Looking back on what I’ve wrote on this post, there seems to be a recurring theme! I promise most series I pick up, I do actually finish!


8. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.

I read this book last year and it wasn’t a bad book, I was just expecting more of a scare factor. It was also highly confusing and full on in parts and I don’t have the energy to carry on with this series haha.


9. The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith.

This was another series I watched the TV show before I read the book. Now I’m putting this on my list because there are so many series that I will read before this, and I don’t know if I’ll ever really get around to it. Hence why I’ve put it on this list.


10. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

I read this because I wanted to watch the TV series. I couldn’t get through half of this before I gave up. It’s not a bad book, just not my cup of tea. And the books are so beasty, I know I’ll never go back to it.


Are any of these on your ‘probably won’t finish’ list? What are some of the series you probably won’t finish? Let me know in the comments!

WWW Wednesday #1

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The meme consists of answering 3 questions;

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to take part, head on over to Sam’s blog to find out how.


Currently reading…

My current read at the moment is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I read the first book when the movie came out and loved it. I wanted to reread it before continuing the series (life and other books got in the way – story of my life haha!). I’m definitely enjoying it more the second time around.


Book I recently finished reading…

The last book I finished was I Know a Secret by Tess Gerrtisen. I don’t tend to read many adult books because I prefer YA, but this is one series I’ve enjoyed from the very first time I picked it up. I Know a Secret is the 12th book in the Rizzoli and Isles series and I enjoyed it as much as the rest of the series.


What do you think you’ll read next?

The next book I’m planning on reading is Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher. This book has been on my TBR ever since I found out about it. My best friend watches Tom on YouTube and when she told me about this book – I knew I had to read it. The cover is absolutely stunning as well.


What are your answers to the 3 W’s?

Book Review | Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Book review of Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. An enlightening, character driven read. 5 out of 5 stars.

Title – Radio Silence

Author – Alice Oseman

Publisher – Harper Collins Children’s Books

Publication date – 25th February 2016

Series status – Standalone.


Synopsis.

“What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.”

Add to Goodreads.


My Thoughts.

*I gained this book through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.*

I need to SERIOUSLY fangirl with someone over this book. I have so many feelings and thoughts, and it might end up being my favourite book I’ve read this year!

The writing is faultless. The voice of the protagonist is authentic and so easy to connect to. This book is enlightening, funny and heartbreaking all at the same time.

All the characters feel SO real and I felt like I was reading about my best friends. I love the diversity of the characters and also some of the topics you don’t tend to read about in YA. The author captures how much pressure young people are under to do well in their education.

Frances reminds me so much of me when I was a teenager. Frances believes the secret of life is to achieve good grades so she can get a good job. However, by the end of the book, she realises there are more important things than good grades.

Aled and Frances friendship is beautiful. I love that Frances refuses to give up on her best friend, no matter how he treats her. My heart broke a few times because of them throughout the book!

Even though it isn’t the main focus if the book – the whole mystery surrounding Carys is fascinating. The characters are the main focus and I love that as it allows me to forge deeper connections.

Honestly, just read it. I love it so much and it‘s right up there with my favourite books.

I give this book ALL THE STARS IN THE WORLD! No explanation needed!


About the Author.

“Alice Oseman was born in 1994 in Kent, England. She completed a degree in English at Durham University in 2016 and is currently a full time writer and illustrator. Alice can usually be found staring aimlessly at computer screens, questioning the meaninglessness of existence, or doing anything and everything to avoid getting an office job.

Alice first book, SOLITAIRE, was published when she was nineteen. Her second, RADIO SILENCE, was released in early 2016, and her third, I WAS BORN FOR THIS, in 2018.”

Find Alice: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


Have you read Radio Silence? If so, what did you think?

Book Review | Half Bad by Sally Green

Book review of Half Bad by Sally Green

Title – Half Bad.

Author – Sally Green.

Publication date – 4th March 2014.

Publisher – Viking Books for Young Readers.

Series Status – Book 1 in the Half Bad trilogy.


Synopsis.

‘Wanted by no one. Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen year old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent which, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers – before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there us no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves? Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.’

Add to Goodreads.


My Thoughts.

This book was intriguing from the very first chapter. I loved the format of the book and how the chapters were bite sized and easy to read.

I’ve never come across the use of the 2nd person in fiction before, so it was interesting to see in this book. I will admit – I was nervous about it but it added something to the story I’d never experienced before. It allowed me to connect to Nathan better and brought me closer to the story.

I felt sorry for Nathan. The way his family and others treated him was awful and it pulled at my heart-strings. I liked Nathan, his determination to survive was quite inspirational. I loved how he still had faith in his father even after all the terrible things he’d done.

This book was interesting and there was a lot of mystery and suspense. It was exciting to follow Nathan’s journey, and the feeling of being beside him whilst he ran from the Council.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I’m looking forward to the next book, and I cannot wait to be back in this world and following Nathan’s journey.


About the Author.

‘British author Sally Green is creator of the Half Bad Trilogy, a teen fantasy series with an adult edge that’s been described as ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four with witches.

Sally Green lives in north-west England. In 2010, she started writing and hasn’t stopped since.’

Find Sally: Twitter


Have you read Half Bad? If so, what did you think about it?