My Reflections after a Year of Blogging (+ Giveaway)

Posted February 25, 2016 by Carlisa in Random Thoughts and Confessions / 18 Comments

Holy moly, me-oh-my. It’s been a year since I made my blog solely about books. One whole year. Three-hundred and sixty-five days. In actuality, it’s been more than that, but I wasn’t sure on the exact date. I just judged it off of my first TTT post which was a year from this past Tuesday. It’s hard to know because I was blogging long before that, but it wasn’t until February sometime last year that I became a “book blog.”

I wanted to reflect on some things that I’ve learned since I started blogging, since, you know, I’m all wise and mature now. Just kidding, I still think of myself as a newbie blogger…but a newbie blogger with some insights. So here we go:

Things I’ve Learned While Book Blogging

  1. Not to be ashamed of how I feel about a book.
    People feel so differently about books and you’re not always going to love a book that people have been raving about. And sometimes you’re going to want to rave about a book that people have been ranting about. That’s the beauty in books and opinions. They’re not all the same! I’ve learned to rejoice in other people’s opinions though they may differ from mine.
    Yes when I first started for-real book blogging, I creeped on a lot of book blogs. I found what I liked in other blogs to try to figure out how I wanted my blog to be. Buuuuuuut, here’s the thing. You need to be yourself about it. If you see something you like that’s unique to a blog, don’t just take it. That’s not fair to the person who originally created it, and it’s also not fair to yourself and your own individuality. You have the potential to create interesting content that people will want to read. I promise you that. There is somebody out there just dying to read something that you want to write. But they don’t want to read a reiteration of someone else’s writing. Don’t steal. Be inspired by others’ ideas and make it your own.
  3. Plan, plan, plan.
    Planning is important. I’ve had a blog since middle school, which was basically a journal where I sporadically wrote about my life when something interesting happened. This isn’t how a great blog should be. It needs to be structured with regular content so people will regularly visit and read said content. Since book blogging, I actually have an editorial calendar where I schedule blog posts in advance. I just use an Excel document on Google Drive and it works great because if something changes, I can just Cut and Paste the post onto another day. I also write down all review copies I receive by month and when they’re published so I can plan and read and write the review accordingly. This may sound boring, but it’s actually helped me become a lot more organized.
  4. But don’t be afraid of spur-of-the-moment inspired posts.
    These can be some of the greatest posts you will right. Those that you’re passionate about will create conversation and ideas and hopefully inspire someone else along the way.
  5. Tell people that you like their blog/reviews/etc.
    Comments like this make a difference! Getting compliments is so nice, and I think a lot of the time we think nice things without actually saying it, but that act of saying it can make such a difference in a person’s life and blog.
  6. Relationships > Numbers
    My goal for the year was to have twenty followers. At the grand total of zero, this seemed like an impossible feat. I actually remember dancing around in circles when I got my first official follower. And then when more started coming in, I started over-thinking it, analyzing why I got more followers sometime and less followers other times, and devaluing myself and my blog in those lower points. Now, a year later, I cannot say that I don’t care about numbers. The stats and views and followers are still important to me, as I like to see how my blog has grown. But I can say one thing I’ve realized: sincere relationships with other bloggers and readers are 1382910382190382 times more important than those numbers. Blogging is a place where you can develop deep and real friendships with people, where you can have a discussion on the importance of secondary characters in YA lit, where you can express yourself to people who will listen. And it’s a great thing.
  7. Blogging can be hard.
    Blogging isn’t easy. It takes time and dedication and creativity and that’s often hard to find. Especially when it’s an unpaid gig. I’ve gone through many spurts where I barely post (*cough this month cough*) and others where I post every day, just depending on my classes and work and things going on. And that’s okay. I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to post every single day. My blog and my followers will still be here when I come back.

So yeah. Of course there are other things that I’ve learned. But overall: this blog has been such an amazing outlet for me. I’ve learned things about myself, about others, about books, about writing, about marketing, about social media, about WordPress, about statistics, about publishing, about so. many. things. And I’m grateful for it all.

So let’s be grateful together, shall we? I have amassed a bunch of books in the past year that I don’t have room for anymore (especially in my teeny college apartment), so I’m going to spread the love and give some of my ARCs and finished books to you wonderful people. But it’ll be a surprise (don’t worry, they’re all in good condition).

This is US Only (sorry!). Also, no Twitter giveaway accounts please.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Awww, congratulations! I’m so happy for you. Your blog is one of my favourites. *cough* I’ve been awful with commenting lately, though. But I promise you I have still been stalking your blog XD. I agree that the relationships made are so much more important. I often think about some of the people I’ve met through blogging/twitter and I am so thankful.

  • Congrats on one year!

    You are so right about relationships being greater than the number of followers. I think as bloggers we can get so caught up in the stats of it all that we forget what the heart of blogging is: connecting with others about awesome books 🙂

  • Maraia

    Happy blogiversary, Carlisa! I’m so impressed that you have time for college, reading, AND blogging. I’m glad I found your blog, and I’m looking forward to many more posts. 😀 Even as just a blog reader, I agree that the friendships are the best part about the community, and I feel lucky that I get to be a part of it.

  • Jennifer

    I’ve learned the commitment having a regularly updated blog requires. It requires dedication and passion. Also like others said, the relationships within the book community are what inspire bloggers to continue! 🙂

  • Brianna

    Happy blogiversary 😀 I love the book blogging community, they’re all such nice people and I’m glad to have met them 😀 I hope you have many more good blogging years to come!

  • Theresa Snyder

    Congrats and Happy Anniversary!!
    I do not blog (and I’m always in awe of all of you that do! ) I do follow and read as many as possible, though like reading books, so many, so little time!

  • shootingstarsmag

    Congrats on a year of being an official book blogger! You have some really good advice for other newbie bloggers. It really IS about being yourself and doing what makes you happy. 🙂


  • CONGRATULATIONS! It seems like you have been a part of the book blogging community for so much longer than one year. You have definitely made an impact, which is impressive considering it is your first year. I am so glad that you have such great advice. I have been blogging for years and I still struggle with some of these things (especially not caring about the numbers).
    But you are completely right that the relationships are more important than the numbers. I love talking to amazing bloggers like yourself! I would keep blogging even if I only had one follower in order to be a part of this incredible community.
    I wish you many more wonderful years of blogging and good books!

  • Happy blogoversary, Carlise! <3 I remember how daunting it was to start with zero too. And while growing numbers are always exciting and are quantitative milestones to be proud of, I agree, relationships fostered are what keep me going too.

  • Happy Blogoversary! I loved watching my blog grow over time and with every new follower or facebook friend I grew more and more proud of what I had created. Which like you said, it is important that you be yourself, because otherwise people are liking something that isn’t you. I hope you have an amazing second year, and many more years after that too 🙂

  • Wow! Congratulations on a great year of blogging! I’ve followed your blog for quite a while now and absolutely love your reviews and your style. Since I started my own blog about six months ago, I’ve realized how massive the world of book blogging actually is. It’s insane! But I have never met nicer people. It’s a great community and I hope to be involved with it for a very long time!

  • A whole year is so impressive! Congratulations. I don’t have half your dedication or organization. But I love following book bloggers and getting opinions/differing points of view/insights. I love the way your blog is laid out as well. It’s so aesthetically pleasing! I like the fact that you value relationships over numbers as well. I feel like that allows more of a sense of community. Win or not, I’m glad I found your blog!

  • Love this! I love the BE YOURSELF part because I think people do compare themselves to others A LOT. It definitely took me a while to find my voice, and I’m still kind of working on having it show through in my posts. Also, I actually don’t even look at my stats. Maybe every other month or something, but I just don’t care. What matters is people engaging. I always comment back and visit other blogs. I don’t care how many people follow, subscribe, or view my stuff. I’d rather get to know them!

    Blogging can definitely be hard, and planning is a must. Especially if you have school or work. I’m fortunate to be a homemaker, so I don’t have to worry about that. BUT it is still VERY time consuming, and if I don’t plan ahead, I can quickly fall behind on all my “real life” responsibilities.

    Great post! And CONGRATS ON ONE YEAR!

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

  • Michele Luker

    Be yourself is true! I blog as a hobby and for fun….If someone doesn’t like what I write, that’s ok…its for me anyway. But there are some bloggers that are SO extremely nice….and more willing to help when you have questions…It’s a fun world to be involved in…Congrats on your blogaversary!

  • Books bring a whole other world to life.

  • Jordyn @ J. Bookish

    Yay one year! Congratulations!! Also, I would love it if you made a post detailing your scheduling, because I read that little section and was completely lost but I really need to start doing something to keep myself accountable!

  • Chrystal M

    New to your blog. I loved this list, it was so honest and exactly what people need to read. 🙂 Happy Blogoversary!

  • Congrats on a year! I’ve loved reading your blog and getting to know you over the past year. Also, your reflections are on point. I always struggle with the first one! Sometimes I think I’m missing something when I love a book and others don’t, or vice versa. It’s hard to not let that get to your head… but everyone has different opinions for a reason. It would probably be a boring blogosphere if we all universally loved and hated the same books!