Balancing Work and Blogging

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We are all busy. There simply isn’t enough time in a day to do everything we want or even need to do. We have jobs, school, families and millions of other obligations. Finding time to blog is hard. Not that I would ever want to give it up. I love blogging and all the benefits that come with it – writing practice, new friends, connections, amazing books, etc.

What I find most difficult is balancing time between work and blogging. Both Gina and I are teachers. Teaching is really a full-time and all consuming occupation. I love it and wouldn’t change a thing, but when I’m not at work, I’m constantly thinking of lesson plans, grading and whatnot. I started blogging as an escape, something I was doing for me that didn’t involve school. It still is, but near the end of the school year I started to panic. It was becoming harder and harder to find time to read let alone write posts.

What I always have to tell myself is that it’s alright if I miss a Top Ten Tuesday or don’t finish a certain book by a certain date. I can try my best, but work, friends and family must come first. Blogging was supposed to relieve stress not cause it. I’ve worked out a system that has been successful for me so far (which I discuss below), but I would love to know how you balance the time between blogging and other life obligations.

My Tips:

  • I always have a book on hand to read whenever I have some downtime. Yeah, I’m the crazy book lady to my friends but whatever! Waiting for an appointment? Read. Alone at lunch? Read. In between classes? Read.
  • Don’t over request books on NetGalley (I made this mistake and oh my gosh did I pay for it) or make promises to have a review done by a certain date. I sometimes go on NetGalley requesting rampages. I swear it’s like I’m possessed. I had 10 books approved all at the same time (I nearly died with shock) and was determined to get them all read before they were released. This goal was completely ridiculous! Reviews don’t need to be done before the book’s release date. ALL reviews are helpful no matter what time they are posted. The same goes for physical books from an author or publisher. Try to make the date, but if you don’t no sweat. You’ll get to it eventually.
  • Queuing…my dear, dear friend! Almost all of my posts are queued. I try my best to plan ahead and do this when I do have free time to work on the blog. Lots of memes have their topics posted for weeks ahead such as Top Ten Tuesday or Waiting on Wednesday is just highlighting any future release that you are excited about.
  • Related to the above point, if you know that you will be too busy to blog or on vacation you can always queue posts to keep things going. Comments can always wait. The blog won’t fall apart if you aren’t there. Don’t worry!
  • I often have posts formatted and left as a draft to be worked on later. This usually includes the basics, graphics and some reminders or notes. I can go back to them at any time and Gina can also give feedback if she wants.
  • Blogging with Gina has been a godsend. Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without her. Having someone else who writes helps lessen the load. It’s also helped our friend evolve. We never talked about books before and now we are giddy about Throne of Glass and book mail. 🙂
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Twitter & Blogging

twitter-iconWhen I first started blogging I had a Twitter account, but didn’t really use it. I just retweeted interesting links (so exciting I know) and rarely checked it. I didn’t see the use for it. Not a lot of my real life friends use social media. I’m always the person pushing for them to sign up for Instagram or Snapchat. Twitter was like the friends wasteland. What’s the point when no one is going to read your tweets anyway?

Things changed when I discovered the bookish community. I kind of lurked in the background, reading bookish tweets and discovering new blogs. I had always wanted to blog but was super scared. I also didn’t join in discussions because the thought of speaking to people, even though they couldn’t see me, petrified me. Full disclosure: I’m naturally a shy person, especially around people I don’t know. Once I feel completely comfortable though watch out! 😛 This shyness translated to the online world and prevented me from trying to connect with others who shared my passion for all things books.

Once I created the blog my relationship with Twitter changed. I wrote posts but didn’t get very much traffic. No one knew my blog existed so how could they find it? I started off small, following WordPress sites and writing comments on other blogs. They weren’t earth shattering or in-depth but the baby steps built up my confidence. People weren’t so scary. They were actually pretty nice! But following sites and adding comments wasn’t enough for me. All of the bloggers I followed tweeted links to their blog posts on their accounts. Once I started doing this traffic did increase. People were slowing finding out about Rattle the Stars, which was great!

Another way Twitter has helped the blog has been through Twitter chats (a crazy huge step for my interaction with the online world). For me it’s been the best way to discover other blogs, build up relationships with other bloggers and interact with authors (which makes me so unbelievably nervous). The first chat I participated in was #BHPChat, a monthly blog hopping discussion hosted by @thebooktraveler and @Emren. I won a free eBook and gained a lot of new followers. The chat is on the last Tuesday of the month which is sometimes hard to make but the people are super kind and since it’s based on your blog, you get to share your favourite blog posts and get super helpful tips.

Another chat I regularly participate in is #BBTC. This chat is hosted by @bbookrambles and is usually on a Saturday evening and focused on a new soon to be released book. The questions are opened ended, there are no spoilers and knowledge of the book isn’t necessary, and the author usually joins in. Again, it’s great for getting your name and big out there and connecting with other bloggers and the author. I still get excited when an author tweets or follows you back. I’m always thinking: I’m so boring, why would they follow me?

Twitter has been good to me so far. I’ve not only promoted the blog, but met some wonderful people that share the same interests as me. Not to mention the author who I’ve been able to connect with and have full-on discussions with. It’s also helped boost my confidence. I’m still nervous and shy online, but slowly but surely it’s getting easier each day. 🙂 Also, feel free to add me on Twitter @JAtamanuk!

I would love to know about your relationship with Twitter. How have you used it to promote your blog? Do you participate in any chats?

My Problems With Truthwitch

discussionsOh, Truthwitch.*sigh* I’m tying, like seriously trying, to read this book. It’s been two weeks since I’ve started it and in the meantime I have finished four other books. This wouldn’t usually worry me but I’ve only gotten as far as page 170 in two weeks. That is dismal, especially since I’m currently on vacation and have all the time in the world to read. But that’s the problem, I want want to read everything but this book. It’s so frustrating!

The better better half of a year this book was hyped all over Twitter and on book blogs. It seemed everywhere I looked everyone was talking about it. Of course I got excited and swept up in all of the hype. When the book arrived as part of Uppercase’s January box I was delighted. Then then problems started. I was hesitant to read it. What happens if it won’t live up to what I’m expecting?

Well….it hasn’t lived up to my expectations so far. It’s breaking my heart actually. All the components for the type of book I would love is there, but it’s like trying to complete a puzzle but missing some of the key pieces.

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  • The World/Magic: My first thought was did I miss something? I flipped back a few pages. Nope, I didn’t skip a page. The book reads like a sequel. It’s like I am supposed to know what the characters mean when they mention the void and the Origins wells. NOTHING IS EXPLAINED! I’ve been very confused or at least waiting for an explanation but sadly it hasn’t come.
  • The Witches: Is everyone a witch? Is this why the area is called the Witchlands? Why do they cleave? I DON’T KNOW…and it’s upsetting.
  • The Story: When does the actual story start? I have finished about a quarter of the book and there’s been a lot of action but nothing significant has happened.
  • The Characters: Safi is a bit annoying. She complains all the time, can’t do anything right and just gets those around her in trouble. She literally attracts trouble ALL OF THE TIME. It’s just her running away from one bad situation only time find another. I have a sinking feeling that’s basically what happens in the rest of the book.

There are some positives though. Prince Merik is a complete dreamboat. The first time I actually felt a tiny bit of interest was when he was introduced. A rebel prince/captain with his own ship? Yes please! And the baddie Bloodwitch Aeudon is intriguing. Is it wrong that I’m kind of cheering him on?

I refuse to DNF this book. At least I don’t want to. There are some things that I quite enjoy. I just have too many questions that have been left unanswered and it’s frustrating to read something I don’t fully understand.

Have you read Truthwitch yet? Did you have similar issues with the book?