How I Stay Organised & Tips for New Bloggers

Last month I read a lot of posts about blogging tips and I thought I’d share some of my years of wisdom! I started this blog all the way back in 2014, but it’s only recently that I’ve discovered my blogging identity and reignited a creative spark that has changed the way I blog entirely. I can’t fully explain this change and the creative epiphany I experienced but it’s one that I’m hugely grateful for because without it I would have lost something I loved.

I’m someone who likes structure when it comes to getting things done. Every morning I make myself a to-do list and I find it helpful to visualise my goals for the day. Last year, I was really struggling with maintaining a posting schedule, which in turn had an impact on my creativity and writing. I would put so much pressure on myself to write that I’d end up rushing and posting something that I wasn’t 100% invested in. Looking back on my posts I can see that my heart truly wasn’t in it but that all changed last September.

I don’t know what prompted this change or the sudden surge of motivation, but I remember sitting down to write a blog post and just feeling exhausted and heartbroken over the fact that I’d fallen out of love with something I used to be so passionate and enthusiastic about. This blog has been a huge part of my life and I wasn’t about to give up on it, it’s a platform and creative outlet that allows me to be me and without it I’d feel a little lost.

So, surprise surprise, I made a list! A list of all the posts that I enjoying reading, writing and the topics I was passionate about and from there I started planning new ideas and posts that I hoped fellow readers would enjoy. I started back at square one and really let my creativity and imagination free. I stopped seeing this blog as a ‘job’ but rather than opportunity to let loose and to have fun. So when it came to the daunting challenge of ‘blogmas 2020’ I was excited and eager to share more of my posts with the blogging community, a community that has been so loving and supportive and one that I’m proud to be apart of. I learned to love blogging again and I like to think that I’ve become a more active member of the community!

Another element that continues to help me with my motivation and organisation is my magical spreadsheet! I started using this spreadsheet for ‘blogmas 2020’ and it honestly changed my life. You probably think I’m mad gushing over an Excel spreadsheet, but it’s really helped me and I wanted to share it with other bloggers who may be struggling or with those who are interested! The spreadsheet gives me a clear look at all my scheduled post and ideas for the month and helps take the pressure off creating content last minuet.

My spreadsheet is broken down into seven columns; post date, blog post, writing date, to-write, draft, scheduled and finally header image/edited. Each of these columns helps me track my progress and are all beautifully colour coded! I also make sure to take note of any special days or holidays that might inspire me to write a themed post as well as having a dedicated section for posts ideas from when I’m suffering from writers block or when I have wave of creative ideas. At the moment I post every three days but with they way things are going lately, I’m thinking of upping it and posting every other day!

Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been blogging on-and-off for over six years, so I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two. I’m a totally different blogger to when I first started and I hope some of these tips help!

  1. Find What You Love to Write About – When you’re passionate about something, it shines through in your writing and it makes for wonderful and relatable reading experience. I can tell when I re-read some of my old posts that my heart wasn’t truly in it, and I’m sure that others can sense it too. Experiment with different blogging styles and let your creativity and imagination flow!
  2. Remember Why You Love to Blog – Stats aren’t everything. Yes, they’re great to look at and really good way to track your growth but they don’t determine whether your content is good or not. Celebrate those little things and be confident in your ability to create wonderful and engaging content. I love to blog because it provides with a great creative outlet and platform that embraces my love for reading, I love connecting with so many amazing people and its become a safe space that I’m so thankful for.
  3. Have Fun – Another really important tip! I know I’m contradicting myself here, but blogging isn’t always about structure and there shouldn’t be a pressure around creating content. It’s about having fun, connecting with other likeminded people and sharing your passion with the world.
  4. Take a Break – Your mental health is so important and sometimes we all need a break and a little bit of detox. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with blogging and I think it’s important to focus on different hobbies now and then. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back, what’s important is that you focus on your health and only return when you’re ready. Take it from someone who’s suffered from a lot of creative burnouts and mental exhaustion, it’s a horrible and slippery spiral that knocks you off your feet. We all have busy schedules and understand how overwhelming things can get, but don’t worry we’ll all be here to welcome you back when you are ready!
  5. Get Involved with the Community – I can’t stress the importance of this tip enough! I don’t know about you but I get so excited when someone comments on my posts or shares it with other bloggers, I just love the fact that someone has taken the time to stop, read and tell me that they’ve enjoyed it! The quality of posts in the blogging community recently have been incredible and I’m constantly discovering new blogs and exciting posts. I say this a lot but I truly mean it, the blogging community is a space filled with so much love and enthusiasm, it always greets me with a warm welcoming hug and continues to support me. I am so grateful to have met so many incredible bloggers and friends and what to thank every single one of you!

How to Get Over A Book Hangover?

The simple answer is that you don’t. Well, not fully anyway. Book hangovers aren’t like regular hangovers, they’re not simply cured by a full English breakfast, a heck of a lot of caffeine and an afternoon nap. No, instead, you are left feeling emotionally empty, endlessly awestruck and completely and utterly lost. For those of you who are lucky enough to have never experienced a book hangover or have no idea what I’m talking about, a book hangover is a condition in which attachment to a book or series that has ended causes the reader emotional distress and longing.

Now you may be thinking, poor Amy, who did this to you? Who hurt you like this? The answer is simply the masterpiece that was A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas. Once again, Sarah has crafted an emotionally intense and beautifully perfect book that has gifted me with a reading experience like no other. These characters mean the world to me, so being able to join them again on another adventure was the ideal escape and one which I wish would never end. If you’re interested, I’ll leave a link to my review here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

Only one other book has ever made me feel this way, and that was The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. That ending left me broken, and I remember sitting in silence for five minutes whilst I processed everything that had just happened. For days that ending stuck with me, and I can’t help but feel that familiar pang in my chest whenever I think about it. My problem is that I get too emotionally attached and invested with these characters and the worlds in which they exist, so when I finish that final page, I can’t help but feel lost and empty. I become apart of the story as it’s an easy and comforting escape from reality.

I’m probably not the only one who struggles with this attachment, and if you do, then here are some of the tips that have helped me overcome my emotions!

Fan-fiction – If you’re not ready to leave a fictional world or craving more character interactions then fan-fiction is the way to go! There are so many different stories that will help fill that void. But if fan fiction isn’t your thing, then trying looking up fan-art, graphics or playlists, the book community is so creative, and I guarantee you’ll find something! There’s always been this stigma around fan fiction and is a platform that is constantly looked down upon. But believe it or not, a lot of our favourite books have started as fan-fiction! I’ve got a whole Wattpad library filled with some of my favourite fan-fics, and I’m constantly blown away by how incredible the writing is.

Watch something light-hearted – When I experience a book hangover, it shatters my emotions, and usually, I need something fun and light-hearted to take my mind off things! Whether it be an episode of Schitt’s Creek or New Girl, I just need something that’s going to make me smile and forget.

Take a break – I’ve been on such a reading rush recently, and I think I’ve burnt myself out. Sometimes it’s healthy to take a step back and focus on other hobbies and let your mind rest. I feel like sometimes there’s this pressure to always be reading something, but there’s nothing wrong with taking time off and enjoying other things.

Channel that emotion into a review – When I finished A Court of Silver Flames, I had no one to talk to, but I needed to get all of my thoughts out of my head and onto paper, so I stayed up late and channelled all that emotion into my review. After a couple of days, after the hangover had settled, I went back to it and put my thoughts into full sentences rather than leaving it as an emotional rant. This is hands down my favourite way to express my feelings, and it really does help.

Talk to someone – One of my favourite things to do is fangirl with another reader! Fellow readers are the only people who will understand your emotions when it comes to fictional characters and will happily discuss anything that involves their favourite fandoms and authors. But make sure they’ve finished the book before you go blurt out spoilers!

Find an Old Favourite/Comfort Read – Many of us have that list of books that you can re-read a hundred times and still fall in love with, they’re like a warm hug, and that’s exactly what you need when suffering from a book hangover. These books fill you with love and remind you of the joy reading brings us!

Put on some good music and have a dance! – Now, this one may sound silly, but sometimes we need some feel-good endorphins and one of the best ways to do that is to have a dance. So turn on that playlist and get moving!