Upon brainstorming blog post ideas for the next few months, it occurred to me that I’ve never written a “behind the scenes” type post, about how I blog (or at least, I don’t think I have…) so, here we go!
I’ve thought about writing one in the past, but never felt really qualified to make a post like this – this blog has come a long way, but it’s still comparatively a very small site. However, it is over five years old, and I thought it might be a good idea to share all of the ways in which I create content.
This photo contains pretty much everything I use to blog – there’s not much more to it! I blog from my laptop, which of course is where I write, create graphics, and organise my TBR list – and my notebooks extensions of this (more on all of these things coming up). I have to listen to music whilst I’m blogging – it’s a lil’ creativity fuel 🙂
Although I’ll blog anywhere and everywhere (mainly my bed tbh) I also use my desk a lot, when I need to get stuff done, as it feels more professional than being snuggled under a duvet while typing. My desk is full of bookish things, so I thought I’d include it here 🙂
I also use two notebooks at any time. The small one pictured here is my newest bullet journal; I’ve tried bullet journaling before, but this year I’d like to start doing so more seriously. This contains weekly overviews, which I fill with to-do lists – as I’m writing this post, it’s the Summer term, but when school starts it’ll fill up with homework tasks to balance with blogging.
The larger notebook was gifted to me through a blogger’s Secret Santa program (thank youuu, Holly from Books and Quills! IT’S SO PRETTY IT HAS OWLS ON THE COVER) I’m normally a spiralbound-notebook gal, but I love this notebook to bits. It’s full of all of my blog post planning in more detail – when I’m reading a book, I jot down bullet points to incorporate into reviews in this book. I also use it to plan ideas for discussion posts, and I used a few pages as calendars, which give me a clear visual as to what I’m posting each month without logging into WordPress.
Next up – my camera! Aside from my laptop, this is my most important blogging tool – also partially because it’s the reason I have a second, photography-based blog. Aside from book jackets in reviews, and any other credited photos, images on here were taken and edited by me. More bookish photography can be found on my Instagram, which is a sort of extension of this blog. A camera isn’t necessary for blogging – but it was a natural development for me to invest in one, given that my second hobby is photographing things 🙂
OK, onto the digital tools I use!
For organising my TBR pile of ARCS (Advance Reader Copies) I collect all of them in one place in my room. It’s a ridiculous, incomprehensible stack, devoid of any organisation. BUT! Every time I receive a new book, I search up its information on Goodreads, and input it into a spreadsheet (above). It’s a nice visual which helps me decide what’s more logical to read next, and I also collect links to every review I do in a year on this same spreadsheet. It’s really handy, and pleases my organisation-obsessive brain.
I think most bloggers use a list of some form to help them organise ARCs! I really recommend doing it – although it can be really crazy, seeing how many books I’m sent in some months, that I haven’t been able to make time to review. I do try my best to get to everything at some point – though in the end, I’m blogging for fun and without payment – so it’s okay to relax a little! 🙂
The penultimate thing on this list, and possibly my favourite, is Photoshop. Photoshop is my baby. I LOVE IT. Originally, I only downloaded a free trial a year ago, because it’s an incredibly expensive program – but I grew to love it, and started teaching myself how to create lots of different things on it. I ended up buying an Adobe photography package at a really affordable rate – I pay around £7 a month, and I really recommend the package if you’re interested in photography or graphic design or both!
Over this year, I think I’ve improved a lot with creating graphics, as well as photography work. I try to incorporate as much design work into my blog as possible – pretty much every graphic I’ve made has been created in Photoshop. In the screenshot above, you can see that it’s how I created my current logo, too 🙂
And finally, the obvious one – WordPress!
If you’re reading this post and are yet to start a blog, I highly recommend WordPress as a platform. Although I’ve been blogging for a long time, I actually have very little knowledge of website building and coding. WordPress is a beautiful thing, because it’s fantastic for people who do have that knowledge, and yet it’s also beautifully simple for people like me. I love how easy it is to connect my blog to social media, and all of the brilliantly laid out functions from my sidebar to the post editing panel you can see above. It’s amazing, and I’m so glad I’ve been with it for five years!
Phew, that’s the end of this post… it was a long one!
If you’re a blogger, what tools and tips do you have? And if you’re looking to start a blog and have any questions, do leave a comment or tweet me! 🙂