Tag Archives: writing

Ctrl, Alt; Delete: Social Media and Me

26085734If you’re wondering what Ctrl, Alt; Delete is, you’ve been living under a rock and/or haven’t used Twitter in a year. Emma Gannon, social media whizz, blogger and writer has written the memoir everyone from the Internet age needs to read. It’s a fantastic book – I couldn’t wait for it to come out, and I devoured it.

It’s a brilliant insight into Emma’s life, her online world, and how she’a turned her love for social media and online content into a highly successful career. She started off on Myspace, and now writes for huge media outlets, alongside running her highly successful blog and podcast.

Although I’m only 16, like Emma Gannon I have grown up with the Internet. I can’t really remember a time before it was a daily part of my life. So inevitably, I adored reading about Emma’s online experiences – so much of it was (sometimes painfully) relatable. Ctrl, Alt; Delete is hilarious and entertaining, but also raises some very interesting discussion points. Where do you draw the line between personal life and what you share online? How can you tell if people are real? How on earth do we discover small, talented bloggers when there are so many sites out there?

One of the things I love most about the book is that it’s essentially a timeline of Emma’s online life.  It made me think a lot about how my internet use has changed over the years. I thought it would be quite funny to make a timeline:

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I think it’s so fascinating to think about how much of my life has been shaped online. I used to write and draw in diaries up until age ten, and now virtually everything I do is written on a blog, an online notepad, drawn with my graphics tablet, programmed onto a Calendar.

I think I’m very open on the internet, and there is quite a blurred line between my online life and my ‘private’ one. If I go out for a day with friends, I won’t necessarily talk about it online, but I will turn my photos into a blog post. If I’m struggling with school, I’ll complain on Twitter and Tumblr. I switch between talking to my friends to sending them gifs on Tumblr, when we’re both in the same room. Heck, even my Media Studies coursework is entirely virtual, written on a private school blog.

A lot of people probably view my largely-online life as a bad thing. My eyes are probably so bad because I’m on the computer all the time. I don’t really like socialising IRL. I’m not very good at holding a conversation, unless it’s through social media, and I probably should get out more.

But I love it. I love growing up online. The Internet has given me so many opportunities that never would have been presented to me otherwise. I’m studying Photography and Media because I’m fascinated by editing images and online culture. I’m gaining work experience and networking just by running my blogs. I’ve met the most incredible people in my life, whom I talk to every day. I don’t know how I’d live without all of this.

So, I want to know what you think. How much of your life is online? Do you control what people see on your social media, or are you an open book?

RECKLESS Blog Tour: the world behind the Mirrors and how it came to be

I am beyond honoured to be hosting a guest post by Cornelia Funke today. Cornelia is the author of Inkheart,  one of my all time favourite books, which shaped me so much when I was younger. I really don’t think I’d be the reader I am now without Inkheart, so it’s surreal to be sharing a post with you!Cornelia Blog Tour (002).jpg

Cornelia: When I left Inkworld to step through a mirror, I upset quite a few of my readers. Writers should stick to the world they created and feed the addiction they created for that world with as many books as possible! It took me a few years to realize that in fact I hadn’t left Inkworld behind. I just revisited it 500 years later. But….let’s start at the beginning.

I remember that while editing Inkdeath I had grown quite tired of the baroque storytelling this world demanded being inspired by medieval times. There was a sudden longing for another pace, a leaner language, a more modern setting, closer to the world surrounding us. But it didn’t take shape until I worked with a British friend, Lionel Wigram, on a possible movie adaptation of E.T. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker. Lionel was as much in love with the 19th century as I with the 13th and 14th. I blame him and E.T.Hoffmann that I became infatuated with it too – with the century when our modern times finally and irrevocably hatch. When man announces to be god and sets out to recreate the world.

What if….I thought, while we played with Nutcrackers and Rat soldiers….what if there was a world resembling this defining century (maybe around 1860) in which all our fairy tales are historical fact? How would the existence of magical objects, of witches, gingerbread houses and seven miles boots change the course of colonial endeavours, of kingdoms and revolutions?

When I asked Lionel to use the world we had stumbled upon for a book, he gave his permission gladly. With one request: that he’d be allowed to discuss the plot and characters with me, while I’d of course do the writing.

We worked like that on Book 1. We found the first mirror, took the first steps behind it together, working in English and German, the language I still write in. It was an exhausting and utterly inspiring process, questioning the way I approach a story in profound and often unexpected ways. For Book 2 we still had quite a few very inspiring discussions, but by then Lionel’s work as a movie producer claimed so much of his time that I mostly travelled alone behind the mirrors. Since Book 3 the stories are based solely based on my adventures in that world.

In fact I know so much about it by now that I just revised Book 1 adding all the knowledge I gained about my heroes, the Mirrors and the world they reveal. I plan to write at least another three, as so far I only made it to Kasakhstan and there is so much fairy tale territory to explore still. But – stories don’t stick to plans in my experience. And this one surprised and tricked me so often in the past eight years that I am sure I don’t know half of his secrets.


Thank you so much to Cornelia Funke for the great insight into your writing!

How I Blog: My Blogging Tools and Tips

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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.

First up, here’s the basics:
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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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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.

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HAHA THIS PHOTO IS OLD I NO LONGER HAVE 8 INCHES OF THAT HAIR

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!

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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! 🙂

photoshop

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 🙂

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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! 🙂

Book Review: Image and Imagination by Nick Healy and Kristen McCurry

Published March 2016 by Curious Fox Books.

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I used to write all of the time – I’ve got notebooks and ‘how to write’ books bursting with stories I wrote when I was younger. Since about year eight or nine, I’ve neglected them – focusing more on school and leaving behind that hobby. When I received this book in the post, I was really intrigued by it, as it seems like a fresh, new and inventive way to kick-start writing ideas.

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As soon as I opened this, I fell in love. Image and Imagination is a book solely full of sentence-long prompts and images to accompany them, nothing more, but that’s what makes it stand out among its market. It’s beautifully presented, with some really inspiring ideas and gorgeous, full-colour photos. (And, as a total font nerd, I spent just as much time squealing over the typography as I did imagining what I was going to write!)

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Although marketed for young adults and teen writers, I’d actually really highly recommend this to anyone looking for an exciting new way to find inspiration. Prompts range from half finished sentences, to quotes, to photos of characters to build profiles of, to encouragements to delve into your personal life and draw inspiration from it. With no boundaries or other guidelines, it’s a lovely and free way to start crafting stories. There’s blank spaces to begin your stories on each page, but lined paper at the back of the book to continue them on, too!

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Overall, I really recommend Image and Imagination to teenagers and adults alike. It’s a great book whether you want to start writing, or if you’re just stuck for ideas and need some stimuli. I’m sure this is a book I’ll make a lot more use of in the future, as it’s so beautiful to look at that I can’t help but want to fill it up with words!

My Rating:

five

I received a copy of Image and Imagination form the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

COMPETITION: Young Creatives 2016

I’m incredibly excited about sharing this post with you, which is about a competition I recently was informed about – if you’re aged 5 to 16, or know anyone who is, it’s definitely worth reading on! 🙂

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The Young Creatives award is run by Holiday Cottages UK, and aims to showcase creative talent across the country through the competition. It’s run in partnership with Photobox, Puffin Books and WHSmiths, who are the suppliers for the £2500 worth of prizes up for grabs.

Well-loved UK authors Chris Bradford (Young Samurai) and Jeremy Strong (Beware Killer Tomatoes) are the judges of the contest, and you can create anything along these lines to enter:

  • short story
  • photograph
  • art work
  • creative video

along the theme of “where is your favourite place in the UK?”

Prizes that can be won include holiday vouchers, photography prizes from Photobox, and lots of books!

If you or someone you know is interested in entering, visit the Young Creatives website to find out more about submitting entries. The competition closes on April 15th. Good luck – and if you enter, I’d love to see what you made, so tweet me @GeorgiaReads! 🙂