September 08, 2010

How I Blog Now

After watching this interesting and informative vlog by Adele of Persnickety Snark, I decided to take up her challenge to do a post on how I review. I have expanded on her theme a little so it's turned into more How I Blog, with visual aides and lots of useless information. My motivation behind this, much like Adele's, is that I am really interested in the process of writing anything – finding the time, choosing a style, actually sitting down and doing it... I've added pictures because I want others to do the same. I have no real reason for doing so other than the fact that I am really, really nosy and if you all post pictures I can happily voyeur my little heart out.

I started blogging in April of this year while on the run up to my final assessment of the year (I'm studying on a long distance degree programme). Yup – not the best timing and I wasn't particularly organised. I would read a book then put it in a pile next to my already overflowing desk marked “TBR” - to be reviewed. Then, once I had my studying done, I would blitz through that pile and write reviews for about six books at once. It was all very tiring so I worked out a study and blog timetable which allowed me to settle into the routine that I now use


Firstly, I look at my to be read pile and schedule the books in order of release date – particularly if I have received titles from publishers. While I never guarantee that I will review a book by a certain date, if I can I always try to review the week of release. The rest of my to be read pile I tend to review in order of what I fancy reading first. This is my current to be read pile... Well, some of it. The ones at the top of my reading list tend to live in a pile next to my couch.

I rarely make notes when reading, but do use an index card as a bookmark so that I can jot down anything that comes to me, or note a section of the book that I want to specifically refer to. I recently received this lovely box from my delightful mother and use it to store these cards in and also to store swag.


Immediately on finishing a book, I now review it. Well, I review it after Lady M (my small and somewhat sleep shy daughter) has eventually retired for the night. Like Adele, I use the publishers' blurb - I'm no good at writing a synopsis and would rather use my brain to fully analyse the book itself. I can generally write an 800 word review in about 20 minutes, depending on what I want to say.  I find negative reviews harder to write for many reasons. When I first started blogging, I was absolutely adamant that I would be honest in all reviews and I have stuck to that. Saying that, I always try to ensure that my criticism is well founded and can be backed up. For a while I felt guilty every time I wrote a less than glowing review, but then I had an author comment on a review that I did for her book. It wasn't a great review, but it was balanced (which I believe is really important) and she actually thanked me for taking the time to consider all aspects of the book and comment on them constructively. I've never looked back. I still worry when I review a book badly – particularly if I have accepted it from a publisher, but feel that all my reviews would lose credibility were I to be less honest about the ones I dislike.

I tend to write my reviews long hand in a yellow legal pad that I am really quite attached to. This pad sits on my desk and also use it to note down books from everybody's Mailbox posts that I think look interesting, or to note titles that I have seen reviewed and want to read. It also has further thoughts for posts, and currently is very occupied with my upcoming Week Of The Living Dead

Once I have the long hand down I then type it into a text document where it sits until I transfer it to Blogger. After floundering at a desk covered with books, psychology textbooks and children's toys after commencing my blog I finally got organised. I have an address book for contacts and desk diary for scheduling which sit next to a noticeboard of useful information.

Once the review is in text document form, I move the book to my shelves.
And yes, I am aware that in terms of bookshelves, I really need a bigger boat. There are also books under the bed and on another bookshelf elsewhere in the house, but these are a combination of my favourites and those I have read in 2010. God only knows what will happen in 2011...

And there you have it – that is how I review and blog. My university course starts again shortly and I am relieved that I have finally settled into a pattern that allows me to do both. I would invite you all to take a look at Adele's post and take her up on the challenge to share your process for reviewing. And add some pictures – just for me...

12 comments:

Lenore said...

You are so super organized. If I posted about how I blog...let's just say it's very chaotic!

Splendibird said...

I'm not organised by nature - only out of necessity. I realised that if I wanted to keep blogging as well as keep up with my course that I had no choice but to implement some sort of system. It just means being super strict with myself which can be a bit meh. But worth it!

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

You're very organized! I wish I was. I love your Zombies vs. Unicorns desktop wallpaper.

Clover said...

Wow, that was really interesting to read! I can't believe you write your reviews out long-hand like that! Are you studying psychology with the OU? You mentioned psychology and also distance-learning? What a wonderful coincidence if you are as I am studying psychology with the OU. Anyway, I do love that you posted photos of your bookshelves. That pleases me to no end, even though I can only sort of make out the titles that are familiar!

Splendibird said...

Clover, I am indeed studying psychology with the OU. Just going into year two. Which will hopefully be a bit more interesting that year one!

asamum said...

Wow you are super organised.
Beautiful pics - that box your Mum sent is so pretty.
Brilliant post and fab idea from Adele

Clover said...

Really? Aww, wow. I just finished DSE212 and the residential school :) Now I'm doing Applied Psychology and Child Development in the new year..

How fun! I really enjoyed the last year. Lots of reading though.

Splendibird said...

@clover I'm just about to start DSE212 and then follow it with the residential school next summer. We must email about this sometime!

kirsty at the overflowing library said...

you are far more organised than me!

Lauren said...

This is so much more organised that I could ever be. I have a schedule for reading the books, but then I just sit down at my computer and see what words come out. I might steal your index-card-bookmark idea for notes. Excellent.

Splendibird said...

@Lauren - I can't really take credit for that. When the whole plagiarism thing was raging about I read another blogger say that she made notes on index cards as she went along to ensure that her thoughts were always her own. It seemed like a good way to keep track of any on-the-spot ideas.

thebookfairyhaven said...

I wish I could pretend to even be half as organised as you are. I absolutely heart your bookshelves by the way. I'd attempt to do a post about how I blog, but my schedule tends to be so chaotic - which, I can largely contribute to my job!