Today in Chicago, the BEA Bloggers Conference is taking place and the afternoon is devoted to a number of round table discussions. We have already shared one with you, but now we bring you another. Please welcome Lexxie of (un)Conventional Bookviews, the co-facilitator of balancing personal life and blogging.
Bloggercon Roundtable – Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
Balancing Personal Life & Blogging
I am a 45-year-old mother, wife, substitute teacher, student, and bookworm. Currently, I'm finishing my MA in English Language and Literature, and after that, I'll have two more years of studies to become a certified teacher. I have four children, and they keep me busy after school and on weekends, even now that they are getting older.
In order to keep up with my blog, and still spend time with my family and friends off-line, I have several things that work for me, and some of these might work for you as well.
I mostly blog in the evening after dinner, when my husband and children watch TV. I use a laptop, so I can be in the living room with them, but I know other people prefer to have an office, or another room in the house where they can blog and read in peace. For me, it's best to have specific times that are for blogging, but they don't necessarily need to be the same time every day, or even each day – it needs to fit in with my overall schedule, too.
I use notebooks a lot to keep track of my ideas, and I even have one next to my bed in case I get an idea while I'm falling asleep or waking up. I prefer this way, because writing by hand is inspiring to me, and so is having beautiful notebooks that make me want to write in them. There are other ways to keep track of ideas, of course, both notes on your phone, or voice-memos work great, too. What's important is to take note of an idea, though, so as to not forget about it when you have the time to sit down and write a full blog post about it.
Sometimes, we are inspired by other bloggers, and then it's important – in my opinion – to give them a little shout out. There are so many subjects that have been covered when it comes to book blogging and discussion posts, that there may not be any that haven't been covered in some ways already. That doesn't mean that we can't have an original take on it, though, and it's always fun to read about a subject from a different perspective. In order to keep track of where I get my inspiration from, I have a document with links and the name of discussion posts, so that it's easy to insert into my own discussion post when I finalize it.
I also really enjoy scheduling posts in advance – I post reviews three times per week, a discussion post once a week, and memes / feature posts on three days. On Wordpress, I use the editorial calendar to schedule my posts, and it's always nice to have several weeks more or less ready in advance. This is what works for me, other bloggers prefer more reviews, or to not post every single day. I think it's really important to keep a balance there as well, so make sure you find something that works for you, and where you are happy when you go to your blog either to write a new post, or to interact with other bloggers. For me, blogging is a hobby, one that I really enjoy, and I don't want to feel any stress when it comes to doing anything involving my blog. Thus, having posts scheduled in advance helps me have a buffer for when life offline is busy, when we have family visiting, or if we're traveling and on vacation.
I try to make sure my weekends are free to do other things than blogging, this is because weekends are fairly busy at my house, though. I know many bloggers who have time to spend on their blog during the weekend, and then, that's the best time for them to enjoy their hobby. My advice is only that – advice – not something that has to be done in order to make that perfect balance. What makes balance possible for me might just make things more difficult for others, and that's not at all what we're aiming at with this roundtable.
Another thing I do is that I have a spreadsheet with ARCs I have received, complete with the release date and who the publisher is. Once I have read a book, I change the color of the font, and add a date for when I finished reading it, plus if I don't review it straight away, I will add a date for when my review will go live on my blog. That way, if I don't know what I want to read next, I look through my list, and I can start reading a book that will be released in the next few weeks so that my review can be scheduled for the release date, or around that date. On top of that, my kindle is also organized with different selections, so that I can easily choose my next read based on genre, whether the book is an ARC, or other things. I am very much a mood reader, so it's nice to know in advance whether I'm picking up a YA or an erotica…
In many cases, I think the best advice is to find a way that works to keep track of your ideas, and to find time either a little every day, or on weekends to prepare your blogposts and visit other blogs as well. Last, but not least, some challenges really help me stay motivated and on top of things – because the blogging community is so awesome. And cheering on my blogging friends, and have them cheer for me as well is part of what brings me balance. Friendships are made, and even if most of them are online interactions, the strong feeling of kinship is still there.