How to Avoid Blogger Burnout + New Blog Schedule

Welcome, one and all, to The Inky Saga! Today I wanted to talk about a topic very close to my heart: blogger burnout. If you’ve been around for a while, you probably already know I have never been the most consistent of bloggers. I’ll either be all about the blog for a few weeks or a couple months maximum, then something will derail me and I’ll take a long, often unannounced break. I’ve never worried much about it in the past, because I’ve never taken blogging seriously until recently.

I’ve been doing a lot over the past month to build my blog into something that may ultimately become profitable, and I know from all my research that’s not something that will happen overnight. Consistency and perseverance is essential. So if I go all out and exhaust myself in the first month of this project, then I’m not going to get where I want to go in the long run.

I’ve been really mindful of how much time I’ve put into my most recent blog posts, including the time spent planning them, writing them, making graphics for them, and promoting them via Pinterest and Twitter. It’s honestly been a lot of time for just 3-4 posts per week. On Friday I estimated that during spring break about 40% of my waking hours was spent creating the blog posts in the screenshot below.

Recent Posts: April BuJo Theme IdeasLeslie Knope & 10 Books on Her TBR | My Favorite … Feminist T.V. Character5 Things I Did to Grow My Pinterest Blog Traffic

So with all that in mind, I decided last Friday that I needed to come up with a better system. I go back to work this week, which means about 25 less hours that I’ll have to fiddle around with blog stuff. That doesn’t even count time that I will put towards Red Cross volunteering, applying for jobs again, or building up a writing portfolio for a freelancing business I want to start!

Out of everything I have going on, blogging feels like the most selfish at the moment. But it’s also the activity I’m hoping will yield the best returns over time.

I do not think my blogging struggles are unique to other bloggers out there, particularly fellow adults with more significant life commitments. We can all benefit from learning how to make the best use of our time and not let ourselves become overworked at something we love to do. The following are my tips for avoiding blogger burnout, plus the blog schedule I’ll be following for the time being.

1. Be a more efficient blogger.

Being more efficient means getting better work done in a shorter amount of time. It doesn’t mean cutting corners or being lazy. It means that you make the most of your time. If you’re making the most of your time, it means you are saving time and energy in the long run.

The first step in becoming more efficient is estimating how much time you need for blogging. It may be easiest to record the time you already use to blog in a notebook or Excel spreadsheet. Write down the Date, Activity (e.g. outlining a post, drafting a post, making graphics, promoting), Start Time, End Time, and then add it all up. You’ll know how much time you spend on average working on your blog posts, and then you’ll be able to decide how well that time fits into your life.

After you’ve done those activities, you can start thinking about what you might’ve done differently to work faster and/or smarter. For example, I’ve learned that if I’m doing a tag or meme, I can work faster and smarter by entering the newer WordPress editor (not the block editor), going to the More Options tab, and copying a similar post to Overwrite.

I’ve also realized that bookish posts are harder to promote on Pinterest, so I don’t waste valuable time creating vertical pin images for them (or blog tags for that matter) unless they’ve got a gimmick to them that I figure will attract readers, like my Leslie Knope & 10 Books on Her TBR post.

I also save time on Instagram by keeping the hashtags I use for bullet journal and bookish content saved in my iPhone Notes folder so that I don’t have to type them out each time and risk forgetting any important ones that help users find my content.

If you know that your making the best use of your time, it will be harder to slip into negative feelings that your blog efforts don’t matter or are not worth it. Anyone can be overworked and exhausted by what they do, but it’s self-doubt that will cause blogger burnout to sink in.

2. Make the blog posts you want to read.

I think most people blog first and foremost for themselves, not to become super popular or rich. Those who have ulterior motives are often easy to sniff out and won’t make it, because it’s easy to tell who is authentic and who is not. If you want your blog to have readers, authenticity should be your highest priority. It takes less mental energy being your authentic self and also produces the best results.

The easiest way I can think of for being authentic is by producing posts that feel the most natural to make. They are the posts that you yourself would want to read. It’s easier to blog with an audience of you in mind, because it’s more fulfilling that way. You feel like your efforts are not in vein when you blog for someone, even if they’re imaginary. It’s also the best way to attract the followers that you want; your ideal audience.

3. Don’t stretch yourself thin.

It’s hard to know when you’re overdoing it until it’s too late. When you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t always feel like work. It’s work that you feel is worth doing, at least until life gets in the way. When something unexpected happens or other life priorities demand more of your time, it’s a mistake to try and keep your regular blog pace. It’ll just make you resent your blog or the other big parts of your life.

A way that you can avoid stretching yourself too thin is by periodically doing an audit of everything you do for your blog. Then decide how much time you can dedicate to blogging and when you can reasonably squeeze it into your life without letting any other parts of your life suffer. Make sure you leave time for self-care (e.g. hot baths, dog walks, exercise), other activities (e.g. bujo, reading, chores), and the unexpected (e.g. family emergencies, power outages, interviews).

Blogging shouldn’t take up your whole life. You need to have wiggle room; time that you can binge-watch that new Netflix show or have that impromptu brunch date with your friend that you don’t get to see very often. If you’re someone who has trouble reigning in the blogger enthusiasm, you may consider implementing a blog schedule.

Blog Schedule

I did the math, and I decided if I don’t want to spend more than 20% of my waking hours working on blog posts each week, then I should only be dedicating 25 hours maximum to drafting, polishing, promoting blog posts. Right now I’ve been blogging whenever I feel like it, but with more things that I need to start doing, I decided to become more regimented with when I do blog work so I know I’m making the best use of my time.

I’ve decided that I want to post no more than 3-4 posts each week, ideally closer to three. I want to write two evergreen posts each week, meaning posts with content that stays “fresh.” These posts are relevant throughout the years, rarely needing updating. For example, this post might qualify as evergreen because people might be searching for advice on how to avoid blogger burnout at any time during the year.

I also want to have at least one personal/fun/miscellaneous post each week in which I can engage with the communities I consider myself a part of. These may be bookish memes or blog tags. They may also just be blog/life updates or event announcements. I used to really enjoy writing weekly updates in my Week in Review format; maybe I’ll find a way to bring those back without taking time away from other posts.

While I don’t want to commit to an actual publishing schedule, I do feel like I need to set up a blog work schedule so that I have other days open for miscellaneous projects. I may need to adjust this schedule a little to accommodate unforeseen problems, but I think I’m off to a good start.

MondayFriday: Promote & blog hop daily
Saturday: Write 2-3 of next week’s blog posts
Sunday: Create horizontal & vertical blog post graphics

During the week I’ll also likely choose a day where I will allow myself to start working on future blog posts, whether that just be planning and scheduling them or actually beginning to draft them. It would be great to get a little ahead of schedule if only for those weekends that I want to do nothing.

I hope you found this post helpful and informative! I plan to write more about how I plan blog content and my blog post workflow in the future, but I felt like this topic was a good place to start my blogging series. It also gave me a great opportunity to explain why I decided to give myself a blog schedule! I feel like it might take a few weeks to get in the routine, but it will save me a lot of time in the long run.

Thank you for reading!
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Books on My Spring TBR | Top Ten Tuesday

The first official day of spring is tomorrow, March 20, 2019. In honor of the change of the season, I’m sharing the top ten books on my spring TBR! Spring is generally my least favorite of the seasons, but I am excited for it if it means a little more sunlight than we’ve currently been getting where I live. It’s so hard to take nice blog pics without natural sunlight!

In case you’re not familiar with Top Ten Tuesday, it is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. Now it is run by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl who each week provides a bookish prompt and book bloggers share their top ten picks. These prompts are listed well in advance, so it’s easy to look ahead and decide which you think you can do. The themes don’t always work for me, so I’m happy when there’s one that fits in my schedule that I actually like!

Before I jump into the books on my spring TBR, I did have some notes I wanted to share about it. First, a lot of the books are ones that have carried over from my fall TBR. Reading has not been a huge priority, but I still want to read everything I wanted to read six months ago. Second, I’ll be moving in the next couple of months! So there’s a little more urgency to read the books on this list, if only so I can bare being separated from them for a time if need be.

I’m not exactly sure if I’ll be able to follow the books where they’re going. But more on that later!

If you find any of the books listed below fascinating I’ve included links to them on both Goodreads and Amazon. Just so you know, I am now an Amazon affiliate. If you do end up making a qualifying purchase through my one of my links I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you. ^_^

1 King of Scars

 King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Pages: Hardcover, 514 pages
Published: January 29, 2019 by Imprint
Genres: New Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

Face your demons…or feed them. The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war―and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried―and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

I pre-ordered King of Scars about 10 months before it was due to come out, received it on release day in January, and have still yet to read it! A part of me is apprehensive it might disappoint. Another part of me is saying the longer I put it off, the less time I’ll have to wait for the next one. Regardless, I do expect to read this book soon. Maybe before any of the others on this list…But I’m not in the biggest mood for fantasy right now.

2 Akata Warrior

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
Pages: Paperback, 512 pages
Published: October 16, 2018 by Speak
Genres: Young Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.

 

Akata Witch was one of my most delightful discoveries last year and I ordered the sequel immediately afterward. Now nearly a year has gone by and I haven’t read it. Well, I haven’t lost interest! It’s just a matter of making the time for it…

3 The Promise

The Promise by Chaim Potok
Pages: Paperback, 368 pages
Published: October 3, 2011 by Anchor Books
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon

In a passionate, energetic narrative, The Promise brilliantly dramatizes what it is to master and use knowledge to make one’s own way in the world.

Reuven Malter lives in Brooklyn, he’s in love, and he’s studying to be a rabbi. He also keeps challenging the strict interpretations of his teachers, and if he keeps it up, his dream of becoming a rabbi may die.

One day, worried about a disturbed, unhappy boy named Michael, Reuven takes him sailing and cloud-watching. Reuven also introduces him to an old friend, Danny Saunders—now a psychologist with a growing reputation. Reconnected by their shared concern for Michael, Reuven and Danny each learns what it is to take on life—whether sacred truths or a troubled child—according to his own lights, not just established authority.

Every so often I’m in the mood for more adult literary fiction, and I’ve just been saving this one for such an occasion. I took this book on my spring break trip but didn’t manage to finish the book I had already started (Disrupt You by Jay Samit) so that I could move onto this one. It may be the next one I pick up, because I’m in a serious reading mood at the moment.

4 Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Pages: Paperback, 544 pages
Published: March 28, 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genres: Young Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

From National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes an epic fantasy about a mythic lost city and its dark past.
 
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around–and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old, he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the form of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? And who is the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams?
In this sweeping and breathtaking novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.
The answers await in Weep.

Strange the Dreamer has been on almost every TBR I’ve made since I purchased it last summer. I’ve got nothing to say. I want to read it and see what all the fuss is about! I’ve also been waiting to be in an undeniable fantasy sort of mood.

5 The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Pages: Paperback, 521 pages
Published: August 28, 2001 by Anchor
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE

In The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood weaves together strands of gothic suspense, romance, and science fiction into one utterly spellbinding narrative. The novel begins with the mysterious death—a possible suicide—of a young woman named Laura Chase in 1945. Decades later, Laura’s sister Iris recounts her memories of their childhood, and of the dramatic deaths that have punctuated their wealthy, eccentric family’s history. Intertwined with Iris’s account are chapters from the scandalous novel that made Laura famous, in which two illicit lovers amuse each other by spinning a tale of a blind killer on a distant planet. These richly layered stories-within-stories gradually illuminate the secrets that have long haunted the Chase family, coming together in a brilliant and astonishing final twist.

This was a somewhat random book purchase I made when I was first getting into book blogging in 2015. It wasn’t a popular book back then, but I felt like I needed some literary fiction and I had never read anything by Margaret Atwood. Still haven’t! Since it’s Women’s History Month, I’m kind of hoping I can get to this book in March, but there’s so many books…

6 Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Pages: Paperback, 325 pages
Published: April 29, 2003 by Penguin Classics
Genres: Classic / English literature
Goodreads | Amazon

Jane Austen’s last completed novel, marrying witty social realism to a Cinderella love story

At twenty-­seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.

 

Most all of my Jane Austen books are in a thick leather-bound anthology I bought at Barnes & Noble as a teenager. I read one every couple of years or so, and have been eager to start Persuasion for the longest time. I had a Chinese friend in high school that raved about this book, and I think of her every time I see this book. I feel like it’s a great time to read more from this tome before it’s packed away.

7 Obsidio

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Pages: Hardcover, 628 pages
Published: March 13, 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon

From bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff comes the exciting finale in the trilogy that broke the mold and has been called “stylistically mesmerizing” and “out-of-this-world-awesome.”

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza–but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys–an old flame from Asha’s past–reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.

This is another of those books I pre-ordered and then just never got around to when they were finally released. I feel like I would like to reread the first two books in the Illuminae Files trilogy before I read the finale, just to heighten the experience as I don’t know when I ever might reread these books truthfully.

8 Kingdom of Ash

 Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Pages: Hardcover, 984 pages
Published: October 23, 2018 by Bloomsbury YA
Genres: New Adult / Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .

Aelin has risked everything to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation-and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen-before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

This book is only a priority because I’m tired of DNF-ing books with the plan of returning to them again. I’m reading this book on my iPhone as an eBook, so it’s one I could literally pick up whenever, but it’s so hard to get back into this world and story with all the characters and perspectives. I feel like I’ll just need to binge it one day and hope everything from past books comes back to me.

9 Status Update

Status Update by Alice E. Marwick
Pages: Paperback, 368 pages
Published: January 13th 2015 by Yale University Press
Genres: Non-Fiction / Academic Research

Goodreads | Amazon

Social media technologies such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook promised a new participatory online culture. Yet, technology insider Alice Marwick contends in this insightful book, “Web 2.0” only encouraged a preoccupation with status and attention. Her original research—which includes conversations with entrepreneurs, Internet celebrities, and Silicon Valley journalists—explores the culture and ideology of San Francisco’s tech community in the period between the dot com boom and the App store, when the city was the world’s center of social media development.
Marwick argues that early revolutionary goals have failed to materialize: while many continue to view social media as democratic, these technologies instead turn users into marketers and self-promoters, and leave technology companies poised to violate privacy and to prioritize profits over participation. Marwick analyzes status-building techniques—such as self-branding, micro-celebrity, and life-streaming—to show that Web 2.0 did not provide a cultural revolution, but only furthered inequality and reinforced traditional social stratification, demarcated by race, class, and gender.

I aim to read non-fiction every so often, and this book is one that I feel is a good one to read right now. I’m using social media more than ever for my blog and I want to see what can be learned from Marwick’s research.

10 Yes Please

 Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Pages: Paperback, 329 pages
Published: October 2015 by Dey Street Books
Genres: Non-Fiction / Biography / Humor
Goodreads | Amazon

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby MamaBlades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

Once again Yes Please ends one of my book lists. Last week it was a book I recommended for Leslie Knope fans. This week I’m saying I want to read it this spring because I remember loving it and would like to read it before it needs to be packed. I think it will be inspiring at a time when I need it to be right now.

Sorry if this is a boring list! I know a lot of these books have been on TBRs of months past. I think part of the reason I’ve not been so quick to pick them up is I don’t have many more books like them to read. My book purchasing has slowed down in the interest of saving money and with awareness of my uncertain future in mind, I’ve not been eager to add to my book collection. I don’t feel like I have the biggest book collection – especially compared to my bookish peers – but I do anticipate having a lot of trouble moving what I do have.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Mystery Blogger Award | Blog Tag

This week I was nominated by Siobhan @ Novelties for the Mystery Blogger Award! Since I’ve been working on new kinds of blog content this month, I was delighted to be tagged and have a reason for a more relaxed blog post that would allow new followers to get to know more about me.

On an unrelated note, I decided to start going by my real name again on this blog and my other socials because I want to be able to share stuff I write on here with future employers and don’t want there to be any confusion. Sorry for any confusion I’ve caused for you guys!

What Is the Mystery Blogger Award?

It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma

The Rules

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Facts about Me

  1. Purple used to be my favorite color and now I can’t stand the thought of wearing it. It brings back negative memories of 8th/9th grade.
  2. I used to be able to tan really dark, but now I just freckle permanently if I don’t wear sunscreen. It’s really annoying.
  3. I’m in the currently in process of moving, so life is a little all over the place at the moment! More info about this move to come…

Siobhan’s Questions

1. Which character would you name your child (human, furbrat, or other) after?

By saying these names, I feel like I’m giving them away! But so be it, there’s plenty of names out there. For a daughter, I really love the name Ruth after the character from the film Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). For a son, I like Remus after Remus Lupin from Harry Potter. For dogs I like Gordo (Lizzie Maguire), Randall (This is Us), and Bosley (Bill Murray in Charlie’s Angels).

2. If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?

I would become a business woman with enough capital and connections to make stuff happen.

3. What is your new favorite book or TV show?

New as in discovered within the last year? I’ve recently been thinking about Sharp Objects, which is a mini-series starring Amy Adams that came out last summer. It was amazing. The female characters were so compelling and the music so evocative. I feel like I might start it up again. I can’t think of a new favorite book beyond The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, which was a satisfying follow-up to Truly Devious.

4. What is the latest accomplishment you’re proud of?

What a lovely question. I’m really pleased about my new position as a Red Cross digital volunteer! I had to interview for it, and it was a win I needed right now to be honest. It’ll be doing work that I’m proud of and that will give me great experience for the kind of thing I want to do professionally.

5. What book are you looking forward to reading?

Right now, I really want to get to King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo! I’ve been trying to finish up Disrupt You by Jay Samit first so I could mark it off my TBR.

Bonus: If you could be transported into any TV show, what would it be?

I would love to be transported into the 1950s New York City of which The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel paints such a rosy picture. (I think I’ve answered this question before and had the same exact answer!)

My Questions

  1. Do you share your blog with people you know in your real life?
  2. What are your ultimate blog goals?
  3. Do you see yourself blogging when you’re 50?
  4. Who is your role model, fictional or otherwise?
  5. What are some books do you think are underrated?
  6. Bonus: You find out the world ends tomorrow; what do you do?

I Nominate…

Sara| Dani | Eline | Larissa | Czai | CharleighSamanthaMarie | Olivia | Angelica

Recent Posts

I hope you enjoy this light post! I’ve been super busy this week between producing the posts I did, planning future content, and working on job-related stuff. I’ve come to the realization that I really need to scale back on the blog stuff at the moment, so I’m probably going to aim for something of a blog schedule (M/W/F) for the next few weeks so that I can get on top of other responsibilities. I’ll try to use Twitter and Instagram for more personal updates, so check those out if you’d like!

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

April BuJo Theme Ideas

Okay, so this has been one of my personally most anticipated blog posts to write for the past few weeks! I loved sharing my bullet journal theme ideas for March in February so that anyone who was also pre-planning might be inspired by an idea they may not have come across yet. So in a similar vein, today I am sharing the ideas I’ve been mulling over for April. It’s never too early!

Below are the theme ideas for April that have me super excited and inspired. If you want to skip my thoughts and just see the visuals, scroll to the bottom to see my embedded spring bujo ideas. board, which you can click to follow on Pinterest or simply browse from inside this post!

Idea 1. Planters / Succulents

It’s not the most original idea, if I’m being honest, but I’ve recently seen some absolutely stunning designs that are less cutesy or evocative of desert or a southwestern style. I like how the succulent look in planters against brick and other industrial or Scandinavian architecture. They’re almost less the focus and more an accent on an interior design theme, which I think is really cool.

I don’t consider this theme a front-runner at all for me, but I did want to bookmark it for the future and share the idea to anyone looking for theme ideas because it is a major one with many examples to reference.

Idea 2. April Showers: Umbrellas, Rain Boots & Puddles

I mentioned in February that I felt like I couldn’t do a rainy weather-inspired theme because I already did clouds for January. However, I started seeing some themes that focused on umbrellas and rain puddles, which I thought were really cute and fun. I feel like the umbrella would also be really timely, because I just watched The Umbrella Academy on Netflix and it is a new favorite!

Idea 3. Hot Air Balloons

A theme that had been on my radar for a long time is hot air balloons. I had first thought it would be more of a summertime theme in my mind, but I feel like April/May are months where escape is on the mind. I think it’s a mental hold-over from being a student, as April in college is typically a super busy month in which final projects are in full motion.

I don’t feel any urgency to use this theme, and because it seems like a simpler theme to execute I may save it for a month where I have less time to prepare a monthly spread.

Idea 4. Studio Ghibli Movies

After thinking about hot air balloons, Howl’s Moving Castle came to mind. Then I wondered if there were any Studio Ghibli bujo themes out there, because I had never seen any in my discovery journeys through Instagram or Pinterest. Boy was I in for a treat, because I found more than a few! This blog post in particular gave me a bunch of screenshots to compile for this theme.

I must say, I’m leaning really heavily towards this theme at the moment! I think it would be a lot of fun to make to April a Studio Ghibli-themed month as a whole. I’m thinking a movie marathon, an Instagram challenge of some sort, themed blog posts…

Idea 5. Coffee/Tea Love

My final idea for this month is hot beverages, specifically coffee but perhaps also tea. Going back to that college mindset, I always drank a lot more coffee around the end of each semester to keep going as I got busier. It’s also been so unusually cold this year where I live, that I find myself reaching for a decaf coffee or black tea more often than usual because the atmosphere just feels so right.

It’ll probably be hot by time April comes around, but I bet it will still be rainy. Who doesn’t like curling up with a hot cupa somethin’ by the window on a rainy day to be productive?

Pinterest

In February I decided to start using Pinterest to direct more traffic towards my blog. I did a proper post on it earlier this week, but for now I just want to say that it has been an awesome place to find and bookmark pin ideas that I want to be able to return to later.

See: 5 Things I Did to Grow My Pinterest Traffic

I used to just get all my ideas on Instagram, but Pinterest pulls content from there as well so you get a little more on Pinterest. One downside is if you want to get more information on a pin you find on Pinterest, it can be harder to track down the main source than it is on Instagram. But, truthfully, I see myself continuing to use both!

My point is if you’d like to get a first look at my theme idea posts, you can follow my Pinterest board which I’ve created specifically for spring bullet journal ideas which I’ve inserted below! I will likely use it until June when I’ll start a summer-themed board, but I also have a more general bujo inspiration board that you can check out as well.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I know I’ve been sayin’ it for two months now, but I truly plan to start doing more blog posts about bullet journalling, especially now that I feel like I have more to offer since I’ve been doing it for going-on three months. I also just bought a Scribbles That Matter journal so I feel more inspired to level up my designer game.

If you have any specific requests, be sure to let me know in the comments so I make sure they are covered in my upcoming blog series. As it currently is, I plan to share reasons for starting a bujo, how to start a bujo, and more general bujo spread ideas not necessarily related to theme.

Thank you for reading!
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Leslie Knope & 10 Books on Her TBR | My Favorite … Feminist T.V. Character

In case you didn’t know, March is Women’s History Month! I’ve been thinking of ways to celebrate the month on this blog and ultimately decided to try my hand at lists relating to feminist literature, aspirational real-life female figures, small businesses led by women, etc. To kick it off, I wanted to participate in this week’s My Favorite meme now hosted by Rebecca @ Bookishly Rebecca.

This week’s theme is favorite feminist T.V. character! One lady came immediately to my mind, and her name is Leslie Knope. In case you’ve not watched Parks & Recreation (2009-2015), you need to start watching it, like, yesterday. It’s hilarious and so full of heart.

Leslie Knope is the deputy director of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. She puts up with a lot of difficult people and challenges that stand in the way of her doing her job the way she knows is right. She’s hard-working, fearless, and an amazing friend. Amongst the things she loves are Pawnee, Ann Perkins, Ben Wyatt, waffles, Joe Biden, coming up with extremely thoughtful gifts.

My favorite thing about her is how passionate and uninhibited she is about the things that matter to her most. She works hard and doesn’t hide it. I feel like a lot of people want others not to see how hard they are trying for fear of being judged or “extra” as the kids say nowadays. Leslie Knope doesn’t let public perception stop her from what she wants to do. She’s a confident and independent woman I think all should look up to.

I didn’t feel like it would be enough just to talk about why I think Leslie Knope is amazing, so I wanted to add a list of books I think that Leslie Knope would totally read and recommend to others, particularly aspiring Pawnee Goddesses. Now before anyone feels the need to mention it, I recall Leslie’s feelings about libraries…

With her feelings in mind, I recommend that instead of visiting a library today (or any day) in her honor that you consider another avenue of book acquisition. You could visit your local second-hand or independent bookstore. If you don’t have much money, maybe you can do book swap online. Maybe you even try reading a eBook so as not to let people know how well read and dangerous you are! ^_^

If you find any of the books listed below fascinating I’ve included links to them on both Goodreads and Amazon. Just so you know, I am now an Amazon affiliate. If you do end up making a qualifying purchase through my one of my links I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you.

1 How I Resist

 How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation  edited by Maureen Johnson
Pages: Paperback, 224 pages
Published: May 15, 2018 by Wednesday Books
Genres: Non-fiction / Anthology / Activism
Goodreads | Amazon

An all-star collection of essays about activism and hope, edited by bestselling YA author Maureen Johnson.

Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard – but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help?

How I Resist is the response, and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change. A collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope, How I Resist features an all-star group of contributors, including, John Paul Brammer, Libba Bray, Lauren Duca, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, Alex Gino, Hebh Jamal, Malinda Lo, Dylan Marron, Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, Rosie O’Donnell, Junauda Petrus, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds, Karuna Riazi, Maya Rupert, Dana Schwartz, Dan Sinker, Ali Stroker, Jonny Sun (aka @jonnysun), Sabaa Tahir, Shaina Taub, Daniel Watts, Jennifer Weiner, Jacqueline Woodson, and more, all edited and compiled by New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

In How I Resist, readers will find hope and support through voices that are at turns personal, funny, irreverent, and instructive. Not just for a young adult audience, this incredibly impactful collection will appeal to readers of all ages who are feeling adrift and looking for guidance.

I read How I Resist last summer and it was one of the first books that came to mind when I decided to make this list. There is no doubt in my mind that Leslie Knope would gift this book to every child she meets. It’s a great introduction to activism for young people who want to protest and stand for something. Leslie Knope is all about civic duty and this book shows the many ways you can resist oppressive people and systems.

2 Wonder Women

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs
Pages: Hardcover, 240 pages
Published: October 18, 2016 by Quirk Books
Genres: Non-fiction / Anthology
Goodreads | Amazon

A fun and feminist look at forgotten women in science, technology, and beyond, from the bestselling author of THE FANGIRL’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY

You may think you know women’s history pretty well. But have you ever heard of. . .

·Alice Ball, the chemist who developed an effective treatment for leprosy—only to have the credit taken by a man?
·Mary Sherman Morgan, the rocket scientist whose liquid fuel compounds blasted the first U.S. satellite into orbit?
·Huang Daopo, the inventor whose weaving technology revolutionized textile production in China—centuries before the cotton gin?

Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. Plus, interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations—all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help to build the future.

This is one book I have not read personally, but one I envision would be an amazing gift to young girls or even a nice coffee table book. I like that the book appears to highlight women who are not super famous and well-known names. I know that I would have really benefitted from having more women in STEM to look up to when I was little, because I definitely was more into history and English than science growing up without recognizing the value of STEM classes.

3 Becoming

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Pages: Hardcover, 426 pages
Published: November 13, 2018 by Crown
Genres: Non-fiction / Biography
Goodreads | Amazon

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

This book is a newer release I’m sure most people are already familiar with. I think Michelle Obama is one of the most inspiring female political figures alive today. She resonates really well with young people and I’m fairly certain she ranked high with Leslie Knope while the show was still on. I would like to know more about Michelle Obama’s younger years and the work she did, as someone who has been working with my local community and beginning to volunteer.

4 Notorious RBG

Notorious RBG Young Readers’ Edition: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
Pages: Hardcover, 208 pages
Published: November 28, 2017 by HarperCollins
Genres: Non-fiction / Biography 
Goodreads | Amazon

The New York Times bestselling biography Notorious RBG—whose concept originated with a Tumblr page of the same name—is now available in a vibrant, full-color young readers’ edition.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become an icon to millions. Her tireless fight for equality and women’s rights has inspired not only great strides in the workforce but has impacted the law of the land. And now, perfect for a younger generation, comes an accessible biography of this fierce woman, detailing her searing dissents and powerful jurisprudence.

This entertaining and insightful young readers’ edition mixes pop culture, humor, and expert analysis for a remarkable account of the indomitable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Heroine. Trailblazer. Pioneer.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is definitely having a moment right now, and I don’t think I’m alone in hoping that she has a few more years of good health. I actually just watched This Is Us tonight and was cackling at Kate for buying her son a yarn doll of RBG so he is surrounded by a strong female presence early! That would so be me.

Anyway this edition of the book looks really cool because it is targeted towards the youth, so it looks like it will be another gorgeous book chock-full of great information on an inspiring woman and also a nice coffee table book.

5 Madam Secretary

Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright
Pages: Paperback, 592 pages
Published: January 22, 2013 by Harper Perennial
Genres: Non-fiction / Biography / Politics
Goodreads | Amazon

A national bestseller on its original publication in 2003, Madam Secretary is a riveting account of the life of America’s first woman Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. For eight years, during Bill Clinton’s two presidential terms, Albright was a high-level participant in some of the most dramatic events of our time—from the pursuit of peace in the Middle East to NATO’s intervention in the Balkans to America’s troubled relations with Iran and Iraq. In this thoughtful memoir, one of the most admired women in U.S. history reflects on her remarkable personal story, including her upbringing in war-torn Europe and the balancing of career and family responsibilities, and on America’s leading role in a changing world.

With a new epilogue by the author, Madam Secretary offers an inimitable blend of Albright’s warm humor, probing insights, and distinctive ideas.

Leslie Knope kept a great many photos of inspiring women in her office behind her desk and one of the most prominent is Madeline Albright. I confess, I do not have a lot of prior knowledge about this woman, which is why I feel like this book would be a really good read for me on a personal level. If Leslie Knope, a woman who inspires me, is inspired by this woman, then I have high hopes this book will not disappoint.

6 The Essential Feminist Reader

The Essential Feminist Reader by Estelle Freedman
Pages: Paperback, 496 pages
Published: September 18, 2007 by Modern Library
Genres: Non-fiction / Essays / Feminism
Goodreads | Amazon

Including: Susan B. Anthony Simone de Beauvoir W.E.B. Du Bois Hélène Cixous Betty Friedan Charlotte Perkins Gilman Emma Goldman Guerrilla Girls Ding Ling • Audre Lorde John Stuart Mill Christine de Pizan Adrienne Rich Margaret Sanger Huda Shaarawi • Sojourner Truth Mary Wollstonecraft Virginia Woolf

The Essential Feminist Reader is the first anthology to present the full scope of feminist history. Prizewinning historian Estelle B. Freedman brings decades of teaching experience and scholarship to her selections, which span more than five centuries. Moving beyond standard texts by English and American thinkers, this collection features primary source material from around the globe, including short works of fiction and drama, political manifestos, and the work of less well-known writers.

Freedman’s cogent Introduction assesses the challenges facing feminism, while her accessible, lively commentary contextualizes each piece. The Essential Feminist Reader is a vital addition to feminist scholarship, and an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of women.

I purchased The Essential Feminist Reader as a TA for a 400-level class I was observing. The class was about technology and accessibility, and she felt the essays in this book complemented the coursework. From what I gleaned, the essays she chose were extremely eye-opening on multiple levels. Many of these feminist put to words ideas and experiences that are not easily explained in sound-bites. This book is definitely on my bucket list and one that I think Leslie Knope would have read.

7 Ain’t I a Woman

Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
Pages: Paperback, 205 pages
Published: October 20, 2014 by Routledge
Genres: Non-fiction / Essays / Feminism
Goodreads | Amazon

A classic work of feminist scholarship, Ain’t I a Woman has become a must-read for all those interested in the nature of black womanhood. Examining the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism among feminists, and the black woman’s involvement with feminism, hooks attempts to move us beyond racist and sexist assumptions. The result is nothing short of groundbreaking, giving this book a critical place on every feminist scholar’s bookshelf.

I’m familiar with bell hooks from pedagogical stand-point, having read Teaching to Transgress as a TA. She is an amazing writer who can very effectively relate nuanced ideas in a way that is not difficult to understand. I would like to one day read her all of her work and felt like this book in particular deserved a spot on this list. Parks & Recreation did not get into race-related topics or story-lines, but I feel like Leslie Knope would definitely be an intersectional feminist.

8 The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
Pages: Paperback, 288 pages
Published: January 17, 2006 by Scribner
Genres: Non-Fiction / Biography
Goodreads | Amazon

MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST
The perennially bestselling, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

Thus far, my list has included books primarily about great women who have accomplished much for society and women. I decided to include Glass Castle, because I feel like Leslie Knope would 100% enjoy reading a book about hardships regular people face. Leslie Knope is a public servant who is not in it for herself or fame; she truly cares about people. I bet this book would break her heart, but also be a reminder of why her work is so important. Jeannette Walls is someone I think about when I think about “the American Dream.”

9 Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America

Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America by Leslie Knope
Published: October 11, 2011 by Hyperion
Pages: Paperback, 240 pages
Genres: Faux Non-Fiction / Humor

Goodreads | Amazon

Welcome to Pawnee: More Exciting than New York, More Glamorous than Hollywood, Roughly the Same Size as Bismarck, North Dakota

In Pawnee, Leslie Knope (as played by Amy Poehler on NBC’s hit show Parks and Recreation) takes readers on a hilarious tour through her hometown, the Midwestern haven known as Pawnee, Indiana. The book chronicles the city’s colorful citizens and hopping nightlife, and also explores some of the most hilarious events from its crazy history–like the time the whole town was on fire, its ongoing raccoon infestation, and the cult that took over in the 1970s. Packed with laugh-out-loud-funny photographs, illustrations, and commentary by the other inhabitants of Pawnee, it’s a must-read that will make you enjoy every moment of your stay in the Greatest Town in America.

With this book we are getting into sillier list territory! I did not know this book existed until I started doing research for this list. It sounds like an amazing companion piece to the show and, once again, a book that would make a great gift. I know a lot of people who love Park & Recreation who would enjoy visiting the world of Pawnee through Leslie Knope’s eyes!

10 Yes, Please

 Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
Pages: Paperback, 329 pages
Published: October 2015 by Dey Street Books
Genres: Non-fiction / Biography / Humor
Goodreads | Amazon

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby MamaBlades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

For the final book on this list, I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t share the book from the lady behind Leslie Knope. Truthfully, this is one of those situations where it’s hard to tell where the character ends and the actor begins. So much of Leslie Knope MUST be innate to Amy Poehler. I feel like Leslie Knope would love the actress who portrays her on T.V.

I’ve actually read this book and own it. I can’t remember if I read it before I watched the show, but I do remember being super inspired by it. It’s definitely due a reread sometime soon.

I hope you enjoyed reading my list of books that would be on Leslie Knope’s TBR for anyone, but women especially. I tried to pick books by and about women from the U.S., just because I feel like Leslie Knope’s pride in her community extends to her country. As someone who has begun working with my local community, I find that Leslie is one of my biggest influences, which is both funny and sad.

While she is definitely a great role model, it is important to remember she is not real. There are other amazing women out there making a difference who more people should know about and celebrate. It is my hope with this list that others will check some of these books out and learn about someone new. ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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5 Things I Did to Grow My Pinterest Blog Traffic

In February by complete chance I stumbled across a Skillshare video by Jules Tillman called “How to Make Money with Etsy Without “Making” Anything!” In this short course, she details how she makes a small commission on sale over time by including affiliate links in blog posts to Etsy products she likes. This fee comes out of Etsy’s marketing funds and not the sellers, so it sounded like a really cool way to help small businesses and make a little extra money for yourself.

SEE: Learn About Starting a Side Hustle on Skillshare

I’ve long known that Pinterest could help build blog traffic, but I was never too fussy about numbers and didn’t understand see how it was useful. I knew Pinterest as a place to bookmark things I liked, and I mostly used it for writing inspiration. I never thought of Pinterest as a search engine, which is how I became interested in learning to harness its power to increase my blog traffic so that I could hopefully begin to monetize my blog.

There are a lot of pins with tips for how to become good at Pinterest (I even have a board dedicated to pinning strategy.). A lot of these pins lead to posts where the authors are hoping you are enticed to try out a product/service they recommend or buy their online course. However, one thing that has always been clear to me is that there are a lot of things you can do to start building your Pinterest audience before you ever need to spend a cent.

In this post I will share everything I’ve learned about how to increase my monthly Pinterest viewers and engagement. This post also serves as my recommended step-by-step guide for newbies who don’t know where to begin, including what I suggest you can worry about later.

1. SET UP A BUSINESS ACCOUNT LINKED TO YOUR BLOG

I have had always had a regular Pinterest account where my pins related to any topic of interest under the sun. One of the first things Jules Tillman recommends is setting up a business account and verifying your blog/website so that you have access to statistics on what pins performed well.

It is very simple to set up and I do find the stats are very interesting to look every couple of days to see in hindsight how my activity has influenced my traffic.

2. FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE, UTILIZING KEYWORDS

You should add a picture of yourself so that people know who they are following. You should also make sure to write a bio that includes the keywords that are associated with your boards and your blog, so that you optimize the possibility that search engines show your boards and pins to people searching for content that you create first.

I’ve also included a few keywords in my display name like users I emulate in order to help with further SEO.

If you aren’t sure what your keywords should be, you definitely want to take some time to give them some serious thought. Think about your blog and what kind of content you already make or plan to create. If you’re still having trouble, think about this question: what do you imagine people would google in order to find your blog posts?

3. CREATE PINTEREST BOARDS AROUND YOUR KEYWORDS

Your Pinterest boards should be broad topics related to your blog content so that you have a ready-made place to share pins to your own blog posts. For example, if you write book reviews or reading lists, then you should create boards about book recommendations where you pin posts similar to your own.

You should do your best to keep your boards pretty general because if they become too niched, then you may run out of original pins to share. It is essential that you are always able to find pins for your boards.

PRO TIP: Don’t have any inactive boards. I’ve also read that keeping boards private is not enough. If there are any boards you don’t actively add to, but want to keep because you want to be able to find those pins, archive them.

4. PIN EVERYDAY, SEVERAL TIMES A DAY

This tip may be tough to follow. Many Pinterest experts will recommend you use Tailwind to schedule pins in advance so that you don’t need to pin every day, but it’s not free. After you’ve gone through your free-trial (100 scheduled pins) you’ll have to pay $10 a month. If you’re only just starting to try to make money from your blog, the expense may not yet be worth it.

Personally I decided that I wanted to see if pinning consistently throughout the day actually resulted in more traffic. Long story short: it does! Your Pinterest foot traffic will explode if you are pinning manually whenever you have time.

On the daily, I try to pin at least seven times a day. First thing in the morning, mid-morning, before lunch, after lunch, when I’m sitting around at work waiting for the kids in the parking lot, after work, and before bed. Sometimes I’ll pin a bit more if I’m feeling inspired. Other times it’s a struggle to go on three times. It doesn’t always take a long, but sometimes it’s hard to think of things to search for if Pinterest isn’t showing you anything new or exciting.

– RESULTS & CONCLUSION –

On February 26th (when I first started pinning) I had 495 monthly visitors who saw my pins and 12 people who engaged with them. As of March 9th, I have 16,219 visitors who see my pins and 385 people who are engaging with them. I also know from my WordPress site statistics that over the last 30 days I’ve had three unique visitors visit my blog from Pinterest, and they are from one of the three pins I’ve created with vertical images.

While that may not seem like a lot yet, bare in mind that I’ve not yet dedicated a lot of time to creating pinnable content. By pinnable content, I mean blog posts that I know would be more popular because they are useful (e.g. tutorials, tips/advice, or explainers). My last four posts were a blog update, a book review, a list of beautiful book spines, and my March bujo spread. My focus has been on making pinning a part of daily routine so that I have a built-in audience that I’m confident will see and interact with my future blog posts.

I predict this post will be one of my first to do really well. If it is, I’ll do a follow-up post!

5. DABBLE IN CREATING ORIGINAL PINS

Finally, after you’ve set up your business account and have seen first-hand how your pinning activity correlates to your Pinterest traffic, I recommend you start dabbling in creating your own original pins for the content that you create. Just so I’m clear, I do not mean that you should wait to until this point to start blogging or whatever it is you do. I just think that you have nothing to lose by prioritizing growing your audience on Pinterest so that your future pins are seen by more people. Think of it as research.

There can be a bit of a learning curve in creating those long, vertical Pinterest images with a 2:3 ratio, which is I would recommend saving that joy for last. I’ve had to learn to use Canva’s interface to create my high-quality vertical images. (I previously used PicMonkey in a round-about way, if you know what I mean.) And I’ve had to learn how to format text and images to compose an attractive, eye-catching graphic.

In the past, I would write my blog posts first then create and insert any images or graphics. I’m a big fan of this work flow, because it kept the focus on writing the best posts possible. But for today’s post, the first thing I did was create the graphic because I knew I’d have trouble picking a title and formatting it so it’s readable and attractive.

The Things That Can Wait

I’ve been reading a lot of tips about Pinterest and there are a few things I think that you do not need to do right off the bat if all you’re concerned with at the moment is increasing traffic and not so much on cultivating a big following. Specifically, I’m talking about creating your board covers and branding.

Many people recommend creating covers for your Pinterest boards. This is an opportunity to brand your boards with your blog iconography and imagery. If you don’t really have a “brand” established yet, then the beginning is a fun time to experiment and see what works for you. I know I like navy, grey-blue, rose pink, and dark gold colors, but I don’t yet have a set style guide for my blog so I never use the exact same color codes.

Branding yourself and your blog is really important for people to be able to recognize your name and your work online. While branding itself is a topic outside of the scope of this post, I did want to mention it because I do not think you need to worry about it when you’re just starting out. It won’t hurt you until you’re actively trying to build a following.

I hope you found this post useful! I wrote the post I wish I had seen when I was first starting out with Pinterest. I plan to continue writing posts about what I learn on Pinterest, specifically about gaining followers, useful/sharable content that does well on Pinterest, and a work flow for making attractive Pinterest images that people will love to pin. If any of that sounds good, make sure to stick around!

Immediately #ontheblog you can expect some more bullet journal content! I feel like I’ve been doing it long enough at this point and have a unique enough perspective on the hobby to offer something new, so I may be kicking off a little series very soon.

Thank you for reading!
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What is The Inky Saga? | Letter from the Blogger

Hello! Welcome to The Inky Saga, a bookish lifestyle blog for creative and entrepreneurial spirits. I think most of my followers will remember me as Lori @ Betwined Reads, but in February I finally decided to take the leap of upgrading my blog; rebranding it in the process. I had known all year that I needed a big change, but it was scary deciding to invest in myself.

I started The Inky Saga with big dreams. I’m a bookish person. I’m introverted. I’m on a perpetual search for life fulfillment in everything I do, be it reading, writing, or bullet journalling. My goal is create my own success and become self-sufficient through blogging. I also want to help others celebrate the beauty in their lives and become empowered through their creativity.

As much as I love the book blog community, I’ve always felt like I was on its fringe. I now officially feel that I’ve outgrown that period of my life and am ready to see what can come next. I’ll still be interacting with the book blog community whenever I can by participating in bookish memes or tags and reading posts to keep up with new noteworthy releases. The change is mainly in priorities for original content on my end.

On The Inky Saga, you will be able to find posts on everything from:

  1. Books (popular literature, non-fiction, research, recommendations, etc.)
  2. Bullet journalling (how to’s, spread ideas, inspiration, etc.)
  3. Blogging tips (post ideas, branding, SEO, collaborations, useful resources, monetization, etc.)
  4. Starting a creative business (creating products people want, promotion, money management, time management, etc.)
  5. Social media strategies (building a following, creating content, etc.)
  6. Living well (organization, volunteer work, thoughtful gifts, home DIY, saving money, self-care, etc.)

If any of those things sound good to you, you’re in the right place! I’m certain I will strike the right balance between everything I produce, and I promise to continue to keep you updated on everything I’m learning and doing behind-the-scenes. This blog will remain as personal and close to my heart as it’s ever been while I work to expand my reach and create stuff of value for my fellow bloggers and creatives.

Recent Posts: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2) by Maureen Johnson | Top 5 Tuesday: Beautiful Book SpinesMarch Bullet Journal SpreadFebruary BuJo Flip-ThroughFebruary’s Inky Notes

I feel like my blog has kept me busier than ever before, but I’ve been so excited about everything I’m doing that it hasn’t felt too much like work yet. It’s work I love doing. Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m going out of town for a few days. I’ve been trying to plan blog posts so that it’s not quiet here while I’m away. I know it’s Women’s History Month and I want to plan some stuff around that, specifically books and the women that I find inspiring.

Thank you for reading!
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The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2) by Maureen Johnson

Easily my most anticipated book of January, hell, of 2019 as a whole, was The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, the sequel to one of my favorite reads of 2018, Truly Devious. In case you weren’t around way back then, here’s a link to the review I wrote of the book that started this fantastic series. It’s one of my favorite reviews I’ve ever written on the blog for a book I still consider highly underrated.

Stevie is such an amazing female character for young girls to be able to see in YA literature. I love that she is filled with such purpose and passion for something so unique and practical. I also think it’s great to see someone who has to deal with anxiety and parents with such different fundamental values. It’s so timely.

Before I go into detail, I just want to say I loved The Vanishing Stair as much as I did the first book! It sufficiently answered just enough questions about the mystery to keep me satisfied and still managed to end in a way that left me aching for the third installment to come out already!

I’ve decided not will not spoil the end of the book, but I will detail the questions I still have regarding the ending. So if you are halfway interested in checking out this series, go away now! I’ve warned you!

• The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson  

The Vanishing Stair picks up maybe a month after where the first book left off the morning after Stevie’s housemate Ellie escaped Ellingham Academy and Stevie learned David is the son of the infamous politician Edward King her parents idolize. As it turned out, Germaine Batt’s report about how Stevie discovered the link between Ellie and Hayes Major’s death became a hit online. After Stevie’s parents read it, they quickly whisked her away from dreamy boarding school and plopped her back into public school.

Honestly, I could empathize with her sadness and frustration. I don’t think I would’ve been able to handle this distress as gracefully as I assume she did. But to her dubious fortune, Stevie is able to return to the academy after Senator King shows up at her parents house and convinces them to allow her to return to school. She discovers that David has been going off the rails since she left and his father has decided Stevie can fix him.

Although she is unhappy with how she was able to return to Ellingham, she is not able to resist the opportunity to return to the scenes of the crime that drew her to the school in the first place.

Much more of the past is quickly revealed in The Vanishing Stair through flashbacks involving the two new characters introduced at the end of Truly Devious. For much of the book I wondered when and if Stevie would become privy to the information we as readers are granted ahead of time! Before Stevie, we are able to find out more about Albert Ellingham’s life and the long-forgotten secret passageways that allowed the founder to keep his secrets. But our girl Stevie eventually pieces together the mystery herself in a scene where I imagined her standing like Sherlock below.

sherlock

In this novel, Stevie is introduced to Fenton, a historian on the crime who needs a research assistant. This older woman is an authority on the case who intends to solve the mystery of Alice’s whereabout in order to win a monetary reward set by Ellingham before he died. Her presence in the book adds new stakes and competition for Stevie as she discovers she’s in a race against the clock to solve the mystery.

There are light moments between Stevie and the gang as they celebrate Halloween. There’s some steamy moments as Stevie and David reconnect. Of course their relationship is complicated by Stevie’s secret deal with his father, which feels rote and thrown in just because our lovebirds can’t have too much fun. There are also some absolutely devastating moments akin which for me harkened to the sadness of that scene in season one of Stranger Things where they think they’ve found Will’s body to the cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes”.

By the end of this book, we discover the true culprit behind the crimes at Ellingham Academy and why it was so hard to identify them! Honestly, the truth blew me away. I feel like I might’ve been able to guess them if it had not been for all the smoke and mirrors, which is why this YA mystery is so fantastic! It’s such a smart series on par with the Six of Crows duology, which is a YA (or perhaps New Adult) masterpiece.

I decided to rate this book 4.5 stars. It’s beautifully crafted and paced, and my main complaint right now is how frustrating David has been for no apparent reason at all! I hope that he is able to redeem himself by the end of the next book or I want a storyline where Stevie learns to avoid broken, troubled boys like him. I’m so over love interests with self-destructive tendencies.

END OF THE BOOK QUESTIONS

  1. Was Ellie working with someone?
  2. What the heck is David doing?
  3. Who at the academy doesn’t want the mystery solved?
  4. What happened to Alice?

I hope you liked this review! I’m really not sure who is going to click on the review for a sequel of a highly underrated book, so if you read all the way through you’re something special in my eyes! <3 ^_^

This is probably my last blog post before the weekend. I’ve been planning blog content for the days I’ll be out of town (Saturday–Tuesday) finally visiting my poor grandma who had a stroke in January. I’ll try to be active on WordPress as much as possible, responding to comments and blog hopping whenever I can. You can also always get in touch on Twitter if you’d like. :)

Thank you for reading!
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Top 5 Tuesday: Beautiful Book Spines

Welcome back to another Top 5 Tuesday here on The Inky Saga! At the beginning of each month, Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm annouces the weekly themes for this bookish meme. For this week, she asked us to share our “top five book spines.” I decided to look at my bookshelves and select the five I think are the most beautiful. Some of these books I’ve read, some I haven’t.

If you want to participate in this meme, be sure to link to Shanah’s original blog post so she gets a ping back and can add you to her post’s list of participants. It’s a fun way to discover new blogs and see what other books people listed for each topic. It’s my goal to start going through each week’s list and start blog hopping again this month.

Without further ado, here’s my top five book spines along with my rationale and the artists/designers behind the book cover art!

⟡ Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ⟡

My love for this book is no secret. I also am just so enamored by the original cover aesthetic for the Grishaverse books as a whole. A word that comes to mind is ornate. Six of Crows in particular is gorgeous because of the looping letters that are at once so fine and sweeping. I like how they are positioned so that the book title can be read without the need tilt the head or reorient your eyes. Also the feather details and the spiral towers at the bottom are a really nice little touch.

Jacket Art & Design: Jack Deas

⟡ Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter ⟡

A book spine with similar characteristics to the Six of Crows, Vassa in the Night has a refined architectural detail of the castle. There’s also pretty swan that takes priority over the book spine space by placing on top of the title. It makes the spine look much more like a work of art than a book spine concerned with legibility.

Illustrations Copyright: Sarah Porter

⟡ The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton ⟡

This is one of the first books that came to mind for this list. I love the readable cursive letters distilling the long title and ultimately emphasizing Ava, the ultimate protagonist of this detailed ancestral saga. Copper feathers in contrast with the blue background are delicate and beautifully fit with the story.

Cover Design & Book Jacket: Matt Roeser

⟡ The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson ⟡

When I received this book on release day, I just remember being awe-struck by the vibrant pinkish red of this book cover. The book spine of The Vanishing Stair is a continuation of the abstract pop-art-style book cover and replicates the hand-written-style of the title from the front cover. Johnson’s name in a bright sky blue which presents a fantastic contrast.

I feel like the recent trend toward bright colors and erratic lettering (thinking of John and Hank Green’s most recent books) has verged on being over-done. Having read both books of the Truly Devious series, I feel like there was a missed opportunity to create an intricately detailed book cover. But I do think that these books are great to go into blind, and the simple abstract design make the books visually appealing without giving anything of the story away.

Jacket Art: Leo Nickolls | Jacket Design: Katie Fitch

⟡ We, the Drowned by Cartsen Jensen ⟡

I feel no shame in admitting that I was entirely compelled to by this book because of it’s startlingly beautiful cover. The summary of the book seemed fascinating, but I am 100% certain that this book was purely an aesthetic purchase. The spine is a continuation of the sea illustrated in swift, powerful lines.

Cover Design: Suzanne Dean | Cover Illustration: Joe McLaren

I was a nice change of pace to think about why certain book spines are more appealing than others. I’m clearly a sucker for a delicate, intricate design. I’m interested in reading other people’s lists because I wonder what our choices might say about us. I also wonder how much research goes into book spine design, or if it’s less of a concern for publishers when it comes to marketing books. If you have any resources on this topic, feel free to drop links in the comments below?

Do you have any of these books on your shelves?

What are book spine elements you consider most appealing?

Thank you for reading!
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March Bullet Journal Spread

As you may recall, last month I shared my ideas for my March bujo spread. I was torn between a few ideas, some more ambitious than others. Ultimately I decided to pick a simpler theme for this month as I knew how little time I would want to spend fiddling around with my design this month. So I chose mushrooms!

I consider this month a real turning point for me as it is the first in which I had do the bulk of the design work on my own. For January and February, I had people and existing spreads to look towards for how to set-up my journal. This time around I went into this spread with ideas of what I wanted and with my theme in mind but not fully formed until it was on the page.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like my title page this month! It’s the last thing I did to complete my March spread because I was putting it off. I had a few ideas for how this might go and I’m really pleased that I was able to whip this out fairly quickly. I was actually Skyping my writing buddy at the time!

As I mentioned in my February BuJo Flip-Through, I knew I wanted my monthly log to sit beside a space where I could work out my blog posts for the month. Last month I had a brain dump area that I ended up doing a lot of blog post brainstorming in, so I knew wanted a focused space to develop blog post ideas in March.

I also decided to add a stats sections to this page as I am starting to be more mindful of what I can learn from stats about blog content and promotion that works to grow my space. I included WordPress, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, even though my main focus this month is Pinterest.

I also decided to add a faux post-it where I could list ideas that are outside the scope of this month. I don’t anticipate having many of these ideas, but this space could be useful towards the end of the month when I’m thinking about April and what I would like to accomplish then.

Next up is my monthly goals page. I knew I wanted to dedicate a whole page to my goals this March because I realized that my bigger goals often have multiple layers of work that go into them, which I want to honor. Sometimes things don’t work out entirely the way you plan, so this month I wanted to be able to break down my goals so I knew what my action plans were.

I didn’t include them yet, but my goals are to start a newsletter, design some digital printables for the blog, and to work on my writing portfolio. All of these goals involve creating stuff, so I will use the page below to organize my thoughts on each item. I will also use the progress bars to track how many days I spend working towards those goals.

The last two pages I’m sharing today lead into my first three days of March. I didn’t go into these pages with much of a plan. I intended to do more with the mushroom theme here, but at a loss for ideas I floundered. I ended up adding a potential TBR list of books currently on my radar at the moment. Then I added a space for more brain dump essentially. I labeled it “to-do,” and I figure I’ll use it throughout the month as projects become more fully formed.

I decided to include a close up of my first quote design! I never saw the practicality of dedicating space and time to fancy lettering for the sake of a quote, but since I had the space I decided to just go for it. I’m actually really happy with how it turned out.

I love the motto of “do something today that your future self will thank you for.” I feel like it’s been the lesson I’ve needed to learn for the past few years. I’ve had much of the same hopes and dreams since I was 20, and I wish I had done more work towards those goals earlier so I’d be ahead of where I am today.

I figure this is as good a time as any make a small announcement. I ordered a Scribbles That Matter A5 pro dotted bullet journal this weekend! It’s my plan to move into that journal for April and use it for the rest of the year. I held off on purchasing a proper notebook because I wanted to be sure that I would last, and my bujo project for 2019 has been one of the things that have made me most proud and happy this year.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a bujo, I’m planning on doing more tutorial/advice posts this month about planning spreads and organizing elements you might want to include based on your lifestyle and needs.

Thank you for reading!
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