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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February BuJo Flip-Through

At the beginning of February, I envisioned my flip-through as being one of my first videos for my YouTube channel. As it turned it out, I didn’t end up making the time to develop my YouTube strategy in February. But I still want to show off my bullet journal in the hopes it inspires anyone out there to give it a try for themselves!

A part of me is nervous to share this flip-through, but I’m nervous for the same reason that I am so motivated to share it. I feel like it can be intimidating to start bullet journalling, even if it’s something that seems like it would fit perfectly into your life as creative person, blogger, or even just a student juggling multiple classes.

A bullet journal is supposed to help you organize and track the things in life that matter to you. Sometimes you start the month with a beautiful bujo spread and then find you scarcely used it. Whether that be because you got caught up in the parts of your life that do not factor into your bujo or because you simply fall behind on it and don’t know how to catch up.

The important thing is to stay positive and keep tweaking. I still see a light at the end of the tunnel where my bujo is my holy grail for productivity. I’m still working out what spreads work, things that I should be including, and how to make a better use of space. It’s okay!

⟡  February Flip-Through  

So I still love the first four pages of my bullet journal. I love the simple, clean look of the monthly calendar with the theme introduction. I also really love having the monthly log with the dates listed down the middle. I’m going to keep that for next month.

One thing I definitely decided to change was the placement of these two pages. I discovered that it would be much more helpful if I had my monthly log beside a page where I’m brainstorming and planning out blog content I’m excited about creating, since my monthly log is a place where I bookmark days for blog posts.

I had a lot of exciting ideas this month and quickly found I needed a lot more space for my brain dump! I barely used it in January, which is why I ended up having the hanging lightbulbs dangling in this area. But in March I really need to have more space for my content notes and ideas! I possibly even need multiple areas in future to spread out by topic (e.g. blog posts, products, projects).

I think my inclusion of my monthly goals and growth tracker was a really cute snapshot of the month’s priorities and growth. However, I do have ideas for how to expand my March goals section so that I can better track my progress and all the tasks that fall under my individual goals.

Once again, I still really love this page that shows the books I read plus a writing graph to track my writing progress, but I barely used them. Writing wasn’t a big focus of month. I didn’t think it would be, so why did I include it? Because it fit and looked cute!

THE WEEKLYS

Now onto my weekly spreads. I really thought I would like my first week’s spread, but I ultimately felt like it took me a lot of time (those dots!) and I didn’t like how FULL it became. I wish there had been more negative space. One thing I am proud of is my use of the side bars.

Week Two was by far my favorite. I was a little skeptical of how it would work for me, but I love the way it turned out. I feel like I have a much better sense of the week at a glance and I’m not even bothered by the empty space here. I’ll be repeating this format a lot more in the future.

Weeks Three and Four were created on the same day! I actually made a mistake and started working on Week Three a page ahead of where it should’ve been in my notebook! I didn’t want to waste the space, so I rearranged the numbers (dates) and quickly whipped up another weekly spread to use for Week Three (February 18-24th) instead.

It was actually inspired by a really cute cartoonish layout design I found on Instagram (@amizaomar). I just couldn’t figure out how to work in my lightbulb theme into the box so I just ended up trudging along, ignoring the next page. It wasn’t the most productive week. It was actually my birthday week and the one following my decision to spring for the Premium WordPress account, but I didn’t do a whole lot so there was nothing much to record.

Week Four’s layout is actually one I really like inspired by @kaixjane on Instagram. I used a version of it in January with my cloud theme. It took over an hour to do with the clouds, so I wanted to go really minimal on it this month. Again, the theme didn’t really factor into the layout.

I really like that this spread allows for a lot of unconfined space. It takes pressure off of needing to fill the space ahead of time and allows me to add whatever notes I see fit as the week progresses.

If you’re wondering where my March bujo is, don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten it. I just decided this post was long enough to stand on its own. My March bujo spread is coming later today! In that post I will share my March spread and the design rationale behind it. I went with the mushroom theme and it’s the first month in which I feel like I came into my own as a bujo planner.

Thank you for reading!
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February’s Inky Notes

Life Lately

February always seems to fly by, probably because it is the shortest month of the year. Somehow it’s managed to be a time of sadness, annoyance, and optimism. My family lost Apollo this month and I can still scarcely think or talk about him with out my eyes watering up, but it’s getting easier. They’re bittersweet tears for the most part.

I will also remember this month as the one I lost a bunch of money, between my smartphone coming down with the “black screen of death” and discovering I had cavities I needed to fill before I got bumped off my parents’ insurance. Thankfully I had enough money in my bank account to pay off my credit card before my statement period ended. I’m also thankful my tax return came in this month, so my bank account will be back in good shape before long!

I think I will look back on this month as a time when I worked super hard to learn how I might ultimately be able to support myself without the need for a full-time job. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something strange, new, exciting, brilliant, and I don’t want this feeling to fade!

On the Blog

Bookish

Bullet Journalling

Lifestyle

Blogging / Tech

Read But Not Reviewed

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston | I decided to pick this book up in honor of Black History Month. The book spans the protagonist’s life from her relatively privileged childhood through becoming a woman and going through her three husbands. It’s a book of self-awakening and ultimate empowerment. At times it’s funny, relatable, and heart-breaking because the protagonist is a dreamer, a woman ahead of her time. I feel like this book very much deserves the distinction of being a classic. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the life of black women at the turn of the century in the rural South.
  • Disrupt You by Jay Samit | I’m not finished this book, but it’s one I started in December that I still wanted to try to finish. I’m enjoying it right now. I feel like it’s a good time to read this inspirational book as I’m trying to build up my blog.

Blog Stats

I don’t know if I really qualify as a book blogger anymore, but book blogs are still primarily what I read online! One insightful piece I read by Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books this week inspired my decision to start sharing my blog stats. In her post, she so aptly describes the book blogger’s complicated relationship to our blog stats. Almost everyone says they don’t let their stats define them, but I think everyone cares more than they are willing to admit.

Around the time I decided to upgrade my blog to a Premium account (February 17, 2019), I also decided that it was time I start treating my blog like my job. I’ve slowly been branching out what I talk about on this blog, in the hopes of growing my blog and staying true to myself. I feel like a lot of book bloggers out grow this community and I want to be a shining example of what can come next.

I’m monitoring my stats a lot more carefully these days, if only to see what types of blog posts do well and where my views are coming from. I’m a little shy to share these screenshots, because I know I do not have a very “successful” blog. I’ve never really been one to chase trends, blogging only when I had an abundance of time on my hands and when I felt like it. I’m also not super out-going when it comes to making and sustaining blogging friendships.

monthly-trend-feb
Monthly Blog Growth of The Inky Saga

February’s views and visitors clearly correlate with my blogging schedule. I wasn’t very active the first week after I upgraded my blog, so the 18th–25th is very low. Tuesdays are generally my highest performing days if I participate in a bookish meme (e.g. Top Ten Tuesday). I was shocked how many people read my February 26th blog post (Top Five Tuesday: Hogwarts House Reads!). I was actually a little worried if half of them were spam views because after I upgraded my blog I discovered I had a little more random blog followers (i.e. not book bloggers or creative types) and almost half the visitors were from India, which is not normal for me.

daily-feb

The last weekend of February I saw a lot of brand new blog followers, bringing my monthly total from 240 to 288. While it’s nice knowing people are finding my blog content worth following, these new followers are not exactly in my target demographic. Which is to say young, millennial creatives! Like me! But obviously anyone who is truly interested in everything this blog has to offer is welcome here. I figure anyone who’s not can be weeded out with more bookish/lifestyle posts. ^_^

In March I’m hoping to learn more about how to better promote my blog across Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I’ve decided to be ambitious and aim to reach 400 blog followers by March 31st. I’m hoping that comments and likes continue to grow at a parallel pace, comments especially because I love feeling like my blog posts are just a conversation starting point.

If you’re interested in more of my blog stat analysis, I plan to do them each month for the foreseeable future. I may also have some more posts during the month if I feel I have any sort of wisdom to share on the topic.

endnote

I hope you enjoyed this post! It’s been a while since I did a monthly-wrap-up-type of post. I didn’t really know if I wanted to revisit my old format (e.g. May Notes ➴, June Notes ➴, July Notes ➴) or do something more minimalistic. It was a last minute decision to add my blog stats, so I hope that didn’t make this post too much of a slog!

Next up I will likely be sharing my March bujo and goals. I’m also aware I still need to reintroduce the blog for anyone who’s wondering who the heck and I am and how they ended up following me! I feel like I also need to do it for myself, just to have record of my intentions for this blog going forward.

Thank you for reading!
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Learn About Starting a Side Hustle on Skillshare

Learn About Starting a Side Hustle on Skillshare
Skillshare Mini-Reviews Featured Image

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, I’m sure you already know that I’m really interested in starting my own business. I’ve had my eyes open for ideas all year, specifically related to my new bullet journalling passion. I’ve always loved to design and create, and the dream would be able to make money from selling useful resources that help my fellow bloggers, students, and miscellaneous creatives.

The classes in today’s post cover topics related to side hustles. What is a side hustle? Well, it’s a way to make money on the side to supplement your main source of income (e.g. a full-time job). I’ve been struggling to find a full-time job, so I’ve become a lot more passionate about pursuing side hustles that make sense for me and my various interests.

I can see myself following the advice of all of the brilliant ladies behind the courses I review below. My trouble right now is just picking a lane. In March I plan to begin sharing my journey through these creative ideas. For a sneak peak of what I’m hoping to achieve, keep reading!

“How to Publish Low and No Content Books like Journals, Sketchbooks and Workbooks” by Ronnie Walter | 68 minutes

This course was a really simple introduction to the kinds of digital products you can easily produce and publish on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly known as CreateSpace). If you are a somewhat artistic person who wants to start making passive income, this might be something you want to consider.

After you’ve done all the work of designing your product (e.g. lined notebook, coloring book, workbook, planner), you can publish it and start to make money from it online. Amazon will handle distribution. All you have to do is market it (admittedly, not simple in itself unless you already have an audience).

Before I watched this class, I was already thinking of ways to produce and distribute journal bits and bobs, since I’ve gotten more seriously into bullet journalling. I found this class really helpful in opening my eyes to other possibilities. It also demystified the process of self-publishing with Amazon.

In addition to sharing the publishing process and product ideas, Walter goes through the pros and cons of self-publishing and reasons why creating a digital product might be something you want to do, beyond simple artistic ambition. She also shares how pricing works and how much you can expect to receive given your selection.

After taking this course, I was inspired to:

  • Brainstorm some specific low/no content products I uniquely capable of creating
  • Create a timeline of product releases (to direct my focus)
  • Start thinking about design themes I wanted to create and tools I could use to bring them to life

“Etsy Side Hustle: How to Make Money with Etsy Without “Making” Anything!” by Jules Tillman | 23 minutes

Holy-effing-moly. This course blew my mind. I’ve always wondered how people made money with Pinterest, and this course kind of explains it. For a 23-minute video, there is a lot of information packed in to show how you can make money by promoting Etsy products on your blog via Pinterest. (I had to repeat sections to make sure I processed what I was watching!)

I didn’t enter this course knowing what it would be about. I thought it would be along the lines of the course I previously discussed, making a digital product and then sitting back to let people purchase it. This course is similar in that it would ultimately result in passive income, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some on-going work involved to get there.

She attaches a PDF with all the information in the course and the order in which she recommends to get signed up for the programs that provide your customized links that will help you start earning money. She emphasizes that this is not a get-rich-quick scheme, it will take some time and upfront costs to get going after free trials are over, but over time (if you’re willing to put in the work and work smart) you can begin to make a modest income from this side hustle.

I’ve already begun the motions of putting Tillman’s advice into action. I’m currently waiting to get approved for two affiliate programs. I don’t have the biggest blog audience yet, but I am actively working towards improving my engagement and following at the moment.

“Freelancing for Creatives: From First Leap to Finances” by Margot Harrington | 58 minutes

I found this course when I was looking into more of the classes I had saved at the beginning of starting my free-trial of Skillshare. I figured after the thoughts swirling around in my head, this class might help me leap into projects knowing what to expect.

Harrington gives a lot of solid, no-nonsense business advice about how to manage your money best for long-term stability.

She also shares her tips on managing clients. She discusses what people are the best clients and red flags to consider when considering potential clients. I would’ve never known to think about the types of clients who would be unpleasant or untrustworthy, so I really appreciated this section of the course. I feel like I would enter projects with more clarity and confidence now.

After taking this course, I was inspired to:

  • Make a business plan outlining my goals and steps to launch
  • Look into starting a new business account for my freelance income

My free trial of Skillshare is about to end, so this may be my last post reviewing courses that I’ve found useful. Assuming I have enough time, my next Skillshare mini-reviews will likely cover courses related to specific topics on blogging, like setting up a newsletter, using Pinterest to promote blog posts, and building a significant blog following.

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