Book Related

Balancing Life and Blogging: Thoughts and Tips

I’ve wanted to write a post like this for a while, because I feel like this is the on-going struggle when it comes to book blogging.

Because most of us are never going to be paid for the work we put into reading books and writing posts (you can see my discussion on that topicΒ here), we will always have some other job that is going to interfere with the time that we can commit to our blogs. Add in the fact that we are also going to have to work on our family and friend relationships, clean our homes, and take care of ourselves, among other tasks, and suddenly we find outselves cramming to get posts done and books read.

My schedule is insane, and it definitely intereferes with my blogging and reading. On paper, I work about 24 hours per week, if we go by what I charge my clients for. But as a small business owner, my work doesn’t stop when the sessions do. Those 24 hours do not inclue planning sessions, researching, learning new materials, accounting and bookkeeping tasks, taking phone calls and sending emails, or driving. It’s not uncommon for me to pull twelve hour days, just to make sure everything gets done. And once everything is done, it’s sometimes hard to sit down and write posts and reviews, or even focus on a book, because I’m too darn tired.

But you figure it out. You find organizational systems that work for you, create a blogging or reading schedule that fits with everything else, and you pull it all together.

One of the things we all love about book blogging is getting ARCs and review copies of books. It’s one of the highlights, and something that we’re excited about when our blog starts. And while many are great about keeping the expectations reasonable for bloggers, there’s definitely still pressure to accomplish tasks by dates that are set for reviews.

So incase anyone else was finding themselves in the same hectic life boat as me, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve found that work for me, and that help me ensure that everything gets done.

Find a organizational system that works and use it.

I use and adore the bullet journal method, but you do what you like. I plan out my monthly blog schedules in there, write down ideas for posts, make notes for reviews, and add posts that need to be written to monthly, daily, or weekly lists.

The key is to make sure you’re actually using it, though. It’s great to have a beautiful planner or a fantastic app, but if you never open it, there’s no point.

Schedule your posts, both writing and on the blogging platform.

I write all of my posts on Saturday morning. It’s a time I know I’ll be functionally awake and alert enough to get them done, there’s no one else home to bother me, and then I don’t spend all day worrying about them. This doesn’t mean I won’t write a review or discussion post through the week, but I try to get the bulk of my planned posts out of the way then.

WordPress has a great scheduler too. You can set the day and time for your post to go live, and then you don’t have to worry about it when they day comes. It’s a lifesaver, I swear. All of my posts are scheduled this way, with the exception of Saturday Songs.

Limit what you take on.

When you first start getting offers of ARCs and review copies, it’s so tempting to take everything you can get your grubby little hands on. But don’t go overboard. Only take what you know you can get through, and don’t be afraid to say no. It’s better than disappointing someone later when you don’t have time.

I only take two review copies per month. I know that I can easily get through two books in a month, even if I barely have any time to read. And if I get through those, I can look at some requests for the next month, or I can read what I want. And it’s worked well so far.

Even though it’s hard, don’t worry about what other people are doing.

Some bloggers seem to be able to read and comment on everyone’s stuff, post daily, and have contacts in every single major publisher in the country. Which is wonderful for them. But it sometimes feels like it’s hard to compete with that.

So don’t. Do your thing, and if that can compare, great. If not, don’t worry about it. It’s your blog, do what you want.

This is cliche, but take books everywhere with you.

There’s probably a fair bit of time everyday that you’re out of the house and not really doing anything. Maybe you’re waiting in line, or on the bus, or waiting for an appointment. Even if it’s only enough time to read a chapter, that’s a chapter more you’ve gotten through, and it’s probably made you more excited to continue the book.

Take time away if you need it.

Since book blogging is a hobby, only do it when you want to. Otherwise, it might lose it’s meaning to you, and feel like another chore. If you need some time away to just read for fun, do it. Self-care is important, even for hobbies.

Maybe all of this is helpful to you, or maybe it’s not. If you’ve got any tips for balancing blogging and life, please add them to the comments below!

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33 thoughts on “Balancing Life and Blogging: Thoughts and Tips

  1. Thanks for the tips, Hilary. πŸ™‚ Book bloggers are amazing. I don’t know how they do it. I’m not a big book fan – I prefer reading stuff online – articles and such (WordPress included). And definitely videos. But books are quite beneficial and reliable, so there’s that. πŸ˜€

    I’ve wanted to take the next step for my blog and start affiliate marketing so I could start getting some revenue for the blog. Only thing I’ve been holding back on reading books as part of that (since my blog is educational in nature and books are perfect for the niche). There are like different factors that stop me – what if people are not interested in the book I advertise? What if the book is too many pages for people to read and if I advertise another book they won’t be interested since they already got the other book (is 300 pages too much? Self-development book). Then I’m thinking it will be too much to read and stuff like that.

    What do you do when you face doubts about whether the audience will like the book you’re reviewing and if you do affiliate marketing, whether they’ll buy it?

    Like

  2. What an excellent post! So do you mind if I ask what you do? For a living? Sounds interesting.
    I finally stopped requesting ARCs on Goodreads even though I’m tempted because I have so many other obligations. I have school full time, work 20-25 hours/week, a mom that’s on me all the time to hang out, books to read, blogs to follow and comment on, and my own blog to run. So I feel ya, sister!! I have 600 plus emails to go through…I usually get down to 400 something over the weekend.
    I’d love to schedule my posts but I only post when I’m done reading a book lately. I would love to do my tags, but I’m waiting for the end of the semester when I have free time. I’m also a HUGE procrastinator. Huge.
    Thank you for sharing! As you can probably see, I didn’t get to read this right away, but I did no matter what. I will try to answer and like all your posts! (Except there are a couple days I missed because my WordPress had blocked me).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I run a music therapy company and I teach early childhood music classes. It’s a great job, just very busy.
      Resisting requesting arcs and other books is hard but sanity is definitely more important. It’s all a balance thing when it comes down to it, and this isn’t a job for any of us, we do what we can.
      I always look forward to your comments no matter how long they take πŸ™‚ And I apologize for frequently missing your posts, especially of late.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no apology necessary!! I totally get it! Why do you think I’m so far behind? I’m in your corner for sure!
        Awesome job! What a great and rewarding field. 😊
        I’m glad you like my crazy long comments because you always give me something to respond to in detail!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I’ve started posting reviews of books i’ve read, already behind, lol. Wrote up three today πŸ™‚ But its great to see it’s not just me who struggles to keep up with blogging. Between my real life job as a chef, mum, as well as working on my own novels, life gets busy. πŸ™‚ But nights are my me time, which means reading quiet time.

    Question though. How do you get ARCS?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know how parents who work still have time to read and blog, so I’m impressed by your ability to keep it up.
      I’ve gotten ARCs from authors, from being listed on the Book Blogger List. I’ve also got some through publishers – I’d won giveaways on Goodreads and sent them my review, and then got offered some others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know how i do it some days either, lol. But i’ve recently got my first book contracted, so really trying to build an online presence and blogging is a big part of that, so here’s me, trying to do it all. It’s exhausting some days.

        Thanks for the tips about ARCS. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. No matter how busy I am, I always have time to read, since I’m at school, my schedule is easy, so I basically blog when I’m free πŸ™‚ or immediately after I read a book, or if I feel like. Blogging is heroic dedication, if I was taking a break I did tell my followers I was going on one, or make a post with life updates explaining why I’m not available. I think that works

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! I did not think I would appreciate blogging. Friends and Family have been convincing me to start one for years and decided to start it anyways. Now I am noticing that this blog is becoming a new passion

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What sort of nonprofit do you want to start? I write specifically about books which helps on the what to write about topic, but the usual rule I believe is write what you know. If you’re excited about it, people will probably want to read it.

        Like

      3. I was called to help those living in poverty and homelessness and that is one of my passions. Decided to go with a theatre company because as already noticed through my blog, I am a musical fanatic. So I combined my two biggest passions into one dream job

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I discovered my calling in high school and at the time did not realize that I was meant to open a Nonprofit. In my second semester at Gardner Webb, I learned that I was to work in Nonprofit. But the semester of that, I realized that I had to open one.

        One goal I hope my company accomplishes is that it will help them get off the streets and help them find meaning in their life. One show I strongly hope this company does is “Les Mis”. “Les Mis” led me to realize that I was meant to work in Nonprofit.

        One day, I was thinking of “Les Mis” and realized that the homeless population can relate to that musical. That is where this Nonprofit idea kind was born from. This idea is now an important part of my heart

        Liked by 1 person

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