How I Schedule My Blog Posts

I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee that I have heated up for the third time this morning. This is also my third attempt at drafting this post. It has been getting harder and harder to get time to write blog posts since I started work. I think I have some sort of system going now. It is by no means perfect but I’m sharing it in the hopes that maybe it’ll help you.

1) Generating Ideas:

I use Trello and OneNote to keep track of my blog post ideas. I basically just make a list of blog ideas in Trello and then expand on them in OneNote. I know I can write the entire blog post out on a Trello card but I am just more comfortable using OneNote. I write down ideas as soon as they come to me so that I don’t forget them. I also use a regular planner so that I can see in print when I want to schedule my posts.

2) Actually Writing the Posts:

Like I said above, I usually use OneNote to write down the blog post. On occasion, I do write the blog post on WordPress. WordPress is my last stop before actually publishing so I make sure that I edit the post here before publishing it. I write blog posts every Saturday or every spare moment I can get.

3) Getting images:

In my opinion, this is where the magic begins. In the last week of the month, I spend an hour or two on Canva, creating images for my blog posts. I know that I usually have a TBR, Book Haul and four book reviews. While the book reviews don’t need any images, the TBR and book haul posts do so these are easy to create. I also use my Trello list of blog ideas to see what blog posts I’m writing for the month and then create those posts.

4) Publishing and Promoting:

In the first week of the new month (eg, first week of October), I combine my blog draft with the Canva images. Voila! A blog post. I read through the post to make sure it reads well, I add the relevant tags and publish. I try and make sure that at the very least, I have four book reviews for the month already queued. Then I use Buffer to schedule social media posts for the week. Honestly I usually just do this the first week and then forget the rest of the month. (Hey, I am trying here. Like I pointed out above, finding time to blog is TRICKY!). On the day that a blog post is published, I promote it on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I repeat this a week or two later.

 

My process is not perfect and sometimes I do fall behind. Okay, lots of times. But I’m working on it and I found that having an actual process in place makes it easier to blog. How do you schedule your blog posts? I’d love to know below!

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Blogging

I’ve been blogging for about four years now and it never fails to amaze me how many things I don’t know. Despite this it also never fails to amaze me how much I have learnt so far. Here are 10 lessons I wish I knew when I first started blogging:

things-i-wish-i-knew-blogging

 

  1. The importance of social media- I cannot stress this enough. When I first started blogging (a very casual Tumblr that was filled with posts about my day at school and shirtless pictures of Ian Somerhalder), I saw no need to promote posts on social media. Unfortunately this habit carried over when I started blogging seriously as well. I had social media accounts but they were for me and my friends and not my blog.
  2. How to make friends- Okay, this is still something I feel awkward about and don’t really know how to do but I have made far more friends through my blog over the past year than I did when I first started blogging. The great things about having blogger friends is that they get the pits and peaks of having a blog. They get why certain blog-ish things make you excited or disappointed.
  3. The Value of Pinterest- Pinterest is a HUGE source of traffic and I will forever regret not using it in my earlier blogging days. Pinterest is a constant source of my traffic and it isn’t even for recent posts. Once you Pin a post and it’s repin, you can get tons of new views.
  4. Blogging is not always free- When I first started blogging, I didn’t want to pay any money for anything. I was a high school senior with little to no steady income (my allowance was solely reserved for data). So I didn’t have my own hosting and domain. Now that I do, it is a move that I definitely do not regret. Blogging is not always free especially if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger.
  5. SEO- Another great way to get traffic is through SEO. Unfortunately I didn’t know much about SEO so this was not something I used to bring traffic to my blog.
  6. Blogging is not easy- Blogging is time-consuming and tiring. Ever since starting my job it’s been more difficult to get time to blog especially if I happen to be working on a Saturday. As a newbie I assumed I could post whenever I wanted to and no one would care. However if you want people to keep coming back to your blog, you need to have a consistent schedule.
  7. Not all bloggers get free stuff- While I didn’t start my blog in order to get freebies, I was very confused when I saw other bloggers getting free food and clothing vouchers. Why did they get those things? Why didn’t I? (Hint-they’re a) overseas and b) have a larger following than I do so they have a lot more perks.
  8. Free stuff is not actually free- There’s no such thing as a free lunch. When bloggers get “free stuff” they usually have to promote it with a blog/social media post. Which, as you can see in point 6, is not always easy.
  9. You don’t have to be online 24/7- When I first started blogging, I was glued to my phone (granted I’m still pretty glued to my phone but that’s usually because I’m chatting to my friends). I didn’t want to miss any social media notification or review request. I do have moments when I’m waking up at 2AM to see if I have review requests for Historical Romance (I get such amazing historical fiction reads, you guys. St. Martin’s Press really knows what they’re doing in that genre) but besides that I leave all blogging stuff for days/times when I’m blogging.
  10. How to Use a Social Media Tool- Like I mentioned in the point above, you don’t have to be online all the time. Using a social media tool such as Buffer, you can give the appearance of being online and you can promote your blog without needing to log into Facebook/Twitter ten times a day.

What things do you wish you knew before you started blogging?

5 Productive Things to Do While Looking for a Job

Job-hunting is difficult. It is even more difficult when you’re unemployed and have nothing to distract you from job-hunting. Here are five productive things to do while you’re looking for a job.

5 Productive Things to Do While Looking for a Job

 

1) Volunteer somewhere- This shows that you haven’t just spent your time as a job-seeker at home. You made a meaningful change. Also, staying at home can get depressing so volunteering lets you make a positive change to someone which in turn makes you feel better. It also looks great when you can show that you did something productive without needing to get compensated in any way.

2) Learn a new skill- There are so many amazing online classes out there. I found some on Criminology and Management only to be distracted by the free Microsoft tutorials offered on the Microsoft Office website. (Fun fact- after I finished the Microsoft Excel tutorials I actually ended up getting a job that used Excel regularly).

3) Take time to perfect your resume and cover letter- A great thing about not having a job is that you have lots of time. Spend some of that time on tailoring your resume and cover letter for each position. This will maximize the impact of your application as well.

4) Network to get a job- Talk to people you know to see if they know anyone who is hiring. This was one of the best ways that I could get my CV out there and I definitely recommend it to others. You never know who knows who and where you could land up.

5) Take unpaid work or an internship – While working for no pay is not something most people want to do, sometimes the experience and lessons learnt are invaluable. You could learn skills that could be put to use in another field.

These tips are sure to help you be super-productive and ready to kick butt at your next interview.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin

Spring at Blueberry BaySpring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bella has been abandoned by her parents as a kid. She is also very broke. But when she finds a homeless man, Isaac on her doorstep, she takes him in and shares her last meal with him. What Bella doesn’t know is that Isaac is lying to her and is not who he seems to be.
I can’t say more without giving too much of the story away but if you’ve read Holly Martin’s other books then you probably will be able to predict the story. This book reminded me of Holly Martin’s other books so at first, I wasn’t really interested. It just seemed like a story that was told one too many times before. However I love Holly Martin’s writing so I pushed though and I’m glad that I did. Bella and Isaac are an adorable couple. It pissed me off that he lied to her but I eventually got over it. I loved their chemistry in this book and was really sad once it was over. Like all Holly Martin books, this one is full of colourful characters and I cannot wait to read more. I’ve developed an attachment to Bella’s cousins and would love to see them all get their happy endings.

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Fiction Friday: My Seven Favourite Contemporary Romance Authors

I don’t always read contemporary romance but when I do, I go for authors that I’ve already read before. Here are seven of my favourite contemporary romance authors.

 

My 7 Favourite Contemporary Romance Authors

 

  1. Nora Roberts- I feel like most of the world is obsessed with Nora Roberts and rightfully so. Her characters are real and her writing feels soothing. I’ve yet to find a Nora Roberts book that I didn’t enjoy.
  2. Lisa Kleypas- Like Nora Roberts, reading Lisa Kleypas books soothes me. I think it’s because I’ve read them all so often that rereading them feels like coming home to an old friend.
  3. Rachel Morgan- Rachel Morgan writes contemporary YA romance as Richelle Morgan. Her Trouble series is one of my all-time favourite YA contemporary books. It still breaks my heart that the series is over. The books were SOO good.
  4. Jennifer Gracen- Another automatic go-to author is Jennifer Gracen. Her characters usually have some sort of darkness or issue holding them back but it just makes me love them more.
  5. Holly Martin- Holly Martin’s books are light and lovely and they make me want to curl up in bed with a snack and read read read. LOVE THEM!
  6. Joanne Macgregor- I haven’t read that many YA contemporary romances by Joanne Macgregor (just Scarred which I really enjoyed!) but I love her writing and how real her characters are. She’s recently released a contemporary retelling of The Little Mermaid called Hushed.
  7. Kody Keplinger- I loved loved LOVED The Duff book and the movie. I haven’t read anything else by Kody Keplinger but it’s fine. I trust her writing. Also, I kinda threw myself at her books when I found them on sale at the bookstore (there was only one copy of each left and I didn’t want anyone else to get them).

What are some of your favourite contemporary books and authors? What authors do you buy even if you don’t know much about their books? I’d love to know below.

Five Popular Series I Haven’t Read Yet

When you’re a bookworm, it’s difficult to keep up with all the great books out there. I spent a large portion of my teen years unable to access books because a) they were expensive and b) my parents had no time to take me to the library. Also, I automatically hated any series that was popular but had no vampires. Like why did they even exist? Here are a few popular series I still haven’t read:

 

5 Popular Series I Haven't Read Yet

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia: This one upsets me because I really loved the movies. At 21, I still haven’t read any of the books.
  2. Percy Jackson’s Series: I don’t even know what this series is called *throws self on floor and cries hysterically* These movies were also pretty good.
  3. The Infernal Devices: I stopped reading The Mortal Instruments after the way book 3 ended beautifully and this meant that I never read any of the spin-offs. However I do own The Infernal Devices in eBook format and I have a signed copy of Lady Midnight. I also have an untouched and unread copy of The Shadowhunter Chronicles. Just call me The Book Hoarder.
  4. Bloodlines: I own several of the books in this series but I haven’t read it. I’m scared it’s not going to be as good as Vampire Academy and so I just don’t want to read it. But I have it. Just in case I want to read it.
  5. House of Night: I did not like this series and will not read it. I know it isn’t as popular now and it was when it first came out but omg I hate it. I tried reading the first book and the experience just felt painful.

What popular books or series haven’t you read yet? Have you read any of the series I mentioned? What did you think of it? Let me know below.

Fiction Friday: Bookish Gift Ideas

My birthday is coming up soon (and by soon I mean two months but whatever) so I thought it would be a great idea to share a list of bookish gift ideas. Even if my birthday wasn’t coming up, a gift guide for bookworms is always a good idea in my opinion. So here we go:

 

Bookish Gift Ideas

  1. A Kindle (or another newer Kindle if the bookworm already has one)- For those who don’t mind eBooks, Kindles are beyond amazing. You can store tons of your favourite books and read them on the go. I would gladly sacrifice my firstborn for one. (Kids just get in the way of your reading anyway).
  2. Book vouchers- I’ve never been gifted with a book voucher and this makes me sad. But if you give the bookworm in your life a book voucher, know that they will appreciate it immensely. It’s like you bought them a book but you let them choose the book (which is also another idea).
  3. A book- Okay this one is obvious but still a goodie. If you’re not sure what books they already have, go with treasured boxset. Like the pretty Harry Potter ones with the matching spines. Swoon.
  4. Bookmarks- Some bookworms really like bookmarks. Personally I always lose mine but I appreciate them nonetheless. Exclusive Books and Bargain Books have some really great bookmarks.
  5. Cash (so that they can buy books)- nuff said.

What gift suggestions do you have for a bookworm? What’s the one gift you always wanted? I’d love to know below.

April Book Haul

It’s that time of the month again! April is almost over (HOW is the year moving so quickly???) which means it’s time for another book haul.

April Book Haul

I was really good this month and bought a pretty reasonable amount of books. Are you laughing at me? Stop it. I swear I’m serious! I’ll show you.

My SPCA book haul was pretty small especially considering I made my mother buy a few of these. It was just slightly over R100 and I am incredibly proud of myself for that.

SPCA Book Haul There are a few Buffy books that I realised only after buying that they were all part of various series so I’m probably not going to read them. Then there’s “The Ship of Brides” by Jojo Moyes. I haven’t read much by her besides “Me Before You” and “After You”. I enjoyed those books immensely though so I’m guessing I’ll enjoy this too. Nora Robert’s “Dance Upon the Air” and “Heaven and Earth” were two books I had been looking for since I found the third book (I think it’s called “Face the Fire” but I’m not too sure) at the SPCA book sale earlier on in the year. I don’t remember the series that well but I know that I loved it. “The Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena” was one of those “I’m going to read this series eventually so I should just buy the books” purchases. Have I started the series yet? Nope. Are you surprised? I didn’t think so. Lastly I bought Kardashian Konfidential. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it but since it was R20 my mother convinced me to take it. Can you see where I get my spending habits from?

Of course after this small haul I felt a bit bad because none of these books were books that made me go “Omg I can’t wait to read these”. So I decided  to go to Bargain Books and they were having a sale. So I just browsed. And came home with this:

Bargain Books Haul

Now THOSE books made me say “Omg I can’t wait to get home and start reading”. Especially since every time I visited Bargain Books  since last year November, I would pick up “All the Bright Places” and wish that it was discounted. All of these books actually are books that I really wanted for a long time so this haul made me really happy.

Then the week after that I was working on a Saturday and decided to reward myself with a visit to the bookstore. I found this gem for sale.

Empire of Storms

Look at how gorgeous it looks in the sun. Why don’t I take more book pictures in the sun?

I didn’t do much reading this month (hey I just started work okay? I am adjusting to being an adult) but I did read and enjoy Glass Faerie by Rachel Morgan.

What was your April book haul like? What did you read? I’d love to know below.

My Five Favourite South African Book Bloggers

I have always been fascinated with bloggers. These were people who knew the magical language of HTML and coding and they created gorgeous websites/blogs. They were so talented! When I started my own blog however, I felt incredibly lonely. I felt like I couldn’t relate to those bloggers. I was a South African student who did nothing but read while those bloggers attended sample sales and blogged about designer planners. So when I discovered South African book bloggers, I was over the moon! Finally after years of searching (three years, if you were curious), I finally found people who got me. Here are my five favourite South African book bloggers:

Life is too short to belived counting the years.Enjoy the ride and makeamazing memories.Have a great birthday!

 

  1. Urbanised Geek– Urbanised Geek has to get the first mention because back when I first started reading YA, I read whatever it was that Monique recommended. Also, she was the reason that I read The Lunar Chronicles and I would gladly sell an organ or three to own the entire collection in hardback. I loved the series that much.
  2. The Book Fairy’s Haven– The Book Fairy’s Haven is run by Tammy February who is a journalist for W24 and she REVIEWS BOOKS FOR A LIVING! Her blog has lots of great content such as interviews, book reviews and great posts but occasionally I visit just to admire the design (it’s decorated in faeries. Can someone please do that for me but with vampires instead?).
  3. Read and Seek- Blogger Nihaad originally had another blog (I think it was called The Little Blog of Stuff? I’m not sure but I absolutely loved that name) and I followed her over from that previous blog. She regularly posts discussions and book reviews. She also has a gorgeous Instagram feed.
  4. Under the Midnight Sky– I don’t remember how I came across this blog (I think Twitter perhaps?) but I know I’ve taken more than a few book recommendations from Abdeah (my favourite being Divergent- until I read a spoiler for Allegiant- and The Wrath and The Dawn). Abdeah also has a great Instagram feed with a ridiculously amazing set of props (she has what looks like a sword, guys. I’m equal parts terrified and fascinated).
  5. A Write Review– I don’t think I’ve read any of the books that Tina blogs about but she blogs about really great books. I basically follow her just to see what I should be reading when my TBR is shorter (so those are books I’m never going to read?)

Who are your favourite book bloggers? I’d love to know below.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Glided Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a review copy of this book on Netgalley.
Abi and her family go to work as servants for a wealthy and powerful family. But while their job is considered safer and better than working in the slave town, it still has its own horrors. Meanwhile Abi’s brother, Luke is in the brutal slave town where he is subjected to abuse. I spent the first half of the book wondering who got the worse job. Sure Abi’s job was mainly administration but the family she serves, the Jadines, are absolutely terrifying. While Luke has to work under uncomfortable circumstances, he atleast has some sort of solitude at the end of the day.
But then everyone seemed like a friend and then everyone seemed like a foe so I was just confused. Can anyone be trusted? Should no one be trusted? This book had me second-guessing every character and I loved every second of it. The writing is flawless, the plot moves quickly and the twists are unimaginable.
This is one of those books that leave you with a thousand questions. Just give me the rest of the series already. I NEED MORE!!! Go read this book. You won’t regret it.

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