4 Years of Book Blogging: How I organize my blogging & stay motivated

Hello readers!

I just realized it’s been 4 years today since I started this blog! Yay me! Queen of commitment, consistency and quality content (please stop laughing). I love blogging. I love reading. I really hope I will keep book blogging for a long time, and right now I have found a good system that works for me and I find joy in the way I blog. So I thought I’d share my terrible system with all of you!

There are THOUSANDS of book blogs, and each of us have such distinct personalities and ways to stay organized. I love seeing people talk about how they do their scheduling, how often they post, how much time they spend blogging etc, so I thought it would be a cool idea to write this post as a mix of discussion and tips. I don’t expect my tips will work for everyone, I think I’m actually a bit of an exception when it comes to the way I do blogging – I am more of a “write all my posts for the week in a day” kind of blogger, I love starting and not finishing posts right away and tend to not do much editing work. It just works for me – I like doing all the work in one go for hours than a little bit every day during the week; this stimulates my writing and creativity brain cells and I tend to write more creatively like this. On the other hand, this means I often spend half my Sunday blogging instead of, I don’t know, getting a life or something.

1. I write down my main impressions about a book on my phone or journal

Because I tend to do all my blogging on Saturdays or Sundays, this means I end up writing reviews for books days (sometimes weeks) after I’ve read them. I don’t review every single book I read, but still it’s hard to keep up. The details of what I read and my impressions start to fade pretty quickly. For this reason, I do two things to make sure my thoughts are fresh when I am ready to review:

  • I use either my journal or my phone’s notes app to jot down my main thoughts while I read the book, OR:
  • I sometimes will also sneak in other books in my reading week so that I finish the book I want to review closer to the reviewing day. I know, basically cheating.

2. I like to have dozens of drafted posts in different stages of readiness

To me, this has several advantages:

  • it helps me quickly write down some ideas for a post before I forget;
  • it gives me time mature my thoughts with no pressure to finish or polish my writing (I speak ESL, so I’m quite paranoid about sounding silly in English);
  • it takes off the pressure of coming up with new posts every week, because if I have no books to review or no time/energy/creativity to come up with a new post, I can just post a draft that is basically ready;
  • it helps me stay motivated to keep blogging, because I have something to look forward to posting.

Some posts I draft for YEARS, no joke. Here’s what my drafts look like as I write this (April/21):

I doubt I will be posting the Blog Post Ideas for Book Bloggers Part 2 this year at all (sorry). So although I do my blogging mostly on weekends, whenever I get an idea for a post, I write a draft immediately, even if it’s just the title.

3. Talking about drafts, I have drafts for all my most-repeated posts

I feel like most of us do this by now since WordPress has introduced the blocks function, but it’s something I had been doing since before that. It cuts down so much time for my blogging: I have a draft for monthly wrap ups, weekly wrap ups (although a lot of times I just copy last week’s and update it) and reviews. Here’s what my draft for Reviews looks like, pretty simple:

4. Every January I draft posts I want to make sure I will publish that year

I always have a few days off in January and I normally am with family and not travelling much, so it’s a downtime I look forward to every year to organize a bit of my blogging. For me, that’s my most anticipated reads of the year, my best-of-year list, my birthday and Christmas book haul, my prediction and reaction to the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist, etc. The year of my 30th birthday I started drafting that post as early as 12 months prior to the posting day.

I also tend to add every book I love to my “best of the year” posts and then cut them down to my top 3 per category until December comes. This helps me see which categories/genres I’d like to read more of throughout the year and plan what to read.

5. I always have a “joker” post

This is actually just a more specific way in which I do point 2. I normally have SEVERAL posts which are barely started, or which I plan to work on for months. But there must be at least one post which is 100% ready to publish, a “joker” which I can publish anytime if I have no time to blog at all. This gives me an extra week of breathing time. Which is why sometimes you will see a review for a book I read months ago pop up.

6. I re-read my “References for new ideas” when I run out of creativity

When I run out of ideas of what to write, or I’m tired of reviewing books (gasp), I go back to where I know I will find some different ideas: my Blog Post Ideas for Book Bloggers post. Obviously I am selling my own fish here, but on that post I also linked to other bloggers’ posts if you’d like to check out, and you can totally write your own. The point is to have a place that you go to when you want to get some inspiration. In the past I also used to go to some websites like Buzzfeed Books and Book Riot to look for inspiration, although I don’t do that so much anymore. By now I’ve been blogging for so long that I automatically read a book and I’m like “oh this reminds me of this other book, I should write about that”.

7. I’m actually quite flexible with my blogging

Although I tend to post a few times a week with a fixed post on Monday with my weekly or monthly wrap up, I am actually quite flexible when it comes to blogging. I will sometimes skip blogging for a week altogether and add a joker post that week. I write when I feel like it, I experiment with some formats and play around with different post ideas. I don’t force myself to be creative (I will spend MONTHS posting nothing but reviews + wrap ups). While I enjoy coming up with creative posts, I enjoy even more not having to do it. I blog as a hobby and gain nothing from it except my own enjoyment, so I don’t care if my views go down, if my SEO is totally cr*p, if everyone else is blogging in a different way.

What does not work for me but could work for you

I’ve seen lots of bloggers talking about how they stay on top of their game and while I admire their commitment, creativity and organizing skills – I’m lazy. Minimal work for maximum output is what I MUCH prefer. This means I am constantly late in answering comments (sorry again), take months to answer tags or will sometimes miss a great opportunity to publish a post when it would maximize its views (for example, review a popular book right before its publication) but it’s the way I found to keep this book blog going for over four years now (!!!!).

Here is what other bloggers do that could work for you:

  • Don’t have fixed days to post at all
  • Or entirely the opposite: create a calendar to see when to post & what kind of posts you want to write (a weekly wrap up? Reviews? Tags? Lists?).
  • Sneak in some blogging time during your lunch break or commute
  • Keep a blogging journal (I did this for a few months and was really fun! But so time-consuming. But also a good idea for a post, ha!)
  • Keep a spreadsheet! Kal from Reader Voracious has an amazing template that will bring tears of joy to your eyes if you are a spreadsheet fan. Truly it’s the thing of dreams. Here’s this year’s template: 2021 Ultimate Book Blogger / Reader Spreadsheet Template
  • The Quiet Pond also talks about how they make time for book blogging, with tips that are a bit different from mine: 8 Tips on How To Manage a Book Blog On A Busy Schedule

How about you? How do you schedule your posts and organize your life to make time for blogging?

26 thoughts on “4 Years of Book Blogging: How I organize my blogging & stay motivated

  1. I started blogging in late 2018 and wrote my first blog-related plan only this year – a plan I’ve already stopped following! Generally I try to post twice a month, and I always do so on either a Saturday or Tuesday (I didn’t choose those days for any particular reason, but they do give me some semblance of a routine). I decided to move my ideas out of my drafts folder and keep them offline – I still have over 20 draft posts, but I’m trying to cut down by posting or deleting those. I agree about writing ideas down immediately though!

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  2. It’s amazing you’ve been blogging for four years, Naty!
    I went back to blogging starting afresh last winter by the way, so it’s a whole new game haha🤣
    I don’t keep shook journal but I do utilize Goodreads reading updates as my journal, or I make drafts on Google Docs.
    I also prepare my Joker posts so that I can publish anytime when I am in a slump or have no time to read or blog.

    You have great ideas, Naty! Cheers to many more years to come!🥰🎉🥳

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on four years! I remember having some kind of planning routine pre-university, but these days I jot down and take notes for the books I want to review and that’s pretty much it, with other posts written in spurts of time hahhha. People managing other ways over so many years is very impressive.

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  4. Pingback: idk life is weird ft. crime & fantasy books | Bi-Weekly Update – aquapages

  5. I love reading your behind-the-scenes post! Congrats on 4 years! I’m also coming up on 4 years in July and planning to write a similar post. Your idea of starting a draft right away when you have an idea is great. I’ve also found that if I don’t write some thoughts immediately after finishing a book that the review is difficult to write at a later date. I started using a blogging calendar (paper) for scheduling posts and tracking pub dates and buddy reads. I keep excel spreadsheets for other blog related tasks. Any way…you motivated me to start on my July post NOW! Also, I love your idea of having a joker post in reserve. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. We are very much opposite, except for the lazy part 🙂 I must finish the post I’m working on before I go on to the next, and never have anything in reserve. And I have absolutely no schedule, no regular posts (I used to do wrap ups regularly but not in many years) so sometimes I will go a month or two between posts, sometimes I will post every week or two. Almost never more often. I know that’s terrible for SEO and everything else but I guess I’m like you in that sense too, this is for my own enjoyment so I don’t focus on those things! I am going to check out your blog ideas post though, I must have missed that one. Congrats on 4 years!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Laura! Honestly I can’t imagine blogging with SEO in mind, it sounds so stressful?? I’m so amused that we have entirely different ways of blogging, but I think at its core both our styles are about what feels easier and flexible and more enjoyable to blog, so! Not so different after all 🙂

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  7. Congrats on 4 years, Naty! Gosh, I wish I were as organized as you with having drafts ready in advance. I do take some notes right after reading to help me remember my thoughts when I can’t review right away, but otherwise I don’t really do much advance work on posts before I’m ready to finish and share them. Keeping a joker post is a great idea, though I always just feel so accomplished for finishing something that I end up sharing it right away, haha. I think the way we are most alike with blogging is staying flexible, and trying to post in a way that’s enjoyable rather than getting competitive about it. Hobbies should be fun! Here’s to at least four more great years of blogging ahead! 🙂

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  8. I also take notes while reading to help with my review process (goldfish brain). If it’s an eBook, I note directly but for physical I tab and use Bookly to organize my thoughts. Templates for posts are a lifesaver because it helps keep the amount of time that I need to format down. And I also have tons of draft posts in varying stages of completeness lol. I’m glad to not be the only person who does this.

    Thank you so much for linking to my spreadsheet template & your kind words about it!!!

    Like

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