Tag Archives: Challenge

Book Blogger Organization Challenge: May 2015


book_blogger_organization_challenge

Welcome to the Book Blogger Organization Challenge!

If you haven’t heard of this challenge and are interested in finding out more, check out the intro post! But basically the concept is simple: Whether you want to dedicate a lot of time to this challenge or a little, I’m here to help you get organized and work on blog maintenance in 2015! Everything is broken down month-by-month so you only have to focus on ONE idea at a time. January seemed to kick us off GREAT! Let’s get ready for May!

MAY 2015 ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE
Spring cleaning!

Okay, let’s talk spring cleaning for May! I actually happened to tackle a bunch of this stuff in April simply because my blogoversary was last month and the giveaways helped clean off my shelves. But May is spring cleaning of all sorts! Books, catching up on things, reading borrowed/gifted books… Now’s the time!

CULLING

  • Epic book culling! Okay, maybe it’s not epic, but maybe your shelves need a bit of spring cleaning. Maybe you have some books on your shelves that you bought/won/requested and you know that you won’t read. Ponder what you want to do with them this month! Hannah from So Obsessed With wrote a great post on culling & a handy set of questions to ask yourself to decide if you want to keep those books or pass on them!
  • What can I do with the books I don’t want? Not everyone can afford to do a giveaway for the books they don’t want to keep (honestly. I went to the PO the other day and it was lots o’ money) but you don’t have to! Aside from hosting a giveaway you can:
    • Sell them to a used book store
    • Donate them to Goodwill/charity
    • See if your library is accepting donations
    • Post them on the YA Book Exchange
    • See if anyone using Have You Seen This needs something you have and wants to trade
    • Ask your friends if they want any
    • See if local schools are in need
    • Peruse other swap sites like Paperback Swap or Book Mooch
    • Put them up for sale on Half.com (But don’t sell your ARCs!!! (of course))
  • Culling doesn’t have to stop at physical shelves either… Did you participate in a previous month where you cleaned up your Goodreads shelves? Is it time to go through your TBR and part with a few? I know I need to go back and delete some series that I had added, books I just lost interest in, or things I had added on whim that I knew I would really read. I’m sure a smaller TBR will make you feel better too!

CATCHING UP ON BOOKS THAT YOU DIDN’T BUY/REQUEST

  • Books Received As Gifts: If you have amazing bookish BFFs or family who knows you very well, chances are you get books as gifts… a LOT. So how many of those books have you read? How many gifted books sit unread on your shelves? I’m not saying read them ALL right away, but maybe pick a couple to try to work on! It’ll make your gifters so happy too!
  • ARC catch-up: Story of our lives, right? But hey, always time to work on some ARC catch up! Take May to consider what you’ll really read — whether before pub date or maybe even at all. If you think you won’t read it soon, pass them along!
  • Borrowed Books: If you’re [a terrible person] like me, you still have books that you borrowed from your friends (*cough*years ago*cough*) and haven’t read them yet. I’m going to make a valid attempt to return these books (damn you friends who keep saying “hold onto them until you read them”) or you know… actually read them. NOW’S THE TIME! Or maybe a time to attempt reading some or at least making plans to get to them soon!

MORE UPDATING AND CROSS-POSTING

  • Do you have more reviews to update? More reviews to cross-post? It’s a VERY daunting task (I just finished after hard work for MONTHS)! Take May to work on those a little bit more. Maybe just one a day and then you have 31 more done! Right? Right!

Resources Mentioned: YA Book Exchange // Have You Seen This // Paperback Swap // Book Mooch // Half.com // Post on Culling (So Obsessed With)

Don’t forget to share what you’re accomplishing this month with the hashtag #BlogOrganization!

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NEXT MONTH: Freebie month!

June is the month to pick anything you need to work on — choose from anything we’ve already worked on, tie up some loose ends, and generally finish some updates!

Book Blogger Organization Challenge: April 2015


book_blogger_organization_challenge

Welcome to the Book Blogger Organization Challenge!

If you haven’t heard of this challenge and are interested in finding out more, check out the intro post! But basically the concept is simple: Whether you want to dedicate a lot of time to this challenge or a little, I’m here to help you get organized and work on blog maintenance in 2015! Everything is broken down month-by-month so you only have to focus on ONE idea at a time. January seemed to kick us off GREAT! Let’s get ready for March!

APRIL 2015 ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE
Graphics, HTML, CSS

April is a SCARY month. Even more daunting than blog maintenance, I think… but it’s a good thing to work on! I make all of my graphics on my blog and have always done my own layout myself…… but it also usually takes me HOURS to do these things (maybe even days) since I’m not graphically inclined. Graphics and CSS are really, really hard work for me but it’s also very rewarding when things finally turn out the way I want them to! So take April to work on some of the scarier things and give yourself the whole month instead of a short time span.

GRAPHICS

  • Pick a program to create your graphics: I bought Photoshop Elements a couple of years ago and it’s really my go-to for everything. I KNOW I do not use it to its full potential because I simply just don’t know how to do everything so I’m going to try to familiarize myself with a couple online tutorials to see if there’s any way I can improve! Photoshop Elements is also cheaper than the whole big package of Photoshop and (I think?) it’s a bit more newbie friendly. A lot of bloggers use PicMonkey to create images for their blogs and I actually use it here and there too! It’s a web-based design program so you don’t have to download anything and can visit it anywhere you can get onto a computer. There are some things that are only available in the Pro version which does cost money, but there’s a lot in the free version too!  Another nice option is Gimp which is essentially designed to be like Photoshop but a free version. I used to use it for a while but it did get a bit tricky because I didn’t really understand how it worked BUT if it’s a free download and you don’t want to pay for Photoshop, it’s worth a shot!
  • Grab some design inspiration: I’ve learned I don’t exactly have the kind of brain that can come up with design ideas out of nowhere so I’ve created Pinterest boards to help me come up with ideas. I’ll pin a logo I like, search for design inspiration, grab a nice color combination, etc. A lot of times we just need a kick start to an idea and you make the rest of it your own. Just don’t totally steal someone else’s artwork, of course. (Honestly, I couldn’t steal a design if I tried. I’m not that good with Photoshop either way haha!)
  • Not a do-it-yourselfer? Research some blog designers! Bloggers like Stay Bookish, Hello, Chelly, and Parajunkie offer blog + graphic design if you’re not up to trying your hand at it. Other companies include Designer Blogs and Creative Whim — bloggers, what do you say? Any other design companies you’ve used or love?
  • Make plans to update: If you want to update some of your blog graphics, try to figure out what kind of styles you want beforehand so you don’t start a graphic and totally switch the design five times because it turns out to be nothing (clearly speaking from experience). If you’re not doing it yourself, make sure you make a nice list for whoever’s doing it for you with desired color schemes + possible ideas (although I’m sure they’ll ask you for that anyway)!

CODING/HTML/CSS

Honestly, I can’t believe how much CSS I understand at this point in time. I really can’t do any major blog design but I have learned SO much from working on it myself and I’m so proud of what I’ve done with my blog on my own! You CAN learn how to code and navigate CSS if you put the effort into it!
And I apologize in advance that most of this stuff probably applies more to WordPress and WordPress self-hosted users since that is what I’m familiar with! If you use Blogger, you may need to consult the interwebs for a few more tips!

  • If you’re a total newbie to CSS, try websites like w3schools.com, HTML Dog, and CSS Tricks. They can help you get an understanding of how CSS works and why things appear the way they do.
  • If you’re going to modify ANYTHING in your Stylesheet on your blog, create a child theme first. WordPress has a tutorial on how to create a child theme and then you can start working on your CSS modifications from there. This is important for many reasons but one of which is that when your themes update as WordPress tweaks them, you WILL lose some of your CSS functionality. I modified on my parent theme and not my child theme and had to do a lot (all? I don’t remember) of my CSS coding allllll over again. It was not fun.
  • Ashley from Nose Graze is an AWESOME resource. She uses her coding knowledge to create many, many helpful things for bloggers. She has:
    • Let Me Help You With Your Blog: Ashley just started a feature offering FREE assistance on simple CSS questions!
    • She has many, many, many awesome posts on blogging in general and it’s VERY much worth your time just hopping over to her blog and checking them out.
    • She created the Ultimate Book Blogger Plug-In which is SO helpful for reviews, a review index, and SO much more. The plug-in currently costs $35 and I personally think it’s so worth the money.
    • She also created the Tweak Me theme which allows you to purchase the main theme and customize it so you don’t have to do ALL of the coding yourself!

HELPFUL BLOGGER RESOURCES

Lots of bloggers like to share helpful posts with their own tips & trick on how to better your blog. Here are some that I’ve visited and ones that have helped me too!


If you have any other resources for anything I’ve mentioned above, PLEASE share in the comments! Any bloggers who give great blogging tips? Any awesome blog designers? Let us know!

Don’t forget to share what you’re accomplishing this month with the hashtag #BlogOrganization!

blog_organization_button

 Grab the button!


NEXT MONTH: Book clean-up + spring cleaning!

  • Culling shelves, giveaways, donations, giving back borrowed books
  • Reading books you were given as gifts, ARC catch up
  • Rearranging shelves, updating Goodreads again, giving back borrowed books
  • More cross-posting & cleaning up GR shelves

Book Blogger Organization Challenge: March 2015


book_blogger_organization_challenge

Welcome to the Book Blogger Organization Challenge!

If you haven’t heard of this challenge and are interested in finding out more, check out the intro post! But basically the concept is simple: Whether you want to dedicate a lot of time to this challenge or a little, I’m here to help you get organized and work on blog maintenance in 2015! Everything is broken down month-by-month so you only have to focus on ONE idea at a time. January seemed to kick us off GREAT! Let’s get ready for March!

MARCH 2015 ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE
Social Media & Review Outlets

March is all about getting your social media organized and updating those review outlets (outside of your blog). Now’s the time to spruce up the info on your social media accounts, delete old ones, add new ones, and work on a bunch of cross-posting reviews!

CLEAN UP SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

  • Do you have a bunch of accounts that you created that you don’t use? Delete them!
  • Are you looking to try out another form of social media? Wondered if Pinterest can help your blog? Looking to start an Instagram account? Now’s the time!
  • Update your bio section, location, name, profile picture, contact info, you name it!
  • Clean up who you’re following. Are you missing some key friends, authors or bloggers? Do you follow a lot of inactive accounts? I use Just Unfollow for Twitter to check out accounts that haven’t been active in a long time. You can also see who you are following that doesn’t follow you back, recent followers, recent unfollowers, and more!

THE GOODREADS PROJECT

Now’s a good time to focus on cleaning up Goodreads! Here are some ideas on what to look for to spruce up your Goodreads account!
I also created a post a while back all about Goodreads and some tips and tricks I’ve discovered along the way. It’s a TINY bit outdated but still could be a great resource! –> “How to Make Goodreads Work For You

  • Delete duplicates on your shelves: Go to “My Books” and then below all of your shelves you’ll see “find duplicates”. Just MAKE SURE you’re deleting the correct version! I accidentally deleted a version that had all my status updates for a book and I was pretty bummed. There’s no way to get that back if you delete the wrong one!
  • Create new shelves and delete ones you don’t really need: I’m a Goodreads shelf fanatic. If you’re looking to get more organized, create some new ones for genres, star rating, POV, currently own, or where you got them from! Or you can delete some of the shelves you haven’t really been using.
  • Go through the books you’ve shelved and make sure they’re shelved properly! For some reason if I add a book to a shelf and don’t put it on Read/To-Read/Currently Reading, the default is “Read” so I’ve had to go back and swap that around to “To-Read”. I’ve also gone through ALL of the books that I’ve shelved and made sure they’re all in the right place!
  • Update to proper versions: I’m not too huge on having the correct version of a book on my shelves but I know some people are! (For me what matters is the right cover, most of the time) but if you like Goodreads to reflect the proper versions that you own or have read, hop to it!
  • TBR Culling! Go through your TBR and remove books that you don’t want to read anymore. I’m sure we all have HUNDREDS of books on our TBRs so now’s a good time to weed through what you might be able to part with, especially books you don’t already own!
  • Check out groups and friend lists too: Here’s another place to update your friends — make sure you’re not missing anyone or remove people (if you so desire) that you don’t need to follow anymore. Same with groups!

CROSS-POSTING

This is a great place to include cross-posting as well. There are several places you can cross-post your reviews — to reach a wider audience, to give feedback to publishers, and to help out authors!

  • Decide where you want to cross-post: Social Media. As far as social media goes, you can really post your reviews almost ANYWHERE. Most of us do to Twitter but there’s also Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, Bloglovin’ and even places like StumbleUpon (there are obviously more places, but those are my main ones)! You should be able to set your blog up to automatically post your reviews when they go live too!
  • Decide where you want to cross-post: Amazon, B&N, + more. I try to post everything to Goodreads and Amazon. Books I fall in LOVE with, I’ll try to go the extra mile and post to Barnes and Noble and The Book Depository as well.
  • Cross-posting to Netgalley and Edelweiss: As far as I know, you can only post your reviews to Netgalley if you have the book on your shelf (aka, if you’ve been approved) but you can post ANY review to Edelweiss if you search for the book (usually only books that have been published within the last few years — I’m not sure how far back their database goes).
  • Sending reviews to publishers: This is something I am SO BAD AT (aka I don’t do it). I really probably should formulate a game plan of sending my reviews to publishers when I receive a book from them! This is one I’m asking for YOUR help with! Let me know all your secrets!!!!

KEEP YOUR STATS ORGANIZED

It’s hard to keep track of all your stats all the time. I created a doc in my Google Drives just for my stats as an easy place to keep track of everything! It has a little intro about who I am and then the stats for my page views as well as a few social media outlets (I didn’t include them ALL because I’m sure the publishers don’t need to know ALL of them).

  • Page views: I use StatCounter for my blog. If you’re self hosted, there’s a plug-in so you don’t even have to leave your admin page to view your stats! Self-hosted also allows StatCounter to track where your readers are coming from (as in, what website or link directed them to your blog). If you’re not self-hosted, you can still use StatCounter for accurate stats on your page views — you will just have to access everything through the StatCounter website and it will only tell you what people have viewed on your blog and not where the traffic came from. If you’re a WordPress.com user, you can also use Jetpack (which I’m sure a lot do!) but I didn’t find that to be as accurate as StatCounter because it always counted my OWN page views which don’t really count!
  • Social Media Outlets: Besides my blog, I include Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram. I also have a Pinterest and Tumblr account, but I didn’t think those were necessary to include in the stats that I send to publishers when making review requests via Netgalley or Edelweiss. I usually just updated those every once in a while through my Ultimate Book Blogger Plug-In.
  • Finding out how many followers you have: It’s a bit difficult to keep track sometimes. I actually have three different places I go to check because not everyone follows me through the same means.
    • WordPress/Jetpack: Since I started out as a WordPress.com user, many people still follow my blog through the WordPress dashboard. Jetpack’s Site Stats shows how many followers I have through WordPress.
    • Bloglovin’: The easiest way for me to check out how many follower’s via Bloglovin’ is just to sign in and go to Blog Analytics. That will show you how many followers and also your ranking amongst the current category in which you categorized your blog.
    • Feedly: I’m not a regular Feedly user so what I did was create an account and essentially I just check up on my own blog through Feedly to see what the number of followers is.
    • Feedburner: I still use Feedburner for my RSS option and not many people subscribe that way but I check up on it every once in a while. Its stats and analytics are really easy to spot. It feels a bit outdated but I haven’t gotten into investigating other options! Maybe now is the time!

Organization Tools Mentioned

Just Unfollow // Goodreads // StatCounter // Bloglovin’ // Feedly // Netgalley // Edelweiss // FeedBurner


Have anything else you want to get done this March? Let me know! I’d also love to hear any tips or tricks you have to keep your stats, social media, and other things organized!

Don’t forget to share what you’re accomplishing this month with the hashtag #BlogOrganization!

blog_organization_button

 Grab the button!


NEXT MONTH: Graphics, HTML, CSS, Plug-ins

  • Update graphics for posts/memes/events, update button, update header
  • Learn Photoshop/Gimp/PicMonkey
  • Brush up or try to learn simple HTML and CSS (for layouts, fonts, etc). Take this month to delve into the scary world of coding! (Or at least teach yourself one new thing!)

Book Blogger Organization Challenge: February 2015

book_blogger_organization_challenge

Welcome to the Book Blogger Organization Challenge!

If you haven’t heard of this challenge and are interested in finding out more, check out the intro post! But basically the concept is simple: Whether you want to dedicate a lot of time to this challenge or a little, I’m here to help you get organized and work on blog maintenance in 2015! Everything is broken down month-by-month so you only have to focus on ONE idea at a time. January seemed to kick us off GREAT! Let’s get ready for February!

FEBRUARY 2015 ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE
Blog Maintenance

February is all about blog maintenance which may be the most needed and most overwhelming thing in a book blogger’s life. Personally, I TRY to do a good job of keeping things updated as I go, but sometimes things get severely overlooked or you want to change up a design or start a new index or keep on updating those old reviews. This month is the time to do it!

SET A GOAL FOR YOURSELF

Trying to think of all the blog maintenance you want to do may get overwhelming really quickly. Break it down in sections to make it easier on yourself! Maybe draw up a list of everything you can think of that you might need to update on your blog — and remind yourself that THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO ALL GET DONE THIS MONTH — but it’s nice to be able to see what kinds of things you can focus on and what’s maybe less important that can be done later instead of right now.

After you know what you want to update, set some ATTAINABLE goals for yourself. Maybe update two old reviews each day in February or spend a weekend updating your review index. I know I have a LOT that I still want to do but I’ve recently learned that giving myself a respectable, solid number to accomplish or a task to complete in a specific time frame REALLY helps. I feel like I accomplished my goal and it helped me stay on task as well!

MAKE A LIST. CHECK IT TWICE.

I mentioned above to make a list for yourself of what you might want to update/install on your blog. There are any number of things you can choose from (and this is an EXTENSIVE list to intentionally include as many possibilities as I can think of so don’t go TOO crazy):

  • Update indexes and/or pages (reviews, features, policies etc) — if you have the UBB plug-in, you can even finagle it to automatically update for you like my Book and a Beverage page! (Ask me how if you need help!)
  • Update old reviews — update old formatting and/or graphics to current. (I’m in the process of not only updating old reviews to my current format but also all the info for my UBB plug-in so that the index will always automatically update!)
  • Update memes/features — make new graphics to fit your current layout, update your features’ pages, make them more uniform, etc
  • Update your contact info — Do you want to have contact info in your sidebar? “About Me” page? New social media icons? Add more social media links? Remove some you don’t use anymore?
  • Clean up any missing images — Some of my old posts have missing images because I used a URL instead of an image I had saved. If you stumble upon any, remove or update them!
  • Clean up broken links — If you can, install a link checker (plug-in)! Ever see any broken links in your stats? You can start there too! Thanks to Jess for the heads up on the Broken Link Checker plug-in!
  • Update your SEOs — This is another thing I’m constantly doing! Any time I see an old post that I haven’t entered any SEO information for, I go back and update it. I use SEO Ultimate (and it comes with a 404 monitor too!)
  • Search for other plug-ins you may want/need — Want to change your fonts? Check out Google Fonts. Looking for those boxes with similar posts? Check out Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in.  Want a list of your most popular posts in your side bar? Check out WordPress Popular Posts. Looking for that plug-in that automatically posts old blog posts to Twitter? Check out Revive Old Post.

AVOID DISTRACTIONS

I get distracted. Very easily. So if I’m doing blog maintenance and I start to get bored, I REALLY tend to wander. If you’re a wanderer too, try to think of ways to stay on task! Set up a playlist or cue up a TV show (one you’ve already seen so you don’t have to focus on it) and don’t let yourself stop until it’s over! Or maybe you’re the kind of person who has to avoid music and TV and just power through what your’e doing. Either way, set yourself up for success by avoiding those little distractions!


Organization Tools Mentioned

Plug-ins: Ultimate Book Blogger // SEO Ultimate // Google Fonts // Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in // WordPress Popular Posts //Revive Old Post // Broken Link Checker


Have anything else you want to get done this February? Let me know! And don’t forget to share what you’re accomplishing this month with the hashtag #BlogOrganization!

blog_organization_button

 Grab the button!


NEXT MONTH: SOCIAL MEDIA & REVIEW OUTLETS

  • Update social media accounts: bios, who you follow, delete old accounts you won’t use, resolve to use some accounts more
  • Organize Goodreads shelves: duplicate copies, version of books, creating shelves, removing shelves
  • Cross-posting
  • Sending reviews to publishers, sending review requests, Netgalley, Edelweiss
  • Finding all your stats, keeping stats updated

Book Blogger Organization Challenge: January 2015

book_blogger_organization_challenge

Welcome to the Book Blogger Organization Challenge!

If you haven’t heard of this challenge and are interested in finding out more, check out the intro post! But basically the concept is simple: Whether you want to dedicate a lot of time to this challenge or a little, I’m here to help you get organized and work on blog maintenance in 2015! Everything is broken down month-by-month so you only have to focus on ONE idea at a time, so let’s hop into January!

JANUARY 2015 ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE
Reading challenges, scheduling, & resolutions

January is all about resolutions and planning and usually by February, I’ve forgotten everything. I outlined some things to think about in the intro post but here’s a more detailed list of what January will be all about!

First things first. Get into planning mode!

If you want to get more organized this year, you have to start somewhere! First, figure out if you follow ideas better on paper or on the computer. Then, start your organizing! Buy a nice, shiny 2015 planner. Start writing things down in Google Calendars. Open up a Wunderlist account and start making lists!

I schedule my posts ahead of time (or I’m trying to get back in the swing of things), so I use Google Calendars to color code my posts. It’s super easy to drag and move things if I have to reschedule something so I move it on my calendar first and then go back and change it on my blog. It’s easier to visualize and see what I have scheduled this way!

gcalendar

Think about a place to start keeping track of all of your stats too! When’s the last time you updated your stats on Netgalley/Edelweiss? Is there a big difference in your stats since the last time you updated them? I started a Word Doc with my “canned intro”, personal info, and stats for my blog and social media — then whenever the mood strikes me or when I think my stats have significantly increased, I go back in and update. I just make it a habit of updating my stats when I go to request a galley by copying & pasting the Word Doc instead of going back and hunting down those stats each time!

Think long-term!

Did you do Jamie‘s End of 2014 Survey? I did in 2013 and couldn’t remember anythinggggg from the year as a whole. I made a “Best of 2014” shelf on Goodreads to help me remember which books were my favorite so I could keep track as I went along. (I’m also SUPER obsessed with creating shelves on Goodreads so you’ll see that as a lot of my suggestions haha!)

bo2014

I know not everyone likes creating 50 million Goodreads shelves like I do though. There are tons wunderlistof other ways to keep track of things! You can use things like Google Drives or Microsoft Office to make lists as well as Wunderlist (becoming a quick favorite of mine!). Keep track of incoming books for Stacking the Shelves, which books you’ve borrowed or received from an author/publisher, which books are being released soon that you want to read before the pub date, etc. These are also great places to make to-do lists (Wunderlist is also great for this! You can check it off when you’re finished)!

If you do posts like weekly/monthly/yearly recaps, posts from around the blogosphere, or “best of” posts, spreadsheets (or word docs) are also fantastic ways of keeping track of those links and posts that you’ve stumbled upon and loved! Any time you see one, just immediately throw it onto your spreadsheet and you won’t have to go hunting for it later!

Planning 2015 Challenges

Research which 2015 challenges you’d like to take part in. (I listed a few in the intro post!) By now you probably have your intro posts up so now’s the time for scheduling! Lots of 2015 challenges are year-long and that involves some planning to keep up! Go through your TBR and pick a few to read each month. If you’re a mood reader, give yourself a good selection so you can always pass up something if you’re not in the mood for it! My best suggestion would be to go month-by-month to see which books best fit the challenge. (You can sort through your Goodreads by publication date to see which books are out when!)

When in doubt, pick fewer challenges than you think you can handle. I picked way too many in 2013 and ended up dropping out of ALL of them because it was too much work to keep up with! I wanted to be a part of every challenge but trying to read so many challenge books a month didn’t allow me to read what I really wanted to so I gave up on all of them!

Picking 2015 Resolutions

Do you have anything BIG you want to do with your blog this year? Maybe you want to go self-hosted, buy the Ultimate Book Blogger Plug-In, purchase a new layout design, or add a new feature. Maybe it’s something as simple as trying a few books out of your comfort zone. Whatever you want to do this year, reflect on what you want to do with your blog this month!

I honestly haven’t looked at my 2014 Resolutions since I made them. I remember a few vague things but I really couldn’t tell you right now what was on that list. If you really want to try hard at keeping your resolutions, write them down somewhere! Make a list on your computer and put it somewhere you see all the time or draw up a physical list and post it somewhere in your house!

Find a Buddy!

Some people work better in groups or with someone else motivating them. If you read challenge books (or any books) better on a schedule with a friend, grab some people for a group read or a monthly “reading club”. It doesn’t have to be anything big so don’t over do it! This is also great for those big, scary books (like, ahem, A Song of Ice and Fire) because you have someone else “holding you accountable” for reading and they also motivate you to keep going!

Make Plans to Read and Write!

Some of us have such busy schedules that it’s hard to time the time to read. Maybe you’re someone who really does love blogging but have a hard time sitting down to write reviews or posts. Think about what sort of free time you have — maybe a day of the week or even time of day — and block out some time for yourself to read and write! Reward yourself with stickers (or coffee or candy — whatever works!) for accomplishing your goals!


Organization Tools Mentioned: Wunderlist // Goodreads // Google Calendars // Google Drive


Have anything else you want to get done this January? Let me know! And don’t forget to share what you’re accomplishing this month with the hashtag #BlogOrganization!

blog_organization_button

 Grab the button!


NEXT MONTH: BLOG MAINTENANCE

Updating old reviews, pages, layouts, features/memes, contact info, clean up images, broken links, SEOs + more!

2015 Reading Challenges: Intro Post

2014 was the year of me cutting back on a LOT of things, one of those being reading challenges. Now that my wedding is over and I’m getting back into the swing of things, I’m picking up a couple challenges I know I’ll be able to handle!

book_blogger_organization_challenge

First is a shameless plug for my own 2015 challenge which is actually NOT a reading challenge — it’s the Book Blogger Organization Challenge. I want to work on cleaning up my blog this year, getting more organized in my blogging life, and doing some more blog maintenance. It’s totally casual and low-key despite the detailed schedule. You can participate as little or as much as you want to! The details are there for the people who need more of a “schedule” to stay organized but if you’re overwhelmed by how much you need or want to do, just hop in when you can! The challenge is designed to be helpful and not to overwhelm!



I skipped 2014, but this year I’m once again participating in the Debut Author Challenge, hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. The goal is to read 2015 debuts and at least one a month. Jana has the full details on her blog (linked above) so I won’t get into all of the rules & regulations but I’m definitely going to participate in this challenge! I decided I’m not going to go crazy and just aim to read at least one debut a month.

  • January: Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
  • February: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
  • March: The Story Spinner by Becky Wallace
  • April: Denton Little’s Death Date by Lance Rubin

Other months to come!


The last challenge I’m joining this year is The Re-Read Challenge hosted by Hannah of So Obsessed With and Kelly of Belle of the Literati. I re-read a LOT of books in 2014 and I’m so excited to re-read more in 2015! I already have big plans so this challenge should be no sweat! Here are a few books I want to re-read this year (or possibilities at least):

  • Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest by Marissa Meyer. WINTER comes out in November 2015 so I’d really like to re-read ALL of these before then. Keep your eyes peeled — I have strong plans to organized a read along for these re-reads or people reading The Lunar Chronicles for the first time!
  • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (I want to re-read this every year!)
  • The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
  • Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (I’ve been meaning to listen to this audio again for a WHILE!)

I also want to do Flights of Fantasy hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello Chelly! I’m a soooomewhat new fantasy reader (as in, I didn’t REALLY start getting into it until last year) and I’ve already dubbed 2015 “the year of fantasy” and have a few reads planned. This is the perfect, effortless challenge for me (I hope!) so I’m really excited to participate! Here are a few fantasy reads I want to finish this year:

  • The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastard #3)
  • The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick (almost definitely our January OtSP read!)
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #1)
  • Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (Sevenwaters #1)
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive #1)
  • The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (The Legend of Eli Monpress #1)

And oh oh oh so many more!


I decided to add on ONE more challenge. I was trying not to do too many but this is another one I KNOW I will be able to not only meet goals but surpass them! I’m joining The Daily Prophecy’s Fairy Tale Retelling Reading Challenge! I usually read a bunch of fairy tale retellings and I already have some planned for this year so I thought I should officially join the challenge!
We can also read other retellings besides fairy tales, but fairy tales will be my most common ones!

MY GOAL: Magic mirror: 5 – 9 books.

  • The Lunar Chronicles: Original read of Fairest plus re-read of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest + Winter when it comes out (6)
  • A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Well, those are it! Good goals but nothing too wild. I want to be able to easily participate and not have to go crazy trying to keep up. I think it will be a lot of fun!

 

Book Blogger Organization Challenge: Winter/Spring 2015

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Welcome to the Book Blogger Organization Challenge!

I’ve been blogging for about two and a half years now and I always try to keep my blog and blogging life as organized as I can, but sometimes it’s just a LOT to take in all at once. I’m always a big fan of Bloggiesta and using that time to get more organized but depending on what weekends it falls on, I can’t always participate due to my schedule and I have SO many things that I need to work on that I just can’t quite do it all in one weekend. So the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would work well for a six month-long challenge!

To just say “get more organized in 2015” is still pretty overwhelming. I’m sure a lot of us want to work on some specific things but if you’re anything like me, you’ll start to work on updating reviews then somehow end up working on Goodreads and then before you know it, you’re just rearranging your books on your bookcase again which is not even what you meant to do. (Trust me. This has happened MANY times.) Instead of just saying, “Pledge to organize more in 2015”, I wanted to break it down month-by-month and even week-by-week if you so desire! There’s a lot to try to cover regarding “blog maintenance” and to focus on a year even seems overwhelming so I thought six months would be nice! Each month in the challenge will have a different focus with the last month revisiting everything you’ve done so far in the year.

EDITED 12/16: The more I thought about this challenge and how different it will be for everyone, the more I just want to throw in my two cents here for everyone looking to get organized this year — take it from someone who loves to stick their hand into way too many cookie jars — Being organized is NOT about planning every single thing. Being organized is about having a game plan, trying to stay ahead or things (or catch up on things) but NOT overscheduling yourself or stressing yourself out! There are too many times I (for example) tried to plan out my exact TBR or gave myself a strict reading schedule and that not only didn’t work and made me feel like I “failed” but it also discouraged me in many ways. So yes, getting organized does require a little extra work, but it should really be more about figuring the ways you can set yourself up for success and not about scheduling every single little thing. Capisce?

Let’s kick it off with January so you can get a feel for the challenge!

JANUARY 2015 ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE

JANUARY’S THEME: Reading challenges, scheduling, & resolutions

January is the month of resolutions and I know I don’t usually end up keeping many of mine because once the month is over and that resolutions post is written, I never look at it again. It’s also the time when we’re most gung-ho about year-long challenges! Year-long challenges tend to check in monthly but somehow I usually end up dropping all plans for challenges by spring because I’ve over-scheduled myself (even during the year I promised I wouldn’t do that), so I think January is a great time to make some goals and then make up a schedule to keep them! It’s also the time of year when a lot people star to think about the “big picture” of their blog when making resolutions so here’s what January will focus on:

  • Planning 2015 challenges
    • Research which 2015 challenges you’d like to take part in. See below for some ones that I’ve found and if you know of any more, leave them in the comments!
    • Pick a few specific books to read each month. I know some people mood readers and can’t PLAN which books to read (totally me) but last year I picked a few ARCs that I wanted to read in a specific month (or books for other challenges/read alongs, etc) and then I was able to read them within that month but any time I was in the mood for them instead of “read by X” date (which usually made me NOT want to read them).
    • Schedule challenge intro posts!
  • Picking 2015 resolutions
    • Think about what you want to do with your blog in the year to come. (Or even the next few months) Do you have a “big picture”? Anything specific you’ve been meaning to do? (Add a new feature? Finally switch to self-hosted? Add a co-blogger? Try new genres?)
    • Make a list and pin it up somewhere you’ll see pretty often (fridge, office, wall, etc) so it won’t fall by the wayside.
    • Make a Goodreads shelf! Have some books you know you want to read in 2015? Make a list on Goodreads (or a physical list) with new or older reads that you want to read this year.
    • Schedule resolution post!
  • Find a buddy!
    • Work better with motivation? Find a blog maintenance buddy & work on things at the same time!
    • Need someone to help you through some reads? Been meaning to read some big books but are intimidated by them? Grab a friend to do an informal read along!
  • Make plans to read and write!
    • Not everyone does well planning ahead or writing things down with a specific schedule… but if you’re one of those people (or want to try) now’s the time to look for a nice planner. Treat yourself with a nice one and maybe even fun pens or stickers to help keep you motivated to keep track and also stay on track! Pen and paper not your style? Trying using Google Calendars or Wunderlist! (Also super easy to move things around!)
    • Are you someone like me who has a limited amount of time to read or write? Try to pick a day/time to work on blog things or to read. Make a plan so your parents/sig other/friends will know you’re busy and you can schedule around it.

2015 READING CHALLENGES

105 Challenge (hosted by ReadWriteLove28) // Around the World Reading Challenge (hosted by All About Books) // Authors A-Z Reading Challenge (hosted by Samantha Lin) // Book Blog Discussion Challenge (hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addition and It Starts at Midnight) // Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge (hosted by The Book Vixen) // Debut Author Challenge (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) // Dive Into Diversity (hosted by Rather Be Reading and Reading Wishes) // Full House Reading Challenge (hosted by Book Date) // Library Challenge (hosted by Book Journey) // Out-do Yourself Reading Challenge (hosted by The Book Vixen) // Pre-Printing Press Challenge (hosted by All Booked Up) // Put the Library on Hold (hosted by The Emerald City Book Reviews) // The Re-Read Challenge (hosted by So Obsessed With and Belle of the Literati) // Reading Challenge Addict (hosted by Reading Challenge Addict) // Reading England (hosted by Behold the Stars) // Reading Road Trip (hosted by She’s Got Books on her Mind) // Series a Month Challenge (hosted by Love at First Page) // TBR Pile Challenge (hosted by Roof Beam Reader) // TBR Reduction Extreme (hosted by All About Books)

Many others listed at You, Me, and a Cup of Tea and a Pinterest board from The Book Vixen!

 

CHALLENGE “RULES”

I put rules in quotes because really, there are no “rules” to follow. This is titled as a challenge, but it’s more of a way to consistently keep organized. The guidelines are simply this: follow the month’s theme and work on what you can. Not everyone will need each bullet point. Some people will think of more things to add under the theme. (Leave a comment if you think of some so I can update the post!) Work on anything related within the given month. There is no “failing” in this challenge. If you’ve done anything to work on your blog, you’re a success!

  • The Blog Organization Challenge will run from January 1st to June 30th. If all goes well, we’ll start all over in July (blog maintenance is constant!) and even add more things to work on because I know I won’t think of everything as we go along.
  • Participants can join in at any time! It’s never too late to join. I have a linky for sign-ups below (no sign-up post is required but feel free to spread the word that you’re joining in!) and do whatever you can each month. Everyone is bound to have a busier day/week/month so just do what you can when you can! And don’t forget to grab the button!
  • Feel free to make your own “mini-challenges”! I won’t be officially hosting any mini-challenges but if you have a discussion, how-to, or mini-challenge (past, present, or future), send me the link and I’ll include it in appropriate month’s post!
  • Want to chat about it on social media? Use the hashtag #BlogOrganization! Find a buddy, grab some ideas, get motivation, ask questions… Sky’s the limit!

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 Grab the button!

 CHALLENGE SCHEDULE

Want to see what the upcoming months have in store? Here’s a general outline of what we’ll be focusing on each month!

  • JANUARY: Reading challenges & resolutions
    • Picking challenges, making resolutions, scheduling, forming plans, picking reading/blogging buddies,
  • FEBRUARY: Blog maintenance
    • Updating old reviews, pages, layouts, features/memes, contact info
    • Clean up images, broken links
    • SEOs
  • MARCH: Social Media + Review Ooutlets
    • Update social media accounts: bios, who you follow, delete old accounts you won’t use, resolve to use some accounts more
    • Organize Goodreads shelves: duplicate copies, version of books, creating shelves, removing shelves
    • Cross-posting
  • APRIL: Graphics, HTML, CSS, Plug-ins
    • Update graphics for posts/memes/events, update button, update header
    • Learn Photoshop/Gimp/PicMonkey
    • Brush up or try to learn simple HTML and CSS (for layouts, fonts, etc). Take this month to delve into the scary world of coding! (Or at least teach yourself one new thing!)
  • MAY: Book clean-up + spring cleaning!
    • Culling shelves, giveaways, donations, giving back borrowed books
    • Reading books you were given as gifts, ARC catch up
    • Rearranging shelves, updating Goodreads again, giving back borrowed books
    • More cross-posting & cleaning up GR shelves
  • JUNE: Freebie
    • Recapping what you’ve organized, focus on biggest area of need, review TBR list

Hope you’ll join me for the Book Blogger Organization Challenge! If you have any 2015 Challenge links, ideas for blog maintenance, previous organization posts/mini-challenges, or anything else you may deem appropriate for this challenge, please message me or leave them in the comments!