Friday, April 29, 2011

My reading/blogging habits

I've seen quite a few bloggers lately discuss their systems of what to read next and how they write reviews and other blog posts and I thought it might be fun today to share with you mine.

Reading habits

I think I may have mentioned some of my methods of what to read next before. I keep all of my unread books together on shelves in my garage. They're ordered alphabetically at the moment, though sometimes I split them up into genre (for instance the paranormals together, the gritty realism books together and maybe the contemporary romances together) or sometimes, if I'm being very anal, I'll split the books into different publishers. This doesn't happen often.

What will happen when I'm reading to choose a new book to read is I will make a shortlist of books I'd like to read, maybe 8 or so books. This will usually include urgent books for review or books I'd like to read for a specific themed week but also I'll normally try to include other books I'm really excited to read. Depending on my mood, I'll choose a book, faff about trying to make up my mind and go back and forth for awhile.

Then, when I've chosen a book, I'll update my GoodReads account, which is almost always up-to-date. During reading, I'll either have my blogging notebook nearby to write down notes or I'll use an index card as a bookmark and jot down some of my thoughts about storyline/character/themes. A lot of times both happens. I feel like I'd be absolute lost and bereft without my blogging notebook.

Because I can never really make my mind up, I'll have stacks of these shortlisted books all around the house. It drives N crazy because there are literally piles and piles of books in almost every room in the house because my mood changes wildly and I'll feel like reading different books every few hours. It used to be that I never read more than one book at a time, but this has slowly changed. Now, it's possible that I'll flit between 2-3 books at a time. Right now? I'm bouncing between 3.

Blogging habits

I don't often review books straight after I've read them. In fact, I rarely do. What I will do, is open a new post in Blogger and title it review + title name + author and save it as a draft. I'll add any relevant tags to the post, and then jot down some of my thoughts after reading it as well as any notes I'd written while reading the book so I have a small outline for when I do actually write the review. If I don't write in now where I got the book, I won't generally remember later!

If I'm feeling particularly organised, I will then insert the cover art of the book and copy and paste the GoodReads description into that post before saving it and leaving it for another day. If not, that'll happen another day, usually when I can't bring myself to write any reviews but I feel like being productive in some small way.

Review-writing happens whenever I get the chance. Sometimes it's before I drop my Eldest to school but after breakfast. Sometimes it's in the early afternoons after he comes home from school and him and the Littlest are playing. Usually it's after the two boys have gone to bed. Rarely any blogging happens on a weekend.

In my blogging notebook, I draw out a calendar and I have a rough schedule of posts and reviews for any particular month. At the moment, I have rough outlines for the rest of April and May as well as an outline for July because of a blogging event happening then. I have so many lists in that notebook. Post ideas, reviews that need to be written, to-do lists, review books that need to be read. I really rely on that notebook to keep me organised!

My blogging schedule at the moment consists of reviews posted on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. There's usually a personal post on a Wednesday and a books discussion post on a Friday. Saturdays I like to dedicate to my Awesome Women feature, whether it be the interviews or posts about particular women and every other Sunday I do In My Mailbox with the other Sunday left free. I like to think that I'll add in another review here, but it hasn't happened so far.

Almost ALL of my posts are scheduled in advance. I can't do seat-of-my-pants blogging anymore, I don't have the spare time. When I've written a review, it gets slotted into the next available Monday/Tuesday/Thursday slot unless it's for a blog tour. I make lists of personal posts that I could write as well as discussion posts for Fridays and I try to work my way through my lists. Ideally, both those lists are always full. I hate being stuck for ideas! If ever I'm in a review-writing rut (which I currently am!) I will try to then focus on these Wednesday/Friday posts so if nothing else, SOMETHING is being posted.

And ... I think that's it. What sort of reading and blogging habits do you have?


  1. I'm TERRIBLE, I haven't written hardly ANY reviews for ages! It's like I have review-writing block. I really need to get back into it though! I never jot down things when I'm reading, I just stop for a minute and implant it into my mind! That's why it takes me longer now to read a book than it did before I started blogging. Great post!

  2. Wow, I am in awe of your organisation. I'm definitely a seat-of-my-pants blogger, maybe this summer I will take a leaf out of your book and get a system in place. Great post!

  3. For a while I was a read, then review as soon as I finished the book type of person. Then I hit a bit of a block in writing reviews. But the past couple of weeks I've suddenly gone into planning overdrive. Over the past week I've scheduled nearly 30 posts for the next three months. I don't know where it came from.

    I also do what you do; have my TBR books on my shelves in my office, with a shortlist of about 5 to read next on my desk. Sometimes I might ignore the pile if a TBR book on the shelf keeps winking at me.

  4. Blogging: When I have sufficient time and energy (hopefully after this comment actually) I dust off an idea that has bugging me for a while or something that just popped into my head and I try to flesh it out into something suitably coherent for public consumption.

    Reading: When I have even more sufficient time and low enough stress I pick up one of the books I have lying around my apartment and read it. If it is a first read I need to feel like I have even more time. Consequentially, most of my reading gets done over breaks and Summer.

  5. I used to create shortlist stacks! But my last shortlist stack has been sitting on my bedside table for months without any of the books being read. At the moment I have several reading challenges on the go so I've been choosing books to fit their categories. Reading challenges are also helping me to review every book I read - I used to procrastinate for a really long time on writing reviews (I still have dozens of books I read last year to review!) but now I have to review them all by the end of the month I read them in so that the reviews can go into the right month's link post in the hosting blog.

    I'm a bit shy about writing discussion posts, even though I have loads of ideas that I keep scribbling into my diary. I plan to at least draft a few more next month.

  6. I'm a moody reader as well and find myself picking up something completely different than what I had planned when I try to organize my reading. So I usually just stay a bit unorganized and it tends to work for me :) Thanks for sharing this post!

  7. I barely blog at all these days. I keep hoping that I'll find a routine that allows for it, but so far it hasn't happened.

  8. Cliona - I haven't either :( I think I'm currently ..29 reviews behind. Shocking, really. GOod luck to both of us getting back into the swing of reviewing!

    Jenni - For a very long time, I was a seat-of-my-pants blogger as well, but once my Littlest came along, I just found that time was a little tight and I could no longer manage. The calendars and posting schedule only happened at the beginning of this year though!

    Emma - 30 posts scheduled! Wow. I could never do the read-then-review process. I just can't work like that! But yeah, I often abandon my well-thoughtout TBR shortlist for some new shiny book that has caught my eye as well :)

    Kenny - I think by the time I've published a post, I've been thinking about it and rewriting it in my head for awhile. I like to let things simmer for awhile.

    Julianne - Reading challenges are quite good, aren't they? Though whenever I join one it makes me feel a little under pressure and restricted which generally causes a reading slump. But I can see how they'd work for other people!

    Shy about writing discussion posts? Oh no! Why?

    samantha - Unorganised is very satisfying, I feel. I've done both in the past. At the moment, I feel like I do structured reading, but with some room freedom allowed.

    Lisa - Everything is so up in the air still, right? Give it time. You have so much on your hands right now!


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