7 Tips For Being An Organized Blogger

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Y’all! I’m back to my “Blogging Tips For Beginners Series.” If y’all want to check out the other posts, you can click on the titles to find them: 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging, 7 Tips for When Blogging Blues Hit, and 7 Things To NOT Do When Blogging. It’s been so much fun interacting with y’all and getting to meet some new bloggers. If you have any questions you’d like me to try and answer, just leave them in the comments below. And now, let’s get started! 

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There are bloggers and vloggers I know who post on certain days every. single. week. and I look forward to getting to relax during a break or at the end of the day, catching up on what they have to say. Having specific blogging days won’t only be helpful for your readers, but it will help you get into the blogging zone.

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My goal is to post by 9:30 every morning. If I don’t make it, I don’t flip out, but generally, I do hit that target unless something comes up. This is helpful for a myriad of reasons, but the top few would be:
* It gives me a goal to shoot for instead of letting the blogging process drag on and on
* It gives my readers something to look forward to – for example, some of Noveltea’s readers enjoy keeping up with the blog posts during their lunch breaks, etc….
* Consistency makes a difference with the feel of your blog. Humans thrive on routine and having a blog post show up every time each posting day will eventually be part of the reader’s routine

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My mornings generally consist of me waking up, thinking of ten things I’m thankful for, then having my devotions. After my devotions are over I either get ready for the day or sometimes (gasp) head to the computer in my pajamas. On mornings when I’m rushing around because I have an early shift at work, I sometimes even do my hair while I’m blogging.
Blogging is exceedingly important for me, and when I make sure to at least try to get it knocked out early most mornings, then I have a much better chance of it actually happening.
Mornings are my thing (especially after blogging regularly in the morning for over five years), but that doesn’t mean they need to be your thing. You could blog during your lunch break. Or before you go to bed each night. The timing isn’t the issue – the routine is. If you stick to a certain time of the day, or listen to certain music while blogging, or eat a certain snack while sitting at the computer, then pretty soon your brain will begin linking the events, and that will escalate your thinking process. So it’s a win, win.

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Folks. Let’s be all nice and transparent: If you’ve hung around here long, you’ll know that in the past I haven’t been too good at answering comments in a timely manner. But! That’s something I’ve been working on a lot because it really does make a difference.
One of my issues is that for a while I forgot to factor comment replying into my every-day blogging schedule. It’s such an important part of being a blogger though, that now it has a prominent position.
I also sometimes come up with a couple of hours that I’ll give myself to visit other blogs during a week, then I make sure to leave comments after reading the post. Cause, really folks, comments totally make a bloggers day. ❤

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This can be exceedingly helpful if you ever start doing scheduled posts, interviews, guest posts, or take place with blog tours, tags, etc… There’s nothing like taking time during a crazy-busy day to write a post, then realize later on that you were supposed to post a different post on that day. #NotFun
This year is the first time that I’ve begun keeping an actual physical calendar for my blogging, and that’s specifically for my book reviews. Last year I got over 50 books for review, and it can get a bit confusing.

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Scheduling posts is pretty much the most simple thing to learn how to do, and yet it took me so crazy long to begin taking advantage of this smart feature. In fact, I still don’t use it as much as I probably should – mostly just when I’m going to be away from the internet. This is mostly due to the fact that I really enjoy my blogging time each morning. But, I’d sometimes like to use that time for reading and commenting on blogs, instead of always on creating content. Also, snagging breakfast before leaving for work every now and again might be a small plus.

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Y’all. I cut the time way too close far too often. There have been times when I’ve forgone breakfast to get a post written, then run out the door for work, carrying my shoes because I didn’t even have time to put them on… Only to get home from work hours later to discover I didn’t hit the final publish button, so my post sat there limply on my computer all day long while my stomach rumbled from my lack of breakfast. It’s rather sad when that happens.
Don’t be in such a hurry when you’re blogging that you don’t have enough time to read back through your post. Or to make sure that it publishes. Or to get the formatting correct. Blogging doesn’t have to be perfect, but it shouldn’t look like a toddler rolled their toy car across the keyboard, either.

What I Listened To:
This PlayList on Youtube. (Or some of it anyway. I haven’t heard all the songs.) 

Fun Fact:
I’m watching my sister’s puppy, Nica, so she sat at my feet as I posted. 

Question Of The Day:
What is your optimal time for writing blog posts?

Don’t Forget to Enter This Giveaway! It Ends Today!

7 Things To NOT Do When Blogging

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Y’all. I generally don’t post about things that you shouldn’t do, but I wish I would have had a list like this when I started out, so here it is! May it be as helpful to you as it would have been for me.

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When I started my blog I had no clue what I was doing, and I didn’t realize I should study blogging. So, I probably lost several years of audience-building by just winging it and having a lot of trial and error. If I could go back, I’d probably still dive into blogging without doing a ton of research (that’s my personality), but then I’d have spent the next few months reading about and learning what works and what doesn’t. (Pinterest has a lot of graphs that can help you with this.)

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This means pay attention. If you want to use an image that’s floating around on the internet, you need to first discover if it’s copyrighted, and if it is, then don’t repost it without getting permission. One great place I’ve found for using uncopyrighted stock photos is Pixabay. They have a huge selection and are graciously free. If you see a picture on someone’s blog that you’d really like to use on your blog, go ahead and ask them – they might say no, but that’s okay.

One contingent to this graphs, etc…that are meant to be shared.

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Bloggers are human – even the successful ones. They make mistakes, they learn through trial and error, they were once the newbie. Being intimidated or being too freaked out to comment/contact another blogger is not the vibe they’re going for. Sure, some bloggers might not be quick at replying, but that probably has nothing to do with who you are, and a lot more to do with them being too busy, having health issues, etc…

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This doesn’t mean you should be sloppy, but you don’t have to wait for the whole world to feel correct before pressing the publish button. With that being said, I do recommend proofreading each of your posts and also using the preview button to make sure your formatting is correct.

My mom told me I should try Grammarly, and I’m so thankful I did. I had no clue how many “little” things I missed on my blog before the little green circle became a part of my everyday blogging life. You can add it to Safari for free, which is what I did. I highly recommend it.

But for the most part, as long as your grammar is correct, your spelling is on point, and your thoughts make sense, people aren’t going to be critiquing your every word choice and expression. (Like they do when beta reading a book…)

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Sure, if you actually do something “wrong”, like post a joke that you later realized was off-color, then you can say you’re sorry. But! There are bloggers out there who start out half of their posts by apologizing that their post is late. That gets really redundant and has made me stop reading certain blogs. If you’re late with a post, then you were late, and it’s not the end of the world. Most people probably didn’t even notice. Just do your best and no one expects (or even wants) you to be perfect.

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From everything I’ve seen the blogging community is very welcoming, kind, and caring. Let’s keep it that way. If another blogger is rude to you? I am sincerely sorry about that, but let’s not turn it into a public thing.

On the flip side though, when a blogger is nice to you, go ahead and talk about it all you want. I often post links to the blogs of people who have helped me with my blogging journey. Like Kate who helped me with my WordPress design, Esther who has written encouraging notes for me to keep going, Bekah from whom I won my first giveaway (and blogging friendship), and Stephanie who started the best blog for young writers. (Like, ever.)

Why bash bloggers when you can bless them instead?

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Personally, I enjoy hosting giveaways. It’s a way for me to interact with more people and bless them, but it does get expensive. So far blogging hasn’t been a money-making source for me, but I have poured a lot of money into it.

I didn’t do any giveaways for the first several years in my blogging journey because I simply couldn’t afford it. And that’s okay. You don’t owe it to anyone to do a giveaway. And, although they do help grow your audience, if that’s your only purpose for hosting one, you’ll be disappointed.

If you do host a giveaway, it can be small. A $5 Amazon gift card might not generate a huge amount of interest, but it does give your readers the feeling that you care about them, and that’s what you want, right?

And speaking of giveaways, Y’all should totally enter the one I have going on right now to celebrate my 6th year blogging anniversary. 😉

7 Tips For When Blogging Blues Hit

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My advice for writer’s block is to keep writing and eventually, you’ll work your way out of it. But when it comes to blogging I have a bit of a different philosophy.

I mean, let’s be real: A lot of the words I write when trying to get out of writer’s block are rather lame. And that’s okay because I can always edit them out later – but when we blog, those words go live almost immediately and who wants to read a lame blog post? So here are Seven Tips for When Blogging Blues Hit.

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Say what? I know, not the advice you were expecting, right? But it’s true. Sometimes I feel like I need a “reset” by forgoing the act of throwing my thoughts and feelings out for the world to see. A one day break is fine. Sometimes a two-day break is needed. But, if you feel inclined to ditch your blog more then that, or very often at all, then you might want to try one of the other tips.

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See what the rest of the blogging world is talking about. Comment, show support, enjoy learning and relaxing. After you’ve spent some time remembering how encouraging/inspiring/amusing/fun other blogs can be, remind yourself that people feel the same way about your blog. Then write away.

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This is another great way to interact with other bloggers, plus have a subject already chosen for your blog post. There are a lot of cool tags and link-ups out there, so do a search for whatever topics interest you, and then go from there. {Top Ten Tuesday is one of the Link-Ups I’ve joined from time to time over the years.}

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Have a file of ready-made posts that you can pull out at a moment’s notice and push publish on. Y’all. You’ll be endlessly thankful when you are searching for inspiration, time, or motivation to post, and suddenly boom, you remember you’ve got posts ready to save the day. (Extra points if this happens on a day when you’ve already scheduled a post, so while you’re sitting there scrunching your nose at the thought of blogging, ping, a post shows up on your screen. It’s pretty delightful.)

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Aka, get off your regular path and do something different. Do you generally post about books? Give us a random update on how you’ve made all your money to buy books by working at a dance studio. Do you generally post about traveling? Give us an amusing story on how you tried to run away as a five-year-old and rode your bike all the way down the street before getting lost. Do you generally post about writing? Share your favorite recipe with the world. Change it up. Be fun. Be adventurous. (Sharing favorite quotes, jokes, or memes can also work.)

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Not for good of course, because that wouldn’t be good. But for a while. Get up from your desk – dance around the room, clean out your closet, do the dishes, go for a run. There are seventeen-hundred other things you could be doing instead of blogging, so focus on one of them for a little while. Y’all don’t even know how many times I’ve cleaned my room mid-blogging.

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Why do you blog? What is your purpose? Do you want to encourage? Support? Inform? Blogging can be fun for a while, but unless you have a purpose stronger than enjoyment, it can be pretty hard to keep at it year after year. So discover your why. Spend a little bit of time defining your purpose. And if you don’t have a purpose with your blogging? Well, maybe now’s the time to figure one out. Take a break from blogging to do this if you need to, or keep blogging as you figure it out. It doesn’t matter. Just do it.

And there we have it folks! Seven tips for when the blogging blues hit. What do you do when you feel the blogging blues come on?

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my fun giveaway, here!

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

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As I enter my seventh year of blogging (say what?!?), I’ve thought of some of the things I wish I’d been told as a newbie blogger. Therefore, I figured I would start a new series all about blogging.

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People. For the longest time, I determined my success based on pageviews and visitors. There were times when I felt like blogging was worthwhile when compared with my stats, and other times when I wondered what in the world I was doing with my life.
Then, one day it hit me: Numbers don’t determine how important something is. So what if I don’t have thousands of views every day? So what if sometimes I only have a couple dozen visitors to Noveltea? I know Noveltea has made a difference in people’s lives because I’ve received emails, comments, and met people in real life who have thanked me for my blogging. Quality, not quantity.

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But that’s no reason to quit. Keep giving it your best, learning, growing, and studying what it means to become a blogger. Read other blogs, read articles about blogging, search the internet from top to bottom to see what works for other people and what will work for you.

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Despite blogging not being about numbers, you still do want people to read your posts. How did I find most of the bloggers that I follow today? From comments on other people’s blogs. The same way most of the bloggers on my blog found me. Comment around, share the love, connect on other social media platforms.

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You. You are special. Made in the image of God. Created for a purpose. You have a combo of talents and skills and personality that was put together for something amazing. Don’t wish you were someone else, don’t apologize for your quirkiness or hide your true self. Will everyone like your blog? No. But does that really matter? There are people in life who you just don’t jive with. That’s not an issue, it’s just how it is.
For instance, have you ever heard of Ann Voskamp? She’s pretty much the epitome of a successful blogger. I am surrounded by people who are incredibly blessed by her writing and share it all over the Internet. But guess what? (Shhh!) I don’t actually enjoy her writing. I know, shocking, right? That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with her. Our personalities just don’t mesh. There will be people who feel that way about your writing. Don’t feel rejected, it’s okay.

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Yo, folks. If you want to share a post, or even a small quote – along with a link and credits to the creator – then go ahead. But please, please don’t steal work from other bloggers, and just as important, don’t try and mimic their style. As mentioned above: You are special and don’t need to try and be someone else.
There are other bloggers who are pretty brilliant and I want to copy them, but then my blog wouldn’t reflect who I am and what I want to share with the world, plus it’s kinda like stealing.
On the flip side, if you do really like a blogger, then, by all means, contact them and tell them. Ask them for tips. If there’s a specific thing that they do that you want to try on your blog, you can either search around to see if it’s something they started (and if it’s a popular thing, then go ahead and start doing it yourself). Or, ask them what they would think of you borrowing it.
Plus, there are just some things that are a great idea, but in reality are a free-for-all. For instance, Paperfury (a blogger who’s really successful), has been a HUGE inspiration to me with how she interacts with her readers. Not only does she reply to comments, but then she goes and comments on that person’s blog as well.

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When I hear from a newbie blogger I’m like “YAY! You’re asking for help? I’d be delighted to invest in you because I remember when I was in your place.” But, if you do contact a blogger and you don’t hear back from them, don’t take it personally. There have been times when I’ve been so busy with work or fighting off health issues that thinking of replying to an email literally brings me tears.
Emily gave me lots of tips when I first started blogging, and Kate from Once Upon an Ordinary was invaluable with how she helped me when I was first moving to WordPress.

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Your blog design doesn’t have to be perfect. Your sidebar doesn’t have to be covered with a million buttons. Your world doesn’t have to look like it came right out of a magazine. We get that you’re human, and we appreciate that about you.

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Getting into a rhythm with blogging is important so people can know what to expect. Do you want to post once a week? Choose a day and stick to it whenever possible. Do you want to post twice a week? Three times a week? Whatever you choose, stick to it for a while and see how it works for you. That way your readers will know what to expect.
The blog, Books for Christian Girls does a really good job of this. I don’t always read her blog, but I do watch her Youtube videos each Thursday. It actually works pretty well because I post my vlogs on Thursdays, too, so generally, I watch her videos as a reward.

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Say What? I know, that’s exactly how I felt early on. (In fact, this is still something I’m learning.) Linking to other WordPress blogs has ended up being pretty fun for me, because not only do I get to share them with Y’all, but that blogger also gets a notification (called a Pingback) letting them know that someone mentioned their blog. Pretty cool, right? Nothing like spreading good content and the love.
And tags are important because they help categorize things, and also when someone is searching on the internet, then tags help pull up what they are looking for. A pretty cool story with this is last year I tagged one of my favorite childhood authors on a Youtube video where I talked about how much I liked their books, and then they commented on my blog. I was shocked, thrilled and could barely believe it.

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My blog is about the life of a young author, so that means it’s really sporadic. I write about every-day life from the viewpoint of a writer. I write authorly updates, book reviews, month reviews, writing tips, and pretty much everything in-between. This works for me because I want to give others a glimpse of what it’s like to be an author, but I know that for a lot of people they have a better chance at surviving the blogging world if they choose a more specific topic for their blog.
What are some things you wished you knew when you started blogging?

And, don’t forget to enter the giveaway I’m hosting here!