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Busting the Newbie Blues

December 5, 2010

I spotted this button and AnimeGirl’s blog, A Girl, Books and Other Things and clicked on it out of curiosity. I’m a total blogging newbie and mostly I’m just fumbling around in the dark. Blogging is fun, but not without its frustrations, so I was pleased to discover that there’s a support system out there. So, here’s my answers to the newbie blogger questionnaire. I’m looking forward to visiting the other blogs. This event is hosted at Small Review.

  1. When did you start your blog? I’ve toyed around with the idea of starting a blog for some time, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be about. Of course, the central topic was always going to be books, but there are so many things about books that appeal to me that I wasn’t sure where to even start. I’m a teacher, so I thought about doing a blog about books that would appeal to kids, especially reluctant readers. However, ultimately, I decided that I wanted to write about what I love to read–whatever than might be. And while I definitely enjoy some children’s fiction, my personal reading tastes tend toward YA fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy. At the moment. I really, honestly, will read almost anything as long as it contains a romantic element. YA/PR/UF are simply my current fixations. That’s the long answer. The short answer is that, in its current incarnation, I started my blog in September of this year (2010).
  2. Why did you start your blog? I started my blog because I wanted to be a part of the community. There are a lot of book bloggers out there and it’s really, really awesome to connect with people who love reading like I do. I know other people who “like to read”, but they don’t love it. Floating around the book blogosphere has helped me to realize that I am not alone!
  3. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? I think my main struggle has been not knowing where to start. Not just with the content of my blog, but with using the technology to make it look the way I want it to. I am not a computer savvy person. I mean, I can word process and search the internet, but other than that I have to feel my way very, very delicately around. I also often feel like the new girl at school. Everyone knows so much and I wander around saying, “What? What did she say? What does that mean?”
  4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? Frankly, the technology. I’m hopeless. And, sometimes the blogosphere can feel like a closed circle. It’s tough to get inside.
  5. What do you find most encouraging? That every time I feel discouraged, something happens to cheer me up. It might be a new connection, it might be finding out that an author has read my review of his/her book or maybe it’s just a comment. Then I remember why I started the blog in the first place.
  6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog? The thing that I like best about the blogs I read (aside from the content) is an attractive, easy to follow, not too cluttered appearance. There’s other stuff. I admit to having had my head turned by fancy buttons and plugins. Have I tried to replicate this on my blog? You tell me. I sure hope so.
  7. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this? I don’t like blogs that are packed full of extras and therefore impossible to read. Also, aesthetics are important to me. If a blog looks slapdash I probably won’t revisit it. Another thing I’m sensitive to is errors in headers and tags. I don’t get worked up about them in blog posts (though I do notice them. I’m a teacher, I can’t help it), but in permanent blog features that are designed to catch the eye, they really bother me. I try to avoid this myself by obsessive revising. Seriously. Obsessive. And I know I still miss stuff.
  8. Any advice for other new bloggers? This is going to sound wrong, but seriously, it pays to visit other blogs. I don’t mean that you should visit other blogs and comment them solely for the purpose of attracting followers. It’s more that you can’t expect people to simply come to you. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t post on other people’s blogs just to advertise your own. Find blogs that you actually like–there are so many, I think it would be hard not to find at least one–and get involved. Make an effort. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion, even if you disagree. Sometimes that’s how dialog gets started. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  9. Anything else you’d like to share about your experience? I don’t know. I’m still a newbie. A baby blogger, if you will. I’m wary of giving advice. Oh, but I will say that I decided to use WordPress on the advice of my sister-in-law. Don’t get me wrong. WordPress has been good to me, but if I had it to do over again, I would research blog servers before deciding what to use. I was already entrenched here before I realized that I couldn’t have one of those cool bookshelves from GoodReads, Shelfari, etc.
  10. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? I’d really like feedback. Not criticism (unless it’s constructive). Ruby’s Reads is a work in progress. I’m molding it like I do my students. No, I’m joking. But seriously, helpful hints, sly suggestions or just props; I welcome them all.
9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2010 12:36 pm

    Hi, Ruby, I use word press too, and you can have a goodreads shelf etc on your blog. Email me if you need some help figuring out how to add the widget to your sidebar and I’ll try to walk you through it.

  2. December 5, 2010 5:35 pm

    Thanks so much for participating! I enjoyed reading your responses. I also really love your header, btw.

    I’m glad you mentioned feeling like a new girl at school. Not glad that you feel that way, but glad that someone else feels like I do. When I was thinking up names for the event I kept tossing around variations of that exact theme.

    I hope this event helps you break into the blog world 🙂

  3. December 5, 2010 7:17 pm

    I know you say you are a baby-blogger but you gave awesome advice.

    I like your layout, is very clean. I don’t like too much clutter myself but I like buttons and stuff, so I have had to find a balance. 🙂

    • December 7, 2010 8:48 am

      Thanks! I have a button addiction myself, but having seen so many blogs jammed packed with them–and having to wait so long for them to load, I’ve held myself back. I’ve had to be strong.

  4. December 6, 2010 10:14 pm

    The technical aspect of blogging is definitely a learning process. I wish I understood blog design better. Great advice on visiting other blogs. Commenting is so important. It does advertise your blog…as long as you just don’t spam people – like you said.
    The book blogging community by and large uses Blogger, so it’s hard to feel like you fit in if you use WordPress (I would guess). Other blogging communities – like foodie blogs – overwhelmingly use WordPress. I do think the comment functions are much better on WordPress.

    • December 7, 2010 8:47 am

      I’m toying with the idea of switching, if for other reason than being able to have GoogleFriend Connect. It’s really annoying that blogs can’t have it. I think if I could have that, I’d put up with all the other inconveniences of having a wordpress blog. For the most part, it works really well for me.

  5. December 9, 2010 8:27 pm

    I like what you said about your blog being a work in progress. I think we all think of our blogs that way– an ever changing thing. Thanks for hopping by my blog the other day!

  6. January 3, 2011 9:58 pm

    I love getting comments also, because it’s so interesting to hear what others have to say! I agree, the blogging community is so accepting and they really know how to welcome new bloggers. Events like Busting The Newbie Blues really help!

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