The Bookworm’s Guide to making Aesthetics (including aesthetics for what might or might not be my future WIP)

If you’ve been following me on my twitter, you’ve probably noticed at least one of the aesthetics I’ve been making the past few weeks. I love making aesthetics and I’ve made several for both published books and people’s NaNoWriMo projects (of course I’m not procrastinating nooo). And people have been asking me how I made them, so here I am explaining in a step-by-step guide how to make aesthetics. So you can now become as awesome as I am 😛

Aesthetics are just collages of pictures that look pretty together and fit a theme. This theme, is for me usually a book or story. It can, however, be anything you want! To illustrate every step, I will be showing you exactly how I make an aesthetic by making one as I write this post.

I had this story idea a few days ago that apparently everybody loved so I’m going to use that. It’s a contemporary Alice in Wonderland retelling about Alice who suffers from psychosis and works in a hat shop, it also features a therapist in training (who is constantly high…), a mom that bakes cakes that taste like magic, and a very cute cat!

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Step #1: Fantastic pictures and where to find them

For your collage you, of course, want the best pictures. And you’re not going to find them on google images, you might try but it’s surprisingly hard. Instead, you can use Pinterest and WeHeartIt. Both are completely free and work quite similar to each other.

WeHeartIt is a personal favourite of mine but it can be quite hard to find pictures you love. I’ve been using it for many many years and have saved (or ‘hearted’) many beautiful images I use constantly.

Pinterest is much more accessible for beginners, and searching something in the search bar will usually not leave you feeling unsatisfied.

Both platforms allow you to save pictures on boards/in collections, which makes it easy to look at all the things you’ve saved and collect pretty pictures.

Step #2: how to find them

Finding the pictures you love has only a few tricks. You need keywords, things that are related to the theme of your collage. If this would be for example Six of Crows, keywords could be: crows, Amsterdam (Ketterdam is based on Amsterdam), thieves, heist, playing cards, magic, etc. Usually while looking for pictures, you’ll get inspired for new keywords.

So the best tip there is, is to add “aesthetic” after your keyword when you search for it. It’s a little thing but can improve your search results so much!

When looking for pictures, it is important to keep in mind whether you want a color scheme. Having a color scheme often improves your end result a lot!

So my search terms would be: cat, Alice in wonderland, chess, red roses, mental illness, psychosis, baking, and so on. I am sticking to a beige with red/orange color scheme.

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Example of what you find when you search for “painted roses aesthetic” on pinterest

And then you just download all the pictures you want! You better have too many than too few!

Step #3: What’s next

So you’ve found your pictures, what’s next? It depends on what you want but an aesthetic collage could have four pictures up to however many you want. You can make them square and have 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 squares etc, but you can also make rectangles of 2×3, 2×4 and so on.

I really love the 3×3 square so that’s what I’ll be using. For this one you need 9 pictures (obviously).

For making collages I always use ipiccy, which is completely free and online software.

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The interface of ipiccy.com

You can press “add images” and add all your images and then comes the most fun part!

Step #4: Making it look nice

Now that you’ve found your pictures and uploaded them to wherever you’re making your collage, you can drag them to your collage! You can do them randomly of course, but there are a few tricks to making it look nice!

  1. Alice2Don’t make it too busy, if you add a lot of busy pictures, it can get quite overwhelming. For example the picture on the right. It is quite pretty, but it is a bit too busy, with many pictures and colors all asking for your attention at the same time.
  2. Adding quotes: I love using quotes because they are calm and make the aesthetic in general look more pleasing. You can find quotes on pinterest as well.
  3. Using a checkerboard layout: meaning you alternate pictures that have a similar color or feel to it. If you have two colors, you can alternate them. I usually also try to alternate quotes or at least not have only quotes in one row. As you can see in the picture below, having the five pictures forming a cross have the same colors and tones, and having the other four pictures having similar colors, gives it a nice balanced look. Another trick is to use symmetry to your advantage, as you can see the picture in the top left and the bottom right are very similar, so are the picture on the top right and bottom left. Alice1
  4. Play around, try different things and see what works well.
  5. Once you’re satisfied with your layout, you can also do some post-editing if you like. I usually use the photo editing software from my laptop (I don’t know what it’s called, but it was already on my laptop when I got it). I use hue, saturation, and temperature to make it seem a bit more similar. It gives it a bit more atmosphere and gives it overall a more coherent feeling.

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The final result

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I have decided to go with this design, but of course tastes differ so don’t take my tips as rules but just as guidelines. You can do whatever you want with your aesthetics. This post is just to help you along the way!

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Do you like making aesthetics? Any tips or tricks I should know about? Are you going to try making some aesthetics after reading this post? I’d love to see them! If you think this is too hard, you can also message me, and I would love to make you aesthetics!

Blogger Newbie: Raine (@ The Raine Spectrum) | How To Deal With Anxiety

Today I’m happy to share with you, Raine’s tips on how to deal with anxiety. I know there are a lot out there that has to deal with this so I hope you find this helpful. I give the word to Raine!

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Tell us something about yourself: Who Are You? I’m Raine!! I am a total geek and gamer. I love reading novels, comics, textbooks, anything I can get my hands on. My favorite games are FPS or questing. My Hogwarts house is Slytherin, and my best friends are Hufflepuffs!!!

What is your blog about and what are your plans with it? My blog ( @therainespectrum ) is about my journey through mental illness, my eating disorder, daily thoughts that I have, poetry, random reviews, pro-feminism, body positivity, pro-equality, and support for anyone who needs help. Really it’s just my ramblings, but my main goal is to channel my problems into artistic and creative ways, and to teach others how to do the same. I want to show them that normality is possible when nothing feels okay.

Why did you start blogging? I started blogging because I wanted to help people. I have been obsessed with superheros for like ever, and they’ve inspired me to help. Because I don’t have superpowers, I’d always wanted to bring joy to other people and help them in the little ways. I want to show people that everyone is beautiful and we all deserve the same opportunities, because nobody deserves to feel worthless or lesser.

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Anxiety can strike at any time, and it always sucks. It makes you irrational and frustrated. It’s so easy to get rid of that feeling, but it feels impossible to want to get rid of it because it is consuming.

Step 1.
Firstly, you need to breathe. If you aren’t breathing, it’s easier to panic. When you are in control of your breathing, think of something that makes you happy. Step 2.

Step 2.
Make a list of things that make you feel better. Do these things. Go through that list when you’re feeling anxious. For example, on my list, I have
1. Wash face with warm cloth
2. Drink a glass of cold water
3. Stretch
4. Write a short story and/or sketch a picture
5. Sing a song with my sister
Doing these things really help me, and I suggest that you try, because your list might prove helpful to you, too.

Step 3.
Call a friend. Sometimes talking to people makes things better, even if you don’t feel like talking to anyone. Having a friend is a lot better in the long run, rather than pushing them away in a moment of unhappiness.

Step 4.
When I am hungry, I get so irrational, it’s not funny. My family calls it “hangry”. Therefore, eating always makes me feel better. Even if it’s just a strawberry or some grapes. So, if you’re like me, and get hangry , then eating will definitely help.

If you want to feel better, the first thing you have to do is take control of the situation.

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I hope these tips were helpful and interesting to read! Thank you Raine for them! If you liked this post or want to read more like them, go to Raine’s blog here and follow her!

The Bad Book Project #12 | Dialogue

This is the final post in this project in which I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo in April *sad face*. I really enjoyed this project, I loved writing posts and the guest posts were just amazing. I just want to send out a huge thank you to Hannah, Trisha, Claudie, Savannah, Blaise and Tiana for helping me out and giving such good advice!

The fact that this is the last week also makes me slightly stressed because my preparations have been standing still for a week or so. I still need to work on my characters and elaborate my plot (3 words for one chapter is not enough outlining!).

The last topic I’d like to cover is dialogue, which is incredibly important for a book and its characters. For example, I like characters much more if they have a distinct voice. So here are some tips.

Know your characters. One tip that I really think is useful is from How to Write Convincing Dialogue. Think about how your best friend or mother or significant other would respond to a certain situation, this is quite easy if you know the person well enough. I can almost hear my friend talking to me in my head. And if you know your characters well enough, writing dialogue becomes almost as easy.

What is important when you want to find your character’s voice is to know what they know and who they are.

  • Are they intelligent? This affects the way in which a person speaks, they might have more elaborate arguments, fact-check their arguments, be a little more conservative with their opinions and so on. Their choice of words might also be different, they might use more difficult words to express themselves.
  • Are they extroverted or introverted? Introverts might speak less, but when they speak they often really know what they are talking about. My introverted self always stays in the background when having conversations, because I only want to “add” something valuable to the conversation. I don’t like talking for the sake of talking. I think many introverts are the same, so this is something to keep in mind.
  • Do they have an accent or are from abroad? This affects intonation and also their choice of words, they might not use words that don’t exist in their first language.
  • Do they use metaphors or references? In our modern world, it is quite usual to use references to modern media and characters from books, movies or series. So what you need to figure out is what are their interests? And if the person is a little dreamy, they might describe something more often with metaphors than others.
  • Are they sassy? Sarcastic? Witty? Positive? Negative?
  • And so on.

Some practical tips:

  • First write the dialogue and then the narrative. This makes it easier to see if the dialogue flows or not and removes the distraction of the narrative.
  • Mumble the dialogue to yourself.
  • Use body language to describe the way in which characters act. Body language is a surprisingly large part of communicating, so use that to your advantage. Just a simple frown might be way more useful and feel more natural than a sentence about how a person doesn’t believe what the other person says.
  • Don’t overdo it. Not everything has to be said, and repetition is not fun to read.
  • Make sure that the conversation adds something to the story. Oh, how often I read a dialogue in a book and then think: wait, what was the point of that?
  • Remove the obvious and unnecessary. It’s not fun to read a conversation that goes like this: Hi – Hi! – How are you? – I’m fine, how are you? – Good, good, a little busy. (and so on).
  • Give it a little flair! Make sure the characters express their own voice. Don’t let them say things they wouldn’t say. All of this comes back to knowing your characters well enough.
  • Don’t add too much subtext. I personally hate to read dialogues that are continuously disrupted by long descriptions of what a person does or what the surroundings look like.

I hope you enjoyed this project! I loved working on it. I might continue with a different but similar project in the future, so if you’ve got ideas or topics you’d like to read about, let me know.

What is your best tip on writing dialogue?

The Bad Book Project #2 | Writing Diverse Characters (by Hannah)

This is the second post in a series called The Bad Book Project in which I (Lia) attempt to prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. The first post in this series is here. I now give the word to Hannah!


Hey!  My Name is Hannah, and I have a blog called The Book Thief Without Words. I’m 17 years old, live in Canada and love everything fictional. I have been writing actively for about six years, but I’ve always loved to come up stories. As of yet, I’ve written two novels and countless short stories. Currently I’m working on two projects: Dried Roses and Petra Pan. Dried Roses is about Rosanna: a psychologist and Leila: a teacher. Leila seeks the help of Rosanna without realizing that they knew each other as kids and that Rosanna has a big part in her troubled past. They eventually become friends, and then gradually fall in love. My other project Petra Pan is a genderbent peter pan retelling about Petra Pan a muslim bisexual who falls in love with Wendy Darling’s descendant:Darla who’s a bi-racial lesbian.

For the past three years or so, I’ve become more conscious about the characters I write. As you can see, I try to incorporate diverse characters into everything I write.It’s really important to me, and I think that all books need diverse elements. This post will be explaining a little about diverse characters, and how to write them.

The #weneeddiversebooks movement has become a booming one ever since it began in 2014. Diversity is so important whether it be in the form of race,sexuality,religion or mental illnesses. Our world is a very diverse one, and it’s unrealistic and harmful to have books that feature white,straight,neuro-typical characters all the time. It doesn’t matter what type of story you’re writing,if you’re writing about humans there needs to be diversity. I know that if you’re not part of the minority that you’re writing about, you may be scared that you’ll offend people, but if you research properly and talk to people of that minority and  get an authentic feel of the character you’re writing about, it isn’t very hard. Diversity shouldn’t be a quota that you have to fill,it should come naturally.Don’t just write the gay best friend, or the sassy black woman because that’s really harmful and stereotypical. Marginalized groups can have the same type of stories that non-marginalized do and shouldn’t be reduced to a stereotype.

Tips on writing diverse characters

1.Don’t write stories that aren’t yours to tell.

While writing diverse characters is very important, it’s also important you don’t speak over the marginalized. So while you can write a book about say an african american, you can’t write a book that talks about say police brutality in the perspective of that character. You’re not black, you don’t need how it feels to live through that, and you’re speaking over others. There are millions of stories that you can tell, so leave the struggles and difficulties to those who have experienced it.Obviously I can’t stop you from writing those stories, but think about it before you do.

2. Do Research.

It is soo soo important to do research. You want your book to be authentic, so research is inevitable. Research can be reading books with similar representation,asking about people’s experiences or just looking up stuff online. Research is especially important when you’re writing about mental illness.It’s really important that you don’t stereotype or generalize because such  representation is kind of worthless.

3. Don’t let your genre limit you.

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that diversity is limited to the real world. There is no excuse for not having diversity in your fantasy or sci-fi. If there’s dragons, and robots I think you can include some diversity. Diversity should encompass all genres, and not just be related to the real world.

4.Include all types of diversity.

Don’t just have  one lesbian or one black character. It’s really unrealistic and feels as though you’re filling a quota. Write stories about people who don’t get representation. If you’re part of a minority that doesn’t have a lot of representation, write the story you want to read. I’m a biromantic asexual, but there’s no rep for me so I wrote my own story.

So that’s it. Please don’t be afraid to write diverse books. Trust me it’s not hard, and honestly makes the story 100x more authentic and enjoyable.  Good luck and I hope you have fun creating diverse characters!


I would like to thank Hannah for writing this excellent post! It is really helpful and I am now going to try to incorporate all her tips in my characters 🙂 Next week’s post will be from Trisha from Autumn of 2003 and it will be about writing a strong secondary cast!

The Bad Book Project #1 | Introduction: How to Get Started

Welcome to this new series about writing a book, in the upcoming 12 weeks I’ll be sharing posts that will (or should) prepare you to write your own novel. I will be writing a novel during Camp NaNoWriMo this April, so I thought it would be a great idea to prepare for this. Like I said there will be 12 weeks, in each week I’ll share a post on Sunday, and there are 5 topics that I’ll cover. There will be guest posts from some very lovely bloggers and/or writers that want to share their knowledge and experience with us. So thanks a lot guys! I am super excited about this!

The topics that we’ll cover are: creating believable characters, building a plot, world-building, making an outline and writing-style. There will be 2-3 posts about each topic. Each topic will be covered both by me and by a fellow writer/blogger. I’m going to share what I am doing and how I am preparing but also some knowledge I gathered from the internet.

The rules of writing and how I got the name of this project

I would recommend watching Julian Tunru’s series The Nearly Complete Guide to Writing a Novel on youtube. I believe it is not yet complete, and there are only 4 episodes so far, but he gives really useful tips. It’s also really funny! In his first video he covers the basics of writing. What I think is most important from what he says, is that there are no rules of writing. You only need two things, something to write on and something to write with (and yeah okay also that family sized bag of skittles). If you write, you’re a writer. And if you think you’re not good at writing,  everybody thinks that at some point. So get your act together and write. You can only get better by writing, reading, and rewriting.

This is also partly where the title of this new series is coming from. I watched another youtube series by Scott Sigler, and in his first video he talks about the process of becoming a writer. In this case he means, how to write your first novel and actually finish it. His theory, is that you “just” need to write one book, that is probably going to be horrible, finish it, put it away for a few months, and at the same time work on your new “good” book. When you get out that old “bad” book, you’ll see all the things you did wrong or could have been improved, which will help you to get better. So my plan is, to write a book, not with the intention to write an amazing book that is perfect, but write one simply because of the fact that I’m writing it. I won’t let anyone read it, it is just for me. And who knows, in six months when I get it out of my files, and rewrite it, I’ll actually think it is something worthwhile. I’m writing for myself, and by calling this my “bad book” it will help me to not pressurize myself into writing the perfect book. It’s okay if the characters aren’t super-realistic, or that there are plot-holes, it matters that I’m writing it.

Idea-generation

The first step to writing is an idea. I know, ideas are hard to get, and the ones you get are usually nonsensical but sometimes there are hidden gems. I got my idea from a scribbled scene I wrote a while back. When I wanted to turn it into a short story I had so many ideas of how it should continue that I thought it would be perfect for a novel. But if you did not have such a “eureka” moment, this video by Kristen Martin gives you 7 steps to finding a novel idea. The seven steps are as follows. First you decide which genre your book needs to have. In my case this is science-fiction (and fantasy?) and maybe even a little dystopian. The second step is determining your audience; who will read your story? For me this is, Young Adult or New Adult (the main character is 19, so I guess you should say it is New Adult). Then you choose a theme. This list of 101 themes can be helpful. I’m not really sure what the main theme of my story is, but it definitely includes coming of age and desire to escape. The next step is to get your brain in action, brainstorm! What is most important is that you find what the main character’s challenge is. If you get stuck, you get to step 5, which is using resources. For example, books and idea generators, can help you to find new ideas. The sixth step is making a rough outline and the final step is to just write. We’re going to talk about outlines in future posts.

What I will be writing

A little more about my Camp NaNoWriMo plan. I’m going to try to work along with the schedule as discussed before and work on my characters in the first few weeks and then on my plot and so on. Of course I’ve already prepared a few things, including my general story and basic characters. It’s all still pretty vague but I’m sure I can work it out.

In Camp NaNoWriMo, you can have a cabin, consisting of fellow participants, with whom you can share your experiences. I believe you can also choose your own cabin-mates, so if you’re also participating and would like to keep up with my writing and help each other out, that would be fun! You can find me here. Sadly, I don’t think you can do anything yet, although I have updated a small synopsis of my idea. The novel is not yet named. It revolves around a run-away princess, a mechanic, her sister and a new friend from a different planet. This is my synopsis (for now):

“Mica runs away from her home planet when her father, the king, forces her to marry someone she doesn’t love. In her flight she leaves her sister Abrielle behind, but finds Karsen, her servant and mechanic, in her own spaceship. All Karsen wants is to go back home to his family. But Mica perseveres and flies across the universe to find herself at Earth, a planet forgotten after most humans left it hundreds of years ago.”

It’s not yet final and things will probably change between now and April, but this is the general idea. I have set my goal to 30.000 words, which is a thousand a day. This is not enough for an entire book of course, but I’ll just see how far I get and maybe, I’ll continue during July (which is the other month in which you can participate in Camp NaNoWriMo) and write another 30.000 words. This all depends on how it goes and whether I can reach those 30.000 altogether.

 

You’ve reached the end of this post! Was it interesting and did you get inspired? If you’re also participating in Camp NaNoWiMo this April, let me know! I would love to discuss our writing battle plans. Did you ever write a novel? If yes, was your first novel good? Or would you rather throw it in the trashcan?

Next week we’ll start with characters, and the first post will be from Hannah from The Book Thief Without Words, and it’ll be about including diversity in your novel. I’m really looking forward to it, because it is something I am struggling with at this moment.

Blogging Tips To Get Started + Blogger Recognition Award!

I was nominated by Ava from Reads, Rhythms and Ruminations for the Blogger Recognition award! Thank you so much Ava! I was planning to write some tips for beginning bloggers or just bloggers in general, so I thought why not combine them?

Also you should all check out Ava’s blog, she writes about anime and books, and she is a super lovely person!

The Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Select up to 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.

Once Upon A Time…

There was a girl, and that girl was bored. She didn’t want to go outside, because it was way too hot, and therefore sat behind her laptop scrolling through tumblr and watching booktube videos. The girl wanted to share her love for books, but knew no other way than by talking to a camera and putting it online. However the girl was too shy to share herself in that way, so she sought for another way to share her love. After thinking about it for a while she discovered wordpress, wrote her first post and bam! there it was: a little piece of magic called a blog.

In the beginning she just wrote reviews, later letters to her beloved characters, but then she discovered the amazing community of wonderful bookish and writerish princes and princesses, and she fell in love with every single one of them. The bookish community had become her home, and her blog her secret double life.

And she lived happily ever after.

My advice

I recently got a message on goodreads from a person who just started blogging. They asked me for tips, so I thought I’d share them with you all too. November, if you’re reading this, would you mind sharing your blog url? I would love to check it out 🙂

I am not very experienced when it comes to blogging, because I only started 4 months ago. However I have learned a lot from the past few months. So here are some tips (these mostly apply on book blogging):

  • Write about the things you love. If you don’t enjoy writing the post, other people will most likely not enjoy reading it a lot. Also you will probably lose interest quickly.
  • There are basically five types of post you can do on your blog:

1) tags and awards, these are fun and easy to do because you usually only have to answer questions. For these it is important to tag people. The best way to do that is link one of their post to yours. You do this by going to their blog, copying a link from a recent post and adding it in your post. This way they will get notified and they will know that they are tagged.

2) Memes, these are weekly/monthly returning posts, which can vary from top 10’s with specific themes, to discussing covers of books. These are fun to do because you can do them every week/month and others do those too so you can share and discuss with them.

3) Discussions, in these posts you can basically discuss whatever you think is interesting.

4) Reviews, these are quite important for most book bloggers. Some bloggers get ARCs in exchange for reviews, but you really shouldn’t start blogging because of the ARCs. I recently discovered NetGalley which provides you with eARCs.

5) Every other random thing you want to do. You can talk about anything on your blog so if you want to talk about your life/school/music taste/favourite movie/etc, go ahead.

  • The most important thing and most fun thing about blogging is interacting with others. Don’t hesitate to comment on other people’s blog, because I know almost all bloggers really enjoy talking with others. Commenting should be a way to express your opinion on a topic and shows that you are interested in what they have to say. Just saying “great post!” would probably not result in an in-depth discussion about the post. Better would be something like: “I agree on you with the main character, she was just really annoying and uninteresting to read about. I really enjoyed reading your opinions on this book!”
  • Gaining followers is not easy. Don’t expect to have a lot of followers in the first few weeks/months. But if you persevere and keep having fun and interesting content, the followers will come eventually. What is most important is engaging with them!
  • Forget about the numbers. Blogging should be something you do for fun and for yourself, so don’t worry too much about page-views and stats.
  • Twitter is really great for bloggers, you can connect really easily to people and engaging in chats really helps you to expand your contacts.
  • Another thing that can help is to have a nice layout on your blog, if it looks sloppy and impossible to read, people will visit your blog less.

What is your best tip on blogging?

Sorry not nominating anyone because I really should get back to writing my story for Short Story Society! Has anyone seen my inspiration? I think I lost it.

10 Things I learned about Blogging

Since I started blogging about 3 months ago, a lot has changed, not only in my life but also in my blogging style. Since yesterday I officially got 50 followers on wordpress and I am really thankful for that, SO THANK YOU GUYS! I hope you all like my blog and you can always contact me if you want to talk 🙂

In these past months I’ve learned a lot and therefore the following list: 10 things I’ve learned from blogging!

  1. You should write about things you love, otherwise it will feel like you “have to” write, and it will become forced.
  2. The blogging community wakes up when I’m going to bed. This has probably to do with time-zones, but my statistics say that the posts I write late at night are viewed more often. Statistics don’t lie!
  3. People don’t actually read a lot of reviews. Not that I read a lot of reviews, so no pressure, but my reviews are often less viewed than other posts. Maybe there is some relation with point 2 on this list.
  4. Commenting is a lot of fun. It also helps you to gain followers and find new blogs to follow. I love getting comments and talking to all of you!
  5. My brain is more creative at night. The words seem to come more easily at night and when I’m in bed at night I usually get at least five different post ideas that I then forget. I actually bought a notebook to write all my ideas and plans down.
  6. Reading and reviewing ARCs is a lot of fun and actually not that hard to do.
  7. Blog posts don’t have to be long. Sometimes I see a very long blog post and then it all starts to look like a newspaper article and my brain starts protesting. I prefer writing and reading shorter posts.
  8. Gaining followers is really hard in the beginning. It’s like you’re an island in a sea of blogs, but the problem is you don’t have any docks. So the people wont find your island. Once you start building docks, people start noticing you’re there. In this analogy of course the docks are connections/friends. (Sorry if this doesn’t make any sense I thought it up last night and it was really late)
  9. Reading is not a waste of time!
  10. The blogging community is amazing! You are all so nice!!!

What have you learned from blogging?