How are you all doing? Ready for another round of Q&As?
Last week I answered your guys’s questions about reading and books. Today I will be talking about writing, blogging and life! Super excited to get started 🙂
Any advice or tips for a newer blogger? (Jasmine @ Jasmine’s Reading Blog, Ivy @ Ivy’s Well Used Library Card, Sumaiya) / If you could go back and offer the Sophie of 1 year ago one piece of blogging advice, what would it be? (Beth @ Reading Every Night)
- Get involved with the community! It is one of the best aspects of blogging. Make sure to blog-hop and comment back – these are so essential for building great friendships on the blogosphere. Tags are fun too.
- Write honestly. If everyone in the world seems to love a book that you’re not fond of, don’t be afraid to say it. (However make sure that you are tactful and do not criticize the author)
- Write what you love. Are there any genre(s) that you love? Any books or characters that you want to fangirl about? Do you have a hobby outside of reading, like writing, TV shows or something else? Write about it!
- Keep at it! Don’t be discouraged comparing yourself to others. If you make posts consistent and put out great content, your blog will be noticed.
If I could offer myself a piece of advice a year ago, it would be this last one. When I began blogging, I was impressed but intimidated by bloggers who had a much bigger following, and I thought, “wow, there is no way that I will ever get there.” The key is to keep going, not give up, and *try* not to stress about stats 🙂
What is the best thing you’ve discovered through blogging? (Beth @ Reading Every Night)
The community! The blogging community is so encouraging and positive. I never ever had a negative comment in the last year that I’ve been here. I love that I discovered so many amazing books from the community, and that I got to know some fellow bloggers well.
Favorite social media? (Annie @ Annie Likes Words)
Other than WordPress, Twitter is my next fav. I love conciseness, so 140-character (or now, 280-character) tweets are perfect for me. I also love that Twitter helps me stay up to date with worldly news- never would’ve known about Laurel/Yanni otherwise.
How do you organize your blogging life? How do you balance work, life, reading, blogging, and writing? (Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books, Zoie @ Whisked Away By Words, The Book Loving Pharmacist, Annie @ Annie Likes Words)
It’s hard, isn’t it? We all have competing priorities that are important but much less fun (like school! or work!)
What works for me is to create a schedule and stick to it. This is my blogging:
- Sunday: Write 2 blog posts for next week. I make sure they are all tee-d up with graphics and everything.
- Monday, Thursday: Publish my blog posts in the morning.*
- Tuesday, Friday: Blog hop, which includes commenting back and catching up on my newsfeed.
- Every day: Reply to comments.
I read on my commute every day and usually a little bit before bedtime. I try to write everyday (but it doesn’t always happen.) I always say “yes” to get-togethers with friends and coworkers, though I re-organize my blogging, writing, and exercise schedules around it.
One thing I learned is to be realistic and flexible with my schedule. Since I work 8-10 hours a day, I know there is NO way I can do 4 posts a week without stressing myself out. Two posts a week is the most that I can accomplish if I can continue to enjoy blogging. I also learned to not beat myself up if I don’t get as much done as I hoped. After all, blogging is a hobby and it should make us happy right?
*I am paranoid of using the “schedule post” feature on WordPress, so I literally log onto WP first thing in the morning and manually make the post myself! LOL I know I’m a bit crazy.
What is your writing and editing process like? Does it change with each novel that you write? (Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books)
My writing process is definitely evolving with each novel and each draft that I do. My first Nanowrimo novel (which should never see the light of day, ever) was a complete seat-of-the-pants approach. I had NO idea what I was going to write. In recent years, with later drafts of Matt & Olivia, Children of the Sun and especially Shapeshifter, I’ve decided to take a more structured approach. With my current novel Shapeshifter, I am taking the time to outline each scene that will occur in the novel (with the help of the Snowflake Method which I am definitely telling you guys about soon!) So far I love that I am catching plot holes before I even begin writing 🙂
To be honest I haven’t quite gotten the hang of editing. This is what I’ve been doing:
- After taking a break from writing (6 weeks or much longer), I re-read my novel. At this point I am thinking “Wow, this is actually not bad! I am ingenious!”
- I sleep on it for a few days or a week, and realize that THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS THAT I NEED TO FIX.
- Fiance reads my draft… “Love the story, but axe Character Y. Merge Characters X and Z. I don’t really care about Character W when he dies- Make him more relatable.”
- Cry for a few days.
- Re-evaluate the plot and make structural changes. Decide which scenes to take out and which to keep. If I am writing out a character, I need to rethink the scenes that they appear in.
- Then…. Start writing again from the top.
How would you describe your writing voice? (Tasya @ The Literary Huntress)
I’ve been told that I have a positive and energetic voice when it comes to blogging. I also try to be funny 🙂
As for my novel writing voice, I am still figuring that out! I’d like to think that I have a witty sense of humour and an aptitude for metaphors. (Or… getting there some day haha.)
What first motivated you to write? (The Orangutan Librarian)
When I was growing up in China, my grandpa read his stories to me. I enjoyed them so much at the time, even though to be honest I was probably too young to even understand his stories! When I started grade school in Canada, I wrote my first story as a part of an English as a Second Language class. (This was grade 2 and it was a short story about rabbits or something LOL.) I discovered that I actually enjoyed writing, and it didn’t feel like homework for me.
What’s your favourite breakfast? (Norrie @ Reading Under the Blankie)
Home-made French toast!!!! I also love omelette with toast (although someone will have to make that for me haha…)
What’s a food you could never live without? (Kat @ Life & Other Disasters)
Dark chocolate. I would go crazy without it! I think I am an addict haha… I also have to have meat everyday.
What are your favourite desserts? (Michael @ Ex Libris)
Anything dark chocolate-flavoured!
What’s your all-time favorite TV-show, the one you always go back to and watch over and over again? (Hope)
To be honest I don’t watch much TV now! However one TV show that I really enjoyed as a child and have rewatched many times is Huan Zhu Ge Ge (My Fair Princess) which is the story of an orphan girl who masquerades as the long lost daughter of the emperor of China.
Who is the biggest influence in your life? (Hope)
Mom, dad and my family in China who has taught me, growing up, that hard work is the key to success.
What is a (non-fictional) place you dream of visiting? (Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books)
I want to go to Japan, Europe, and Australia. Also I would love to go on a road trip and revisit Banff and California! Basically anywhere! This is what happens when I have almost no vacation days this year haha :’)
Do you like reading on the beach? (Norrie @ Reading Under the Blankie)
However much I love the idea of reading on the beach, I don’t know if I could do it! I get super distracted when I am reading and need a quiet space.
I read a blog post that you’re getting married?! What season is your wedding? How long have you known the lucky guy? (Vanessa)
We are planning for a May wedding next year. It’s going to be a tiny one. I’ve known the lucky guy for 9 years (whoa!) and we’ve together for almost 7 years. I am so proud of him because he finished medical school and is a resident physician now.
Do you have any exciting plans for the next year, either in terms of your blog or your real life? (Beth @ Reading Every Night)
- More DIY posts!
- Snippets of my new WIP!
- Camp Nano in July.
- Trip to Toronto in August for a friend’s wedding.
- Hoping to do a few sewing projects! (Details and pictures will be shared!)
- Getting married!
What are your plans for the next year? What is your writing and editing process? How do you balance school/work, blogging, reading, and everything in between?