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Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started a Blog

Three years ago I started my first blog. I don't remember the exact day, but today is the day I have sort of unofficially set as my blog's birthday. It has been quite the journey. I've grown and I've learned so much from blogging, and I really wouldn't trade this wonderful experience for anything.

This is not an advise post. I'm pretty terrible at giving advise, and all of those "you-should-blog-like-me-because-look-at-all-the-followers-I-have-don't-you-want-to-be-like-me" posts are all the same and are all so annoying (most of the time. I have read a couple that were actually good). This is more of a letter to my younger self, and a reminder to me in the present. These are the things I wish I knew before I started blogging, and the things I'm still trying to learn.


Don't be cocky
I was thirteen when I started my first blog, and I was very cocky and proud. I get embarrassed now thinking about it. I had wanted to start a blog, but my parents wouldn't let me quite yet, so I spent my time reading blogs to see just how it was done. By the time I was finally given the okay by my parents to start up a blog of my own I felt like I knew everything there was to know about blogging. All I had to do was post, and the followers would just start rolling in. Its terrible, I know. I'm always the type of person that tries to be the best at everything, and then when I realize I'm not the best it can hit me pretty hard. Humility is a thing I'm working at, but I'm glad to say that I have changed since I was thirteen. I know I'm not the greatest blogger in the whole of the universe, and I'm okay with that. 

Only follow the blogs you'll actually read
In other words, don't follow other, smaller blogs hoping for a follow back. This was something I did, and still do sometimes, I'm sorry to say. Bloggers want followers, and sometimes they forget that there are actual living, breathing people behind the number on their dashboard. When I went through the list of blogs that I followed on bloglovin' I was stunned at how many blogs I had forgotten about, ones that I didn't really care about, ones that I had only followed because surely they would follow me back and boost my follower number. I have discovered that it is better to follow only blogs I actually like to read. The followers will come, don't waste your time or other bloggers' time follower hunting. It just isn't fun in the long run.

Don't judge other blogs based on design
Here's something I have learned over the course of my blogging career: not everyone cares about the way their blog looks. I know, it came as a shock to me too. When I started blogging I thought blog design was the most important thing in the world. And it's sad, but I would have a hard time reading other people's blogs if their design was terrible. But, yeah. There are actually bloggers who just want to blog, and who don't worry about how their background clashes with their header. And their are some people who might care about their design, they just don't quite know how to do it yet. I take it for granted sometimes that I know HTML and forget that not everybody understands it. Sometimes I wish I didn't care about design as much as I do, but it's okay. That's just the type of blogger I am.

Don't compare yourself to other blogs
This is the most important thing that everyone in the blogging world must know and understand. The blogosphere is a huge place, full of all sorts of people of all sorts of talents and strengths. Some are better writers than others, and some have more followers than others. It's so, so, so, so, so easy to be reading other bigger blogs in your blog-genre who are more popular than you and get discouraged. But please, don't give up. Those popular bloggers went through the same thing at some point, I guarantee it, and look, they broke the barricade and made it to the top. Over time you will find your voice, the thing that will make you stand out against the rest, and you will make it. It might take you awhile, but you will, I promise!
***
Thank you so much for reading my words. I know you probably haven't been here for the whole three years, but I'm glad you're here. This blog is one of my most favorite things in the world, and it just blows me away that you actually take time out of your day to read what I have to say.

Here's to another year! 

The Hot Air Balloon

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I clutch the rope as tightly as I can until I cannot feel the tips of my fingers anymore. The wind plays with my hair, loosening my tight ponytail, and letting the loose strands dance in front of my eyes. I do not mind, though. Nothing can make my hands abandon the rope. It is not that I am frightened of falling. It is excitement, not fear that makes me feel as if I am going to tumble out of the basket.

I lean over to get a better view of the world I left behind. Miles upon miles of corn fields and rolling green hills spread out in front of me, like a beautiful patchwork quilt made of only green fabric.

"Where are we going to land?" I ask.

"I don't know,” You shrug. “Does it matter?"

I shake my head. No.

When I am up here, surrounded by nothing but clouds, sky, and fresh air, all of the worry, fear, and stress I left behind on Earth seem so minuscule. I look at you. I can see a light in your eyes, and somehow I know that you feel the same way I do.

I can feel you standing close to me, and I slowly loosen my grip on the rough, prickly rope, allowing you to fill your hand in mine. I can feel a smile spread across my face as we drift off into the distance, fading away into the honey-orange sunset. Everything was going to be alright.

We let the wind take us wherever it pleases. I do not worry about where we will land. It will be a different and better place, far away from where we have come from. That is all that matters.

 Dedicated to a friend.

getting myself out of this reading slump

It's been quite awhile since I have participated in Top Ten Tuesday (granted, it's been quite awhile since I've done anything in the blogging world), so I figured I'd join up again this week.

In case you aren't aware, Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. It's a weekly thing, but I only do it every other week unless the topic for the week is just too good to resist! :)

This week's topic is: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List. 

If you're friends with me on Goodreads, you probably know that my TBR list is ginormous and utterly terrifying. You might look at my shelf and think "Pfftt, that's nothing compared to mine!", and maybe it isn't, but to me it is quite daunting. I just hear of so many irresistible books all the time, and I tend to think I can take on waaay more than I actually can. There are books that have been sitting on my virtual shelf for years, ones that I actually have no desire to actually read anymore, but I just can't get myself to take them off. *sigh* such is the life of a compulsive reader.

But actually during my blogging hiatus I was also in the midst of the worst reading slump in the entire history of the universe. I have finished probably about five books in the past six months. That is very bad. I guess this isn't going to be the year I read 100 books.

So, with the start of a new school year I am desperately hoping to get back into reading. I have several books from several genres that I'm going to try to read during the Fall season. There's no theme here, and none of these are particularly Autumn-y, but simply books I am just dying to read right now!
***

1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I just bought this book the other day, and I have been constantly eyeing it ever since. I have heard so many good things about it, and I just know it shall make me weep! But sometimes you just need a book that can make you cry, you know?

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Yes, I haven't read this yet, even though I've wanted to for a long, long time. Everyone in the whole world seems to be obsessed with it, and I have had several friends recommend it to me. I just haven't gotten around to it.   

3. Splendor by Anna Godberson
This is the final book in The Luxe series. I have mixed feelings about all the books in this series, but I do want to see it to the end since I've made it this far. (And I must know what happens to Henry and Diana. I must!)

4. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I have heard absolutely nothing but amazing things about this book. It sounds very quirky and fun, but I honestly don't really know what it's about. But the title itself is enough to make me want to go and snatch it up right now, so it must be great!

5. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
I can't decide if I really want to read this book, or if I just don't want to feel guilty. I bought this book waaay back in July for no real reason. I don't really want it anymore, but I feel as if I should read it before deciding to give it away. Oh well, it should be an interesting read.

6. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Despite the fact that this is a summer book (or at least, I always think of it as a summer book), I really want to give it a go this fall. 

7. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Obviously, there is no way I'm ever going to get to this one this year, but I want to read it so badly I just couldn't not put it on my to-read list. I am determined to read it someday, though!

Even though I have already read this book awhile ago, I really want to reread it in October to satisfy my inevitable craving for a creepy book. I might even finally pick up Hollow City along with it!

9. Every Day by David Levithan
Just another book I've heard so much about but haven't been able to get a hold of myself...

10. Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery
I would really, really love to read the entire AoGG series this school year sometime. Anne is my spirit animal.
***
Are there any books on your TBR you're particularly looking forward to this autumn? If you also did the Top Ten Tuesday linkup, please share the link to yours, I'd love to read what sort of beautiful books you listed! :) 

I guess this is how you keep a journal?

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I have never, ever been able to keep a journal... ever!

I've always liked the idea of a journal. I have a whole drawer full of fancy notebooks that just sit there completely empty of any writing, And a part of me always longs to put my words in them.

I do... but then about a week later I have no desire to write in my "journal" anymore, and it slowly makes its way back to where it came from, to my drawer of abandoned journals.

So, naturally, when my composition class teacher said that we would all be writing a journal throughout the school year I was a little nervous. She didn't know that all my attempts to write a journal fail tragically. But as she kept talking about it, how we were supposed to write and what she expected, I began to get a bit excited.

You see, I had never realized before that there was a difference between a journal and a diary. To me they were always the same thing. Just a notebook where you simply list every single thing that happens to to throughout the day. But, no. That, my friends is a diary.

A journal is something that sounds much more fun and appealing to me. A journal is where you talk about your feelings, where you can write about exciting things, and where you can write about your dreams.

As my teacher went on, I had an epiphany! A journal is a lot like... a blog!

I found it kind of funny actually. I had been keeping a journal and hadn't even known it.
***
So, yeah, I'm going to be writing in an actual, real journal. Maybe I'll even share some of my profound entries with you (well, that is, if I actually have any profound entries). 

But, in all honesty I do think this will be good for me. I don't like people reading my work out loud. You can read any of my writing whenever you want, just don't read it out loud to me or I will scratch your eyeballs out! 

All of my journal entries must also be only a page long, which shall be a challenge for me. If you haven't noticed, I tend to get a bit carried away and write some really unnecessarily long things. (seriously, if I start to get long winded, you have my permission to slap me.)

I'm not so sure how well this will all go, but I'm actually hopeful about this one. :)

this is what happens when you disappear

I didn't mean to disappear, but sometimes you really can't help it. My life has been filled to the brim with pure insanity. So many things have been happening, some good, some not-so-good. Some I will be sharing with you, some I will be keeping to myself.

I've missed this blog very much, I have missed my online friends, and writing out my thoughts.

But the thing is, once you've left the bloggy world for as long as I have (six months. wowzers!), you're sort of forgotten about. Maybe every once in a while someone has logged into their blogger dashboard, saw my blog name on their reading list and just wonder "whatever did happen to that person?" They probably just shrugged it off, though, and moved on with their lives.

It's sort of like I've disintegrated into nothingness.

The other day I went through my feed on bloglovin', scanning through the never ending list of unread blog posts that had accumulated during my long absence, and I started to think. I thought about when I first started blogging three years ago. I thought about how great it was, how exciting and new and shiny the internet world was. I thought about the old blogs I used to follow and read faithfully, and I realized that most of them had just simply vanished from cyberspace. Granted, some of them did give a quickly written farewell speech, but most of them just... stopped.

A part of me wishes that I could go back to then, when blogging was simple, and the thought of having 10 followers was enough to make me jump with excitement. Back when my fingers itched to write about the tiniest and most insignificant things of life.

...But I realize that sometimes things have to change. You grow. You learn things about yourself that you couldn't have ever conceived before. And sometimes you just have to start over.

So, I'm back. Mostly. It was a long, hard, and unexpected break. Things are different now, and I shall talk about that all in due time. I'll talk about wordpress, and why it didn't work out, I'll talk about all the life that has been happening, I'll review books (though, it might be a little different), I'll read, and comment on other blogs. Slowly, but surely, I will fall back into place.

Thank you. I'm excited :)