Every blogger is different. Some of us blog every day, others once a week, or perhaps we sit down and queue up as many posts as we can at one time (I fall into this group). No matter the blogger, we all have our own ways of doing things.
I’m primarily a book blogger. Occasionally, I’ll post about movies or fun projects I come across. But books are my biggest passion. I love readings and reviewing. I’m a different kind of blogger now than I was when I first started. Initially, I was afraid of having a controversial opinion. I rated books fairly high because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone and I hated nit-picking so I would gloss over things I didn’t like. Now, I prefer to give my honest opinion. If I don’t like a book, I’ll tell you. But I’ll also state why. I know every reader is different. And perhaps someone will like a book for the same reason I disliked it. I mention these things because these thoughts go into every book I read.
Any time I pick up a book, I’m armed with three things: pens, post-it notes, and post-it flags. I rarely write in my books or margins, but sometimes I feel the need to. The pens are primarily for the notes I make on my post-its. Sometimes I’ll write out theories I have, questions to come back to, or I’ll want to mark a specific passage.
The post-it flags are my most important blogging tool. If you want to take my approach, you can use anything you want as long as there are five different colors. I use this specific set from amazon because I can buy them in bulk and always have access to the specific colors I need: blue, red, green, purple, and yellow. I use blue to mark any quotations that stand out to me. Sometimes these quotes just sound beautiful, or they’re something I want to reflect on/come back to later. Red is for any “red flags” I come across. These red flags can be anything that stands out to you or doesn’t sit right. Usually, if I have a gut feeling that something isn’t right, I mark it. Green is for important character traits or attributes. I use these if I get characters confused or think that a character is having a defining moment. Purple is for facts/revelations that I think are pertinent to the storyline. Sometimes I’m completely off base, but usually my gut steers me in the right direction. Finally, yellow is used for any other general notes that I want to mark. Maybe there’s a scene or a description that I liked or have questions about.
After I read, I grab a notebook that has all of my quick reviews. I’ll write my first impressions of the book, what I liked or disliked, as well as a few short sentences that can help jog my memory when I’m going to finally sit down and review a book. I’d like to tell you that I have a fast turn around for reviews, but I don’t. Often times, I want to sit and think about a book before I review it. I’m an emotional reader. If I write my review as soon as I finish reading, I’ll get too caught up in my emotions and won’t give a book its fair time. This way, I can step away from the book and think about it in the back of my mind for a while.
A question I’ve been asked before and I wish I had a solid answer to is “how does your rating system work?” I use a total of five stars and will use half stars to help gauge a book. Because I reflect on books individually, I rarely ever compare books to each other. Unless it’s part of a series or maybe an author I’ve read numerous books from before. But generally, I look at each book by itself. One and two star books are simply books I would not recommend reading. The poor review will typically go beyond just not liking the book. I try to explain the reasons why I wouldn’t recommend it, from it being poorly written to there being too many loose ends or plot gaps. Three star reviews are for books that I think were okay and I would likely recommend, but didn’t sit right with me. Perhaps I didn’t like the subject area or topic involved. Four star reviews are common for me. They mean I liked the book and would recommend them to almost anyone. I try to save five star reviews for books that blew me away. Maybe it was some of the best writing I’ve come across in a while or the story was so nicely done that I will tell everyone about it. I try to remain fair, but sometimes my bias comes out.
What’s your method of blogging?