As this fall semester comes to an end, I have a unique way of reflecting on all the work I have done and created as a result of this course. I now have my blog Procrastireader, which I hope to continue posting on in the future! When I got into this course, I knew that I wanted to create a book-related blog as reading is one of my passions. I have the online book community to thank for introducing me to so many great new books and providing me with amazing content.
To begin, I had never used WordPress before so that was a learning curve. Having to do online school from home, made it easier to feel frustrated when I would spend hours on something and still be stuck. To be honest, if my blog wasn’t for a class I probably would have given up at some point early on, and gone with Bookstagram or Twitter instead. I am lucky I already had a friend in the class so we shared tips with each other, and I also spent hours watching countless WordPress tutorials on YouTube. Now being a lot more comfortable with WordPress, I am glad I had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, realize the process wasn’t so bad, and have a new platform for content!
Once I got a hang of the basics, I delved into the creative aspect of my blog including the design and aesthetic. I discovered the magic of Canva for creating and customizing graphics, and worked on developing a theme for different posts on my blog. For example, with my process posts, I chose to put a search bar on the featured image to write a question that I reflect on in the post. For peer reviews, I used images from my peers’ blogs along with a graphic I felt represented their blog. For my other posts, I wanted the focus to be on the image but I used a transparent square to make sure the title was also visible. I wanted a way to sneak my love of photography into my blog as well, so I took a few new photos, used some from my old Bookstagram account, and also incorporated random photos sitting in my camera roll into images for process posts. Though I do use photos off of Canva from time to time, I love using my own photos as it gives my posts an additional personal and creative touch.
I have created an “Academic Archives” section on my blog, which after the conclusion of this course I plan to use as a sort of portfolio and add my best schoolwork related to literature. The article “Why we need Social Paper,” caused me to reflect on the many papers I have written during high school and university, some of which I was very proud of. Beyond whoever marks the work, there often is no space for student writing to be read and shared (Glass). When I am given creative freedom I often like to connect my writing to books, music, or tv shows that I enjoy, which have turned into some of my favourite pieces. By putting them on my blog, I will expose my work to be read and appreciated by a larger audience beyond just my professor, TAs, or friends who edit or mark my work. Since I have been writing on my blog in a personal and informal tone, this section would also be an opportunity to showcase my more formal work.
My Online Self
Through my blog, I aim to share honest and unfiltered thoughts including stories, reviews, and recommendations with others in the book community, specifically with those who enjoy diverse YA books like I do. I got to share my blog with a few of my friends who are into reading, so it was really fun to be able to hear their feedback and what they enjoyed from my blog. I haven’t been getting many comments on my blog, aside from my wonderful peer reviewers in PUB 101, but I hope by engaging more in the future with the book blog community I can increase interaction.
Google Analytics has been really interesting to see, especially when I was still working on the set up of my blog. Through analytics, I noticed I have a few “lurkers” on my page. This article explains that 90% of social media users are “lurkers,” undetected users who may only be noticed through analytics. “[Lurkers] are the people who usually never comment on posts, never share pictures, never ‘like’ what you have posted—they simply don’t give feedback on social media sites. It doesn’t mean they aren’t there, and it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. They ARE interested, and they are clicking your links” (Little). I could see that a lot of people were visiting the “About Me” or “Contact” page which initially surprised me. I did not have much there at first so I made sure to add more content to these pages. This added to the personality of my blog which I think is important to connect with my readers right away. While I am “The Procrastireader,” my blog is essentially for anyone who relates to being a procrastireader.
After finishing a book, one of my favourite things to do is watch BookTube videos where the creators share their thoughts on the book and make many other creative videos. Some of my favourites include PolandBananasBooks’ Book Talks and Read With Cindy who often has me laughing in her videos even when I haven’t read the book.
I also follow accounts on Bookstagram and Twitter, many of which also have book blogs, which gave me some ideas of what layout and features I wanted to include on my own blog. Two accounts I referred to a lot were Forever and Everly, and Books With Chaima. Referring to their blogs helped me to get a better idea of pages and sections I might want to add to my blog while picturing how to make it my own. I decided to add a “book tags” section like BookswithChaima and Forever and Everly’s “about” section inspired me to also share my “favourites” beyond books on my blog.
At the beginning of the semester, we watched a video called “Obvious to you. Amazing to others.” which really resonated with me. The video explains how when we read an amazing book or watch a show, we may be in awe of the creator and wonder how they ever came up with it. Then when it comes to an idea we have, we may see it as obvious or “nothing special,” though in reality it might be seen as amazing by someone else! I often get creative ideas but worry I will not be able to do them well, or that it is not that great of an idea, which limits my creativity. This blog really became a creative outlet for me during the semester when I did not have enough time to follow a lot of my other creative endeavours. It was something I had to keep up with, even if at times I wasn’t sure if my ideas were the best.
While I enjoyed writing my posts, a lot of time went into actually formatting the posts to be on my blog. I am a very visual learner, especially when it comes to remembering a book by the cover, so it was important for me to add photos and make my posts visually engaging. The characters are a major part of a book for me and I love seeing them come to life in fan-art after reading a book, so this was something I wanted to include if I could. Besides official art, I contacted an artist to ask for permission to use their amazing Call Down The Hawk art on my blog and I was delighted when they said yes. I felt by including art, readers would be even more interested in picking up the book I was reviewing or recommending as it gives life to the story! This was also very full circle to me as I felt as if I was engaging in the book community rather than just being a lurker.
This is not the end
Procrastireader has become a place for me to share my excitement and love for books, and it allowed me to put many of the incoherent thoughts I have after reading into actual words that I can share with others! I think that I will carry on with Procrastireader because I will continue to read books and have a lot of things to say about them. I think that is why I chose to base my blog into my love for reading because it is something I will always be able to write about.
BookswithChaima. “Book Tags” WordPress blog, https://bookswithchaima.wordpress.com/category/book-tags/
Forever and Everly. “About” WordPress blog, https://foreverandeverly.wordpress.com/about/
Glass, Erin. “Why we need Social Paper” CUNY Academic Commons, 11 Dec 2015, https://commons.gc.cuny.edu/papers/45249/
Little, Joey. “Do You Know Who’s Lurking? 90% of Social Media Users don’t publicly interact.” Linkedin, 2 April 2015, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-you-know-whos-lurking-90-social-media-users-lurkers-joey-little
PolandBananasBOOKS. “Booktalk with Xtinemay” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLY0UceE3xBWkOL6q25CIlB0E3c3KnyYya
ReadWithCindy. “Book WrapUps” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfDByaG5ml_7gv2NnvSUTN78EFOiGlSi8
Sivers, Derek. “Obvious to you. Amazing to others. – by Derek Sivers” YouTube, 28 Jun 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcmI5SSQLmE