Hello! Thank you for tuning in tonight! I was sent home an hour early from my full-time job on a Friday night and decided to hop in bed and go silly with all my writing and book-fun.
I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who is new to the blog, thank you so much for taking the time to read and follow! I appreciate you very much! Thank you to everyone who has been here awhile too, it’s nice to have an actual audience! (I know that sounds silly but sometimes online feels so alone but it feels nice knowing that someone may be enjoying what I’m writing.) Thank you from the bottom of my heart and the rest of me too!
I just wanted to describe my process, where it started, what has changed before tonight, and then all the changes I made tonight. This part is for anyone looking for ideas on how to do the same thing themselves but also because I’m really excited for all the changes I’ve made to help myself. I wanted to share it with someone and the only person I know who will truly “geek out” for me/with me is my sister and I’m pretty sure she just does it because she’s an amazing big sister who is very supportive of my dreams and goals. #winning though, right?
(OH! The reason I brought my sister was up was to say at this hour, she’s asleep and I can’t tell her until I go to sleep and wake up later today/realistically tomorrow. Instead, I’m telling you all first because I want to write and I’m super excited for myself, it’s the little things Y’all!)
I wanted to improve my writing skills and some advice I found online was to do more reading. Read everything, read out of your comfort zone, read reviews and blogs online, read new books, read old books, read classics, read the stuff you said you’d never read! Read it all and never stop reading. Sort of like checking out your competition but also like setting up challenges for yourself to improve. (I say yourself but I mean myself.)
Once I found that advice I found an advertisement online for Book of The Month Club. [BOTM] (It’s funny how these days you think of something, looking something up online, or talk to a friend about something and the next thing you know there are ads for related subjects all over the internet!) I checked out BOTM and decided I wanted to join.
>I would be more than happy to write another post related to the BOTM Club and all the details if you’re interested in their services but I’d like to hear from you all if you want that post so I don’t flood you with unwanted content. I’d be happy to post it though if you’re interested and I can include a link to their site for you to check out as well, please let me know. <
Back to my journey from then until now though . . . I started with wanting to improve my writing, found advice to read a lot, so that meant I needed to start reading for real. I stopped reading after high school because I no longer had a library inside a building I went to every day of the week. Yes, I know, I could literally go to my local library and solve that issue to begin with but I didn’t care then. I care now, and now I’m part of the BOTM Club. I have started reading more and I’ve done a few reviews/reports and posted them online for everyone. I hope you have enjoyed them so far. I will be honest, when I first started there was no plan of attack. I just read a book and then when I’m done, I write a review on the book, like a book report from school, and post it online. Then as I wrote a few I started creating structure.
I still don’t have a solid structure though, and that does bother me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want my audience to come to my page and see each post looks exactly alike. But I do want a structure for behind the scenes while I’m doing this to help aid in my process. From the start until about a month ago I would do the posts the same way. I’d start with reading the book, then as soon as I finished the book I would pull out my cell phone and click a picture of the book cover. I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to pass someone’s writing off as my own. I also didn’t want to confuse anyone if there was another book in the world with a similar name. I would post the book cover on this website and begin writing details of the book and then review the story itself.
I still have a lot of work I need to do and there is so much I want to decide on such as the style of my posts. But tonight I made some silly and fun changes to my process. I now have two separate journals that I’ll be taking notes in along the way. Details of the story that may be crucial for a review, character names and maybe details of character if they become relevant. Such as my review on The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang-a detail that was important was the main character is autistic and highly successful in life. Often times, when someone mentions that the character is autistic they use it in a manner to put the character at a disadvantage and it becomes this gray cloud over said character. However, she uses that as both a strength and a weakness for her character. I really loved that book and I love her writing style, if you haven’t read that novel yet, I highly recommend it. It was voted as one of the top four finalists in the 2018 book of the year for the BOTM Club. Usually, a small detail about a character wouldn’t be important to include in the review . . . unless it is important and I want to make sure I capture what is important to me.
I understand that you and I may find differences in a book. What you find interesting and what I find interesting may be completely different. Which is why I’d love to hear what you have to say about any of the books we have read in common. If you have any suggestions on what I should read, always feel free to leave it in a comment or reach out in any way, I’d love to hear it!
Tonight though! (I know I am starting to ramble and I’m sorry for that, I have been up for way too long now and it’s getting close to time for bed. A smart or professional version of myself would say to pause my writing, save as a draft, delete most of this later then proofread it, edit half this out and submit later in the day as a better post. I have put a lot of work into this post already and now I’m almost to that stubborn point where I want you to see that I’m human just like all of you. I’m learning, I’m exploring, and I’m trying to be more personal with my audience. I don’t want all of you to think this blog site is just for some boring book nerd to log all her books. I want you to see that I’m a mom, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister and an aunt, I’m a person, I work full-time and read in my free time, I like to write more than I like to read. I want to connect with my audience and build conversations with you too! This blog does not have to be one-sided, you are more than welcome to share your comments, thoughts, improvements, advice, and so on . . . here for me to read and reply to. We can be a community of readers, writers, and people bored on the internet at all hours of the day and night. Now that I got that little rant out of my way, I think I will continue my sleep deprived post and publish tonight/now today anyways because I talked myself into it.
So, I got off work early and came home. I started going through some of my stuff to get ready for my next book review that should be coming out this weekend. The novel will be No Exit and I’m so excited to write that review! Be on the lookout for that either later today or throughout this weekend sometime! (After I have actually gotten sleep and can focus on the actual point, unlike right now, again . . . I apologize. 😀
My point is this: My sister and I both use the BOTM Club. She likes to read in her free time, I like to read a good story AND write. The BOTM Club offers up to five options but you can’t pick ALL five in one month. I was hoping to get a couple of people to join me in reading the books and we all can pick one, two, or three books (three is MAX for each box they send you) and depend on how many people I could get to join me would determine who got what books. If everyone picked one or two books we could switch them out and read them all together if we wanted to read the other books as well. There are some months I want to read all five, during those months I write down the books I don’t get so I can go back and get them later when I have time. Instead of me getting all five books for each month, I pick my favorites and read them, my sister picks her favorites and reads them, then we switch. We usually tell each other what we are getting that way we don’t order the exact same books. If we want the same books I let her choose and then I get the others and read them while she reads the books she chose. She isn’t forced to read my books if she doesn’t want to but I do offer her the chance if I think she’d like it or if she is bored and has nothing else to read.
Now that I have explained that part to you, now I can explain why I am posting this. Tonight when I got home from work, I wanted to do my review on No Exit. I have most of the details written down, I have my picture for my book cover, but I already gave her the book while she was here visiting last time, so I do not have the book on me. Since this is all new to my new process, there’s a lot of information I’m missing that I think I would put in the book review. But! It did give me an idea on how to improve my system so this doesn’t happen again and to give me a chance to set up a rough draft as I go through a book and prepare me to write the review before I’ve even finished the book. Obviously, I can’t write an actual review on a book I have not finished, that’d just be silly and wrong. But I can start it, make it a nice rough draft and then when I finish the book, edit the review up and make it polished, then publish it quicker than I already have been doing.
The point in having a system is for my audience to get more book reviews than they were previously getting but also for each post to be structured and make sense. An occasional post like this is fine to keep things fun and personal but I want to see improvement, and I want you all to see it as well. Right now my process goes a little something like this:
I find my book through family, friends, online recommendations, or my normal favorite, The Book of The Month Club. I read it, and take a picture of the cover. Now: I have one small journal where I keep all the secrets and spoilers including but not limited to: Characters, what the story is about, comments, a post-it note with pages to check for quotes and anything else I deem necessary. Since I have the post-it notes in that book as a reference, I also write them down in a separate, larger “sketchbook” that was intended for “sketching” but I thought would be more fun to use for this purpose. (Mainly because I have two full separate sketch books for drawing and doodles and a small sketch book as well and figured I did not need a third large one and a fourth one in total of sketchbooks. I do not draw enough for four sketchbooks at once even though I love having extras of everything in case one gets ruined.) In the sketchbook I will keep the direct quotes and other full-length details that wouldn’t fit in my small journal. I’m doing this as a back up in case I give the book to a friend or my sister to read before I write the review. From now on, I won’t have any issues of missing details because I don’t have the book. I can also keep track along the way while reading a book of details and quotes I think are important AS I’m reading. It will be cool to see what I think is important only to find out in the end if I was right or not.
I can track if the author did a good job throwing me off or if they were as predictable as I thought they were. I can keep track of details I noticed because the author made it seem important even if in the end it was not important at all and just a side story for entertainment. This is my mindset while I’m reading. I track what the author is doing, how they are doing it, and if I agree with it or not. Sometimes I think they are doing it all wrong, but that’s usually when the author blindsides me and I fall in love with their writing. As you may have noticed in a few of the reviews though, not all authors have done that for me. There have been a few that I was disappointed in because I was expecting for that moment to happen and it never did. BUT! That is part of MY process here for you guys. I want to report that a certain book or a certain author did not do that for me, or that the book was missing details, had a cliff hanger, something. I don’t just want to tell you every book was great and I loved it. I want to also showcase the ones I didn’t like and be as open and honest about those books as well. I want to show you WHY I didn’t agree or like something. And the reason for that, personally, is so one day when I’m in their shoes and someone reads my book, I want them to LOVE it. And if they didn’t love the story, I at least want to know that I wrote it well enough that it was realistic and made sense overall.
*Unlike this post tonight. At this point, we all just need to laugh at me and tell me to go to bed. I started this around 2 or three AM and it’s now six AM. I should have gone to bed about Four AM to be fair.*
To recap: Where I started was wanting to improve my writing. The advice given from a successful author was to read, always read, read EVERYTHING! So I found a book club service to get some more books delivered right to my house. Once I started reading them, I decided to write a review and post it online so that the public can read my review and decide if I sound educated or incompetent. (Also if they had any good suggestions for me to read. Or any helpful advice to write better, such as my poor grammar and punctuation.)
Where I am now: Pretty much the exact same place as where I started. I read more than I did two years ago, a lot more! I love that. I write more, but not exactly by much because I love writing and I try to make it a daily habit for myself in one way or another. I read more, I take a picture of the book, I now have two separate books to help write details, notes, and quotes in for the review process. When I sit down to write my next review, I have all the information in two spots, aside from the book itself, to look back through and remember all the good and some of the bad too and share it with an audience. And lately, I have been adding links to each post on where you can get more information on the book, where you can buy the book for yourself as well or just a link to the author that sometimes has all three categories covered in one location. Overall, I’d say my organization is coming along nicely.
In this post, I have mentioned several times of interacting with my audience more. What are your thoughts? Did I write too much in THIS post? Do you want me to write a post ONLY about the BOTM Club with a provided link to their site for services? Do you have any advice for me regarding anything mentioned in this or other posts? Such as book recommendations, grammar issues, punctuation issues, run-on sentences, rambling, etc.? I’d love to hear what you think. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and joining me on this crazy rambling midnight/mid-morning journey. I do apologize for how crazy it was to follow and keep up with. I like to chat and sometimes I go overboard like I’m doing it again right now. Thank you for your patience and understanding. You are the real MVP! Have a wonderful night, day, weekend or week! Whatever it is for you when you read this. 😀