Hello lovelies! CK’s Reading Corner nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award, and I’m honored that she thought I was deserving of being recognized. *wipes a tear away with a frilly, lacy handkerchief* Thanks so much CK! Normally, I only respond/do these the first time I’ve been nominated for the award…please don’t nominate me again, even though it’s quite humbling! So here’s the fun part: the rules. (Well, fun may be a little bit of a stretch, but it will get fun!)
Numero Uno: Select 15 other blogs to give the award to. You might have to do some searching, but you can find those blogs. You can’t nominate yourself or the person who nominated you.
Numero Dos: Make a post to show off your award! Talk about how your blog got started and give some advice to the other bloggers out there. And share the fancy picture!
Numero Tres: Comment on each blog to let the blogger know that you have nominated them.
Numero Quatro: Link to the original post at Edge of Night that way anyway can find the original guidelines and such.
How My Blog Was Born
My blog was born in early February, 2011. In college, I had a class called Digital Literacies, which basically means being able to understand and use the Internet. (Editing Wikipedia pages, blogging, etc. I rolled my eyes at the time too, but it’s more complex than you think.) One of our first assignments was starting a class blog, where we had to post thoughts about a reading assignment and comment on others’ posts. Somehow, it dawned on me that I could be blogging about books this way, sharing my reviews and thoughts on books/genres/etc.
Thank God I was feeling particularly clever the day I made this blog or my name would’ve sucked. Four years later, I’m still giggling at its cleverness.
Rejected blog names: A Novel Idea, Something Novel, Belle of the Ball, Holly’s Bookshelf.
I started off fairly gingerly, writing reviews as I finished books and not really doing anything else. But slowly, I started making top 10 lists, reviewing movies, doing Spotlights, and even Next Big Thing lists. And Belle of the Library took on a life of its own!
My Advice to Other Bloggers
I feel like I’m bursting with ideas for you guys. Let’s see if I can organize my thoughts.
1. FIND YOUR VOICE
I write like I talk. I’m a dork. I say things like, “I mean…” “He like, totally…” “my lovelies.” It’s just kind of who I am. I say stupid things. Exhibit A: return to the top of this post where I used a couple of asterisks and talked about frilly lacy handkerchiefs. Seriously. If it pops into my head, it’s probably finding its way into a post.
Here’s why it’s important to find your voice: your voice is unique. I see other bloggers who have these lengthy posts that are super detailed and in-depth analyses of plots, characters, themes, etc. I envy that. But it’s not my voice. It’s not what gets me interested in a story or fired up (and that’s coming from an English teacher!). I notice what I notice, I write about it, and I turn it over to you guys.
Don’t be afraid to stand out! I love putting the first lines of books into my reviews because those first few sentences completely set the tone for the book. I’m not sure if I’ve seen another blogger who does that.
Also, just stay true to who you are. I make it a point not to curse in my posts and I try to stay away from explicitly talking about anything that would embarrass me should me 12-13 year-old students find this blog. I like being kind of family-friendly, if you can view it that way. So what if there’s another blogger who fires off curse words like a sailor and commenters seem to enjoy that? That’s not me.
2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES
I mean this in a couple of ways. First of all, when it comes to anything new, you’re going to make a few missteps. My first design for this blog was kind of hideous. I changed it every few months to the point where I’m sure it was unrecognizable, even to my most ardent followers. My first reviews are juvenile. I jump around from subject to subject and I don’t go in-depth in my thinking.
You’re going to experiment with things. You may do a segment that only lasts a few weeks and then you never do again. (Hello, movie reviews…) It’s all part of the learning process.
3. DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR OPINIONS
I never realized I did this until I read this quote in Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens:
“Why do girls always feel like they have to apologize for giving an opinion or taking up space in the world? Have you ever noticed that?” Nicole asked. “You go on websites and some girl leaves a post and if it’s longer than three sentences or she’s expressing her thoughts about some topic, she usually ends with, ‘Sorry for the rant’ or ‘That may be dumb, but that’s what I think.”
It’s so true it’s frightening. I make it a point during especially negative or angry reviews to make it clear that this is my opinion and someone else is free to disagree with me, but I will not apologize for it. (In those cases, the best you’d probably get out of me is, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”) Look, blogging is about expressing yourself. And you shouldn’t be scared to express those sentiments if they really mean something to you. If someone attacks you or tries to force an apology, that says something about them, not you.
The New Nominees
1. Katie and Kylie at Polished Page Turners
2. Tara at “We Know Not What We May Be”
3. Jocelyn at 52 Letters in the Alphabet
4. Kim at By Hook or By Book
5. Nikki and Amy at Every Book You Need to Read and More
6. Lynette at Escaping Reality – One Book At A Time
7. Felicia at Felicia Sue Lynn Reviews
8. Erin at Erin Bay
9. Macy at Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books
10. Kate at The Owl and the Reader
11. Evie at Just Another Belle (*cough* I support this name *cough*)
12. Blaise at The Book Boulevard
13. Alice at Alice and the Books
14. Kelechi at Ardent Fangirl
15. Arya at AryaTheFangirl