How to run a blog as a student

As the new academic year has drawn closer, I’ve been thinking back to when I first started my blog in college. When I started, I couldn’t find much advice on how to navigate all of this. I didn’t know how to plan my time, my content, I thought I needed loads of fancy equipment and I felt a bit lost and lonely in it all. At the moment, I feel that many people will probably be starting their own blogs as they want to document a new and exciting time in their life as they go to college or University. Starting a blog is an awesome hobby, I can never seem to get bored with it. So, for those of you considering starting a blog or have just started one, I wanted to share with you a few tips and a bit of advice that I wished someone had told me when I first started. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but I hope this can help you find your feet as you enter the blogging community.

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2020 reading challenge – mid-year check in

Well we’re past the half way point of 2020. Congratulations, it’s been quite a year so far.

Like many book lovers I decided to take part in the Goodreads reading challenge. It’s the first year I’ve ever participated with the challenge, I’m slightly ashamed to say that until December, Goodreads wasn’t even on my radar (not sure how I managed to miss it).

I set myself the goal to read 20 books this year. I fully understand that this may seen low for a book blogger and to start off with I was pretty ashamed about it. I’ve seen many bloggers who have 50-70 books as their goal, and then there’s me with a measly 20. However, over the year I’ve began to lessen some of the insecurity of it. At the end of the day I’m dyslexic and have Irlens… I can’t exactly read fast.

Anyway, with us past the mid year mark now is a good time to reflect on how I’d doing reading and if I’m on track.

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Favourite read of June – Doing it by Hannah Witton

Somehow June is almost over despite it feeling like it’s been all of three days since May 31st. I don’t know what is up with time at the moment but sometimes it drags by and other days (most days in my case) zoom past with no regard for speed limits. Either way, the month is coming to a close and I thought now would be a great time to have a good ramble about my favourite read of the month, Doing it by Hannah Witton. It’s a book all about sex… yeah that awkward topic.

Lets get one thing straight, if I’m talking you all about a book that’s main topic is sex, you know it’s a good book because if it wasn’t I’d be saving myself the embarrassment. Not going to lie I’m as easily embarrassed as people get. I don’t care that I’m 21, I’m squeamish and think everything in that department is gross. So, if I of ALL people, am happy and comfortable discussing this book with you, then you know it has to be good. I wouldn’t put myself in this position if I didn’t think this book was incredible and worth a read.

Not going to lie, I never expected to like Doing it, like I said I’m easily embarrassed. However, I believe in supporting the creators I love, what means that if they have a book, I’m going to buy it and give it a read. In this case it turned out to be a fantastic idea as it turned out to be my favourite read of the month.

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The villain doesn’t have to die – alternative endings for your book

When it came to outlining my book one of the biggest things I had to consider was how the story was going to end, what would the climax be? This was by far the longest part of the whole outlining process for me and arguably the most difficult. Since the age of 16 I’ve wrote YA, young adult fiction was what I read the most and by default was what I wrote the most of. This age range was fantastic because the reader was older enough to understand heavier topics and as a result there was a whole host of possible endings for you book. However, after studying children’s fiction at university I found myself wanting to write a children’s book and this presented me with a few unexpected challenges.

When you write for a different age group to the one that you’re in you have to do far more research. At university I got used to writing for adults, the age of those around me. My work became more mature and I had no issues with touching on hard hitting issues like abuse or murder. But as I stated outlining Mirrors and Magic (working title) I quickly realised this had to change. I was now writing for those under the age of ten and I was not going anywhere near those topics in the way I had done in the past.

In a lot of the short stories I’d drafted that followed the tradition hero’s journey (just like Mirrors and Magic will), I killed off the antagonist at the end and usually at the hands of the hero. But when it came to the ending of Mirrors and Magic, I wasn’t jumping at the idea of having my hero killing off the villain. I’m writing a children’s book with a protagonist who is under ten years old. I can’t say I feel comfortable with a child becoming a killer.

I appreciate that what I’m writing is fiction, so it doesn’t have to play into real world values, but as a writer of children’s fiction I wanted to explore other options and consider there being another ending. As well as it feeling slightly morally wrong, I felt that jumping straight for the hero kills the villain was a bit lazy, it was the easiest option (by the way, there’s nothing wrong with this ending I’m not criticising people who kill off the antagonist of their book. I just felt that I would only be choosing it because it required the less amount of thought for my book). So, I began to explore alternative endings where the villain didn’t have to die, and this lead me down a bit of a rabbit hole I want to share with you all today.

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