Book Blogging Tips: How We Plan, Write & Review Posts

May 8, 2020 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Books, Co-Blogging, Features, Happy Blogger, Happy Blogging

book blogging tips header

Everyone has a different method of reviewing books and writing posts, and with three of us here, I thought it’d be interesting to see what they are. Do you have to make a hot drink beforehand, sit down and get into the groove, refer to your notes or your dog-eared pages? Let’s dig in to see…

Jeann: I’ve been blogging for so many years now that writing posts comes second nature to me – but it’s sitting down and having a solid block of time to write one out that is the difficult part (especially with a 1 year old toddler)!

Bec: I didn’t really think I had a proper routine until I sat down to add to this post. I never really used to, but apparently that’s changed in the past few years. I feel a lot more organised now.

Jenna: I don’t think I have a proper routine either. I used to sit down and write my reviews immediately after finishing books because I was so full of thoughts. And I guess I still do that now, except it’s more out of necessity – because I don’t read books until the absolute last minute and I’m always rushing to put up blog posts 😀

Planning

Jeann likes to brain storm a lot

  • For when inspiration strikes, I keep a notebook where I write down my ideas, or if my phone is around, I take notes on there as well (or Google Docs).
  • We have a Google Hangouts chat where we discuss post ideas and brainstorm as well (when it pops into our head)
  • Schedule wise, we each have a set day to post, and we use Google Calendar to outline what our post topics are in advance.

Bec gets her inspiration from other sources

  • Like Jeann, I write down my post ideas ASAP after I come up with them because otherwise I am likely to forget. I usually write it down in my planner as part of my to do lists, or I make a draft of it in WordPress (usually the title, sometimes with a few dot points on what the main message/ parts of the post)
  • I get my ideas from a lot of places, usually other blogs and bookstagrams. I’ll see a post discussing a certain topic or highlighting a specific post and it will trigger an idea, sometimes related, sometimes completely random and I have no idea how I linked the two things.
  • I don’t plan what I’m going to post on specific posting days. I write the post first, then slot it in to the next available posting slot. Sometimes I might shuffle things around if I have time to get a book review posted closer to a release date (not that this happens often. Most of what I read are backlist books, not new releases)

Jenna is a mood blogger

  • I don’t really do much planning for my posts besides when I’m putting things into our Google Calendar to let others know what I’m going to be posting. But I’m also pretty spontaneous and what I post generally depends on my mood and my work schedule so these things generally don’t get planned until a week in advance of posting

 

Writing

Jeann schedules everything ahead to fit in with mum life

  • I’ve gotten into the habit of scheduling my posts in advance as well, which has helped with maintaining a consistent blog schedule.
  • I need to write my posts out in one go, otherwise I tend to lose my train of thought! If I have a solid idea, it doesn’t take me too long to do, it’s when I keep on getting interrupted (life of a mum) that makes it hard.
  • I’m a big planner though and my follow through isn’t that great sometimes – so I definitely have heaps of drafts and ideas floating about and leave the formatting until later!

Bec focuses on getting everything done in one session – including photos

  • Like Jeann, I need to sit down and smash out a post in one session. I don’t have a small human dependent on me like Jeann does so interruptions are rare (unless I get distracted). I usually put some music on in the background to hep keep me focused.
  • Also like Jeann, I schedule in advance. This helps take the pressure of so I feel less guilty if I’m struggling to write a post one day. I can just put it aside for a bit until inspiration strikes again.
  • One other part of my posts is photos. I feature a lot of them, especially in my list posts where I’m talking about specific books. They break up the text and are nice to look at. I usually take these before I write the post. Jotting down the photos I want to take/ the books I feature is part of the planning process and provide more of an outline for how I’ll structure the post. Also, I can post these photos on bookstagram which means less work for me!
  • Recently I’ve started writing all my posts in Word. Initially it was because I couldn’t log into WordPress, but then I realised I’m actually more productive in Word? It also meant I can send posts to my sister to proofread because I make a lot of embarrassing typos.

Jenna writes her posts in one go

  • I tend to write my posts in one go as well because I’m a pretty fast writer and a 500 word post is really not long enough for me to want to procrastinate on it. I find that if I don’t write it in one sitting, it’s hard to come back to it and finish it off.
  • I don’t really prefer writing out posts in dot points first. If I’m going to plan, I usually do it on my phone or on a piece of paper first. When I write in WordPress, it has to be finished and polished.
  • I used to schedule in advance but I find that that approach doesn’t really work with my current work and personal life schedule. I’m definitely a mood reader and when there are other hobbies or things that I want to do, I won’t force myself to read. These days, I make sure that I keep with our Happy Indulgence posting schedule and try not to put too much pressure on myself to schedule ahead.

 

Reviewing

Jeann writes a review immediately after finishing a book

  • To track my reads and what I’ve finished/read, I use Goodreads to flag what I’m currently reading – and once it’s finished, I write out my initial thoughts on the book. I talk about using a reading planner and Goodreads on my Youtube video here.
  • I tend to write my reviews fresh after I’ve finished the book, so that my thoughts on it are fresh in my head. I then do the formatting and everything afterwards so it doesn’t interfere with the reviewing process.
  • Sometimes I add in sticky tabs into significant moments or quotes in the book that I want to refer back to.
  • I always have the book beside me so I can flick through and discuss the character names and places.

Jenna finds a reading planner useful for recording her thoughts

  • I also keep track of my current reads using Goodreads, but I also keep a reading planner (Jeann got me onto it when she gave me one for Christmas a few years back!). The reading planner is more for aesthetics than it is for actual planning. I love bullet journalling and writing things down so the reading planner really just acts as a separate avenue for me to keep a paper record of things. I don’t really use the reading planning to write out my thoughts and my reviews though.
  • Like Jeann, I always write my reviews immediately after I’ve finished the book so that I don’t forget anything important and I can be as authentic to my true reactions as possible. Unlike Jeann, I always make sure I do the formatting at the same time because I can’t deal with having an unfinished post hanging over my head.

Bec also uses Goodreads to track her TBR and current reads

  • Goodreads is how I keep track of my TBR and current reads, and cross post my reviews once they’re posted. My TBR is fairly accurate because when I was living between two countries I didn’t have all my physical books with me, and it was important to know what I already owned or had to read. I may or may not have accidentally bought a book twice because I didn’t realise I already had it in Australia…
  • To keep track of my thoughts, I have a reading journal. It’s a plain lined notebook where I write down positive and negative thoughts as I read. These notes are then transcribed and fleshed out to become my review. I try and do this ASAP after I finish a book while the thoughts and feelings are fresh in my mind. It’s so much easier to write a review when everything is fresh.

 

As you can see from this post, there’s no one way to plan, write and review posts and we all have different styles! Are you more of a Jeann, Bec or Jenna when it comes to blogging? Comment below!

The following two tabs change content below.
Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

Latest posts by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence (see all)

Tags: , ,


8 responses to “Book Blogging Tips: How We Plan, Write & Review Posts

  1. You are all so different from each other. I am always jotting down ideas for next post. And I have set schedule for my blog as to when to post what type of content. Well, I try to follow that usually.

    But writing happens when the mood strikes and I schedule them as soon as I finish them. Otherwise things would never get done.
    Gayathri recently posted…Book Summary of Atomic HabitsMy Profile

  2. This is a fun post! I enjoyed learning about how you plan, write, and review. I list post ideas in a notebook and plan some posts. I might outline one day and finish writing another day. Other times, I might go with my mood and write a spontaneous post. I agree that the most difficult part is finding time to sit down and write. It helps me to structure time into my week to dedicate to blogging.
    Crystal @ Lost in Storyland recently posted…5 Reason to Read Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen + GiveawayMy Profile

  3. Ah this is such a great post, I loved learning a little more about your planning process! I’m also a big planner and I need to write every little idea down because I’m scared to forget it. I also love and NEED to plan things in advance, otherwise it stresses me out haha 🙂
    As for the reviews, I just wish I could write them right away, but…. I tend to procrastinate until the last minute haha. 🙂

  4. Wow you guys do such a great job of planning and organizing! I guess you almost have to when trying to juggle three people’s schedules, but still, it is impressive! My review “style” goes like this: Reads book, one month later panics because review is needed soon (this used to be worse, but now I don’t allow myself to read a book more than a month out from publication because I cannot be trusted). Sit down the night before I want/need to post said review; remember zero details. Yell at small humans that they NEED to go to bed because Mommy has “like 100 freaking reviews to do tonight”. Proceed to BS my way through somehow and finish before midnight. It’s a real art form, I tell you
    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted…Reviews in a Minute: 5 for 5/5My Profile