Being in college is hard for everybody, no matter what you do. However, it's exceptionally difficult when you're a book blogger trying to juggle reading, promoting, and writing reviews in addition to writing papers, studying for tests, and just generally trying to put your tuition money to good use.
We teamed up with several of our blogger friends today to ask them exactly how they find ways to make time to blog during college. If you're an incoming college student with a book blog, hopefully you find these tips helpful! If you're already a student, steal some of these tips or share some of your own in the comments down below!
So, let's see what everyone has to say:
"Growing up, I always thought that once I graduated high school and started college, I would be a real adult that had all the answers. Of course this wasn't the case and I struggled daily to find time to study, work, go to class, eat, and sleep. I quickly realized that even though I had more 'free' time, that time was always being used for school- which severely impacted my blogging.
I always started the semester by writing a list of blogging goals after seeing my syllabus and determining my course load. The beginning of the semester is usually pretty light, so I try to bulk up on my blog posts. As the assignments start to pile up I try to treat blogging as a reward for completing an essay or studying for a certain amount of time. I think it's super important to make sure that blogging doesn't become another task to complete and if it starts to feel like one then I take a small break.
When I'm in the middle or end of a semester I try not to make any commitments to anyone, like a book review for a blog tour or requesting ARCs. This is mostly because I know that I might not hold up my end of the bargain, which will make me feel horrible.
I also recommend involving school with your blog. As an English major, I had to read a butt ton of books so I often would discuss the books on my blog. I would also write semester updates to share what classes I was taking and what we were discussing."
-Ana, Ana Loves
"I am just now starting my second semester of college. Blogging while in college is one of the most difficult things possible, but it's ultimately rewarding. You have to be able to manage your time effectively, but if you can, you'll soar! Personally, I really struggle first semester because I had to get used to a new course load and it can be troublesome to manage. I highly recommend just taking 10 minutes each morning to type for a little, plan a little bit out. Naps are very effective in relation to getting things done. I've learned that taking 30-40 minutes every day you can maximize your productivity for blogging and homework as well. Also, as much as I love you blog, school takes priority. And that's okay. Your blog will be there soon, education is more important. Let blogging be a reward and it will motivate you to get shit done! If we can do it, you can too!"
-Cody, Roecker Reviews
"Coming from a girl who hated reading as a kid, I never would have imagined I would become a book blogger, let alone an English major. I graduated before I started blogging. I actually didn’t know such a community existed, and every day I am grateful for having stumbled upon it. If I could go back and have a do over, it would be to get involved in the book community. Never have I met a more inspirational and encouraging group of people, all who share one common passion: books. In perspective, blogging in college has got to be a challenge! As an English major, I read a hell of a lot of books for each class, and as a writing concentration I was writing 30 page stories every other week… so school can be consuming.
One piece of advice I have to offer is to give yourself the little things, one small thing that makes you happy, and hold on to it! Allegiant (by Veronica Roth- duh) had just come out when I went to college, and I HATE spoilers, but my schedule was chaos. What’s a girl to do? I gave myself 15 minutes every night outside of homework and work-study to read what I wanted. And guess what— that ending! It was worth those 15 minutes every day.
My motto in life is to do what I love, each and every day! Whether it be reading, or blogging, or writing, the act of doing what you love is so essential to feeding your soul and your creativity. Build yourself a community that encourages you to do so, and don’t let the world let you feel like you’re alone, because you’re not. You are a piece of this magical community that will be there for you, always. Just be you, and don’t let the world try to tell you otherwise. We are only as powerful as we allow ourselves to be, so reach for the stars, shoot for the moon, and chase after those dreams!"
"Balancing school, work, and a social life is hard. Trying to add blogging and reading to that mix is difficult. My first semester of college I barely read anything for pleasure and hardly posted on my blog. However, it got a little bit better during my second semester. Ebooks became my best friend as I could read them anywhere: working out at the gym, waiting for a professor during office hours, or in the dinning commons. Plus, while I do enjoy reading a real book, I tend to read ebooks a lot faster. I also tried to stick to shorter (mostly contemporary) books. These are easy to pick up and set down. With longer fantasy books, it can be hard to dive into a 600 page, fourth book of series without being frustrated about not remembering parts from previous books or even several chapters ago if it’s been a week since you last had time to pick up the book. One of my biggest tips would be to not feel guilty if you just want to read a book for fun. When I have a lot of reading to do for classes, I can feel guilty if I’m taking a break and reading something I want to read. Everyone needs a break, and it is okay to take time for yourself. Also, do not feel guilty if you would rather just watch Netflix instead of reading/blogging when you do have a break. A lot of the reading and blogging I got done this past year ended up being when I was home on break, and that is okay. Find the right balance for you, and do not worry if you are not able to post something on your blog for a week or so. Blogging and reading is something you should be doing for fun, and if it is stressing you out, it is okay to take a break."
-Jordan, The Heart of a Book Blogger
"My blogging and college journey started the same year (2014). I had to get used to both, because I could let go of neither. The first few months were tough, but I never contemplated ditching any of the things I felt passionate about. There have been up and downs but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have learnt so much from both. And the most important one and that you should know about too is the following. You can't do everything, you can't succeed at everything. You're human, you get tired, you get bored, you get sick (me in December 2014 aka the month of hell). I'm not trying to belittle the struggles of the awesome beans that are still in high school, or the ones that are rocking the bookish community from their homes and jobs. But blogging while in college is HARD.
In spite of the struggles though, as I said, the most important thing is to acknowledge your limits, step back when you need to, recharge and come back like a Terminator! There's no right or wrong way to do it. You can either be super organized with an army of spreadsheets or you can be a lazy procrastinating potato. It's completely fine. Because it's you, it's your style and that's what people appreciate when they visit your blog."
-Pamela, Reverie Society
"From the minute I got to college, I was immediately overwhelmed. On top of homework and classes and missing home, my heart wasn't into reading. I constantly felt overwhelmed and stressed out. Through time and practice, I figured out that setting aside a specific time to do blog work kept me on track. As soon as I wrote it into my schedule just like I did with my other homework and club meetings, I felt more compelled to do it. So that's my biggest advice -- it'll be really hard at first, but find a time during the week where you're free for awhile, make yourself a to-do list, and get stuff done!"
-Jessica, The Book Bratz
Hopefully this post inspired you college (or soon to be college) bloggers to find ways to be more productive with their blogging! If you have any tips of your own whatsoever, even if you aren't a blogger in college, comment them down below!