Friday, 1 May 2015

Beneath the Surface of Blogging with Tamason from Travelling Book Junkie

Today my guest blogger is Tamason from 'Travelling Book Junkie'!
Tamason runs the blog, Travelling Book Junkie, which reflects her passion for both books and travel.  As a bibliophile she is always traversing the world in search of the ultimate bookshops or literary trails which will appeal not only to herself but also her readers.  On top of this, her desire for knowledge has lead her to expand the blog to focus on all things cultural, historical and literary related. Be sure to check out her incredible blog, as well as her twitter, instagram and facebook pages!


How did you start blogging, were there any blogs you followed that got you thinking this was something you wanted to do?

I starting blogging about 2 years ago utilising the free wordpress.com platform.  I had no idea what I was doing and had read very few other blogs.
I started because I had always said to my husband that one day I would like to write something that others would read, at that time I meant a book but I had such little confidence I didn't believe anyone would read anything I wrote so starting a blog is the outcome of all of those conversations.

Two years on, I am now blogging through wordpress.org, have my own domain registered, have a relatively large following and work with several large publishers across the world to promote their latest releases.  On top of that, because my blog is about travel and books we have been invited on several press trips and have worked with several large tourism boards and companies within the last 12 months.
To say that this exceeds any expectations I had for the blog would be an understatement.

What do you hope you achieve through your blogging?

My blog is, I feel, still in its infancy.  I would love to be able to work full-time as a writer and I see my blog as a way to achieve this.  With people noticing my work, more companies are approaching me to write for them which is great as this is then bringing in an income.
As for the blog itself, I would love to be invited to face-to-face author interviews and into press rooms.  To be able to write about book festivals and to get behind the scenes of it all would be fantastic. 
Who knows where blogging will take me in the next 12 months but, if it is a great as the last 12 months, it could be very exciting times.

What are the most rewarding parts of it for you?

When I started I wrote for myself; just the achievement of putting pen to paper and creating something I was proud of seemed to be reward enough.  Now though I also write with my readers in mind.  There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that others are reading your words and then sometimes commenting as well.  Even those that don't agree with my perspective I like hearing from; it means I have evoked some feeling within them.

And the most frustrating?

Time.  I never feel like I have enough of it.  With the reading, the writing and the Social Media side of blogging I always feel like I need 48 hours in a day instead of the standard 24.  It doesn't matter how organised you are either, something always crops up that you can't anticipate which throws your whole schedule out.

Have you had reading slumps/insecurities/times when you felt you weren't good enough and wanted to quit, and how did you pull yourself out of them?

If I have read a book I really cannot connect with I feel like it takes me forever to get through it.  After that sometimes it takes me days before I can even face picking up another book.  Now I try to read one book that has been sent to me from a publisher or author followed by one off of my 'To Be Read' pile, mixing up the one I need to read with one that I have personally chosen to read tends to help considerably.

There are times when I have wanted to quit.  Blogging is very lonely and you often feel that you are not succeeding but feel that others around you are.  I have never been very good at self promotion (blowing my own trumpet as it were and boasting about what I have achieved) which means I read other people's blog roundups or notice a facebook status update that says they have been successful at something and I have a few moments of 'well I will never be that good, I should just give up now' and then I have to try and snap out of it.  This is where working closely with other bloggers can help.  I now have a network of blogging friends that I can contact during one of my slumps and they help to talk me out of it.

Have you taken a break from blogging at any point and if so how did you get back into it?

If I am travelling, I tend not to blog consistently for perhaps a week or two.  Followers don't tend to disappear during this period but pageviews may drop off slightly.  I try to stay as active as possible through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram whilst we are away so that followers know we are still about and what we are up to.

Sometimes you need a break.  I can sit in front of my laptop for hours each day every day and then it just gets to the point of burnout and a few days away from it all really does help.    I go out for lunch, read a book of my choosing and re-establish my life away from the blog.  It really does help with productivity; I find I achieve far more when I return.

Any tips for dealing with the self imposed guilt that comes with a blogging and reading slump?

Don't feel guilty.  If you have a 9-5 office job, you can lock up your desk at the end of the day and walk away.  You also get 'x' amount of holiday each year to enjoy, so why shouldn't it be the same for a blogger.  If you don't take time for yourself occasionally you will come to resent your blog and it is why so many blogs fail.

How do you manage to juggle life outside books and blogging?

It is difficult.  I have always been a person that takes a book everywhere I go so that has not changed.  I have been known to read books whilst on public transport, standing in a queue at the bank or even when waiting in the doctor's surgery.  I do however, make time.  I arrange a night out, go for a nice meal with my husband or parents and generally try to relax.  As I have mentioned, we also travel quite a bit and so this tends to be my down time.  I read on the plane but then try to leave the book in the hotel room so that I can explore the place around me fully.  This in itself can also be a problem as often we have been invited to a city or a hotel to write about it so once again we are, in some respects, still working.  If this is the case, we always keep the evenings for ourselves so that we can relax and enjoy dinner plus a glass of wine or two.

The blogging world is constantly evolving, any changes you'd like to see start to happen?

It would be great if the wider world could recognise professional bloggers in the same way they do journalists and authors.  We spend as much time researching an article and building our brand so that we can compare ourselves to these other professions but for some reason we are still not treated the same by all.

I understand that not all bloggers are professional and my not want to be classed in the same field as print journalists but for me, I feel that this would be a real step forward for our profession. 

Any advice for new and old bloggers alike, particularly if they are going through a down slump at the moment?

Don't give up on your blog. Take time out, try to remember why you started it in the first place and what it was you wanted to achieve.  Secondly, never-ever compare yourself to someone else.  Some people like to broadcast their successes, some people like to inflate their successes to make them sound better than they truly are and some people choose to keep their successes to themselves.  If you feel like you are falling into a slump or need to seek out advice from others, reach out to bloggers you admire and seek guidance; the one thing I have learnt from the blogging world in the last 2 years is that it is one of the friendliest communities I have ever been part of and most people are willing to help others.

Thank you so much Tamason for taking the time out to talk to us about your experiences blogging, it has been wonderful hearing from you! Don't forget to check out her blog and social media sites, she covers such a wonderful variety of books, travel and culture!

2 comments:

  1. I really agree with the last two answers. This is a really great feature and insightful, well done!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I've been incredibly lucky to have some wonderful bloggers take part who all have some fantastic ideas and advice. It's so great that bloggers are starting to talk more about some of the frustrations and insecurities of book blogging as well as the fantastic parts.

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