Monday, 11 May 2015

Beneath the Surface of Blogging with Carly from Writing from the Tub

Today Carly from 'Writing from the Tub' is going beneath the surface of book blogging and talking about her experiences, frustrations and offering some fantastic advice. She's been blogging for five years now and is one of the pillars of the YA book blogging community - I imagine almost everyone reading this will have met or come across Carly at some point, and she's also a part of Bookish Brits. Thank you so much for chatting with us Carly!

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

After I graduated from university in 2009 I started reviewing for Chicklish, then started Writing from the Tub in January 2010. Back then book blogging was a teeny tiny community and there weren’t many other blogs around - So Many Books, So Little Time and Wondrous Reads were two of the only UK book blogs that were established back then. Lots of us all started around the same time, though, like Feeling Fictional, The Mile Long Bookshelf, I Want to Read That, Narratively Speaking etc etc…there’s a whole group of bloggers who started at the beginning of 2010…I think of us as the cranky old dames (and man dames…whatever the appropriate counterpart is!) who have been at it for years and are a bit haggard and jaded and always have a butterscotch candy in our purses.

What do you hope you achieve through your blogging?

Really I just want to talk about books and writing and share my thoughts on books I’ve been reading lately - nothing particularly groundbreaking! I’m enjoying putting more humour on my blog lately, so it’s great to see my ‘book blogger reaction’ gif posts getting some attention. For too long I kept things professional and quite serious and if you know me in real life you know I’m not like that at all. Now I feel like I’ve put enough years in that people know I’m professional and dependable I feel like I have more freedom to be myself.

What are the most rewarding parts of it for you?

Interacting with other members of the community, definitely. I’ve written about this on my blog quite a bit, but counting fellow bloggers, authors and publicists as my friends is the best part about being a blogger. Press freebies that come alongside book proofs always make me smile - I opened a package that had a bottle of Southern Comfort in it the other day. Plying me with booze is always a winner.

And the most frustrating?

The positives far outweigh the negatives, but the frustrating parts are definitely time management, as well as sometimes being treated like a member of a marketing team. And people complaining on Twitter about not getting a proof/an event invite/enough followers/comments on their posts.

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?

Oh, all the time! I think it’s natural. If I feel that way I just take a break, spend my time on other hobbies (writing, movies, cooking, chilling out with my dog) and get back to it when I’m feeling inspired. It’s a hobby, not a job, so I never feel bad about taking time away from my blog.

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

Like I said above - allllll the time! I only blog when I have something to say, so sometimes I’ll blog three times a week, sometimes only once a fortnight. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so usually a couple of days without reading or blogging is enough to give me new ideas for content.

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

Just chill out and stop worrying about it! Also, in the nicest way possible, nobody really cares that much about what you do with your blog or knows what your schedule is, so just write about what you want, when you want. That sounds a bit blunt but I see so many people f-r-e-a-k-i-n-g out if they haven’t posted for a week but I don’t actually think anybody notices if someone takes a few days off…I don’t, anyway! I’d rather someone posts once a month and enjoys it, than posts every day but constantly complains on Twitter about feeling so stressed about their blogging schedule - you set you own schedule, so if it’s stressing you out just calm down and readjust it. Stress Management 101 with Carly, you’re welcome.

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

I’m sure everyone’s going to have the same answer for this: I have *no* idea. In this day and age we’re all super busy, whether that’s with school, kids, university, work, writing etc etc. I run my own business so 99% of my time is taken up with that and that’s my priority, not my blog. My blog pretty much comes last in my list of priorities (my family, boyfriend, friends, dog, writing, business and Lush baths all come first - for sure), so it’s just a case of fitting it in when I have a spare moment, which is probably why I post so erratically!

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

Really, I think I’d like to see blogging get back to basics. A few years ago you couldn’t find a scandal anywhere in the world of UKYA, whereas now it seems like there’s a new drama every week and everybody’s clamouring to be the busiest or have the biggest TBR and it’s all getting a bit braggy. If I could swap every bit of drama for a decent YA horror novel, I’d be a happy camper.

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

It’s just a hobby. Chill out, write about what you want when you feel like it and get out of the headspace that tells you you’ll lose all of your readers if you don’t blog every single day. Take a week off if you’re burned out. Hell, take a month off. People will still be there when you feel like blogging again.

Oh, and make friends with fellow bloggers, because book people are the best and meeting up with pals at an event is the best thing ever. 

Thank you so much for taking the time out to come and talk to us here Carly! If you haven't yet stopped by Writing from the Tub, do so now, Carly's site is a wonderful mix of reviews, reaction posts and her own brand of brilliance and wisdom.


  1. Lovely post, very interesting! XD

    1. It's been so wonderful to hear from so many corners of the blogging world, and it was great to have insights from Carly! Thank you so much for reading!