Motivation, Uncategorized

Reflecting on 6 Months of Blogging

It’s official: I’ve been blogging for six months. I’m not sure when I can accurately carry the title of blogger, but seeing as I got up early to write a whole other post and only after I finished realized it was my six months, we can definitely say I’m in the blogger head space.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on my experience. Because why not?

What I’ve Written

My content has taken a variety of forms as I learned which direction I was heading. I thought it could be fun to revisit my favorite post from each month and see how I grew.

January: Hello World! – My Very First Project

My first project was technically to CALI a law class – which is basically just earning the highest grade in a class. Since then, the project has evolved into general law school success. I was surprised re-reading my original thoughts. What a long way the project has come.

February: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a 12(b)(6) Motion

I was really hesitant to write anything about the law because really, what do I know? I was just a first-year. Anyway, I gave it a shot and it was one of my first posts that I was really proud of.

March: Atlas Shrugged – Book No. 6

This was probably my favorite book I’ve read in Project 4. It was so thought-provoking. This was also when I realized that I had to put a bit of work into writing a book review. There was so much to unpack and trying to stay spoiler-free was tough. Book bloggers: much respect.

April: Cleaning Your Closet with Color Theory

This was one of my first posts that involved research. I did a deep dive on why you don’t wear certain shades of color in your closet. It was the first time I’ve developed my own theory about something – something I’ve done more and more of in the past few months.

May: What I Learned from Blogging Every Day

This was a self-reflection post. It’s pretty meta to reflect on a self-reflection post, so I’ll just leave it with that.

June: How To Learn a Basic Calligraphy Alphabet in a Few Hours

It’s always fun to see success. My calligraphy project has been nothing but pure fun and something I didn’t expect to enjoy. I’m looking forward to seeing where this project can go.

What I’ve Learned

What I’ve Learned about Blogging

It’s actually way harder than I was expecting. Writing a post in your head always sounds so much better than it does when you read over what actually made it to paper. Coming up with consistent ideas is impossible and finding the motivation to make sure they all go out on time is comically hard.

But I’m not here to be hard on myself. One of the reasons I write about my projects as I complete them is to reflect on the good and the bad. No journey is ever easy. There are setbacks and failures left and right.

On a more positive note, I think my writing has improved. Or at the very least, I think I’ve found a voice. I write much differently on this blog than I do for anything else – I treat this as a quasi-stream of consciousness, I hear myself talking in my head.

Also, I’m pretty proud of how the blog looks. This is something I touched on yesterday, but I’m proud of the style I’ve created around my content. Besides, there’s only so much you can do on a personal plan and I’m not about to upgrade.

My numbers are still small which is fine with me. I’m still under 100 followers and not many people see my content. This doesn’t bother me at all. My numbers are small but mighty. I’ve met some truly amazing and inspiring people by doing this.

What I’ve Learned about Goals

So if you just did the math, you might realize that that means I started my blog on January 1. While it’s true I went live at the beginning of the year, it was not a new year’s resolution. But hey, if it makes you believe that you can follow through on a new year’s resolution, by all means use me as an example.

This actually is something I’ve really learned about goals: they don’t operate on the same calendar we do. I used to start goals when I finished another task or maybe on the first of the month. This is such a mistake. Start goals while you have the motivation, don’t wait until the time’s “right.”

I’m also very proud of the progress I’ve made on some of these goals. Particularly Project 4, before this project, the last time I read a book was in 2014. Now I’m six months in and I’ve read 15. I’m definitely still learning how to pace myself, but I’m getting better by the day.

What I’ve Learned about Relationships

I’ve become a better friend, girlfriend, and daughter since starting the blog. This is done in two ways: 1) experiencing a fire inside of me, and 2) becoming more cognizant and sympathetic to other people’s goals.

With concrete goals, I’ve been more alive in these past few months. Feeling the roller coaster that is trying something new reinvigorates you. It also has made me really want to bring that out in others. The feelings that I’m feeling, I want to share them.

Understanding motivations is something I’ve tuned into a little more too. I wrote about this a little with the post on my and my boyfriend’s different lifestyles. While he’s more interested in completing daily and weekly goals, mine tend to be so much farther in the future. Learning that these goals were just as important to him as mine were to me allowed me to connect with him in a way I couldn’t before.

That’s about all the self-reflection I have in me at the moment. But let me know down in the comments below, how long have you been blogging and how has your journey changed your surroundings? I’m interested in hearing how people have perceived their own journey.

As always, appreciate you all. Thanks for making this experience so enjoyable.

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Blogging, Brand Building

Can Social Media Grow Your Blog Quickly?

I’m now on social media!

As a part of my learn to blog project, I’ve been reading up about tips and tricks to help make your blog a better experience for your readers. Of course, social media is an integral part of connecting with your community. However, I want to use this opportunity to run a little experiment to find out which platforms are most effective.

So after doing some research, I compiled the most heavily suggested platforms for bloggers and some of the advice successful bloggers have given for using the platforms. My goal is to try these out in the way they recommend and see if it really does drive traffic and engagement on my blog. Without further ado, I present to you my preliminary findings (and handles) for social media platforms for bloggers.

Pinterest

I was shocked to find that Pinterest seems to be the bread and butter for bloggers. As someone who phases in and out of using it personally, I didn’t really understand how I could promote my content there. The best description I found was that Pinterest is a visual search engine that operates outside of the limits of SEO (Search Engine Optimization: the metric that Google uses to decide which results to show first when you search something).

Pinterest has its own internal search algorithm that can give you a shot to be seen. Also, in terms of longevity, your content is even more evergreen. As long as someone searches for something that’s similar to your pin, it has a chance to be seen.

There’s also plenty of data about when and how often to post. The general consensus of what I found was posting 5-10 pins a day was most effective for getting seen and the best time to be seen was between 8-11 PM EST. I found a really useful (and free!) downloadable Pinterest guide linked in this post that told me more than I knew about Pinterest.

I started posting pins I created on Canva twelve hours ago. Each pin has two views and one has one save. I focused on big fonts and clear presentation. Definitely more visibility than I was expecting for someone who doesn’t follow anyone yet.

Would you pin it? I’m still trying to get a feel for what’s “pinnable” and what’s not.

Find me on Pinterest: jacquelineofalltradesblog

Instagram

Instagram is everywhere. It’s not a surprise it’s recommended, although the ways to scale on it seem to be different than Pinterest.

The key to Instagram seems to be 1) a strong hashtag game and, 2) following similar accounts to yours. I still have yet to figure out which hashtags work. Once I find out, I’ll do a deep dive on what I find to help you all too.

Also, stories? I’ve never posted a story on my personal Instagram, so I have no idea what I’m doing there. Let’s find out together.

I made my Instagram so I could post my time lapse of my calligraphy attempts, I expect to put more content there soon!

Find me on Instagram: jacqueline.ofalltrades

Facebook

Okay, so I actually had no idea how to grow a Facebook page besides promoting it. As a broke college student, paying for views is not within the budget. Enter facebook groups.

Facebook groups that promote bloggers are a great way to find similar creators and discover new blogs. They work in a you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours kind of way. Nevertheless, some of these groups are over 30,000 bloggers, so that’s a big audience that can potentially see your content. Here’s a list of recommended blogging groups.

Some pages let you join as your blog page, where others you join as your personal account. I’m having trouble joining any with my blog page at the moment – I wonder if it has to do with the fact I have only 2 likes on the page. Once I figure this out and can join groups, we’ll revisit my findings.

Find me on Facebook: @jacquelineofalltradesblog

Twitter

To me, Twitter is the chaotic evil of social media. I stopped using it about five years ago. I’m going to have to really be convinced it’s worth my time to get one. Sources seem mixed and with other platforms being recommended more heavily, I’m staying away for now until I learn more.

Do any of you have a Twitter for your blog? Does it actually help engagement?

Goodreads

Goodreads is really only relevant to me because of Project 4. It’s basically a virtual book club: you can share what you’re reading, reviews on what you have read, and join chats all about it. Honestly, I’m looking forward to talking about the books I read more with others. I created a bookshelf with my list of classics and I expect to be retroactively posting my reviews.

The only downside is that it can mess with your SEO. Basically if you post the same review on your blog as you do on Goodreads, Google is going to recognize the duplicate content and likely display the Goodreads search result before your blog (since it’s a bigger website Google finds it to be more relevant). There is a solution which is to write different reviews. For me, I think my Goodreads reviews will be shorter and more about how the book made me feel. Here’s an interesting article about this problem.

Find me on Goodreads: jacqueline-of-all-trades

Bloglovin’

I’m very mixed on Bloglovin’. It’s a one-stop-shop for blogs where a reader can read their favorite blogs from a variety of platforms. On one hand, that’s great. Finding people who like to read blogs is perfect for what you’re doing. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure you’ll have the same problem as you do with Goodreads. Will Google recognize the Bloglovin’ content as the original?

I’m not really sure on that. So for that reason, I need to do more research before I can be convinced the platform helps more than it harms.

Do you use Bloglovin’? What’s your experience been? I’d love to know especially since I’ve never used the platform myself.

So with that, I enter my social media journey. I’d love to hear from you guys though: what’s your experience been with using social media?

Also, follow me or drop your usernames in the comments down below! I’m looking for accounts to follow!

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Uncategorized

The Blogger Recognition Award

I’m excited to announce that Jess over at Beyond the Front Cover has nominated me for The Blogger Recognition Award.

A Little About Jess and Her Friends

Throughout my journey of reading 100 classics, I’ve found plenty of book-review blogs and Jess’s blog is one of my favorites. Her reviews are so well-written and even-handed that it’s hard not to recognize her ability to fairly review books. One of my favorite reviews of hers is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It was a book that completely missed my list and after reading her opinion, it’ll be one of the first books I read once I finish Project 4.

Not only that, she has a great taste in blogs and the other bloggers she recommended are also fantastic: Alice from Alice and Her Bookshelf, Kate from KateHeartsLife, and Jess from Comfort Reads. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know them and their blogs from her and I can’t recommend them enough!

And lastly, I’d be remiss to not give a little shout out to Jess’s instagram. She channels cozy vibes and lazy Sundays so well. (You might even be seeing a slightly more chaotic Jacqueline of All Trades instagram soon… she’s got me inspired!)

If you’re interested in reading books a little bit more than you already do, send some love her way.

The Actual Award and Rules

There’s only six quick things you need to know about the rules behind the award:

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump right into it.

How Jacqueline of All Trades Started

I’m very new to blogging still; I started in January of this year. However, the concept of working on projects has always been a part of my blood. I have an insatiable curiosity for life. It’s led me down some strange paths of uncertainty like completing degrees in chemical engineering and international studies, all while keeping with the plan to go to law school.

I don’t like the idea of compromise and I believe we should always be exploring and creating anything that catches our attention. So outside of my academics, I found projects like making a cocktail book with my cousin Abbey or dropping an album just to throw the best party of all time. These projects slowly spiraled into a lifestyle – with some being finished and others left to collect dust.

Last fall, I entered law school. I quickly realized that everything around me was all related to law. I lived with other law students, was constantly doing my readings, and had no other hobbies. I was wilting. The blog was a way to salvage my creativity and give me something to work towards.

I almost didn’t even start the blog. I was afraid of possible repercussions for my legal career. Not that I’d be writing anything bad, it’s just it might not be seen as professional. But I realized that if I don’t do it, I would stagnate as a person. Being entirely immersed in law wasn’t something I ever wanted for my life.

So I did it. I started the blog. And oh did it catch my attention. I now live and breathe my blog (for better or worse).

Advice to New Bloggers*

Seeing as I’m a new blogger myself, I’m not sure I’m really qualified here. My blog has a fairly small following and I currently have a project all dedicated about learning how to blog. That being said, I feel like I’m more qualified to give advice to people who have a goal they aren’t chasing. It more accurately represents my story and my journey.

So here’s a few things I’d say to anyone hesitating on a project:

  • Excuses Can Be Contagious: Making an excuse about trying one thing will make you more comfortable to make an excuse about trying a second thing. Pretty soon, you’ll start thinking you’re less and less capable of doing anything. Don’t make it a habit.
  • The “I Don’t Have Time” Line: I once heard something that changed my life: someone who says they don’t have time for something is really just saying that thing is not a priority for them. You’d be surprised how much time you have. I promise you, deleting this sentence from your vocabulary will change your life too.
  • If You Have Something On Your Mind Right Now, Do It: If you’re reading this and a specific thing came to your mind, you obviously want to do it. So why not just start it?
  • Little Steps Are More Valuable Than Big Ones: This was something I implied recently: doing little bits turns into a lot of progress. Spending one day working hard on something will probably lead you to not pick it up again.

My Nominations

The fun part: picking blogs I like to read! I tried to pick a little bit of everything and each one of these blogs continually puts out great content that they pour their heart and soul into:

  • Meredith from Artsy Arrow: This blog is so much fun to read. Meredith does a little bit of everything and when it comes to blogging, she so talented. The website is so user-friendly and so engaging, good luck not getting trapped on it for hours! Also, be sure to check out her art skills if you do visit. Post Recommendation: I Painted a Mural on My Bedroom Wall // Summer 2020
  • Dave from Endless Roaming: Look no further for your daily dose of wanderlust. Posting pictures from his travels, Dave never disappoints. Be careful, endless scrolling abound. Post Recommendation: Cadiz Spain
  • Prerna from Read With Prerna: Another book reviewer I adore. Prerna puts serious effort into each one of her reviews and she flies way under the radar. She picks quotes that make you want to read all the books she does. Would probably be a great reading buddy. Post Recommendation: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Trisha from Trisha’s Musings: This girl hustles. She posts every single day about anything and everything that catches her attention. She’s new to the community and it’s really inspiring to see her produce better and better content. Not to mention, she’s sweet as can be. Post Recommendation: My Learnings From The 30 Day Blogging Challenge
  • Sarah from The Critiquing Chemist: There’s something I love about reading a book review from someone with an analytical mind. Sarah writes mostly about the books she reads, but she also has insane travel posts every now and then. Post Recommendation: Four Days in Jordan

Lastly, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I’m still really new to my journey and am humbled by the gracious outpouring of support I receive. Each of you motivate me so much to continue doing the things I love. So please, don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello! I’m always a comment or e-mail away (jacquelineofalltradesblog@gmail.com).

But I know that I haven’t found all of the great reads out there: what are some of your favorite blogs? Who should I be reading next?

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Blogging, Productivity, Resources, Time Management

What I Learned from Blogging Every Day

If it’s your first time stopping by this week, you might have noticed quite a bit has changed around here. I’ve got my own domain and have changed up the actual site! With a new theme and new featured images, it looks much better!

In the midst of these changes, Abbey and I spent a whole day doing nothing but reading in preparation for a week straight of book reviews. It was something we’ve been planning for a while as a way to relax after me finishing school! Originally, I was supposed to go visit her, but given quarantine we did it separately and checked in over the phone.

A week’s worth of consistent content has been a blast. It was tough to prepare so many reviews ahead of time, but I’ve had the opportunity to work on even more content because of it!

Additionally, I have seen a huge spike in engagement on the blog which has been overwhelming! Having the opportunity to meet some new faces and engage with people reading the same books and doing similar projects has been so much fun! On top of people visiting me, I’ve been trying to reach out to creators whose content I enjoy.

Throughout this process there are a few things I’ve picked up on that I thought I’d share. This week has given me insight as a blogger and my place in this whole mess.

Quality Matters

This is something that’s been really noticeable in my book reviews. There are books I really loved reading and others I just couldn’t wait to finish. Sometimes, it was hard to find the motivation to even write the review after and it showed. No wonder those posts didn’t have nearly as much engagement as the ones that I was proud of writing! The key takeaway I discovered was that if you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, your readers will notice.

With love and affection, it doesn’t really matter what you’re writing about – it only take one reader to identify with your content. For example, a book I really disliked was A Clockwork Orange. It had mostly to do with the – in my opinion – abhorrent slang that distorted the story line. But I really took the time to flesh out these opinions and unpack it a little more. I spent quite a bit of time writing that post and I was happy when it became one of my most-liked posts. My readers could see the love I had put into it and responded to it.

Quantity Matters Too

This week in particular I’ve been focused on putting out content every single day. It’s been challenging, but I came in with a game plan, so it was very do-able. To no one’s surprise, posting every day brought a lot more traffic.

I’m not sure if it has something to do with the Reader algorithm wanting to suggest me more or if I was creating content on subjects others already followed. Nevertheless, I found that when people visited, they checked out my other content too. Because I have a back-catalog of posts on a variety of topics, I saw that visitors were averaging higher views when I was putting out content every day.

Writing often familiarizes others with your content and gives you more of an opportunity to be seen. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be seen by someone who enjoys your stuff.

Motivation Fluctuation

Just like any habit or hobby, if you’re truly excited about what you’re doing, doing it every day makes you even more excited. I found that I was thinking about content and working on my projects much more this week just because I wanted to.

Motivation is a rarity, so making the most of it is crucial. But exposing myself and quite frankly, some days forcing myself to write, brought more ideas and more of a desire to deliver on material.

There you have it – my thoughts on consistent blogging. It honestly comes down to finding your place and your voice on your blog. But I want to hear your thoughts: What do you think? Do you agree with my observations?

As always, thanks for reading!

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Blogging

Formerly Project865 – Introducing Jacqueline-Of-All-Trades

Quick post to let you know that I’ve upgraded!

You’ve known me as project865, but I’m now jacqueline-of-all-trades.com. I’ve been meaning to upgrade for a bit, but I knew I wanted to change my name to something more personal. Thanks to my new Project 6, I’ve taken the leap into professional blogging!

Can’t wait for what the future brings!

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