Today I’m doing something different in honour of my four-year blogging anniversary. According to WordPress, I created my blog sometime last week, but my first post went up four years ago today, so I thought it would be fun to write an ask me anything post. I received a bunch of great questions on Twitter and Instagram, and I also threw in some fun, non-blog related questions (from my feline friends), just to keep things exciting.
I want to start this post by saying how grateful I am to every person who has visited my blog and supported me. My blog really didn’t take off until last year, and I’m constantly blown away every time I reach any sort of milestone. I love being a part of this community so much, I love screaming about books with all of you, and I’m so glad that you’ve welcomed me as one of your own. I also want to give a special shoutout to The Write Reads gang; you’ve been so incredibly supportive of me, you’ve given me a second (virtual) home, and I am so grateful to each and every one of you.
Now onto the questions!
Haadiya (@HerBookishObsession) asked:
What inspired you to become a blogger? Or what your motivation, because it’s not an easy job. How do you manage life and blogging and still have time to read and do normal stuff?
Thank you for your question Haadiya! This journey started with a Bookstagram account, which I started because my friend who worked at Indigo started one. After I launched my Bookstagram, I felt like a blog was the next logical step even though I had no idea what to do with it. My current motivation is that I love screaming about books, and I love being part of this community. Given all of the uncertainty over the past year with the current global health situation, the online book world has given me a place to call home and an anchor of sorts. As far as managing life and blogging go, it helps that I don’t take it too seriously or put too much pressure on myself to meet artificial deadlines or to please everyone. Right now, I’m blogging a lot because there’s a pandemic, and I can’t go out and see people as much as I want to, so I’m throwing a lot of my energy into my blog. When the current restrictions start to ease up a bit, I’ll likely post less because I can see my boyfriend, and my best friend can come over for book club (aka wine club).
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Thank you for your question Kathryn and Lila! My favourite thing about blogging is having a place to scream about books. For the most part, most of the people I know in real life don’t appreciate books as much as I do. This blog gives me a place to talk about the books I love with other people who love books. It’s also allowed me to meet a ton of fantastic book lovers from around the world (especially the TWR gang), and I so incredibly grateful for all of the bookworms that I’ve met on this journey.
Shanice (@mystorynook) asked:
How long did it take for you to get into the blogging habit? I started blogging this year and I can’t get into a routine.
Thank you for your question Shanice! You probably won’t like this answer, but it took me years to get into my current blogging habit. There was a lot of trial and error, trying to figure out what worked best for me. Once I accepted that the main reason I was doing this was for me and that my content was to make me happy, things got a lot easier because I wasn’t worried about what anyone else thought. It took me a long time to get to this point, but things became a lot easier once I got there.
Tangie the Cat asked:
I’m very interested in knocking breakable objects, like wine glasses, onto the ground. What is your favourite kind of wine?
Tangie, you’re the reason why I use a plastic wine glass when I go visit you. Generally speaking, I like white wine. If I want to get specific, I love dry Rieslings, but I also appreciate Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.
Noly (@theartsyreader1) asked:
Ooh how exciting!!!
What do you love most about blogging that makes you continue after 4 years? Did you change anything about your reviews since you first started out? Or about review requests and how you handle them? Thank you!
Thank you for your question, Noly! My favourite thing about blogging is the community. I love how supportive everyone is, and I love being part of it. As far as my reviews go, they’re still pretty chaotic, but I now have a bit of a template that I use to help organize myself. I also find that it helps me to jot a few sentences down in my planner to remind me what I want to talk about when I review the book. As far as review requests go, most of the requests I get are pretty spammy, and in those cases, I have no issue ignoring them. As far as legitimate requests go, if I’m interested in the book, I’ll see what I can schedule in, but I try not to overwhelm myself with review requests and blog tours because I don’t want this to feel like a chore or an obligation.
Kerri (@kerrimcbooknerd) asked:
Early congratulations, Ashlee!! What’s something you do when you feel yourself in a blogging slump? And what posts do you have the most fun writing?
Thank you, Kerri! I’ve learned that the best thing to do when I’m in a slump is to not put too much pressure on myself to post. Slumps happen, and I don’t want my blog to feel like a chore, and I know that my blog will still be here when inspiration strikes again. My favourite type of post to write is any sort of list post. I like lists in general, and I enjoy sitting in front of my shelves, trying to pick out books to fit whatever the prompt is.
Jenny (@jenjenreviews) asked:
Do you have any great stories that you’d like to share from your past 4 years of blogging?
Thank you, Jenny! Well, I met this fantastic blogger who is a person of mystery and could have many different names 😉 Generally speaking, though, I’m not that exciting of a person, so I don’t have a lot of exciting stories, but I have had a few moments where my shelves have tried to kill me while trying to find books to talk about for a post.
Torpedo the Cat asked:
I’m very interested in world domination, what are your interests other than books?
Thank you, Torpedo, for your thoughtful question! Other than books, I’m interested in inadvertently killing cat-safe houseplants, outdoor gardening, drinking wine, and baking.
Sabina (@rosegoldreports) asked:
Hugest Congratulations! Amazing achievement! I’ve looked through the other Qs people have asked and they’re all really great. The only additional thing I’d love to know is about frequency, have you changed how often you blog? Are you super-regular or do you sometimes take breaks?
Thank you, Sabina! I go through phases with how frequently I post, and it usually depends on how busy I am outside of blogging. Right now, my job is pretty dead, so I’m on a blogging streak because I can do a lot of brainstorming and drafting while I’m at work. Once my job starts to pick up again, I’ll probably drop down to posting a couple of times a week. It’s also not unusual for me to take blogging breaks because sometimes I lose inspiration, and I don’t want to force myself to post for the sake of posting.
Livy (@shelvesofstarl1) asked:
What have you learnt during your four years of blogging?
Thank you for the question, Livy! This might sound a bit silly, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to stop taking it so seriously. When I first started, I got caught up trying to draft the perfect post and being paranoid and anxious that no one would read it or like it. Now that I’ve been doing it for four years, I post for myself, and I try not to worry about what other people think. I also learned that there are soft and hard deadlines. If I’m on a blog tour, I try to get something together for my day because there’s a schedule in place. When I receive an ARC through NetGalley, I’ve come to accept that I can’t review everything before the release date and that sometimes deadlines go woosh.
Ellie (@ReadtoRamble) asked:
What was the best advice your received at the start of your blogging adventure? And did you use that advice in the past and still today?
Thank you for the question, Ellie! The one piece of advice that I received when I started this adventure was when my boyfriend told me not to give up. I had my moments where the words just wouldn’t come, and I wanted to quit my blog, but I kept trying. This blog was an inconsistent mess for the first few years, but I stuck with it, and it was worth it. The other boost of encouragement that I gave myself was listening to Non-Stop from the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat because there’s something encouraging about the line “write day and night like you’re running out of time.”
Peaches the Cat asked:
Sometimes when my humans aren’t paying attention, I steal potatoes off of their plates. What is your favourite form of potato?
Well, Peaches, as long as you don’t steal my potatoes, I’ll support your potato thieving ways! I appreciate all forms of potatoes, but home fries, curly fries, and waffle fries are all excellent choices.
Koo (@itskooReviews) asked:
Congratulations! What goals did you have when you first started blogging? Have you accomplished them? What do you look forward to in the next year or more?
Thank you for the questions, Koo! I’m not sure what my goals were when I first started blogging because I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have any blogging friends or precedents, so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Going forward this year, I’m most looking forward to being a BBNYA panellist and discovering a ton of great new Indie authors.
Jen (@jenrosewrites) asked:
Congratulations! What is your favourite post you’ve posted? Best thing about blogging? Worst? Where do you see your blog in the next four years?
Thank you! The first post that came to mind for this question was the “Top 5 Books Set in My Country” post I did a few months back. I loved talking about books set in Canada, and that post was a lot of fun to write. The best thing about blogging is the people. I love this community, and I’m constantly in awe of how talented everyone is. The worst thing is the number of books I’ve added to my TBR that I’ll likely never get to. When I started this journey, my shelves were practically empty, and now they’re overflowing, and I’m constantly adding new books to them. I’m not sure where I see my blog in the next four years, but I hope that I still enjoy blogging as much as I do now.
Cici (@bookish_words) asked:
What are your favourite blogs to read (if any)
Thank you for the question! I’m not always the best at reading any blogs regularly, but I do bookmark all of the posts I boost and retweet from the TWR gang and read them when I get the chance. I think they’re all fantastic bloggers, and I don’t want to list off all of them because I’m paranoid that I’ll miss someone and that they’ll hate me forever. I do want them to know that I love and admire all of them, and I think they’re all fantastic!
Scamper the Cat asked:
Why did you vacuum under the bed and ruin my special hiding spot? Also, why are there so many books everywhere? Am I allowed to knock the piles of books over? Also, since you’re a terrible human and refuse to give me snacks right now, what is your favourite dessert?
Well, Scamper, my fluffy little snack gremlin, I vacuumed under the bed because you shed like crazy, and it was time. The books are our friends, and you cannot knock them over, especially because loud noises scare you. As far as snacks go, you already had your treats today, and I prefer brownies because chocolate is the best.
Once again, thank you to everyone who asked me questions, and thank you to everyone who has supported me. I love being part of this community so much, and I am incredibly grateful to all of you.
P.S. Tangie is my boyfriend’s parent’s cat. Peaches and Torpedo are my step cats. Scamper is my cat and he is my best friend in the whole wide world.