Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Armchair BEA 2014: Day 3

BEA stands for the "Book Expo America" and is an annual convention for industry professionals. Many book bloggers attend BEA each year and it's just a really fun time. Some of us, unfortunately, cannot go so Armchair BEA was created to be a virtual convention to emulate the same fun you get at BEA! More information can be found on their website here.

As I said on Day 1, it might be hard for me to churn out a post every single day of Armchair BEA so you'll have to excuse me for missing yesterday. I had so much to do that there wasn't time left to sit down and write a post but I am back today and hopefully I'll be able to drop by and comment a bit more too! I feel like I'm missing out on all the fun because I'm so out of it!

Today's topic is... Expanding Blogging Horizons

What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? 

I feel like the answer to this question would be simple and straightforward but right now, I'm actually struggling a bit to put my thoughts into coherent sentences. I think, for me, when someone says "expand your horizons", I think of learning something new or challenging myself and doing something that I'm not super comfortable doing or that I haven't done before. And for everyone, that will be something different. But for ME, it is:

1. Experimenting with my blog's design. I'm not great at coding or designing AT ALL so this is definitely a challenge. The hardest part is turning the idea I have in my mind into something real. I don't have a ton of skills or resources to aid me in designing a template which means I usually have to end up tweaking the plan I have in my head because I don't have the means to achieve it. As for coding, I think I can usually hold my own if there is a tutorial provided. The Runaway Reader has only had one look, and it's the one you're looking at now but I am seriously getting tired of it. It was good for something I put together in an hour but I want something that's a bit more customized. I actually created a blog template for an independent project at school which isn't super fancy but I'm really proud of it because it looks unique. Look, the drop down menu actually works properly! I don't think this is going to be the new look for The Runaway Reader but it definitely provided me with some new skills that I'm excited to apply when redesigning this blog in the summer. Hopefully, it won't be a complete trainwreck!

2. Interacting with other bloggers. This is seriously something that I struggle with big time. The first year of blogging, I didn't speak a word to other bloggers outside of blogs. I didn't communicate a ton with anybody on Twitter and while I've definitely started to interact more with bloggers on other platforms outside of our blogs, it's still really hard for me to speak up. This sounds so stupid because everything is online but talking to new people can be intimidating. The worst part is I don't get to hear their tone so I often spend a lot of time after, thinking that they think I sounded stupid or rude or mean. Or what if they don't reply at all? And I know it's all in my head but every time those negative thoughts come into my mind, it's hard for me to get back out there. Sometimes, I feel really awkward talking to bloggers because I'm among the youngest in the community and I get worried that they might just roll their eyes at me, like what does this kid think she's doing here. And OBVIOUSLY this is all just stuff that I'm making up myself to make me worry but it's what made me so nervous of talking to other bloggers and what still makes me nervous.

3. Reaching out to publishers and authors. I admit, this isn't something that I've done yet because of SCARES and WORRIES (similar to the ones I had of interacting with other bloggers) but it's definitely something I would consider new for me. And once I achieve it, I sure would say my blogging horizons expanded! It's not something that I'm super eager to cross off my list though just because I don't really have any purpose in doing it but I think it would be really awesome one day if I could gather up my courage and just go for it!

4. Filming videos. I spend a lot of time on Youtube. I think I've already made that super clear but yeah, I do watch a lot of videos and for the longest time, I always had this yearn in me to vlog. And I did start this year which I am so happy about. I do think that the hardest part of taking that first step is over and now, it can only get better. I was seriously so nervous putting that video out but now, it doesn't make sense to me. I actually have a few videos planned which I am so excited about! I love seeing videos on other blogs because I think they're a lot more personal in the sense that we can actually see the blogger and I really enjoyed my one-time thing with vlogging as well! I mean, I love talking so it wasn't a big surprise...

That's it for me! I can think of so much more but these are just the four that I think are the most applicable and significant to where I'm at with blogging right now. Feel free to share with me some of the ways you expand your blogging horizons in the comments! 

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