Friday, January 30, 2015

Blog Design Recommendations Needed, New Happenings & Resolution Progress | Sofia Speculates - A Month In Review (3)

A Month In Review follows the same principles of Sofia Speculates, while covering more topics. Topics covered range from bookish to life to myself. So sit back, relax, and grab a cup of coffee, because rambling is to be expected! It wouldn't be Loving the Language of Literacy otherwise.

I Need Your Help!!!
I woke up the second Sunday in January, with this sudden epiphany-like urge that I should change my blog design. It's not that I dislike it. It's just that I've had the same theme for almost a year now, and I no longer feel like it's current with Loving the Language of Literacy's feel. I want something slightly more clean/modern, and I am now dealing with the issue all customers, of any type, deal with. 

Who the hell do I trust with the aesthetics of my baby?

I express my passion for blogging/YouTube in my most popular blog post (and the one I am most proud of) When Your Hobby Isn't Valid. I explain how much blogging means to me, and it's the closest (at this point in time anyway) I have to writing of mine published for the world to see. I take a lot of pride in the content I produce, so it's only logical of me to care just as much about how it looks. As we all know, your blog/YouTube channel content can be AMAZING, but no one will stay for more than three seconds if they don't like how you look (or sound, which is an added challenge with YouTube). 

I would appreciate it so much if you told me where you got your blog design, if you went with a custom or premade, company recommendations, price ranges, customer satisfaction, etc. I already interrogated one of my good bookish friends Alex @ The Book's Buzz whose used Butterfly-o-Meter designs and it sounds like a nice, affordable option and I simply ADORE Alex's design. So please help me out on this one. My budget for a new design is around the realm of $75 for a new header, social media buttons, signature, discussion/review banner, and post dividers. I would also like your opinion on what it should look like because no particular theme goes with the words "Loving" "Literacy" and "Language," besides hearts, which doesn't sound attractive.

Everything is AWESOME (I hate that song)
I had this moment in the middle of January where I just sat down in wonder of how great my life was, in the Blogosphere, YouTube Community, AND real world. I received my first ever print ARCs from Scholastic, which is a huge blogging milestone. I've explained about personal validation, and I never felt so... legitimate as when those arrived in my mail box. My YouTube subscriber count has been steadily growing and is now at 65 Subscribers which I am just flabbergasted at. Most importantly, I have begun making friends in my new school. At my old school, I had known everyone since Kindergarten and as any new kid knows, it's hard to slip into a the motions people have been going through for a long time. I'm getting to know my teachers better (which may or not be a good thing considering their unusual quirks) and my classmates. As I'm writing this post, Emma is showing me pictures of people from the previous year and BOY can 12 months make all of the difference in how people look.

ALL of the New Things
Back in October/November I was feeling extremely discouraged with my blogging, feeling as if my content was stale, but those feelings are mostly now gone.This month has been amazing for productivity, originality, and overall pride in myself and my blog. I started a three new series/original posts I am SO excited to continue on with. Such as Frames of Existence, Sofia Speculates, and A Progression in Playwriting. Of course, there's this new monthly series which is basically an excuse for me to extend my monthly wrap-up EVEN more. I have felt so much more creative and productive this month, and overall satisfaction with my life in general.  I would love to know what you think of these new features/series and how I could improve them. 

New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolution Progress - I posted LENGTHY Running, Blogging, Vlogging, Reading, and Living Resolutions on my YouTube Channel. Remember, any improvement, is progress. Don't judge me too harshly on some of these!

Read More Diversely - Genre Wise: As of writing this post (1/25), I have read 13 books (not novels), and 5 of them were NOT Young Adult. I read a New Adult - Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, which I LOVED. A Middle Grade by one of my favorite authors - Mark of the Thief by Jennifer Nielsen which is coming out in February and you should DEFINITELY keep an eye out for it. Tina Fey's memoir was spectacular. I dipped my toes into the world of graphic novels with Art Spiegelman's (same author as Maus) In The Shadow of No Towers. And an adult novel, which was my favorite (so far) of the month as well as my first read of the new year - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Finish 20 Series: I read and reviewed The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, the third and final novel in the Mara Dyer trilogy. But, I started 6 new series.... so I have a lot of reading to do.

Workout 4x Week: I got back into working out after a 7 month hiatus. Unfortunately I only worked out 5 times in January. But like I said, it's progress that counts! I might even participate in the Reader's Workout Meme again, and share with you some of my workout out tips.

Focus On Photography: I have done so well with this one and have another Frames of Existence scheduled for the beginning of February. I went outside and around my neighborhood and some of the shots look AMAZING. I can't wait to share them with you.

Work Harder on Posts | Draft/Edit. Schedule 1 Week Ahead: I've succeeded in drafting my discussion posts/look over my reviews before pressing publish, which I consider an accomplishment. Maybe I sound like an intellectual person now.... or not. As of today, I am a week ahead in blog posts which I also pretty proud of. It's the end of the days when I scramble the day OF for a blog post!

Sign up for less blog tours: I haven't signed up for a single tour this month, and after my February tour stop on the 13th, it's the end of blog tours for a while *gives self applause*

Find balance between clean editing/over editing: After doing some serious reflection on the amount of effort/time I spend in editing my videos, I decided to be a little more relaxed so the videos are more fluid. I believe I succeeded with Finding a Place of My Own | A Progression in Playwriting (1). Because it was downright ridiculous how much I slaved over videos in the past to end up not coming out very good.

Networking: I've made new internet friends too! Via twitter, I have interacted with these lovely people who have AWESOME blogs and personalities - Jackie @ Jackie's Book Shenanigans, Alex @ The Book's Buzz, Xander @ Forever Bookish, Holly @ The Fox's Hideaway, Summer @ Miss Fictional, Amber @ YA Indulgences.

1 Neo-Classic/Non-Fiction/Month: I succeeded in this one (surprisingly) because I read the non-fiction memoir Bossypants (Tina Fey) as well as what I predict will become a neo-classic and it most definitely should be - All The Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr).

New Years Resolutions REVISED - because we all know life gets in the way
Post 4x/Week = Post 15x a Month/Every Other Day.
Upload 2x/Week = Upload 10x a Month/Every 4 Days.
1 Research Post/Month = 1 Research Post/2 Months.

New Years Resolutions Failed  - but there are still 11 months left!
Listen to More Audiobooks: Did NOT happen. 
Re-Read | Favorite Books: I am planning on re-reading a book in February because of memory loss purposes. 
Write | 5k/Week: No comment on my failure. 
Run Goodreads Group Better: Didn't happen 
Comment More: *hides in shame*

Would you like to read some of my original writing?
Did any particular series/feature on Loving the Language of Literacy this month suit your fancy?
What videos/blog posts would you like to see in the upcoming months?
Would you like to see more personal posts from me?

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