blogging

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

“What do you like to do in your spare time?”
“I run a lifestyle blogger, I write reviews, give fashion tips, and share my life.”
“Oh, so you’re like Tanya…Burr is it? Or Zoella? My Goddaughter loves her. Do you use a camera and video yourself?”
“I’m going to need a bigger glass of wine.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in the situation above a lot recently. Whenever I happen to mention that I have a lifestyle blog people assume that I’m a vlogger like Zoe Sugg or another internet household name, or that I have had successful brand deals with the likes of Asos and Urban Decay. I’m not, and I haven’t. I’m just about on the scale and list of lifestyle bloggers, here’s five things I wish I knew before taking my place at the ‘lesser known end of the scale’.

Things I Wish I knew Before I Started

Goals are good, just be realistic.
We all dream of being big in the blogging world, some of us even dream of branching off into the freelance writing sector. But there is no point in having these dreams if you don’t set realistic goals to get there, I find that making small weekly goals for my blog are the best way of advancing. I ususally start with a research task at the start of the week, it gives me time to get any information I need for a blog post, check it hasn’t been done by other bloggers that often, that sort of thing. Once that’s done the rest of the goals are easier to break down. The point is that I break my blog posts down from the goal of “write a blog post” to four or five little goals, like “research topic”, “get outfit information such as brands and prices”, and “invent a catchy title” This way writing posts is easier and you feel like you’ve accomplished more at the end. Remember, the most you post the closer you could be to becoming the next Tanya Burr! 

Write everything down.
I can’t stress this one enough, the amount of great post ideas I’ve had late at night and have woken up not having a clue what they were is unreal! Write everything down, even if it is the smallest start of an idea, it could turn into a massive success. I prefer writing my ideas with a pen and paper opposed to typing them, it just feels a bit more creative and I can write quicker than I can type so my hands can keep up. But if you are more technological, then apps like Evernote or even the built in note app on your phone are excellent for writing those ideas on the go.

Go to brands, don’t wait for them to come to you.
The amount of bloggers out there at the moment is insane. So how do you get the brands to notice you, go to them! I have it on good authority that if you go to brands directly instead of waiting for them to notice you, you are in a better position for the prospect of working with them. Going to brands shows that you are willing to put yourself out there and are passionate about what you do. I must admit I haven’t tried this technique yet, but it’s on my list!

It’s okay to use stock photos. 
I’ve always been insistent on using my own photos on my blog, I used to hate stock photos, sometimes they can look cheap and lowers the value of your content. But then I was introduced to places like Unsplash and Gratisography.  The photos are  free from copyright restrictions or licensed under creative commons public domain dedication. This means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. Which is a dream come true once you’ve seen the quality of the photos!

Stay on top of current affairs.
When I started blogging, I was determined that my blog would be a little corner of the internet untouched by the harsh realities of life. But I have since discovered that staying out to the ‘real world’ can make you seem ignorant and robotic, a lot of my audience come for a human being talking about their life. Not some automaton ignoring a highly significant event that has affected millions. Commenting on current affairs, both on a world wide scale and in your personal life is a great way to show people that you are aware of the world around you and keeps you relevant.

I hope this helps some of you out there, I know I would have loved this sort of advice when starting out. Update on ‘Hang On In There’: I’m easing myself back into blogging, a schedule is nearly sorted and content is being finalised. I’m hoping to do a bit more current affairs topical writing and I’m in love with the idea of “Get the Look” posts. If you’ve got any suggestions to what you would like to see let my know in the comments below! Thanks for hanging on. 

 

Hang On In There

Hang On In There

I made two realisations last night.

1. I’m frustrated at the lack of content on my blog. 2. I have the power to change the amount of content on my blog.

I’m still finding it hard to get back into writing, most sentences are difficult to form at the moment. My travel posts sound like wikipedia articles, and my reviews seem to skip the bad parts. All whilst I’m seeing people being honest with their audiences, and I can’t help but think that I’m too honest too often, you don’t come here to see me publish content moaning about my lack of content, or to be informed that I’m taking yet another break.

If you happen to be here for that reason I encourage you to quit the window, or close the tab that currently displays these words, because I’m not doing that anymore. No more rebranding, no more “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I don’t need a schedule” Because I do. I want my posts to make impressions, create discussions and get people talking. But I can’t do that without an audience, and people aren’t going to read sporadic content that has been made with the least amount of effort possible, just so the creator gets to press the ‘publish’ button. I hope you’ll stay whilst I get some content sorted and establish a schedule.

Exciting times ahead, just hang on in there.

A special thank you to Matti, who helped me realise that I am actually capable of writing more than messages and emails. She’s pretty great. 

Diverse Bloggers | BEDA 3

Time to go back in time, when I set up this blog, I didnt’t really know where I wanted to take it, what my niche was. To tell you the truth, I still haven’t got a clue what my niche is. My absent specialty got me thinking, is it possible for a blogger to break the trend which has formed of only really covering one topic on there blogs? I knew that if I wanted to prove that you can have multiple niches I wouldn’t be able to do it alone, so I sent out a call to you guys, the blogging community, and by gosh was I shocked at the response I got. I asked you all if you ran a blog that you considered to be multiple niched (that what I’m calling you all now) I got reems of links sent to me. Unfortunately due to attention span of my audience I can’t feature you all, but here are some of my favourites…

The Multi-Nichers:
HELLOTASHA – Tasha seems to cover the main blogging niches in one, fashion, travel vlogs (well worth a view), beauty, and lifestyle. Her blog is chic and simple. I must confess that I followed her on bloglovin’ and was in awe of her posts, before she got in touch, so it’s pretty awesome that she wanted to be featured on Miss Backwards!

LiveLikeLynne – Remember Lynne? She did a wonderful guest post for me back in June, which you can find here. Lynne covers all things including fashion tips, gardening, personal experiences and just general lovely things. Lynne’s blog is unique and unlike any that I follow.

On The Edge – What mainly attracted me to this blog was how it dealt with music. I have seen many music blogs in the past year, but none have ever fitted my interests. With the tagline of ‘Not your average London blog’ this blog sets the bar high to have diverse content, and it delivers. This blog has the ability of making you feel as if anything is possible! I love it!

Take On The Road – Primarily a travel blog, this blog manages to effortlessly cover more than just this. Incorporating lifestyle posts as well as reviews for plenty of things. Take On The Road is contemporary blog with a sleek design and daring content, this blog is one of the main reasons I started in the first place!

Unfortunately I couldn’t talk about all of you, but I’ve decided to feature all of the blogs that I was contacted by down below. So be sure to take a look at all of them.

The Passport ChroniclesPlutonium Sox Damask Suitcase thirtysomethingbelle Team H-P LifeWhile I’m Young And SkinnyOrianna’s OracleFox On The HuntThe Dairy Of  A Jewellery Lover • Go Live ExploreJenny In NeverlandCheshire Wife Georgina DoesAdimayA Cornish MumDanielle AliniaThe Creative Fitness Channel Isles GilianAkamatraCottonclothecoHaynes, Her WayFor Vanity’s Sake OhHay A World To TravelSwords and SnoodlesMy Zest Best Lix Hewett • 

I hope you enjoyed that, and be sure to check out all of those that I have mentioned.
I’ll see you tomorrow,
Ellie

My Blogging Essentials | BEDA 2 

Day two of BEDA is well underway! Every blogger has a kit, their tools of creation. The things they use to bring you the content you read, so today I thought I would share with you my essentials.

My iPad: 

I don’t know what I’d do without my iPad (affectionately named Padlington) I only got it in January, but I can truly say it has changed the way I blog. It’s perfect for typing on the go, I’m currently in the car would you believe? Using the WordPress app and it’s great for quickly checking stats and just generally checking on Miss Backwards. It allows me to be portable and therefore Miss Backwards can go anywhere, quite literally.

My Notebook: 

Now one of these is a must for any blogger, I’m still on my first one but when I decided to really get serious with this blogging malarky I decided to get one that was me, I finally decided to get this one from Waldo Pancake. I love their stuff, it’s so original and it feels like the products all have their own little personalities. My notebook is the holder of my ideas, the entire of BEDA is planned and exists within the pages, it jumps from bag to desk, from desk to another bag, it’s great as it has lines on one side and then blank pages on the other, it’s great for a good doodle or quick idea scribble.

My Phone:

Before you say anything, I know the phone above is different to the one above that, i’ve changed phones since I took the feature image, sorry about that. It’s great for writing on the go, with the Google docs app, I can write posts whilst on the go and copy and paste them into wordpress when I get home. Most people use the wordpress app for writing, but I just don’t like it, no particular reason, it’s just not my cup of tea. My phone is never any from me, so it’s fab for taking all of my blog photos, my LG G4 boasts a 16 megapixel camera taking some of the best photos I’ve ever seen, so is ideal for that!

My iPod: 

I love to listen to music when I write, I find it so inspiring and in no way distracting… Sorry I was singing where did I get to? Oh yet, not distracting. I have a blogging playlist set up with all of my favourite songs on, also blogging can be quite lonely, but not if you have the likes of Ed Sheeran and Jack Savoretti in your ears it’s not!

So there are some of my blogging essentials, let me know some of your’s below.
I’ll see you tomorrow,
Ellie

Emma Haughton | Author Interview

You can’t say I didn’t come back with a bang, can you? Two weeks ago you got an announcement and a guest post, and last week you got a more original post. I think we can all truly say Miss Backwards is back on track. Yesterday you got a review of ‘Now You See Me’ by Emma Haughton, and today I thought I would treat you all to an exclusive interview with Emma herself! I know, how lucky are you all?

This opportunity was amazing for me, so I would like to thank Emma for it. Yesterday you saw how much I loved ‘Now You See Me’ so being able to ask questions to the author was truly awesome. I hope this is something you guys will be seeing more of, and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did conducting it.

As a reader, I really enjoyed how the book was broken up into two different times in the first half, was it difficult writing like that? Did you have a certain process like writing the present first then the past?
Yes. When you have a dual time narrative like that, it’s much easier initially to write it all through in chronological order, and then interweave the chapters so that they reflect and enhance one another. In Now You See Me there was quite a lot of shifting around, I seem to remember, even well into the publisher edits.

In hindsight, working with two time periods was a tricky thing to do in a first book. I’m doing it again with my third, and I have a bit more confidence now that it will work. *crosses fingers*

Missing people is slowly becoming a more talked about and common thing, was it difficult to write about such an emotional subject?
I sort of came at the subject backwards, inasmuch as the real life situation which captivated me focussed more on what happened further down the narrative line. But I quickly realised that for that ‘real time’ part of the story to have enough emotional power, I’d have to dig back further into how and why Danny went missing in the first place.

And yes, it is a very emotional subject, but if anything that’s a gift to writers; the more emotion inherent in a situation, the more there is to work with. That makes me sound very clinical, but I think writers have to develop some emotional distance from the subject they’re writing about, in order to focus more on the mechanics of storytelling.

Can you give us a short, spoilerfree, summary of your book?
Oh, blimey. Well, it’s the story of Hannah, age 13, and her best friend Danny, who goes missing one Sunday afternoon. It follows the impact on Hannah, and on Danny’s family – and then what happens when his disappearance takes on avery unexpected twist.

And as I mentioned, it is based on a true story, but I can’t possibly say what that is or it will be a spoiler. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to email me for details once they’ve read the book!

There is quite an unexpected twist/reveal in the book, what served as inspiration for this, and how did you manage to keep the audience in the dark throughout? Because I certainly didn’t guess it would be that!
Well, that is what happened in real life, incredible though it may seem. And in many ways, it was what inspired me to write Now You See Me. I wasn’t so interested in why someone would goes missing, but what would motivate someone to exploit the situation in that way.

What writers inspire you?
Yikes, how long have we got? I read loads when I was young, and did English at university, so I’ve got through quite a lot of books. In adult fiction my favourite writers are Sarah Waters, Anne Tyler, Edward St Aubyn, Jane Austen, Will Self, Doestoevsky, Bulgakov, Salinger, Brett Easton Ellis… I’m sure I’m forgetting some. In terms of children’s/YA writers, Eve Ainsworth, Sarah Sky, Lee Weatherly, Helen Grant, Patrick Ness… oh god, my brain is going blank. My standout YA book of the last few years is definitely We Were Liars by E Lockahrt, which just blew me away.

Do you have a particular writing process? Like a certain spot or time of day perhaps? Or are you a ‘write as inspiration strikes’ kind of writer?
I’d like to say I have a process, but it’s pretty much sit down most days, mess about a lot on social media, then eventually force myself to do some writing. Inspiration tends to follow on the back of getting stuck in. How difficult that is depends on what stage I’m at with a book. I hate first drafts and having to find all this stuff in my head from scratch – I find that really hard work, and am easily unnerved by the fact that it all tends to be a bit rubbish in these early stages. I much prefer further down the line – say, the third draft onwards – where I’ve worked out all the nuts and bolts of the story and just have to tweak and polish. I love tinkering with words.

Publisher edits are a bit of a slog too. There’s nothing more daunting than having to pick apart a book you’ve spent so long perfecting, then shuffle it all about and try and sew it all up again. But it’s always worth it in the end.

In terms of a writing spot, I tend to write propped up on my bed with my computer on my lap. I just find it the most comfortable way to type.

My personal favourite, if you could have a tea party with any other 5 writers (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
Aaarrrghhh, what a brilliant question! *holds head in hands and thinks hard* Jane Austen, because I think she’d be so witty and sharp. MixhaelBulgakov, because I’d love the opportunity to tell him that he wrote my favourite book ever, The Master and Margarita.Shakespeare because… well, Shakespeare! Enid Blyton because I have so many fond memories of her books, and she helped develop my passion for reading. And… hmm, let me see… Will Self, who’s very much alive. Partly because I loved How the Dead Live and partly because he’s so clever and humorous and I think would be very good company for tea.

That’s it folks. I’d like to thank Emma for her amazing answers! She was lovely to interview, well as lovely as a person can be via email, I think we might have picked up a VIP follower! So all of you on your best behaviour.

Now You See Me by Emma Haugton | A Review

“They say when you are missing someone that they are probably feeling the same, but I don’t think it’s possible for you to miss me as much as I’m missing you right now.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

I read this book 3 months ago, but my journey doesn’t begin here. Around a year ago I had just finished a book on my kindle and a rather interesting recommendation came up, needless to say I was apprehensive to buy book, so I downloaded the sample. After reading it I still couldn’t decide, so I left it on my kindle for a while. Somehow I still managed to keep going back to the book,  everyone and then the images I imagined when reading the opening few pages would occur in my mind, so after much deliberation and being unable to get them images from reoccurring I decided to buy the book. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Now You See Me is based on a true story, which makes it that bit more breathtaking. The book steps where no book I have ever read before and explores the emotions and aftermath of a disappearance. Danny, a 13 year old disappears without a trace, leaving his family and friends behind without so much as a shred of information to go on. Leaving a family and his best friend reeling from his sudden exit, the book focuses on his best friend Hannah and how see picks up the pieces with Danny’s family in the months after his disappearance.

The structure of this book is clever to say the least, split into two parts the first flits between the past and present so you see an insight into life now for Hannah, and how it was immediately after his disappearance. The  first person narrative enables Emma to confront the reader with raw and fresh emotions not often seen in contemporary novels, most notably the confusion of Hannah regarding past events and how they might (or might not) connect with Danny’s vanishing act.

I loved this book, it’s great for people who love physiological thrillers particularly fans of Sophie McKenzie or people like that. The writing of this book was flawless and engaging once I had started I couldn’t put it down, as the realistic characters with a splash of uncertainty made for a fabulous read. That’s why I’m happy to award this book the first 5 dragon rating for Miss Backwards, therefore setting the benchmark for all other books.

5 Stars

If you liked this review, come back for tomorrow for a surprise, you won’t be disappointed! As usual let me know what you think if you have read this book and what you thought, and if you want to see more reviews like this make sure to give this post a like so I know.

Happy Reading,
Ellie

Review: You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

“Don’t let two men fall in love with you, girls. It’s not the sort of thing that ends well.”
-Uncle Charles, Ally Carter, Uncommon Criminals 

I’m a big fan of the Fletcher family, I like McFly’s music, I like Carrie Hope Fletcher’s YouTube videos, and it seems that I also like Giovannas writing. This is the third book I have read by her if you count her short Christmas one, that I certainly had mixed feelings about, but I’ll save that for another review.
The journey starts at the back of a church with Maddy about to marry her long term boyfriend and best friend Robert, but she is having great difficulty looking straight ahead, with her other best friend Ben who is standing to the side. If your marrying the man of your dreams, why does she keep looking to the side?
There is a strong chance that if it wasn’t Robert standing at the altar waiting, it would be Ben. With a undying unconfused love for Maddy Ben has always had.
The structure of this book is really quite clever, with the story of the affectionately named ‘the tripod’ through snapshots into their lives as a group and how they got where they are. This is done through Roberts best man speech and how each little bit relates to a part of their lives.
After enjoying ‘Billy and Me’ last summer, I had high expectations for this book, despite falling down at points it was an overall good read. The character were developed, and the detailed descriptions really help to form and understanding of who they were and how they composed themselves, Ben has to be my favourite character as he is constantly friends-zoned which makes him a bit cuter at points.
What I think helped developed my love for this book, and certainly made me think about it from a more analytic perspective was an interview Giovanna did before the book came out. She stated that she wanted to toy with the idea that you can love more than one person at once as love comes in many forms, so I encourage anyone who is looking to embark on their own journey with the tripod to keep that in mind as I think it might shift your viewpoint just enough to see another angle of the book. so go pick up a copy of this lovely novel, I promise it won’t disappoint and if it does, please don’t tell Giovanna as she is one of the nicest authors out there and I wouldn’t want to be the cause of her being upset! I give this book a well deserved 4 out of 5 dragons.
4 Stars
As usual let me know what you think if you have read this book and what you thought, and if you want to see more reviews like this make sure to give this post a like so I know.
Happy Reading,
Ellie