Blog News

Coming soon.

Just a quick post to say that I’m currently working hard behind the scenes here at Juniper’s Jungle, getting everything tidied up and organised ready to get going again in early June. When I do start posting again it will only be book related content here. For everything else I will now be blogging at On Your Left. I’d love it if you read both blogs, but if you only want the book stuff or you only want the non-book stuff then both now have their own separate homes.

I’m really excited about my plans for Juniper’s Jungle, I’ve spent the last few weeks working out exactly what I hope to achieve here – I hope you’ll all like it!

Blog News · Life

Fresh starts.

Whilst I was finishing up my degree I spent a lot of timing thinking about blogging; what I wanted to say and what I hoped to achieve. Long story short, I decided that my best way forward would be to divide my existing blog into two. Juniper’s Jungle will remain all about books, I’m doing lots of work behind the scenes at the moment to get it into the state I want to be ready for the future. And here, On Your Left, will be all of the rest of me.The personal stuff, the geeky stuff, the scouting stuff, the gluten free stuff, and probably the odd meme or two will all be here. All of the old, non-bookish content from Juniper’s Jungle has been migrated over here, I can’t wait to start adding new posts to it!


What’s in a name?

My biggest problem when it comes to writing is titles. It always has been, I remember being incredibly relieved when it came to my GCSE English creative writing coursework and the only thing we were given was the title “Behind The Wall”. I’ve been blogging a long long time now, and naming posts doesn’t feel any easier than it did when I started over a decade ago, if anything it feels harder.

Book blogging is a great way around this problem, the title for a post is pretty much determined by its content – posts tend to be either a review or news so little imagination is needed. Throughout my blogging life however there have been more posts than I care to remember that have never seen the light of day because I didn’t have a title for them. The maddening thing is that I know some of them were really, really good posts.

Realising that I have this problem has helped me to realise why Livejournal has worked so well for me, I’ve had a number of journals over there and the Friendslist structure makes post titles pretty unimportant, I could just write what I wanted and post it without having to worry about titling it.

So what am I going to do? I see other bloggers using brilliantly witty and clever titles and know that I can’t do that, it’s not the way my brain works. I’m not witty or good at puns, so that’s definitely out. I figure I either continue to spend so much time worrying about it and not blogging as a result, or I just accept that my titles are never going to be imaginative and focus on making sure the post itself is the very best it can be. Hopefully this month’s blogging effort will help me to make the latter my automatic stance.

Blog News

October Daily Blog

Today I’ve taken the decision that I’m going to make a concerted effort and get back to blogging properly. The recent death of my grandad has meant that for the last couple of weeks it’s been the last thing on my mind, but I want to get back in the blogging saddle and so for October (at the very least) I’m going to do my absolute best to blog every single day. 31 posts, some will be my Recent Reads round ups, a couple will be product reviews and some will just be whatever I feel like talking about on that day or something from my “blog about this” bookmarks.

I’m starting today by blogging both about this aim, and about some thoughts I’ve been having about online presence, social media, time and creativity. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, since Kaz Mahoney posted this about her plan to have a Twitter free month. When I first read it a lot of it made sense, and over the course of the month I’ve found that my thoughts have regularly returned to it.

Currently I blog and use Feedly to follow a whole heap of blogs, I am on Facebook (though this is mainly to keep up to date with a small handful of people), Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram. I also have accounts on various other social networking sites, but the ones I list are the ones that take up most of my time. I love each and every one (well not Facebook but that’s a given yes?) but often found myself caught between feeling overwhelmed at the amount of noise I’m trying to process and the urge to just check things once again in case I’ve missed something. I hate the latter in particular, I want to try really hard to detach myself from the idea that I need to know everything about everything and I need to know it right now.

I’ve thought about it a lot and I’m not brave enough to experiment with giving up Twitter at the moment, though I am going to have another look at who I’m following and whether I really need to (particularly celebrities and corporate accounts), and am definitely going to spend more time away from my screen. I’ll also be going through my Feedly and cutting out some of the blogs I now follow just because I always have rather than because I’m still interested in them. The one I’m definitely going to give up on for October is Tumblr. There are aspects I like about Tumblr, particularly some of the fandom presences, but at times it feels like I’m scrolling through page after page just to spot one thing I love. So October will be Tumblr free, and then I can make the decision either to not go back or to go back in a more limited manner.

I’m not entirely sure what differences I expect this to make. I definitely hope to find I free up some time and some brainspace, who knows what I might achieve as a result.


A blog a day? I’ll try again.

Despite thinking about blogging a lot during May I didn’t actually managed to get many words on to the screen. I realised one of the major problems with blogging was that when I was trying to get to sleep at night I would compose wonderful posts on all manner of topics and then realise days later that I hadn’t remembered to type them and couldn’t remember anything other than how good they were.

I’m going to try to develop a better structure to my days, hopefully this will include more consistent blogging. Until recently my days consisted mainly of watching tv and napping, with trips out for coffee as and when I felt up to it. I generally now have more energy, and my Sky planner is getting increasingly bare as the programmes I was watching (I nearly typed enjoying but that would have been overstating the case for some) have finished. Now that the weather is nicer I’m going to try and get out a bit more and enjoy it. I also have a lot of fiction ideas swimming round my head (and recorded in my ideas book) so I’m going to try and starting planning and writing something.

This will all work wonderfully until the weather changes or the World Cup starts, whichever comes soonest!


Best laid plans and all that.

Like many bloggers I’ve found in recent months that I just haven’t managed to blog very often but for no obvious reason. This is something I really want to change so I decided that after managing to blog every day in December on my old blog that I’d go for “May Merriment”. My intention is to blog every day through May with the hope that after that I’ll just keep going.

This morning I looked at my phone and realised it was 2nd May. The month has started without me noticing and as a result I’ve missed the first blog of the month already. Whoops!

Interestingly, to me at least, my first thought when I realised I’d got my dates all mixed up was similar to the reactions I used to have when I ate something that didn’t fit in with diet plans. If I was dieting and ended up eating cake or chocolate my instinct would be to write the day off and aim to start again the next day. In a similar way I was ready to write this month off and try again in June. Slowly but surely I’m trying to change my feelings about food and now if I eat something that doesn’t necessarily fit into any current healthy eating plan I let myself off the hook and get right back on track at the next meal time. I’m going to do the same thing with this blogging plan – yes I missed 1 day, but there are another 30 to go.