Author Archives: Fairything’s Nook

ESSAY 2: My Experiences As An Online Publisher

This has been an interesting semester, to say the least. That said, is it strange that I can describe one of my courses as pleasantly surreal? Because, really, Publishing 101 has been bizarre in the best kind of way. Where else can you spend a whole semester trying out online publication, almost entirely independently? In many ways it’s odd running a blog for school, and there are more than a few things I would do differently now, but it was a remarkable experience. 

Before this course, most of my content creation took place over some sort of host site or another. I post writing and music on, for example, my Instagram and similar sites. The thing about existing platforms is they often have rules in place. On Instagram, you post images and minute-long videos. Tiktok, meanwhile, is for minute-long videos or less, but not images. Twitter is for anything you can fit in about 200 characters.

Starting a blog meant I had none of these foundations to build on. One of the first things I said to my professor was that it felt like my blog was an open field, completely barren of outside influence, and that this was terrifying. She said that was a good thing. So, I swallowed my fear and got to work. Truthfully, I used my experience on social media as a bit of a crutch. A couple of weeks back, we had Andrew McLuhan, grandson of Marshall McLuhan, come give a guest lecture. He said there were two big questions for a creator’s process: who the intended audience was, and what effect the creator intended to give them.  

When I say I used my existing platforms as a crutch, I mean that I didn’t think about these questions as much as I should have. I told myself, “My audience will just be the kind of people I draw in already, and this blog will give them a look into what else I do.” 

This proved to be a mistake. Someone watching your sixty-second covers does not mean they’ll read through your blog every week. I retooled accordingly after some peer reviews pointed this out, and went from a clunky format of whatever I was obsessed with to a more solid skeleton for every entry: a tip for the creative process, a trial I had undertaken, and a recommendation of a show or series I was invested in as a cute little bonus. That way, it was more for artists in general than people who already knew me, and people had a reason to click without being invested in me as an individual. It broadened my audience and my effect.

Really, making your own platform is an insane amount of trial and error like this. Besides my message and audience, I even struggled with my blog design. Working through the nooks and crannies of my blog’s theme proved tedious. Menus were reordered, the home page underwent several incarnations, and I struggled with finding good images to separate walls of text. Besides that, it turned out the Dark Mode extension I have on my browser meant the colours I had chosen weren’t accurate to what people saw, so that was a whole struggle I had to unravel. 

The result today is a quiet blog that spent maybe half the semester overcoming its own confusion. I am okay with that. This was my first foray into blogging, after all. It isn’t the most common way to make online content these days, what with the power and convenience of social media. We actually read about that in our course, going over a Hossein Derakhshan article about it (Derakhshan, 2015). Derakhshan, who went to jail for what his blog said, spoke of a bygone era where “blogs were gold and bloggers were rockstars.” It was a decentralized world where everyone had their own platform, interlaced with each other via hyperlinks. I have foggy childhood memories of such a thing: old walkthrough blogs for video games I liked, archives of fan reactions to their favourite shows. And now, I had the opportunity to create as they had. And for school, no less.

Again, the freedom was initially daunting. And again, my professor said this was good. When I remember these earlier classes, I think of our reading about how the Internet disinhibits us (Suler, 2004). I know I definitely put on different conduct in class, and I wondered where on the spectrum my blog would fall. We read all about the minimizing of authority, and how everyone feels like an equal peer, and how that makes individuals less afraid of expressing themselves. Of course, it is harder to invoke in this scenario because of the existence of a clear authority: this is for class, and I am getting graded for it. 

That said, the sense of authority was minimized compared to other classes. I never forgot that I was doing schoolwork, but it did not feel like schoolwork. In class, we read about digital gardens (Basu, 2020). That phrase really sums up the experience, even if this site probably doesn’t qualify, being a more traditional blog than the artistic, introspective ways described. That said, my blog was something I cultivated, shaped, and grew to my desires. It was my own space, but others could come by and admire it if they wanted. 

Finally, I want to look at what I would do differently. As I said, my blog has already changed a lot. I struggled to find a topic and a way to express it. Part of this was because I struggle with OCD. Because of how my disorder works, I often feel a need to spread myself evenly about even the smallest things. If I wrote a blog about music, for example, some voice in my head would tell me I was giving up on being an author. And if my blog had been about writing and literature, my mind would have said I was giving up on music. But over this semester, I realized that my blog is not the end-all-be-all of who I am and what I do. 

My professor said our blog was like a house, but the way I see it, it is not a house we have to live in. Maybe this blog is mine, but it is more an open house than anything. I invite people in, show them around. I get to choose what they see, which is a good thing. 

I don’t know if I’ll keep blogging after this semester. If I do, though, I want to try a new topic. Maybe books and writing, maybe mental health, maybe album reviews. Who knows? 

Whatever the case, this course has gotten me to think about the online self in a whole new way, and a much healthier way at that. When I use other platforms, I will do so with a new perspective. Overall, this whole course was a one of a kind experience. Again, it’s really made me rethink how our online selves and platforms function, and our relations to the things we create. I would not have explored any of this on my own, so it was truly a wonderful opportunity. 

As with my previous essay, citations issues mean my citations page is on Google Docs. Access it here!

Oh Geez It’s December

Y’know, some part of me never expected this to happen. Not in the morbid “I didn’t think I’d survive this long,” but in the sense of, “Wow, this year might actually end.”

If I’m crunching my numbers right, this is my last Outward Post. My last Process Post will also come out sometime this week, and that’s an essay. And from there, who knows? I sure don’t.

But at least it’s almost time for the holidays, right? I have a chocolate advent calendar, our tree is up, and I’m in my coziest flannel. Despite everything, the Holly Jollies have hit me.

Let’s get into it.

TIP: Daily Minimums

Wow, how did I never get to talking about daily minimums? This wacky little trick is a genuine godsend.

So, as some of you know, I’ve spent a lot of this year getting involved in my local art scene. And like any good person from Surrey, when I say local, I mean Vancouver.

While I definitely got to be more involved after COVID struck, in the beginning, I had two mentorships. One was for protest art, and the other was for poetry and playwriting.

In the latter, one of my mentors shared a little trick that’d gotten them through even their rougher periods: a daily minimum.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: every day, my mentor would try to get at least 100 words written down or typed. Even on the worst kind of day, when everything was going wrong and they had no energy, 100 words. Because really, 100 words isn’t that much. Not in the grand scheme of things. I’ve already written about 200 about this topic alone.

Give it a shot. You’ll surprise yourself by how often you go over that rule.

TRIAL: Making Things For Others

So, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here, but I’m an artist.

That was sarcasm.

But in all sincerity, one thing I love about art is how collaborative it can be. Again, I’ve spent a lot of this year in workshops and mentorships with my fellow creatives. And it’s genuinely, like, healing. There’s something so organic and refreshing about sharing a space with people who love art as much as you do.

And with the semester almost over, I’m opening up to working with other people again. It’s both a step out of my comfort zone, and honestly really beneficial to my practice. All of this summer and fall, I’ve been insistent on working on my own. At first, it was because I was worried about my work being up to the standards of my peers. Then, well, COVID happened, and that was its own excuse.

But this fall, I’ve gotten myself wrapped up in a few more openly collaborative projects. Musical stuff, mostly. It’s fun. Sometimes I’ll be the one writing lyrics, sometimes I’ll send in a beat and see what people do with it… I genuinely think creative collaboration is a love language.

That’s sappy, but I mean it! What’s a bigger sign of trust than pouring your heart into something and then letting someone else do the same? It’s beautiful.

We can’t LEGALLY look like this yet, but maybe someday.

REC: I’ve Got Nothing, I’m Just Watching The Nutcracker Suite In Fantasia

It’s finals week, y’all. You think I’m consuming media that’s NOT related to my exams or final projects? Hah. Nice try.

I’m sorry, I really am.

The only thing my mind really has space for right now is the Nutcracker Suite from Fantasia. I watch it at least once every December, because it really gets me in the mood. Nothing like a bunch of winter fairies dancing on snowflakes, right? Also, as a kid, I was OBSESSED with the whole movie. I would watch it on the regular, and every time I did, I had these intricate rituals with all of my stuffed animals, where I’d try to play along. It was insane.

I’m beginning to wonder how it took me so long to realize I’m neurodivergent.

Whatever the case, great news, that particular sequence is on YouTube.

I know what I’m doing today.

Until next time.

Zoom, Intimacy, and Cat Cams

So, as I said, I’d be talking a lot about how screwed up things are right now. And like, yeah, that’s easy enough to do. But what about the good things that come out of that? If Zoom’s done one good thing, it’s letting people let their guards down.

There was a hot minute back in the spring where everyone had this idea of Business As Usual. You were expected to come into calls dressed up as you would’ve been in real life, and keep all the manners and social norms of that bygone era.

As summer and fall passed, I noticed something: there were fewer and fewer cameras on in Zoom calls. And when they did come on, people were often dressed comfortably, some in pyjamas outright. Our rooms are on display, clean or otherwise. We’re vulnerable, but at some point, our camraderie in this hellish year overcame old world formalities.

I mean, really. I’ve spent the past eight months getting sneak peeks at my profs’ homes and housemates. It’s surreal.

And while I have a whole lot of feelings about whether or not people should be obligated to show themselves like that, one pleasant consequence has been that everyone’s showing off their pets. Sometimes by accident. Many a cat has walked across some unfortunate soul’s keyboard.

As someone with two cats, I’ve been that unfortunate soul many times. But also, it gets a laugh out of people and it’s a nice reminder that there’re still good things in this world.

In fact, sometimes, when I don’t feel up to appearing on camera, I put my laptop on the floor in front of one of my cats. With the seasons changing, they tend to relax in front of space heaters and on top of vents, so they’re great for still footage.

Heck, it’s just nice seeing what people will put on camera in general. Folks get creative! The other day, I was on a call, and when one of my friends went to do something, she put a Kirby plush in her place. It was adorable.

One of these suckers.

Overall, don’t get me wrong, I hate just about everything going on right now, but at least we find things to smile about.

Mini Assignment 6: Make a GIF

So, I made a GIF. It was actually pretty easy! I filmed something on my phone, put it on desktop, and used a sceen recorder app I’d downloaded a while back.

After talking so much about Zoom Ettiquette and being perceived and the like, I had plenty to work with.

Ta-da! His name is Bandit, by the way.

And here’s his sister, Onyx, because she deserves love, too. She’s the featured image today!

She doesn’t appear on calls because she’s camera shy.

Until next time!

The 2020 Workspace

So, as I mentioned in a recent post, Andrew McLuhan is holding a contest for a Distant Early Warning playing card set. And all we had to do was write all about how fucked things are.

Here’s one of many posts about that. Introducing… my 2020 workspace.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “There’s a lot going on here.”

And, yeah, you could say that. But I swear, every little item here has a purpose.

For example, that entire shelf about my laptop? Fidget toys. A whole bunch of fidget toys. I have squishies, fidget spinners, worry stones, and a whole bunch of other things that keep my hands occupied while I’m on a call. See, I’m neurodivergent, in case you haven’t noticed, and one thing about this is that my body craves movement. Throughout the day, I often get up and pace around my room, letting my thoughts run wild. It’s a lot of fun.

But it’s also not very socially acceptable during Zoom calls. So I fidget.

Below that, you can see my laptop, which is now my central hub for all work, play, and academia. On the left you can see my mic, which I bought to use for recording music and the like but now use every day to talk to my peers, a notebook for notes, and also a little SFU sheet, just so I don’t forget that, yes, all these hours spent with talking heads are academic work.

To the right are my physiotherapy weights and a glass of water, because health is important. I have some joint inflammation, and do daily exercises to keep my wrists functional. I also try to stay hydrated. You can also see my agenda in this shot! Which is, as always, obscenely packed.

Speaking of, I have another call to get to. Until next time!

Wait, What Do You Mean It’s Week 12?

So, it’s technically Week 11 for my Publishing class, because we started a week late. As Tuesday classes do, because of how the semester is.

But starting tomorrow, I’m in Week 12 of my first semester at SFU.

What? Huh? How did that even HAPPEN?

Anyways, let’s get into it.

TIP: Don’t Set Your Plans In Stone. Clay Does The Trick.

So, I think I officially know what my degree is going to look like.

I’m a Communication and Interactive Arts Major, with a Minor in Publishing.

Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

For a while, I was looking at the Contemporary Arts minor, too, but I think I’ll get by without it. I also was intrigued by the Creative Writing certificate, but I remembered I kind of hate studying poetry and fiction in an academic setting. As for Publishing? Well, thanks to my major, I’m technically almost halfway through a minor already.

I had a whole crisis about it last night. The same way I do about most of my creative endeavours. I think to myself, THIS has to happen THIS EXACT WAY in THIS EXACT TIME.

But really, how often is that actually feasible?

Like, I was going to try querying my novel this year. Ten months later, and I’m up to my neck in more revisions, because I thought of so many ways it could be better.

Do I still want to start querying again? Yes, but maybe sometime in the next year or two. Much like how I still want to graduate, but only now has my degree taken shape.

Be like clay. Have a path, but have it be malleable. It’ll save you a lot of headache.

Unrelated, but I want to try pottery someday. It looks fun.

TRIAL: Non-Evaluative Language

So, this week, I had my second meet with one of the two playwriting cohorts I’m in. Why am I in two? Well, I love excess.

Anyways, this one in particular practices “non-evaluative language.” This means we avoid words like “love,” “like,” “good,” “bad,” “strong,” “weak,” and so on. We’re more about what catches our attention, what questions we have, and so on.

I remember being terrified of this at first. How was I going to know if my work was good if people didn’t say it was good?

But as it turns out, you can gauge a lot from the non-evaluative things people say. It becomes less of a review and more of an excavation, as they get close and precise with their commentary.

And you don’t need an archeologist to say, “Wow, that’s a great pottery fragment” to know they think it’s deeply fascinating, do you? You can see that in how they describe the era it’s from, how it was made, and what it was used for.

Evaluative writing is kind of like that. It’s an excavation of passion for someone’s work. Like, look at how much I got down.

Rec: Yeah, No, I’m Really Fried From Studying So Can I Just Recommend Schitt’s Creek Again?

Genuinely, I am toast. I was up until 3am last night, partially because I’d put off reading Marx for so long. Yeah, it’s gotten to a point where I’m putting off reading Marx. Dire straits, everybody.

So, I think I talked about Schitt’s Creek back when I had the Create/Consume model for my blog, which was a nightmare, and I atone for it every day. But really, this is one of the most sincere, loving, and hilarious shows I’ve ever watched, and an excellent finals-season binge. Considering my midterms-season binge is Bojack Horseman, my standards might be low, but watching this made me feel good. And as a gay person, it made me feel seen. David Rose is probably one of the most relatable characters on TV for me, for better or worse.

Schitt's Creek: Sexuality Isn't the Joke - Ms En Scene
Live footage of me watching Schitt’s Creek.

Anyways, I just finished a rewatch with my parents, and the finale never fails to get me emotional. I won’t spoil, but if you want a feel-good show where every line hits and you can’t stop smiling. Also, Catherine O’Hara is there and she’s hilarious.

"Gossip is the devils telephone" Stickers by soopermom11 ...
This is an actual quote. It lives in my brain rent-free.

Until next time.

PROCESS POST: Zoom Manners 101

So, Andrew McLuhan was our guest lecturer today. You know, McLuhan. As in Marshall McLuhan.

Did I geek out? You could say that.

But besides my being a comms student and finding all of that to be inherently very cool, he was also just a really neat guy to listen to and have in our call!

Also, expect a lot more posts this next week and a bit. He said there’s a raffle of sort, and I can enter by making posts about how, in his words, “fucked” things are.

Great news. I’m really good at that.

The prize, for the record, is a copy of McLuhan’s Distant Early Warning playing card deck.

Do I know any card games beyond Go Fish? Absolutely not. But oh, who wouldn’t want a copy of the DEW cards?

dew line 4
Speak it, Marshall.

So, as the title here implies, this first entry is about Zoom ettiquette. Really, it’s about the acknowledgement of it. Humans are social creatures, so we’re quick to create social norms, but isn’t it strange how many new norms a new form of media gives us?

Because really, Zoom is a new medium. Sure, we’ve had Skype and the like, but Zoom holds a whole other connotation. It’s for academics, work, and casual calls alike. It’s not something you do after hours; it’s where you SPEND those hours.

And that comes with a whole bunch of new social rules and norms.

For example: camera on or off? I have some friends whose profs make cameras compulsory. Most of my classes, meanwhile, are our prof speaking to the void, save for maybe one or two brave souls. My prof for this class compared us having our cameras off to “closing a shutter” on her. Which is fair. But also, doesn’t it feel oddly intimate to show everybody the innards of your personal space?

Like, for one example: I’m an out lesbian, but there’re some occasions where I’ll keep that to myself. You know, because homophobia still exists. While in class today, I at one point moved my laptop to the floor to capture footage of my cat (I’ll do a whole article about Cat Cameras later). As I moved, you could very clearly see the pride flag I have on my wall.

I don’t know why, but that kind of struck me. That’s what made me realize, “Oh hey, these people are totally in my space. That’s weird.”

There’re definitely worse things to have accidentally appear on camera, but still.

Anyways, I actually already wrote a whole article about students and cameras, so these are just some of my thoughts. I wonder what we’re going to do when we can meet in real life again. Will it feel strange, total strangers having an unrestricted view of us? I think so.

But hey, c’est la vie. I’m already hyping myself up to be perceived by others again.

Umtil next time.

PROCESS POST: Analytics… 2! Looking at this site!

So, last week, I kinda went off about comparing and contrasting different analytics tools in different social media forms and stuff.

Today, we looked at Google Analytics in particular. Y’know, the analytics tool attached to this very blog.

I learned a lot of things: just how many visitors I get, how long they stay, that I have a middle-of-the-road bounce rate, what a bounce rate is, and so on.

What I enjoyed the most was probably the audience behaviour tab, which showed exactly which paths site visitors took. It’s weirdly satisfying, following users on their little adventures. Like watching someone tour around a gallery show you’ve put together!

One of these paths belonged to a Ukranian bot! Fun, right?

It’s wild being able to access some of the other things, too. Like the exact type of smartphone someone is using.

We also talked about Google, because that’s inevitable in any talk about analytics and SEO. Google, as my prof said, is the “queen bee” of the latter.

And, to be fair, SEO is a big deal. It’s worth talking about. It gets you where you need to be. You can learn what keywords are being used in your kind of content a whole number of ways, too: comparing to other sites in your niche, using specialized cites, and probably more.

Now, my blog is a hot mess (I’ll get into why in either an upcoming process post or my next essay. Get excited, I talk about vulnerability and mental illness), but I imagine I’d use phrases like “art tips”, “writing tips,” “emerging artist,” or “art advice”… things along those lines. Heck, I might try adding them to my home page.

And of course, another nifty trick with SEO is getting a lot of link activity with reliable sources. Get that network flowing. I link sources here pretty liberally to whatever I’m talking about, so I’ve got that down. As for other places linking me? Well, maybe someday. A gal can dream.

But let’s look back at Google. Again, it’s SEO royalty. There’re other search engines, but really, do you want to pick getting into Bing’s good graces over Google’s?

Also, there’re lots of ways to get INTO Google’s good graces. If you used Google Plus (haha, remember that?), or using the link shortener, it’d help you out in the long run.

Another direct quote from my prof: “You want to make Google happy. You want it to reward you.”

Do you ever think about how wacky Google is? Like, really, it’s THE monopoly. And it’s always expanding what it does. It’s a search engine, a social media, a phone, it has apps… it’s insane.

I guess we allow it because it does its job just that well.

(Save for Google Plus.)

One day, maybe, it won’t have all the power it does.

If that happens, maybe using Ecosia will be a bit more commonplace.

I guess we won’t know unless it happens, huh?

Until next time.

The End Is Nigh, Everybody!

Yep, the semester is just about over. I’ve started my final project in my Interactive Arts course, and my Communication final unit is underway, and my courses are lined up for January. Can you believe January is so close? Like, a month and a half away.

Remember this January? We were so naive.

Whatever the case, everyone’s buckling down for the inevitable. It’s insane. It’s terrifying. I just want to live, y’know?

Let’s get into this.

Tip: Tips and Tutorials Have Merit, Even If They’re Out Of Your Comfort Zone

So, I don’t think I have to go on about the merit of tips and tutorials, considering my blog content. 40% of every post is a tip.

But the emphasis here is on even if they’re out of your comfort zone. Because at the end of the day, many skills, especially artistic crafts? You usually end up narrowing down. For example, I’m a writer, but I specialize in a few specific “voices”: Young Adult/Adult fiction, free verse poetry, and the occasional journalistic article tone. It’s happened in music, too: I tend towards a certain type of composition, mixing, and so on.

It’s one thing to look up tips on how to hone these particular skills. I can stay in my comfort zone all I want. That’s easy, and relatively consequence-free.

But you end up stuck in a certain way, don’t you? You fall into a certain voice, a certain way of using your tools.

This might be controversial, but there’s a LOT of merit in going outside your genre or pushing your medium to the brink, to the very edge of your comfort zone. I think you can do it with just about anything, especially if this is something you’re good at. When you get good at something, you tend to specialize.

Musician? You’re going towards one genre.

Writer? One literary form.

I mean, even STEM folks specialize eventually. What’s stopping you from diving into a textbook just outside your field? (You know, besides the fact that we’re all overworked right now and textbooks are expensive.)

But like, really. It’s kind of fun looking at how slightly different practices use the tools you’re so well-acquainted with. Back when I was a Journalism student, I was mystified by the way words weren’t for painting scenes, but dictating them. It’s almost like the image was… pixelated. It’s about the shape and sharp facts of the scene, delivered as briskly as possible.

It was a challenge, getting into that voice for every assignment. Journalist Alex and Writer Alex are two very different people. They wouldn’t get along. I mean, look at me. I’m a rambler, and I use figurative language like it’s the reason I get up in the morning.

But by becoming acquainted with the journalistic style, I unlocked a whole skillset, and it also made me a better writer overall, because I got to seeing the value of words quite differently. Would I have been able to write as a journalist my whole life? Absolutely not. But again, it taught me a lot.

TRIAL: A Freewrite With ABSOLUTELY No Prompt

So, I’m in a playwriting mentorship. Two, actually. It was almost three, but I decided to pace myself. Last night, we did something that always felt way scarier than it actually is: a promptless freewrite.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: isn’t the point of a freewrite to write whatever you want?

And yes, yes it is. But normally when I do freewrites with other people, like, timed freewrites? There’s at least a prompt or some effort to set the mood. Usually it’s a few words, sometimes it’s a full-on guided meditation.

This time?

“Okay, we’re going to do a five-minute freewrite. We can check back when my alarm goes off.”

It was terrifying. But I ended up doing it!

But also, I never want to do it again.

I’m also not sharing this one, because honestly, I have no idea what any of it means. I think it’s a metaphor for overly protective parents? But also, who knows! Life is a mystery!

Rec: Cats Are Cute Has Saved My Sanity

So, does anyone remember Neko Atsume? That really popular app from 2015 or so where you put food and toys out to see which cats visited your yard?

Yeah, I played that app obsessively. Or, well, as obsessively as you can. Due to its format, you could only really use the app for a few seconds at a time: you put out food and toys, and then you had to close the app and come back later to see if any cats were brought over.

I have many a fond memory of Neko Atsume. I played it at my high school’s Junior Dance because I hated everyone there. I nicknamed all the cats after characters in a novel I was writing.

This isn’t about Neko Atsume, but rather, a spiritual successor that takes me back to those simpler times: Cats Are Cute. It’s free with microtransactions, like literally every game on the App Store these days, but you can get pretty far without having to pay a cent.

Cats Are Cute Game Cheats & Tips to Hoard All the Cutest Kittens | Touch,  Tap, Play
This is what Heaven looks like, I think.

Unlike Neko Atsume, you also get to interact with the cats! You feed them, pet them, play Hide and Seek and Rock Paper Scissors… it’s something I’m probably enjoying a bit too much, but I have no regrets. I think I have a favourite cat: her name is Doremi, and she lives at the piano shop.

(Oh, yeah, every cat lives in a special, personalized building. And they’re all cute.)

The app is honestly a great respite from exhausting Zoom calls, and maybe it’s my neurodivergent brain talking, but it’s also a really satisfying sensory experience. Every tap of the screen counts as Experience Points, so I can have the app open and idly drum my fingers along.

I know this isn’t the most typical recommendation, but I’ll be real, school has me fried. I think I’ve earned a day of gushing about this cute little kitty app.

Anyways, I’m going to go play Hide and Seek with some cats and pretend finals season isn’t looming over me!

Until next time.

PEER REVIEW: Musings of a Middle Child

Hello, everyone! It’s time for another Peer Review. This one is specifically about audience and marketability, which is fun.

Let’s get into it. Today, we’re looking at Musings of a Middle Child, run by my classmate, Kayla!

First of all, I know this isn’t what we’re touching on, but I just adore this blog’s theme. It has an ANIMATED header! That’s so cool! It’s honestly kinda mesmerizing!

Musings of a Middle Child

There’s also a little subscription tab, and a Goodreads widget, and overall it looks very professional. The whole thing even kind of fits this nice, forest colour theme? Overall, it’s a treat.

(Dammit, I really should’ve done a book blog this semester.)

But this is about audience and marketability, so let’s look at that.

First of all, it’s really great as a general book blog. Like, really great. It’s all about personal opinions, and seems to have a tendency towards listicles, which are very easy to read: favourites of 2020, exciting future releases, least favourites (FINALLY someone else who hates Sarah J. Maas and specifically the first three Grishaverse books AND The Red Queen! All objectively bad!!!)…

Again, listicles are great, in my experience. Easy to read, easy to write, and perfect for bite-sized entertainment.

Another thing that I think really helps this site’s audience engagement is that there’s not only a contact page, but a reason to USE it: Kayla here is open to review requests!

Actually, there’re a lot of little widgets that’re great for that kind of engagement. Again, the Goodreads and subscription tabs? Great! I’m honestly taking notes in my head about how much Kayla’s done right. Like, this isn’t just a review site, but it’s a person running a review site who’s open to basically any kind of interaction.

I guess if I had to say anything of the constructive nature, it’d be that it would be neat if there were more actual reviews on the site. I imagine that’s what Kayla’s GoodReads is for, but right now all that comes up on the site’s Reviews tab is this piece about Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater, of Raven Cycle fame.

It’s really well-done, and it’d be cool if this book review blog had more full, detailed book reviews! Don’t get me wrong, listicles are great and I don’t think anyone would mind having that be a majority of the blog, but I feel like there should be at least a few more proper reviews. Just for the sake of consistency, y’know?

Overall, though, I had a great time checking out this blog! I’m probably going to add Kayla on GoodReads now! Because, again, I love how that’s a little widget, and it looks like we have fairly similar taste!

Until next time.