A Belated Year in Review

As I mentioned last week, Beth from plasticrosaries.com recently tagged me in her ‘2013 in Review‘ post, and even though I’ve already summed up 2013 elsewhere, I thought I’d play along anyway…

A belated year in review

1. Your top 5 new favourite blogs to read in 2013  (you’re totally tagged if you’re listed here – no pressure of course but putting it out there…)

Satchels and Pearls (ok, I’m biased. This is my friend Michelle’s blog, and she gets bonus points for making me Auntie to the cutest dumpling ever!)

Girl XOXO (I love the combination of bookishness and blogging tips. She takes really great photos too!)

iHanna (Her blog is just full of creative inspiration, and her archives are filled with fab tutorials!)

Rae Missigman (A fairly recent discovery, but now she’s definitely one of my favourite mixed media artists)

The Tangerine (The brain behind the Book Chat)

And of course there are the great blogs I mentioned in my last round up post, and thelovely lady who tagged me in this post.

2. List Your 5 most read blog posts in 2013

The Art of Benin (I still can’t understand why you keep coming back to this one!)

Myth and Magic Notecards (I have the fabulous Julie Fei-Fan Balzer to thank, as she featured my tutorial on her awesome blog)

Documented Life – Staying Organised in the New Year (I’m pretty impressed… this one ranked at number 3, despite being published 5 days before New Year’s!)

De-stressing with Doodles (My oh-so-sophisticated method of stress management…)

{21 Secrets} Doodling Our Way (And the first installment of my 21 Secrets 2013 portfolio)

3. Name one blog you wish you had found sooner

Hands down Jo Gifford a.k.a the Dexterous Diva – I think I’d have mastered the art of blogging waaay sooner! (Plus, she’s lovely!) Did I mention I’m guest posting on her blog today?

4. Your favourite blog post of 2013  

I really loved creating the art for The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and the Giraffe Note Cards Tutorial and I LOVED taking part in Love Triangles 101, check out my review of Before I Met You or When Love Triangles Just Don’t Count for a taster!

5. What would you like to improve (if anything) on your blog next year?

Plenty! I have a list of goals for my blog that I’m constantly adding to. One of my aims for the year is to write 10 guest posts (if you’re interested, let me know!) I’d also love to hear any thoughts you have on how I could improve Doing it the Open Way. Is there anything you’d like to see change?

6. Name one blog you have a blog crush on.

Alisa Burke’s blog is amazing – her outlook, her design, her voice, her imagery, her features…. everything is just gorgeous! She’s currently running a course on blogging if anyone’s interested?

7. How often do you post?  

I go through phases… I vary between every other day and once in a blue moon. One of my aims for 2014 is to become a much more consistent blogger.

8. Share your first post of 2013

Bienvenido 2013 (also known as an introduction to my whimsical reading challenge!)

9. Name one thing you would be doing if you weren’t typing this post right now.

Coffee! And probably working…

10.What have you loved the most about blogging this year?

I’ve loved getting my mojo back – I actually want to blog now! I’m really enjoying learning how to do new things and make little improvements. I know it’s a slow process, but I’m feeling very inspired!

And with that I conclude the looking back, from this very second, it’s all about 2014!

D x

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Non Fic November

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Cookery books. Memoirs. Text books. True crime. Investigative journalism. Biographies. Manuals. Reference books. Travel guides. Magazine articles. Book reviews. Self-help books. Atlases. Encyclopaedia. Blog posts. What do all these things have in common?

They are all forms of non-fiction.

Now, as you’ll all know by now, I love reading. But as you’ll also have noticed, I read almost exclusively novels, despite having many many works of non-fiction on my bookshelves. It seems from my twitter/blogging chats that a lot of you are in the same boat – we want to read all of the factual stuff that fascinates it, but just never get round to it.

So what I’m proposing is this, a month-long ‘ode to non-fiction’. There are a number of ways you can take part, depending on how much time you want to dedicate to it. You could contribute a post or two to the event, you could try to read  few extra pieces of non-fiction over the course of the month, or maybe just join in our #nonficnovember Twitter chats. It’s completely up to you.

If you like the idea of writing a Non Fic November post then fill in the form below so that I can keep you in the loop. It will also help me create a schedule of posts, so that I can direct readers to all your great writing (and of course come and check them out myself!). You can sign up until October 21st. Feel free to grab this button if you’d like to join in:

DoingittheOpenWay

 

Stuck for ideas? Here are a few suggestions of things you could do…

      • Review a piece of non-fiction
      • Compare a fictional and non-fictional account of a time/person/place/event
      • Convince us why we should try out your fave kind of non-fiction
      • Tell us why you hate non-fiction
      • Top 10 cook books, autobiographies, articles, manuals
      • Direct us to some of your own non-fictional blog posts (or those written by your blogging friends)
      • Talk about your favourite films based on non-fiction
      • Describe your favourite non-fictional TV shows

If you want to decide on your topic at a later date that’s fine, just let me know that you want to take part. If you could also let me know possible dates that you’d like to post that would be a big help.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

D x

The Briefest of Updates

Heyyy!

You may have noticed my absence over the past week or so, and I feel I should explain. Last weekend I moved, which means I’m currently residing in that special circle of hell known as the-period-in-between-cancelling-your-old-internet-and-getting-it-installed-again. It’s trying, but I firmly believe challenges such as these are character building.

But on to more exciting things… I HAVE A HOUSE. I’ve refrained from talking about it as much as I could have (because I didn’t want to jinks it) but I am officially a homeowner! It’s all very scary and very exciting (and very tiring!). I promise to share some pictures with you soon! I’m just hoping to wade through this sea of boxes before sharing my home with the world!

In other news I’ve also been embarking on some exciting writing projects, but I’m keeping it zipped for now, and I’m also working on something else that is TOP SECRET for now, but will be revealed over the next couple of months…

I have lots of the usual arty and bookish things for you too, but unfortunately these are on standby until I get my internet up and running again. This is scheduled for the 30th, so the end is in sight! I should be back to my normal patterns after this involuntary blogging break, but please don’t forget about me while I’m gone!

D x

P.S. Also, this is the first (and probably biggest) thing I’ve managed to cross of my list of 52 Things, so go me!

Stuck

So here I am again. I have to be honest about something… I feel like I’m in a bit of a blogging rut. I have lists and lists of post ideas and books to review and yet my motivation levels are at zero.

I can’t tell you why exactly, because I don’t even know myself. Maybe I need to take some down time and review what I post on here? No, that’s unrealistic… I’m far too obsessive to let it slide. I like to fix things not let them fester.

My art related posts are mostly unaffected as the images carry most of the load. The worst off seem to be my beloved book posts, and it breaks my heart. I’ve been reading back through my last few reviews and I can’t help but think they’re quite flat and ‘meh’ (which is now seemingly one of my favourite adjectives). I’ve been racking my brains trying to think of ways to inject a bit of life into this elephants’ graveyard known as Doing it the Open Way. But I’m blank. I never used to have to force the writing… it used to drip from my fingers, but now I’m just stumped.

I always thought my blogging problems would come from having no ideas; I wasn’t prepared for the words to fail me. So, I’m appealing to you, dear readers, to help me out of this unprecedented slump.

What do you do to keep yourself (and others) interested? Do you ever use prompts to help start your reviews, or do you have a formula you rely on every time?

Also (and I’m not looking for an ego massage) would you tell me, with total honesty, the things you think do or don’t work about this blog? I have to admit that my self-deprecating soul might be a bit biased, so any guidance offered would be much appreciated!

D x

Popular

I cannot deny that I spend FAR too much time perusing my blog stats… not necessarily because I’m obsessed with how many followers I have, but more because I’m baffled by the stuff that interests people. Sometimes my lovely readers rave about posts I blasted out in five minutes, and the ones I adore, the ones that I’ve been thinking about and planning for ages are met with deathly silence.

One thing really surprised me today as I trawled through all those bar charts… my arty posts get all the views, but my book posts get all the comments. So how do you judge which are more successful? The short answer… you don’t. You make yourself a cuppa, you sit back down and you write about the things you love. Most of the time I will so confidently scream that I write for myself and nobody else, but like every blogger out there, sometimes I question myself. It’s completely natural, especially when you’re doing something as public as blogging, and if anyone says different they’re a big fat liar.

Hmm. What started out as a summary of my most popular posts in July seems to have morphed into a slightly obsessive blog analysis, so let’s get back to it. These are the posts most visited by you guys; you’re all clearly nuts but I love you anyway!

Windows of the Soul

An Octopus's Garden

Honouring Your Feelings

Going to the Zoo

[Click image to visit post]

 These are the ones picked by my stats page, but I also wanted to share a round-up of my Love Triangle 101 posts – these are the ones I’ve had the most fun with recently… so I hope you’ll take a second to check them out, but more importantly, check out the hosts of this great event over at A Novel Idea.

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{Love Triangles 101} An Introduction

Under the Microscope: Before I Met You

{Love Triangles 101} When They Just Don’t Count

{Love Triangles 101} The Formula

{Love Triangles 101} From Story to Screen

Have a browse and let me know your views on love triangles… yay or nay?

And if you’ve written any posts you’ve really loved over the past month, leave me a link below… you know me, I’m always looking for new reading material!

D x

{Love Triangles 101} An Introduction

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As you may (or may not) know by now, this month I’m taking part in Love Triangles 101, a blogging event running from July 8th to July 26th. Over the course of the month lots and lots of amazing bloggers will be posting all about love triangles; check out the host A Novel Idea for more information, and a list of upcoming posts and chances to get involved.

Some people can’t get enough of a good love triangle, some people detest them. This event will look at literary love triangles from multiple angles, and I hope you’ll have a read of some of the great posts that will be going live in the coming weeks. My main post is going to be all about the transition of love triangles from books to film, and that will be coming to you on the 20th but I’ll be sharing a few more bonus posts too, so make sure you follow and come back to check those out!

Today I just wanted to write a little ‘hello’ post, and answer the question asked of all the bloggers taking part in LT101:

Why do you think love triangles are so prevalent in YA, and how do you feel about them?

I believe that love triangles infiltrate Young Adult, and all genres of fiction for that matter, because they add another level of human interest. We might pick up a book, or stick with a series, for the exciting plots, beautiful prose or unusual form, but a lovey little sub-plot ties things together nicely.

There are many out there who condemn love triangles outright, and to those people I say… just imaging a world where books contain only characters in loving, long-term relationships absent of any drama or complications. Would you ever want to read anything? I can admit that sometimes love triangles are TERRIBLE, and just included for the sake of it, but at other times they provide entertainment, suspense, a platform for character development, or all of the above.

Love triangles also provide another service… they get people talking. You’ll probably have noticed that I quite like talking about books, and nothing makes people more vocal than a love triangle, whether it’s Angelina v. Aniston or Stelena/Delena people just love to have their say!

So yes, I’ll admit it. I’m pro-love triangle. But I am also very picky. A good love triangle has a very strict formula… but I guess you’ll have to pay me a visit on the 17th to find out more about that!

Now tell me, what do you guys think of love triangles? Love them? Hate them? Totally indifferent?

D x

Bye Bye BEA

Just a quick post today to bid farewell to Armchair BEA.

I really enjoyed taking part in this, I just wish I’d have found out about it sooner… but next year I’m on it! I would have loved to have had more time to explore the topics more, but the fact that it’s exam time and I’ve been taking part in BEDM has left me quite succinct!

Hands down the best part about this conference was discovering some amazing new blogs, and hopefully some new like-minded friends. I’m slowly working my way through all of the participants’ blogs so I don’t miss anything (click here to browse through yourself).

Check out some of my BEA posts and leave some love 🙂

Introduction

Classics

Blogger Development

Genre

Keeping it real/Ethics/Non-fiction

I’ll be having a much-needed revision break from my blog over the next few days, but I still have some scheduled posts for you so hopefully you won’t miss me too much!

D x