Ilsa is talking about a lot of things today including her experience in the book blogging community, how blogging has changed, and is also sharing some blogging tips. Settle down for a bit and let’s get started!
Ilsa loves to read and write fiction, though procrastinates doing both. She describes herself as an ambivert – while she does love to read, she is also extremely outgoing. She tries to blog as much as she can = which isn’t much but nevertheless, she enjoys reviewing books and talking about them. Her favourite genre is Fantasy and her recent favourites from this genre are The Poppy War, An Ember In The Ashes and Girl, Serpent Thorn.
You started blogging at 13 years old! What made you start your blog?
I started my blog at around the age of 12 or 13 – I was very young. Unfortunately, I don’t have a meaningful, good story of how I found the blogging world. My brother and I were really bored one summer, and started up our own respective blogs. It was only after a year or two, that I discovered the book blogging community that I really began changing my content to be more book-related. Once I felt like I’d found my footing in the book community, I decided to make a new blog – and that was the birth of A Whisper Of Ink! My old blog was a strange mix of 13-14 year old me finding my writing voice and my niche. AWOI, in a lot of ways, felt like a new start and I’m so glad I took the decision to have a fresh start.
How has your experience as a book blogger been so far? Do you think your age changed any part of it?
The world of book blogging has changed so much since I first started it, and there’s positives and negatives to that. I think there’s a lot more focus on reading diversely now, with book recommendations from marginalized authors, diverse readathons, and discussions of representation. That felt absent when I first started out and I’m so glad that conversations about inclusivity in books has become such a large part of book blogging. I also feel like book blogging isn’t what it used to be – a lot of things have moved to social media, like Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads and a lot of people’s blogs have gone from being their primary platform to something secondary. Obviously, this is a positive for some, but a negative for others, depending on your attitude towards social media.
On my experience as a book blogger, I’d say it’s been pretty good. I think I’ve fallen out of touch with blogging a little over the past 2 years, when I took a step back and re evaluated my priorities. There will be periods where I’m super active and then don’t post at all – which is inconsistent, yes – but it kind of works for me? And taking a more relaxed approach to blogging has been good for me mentally, and allows me to produce content I’m overall more happier with. However, sometimes I feel like I’m not a real content-creator, compared to other people, which I guess is fair, since I’m not super regular with my posts – but I definitely struggle with my own personal schedule and not wanting to feel left out. Additionally, there’s also a lot of posts I want to write – but don’t have time to effort to actually create them.
I think my age has given me a lot of time to come to where I am with blogging – I feel comfortable with my writing voice, blog design, and the content I create. It definitely takes a while to figure that out.
Has blogging affected your real life in any way?
Obviously, the biggest way blogging has affected my real life is in the books I read, and at the rate I read. I can safely say that without blogging: I wouldn’t read as critically or diversely as I do now. I also wouldn’t read my average of 50 books a year, and so, in my ways, I am eternally grateful for the book blogging community. I have found so many new favourite books, and I am extremely in touch with my reading taste. Blogging and books have also made me think about identity in this world, which I am always, always grateful for. It’s also influenced my writing – since reading more diversely, means I’m more aware of inclusivity in my own works. I’ve also met the most amazing people here – who have helped me through struggles I have in real life.
I know that you are a part of the book blogging community. Are you part of the teen blogging community as well?
I think I used to – when I was trying to find my footing in the blogging world. I kind of lost touch with the teen blogging community – thought I still love Elm who’s just made a recent return to the blogging community! I also loved Jacob’s blog at quiet and creative – his site is a super calming, wonderful place and I enjoy his content a lot! Apart from that, I don’t really interact with a lot of teen bloggers.
How would you describe your blogger identity? Has it ever changed?
On my old blog, I used to post about blogging advice/tips and I’ve definitely strayed from that a lot (I mean who am I to act like I know what I’m doing). I definitely stick to more book focused posts now, though because I’m self-obsessed, I love to let everyone know what I’m doing in my boring life!
Is your blogging personality the same as your offline self? If not, what are the differences and why do you think they’re different?
At the small age of 16, I’m still very unsure of who I am, in real life and online. Not to have an existential crisis, but I’m still quite wary of how I perceive myself and how others perceive me. I really hope I don’t come across on my blog as this introverted quiet girl who spends all her time reading. Because in reality, I am a very loud, talkative, rambly person. I love acting. I love hanging out with friends! Sure, I’m shy with new people and more of an ambivert, but I don’t want to fit into the box of just being a “bookworm”. This sounds super obnoxious so I’ll just shut up.
What are your favourite and least favourite aspects of blogging?
It’s fun! I love recommending books and finding other recommendations, love talking to people about books, and having the space to freely talk about all my stupid thoughts. My blog is such a safe, warm place for me (compared to social media) and I’m so grateful for it.
Least favourite – maybe how long it takes to format posts. Again, since I’m not super serious about blogging, it’s way more fun for me, and the less fun parts (the stress of a schedule, and the amount of time) have faded for me.
If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing about blogging, what would it be?
Don’t put your full name online! (I now use a pen name haha) Seriously, I would tell her to stop changing her design every week, because it was not a good look. Other than that, I feel like I was bound to make mistakes and blogging is all about recognizing them and progressing past them.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers starting out in the community?
Ahh, I have so much to say for this because there’s so much to learn but to sum up in 3 tips.
- Don’t limit yourself to one topic. I feel like the idea is appealing at first, but you may grow tired of your content if you’re too strict with yourself. Yes, your blog should have a main focus but don’t be scared to publish posts about other topics that showcase your personality!
- Secure yourself a readership. Find other new bloggers in the same boat as you. Interact with people who blog about the same topic. Create genuine friendships! This way you will feel a part of a community, and others will find you through comments on other blogs.
- Don’t lose your motivation. When you first start, it may be disheartening to see how little traction your posts are getting, and it’s easy to be jealous of bigger bloggers in the community. Just remember, EVERYONE had to start off small. You will gain a readership eventually – it just takes patience and hard work. Your content will gradually get better, as well your website overall, and this should have a direct effect on how many people read your posts.
Which bloggers inspire you?
There are two blogs that I am LOVING at the moment and they both inspire to much.
Nimika @ Word Haven – This is honestly my favourite blog at the moment – I love Nimika’s creativity and wonderful writing voice that immediately makes me feel drawn into her posts. I am constantly in awe of her posts and she genuinely inspires me so, so much.
Rukky @ Eternity Books – Rukky’s posts never fail to amaze me in their quality and creativity. I enjoy her discussion posts immensely – and hope one day to have a blog just as good as hers, because I am genuinely in love with it.
Thank you for doing this interview, Ilsa!
If you are into book talk, discussions, and lots of opinions, Ilsa’s blog is perfect for you.
There are more interviews with amazing bloggers coming up so watch this space for them. You can also look at this page where I will be updating links of all the Blogletters interviews as they go up.
Talk to us!
How do you think the book community has changed over the years? Is it more blogging-centric or social media-centric? Do you have any tips for new bloggers? Share your thoughts in the comments!