Saturday, February 11, 2017

How To Make Real Life Bookish Friends

In my last post, I talked a lot about bookish friends, both online and in real life, and how I appreciate both. The first few years after I started blogging, my main bookish friends were online, which was great and I love you all so much (yay pocket friends!). But over the last year or so, I've also met a good bunch of real life book nerds, who I promptly stalked until we were besties. (Well, maybe it was a little less dramatic, but basically.)

I know a lot of people online who have complained about not having friends in real life that can discuss books with you, and SO! Here I am to give you my sometimes useful and sometimes questionable advice on how to broaden your book discussions into the real world.

TIP #1: Go places where there will be people who like books. 

This may seem kind of obvious now that I've said it, but for any fellow introverts, it may not be (or it may be intimidating). But book signings, book clubs, etc. are fantastic places for meeting like-minded bibliophiles. Bookstores and libraries are great too, but you've got to be a little more talkative there since it's easy to just browse and not interact with anyone except maybe the check out person (or maybe not even anyone if your library is super introvert-friendly like mine and has self check-out). Basically, put yourself into situations where there will be bookish people, and it's more likely you'll click with someone.

TIP #2: Bring books up in every conversation.

If you're at a bookish event, this is pretty convenient and simple. Also, you get to skip the small talk (!!!), and go straight to book discussion. What do you think of {the book in question at the event}? Have you read anything like it? What are you reading now?

But even if you're NOT at a bookish event, this tip still works. Mention books or reading in every single conversation* and if you see the face of the person you're talking to light up, YOU'RE GOLDEN. Proceed to fangirl. Because honestly, I've found once you've reached that "face-light-up" moment, the floodgates open, and the conversation becomes a torrent of fangirling (or fanboying) and book discussion.

*Yes, I said Every Single Conversation. No excuses, no exceptions. You've got to be committed. 

TIP #3: Exchange book recommendations

Once you've found someone who is a potential booknerd bestie, one of the next steps is to exchange book recs! This is a fabulous way to get to know someone. For example, if you start talking passionately about Maggie Stiefvater (as we all do, I'm sure) and trying to explain the epic weirdness that is the Raven Cycle, and you mention that The Raven King gave you nightmares and this is a good thing - and then the person STILL goes and gets The Raven Boys from the library, THAT is a good sign*. Hang out with them. They have immense potential for BFF-status.

And then THEY can give you their recs and you  get to grow your TBR pile even more so everyone wins! (Unless the TBR falls on you and you die.)

*This happened to me. I may need to revise the way I recommend The Raven Cycle to the uninitiated.

TIP #4: Invite your bookish acquaintances to go to bookish events with you.

One of my best friends has become kind of a permanent book-signing buddy for me. We used to take the bus home from classes together, and talk about life, and we realized we both loved YA. We bonded over Marissa Meyer, and then went to the Winter signing together, which was by this particular friend's house, and she let me sleep over! This is the kind of booknerd BFF you are looking for. Going to signings together, letting you sleep over after those signings, staying up discussing books at these sleepovers - it's fantastic and I love her so much. So far we've been to two Marissa Meyer signings and a Leigh Bardugo signing together, and we've got lots more planned!

TIP #5: Make your online friends real life ones!

This is honestly both the easiest and the hardest way to have real life bookish friends. Hardest because geography can be a problem. Why is the world so big? Why does teleportation not exist yet?*

However, it's also easiest, because you literally can tweet "HEY FRIENDS I'm going to {insert event in your neighborhood}, who'll be there?" And then you coordinate meetups and it's lovely.

*Actually, it does exist, but it literally splits you up into your individual atoms and then puts you back together at your target location, so it's not exactly safe. You may be put together wrong, so you may become a slightly different You at the end of it, or you may be even dead. This is Real Science, see?

SO now I want to hear YOUR tips on finding bookish friends in the real world. Also I want to hear about all the ways you've met your real life bookish besties. Let's chat!

I'm sorry this post is just text and no pictures but I am honestly not in the mood now to do any photo editing or making pretty header images sooooo this is what you get. It's the new Sophia who's stressing less about blogging and is instead just posting random stuff. Wheee!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I RETURN (maybe?)

HELLO WORLD ARE YOU STILL THERE? It's been a while I know. What, five months? Psh, whats that in the history of the universe - just a quick flash, right?

But yes, I have returned from the world of studying for MCATs. I took that deathly exam and did ok? I think? (I won't know for another month.)

"So what's going to happen on Ravens and Writing Desks?" you ask (and if you don't, you should). "Are you going to have a return party? Are you going to post all the reviews of books you read while you were away? Are you going to tell us about what's happened to your WIP's and plot bunnies? Are you really really back for good now? Because that maybe? in the post title is suspicious."

Behold, my answers:


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No, unfortunately not. At least not a bunch of them. Actually I've realized I don't like writing reviews all that much? So maybe occasionally I pop a review in, but it won't be a regular thing.

Writing Updates?
YES! I'm going to do Beautiful People and talk about my writing projects and everything. I HAVE SO MUCH TO SHARE.

Umm... what next?
Ah yes. The suspicious maybe. Honestly, I have no idea what is in the future for Ravens and Writing Desks. It won't be as formal a blog as it was before*, with regular posting and reviews and features. It was fun when it WAS like that, but I've changed as a person, the book world online has changed, and the way I interact with the book world online has changed.

*was it ever actually FORMAL? Ha.

When I first made this blog, I was about to start my senior year of highschool, and I had never really been a part of the communities of the internet in any way. Also, though I didn't know it and therefore wouldn't have admitted it, I was kinda lonely. I had friends, yes, but I didn't see them as much as I had used to. The book blogging world, and, later, book Twitter, became a place for me to rant and ramble and fangirl to people always willing to rant and ramble and fangirl right back. There was a picture going around Twitter a few weeks back about "pocket friends" - how your online friends are basically friends in your pocket, always there to support you when you need it, always easily accessible at any moment. And the pocket friends that I made my first two years of blogging (last year of high school, first year of college, both years where I was kinda lonely but didn't realize it) were so, so wonderful, and so so important to me. I still talk to lots of them. (Shoutout time: Cait, Kate, Brett The Girl, Brett The Boy, Lily, and Cassie are just a few but I feel like I'm missing about 99% of you amazing people.)

But guess what has happened since then? I've made so many real life nerd friends who are also awesome lovely people and that I see every day. Now I'm not saying they're better than all you amazing internet friends, but what I am saying is that I'm not so lonely in my real life anymore. I don't find myself needing that immediate support from pocket friends on as constant a basis as I once did (though it's still so nice to know it's there <3). Basically, my purposes for using the internet and the communities on it have changed a bit - I'm here because I WANT to talk to you lovely friends and share my stories and adventures and hear yours, instead of because I NEED to in order to dissuade my loneliness. If that makes sense?

I'm really hoping this doesn't sound selfish or derogatory of online friendships, because IT'S NOT I PROMISE. I'm such a lucky person with so many amazing friends omg - both in real life and online (and some online friends who've become real life ones! Which is crazy awesome).

So, coming back to the original question - what does this mean for Ravens and Writing Desks? It means I'll definitely still be posting, but not with the goal of making this blog a perfectly organized and popular capital city for my internet world. My world spans more evenly between internet and real life now, and this blog is not, somehow, suited to be capital anymore. (This is a weird metaphor for social networking and I'm not sure if it works but ok deal with it.)

This post is getting rambly, so I think I'm going to resort to bullet points, but thanks for letting me sort out the depths of my soul. :-P

  • No more stressing out about whether I'm a "good" blog
  • No more reviews unless I really really feel like it. (This also means basically no more ARCs or any kind of review copy except in certain special situations.)
  • Random writing updates even if I feel that few people care
  • Probably random life updates that even less people will care about
  • Writing novels takes higher priority than writing blog posts (it used to be the other way around)
  • No regular posting schedule. If I don't post for a while, that's ok. 
  • Basically no structure at all. I DO WHAT I WANT.
This last one is going to be hard for me because I'm an organized person and a teensy bit perfectionist. Also, it's hard for me to not think even a bit about "the views" because nice numbers always give fuzzy feelings. But I think it needs to happen for me to stay sane. This semester I've got a lot on my plate and blogging's going to get a way lower priority than it used to. I think that's the healthiest thing to do. And of course I will always be on twitter and instagram (my new favorite thing omg). 

THANK YOU so much for reading this if you made it this far. Thank you for being my internet friend <3 I appreciate you more than you know.

Now let's party cuz I'm BAAAAAACK! :-)

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