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June Goals + Writing Again

June Goals + Writing Again

Oh boy, May was a crazy month and I’m so embarrassed that I didn’t even TRY to write on this blog… Like at all. Dang. But for June, I’ll be doing better.  In May we were still working hard to train our puppy and I moved my personal blog from Blogger to WordPress/SiteGround and that took more energy and time than I’d anticipated. But, I’m back. Let’s look back at my May goals and talk about what I’ll be doing this month.

May Goals:

  • Reach 1000 followers on Instagram. I didn’t reach this goal in May, because around the middle of May I sort of stopped caring about everything. I knew that this goal was achievable, but I didn’t put in the work.
  • Follow 10 new bloggers (on Instagram). I did find some new bloggers to follow on Instagram! What bloggers do you follow?
  • Reach 750 followers on Twitter. I also hit this goal! Thanks to Twitter Chats (I’ll be writing a post on Twitter chats later this month) but, my follower count is now 871 because I joined the conversation and made new friends!
  • Create an email list. I fell short on this one as well. Dang. May goals were hard!

I actually have few more goals from May which you can see here, but I wanted to jump into my social media goals for June.

June Goals:

This month I’m taking a different approach, I’m following my passion. I have a lot of goals that deal with writing and reading. It’s only the 6th and I’ve fallen behind on some of my goals for this month already, but the month is still young and I’m ready to work. Along with those goals, I have just a few goals for my social media platforms + my blogs to keep things up and running.

Instagram:

  • Hit 1000 followers on my personal account. I know I can do this, I just actually need to post and engage daily.
  • Follow 5 new bloggers. I love following new bloggers, but I also love to see what my friends and family are up to, so I’ll lower this number but still find new people to follow!

Follow me on Instagram!

Twitter:

  • Join in on 2 Twitter chats. I haven’t decided which Twitter chat’s I’ll be joining this month, but last month Twitter Chat’s was HUGE in growing my Twiter account! I gained a ton of followers because of them and I’m excited about the connections I made!
  • Hit 900 followers on Twitter. I am still so unsure of how growing your Twitter works, for now, it’s a work in progress but I still want to be growing each month.

Follow me on Twitter!

Facebook:

  • Post my blog posts on my Facebook Page. So simple, so easy, I just need to start doing that.
  • Gain 10 followers on both of my Facebook pages! I have no idea how to do this, Facebook has been on the back burner for so long now that I want to make it more of a priority.

Blog:

  • Write a blog post M-F! Dang. This is the one that’s so hard, but also so good for me. I’ll be posting on this blog every Tuesday and then on My Hopeful Story M, W-F. It’s a lot, but I have so many post ideas that I really do just need to sit down and write them. Weekends will be great for this, but I’m a little behind this week since we went and saw Wonder Woman on Saturday and I didn’t blog at all!
  • And again, share my posts. On ALL of my social media platforms. I do this occasionally, but I want to be consistent.

I’m hoping that these goals will be simple and achievable. This summer I’d really like to grow my blogs and social media before I start school again in the Fall. There’s a lot to do until then, but I’m excited about the challenge! What are your social media goals this month?

 

May Goals: Social Media + Blog

May Goals: Social Media + Blog

It’s May! How crazy is that?! We celebrated our 2nd anniversary on Monday, but we didn’t really do anything super special (we’ll go out to eat this weekend) and now it’s back to work and life! But Griff is done with his classes and I’ve got a million things to do with work and my blog which is why I wanted to sit down and write my goals for May down. Let’s get started.

Instagram

  • Reach 1000 followers on Instagram. Last week I wrote a post about Growing Your Instagram Organically and in the past two weeks, I’ve gained 200 new followers! I’m hoping to hit 1000 this month.
  • Follow 10 new bloggers. I LOVE following bloggers on Instagram, and I’m looking for new ones to follow, any suggestions?
  • Post 5-6 times a week. I’ve been working hard to post every day as I grow my Instagram, and this month won’t be any different! ((How do you come up with content to post?? –> I’m planning on writing more on this subject later))

Follow me on Instagram.

Twitter

  • Tweet 2-5 times a day.
  • Engage with the people I follow. All too often I simply scroll through Twitter and do nothing. But I’m trying to engage. Replying, liking, and RT.
  • Follow 10 new people this month. I’m looking for bloggers, book lovers, and writers to follow!
  • Reach 750 followers. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to get engagement on Twitter and find new followers, I’ve been growing slowly but surely, and for now, that works for me.

Follow me on Twitter.

Facebook

  • Post once a week on blog pages. I AM SO SO SO BAD at posting on my Facebook pages (which means I’m also not surprised that I have less than 30 followers on each) this month I’d like to start posting more consistently. I mean… I really just need to share my blog posts!
  • Share at least one outside post. I don’t want my pages to be full of only my content, so I’ll be on the lookout for blog posts and photos to share to my pages.

Follow my personal blog and this blog.

 

Web Hosting

Blog

  • Post MWF on my personal blog and TTh on this blog. I know. Lot’s of posting. But I made a plan a few weeks ago of all the content, some of which is already written. Now it’s just a matter of creating images and actually posting the blog posts.
  • Create an email list….. AHHH this truly terrifies me for some reason, but I am doing to work on this for 10 minutes every day. Keeping things simple as I start out, and then growing as this blog grows.
  • Share my blog on social media! I still haven’t really shared this blog at all… and I just changed up some things on my personal blog, so… there’s lots of sharing that needs to be done! But I’m ready to get to work.

There’s so much to do this month, but I’m ready to hustle and work hard. I love social media, I love my job, and I love sharing what I know with all of you! What are some of your social media/blog goals this month?

 

Growing Your Instagram Organically

Growing Your Instagram Organically

It’s no secret that I LOVE Instagram. I have two accounts and I love interacting with people on Instagram, it’s definitely my favorite social media site. But, it wasn’t until I took Helene Sula’s (from Helene in Between) course Instagram For Success that I realized that there was so much more I could be doing with my Instagram and my blog.

 

 

I follow quite a bit of people on Instagram and sometimes I’m a little baffled at those who are trying to sell a product, but even though they’ve had their account for years they still have only around 100 followers. (Don’t get me wrong, 100 followers is a lot better than just 1 follower, and you can make money regardless of how many followers you have, but it still baffled me) I would look at their pages and say to myself “Oh, if they just did this… or that… they could have so much more engagement or even more success.” I’m currently working on my own Instagram course that will help others who are so close but aren’t quite sure what to do yet. (That’s coming soon) But today I wanted to share a few of things I’ve done to grow my following on Instagram, increase engagement and really make a difference.

Tell A Story

Tell YOUR story. Even though Instagram is all pictures, and is often the very best of ourselves, on my personal account I try to be as honest as possible. I talk about the good days and the bad days of living with anxiety. I share my triumphs and my bad hair days. On my personal account, I am telling my story, when you tell a story on Instagram, people are willing to follow and you and stick around.

Engage with Your Followers!

Respond to comments! Comment on other photos! Like other photos! This has been one of the easiest things for me to do. If I’m waiting in line somewhere I’ll pull open Instagram and comment/like a few photos. This simple task can make a huge difference! I’ve also seen that the more engagement I give, the more I receive! (I guess along with this I should mention the follow/unfollow thing… I don’t even know what it’s called. But I know that it takes so much time. Following so many people, and then unfollowing the ones who don’t follow you back, or unfollowing everyone. Dang… This takes so much time. I’d rather be engaging with my followers and other Insta users. I prefer to like and comment on photos and then follow people whose photo’s I love. I know that the follow/unfollow method can give you more followers and possibly faster than the other way, but for me the time that it takes just isn’t worth it.)

Update your Bio

Did you know that most people who see your Instagram account will be there for less than a minute? Your bio is one of the first things they will see. What do you do? What are you selling? What’s your story? Make your bio count! I’ve posted some pictures of bios that I think are great examples, mimic these to help you get started!

Your Photos Matter

You want your feed to be aesthetically pleasing. Bright and white seem to be in, but you don’t have to have an almost all white feed to be noticed on Instagram! Be consistent in how you edit your photos. True, bright photos do get noticed more, so make them bright. But most of all, make sure they represent you. I remember a time when I felt SOOO bogged down by my Instagram feed. It wasn’t fun to post and when I took pictures I ‘made sure they would look good in my feed’ and true, I still do a little bit of that now. But I’ve relaxed on that, and now I focus on posting pictures that are meaningful to me, are pleasing to look at, and help me tell my story. I take almost all of my photos on my iPhone 6s because I can’t afford a nicer camera right now. But there are editing apps that can help even phone photos look good. (I used Snapseed and AColorStory) I love following accounts with beautiful photos. They inspire me and encourage me to take my own beautiful photos.

Post at the Best time!

Connect your Instagram account to Facebook to get Instagram Analytics. I LOVE THESE! I try to post at a time when I know more of my followers will be online so that I know my photos will be seen by more people. This is really simple, but it makes a world of difference instead of trying to guess and post whenever.

Set Goals

This year I have a goal to get to 5,000 followers on my personal Instagram by the end of the year. It may be possible to get even more, but for now, I know this is something I can work towards every single day.

Post Consistently

Whether that’s once a day or 2-3 times a day or once every few days. You want to be posting often and keeping it consistent!

 

A lot of these things I just started doing consistently. For about seven months my personal account sat right around 700 followers. This didn’t upset me, but I realized I was missing out on a lot of growth opportunities that I had. But, I made the switch from a private account and starting doing these things. And within one week I was up to 850 followers. These things are simple, but they can make a huge difference in your Instagram game. What do you do to organically grow your following?

 

Hello!

Hello!

Hey there! Welcome to The Simple Writer. This post is all about this new blog and a little about myself to get things started.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Even the other day I was reading one of my old journals where I wrote stories along with my thoughts and feelings and dramas of my teenage life. I think I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember too. Currently, I work as a social media manager for an incredible company and I love it there! When I’m not working you can find me reading (and if I’m not reading I can guarantee that there’s a book nearby). I also enjoy binge watching shows on Netflix with my husband, Griffin. We’re really big into the crime dramas like Bones and NCIS and Death in Paradise, so if you know of any good ones, send them my way!

Anyway… back to the whole writing thing. I have so many notebooks full of stories and story ideas.

I write on basically anything I can get my hands on when I get an idea. And then I just roll with it.

I’ve created this blog to track my journey as I work on my first novel (writing at least 15 minutes a day). I also wanted a space where I could talk about books (even more than I already do on my Lifestyle blog, My Hopeful Story) as well as tips and tricks for the blogging world.

I‘ve been blogging for over 6 years now, though it’s only been in the last year or so that I really started to promote my blog towards people that I wasn’t related to or friends on Facebook with. ((SCARY)) I’ll write about that journey as well. I love blogging. I love writing. I love social media (probably way way too much) but hey, that’s me.

Okay, what else… I’m Taylor. I’m married to Griffin (it’s been two years!) we’re both 23. He’s a Psychology Major, Philosophy Minor and I’m an English Major, Women’s Studies Minor. I’ve got PTSD and Anxiety. We have a pet hedgehog and I can promise you that when given the option between something sweet and something salty, I’ll choose the salty thing every time.

So, that’s a little about me, a little about what’s going to be happening on the blog (starting this week!) Tell me something about you, and leave your blog link so I can stop by!

 

Love Always,

Taylor

Book Picks for April

Book Picks for April

Okay, one of the first things you need to know about me is that I’m obsessed with books. I read (on average) 2 books a week. I probably would be able to read more if I didn’t work full-time, but hey, we need the income! The second thing you need to know about me is that one of my other great obsessions is happiness guru, Gretchen Rubin. I first read her book The Happiness Project two years ago and I fell in love with her books and her blog! Anyway, every month she shares 3 books with her readers and I wanted to do something similar. Every month I want to share 2 books for you to read. One will be about writing or a self-help type book, and the other will be a YA novel (I love love love YA novels that are written well!)

A book about writing:

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.

This book will make you laugh out loud and help you get your own writing process started. Whether you’re writing a novel, memoir, or even a blog post, this book is sure to help!

YA Novel: 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner.

I just finished reading this book a few weeks ago. You’ll laugh and cry on the same page. Jeff has a way with words that will make you come back for more. This book deals with death, loss, coping with panic attacks, and so much more. You’ll love it, I promise.

 

This month I plan to finish reading Bird by Bird as well as re-reading A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury before the third novel in that series comes out in May. Now that we’ve moved and are getting settled into our new place I’ll have more time to read, and to take pictures for my Instagram account. What are you planning to read this month?

 

Love, Tay

 

Book Review – The Roanoke Girls

Book Review – The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel.

 

I loved the writing of The Roanoke Girls. I don’t really know how to explain it other than once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. The story pulled me in. When Lane is just 15 her mother commits suicide and she goes to live with her grandparents and her cousin, Allegra, in Kansas. Her grandparents (The Roanoke’s) are rich, and they live in this (sort of creepy) mansion that they’ve lived in forever, adding on when they needed to. Allegra is ecstatic that Lane is there, her new friend, nearly like a sister! But things are a little weird in the house. Especially if you’re a Roanoke girl.

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.” 
 
Um, what!?! Why?! I had to know the answer to this question. Why had Lane’s mother run from her home and never looked back? Why had Allegra’s mother run? Why did Lane’s mother never talk about her father? What is going on in this family?
This book was all about family secrets, and what can happen when you keep them.
All of this was fine and dandy. I was curious to know what the secret was, what made these girls do these things? Why did they either die or run??
And then it all came together (near the beginning actually) But it’s all about sexual abuse (mainly incest… UMMM GROSS!! IDK how I feel about this part of the book….)
And now for some *spoilers* if you don’t want to know them, don’t read the rest!
As many of you know, since I’ve publically shared, I was sexually abused when I was sixteen years old and then emotionally abused for the next year and a half. I write about this openly. I talk about the PTSD and anxiety that have come from this abuse. I read books  OFTEN that deal with sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and I rarely get triggered. But for some reason, this book was very triggering for me. (At least at the beginning…)
It made me sick.
Reading about the girls and what their father/brother/grandfather did to them. But how much they loved him and how much he loved them.
YUCK.
I just couldn’t deal. I realize that in a lot of sexual abuse relationships the abuser makes it seem like what they are doing are actions of love that only confuse the victim.  I know that because I felt that way. I was so confused and also broken and also attracted to my abuser, even after the abuse. But I struggled to read about it in this book.
I feel like I should have seen it coming. Girls either committing suicide or running away from home. Abuse of some sort seems to be the glaringly obvious answer, but I wasn’t prepared for it and maybe that’s why it triggered me.
I don’t really know. All I know is that I really loved reading this book… except for the parts where you got inside the heads of those who had been abused, and that’s when I couldn’t deal. Thankfully that wasn’t often. Yesterday I started writing this review and at that point, I didn’t know if I was going to finish this book. But when I got home from work I couldn’t put it down. I’ll be honest that I mainly skimmed this book and skipped sections that I knew would be triggering. But like I said at the beginning, I really liked the writing of this book…. I don’t know how to explain it. I think this book will be great for some people, I actually loved the mystery aspect and there was something else that kept drawing me in, but it was also so disturbing that I feel disturbed at myself that I liked it so much and couldn’t stop reading.The story was fascinating. It really was. Lane, the main character, wasn’t actually all that likable. The only person I really liked was Cooper. I liked the growth that he had over the course of the 10 years (between the flashbacks and the present) and I just liked him as a person. Everyone else seemed to stay the same. I read a review about how they thought that the author was hoping that the shock factor of the family secret would make up for the lack of a lot of character development and I agree with that. But, the family secret wasn’t actually all that much of a shock since it comes out during a dinner conversation about 30 pages in. Which was slightly disappointing, and made it almost more disturbing the more you read since you know what’s been happening the whole time.

Sorry if this review contains spoilers for anyone, but I feel like once you read the first few chapters you have a pretty firm grasp about the abuse and the dysfunctional family. The only thing you don’t know is what happened to Allegra. Which I wanted to know and that part I won’t say any more about.

All in all, I’m so conflicted about how I feel about this book. I really did like the writing style. I didn’t like how much Lane depending on sex as a coping mechanism for what had happened in the Roanoke household. I didn’t like that she was sort of a b*tch the entire story. I didn’t like this book because it did trigger me, but even more than being triggered I was simply disturbed by the story. And like I said, I’m sure this book will be a great fit for some people, but it wasn’t for me. Even though I did end up finishing it.

Yup.

I still have no idea how I feel about this one. I’m not even sure how many stars to give it, maybe 3. I don’t know, though. Have you read this book yet? What did you think??

Oh, just remembered, one last thought. “I know running doesn’t get you anywhere. You can’t outrun what’s inside of you. You can only acknowledge it, work around it, try to turn it into something better. I may not know exactly where I’m headed, but this time I’m choosing my own destiny.” LOVE LOVE LOVE this line. Okay, now I’m done.

If you are interested in reading this one, you can buy it on Amazon today. Also, here’s some info about the author, Amy Engel (she also has a YA series that I’ve been wanting to read, and I’ve heard good things about that so I may read them in the future. I’ll keep you posted on how those books are.)

Love Always,
Taylor

* I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. 
** Some links included are affiliate links, this means if you purchase the book I will receive a small commission. All proceeds go towards this blog. 

 

This post is also currently posted on my personal blog, here.

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

New blog with fun writing tips, ways to simplify your life, and so much more coming soon!!

Expected Launch date: April 15th, 2017.