Changes

                Photo via Unsplash

My dear friends of the blogosphere,

There has been something I have been struggling with for a while: blogging. If you’ve stuck around this far, thank you. But I’m sure you’ve noticed the distinct lack of posts over the last few months. When I have posted, there has been little to no discussion or reviews of books. 


I’ve been in a perpetual reading slump for months, and, instead of forcing anything, I’ve decided to embrace it. There are so many new and exciting things going on in my life right now that it hasn’t been difficult to fill the time.  

During this time, I’ve been trying new things (both out of necessity and choice), and these have led to many new interests.

Because of this, I’ve come to a somewhat difficult, but fun (for me, anyway), decision: Fuelled by Fiction is going to get a makeover. 


While the book-blogging world has been a blast, I’ve decided to diverge from that route. That’s not to say that I will be leaving the book blogging world altogether, but that Fuelled by Fiction will begin inhabiting other worlds as well.


In order to encompass all my passions, interests, and experiences, I’ve decided to shift to from being exclusively a book blog to a lifestyle blog. This way I can comfortably discuss my newbie kitchen adventures, the pressures of working part time and on a budget, how losing weight has effected my life and my budget, my love for my city, and myriad other topics. Right now, these are the things that I want to talk about. These are things that make me want to write. These are things that are taking up the majority of my time and my brain space. But, again, fear not: books will certainly not be leaving my radar.


I hope that you will join me as I make this change and chronicle my adventures in this new stage of life.


The nitty gritty

I will be slowly rolling out this change across the blog over the next month or so. Furthermore, for now I have no plans to change the name of the blog, but should that change, I’ll certainly keep you updated. Again, I hope you stick around and join me for the ride!

When Adulting is Fun and Exciting… But then Reality Sets In


I don’t know if you recall, but in a previous post I mentioned that I was moving. Said move occurred two weeks ago.
This is not just any move. This is the move. The I’m-getting-my-shit-together-and-finally-moving-out-of-my-parents-house move.
At first I was hella nervous, packing my things away, wondering how it was possible for one twenty-something to have accumulated so much crap. I was scared that I would end up not getting on with my roommate, that my bedroom would be too small, that the unknown would jump out and eat me, etc. etc.

 For the most part, things have been going great. I love the apartment. It’s fairly spacious and in a killer location. I love how close I am to restaurants, parks, cafés, you name it. I can’t get over the fact that people actually deliver food to my apartment. Where I live. (Context, I used to live in the middle of nowhere).
I’ve been loving organizing everything, moving furniture around, adding cute knickknacks to make it feel like home. I’ve been loving taking daily walks around my new neighbourhood and getting to know the area. I may not love cooking, but there is definitely something to be said for having your own kitchen.
But now that things are settling down and the novelty is wearing off a bit (but only a bit), I’ve paused and looked at, ahem, my bank account. Moving is expensive.
As I watched my accounts plummet further each day, I did what I always do when problems arise: I took to the internet.
I came across a personal finance blog called The Financial Diet. I spent over an hour scrolling through their posts and reading them. It’s a surprisingly fun blog considering the topic, really; they have a lot of really good tips and interesting personal anecdotes. One thing that they can’t seem to stress enough is the importance of a budget.
Now, I know that budgets are important and all. I get it. I’ve given them a go in the past. I would get really excited about being productive and smart, making charts and lists, keeping track of all my spending, etc. But by the one-month mark, I’d always peter out. I’m pretty terrible sometimes when it comes to follow-through. Now though, not following through is kind of not an option.
I knew that I needed a budget, but I knew it would be super hard work sticking to it. Then I came across a post on TFD that mentioned the use of personal finance apps. I was more surprised by this than I should have been (there are apps for everything these days).
One that they mentioned in particular is the app Mint. You link your accounts up to the app and it keeps track of everything for you. It shows you what you have coming in, what you’re spending, and where you’re spending it. It categorizes your transactions for you and everything!
I only just downloaded Mint the other day, but I’m hoping that it will give me some insight into my spending habits. I know that many of the purchases I’ve made during the move have been necessary, but I also know that a lot of them weren’t. For example, just because I live three minutes away from a shop that sells killer gelato doesn’t mean I need to buy one every time I walk by.
For the next few weeks, I’m going to try to be more mindful of where my money is going, and Mint should help (and I’m lazy and broke so I need all the help I can get). It gives me a breakdown of the places I spend my money and totals it for each category. Hopefully this will keep me accountable!

It’s so easy to justify that $5 latté when you think of it as a solitary experience. But when you realize you’ve had that same “solitary” experience three or four times already that week, not to mention the week before, it adds up more than I’d care to think. Maybe with Mint I’ll be able to guilt myself into making coffee at home more! As far as dreams go, that’s a pretty obtainable one, right?
I’m obviously still going to drink lattés (what am I, a robot?), but I’ve got some adulting to do, and it ain’t cheap. I’ve got to get real when it comes to the dolla dolla bills y’all, and stop throwing money around like I actually have it. I’ve got grown-up bills now, and, unfortunately, no one else is gonna pay ‘em.
Are you experiencing any similar adulting woes? Have any advice?


On Having a Niche (Or Not)

I don’t know if you’re a blogger, but I feel like many of you are. Personally, I’ve been a blogger for three years—but I really only count two of them. And yet, a lot of the time, I don’t feel like a “proper” book blogger. I don’t even really know what that looks like half the time, but I never really feel like that’s me.


When I started my blog, I did zero research. It started as a tumblog when I was in university. A friend of mine was obsessed with tumblr, and got me into it. When I wasn’t reblogging Doctor Who GIFs, I was posting my Goodreads reviews.

After a while, I decided I no longer wanted to let myself get sucked into the black hole that is tumblr (I was trying to write a thesis after all) and somehow migrated over to Blogger. I didn’t read other blogs, I didn’t know any other blogs, I didn’t talk about my blog on social media or to any of my friends. I just sort of… had it. And I literally only posted short reviews.

Soon enough, I came across Book Riot. I don’t really remember how I did that. But… It happened. It was a revelation for me. Look at this website! It’s all about books! From there I bounced around the internet and realized that there was a whole community of these book blogger people and I could be a part of it if I wanted.

I started cleaning up my blog and trying to make it presentable. I made a Twitter account and a Facebook page. I got Bloglovin and started following other blogs. Throughout this process, I started reading blogging tips and how-tos. There are a lot of really great tips out there, many of which I wish I had read before I started blogging.

However, there is one of these tips that has stuck with me and is often a niggling thought in the back of my mind. Whether the tip was coming from book bloggers or other kinds of bloggers, I’d seen it a few times in different iterations. And here it is: make sure you have a niche.

Now, before I had read these how-tos, I would have considered books my niche being a book blogger and all. But according to these tips, that’s just not specific enough. I should have some sort of gimmick, or draw. Focus on a certain genre. Be an expert in one narrow field.

This always threw me. How could I possibly focus on something more narrow than books? I’m a wide reader. I don’t have a favourite genre. I can’t stick to one! The thought of trying freaks me out. I would be so bored! Who wants to read the posts of a bored person? And as far as gimmicks go, I’m so not a gimmick person!

These thoughts, in some form or another, still make the rounds in my head from time to time. But you know what? I’ve come to a conclusion.

Fuelled by Fiction is my blog. What’s my niche, you ask? Me. My niche is me. I’m going to talk about what I love, what I’m interested in, and what makes me tick. And you know what? It’s not being an expert. At anything. If other people share my interests—whether that’s all of them or just one of them—then great! Let’s talk! But if not? Whatever.

I’ve learned that being a “successful” book blogger is a joke and should never be your goal. Maybe having a niche would help achieve that “success.” But why force it?

So you get sent the ARCs of the most anticipated releases? Good for you. I’m happy for you. Honestly, if I was sent that, it would probably just sit on my shelf gathering dust, despite my best intentions. So, good. It’s better that you have it anyway. You actually make money off your affiliate links? Cool. I’m glad for you. I was never in this for the money anyway (because, seriously, there’s none). You have thousands of followers on Bloglovin, Twitter, Instagram, etc? Cool. I’m probably one of them. If I get one thoughtful comment on a post, I consider it a win and good enough for me.

So, Fuelled by Fiction. It’s my corner of the internet. And I’m going to have fun with it. On here you will find my thoughts on life, books, entertainment, and anything in between. Primarily it’s a book blog. But it’s my blog, and my niche is me.

 
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