I received this message earlier asking me to talk a little bit about how to become a popular studyblr. While my blog’s a wee little baby of one week, I still want to give you some helpful tips I’ve discovered from being in the community these last few days!
Talk to the people who follow you and follow as many people as your heart desires. When you’re starting out you want to expose yourself to as many stubyblrs as you can! Reach out and introduce yourself, thank these lil angels for following you (or ask them to check your blog out), and genuinely compliment the things you love about their blog. Make friends! Everyone’s so great.
Reblog original posts, write comments, and support each other! Don’t be afraid to drop messages or asks either. You are not a bother or a nuisance, please never ever think this. I’ve never met a community more friendly and as accepting as this one!
Post photos of your notes! Write text posts about your day or encourage others to keep kicking ass! Make masterposts! Are you good at a thing? Give other’s advice so they can be good at the thing too! We love discovering new resources that’ll help us be better. Share your knowledge!
Posting original content will help your blog gain followers. You become a well of knowledge for the community and others are interested in what you know and want to share. I recommend making headers for these posts! They’ll grab people’s attention, and that’s exactly what we want!
On editing your photos: make your photos bright and vibrant! If you don’t have Photoshop and only use your phone to take pictures, Photo’s editing option is great. VSCO’s a popular editing app I recommend too!
I 100% suggest you find a great theme. Personally, there’s a much larger chance I’ll follow a studyblr if they have a clean, organized, and visually stunning layout. It’s the first thing someone sees when they look at your blog, so you’ve got to keep in mind the impression you’re giving through it!
Find or make yourself a nice header and icon that matches your aesthetic, too. All these little pieces come together to create a brand for you, which is what’ll make you stick out from all the other studyblrs that are also creating content! I like using a grid, Sullivan font, and blue in my posts. They’ll (hopefully) become easily identifiable as I post more!
Having all these things won’t make or break your blog, but it really helps a lot.
Introduce yourself in a post! Tell us about yourself, what you’re studying, your goals, aspirations, anything you want! You can read mine here, or you can look through the “new studyblr” tag to get a better idea of what others say in theirs.
Remember to tag your post with “new studyblr” and “studyblr introduction” + your favorite studyblrs so they see them too!
If you don’t have a lot of free time to actively post, create a queue! This’ll keep your account active while you’re away.
TAG, TAG, TAG your posts. This’ll help expose your content!
Have a “tags” page! I’m constantly looking for new resources and inspiration, and love when a blog has a “tags” page. The blog instantly becomes much more accessible and I can search for specific content without the headache of going through every single post!
“About” pages are where it’s at. When I see a blog doesn’t have any links at all it bums me out. I want to know what you’re about! Give your new potential followers a little sneak peek into your awesome life.
You can also enter contests like Blogs of the Month, Blog Awards, and blog rates! This is a fun way to get your blog out there while also interacting with others!
Takeaways: be kind, make friends, keep a queue handy, have a good theme, make a brand for yourself, create useful content, and tag your posts!
Remember that running a studyblr is supposed to be fun and helpful, not stressful or overwhelming. Take baby steps instead of trying to do it all in an afternoon! It’s a process. I hope this is helpful!
Let’s make a pact. We only have 10 days left together. We could cry, fight, argue, and be bitter in these 10 days. Or forget the future and live every moment we have left. No fighting, no tears, no sentimental scenes, no melancholy. No one sleeps a wink, we stay awake the whole time. Paint the town red. Do wild things. Stay happy.
The music Tambala and his partner Alex Ayuli made in a burst of intense creativity between 1986 and 1994 – some of it now collected on a new compilation, The Complete Singles Collection – still sounds utterly free-floating, like they pulled it out of the ether. It would also change British pop in various ways, encouraging other groups to experiment with feedback and twist indie rock into new shapes, and forming a crucial if largely accidental part in UK house music’s commercial breakthrough.
They’d grown up going to “really, really weird clubs”, from new romantic hangouts to early electronica parties. Alex was part of a dub soundsystem, while Rudy came from the jazz funk scene, “a mix of gay and straight, black and white and Asian”. The music they made as AR Kane – blending dub, feedback, psychedelic dream-pop, house and free jazz – can still be heard in artists such as Radiohead, Four Tet, Animal Collective and Burial.
“And My Bloody Valentine,” Tambala says. “They were a jangly indie band until we put out Baby Milk Snatcher [in 1988]. Suddenly they slowed it all down and layered it with feedback. And they did it better than us, which was interesting.”
A few days after seeing the Cocteaus on TV, Tambala met a woman at a party who knew Ayuli and asked how they knew each other. Jokingly, Rudy said they were in a band together. He explained how they’d played around with Citizen Kane and The Mark of Cain and arrived at AR Kane, thinking it was “really, really funny”. So when the woman asked, “What’s the band like?” Tambala riffed away, saying: “It’s a bit Velvet Underground, a bit Cocteau Twins, a bit Miles Davis, a bit Joni Mitchell.”
I still remember the first time I read a book with a gay character.
I was thirteen, reading “The Last Rune” series, and near the end of a book it’s pointed out that one of the side characters—a male knight—is in love with the male protagonist. The woman who says this asks the protagonist, point blank, could you love him like that? and the protagonist responds, I think so.
I was struck by that entire situation. I looked up and around and made sure that no one else was watching (which was silly because I was alone in my room) because obviously, if my parents walked in, they’d know what I’d just read. They’d assume something not even I had had time to consider.
We’ve all had that moment, when we stumble upon a character or situation that intrigues us—not because it’s strange, but because it resonates in a way we aren’t used to. We relate. Even if we don’t quite grasp why.
A few years ago, when I was writing Martyr, there weren’t many books with LGBTQ protagonists. There were even fewer such stories where sexuality wasn’t the main topic. In most of the fiction I’d read, LGBTQ characters were relegated to tropes or stereotypes. We were the martyrs—sexually confused/deviant, struggling with our identity, sick (physically or mentally), or militant. And there was a good chance we’d be killed off by the end of the book.
I was tired of it.
I’d struggled with my sexuality as a teenager. I grew up in small-town Iowa, which probably sums everything up. I rarely had positive gay role models I could relate to, in fiction or real life. I’d been bullied and harassed, considered suicide and praying really hard to be straight. Which is why I don’t condemn writing characters who struggle with that—I’ve been there. Most of us have. I just wanted to show what happened after. I wanted to prove our story could be more.
[Image: Author A. R. Kahler]
It took years, but I finally came to peace with who I was. More importantly, I realized I was more than a label. I was gay, sure, but I was also an artist and a world traveler and a wicked good vegetarian chef. I had stories that didn’t circle around who I chose to sleep with, and I wanted to write a book that exposed that truth: every single one of us is composed of hundreds of stories, and they deserve to be heard. No one is simply a cliché, no one is struggling with only one thing. We are diverse and complex, and we have more to say than what greater society thinks we do.
Which is why I wrote Martyr. I wanted to treat a gay protagonist in the same way I’d treat a straight protagonist—in other words, make sexuality a non-issue. Martyr centers around Tenn, a teenage remnant from the apocalypse cursed with the duty to keep mankind in the fight. He faces off against hordes of monsters and terrible magic. He has a boyfriend that means the world to him. Love is important. Orientation is not.
It’s my hope—and I think it’s the hope of every author—that readers will open Martyr’s pages and feel that same sort of resonance. I want LGBTQ youth to see that they are so much more than a label. Due to some fantastic social media campaigns and reader outcry, there’s been a burst of new fiction for teens and adults that are filling this need. Mainstream society is realizing that “minority” characters can no longer be distilled to tropes and stereotypes. And that’s exciting.
You are the hero, and you can fight off any monster you wish.
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Alex R. Kahler was born in rural Iowa, but he didn’t stay there long. He’s lived and studied across the globe, and even managed to spend some time working for various circus groups. He’s the author of the Immortal Circus trilogy and Martyr, the first book in a new YA fantasy series. He currently lives in Seattle. Emphasis on ‘currently,’ as the horizon is always beckoning…. You can follow his adventures at www.arkahler.com or @ARKahler.