Photo: Jason Vowles
Photo: Jason Vowles

By Jason Vowles

Blogging is something of a phenomenon on the Internet. It’s taken us by storm, with people blogging about everything from travelling to films and even just their cat. It doesn’t have to be something professional either; it can be your online diary or just a collection of photographs.

The best thing about blogging is that it’s public for everyone to see so you get to share your experiences and thoughts with likeminded individuals from all over the world.

I got the idea for writing a blog from Amazon; with e-books gaining such a large market stand against its paper pals, you can easily download books with their respective reviews from the web in just a few clicks. I also noticed that a large portion of book reviews were by large newspaper names such as The Guardian and The Times who gain advantage from giving positive reviews, financially speaking.

I wanted a more personal approach, what an actual reader thinks of the book with a critique that stands apart from the rest. This, I decided, would be the reading point of my blog. Since the years of the GCSE, I have been an avid reader and writer and this lead to my initial goal of studying English at University, which is where I began at UWE.

Uni offered a host of chances for writers to gain experience via Western Eye as well as workshops in script writing with the Drama Society. Aside from the grammatical practice of churning out several essays a term, it was the perfect hobble to harbour my hobby.

After my 3rd year, I leapt out into the world seeking fame and fortune. Unfortunately this came in the form of wiping up baby sick from a cafe floor. So I pictured myself as a generic freelance writer, scribbling nonsense in a battered notebook under the shadow of the evening with a small coffee. This did not happen.

Instead it spurred me on to read more, research further into how someone with nothing can get into the industry. I decided that no matter what I was doing there would always be a place to write; the internet.

It was then that I decided if no one was going to help me, I’d help myself, thus the birth of my blog, ‘The Novel Reviewer’. Every week now I post a book review and use social media such as Facebook and twitter to promote my stories and have even gained recognition from best-selling author Emlyn Rees for my work.

Perseverance and your own initiative are key features which will lead you to success and doing what you love doing…that and not expecting someone to pick you up because you ‘went to uni’.

As a result I am now working for a website whereby I edit and publish blogs as well as writing PR. It’s almost exactly where I want to be and will lend me the experience to go further, whether that’s journalism or publishing.

I’d like to mention that I didn’t even graduate. I dropped out in my 3rd year due to financial and personal choices, as cliché as it sounds. So if a guy like me with half a degree can go on to do exactly what he wanted why can’t we all? And it all stemmed from just a little blog about books. Who’d have thought?