Monday, February 03, 2014 18:56

My blogging methods.

The Daily ProphecyI think I can say that I’m a very lucky blogger, because in my 2-years of blogging I haven’t had a blogging slump. I often see blogs taking time off while dealing with a slump and I thought it might help to share you some of my blogging methods. I’m not saying I use the best methods, but this works for me and there might be some things that will work for you too.



The first thing that might be weird is the fact that I don’t use a schedule. Every post you see is randomly picked that day. I like to write many posts and reviews in advance, so I can choose what I feel like posting that day. I’m not saying that you should throw your schedule out, especially not when it’s working for you, but when you are feeling down it might be smart to loosen up. Nobody is going away because you haven’t posted a few days, take your time. It’s about quality after all.

It’s one of the reasons why I don’t participate in blog tours/cover reveals/promo’s and whatever they are called. I’m not interested in them, but I think it also adds new stress to your blog. So if you are in a slump, try to accept less of them or even stop participating in them for a while.

I love reading ARC’s/eARC’s, but I also like the freedom to read my own books. It’s important to keep a balance in what you read. Having a spreadsheet is the only thing I use to keep to my blog in order. You can see these amazing posts from Debby if you don’t know where to get started. I use Excel and here I collect all the information, like publication dates and source. I use my Google Calendar to mark all the dates. If you are slumping, try to cut back on requesting/downloading from NG/Edelweiss; read your own books instead!

This is part of the spreadsheet:


Another thing is that I don’t review every book I read. Sometimes it’s because I don’t feel like writing a review for it or I don’t feel like I have much to say. Keep in mind that it’s not an obligation to review all of them. (I'm talking about non-ARC's)

I love to write my posts in Windows Live Writer. This is a free program and it’s a perfect addition if you use Blogger/WordPress. You are able to draft posts, sent concepts or publish your post right away. It’s easier for me to put tags on my posts or to save ideas for different topics. I also write notes in a special notebook, which helps me when I write my reviews. Most of it is already handwritten.

Letting go of blogging fears has been an important change. I’m still insecure, sure, but it’s less frustrating if you remind yourself why you started to blog in the first place. I've also learnt that making blogging friends isn't always about commenting on each other blogs. I always thought that leaving comments was the most important aspect. I sometimes takes things too personally, so I always thought I did something wrong, but since I'm more active on Twitter I know that's not true. Blogging is also about interacting on other social media – and that is how you really get to know someone on a more personal level.

You might have noticed that I’m not bad when it comes to commenting. What I like to do is incorporating it with my daily schedule. I first mark every post I’m not interested in as ‘read’ on Bloglovin’. Before I write a review, I will visit some and comment. Then I write my review and after it I do the same. By leaving a few comments every time you’re doing something, you will see that at the end of the day, you visited a lot of blogs.

And the last thing I want to say is: don’t try to change yourself for your blog. In the beginning, I always felt like I could be a better blogger. My reviews could be funnier, my discussion posts more challenging etc. Once you let go of that feeling and accept that the way you blog is enough and unique, it’s so much more fun!

Let me know: what are your tips when it comes to blogging? Any handy program you use?

58 comments:

  1. I'd love to incorporate commenting in my daily schedule, but sadly my life is often so hectic (I kind of cross all around the country to the boyfriend, my mom, and uni home) that I don't have anything vaguely resembling a routine. So basically I just comment on whatever that catches my eye, like this post ;D Really interesting post though, I love reading about how other people make blogging work for them

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  2. As a matter of fact I'm in a slump right now so this blog post is a godsend. Lately I've been having doubts about my blog and also about my YouTube channel and I haven't felt comfortable enough to put a video up this week. I don't know why I'm having these doubts so I decided to take the week off and not go onto Blogger or check my blog if the posts are looking okay etc. I hope this 'vacation' helps me to figure out what I want. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. I hope that some of my tips might help you Kaylie :) Have fun on your hiatus.

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  3. I love Windows Live Writer, it's such a useful program! Commenting is something that I could definitely improve on, but I've decided to comment on as many posts I can, when I can, because the posts should still be there to comment on even if I don't get to it for a couple of days. I keep toying with the idea of starting a spreadsheet for the books I have to read, I think they're a great idea for organisation. I have found that keeping a notebook just for blogging is quite useful, as I handwrite drafts of posts I want to type up soon, plus handwriting something means it's less difficult to get distracted, at least for me haha!

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    1. Commenting on older posts is also a great way to catch up. I do it often myself :)

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  4. I love this post. Thank you so so much for sharing Mel. <3 You are the best. It's awesome that you haven't had a slump yet :) I haven't either. Hih. Well, I have had a few reading slumps.. but I didn't stop posting my WoW/IMM posts (A) I also love my blog the way it is; I don't really want to change anything. I'm not as popular as many other blogs, but I love mine just the way it is. Anyway. Loved this post. <3

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  5. I also use Windows Live Writer, it's the best! I keep a spreadsheet as well, google docs is very convenient. Unlike you, I have a calendar (I love being organized and planning ahead of time) and I do sometimes particpate in blog tours. I only participate in tours for books I am genuinely interested in, not books I've just heard of when I get a tour invite. Handwriting is also great but I find that it doesn't work for me. I totally agree with you when it comes to not changing yourself for you blog. Your blog should be expressive of yourself and what you like, and that's all that matters! Thanks for sharing these great tips! :D

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    1. You're welcome! I definitely understand that having a calender might work great for some :D

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  6. [ Smiles ] Hmmm. I have to check out Windows Live Writer as soon as I get the chance to do so.

    The only scheduling of posts that I do is, compose an article today and program it to be posted automatically at a future date.

    I chose your blog at random to read and I will admit that I found your blog to be rather impressive.

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    1. You should. It's very easy to use :) And thanks for that compliment, I really appreciate it.

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  7. Two years and no slump?! You deserve a medal!

    I'm glad you've found a method that works so well for you. And it's a really fantastic method with some great tips. I myself wish I commented more frequently like you do, but uni doesn't leave a lot of time for it some days. The letting go of fears is something I struggle with, even in real life, just because I'm a really anxious person.

    I think I might check out Windows Live Writer... I'm intrigued by it :)

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    1. Haha, I guess it's just because I found my perfect way to blog! :)

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  8. Your new design looks gorgeous, Mel!

    I WISH I was as organized as you-it would make things so much easier. I really like the spreadsheet idea. I think I am one of the few people that do review every book I read but yeah, it definitely can box you in because I only read current books or review copies in the YA genre. Fun post-good advice!

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  9. Great tips! Not so long ago I realized that blog tours were holding me back so I decided not to participate as much anymore. It was too much stress. I try to write my reviews right after I read the book and then leave it as draft on my blogger page and I'll post it whenever I want. I'm a little afraid that now that I'm reading whatever I want my blog won't be up to date. I'm reading more and more books that I've been meaning to read in the past few years but because of the ARCs reviews and whatnot I never had the time to read them. Love this post and I'm going to try the bloglovin tip!

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    1. I think it's lovely when people review 'older' books, because they are often overlooked.

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  10. Such great advice! I also keep a chronological list of review books, just to be sure nothing slips through the cracks. But I don't always read in order. I also don't review every book. Or sometimes I'll do mini-reviews, or just put thoughts up on Goodreads just to mix things up...
    Happy Blogoversary :)
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Me neither. I recently read an April review book, while I have some for February waiting for me.

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  11. I follow a lot of these same methods and it works great for me.

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  12. I love your attitude Mel! I'm trying to adopt a lot of your tips with PLR, but I've never considered have a pool of draft posts to grab out of, when I want something that day. Interesting idea; one I might try exploring!

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    1. Yeay, let me know how it works for you if you try it out :)

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  13. Happy blogoversary! Thanks for sharing your methods. Your spreadsheet is amazing and much more organized than anything I have thought up. Thanks for the idea :)

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  14. I totally agree with you, about interacting with people on Twitter, Mel! :) (and now I realize we have to interact on Twitter more too xD) And your spreadsheet idea keeps everything so neat and organized!! I used to write down all the information in a notebook of mine, but I gave up after a while... that's how bad I'm at in organization :( Like you, I now do not participate in promos/cover reveals/tours. I used to, but after a while, I realized it just gave me too much pressure and stress!! So I've stopped participating in those :)
    Thanks for sharing, Mel! And again, congratulations on your 2nd Blogversary!! <33

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    1. YES! I think using programs like Google Doc or Excel are easier, because you can change the order much easier than when you've written it down :)

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  15. Mel, this is absolutely fabulous! I feel that I push myself too hard at times, so now that I've gotten two co-bloggers, hopefully that will help. I am also trying to cut down on tours.

    Fab post! <33

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    1. I hope so, you got two awesome co-bloggers :D

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  16. Mel, you are too modest when you say you're not bad at commenting! Personally, I think you are awesome at commenting. Not talking about only my blog, but I see you commenting on so many other posts I'm reading!
    I actually do the same as you regarding commenting: I mark posts I'm not interested in as 'read' on Bloglovin' and go comment on the rest (most of the time, though I do try to comment as often as possible).
    I really like the last thing you said, 'don't change yourself for your blog', as I sometimes feel I could be funnier, or I could be more critical in my reviews. I know I shouldn't, I am who I am! :)

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    1. Haha, well, I don't like to show off to much! And you are just perfect the way you are :)

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  17. Yay! I totally agree with everything. I also haven't experienced blogging slump and I'm enjoying it now that I'm breaking out of my shell little by little. I'm still too shy to comment tho but I'm doing my best to rectify that. And you're absolutely right, it's your blog therefore it should reflect on who you are and now what's trendy. :)

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    1. You'll see that it get's easier the more you try :)

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  18. Such an insightful post, Mel! These are really great tips everyone can follow. I think commenting is my big problem. I'm working on that don't take it personally thing (I'm working on that for LIFE) and also to not feel guilty if I forget to comment on others'. I read them, but I don't always comment and since I know I love comments, I feel a bit bad. Seriously, this is a great post! And once again, happy 2nd blogoversary!

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    1. Thanks Summer, don't taking things too personally is very hard to change.. but it's worth it! I'm starting to see my change :)

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  19. Fantastic post, Mel! I love your idea of spreadsheets. I don't do them but I use Google calendar and word docs and just post images of review books and review them in order of them being published. I just like looking at pretty pics, I guess :)
    Agree on not-reviewing everything you read (non-arcs) and of course on blog tours. I find them really tiring and rarely participate. I usually do a few interesting guest posts a year.
    Happy 2nd blogoversary!!! How time flies, eh? :)

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  20. I agree with what you posted. I am almost exactly the same as you except I don't even have a calendar. My books that I read are really based on what comes into the library so I just wait for those and that determines what comes next on my blog. I think you do have to post what you are interested in. I am also interested in video games and comics and have incorperated that into my blog without losing my audience who wants to read book reviews. Great post and I enjoy your blog and think what you are doing for your two year anniversary is a good idea.

    Angie

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    1. I like diversity :) I think it's great to incorporate personal things!

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  21. Excellent post, Mel! It's so good that you've found a method that really works for you. Two years of blogging and no slump is so impressive!

    Commenting is one thing that I could be better at myself, and it's something I'm trying to improve this year. I used to save all the posts that interested me for later on Feedly, and then when I got a chance I'd go back and comment, but I've found it can be really overwhelming when faced with 30+ posts that have accumulated over a few days. I'm going to take your advice and try incorporating into my routine. In fact, I first noticed you give that tip on Judith's blog, and I gave it a try today - leaving 5 comments, writing my review until I felt exhausted with that, leave 5 more comments, go back to the review. It's really helped! I think I must have left 30 or so comments already, and I haven't had that overwhelmed feeling that I've always had before!

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    1. Awhhh, thanks for sharing that! I love positive feedback like that and I'm happy I could help :D

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  22. Happy blogoversary, love! And wonderful post! I think it's important to find a blogging habit that works for you. If it's scheduling or randomly posting, reading only ARCs or only me-books it really doesn't matter as long as you like doing it. I like your spread sheet idea! I use a loose schedule just to see what's coming up for release but I don't follow it 100%. I actually use my Goodreads ARC shelf sorted by release date to see what to read next for ARCs I find it works great! I also totally agree aout the last point. If you try to be what you're not then it won't work well. "Be yourself" is very true when it comes to blogging and it often shows in how much personality there are in the posts, too, which I like much better than forced humor or whatever they're trying to achieve.

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    1. Using the GR shelf is also a good idea, never thought about that! :)

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  23. Happy blogiversary!! This is a great post. I do sort of a similar thing as you when it comes to commenting. I try to do a little bit here and a little bit there. So instead of setting aside an hour at the end of the day to comment on and read posts, I try to do a little bit throughout the day for 5-10 minutes at a time. And, before I know it, I've commented on a bunch of blogs! That's definitely the system that works best for me.

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    1. Yes, that's what I do too! It's the best way to avoid being overwhelmed.

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  24. You are so right about so many things here! I agree I don't feel the need to write a review on all the books I read. When its my own personal books sometimes I do but now a days I usually write at least a paragraph.

    I'm integrating more and more of my "own" books now. I think if bloggers don't they get burnt out. I also just have a spreadsheet so I know how many books I'm in for.

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    1. Yes, I think reading own books or just picking the ones you want to read can prevent you from a burn out :)

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  25. I noticed your redesign. It's lovely! I was planning on doing a few additional things on my blog for my blogoversary, but I haven't had time, so they'll just get done when they do. :)

    These are great tips! I think one of the most important things is to do what is best for you and to be willing to adjust and make changes if you need to. I know that I enjoy being on tours, but I participated in too many last year. This year they should be cut in half and then maybe next year I'll cut those down more. I am still having fun, though (especially this month!), so I'm happy with how things are going.

    I started a spreadsheet that I maintained for maybe half-way through the year. I need to start that up again, but it does take time. I wish Goodreads had an option to organize books by published date - that would save me a ton of time!

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    1. Thanks Tressa, I look forward to the changes you might make in your design :)

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  26. Great post! I know for me I have to read what I like, that way i don't get burned out. I also keep it loose, not scheduling too far in advance, although I know that wouldn't work for everyone. Good advice on using social media too- I've learned that Twitter and other forms are important to get to know people. Congrats on two years!

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    1. Thanks Greg and yes, social media is so important!

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  27. Great tips. A lot of this I started after celebrating my one-year and it's definitely made things so much easier for me :)

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  28. I am kind of amazed that you don't have a schedule! I wish I could just go with the flow but I can't imagine not having posts scheduled out. I am the type of person that needs to be super organized or I can't function. My blog would definitely suffer if I didn't keep a calendar. But at the same time I like to dictate that schedule so I stopped participating in blog tours for the most part and I don't request (let alone get approved for) many ARCs so I am ok on that front. Also I am much more ok about not having a post go up or putting it up late. But back to the organization part - after I saw Debby's post I made my own spreadsheets and I love them! Such a good idea to stay on top of ARCs and my TBR. And I am already super excited to see my reading stats for the year (although thats 11 months away). I review the majority of books I read but not everyone. I could probably cull the reviews a little more to be honest. And I really want to incorporate commenting into my daily schedule. Sometimes it gets so hard though because between work, school and schoolwork I feel like I barely have enough time to sleep, let alone blog during the weekday. Same thing goes for Twitter. I try to be active but pretty much just have spurts of activity as of now. Also I have to try this Windows Live Writer thing!!!

    I love this post Mel!

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    1. You should, Windows Live Writer is the best, especially if you use the Template plug-in :)!

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  29. I'm strict with myself on my blog. I've been wanting to loosen up and slowly have, so thanks for the post!

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  30. How fortunate that you haven't had a blogging slump! I'm sort of in one because I don't even know how to get back into the social media of it and being as in touch with all my friends as I was last summer. I'm trying again - trying to get all my comments done today, maybe tomorrow. And maybe I'll keep up again....

    Ah, that's cool. Writing posts and reviews in advance. The only thing I do in advance is the reviews, if only to organize their posting via a schedule for ARCs. Choosing what to post each day sounds really relaxing. You've got a good mix of being organized and allowing things to go just as they always have///with the flow.

    "Nobody is going away because you haven’t posted a few days, take your time. It’s about quality after all." -- This was the most important thing I learned about blogging when I first started. I always thought that the people too who cared most about your blog, when you distanced yourself or took a break, would still make sure to keep in touch with you.

    "It’s one of the reasons why I don’t participate in blog tours/cover reveals/promo’s and whatever they are called. I’m not interested in them, but I think it also adds new stress to your blog." -- True. Although some of them get you the material a good time in advance, so you just schedule the post and you're good to go. But then again I've participated in only a few of them. Getting on top of the schedule to approach the authors & pubs in advance is another stress that is just blah and not worth it o.O. IMO at least.

    "It’s important to keep a balance in what you read. Having a spreadsheet is the only thing I use to keep to my blog in order." Me too! I keep an Excel spreadsheet with the same bit. I have an ARC review per week (usually)... I don't think I request too much, but I still have so so so many TBR books to tackle. I think it's less the schedule and more cutting back on book buying habits. or I dunno. I want to have a balance too, Mel! I need to cut back on the TBR! WHY CANT I READ EVERYTHING.

    "Another thing is that I don’t review every book I read. Sometimes it’s because I don’t feel like writing a review for it or I don’t feel like I have much to say. Keep in mind that it’s not an obligation to review all of them. (I'm talking about non-ARC's)" -- oh, no way. The reason why I request arcs is to have something to review. If I'm reading a non-review book, it's never going to get a full out review unless I'm feeling whimsical. Good tip ;).

    "I love to write my posts in Windows Live Writer. This is a free program and it’s a perfect addition if you use Blogger/WordPress. You are able to draft posts, sent concepts or publish your post right away." -- Oooh nice. I think I tried using another program once to be super on top of my posts and discussion stuff but then blogging was just taking too much time so I stopped. But this sounds like a really great way to stay organized! No wonder you're so on top of things :D.

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    1. -Don't stress out over it Christina! I bet it just takes some time to get back into it, but you'll manage :)
      -Yes, I'm very happy with this system and how it gives me freedom, but still helps me to stay on top of things.
      -Of course! Going on a hiatus with your blog doesn't mean losing all contact with your blogging friends.
      -My TBR pile is a pile of shame too, haha (sort of)
      -Windows Live Writer is THE handiest thing I've found so far. I really like it.

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  31. "Letting go of blogging fears has been an important change. I’m still insecure, sure, but it’s less frustrating if you remind yourself why you started to blog in the first place. I've also learnt that making blogging friends isn't always about commenting on each other blogs. I always thought that leaving comments was the most important aspect. I sometimes takes things too personally, so I always thought I did something wrong, but since I'm more active on Twitter I know that's not true. Blogging is also about interacting on other social media – and that is how you really get to know someone on a more personal level." -- Yep. And that's where I'm getting lost coming back into the field. I don't even know what to do anymore. I leave comments on Instagram photos when I have something to say... but now I just have no desire to really use Twitter. I use Pinterest because it's convenient for cover reveals. o.o aaaaaaaaah Mel what to do?!?

    Commenting on a daily basis is a good plan. I've never been entirely good at keeping up with strict schedules -- thing always take longer than I think I will - and I was really curious how you kept up with comments because you do so many! But I don't know that I'd be able to do what you do :O.

    ^-- I went over the character limit... erm, hey, Mel! Enjoy the LONG COMMENTARY FROM ME LOL. (I hope it doesn't bother you lol).

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    1. -I think you should find something that works for you. I think Twitter is still THE place to be if you want to connect with other bloggers. It took a long time for me to like it too, haha. I hated it in the beginning. Instagram is fun too, but most of the times I just like pictures instead of going to the trouble to comment on them.

      -If you're forcing yourself to comment, it's only making it worse. You should find a time and a way that makes it easy and fun. For me, it's commenting some and doing other things. Switching it up helps me from getting bored :)

      -I LOVE IT :D

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