The other day, Amanda posted an awesome discussion about what it means to blog for yourself. It was a post that really reminded me why I started blogging in the first place. I didn’t start because I wanted free books, or because I wanted fame and glory within the book blogging community (<– does this even exist?). No, I started because I had the memory of a walnut.
But walnuts don’t have memories!, you say.
There happened to be a few instances where I’d take a book off my shelf, start reading, start really enjoying the book only to ask myself, Have I read this already? And the answer was a resounding, Yes.
Feeling foolish, I’d put the book back on the shelf and take another one down to read. In that moment I realized that I had to do something, something drastic and crazy so that I would never be fooled again! I would start a blog.
<insert Braveheart music here because this is obviously an epic story>
When I started my blog, it was what it should always be — it was for me. I’d write my “reviews” (which, now that I look back at them, were really just rehashes of what I had read, with very little actual reviewing) and post them up on the blog and go back to my next book. No one really commented on any of my reviews and I had no idea that there was an actual community out there. Because of this reason, my book blogging dwindled and faded as the years pressed on, until the Fall of 2011 when I realized I had been reading a lot of books quite regularly. I recalled that dusty book blog I had out in the blogosphere and decided to brush it off and use it again.
The best parts about me book blogging now was that I actually realized there was a community out there, with memes and discussions and things I could be a part of. Slowly I started making my book blog what I thought it should be — not necessarily what I wanted it to be. I had a lot of memes, reviews, signed up for book tours, got review books (read: accepted way too many review books), and tried to really get into the community.
While I thought this was the best approach, what happened was that I totally got burned out. The one thing that held strong was some of the relationships I was making within the community, but trying to be superwoman, trying to make everyone happy made me take an entire month off where I only read three books.
Things had to change.
When I started back up in June, I decided to work my way through the review books I hastily accepted and then to cool it. I changed up my blog and kept only the things I really enjoyed doing, nixed some of the memes I was participating in, gave the blog an overhaul and told myself ten things:
1. You will only read books you want to read.
2. You will not accept every review book that comes your way.
3. You will try to keep posts to one per day.
4. You will not overcommit yourself.
5. You will embrace the blogging community and ask for help, if needed.
6. You will not try to do everything and stress yourself out.
7. You will be yourself and not worry about the opinions of others.
8. You will not feel like you should host tons of giveaways.
9. You will learn to say no.
10. You will have fun.
Now, I feel like I’m actually going back to blogging for myself. I have found a few handfuls of blogs I love to read and comment on because the bloggers are being true to who they are and they’re not trying to overdo it. I realized through them that I don’t have to post something every.single.day, nor do I have to participate in all the memes. In fact, I’ve found two memes that I really like participating in and one of them is a mailbox showcase. The rest of the stuff on the blog is my own content, which I have a lot of fun coming up with.
How am I being sticking to being me on the blog and in the blogging community?
1. I am being that awkward person you love to chat with on Twitter.
2. I am continuing with my Musical Saturday posts, writing quirky bookish songs.
3. I am writing more discussion posts about bookish things I think about.
4. I am continuing with my Cover Love feature, which I personally love.
5. I am not commenting on ALL THE BLOGS, but trying to stick to the ones run by bloggers I love and look up to.
6. I am not letting myself think that I have to read only one genre, or post only reviews on one genre on the blog. I like to be eclectic.
7. I am reading what I want when I want, and not accepting all the review books I see.
8. I am reminding myself that I’m not superwoman. I take breaks and try not to read all the time.
9. I am continuing to do crazy mailbox vlogs where I get overexcited about books.
10. I am reminding myself that blogging is fun and that it’s okay to just be me.
I’m sure there are other things that I could have included, but the main thing is that one little reminder of why I started blogging — it was for me. Like I had commented on Amanda’s initial post, if my blog were to disappear tomorrow, I’d still have my books, I’d still read, and I’d still have these wonderful friendships that I’m cultivating. The blog is not a be all end all — it’s fun and I really enjoy doing it.
It’s too easy to get completely wrapped up in changing yourself to make yourself look cooler, or to make your blog look cooler, or to befriend all the cool people, or to feel like you have to please everyone, but just as this doesn’t work in real life, it doesn’t work in the blogging community. If you’re constantly trying to change to please others, you will never please yourself. I like to think that I’m finally pleasing myself.
What are some important things you remember when it comes to blogging? Have you ever tried to change to please others?
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