I Feel Weird About Blogging.

Hello friends!

As I sit here and write this, my kids are listening to Sarah Slean in the playroom and dancing and my husband just got home from work. I was debating making a coffee and sitting with a book, but something has been niggling in the back of my head for the past while.

I feel weird about blogging.

I mean, I love blogging, but I feel like I think of more in the past tense lately. If you asked me 10 years about book blogging, I could’ve listed on one hand the number of book blogs I followed. It was new and exciting to blog about books! I would have months where I’d post 5x a week, sometimes multiple times in a day! It was fun to find other bloggers who had the same reading taste as me!

But as the years have gone by, social media has changed. More people talk about and promote books on places like Twitter and Instagram – and don’t even get me started on BookTube which is a HUGE thing right now. But when it comes to book blogs, I wouldn’t say they’re going extinct but if I had a nickel for every book blog out there, I’d be a very rich person. 10 years ago, I had a couple book blogs I loved – they were new and exciting and it was such a joy to find people who loved reading as much as I did. But now I can do the same thing on other social media outlets.

I’m definitely not reading book blogs as much as I used to. Being a mom of two, when I have free time to myself I’m usually reading a book or watching a show and I find myself visiting book blogs because I feel like I have to because of the comments I receive on my blog – but if I’m doing something like washing the dishes or folding laundry, I might pop on something from a favourite BookTuber. I’m just not reading blogs like I used to.

It’s weird, though, because I want to blog – I don’t want to quit – but I’m also not blogging how I used to. When I started my blog, I did it because I wanted to keep track of what I was reading and a lot of that was done through book reviews, but in the past while my reviews have changed and I might talk about a book on Twitter, but I’m not even writing my thoughts on Goodreads for that book. I find myself struggling to come up with post ideas and when I think about the number of views I get a day (the average being 8-15) I wonder, is it worth it? I could write my thoughts on a book on Instagram and get more views there than I would on my blog.

I also find that my tastes are changing so much that I’m almost falling back into the category of a casual reader again. I love getting book recommendations and seeing what everyone is reading, but I’m more likely to get a book that looks good to me, not something that someone else has talked about. I’m reading a HUGE variety of genres and when I post something about classics, I put pressure on myself to talk about them a lot. Or if I talk about CanLit, I feel pressure to read a lot of Canadian authors and come up with posts about them.

I know a lot of this is on me – I have gone from posting 5x a week or more to twice a week and even then, I don’t know how long I can keep that up. Maybe it’s self doubt, but I don’t find myself to be particularly exciting as a book blogger anymore. I used to have such fun posts but now I see so many wildly creative bloggers and BookTubers that I feel I can’t compete. I’m not talking about what I’m reading how I used to and it almost makes me want to just cut out blogging completely.

I think the question I have is … can I still be a book blogger without blogging about books? So much of my identity has been wrapped up in being a book blogger. It used to be one of my biggest hobbies. But when it comes to the self care I desperately need these days, being someone who was diagnosed with anxiety a year ago, I feel like this is just another stress that I add to my life. I worry about getting views, getting comments, replying to comments, etc. I wonder if I’m promoting books by publishers enough, I feel guilt if I don’t like a review book, I feel pressure to read review books I’m not necessarily enjoying, and I get stuck back in the habit of overbuying books because I feel like I should as a book blogger.

One of my favourite BookTubers posts once a week and I love her posting style and just how she reads in general. I was rewatching some of her videos from last year and I loved how she slowed down her reading and was trying to just digest one book at a time and it was making her enjoy reading that much more. She reflected on her old video style years ago and how she felt she had to be this perky and funny person like everyone else on BookTube was but then realized along the way that that just wasn’t her and I feel like maybe this just isn’t me anymore.

Being a mother is a balancing act. Now that school has started back up, I realize the struggle parents face with two kids in different grades, a household to manage, extracurriculars to schedule – not to mention spending quality time with kids and spouses. It’s a LOT. Lately I haven’t been writing posts but instead spending my evenings with a book with the window open – maybe a candle and a cup of tea and some sweet next to it. Or I’ve been relaxing with my husband watching the dance shows he’s got me addicted to. I want to read and I want to read a lot, but I feel like I put too much pressure on myself and feel like people are judging me if I don’t reach a certain target every month, even though I know they totally aren’t. I have a vacation coming up and for the past two years when I’ve taken a vacation for myself I’ve spent 90% of my vacation days reading – and now just reading but power reading, getting through 8-10 books in 4 days.

Needless to say, I’m exhausting myself.

In the end, I guess I just wonder how to be a book lover without a book blog, or without blogging so much. I wonder if I posted once a week – if that – whether that would be enough. I wonder if I can still have any influence in the book community without having this one thing that grounded me for so many years. Will I still matter?

I’m definitely going to be playing this blog by ear over the next months and not force myself to come up with posts, and just let things happen organically.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this and how you think book blogging has changed over the years. Maybe some suggestions on how to be a reader in 2018? Why do we feel such a need to be relevant on social media when it feels like it’s time for other people to take over?

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19 thoughts on “I Feel Weird About Blogging.

  1. You have captured my thoughts perfectly. I feel like I have kept up the blog for no reason at all and I keep asking myself why do I keep stressing myself out to produce a review every week when I don’t have that many readers and most people I connect with on the blog, I connect with on other platforms as well. I do like having a record of what I’ve read and what I think of the books I read, so I’m experimenting in September with reviewing stuff just on Goodreads and not the blog and we’ll see how that feels. I may abandon the blog to focus on Goodreads, Instagram, or other platforms.

  2. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, or more specifically, how ridding myself of certain behaviours or habits could change my identity. Or, at least, what I perceive my identity to be. The longer a person does something the more it becomes a part of them. But if that thing stops being productive, or constructive, or if that thing starts to get in the way of other things, or if other things start to get in the way of that thing, it’s kind of overwhelming.

    Some people are likely to say “do it if it you enjoy it, don’t care about the views.” But that seems naive to me. It’s not exactly about the numbers. Sure, seeing big numbers feels good. It literally shoots dopamine into your brain, giving you pleasure. But the thing about losing readers is that you’re losing readers. I remember when my readership started to go way down, it felt like I was screaming into the void. It took a lot of work, inside my own head, to get me to continue on regardless of who was reading.

    But at the end of the day we write because we want people to read. It’s unrealistic to tell someone to write even if no one is reading. How many of us do something for the pure joy of that thing? Especially something that takes so many hours (reading + planning + writing).

    I can feel blogging slowly slipping away from me, permanently I think. I know I’ve started and stopped a bunch of times, but it feels like the true end is coming. Which bothered me for a long time. But about a month ago I started the BookTube thing and I’m really enjoying it. It’s allowing me to talk about books in a whole new way, with a whole new community of people. It feels great, but it’s also made me realize that blogging wasn’t my end goal this whole time. It was talking about books. And there are many different ways of doing that.

    So I’d say this: if you want to blog, more power to you, Kristilyn. But if you don’t feel like blogging, that’s so okay. And if the feelings you’re having make you feel conflicted and strange and kinda psycho some days, know that we have ALL felt this. We’re all feeling it right now, probably. The community is fizzling, as sad as it is to admit.

    But it seems like you still feel like talking about books. So that’s great! Remember that, and just find an outlet that works for you. If it’s social, that’s awesome. Some of my favourite book-related folks only talk about books on Twitter and it’s a really interesting vehicle, to be honest. It offers a different conversation. It’s quick, it’s immediate, it’s conversation-based. Blogging is usually a one-way street. So there are pros and cons everywhere.

    I hope you find something that feels right. But until you do, just try to take it easy. You have a lot of fans, so they’ll find you wherever you go. If not, you’ll find new ones because you’re pretty great.

  3. Hey, I totally get this! In fact, I’m thinking of taking an extended hiatus in 2019. Sometimes I think I’ll start sooner than 2019 πŸ™‚ But probably I’ll stick it out thru 2018, I like to have the clean cut off.

    I want to remember what it’s like to read without the influence of the blogs, booktube, bookstagram, book twitter, industry, etc. I don’t put as much pressure on myself as you do, but that’s part of it too.

    I also find myself hardly reading book blogs anymore. I watch booktube because I can do it while doing other things – mainly, while I get ready in the morning, before the kids are up, and while cleaning up, after they go to bed.

    I’m coming up with a plan – how extensive will my hiatus be (e.g. will I still read/watch stuff or not at all? Will I stay off social media completely or just mute a bunch of book related accounts) and how long (a whole year? I think it’ll be 3 months absolute minimum)

    Any thoughts on taking some time off?

  4. You raise a lot of good points here. Blogging has definitely changed, and I agree there’s this weird thing where it seems there are TONS of book blogs, but the “audience” is actually on Twitter/Instagram/Booktube. I still love blogging, but it does seem some days as if it’s a lot of work put into a platform that not very many people are actually engaged with. I’ve seen a number of bloggers admit recently that they actually watch more Booktube than read blogs. And if bloggers don’t read blogs, who does?

    I also agree about slowing down to read. I’m lucky I have a co-blogger to help with content, but most people blog or Booktube or whatever alone, and it can be difficult to “read enough” to keep having content. A lot of people don’t seem to think beyond one review per book, which means that reading one book=only one post on your blog, and you need to read really really prolifically to get content that way.

  5. This is interesting to me because I’m coming to it as a new blogger. Until a year ago (when I found the Classics Challenge) I had never heard of book blogs and Booktube is completely new! But I do know what you mean about the anxiety, I worry everytime I finish a book and have to start writing and am beginning to think I should start to blog once a week! If you enjoy it do it but cut back, I agree with Rick, even if you left it for a while people will still find you or if you posted once a week or if you started posting about different subjects that are interesting to you. You’ve got a lovely friendly style that we want to read, whatever the topic!

  6. The first question is: how badly do you want an online presence? Are you working toward a goal when you blog, or simply fulfilling a habit? Are you just in search of fellow readers and wanting to keep it casual? It sounds like you need to think about what exactly you want when you write about books. A place to journal? To critique? To review & create a relationship with publishers? To establish an online platform toward some greater goal (writing, perhaps?) To journal and have a lovely archive of your thoughts for years going back? To put a spotlight on Canadian reads?

    The second question is: who is your audience? Your future self? Like-minded readers? Publishers? Indie writers? Friends, family? Fellow bloggers? People unfamiliar with the books you read who you hope to inspire? People looking for an awesome blogger to chat with because no one in life talks book? Why are they your audience and how best can you reach them? If this blog isn’t it, you don’t need the blog.

    The third question is how best you communicate. If you communicate best vocally, youtube could definitely be your thing. If you’re visual, Pinterest or Instagram could be your thing. If you (like me, and probably thousands of other writer/readers) love WORDS, blogging might be your thing.

    It does seem that book blogs are giving way to Instagram, Booktube, and twitter, but that doesn’t mean you should stop blogging if you enjoy it. Blogging could make a huge comeback! And your blog is sort of like your website, meaning, people might find you via other mediums, but if they like what you have to say on Twitter, for example, they’ll likely find their way here. And here is where you can say more than you might on twitter or instagram, & where you can archive your thoughts by year, make lists & such.

    It’s all in what you want. I’ve definitely been where you are, and it’s hard to choose, because I’m guessing you love book blogging in ways and hate it in ways (like when you feel pressure to post) and it’s a bit of a habit. And maybe you feel like if you stop, all your hard work for the last however many years in books will stop being valid. Which of course it won’t, but we love words and writing and lists and they make things concrete. So if the blog is gone, DID I REALLY READ THE BOOKS? πŸ™‚ (yes you did)

    I guess my advice is to think over WHAT you want, why, and what will get you there. What’s your goal? If you want to be social and that’s about it (a worthy goal) twitter might be enough. Realize that no decision is ever the perfect one. So don’t wait for the right decision: choose the imperfect one that works best for you and where you are right now. All the decisions are imperfect because the perfect decision is that we do NOTHING ALL DAY BUT READ BOOKS. πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

    I don’t know if this helps. I’ve been unplugged from everything but Goodreads since June and it’s a WONDERFUL feeling. I will likely come back eventually because my fingers keep making me write things. πŸ™‚

  7. PS: Could I also make a suggestion? You say you love blogging, but lately you find it basically stale, like you can’t think about what to say on a book. Could you blog by theme somehow? I notice you blog about A LOT of what you read. I’d find that exhausting. Maybe you need to cut back?

    I recall you are very passionate about getting out the word on Canadian reads. Maybe you could start a new blog dedicated to that specifically, and post just once a month on a Canadian book you want to highlight? Maybe you could interview a Canadian writer now & then — established ones, and Indie ones. You could host a Canadian reads challenge — maybe forgotten Canadian classics?

    Just an idea. Then you could stay on Twitter and not feel so much pressure to say something about ALL your reads. You’d have reads for fun, and reads for your project.

    I don’t think book blogs are dying. But they’re still a fairly new medium, and are lacking in organization. We don’t even know what to call our posts on books: people call journal entries “reviews,” and try to debate literary criticism on people’s quite reading journals. Have a topic, establish a strong voice, and I believe people would find you.

    (Not that we haven’t. I follow your blog.) πŸ™‚

    But my point is, have a theme. Take my friend Susan. I knew her when she started her blog on all things Louisa May Alcott, and now she’s known for knowing all things Louisa May Alcott. As in pretty known. She has a THEME on her blog. She doesn’t write about everything she reads. She writes on Louisa books. And otherwise stays fairly quiet. And people keep reading her blog because WHO WOULD NOT WANT TO READ LOUISA MAY ALCOTT THINGS? https://louisamayalcottismypassion.com/

    Cheers, whatever you choose! πŸ™‚

  8. I think you can blog however you like and still find people who enjoy your content and will follow you. I know many bloggers who follow a core set of blogs because it simplifies things Of course, they don’t probably don’t get as many views as people who comment around everywhere. But they are blogging to find friends or have discussions, so it doesn’t matter to them. I think you just need to articulate your goals to yourself and go from there. The rest will likely take care of itself!

  9. I’ve noticed a decrease on blog hopping activity lately. Blogs that used to get tons of comments and interaction seem to be getting less and less now. My own included. I also feel like I’m slowing down in terms of blogging and reading. I don’t want to stop either, but I have been working on finding what feels comfortable for myself again. I hope you can find that comfort and enjoyment as well. I do think you can be a book blogger without reviewing books. There is so much out there to post about, and maybe this slow down in blog activity will change soon.

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  11. For a while it felt like a full-time job, now 8 years later, I just want to enjoy it again.
    Blogging became about numbers, posts shares, hits, and the social media nonsense. I just want to enter a blog and feel like it’s Christmas day and I’m unboxing my presents.

  12. I’ve never even heard of booktube! Ok, so I went through feeling like I had to write to an audience when I first started getting comments. Know what? I don’t care anymore!!
    That being said, I am not going to stop writing on either of my blogs. I have one for books, totally devoted to that , and the other is for food and life and trips.

    I started the book blog for keeping track of my reading and because I was getting free books in exchange for an honest review. That’s a win-win for me. When my style started changing because I felt people were reading my reviews, that’s when I started feeling like I “had” to post. You wrote a post a while back about No One Cares if you post or not. So true. I could stop today and I betcha maybe one person would write me and ask if I was Ok or what’s up.

    Write for YOU. I am continuing to post reviews because I love getting free books from NetGalley and other sources. Also because I am doing a full circle to my original intent, keeping track of my books. Not worrying about doing X number of posts a week. It happens when it happens. Frankly it’s harder for me to keep up with bloggers who post 5 times a week.

    Now, this is just a suggestion for you but have you considered starting up a new blog that encompasses books, life, your family, events or whatever floats your boat? Don’t delete the book blog here and maybe if you post a book review at your new site, copy and paste it here so this remains a book-centric site. Just an idea. Or reformat this site since it’s established and incorporate your other life interests.

    Going to follow you on Instagram now because I love photos of family and snow and food!

    Tina at:
    http://www.novelmeals.wordpress.com
    http://www.tinaculbertson.blogspot.com

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  14. I have also been thinking a lot about where book blogging fits into the book world since starting blogging again. Sometimes, I get really frustrated by the fact that other forms of book promotion are becoming so much more important than book blogging, because I want to be part of the community, but I feel like the only way I can personally do that is blogging. BookTube and Instagram, basically anything that involves imagery and not words, seem to be becoming extra popular, and it’s frustrating to me because that’s not my personal interest and I’m terrible at it. Plus, book blogging just has such a special place in my heart and it’s hard to think that maybe it’s becoming not as relevant anymore.

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  16. This is a common refrain, believe me: I have been blogging since 2006. It is not easy, nor is it always fun. There are a thousand ways to do it, from every day to once a month. But, I believe our voices are important, especially to one another, and if we aren’t turning our joy into a job, whatever we produce is good. (It’s entirely too easy to second guess oneself. Don’t do that. xo)

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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