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?