Bookish Blogging: Accepting Changes

Bookish Blogging: Accepting Changes in Your Blogging

Bookish Blogging: Accepting Changes in Your Blogging

I’ve been blogging for just over two years now, and if there’s one lesson I’ve had difficulty learning during that time it’s this: you will change as a blogger. It may be the content you create, the sense of self you portray, or the frequency which with you post – whatever it is, something about your method of blogging will inevitably change overtime.

And that’s okay. For many, change is good. It allows you to grow and explore new opportunities and keep things exciting. But I’ve always had difficulty with change, especially when it leads to a drop in quality.

Let me explain.

I feel like my entrance into the blogosphere was as top quality as it could be. I produced content daily (which overall I would say was quite original, there were a couple of memes I participated in during my early days, but I never skimped on the quality with which I participated in those types of posts), I responded to every comment on my blog, and I visited and commented on other blogs like a mad fiend (and those comments were always long and meaningful, because I never knew how else to be). All my spare time was consumed by book blogging, and I happily spent hours working at this little hobby of mine.

It paid off. My blog grew greatly during its one year run and even landed the title of “Best Breakout Blog” in 2013. People knew who I was, I was gaining friends, and I really felt like I had a solid idea of what my blogger brand was – social, creative, and just a little crazy.

And then I moved to London.

I knew my blogging would likely be impacted by this move, and tried to prep myself in any way that I could. I wrote a book blogging manifesto to help center me and even came up with a new schedule thinking it would help keep me on track. And while I kept chugging on as long as I could, I just couldn’t keep up with it.

And as much as my readers assured me they understood my troubles with blogging and would always be around, I felt incredibly horrible over the fact that I was no longer blogging the way I used to. I felt like I came into this hobby on top of my game, and that because I wasn’t doing what I did when I entered the blogosphere, I was a failure. Not because anyone else said anything to make me feel that way or because I could see my followers dropping or anything like. No. It was feelings I brought upon myself because I couldn’t stop comparing the blogger I was before to the blogger I had become. (And actually, if you read the journal entries my My Past with Depression post, you’ll see this is something I always sort of struggle with in my depression. Oftentimes I set super high standards for myself, and if I’m no longer able to meet those standards for any reason, I fall apart. I don’t feel like myself.)

Joining a co-blogging adventure definitely helped alleviate some of those bad feelings when my one-year anniversary came around. I joined forces with Leanne and Kelley to create Oh, the Books! and found that posting only twice a day was way more manageable for my schedule (and sanity). I got back on track with commenting, and felt better about everything… but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still feel guilt and frustration over the fact that I couldn’t do all of the things before.

And I really feel like this is an issue with the blogosphere, one that I feel many of us struggle with: we are always trying to meet these crazy expectations that just may not be realistic for our current selves. We are proud of our hobbies and want to do more, to be more, and knowing that we’re not doing all the things always sits heavily on our minds. I mean, how could they not when we’re surrounded by other people we can easily compare ourselves with? Oh, this person comments everywhere – why aren’t we doing that? Oh, this person has tons of unique features – maybe I should come up with some? Oh, this person reviews books every other day – I need to read more?! It’s hard not to feel like you should be doing more when faced with all the things.

But I have to say, after just over two years of blogging (with over half of that time containing feelings of stress and guilt at my inability to blog how I want to), I have to say I’m finally at peace with how I blog. Do I blog as much as I want or contribute to the blogosphere as much as I want to? No. But I’ve finally come to the realization that that’s okay.

I may not get as many comments as I used to because I rarely find the time to comment on other blogs. I may not get as many views on a post because my content isn’t as exciting as it used to be. I may not have as many followers as people move onto the next big thing. But none of that matters to me like it once did. (And honestly, I don’t even really check stats these days so I have no real idea if my stats are horrible compared to what they were before or not.)

What I care about on this blog is sharing my love of books and forming connections with like-minded people, and I feel like I’m able to achieve both of those things quite well even without the over-the-top commitment I had when I first started blogging. In many ways, I actually feel like I’m able to do both of those things even better than before, just because I’m no longer stressing about all the things. I’m doing what I can when I can, and accepting all the can’t’s.

I mean, you can ask Kelley. Somedays I’ll just wake up and decide I don’t have the energy to get my post up for a week, and I’ll shoot her a message letting her know. Before that would have stressed me to no end – I’d feel guilty for letting Kelley down, worried that you guys would miss the content, and would just feel overall like a failure. Now? It’s no big deal. I just aim to get a post up the following week.

So really, what is the point of this long rambly post? I guess it’s to encourage other bloggers to accept themselves. Think about all the times you feel guilty or stressed with blogging, and realistically determine how much of that stress is something you’re putting on yourself. And once you’ve thought about how much negativity you’ve put into your blogging because of all the things you’re not doing, ask yourself is this worth it? Is allowing this stress in my life helping the blog? Is feeling guilty over missing a post helping anything? Is losing sleep over comments you have yet to respond to making you feel better? And if that answer is no, then try to let it go.

This thing we do here, this book blogging thing, it’s just a hobby. And it’s meant to be fun. And there’s really truly no right way to do it. Blog within your means, blogging how you can, when you can, and with your own internal happiness as the goal. Changes happen in blogging, and there will always be something MORE you can do, but don’t worry about it. Accept yourself. The blogosphere will accept you too.


Sorry for the super rambly post. Any other bloggers struggle with feelings like these? Have you reached the level of acceptance yet? And hey, anyone truly bothered by the changes in my blogging? (Be nice! haha)

Asti

Read 18 comments

  1. YES! You said it all Asti, I’m almost in my 3rd year of blogging and in my 1st year, it was pressuring and stressing myself out to review ALL the latest new books, comment on ALL the blogs and return every comment and post more. It was just getting too tiring, and I almost quit at one point. Even my search for a co-blogger was demotivating, when it didn’t work out. But then afterwards, I’m like you know what? Stuff it. I’m only one person, this is my hobby, and in order to keep on enjoying what I do, I just need to stress less and pressure myself less about this. After all, your blog readers aren’t going away because you don’t return comments over night or because you post less. I’m finally at peace with myself too, and I enjoy blogging so much more now.

    • I actually think that’s one of the craziest things about it – 99% of the time we’re just putting all this pressure on ourselves. It’s like even though we tell ourselves there’s no right way to blog and that we can do what we want, somewhere in our mind we have all these expectations of what we should be doing. Letting it go and realizing that the blog won’t die even if we don’t meet those expectations feels so much better. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has managed to reach that point in their blogging! Go us :)

  2. ASTI THIS POST IS AMAZING. And I’m so happy that you’ve found peace with blogging! I can definitely relate to this a lot, just from moments in the past when I looked at my blog and thought hey I need to be more professional and have a schedule and keep a blogging notebook and have graphics for everything and comment on 20 posts a day and link to Goodreads and all these other things. It took me a while to realize that it just wasn’t working for me and I’m okay with that now. I’m okay with the fact that I’m not a super serious blogger (at least not now) and don’t do all of the things other people do. I’ve tried it and it didn’t work for me and it made me only more miserable about my blogging so I don’t have to go back and gripe about why I didn’t do this or didn’t do that. The thing right now is that I’m happy with the posts I am writing (even if they come like once a month). I don’t feel like I’m ever writing a post just for the sake of getting one up. I always do try to put in as much thought into my posts as possible and for me, that’s enough. I have fun blogging and I can only hope that other people enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them but if not, I’ve come to a point where, like when I was starting out blogging, it’s fine because I still enjoy it.

    • Yes! To all of these things! I mean, just reading the list of things you tried doing (that I think we all at one point or another try to do) because it seems like it’s what’s needed to be a “good” blogger is tiring! In the end, I think if WE are happy then our readers are happy because even if there is a large quality of content, it often means there’s a better quality of content. Go us! <3

  3. I adore this post, Asti, and I love your honesty in it! It’s been four years of blogging for me, and like you, a lot has definitely changed. I’d like to say I see a marked improvement in my content, and that’s mainly because I do the things that I ENJOY doing. It’s always much more fun and simple for me to share enthusiasm when I myself am enthusiastic about a post – and I’d like to keep it that way. I’m much more relaxed about schedules and content these days, which has definitely kept blogging as “fun” in my mind.

    I agree that we all put a lot of expectations on ourselves. There’s a struggle to be just as creative, just as eloquent, just as consistent, just as social – but there doesn’t need to be. I mean, this is not to say we won’t ever compare or wish or aspire. What I really mean is that, if we’re willing to accept who we are and what we are capable of, the expectations will be less rigid and blogging will be more fun. (I don’t know if this makes sense, mind you. Hope you understand what I’m getting at!)

  4. Asti, I don’t think ANYONE has as many unique features as you. :P

    I didn’t know about your blog back when you first started, but I’m very happy with the way it is now. I like the variety of content and the way you and Kelly bring your own perspectives and content but also work so well together. I’m glad you’re reminding yourself that it’s a hobby, not an obligation. I know how hard it is not to set impossible goals for yourself.

  5. I’m glad you wrote and shared this post, Asti. Many unsuspecting bibliophiles stumble into book blogging, not knowing how much of themselves and their time they will come to invest because of perceived expectations. I think it’s important to set boundaries for ourselves and not to be overly consumed with becoming “power” bloggers. If one has the time and energy to post every day, that’s wonderful. But there’s no point in putting ourselves down when we can’t live up to that.

    Besides, who decided that we should be posting content daily anyway? Book bloggers generally don’t blog for income, so trying to measure up to paid blogging stints will only wear out most people who also have other commitments like school, work, family, etc.

  6. Great post Asti! You’ve put into words the overwhelming feelings of failure, stress, fear that bloggers fear. You’re right, blogging about books is a hobby and (most of us) don’t get paid to do it. I understand that other bloggers out there get paid to do so, but that’s generally not the case with book bloggers.

    It is really hard to keep up with everything, so I do try to be okay when I can’t post. I’m pairing down on blog tours and reading more of the books that I want to read. My paying, full-time job is very demanding, I’m married, I have three kids and this year I’ve traveled a lot for business. I’m trying to accept change and stress and deal with it. I try to keep things into perspective, after all, my career and my family are more important.

  7. Actually me. When I started, having a post a day somehow determined my worth. Now that I see it, there’s no point in doing that because people probably won’t be reading my blog every day and it’s too exhausting to write a post. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    I’m glad I’m changing, actually. I think it means that I’m maturing and growing up and I love that.

  8. I completely get what you’re saying, Asti! After blogging for almost five years, I’ve gone through many of the same “BUT I’M NOT DOING AS WELL AS I WAS!” moments and they’re hard. We all find a balance and a way that works for us, and I think it’s that balance that is most important. Awesome post!

  9. I think it’s tough for bloggers to feel like we’re not meeting expectations because blogging is something we love so much, and we develop good friendships through blogging. Sometimes it feels like we’re not making enough time for our friends (or at least I feel that way). I totally understand the feeling because my blogging suffered a lot during grad school and last year when I started my new job. It was tough to rework my expectations and ideas about how I should be blogging.

    For the record, I’ve thought you were a fantastic blogger since you were blogging on your own. I’m not the most present reader. I have a tendency to lurk and read without commenting. But your previous blog and this one have been favorites of mine. I’m glad you’re feeling better about all this.

  10. This is a super sweet post, Asti, and so encouraging. I think what you said here can apply to so many things in life. We are always going to set high expectations for ourselves, but there’s no way we can meet all of those expectations, and that’s okay. I’ve been super inconsistent with my blogging over the past few months because I had to let it go when I realized that juggling my high self expectations for school and my high self expectations for blogging was too much and one had to go. Now that school is over, I’ve returned to the blogosphere with more vigor and the bookish community has still welcomed me back. Thanks for this post, and I’m glad you’re feeling better about your blogging process right now.

  11. Oh I totally agree! I find it crazy when I see book bloggers stressing out on doing ALL THE THINGS when they clearly have a lot of things they have to be doing outside of blogging. Priorities!! I don’t think blogging is something that should stress us out. IT’S NOT FUN ANYMORE. :( I, at this point in my life and I’m very lucky, have a lot of time to blog, so I’m really working hard at it while I can!! I want to be able to let myself slack off, eventually, though, when my life moves in a different direction. I think the worst “expectations to meet” are the ones we put on ourselves.

  12. Thanks for sharing your experience Asti! I’ve generally been pretty happy with how my blogging goes, but like you, I’ve had less time for it lately. I’m also getting to the point where I have enough comments, followers, and blogs I follow, that I barely have time to maintain the connections I have, much less make new ones. I’m glad you’ve gotten back to where you’re happy with the amount of time you can devote to blogging :)

  13. You know, when I first started blogging, I didn’t anticipate all the stress, and I was quite ignorant of everything. Now, I’m glad that I can just focus on having fun, and just BLOG FOR FUN, which is what made me start blogging! As long as you have a love for books, then nothing else matters! :) Thanks for sharing your experience Asti!

  14. This is TOTALLY the twitter conversation we were having :)

    Since I’m not a huge blogger – I don’t worry so much about getting posts up all the time. I’m ok with the quality being more important than the quantity of posts.

    But I love the connections and the engagements within the book blogging community. I like bouncing around to different blogs and commenting. I like talking to people on twitter. I like finding new blogs to follow and comment on. And the change in my work schedule and responsibilities has made me disconnect from that – simply because I don’t have the time I’d like for that. No one criticizes me for it. No one makes me feel guilty. Everyone is super friendly and responsive when I do find the time to comment or tweet. But I still feel bad for not being around more – I think because I want something that just isn’t always feasible.

    So, this is a very timely post for me and a great message to just let it be ok and accept what you *can* do. Which just reminds me – a friend and I were talking the other day about enjoying and accepting the 10 minutes that you did walk instead of the hour that you didn’t run. I need to remember that more often :)

  15. “If you read the journal entries my My Past with Depression post, you’ll see this is something I always sort of struggle with in my depression. Oftentimes I set super high standards for myself, and if I’m no longer able to meet those standards for any reason, I fall apart. I don’t feel like myself.”

    Asti, I feel like I could have written this post myself, but that part resonated with me the most. I’ve been blogging for… almost two years now (which: WHAT EVEN IS THIS MADNESS.) but sometimes I feel like the quality of my posts have decreased and I get so, so stressed out about it – which is made worse by the fact that my expectations for myself have only risen.

    I sort of had to step back and re-evaluate the way I was blogging a few months ago when all the mental illness stuff happened and I got a bunch of diagnoses. I’ve had to learn how to put myself before my blogging on the endless to-do list. Which is TOUGH. Especially when I feel like I’m letting people down by not posting five days a week like I used to, and the posts that I do make aren’t necessarily up to par, especially on low spoon days. Self-inflicted guilt is the worst, isn’t it?

    Regardless: I’m so happy + proud that you’re finally finding some peace with your blogging journey. You go, girl. <3

  16. I feel like I am going to be going on that change journey at the end of summer as well. Right now I am commenting like crazy, posting thrice a week and advertising each of these posts on social media as well as managing a lot of other things. But the thing is I started the IB next school year which is one hectic and time consuming program. I am not sure I will be able to keep up with all this, but I am going to have to accept that :/

Leave a Reply