Well, it’s awfully convenient that this post caused some chaos when I accidentally posted it too soon. I schedule posts to tell myself when they should go up, but I usually end up posting it days later, anyway. What’s the point, you ask? I have no idea.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while (say, more than 8 months), you might have noticed that my blog is not as consistent as I pretend it is. This post is a discussion/rant about my feelings towards blogging, and all that good stuff.
I have been writing this post in my head for months, but on paper? I’m not even sure where to begin.
The Beginning of Burn Out
When I started blogging in late 2018, I struggled to find my place in the blogging community. Was I supposed to post once a day or once a week? Was I supposed to post book tags without being tagged, since nobody knew me and I never got tagged? How does one even start to write a book review? How was I supposed to pay for large book hauls if I was just a college student who frequently read the same two series over and over again and called that reading? Was I truly a reader?
Eventually, I started by doing whatever I wanted. I tried everything: I posted once a week, then three times, and I even tried posting on the weekends. I made myself feel like people were reading my posts, and even though my most popular posts had 5 likes, I told myself that was amazing enough (and it was!). I was the epitome of “fake it til you make it”, and my blog was going slugging forward, but I was blissfully moving along just the same. Bloggers with 1,000+ followers were untouchable geniuses to me, celebrities beyond my reach. They had everything I wanted, but if I never got to their level, I wouldn’t mind, either.
A few months later, in Spring 2019, my blog started to gain attention. I’m still not really sure why this happened, but it really fueled my posts. I saw that more and more people liked what I had to say, and so… I pushed out more posts and used all of my ideas in just the span of a few months. I liked what I was doing, and it also distracted me from school. It was all very fun, and the community was overwhelmingly great to talk to!
And then… I stopped blogging.
I went from posting three times a week to once a week, and from there, it became once a month, until this past November when I posted absolutely nothing.
So what happened?
The Pressure is Real
The first thing I did wrong was misinterpret someone else’s stress, thinking that was the right way to handle things. I noticed that some of my favorite popular bloggers waited a few days before replying to comments, and I said, “hey! what a great idea.” Nope. Not a great idea, past Xandra! I’m still 2 months behind on comments to this day because of this mindset.
I later realized that people sometimes waited a few days to reply because they had other things on their plate, and not because it was the cool thing to do. And now, here I am, stuck in a cycle of pressure to reply to the posts I made in September, while also having to pump out several good posts so that no one forgets me.
Every time I spend time on an “easy” post, like a tag*, I feel really guilty that I’m not in the mood to write a full discussion post. Earlier this year, I posted like three great discussion posts, and I often feel like i’m still trying to live up to the expectation of writing more similar to that standard. 😦 But I’m tired, my brain is fried from school, and I would rather give a post my whole 100%, rather than just 10% of myself.
There’s a massive amount of pressure I’m putting on myself, and the longer it takes me to write my next great post, the more pressure I add. I’m not entirely proud of the posts I’ve been putting out lately, because I know I could be doing so much more. Hopefully I can try better in 2020!
*(I consider tags “easy” because they serve as a outline for what you’re going to say, as opposed to discussions, which are often made completely out of the mind of the creator. Tags often take just as long to write, but they’re just not 100% original when I do them! Only like 80% original 🙂 ((wow, i didn’t know there would be so many percentages here, whoops)))
The Statistics Myth
As a new blogger, my blog statistics meant everything to me. The higher my stats, the higher my chances were of getting a desired physical ARC in the future. My stats were getting higher and higher with every month, and I was proud of myself. I was finally reaching one of my unattainable dream goals of X views per month!
But recently, I’ve realized that the only reason why I cared about stats was because of the possible ARCs I could have received once I reached a certain number. Now, I don’t really care if I never get a physical ARC from a publisher. *shrug* I’m already drowning under my TBR, and I’m fine with reading the backlist books I already own!
It’s been months since I’ve logged on to NetGalley and Edelweiss+. Receiving eARCs is still a very cool concept, but I would much rather read everything on my own time. 🙂 As a mood reader, this works much better for me! Now, I’m free to read whatever I want, whenever I want, with absolutely no obligations whatsoever. (I mean, I did already purchase these books, so I guess I’d feel bad if I didn’t read them. But you know what I mean!)
The more time I spend in the blogging community, the more I realize that statistics don’t really matter to me anymore. Of course, it’s fun to have goals and get excited about personal bests, but I just don’t want to stress myself out over stats anymore. It isn’t worth it!
How I Feel About Blogging Today
Despite the title of this post, I still love blogging! But my attitude towards book blogging has definitely changed over time. The only thing I “hate” about blogging is the fact that it gives us high expectations for everything, and forces us to put pressure and self-doubt on every little thing we do. What I need to improve on, in the future, is just letting all of that go, and being my true self on my blog for as long as I can.
Now, I blog for myself. I want to create content I’m proud of, or content I enjoy making. I don’t want to worry about what others think. If some of my posts only get a handful of likes, then so be it. At least I had fun with the post!
While I don’t think it’s possible to forget about all of the pressure I’m feeling, I still want to acknowledge to you all (and to myself) that my blog stats are not everything. They shouldn’t determine how I think of myself, or who I think I am as a blogger. I always feel better about myself when I know that I’m trying my best, and that’s all I want to do from now on.
Goals for 2020
In 2020, I just want to post content which I will enjoy and be proud of. My schedule will probably be different from the way it was earlier this year (I’ll probably strive for something like 1-2 posts a week!), but at least I will still be doing the things I love.
Blogging is such a fun thing to do, but I don’t want to feel like I’m forcing myself to do anything just for the sake of high stats. Therefore, I’m going to choose quality over quantity and make posts I feel good about!
I also have some changes/updates coming to the blog soon, so we’ll see what happens! 😊
A Formal-ish Thank You
I never made the time to thank you for my recent follower milestone, so I’m going to do that here:
Thank you all so much for 1,000 followers recently! 😭😭💕 It means so much to me that I’ve gotten this far in just over 12 months, and I never thought I would make it past this milestone at all! Thank you so much for everything, and especially, thank you for a great 2019!
I would really love to do some kind of giveaway for y’all, because it means a lot to me that you’re even here and reading this post! Hopefully I can arrange a giveaway soon. Let me know if that’s something you would be interested in!)
(I’m sorry I lied about this post being tiny 🙃 I made the title like 3 months ago, and I guess it would have been shorter if I had written it back then!)
How has your attitude towards blogging changed, if at all? What kinds of posts do you struggle to write? Have you experienced burn out?
Chat with me about it!
Happy reading, everyone! 😊