When I first started blogging I was so excited. I could write multiple posts a day – I had a LOT to say. I was devouring books and spending every free moment of every day reading and writing and thinking up new ideas for the blog. It was fun.
Around the two-month mark things started getting serious. I started getting books for review. There were deadlines. There were commitments. There were people actually possibly READING the things I had to say – hard as that may have been for me to believe. But my stats proved otherwise.
And it terrified me.
I didn’t actually think someone would visit my site or read my posts. I didn’t think I’d have to engage with people. But I tried to step up to the plate. I tried to be social. I tried to make my blog the very best I could make it. But it was challenging and stressful and not quite as much fun as it had originally been.
I never started out to become the biggest blog, the most popular blogger, the one with the most original content or the best reviews. I didn’t want to be the blogger favored by the publishers or approached by the authors. I just wanted to be able to share my thoughts about the books I loved.
And yet I found myself trying to check those boxes, because I thought I had to. I thought I had to be noticed and not just be.
As the years passed I saw blogs become huge successes, I saw blogs crash and burn, I saw blogs doing their thing without the fanfare. I saw drama unfold, I was caught up in drama. I experienced some of the highs (author/publisher/”celebrity” blogger acknowledgement, review blurbs in books, bookish bffs) and many of the lows (plagiarism, image theft, self-doubt).
I thought about quitting many, many times. I took a few breaks here and there. I changed things up again and again in hopes of finding that spark again, finding what made me so excited about blogging in the first place.
And I realized that somewhere amidst all the chaos of trying to be the best I could be, trying to get people to visit my site, trying not to get lost in the stampede, trying to follow the rules I laid out, trying to be on the mailing list for the most coveted books, that I forgot what I was doing this for – to share my love of books on this tiny piece of the internet that’s all mine.
And to ramble. And to gush. And to rant. And to be silly and funny and weird.
And I reminded myself…
This is not a chore. I am not looking to be voted book blogger of the year. I am not looking to make inroads into the publishing world. I am not looking to earn money.
There’s no reason to stress about not posting every day. There’s no reason to doubt my self-worth because my request was rejected or ignored. There’s no reason to feel sad because I wasn’t included in a promotional event. And there’s no reason why I shouldn’t continue to share my random thoughts now and again even though everyone else is doing the same.
And it seems to be working.
Because I look at my pretty blog (thanks Parajunkee!) and feel excited when I have to post something. I can write a review without worrying too much about sounding stupid or boring or redundant. I can share my thoughts about all sorts of books without wondering if the genre is not in line with my blog’s “brand.”
I can take an hour or two to think up a topic I want to ramble about without stressing that someone has probably already posted about the same thing and said it a million times better than I ever could.
I can be awkward and introverted and outrageous and random.
I can fall madly in love with books, their worlds, their characters. I can admire and be in awe of the authors of these books.
I can do all of these things, and be all of these things, and be a book blogger who is having a heck of a lot of fun instead of one who wonders if today will be their last day.