Monday, January 7, 2013

My Top Ten Book Blogger Confessions

There is a meme for book blogger confessions started by Tiger's All Consuming Media & For What It's Worth. I have always wanted to participate but haven't followed it closely enough, so I'll be posting my ten confessions without their prompts. I hope you enjoy and/or can identify with my honest-to-God confessions :D.

1. I wish I had come up with a better name for my blog.

Christina Reads YA? Meh. It's fine, except it's not all that original, it doesn't allow me to review the non-YA titles I read, and it doesn't really accommodate for other reviewers. Sophomore year of college, two of my friends and I were going to create a book blog between the three of us and started throwing out names for the blog. All the titles I thought of were shit, but I didn't expect how much it would hurt when they told me just that--and when they didn't offer titles in return. I was frustrated with them. I didn't think either was serious about the project, so I did it on my own and told them I had done it. (I'm a real joy to work with on a group project lol.) And now? Of course I don't regret creating my blog, but I was a bit hasty. What if one of them had ever wanted to post here? What if I wanted to get another reviewer to help me with the blog? Who would that person be? The "non-Christina?" Yeah...

2. I wish I was more involved in the blogging community.

When I first started blogging, I would return every comment people left me. I would participate in memes and actively search out other blogs. Now? Not as much. I was struggling to balance college with blogging and writing and then I just stopped caring. For a while, I was at that point where I still expected people to comment even though I didn't. Hypocrite, much? Lately I've been trying comment more, trying to reach out more (though I'm still not as active as I'd like). I (do/)did read posts, yet I wasn't commenting on them; why not take that extra time to comment and let the blogger know that? A few of my 2013 goals include returning all the old comments I have and also visiting more blogs on my own. This is going to happen, though I'm sure I still won't be as active as I'd like.

3. I wish I could co-host a feature or write a post with another blog.

Vickie of Comacalm and I hosted live chat read-alongs when we both had relatively low numbers of followers / were new bloggers. We had to cancel them after a while because (I think) both Vickie and I started to lose enthusiasm and also because we didn't have enough people who came to our live-chats. But they were so fun, the few chats that we had. And I love seeing what features other bloggers co-host. Also, what posts they write together. I would love to do something with another blogger.

4. I wish I was as enthusiastic as I was when I first started blogging.

This is like #2 but more. Did you know that I used to post almost every day? In the beginning, I used to feel like if I posted only once a week, I needed to apologize for my absence. Then I read an advice post from another blogger (I don't remember who) that said that I really didn't need to apologize. That often times, people wouldn't even notice if I hadn't posted as much as usual; people aren't as focused on my blog as I am. While I think that helped with my stress levels in regards to the blog, I also think that gave me an excuse for my waning enthusiasm.

5. I wish I was better at using social media platforms.

Oh, god, twitter. I am very, very paranoid about my privacy. Even though I love my old roommate, I hated the mere idea that there would be a time when I wouldn't feel comfortable in my own room because she would have someone over, friend or not.

So twitter. You can imagine how uncomfortable sharing any details of my life there makes me feel. (And how much happier I've been since I deactivated my personal Facebook account.) And I don't want to tweet only about books - only about my blog links and others as well. What's the point in having an account then? I don't really know why sharing these details here makes me feel more comfortable than if I did the same on twitter. And it's not that I am unfulfilled in my life; I love my life. It's... I don't know. Point being, you can tell that I'm not too good at engaging other people; if they engage me in conversation first, that's great, and I love the conversations I do have on twitter. Otherwise...

6. I wish I had started blogging sooner.

Do you ever get those moments when you wonder what you did earlier in your life? Like in middle school. How long could it have taken me to finish all my homework? Why didn't I read more often? I have no effing clue what I did with my life after school, in middle school, in high school. My parents are very overprotective, so I didn't go out a whole lot. Did playing basketball take up more of my time than I thought? Everquest/Dark Ages of Camelot/Starcraft? Jewelry making? As I've grown older and my work load has increased--and I'm sure it will continue to increase!--I've wondered: what did I do with all that time? Free time is a commodity. I wish I had used mine, when I was younger, to become a more prolific reader and to find my niche in the blogging community sooner.

7. I wish I had my own feature.

And I don't mean variations on the kind of features that are out there but something that's uniquely mine. Top Ten Tuesday is fantastic. Follow Friday? Yep. And Waiting on Wednesday? Hello, what a great idea for publicity for a book and for visiting other blogs! The creators of those features have pure genius, IMO.

8. I wish I felt this free to discuss my opinions in real life.

I am an introvert. I'm not good in large groups, and you've already read what I wrote about twitter. If you predicted that I'm that quiet girl in class--the one whose thoughts you don't know because she doesn't speak much--well, then, you're probably right. One of my English professors last semester told me, "We need to find a way to make you feel more entitled to speak up!" Entitlement is one thing. I don't feel like I should speak up unless I have something valuable to say. It takes hours of reflection for that to happen. So why should I impose my jumbled thoughts on other people? This is the attitude I generally take to giving my opinion about other issues. Rarely do I feel as though I am experienced or know enough about a topic to talk about it at large. Of course I will with my close friends, maybe with my family. Others? Meh.

With books, I know how reading them made me feel. I know what I would have changed if I were the author. I know what would have made a book more pleasurable for my reading experience. The only room there is for that kind of "experience" is if I need to reference other titles. Like when some people say, "Oh, this sounds exactly like X and X," but I haven't read X and X. But oh well to that. That will change as I read more books.

In life, you don't have that luxury. Giving your opinion is crucial at times. Even psychological studies show that people who talk more are often perceived as being smarter. (If you're interested in this topic, try Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.)

9. I wish I felt more confident when I post negative reviews.

That being said, I still feel wrong when I post negative reviews. Sometimes it's the guilt, the concern, the part of me that asks, how can you dislike this book when X and X liked it? When so many others liked it? (And no, I don't have low self-confidence; I do, though, need to understand other people.) That guilt plays doubly for me because I know how much it can sting to have a harsh criticism on your writing; I briefly wrote about that before. Usually, though, I push that away, as I had eventually disregarded the tone of my friends' criticism. Still, writing is so subjective. What I will find well-written, others may not, you know? And that's not just negative reviews; it's any review. What makes my opinion any more valid than that of another person?

10. I wish I had reviewed my Netgalley books.

Lol. Netgalley. I have a terrible review ratio. When I first started, I didn't realize that there was a time limit on galleys. One time, I was auto-approved for 5 different books and I forgot to download them! onto my computer before they were archived. Whoops. The same thing has happened again and again though. I tend to forget about egalleys before they expire. It's not that I'm not interested in the book, it's that I am a kind of forgetful person unless something is RIGHT in front of my eyes.

Any of my confessions similar to yours? What things do you wish you had done? What things you do worry about re: your blog?


  1. I agree with you, I think the features are pretty awesome even though I don't take part in them all the time. As far as not liking your name... I say change it! Starting fresh can be a scary thing but you could always either keep the old URL and change the name of the blog or get a new blogspot blog and let everyone know about the switch and to follow you there. I've seen other blogs do it all the time and when they switch, I follow them to their new page. :)
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

  2. I suck at Netgalley too. I hardly ever get to them to review them. I hardly get to the print books to review them. I don't review many YA books on my blog, so if you are ever interested in guest posting a review or whatever, feel free to let me know. (I'm Lindsey from btw.)

  3. Oooh, I love when people post their blogger confessions.

    1. Ha, or you could do a search for co-bloggers, but only candidates named Christina would be considered. Too bad I already have my own. :-p

    2. I always feel like I should be out there more, but that takes a lot of time away from getting reviews out and having any semblance of a social life, so it's a constant struggle.

    3. I've always thought posts like that would be awesome, but they're more work than one might think, it seems. I did a chat with Cuddlebuggery recently, and that rocked!

    4. Ha, I'm WAY more enthusiastic when I started. I wasn't plugged into the blogosphere at all, so I just posted whatever I wanted and my reviews as soon as I finished them.

    5. Honestly, I was super hesitant to join Twitter, but I love it now. I hate tweeting about my blog posts, though I do it occasionally. What I love is chatting with my bookish friends about reading or just life. Of course, I love that I've turned Twitter into a bookish only zone, but you could probably do something different.

    6. YES. For real. I had no friends for a long time, did most of my homework in school, and had no clubs. Like, what the heck did I do with all of my time? Of course, I didn't start blogging in middle or high school, because it wasn't a huge thing yet. Then, in college, I didn't balance reading for fun with work all that well, so I never quite got motivated to start one. If only I had!

    7. Good luck! There must be original things, but I certainly won't be coming up with any. There are just so many of us. I know my "original features" are just variations on a theme, so...what can you do?

    8. I've been meaning to read Quiet.

    9. Actually, I wish I were more confident about all of my reviews, though negative ones can be the most nerve-wracking. Of course, the ones I rate most highly are stressful too, because then people will read them based on my recommendation and might HATE them, which will make me sad on multiple levels.

    10. Yikes. I gave up on NetGalley, bc I'm awful about getting things reviewed. Now I only use it if I have to for a blog tour or something.

  4. This is such a great post. I definitely wish I'd started blogging earlier...I didn't start till I was 21! Why did I not come across book blogging in my teens?? Twitter is nothing to be scared of! It's weird at first, but it's amazing for interacting with bloggers and getting to know them better (which ties in with your other confession!) You can totally just talk about books until you get more comfortable with it, and tv and films and other impersonal things.
    In terms of collaborating with other bloggers on things, it is fun but a lot of work I think. You can always ask people and see what they say! You never know.

    Cait x

  5. hmm, i like this post.. ^^
    thanks for share.. :D

  6. You can always change or add on a name to your Blog if you are unhappy about it, But I think you have done a Great Job at this one. Thank you. Jerri Davis

  7. If you really don't like your blog name, you can always change it? :) I did it too. I sometimes forget about Netgalley egalleys too! I always feel bad when that happens. Great confessions :) I hope you can find your enthusiasm for blogging back!

  8. #10 made me LOL. Oh, NetGalley. Don't we all have these NetGalley ARCs tucked away in our e-readers that we like to pretend don't exist? Gah, every time I open up that folder on my Kindle, I think my eye twitches. lol

  9. Loved these confessions Christina! I love when bloggers post things like this because I think so many of us experience things like waning enthusiasm and it's nice to know we're not alone in that. I know my blog became really overwhelming for me really quickly, I didn't anticipate the amount of time it takes to write a review, format a post and then try and keep up with comments, comment myself on other blogs, and do social media. It can be exhausting even thought it's fun and I love it:) And I feel you on NetGalley. I tend to get overexcited and request a lot, and then because it's not a physical book a stack, I tend to forget about them. Fail:)

  10. I think your blog name is fine. :) No one pays attention to the actual name anyways... And I am bad at netgallery too! :)

  11. I enjoy your blog, and really liked reading your posts here... lots of insight gained... thanks for sharing with all of us!!

  12. I agree with you on every one of these points. My blog name (Katie's Book Blog) is so boring and uncreative. I've always wanted a super cool feature but I'm not clever enough to come up with one. I'm losing my joy for blogging. And my Netgalley ratio is terrible.


  13. You know, in regards to your title, you could just add a subtitle that said "AND OTHER THINGS," so you could review whatever you wanted?

  14. Thanks for sharing your thoughts--I feel like I know you better, and that makes me happy.

    I understand your feeling of "I wish I'd started sooner". Every time I find something I love, like quilting, I think of how many quilts I would have made during the time I was not engaged in that. But here's something that makes me happy. A friend's grandmother, who was dear to me, started painting when she was in her 40's, after her kids were all in school. She ended up living well into her 90's, painted for five decades, was honored at her local college for her artistic achievement at age 92. So, she began a "hobby" at an age when I would be bemoaning my late start, and it gave her happiness for over 50 years. If we're lucky, life is like a big, wide river. You may feel like you've waded out pretty far, but there's still a lot of river between you and the other side. You've started--good for you!

  15. I hear you on most of these. I started my blog under my name as well, and now I am suffering a bit of lone blogger syndrome. I see all these co-hosted blogs and features and it's like being the single friend on Valentine's Day (which I have a LOT of experience with -_-;; )

    I guess I could start over, my blog isn't even a month old yet, but let's face it, I don't play well with others, I might not like having to share my space. Or worse, I could be such an awful co-host that the other person/people might run screaming into the hills.

    Features! OMG, why can't I think of one those? I probably can, but would be too nervous to go ahead and do it because a) it might accidentally copy someone else's, and/or b) it might be stupid and I would be the only one playing.

    I posted my first negative review this week, and I freaked out for about an hour over whether or not to press the publish button. What if the author saw it and remembered me and hated me forever? Or if what I say breaks their confidence and they never write again? I don't want that!

    Haha, re-reading this comment makes me want to drown myself in the loo. Why am I so insecure and cowardly? I am sad when I think of the things I won't ever accomplish because I was too afraid to go for it.

    ~ Lindie

  16. Your blogger confessions are pretty awesome. I love confessions of all kinds. It's nice to see people baring their souls.

    You could actually change the name of your blog if you wanted. You could keep the url but call it something else. You're pretty well known in the book blogosphere, it probably wouldn't hurt you, especially if you kept the url.

    If you're still interested in doing some co-posts, I have some great ideas. My blog may be new, (or whatever you want to call a blog that died and then was reborn) but I have plenty of ideas and would love to find someone interested :)

  17. Cool! I could relate so well with those confessions of yours. ;)
    But it'd be great if we could use our creative criticism for the negative reviews so the author would know what others honestly think about her work. ♥ Besides, it's our opinion, just that it can't be helped that other people would be judging it too. :P

    Great post! :> ♥

  18. @everyone - Thank you so much for being so accepting of my confessions ;). I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has done these things!

  19. Numbers 2, 3, 5, & 6. I especially wish I had started blogging sooner. I feel like a lot of the journal entries (read: essays on life (yes I'm that nerd!)) would've made great blog topics. We can't reclaim the past so I try not to worry about it too much. Instead I focus on making each post interesting and interactive. I try my best to have some kind of question / food for thought on each post. Something to get readers engaged and encourage conversation :)

    As for being an introvert, we make the best readers!! ;) I really enjoy your blog, so keep doing what you're doing!


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