Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Confessions of a Book Blogger, Part Two

This idea is inspired by a meme hosted by Midnyte Reader & For What It's Worth (they use a question prompt, but I am not following it right now.). My last post on my top ten book blogger confessions was rather popular, and I think that no matter how small or big your blog is, you can (hopefully) relate to some of the feelings I will express.

1. Although I've mentioned feeling grateful for the blogger community, mentioned how supportive bloggers are and how thankful I am to be one, sometimes I feel rather dissociated.
  • Sometimes there is plagiarism, and whenever that happens, I feel shocked anew that someone would actually do that to another blogger. I'm sure many of you feel the same way, even if you and I have not yet been directly affected. If you are interested, the ladies at the Midnight Garden have made a button to create awareness of those hurt by plagiarism.
  • Sometimes there are arguments that I just don't understand. For instance, I don't understand why people argue that a DNF review is not valid, or that certain review styles are not appropriate. Have any of you ever had someone make a small comment, maybe something about how they wished you had talked more about X and X, maybe about how you couldn't really judge the book if you'd read so little of it? Comments about what reviews *should* look or be like sadden me the most, because if we're not "professional" reviewers, why shouldn't we be allowed our own styles? I say this, but sometimes I wonder if I, too, have done this to another blogger. The truth is, hell, I probably have at some point, and that is disheartening in its own right.
  • Sometimes it feels like I don't belong because of the cliques. This is understandable as some bloggers have been around for longer than others, have talked to each other more, maybe even met at a conference. Part of the reason why book blogging is so popular is because it connects us all through our mutual love of books, so naturally we'll cluster together. Still sometimes I feel sad because I wonder to myself: if I try to interact more, will it make a difference? You tell me: do you notice when someone is trying to interact with you more?

2. The more bloggers I follow on twitter as a part of my ongoing attempt to interact with the community, the more intimidated I feel about the entire prospect

  • I don't really have a list for this. I just like the way the bullet points look. (If you're a regular visitor of my blog, this may not surprise you lol).
  • Anyway! The more people I follow, the more conversations I see happening, and the more I wonder: should I really *jump* in? I'm sure many of you have felt the same anxiety - it's twitter, it's group politics, it's many things all at once... yet make no mistake: a lot of book bloggers are friendly, and they don't seem to mind if others join the conversation, but it's likely that I--and maybe you--will overanalyze the situation regardless. I don't always know what to say so that they'll continue to feel comfortable in their conversation-which-now-includes-me. And if I've stopped them, that makes me nervous. None of us wants to feel like we've intruded. If you've had someone jump into conversation and felt a bit bothered, what do you think could have been done better? And if you're a frequent jumper, what would you say to someone like me? 

3. I am a book blogger, and I forget how much effort goes into book blogging

  • There have been times when I have stopped posting as much because of college. Many of you have written about your evolution as bloggers, how you've had to cut back on posts for personal reasons. So, months ago, I had cut back to one post a week. Sometimes I've also scheduled a post only to realize, when I receive an email at around 3 p.m., that I *forgot* to write that post. Blank posts, fewer posts, half-hearted posts. Returning to blogging now reminds me of how much goes into scheduling and writing original posts, replying to comments, visiting other blogs and interacting with bloggers on the multiple sites you're asked to maintain (Goodreads, twitter, your blog, etc.). It's no wonder that people get co-bloggers. (Y'all are lucky!) Too bad I didn't have the foresight to name my site something general. (Moving to another site is too hard.)
  • So, sometimes I ask myself: is it worth itIf I stopped blogging, would others notice? When I think about how much work goes into book blogging, a part of me wonders whether I would have spent that time better doing something else (i.e. getting better grades in college lol)... yet even as I ask myself this, I know that I've spent my time right. Hey, you're still reading this post, right? :)

At the end of the day, your experience is what you make. I am not going to stop blogging nor will I stop trying to carve a niche for myself in the community, but hey, I wouldn't be me if I didn't have some doubts. It says a lot about the book blogger community, the respect that I feel for y'all and the respect that I feel has been given to me, that I can post about such a topic and not worry that I will be taken the wrong way.

Do you share any of my doubts or relate to any of my confessions? Do you have confessions of your own that you'd like to share?


  1. There are many times I feel dissociated too, and it is a sucky feeling. I do think that many arguments are based on simple misconceptions. It is hard to convey your thoughts genuinely when there is no sort of tone. People add their own to it, so it is as though you have to be choosy with how you say things.

    When people want to state their stance on something, whether it be DNF reviews or review style, I think they have all right to. Of course, they do. But it depends on how it is said. It should not be said in a demanding, holier-than-thou way. It should not be said in an effort to "remedy" someone's style.There is no way you can tell someone how to do something on their own blog, but I feel that I can say "I don't like this, so I, Christine, do not do it, but I see why others do" and not "I don't like this, no one should do it".

    Blogger cliques. I think that is one inevitable aspect of any community, whether virtual or not. I must admit, I do have my bloggers that I really love. However, I do not shut down other people when they approach me. Nor do I stick to my friends, and forget the rest of the world. This is why I try to answer every comment, every tweet, every reply on my blog and other social media outlets. I do not want to make anyone feel like a pariah. I have experienced that before by many bloggers, and it made feel so unwanted and awkward despite my constant attempts at interacting. It makes me feel like "Okay, I am not big/good enough for your attention".

    And haha at the butting in Twitter convos part. I feel so freaking comfortable on Twitter. I feel that it is so much easier to connect with bloggers because you not only know what they're reading, but you know what they're making for dinner, what movie they will watch Friday night - yes, it sounds like too much to know, but heck, it makes socialization easier. It makes us see the more human side of them, for lack of a better way to say it. I only jump in conversations when I am familiar with the people involved alongside the handy *butts in* annotation. I do hope that you begin to feel less intimidated, but Twitter is not a 'thing' for many people.

    Eek, this is becoming an unhealthily long comment. Thanks for sharing your personal confessions with us.

  2. Because I'm so shy, I find it hard to connect with people. Twitter is therefore a very intimidating place, but I'm slowly starting to use it more often. It's sometimes scary to interfere in a conversation and that makes me feel out of place now and then. I'm just afraid that people might think "who the hell is she?" when I try to talk with them, haha. I guess it's just me, because everybody has been so kind. I do think it helps to interact more.

    I really enjoy blogging, but it takes a lot of time, I agree. I'm not so stressed about posting as I used to be. This past hiatus really opened my eyes. It's okay to post less often :)

  3. Yes. Tone plays such an important role. (A part of me now wonders if these confessions were done in too somber of a tone to make others feel comfortable commenting lol).

    That's true. It seems that most of the times, however, when I have seen someone express discontent with DNF reviews or certain review styles, it is a holier-than-thou way or an attempt to "remedy" that style. I suppose my issue is that if you do not like the style or review type, there's no need to comment on that at all.

    "This is why I try to answer every comment, every tweet, every reply on my blog and other social media outlets." You are very kind. I added Disqus for this reason (and try to reply or acknowledge every comment), and I try to reply to every tweet that is not a giveaway advertisement on my part... Though I don't mean to point fingers at all! Even if I feel bad about jumping in/feel anxious about interacting, I understand that continual comments/tweets/etc. gets exhausting and sometimes just WAY too hard to keep track of and keep going.

    lol, Twitter may not be my thing, just because what you've listed as making you feel more comfortable and handy at socialization makes me feel anxious. It seems so weird to me to announce to this internet etherworld lol that I am eating pulled pork for dinner.

    Nooo!! I love long comments! Thank YOU so much for sharing your thoughts with me. :)

  4. Everyone is kind, and perhaps it is an inner struggle that we both just have to face and deal with. But even thinking this does not make that intimidating factor any less than what it is. (I think a part of me is also afraid, too, that if I spend more and more time becoming comfortable with twitter, it will just become another place/thing I am addicted to lol!)

    Definitely. That was advice I'd received from another blogger when I first started and scaling back made it less stressful. I'm glad you're not as stressed! AND meeep!!! I hope you enjoy INK :D

  5. I can relate the most to no.2 I mean, the ones I follow are always participating in such interesting conversations, and I sometimes I want to join (especially if a fav. author is included) but I am too hesitant. But you got it right, book bloggers in particular are the friendliest I've ever seen. I am a new blogger but I can already see how supportive this community is. Now I am more encouraged to tweet to other bloggers (it's kind of the whole point, right? Getting to know other bloggers and stuff).

  6. Sarah (Escaping Through Books)July 2, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    I agree and can relate to so much of what you said. I am very, very late to the Twitter party. I only just started an account this morning because I found it helpful to look at tweets from authors and publishers during ALA and decided that I wanted to continue to stalk them. I've been avoiding it for this long because I know that a lot of drama goes on there, but I thought I should begin to try to be more connected to the book blogging world after meeting so many nice bloggers this past weekend. I'm really not sure how much I'll actually use it, though... I'm so intimidated by it!

  7. Love this post!

    At times I feel on top of everything, and I'm tweeting, and commenting on other blogs, and other times it's all I can do to get an intelligible post up. I do my best to return comments, but I try to cut myself (and others) some slack because life does get in the way.

    In blogging, as in life, I find that I need to balance being connected with doing my own thing. Sometimes I want to read the same books everyone else is reading, and participate in group stuff, and other times I just want to do what's interesting to me.

    Like many book people, I'm shy, but have made a lot of wonderful blogger friends who have made my life so much more fun. Anyone is welcome to butt into my Twitter conversations, or ask me why I DNF, or find typos in my posts and tell me about them...

  8. Rinn (Rinn Reads)July 3, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    I know exactly how you feel - I go through periods of being really eager, posting lots, leaving lots of comments etc, and then periods of not really doing much for a while. I'm trying to sort out a more regular schedule though, and plan things more. Maybe set aside half an hour to an hour at least once a week to visit other blogs and leave comments.

    Plus I totally get it about feeling like you're not quite 'in' the community. Not that people aren't letting new bloggers in, but sometimes if you've not been blogging for long it can be a bit intimidating! That's partly why I set up my own book group on Goodreads, with the aim of meeting some more like-minded people.

    Great post! =)

  9. I've seen quite a few complaints about DNF reviews not being real reviews and I don't understand that logic. If I've read a portion of the book and I decide to stop I should be allowed to tell people why I stopped reading!

    We all have an idea in our head of how we should review or blog, but that it's important to remember that your idea and my idea might not be the same, but both are just as good. There is no right or wrong way to do it, and I think we (myself included) sometimes get caught up in the "right way" mentality.

  10. Yeah! I think the most anxious I feel is for the author conversations. Authors have social media to connect to their readers, but jumping in on an author conversation is a whole another level. Book bloggers are definitely the friendliest. And yeah: there's no point to having a twitter account unless it's used solely as amalgamation feed for your blog, or you socialize with others :).

  11. There is a lot of twitter drama, but no more drama than might happen on Goodreads or a blog, when someone comments something nasty. !!! How awesome that you got to meet more bloggers at ALA :). Twitter is hard to use when you first to start out, but I bet you're going to be a pro in no time!

  12. Yes!!! I know. I forgot how MUCH there is to do. Just the other day, I was trying to return comments, write posts, visit other blogs--and then I realized I spent nearly the whole day doing just that. Finding a balance is always the struggle, and choosing to do what's interesting to you is the better option :). Yay!! This is going to sound so weird, but I'll say it anyway-- I'll butt into more of your twitter convos when I'm on there then :D

  13. I wish I could set a schedule like that, but then I find that it takes me so much longer to comment on other blogs - way longer than I expected. But I'm generally terrible with schedules. Let me know if it works out for you though :).

    You have your own book group on GR? How awesome!! And you've met and started your own community there??

  14. Yes!! I completely agree with that. What bothers the most is that if you don't agree with the review, why comment? why even spend the time reading the post if you know you're not going to like what it says?

    yes, I like that you've said that even after I've complained about DNF commenters, because they too have their own ways of blogging, and even my complaint about them is a sort of subjective right way mentality.that should be loosened :).

  15. I am new to book blogging, and because I am married to a writer, work in the entertainment industry, and also sometimes work in politics, I had my Goodreads and twitter set to private until recently...and the community can be kind of weirdly intimidating. I feel you on the butting into conversations thing--it can make you feel like a real threadsecutioner if you don't get embraced in the conversation.

  16. It surprises me that you're new to this, because you seem so good at managing it already :). I like that term: threadsecutioner. I hope neither of us becomes one.

  17. If I'm completely honest, I enjoy being a bit disconnected from the community. I've always wondered if I was alone in this. Reading is a very solitary pastime and I kind of enjoy my solitude. I'm a bit of a hermit although I do have a small circle of close friends in my life. And while I enjoy interacting on a surface level with other reviewers such as in blog comments or a few tweets, I rarely do much more than that. I have been blogging (sporadically) for over three years and I do feel a part of the blogging community and fairly comfortable commenting or tweeting to other bloggers, but I am not as "connected" as many other bloggers are. And I'm okay with that.
    I can relate to what you said about the effort that goes into blogging too. I've had to step back and reexamine what I kind of blogger I want to be. I initially tried to kind of "keep up" with those blogs I read and enjoy, I wanted all the new ARCs, I wanted to host the week long blog events, I wanted TOO much and became quite overwhelmed. But I've realized that my blog is mine and does not have to be defined by the structure of most other book blogs. I can do things my way, post as often as I want to, & take breaks when I need to. It may lose me some followers but that's not why I started blogging anyway.

  18. At times, I enjoy it too. It's easier to pull back on the blogging because of that. And reading is definitely a solitary pastime - I've never quite been able to do that multitask, updating GR status about how I currently feel on the book while reading the book and still interacting. It is definitely too hard to host all the events and ask for all the arcs and write all the posts, and kudos to those who don't feel overwhelmed by that pressure. And yes! Your readers follow you because you make your blog what it is :). (Also, I've never unfollowed a blog when someone takes a break.)

  19. I'm so late to this post, but I can relate to so much of this post. I'm newish to blogging and I don't really feel like a part of the community. I know I need to be more active and talk more, but the cliques are intimidating! I want to make friends and talk about books, but sometimes I see tweets hours later or it seems like I'd be intruding. I'm nervous about interacting, too! It is nice to know I'm not the only one. I don't have anything helpful to say, but I'm a new follower on bloglovin and twitter!

  20. Hey, Katy. Welcome to the blog & thank you! There are a lot of great older book blogs (i.e. Cuddlebuggery) that have some "mentoring" features (Little Blogger ... something, I can't remember the exact name, but it's about sharing books & publicizing your blog more) for newer blogs, if you'd like. It might help to make you feel more a part of the community. And if you see a tweet from me hours later, feel free to intrude :).

  21. Ha. I consider quitting at least once a month, but then I just take a deep breath and remind myself that this is a hobby, and I'm putting too much stress on myself. I definitely notice when someone's been stopping by more often. I don't always have time to visit them back, but their comment love is always appreciated. Also, Twitter freaks me out sometimes. I read conversations, feel like I have something to add, type up a tweet, overanalyze it, and then end up deleting it without ever posting it. I have friends with 30k tweets, and I'm still barely over 5k...and I think I've had my account for at least a couple of years now. That's kind of sad. :( Anyway, I completely agree with your statement that blogging is what you make of it. And I'm just trying to discuss the books I love with people who share that interest. :)

  22. Kate @ Doing DeweyJuly 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    I definitely agree with you about twitter! I feel like it's odd to just jump into a conversation or randomly contact someone. I'm starting to get over that by remembering that I love when people randomly jump into a conversation I'm part of or contact me. As a result, I've had some great conversations and so far have never been sorry I contacted someone :)

  23. Jen, you're plain awesome. FYI, you know :).

    "I don't always have time to visit them back, but their comment love is always appreciated." <-- Yeah... I'm trying to get better at doing this. And one thing that I hate about Disqus is that I can't have that friendly little banner that says this in blogger.

    "I read conversations, feel like I have something to add, type up a tweet, overanalyze it, and then end up deleting it without ever posting it." <-- Yes. All the time. And ooh, I get embarrassed when I forget or misspell a word - this seems to happen a lot too.

    "And I'm just trying to discuss the books I love with people who share that interest. :)" <-- But even with all that, yes. Exactly. :)

  24. Yeah!! I love it when people contact me. A conversation I once jumped in on involved a college reader who later told me that I'd inspired her to start her own blog. Like you, I should remind myself of these two things and not get so nervous about Twitter usage. :)


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