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.