Saturday, August 8, 2015

Discussions Only We Know: Blogging Manifesto

Discussions Only We Know

Blogging Manifesto

A commenter suggested I do a post like this several years ago, and I've had the plans in the back of my mind for a long time. I typed my first draft of this post on May 4th and just haven't gotten around to scheduling it to post until now. This is a post that I'm really writing for myself chronicling why I started blogging so that I can always remember.

I know I've addressed the how and why I started blogging in prior years that I participated in Armchair BEA. But essentially, here's the deal. Four years ago, I was finally finishing up with college--ugh that took forever--and I was finding myself in a place where I could finally read without feeling guilty for needing to do school work. But what I also found was that while I have several real life friends who like to read--and most of them even like to read the same stuff that I do--they read at a different pace than I do. We don't all have the same amount of time to read. For some of them it's lower on the priority list which is totally fine. But I wanted some way to chronicle the books that I was reading, what I thought about them, and how they made me feel so that when they came around asking for recommendations, I would have the perfect source to point them to.

Husband suggested I start a blog, but I blew the idea off for a long time. Yet the more I let the idea sit with me the better it sounded. And thus my blog was formed.

When I first started blogging, I just wanted to review the books I was reading. I wanted my friends to be able to see which books I've read, what I thought about them, and which ones I would recommend for them to read. It was almost a year before I even started telling people--other than my immediate reading friends--I had a blog.

Soon after I started telling people I became immersed within the book blogging community. I became aware of these things called ARCs, advance reader copies, and the idea of getting to read books before they're even published was so tempting to me. But I saw post after post that said publishers want to see you post regularly before they will approve you for ARCs or galleys. And so that's when I started participating in memes.

Eventually, I developed the thought that more followers = better blog. And it’s true that again, some publishers won’t approve review copies for blogs with only a few followers. But over time I've come to think that more followers doesn’t exactly equal a better blog. I've seen blogs with 2000+ followers that don't meet my own opinions of what constitutes a "good" blog. And I've seen blogs with less than 100 followers that I consider high quality. Despite hearing other bloggers who have been doing this longer than me say, "don't worry about the numbers," I still worried about the numbers. And sometimes I still do.

Beyond that, sometimes a book comes up that becomes so overwhelmingly popular. There’s a temptation I feel to try to read all of the books and especially the ones that everyone else seems to love. Sometimes it’s a book that sounds interesting to me, and I add it to my TBR list. Other times, I know my reading preferences fairly well enough at this point that I don’t even bother adding it to my wish list if it doesn’t fit my preferences no matter how much others have raved about it and try to force it on me.

But worrying about the numbers, trying to impress publishers, participating in memes, reading the books that other people think I should read, all of this...this isn't the reason why I started the blog. And all of this won't be what I fall back onto to maintain my interests in blogging if I fall into a blogging slump. What's going to keep me blogging is remembering why I started in the first place.

I started this because I love to read (the books I want to read) and I love to talk about the stories and the places that I can go only through books. Places, characters, things I wouldn't experience were it not for the world of books.

I get to fall in love a million times over. With a vampire, a werewolf, a faerie, a faerie king, a faerie prince, Death, an alien, an Amish boy, my teacher, a dragon, an angel, a demon, a shadowhunter, a nephilim, a boxer, a tattooed up guy with issues, a duke, a prince, a wizard, a cop, a grocery store clerk, a guy with cancer, a childhood friend, my best friend, a rock star, a troll, a guitar player, a furniture maker, a guy who can't speak, a thief, a graffiti artist, a part human part machine, a guy who loves horses, a guy who saves my life, a guy who solves murders, a military man, a farmer, a kitsune, and more.

I get to be a wizard, a vampire, on the run from zombies, half-vampire, queen, shadowhunter, witch, faerie, bounty hunter, a killer, a healer, immortal, dying, rich, poor, werewolf, angel, succubus, shy, bold, alien, survivor of cancer, victim of cancer, a reformed prostitute, princess, elf, demon, warlock, scientist, mother, mermaid, monster, chimera, shapeshifter, alchemist, horse racer, ghost seer, brain injured, fearless, a psychic, a seer, a dwarf, a pilot, a spy, a pianist, a singer, kidnapped, a dragon, the mother of dragons, a cyborg, hunted, an assassin, an actress, an audible, and dead.

I get to drive a flying car, ride on a broomstick, watch my parents die, fight an evil wizard, carry a precious ring into the fires of Mt. Doom, fight demons, fight vampires, cast spells, play football with the guys, save the world from eternal darkness, help a friend recover a lost memory, help an angel get back his wings, overcome a drug addiction, go to jail, participate in a protest, learn magic, have a baby, have a miscarriage, train for a marathon, start a riot, become a fugitive, live in Australia, go through a portal, be an uncover FBI agent, be a teenage boy, live on Mars, hunt down fugitives, lose my memory, learn to surf, go dogsledding, travel to Paris, go to boarding school, crash onto an unknown planet, search for an undead king, befriend a ghost, time travel, die in a car accident, survive a serial killer, write fanfiction, and so on and so on.

So when I find myself: overwhelmed with pressure to post daily, tempted to compare my blog to others, drowning in the numbers, letting envy over an ARC I didn’t receive get the better of me, beating myself up with missed deadlines, forcing myself to read something I’m not enjoying, or worried what others will think of me because I’m not even interested in checking out that popular book…I’m going to remember where it all started: a love for reading the type of books that I enjoy and a desire to share a really good book with my friends and family who I think would enjoy it as well. There’s nothing more to it than that. And that’s what I’m going to come back to time and time again. That’s what will keep me reading and keep me blogging.

Reading for me. Blogging for me.

*Feel free to comment should you feel like it, but this post was more for me than to really inspire discussion.

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