This post is going to be a bit of a jumbled mess, so bear with me while I attempt to put the feelings in my brain into words.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and my place in the blogging world lately. I wrote a little thread about it on my Twitter, if you want to see the gist of it, but I decided that maybe it would be good for me to write out all of my thoughts and feelings on the subject. Maybe it will make me feel better, or at least help me finally come to a decision?
First, a little history.
I have been a reader for pretty much my whole life, thanks to my Mom, but I only started getting into writing when I was in the seventh grade. My main focus was creative writing, specifically fictional stories. I had a short story of mine published in an anthology in the eleventh grade (junior year), I was in a creative writing group for my last two years of high school, and took a creative writing class during the twelfth grade (senior year).
After I graduated high school, an opportunity came up to write blog posts for a popular student life website. Blogging was something I’d always thought about, but didn’t think I was interesting enough for. In this case, however, I was going to be a freshman in university, so I figured that it would give me plenty of material. I ended up writing for these guys for about a year and a half, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it, most of the time.
About a month after I started blogging with them, I found out about booklr, a community of book lovers on Tumblr. I made my own booklr, under a different name. Eventually I came up with beccathelitwitch, and have carried that name forward with me ever since. Booklr started out being cool; there were a lot of gorgeous photos to share, lots of friendly people to talk books with, and lots of new books to learn about. Seriously, I don’t think my TBR pile would be this big if it weren’t for the booklr community. I also met one of my good friends, Kat, on there.
I dove right in, following all the popular blogs and entering giveaways and having my blog rated by the popular bloggers so I could gain some followers of my own. This is also where I started trying my hand at book photography. The following photos are a comparison of the first photo I posted on booklr, and the last one I posted to my bookstagram:
Okay, so I am the first to admit that I’m still not very good at photography, but at the very least I am a lot better at it than I used to be.
I started doing book reviews in the following January, and that was basically what my booklr was: 70% reblogged posts, 30% my own photos and posts. Honestly, it was a good time waster and a fun way to learn about new books. But I was just starting university, so while I wanted to do more of my own posts, do more for my blog, I had to prioritize school. I’ll admit that I craved to be as popular as the other blogs, to have publishers send me books, to have affiliate links, etc. But now I understand that that level of popularity took a lot of time, patience, and hard work, and while I like to think that I have the effort in me, the truth is that I have never had the time or patience for it.
I made this blog about a year and a half after, around the same time that I stopped writing for the student life website. Tumblr was ultimately more about photos, and photos were definitely not my strong suit, so I thought that I’d try my hand at a platform that focused more on writing – which I’ve been doing for many years now. (I also had a brief stint as a booktuber, but we’re not going to talk about that failure – LOL.)
Fast forward a year and here we are. I started out with a regular posting schedule, with meme posts and tags and reviews scheduled for specific days, and I was really excited about it. But, once again, school took all of my focus and time, and now I’m at the point where I’m lucky if I manage to post twice a week.
Okay, that’s great Becca, but get to the good stuff. Tell us how you really feel.
As I said before I went on that historical tangent, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I should continue book blogging. There are, of course, a million and one reasons why I think I shouldn’t.
No. 1: Time
You’ve seen me complain A LOT about how I don’t have the time to work on this blog, and I often don’t even make the time to read – how am I supposed to run a book blog when I don’t even read? I am a full time university student, trying to get a high GPA so that I can get into a good grad school program. I also work part-time, have quite a few familial obligations, a social life to upkeep, and enjoy my sleep. And, yeah, maybe I spend a little too long online window-shopping and watching YouTube. Blogs need time for creating posts and writing them, time to promote yourself across multiple platforms and get traffic to the blog itself. Can I even make that kind of time?
No. 2: Mediocrity
Because I don’t spend a lot of time on my blog, my skills are mediocre at best. And being mediocre in a sea of stand-out bloggers doing important and cool things is really disheartening. It’s kind of like “what’s the point of me continuing with my mediocrity when I can’t compete with everyone else?” (I mean, the fact that I am trying to compete may also be a sign that I really shouldn’t be blogging. It may also be a problem that is deeply rooted in a childhood of being told I’m exceptional and a young-adulthood of being told that I’m actually just average. But that’s a tale for another time.)
In addition, I’m really bad at being a critical reader, though I want to get better, and in the current political climate being a critical reader is more important than ever. I’m not bringing anything new or exciting to the table, I’m not opening people’s eyes to new ideas and problems and solutions, like a lot of wonderful bloggers are. Again, my current thought process is that if I’m not doing anything that makes people think, then why am I doing this?
No. 3: Focus
I have always considered myself a “jack of all trades and a master at none”, and this is probably the best cliche description of me that exists. I love to try new and different things, but that also makes focussing on one thing to “master” really hard. I’ve done seven different sports, half-learned to play the guitar, sing, and know a basic amount of French – heck, even the degrees I plan to graduate with cover three different disciplines (if you’re curious: science, arts, and humanities).
I want to learn how to cook and how to speak different languages. I want to be able to feed people good meals that don’t involve copious amounts of icing and butter (though there’s absolutely no problem with that), and be able to speak to people so that I can learn more than I ever could in just English. I also want to write so many novels, to publish my beloved characters and make people happy with my books. Focusing on blogging is really difficult for me because I just want to do so many other things on top of it!
No. 4: The Future
This one is pretty selfish, but I’m at the point in my life where I really need to start thinking about where I’m going, career wise. Is having a mediocre blog going to help me with my future job? Is this really where I should be putting my time and energy? If I drop this hobby, will that help or hurt me?
Okay okay, but then why are you still doing this?
No. 1: I like it
Yeah, okay, so I’m really not good at anything book-related, except maybe fictional writing, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it. I started this blog because I enjoyed discussing books so much on other platforms, and writing was the medium I was the most comfortable with. I like doing tags and writing reviews, reading books and getting excited about them with people. The community is, most of the time, really great, especially since a lot of authors participate in these conversations on social media. As someone who’s not part of many clubs or communities in real life, this one means a lot to me.
No. 2: I’m stubborn
I’m a competitive and driven person, generally speaking, and I don’t particularly enjoy quitting hobbies, especially since without them I’m b o r i n g.
No. 3: ARCs
(I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be telling you all this or not, but if it turns out it’s a bad idea, gently let me know and I can edit)
To clarify: I requested a lot of ARCs, thinking that there was no way that I would actually be accepted for every single one of them (hello, mediocrity). Lo and behold, I had like seven different ARCs sitting on my shelf, and zero time to read them. If I do decide to stop blogging, it will be after I write the reviews for the remaining books, because while I am a slow reader, I am also a person who likes to complete her obligations and promises before moving on to the next thing. It’s the least I can do for being granted the advanced copies.
And so, here we are, over 1,700 words later. I had actually planned to say more, but I’m going to force myself to stop here, for everyone’s sake. And yet there is still a question hanging above my head: should I stay or should I go? Should I put my energy elsewhere, or should I continue in my average-ness?
If you have any thoughts, I welcome you to leave them in the comments down below. I’m happy to receive any and all input, if it helps me come to a decision.
If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you. I barely made it this far.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day/night, wherever you are. Thanks for reading!