3.26.2010

continuing a blogging revolution (or, a very random and rambling post)

I think I mentioned before that I really love the posts by Becky from The Bookette, McKenzie from The Book Owl, and Staysi from Lost in Ink. Still, go check out what those awesome bloggers have to say. They pretty much articulated exactly what I'm feeling about blogging now. And I'll add my voice to what I like to call a blogging revolution :)

Blogging is not as fun as it used to be when I feel pressured to post this many reviews or that many memes. It's not as fun when I have 1241948920 updates on my Google Reader, attempt to comment on everything, and end up feeling exhausted afterwards for doing--in effect--nothing.

And I think the posts by the other bloggers above me gave me the courage to say, "Blogging doesn't have to be this way" Because it doesn't. It's supposed to be a great experience. It's supposed to be an outlet for our (somewhat) unhealthy obsession with books. I am definitely not in blogging for getting free books. Aside from a few book tours, I've only once or twice been approached to review a book. And that's perfectly all right by me. I like going out to the library and the bookstore and picking out books to read.

[random tangent]

And most of all: I like thinking about the books I read. And even if my reviews seem to be more negative than they are positive, this just guarantees that when I do come across a a good book, or a great book, or A HOLY WOW I WANT TO READ THIS BOOK EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE book, I appreciate it even more. That's a large part of reading: recognizing what you do and don't like. It's okay to not like something. And I'm totally getting off topic right now but I just wanted to say: Don't ever be afraid to write an honest review. Don't ever silence your own opinions. Don't ever be ashamed of your opinion. And most of all, don't ever let anyone make you feel ashamed for thinking about the books you read. For writing honest reviews. Because to me, that's the absolute most important quality of a book blog: that a book blogger is sharing their own, unadulterated opinion. Because that's really what a review is, isn't it?

Lately I've come across a lot of bloggers going, "I'm don't want to write negative reviews" or "I don't write discussion posts because I'm afraid people will disagree with me" or "I'm afraid to post this." It breaks my heart to hear this. But I'm not surprised: there's a tendency in life--not just blogging--for the majority to shoot down people with opinions they don't agree with. And it's perfectly understandable that bloggers are afraid but I wish it wasn't that way. I can't help feeling the WHOLE point is having people challenge your opinion.

Get your opinion out there. Learn to defend it. Learn how to accept other arguments and recognize that maybe you're not 100% correct.

It's healthy. It's part of life.

And I'm hoping that ALL of you bloggers will support other bloggers who want to get their opinions out there. Even if you don't agree at all.

It's important, that as bloggers, we're facilitating discussion on books. What we do and don't like. Isn't talking and thinking about books the whole point of book blogging?

Right.

[/random tangent]

But to get back on topic:

I have noticed that a lot of bloggers are feeling tired or discouraged or fed up. Last month I think I came across the most "I'm taking a break, be back sometime...or not." posts than I have in my whole blogging experience. I don't mean to generalize, but I think that while it's true that life gets in the way, sometimes it also just seems like there's no point in blogging anymore. I've been feeling a bit of that way myself lately. I've taken a break before: two weeks in December so I could survive finals week. I'll be taking a break sometime in April-May, just so this blog doesn't turn into a ranting ground about how much I HATE AP testing. (have I mentioned I hate it? I hatehatehate it so much *cries a little*).

Anyways, all of the bloggers I linked to above pointed out some of the things that I wish would change in the blogosphere. And with this post, I just wanted to reinforce the fact that I'm trying to make improvements on this blog and also improve myself as a blogger. Some of the upcoming changes you've already heard about: no more memes except for Captivating Thursday, and less commenting by me but hopefully more meaningful comments (i.e. quality over quantity).

But I also want to change something about myself as a blogger. I have no idea how approachable or friendly I come off to you guys.

Maybe I'm scary? I really hope not.

You know what?

I'm just any other teenage girl sitting in my pajamas as I type this, my right leg about to fall asleep, and wondering if I can possibly bake cookies today. I procrastinate all the time, and I'm thinking of throwing out my textbooks so I won't have to study and I REALLY wish my dog hadn't just sat on my sweater, cause now it's covered in fur and I am SO AGAINST wearing my dog.

Anyways, my point is:

I'm a real person.

I think sometimes we forget there's a blogger behind the blog. Especially when we're just churning out book review after book review, meme after meme.

There's very little room for personality when blogging is like that.

What I'm saying is, I'm going to make room. Because first and foremost, this is my blog . I want it to be a reflection of myself. I don't know if it is quite yet.

But I don't ever want to hold you guys at an arm-lengths away. And I don't want you guys to ever feel I'm some sort of distant machine hammering out post after post.

A lot of bloggers are striving to be closer to other bloggers and their followers, and I'm going to follow suit.

I feel bad because I feel like I don't support new bloggers enough. I'm not a new or an old blogger myself-- somewhere in between as I've been blogging for about 6-7 months.

We've all been new bloggers at some point.

So what I'm saying is this: if you're a new blogger, don't be afraid to approach me. Email me if you have questions about blogging or about books or about anything. Email me if you have suggestions. Email me just for fun.

And same goes for all my followers and fellow bloggers. Email me at chocowrites@gmail.com. Come talk to me on twitter. Come friend me on goodreads. EMAIL ME if you're about to write or post a rant/discussion and you're feeling worried about the reaction. I'll be there to cheer you on, no matter what.

And despite still being baffled by it, I have to say twitter is excellent because that way I can really chat with fellow bloggers.Get with the times and get a twitter and come talk! (I only got my twitter account a month or so ago and I resisted the whole time. But it really is fun!)

And I'll admit I'm TERRIBLE with checking my email and replying (The HORRORS OF SPAM! THE HORRORS! IT GROWS!) but from now on I'll be reforming myself in that regard as well.

But anyways, I'd love to make some more bloggy friends. I feel like that should be one of the biggest parts of book blogging, and unfortunately it doesn't seem like a huge priority in the blogosphere. It really should be. I love talking to bloggers. I love developing bloggy friendships. It's great.

And blogging is even more fun when we can support each other, talk to each other.

And that concludes my ramble-of-the-day :) Really, I think this is the most rambling/ random post I've ever done, haha.

*random dog pictures are part of my resolution to honor my now retired puppy profile picture :)

23 comments:

Dwayne said...

Well said, well said. My two cents: I think blogging should be a hobby more than anything else. I'm a new book blogger too and still finding my grips and its nice to know you're welcoming us like you do. Thank you - for the advices and insight! :)

Sumayyah said...

I've been blogging on and off for as long as I can remember (though not so dedicated as you) and friendship really is the best part of it :) Here's to spreading friendship! <3

bookaholic said...

Very perspective I must say. I agree! I loved how you coordinated the cute pics with your lovely post :)

Tahereh said...

*whistles and woots*

YOU GO GIRL.

preach on!

Bethany said...

Here here!

I started my blog a few weeks ago because I love reading and I love blogging and I figured why not put the two together!

So many bloggers post books that they think will be popular or have blog tours etc etc. I HATE it that my blog list was full of blogs that were all reviewing/showcasing exactly the same thing.

I blog the books that I read, and no one but no one will change the things and the way I read.
So what if my last couple of blogs were about Thomas Hardy? They've had the least number of comments but so what? I love it and people that love it can read it. People who don't know can learn.

My blog. My rules. End of story :3

Blogging is fun for me and I hope it always will continue to be!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Amen!
You come across super sweet and sassy!
Perfect really ;)

Jeanne C. said...

well, I'm so glad you posted this! I am so new to the blogging community. I have made some new friends, and I really love it.
I was so afraid that my blog would be "boring" if I don't post 16 reviews a week, or participate in challenges and hundreds of memes. Am I really considered a book blogger because I don't have as many reviews as other people?
Well, if that's the case then so be it. I started blogging because it's fun! I appreciate the followers who have embraced my blog and read my posts. But I definitely feel that I will not conform to what anybody else wants my blog to be. It's MY voice. And if I feel that it's not fun anymore, and it becomes a chore, then maybe it's time to stop. I'm not doing it to keep up with other bloggers or compete with anyone. I'm doing it for ME.
So, thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! It is how I feel EXACTLY!

Beth said...

I like to read negative book reviews because sometimes it makes me want to read a book even more...so off you go, write all sorts of bad things! I'll read it and like it! As an english teacher I tell my students all the time that it's okay to hate a book, even the ones I assign, as long as they can back it with proof. Sometimes it takes MORE thought and smarts to explain why a book is bad than why you like it. Keep up the great work.

Becky said...

A blogging revolution! I so love that idea Choco.
I agree that it can be scary to go out there and say what is really on your mind. I am still so nervous about what I have already said being out there. But you know what, people have been peacefully protesting for what they believe in for yeare. It wasn't easy for them either. When is anything ever worth having easy to get? We have to strive to be better. Our blogs are a reflection of who we are, if that means we have to stand against the tide of conventions then so be it. I will keep my integrity and be the best version of myself that I can. I hope my blog moves with me. It is great to be sharing this journey with you.

The Book Owl said...

I'm loving the amount of discussion posts I've seen lately!

I agree completely. When someone says they don't psot certain things becuase they're worried people will be mad or hurt, it makes me so upset. That's actually one of my faovrite things in life. Finding someone who has a different opinion than I do. It's interesting to learn why they think what they do.

I will definitely be working on letting my personality shine through. When I first started blogging, I wanted my reviews to seem professional and well thought out. Now I write as I go, throwing in some snark here and there. And it's SO much more enjoyable!

Before I started reading all of these discussions posts, I felt alone. I felt like there were new bloggers and old bloggers, but no in betweens. Now I realize just how wrong I am. I've already found a huge group of simialr bloggers! It's wonderful to have a group, per se.

I hope to be friends. :]

Another Daydreamer said...

I recently posted something similar on my blog, especially about memes and how they are taking over my life. So, now I'm doing what I want to not what I feel I have to. I left you an award on my blog, but don't feel like you have to do one of those posts about it. Just cherish it for what it is. :)

M.J. Horton said...

This post is more than brilliant! I hope you do realize that you are an amazing blogger.

Oh and AH! The mention of AP Tests *sprays text with bleach*

Tori [Book Faery] said...

Hi! First off, your post was beautifully written.

I'm pretty new to book review blogging too (2 months now!), but I've stopped by your blog a few times already.

I haven't really had any problems about writing a negative review thus far. Maybe it's because I've really only had one book that was negative, and I'm still new enough that only a few people read my blog regularly. I've also noticed that my negative review was one of the most popular to spark a response within that small group of people.

I've been debating participating in more memes, just because I would like to form more of a following, and it is one of the few times where I post regularly (ex: IMM on Sundays). I think for new bloggers it's good, but after a while when you've become established and have more of a following, then you should replace said meme's with your own content. What that content is, however, I don't know yet lol.

Already I've noticed that reading books almost feels more like a chore than for fun, just because I want to be able to post regularly and still have people check back often enough. That's why I think for new bloggers meme's are important, just because we're trying to figure out what else to include.

Anyway done with blabbering haha. Exceptional post, I'm so glad you wrote it!

StephTheBookworm said...

Wonderful post! I especially enjoyed the part about how there is a person behind the blog. I often feel stressed too about blogging, and feel pressured to get my reviews up. It's important to take a step back and realize why we got into this in the first place - for fun and to talk about our love of books with one another.

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Yeahhh... you know you've summed up my thoughts perfectly again. I've been feeling a bit stressed lately with blogging, and after taking a short break, it really showed me how much time and effort I was really pouring into blogging. Don't get me wrong, I love my blogging buddies, but commenting, while fun, is time-consuming and a bit tiring (links, links, and more links). And I agree, about that feeling of "I don't think I CAN post this," though I'm generally not like that - mostly because I'm not a deep thinker, lol. I think my mind has officially gone off to spring break now, aka brain on vacation, so I'll just leave it at great post, girl, and I love your rmalbings!
And doggy ppictures, of course. :D

Donna said...

I think when we all start out, it's a fun thing and then when we see others doing something that makes them popular with readers, we want to do that too so we start taking on more and more just to keep up. I know I've had to step back on some things but I'm a really independent person to begin with. I should reach out more and connect more but that'll take a lot of time I really don't have to give. I put enough time into this blog that I think is sufficient to run it successfully. And so far, it's been working. No one's asked me why I don't do this or that (except for Twitter, dammit, I don't twit, twat or tweet!) and I should do this or that. If they did, I wouldn't care because I still wouldn't do it. You do what you need to do. Blogging can become an addiction but you need to know when to step away.

Shweta said...

Well said Choco. I think connecting with your followers and forming a bond with fellow bloggers is one of the highlights of blogging. I love discussion posts.Sometimes more than review post ;) It sparks conversations and that makes blogging more fun. I think nobody should step back from discussing something on their blog if they feel the need to. Negative opinions are there and they are bound to appear in your comments but then where would the debate be if there were just , 'this is a great post 'response from everybody :)

Aye.Me? said...

*cries* I just wrote a massively long comment, and then my internet stuffed up. :(

Oh well... it basically just said: You have a talent with expressing your feelings. Never change, the blogosphere needs more people like you.

Liz Czukas said...

You're doing a great job with this blog, and you've got more followers than most bloggers can ever dream of, so you must be doing something right. In other words, whatever you think is the right thing to do will be the right thing. I know I'll still stop in when I see a new post on my blog roll no matter how often that is.

Be good to yourself.

-Liz

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Awesome post, so much to think about!! I try not to feel pressured about posting but sometimes it happens.

Tiff said...

We should be friends. You're cool and make me think that I'm cool too because you remind me of me. <3

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Lovely post with lots of insight! It does get stressful and you're right, we have to keep it fun. Glad there's another teenage girl in her PJ's. I thought I was the only one. Now you're even more approachable! Keep having fun and love these kind of posts!

Audrey; (AyC) said...

Thank you for this post, it convinced me that I shouldn't be afraid to put my opinions out there, even if they are somewhat against the norm.

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