Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere? That maybe you didn’t just quite fit in right? Or maybe you weren’t doing something the “right way” and you were the awkward thing sticking out like a sore thumb?
Essentially, I’ve learned that many bloggers relate to these types of feelings-- most giving this as a reason as to why they started blogging in the first place. For that release of social awkwardness… To interact with other like-minded peers… Etc…
But what if these feelings are coming at you right inside your own community? How does a blogger handle this?
(Also, I remember seeing a post once some months back about blogging cliques & interaction or something along those lines and I can’t quite remember which blog it was I saw it at now. To whomever it was, if you’re seeing this post and get back to me, I will gladly give you credit where credit is due for the inspiration to this post idea if necessary--thank you.)
This isn’t necessarily a post anything feeling clique-ish or rejected. To be fair, this is more about when a blogger has hit a hard bump in the road and is feeling discouraged. Sometimes it comes from “blogger block” or a reading slump or just simple feelings because it’s such a large community.
Here’s the thing:
I know I haven’t been as active with my blog the past few months as I once was. I don’t really want to cough out a bunch of excuses because I keep feeling like that’s all I ever give and then it just makes me feel worse. I’ve been blogging for over three years now, and it doesn’t feel that way sometimes when I look at my blog compared to the big success of others who have been around for even less time than mine. But can I put any blame on anyone other than myself? Am I jealous? Certainly not. They deserve that success for all the hard work. But I’m still not afraid to admit that it does hurt my feelings at times when I’m working on my own and it’s just… well, hardly a blip on the radar after all this time.
These last few months I’ve been in not only a reading slump, but in a writing one as well. It put me in a funk. And every time I logged on, thinking I was ready to finally blog again, I became discouraged, out-of-the-loop feeling, and just logged right back out again. There’s a pressure feeling at times when blogging, I don’t know if others would agree with that, but I’ve noticed it through the years. You have to think about schedules, upcoming releases, reviews, interviews, tons of emails, tours, etc.. and the pressure can be overwhelming. I believe I’ve felt it moreso than usual lately on myself, but the reading slump really hasn’t helped because it’s also put me far behind in reviews. As well as keeping up the blog. Then I circle back around to the discouragement all over again with the entire blog.
I became withdrawn from much of the community due to a lot of this-- stepping back from Goodreads and Twitter-- and became a bit of a hermit on my social activities, especially after BEA. When I returned, I felt awkward trying to jump in on conversations. Sometimes I would feel like I shouldn’t even bother with that again, too. Like no one was really caring if I was around or not… and I feel really ashamed to even be admitting this. These are my friends. I shouldn’t think for one second that they’d not care. But this is what happens when you get into one of these “funks” and sometimes you can’t help it. :(
This year there have been changes to The Bookaholic as well. If you haven’t been around much (partly because the blog has been so quiet throughout the year and sporadic in posts), you may not have noticed that I got a co-blogger back in January. It took us some time to work out a decent posting schedule, but I believe we are working it out now. I’m thinking by start of the year, things will be flowing properly again.
Taylor wanted to contribute to the post as well, so here’s some questions & answers from her:
What makes blogging so difficult at times?
I think one of the biggest struggles I have had with blogging would be TIME. Between working two jobs and all of the everyday things there are to get done, I often find myself wishing for more hours in a day. Becaus ethere are so many books I want to read and blogs I want to stalk/comment on but I seem to run out of time, and not to mention my Twitter interaction has sadly become pretty non-existent. But I'm working on getting some set time everyday to work on my blogging so I can get semi caught up. If I could sucessfully become a zombie it would actually be much easier because it would eliminate the need for sleep and free up a good 6-8 more hours everyday. Although the brain eating part would be a little bit of a downside lol.
You quit once too, but came back to join me. When you were blogging on your own, what was the hardest thing about it?
Like I mentioned before time has always been a struggle. But aside from that, when I was blogging solo I think one of the things that contributed to me taking a hiatus from the blogging world was me getting discouraged by not having as much success as I would have liked or at least me thinking I wasn't having much success. And now looking back I'm sure everyone has gone throughtthat feeling when they started blogging, and I probably could have gotten more advice if I had reached out to some other bloggers about how I was feeling but I tend to be tight lipped at times lol.
And now that you're co-blogging?
As far as co-blogging goes I don't think there's really been any hard things. I think I've still struggled a little with my time and the scheduling of posts and such. But I think I've gotten a good idea going with me making set time a few days out of the week to get my posts/half of posts typed up and scheduled and to have some time for reading. So that I can be a good asset to our blog and not make Pixie wanna stab me with a spork for not pulling my weight! lol.
And It is nice having a co-blogger now so that I have someone to bounce ideas off of and share the bulk of posting and whatnot. It does take some getting used to, because me and my ditzy brain tend to forget lol. But I do think it'll work out better than it did when I was blogging on my own.
Do you feel the blogging community is competitive?
I do think there is an element of competition between bloggers in the blogging community. Maybe not intentionally but it is there. Speaking for myself I do feel intimadated sometimes by other blogs/bloggers. But NOT by any actions of those bloggers mind you. But for the simple fact of how awesome some of these bloggers really are, I look at these blogs and I'm in awe sometimes of how great they are and how wide of a following they have. And I'll think to myself, "How can I compare to that?!?" But in all honesty I know I shouldn't compare myself to anyone else but I think we all have those times where we do and then you wonder, "Is it even worth my time?", "Will I ever been even close to as good of a blogger as they are?" But if it's something you love to do it shouldn't really turn into something that feels like a competition and I just try to remind myself of that if I'm having a down day.
Taylor’s answers made me feel better. I know there are days when I feel like I have to watch the follower count or keep up with the reading/reviews or my blog will not be “as good” because the community can have a sense of competitiveness (even though I know it’s not really that intentional, in my opinion). But I have to remind myself that it’s just not that important. It’s not worth the stress.
Why am I REALLY blogging? Because reading is my passion. I want to do this because I need to share my love of reading and meet and discuss with other like-minded people. It should never get to this point of making me sad or feeling unwanted or discouraged. This is my community and I love you.