Friday, November 7, 2014

Time to Talk! New Blogs & Little Slumps

This is the coffee mug I'm actually using
RIGHT NOW while I write this!
 


I have just come out of this really odd season. It was part slump, part reader/blogger insecurity, and part weird roller coaster ride. I was so excited to come out of a big, huge summer break and try to blog regularly again...but then just a couple of weeks ago there was:

what I'm going to call "The Big Nasty" situation
then a couple of wonky book experiences 
and then I also had a teensy bit of blogger insecurity.
It was like a snowball of icky feelings.

(If you blog, you've had a sheepish time or two or twenty over something. Maybe it was low comments for a season? Maybe you didn't get an ARC or digital approval for something that everyone else got? Maybe you are green with envy over not getting to go to great book events? How about when you hated/loved that book that everyone else loved/hated? WE'VE ALL BEEN THERE. Even non-bloggers sometimes experience some of these feelings when they rate books on Goodreads or don't agree with the majority about a book.) 

Obviously, my blog sat pretty quiet for a long time, so it is taking a while to let people know that I'm still here. PLUS I've read a thousand-hundred-million books and I want to write about them all, and this makes it even harder for me to write about them because I don't know where to start! So I will sit at a screen and before long it's been like three hours and I have nothing. But then I do put something up and I wondered where everyone was? Where are all of the comments on my blog, the ones that are supposed to be starting the bookish discussions? WHERE WHERE WHERE? 

SO I REALLY STARTED PAYING ATTENTION. 
THIS IS WHAT I FOUND --

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1. Comments. Okay, so not everyone comments anymore! That's the obvious part, but what was LESS obvious to me is that the readers are still there. Maybe they're reading on a phone where commenting isn't easy (this happens quite often, actually) or they really just don't have anything in particular to say - this doesn't mean they don't want to see what I have to say. Commenting (and responding to comments) comes and goes in waves-we just have to learn to ride it and try not to be affected. 

It's sometimes hard to realize this behind the COMMENTS! COMMENTS! COMMENTS! mentality we impose onto ourselves. Comments are so incredibly awesome, but what is more awesome is the ability to put our thoughts out there and engage people. To take it a step further and create relationships with other readers so you can discuss books however you choose-that is even better. 

2. Are people reading? When I wrote this discussion post, I got a ton of responses. There were a few comments but most of what I got was OFF of the blog. I got text messages, emails, tweets, and direct messages - people wanting to discuss or comment on my thoughts. BUT BUT it was when Megan from Reading Books Like A Boss linked to my blog in this post from her blog that I think my little "Nobody reads my blog!" session finally went away. 

I started noticing how often people responded to different types of my content outside of the comment box. It doesn't always happen, but it counts! I started my blog because I wanted to TALK. It counts!

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I'm out of my little insecurity-slump. 

SO WHAT NOW?

1. I gravitate toward favorite blogs. Here are two current favorites: 
  • what sarah read - Sarah's blog is so exciting to me because she gets so excited about so many things! Like Sarah, I go through periods of fangirling and ALLCAPS and !!! when I find something I love - it happens in waves on the blog and all the time off of the blog. I feel like when I am reading her blog posts or tweets, I can imagine her reading the words and I love that. Sarah actually makes me want to flail at almost everything. I'm not even kidding. 
  • The Fictional Reader - Jolien's blog is thrilling to me because I want to read almost every book she writes about. When I first found her blog only a few days ago, it was during a Top Ten Tuesday post when she was talking about series that she wants to start and I was like "YES I WANT TO READ ALL THESE TOO!" and then I glanced around at her blog and was so excited that we seem to have similar reading tastes. When I sit down to read blogs, I get really excited to see what her newest thoughts are and that excitement helps feed my love for blogging. IT REALLY DOES. (Part of this discussion was inspired by a conversation I had with Jolien just this morning, in fact.)
2. I've also been playing around with my blog. I'm no tech-expert but I've added some things, I've taken away some things, I've moved some things around. I'm hoping for a "real" design soon. I'm also trying to go back through my posts and FIX THINGS which takes a long time but I really love it. 

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IN SUMMARY: 
1. We all have little moments of insecurity and little slumps. No matter how large our blogs are or how small, we have them. ALSO non-blogging readers have them too! 
2. Comments are not an indicator of worth. Readers are out there. Engaging is my best way to discuss books and bookish thoughts, and I need to keep doing this if I want to keep discussing. 
3. Making improvements and changes to my blog and social sites is one way of engaging, but I can certainly comment on other blogs as much as possible since they DO still make people feel good. 
4. New blogs have helped to keep my blogging life fun! A fresh voice brings new energy and excitement to my little space within this community and I JUST LOVE THAT, which is why I wanted to share that with you guys. 

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What have you done to help with your blogging or reading slumps or bouts of insecurities? I know that I'm not the only one out there that has them from time to time! 

Have you found any new blogs lately that make you excited? 
Share them with me! 

15 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Asheley!

    I definitely agree on the comment section. Since I just started out, I sometimes still feel like no one reads my blog because I don't have that many comments. But then I think of why I started doing this in the first place, which is to be able to talk to people about the books that I love and to recommend them to others. So even if someone doesn't comment: who's to say that they didn't see a book on your blog and thought: "Hey, that looks interesting". And maybe they even picked it up and fell in love with it. That's the effect I want my blog to have.

    And the insecurities, that's normal too. As human beings in this society, we have insecurities about anything we are passionate about. That's why we are afraid that content may not be good enough: because we care about what we write! If we wouldn't care, we also wouldn't be insecure about it.

    I always resort to rereading some of my favorite books when I am in a reading slump. Or I look for recommendation posts on book blogs or even YouTube. Those are usually the posts in which people are most passionate and it makes me excited to read again!

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    1. Absolutely agree on the rereads, 100%. I'm constantly rereading! I'm listening to a reread audiobook right now, in fact (:

      What you mention about people coming to your blog-that's exactly what happened for me when I went! I kept seeing that you had already read books that I WANTED to read and that you also wanted to read some that hadn't read yet too. It made me really excited because we both thought some of the same things looked interesting. So, yeah, I think you're giving off what you want to! YAY!! I'm happy you chose to start it up!

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  2. I went through the same thing you did after my slump. I also think a lot of my readers no longer blog. And some people don't know I'm back. I understand how you felt though.

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    1. When I see that people I used to discuss books are no longer available to do that, it makes me really sad! I realize that people move on and have other things to do in life, but it still makes me miss them. And building a readership back is tough, but so worth doing! I love blogging so much so it is worth it to me to find my groove. Of COURSE I can expect a slump here and there! (:

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  3. I know I've been in a blogging and reading slump before. I was getting frustrated with the same things you were, but then I stopped and thought about why I blog. I blog for myself. Yes, I love interaction and comments (thank you for always commenting by the way). But at the end of the day, I want to put content and posts out there that people like. I know people see them because I see my stats, but I don't always get comments and that's okay. Now I just do what I want and try to do things that I know I would like to see as a blog reader.

    Thank you for mentioning me! I'm glad that my link to your post made you happy. That's one of the reasons I do my "Around the Book Blogosphere" posts. I want to promote fellow bloggers' posts and help readers (and other bloggers) find new blogs to follow. :)

    I follow so many blogs. Here are some recent goodies:
    Belle of the LIterati: http://belleoftheliterati.blogspot.com/
    Pop! Goes the Reader: http://www.popgoesthereader.com/
    Rosie Reads: http://www.rosiereads.com/blog/
    Fiktshun: http://www.fiktshun.com/

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    1. YES, the key: putting things out that you'd like to see as a reader. That's awesome. I think you have a great imagination because you come up with some really great features!

      The link made me realize that people are reading, more than I realize. I mean, I know they do, but that I sometimes put a thought or two out there that resonates for one reason or another. It was like an A-Ha moment. I don't know, but it really helped me to pick my chin up and walk right out of that insecure moment. So thanks! I love the idea of promoting other posts and bloggers! And thanks for those recommendations!! (:

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  4. i love that you're taking the time to share these very complicated feelings that we all share - and also offering your resolution and process!

    i mostly love that you're continuing to blog, but you're doing it the smart and healthy way by finding what works best for YOU and then making that your future!

    you rock. the end. oxo

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! Slumps are tough sometimes but finding what works is KEY. xo

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  5. Thanks for the insight Asheley-I totally identified with the commenting one but thankfully that is something I've mostly worked through now. I really just want to keep blogging as MY creative outlet whether or not it gets comments.

    -Stephanie (formerly Bookworm1858)

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    1. That's such a great way to look at it and thankfully I've worked through my little insecure issues at this point too. I'm so glad I figured out what worked for me but I'm sure this type of thing will happen to me again at some point if I keep doing this! Such is (social media) life!

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  6. Yeah, those slumps bite. I've been in a major one since school started up again -- I was on a good path and then fell off it. Like you -- the mess, a couple of wonky reads. It's hard getting back into the swing of it but we can do it! I like blogging too much to give it up...at least not yet.

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    1. YES, Mary, exactly! I like this too much to stop. It took a little tweaking things here and there to figure out what I worked for me, but I found out and I'm still having fun playing around with my blog. That should keep me occupied for a little while!

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  7. I think the most frustrating thing is spending time writing a review or making a post and it SEEMS like no one pays attention because of the few comments. But I haven't been blogging long so I take in stride. I appreciate you talking about this because I know you've been blogging a lot longer than I have, and it's good to know I'm not alone in my insecurities. Blog commenting takes a lot of time, so I know I need to just keep doing my thing and trust readers are still at least reading! :)

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    1. That's right! And also I've noticed that blogging "things" come and go in waves. Comments WILL be a big deal for a little while and then they WON'T so I'll notice a but up in volume, and then a down in volume, and then up and down, etc. Same with other blog trends. But if you love it, stick with it and figure out what works for you. I've figured out that if I'm feeling a certain way, it's likely that others are or HAVE at some point too, so I like to share about it up here like this. Even if it sounds silly to me while I'm writing it.

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  8. I love these honest posts of yours! I feel all these things, though I try very hard not to. I try to post 3 times a week and at least 2 reviews, but I've been struggling to get content on my blog, which is stressing me out. But I'm going to have to let that go. I'm working on it! Plus, I think that commenting on others brings comments to me, and I've been terrible at commenting. I can barely read and write reviews, so visiting others just seems too much sometimes. Even though I LOVE to see what others are doing. I will also say that I often read posts from my phone, or I follow some people on email and see their posts that way and I don't get to the computer to actual comment. I'm very good at commenting in my head ;). Anyway, I'm trying to get back to it a little more, because I also feel bad about putting content on my blog if I haven't been commenting on others. It's a vicious cycle. But I've always admired your thoughtful comments and your ability to follow so many different blogs. I think you're pretty awesome dear!

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