Book Blogging – A Catch 22 discussion

This is going to be a long post – so I apologize in advance! I’ve had so many thoughts flying through my mind over the last few weeks and it’s finally time I got them out in the open!

THE BEGINNING

I started on Books Amino back in 2016. It’s such a fantastic place! I’ve met so many amazing people and spent countless hours talking to those people about books. It was a dream come true for a book nerd like me. I felt like I finally found a place I belonged. While on Books Amino I was told by many people that I should start a blog or You Tube channel because they liked my reviews and talks. That made my heart swell to epic proportions!! People seemed to care what I had to say about the books I was reading and I can’t begin to explain how happy that made me. So, I thought about it for months on end before I finally decided to start a blog (You Tube wasn’t really an option because I’m not a camera person AT ALL!!) I started this blog without any expectations. I was really doing this for me, because I love to talk about books, and hoped that maybe I would get a few followers. Well. I have officially hit 497 followers (just 3 away from 500!!!!!!!!!) and that number takes my breath away! I never in a million years could have hoped for this. So to all of you – THANK YOU! Thank you a thousand times over. It really means the world to me. 497 isn’t a giant number – I’ve seen blogs that have over 1,000 – but it’s giant to me! But now that my blog has been going for 6 months, it’s presenting itself with some unexpected side effects (not problems or issues because I don’t see it that way at all!) Here comes the Catch 22…

BEING A PART OF THE COMMUNITY

When I first started I very quickly realized that being an active member of the book blogging community was the most important thing. Following other blogs, liking, commenting, and supporting in general. I didn’t expect that this would be my favourite part of blogging though! Once again I felt as if I found a second family. So many great conversations and I’ve added many books to my TBR because of their reviews! And when I see the same people commenting over and over again I get so excited! It’s like I get to keep talking to my friends that I’ve never met in person. But, let’s face it, this takes time. If I’m being honest, it takes more time to keep up with the blogs you follow than to write your own stuff! I wanted to follow as many blogs as I could. I know how much time I put into this thing so I wanted to support everyone. But I’ve come to a point where I may need to reconsider things and the guilt I now feel is weighing far too heavy on my shoulders. I could spent up to 3+ hours a day reading all the blogs I follow. If I was a full time blogger then this could be possible. But I’m burning myself out trying to keep up with everything! I run two businesses, have a husband, two kids (who are now home for the summer), and so many other responsibilities. I feel like every aspect of my life is suffering in some way and I’m just spread too thin. I want to give everyone views, likes, comments and more, but I physically and mentally can’t handle it anymore. So if you have any suggestions on how I can make this easier and still follow people I would love your advice. Does anyone else feel massive guilt over not showing daily love to the blogs they follow? I seriously love all the blogs I follow and don’t want to abandon them. Do you like and read every post that comes up on your reader or do you just like and read the ones that you’re most interested in? The guilt is real people!! I need to find a better way to go about this! The thought of skipping posts because I don’t have time makes my heart hurt…….. It makes me feel like i’m ignoring their hard work. Would people understand or notice when I don’t read and like every single thing they post? Am I taking all of this too much to heart? PROBABLY

IDEAS, PLANNING, WRITING, EDITING, POSTING – REPEAT

I’m a big time planner. Almost OCD – ok totally OCD but, whatever! And this is probably the most helpful thing of all when it comes to blogging. I have my bullet journal where I have ideas written down for Top 5 Tuesday, discussions, topics, lists, calendars and more. So when I’m stuck for a post, I look at the journal, and have an idea within minutes. I’ve also found that if I take a day and write, then I can have almost a weeks worth of posts scheduled and then I don’t have to worry about it. But here’s where another Catch 22 comes in – since I started this blog I’m reading less. Spare time is something I don’t get a lot of due to work, kids, and other obligations. But now I’m spending more time on the blog writing, editing, and checking out other sites, and spending less time reading. BUT – there is a bonus to this. I read a book and post a review. It sparks conversations about that book, makes me consider things I may have not considered without those conversations, and I remember more about the book! So I may not be reading as much as I once was, but the books that I do read stick closer to my heart and mind.

THERE’S ALWAYS TIME FOR THIS

One thing that I will never cut short is acknowledging likes and comments on my own blog. Every single comment and like puts a smile on my face. It lifts my spirits so much knowing that someone took time out of their day to visit my little space on the internet and like or comment on it. As we all know, not every comment that you make needs a reply, so to those I will like your comment to acknowledge that I read it. But if there is more to the conversation I will always take the time to reply, even if it’s short.

WHY CONTINUE??

I was talking over all these things that’s been running through my head with my husband and he asked me why continue? If blogging is making me read less and I’m burning myself out with the stress of keeping up with all the blogs I follow – then why not stop? The answer is easy – this has been the best experience of my life! You don’t know me all that well but I’m a person who dives head first into things and then, when it gets hard, I move on. Take writing for example. I want to write so badly. I even started writing a book at the end of 2016 and have 40,000 words written. But I haven’t touched it in probably 5 months. And why? Because it got hard. I hit a spot where I didn’t know how to take it to where I planned and I just stopped. I thought I wasn’t good enough and it wasn’t living up to where I wanted it to be. I’m not saying that I’ll never get back into it, but for now, it’s laying dormant. But the blog is really the first thing that I’ve pushed through some hard times and keep on going. I’m excited every day for my wordpress notifications and the conversations I have with people. When a new post notification comes up from the blogs I really love I get excited. So for this reason I’m going to see this through. Sure it’s hard. It’s stressful, overwhelming, and has pushed me to tears. But this is something that I’m passionate about and I’m doing this all for me. I will find a way to make it through these tiny set backs and I will come out a better person because of it. This blog has given me a feeling of power over myself, and success. It brings me joy. So that’s why I will continue! And who knows – maybe knowing that I can do THIS I may actually start writing again 🙂 I’ve been considering putting up some small poems and stories but not sure how it will go over. My fear is something I need to get ahold of first.

So have you struggled throughout your blogging career? Have you had any of these set backs, and how did you overcome them? I need all the advice I can get!!!

Until next time, happy reading!

 

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60 Comments Add yours

  1. The Spine Cracker says:

    Oh I feel you with this one. I run several blogs, some of which have thousands of followers which means tons of messages to respond to on top of blogging and reading blogs I follow. It can be really tiring. Not to mean I am a social media professional so I have work blogs and social media accounts to run too.

    My advice is simple: You don’t owe anyone anything.
    If you are busy just be busy. The blogs can wait. The blogs people wrote will still be there when you have some free time and you can sit and binge read them all. When it comes to content, it can wait too. People will understand you are busy and honestly, they would rather read good content that you have had time to think about than content you have written just because you felt like you had to. There is nothing wrong with waiting or taking a break.

    Also Aminos are awesome. I am on both the Book one and the Goth one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have other blogs? How did I not know this! That does sound like a ton of work. I don’t know how you fit all of that into a day and still have perfect makeup! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Spine Cracker says:

        Thank you. Mostly I manage it by having set blogging days and times. A lot of my posts are written days in advance.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a bloggers best friend!

          Liked by 1 person

    2. J.W. Martin says:

      @The Spine Cracker, I am both intrigued and disturbed by your name. Lol

      I’m one of those crazy folk that treat books like ancient, one-of-a-kind tomes. White gloves, tweezers treated with flame to turn the pages, etc. The sound of a spine cracking send shivers down my spine.

      My mom knows this, so every time I get her a book for a gift, she cracks it right in front of me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The Spine Cracker says:

        That is the point of my name so I am glad I have intrigued and disturbed you.

        I am a lover of secondhand and battered books. My name is sort of a punk rock style rebellion against the commercialism of book blogging. I do have pretty copies of books I keep safe though.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Omg she doesn’t?! Really? I can totally see her doing that just to drive you crazy!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. J.W. Martin says:

          Yup. She’s going to do it anyway, she might as well do it right in front of me.

          She didn’t crack the spine on Secrets of Retail or Living Legend, though… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well I’m proud she was able to restrain 😂

            Like

  2. Great honest post! I think we all struggle to keep with commenting and sharing on social media, I know do, but blogging is supposed to be fun and not stressful. I’ve seen well known book bloggers taking breaks and stepping back from blog tours and arcs for a while as it’s burning them out. Maybe you could do that for the summer or just look at a certain number of blogs a day rather than all of them? Personally I just look and comment on ones that catch my eye or my favourite blogger friends. I know what you mean about giving up on things when they get hard, that’s me all over. But I also move on when the challenge has gone from a hobby. Hope this helps a bit. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does help! I goes I was looking for confirmation that bloggers don’t read everything that shows up on their feed. I think I may have to cut down to only reading the posts that really catch my eye and favourite blogger friends. Writing my own posts I find to be easy – for now anyways! If I start to run out of ideas I may be in trouble! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, this definitely makes sense! I mean, I literally follow probably less than 30 blogs, and I still get stressed out with my Reader when it gets backed up. I for sure don’t like and comment on every post that pops up – I know some people do, and kudos to them, but there’s no reason to force something out when the original post doesn’t really make me feel like commenting on it! I know that I’ve been reading more over working on future blog posts, and I think it’s been good for me to take a little break, so I totally get it! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I checked when I wrote this and I was following over 300!!! It’s insanity! It’s definitely time to cut that number down to the ones that I like the most and closely follow my own interests! Thank you for including me in your 30!! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Naty says:

    I loved this post. It’s so honest! Congratulations on the almost 500, it’s really a big deal and you deserve it! I can’t say I have been burned out yet, as I started only 2 months ago, but I totally know what you mean by guilt… I can’t possibly read everyone’s posts, though I try. Don’t worry about it. Do what you can, and remind yourself that you do your best, even if it in the end you didn’t do things the way you wanted. If you need a break, take a break. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! I hit my first road block at about 2 months as well then things seemed to get better. Then worse all over again 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Naty says:

        Good luck! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. J.W. Martin says:

    When I started reading this post, I thought we’d be discussing the book Catch-22! Lol.

    Sorry to hear that blogging can sometimes cause you stress. I think you’re on to something with only reading the posts that catch your eye. Sounds like a good way to pare down. Put the shoe on the other foot: (which sounds uncomfortable) Would you want someone liking and reading a post if they didn’t like it and weren’t interested?

    If I knew I was adding more to your plate with posts, PMs asking for advice, and long-winded comments… like the one I’m writing right now… which is probably causing more stress… WHAT HAVE I DONE!?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Joe! That’s great advice! Yes the shoe on the other foot does sound uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t want or expect someone to like my posts if it doesn’t interest them. Don’t like for like sake I guess. This really helps a lot!
      And like I’ve told you before – ask away!! I’m always here for help and advice when you need it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A great post and have to agree with many of your points! Something that started off as a fun hobby does often take over your life but it sounds like you’re doing all you can to stay sane in it all! I try to read most posts but can’t as there are so many – i think most bloggers just appreciate others following and mentioning whenever they can as they all know how much time it can take up!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment! It really makes me feel better. I’m starting to think that I really am taking this just too hard. I’m glad people are understanding!

      Like

  7. As you know I’ve been struggling with the same issues, however I think your reader feed is much larger than mine…300 is a tremendous number to try to read, like or comment on. I got tons of great advice on my post monday and what I think stands out is narrowing down the number of blogs you follow and possibly only sharing once or twice a week. Other bloggers will totally understand and you’ll be able to spend more time reading! Good luck:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! It was your post that motivated me to finally speak up about all of this. Narrowing down blogs I follow is my first step!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I try to read the ones that sound more interesting, reviews for books I’m interested in, and then like everything else that comes up in my feed when I check it. It’s less a “I can’t be bothered” thing and more a “I’m a student, planning a wedding, have a job, need to walk the dogs, and write my own book” sort of thing. And I handle a lot of it from my phone.

    When I blogged at RoundRobinWrites.com (which no longer exists) it consumed my life. We had 5 bloggers. Wanted daily content. Scheduled posts for social media. Now, I just use the auto-schedule feature in hootsuite. I don’t stress if I miss a day. Like, I want views and followers, but I also want to sleep.

    Sanity over blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sanity over blogging – words to live by!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kristin says:

    I try to catch up with the ones at the top of my feed and/or most recently interacted with. I have six kids. Dealing with their special needs and all that. I just try to do what I can. I’m busy. I’m not going to lose sleep over it!

    And like this week? On vacation with spotty wifi. I’m not stressing it. If my views suffer, oh well! It’ll be here when I get back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have six kids?!?! And you find the time to blog and read? You’re my inspiration! Lol I have a hard enough time keeping up with my two most days! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kristin says:

        Yep. All girls! Most of my reading is done at the countless therapy sessions I sit at every week.

        Currently just two in therapy for a connective tissue disorder though multiple of them have diagnosis.

        At one point I had all six in therapy and was sitting ther 15 hours a week. Now I’m there about six.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 6 and they’re all girls – that a lot of attitude lol! Sorry they need therapy. It’s never easy when you have kids with special needs like that. Good luck with everything! 6 hours sounds better than 15!

          Liked by 1 person

  10. iamdes says:

    Congratulations on the 500 (almost!) followers! I follow a lot of blogs, too and there were times my feeds and email are exploding with posts. I am guilty of not reading all the posts of the people I follow since I don’t check on my feeds everyday. Whenever I have time, I just try to skim the posts I like. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad this seems to be the norm! And thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Fictionophile says:

    I’m pretty much in the same place as you regards book blogging. It is taking over ALL of my free time, taking away from reading time (the whole reason for being a book blogger) and time for other hobbies etc. Why not quit? Because I LOVE it! You summed it up nicely. A “Catch 22”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I’m in good company 🙂

      Like

  12. I was so happy when you mentioned bullet journaling, I started one in January and haven’t stopped since! In my opinion blogging is something that should be fun, and if it becomes stressful it no longer is fun. I always like everyones post I follow because I know that they are a great blogger, but I just don’t have the time to read everyones sadly. I feel bad but at the end of the day I just can’t stress myself over reading everything and spending so much time on it because it no longer becomes a hobby, it becomes a job, and I always want to enjoy reading and blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I’m so glad so many of you are on the same page. It makes me feel so much better! I’m really my own worst enemy.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Beware Of The Reader says:

    I feel you Shanah and I’m so happy to read all the comments above! I’m so far from 500 but I manage two teams, commute 4 hours every day, have two kids, a dog and other hobbies so… sometimes I’m desperate not to have more followers but on the other hand I realise I never would have the time to follow back everyone. So maybe it’s for the best as I began blogging to chat about books I’ve read so I need room for reading LOL. As many above have said do what makes you happy, the best you can and don’t fret over it. Interact when it’s really interesting and you want to comment back. Now after having read all these sound advices I will try to follow them LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol yes! Follow your own advice because it’s pretty good 🙂 I can’t imagine a 4 hour commute every day! That’s just insane! I hope you get to read or listen to audiobooks during that time!

      Like

  14. Ryann the Reader says:

    Great post, and congrats on almost 500!!

    I’ve definitely run into this, too. For me, I try to set aside a half hour a day to get through as many posts on my reader as possible, which sometimes doesn’t seem like very many.

    So, I’ll usually pick my least busy day of the week and set aside a bigger piece of time to go over to specific blogs I tend to love, so that I know I’m not missing anything from them.

    But sometimes I do feel like it isn’t enough or I need more time. I just remind myself that we all have lives outside of blogging (and we’re all avid readers), so if anyone understands the not-enough-time issue, it’s definitely fellow book bloggers ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. It’s life changing!! I mean that literally! This is fantastic advice. And I do hope that fellow book bloggers would understand the struggles. Thanks again!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This is such a great post and so incredibly relatable, especially the guilt factor. Now that I’ve gone back to work full time, I’m definitely struggling a bit to keep up with commenting and liking in addition to actually reading and reviewing books. I try to set aside a certain amount of time each day to stay caught up on the comments and likes, but some weeks are definite fails because I’m just too tired. But like you, I LOVE blogging and being a part of this community so in the end, it’s all worth it to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so hard to fit it all in in a day. I think my superpower (if they were real and I could choose one) would be that I could pause time so I could do all the things I need to do in a day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, I’m right there with you on that!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Well, I hear you sister!!!
    I’m also a full time networker, have a husband, two kids on vacation, and it’s overwhelmingly frustrating.
    I’m struggling to keep up because for some reason I’m clueless enough to miss a comment just popped up or something. I also lack the persistence to keep a bullet journal, my desk is a mess and, I’m just not disciplined enough BUT I found that I like to post here and to read and review so I’ll keep working on how to discipline myself and hopefully succeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life is hard! Wait, adulting is hard! I want to be a kid again!! Good luck with everything. Hopefully it kick starts some organizational skills just waiting to come forth and take over the world! Ok that was a little over the top, but you know what I mean 😉

      Like

      1. 😂😂
        Thank you, if blogging doesn’t kick start my OS nothing will!!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. kyera says:

    Fantastic post!

    These are all definitely tough things to consider. First, I’m sure all of the bloggers you follow appreciate the likes and comments just as much as you do on your own blog – but your health, mental or otherwise is the most important thing. You can’t burn yourself out or let the guilt consume you, because at the end of the day that doesn’t do anyone any good. I think the most important idea is quality rather than quantity. You might not be able to read every single blog post, from every single blog you follow, but the ones that you do will get your full attention and appreciate the comments.

    Second, so close to 500! 🎉 That’s so exciting and you deserve tons of followers.

    Third, I’m a terrible person to take advice from when it comes to writing a book (as I decided to start while I was in Peace Corps and have spent so much time developing the mythology/world but still don’t really know the outline of the plot), but sometimes I think it’s just best to sit down in your book’s world and allow yourself to write. Don’t try to continue where you left off, rather just allow the characters to have scenes.. whatever pops into your head and allows them to come alive, whether you plan to use it in your book or not. Since I haven’t been able to plan out the plot of my book, I always look at my pages and wonder where to start but when I just let my characters do something, anything, I write some scenes that I’m really proud of (or even just think up a line of dialogue that I fall in love with.) Maybe that will work for you, but I would love to hear that you’ve started working on your book again!

    No matter what you decide to do, just make sure it’s what’s best for your wellbeing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts and help! I’m working on the blog thing. May take a while to get over the guilt. And the writing – I’m stuck. I may start doing some short stories just to get writing something. Not sure. I’d really
      Rather read right now 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kyera says:

        Yeah, it’s always hard to pick something over reading!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. This is a great post, and one I find myself agreeing with more and more lately. As my blog has grown, and I’ve gotten to know more people in the blogging community, I’ve really found that blogging in and of itself can be a bit of a time sink if you let it. You are totally right that reading and commenting on everyone’s blog posts can take upwards of 3 hours a day once you’re following a fair number of people, and that’s just something I can’t reasonably allow myself to do. I try and catch up when I can, but like you, I have real world committments and aspirations that I can’t put on hold for my blog. I think that’s where a lot of blogger guilt comes from. That being said though, I try to remind myself that this is only a hobby for all of us and it’s not the end of the world if I miss something here or there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blogging has become a total time suck! I’m still enjoying it though. And you’re right – this is a hobby and there’s no sense in putting so much pressure on myself!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I couldn’t agree more! It’s super hard to juggle work, social life, chores, family, blogging, reading, reviewing… At the end of the day I may feel totally unproductive and frustrated because I haven’t done everything I wanted. It’s tough.
    I’m not extremely OCD but I am methodical and a perfectionist, so everything takes twice as long for me as it does for the average person hahaha I’m rarely satisfied with the final product, too.
    Despite all that, being a blogger is one of the best things I’ve ever decided to do so I’m not trading it for the world. I don’t know what the future holds but I hope I can continue this adventure with you and everyone else in this awesome community for a long, long time 🙂
    Amazing post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! And you said it perfectly! I always end up feeling like I’ve been unproductive because I wasn’t able to get done what I wanted to. And the perfectionism and OCD is the cause of most of it! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. luvtoread says:

    Great post! I totally agree about how time consuming it is to follow/comment/like other blogs. I follow a bunch of blogs, and when I first started blogging I read every post. But now, I just can’t do that. I would love to, but I work full time, and am also taking some classes at my local JC (web development & Adobe software classes that basically eat up any free time I have), plus having to read & maintain my own blog, plus life. It’s really tough and sometimes I just can’t read & comment on other blogs as it is so overwhelming. But, I just take a step back, take a day or two away from blogging, and then I’m ready to get back into it. I follow all the 500+ blogs I follow through email, and it’s easier to keep track of then the wordpress reader. I now only read posts that genuinely interest me – I usually skip all tags & meme posts, as they all tend to read the same after awhile.
    Sometimes I feel really guilty that I haven’t read everyone’s posts, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day! And social media is the same way. Sometimes I’m active, other times I have to step back as I’ve got other things going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You follow 500?! Wow that makes my 300 sound like something so simple! Sounds like you’re crazy busy too. I started cutting things down and only reading the posts that interest me and it’s changed my life so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. luvtoread says:

        Yeah – it was so hard to make that decision to cut back! I’m much happier now that I’m not forcing myself to read everything.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ditto! I still feel bad that I’m missing out on a few things but I was starting to drown in the task. I’ve saved myself sooo much stress and I’ve been able to put more thought into the comments that I get the chance to make now!

          Liked by 1 person

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