Saturday, May 28, 2011

Armchair BEA: Blogging About Blogging

Today's theme is about blogging itself - the technical aspect, the social aspect, the ups and downs of blogging, and the reasons why you may blog in the first place.  There are definitely some things I learned over the past year that I have found incredibly helpful when it comes to blogging.

Keep it fun - Although I've been blogging for less than a year and a half, I did go through a period where I didn't actually enjoy what I was doing.  I put a lot of stress on myself to post almost every day, to visit other blogs and network, to try to come up with original content, and I found myself quickly running out of steam and looking for ways to avoid blogging.  After a break of about three weeks, and a lot of thought, I changed my approach which was less stressful for me, and it rejuvenated my love of writing on my blog.  I think I just got caught up in the stats and in the numbers and forgot why I blogged in the first place.  There was nothing really negative in the comments or anything, other than the comments about maybe focusing on one genre, which will never happen on my blog, but it was the stress I put on myself over the stats and the followers. I remember it being such a big deal whenever I lost a follower. Now,...!?!?  Once I refocused on why I blog, I loved doing it again.  I have taken all the stats counters off my blog, except for the followers, and will never put them on again.

Learn to say no - This is a rule I had to learn the hard way as there are just so many interesting and fascinating books out there, I had a difficult time saying no to review copies.  This has changed and I may have to go through periods where I don't accept any, or hire another reviewer for my blog.  It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of being asked to review books that it is easy to get carried away and get stressed out.  You can't do anything about books being sent to you randomly, but you can take control of those you are asked to review.

Keep a calendar - I now keep a separate calendar for book review posting dates, guest blogs, and interviews as it is so easy to forget about them, especially when you are asked to do them months before.  With a really demanding day job, sometimes my blogging has to take a back seat, especially at certain times of the year, and it is easy to forget about blog deadlines.  I love working with certain tour book groups and with certain publishers because they always send reminder emails.  I almost forgot about one recently and if it wasn't for the reminder email, I would never have published the post.

Keep an open mind - I was dead set against e-books until I finally purchased an e-reader last year.  To my utter amazement, I have developed a fondness for my e-reader that is borderline obsessive.  When it went caput last week, and I had to return it and was told it will take 2-6 weeks before I will get a new one, I was almost in hysterics.  I actually feel lost without it as I am so used to having it always with me.  Who knew I would catch up with technology like that!!  I still can't figure out all of the HTML stuff on my blog and tend to mess it up (I'm so glad I have the amazing Emily from Blogaholic Designs, who designed my blog, to fix anything up when I play around with it), but I am slowly learning.

There are so many different reading blogs out there, so many different types of memes, so many different types of contests, that it can be overwhelming and confusing to those who are new to the game.  When I first started blogging, I found myself doing a lot more memes, but now tend to avoid most of them except for a few I really enjoy doing.  I like Waiting on Wednesday, Enquiring Minds Want to Know, Booking Through Thursday, IMM, and It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  I do not however, participate in these every week anymore, only when I have the time or when I find the questions really interesting.  I still participate in some of the contest hops, but not all of them.  I also never make 'following' a requirement for any of my contests anymore; I also tend to be turned off by contests that make following a necessary requirement for entering.  I follow if I enjoy the content on a blog, and I hope people follow me because they want to read what I have to say.  One day, I would love to have the time to really include a lot of the things I would love to write about.  For example, I would love to take passages from novels and analyze them like we did in university as it would be fun.  I used to love the debates as we would argue about what they really meant in terms of the characters and the events in the novels.  Such fun!!!  I want to include more travel writing in my blog as I travel a lot and would love to share my experiences.

One of the things I wish I had more time to do is visit other blogs.  I try to catch up on those I follow whenever I have time and bookmark certain posts that I think look interesting to read later, but time is so short I've learned I can't do it all.  There needs to be a good balance between life and blogging, and my family definitely comes first in my life.  If I don't post for several days, so what?  I can't keep up with bloggers who are single or those who have made blogging their jobs, nor do I ever want to.  When I do have time, I like visiting and commenting on other blogs as it's fun and interesting, and I love reading what people have to say.  Networking is definitely important at all stages of blogging.  It also reminds people you are still there and still blogging.  I find Twitter to be great as I have reached so many authors and people through that medium; I am still learning the game on Twitter so I tend to make a lot of posting mistakes on that medium.  You need to be patient with me.  And one day, I will show up on Facebook.  Promise!

I was a book reviewer long before I began this blog, so the blogging just sort of happened as part of the reviewing process.  I didn't expect it to be anything more than a platform where I could write my thoughts about something I love to do and will continue doing for the rest of my life.  Discussing books with authors and other book bloggers is an amazing and fun thing to do and I love doing it.  I appreciate it when authors comment on my blog, and I know they appreciate it when I mention their books on my blog.  Besides, I have always been a writer and for too long, I have repressed that side of me; it's time to allow that writer in me to evolve and blossom and this is just a stepping stone. 

For now, blogging has continued to evolve and be an important part of my life.  I hope to continue, grow, expand, and develop some new things as it is always about risk-taking and learning something new.  I am looking forward to seeing where all of this leads us and where the print-industry is headed.  Exciting times, folks, exciting times!!!


  1. i started blogging in 2008 and didnt know that I could get free copies of books just by blogging. When someone approached me for the first time, I didn't respond to the email because i thought it wasnt true. Only in 2010 I accepted my first free book to review. Before that, I was not pressured to post anything in my blog. i just do it whenever I have time. And like you, after opening my blog for authors/publishers, I found wanting to blog almost everyday. And with a very demanding job, i was so disappointed every time i cant go online to post something.

    In November 2010 I think, i began to calendar my schedule and found myself declining offers. Using a calendar will help bloggers plan for the future. I mean posting should give you joy not pressure. So I agree, definitely calendar your blog schedule.

    Last one, following a blog because you want to have more followers. As you can see from my blog, only have around 260+ followers. I only try to visit 3-10blogs when i join the weekly hop which is actually not weekly for me.. only if i have free time.

    thanks for this. i enjoyed this post.

  2. Just wanted to stop and say hi. I too participated in the Armchair - wish I could have gone to NY. Happy reading.