Thursday, June 30, 2016

From me to you and back again -7-

-This is where I talk about something. Something that comes to mind and sticks there and I want to describe so that it sticks in other peoples minds and makes them think, because that is what this is about. I want to be thinking. I want to be lit up and even alight. And I want you to leave this post with the memory of the thoughts it made you have-



On being the blogger I'm not.

When I started blogging, I didn't really have an end goal in mind. I didn't know there were really popular bloggers, and I didn't get the idea of blogger perks, so those weren't things I was trying to achieve. I didn't consider whether I would stick with this for years, which I have. I didn't know if I would meet anyone else, or if it would just be me, talking to myelf about books I loved on the internet. My blog title, which I've never changed, shows a little of my intention, because I am as much a writer as I am a reader and I planned on talking about my books, my words, a lot more than those of other writers.

Another factor, and the only other one I can really put into words, is the fact I wanted someone to talk to. I was lonely and I wanted to meet people who cared about the same things as me, and didn't know what the past three, four years had been like for me.
And I found that. I found a community that came to me, and showed me how to be a part of it, and over the years I feel like I've found other new bloggers and hopefully made them feel at home in this massive, sprawling community that we are.

But things do change. Things have changed for me, bloggers I was good friends with have left, and I myself have considered leaving a number of times because it got the stage, towards the end of 2014 and for the beginning months of 2015, that I didn't find myself enjoying anything but the interaction with newer blogging friends. I turned more to my writing, shared more of it than I ever have before, and that kept me going for a year. And last year was, almost certainly, the best, most enjoyable year of my blogging. I was still a part of the reviewing community, but I was also distanced from it. Reviewing wasn't my full focus, and that has remained true this year. I write discussions, do creative posts, pen out my thoughts and share them, and I also write the occasional book review. This is a mix that works for me, keeps me passionate and enthused, and it's probably closest to the mix I had envisaged for myself when I started off.

It is so easy to get swept up. There are posts telling you how to do this whole thing, and posts telling you how not to do it, and there is drama and there is meanness. And it's hard to write this and know I will post it, becase I'm a part of this community still. And I'm looking it in the eye and saying these are your faults, and I don't like you for them. It is so easy to say well I'm not a part of that, it doesn't affect me so I can ignore it, I don't want to get involved, but know it is the truth. Any community can have aspects you don't like, and being aware of those aspects, and not ignoring them but talking about them is, I think, the way for me to continue doing this. Because for the first time in a while, I actually really care about what I'm doing here. I'm enjoying myself, and I think that matters so much. And I think, for it to keep mattering, I have to be honest with myself. I have to stop being quiet about the things I don't like about this place, because they've been growing and it's starting to make me want to stay away.

Being a blogger is tough. Being a part of this community is tough. There are aspects of it that I really don't like, integral facets and quieter ones, and there are aspects of it that I do really care about. Because people from this commuity were here for me when I needed them, they found me when I was alone, not knowing what to do, on this little blogging island, and I don't want to pretend it doesn't matter to me anymore.

This is definitely a more up-front from me to you than I usually post. Which is okay. It's probably the start of a theme. My question to you is what part of being a blogger is the hardest for you, besides keeping up? And have you ever wanted to leave?

16 comments:

  1. I just wrote a really nice and long comment and it got deleted, sigh.

    Anyway, even though I've been blogging for a little more than a year, I feel you. At the beginning, I also thought this would just be me talking to myself about the things I loved, but thankfully, it turned out the other way. I found humans too and I'm really glad about it. For me, the hardest thing about being a blogger, besides keeping up, is probably holding on. And yes, that is different from keeping up. . .I think. I've thought and wanted to leave multiple times, but especially around these past few weeks, I still don't know why. But don't worry, I won't be leaving. . .but I'll be moving to wordpress (probably under a different name and all) and see how things go.

    Ahem, anyway, great post! Loved to hear about this!

    ~L.

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    1. It happens. And is always annoying. I always save my comments before clicking through to post, just in case (and then my laptop crashes) *cries*

      I'm glad the community found me, too, as unexpected as it was, but sometimes I do feel... it's hard to explain, and I know I'm going to post more on this topic. I feel like sometimes the community isn't the greatest, and that can be difficult. And I don't want to ignore those issues.

      Oh, keeping up and holding on are very different, for sure. And I think it's really interesting that you chose that word and that's the hardest part for you. I know there've been times when I've just felt completely disengaged and non-interested in doing this anymore, and for me taking breaks is the way to go. I mean, if I ended up just not wanting to do it anymore, and a break didn't help, I'd end this. But that hasn't happened.

      Oh, keep me posted on the wordpress move, Lili! I hope it goes/is going well! And thank you. I'm glad this was something that you enjoyed reading. xx

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  2. I thought more along the lines of "I don't want to be involved, I'll not think about it" for some of the negative aspects of blogging, so it's interesting to think about whether or not I can be uninvolved if I'm part of the community. I suppose that is true in a way, drama reflects on everyone in the community, especially if it's bloggers behaving badly.

    But it's been mostly positive being a book blogger, and I love this community. I'm glad you have gotten more out of it lately too Romi. As for the hardest part of it, I can't really think of one, other than needing to keep up! :)

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    1. Uh-huh, I get that. I think that's how I've felt, a lot of the time- from twitter issues to goodreads dramas, when they haven't involved me I've thought it's just not relevant. But nowadays I think more along the lines of "it's the community. This is us" and sometimes I don't think that's necessarily accurate, but in general... that's how it is, for me.

      That is an interesting thing to ponder. I can only speak for myself, and how it's going for me, and I do feel like I'm less a part of the community, whilst still being amidst it. But I feel like that was a good move, for me, because things were getting to me, and I want this space to reflect how I feel. I don't want to worry about posting things because of being attacked, which I have been worried about.

      I'm glad your blogging experience has been good, overall, Charlene! I hope it continues along those lines. xx

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  3. It really is a labour of love - at least if you love blogging and reading that much. It's tough to put myself out there - especially in the social media. But i've long since cared about numbers, statistics and being popular. I visit who I want, comment on their blogs and forget about everything else. I find that the only thing that can make me hate what I'm doing is myself. So I keep going.

    I love your thoughts on things, Romi. So I hope you won't stop sharing.

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    1. I know I was surprised by how intense it all was, when I really got into reviewing and all of it. I hadn't realised just how much there was to all this. That's been such a pressure, at times, and I really started getting less out of this experience when I felt like I had to be a certain way and post about certain things and not comment on other aspects, but that isn't how I feel, now I'm posting less reviews and more writing and things like this. It makes me really care about this space afresh, and appreciate the people who take the time to share their thoughts and reflect.

      I'm really happy you've found a way of blogging that works the best for you, and to be honest- it sounds so nice, and like you get so much out of doing things that way.

      Thank you so much, Joy. It was so nice reaidng your thoughts and you can be sure that I won't stop sharing. xx

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  4. I love the language in this post. I'm glad you're in a place where you can enjoy blogging again! I did know about blogging perks (though not as extensively as I do now), but I didn't really know much about the book blogging community when I started blogging at all - I just missed blogging, and I wanted to start a blog where I could talk about all sorts of things. I don't even know how the book blogging community found me, but it was pretty much at the start and is probably one of the more important reasons I've kept going (because as much as I do write for myself, it would be kind of bleak if there was no one reading my posts at all). I had no idea the main audience (at least I'm assuming it's the main audience, I suck at statistics) of my blog would be other bloggers, but I'm loving it. I have to admit I usually keep away from the drama, and I don't really see that much of it on the blogs I frequent. I mainly hear about anything if someone I know reacts to drama by spreading positivity, so that hasn't been much of an issue for me in this community. I think maybe the hardest parts are that 1) sometimes I lose my enthusiasm for blogging - not generally, I will definitely love it again after a few weeks and I'm always sure I'll return to it, but I worry that other people don't necessarily know that when I disappear. Sometimes I also have to disappear for time reasons, and it just leads to a very inconsistent blogging schedule, which may turn some readers off and 2) sometimes it seems like everyone else is making friends for life and I feel a bit isolated, because while there are a lot of bloggers I genuinely like, I mainly know them through their blog. And if I did get along really well with people, I'd like to meet them and hang out, and I can't really do that where I live. I know a lot of people make 'real' friends online, and I totally get that, but personally, I just like to get to know people offline too if I'm going to be friends with them (or on Skype or whatever). But generally, I've found the book blogging community to be a very kind, tolerant and positive space.

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    1. Thanks, Vlora! I'm so glad you think so. It makes me even more proud of this post, hearing that.
      It's strange, how the community finds new bloggers, isn't it? Strange and wonderful. I've definitely struggled with wanting to have more people read and appreciate my posts, but I'm at the stage, now, where I want to be utterly proud of the things I post, and as much as I appreciate comments: being passionate is the most important part of this for me. And I'm there, which is so wonderful.

      I feel like, with the dramas that happen, they can sometimes be... ignored, or kept to the medium they were started on, and with some dramas I think it's okay, not to keep revisiting them, but with others... I think they can just be ignored, and that isn't something I like. And acting like issues never happened, like they weren't issues? Not keen on it. And I want to talk about that.

      I've definitely felt a little bit of sadness when I've seen the great blogging friends others have made, but in the last year I've found truly awesome, important people, and I wouldn't give them up for the world. They're as real as friends I'd make offline, and utterly important, and I do wish I'd met them sooner. I wish I had found this friendship sooner. But I'm glad- so glad- I've found it now.

      xx

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  5. You really have developed with your blogging over the years and I can admire you for that. I love how you mentioned the ways in which you changed, and the ways in which your blogging then changed as well. I hope you continue to grow further into who you want to be as a blogger. And you're right - blogging is tough. It's hard. But the more I pull through it on the days I feel down, the more rewarding it is on the days I love it.

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    1. I've definitely grown as a blogger, from year one, and I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of where I am now, and the way I want to continue, and that makes me want to keep this up. And it's been a while since I actively wanted to keep posting.

      Blogging is definitely tough, and... the good days aren't worth all the bad days, not for me, but the bad days are things I need to think about and, some of them, talk about, and doing that is so important for me. Doing that definitely is a part of the blogger I'm becoming. xx

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  6. You know how I feel about this.

    I don't think I have ever really and truly considered leaving blogging. I mean ... The ACoMaF thing kind of made me go: why the hell do I even do this when sharing something that is important to so many people, and the publishing industry, and me as a person can be completely shat on? And make me feel like so sad and horrible?

    On the whole, though, I do love blogging. It had brought me many things - good books and friends and pretty pictures etc - and I don't see myself giving up on it anytime soon.

    But it's definitely not perfect. There's anger and negativity and sadness in this place almost every day, and yet when people talk about the community it is ALWAYS about how lovely it is. And it IS lovely. But it's not perfect. Nothing is. So I think being upfront about its imperfections is super brave and important <3

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    1. I do. And I'm so sorry that you've had shitty things happen in the past year, because it sucks. And it definitely makes it reasonable, that happening and then considering why you're still doing this, because writing honest, non-hateful reviews is what we DO. And it's what we're ASKED to do. And it's what authors expect us to do. And it's not okay for fans to hate on us for doing that. It's not okay to look at someone's hard work and hate on them, because we're people. And the things we post mean a lot to us.

      Pretty pictures. I mean, yes. Blogging is essentially a way to share lovely books and pretty pictures (and covers). Although finding amazing friends is also quite incredible. Does it top pretty books, though? (Answer: of course. But still. It's close.)

      It is certainly far from perfect. And I hate the fact that people seem to ignore that, because it isn't okay. Writing this post made me feel so much freer, even though I wasn't directly addressing anything. Just putting myself out there, it made a difference to how I feel about this space, and I'm so glad I made the decision to publish. I know I'm going to post more, in the future, and I'm... excited for that, for continuing to make this place open and honest and as upfront as possible. One day it's probably going to be met with backlash, but maybe not. And even if so, I'm proud of myself. And that is so worth it, right now.
      Aah, thank you! That means so much, sweetie. *hugs* xx

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  7. This post is beautifully written!

    I was a co-blogger before I started my own blog, so i knew a bit about the perks, but also what was involved in blogging. But mostly I started blogging to have a place to be heard and share my thoughts on books and hopefully connect with other people.

    There are also bloggers that I knew when I started blogging that aren't around anymore, but I also have met new bloggers with whom i became friends over the years.

    I've never considered leaving blogging, it's too much a part of me and I enjoy it too much. But there are days where I just want to stay away from all the drama for a bit. There are less good parts of this community, but there are so many good ones as well. And I try and focus on those instead.

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    1. Thank you, Lola! I'm really glad you think so, and thank you, so much, for reading and sharing your thoughts and telling me that!

      It would have been interesting, to start off as a co-blogger- I imagine that would have made the whole experience quite different, and, like you said, you knew about it before starting on your own blog.

      I'm glad you love blogging so much, Lola, and that you've never wanted to leave. I feel like the drama just has gotten me down, and made me feel so tightly jammed into this space, and I didn't want that- and the answer seemed to be to leave. But I haven't, yet, and I'm glad. Over the last 12 months I feel like my blog is the strongest it's been, and I'm the most in love with it since I first started- and the issues are things I want to talk about, just to be upfront and honest about how it makes me feel.
      I definitely have felt like the negative aspects of the community can sometimes be ignored, unless they turn into a huge drama, and that's mostly what I'm tired of. There's such a wonderful element to the community, definitely, but there's a lot that isn't really okay.

      xx

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  8. This is such a wonderful post Romi. I have left blogging before - I tried livejournal and blogspot a few years ago but I wasn't really sure what I was doing so the entries gradually tapered off. (I still keep in touch with the early bloggers I met back then - we were a group of readers/writers so that connection was fun). I kept my Goodreads account but didn't really review. I think the break was good for me.

    Eventually, I did feel like I needed a space for words so I made a wordpress, which was quiet until I approached the end of my undergrad. As you know, I'll probably blog less if something else takes priority but for now, it's a space that I am also having fun with. Sometimes, I become nostalgic over what it would be like just to be a reader in the larger community but my imagination is restless, so I'll still keep working on balancing reading and blogging with being an aspiring hermit writer.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Glaiza! I'm really glad you shared your thoughts! *cheers you on enthusiastically* It's so interesting to hear you used to blog and left that (I love that you still keep in touch with old friends- I definitely miss the ones who dropped off the internet and had been really lovely/important in my early years) before coming back. I actually used to have a "personal" blog, and I did it for a mix of reasons: I wanted a space, I wanted to talk about more than just books (and didn't realise I could most certainly do that here), and I had a lot to get out that I thought needed its own area. And I left that, and I regret aspects of it, but the whole experience has helped me so much, especially when I first started and was struggling so much with things.

      I feel like this is such an outlet for my creative writing and thoughts and I want to share them through more than my notebook, and it can be so great, doing that here.

      It's been so good, surprisingly, being less of a reviewer over here, although I have been reading less *because* that isn't such a focus anymore, and that's not something I'm always a massive fan of. I love reading! I don't ever want to stop! And the times I read less, or slower, aren't always the best. But finding a good mix between reading and blogging and writing, that's fantastic, and I'm happy you're working towards that, Glaiza. I hope (and also know) that you're going to find a mix that works for you the best. xx

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Thank you so much for reading my post and, if you care to, commenting! It means a lot to me that you have thoughts on this thing (whatever it may be), too, and want to share them.

Please note, however, that nothing hurtful will be tolerated.

Have a beautiful day.x