This post has been on my mind for some time and I’m finally posting it in the hopes that all my followers don’t leave me after reading it. But really. I love you. Please stay.
I started this blog almost 3 years ago, and that was probably one of the best decisions I made that year. (You go, three years ago me! I know there’s a lot of bullshit and uncertainty in your life right now, but this was a solid decision. Good job). I had other blogs prior to this one which didn’t stick because they had no focus. When I created Rose Read, the goal was to have one theme for all my posts: books. That focus is what allowed this blog to actually survive my whims.
The first 2 1/2 years of Rose Read were fairly quiet – I didn’t post as frequently as I do now and I certainly didn’t consider myself part of the book blogging community. But then I started to get a few real followers, which was cool. And in November of 2015 I did NaBloPoMo (the blogging equivalent of NaNoWriMo), gaining even more followers from posting every day. Now I have a small group of engaged readers (very small; like 10 or 15 who actually like and comment and aren’t self-promoters) and it’s awesome. Through reading and commenting on others’ posts, I’ve really begun to enjoy the community aspect of blogging, which I never previously felt part of. Throughout this process, I posted whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But as I got more engaged with the community, I realized there were certain things that “real” book bloggers were doing that I wasn’t doing.
I started as a person completely unfamiliar with the typical book blogging structure. And I’ve now noticed myself assimilating to the common traits I discovered among book bloggers. Examples: I have a rating system now. I’ve made graphics for certain posts. I’ve done hauls. I’ve started monthly recommendation posts. I’ve done a ton of tags. I’ve done these things because either A. they are fun, and/or B. I felt they have increased the quality of my blog. But part of me worries that I’m doing these things just because everyone else is.
If I had no readers, I would still be blogging because I enjoy it. No one read my blog at first, and I still loved it. Now that people are reading and commenting, I have more reason to post and enjoy the experience. But I also have more reason to feel like I need to join them in the culture and “rules” of book blogging. Looking back at my old posts, I’ve even sorta felt that my writing was better back then because I was just being me, without any frame of reference for what book blogging was. I know there are no rules. I can do whatever I want; it’s my blog. But please tell me I’m not alone in having felt the need to change things on here in order to fit in with the set standards that comprise a “real” book blog. If you’ve struggled with that too, let me know. Hell, I even felt the need to write this post just to justify why I don’t conform to certain book blogging trends.
But those few changes I’ve made are as far as I’m going. I’m never going to start TBR posts or monthly wrap-up posts or weekly memes (unless I do NaBloPoMo again and am scrounging for ideas). Why? Because I don’t find them interesting. As a reader of other book blogs, whenever I’m scrolling though my reader feed and I see it’s a Tuesday and everyone is posting their Top Ten posts, how many do I click on? Zero. I prefer to read posts that are unique and stand out from the feed. I get that everyone’s answers to the memes are different, but that still doesn’t compel me to read ever single darn W..W..Wednesday I see.
If you enjoy doing those kind of posts, please do not think I am trying to belittle what you do. If you enjoy weekly memes and monthly wrap-ups or TBRs or whatever, that’s great! As long as you enjoy it, that’s all that matters. If you would still participate in those even if you had no readers just because you think they’re fun – then yes. You are doing it right. I just don’t think I would personally enjoy writing those posts because I don’t personally enjoy reading them. I always try to write posts I feel like as a reader I would want to read.
Additionally, if you enjoy those posts because they keep you focused, great! Stay focused! As I said earlier, having the focus of blogging about one topic (books) was what made this, of all my previous blogging attempts, work! But I am the type of person who works best with one general topic and the freedom to do whatever else I want. In school I was one of those weird students who actually enjoyed open-ended projects while everyone else needed to be told exactly what to do. This is why I hate making TBRs; I never know what I want to read a month in advance and I don’t want to force myself to read something that one-month-ago Emily wanted to read on the day I made that list. One-month-ago Emily is not to be trusted. I enjoy reading whatever strikes my fancy after I finish a book. I enjoy writing down thoughts that I have, when I have them. I enjoy not being beholden to a schedule. I like freedom and exploration and whimsy. So that’s how I blog.
So I guess that’s it. It’s off my chest and I feel good. Thank you for reading any sharing any thoughts you may have. You are all the best and I love you and I will buy you all ice cream for not unfollowing me. (Except not really because it would melt by the time it got to you).