‘Relax, It’s NOT A Competition’

Does book blogging ever feel like a competition to you?

  • Who has the highest page views?
  • Who gets the most books in their mail?
  • Who gets the most comments?
  • Who leaves the most comments?
  • Who has the most twitter followers? Facebook fans? Repins?

Two Corgis On A Treadmill

Y’all, book blogging is exhausting.

Especially if you are the slightest bit neurotic like I am. I’m about to admit some not too pretty things about myself. I hope you all don’t hate my guts afterwards. I often build up blogging to be a competition in my mind. It’s the dumbest thing, and I know it’s totally WRONG but I can’t help it.

I admit to:

  • Not visiting a blog because I was all omg we are competing for page views.
  • Seeing someone I’d never heard of with 2,000 Facebook fans and thinking, oh they probably required it for a contest.
  • Being catty with others on the twitters.
  • Reading book after book after book after book because I am too afraid of going one day without content and my page views dropping.

You guys, this stuff is not easy to admit, but the funny thing is, when you say things out loud or in my case, in the Add New Post box, you realize exactly how ridiculous you sound.

It’s funny how sometimes when you take a step back and just breathe, you are able to put things into perspective.

Epiphanies That Occur When Taking Said Deep Breath:

1. Just because I visit another blog and give them hits does not mean that it takes away from my page views. This whole stay in your shell, people might be more popular attitude is utterly WHACK! Also? It’s false logic, self. Rather, I need to remind myself that hey, I am making FRIENDS and I should not be jealous of those friends.

2. This is not high school. The amount of facebook likes a blog may have does not determine a blog’s worth. You know, if people want to require the liking in their contests, fine GO FOR IT. Hell, if you can get people to click the like button just to win free books, you are obviously awesome at social media and have something I could learn from rather than be catty or jealous.

3. Twitter is NOT the girl’s bathroom or the cafeteria table. I have been working very hard on my occasional attitude problem and being positive and NOT gripping constantly. I’ve got a long way to go, but I AM trying. Plus, I think that stuff tends to turn people off.

4. The pressure fricken sucks. It gets to me a lot. I tend to box those feelings up and stuff them away, because ugh, who wants to look weak after having book blogging induced high blood pressure? Not me. However, because this is my safe place, I will come clean and admit I feel that pressure constantly. It is why I always have an audio going in the car instead of music, even when I am in a music mood. It is why I am constantly reading at night after work instead of say, winding down with an episode of The Office or one of the many movies in my netflix queue. I mean, yes it is fun to have a high books read count and a high amount of reviews, but at the same time, it gets so exhausting. And on top of that maintain twitter, facebook, pinterest and my SEO. Make sure to leave at least 30 or so comments a day. It is a wonder I have not had a nervous breakdown. I have a wonderful blog partner, Allison, who really helps as far as writing reviews and participating in community activities. I think it’s time to let that pressure ease up.

Book Blogging is NOT a competition, I think I need to remind myself of that a little more often.

A few questions for you, in closing:

  1. Do you ever feel the need to churn out content constantly?
  2. Do you feel intense pressure in relation to our shared hobby?
  3. Have you ever found yourself thinking catty things or being petty out of jealousy?
  4. Do you ever feel like blogging is a competition? What do you do to snap your self out of it? Are you able to snap yourself out of that attitude.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I’m certainly not a well-known book blogger, but I do feel the pressure to be one and to constantly be on top of things and have new content all the time. It’s part of why I took a two-month hiatus. Book blogging is fun, but it’s just a hobby to me, and I don’t ever want to drive myself crazy trying to keep up with everything, on top of RL.

    Sometimes I fall into thinking that blogging is a competition, but I always remind myself of the reason I started: reviewing/critiquing books helps me learn and practice my craft as a writer. It stops being all about ARCs and page views, and more about the art and development of literature itself.

    • “It stops being all about ARCs and page views, and more about the art and development of literature itself.” THIS.

      I know I always get caught up in the stats game, I am addicted to checking my page views and that sucks because I could be using that time to really appreciate the books I am reading.

      So many of my friends have taken hiatuses and it seems to really help them put blogging and it being a hobby into perspective.

  2. I for sure feel the pressure to get the books read and the content up, and sometimes I feel like my real life is getting in the way. Sometimes I just have to take a look at it and say “Shouldn’t my family and life have a priority in things as well?”, OF COURSE they should!
    For a long time I let me pageviews and the followers bother me and one day I somehow just let it all go. I don’t know what prompted me to do it, but I don’t even LOOK at them anymore. I update them in my profile stats for publishers every 3 months and that’s it! I know it sure eased a lot of stress though!

    • I really do think that family and life outside of blogging can help to put things into perspective. For awhile there I was ignoring everything outside of books and blogging and it had a huge affect on me and my boyfriend came to kind of resent the blog, but I’ve started to learn balance.
      I am really jealous that you are able to let the stats and followers pressure go. I wish I could do that.

  3. You make some really good points, April. I have to remind myself constantly that I am doing this because I love books. Period. When I first started book blogging I was constantly hung up on my follower number and now I find myself obsessing about my page views on occasion. It’s hard when you are relatively new to this to keep a balanced outlook. I think if you are someone who is driven in their non-book life it spills over into everything else, and that’s ok, but perspective is always a good thing. I have made truly wonderful friends, both on twitter and in real life, I have met creative and interesting people and read some really good books. My greatest joy in all of this is when someone tells me they bought and enjoyed a book because of my review or recommendation. If I never get another ARC or follower, the value that has been added to my life through my blogging friends makes it all worth it.

    • You hit on a great point about beginners and getting hung up on numbers, especially because when you start you see all of these established blogs and maybe think — I want to be like that.

      I think, to be honest, that I am more driven in my book life than I am in my non-book life. I’m very hyper-focused on the blog, sometimes to my detriment.

      That truly is the best feeling, when someone reads and enjoys a book based on your recommendation. It’s wonderful to spread book love.

      Thank you for your perspective, Kate.

  4. OMG YES. But I just have to realize that I can’t do blogging every day as well as work, sleep, read, and also hang out with friends. I just couldn’t keep up with it, so I’ve dialed it back to just 3 posts a week (with the occasional IMM cuz that’s not too hard), usually reviews but occasionally an interview or blog tour. I also want to get back into writing and so it was necessary to prioritize things.

    I do feel like it’s a competition sometimes- getting the next hottest ARC, scoring an interview with a big author, getting fifty bajillion comments on a post, etc. I do get sad and frustrated sometimes when I look at other blogs and see they have 30 comments while I’m lucky to even get one, despite my being around 5+ years. But you just need to forget about it and keep doing what you’re doing. Try and remember that you’re blogging because of your love for books and because it’s fun.

    Great discussion post!

    • It is very hard to keep up good content every single day. I do think that interviews and blog tours definitely help to keep the content up, especially when the guest post is very well done. It’s unfortunate that those do not seem to get the comments they deserve.

      I think while ARCs are pretty neat, they cause a lot of strife in the community sometimes, the green eyed monster and what not.

      The love of books thing is essential, if you lose that then what is the point in blogging.

  5. Book blogging and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it. Truly, I do. I think the community is awesome, and Lord knows I love me some literature. BUT, I put so much freaking pressure on myself that I’ve burned myself out a lot this year, and i almost quit, which is sad after 2 years.

    I’ve had to take a step back and remember why I do it in the first place.

    • I think we are very similar with the pressure and the burnout. I am not on the verge of quitting, though, but I could see myself getting to that point.

      It’s amazing how the step back can really put things into perspective for you and reignite the passion you have.

  6. I think I need to share this post. You make a lot of sense. I am really sad you feel this way, but you are SO RIGHT. It does feel like a competition a lot of times. Especially between me and my blogging friends. I get frustrated because I have been around a year and a half now and there are blogs that have been around half that time who have more pageviews and followers than I do. So naturally my first thought is that they don’t like me, or I am doing something wrong. It’s upsetting. I just need to take a step back and read and not care so much whether or not I have daily content (I never do), or worry about how fast I am reading/reviewing. I started doing this for the love of books. I need to get back to that. Thanks, April.

    • Love of books is absolutely the crux of the matter and sometimes that does get lost in the ‘rat race’ to be THE BEST and get all of the views and followers.

      It’s hard when you compare yourself to others, ya know? But so totally human. I do it all the time, hence this post and like you, I am working on getting back to my passion.

  7. This post is awesome. I’m not sure if I so much get competitive with blogging, as I look at what everyone else is doing and thinking, “well, that’s the standard I have to hit, and if I don’t, I’ve failed.” Which is ridiculous. The whole point of having a blog is so that I can post what I want, not what other people post. Still trying to find that happy place where I just post the things I want to post, at times that work for me, and yet don’t plummet my pageviews down to zero (because while I don’t think we should grovel at the altar of the almighty pageview, we ARE blogging for other people to read…right?) And I definitely want to find time for things that have taken a back burner lately, like movies and TV and pleasure reading. It’s funny, I started my blog to motivate me to read more, but now I feel like if I’m not reading (and reading the “right” books), I am somehow slacking on my “job.” Um, note to self: it’s not a job. And you can read what you want. Chill.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I love that you wrote this, and you’re not alone!

    • I do grovel at the altar of the almighty pageview and it is ridiculous, but besides blogging for myself as an outlet, conversing with people is the very best thing about book blogging, I think.

      Blogging really can feel like a job — it seems as though you have to maintain a set schedule, review the books that come in the mail, and always have to have reviews ready to go and posted. Sometimes that’s incredibly hard.

      It is good to know that I am not alone, I think as bloggers we are all in this together and can definitely support each other through these moments of doubt and envy, ya know?

  8. I know I’m not a well-known blogger, and perhaps this is what really helps keep the pressure off of my shoulders when it comes to my blog (not that I haven’t felt it before). While I love reading and blogging, sometimes it can just get to be too much, and I have other interests outside of blogging and books. There are some great and amazing bloggers out in the blogosphere, and I’m happy to follow them, give them pageviews, and whatnot. I am in awe of them, and sometimes a little jealous that they’re able to read as they do, blog as they do, and work as they do. They’re super-readers, that’s all there is to it.

    As a librarian, my job revolves around books, so when I’m unsure about some titles, I turn to those active bloggers to help decide what can be added to my library’s collection. I definitely don’t need to be jealous of people that help me with my job even if they don’t know it. Really, it’s all about doing it in your own time, and if you can only review one book a week, remember that it’s okay. Some of the most insightful people have a lesser-known blog, and it’s always my hope to drive others to those blogs so they can see, too. Thanks for the great discussion. 🙂

    • I love your point about plenty of insightful people with lesser-known blogs. Many of my favorite blogs are the ones who aren’t getting thousands of page views per day.

      I am also in awe of bloggers who really have their stuff together. There are some people I know who have months of content scheduled in advance whereas I sometimes struggle from day to day.

      It is really cool that blogs are a helpful resource for your job. I can see where blogs could be another tool in the chest of librarians, I think we (bloggers and librarians) should definitely be allies, ya know?

      Anyways, thank you for stopping by!

  9. I am loving this post, especially since I just returned from a fairly long hiatus due to the stresses of blogging far outweighing the enjoyment…

    stepping back and taking a deep breath is definitely a sound piece of advice. 🙂

    • I missed you while you were on your hiatus.

      It seems like taking a break helps to put things into perspective, as does relaxing and maybe a break can get the creative juices flowing.

      In summary: I am just really glad you are back.

  10. You know my feelings on this topic as we’ve had it a million times over and between gchat and my confessions posts & other blogging posts I’ve shared all my feelings about blogging pressures and what not.

    This is a very well articulated post! Good reminder!

  11. I never felt like it was a competition, so it always confused me when people did. I’m glad to see you don’t want to see it that way anymore! *love*

    • I wish I could have an attitude, but a lot of who I am in real life carries over into my blogging, which is great — except for the whole competitive, not entirely secure in myself bit.

      I have to admit, I am very jealous that you’ve never felt the competition pressure. I think that means perhaps you are very self-confident or self-assured and that is an incredibly wonderful thing to be.

      Thank you for your kind words, it’s definitely going to be a bit of an uphill battle, as change always is.

  12. This is such a refreshing and TRUE post! Thanks for putting it out there. I know that I’ve both been the receiver of some catty remarks as well as the speaker/thinker of a few, and that’s just ridiculous. We are a community! We all love books, and we shouldn’t ever put one another down or try to “defeat” another blog. Frankly, with our powers combined, we could take over the world, Pinky & The Brain style. Thanks for this, April!

    • I feel like as bloggers, and many of us females, we have been on both ends – the receiving and the speaking/thinking end, and like you said it’s ridiculous. I love the phrase — ‘United we stand, divided we fall’, because it’s true. Our community does seem weakened when it’s divided and with all the in-fighting and I know for a fact that when I get involved with that stuff, I am not at all able to get anything done, thus a weaker blog.

      Also? I kind of really love your Pinky & The Brain reference, because it’s absolutely a truth. 🙂

      Thank you for commenting, Jessica!

  13. I’ve never really felt the numbers pressure. Mostly because I decided early on not to look. I have the GFC button but that’s more for convenience for my followers. I only look at my stats when I need to update my Netgalley profile or something like that.
    I do suffer from self imposed pressure to have a new post up every day. It was killing me and making me read when I didn’t want to. I ended up hating almost every book so that’s my goal. Only read/blog/review when I have something to say.

    • It’s really cool that you only look to update Netgalley. For me, I am so addicted that I check it when I wake up, throughout the day, and before I go to bed. So, I am very envious of your ability to not look.

      I think that the pressure to have new content gets to a lot of us, especially when it comes to reading and reviewing. Like you, I’ve read when I didn’t want to and had unfair feelings about the book.

      I love the approach you have – ‘only read/blog/review when I have something to say’ that is a very wise way to look at blogging and reading.

  14. Excellent post! I am that person too- I put way too much on myself and feel like I have to have content every single day. It is much easier now that I am blogging WITH someone- but before I felt like I was under so much pressure.

    I have to keep reminding myself- that even if noone comes to my blog and I never get an ARC ever again- it is about the books, and sharing what books I liked and didnt like- it isn’t about all the other junk!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • A lot of us feel that pressure — because I think we’re driven to excellence, ya know? We want to put out this great awesome content every single day and sometimes that is not sustainable.

      A co-blogger definitely makes it easier, especially if they become active in the blogging world.

      For me, I’d get upset if no one came to my blog. But if there were no more ARCs, I’d be fine, I have this awful book buying addiction. You are right though, the best part of blogging is the sharing your feelings on books.

      Thanks for dropping by, Coranne! 😀

  15. Do you ever feel the need to churn out content constantly?
    Yeah, I get nervous when my blog stays silent for too long, because in my blogging history I kind of went to the two extremes. at first I blogged only when I felt like it and I didn’t stress about it, but I also didn’t have followers and my blog didn’t grow.
    And then, when I started to take it more seriously and started to come out of my shell a bit more I wanted to do it all the time, but I quickly realized it just wasn’t possible. And, hence, the pressure to put content out started.

    Do you feel intense pressure in relation to our shared hobby?
    All the time, particularly when it comes to review copies I get, I used to feel like I needed to finish them all and review them and even try to put a positive spin on the reviews if I didn’t like them. Now I’m more lenient with myself in that I allow myself to DNF books that just don’t work for me. But I still feel bad about it.

    Have you ever found yourself thinking catty things or being petty out of jealousy?
    Not that often lately, but I used to a lot. When i saw blogs that were, I don’t know, less than six months old that had three times more followers than mine when I had been blogging for two years already. Sure I felt jealousy. But I got over it eventually because well, each is free to do their own thing.

    Do you ever feel like blogging is a competition? What do you do to snap your self out of it? Are you able to snap yourself out of that attitude?
    I did feel like it was a competition at the beginning but more and more I just think of it as hanging out with friends and that helps . I’m deeply neurotic though, so I like to be in control and plan ahead and then I get frustrated when I can’t finish a book on time and the review doesn’t happen. But well, sometimes you just can’t. Last May, my dad was in the hospital for about a week and that really helped me put things in perspective. I love Blogging but sometimes it just isn’t worth it to stretch yourself so thin.

    • There’s so much I want to touch on in reply to your comment!

      1. I did not know you’ve been to two extremes in your blogger past. I wonder if the two extremes have given you perspective on both sides. I definitely agree though that a blog does grow when content is more regular. I think a lot of us want to be able to blog all the time or just be able to do it all, ya know.

      2. I feel a lot of pressure with review copies too. Like, I have a hard time letting older ones that I haven’t gotten to yet go, even unsolicited ones, because in my head I am like I NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND REVIEW THIS. It’s really fantastic that you have the ability to DNF and let a book go, hopefully in time, you won’t feel so bad about it.

      3. I wonder if that is something everyone goes through, like sometimes we look for validation in our numbers and when we see someone who is younger but more successful, we might wonder where we went wrong and then jealousy crops up. I really want to get to the point where I’m like oh, yeah that’s cool they are just doing their thing.

      4. I love the way of framing your thinking as blogging is a way of hanging out with bookish friends. I think I’d like to adapt that attitude.

      5. It is NO fun being stretched thin, as I’ve been discovering.

  16. I think I’m just the kind of person who is always putting pressure on herself to do things well whether it be writing, marriage, friendships, work, or baking something right. (I have been like this since the womb, I think.) My need to do well with my own blog, because it is a reflection of me, is just an extention of that. So that does lead to me feeling tired or stressed or jealous sometimes… it’s natural.

    I have to say… I never once thought about not visiting a blog because it would give them page views. I bounce around between the book and the Disney blog community, and also newlywed, craft blogs and… I just like them if they are honest, real, and doing something unique. There are so many blogs out there & I visit because they make me happy and make me learn something about the subject or about the person writing them.

    I run two blogs right now (one alone, and one with someone else) and both are run very differently. With RBR, we always have a backlog of reviews. That way if we don’t feel like writing for weeks at a time, we really don’t have to. But we are still able to get out of the word about awesome books all the time. It’s actually nice because I can never manage to get ahead when it comes to my Disney blogging. But it’s taken me a long time to find my niche for both, and my voice when it comes to writing, and I have to say I’m proud of the time I take to work on these things… even if it leads to little attention or comments. It has my name on that and that is my own stamp of approval. I know that I’m being my true self and reading/writing about what I want when I want to. If anything in the past year of blogging about books that is what I learned. I am going to get burnt out if I am not enjoying it. If I feel like things are getting stale, I have to change it up for me.

    I’m so impressed by the work that so many people put into their blogs, podcasts, whatever. I know the chunk of time it takes out of my life and everyone should be patting themselves on the back a little bit more. Sometimes I don’t know if we realize we are in the minority of people who have the motivation to bust their ass for something that we don’t have to do.

    • Estelle, I did not know you had a Disney blog! That is the COOLEST thing ever. Seriously.

      I like blogs that are honest and real as well. I think one’s blogging voice can make all of the difference in whether I return or not, you know?

      I am jealous of your backlog of reviews and awesome organizational skills. I have about 10 reviews sitting in my NEED TO WRITE pile and I think once I get them done the pressure will ease up.

      What you said about pressure and putting your name to what you do — I agree with that. I take pride in this and so I want to be at my very best, even though sometimes I do screw up spelling or grammar or autocorrect changes words on me, but there is something to be said for putting your best foot forward and being driven blogging wise.

      “Sometimes I don’t know if we realize we are in the minority of people who have the motivation to bust their ass for something that we don’t have to do.” This bit of your comment really makes me smile and is something that I often forget and need to remember more often. Thank you for saying it.

  17. Great points! I don’t feel like its a competition per se, but I do feel pressure to keep my content fresh and posted in regular intervals. My blog is still pretty new, but I admit, when I first started I felt an extreme urgency to gain followers. Thank god that feeling wore off pretty quickly. I don’t worry about that now and let the cards fall as they may. Like you, ever so often, I do remind myself that I’m doing this for fun and not as a job. 🙂 For example, there comes a time here and there that I don’t want to finish a book, and I have to talk myself down from the feeling of obligation to finish it at all costs!

    • I bet we all feel that urgency when we start, especially when we look around and see other people with so many followers. Everyone has to start somewhere though.

      It’s cool that you don’t worry and seem to be laid back.

      Yes! I need to remind myself consistently that blogging is for FUN not for work.

      I still have a tough time DNFing.

  18. I love seeing posts like this and hearing how others are feeling.

    I am pretty new, but about a month or so after I started my blog, I started to feel pressure to post something everyday or people weren’t going to stop by my blog. Luckily, I have stepped back a tiny bit on that but I still worry if I go 2 days without a post. I can’t help it! But this kind of goes with my slower reading issues. I can only crank out 8-10 books a month and I’ll see others reading 20 or so. I used to read more like 11-12 a month, but blogging takes a great deal of time away from that. So I also feel the pressure to read book after book to keep up. But I am really trying to just let that go and not worry. I have to read at my own pace or else I will ruin the book experience.

    I also put pressure on myself to return every comment I get. If I get a day or so behind on it, I freak out. I know it sounds silly, but I like to repay the courtesy as much as I can. (I am 4 days behind right now, which is HARD for me to deal with)

    Those are basically my personal pressures I feel that may make me feel like blogging is a competition. I really don’t feel any for the amount of followers or pageviews right now. Or even for ARCs, since I don’t request ARCs from publishers as of yet, except occasionally on netgalley. So there is no reason for me to feel any upset there. But of course I get crazy jealous! LOL

    • I agree that blogging does take a lot of time away from reading, although, on the other hand with readathon events, that usually makes up the time, at least for me. Plus blogging got me into audiobooks which increases my numbers. We should all read at our paces because at the heart of blogging about books is our enjoyment and passion for the activity of reading.

      The comment pressure is hard. It’s great to be able to repay the courtesy but sometimes it’s hard to come up with something to say, particularly if you just aren’t feeling talkative that day. I do think it’s a great thing though to build those sort of relationships and connections.

      I liked hearing about your personal pressures, although they are a bit different from mine. We really are all in this together.

      Being jealous is totally human nature.

  19. Great post!

    Back at the beginning of the year, I viewed blogging as a competition — I worked hard at updating my blog and making it the best it could be, writing up content, author news, and whatnot, and was completely burnt out. I took the ENTIRE month of May off. Now, I’m reminding myself that blogging is for me. I love the group of people who comment on my blog and converse with me on Twitter — that’s what matters. If I keep doing it for me and stop stressing over the petty things, the people will come! I want to be thankful for the viewers and commenters I have. And read for me — not for reviews or anything. I’ve also stopped accepting review books. Not sure when I’ll start that back up again, but it’s nice to not have that on my plate.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • I can see how doing so much content and update-wise can burn you out, it definitely burns me out. I imagine you must have come back from May feeling so refreshed.

      Isn’t it great, the little communities we each build on our blogs of commenters. I love the people who comment here regularly and they certainly comment on more than the petty things, ha ha.

      I love the idea of reading for yourself. I need to get back to that.

      Thanks for commenting, Kristilyn!

  20. First off, those doggies are adorable! Had to comment on that, being a huge dog lover!

    I think we all feel a bit competative with other book bloggers. I am relatively new to the book blogging community (I started my blog just sixth months ago!), but I definitely do want to have a successful blog. So sometimes, the green-eyed monster shows his ugly face.

    I know of a couple of other book blogs that began around when I started, and they definitely have more comments/unqiue visits than I have, and I do get a little jealous. But at the same time, I’m happy for them.

    I just try to tell myself that their success doesn’t mean that my blog isn’t good.

    I am definitely feeling the pressure to churn out content, though. I also listen to audiobooks in the car now (and I have a very short commute to work) to help me have more reviews. And I like to have 6 posts a week, which can be exhausting.

    And I am leaving lots of comments on other blogs, which is making my hand hurt from so much time spent on the computer.

    I think that is what happens when you want something new to succeed. Especially when you are doing everything by yourself, or with one other person.

    Anyway, don’t feel bad that you feel competative sometimes. Again, I think we all do. But, like you said, just tell yourself to relax, and know that what you are putting out is great. And it is good that other blogs are also successful, but that means people are loving reading books! And that is the best! Meeting/talking to people who love the same things we do.

    • Sorry – I mean competitive – not competative. Spelliing had never been a strong suit!

    • Quinn, dogs are my favorite!
      The green-eyed monster shows up wayyy too much for me.
      I think you are a far better person than me for already being happy for others, I am trying very hard to learn that, but it is not easy. I love your philosophy of just because someone else is successful doesn’t mean your blog isn’t good — that’s true and I really think maybe we should all relax on comparing ourselves to others, I know that I need to. And I think when I see other blogs being super successful my brain goes LOOK AT HOW GOOD THEY ARE DOING why aren’t you that good WHY WHY WHY! Which is obviously a stupid way to think, but my nature.

      I also love the last bit of your comment about how it means that people are loving reading books. That is perhaps, the very best thing about a thriving bookosphere, the love of literacy.

  21. those dogs are the best thing that happened to my RSS reader all day! thanks!

  22. I LOVE this post, April, so thank you for being so honest about this issue! I started blogging just a few months ago and while I’d been writing reviews on GoodReads for awhile, I found out that blogging was so much more than just reviews – a lot of it had to do with interacting as well! So, for that first month while I tried to build up contacts, I also grew extremely frustrated. My IMM/StS posts were lame with older books or new books I’d just bought while everyone else seemed to be receiving ARCs and I’d struggle to attain the necessary blog statistics to convince publishers on NetGalley to accept my requests! It felt like a giant competition, except instead of page views, I was obsessed with comparing follower #’s. I’d look at blogs which had only been running for a month or two like mine and despair that I’d never get as many followers as them and it you’re right…it was another competition. Another high school race to the Best Blogger.

    THEN I think things began to change for me. Once I finally started getting more ARCs, I began to see that it wasn’t such a big deal. I didn’t even like half of them and then I got grumpy because I didn’t have time to read the books I wanted to read! I stopped looking at follower #’s since most of the time, that didn’t even reflect the quality of comments on your blog and I genuinely began to enjoy interacting with my fellow bloggers and blogging ceased to be a competition and started being something I enjoyed. I’m still worried about blogging, just because with school beginning again I won’t have as much time to read and I don’t want to lose my readers, but I think blogging is more about the fun and the friendships and the books than the ARCs or the statistics. If publishers give me ARCs, then great! If they don’t, then I’ll get to read those books at my own leisure. I think it took awhile for me to realize all that, but now that I get it, I’m loving it all the more. Plus, I think a lot of the author/blogger “wars” that broke out were also a huge part of the reason why so many bloggers felt the need to compete with one another lately, but I simply love your post. Thank you so much for sharing this one with us and it’s definitely been a wonderful discussion starter! 🙂

    • Keertana, like you I came from Goodreads to the blogging world and was frustrated at how long it took to build contacts and make friends and such. Granted, when I started 3 years ago, the blogging world was a lot smaller than it is now which is good and bad in different ways. I definitely remember the jealousy over the follower box count, especially on blogs where the follower box would be a HUGE number but the reviews were few and far between with nothing but memes and contests. I remember being utterly jealous and bitter about that. For me, that really abated when I switched to wordpress and dropped the google friend connect box.

      When you touched on ARCs, I have to say that is a great point. I think they spark so much in-fighting, that I wonder if they are really worth it, ya know? I do get a lot of review copies — mostly unsolicited and honestly, it’s a lot of pressure and I do think they bring in competition.

      I also love the discussion this has set off and seeing what other people have to say, I think overall we’ve got a very wonderful and supportive community in book blogging.

  23. If it helps, I originally found your blog about a year ago when my agent gave me a list of the Top 30 Book Bloggers preferred by agents, editors, and publicists in the US, and you were number 4!

    So I’d say, that ever you ‘re doing, you are doing it right! 🙂

    • Julianna, that is HUGELY flattering and an honor. Also extremely surprising as I can think of many blogs who do a much better job than I do.

      Thank you though, this comment certainly is one to look at when I’m facing a crisis of self-confidence. 🙂

  24. DOGGIES!!

    Well, now that I’ve gotten that out, I want to say that I admire the honesty behind your admission. It’s hard to admit these things, especially when it comes to ourselves, so you definitely deserve MAJOR kudos for sharing with all of us, your readers. *snaps for April* (And yes, I threw that Legally Blonde reference in there for absolutely no reason at all, other than it came to mind.)

    To answer your first question, YES. I always feel like I should update the blog and keep my posting schedule consistent. This often results in me panicking if I forget to schedule or write a post, which has led to some very long reflection about posts on the blog. Fairly recently, I made a personal decision to just post what I could when I could and to try not to feel any guilt about not posting on a day or two. To me, it’s MY blog, and I do it mostly for me, so I shouldn’t let pressure get to me. It’s been tough trying to change my own mindset, but it’s starting to work!

    I used to get jealous easily, especially when it came to the books other people had access to and their great relationships with publishers and other bloggers. But that was a while back – these days, I’ve learned to be happy with the friends I have, the pubs I get to work with and all the books I’m granted access too. I realized how much of a blessing what I already had was, and so it’s been easy for me to be more grateful than anything else.

    When I start thinking of blogging as a competition, I take a step back and force myself to reflect and really think about things. That usually means going off to eat something (preferably something sweet), watching TV series or just hanging out with non-blogger friends. It also means just sitting and thinking about my blog, and what I really get from it and what I hope to get from it. This often reminds me of my primary goals when blogging (connecting with other people and sharing my thoughts on books) and how I’m meeting them by doing just what I do.

    Thank you for starting this awesome discussion! I love reading the comments too 🙂

    • I love Legally Blonde, ha ha.
      That panic over not scheduling posts is all too common. I have this weekend off and Monday and I should be spending it writing posts and not reading, but come Tuesday I know I will be in a panic if I don’t schedule anything.

      I think the friends we make book blogging are always a blessing, and while it would be nice to be friendly with more people and also nice to have a better relationship with pubs, what we have is pretty sweet, especially the wide circle of friends who are passionate about books.

      That step back is SO essential. Also sweet food. I wish I could hang with non-blogger friends, but since my move here, my friends all live back home which is like an hour which is not far but given the cost of gas, hanging out is rare.

      Thanks for commenting, Alexa. I always love how intelligent and well thought out your comments are.

  25. Thank for this insightful post!
    As a new Book Blogger it is very daunting just jumping into a community that is so vast yet close knitted at the same time.
    I get excited when I see even 2 page views on my blog, but it does get disheartening when you see other pages with thousands of followers yet none on mine. haha. I know this takes time and patience, but it feels like being a needle in a haystack.
    Trying to make your blog stand out compared to the others is a big challenge, but I’m sure when I get into the swing of posting regularly and writing about what people want to read I am hoping my views increase.

    What we need to remember that we are doing what we do because we love books and reading. If we forget that, all we are is pathetic schoolchildren vying for the “popular blogger’s” attention, hoping that our own work gets a mention.

    Once you love what you do, other people will love what you do.

    I am looking forward to becoming a fully fledged member of the community, and getting to know people from all over the world.

    If anyone who wants to get to know a Book Blogger from Scotland, please don’t hesitate to email me emmaseminentbooks(at)gmail(dot)com

    Great post, and great blog.

    Emma
    http://emmaseminentbooks.blogspot.co.uk

    • Emma, I think that persistence is really important starting out. Don’t get discouraged, continue blogging and commenting and posting and being friendly. It absolutely does take time and patience but with hard work and passion you will get there. 🙂

      “Once you love what you do, other people will love what you do.” – Those are words to live by. 🙂

      I look forward to getting to know you and wish you all the best in your blogging endeavors. Welcome to the community! If you should need anything or have any blogging questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 🙂

  26. My blog isn’t super popular but sometimes I did feel the pressure of having to have reviews up and do all the memes and it really got to me. I took some time off this summer and reflected. I wasn’t happy blogging anymore because I felt like it wasn’t about me and the books that I loved anymore. I kind of revamped my blog and pretty much stopped accepting review copies (unless it was something I was really passionate about) and am much happier.

    Right now I am focusing on hosting a few read alongs, doing a self-governed classics challenge and mostly posting about books I get from the library. I feel very free and relaxed now. I love that I’m really blogging for myself now.

    • I love all the people who have commented about taking time off and reflecting, it seems like you all have come to some solid conclusions and it’s something as an observer, that I personally feel like I can learn from — how you guys are saying that blogging should be about the books you love. Certainly that passion reflects and I think it also reflects when you lose it. As for review copies, I always am on the fence between whether or not to completely stop accepting them — I have limited the amount I solicit and am for the most part comfortable with the amount that comes in the mail although some weeks are very overwhelming.

      Readalongs are the best, I had such a blast during the Roots readalong and talking about the chapters we read every day with Allison over at the Allure Of Books.

  27. I completely agree. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the number of comments and other stats. I’m trying to focus on the conversations and the relationships but it can be hard. Thanks for the reminder that we’re all in this together.

  28. My problem is with jealousy. Which leads to depression, both of which are completely nonsensical.

    Great post, April!

  29. All of the comments I just scrolled through show how important this topic is to book bloggers. I do feel pressure to keep up content and I feel disappointed when my page ratings go down or I lose a follower, but lately I’ve stopped caring as much if my blog has fewer followers than someone else’s. I know that my blog doesn’t appeal to as many people due to the genres I focus on, and I’m okay with that — I wouldn’t want to change the type of book I read and enjoy just to attract more readers, because the point for me is the reading, not the blogging. I also like the actual process of writing out my thoughts — if we didn’t have the internet to communicate, I would maybe still do it just to organize how I felt about a book (or maybe not, because I’m lazy. But I like the idea of it). It took me a long time to feel comfortable with the fact that I have a smaller blog than some, but I feel like I’ve gotten to a good place.

    • Lorren, I love that you focus on different genres with your blog. As an eclectic reader myself, I love reading the blogs of people who have a variety of tastes.

      I love that for you the point is the reading. I think the blogging absolutely enhances the reading experience and really does help to process how we think about books and our reactions to them. I probably wouldn’t do it if we didn’t have the internet to communicate because I am totally lazy, I love that you would though, maybe.

      It’s fantastic that you are in a good place, I hope many of us in the community can reach that some day. I know I am on my way there, I hope.

  30. I have been feeling #4 so very much lately. It’s why I took all of August off from my blog. And I don’t even pretend to think my blog has a huge following because it doesn’t but yet I was still letting those pressures get to me. As I’ve started blogging again this month, I’ve promised myself that it is OKAY not to have new content every day, that it is OKAY not to be reading all the time because frankly, I’m tired of reading lately. I want to do something else. I hate the jealousy I feel towards other blogs when all I want to feel is love and support for these blogs that do great things for authors and books. I think if I take a step back and have a healthier, more me positive attitude towards blogging, I’m hoping I’ll be back in the game on every level. Great post April.

    • Sarah, you always seem like such a consistent reviewer and I am surprised you don’t have a huge following it.

      It’s one thing to tell yourself it’s okay to not have new content everyday and it’s okay to not read all the time, but another thing entirely to follow through on that. I hope you are able to do something else so that you don’t end up burning out completely.

      I love that you want to have a healthier, self-positive attitude towards blogging. That’s something I am striving towards as well. Cheers friend, I think we can accomplish this. 🙂

  31. I learned a long time ago I was never going to be one of the big blogs. I’m so totally small fry that most people won’t give me the time of day because my follower count isn’t high enough. I’m fine with this. I’ve had bloggers be catty with me on twitter or just generally not comment back. I try to make friends but most don’t want to chat with me. I’ve found a few friends and that’s good for me. Would I love a high follower count, sure. Would I like millions of comments, sure. But it isn’t going to happen. I’m OK with that. I try and do my best and that’s all I can do. I don’t get paid to blog and I have a family. My life and family comes first. I enjoy reading and blogging but I don’t want it to stress me out. That means I can’t be one of the big guys. That’s OK.

    I blog for my friends and family and anybody extra is icing on the cake. It is great when my family/friends ask me for books rec’s weekly or tell me they read a book they saw on my blog and liked it. I want reading and blogging to be relaxing. Right now, it is.

    • I think it’s the dumbest thing ever to not even look at a blog because they don’t have a huge follower count. Some of the most passionate bloggers I know are ‘small fry’ and I love their content regardless of audience size. People with that attitude are missing out.

      I am awful at commenting back lately and need to work on improving. 🙁

      Also? Your blog is awesome! I love all the romance reviews, especially the ones of audiobooks. As a huge audiobook consumer, your voice is important to me.

      Also when you put blogging in perspective alongside life and family, it certainly makes all the drama and pettiness seem rather insignificant.

      I’m glad to hear your blogging is relaxing as well as your reading. I hope it stays that way. 🙂

  32. OMG. I wrote an insanely long post and it disappeared. 🙁

    Well, the gist was the following:

    1) You are awesome and I love you for being so honest.
    2) We need to cultivate a loving book blogging community.
    3) I struggle with all of those things as well, especially the competitiveness, like when bloggers have more followers than I do after 3 months when I’ve been at this two years or ones that have like 1 review a week. But, ultimately, I need to find my satisfaction from myself, not from others. I enjoy what I’m doing and need to focus on that.

    • Also, the puppies remind me a little bit of Heen from Howl’s Moving Castle. Oh, the adorable.

    • Actually, if you click on the corgi picture, lol that’s where the comment went. 😛

      1) Thank you. 🙂

      2) I agree, we really need to maybe move from being petty with each other towards being supportive of each other. Sure it’s fine to disagree and have different opinions, but a lot of the jealousy and in-fighting is so draining and I think we can do so much for literacy and our love of reading if we were more loving.

      3) I have felt that way for a very long time and it’s taken a lot for me to begin to move away from that. It’s so essential to find your validation within yourself and not with what others are doing or to compare yourself to others.

  33. *hugs*. I understand comparing and sometimes I feel like.. I compete with myself a little bit, but I also really like NOT being in high school anymore. Just remembering that is such a relief it puts it into perspective for me.

    I like your honesty in this post. 🙂

    • I still have a lot of confidence issues from high school and that unfortunately does shape my attitude sometimes. Like you, I am SO glad those days are over. It definitely does provide perspective for sure, like we’re adults time to stop comparing ourselves and instead focus within.

      Thanks, I think it’s hard to be frank sometimes, but worth it for the load it takes off your chest, ya know?

  34. I’m sure most bloggers go through some of these feelings, April, and it’s great that you’ve been so honest 🙂 I don’t get too caught up on followers/visitor count, although I do realise they matter to publishers/Netgalley. I always appreciate comments on our posts and I always make sure to comment on other blogs because I know others enjoy receiving them, but I know some bloggers don’t bother with commenting.

    Try not to let the pressure get to you (I know it’s easy to say, harder to do!) I think blogging can be fun, but it’s good to take a break and remember why we do it 🙂

    • You definitely get a ton of comments on your posts, which is wonderful because you do your part to be an active member of the community. I think it is awesome that you don’t get caught up in the numbers game. I wish I could be that way.

      Also? I think it’s odd some people don’t bother to comment. What is the point of that.

      I think over the last week, I’ve had sort of a mini break and it has helped to put things in perspective just a little bit, but has not totally relieved the pressure.

  35. I have a very small blog following, and I’m ok with that. I put up reviews of books I’ve picked to read (and usually purchased). It’s an extension of my bookseller career–even more people to tell about books I’ve enjoyed. I put pressure on myself to read a lot and try not to review what everyone else is reading, but some hidden gems I’ve come across during work. I find that keeping track of what I’ve read is great, but also a double edged sword–it makes me very conscious of numbers. I don’t pay any attention to how many followers other people have or how many page views–it doesn’t matter to me. I’m just glad so many people are keeping reading alive!

    • Sue, I think it’s so cool that you review hidden gems. I love when blogs do that and when I come across great books that have not had a lot of noise or hype.

      I remember when my blog had a small following I used to review mainly purchased and library books and picked all of my books to read. Now that I’ve gotten a larger following, I feel like I have to read everything that comes in my mail or at least may the attempt.

      Definitely a huge advantage of blogging is keeping track of your reading and your thoughts, but yeah the numbers can be kind of a drawback.

      It’s so cool that our book blogging community generates a love of reading and discussing books.

  36. I don’t think I get competitive, although sometimes I see a blog with horrendous grammar and two-line reviews that is more popular than mine and I see a little red, but then I breathe and remind myself that getting insulter over another blogger’s success is ridiculous.

    • Oh yes, I’ve been there before with the seeing red, especially over 2 line reviews. I’m like come on, all they did was say it was good and recapped the summary. Where is the meat!

      But yes, that deep breath is SO important, because we should be applauding each other’s successes not getting upset over it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Liviania!

  37. Do you ever feel the need to churn out content constantly?

    Y E S. I give myself a break on weekends but I do feel like I need to post every day, even though I know it’s my blog so I can really do what I want. I’d really love to be one of those book bloggers who are like c’est la vie but it’s so hard for me to ease up.

    Have you ever found yourself thinking catty things or being petty out of jealousy? Do you ever feel like blogging is a competition? What do you do to snap your self out of it? Are you able to snap yourself out of that attitude.

    Okay to the competition question: I always thought “no, I haven’t” because that never occurred to me because the community is so great, supportive, etc. etc. but I realise that I HAVE gotten jealous of other bloggers before so I guess that does mean I have seen them as competition? I try to snap myself out of it pep talking myself but sometimes, it really is hard. I have perfectionist tendencies and I’m a very critical person so I truly am my own worse critic. Sigh.

    I really love blogging so I don’t ever want to feel completely burned out, even though I fear it’s inevitable.

    • I like that you give yourself weekend breaks. Personally, weekends are when I get most of my blogging done because my weeks are busy. I want to be a c’est la vie blogger too but it is hard for me to relax as well.

      Pep talking is super important. We’re very similar in being self-critics and it is hard, but like you said, keep pep talking. I also find that it helps to talk with friends who have been in the same place.

      We all go through a period of burn out, but most of us get through it. I think if you do burn out, you’ll get through it. Just remind yourself that you blog for love of reading and that the community you have created on your own blog is wonderful.

  38. This is an EXCELLENT post and I love tht you touched on it! After blogging for almost 3 years now, I always get frustrated with page views, followers, etc. So many times, I simply slacked off on my blog because I needed to get away. I’ve tried to not let my number of followers, page views, or subscriptions get to me. I’ve started blogging for MYSELF and no one else, like I had been for the past few years.

    I will say that I tend to vist more blogs where the blogger comments back or visits me. For me, that show’s that I’m not simply a comment; my time and effort to visit their blog isn’t a waste. I like it when bloggers reply to comments, maybe even if other don’t visit! I’ve never not commented becasue I was mad about giving them page views. Maybe we’d become friends and they’d visit my blog and I’d get page views then too. But I got something even better: friendship!

    • I tend to slack too when it gets to me, instead of focusing on getting things done I focus on my anxiety about not being good enough.

      I also visit the blogs of people who comment on mine. I actually have a special folder in my google reader titled commenters and always make sure to visit at least once a week, if not more because usually those commenters have eerily similar taste to me.

      I like when other bloggers reply to comments too. I usually go back and look if I know they are the sort who replies.

      Yeah, my thinking process is bizarre, but at least I call it what it is and am working to change it.

      Friendship is the best. 🙂

  39. When I first came to blogging I supposed that as you become used to it and made friends you would naturally gain more hits etc. That was when I did personal blogging and it doesn’t stand, “build it and they will come” – even if you make an effort to be active in the community, it won’t always happen and that’s just the way it is. Now in book blogging I just focus on having good conversations and I love getting comments because a person might say something that gives me an idea for a spin-off piece or just a good debate. A few friends and a good connection with a few bloggers is worth so much more than spending time reading every blog out there for no conversation.

    I do feel pressured to read a lot, and I admire you for saying what you have – it’s silly that such a thing is difficult to say, why have we let it be so? My worry is that once out of a routine I won’t get it back, and I know it’s hard based on experience of holidays etc. And I like writing and the fulfilment of having finished an article or review, so I do worry. In that way pressure is good, but the one regarding views and readers isn’t. It’s a fact that if you take a break you’ll likely lose readers, but the ones who truly like what you do will come back.

    • It sucks that sometimes the advice that works for others might not work for you — especially the build it and they will come advice. I truly believe that if you are active in the community and outgoing, you should gain an audience, so it’s just unfair when that doesn’t happen.

      I have say, the conversation aspect of book blogging is the best. I feel like I have a very strong connection with several bloggers and we have very good conversations not just about reading things, but life things. It’s wonderful to have people who understand you in a way that it seems like others don’t.

      I agree that once you lose a routine it’s hard to get back in the habit. I used to make it a priority to write reviews over the weekends and during free time, I was down to only 3 need to write reviews at one point. But then, I got out of that routine and it’s been like pulling teeth to try and get back in that habit.

      It’s true that if someone is truly loyal and truly likes you they will stick around after the hiatus. 🙂

  40. Wow, April. Reading how much you do to keep this blog running has made it clear to me exactly why I could never have a hugely successful book blog. You work [i]hard[/i]. Damn. I don’t think there are many people who are prepared to do what you do and from where I’m looking, it seems like you’ve already made it in the blogging world – I think you can afford to relax a bit now and again because you’ve built something here that people like and aren’t going to desert just because you miss a day of content.

    • Thank you, TG. It really is a lot of hard work. Honestly though, it’s worth it. I complain and moan about the pressures and the controversies and everything, but at heart, it’s so totally worth it.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve really been trying to ease up on myself these weeks and am slowly, but surely getting there.

  41. Thanks for being so honest. I definitely feel the pressure. I can’t stand not posting for a day because I’m so worried my page views will drop and everyone will forget about my little ole blog. But some days, I do need to not post, take a break and just breathe.

    It’s strange being in a community where we all want to support each other and say GO YOU, but it still feels like we’re all after the same ONE ARC or trying to climb to the top of some achievement ladder.

    I think trying to take a breather is our first step in relaxing a bit and taking the pressure off ourselves – because ultimately we’re the ones putting it there.

    • YES. You totally get it, the whole don’t post for a day out of sight out of mind thing. Although, it’s much more rational to take a break sometimes rather than burn out.

      I do think we all try to support it each other, but we are very human and it’s human nature to want what everyone else has, even the same ONE ARC or to achieve the amount of page views others have. In reality though, it’s like you don’t actually get a prize if you achieve a certain amount of page views and if you really want an ARC that bad you can just buy the finished copy when it comes out. It’s funny how we can forget to be supportive because of those things.

      That pressure that I have is from myself and no one else, you are right about taking a breather and just relaxing.

  42. Well said!I hope you got some things that have been bothering off your chest and can now start to remember it’s all about the fun! It’s easy to get caught up in in all and the pressure? Eh, it can really get to you sometimes. I’ve come to accept that I can’t and don’t even want to be posting everyday. It’s WAY too stressful, I don’t and will not put myself through that. If I had the post and things to say, then sure but…no. It can be easy to get jealous but what are we REALLY here for? Our love for books, the amazing authors and the chance to share our opinions and thoughts with our own kind – bookish people! That is the best part about blogging. We get to interact, chat and mingle with readers and bloggers who understand us and don’t look at us weirdly when we go on and on about books, swoon over fictional characters and are addictive to reading, to the point where we would rather stay in than venture out.

    Ask yourself this – why are YOU here? What matter’s most? Why do you read? Why do you blog?

    OK. This has inspired me. I could go on and on and on…but I think I’ll stop. Lovin’ this post, April, thanks for sharing and be open, as you can see from these 44 other comments, you’ve definitely hit something that a lot of bloggers can relate to.

    • Rebecca, you really put this whole thing into perspective.

      For me, yeah this post definitely has gotten everything off my chest and I feel much better and a little bit like I can relax just a little bit.

      As for jealousy, I think I have to remind myself of my purpose often. I love all of your positivity because it’s true, we get to mingle and interact with some of the best people ever.

      Those questions you say to ask yourself at the end, I need to ask myself those questions when I start to struggle and feel that overwhelmed, pressured feeling. Thanks for putting that out there.

      Your comment means a lot to me, and I am glad to know that others can relate to this as well.

  43. Best Post Today!!!

    For me, blogging got a LOT more fun when I quit worrying so darn much about all of this stuff. A few months ago I decided I was reading for me, writing for me, posting for me. It was supposed to be fun.

    I’ve gotten back to reading quickly and for fun… the whole what I want, when I want, where I want argument. And my blog feels less pressure. (I’ve also quit accepting EVERY review request I get. I only take those that generally interest me – and I rarely request on netgalley anymore.)

    BRAVO on an excellent post!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

    • Thank you, Jac.

      I agree that blogging is a whole lot more exciting when you chill out. When you are doing it entirely for yourself it really does become a fantastic hobby.

      I’m glad you are reading for fun. I am attempting to get to that place, I mean, the books I read are pretty wonderful, but there is a lot of them and at times that feels rather crushing.

      Good call on limiting what you request. I am trying that too, but still get plenty of things unsolicited which I don’t exactly mind, ha ha ha.

  44. Great post, April! Obviously we all have a lot to say about this! I, too, am guilty of jealousy when I see a plethora of followers, and pressuring myself about new content, but I’ve also found that the more I give others page views, the more page views I get (even if it’s not from the ones I’ve visited). It’s blogger karma! The more you put yourself out there to help and encourage others, the more successful you and your blog will be. When I start to feel negative about anything, I just try to remember that. Good for you for saying things most of us don’t want to and starting a discussion! You’re very brave!

    • It’s so wonderful to know that we are not alone in this blogging thing. I also find that the more I comment and the more I do to promote and help others, the more I get in return.

      You are so right about karma, and I think the more good vibes we put out there, the more we get back.

      I need to remember this too in times of negativity.

  45. I love this post! You’ve summed up everything I’ve been trying to write up for my post today beautifully. I totally linked back to this post in my Thoughtful Thursday post today.

    • Thank you!

      I still need to take the time to meaningfully read your Thoughtful Thursday post. I mean, I did one of those scanning things when I saw the link, but not to the level of depth that I wish to read it.

  46. I do a blog with a group of friends and I think, being a group really helps. Not that we post more often than other people….good god no. Even with three of us we don’t post every day. But with more than one person it’s easy to not get hung up on things.

    Like, I know one person couldn’t post this week because of a big crazy thing in her work life. So, if I’m having a crazy week and can’t post, I’m not hard on myself about it because I would never be hard on them.

    And while we’ve always paid attention to our statistics, they aren’t something we’ve ever been overly worried about because we do want this to be a hobby. We just want to talk about books with people.

    • The best part of collaborative blogging is the shared responsibility, not one person shoulders all the burdens, so I can see why being in a group is super helpful. I think it’s awesome that how you would not be hard on your co-bloggers reflects on how you are not hard on yourself.

      I do think that stats can sometimes take it from being a fun little hobby into more of a second job.

      Talking books with people is the best, and definitely, I think the point of book blogging, at least for me. 🙂

  47. I started book blogging entirely for myself, as a way to encourage myself to read more for fun. When I realized what an enormous would the book blogging community was (especially YA books…eep!) I admit to feeling pretty discouraged about developing the blog for other readers. I’ve had to keep reminding myself who I’m blogging for, and why. It’s important to know and love your audience. If it’s just five friends who take your book recs very seriously, that’s a whole different ballgame than writing for 5000. Neither is better. They’re just very different different.

    • Knowing your audience is essential. While the YA community is pretty vast, I feel like there is a niche for everybody and a group of friends for all.

      I love what you said about knowing who you are blogging for and why. I think that is very important to keep in mind when writing posts.

  48. Oh gosh, YES to all of it! I sometimes just need to take a deep breath as well and remember that I’m blogging because I love reading and want to share that! And it’s not about who gets the most page views/comments/ARCs/statues in their honor. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
    I definitely feel the pressure to have content and it’s sometimes hard to find the time for it. Also, I feel the constant need to read ALL the new releases because I like to keep up and be knowledgable about those. And they’re shiny. There’s that.
    I’m trying to just stop requesting egalleys, at least for a while. But it’s hard. Again, the shiny thing gets in the way. But it would definitely take some of the pressure off.
    I would love to have more time to comment on other blogs and make more friends!

    • 1. Blogging definitely should be about something a little more deeper than page views, ARCs, and statues, although I would like a statue, no lie. It’s so incredibly important to remember love of reading comes first.

      2. It’s hard sometimes coming up with all the content we are supposed to have and the time.

      3. I also feel a need to read all of the new releases although sometimes I’d rather read older books.

      4. I try to stop requesting egalleys but ended up requesting two recently.

      5. Having the time to leave a lot of comments is nice, I admit, but then personally I feel guilty when that time goes away.

  49. I really liked your post. I appreciative your honesty in it. I’m a fairly new blogger and I’m the only reviewer on my blog. I like to have at least 1 post a day on it, whether it be a meme, review or otherwise. I enjoy doing it and try to be as organized as possible, but sometimes I do feel a little pressure. What I feel pressure most about is reading quicker. But my life comes first, if it takes me a week to read a book, oh well. I’ve just had to slow down and say oh well. I just started audiobooks, I’m really enjoying them. I have 45 mins to work and back so it fills my time well. I haven’t gotten to the point where I feel like I HAVE TO.

    I don’t feel like it’s a competition though. I know there’s “cool kids” like I think of it. The real popular blogs, but I am confident in myself and my goals that I will build my follower base in due time. I think the nicer you are to people and be friends with them, networking yourself it makes it easier.

    Anyways…that’s my 2cents. Thanks for the honesty. 🙂

    • I think when you are the sole proprietor of your blog the pressure is a little more intense. It is nice to have constant content and to be organized.

      You are so not alone in reading pressure. I think you have a good attitude about your life coming first. Book blogging was how I discovered audiobooks and the have greatly enhanced the amount of books I’ve read as well as the reading experience.

      It’s awesome how confident you are in yourself, I hope you continue to stay confident as you blog. You definitely will build your base in time. It’s so true, the kinder you are the others, the more they will gravitate towards you.

  50. It’s definitely not a competition- my favourite part is meeting new people (like you – hi there 🙂 ) and I don’t really check the stats for my book blog, except to update NetGalley every couple of months.

    • Hi Rachel! 🙂

      It’s a huge advantage of book blogging, meeting a wonderful group of like minded people.

      That’s smart, not checking your stats. Although, there is an advantage in that you can see what content really works for your audience, but I imagine the low pressure is nice.

  51. I didn’t even know that I was supposed to update Netgalley with my stats :O I have been blogging for just over three months, and I blog a review when I finish a book, that’s it. Some weeks, there will be three or more reviews, others, maybe one; or none at all.

    To get to know other bloggers I participate in a Friday meme, but I do that just as much to find new blogs that write about books in a way I like as to gain more followers myself.

    Maybe it’s different because I’m not fresh out of high school? I don’t know. I started a blog because I followed several bloggers, and I love that it’s possible to personalize the pages, with my favorite colors as well as doing some other things that are not easy to do on Goodreads 🙂

    I still think your post is both interesting and important, though. We really are all on the same side here – the one where we love books and reading!

    • Ha ha, I’m 25, so not exactly fresh out of high school either.

      I just wanted to comment that really quick. I will be back to formulate a longer response comment, I promise! 😀

    • Lexxie, your laid back style is quite wonderful. I like that you are chill about how many reviews you post and when.

      How cool that you use a Friday meme to get to know more people! Lately, I rely on twitter and then Top Ten Tuesday — I tend to follow blogs that put a lot of personality into their posts.

      I still carry battle scars from high school even though it’s been 7 years since I was in high school. It’s cool how unique and individual you can be with your blog.

      Thanks for the kind words about my post, as bloggers we are in this together. 🙂

      • Thanks for the longer response 🙂 I think maybe I’m slightly clueless 😀 It’s just that when I started to blog, I wanted to do something pretty for myself. I just love reading, and blogging is more personal than Goodreads and other places.

        I think it is important to chat about the fact that it does feel like a competition for some bloggers, though. I hope you’ll be able to feel a little more relaxed about it all – it must be hard if you get stressed out about the blog, and not only have fun reading and chatting about it.

        It’s been a lot longer since I was in high-school, and I’m not in the US, either, I think schools are a lot smaller here, I remember my friends and I were always amazed at the Beverly Hills shenanigans going on. It seemed like a completely different world for us (and I’m quite sure it felt that way for a lot of people in the US as well).

        Your blog is beautiful, and you have a lot of interesting stuff going on here. I’m sure a lot of people would continue to follow you even if you decided one day to take things slower.

        Have a fantastic weekend!

        • Lexxie,

          You definitely aren’t clueless. 🙂 You have a really healthy attitude about blogging and I love that.

          I also love how personal blogging is, right down to the header and theme, but more than that a lot of people get personal on their blogs and I think that is awesome.

          I also think that it’s good to talk things out when they bother us. For me, talking about this definitely has relaxed me and I feel like I’ve finally given myself permission since I eased up.

          Yeah, I’m a bit out of high school but still feel it’s scars from time to time. And I think that there’s definitely some cultural differences.

          Thank you so much for your kind compliments. 🙂

  52. Yeah, I definitely feel the pressure, but then I remember that I don’t have THAT BIG of an audience anyway, and my chances of becoming a big blog are like…zero, so I should just enjoy what I’m doing. Easier said than done sometimes, but I’m getting there.

    • Hey, you could become a big blog. I think your reviews are fantastic Meghan, and you know how much I love your unpopular opinion series.

      It’s all about having fun, and I think no matter the size the pressure is still there.

      You’ll get there. 🙂

  53. I hear you, April. I haven’t felt the pressure exactly but I have felt envious of those with tons of followers (but who funnily enough have lesser page views than mine…it doesn’t make sense?) but I think at the end of the day, it all boils down to how much I read books. I refuse to give up on that and become more engaged with blogging than I recently am which is plenty. I admit I am one of those who reads more than she comments but I comment when I am moved to and not because I want those people to come and comment on my blog. I tried doing that the first few days but it didn’t work so I gave up on trying to induce visitors with anything other than my content.

    I did just start grad school so I’m going to be even more absent than usual. But life, it happens only once, eh? Anyway, you have an awesome blog and props to you for being honest about your own self. I think that takes a courage not many people have.

    • I used to really get that follower envy but not so much anymore. I also think that sometimes a lot of people who follow end up being one-visit followers in that they show up for a hop of a giveaway or social nature and never come back.

      You are right about it boiling down to how much you read because if you aren’t reading books then what exactly is your content going to be?

      I comment to maintain relationships and to network but also because I like being social.

      Also grad school is mad hard, so congrats to you for getting in and best of luck balancing grad school and blogging.

      Thanks for the compliment at the end, I am what I am, ya know?

  54. Great post. I admit that for a while I was all worried about followers and having a post everyday and all that stuff, but then I relaxed. I blog because I enjoy it, and if I pressure myself I won’t feel like it’s something I want to do, I will feel like I have to. I see tons of blogs that are only a few months old with over 1,000 followers and it used to bother me, but now I don’t care. I have been doing it a year and just now got 500 and I couldn’t be more excited!! I know that people are coming to my blog. People comment, we interact, that’s what makes me happy.

    • I think the follower mentality/pressures is huge in the blogging community and we get different sorts of advice about blogging everyday and gaining followers which does cause worry. I think you’re really rational to be able to relax and remind yourself you are blogging because it’s fun, not because it feels like a job.

      The interaction and the building of relationships is definitely the best part of book blogging, I know I am thrilled every time I get into a good conversation with someone either on the blog or on twitter.

  55. I always feel that pressure, it’s why my blogging has been so spotty this year as opposed to last year. I just get where it all builds up, and then I stop. I take time off from blogging to do a few others things I enjoy for a little while, like recently I’ve been getting into Asian dramas and manga again. And now I’m refreshed and back to blogging with the thought in mind that I’m doing this for fun. And remembering to read what I want to read.

    And yes, I too felt the need to post something every single day even though I wasn’t reading nearly fast enough to do so. Now I just let a day or two go sometimes without posting anything, because I don’t have anything of interest to say yet. It’s hard to let these pressures go, but we’ll all get there eventually!

    • Chelsey, I think we are very similar in that we both let the pressure just build and build. I haven’t stopped though. It’s smart to take time for other interests and hobbies because it truly can be a little bit like a re-starter, if that makes sense.

      Sidebar: Isn’t manga awesome? I used to be really into Sailor Moon and Mars and Peach Girl but haven’t really made any sort of time to read manga lately.

      It’s fantastic that you are easing up on yourself and letting the pressures go. I am trying to slowly get to that point as well. It definitely is a hard process!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  56. I thought you were awesome before this post, but now I think you are like 10 times more awesome! I commend you for saying things pretty much ALL of us think, and for being so honest about it!
    -Uh, yes the page view thing has irritated me before. Blogs who are like a year and a half younger than mine have like 80,000+ more page views. And you know what, it took me a LONG time to get okay with that. And if I’m being honest I still get bothered by it from time to time but whatevs, I’m human.
    -The constant pressure to read really got to me at times. There were moments (weeks actually) where I did not feel like reading AT ALL. And I forced myself to read through those moments and ended up disliking those books a considerable amount less than a lot of other people. I am not saying it was just because I was pressured (maybe the book was suck-tastic and no one else noticed) but that may have had something to do with it.
    -Also the pressure to blog is something I am really, really, really trying to work through. For instance, this past week I had absolutely no desire to blog about anything…so I didn’t blog at all. And okay, I am not exactly happy with that and I do worry that people will not like my blog anymore (and I am sure next week I will be working double time to make up for it) but I am trying to tell myself it’s no biggie.
    Like I said earlier, YAY for you saying all of this! I agree with every last sentence and I am so happy it was put out there. It is so nice to know I am not the only person thinking these things and yes, deep breaths do help A LOT when it comes to putting bloggish things into perspective.
    <3 <3 <3

    • Katelyn,

      1. Thank you so much for expanding my awesome levels. Being candid can be hard sometimes, but I think it’s worth it for the support you get and for letting other people know they are not alone.
      2. I get so jealous with page views and sometimes, I think we just have to let it go because it does make things a little toxic you know. But at the same time, it is fine to be human and to experience those emotions.
      3. That reading pressure is the worst, especially because it’s not fair to those books, because when you do resent the book because you feel forced to read it, it’s like you aren’t giving it a fair shake. This definitely happens with my reading all of the time.
      4. The pressure to blog, ugh. I have that all the time, as you know from reading the post. I think that we are harder on ourselves, than other people are on us. I have friends who take breaks all the time and sometimes go a week or more without posting. Yet, when it comes to me taking a break, I tell myself no, people will dislike me if I do that, yet I know it’s false logic. If I’m cool with my friends taking breaks, then other people should be cool with me taking breaks.
      5. Deep breaths are very therapeutic, yo. You are absolutely not alone. If you ever need to talk, feel free to tweet or email me.

  57. Hah hah, awesome post, April. The pressure totally gets to me, both on the blog and GoodReads. I have to hide sometimes because answering comments and keeping up with what’s going on is just too much sometimes. Content-wise, it helps somewhat to have contributing writers, but that doesn’t help so much with the overall responsibility.

    As for competition, the only time I ever think catty things about other blogs is when I’m not the biggest fan of their content, hah. But that’s my dirty secret, so shhhhh. 😉

    • Wendy, I imagine your pressure is really great as in huge because you are a very popular reviewer and have been at the center of some maelstroms unfortunately. It’s probably a lot to have on your shoulders.

      I think with all that goes on in the community, it gets to be so exhausting especially with the vitriol that crops up.

      Contributing writers and co-bloggers are great, I think though that for me, Allison helps with the overall responsibility because she takes an active role. She participates in community activities and memes and is very outgoing on twitter and whatnot.

      LOL, your secret is safe with me and everyone reading this post 😉

  58. Oh I know, it’s not a competition…but being someone who loves competitive games, it’s hard not to play blogging that way too! It adds a certain frenetic zest, I find….though I mostly compete against my own previous months of stats, which makes it somewhat more peaceful!

    • Charlotte, I like your version of competition in that it’s quite peaceful. I like competing against my previous stat months too, although personally it does bring me some anxiety from time to time. To each their own! 🙂

  59. I had to book blog for class, and when I got page hits I was like “Heck yeah!!” Then I saw some catty comments on Twitter that may or may not have been about my blog but I took them personally and I was totally deflated. Especially because someone I look up to in the community had said it. I had originally planned to continue blogging after the class ended but I never did. I read for fun (or more so to stay sane), and I always think I should write book reviews, restart my blog, but I just can’t shake that “I’m being totally ripped apart! They’re all judging me!!” feeling. Who knows, maybe I’d be an awesome blogger and those comments deprived the community of my talents (psh). Maybe it did so for others, too! All because of one twitter post.

    Just sayin’.

    • Oh, Rose. I think that it is awful that you felt deflated and stopped blogging. I hope the comment wasn’t from me. I’ve been trying to avoid being catty in public for awhile now, but if it was me, I am sorry. You don’t deserve to be ostracized from the community.

      I think that you should give book blogging another shake. Not everyone in the community is awful and when you don’t like someone, the best advice I have is to ignore them and not be upset or take it to heart. I know a lot of people in the community don’t like me and I am fine with that. Not everyone can like you, nor will you like everyone.

      Anyways, if you’d like to talk a little bit more about this or would like some encouragement to keep blogging, please email or tweet me, I’d be happy to talk with you a little more in depth.

  60. Amen, sister friend.
    You know this shit got to me.
    After a 3 month deep breath, I’m feeling much better.

    Kudos to you for naming your feels.

    • <3333

      It does wear on one after a while.

      I think 3 months is a nice recovery period.

      I gotta put my issues and feelings out there, I guess. :-)

      FYI I missed you sooooo bad so so bad while you were gone!

  61. I’ve been in the blogging world (and teach a course in blogging at a college in my city) for a long time (despite being newish to the book blogging sphere) and this tension pervades all the sectors I’ve been involved with. (I used to manage several corporate blogs and my boss regularly would ream me out because X blog had more comments than ours, or more Facebook likes, or whatever. It was awful.) I completely burned out on my old blog that was quite popular because it was very pressure-cookerish in terms of feeling like I always needed to always create content.

    What I will say is that I’ve learned my lesson and with my book/reading blog, I set out with the mindset that I’d focus on having fun with it, and not worry about my stats or popularity or whatever. It helps that I have several other contributors, and they make it more fun.

    What helps even more is that I don’t worry about whether or not I’ll get okayed for ARCs (I actually have a mildy snotty notation in my NG bio about how we focus on quality not quantity), so I don’t let reviewing the newest books worry me–I read what I want to read and try to mix it up enough that it’s interesting for our readers.

    I learned the hard way that external forces can be really take away your blogging joy, so that’s my philosophy–and it’s the advice I always give to new/aspiring bloggers. My belief is that readers can feel when bloggers are passionate about something and it hooks them, so anything that threatens the pure enjoyment of blogging is bad news in the long run.

    • It’s good to know that the tension isn’t restricted to book bloggers, but I kind of wish we’d be able to rise above. I like the comparison you make to it being a pressure cooker with the need to create good content ALL THE TIME.

      I wonder if coming in with a goal or a certain mission or mindset helps you to stay in perspective with blogging. Like, I started my blog to have fun and meet people, but it’s kind of warped to do well with my stats, not that that is awful, but when it interferes with fun that’s not good. I think that having contributors really does enhance the blogging experience.

      Hahahah your netgalley notation cracks me up, but it’s smart to focus on books that you know you will like it. I also like that you try to mix up your reading. I like blogs that do that too, that review more than the newest books.

      “My belief is that readers can feel when bloggers are passionate about something and it hooks them, so anything that threatens the pure enjoyment of blogging is bad news in the long run.” — this is solid.

  62. I think most of us agree that blogging shouldn’t be a competition, and yet somehow we let it be! It’s crazy. I sometimes find myself being jealous of other peoples stats, and I have to remind myself that I’ve only been blogging for three months and can’t be expected to have thousands of followers.

    Leaving comments? I always leave comments when I have something to say! My absolute favorite part of blogging so far has been recieving meaningful thoughts from others and I love to pass that on to as many people as I can. Besides, leaving comments can get people to visit YOUR blog!

    Ah, the race for the most content. I’ve tried to separate myself from that. I actually only post a couple times a week, with a review frequency of one every two weeks. I try to go for quality over quantity and if that means my blog doesn’t get millions of views, then that’s fine with me.

    • I think we really do let it become a competition and it’s totally a mental thing, hah it’s not like we win anything. I do find myself getting jealous of other stats as well.

      I like leaving comments when I have something to say as well and some blogs just totally inspire you to comment on each post.

      “My absolute favorite part of blogging so far has been recieving meaningful thoughts from others and I love to pass that on to as many people as I can.” – You’ve definitely nailed probably my favorite aspect of book blogging.

      It’s smart that you’re trying to get away from the race for most content. Truly, our content suffers if it’s not coming from the heart but from a race for quantity.

      Thanks for commenting, Emily.

  63. I definitely have felt competitive but I’ve tried really hard to keep blogging fun for me! I started blogging because I read a lot and wanted to keep track of what I read, not to get loads of pageviews, comments, ARCs, etc. I wrote my mission statement for my blog and I try to refer back to that when I get stressed or feel overwhelmed to remind me of what my goals are (for example: gaining tons of followers is not on there and should not be my focus!)

    My biggest problem though is competition with myself. I read over 400 books last year (due to last semester of college plus 2 months of unemployment) so it was easy to generate content; now I’m working 40 hours a week plus participating in other stuff and that all takes time away from reading, which makes me feel guilty as I’m “only” on track for 300 books. That guilt of reading less is the biggest thing I’m working on right now.

    • I remember your mission statement about how your blog is no frills and I love that. I think it’s good to have a focus to look back on and to keep as a touchstone for when you are overwhelmed.

      400 books is quite simply, amazing. I think that you should ease up on yourself, because 40 hours of employment definitely takes a lot of time away from reading, so it’s perfectly fine to not read as many books. I think you’ll get there someday, being more relaxed about your book number goal. 🙂

  64. You know, when I first started six months ago, I was obsessive about it. I am thirty and felt..crushed that teenagers were doing better at this than me. I would get upset if I got turned down for a book when I saw everyone else getting so many. But then I thought about it. It is supposed to be fun. I got so stressed because I signed up for too many tour groups and never get to read what I want anymore. I started quitting the high pressure ones. I started one of my own and put the fun back into blogging.

    • Isn’t it interesting how we set ourselves up with all these expectations? Like we look around the community and see people who are so successful or getting a metric ton of books in the mail and think — oh I should be doing that and then just stress out.

      I am glad you’ve found a path where you are able to put the fun in blogging, 🙂 Here’s to your next six months being full of awesome and fun times.

  65. I felt pressure at one point, early on, in my book blogging, but then I was able to convince myself that this is my hobby for fun and I have enough other things to be stressed about in life (grad school, ahhh!) so I listen to music in the car and watch tv when I want to. And honestly, I am amazed at how much time you must put in to blogging to get all of that done, I don’t think I have that much time in my day! Maybe I sleep too much 😉

    • Ahhhhh GRAD SCHOOL! I am so scared about grad school.

      You have a really good attitude about blogging Anya, in that you allow yourself music and TV and don’t make all of your free time about books. I think that’s healthy.

      I do put a lot of time into blogging, but I can be very hyper focused sometimes which helps.

      Also? SLEEPING IS THE BEST.

  66. I so need to read this. A lot. I just get all “I don’t read all the books like everyone else does!” And then I feel super silly because I’m still reading more than a lot of other people. YES. When I feel worn out over reading a ton of books (on my own accord, not always out of silent competition) I sit down and marathon a show on Netflix. And I clean my room. That’s something that also gets neglected when I read too much. My aunt commented a few weeks ago that I could be a great candidate for Hoarders. OKAY it’s not THAT bad, but I definitely need to learn balancing and budgeting my time. Thanks for the great post!

    • Girl, I totally get those feelings too. Especially the I need to read all the books, because I’m always feeling so far behind, like everyone I know has read all the September books and I’m still on August books, ha ha.

      I love doing Netflix marathons, that’s usually how Tony and I wind down.

      Also! Cleaning. But I tend to do that with an audiobook so that likely does not count.

      Also, LOL Hoarders, we bloggers totally do hoard the books sometimes.

  67. I just had one of those pressure moments yesterday. It always happens on Sunday when I see what people get in their “mailbox”. My page views dropped this year and I was so sad but my hubby pulled me out and made me realize that I LOVE books and blogging and I love doing this. Who cares if no one sees my blog or leaves comments? I WANT to do this so I’ll keep at it even if I’m talking to myself cause it’s what I WANT.

    I just wish I wanted to talk to more people. It’s not that I don’t want to, just that I either don’t know what to say or don’t have time 🙁

    • Marie, your husband sounds like a solid guy. I think we all have those moments on haul days, especially when it seems like everyone got a package and you didn’t.

      It sucks when page views drop, but I am sure they’ll go back up. You’ve got a great attitude about doing it because you want to and out of love.

      It’s okay to feel shy or to not have time. I feel like that sometimes to, or I’ll want to comment on a post but won’t have anything that sounds very witty or smart to say.

  68. My blog isn’t huge but I feel the need to satisfy my readers, to keep up a nice pageview count and to always read the latest YA novels. I have recently taken a step back and informed the publishers I’ve worked with that I no longer will be accepting ARCs. That took a huge burden of my shoulders, the books I cannot get to fast enough gives me tremendous amounts of guilt. I want to focus on my own TBR pile, all the books I have bought because I wanted to read them. Not care if they’re not hot at the moment. I needed to find back to my blogging roots and just relax. I want to be able to say that book blogging and life can go hand in hand without one thing eating up more time then it should.

    Does this give any meaning? 🙂 In short, I do agree with your excellent post and I still love your blog!

    • I think it’s really cool that you aren’t accepting ARCs any more. They definitely do add a lot of pressure on our shoulders as bloggers, I think. I also think they tend to bring a lot of guilt even if they are fun to get.

      I feel you on wanting to go back to your blogging roots and be able to relax. I love the idea of reading purchased books and more than just the latest hyped book.

      You totally make sense with your comment.

      Thanks so much for dropping by, Mari. 🙂

  69. I think it’s a pretty brave thing to admit all these things, so kudos to you! That’s the unfortunate thing about blogging/social media–it opens you up to a fierce world where you’re almost bombarded with competition. Before I started my book blog, I was in the style blogging community and every day I’d beat myself up because I spent more time comparing myself to the more successful style bloggers. I ended up losing a sense of self and suddenly, blogging wasn’t so fun anymore. I took a few months off for some serious self-reflection and learned a lot in the process. I learned that style blogging wasn’t a true passion of mine and I learned to let go of the need to constantly compare myself to others. You have to stay true to YOU, first and foremost. Believe me, when you’re not blogging for the right reasons it shows. So again, I say you’re on the right path and us readers are here for you no matter what. Keep on rocking it, lady!

    • Thank you, Nikki. I’d like to think I’m brave as it’s hard to admit to your failings.

      I agree with you that social media does heighten the competition sort of feeling, although I also think that social media can help foster some really great friendships and also bring about discovery of other new blogs.

      It sucks when you lost a sense of yourself because of pressure and because you might not be fully passionate about something.

      I still need to learn not to compare myself to others. It’s a long road, but I’ll get there.

      Thank you so, so much for your kind words. 🙂

  70. Great post! You’ve obviously struck a nerve! I’ve never been in the running for most page views or followers, so I don’t feel the competitiveness at this point. But I am starting to feel overwhelmed and to realize that I need to cut back on what I’m requesting/accepting for review before it’s not fun anymore. I need to allow time for visiting other blogs, too, because I feel that’s important. I confess to enjoying reading snarky comments on Twitter, but I’m still a little shocked by them, because I think of us as all one big happy book blogging family!

    • Laurie,

      I think this is a topic that affects a lot of bloggers. To some degree, I think a lot of us do feel that competition in one form or another, even if it’s with ourselves.

      It’s a smart strategy to cut back on obligation books and read books that are just plain fun.

      Also? I LOVE visiting other blogs, it is important and not only that but it helps to foster those friendships. 🙂

      Yeah, sometimes I like snarky comments but then I try to think about what it’s like to be on the end of them. And I admit, it’s taken me a LONG time to think like that.

  71. OHMYGOOSH! That picture just totally made my day 😀
    Past that, this is a great post. It’s awesome of you to admit all that because I’m sure we all feel at least some of those things occasionally. I often get really jealous of what people get in the mail. When that happens I just fly past IMM posts without even looking to keep my green rage monster in check.
    And I totally worry about getting posts up so I can get pageviews, but then I just remind myself “hey, this is a fun thing that you do for you so if you miss a day or two of posts then so be it.”

    • Corgis FTW!

      See, I don’t get as jealous as I used to over IMM. I try to think about how awesome my purchased books and review pile is and that each book is an extra responsibility.

      Also? Yeah, I need to remind myself that it’s okay to miss a day of posting as well.
      🙂

  72. I definitely have a problem with the need to churn out constant content. I feel like if I stop, any progress I’ve made in getting my blog out there will be lost. I knew I was going to be away for a month from September – October, so over the summer, I read double time. I pumped out book after book so I could schedule like 18 reviews over the month I’d be MIA.

    I really could use with stepping back and taking a breather. But on the bright side, I wasn’t stressed or anything. In fact, I really enjoyed spending an entire summer reading non-stop. I read some amazing books and I loved it! If I do keep up this behaviour I’m sure it will bite me eventually. But for now, I’m okay with it. XD

  73. I only just saw this post but it’s never too late to comment, right?

    Your four questions at the end there, I mentally answered “yes” to them all. The funny – or really stupid – thing is, I’m not even trying to make my blog one of the big guns. I’m quite happy just doing my thing, at my own pace, when I have the time and energy and motivation for it. It’s supposed to be a hobby, a personal pleasure, right?

    But every time I visit one of those blogs that is oh so popular and all, I feel the pressure, like I need to be as good as them (and in what sense? who says I’m not already?!). And the ones I feel like we’re all trying so bloody hard to please are the publishers, because of ARCs. I don’t even request ARCs! But it adds to the competitiveness, and it makes me feel small and slighted and unloved to not be as popular as some other blogs. I don’t get catty or snarky about it though, I’m just not that kind of person (was on the receiving end far too often when I was a kid). And I know that I reap what I sow: if I don’t have the time to visit, read and comment on other blogs as often as I’d like, why should I expect people to visit me?

    Aside from the competitiveness and feeling like no one likes my blog, the other one that gets me is the blogroll. I love seeing my blog on someone’s roll, and I live in dread of seeing my blog removed from someone’s blog roll – like when someone was subscribing and then stopped (you notice by the number dropping – have to stop looking at that number but it’s like a compulsion!).

    It’s the ugly, petty side of book blogging isn’t it. But we’re only human. Talking about it openly really is like taking a breath and letting it go, isn’t it. (and it’s always nice to know it’s not just you!)

  74. I’m a newer blogger so it doesn’t really feel like much of a competition yet as i know i am far away from being equal to some of the more established blogs. Not against other people anyway. So far i am only really being competative with myself eg. wanting my page views to keep improving and every review being better than the last.

    I can be quite competative but im going to try my hardest not to do that with blogging. After all i started blogging for fun and to share a love of books (as i think we all did) and i don’t want my natural competativeness to ruin that.

  75. Oh man, that need to have a post every day? That’s me. The other day I caught myself thinking “I’ll just get up early and write a post,” and then I was like “wait, WHAT?!” So I did write the post, but it was when I had time for it that day. I just, WHY do we do this to ourselves, April? Why do we get into this Hunger Games-mode competition bull, when it’s just supposed to be about loving books and telling the world about that? *shakes head*

    I’m trying to work on my issues, like NOT taking it all so seriously, and letting my personality shine through more in my blogging. I want my blog to be a fun place, not a stick-up-her-rhymes-with-pass. I think if we all just got back to basics and stopped worrying SO MUCH about stats and stuff, it’d be a better place.

  76. Great post! I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in this. My main thing is how do some bloggers gain all this popularity with not-so-great content?

    And the whole part about blogging being exhausting. A-Freaking-Men. I thought that having contributors would have made my life a tad bit easier but I can’t say that it has. I still feel this tremendous amount of pressure.

    Also, why are some bloggers so clique-y and snobby? Just because you’re getting more ARCs than me that automatically makes you better than me? It really doesn’t make any sense to me.

    I seem to be asking you a lot of questions! Sorry about that! I liked your post and THE CORGIS ARE ADORABLE. 😀

  77. Awesome post. I dealt with this the first time I made a blog, and it’s not fun. I think for me, everything became so much better when I decided to stop actively trying to get ARCs or review copies, or do blog tours, or anything that you need really high stats for. They caused me so much stress because I wanted to be a great reviewer, a great blogger, I wanted people to know me and like my work. I couldn’t do everything I wanted to, so I stopped for a bit. I restarted and now the focus is on MY book adventure. I’m cutting back on review copies. I don’t ask for them; I only respond to inquiries. Somehow, that has made blogging less competitive for me because I don’t care about reviewing the newest book; I’m reviewing all the books I want to review, and that freedom lets me enjoy blogging.

  78. My goodness, I am beyond late to this dance. I haven’t visited in a very long time, or any blogs, really, because I stopped blogging a while ago. Many of the reasons are the ones you listed above. My blog was never, ever as big as yours, but I did start feeling the pressure, and it’s so hard to keep up, esp. when you are doing it all yourself. A big part of me just felt like I couldn’t hang, and I HATED coming home and feeling bad for not spending time with my husband because I HAD to keep up and HAD to keep reading. The competition is self-imposed, but I think everyone feels it, and that makes it real. I do miss writing reviews, but. . . I do think I have a healthier life-reading balance now.

    I made some good friends while blogging – some got out and got back in, some left and stayed out, and others never left. I think the people who stick with must be very adept at prioritizing, found a partner, or don’t sleep! I don’t know how they get it all done, but I admire their dedication.

    Going to float around and see what Good Books & Good Wine has been reading lately. I hope you made progress on your goals and keep up the great work, April!

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