If I thought I would be in this same place five years ago, I would be shocked. Honestly, I never thought blogging would have the impact on my life that it does, for good and for bad. I started Good Books And Good Wine after this mania obsession with Goodreads and before starting student teaching. Actually oh my goodness, I went to go look up my first post and it was actually on July 27th and not July 29th. Well, this is kind of embarrassing. Anyways, it’s been quite an interesting five years with lots of lessons that I’ve learned for sure. Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way:
Lesson Number One: Say Yes To Everything (Within Reason)
- Let’s see, Breathless Reads tour in Philly, four+ hours from where I lived one way? YES.
- Go to Book Expo America in New York City by myself and stay with complete internet strangers? YES.
- Stay up all night to read all the books and eat all the junk food with everyone on the internet? YES.
- Go to book signings two hours away on work nights? YES.
- Get invited to open bar parties with my favorite authors? YES.
- Take part in campaigns for my most highly anticipated books? YES.
Lesson Number Two: There Are Going To Be Ups And Downs
If anyone told you that blogging is this easy, always up always awesome thing, they lied to you. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have come unglued while blogging. I mean, I remember changing web hosting providers. Let me tell you, I nearly lost my mind. I think my blog was down for like two weeks. Then, there’s the amount of personal behind the scenes things. Sometimes bloggers can be really catty behind the scenes and not super nice. There’s a lot of drama and well, okay, drama is fine when your life doesn’t have a whole lot, but when I actually have real life drama, it’s like book blogging drama is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. There’s also been moments when my traffic has not quite grown the way I have wanted it to, when I have experienced extreme jealousy because my blog isn’t going to the super star heights I want it to. That’s when I have to take a step back. I realize right now I am making it seem like there’s all lows, not any highs. However, there are great things too — best friends from around the country, around the world; books I never would have touched that quickly became favorites; opportunities; amazing life experiences; honing my skills. I really think blogging is worth the time even though the experience isn’t all sunshine and glitter and unicorns. (There should really be more unicorns).
Lesson Number Three: If You’re In A Slump Try Something New
In five years of blogging, slumps are inevitable. It’s likely that you’re going to run out of steam. It’s likely that the creative juices will just stop flowing. When that has happened for me, I try something else with my blog. One time, it was to do a movie review which LOL did not go over quite the way I wanted, that’s okay. There was also a time when I was highly resistant to booktube, I thought videos were a waste of time because I can read faster than I can watch someone talk to me. Yet, I have changed my mind on that because I am allowed to change my mind and because really, making and watching videos is a lot of fun. Sure, there are booktubers that irritate me because I am an adult and have particular tastes, but for the most part, it’s a fun community and a fun thing that is making me feel a little more creative and excited about books again.
Lesson Number Four: Never Speed On The Way To A Signing
Enough said, just trust me, leave a little bit earlier and make sure you are going the speed limit.
Lesson Number Five: It’s Not Personal
Does a certain publisher ignore you? Were you passed over for a cool promotion? Does a certain blogger not respond to your tweets? Is your comment count low? Did you not get that coveted ARC? I have spent way too much time as a blogger dealing with envy and manufacturing too much drama in my head. I mean there’s days that I would pop over to gchat and immediately go off to friends about how publisher A doesn’t like me anymore because they send things to people who just started with zero traffic. Guys, it’s not that serious and it’s not that personal. It took me YEARS and a drastic reduction in time to realize this. It’s still my impulse, honestly, to think that when I am passed over for something that it is personal. It’s not. Kind of like when someone ignores you on twitter — I am usually the first to be like oh, that person is such an asshole, but over these five years blogging I have learned to take a step back. I have learned to actually think about that judgement call. Like, maybe that person is at work and can’t check twitter or go on the internet (THAT IS MY SITUATION), maybe that person is overwhelmed by all their mentions, maybe that person just has not had time. Hah, with the way that I am going on and on about this I bet you are thinking I am talking about a person in particular, I am not. I am just using this as an example, that sometimes the things that hurt us with blogging are not personal so we shouldn’t let it ruin our day or make us feel lesser than. We’re all awesome people who have this huge drive to discuss books and share our love of the written word and that’s so cool.
Thank you for a great five years, for all 27,235 comments as of right this very second, for reading some of our 2,139 posts, for being so welcoming to Allison and Cassie. I am so, so thankful for all of you. I am positive I would not be the person I am without book blogging. Thanks!