This post is brought to you by me feeling in a preachy mood!
Just kidding, I hope this doesn’t come off as a really preachy post! More of like a, “YOU’RE GREAT AND YOU SHOULD THINK SO TOO” post, because I think we all need that reminder sometimes.
Today I’m going to be discussing something that I think a lot of bloggers struggle with: guilt, but I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t beat yourself up over those things! Feeling guilty, while it can be a motivator can improve yourself, more often than not leads to people bringing themselves down, and it makes me so sad to see.
I got inspired to write this post after I saw some comments on the post I wrote on 10 pieces of advice I wish I’d given to my younger blogger self, when I touched on some things I felt bad about in blogging-wise!!
(I also recently read a blog post by Emme @ A Literary Latte that discussed the guilt we feel as readers, and I really liked it, so I wanted to share it with you all! Of course, this post isn’t the same as hers, and I definitely recommend reading it!)
1. NOT INTERACTING
Oh, what’s that? Me calling myself out??
Yeah, you’re right. I’m calling myself out.
I’ve already talked several times before about how much guilt and self-hatred I went through because of my lack of interaction, and I’m not stopping!! Commenting on blog posts, replying to my own comments, commenting back—those were all things I struggled to do earlier this year and all of last year, because of I lacked time, energy, and motivation, and I also wasn’t in the right mental space to talk to people.
And I’m 100% a hypocrite for telling you, “Don’t feel guilty about not interacting,” because, hello, I’M still guilty, but seriously!!! There are so many reasons you might not able to interact as much, and that’s okay!! Feeling bad can motivate you to want to comment on things in order to get rid of that guilt, but if it crosses into beating yourself up over and over again (like what happened with me), it’s just so unhealthy for you.
I think most of the bloggers who I talked to struggled to interact because of their health, whether it be because their mental health in general was bad or that interacting drained so much out of them. But it’s truly, truly okay to prioritize your health over blogging; it’s a hobby, after all.
And to bloggers who can’t find the time to interact, you’re valid too!!! It sucks, knowing you could be doing so much more but not being able to, feeling guilty over it will just make you feel even worse.
My tip to avoid feeling like you’re not interacting enough, because I’ve just so recently started being active again and feel like I could provide some semblance of advice: Take it one at a time! If it’s one blog post you reply to all the comments of, that’s an achievement. If it’s one blog post of someone else’s that you comment on, and that’s amazing too! (I’ve also found that if I push myself a tiny bit to do some interaction when I’m somewhat in the mood for it, I end up feeling a lot less drained than I started out! But if you ever feel like it’s too much, just stop!!)
2. NOT READING ENOUGH
I think a lot of people in the online book community feel bad for never reading “enough” books, and it comes down to… a lot of comparison. Whether it’s comparing yourself to other people, or to yourself in the past, we all feel like there’s a certain amount of books we need to be reading, and when we don’t fulfill it, we feel bad. And even when we fulfill it, we feel the need to read even more.
And I especially think this guilt is so intense when so much of book bloggers’ content is focused on books. Add in the factor of not staying on top of the newest releases or the latest hyped books, and people feel like a failure.
What I think is the most important thing to remember is that: The amount you can read is very dependent on YOU and you only!! For example, I usually read around 100 books a year. For some people, that may be a huge amount of books, and for others, it might not be so much. So when we compare ourselves to others, we’re pretty much just comparing our own personal abilities to someone else’s personal abilities. WHICH ISN’T FAIR.
everyone has their own personal goals for their own abilities. also these are my two friends Ilsa and May. thank you for letting me use your challenges* even though I didn’t ask, and even though 1 book is a fake goal I still get my point across
I also think it’s important not to beat yourself up over not reading as much as you did the month before or the previous year. You’re a different person! You have new circumstances every day that will dictate whether or not you are able to read.
Plus, reading is something we all do for fun! While it may be beneficial to some to try and read a certain number of books, because it might mean pushing yourself to read as much as you can, it goes too far when you start bringing yourself down.
*I’m mad because Goodreads took down the page for a webcomic I read this year so I’m at one less read book than I’m supposed to be, and I applied to be a Goodreads Librarian SOLELY to add that webcomic back.
3. NOT CREATING ENOUGH/QUALITY CONTENT
Obviously, probably a lot of content creators in general struggle with feeling like they’re not producing enough content, or quality enough content to sustain their audience. Whether or not you just want to keep blogging because you like it, or you’re ambitious and want to grow bigger, the worry and guilt that you’re not posting enough/good content is still there.
For me, my problem mainly was that I was still producing content, and content that I thought was good, but… never replying to the comments people left on it (which just meant it piled up even more). But I did go through a brief period of time where I didn’t post a lot of things, partly because of a hiatus and partly because I recovered horribly from said hiatus, and it made me feel terrible to see my struggle with blogging visually represented like this.
However, my mental health wasn’t good during that time, I struggled to find the time to blog because of school, and I was constantly stressed out and overwhelmed by schoolwork. Again, I can’t stress it enough, health and not draining your energy should be more of a priority than blogging.
Honestly, I think the most important thing about content is that you’re passionate about what you’re putting out there. Often, this means that the quality of your posts will actually increase on its own too!!
If you’re a planner when it comes to posts, and you look at the next few blog posts you have scheduled and don’t feel particularly excited about them, DON’T POST THEM!!!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing a post I was initially excited to write, and then later ditched because I started dreading it. Forcing yourself to write posts you don’t like, just to publish a post, can just make you hate blogging and feel even worse than you initially did.
The dreaded word: statistics. God, stats are such a pain to deal with sometimes?? I think it can be nice to see which posts are doing well, and I enjoy looking at graphs in general, but if your numbers are suffering, and you like to analyze those numbers, it can make you feel really, really bad.
I’ve talked about this before, because I have absolutely no filter, but I’ll say it again! I did really well stats-wise in 2017 when I first started blogging, but when 2018 hit and I started being less active, instead of growing, my stats regressed, and I felt terrible about it. I still feel bad when I look at all the graphs WordPress provides, but I’m doing better once I realize that I’m producing my content in a healthy way.
I also think some people feel bad about stats especially because they are so important to a lot of publishers when it comes to getting ARCs. So if your stats are “bad”, and you want to get ARCs, it’s a slap in the face because you think, Are publishers going to want to work with me because of this? Do they see that my blog stats are getting worse?
(Not even to mention how international bloggers can have the same stats as a US blogger, but the US blogger will could get twice as many ARCs than the INTL blogger could get, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
But—and I know everyone says it, but it’s TRUE—numbers aren’t everything. The amazing Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books wrote a great discussion on what it means to be a successful blogger without basing success too much on numbers, and I think it’s so relevant to this.
Something that’s helped me personally is telling myself that the numbers are mostly out of my hands!! (At least in my unprofessional opinion, I don’t study statistics or anything.) I can affect it and helping increase or decrease it, by being in/active, promoting, etc., but I tell myself that my audience decides what posts to view, like, and comment on, and I shouldn’t worry about something out of my own control.
what do you feel guilty about as a book blogger? have you felt bad about any of the things I mentioned? how did YOU get over that guilt? or are you still struggling with it (in which case, reminder that I love you and you are doing SO GOOD!!!)
p.s. I hope this post wasn’t too preachy? (and if you read the whole giant post I’m proud of you lmao.) I just hate seeing bloggers beat themselves up over things like I did, and wanted to just gently remind you all that you’re human, and you’re doing amazing for a species that is pretty much wired to mess up all the time!!
p.p.s. DEADLINE FOR BOOK BLOGGER AWARDS NOMINATIONS IS THIS SATURDAY, GET ON IT!!!