Viewpoint – Are We Having Fun Yet?

Hello Bookworms!

I realised that I haven’t bashed out a discussion piece in ages, due to the inevitable end of year wrap ups, challenge completion and resolution posts so I thought I’d write about something that’s been on my mind for a little while now. So, grab yourself what looks like a horrible instant coffee, slip on some unattractive slippers, find a fire hazard of a carpeted hearth (is that even legal?) and lets have a chat about blogging and pressure.

adult beverage breakfast celebration
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I really enjoy blogging (and obviously reading) but there seems to be a darker side to running a blog that I’m just becoming aware of (hilariously, after three years of doing it). I’ve only just joined Twitter (THAT’S where you’ve all been hanging out!) and, well, I’m addicted. It’s far more interactive and faster than blogging, you can find out the latest happenings within the bookish community, you can engage with authors and famous people. That’s all super-smashing-great but the thing is, all of this checking of social media takes time and effort and what with writing posts, blog hopping, responding to comments etc., it’s taking up a lot of my day.

facebook instagram network notebook
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve seen super organised bloggers who have content scheduled months in advance and I’ve seen bloggers who bash posts out and publish them immediately (guess which one I am) but we all seem to be saying the same thing – sometimes, we just don’t have the time and/or capacity to keep up with it all. And when that happens, most of us beat ourselves up for it.

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Why?

Because there’s a lot of pressure on bloggers to meet various deadlines (ARC’s, blog tours etc.), complete reading challenges, engage in the latest debates… but the thing is, this is meant to be FUN. What started as a nerdy little hobby for most of us can easily get out of hand and turn into a full time job. That’s a lot to take on, so no wonder we frequently hear the terms “burnout”, “blogging hiatus”, “reading slump”… if we didn’t run book blogs, would we even notice that we were in a slump? Would we tone down our use of social media without feeling the need to announce it to the world? Would we have “scheduled reading”? Would we be keeping detailed spreadsheets of any other aspects of our lives?

The best, most addictive thing about social media is the external validation that you get from seeing the number of people who have responded to your content. It’s the most instant, obvious way to see how unambiguously “popular” you are – and when those stats are going up, it feels great. However, what happens when you publish a post that only a few people interact with – or when you realise that someone started a blog three months ago and has ten times the number of followers that you do? It doesn’t feel great, does it – but what can you do?

Look at this awful, shameful display of self promotion…😉

Well, there’s two ways of looking at this. The first is to chase those stats – review popular books, write content that you think other people will find interesting, blog SEVERAL TIMES A DAY, tweet ALL OF THE TIME, read some novellas to hit that Goodreads target, even pay another blogger to promote you. But really, who has the time? And how long can you realistically keep it up for? The instant gratification wears off pretty quickly and you’re left chasing even greater numbers, with a mountain of self-generated work to do in the meantime. Over the years, I’ve seen bloggers explode onto the scene with tons of posts, an immediate number of followers and constant engagement but then the shine wears off and they disappear, never to be heard from again. You have to wonder, what was the point?

The second way is to actively try to manage your expectations. Review what you want, limit your time on social media, try to follow a few blogs consistently instead of checking out random posts based on what pops up on your Twitter feed. You won’t get the numbers in terms of your own stats (although, consistently following a handful of blogs is arguably more beneficial as people tend to reciprocate) but you’ll be setting up a realistic blogging habit that works for you long-term. It can be hard when you’re three years in and still aiming for 500 followers but I really treasure the few proper blogging friends that I have – and isn’t that what this whole blogging thing is all about really? Making human connections with like-minded people?

I know that for most of us, we keep ourselves in check and mostly manage to balance our actual lives with our blogging activities – and that for the majority of the time, blogging is fun – even with all of the additional admin. But it can easily get out of control and I think we (myself included) need to step away from the stats and celebrate what we’ve achieved – content that we love, blogs that reflect our individuality and creativity and a positive, supportive community – regardless of how many people have clicked that follow button.

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So, be honest – how often do you check your stats? Do you do anything to actively increase your number of followers/page views etc.? Do you agree that blogging is about far more than metrics? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Viewpoint – Are We Having Fun Yet?

  1. I agree with this whole heartedly. I am striving to find the balance of fun and challenging. I have to
    Keep reminding myself that this is not a job but a fun hobby. I told myself this week I was going to read whatever the hell I want to. Deadlines be dammed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely burned myself out early on and have disappeared for months at a time. I try not to worry too much about my stats but it is a challenge to just relax and have fun with it! I’ve decided I’m going to just try and blog at least once a week, maybe not always about books.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have the hardest time keeping up with emails! And twitter I’m lost… I try not to pay too mention attention to stats because I knew from the beginning that would drive me crazy if I did. Not much you can do about them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m still finding blogging fun (it’s been less than a year). I invested more time in social media and following people at the start, and now I do less of it but I have the network in place for promoting my blog. I don’t have the time to keep up with social media now or even catch up on all the blogs I follow, so I just dip in when able 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Comments are one of those things where the more I leave it, the more I don’t want to do it. Then when I finally force myself, it only takes ten minutes and I’m left wondering what all the stress was about 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. hehe I’m afraid I don’t have unattractive slippers or horrible instant coffee to hand- so I’m afraid tea and comfy socks will have to do 😉 I really relate to this post right now- sometimes it’s just impossible to keep up with it all and then we inevitably feel guilty about it- when really this is supposed to be for fun. I know I have to keep reminding myself of that. It’s funny cos I was talking about this earlier with someone irl- and I was saying I feel like I’ve been slacking on the blog, but that sometimes that’s just life and it’s important to just be grateful for what we do have (and try not to worry about it too much 😉 ) Brilliant discussion- and really good timing 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can tell from the lateness of this reply that things are not getting better for me! I hope you’re finding some blog/life balance. I’m definitely slacking right now but you’re right, we should just be grateful for what we have. The guilt is so real though! Thank you – big hugs!

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