Tuesday, November 8, 2016
On Blogging for Six Years
It still hasn't really hit me that today is my sixth blogiversary. Maybe because blogging is such a part of my life that it doesn't register that I've been doing it for so long. Or maybe it's because I haven't been a very good blogger over the past year. Or maybe it's because I tend to want to skip over November...usually it's crummy weather and there isn't much going on in Canada except snow prep and Remembrance Day. But no matter what the reason my anniversary snuck up on me actually is, the fact remains that on this day in 2010 I hit publish on my first Books Etc. post. And that is still so crazy to me.
The past year has been really great and really hard all at the same time. Last year's blogiversary post was scheduled well in advance because I was busy cruising on the ship my sister was working on. Coming back from that vacation set in motion a crazy few months (or year, actually...). I came home to a broken laptop and it took ages to get it sorted out. Being a blogger without a laptop is pretty much impossible. With the Christmas season came a third job as I worked at David's Tea throughout the holiday (I love the company which helped as I gradually began to remember how hellish working in retail at Christmas is) on top of my office job at a souvenir shop and a local library. 2016 brought two of those jobs to an end but I did get full time at the souvenir store in March. Finally! But summer is crazy busy where I work (Niagara Falls) so I felt like I didn't have any time to breathe let alone write. I also review books for a magazine which gets me a bit of extra money but also means about 12 books a year are dedicated to Niagara Life and not Books Etc. Add in visiting the gym as much as possible to make sure my back doesn't get messed up again, weddings, vacations, binge watching various TV shows (Gilmore Girls, baby!!!), and trying to spend time with friends and family, and, well, blogging has took a very sad back seat.
Are these excuses for not blogging nearly enough over the last year? A little bit. I get frustrated at myself almost every day for not taking the time to sit my ass down and write some reviews. I have been reading a lot - I've read 87 books in 2016 so far and read 110 in 2015. Doing cardio on a recumbent bike is super helpful for my back and reading time! It's just putting the time into writing about those books that seems to be hard. I don't know if it's because my brain is so tired by the time I get home from work and the gym that I just want to spend the three-ish hours I have left in my day doing nothing (along with eating and showering and looking after my rabbit). I haven't been able to find that groove of working full time and blogging, if I ever had it to begin with.
One of the things I've been struggling with when it comes to my lack of blogging is how it affects my relationships with publishers and authors. It's not good. I've finally managed to cut down on the number of books I request but that also means a few months could go by when I don't ask for anything from a certain publisher. Have I completely dropped off their radars? I used to have an amazing relationship with one publisher but over the last three years it's been harder and harder to keep a relationship going due to turnover there. And forget face to face events because I never get invited to them any more. (Indulge my "poor me" stories for a bit, ok?) I live just over an hour outside of Toronto. It's easy to get to but I have to really want to make the effort and spend the money to get there. A launch for a book I only kinda want to read or haven't had time to get to yet won't be something I make that effort for. A preview for the upcoming season? Hells yes, I'd go into the city for that. The really insecure part of me sometimes wonders if no one thinks my blog is any good and I suck as a blogger and I'm so rude for not reviewing books on time. (I get it publishers - trust me. I am so mad at myself.) But the other part wonders if it's as simple as they don't invite anyone outside of a certain geographical area. It can be kind of lonely being a book blogger in Niagara these days.
And all of these crazy thoughts don't even include what's happening with book blogging in general. There always seems to be some kind of drama unfolding on social media but it's usually involving the YA side of things which I'm not involved in (and which I sometimes think is why my blog isn't "bigger" than it is). I don't like getting into the drama online so I stay the hell out of it. There are almost always very valid points but they get lost in the knee-jerk reaction tweets that can sometimes make bloggers look petty and unintelligent. (Related: I'm hoping like hell I'm not coming off that way in this rambling post!)
I'm hoping today's blogiversary is the kick in the ass I need to finally get around to writing long overdue reviews and maybe, just maybe, completely overhauling the blog. Books will be the main thing of course (they're my most favourite thing and since I apparently can't find a paying job that allows me to play with them all day, I have to have the blog!) but I'm thinking of expanding a bit. Of course this means research into hosting and designs and budgeting but it's something I've wanted to do for awhile now. A refresh is in order, I think. (And tips are so very welcome!)
Thank you for sticking around until the end of this post and for reading my reviews over the years. I know I am incredibly lucky to be a book blogger and it is so much fun to read books and then flail about them (or, on the rare occasion I hate a book, warn people off it) here and on social media. I'm going to continue reading what I love even if they are genres that get slammed all the time (women's fiction, romance, chick lit, anything contemporary that's not YA) and I will really try to not be bothered that some other blog is getting more books/more invites/more anything because, hello, we're not in high school any more and blogging really shouldn't be a popularity contest. There are enough of us out there (and yes, maybe there are too many of us) that we should embrace what we really love because that will come out in our writing. Again, thank you. And happy reading!