Thanks to the wonder that is the Way Back Machine, I was able to find some of my original blog posts from my previous blogging days. A letter I had written to my younger self, from my younger self, truly stuck out at me. So I thought it might be fun to look at the letter now. A letter-to-myself inception project, if you will.
But First, the Letter
Dear Younger Self,
At this point, you’re enthusiastic and passionate, both about blogging and about reading. You’re so excited about the community of like-minded book-loving people you’ve found yourself submersed in, and you’re loving how many new and fantastic books these people are exposing you to. You’re taking chances on new authors and new genres, and you’re constantly finding yourself inspired by those around you.
Don’t let the little things blind to you the reasons you began blogging in the first place.
Don’t pay attention to the drama; it does nothing for you.
Don’t let your passion be swayed by those who’ve lost their own.
Don’t feel guilty about having the dissenting or unpopular opinion.
And don’t put so much pressure on yourself; no one will fault you for taking a day or two to yourself.
At this point, you love finding new blogs – whether they’re lifestyle, fashion or book blogs. You love sharing(what you hope are) informative, witty and intelligent posts with others. You love writing discussion posts, even when they’re controversial. You love finding the perfect way to describe the book you just finished. You love when one of your posts inspires further conversation, whether it’s on your own post or whether someone was inspired enough to write their own post about what you’ve said. You love when an author acknowledges you on Twitter. And you love how happy blogging makes you.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong.
Don’t ever let someone make you feel like your opinion doesn’t matter.
And don’t ever stop doing what you love.
Not Following My Own Advice
When I think back on my blogging burnout out, two things I captured in this letter really stand out:
- (Self-Inflicted) Pressure
The time I had to spend doing the things I enjoyed most – reading, finding new blogs, finding new books, having discussions – started to get taken up by staying current on the latest blogging drama. Plagiarism, entitlement, jealousy – the blogging scandals seemed to be plentiful, and I found myself like one finds themselves at the scene of a car crash, unable to look away.
I feel like every blogger in the history of blogging has made some version of the following comment: “I’m not going to get caught up in blogging stats”. I promised myself I wouldn’t fear losing readers because I couldn’t keep up with a full-time blogging schedule. That if I had to only post 2 or 3 times a week, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Instead, I posted almost daily for several years. While visiting as many other blog as I could. And trying to read as many books as I could, to keep my reviews flowing.
I hope that I’ve learned enough from my past mistakes to not get caught in the same old traps. Like I talked about in my commitmentphobia post, I’m impulsive. I had a domain and general feel for my blog up and running within hours of deciding I wanted to start blogging again. But I also approached my return to blogging with more thought than I’ve ever given blogging in the past – I took a few months to plan out content and schedule posts, so that I could appease that internalized pressure.
I’m also hoping that by branching out, by not referring to myself specifically as a Young Adult Book Blogger, that I’ll feel I have the creative license to post about what I want, when I want. It was that lack of flexibility that added to my self-inflicted pressure before. I would come home from work on a Monday night in a panic because I knew I hadn’t scheduled my Top Ten Tuesday post yet. Or I’d throw up a Waiting on Wednesday post, just for the sake of having something to post that day – not because I always felt passionate about the content.
And my new promise to myself is to avoid the drama. I used to think I could follow it, and just not participate. But that’s not a productive use of my time. Instead, I think I’ll just close my Macbook and spend that time with my husband!
How do you deal with blogging drama and the pressures to stay current?