Discussion // Struggles of a Brand New Book Blogger

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful Saturday so far! Today, I’m excited to share my very first discussion on the blog! It’s one that’s a little personal for me, as I really do delve into some of my insecurities and worries as a new blogger, and share how I deal (or sometimes, don’t deal) with them. I hope that, at the least, it’s an interesting read for you all. With that said, let’s get on with the discussion!

I’ll start with something that’s a given and incredibly crucial for a blogger: Finding and developing a voice, style, and trademark that is uniquely and wholeheartedly you. This is, apparently, one of those things that are easier said than done, because over the last five months*, I’ve really struggled with creating a blog that not only sells, but also does a good job representing me. In these five months, I’ve already redesigned the blog three times, in an attempt to balance aesthetics and still find some room for me.

When you first start out blogging, there are so many decisions to make, and it really seems like you have to make the “right decisions” to be successful. As someone who overthinks everything, deciding what kind of content I want on my blog — and how it’ll affect my stats (more on this later) — is almost anxiety inducing. And I really wonder: Is my mindset wrong? Am I taking this too seriously? Or not seriously enough?

I’ve been making some changes to the blog — from the design, to the actual content — hoping to be more true to myself. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I think the most common advice I hear —
“Just be yourself! Be genuine!” — is one that’s the most important.

*On a completely unrelated tangent, today marks my blog’s 5 month anniversary! I didn’t post until about a week later, but the fifth was when I actually created and started my (ugly) blog design!

“Don’t think too much about the stats!” says every single blogger in the universe.

I think about the stats. A lot. In my defense, I’m a math girl through and through, and I translate everything into graphs: Where I am now, where I was yesterday, and where I’ll be tomorrow if I move at the same steady rate. I’ll be honest: This is not something I’m proud of, but statistics matter a lot to me, and are, inherently, tied to my perception of success.

When you analyze every single thing about your blog’s stats, you come to develop a sort of anxiety that comes with too much unnecessary info. You know what statistics tell me? Things I really don’t want to hear. I don’t want to create content that doesn’t mean anything to me, and I don’t want to be active on social medias constantly promoting myself, and I certainly don’t want to forge fake relationships that are founded on a mutual obsession with stats. But my blog stats say, “Hey? It works!” and then I spiral into a rabbit-hole of negative thoughts.

This is something that I’m really struggling with, but also trying to work on at the same time. I don’t want to constantly think about my readership, and how it’s not growing*, and I don’t want stats to get in the way of something which I’ve started purely for fun. (Also, I don’t know if you noticed, but I deleted my first four posts because I feel like they’re not “good enough” any more. I’m trying to get out of the “everything-must-be-perfect” mindset.)

*This is not to say that I’m anything short of extremely grateful for my current followers! I love you guys and I appreciate you all more than words can describe — I’m constantly surprised that you all have stuck around for this long, and I truly don’t deserve all the support people have given me!

I’ll start with this: There’s nothing that annoys me more than when people say that they’d prefer to “separate politics from books,” and use that to ignore things that are problematic. When you have a platform, what you read and what you promote is a representation of what you believe, and you simply cannot claim that you’re separating the problematic parts (or the problematic author…) from the good parts. It doesn’t work that way. What some people don’t seem to understand is stating that you have no political opinion on something that is clearly racist/problematic/discriminatory is…. a political statement.

Yes, this all is stemming from numerous incidents that happen on book twitter every day in which white people mess something up. But all that is a post for another day.

The reason I’m starting of with this is because I don’t want anyone to twist what I’m going to say next, and that is that I don’t feel comfortable sharing negative experiences that have happened to me. In her post about things she wished she knew about blogging beforehand, Shealea mentions this, and I remember Vicky tweeted about this too: unfortunately, like every other community, the book community is full of people who only value POCs and our stories for their “educational values” and the pain that we apparently “represent.”

What I mean to say by that is this: I refuse to lay down my personal experiences with racism and xenophobia just so that someone can get the opportunity to say, “I’m sorry that happened to you. I can’t imagine it!” and I refuse to be reduced to a learning resource. For a lack of better words, I refuse to “victimize” myself —this is one thing I will not sacrifice to stats. When it comes to identity, my personality, my culture, my values, my morals, and my reading taste holds far more value than any racism I experience, and I want my content to reflect that.*

The reason this is included in this post really ties into my section on stats — posts that are “educational” for the majority do better (I think) and I don’t want to fall into that trap for numbers.

* This most certainly does NOT mean that I won’t speak up or address problematic things, both in books and the real world. Everything I said only applies to me and my personal experiences.

I want to end on a positive note, because while there are things that I struggle with, the benefits and sheer fun that comes with blogging out-values the struggles by a lot. The blogosphere is the best place to be, with a wonderful community — people who are genuinely so nice!! I treasure the friendships I’ve made here, and I really am so glad to be here.

How was my first discussion?
If you’re a new blogger, have you felt any of these things too?
If you’ve been blogging for a while, did you feel any of this ever? (and do you have advice 👀)
What’s the most rewarding thing about blogging for you?

48 thoughts on “Discussion // Struggles of a Brand New Book Blogger

  1. Sara, I love this post! I can’t believe this is your first discussion post — it’s so well-written! 💛 (And I love the redesign!)

    As a new blogger myself, I completely relate to everything you mentioned here. I really struggled with finding my blogging voice when I first started my blog, and stats are always something I try (and oftentimes fail) to not stress about.

    I’m not on book Twitter, so I’m not that informed about what’s the latest controversy on social media. But what you said in the section about politics in the community is so important. POC members of the community should not be valued for only their “educational” value. We joined this community to talk and interact with people over our love for reading — just like everyone else in the community. We are more than the discrimination and racism we experience.

    Thank you for this amazing discussion post, Sara! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Abby, thank you so, so much for this wonderful comment! I’m so glad to hear that this resonated with you and that you could relate — it’s always relieving to know that you’re not the only one, haha.

      I love the way you put that, and I 100% agree! Thank you so much for reading! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this! I’m also a new blogger, and I feel the same way. I try not to obsess over stats, but I just feel so bad, when I see others bloggers and all the comments and likes they get. Are you sure this is your first discussion post? You made so many great points! And your redesign is amazing. 💜

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, it really is hard sometimes to see past the numbers — one of the hardest things for me to do is to stop comparing myself to other bloggers and accept that my pace and speed of growth is just as perfect as anyone else’s! I definitely do think this is one of those things that you just learn to love, though.

      Oh, that’s so sweet of you to say — thank you! ✨

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is great first discussion post and your design is beautiful. I’ve only just started improving my design more and I feel I’m way behind everyone! Although I didn’t relate to most of these issues as when I first started out, I do care about most of them now. I do feel like I should tell you to relax and take it easy sometimes! My best advice to improve stats/engagement is to actually engage with bloggers you follow/like in a meaningful/honest way because you’ll earn long-term engagement and who knows maybe make some nice friends along the way.

    When I was a new book blogger I didn’t care about my stats or blog design at all, I was doing it purely for fun for about two years (so I posted like five times in the first 3 months?😅) and although all my old reviews make me cringe whenever I read them I do feel that’s made me find my voice sooner.

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    1. Thank you, Rafaela! This is wonderful advice – thank you! I most definitely appreciate the friendships I’ve made through blogging, and value them far more than stats. There are just some days that it’s hard to get my priorities straight, haha. I’m glad to hear that things are going the way you want them to — and that it was all a natural process for you! Thank you for reading! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this look! 💖 Also I can relate to everything you’ve said because I remember being there not too long ago and some of that still hasn’t gone away. 😅 But experience does make a difference and I’m sure you’re on your way there already because you’re so incredible! What I want to say is that I understand all of this, being a perfectionist myself, but over time I’ve learnt to deal with it. If you ever need help or advice or just someone to talk to, my DMs are open. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was so relatable! I haven’t been part of the blogging scene for very long (this is my first week actually) but I totally understand that feeling of being obsessed with stats. I worry a lot about how many people visit my blog or how often I should post in order to get people to read me, then get anxious because I don’t know what to post and I don’t want my blog to be full of meaningless things.

    I really like the way you write! Your words really inspired me and reminded me why I decided to create a blog in the first place. So thank you so much for this 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, hey, welcome! Hope your first week’s been treating you well.✨ I’m glad to hear that you could relate, and that I’m not the only one. Hopefully, this gets better for both of us!

      Omg, thank you so much! I can’t express how much this means to me. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ahh i’m so behind on blog hopping but can i just say how much i love your new blog design!
    this post is so well-written, and i especially liked the part about statistics – it used to never bother me because i used wix and the stats page was so complicated to read, so i just gave up altogether on attempting to read it. when i moved to wordpress i started constantly checking my notifs for new followers though, and overanalyzed EVERYTHING. i agree that this mindset can be quite unhealthy sometimes! we all just want that dopamine hit, and it’s so hard to deal with!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ahh, thank you chloe!! I totally get what you mean — I was only on Wix for about a couple weeks, but traffic and stats never meant much to me until I moved to wordpress, where things like this are so easily accessible. It can be hurting mindset sometimes (many times), I agree 😭

      Liked by 1 person

  7. New book blogger here 🙋🏽‍♀️ I’ve had my blog for a little over a month, and numbers and stats give me headaches sometimes, I’m still trying to figure out which posts get the most views and the sort but as you said it’s the dilemma of “doing your own thing”. I definitely think you should put up something YOU should feel good about. What I like about this community though is that everyone is just so supportive and friendly; even the top tier bloggers and reviewers! Congrats on making it 5 months! And your blog is stunning btw ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh Sara 🥺 I love this and you with my whole heart! I still consider myself a new blogger and I still have a lot of trouble finding my voice sometimes!! Your comments are actually a really good bolsterer and remind me that I love doing this. I love YOUR voice and what you have to say about books and how you’ve chosen to exist in this INCREASINGLY WILD space lmao you d o it with such grace and passion and I look up to you 💖 sending you my love A L W A Y S

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First of all, I’m loving the new blog design (the last one was beautiful too)!!!! This is only your first discussion?! I think it was wonderfully written. I especially liked how you talked about wanting your content to really reflect you as a person through and through, and you’re doing an amazing job with this blog!!!!! I’m a new blogger too, and while stats are cool and all, I think the best thing about the blogosphere is making healthy relationships with bloggers you genuinely like who also have similar interests. Excited to see more splendid posts from you ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is such a great post and I agree with so many things you are saying!! I am also a new blogger and I agree with so much of what you are saying. I feel like it’s so important to be able to not pay attention to stats. It can also be so hard to find a blogging voice. You are doing a great job and I love your blog!! I love the redesign❤︎

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was such a great discussion post!
    I’m not really a “new” blogger, but even if I’ve had my blog for a while now, I’ve only started to post more consistently and really “be” a part of the community recently. I still struggle with finding my voice and the posts that I like writing better. With wanting to do everything but feeling like I’m not good enough to redesign my blog or to write that intricate review. It’ll come with time, I hope, the confidence to believe that my blog is mine and I can do anything I want with it, regardless of the views or followers.
    Very excited for your next discussion post, whenever it comes ❤︎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely get that — a lot of times, I ask myself if I’m “qualified” to write a post, or if my opinion of a topic is valuable or “original” enough to state. All I can say in advice is this: write that post! I’m sure all that you come up will be great. ❤

      Thank you! ✨

      Liked by 1 person

  12. hi! i am a filipino american teen in high school and i agree w all of these! it is a lot different from bookstagram, and i’ve had to figure out what works for me. finding my voice is a process, but i think i am getting there. it took me a while to figure out that i don’t need to sound a certain way because when i had a twitter, i thought i had to sound like everyone else, which was detrimental to me. advice from a bookstagrammer who’s bookstagram functioned like a blog for a while: take it day by day; make sure those you work with are transparent; have a close friends list where you can talk abt your life with people you trust.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. this is exactly what I’ve been facing — there’s this internal (maybe external?) pressure to “sound” a certain way (funny, sarcastic, etc.) and I think that molding yourself into something you’re not is one of those things that may seem like it’s working but only ends up hurting in the long run. I’m gradually getting out of this and trying to feel more comfortable in my own skin & personality!

      thank you so much for the advice and the comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello! I actually just recently started posting on my blog and am definitely relating with a few of these. Stats are also something that I resonate success with (totally got to get out of that mindset oof) and even after just started, it can be upsetting to see more interaction on one day than another. However, I guess we just have to remind ourselves that it’s only the beginning and there is so much potential and fun to be had! I loved everything you’ve had to say with your discussion. I’d love to see more of these from you in the future, you have a wonderful voice in this community! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with all of this, so much!! It’s definitely one of those grow-out-of-it things, and from the comments, it seems that stats are something that have bothered all bloggers at at least some point! Here’s to both of us falling in love with our content minus the numbers ❤

      Thank you so much!! (and I love your blog name so much omg <3)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s been a very long time since I was a new blogger or new to the bookish community but I had the same experiences that you did.
    Here’s what I suggest:
    — keep experimenting with your voice, blog design, types of posts, and graphics. Especially formatting. It will take time to figure out what you like and after a while you may want to change and that’s OKAY. As long as you like your content, it will show through in your posts and you’ll get a positive reaction to them.
    — stats obsession is hard, I know. I still struggle with it. But I’ve started restricting my time of checking stats (once a day) and since I’m a nerd I started finding patterns in statistics which somehow lessened the negative impact they have on me because I’m thinking “ok what worked and how to do it again”. It took me 4 years to realize this so don’t worry if you don’t have it figured out in 6 months. It’s alright!
    — the book community is harsh, yes. But it helps to follow people who mostly post uplifting things with mentions of problematic stuff so you’ll find out but NOT long threads with hate or rage. And we just have to be open to accepting that our faves may be problematic. Got to learn and move on.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your blogging journey 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg Sumedha, thank you SO much for all this advice ❤ ❤ ❤

      I'm stuck in this mindset where I have to get everything right the first time around, or else I'll miss out on opportunities — and since that's obviously impossible, I'm stuck in this toxic "I'll never be enough" cycle. I am getting out of it already, though, so !!!

      Thank you for this lovely and helpful comment ❤

      Like

  15. Happy anniversary! I totally agree with everything you’re saying, and I love interacting with members of the community!

    I was addicted to statistics before, and I would literally check Google Analytics like 20 times a day to see how many people were on my blog, and what the reception was. I feel like it makes things a lot more stressful, and I’ve learned to back away from it a little!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I’m glad to hear that you’ve distanced yourself from the stats — it’s definitely the healthy thing to do! ❤

      (on another note, I have no idea how to set up google analytics for my blog. can you please help me? 👀)

      Like

  16. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I love this post .. it’s interesting to compare myself now to what I thought when I first started blogging a few years ago. Trying not to end up in a rabbit hole regarding stats is always hard; the community is the best though!

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  17. I think it’s only natural that it takes a while for new bloggers to find their voice and their aesthetic. When Chana and I first started out, we made so many awful choices in terms of how we co-blogged and differentiated between the two of us and so much more. But I don’t think there’s any other way to learn. You just have to test things out until you find what you feel fits best! And if that ever starts not feeling right again, the great thing is you can change it. I actually really like how blogs aren’t stagnant things, and I love how much I can see bloggers grow when I follow them for a while!

    But I think I most related to your conversation about stats! I happen to really enjoy looking at my statistics and analyzing the numbers. I think there’s so much useful information you can gain from the stats page, and I’ve written several posts on what I find so fascinating.

    However I definitely still tend to obsess over the numbers too much at times. Especially when I write a post I’m passionate about, and then it doesn’t get the response I know it could, that feels really demoralizing! But it’s something I’m working on, and at this point I’m able to remind myself of the milestones our blog has reached, which gives me hope that the future is bright, and that even if the stats aren’t good today, that can always change tomorrow!

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  18. Ah I adore this post Sara!

    I’ve been blogging for over 3 years now but I managed to surround myself with so many wonderful people in the community. The people you surround yourself with, even online can help you grow so much and I’ll forever be thankful to the book community. That’s probably what I find most rewarding, forming friendships, having chats about stuff discussed in a post.

    Stats >.> I went through phases of being obsessed with tracking them to now, where I do not check them regularly, maybe once every few months if I remember. Mostly it’s because I don’t need to, I’ve never been in the blogging world for review purposes, I came here to find people to talk to, to connect with. That being said your stats do not define you as a person, they will be like the ocean, sometimes high, sometimes low and it’s ok. My stats are pretty low this year compared to last year for me, yet I feel like I’ve found my feet finally with scheduling and creating content. So stats are fine to note, but try not to fall down that particular rabbit hole, we’re all so much more than our stats 💜

    Your blogging voice will develop over time, I know it can feel overwhelming and like anything and everything you create, isn’t good enough or perfect. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to be YOU, your thoughts, your opinions and contain all of the rawness of you. You can edit it, format it to make it appear nicer, flow better but you can’t force a voice. It will come and it will involve, for example in my early days of blogging I added a lot of sarcastic lines and now I just…don’t. Am I still sarcastic? Absolutely but it feels unnatural for me now to insert those remarks and leave them in. Some I do leave in, all depends on when I edit it haha.

    I’ve found myself constantly redesigning my blog, it went through a name change too and now it feels a lot more like me. I will probably still add some more stuff to it, graphics wise one day but for now, I’m fine with how it looks. I care more about the content than the graphics because I can easily change the graphics later on, if I want to. The content? Not so much. Blogging is a journey, you’ll evolve with your blog so try not to squash yourself into box, let yourself explore, breathe. The type of content you enjoy creating will likely change and evolve, as you find your feet with blogging. Sending you all the love 💜 you’ve got this, blogging’s not easy but it’s one thing I’m glad I chose to do. I’ve made so many friends thanks to it and I adore those friends with my entire being hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

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