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?