Blogoversary: Jenny on What She Learned Her 1st Year of Blogging

Posted 28 April, 2012 by Amanda / 21 Comments

When I first starting blogging and was compiling a list of bloggers to stalk follow, I asked Tara who were must-haves.  If you stalk err…follow Jenny of Supernatural Snark, you know why Tara recommended her.  Simply put: Jenny is awesome.  She’s funny, she’s snarky, and she has some of the best and well-written content in the book blogging community.  *huggles her*  And now she’s here!  On my blog!

Supernatural Snark

THINGS I LEARNED MY FIRST YEAR OF BLOGGING

First of all, I want to thank Amanda for letting me come ramble on her blog and go off on a tangent that focuses almost entirely on me and not so much on generally helpful advice for other bloggers. I feel like Amanda didn’t really anticipate this happening, but I like to keep people on their toes and talk about myself, obviously, whenever possible. I’m a very modest and humble person you see.

In all honesty though, there’s so much I’ve learned in my almost two years of blogging (how time has flown!) both about reviewing books and about myself in particular, and that’s really been half the fun. Hopefully some of you can relate to my below thoughts, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I was out in left field all by myself. Left field and I are good, good friends.

I’m awkward.

This seems like a random “thing to have learned from blogging” doesn’t it? But it’s true. I work from home, so my social interactions are often rather limited to my husband and my clients. When I started blogging, one of my goals was to make sure the blog sounded like me. I wanted readers who clicked on Supernatural Snark to be able to recognize the tone of what they were reading and go “I’m on Jenny’s blog, this sounds like her”, so I tried to flood my blog with as much personality as possible.

This is where I ran into trouble initially. I’m snarky, and often times that doesn’t really translate well online, coming across as snobby or bitchy or any number of other things because people who don’t know me can’t hear my voice and the sarcasm that constantly drips from it. Also, my mouth is extra enormous because it often needs to accommodate my foot. Put all of that together and I can be either humorous or irritating to people. Sometimes both. Humorously irritating?

Point is however, that once I got over the nervousness of putting myself out there on the blog, it’s really been something I’ve tried to incorporate more and more often. The blog is me. Not a persona. Just me in all my wonky glory, so I encourage all bloggers to put themselves out there a bit and show their dorkiness, their enthusiasm, their sense of humor or anything else that makes them them.

Blogging is like having poison ivy.

What? Is this quite possibly the most convoluted list of non-helpful blogging tips ever? Maybe. But I think the above is true. In the beginning, the blog was all new and shiny and I wanted to spend every waking moment building it, talking to new friends, and finding new books. I loved the blog. I needed the blog. And then the inevitable happened: the blog became my sole focus.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it and ways to make it better. I commented like a machine. I tweeted like it was my job. I blog-hopped like there was no tomorrow. The blog got under my skin, a constant itch always there begging me to scratch it. Buy one more book Jenny. Post one more review. Enter one more contest. It became overwhelming.

It took me a long time to learn how to balance my life and the blog, and to find a schedule of reading and reviewing that worked for me without making it feel as though I had a second job. What helped me the most you ask? Talking to other bloggers. They’re like calamine lotion – they soothe me and make me feel more comfortable. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them when things get to be too much because they most likely can relate!

Review books are not required reading.

High school was a while ago for me (yikes), but I remember clearly the mail I got every summer with a list of required reading (AP English nerd, party of one). Books like Moby Dick, Crime and Punishment, and Brave New World. Books I HAD to read because I was going to be tested on them. More often than not, I hated every single one of those books for no other reason than I was being forced to read them (and despite the fact that I actually loved to read). Feeling like I absolutely had to finish a book sucked all the fun out of the experience for me.

I thought this could never happen with the blog. The blog would feature all books I wanted to read! Books made of win! Once the blog was a little more established, I started getting a few review requests here and there, and what blogger isn’t super excited that someone actually sought them out and asked them to read their book? I was ecstatic. For a little while. As the review requests became steadier I started to feel obligated to say yes. That’s why I started the blog right? To review books? It got to the point where I was no longer choosing the books I reviewed, but was allowing them to be chosen for me, and I flashed back to those required reading lists in high school.

Like with the blogging schedule, it took a very long time for me to work up the courage to decline requests and not feel horribly guilty doing so. I stopped chastising myself for being self-important. I ceased with the “who’s too good to accept review requests? Oh that’s right, you are. You are an a-hole.”  I started the blog to have fun with something I’m passionate about, and fun for me comes from reading books I genuinely want to read, not ones I have to.

So that was my incredibly long post about a couple of the things I’ve learned as I’ve gone along. Thanks to anyone who made it to the end of the post and to Amanda again for having me!

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Find Jenny:

Blog | Goodreads | Twitter

Filed under: Blogoversary,

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21 Responses to “Blogoversary: Jenny on What She Learned Her 1st Year of Blogging”

  1. “What helped me the most you ask? Talking to other bloggers. They’re like calamine lotion – they soothe me and make me feel more comfortable.”

    *falls over laughing*

    All joking aside, I agree with Jenny about not being afraid to reach out. This is a great rule not just for blogging, but for life in general. Or so I’m told. It’s still something I’m working on, and hitting the send button (or whatever) can still take a good fifteen minutes.

  2. Oh, Jenny, you’re awesomely awesome. And I agree with everything you said. It’s hard to stay true to your personality but it really makes your blog unique when you can. It’s scary to say no to people who want you to review their books–I hate saying no but I have to, especially when I’m truly not interested (uhg, required reading! Boo!). And talking to other bloggers is really one of my favorite parts of blogging. Because they’re awesome! (what? too much awesome? NEVER!)

    • *blushes* Thanks Mary!!! I think it’s hard to show personality online, it can so easily be misinterpreted when your tone and facial expressions aren’t there to help people figure out when you’re trying to be funny. Then I look like an a-hole who tried to be funny and failed. And there’s no such thing as too much awesome when it comes to fellow bloggers:)

  3. This might as well be one of the best posts on blogging tips. :D I’m still in that exciting phase of actually establishing my blog but a a week or so ago I received my first actual review request and I got so so excited… but then I read the e-mail furthermore and it was for an adult book, which I don’t review. My heart dropped a little when I had to decline it. I still bad for it. XD

    • Yay! I’m glad it was semi-helpful:) Learning to say “no” was a really hard thing for me – I felt horrible doing it, like I was saying I was too good for their book by turning it down. That wasn’t the case at all, but how can I give someone’s book a fair review when it’s not a genre I prefer and I’m forcing myself to read it? My review would be less than positive simply because I felt like I was being forced to read it (by myself, not the author).

  4. THANKS FOR HAVING ME DESPITE MY EXTREME MY TARDINESS AMANDA! It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to know you stalk me, it evens out my stalking of you:):)

  5. Wonderful post. Yes, your blog does sound like you. And about required reading, that is why I probably only accepted a handful of books in the few years I’ve been blogging.

  6. I love that … “books made of win!” I thought the same thing when I started blogging and then, for some reason, my train of thought got off at the wrong station and I started accepting too many mediocre review books and I just wasn’t happy with what I was reading. Time for a change!

    I felt so bad about turning down books, but I now realize that it has to be done. Thanks for the post!

  7. Jenny! You are so fun! I want to huggle you half to death!

    Learning to say no to requests was one of the hardest things for me to learn. There are times when I still fail at it.

    (PS: Happy Almost Blogoversary, Amanda!)

  8. I have the same problem with sarcasm. I am just one big ball of snarky sarcasm and one liners. They just don’t read as well as face to face. *clears throat* Some people are just too sensitive.

    Great advice. I’ve felt all of those things and make an effort to remember why I wanted to start doing this to begin with. If reading isn’t fun, I’m done. I don’t need a second job that doesn’t pay.

    Thanks for the wisdom.

  9. Such a great post Jenny! You’re one of my favorite bloggers. Your voice does stand out. Did people get mad at you at first for it? You’ve never come off as b*tchy to me. I love the snark. Especially the cover critique. I did love the fake complaint your dad sent in though.

  10. Jenny! You A-hole! ;)

    In my book, A-hole stands for Awesomehole. LOL

    Okay, that was lame, even for me. But your post has me LOLing all over myself. You are so right. Finding that balance in your schedule is super important to maintaining your blog.

    Right now, my RL job is throwing me off my schedule, and it sucks because it is taking the fun out of blogging for me. I hate when RL gets in the way. LOL

    P.S. I love the idea of you as calamine lotion that I could rub all over myself. :P

  11. It’s always hard for me to express my sense of humor online. I worry (too much, probably) that someone will take offense or not get it and I’ll end up making a fool out of myself. I think you’re right that in the end, you just have to be true to yourself. I like to think I’m not a bitch, so I would hope that my humor wouldn’t come off as bitchy, or at least not to regular readers. You make me want to loosen up, Jenny!