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!
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.
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!