Why It’s Okay to Fail {Amanda’s Discussion}

Posted 3 January, 2014 by Amanda / 30 Comments


Have you noticed this? Book bloggers put a lot of pressure on themselves. A lot, a lot.

And though we might say we succumb to the pressures of the community, it’s not the community that places pressure on you to succeed: it’s YOU. You’re the one who wants to compete. To read those books and join all the challenges. To have the most views, comments, and followers.

I’ve seen a lot of tweets and posts about “failing.” Failing challenges, failing at reading, failing with writing reviews, failing to respond to comments or tweet people.

I think that’s a load of bullshit.

Oh, for sure, if you don’t reach the goals you set for yourself, that’s failing. But sometimes, IT’S OKAY TO FAIL.

Because you know what’s more important than blogging or reading? Real life. Work priorities. Spending time with your family, friends, and loved ones. Taking a break to recharge. Doing something nice for yourself that doesn’t involve any kind of obligation.

Blogging is hard work. Period. The more you pile on your plate, the more likely you are to burn out. Let me repeat: The more YOU pile on your plate, the more likely you are to burn out and “fail.”

In 2014, I made a decision not to join any challenges because I didn’t want the extra work involved—because I know I always end up “failing.” And rather than set myself up for failure, I’m not even going there this year. I’m going to do what I want when I want.

As you begin to sign up for challenges and take review requests, remember that you’re only one person who also needs a life outside of blogging. Take care of that person by not beating yourself up for perceived failures. They’re never as bad as you think.

Because you have to take care of YOU. If you’re not happy blogging, why bother?

Filed under: Discussion,


30 Responses to “Why It’s Okay to Fail {Amanda’s Discussion}”

  1. Great post! I feel the same way, and have vowed not to take on any additional reading unless I really want to. I’m monitoring my obligations closely as I have found that it’s not enjoyable when it feels like work. Thanks for the reminder and insight. Have a great day!

    Paul R. Hewlett

  2. FAIL!! Heh. Yeah, I’ve failed at stuff but I’m okay with that. I’m not Wonder Woman (this is a very sad thing to me. I always wanted those bullet-deflecting bracelets and to be able to spin into an awesome costume. Plus, who doesn’t want a Lasso of Truth and invisible plane? Not me!).

  3. Truer words were never spoken (or in this case, typed) Amanda! I put a whole heaping pile of pressure on myself with the blog, I feel guilty if I don’t make it to someone’s blog to comment one day or return a comment, even though I know the only person holding that against me is me. It’s all me:) I’ve been better this past year though, and like you I don’t join any challenges because I don’t need any external pressure, there’s enough coming from within already. That sentence sounded weird, but I think you understand what I’m trying to say. I think I’ll continue to relax in 2014, it’s one of my goals:)

  4. I definitely agree with you regarding getting burned out if you try to do too much. And although I think it’s good to try to do things, and to want to succeed, it’s also important to know what your limits are. And that although blogging is wonderful, life in the real world is wonderful, too.

    • You nailed it, Quinn. It’s all about understanding your limits. And it really is true: to succeed, you must fail. That’s how we learn. So failures don’t have to be true failures if we learn and grow from them.

  5. <3333 Love this post! I normally don't worry about failing at blogging (how can you fail at a hobby?) but I do see the types of posts you refer from time to time, so it's good to see a post from a different pov :)
    "more important than blogging or reading? Real life. Work priorities. Spending time with your family, friends, and loved ones. Taking a break to recharge. Doing something nice for yourself that doesn’t involve any kind of obligation." 10000% agreed.

  6. Excellent points here!! I opted not to be a part of any challenges (officially) this year as well (except for Goodreads) because I ended up tossing too many of them last year. I want blogging to be fun and I also want to be able to pick and choose what I read and not have as many obligations. I love being involved in a lot of things but you’re absolutely right — It’s self-imposed pressure and why do I do that to myself? Time for a more relaxed year and getting to the books *I* want to read versus what I “need” to read for my obligations! :)

  7. Daphne

    I am on board with this. I need to actually do the books I say I will but only if I really want to read them. Need to clean it up.

  8. This was something I realized during my blogging hiatus – the stress I felt was all self-induced. No one was holding a gun to my head, telling me I had to post every day or read every book I came across. So this time round, I’ve promised myself to take things easy. For now, that means I’ll read what I want, when I want, versus trying to accommodate someone else’s schedule.

    I did sign up for a couple challenges this year, but they’re in line with my vision for 2014 – finishing some series I’m mid-way through and clearing out some books I’ve got sitting on my TBR shelf. I won’t feel like I’ve failed if I don’t meet the goals I set for myself – I’m going to look, instead, at the great progress I made!

    Remind me I said this a year from now, ok? Haha

  9. I haven’t blogged since October, mainly because with all the pressure I put on myself, it just wasn’t fun anymore. Since then, I’ve been wallowing in historical romance and loving it again. So nice to read for pure enjoyment without a critical eye!

    I plan to start up again soon (a new year promise to myself) but I think the only way I can do it is to read only books I’ve purchased. No blog tours, no NetGalley, etc. I think that’ll bring the fun back…I hope, at least.

    So thanks for writing this – it always helps to put it in perspective but mostly to remember that I’m not the only one. Cheers to happy reading and blogging in 2014!

    • Historical romance is such a good genre for pure enjoyment!

      Yup. I only read books I buy or get from the library, so I read what I want when I want. It’s good for staying on track. I also give myself permission not to review books if I don’t want to, which is also helpful if everything starts feeling like a chore.

      Good luck with blogging and reading in 2014!

  10. Jan

    This is so, so true! You’re so wise, Amanda! ;-) Seriously though, this is spot on. I have to admit that in the few months that I’ve been doing it I have felt the pressure more than once but I know it is me that’s doing it to myself. I’ve been very careful to stay away from things like challenges because I don’t like the idea of having to read a certain thing by a certain time. For me the pressures are things like posting when I plan to post or what to write, stats etc but I really am working on reminding myself that this is just a hobby. Something fun to fit in with my real life and the things that really matter, not the other way around!

  11. Great post and true viewpoint.

    I do it for fun and try not to get down on myself if I “fail” and don’t let it bother me. I usually overdo the goals and challenges and read-a-thons, but it generally adds an excitement to life I appreciate and does encourage me to read more in an interactive way. There’s always a chance to do better – but I’m generally happy with what I’ve done. Like you’ve said, it’s about the fun anyway :)

  12. So very true. Real life happens, stress, anxiety, the need to not be constantly working on something, it all happens. It’s not failing. It’s just life. I haven’t signed up for any challenges because in 2013 I signed up for TWO whole challenges. Seriously Series and the GoodReads. I finished my GoodReads challenge but stopped keeping track of it about halfway through the year. I am not very good at keeping up with challenges. My follow through game is seriously lacking. ;) 2014 for me is about not setting myself up to fail and just enjoying my hobby again.

  13. It’s weird how timely this post is for me, considering that I haven’t stopped in in AGES and the first thing I read is something I really need to hear. Not just about blogging, but about life. It’s not so much the actual failing (with real life, at least), as the compulsive fear of failure I think I have. I’m such a perfectionist in grad school, and that can make things really, really hard sometimes. Good advice!

    P.S. Hope things are good with you! :)

    • I’m glad to hear that, Natalie. (And to “see” you!) Grad school taught me to prioritize my worries—there’s only so much you can worry about at once before it paralyzes you—and I’ve been trying to apply the same to my blogging life. We can only do so much. And sometimes “done” is better than “perfect.”

      And it’s especially important during grad school to take care of yourself. It’s so easy to let it slide. Best of luck with your next semester!

  14. Gayla

    I just stopped by to check out your blog and saw this post. It was like reaching up and slapping my forehead moment..I can relate. Seven years ago I was an avid blogger and also wrote a lot about books and reading. I found myself getting so down when I would fail. Eventually I just fell out of blogging completely. But now I’m slowly creeping back into it and I enjoy even more. Because if I don’t write everyday it’s OK! My life is my life and I’m so happy..even if I don’t have time to blog :)
    Thank you for this entry..

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