#1. That I will always click on a post titled “what blogging has taught me” or “blogger confessions” or “blogging life lessons,” even though:
#2 Those posts always say the same fucking things.
So this is not that. I’m not going to tell you to have an editorial calendar or to be consistent or to do guest posts or to use SEO techniques.
Life lessons were on my mind when I was asked to appear on Seen and Heard in Edmonton. The premise of Seen and Heard is brilliant, and will probably take off in other cities before you know it. Karen Unland interviews local bloggers about what they do, and why, and where they’re going. Not only is it fascinating for bloggers, but it’s a great way for people to find local perspectives on whatever they’re into. I’m guest #5. The other four have included bloggers who write about theater, business, food, and history. Seen and Heard also rounds up the best weekly blogs and podcasts every Monday morning, which is just a great way to start the week.
So – what wisdom could I impart to the Seen and Heard audience? I thought back to my biggest blogging moment this year, attending Book Expo America. Then I read this interview with burnt-out mega-blogger Dooce about why she’s quitting:
In 2004-5, I was the first personal website to take advertising. Now it’s why you start one. If you’re doing it for fun there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re looking to make an income, this is not a good way.
I rolled my eyes a lot at the BEA blogger con. So many panels about growing your audience and doing sponsorship and MORE content FASTER… featuring panelists who do not making money from blogging. The only ones making a living either work for Book Riot or spun their blogs into books. I heard “fun money” and “champagne money.” I heard bloggers admit that they were uncomfortable with affiliate links and that they didn’t even make any money from them. And book bloggers burn out all the time due to demanding schedules and publishers and expectations.
What’s the point? If you’re a hobbyist, like the vast, vast majority of book bloggers are, why kill yourself to post weekly, or get all the latest ARCs? Why not post when you want, when you really have something to say? Unless you’re out to make serious money or advance a career in the same field as your blog, none of this stuff matters.
Click here to listen to Karen interview me and to read my list of blogger/podcast recommendations. Also check out the first half hour of the latest Write Reads podcast for more in this vein – Kirt and Tania talk to recently-burnt-out Rick of Canon Fodder/Through the Pages about what’s wrong with book blogging, and I wanted to jump through the computer screen and say “yes!” to all of it.
Okay, one Life Lesson: Whatever you’re worried about when it comes to your blog, no one cares as much as you. Do you think the blogosphere will grind to a halt if you don’t post that weekly meme? Do you think your readership will unfollow and denounce you on social media if you don’t participate in the latest hashtag? I promise you no one will notice. Keep blogging when you can, until you don’t want to anymore. That’s my plan.
Last month I committed to writing a little bit everyday. I didn’t quite make it, but I blogged TWELVE times this month, which is like WHOA compared to my usual two posts. My secret is to let go of perfectionism. Not every post has the most perfect picture, or every book title and twitter account linked. It’s that kind of thing that makes me spend too much time obsessing rather than just writing and interacting, which is kind of the point of blogging, for me.
Any of you bloggers out there have tips to keep a good blogging streak going?
- Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer. 5 Stars. The night I finished this book, I bawled for an hour. I was doing that thing where you flip ahead to make sure something awful wasn’t about to happen, because if it was, you need to mentally prepare. But I couldn’t prepare for the ending, obviously. Just go read this, please. Review coming once I can emotionally handle it.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy. People recommended this book to me a few times after my post about dark and depressing reads. My mom found it at a used book sale for $2. Score!
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson. Another score at the book sale, and I just realized it’s the Canada Reads selection from a few years back – my copy has a different cover. Excited for this one. You had me at “19 year old widow by her own hand.”
- Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks. I was very fortunate to get a signed copy of this Leacock Medal winner courtesy of Matt at NeWest Press. Pickle Me This calls it feminist and smart. Sounds good to me.
Books I Want to Read
- Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. Cannot for the life of me remember where I read a review, but I know I added it to the list immediately. I also know it won the Orange Prize in 1997 and that’s good enough for me.
- Molotov Hearts by Chris Eng. Read about this punk rock YA book over at Alexis Keinlen’s blog. What can I say, a boy with a mohawk broke my heart once.
- Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone. Sounds like a good coming of age book. Will pick it up despite annoying cliche “girl facing away” cover.
- She Rises by Kate Worsley. Read this review at She Reads Novels and added it to the list when I read “reminds me of Sarah Waters.”
On the Blog
I officially posted enough this month to justify a recap.
#MobyDick2013 – Moby Dick Read-A-Long
Events, Memes, and Randomness
- NeWest Spring Spectacular
- The Desexification of Anna From Away
- Book and Music Pairings
- Classics Club May Meme
- April Reading Roundup
What’s Next on Reading in Bed
#MobyDick2013 continues, I’ll probably start planning my beach reads for July (I like to plan ahead) and a #yegbooks fall preview. Stay tuned!