Wow. Where do I even start? If you’ve been following my blog in the past year or so, you might have realized I dropped off the face of the planet after January. If you didn’t notice, then just read on for the Valuable Lessons portion of this post and skip the Explanation of Why the Heck I Haven’t Been Posting.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I just recently finished my last year in high school, so your girl is officially college-bound! The last semester of my senior year though was, without a doubt, the most difficult in my entire life. The college process was horrific for me. Not fun or exciting or exhilarating in the slightest, which was only made harder by the fact that every single person I held a conversation with would immediately ask, “So are you excited for college?!” Of course you can’t answer no in those situations, but I certainly felt like it.
Anyways, I didn’t come here to rant about choosing a college (though I really could rant a lot), I’m mostly just telling you all this to explain why blogging (and bookstagramming) took a huge backseat in my life. I barely have had time to read, much less talk about reading. And truthfully, I’ve had very little motivation to come back to the world of book blogging. I’m still trying to find that motivation, so any advice is appreciated!
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: although YA is a genre meant for teens, you’ll find that the blogging community is vastly built on bloggers over the age of 25. That’s because being a teen and having the time to commit to blogging is ridiculously—RIDICULOUSLY—hard. So long story short, that’s why I’ve been gone for nearly six months.
But the first inspiration for a blog post that I’ve felt in a long time stems from all the things I’ve realized while taking such a long hiatus. So in hopes of finally, finally starting up this platform again, I’m here to share some things I’ve learned about myself as a reader and writer during my time away!
Structure Doesn’t Work for Me
Time and time again over my first year of blogging, I attempted to create a solid posting schedule. First I tried two times a week, with one post being a review or tag and one being a discussion. Then (in a moment of extreme optimism) I bumped it up to three times a week, with a very meticulously planned list of posts stretching up to four months in advance. Inevitably, I tried it for two weeks and never managed to follow it. I think I’ve finally accepted that, as much as I love being organized, creating a rigid posting schedule will never work for me. I end up feeling too pressured and not having fun, so I avoid writing posts at all, then feel like a failure. I need to write more when inspiration strikes, and write whatever it is I feel like posting. Though this means less reliable posting for my readers, I think the alternative (*ehem* falling into a six-month slump) is much worse. And this brings me to my next point.
Ignoring Follower Count and Stats is Crucial
I know everyone always says, “Don’t worry about the numbers!” but we’d all be lying if we didn’t admit that that’s an incredibly hard thing not to worry about. Besides my crazy school life, I think another primary reason I felt unmotivated to blog was how downtrodden I felt in regards to my stats. I let all of the numbers get to my head, and suddenly blogging was no longer fun or relaxing. It became a chore to do each week in order to maintain statistics on a screen, and that’s not something I ever want blogging to be. After taking a long step back, it became so much easier to see how the numbers don’t really matter, how my love for reading and writing is infinitely more important. So if my posting is more sporadic, if my posts are not as popular, if I don’t gain more page views or likes, that’s okay. It’s a sacrifice I know I need to make in order to enjoy blogging for what it is.
I’m a Momentum Writer
Though this almost contradicts my first point, I realized that I always do my best job of posting frequently when I write consistently. While scheduling doesn’t work for me, I do think that setting aside some time each week to write will help me keep in touch with blogging. Once I set the figurative pen down, it’s like trying to move a boulder for me to pick it back up again. So a consistent—but not forced—writing pattern would be best.
Review Copies/ARCs Aren’t Worth the Stress
Okay so I’m a bit of a hypocrite saying this one, considering I have a not-so-tiny mountain of ARCs sitting in front of me as I write this. But after falling down the deep dark abyss of Netgalley and briefly experimenting with formal ARC requests, I’ve determined that the struggle to meet the release-day deadline just isn’t worth the privilege of reading a book early. Well, I shouldn’t say it’s not “worth” it so much as I’m simply not cut out for it. I’m a mood reader and I read slowly. My overall goal for the year is only 45 books, which is going to take a miracle and godly sacrifice for me to reach. I like to take the time to relish my books rather than devour, and I’ve been trying to make myself fit into a different reader box so that I could have ~shiny new books~ show up on my doorstep. In the end, I’ve been doing both myself and the publisher a disservice. That being said, I love picking up ARCs from conventions, my local indie store, and through trading, which still bring the joy of ARCs without having such an intense obligation or deadline attached to them. Also, I’m going to work on picking them up in moderation as opposed to the truckload.