For those who are not aware, I have been blogging for about 12 years now. I started with a simple review blog back in 2007 where I just post basic reviews of the books I read. Throughout the years, my blogging has changed and evolved, I’ve started and trashed a lot of blogs a long the way, I’ve tried writing about lifestyle, being a mom, etc., but I still go back to the niche closest to my heart – book blogging.
While it seems like I only started blogging yesterday, the years have added up and I’ve learned so many things (most in just the recent few). As much as I’ve grown and changed as a person, so has my blogging. Here are some of the things I’ve learned through the years. Whether you are a new blogger or have been blogging for a while now, I hope these lessons encourage you.
1.Book Blogging Will Cost You
Whether we like it or not, books (plus the electricity, the internet, and the countless snacks we eat while reading and blogging) will cost us a pretty penny. Most book blogger are like me – our blogs are not monetized and we don’t have affiliate links. As much as blogging seems to be a full time job (even if we do it in our spare time), it doesn’t pay like a regular corporate job would. Heck, the reason why I have a corporate job in the first place is so that I can support my blogging expenses. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. There are [book] bloggers who have gone on to monetize their blogs and are also getting paid from their affiliates, some have even become authors themselves and now have best selling books. I chose not to monetize because the blogging in itself is enough of a reward for me – reading my books keeps me sane, writing and designing stuff in my blog keeps me sharp, and the whole thing keeps me grounded. My mental health is a lot better because I have my books and my blog as an outlet. It’s also a huge plus that I get sent ARCs to read, and meet and be friends with fellow bookworms and book bloggers.
2.Humans Beings Are Not Perfect
I say this because I have met so many people throughout my journey with blogging. I have met pretty amazing and supportive people – some could become your mentors, others are allies, all are friends who we know we’ll be comfortable in gushing over a book with. They won’t judge you for what you want to read and your opinions on certain topics. Having conversations with them is like a breath of fresh (intellectual) air.
And then there are some who are less than desirable. The people who think they are experts at this blogging thing and thereby have the right to critic anyone for their different opinions and then put them down just because they are not of the same mindset. These people must be avoided at all costs. It’s sad how they choose to be unkind when kindness is easier to share.
3.We Are Not Experts
I always say I have a degree in book geek. On a serious note, I do have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature. Despite my education I’ve never regarded myself as an expert in literature and writing. Criticizing a book doesn’t mean I’m better than the author, it’s just that I’ve probably encountered a work I feel was written better or that I liked better. My blog[s] have always reflected my honest opinion of what I thought about the books I’ve read (and anything else I might have written about) and I’ve never been technical in how I write. Over the years I’ve been able to find my own voice and I’ve stuck to it ever since.
4.Put Yourself Out There
Growing your blog is not just purely getting followers and readers. When I started blogging in 2007 the only social media I’ve encountered was possibly Friendster, MySpace, and Multiply. Facebook was young and it would be a few more years before were introduced to Instagram and Twitter. Book blogging’s life blood comes first from the bloggers who write them and second to the people who read and share them. We now have online book communities where we can meet people, learn a lot of things (coding anyone?), and share our work. Part of the reward of being a book blogger is reading about how people have discovered books because they saw your review and recommendation. Meeting new people also means supporting not just a fellow book blogger but anyone else who has their own way of expression.
5.Never Lose the Passion
It’s only been more than 2 years since I decided to finally take my blogging seriously and maybe take it to the next level. I don’t remember how many other blogs I’ve started then abandoned. I’ve gone on long periods of time where I didn’t read book or write my reviews. I’ve been discouraged [by people] and maybe even lost my motivation. I asked myself why I even bother writing. I’ve seen this happen to others.
I learned is that it’s ok to take a breather. Take a break from the grind, go on a hiatus to find meaning and purpose again, and be reacquainted with the passion I know I still have. I realized blogging is like one of my favorite books, it will always wait for me to come back when I’m ready.
What did you wish you knew before you started blogging?