Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blog Different


I posted this weekend about getting over a reading slump. But that's only half the truth. The truth is that I'm bored with book blogging. Every time I find myself writing a blog post, I find myself wondering if it's even worth posting. Yet another review. One more recap. Like, so.

After nearly 10 years it's kind of hard to think of blogging differently. Is there any uniqueness left in book blogging? With dare I say hundreds of thousands of content creators chattering about books, what the hell can I do to jazz it up for my own dang self? 

I don't know that I have any answers.

So I'm putting it to you....can bloggers blog differently?

88 comments:

  1. Yes absolutely! But I don't think bloggers "have to" blog differently. Our interests change and shift over time - and sometimes that might include shifting away from blogging. I had 2 very popular blogs before this - lots of traffic, making money from them etc. - but I shifted away from them and couldn't pick up my interest in covering those topics again. And it's all right. I don't regret it for one instant.

    I think I blog "differently enough for me" but only because I think I have a certain style of blogging. But I don't think I'm unique or anything - but I don't have to be. I just have to do me better than anyone else can :-)

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    1. No, definitely not. I'm just asking for my own sake because I feel like something needs to shift for me in particular to keep it fresh going forward. Blogging "differently enough for me" sounds like just the right note.

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  2. I don't know. I ended up taking three years off book blogging, though I tried different kinds of blogging in there. None of it really felt good. Even now, I don't feel like blogging is what it used to be, but I'm enjoying putting together reviews again. Maybe it's just moods like anything else?

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    1. Maybe. I think that's a large portion of it for me. That also goes for reading in general!

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  3. I'm kind of going through the same thing. How many times can you say the same thing without sounding redundant? I've tried to come up with something to jazz things up but I'm not very creative.

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    1. Yep. And I look back at my old reviews and feel like they were so much better. I think I'm in a rut. And my problem is not only reviews but revamping the format in a larger, more meaningful way. We'll see if I can come up with anything.

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  4. I don't have an answer to this question, but I think book bloggers (and book blog readers in general) are bored with reviews. Every time I post a review I get crickets, and I don't think it's just me. I still love reading and talking about reading with others, but I think something has to change about the way we do things to keep book blogging alive.

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    1. Yep! And I'm bored with all of it. Reviews and my regular posts. I want to make sure I'm clear that I'm NOT bored with community. That's still the best part. But I'm iffy about the way I'm doing my blogging these days.

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  5. Get out of my head, lol. I thought about this a lot while I was on my short blogging hiatus. I've only been a book blogger since the beginning of the year and I'm already burned out by it. Then I read Ashley's post yesterday on Nosegraze about how she's restructuring her blog and a light bulb went off. I have started the process myself and I'm excited about blogging again! I no longer want to be boxed in by being labeled a 'book blogger'. I'll still post bookish discusions/my reading highlights posts, but I'm also going to expand the range of topics I include on my blog. I think it will keep things fresh and interesting for both me and my readers :) I'll be posting about this next week on my blog-stay tuned!

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    1. LOL! Seems like I struck a nerve! It's actually good to know that others feel similarly. I definitely need to check out Ashley's post. I have really gained an appreciation and affinity for "lifestyle" blogs. I don't want to go complete away from books, but I want to include more wide-ranging topics here...making it more about my lifestyle than just lists and reviews and other traditionally bookish posts. Looking forward to your thoughts in your own post!

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  6. I have no answers for you, but just wanted to say that I very much enjoy your blog :)

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  7. I've always blogged to just keep a record of what I've read but the readers who came along with it are like a bonus to me. I stay connected to them through social media so I don't always feel the need to blog. In fact, when I've taken time between posts just because life gets in the way, they tend to find me elsewhere. I sort of love that. So for me, I am sure I could reinvent something but why? It still works for me. The only thing that would make my life easier is to make the reviews more of a Q & A format but that would get boring I think after a little while (for me).

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    1. Indeed they are. The community is still the most important part for me, and I'm glad your blog is still fulfilling you and serving your purposes. I suppose I need to be less hard on myself about taking breaks.

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  8. I'm definitely feeling this after six years. I feel like I'm using the same phrases in my summaries, finding less and less to say about each book and keeping books sitting here longer until I feel up to writing about even one of them. The only exception is the chapter book challenge. Maybe it's the focus there? The accountability to someone else? I'm not sure but I need to figure it out so I can apply it to my own blog.

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    1. Word up! I completely understand about the repetitiveness that happens in the writing. I think writing for "someone else" automatically prompts us to up our game and just generally put more thought into what we're writing. I feel that way writing for Panels, and I think it's why so many people who moved on to other gigs gave up their own blogs. I need to find a way to stoke that motivation for my OWN BLOG!

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  9. I feel you, Andi, and I've only just passed the 2 year mark. If I could figure out how to change it up, I'd have done it already ;).

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    1. High five. We need to put all our heads together.

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  10. Ditto so many of the other comments. I feel like I am using the same phrases and adjectives all the time!! I love reviewing because that's why I started this in the first place, but it really does get tough to keep things fresh. Plus I'm blogging with such limited time these days, I don't have the time to be more creative anymore. I'll let you know if any bright ideas come to mind though. :)

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    1. I love the feeling of reviewing a book I really cared about and want to share (re: The Paying Guests, Ruby, The Enchanted), but I don't like the feeling of having to "keep up" with what seems to be a sea of threes (out of five) this year.

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  11. I know what you're saying. I'm trying to get more personal with my reviews lately, which is hard because I'm a very private person. But i would like to say that a lot of what you do is really creative. Take this post for example. The one down side for me to creativity is time. It takes longer to be creative.

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    1. Thank you! I do mix in the personal because I care about learning more and feeling like I know my readers and my fellow bloggers. I bet it's hard for a private person. I tend to be one of those TMI people. Maybe not. But I'm pretty much a talker in life, too. lol AND YES TIME! It takes so much more time and effort to be really creative.

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  12. I'm so with you on this. I've been feeling this way for awhile now and have been wondering what to do about it. I feel like I'm writing the same post for every book I review and its making me not want to blog. I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one out there feeling this way about book blogging :)

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    1. You're definitely not alone. Look at all these comments! Maybe we have seasonal blogging depression?

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  13. Now that I'm reading much less and have a better idea of WHAT I want to read, I rarely ever read book reviews anymore. Like rarely rarely ever. This is part of my secret to not knowing what books are about before reading them--I can tell I want to read them but the chatter alone.

    This also makes it really tough for me to feel motivated to write book reviews. I still do occasionally but they are my least popular posts. I think for me it's more about the connecting, even though I've been doing a poor job of that lately (I spend all my time writing posts and don't have any time left for browsing other's), but if blogging is feeling like a chore for you then I think it's time to rethink things.

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    1. I read fewer of them because I have enough damn books. LOL I just culled 60ish over the weekend and I still have scads. Maybe I/we need to be choosier about what we review? Reviewing things we feel passionately good (or bad) about? Maybe that would make reviews a more popular "destination" for readers.

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    2. I understand that! I have way too many books. Unless it is something I am on the fence about reading, or that I've read, I don't usually read the reviews.

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  14. I haven't gotten bored writing book reviews because I mainly do it for my own sake (the discipline of reading thoughtfully, more critically, making myself express that more specifically). I started to get burned out at one point, but reminding myself of my original intent, AND reminding myself that I don't *have* to post a certain number of times per week, helps a ton. (I'm only in my 2nd year of book blogging, though).

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    1. I think I feel more motivated if I'm very consistent and keep the blog populated. I started to feel run down when I wasn't posting as much. It was harder to go back and do it. If that makes sense. But, I'm not feeling as positive about my content. Reviews and otherwise. I just feel like I have more in me that's not showing.

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    2. Ahhhh I can see that perspective, too, it does make sense. I can definitely relate to "I have more in me that's not showing" feeling.

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  15. I was thinking about the same thing, Andi! I've only been blogging for eight years but I'm trying to figure out what can be done differently to make blogging more enjoyable again. I would've given up the hobby years ago but I love all my blogging friends. :-)

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    1. Yes! I would miss the community like crazy, and I know eventually I would miss just writing. It's such a release for me when I don't feel like this!

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  16. I feel you, girl. That is why I took some time off. It gets monotonous after so many years. And you started 4 years before I did.

    I think one trick is that I do what feels right for me. If I don't feel like writing a review, I wait and just do my Short 'n Sweet Reviews because it is far less involved. If I don't feel like posting one week, I skip it because I would rather take a break than force it upon myself.

    I think what you are doing with Estella Society is good. You've brought in lots of readalongs and Estellagram and some different things to spice it up. I feel like it was a LOT easier to come up with new ideas than it is these days with so many more bloggers out there.

    I think that your reading slump is not helping things either. You haven't found a book you're really excited to read, much less write about.

    I say if you are more interested in another topic right now, add something onto your blog about it. It doesn't have to be all books all the time.

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    1. Gah! I missed sharing it yesterday. Boo! The reading slump is definitely not helping, though I do find myself diving back into comics this week. They seem to fit my attention span. We'll see what shakes out. It always does.

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  17. I was going to write a post along these lines myself (ironically enough!) - I do feel like almost all my book reviews follow the same structure, and wondered if there's a way to break out. Then again, my favourite bloggers are those who have a unique style, and they can keep doing the same thing as long as it's different from what other people are doing!

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    1. True! I love unique bloggers. I guess I just don't feel very unique at the moment.

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  18. Your voice is what makes things different. You don't necessarily have to change things up a lot to revive your blogging mood. Find your passion, your voice, & follow it.

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    1. Thanks for that, Jenn. And I do totally agree with you. Voice is so important, and there are dozens of blogs I love because I love the blogger's voice. I would visit and read if they were writing the phone book in their own style.

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  19. I think this is part of my problem right now. I can't find the time, one, but then when I have a minute, why waste it posting something no one will read anyway? Maybe 10 years is too long. I can't think of a way to reinvigorate it any more. This is depressing.

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  20. I want to say "yes" and thousand times. I have been trying to revive my blog over the last few months, but I sit down to write a review and I start to wonder why I'm doing it. I imagine a lot of people are like me--if they are interested in/plan to read a book, they don't really need a review. The people who might check out the review and have already read the book don't need the recap and have their own opinions and own blogs, and because I don't read a lot of controversial stuff, the conversation ends up being something along the lines of "Oh, I'm so glad you liked that, too!"

    I tried tying in music. I tried a freestyle approach one day a week--and honestly, that's when I have the most fun. I've been trying to get my review mojo back but I just feel like I am blathering when I could just write a few sentences and be done with it, but then what's the point of a blog?

    I somewhat agree with Jenn above that voice is the most important thing, but I also understand growing tired of reviewing. I'll never stop reading, but as so many have said above, how many reviews do we all need? I have book bloggers whose opinions I trust, but I don't *need* them, necessarily, because I generally follow my own gut when it comes to what to read next.

    Sorry to babble, but thank you for saying what I've been thinking! I feel less guilty.

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    1. No babble! That was a great comment. I remember stopping everything a few years ago and doing a week of "stuff." I gave myself permission to write about other things, and it completely revived me! Of course, I'm not feeling very creative in any realm here lately, which is a big downer. Hopefully it's just part of the slump. Wishing you the best!

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  21. How interesting that so many of us are feeling similarly...I was surprised at the echo of my sentiments in your post and the subsequent comments, but I thought my ennui was masked by business. Guess not.

    For me the answer will lie in less posts, less often. And, I think what makes a blog/post really interesting is the personal slant. I love having a connection to the writer's life.

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    1. I agree. I need to really give myself permission to post less. Then there's no stress!

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    2. Switching to Wordpress has re-energized me...just sayin'

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    3. Did someone say Les? Oh, less posts, less often. ;) Yep, that's my motto! I pretty much took a month off from blogging and am ready to jump back in, but I still won't be posting like I used to. I spent that month relaxing on the deck, reading the weekends away, but also drafting close to a dozen book reviews to share over the next month. I find if I get too far behind, I pull away. Now I feel close to being caught up, so I'm not afraid to dive back in. After 8+ years, I know how difficult it is to write anything original about a book, so I tend to rely heavily on favorite passages, especially since my blog is more or less an online reading journal.

      Wow. 77 comments on this post. Obviously, you are not alone.

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  22. For me, what's kept me in it for so long (eight years! eek!) has been other bloggers. I love seeing what people are reading, and I haven't gotten tired of having all these people to talk about books with. I know that for me, periodic, planned blogging breaks have been really important and helpful. When I say, okay, I'm off blogs -- mine and everyone else's -- for this whole month, that gives me enough time and space to miss people, and to miss blogging, and to come back feeling rejuvenated.

    Not very helpful advice, I know. :/

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    1. I'm definitely with you there. The community and the blogging friends are always the best part. The comments on this post, for example! I took a blogging break (and all social media) earlier in the year and it really helped me refocus. I need to do it again, I think!

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  23. I agree with Jenn's Bookshelves that a lot has to do with your voice. It's really what makes me enjoy reading some blogs more than others. I've only been blogging for 2 years and haven't really hit burn out yet, but I'm sure it will come. When I start to feel a little blah, focusing more on reading and less on posting helps a bit. Also staying away from other blogs for certain time periods helps. My reviews are also sadly my lower performing posts...the Top Ten Lists and Tuesday Intros tend to do better. I recently started participating in the Top Ten lists and I've been having fun writing them.
    I enjoy reading your blog!

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    1. I've gone through periods of burn out over the last 10...usually when big life changes are afoot. This has been a year for those, so I suppose it kind of comes with the territory and I should chill out. That would probably also help the slump pass faster! lol I just need to buy shoes for a living.

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    2. Ha! Don't buy shoes...keep up the blogging. Your post inspired me to think more creatively about my next review...so I'm working on something a little different (at least for me).

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  24. And I say ditto to Sarah and Jenn's Bookshelves. What I like about this blog is your quirky voice. You can be fun to read. I needed a long break and am not quite back. Part of my problem is I write to help me digest the book -- to compose thoughts, figure out just what it is I think. I write to go deeper into the book -- but have trouble doing that in reviews, recaps or short bursts -- so everything gets too long or abandoned before it's done.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara! I think I need to ruminate and digest books more. There's a balance to be had in those initial thoughts upon closing the book and waiting so long it becomes stale. It's different for everyone, I'm sure, but I certainly feel that way.

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  25. I celebrated 10 years of blogging this Summer so I totally know what you mean. I think that's why I've had so many mini-breaks lately, that and a crazy life, but just when I think, this is it, I'm done, something pulls me back. I think what I have to remind myself of is that it's not necessarily just about the book reviews but my life with books and other things. Like Bellezza said, giving your blog a personal slant - which you do! So I don't have any answers Andi but just wanted to say I get it.

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    1. Woohoo! 10 years! I'm definitely feeling more of the personal creep in. I've always done that, but the inclination comes and goes a bit with time. Just depends on mood!

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  26. I don't really have any answers, but I think there is some comfort to be found in seeing that so many of us are in the same boat. I'm so interested to read what everyone else thinks. Thanks for asking the question!

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    1. ABSOLUTELY! I love the community for a gazillion reasons...this being one of them.

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  27. No answers here either - just another kindred spirit!

    Deb

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  28. I work my blog according to what I want, so when it starts getting too much, it slows way down. When I'm on a roll I write like crazy. I don't put pressure on myself to be overly involved in things (mainly because I don't have the time) or to promote my blog more than I want to handle and I think that helps. When it gets old, a break or less posting is all I can think of. Or switch it up and start doing some posts on other topics? Your readers know and love you by now...we'd be interested in anything you post!

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    1. I'm so bad at NOT putting pressure on myself. SO BAD. I need to chill. Maybe Zoloft. LOL

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  29. Of course, they can!
    Every reviews is different, because it's written by different person. You put part of yourself in these reviews, each writing style is unique, everyone has their own opinion.
    I love your blog (and Heather's blog as well) and read your reviews, wrap-ups, ramblings. Everyone needs a break, though, because blogging under pressure or without any mood isn't good. Just give yourself time and read a book or watch a movie/TV show instead. I haven't finished a book in a looooong time, paused my blogging/reviewing, but I'm Okay with that, because I need a break. Will start my treatment with comics.=)

    Don't worry and be happy!

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    1. Good point, Ania! I think I'll play SIMS3. That always seems to help me zone out and bust a slump. Yayyy, comics! I'm reading so many of them right now.

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  30. I love your blog and would encourage you to keep at the task because it brings pleasure to so many. It seems blogs are being abandoned for YouTube and I do not care for that trend.

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    1. I'll definitely keep at it, Joseph. Maybe this is just one of those growing pains that comes along before something great. I'm definitely not abandoning the blog for YouTube. I'd have to be a MUCH better video editor for that! Ha!

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  31. Love this topic--been there, done that. I used to have a book blog a few years ago with way more followers than I have now, but one day I got fed up and unfortunately deleted it and took a year off. Then I missed talking to other bloggers, and came back with my new, more eclectic, blog.

    I've decided to cut back on request books which force structure on me, and I don't do blog hops or book tours. I buy my own books, whether downloaded or from a used book store, or I borrow from the library. Then I can set my own schedule. Sometimes I do memes, and sometimes I skip.

    In a nutshell, doing what pleases me makes my unpaid hobby of book reviewing pleasurable and if others stop by to chat with me, well that's the icing on the cake!

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    1. Thanks, Rita! Book requests can definitely be a reading/writing enemy for me. I have to keep things free range to really feel like myself. Cheers to doing what pleases us!

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  32. Man, do I feel this. I've gotten so bored of reading and writing reviews, but I haven't been able to come up with a different way to talk about the books I'm reading.

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    1. I know. There's got to be something!

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  33. I'm right there with you -- it's why, aside from the From Left to Write book club posts, I've written nothing new in a month. I feel very guilty for it but at the same time, I feel as though there are very few people who care. I've been reading book after book after book, but I haven't written reviews for any of them yet. I've found recently that I've gotten more comments and conversation from posting on social media than from my blog itself.

    I wonder if writing personal posts that relate in some way to a book you've read, a la From Left to Write, might help your blogging mojo?

    We really ought to have a book blogging powwow about this and come up with some fresh ideas. It seems like so many of us are on the same page and would all benefit from that kind of discussion!

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  34. You've been at it a long time and your life has changed a lot in that time. Your feelings about it are bound to wax and wane over time. I've played and played with how I write reviews. I know they aren't what they were when I started but I'm not sure they need to be. They just need to be what works for you at the time. And sometimes, you just need to take a break.

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  35. Yeah, it can get tired after a while. Maybe shifting topics a little bit might help? I dunno, but when I get a little bored with reading, I go out and do something else, and then blog about that.

    That said, everything gets tired after a while.

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  36. Thanks for starting this discussion. It's either encouraging or disheartening to see how many others feel the way I do! One of your comments above hit a chord with me—whenever I take a break (as I did this summer), it's much harder to get going again. It's almost as if I lose a little confidence if I don't post regularly, and I tend to think each post matters much more when I'm not doing it as often. That becomes sort of paralyzing. But I'm trying to build up my nerve—and some steam—again!

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  37. Hi, my name is Laura and I'm getting burned out too. So is every blogger I follow, judging by this comment thread! I'm considering a one-month break in October. From blogging, social media, everything. It's too much about feedback and "who's seen my post" and "who's commenting" - it need to be about the intrinsic rewards of writing, and reflecting on reading, and all that. I might try some journalling in my time off - you know, writing that no one will ever see!

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  38. Oof, I hear ya! I'm barely blogging now - mostly just coming back for the events I really enjoy. I feel like I'm ready to move on personally, but not ready to lose the community - too many great people to give up completely!

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  39. In the words of Bruno Mars, “Girl, you’re amazing just the way you are.” Or, at least, I think that’s Brunu Mars because I only listen to music from at least 15 years ago :)

    In the meantime, you’ve had a lot of new and exciting developments with your writing so I think that your blog will evolve as you get further into those processes.

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  40. No fresh ideas from me. I've been battling this issue for a long time, quietly, knowing my blog content is dull even to me so why do I bother? I haven't read the comments in this thread but I'm curious about the conversation and will return to read them. I hope you find a way to keep going on. Tripping Toward Lucidity was my first blog and I will always love whatever you write. After all these years, I know that much!

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  41. I feel the exact same way Andi. I'm bored.

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  42. As a fellow grandmother of book blogosphere, I completely relate to this post (and to everyone else that has already said that). It can be so exhausting! And I think I'm reading MORE now because I do audiobooks, too, and it just takes me forever to actually review a book. Partly because when I get home from work now, I have zero desire to turn my laptop back on.

    It's hard. I think that's part of the reason why I am so passionate about doing #diversiverse. It makes me feel like maybe I can at least help make blogosphere a little better and get reviews on more sites and build up the conversation just a little bit more... I am not at all bored of the EVENT #diversiverse, though the act of administering it and writing all those reviews can be very tiring.

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  43. Late to the party -- as always. I wrote a similar post for today. Had I known this was on everyone's minds ... but that's part of my problem. I'm missing posts.

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  44. Agree with your thoughts, as usual! As you can tell, I'm late to this party as well, which is evidence that I am not only absent from my own blog but other blogs as well! Someone posted that maybe people don't care. Maybe it's true. Aside from the reading community who reads our posts? I'm just not going to do something out of character to stay relevant. Carry on with your awesome self and we'll find a way out of this slump! :)

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  45. No exciting or earth shattering ideas from my end, but I guess we could put more posts about our personal life on our blogs.

    I still enjoy doing reviews and reading them, and I hope it continues. :)

    Thanks for a thought-provoking question.

    ENJOY your reading week.

    Elizabeth

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  46. It's a scary (no, more than scary...horrifying) thought that I might someday be bored with reading. I am bored with reading the review books I've been sent lately...too long...poorly edited...more like a bad first draft. But if I don't like a book, I'm good with putting it down and reviewing what I read so far.

    My blog is in a bit of a rut. Work is so busy that I feel happy to pull together a list of the books I read on Monday and reply to the Top Ten prompt on Tuesday and (maybe) throw a picture out there for Wordless Wednesday.

    And my reviews? Oh well, I say! A little paragraph is plenty for people to know what I think. I'm not a pro....I wasn't even an English major!

    I love your honesty, Andi. Hope you find your---what's the word Nabokov used? Tingle in the spine?---mojo, we'll say, though I really want the tingle in my spine. The tingle for reading. The tingle for reviewing. The tingle for blogging.

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  47. I'm constantly impressed by the unique ideas other bloggers come up with, yourself included, so I'm hopeful for you that blogging can be fun again. I know I'd still follow you if you posted less and let more unique ideas simmer. Lately I've been feeling like time limitations are a big part of why I don't brainstorm more unique blogging ideas, so perhaps taking more time would help :)

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  48. Seeing's how I'm now on blog #3 (which is sputtering along at the moment), I can say been there, done that, got no answers.

    However, I still enjoy reading your posts, because I still think you're unique.

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  49. One thing I'm really thoroughly enjoying about being in the From Left to Write book club is that rather than posting reviews we post about an experience or thought process inspired by the book. For example 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas had me writing about my son's musical talent. I still wrote about the book BUT it was with the slant of how it affected me. I like that. It feels very book clubbish to me and so far my readers seem to like it too. I feel you though about coming up with creative ideas. I think Shannon from River City Reading is absolutely amazing at creative posts and you are absolutely amazing at community! I think the key is to trust ourselves and go with what WE feel passionately. Great discussion Andi!

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  50. I think the idea of a lifestyle blog that you and Finley were talking about is interesting. I think part of the reason why I get in blogging slumps is that after a while, I feel like my life revolves around books. I'm a librarian, so I'm surrounded by books all day, I want to read books that I'm interested in, I feel like I need to read children's books that I'm not interested in just so I can keep up with the literature because of my job, and then I come home and read and blog. Books aren't the only things I enjoy--I'm just as passionate about music--but it feels like they take over my life, and I don't want to feel that way. Yet, I hesitate to blog about other things that are important to me, like music.

    I like what Anna does at annareads.com, with her "This Week in Review" posts, because it doesn't focus just on books, and we get to see her as a person whose life doesn't just revolve around books. Perhaps doing posts similar to that, or posts about other things we love or are doing besides just books and reading are key for us to change the way we blog. I'm not sure there's just one answer to this, but I love it that a lot of us are talking about it.

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