Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Why Am I Blogging?

Last night as I was studying for finals and attempting to write a review for Getting Lucky Number Seven (OMG so good by the way), I watched tweets upon tweets roll in from person to person as a response to THIS one. #BloggerLove is such a great idea, hats off to whoever started it. Seriously, it was beautiful to see everyone love and support each other! I know a lot of people were really moved by the support and love. I'm not trying to rain on this parade or be the Negative Nancy. Definitely not my intention.

It was bittersweet for me, because not a single person tweeted anything to or about me.

Let me be clear: this post isn't meant to be a pity party. Heck, I don't know if I'll even publish it. I don't want people to go and say, oh, she's doing it for attention, she wants people to feel sorry for her, blah blah blah. Not at all what I want people to think.

In a way, #BloggerLove (or whatever the Twitter event was) was a catalyst for a thought I've had in my mind for quite some time now. It made me put more thought into one serious thing that's been on my mind for a while now - why am I doing this? Why am I blogging? Why am I putting so much time and effort into this?

Call it a blogging/reviewing crisis of a sort. I've been thinking about this for a looooong while now, so please don't think this is a cry of attention response to the Twitter thing. It was more of a wake-up call.

Not a single person said anything nice to or about me (or mean, so I guess that in itself is a win). No one said I was a blogger they admired, despite the s***ton amount of work I do for my blog, for authors, publishers, etc. No one remembered my four reviews a week, my 200+ books read a year, so on and so forth.

So why am I doing this?

Why am I burning myself out, trying to read as many books as I can, trying to support as many authors and publishers as I can? I'm a college student - I barely have time to sleep, let alone blog/review full-time. For free. For fun. For enjoyment. And last night was a good time to realize that no one really cares how much work I put into this, because it means basically nothing to them. If you're an outgoing person who likes books, you'll be an accepted individual in the community. Me? Someone who reads a lot, reviews a lot, but doesn't get the chance to talk to people a lot? Which is my fault, because of school. But me? Not an accepted individual. Never have been.

People in this community have bonded over bookish events and conventions they've attended, or how much they chat on Twitter, or the proximity in which they live. I can't attend conventions and events (few in Baltimore, and I have no means to get to D.C.). I don't have time to talk on Twitter (completely my fault, academics are hard). Few bloggers live in Baltimore, and while there are a ton in D.C., they either don't know me or don't like me (harsh truth, but true nonetheless).

So, what am I doing wrong? Not attending events? Not chatting enough on Twitter? Not fangirling enough? It breaks my heart that I've commented on so many blogs, lent (mailed, asking for no money or anything in return) so many books to other bloggers, been nice to so many people, and it. Meant. Nothing.

Do I feel insecure about this? Yes. Because the blogging community is so much more than reviewing and reading books - this I know and completely agree with. But I'm totally lacking that "more" quality that seems to bonding everyone together. I'm sitting here trying to write a review at 12:30 am on a Monday night and everyone on Twitter is crying and hugging and favoriting tweets and spreading love and support to one another. Which is great - for them. For someone like me who is totally excluded - it hurts.

Granted, I tweeted nothing at no one, for two reasons: what if I forgot to include someone, or didn't think to include someone, and they felt the exact same way I feel right now? That would break my heart. The other reason was this whole post - I really didn't feel like spreading love last night. Sorry, you all. I love a lot of you and I wish I had had the heart to join the chains of tweets last night.

But more to the point - it doesn't help my feelings of inadequacy. Why am I doing this? Why am I doing SO MUCH, if no one cares, no one remembers how hard I work, no pops in during a lovathon and say, "Alyssa! She's pretty awesome!". It's not like my blog is private and no one can see my posts - everything is open and people can see my xxx reviews, xxx posts, etc.

For you "young" bloggers, this goes to show: posting liberally (like me) doesn't mean s***. Reading a ton doesn't mean s***. Reviewing a ton doesn't mean s***. Talking a lot to people on Twitter means a lot. And it does - kindness and time and effort goes a long way into a relationship with another person, virtual or in real life.

Will anything change? Will I slow down? Will I stop blogging? I don't know. Knowing me, I'm so committed to reviewing books, and this black cloud will sit above me for the rest of my life and I'd still be blogging because I'm a disciplined control freak like that.

Maybe I'm just stressed about finals (this semester has been waaaaay rough), or frustrated with something I can't even quantify, in terms of blogging. I've been blogging for about 2.5 years and I love reading, reviewing, and sharing my love of books - but I hate feeling like an outsider in the community, someone who is working entirely too hard (college + blogging = difficult) and feels like she's shouting into the void. I don't know. I don't know what the point of this post was. I have no idea why I'm posting this, or blogging in general. 

Maybe this is my blogging mid-life crisis. I especially hope some "older" bloggers read this and shed some light, I could use encouragement (or perhaps discouragement, maybe someone needs to tell me to quit and leave) at the moment.

Anyway. Back to writing that review. See what I mean?


EDIT: thank you to the three of you that did tweet something including me - I didn't see those until after I wrote this entire thing (I haven't published it though). Now I'm scared to post this. But it was never about attention, right? It was about my ongoing existential crisis. Right.

33 comments:

  1. I totally missed the #BloggersLove tag but it surely was such a lovely idea because we need to spread the love more in the community for sure! I do think that you are pushing yourself too hard with the academics and the blogging in such a tough schedule is really taking a toll on you! Take a breather and remember that we are all insecure about how good or how influential our work or words really are, and how relevant our blogs are.
    *hugs*

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    1. Time zone difference! It's a lovely idea until you're a person who is excluded, a person who knows and talks to many but no one remembers you.

      I've been working n slowing down a lot of little things, believe it or not. I can't go through this academic year again - I'll go nuts!

      *squishes*

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  2. Hi, I'm from Croatia (in Europe, I don't blame you if you don't know) and follow your blog but I don't comment. Well, I don't comment on any blog sooo...
    I'm pretty young blogger myself, just trying to swim in this waters and survive my first blogiversary... And I know how you feel. I would feel bad on your place to.. I don't tweet alot, nor follow that kind of hashtags cause I don't have that much of a time on my hand, and truth to be told I don't want to follow... cause if I start I would cry myself to sleep every night.
    So, in the end.. keep on blogging.. there will always be someone who will read your posts.. I've learned that we bloggers can't expect anything big... we're individuals in this stupid world... we love our books and they love us in return.. people are different and don't always show gratitude for anything. Sad but true.
    xo
    Nina Eudora @Life of a Bookworm

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    1. I know exactly where Croatia is - and most countries in the world :) It's the islands, specifically in the Pacific, that get to me.

      You'll get there, and congrats when you do! I don't follow hashtags either, but when EVERYONE in your feed is participating, you notice. Hundreds of people, it's bound to catch your eye.

      In any case, I see what you're seeing. Sometimes I wish it were different but you are totally right!

      Thank you, Nina <3

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  3. I missed the #BloggerLove tag as well. If I did I may have shouted out to a few people- you would have been one of them. But to be honest, I am not on twitter a lot. With four kids and a full time job, when everyone else is tweeting at night, I am sleeping. I am not an outgoing person on twitter because I just don't have time. I decided a long time ago that it was okay. Those who read my blog would give me the love I need not those that read my tweets. I attempt to increase my tweets during the summer and school breaks but even then, I am too busy playing with my kids. My point is that you are loved by the silent, by the page views and by the comments that you get. XOXOX

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    1. Angela, that is so sweet of you. And I know what you mean! Like, who has time for that? But it still hurts, you know? Maybe I'm still going through my teenage angst and need to move past this. The silent types are definitely my people ;)

      Thank you! <3

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  4. This... Actually parrots a lot of my own thoughts. I feel a lot of times that I'm in my own little studying, blogging bubble. I don't go to events because I either can't afford to get to them or because I don't have the time. Earlier on Twitter there was this awesome positive lovefest of bloggers talking about their inspirations and friends and... I don't really have any of that. It doesn't usually bother me, but then there are days like today where it really was.

    So, Alyssa, I proposition that we be antisocial blog buddies. Where we realize college is a bitch and being introverted is too sometimes.

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    1. Dang. See, I thought I was the only one. Crazy Alyssa with crazy ideas in her head. You experienced that too? Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me. In any case, I agree. We should make an antisocial club together. In which none of us have time to actually interact very much, but we all know we're there for each other, in silent solidarity :D

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    2. Exactly! Hit me up on Twitter or email whenever you feel inspired to. Because life is hard and relationships are hard and sometimes you need a friend who gets that.


      Especially during finals X____X

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    3. Amen! Sometimes I/we need to feel a little less alone in one big social-media-filled world :/

      I hope finals are going well! I'll be looking for you on Twitter, as I attempt to get better at certain things O_O

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    4. I totally agree with you on that.

      I'm... Surviving haha. I hope yours are going well too. And my handle is @jayohsul :)

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  5. I totally agree with just about everything you said. I want to talk to people about the stuff I'm reading and watching but almost no one comments. I'm not in college anymore but I work full-time. I blog in my spare time for free and I have never gotten many views. Here's the thing though, I don't want to change what I'm reading/reviewing to be popular. I'd rather have my 30 regular viewers contribute to the conversation.

    Don't even begin to tell me about lack of nearby bloggers. I'm an Eastern Shore Marylander (for my job) and there is no one out here that I've found.

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    1. Isn't it painful?! You feel like you work so hard and CRICKETS. I don't think I would ever change my content or type of reading material or anything really, to be popular (not who I am on so many levels). I definitely agree with you.

      And Eastern Shore! Wow! Go Maryland. I didn't realize you were so "close"! Close is relative though - you could easily be like, two hours away from me, and I'm in Central Maryland :D

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    2. Oh and if you want to connect online, my twitter is @tsukikomew

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    3. I gotchu! Thank you for that :D

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  6. Its funny, I started to read your post, but I don't get on twitter much so I was sidetrackted into read the twitter conversation that set this all off. And I commented on that tweet (without reading the rest of your post) that It wasn't really bloggers that inftimidated me, it was the relationships that they had with each other. I have been blogging for over 4 years now and I love my blog to pieces. I spend a ton of time on it and post a review almost every single day. But I also work full time so I am not on twitter that much. I try to comment on other blogs and that helps generate comments on my blog but it hasn't made me any amazing blogging friends. I have some that I really like but I don't have those lots emails and tweet and talk all the time and get to know each other friends. I'm still not sure what the answer is.

    But anyways, the ppoint is that when I came back and read the rest of your post...you are not alone. haha

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    1. Ahhh! I agree with all of this! Isn't it the strangest thing! I wish I could bond with people like that. I feel like a lot of them have the IRL connection, after meeting at conventions or events, or just general proximity. I don't know. There are definitely one or two bloggers I LOVE, and I've never met them (I'd love to though).

      Thank you, Michelle. I really, really appreciate you taking the time to read this and write your comment! Believe it or not, you were one of the first blogs I followed, about 3.5 years ago :)

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  7. Sorry to hear you're feeling this way but I really think everything you do is amazing!! The time you put into blogging, reading, writing reviews and commenting is insane so thank you very much for all that you do :D I'm not much of a social person so I mostly use Twitter to help promote books I love but if I ever use the #BloggerLove, you're definitely going to be on my list :)

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    1. Thank you, Eileen! Sometimes I think we all need to hear (read) that. I'm an inherently social person, believe it or not, but college has eaten my time away :/ Girl, you were on my mental list... you so consistently comment and show general thoughtfulness and kindness, and I really appreciate it ^_^

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  8. I definitely know how you feel! I started blogging in 2009, and after about a year, I too started wondering why I was putting in so much work and was getting no interaction and acknowledgement, so I ended up quitting. I had short periods in 2012-2014 where I would decide to get back into blogging, would post a few posts, and then stop again. I finally decided to really get back into it 2 months ago, and have been making sure to post several times a week, and trying to keep from getting disheartened from the lack of response. I only have one follower who comments on a regular basis, but hey, it's better than none.

    I don't use twitter too much, so I didn't see the #BloggerLove tag. But you're one of the few blogs that I have bookmarked and visit daily to see if you posted anything new (I follow a lot of blogs via GFC and Bloglovin so sometimes I miss posts on their). So I might not have been able to send you twitter love, but I'm sending you comment love now! (:

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    1. RIGHT?!?!? But if I quit, I'll feel like I let myself down. It's so complex. You are so sweet, Mandy. I'm glad you commented, I think I needed the encouragement. Not that I'm actively trying to seek attention. But I hit rock bottom (or close) last night. It's pretty scary, thinking about just leaving this blogosphere and never returning O_O

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  9. Alyssa!! YOU'RE GREAT!!

    I totally missed the whole thing on Twitter, but I do worry about those kinds of things because they create hurt feelings. They're lovely as an idea, though. I'm like you, though, in that I'm not that active on Twitter, so I don't sit on there for hours at time and talk to people. I could, I suppose, but I don't. But I think there are a lot of us who are the same way, yet who would know? I do think people notice all your hard work, and its evidenced by the authors who clearly appreciate it and the publishers who send you books!

    College and blogging together are hard, absolutely! Certainly you could take it easier on yourself in this vein and no one would blame you. It's not quitting, just giving yourself a little room to breathe, to relax just a little bit. You've got your whole life in front of you to work hard! I know you probably won't, but I'll continue to try to encourage your laziness. :D

    Just know there are people who think you and all that you do are great, even if they're not yelling it out on Twitter.

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    1. RACHEL! You are toooooooo :) I remember when we bonded over my first experience putting contact lenses in (over a year ago), and Sherry Thomas's trilogy. I MISS YOU.

      Like I said, the Twitter thing was a catalyst for a broader thing. I feel like these love fests happen all the time and usually I don't care very much. But I've been feeling inadequate about my work for a while now, and after that night and CRICKETS, it really kind of shoved it in my face that no one REMEMBERS me/my name when these things come up. I.e. me and my blog are forgettable. I don't want it to be like that?

      College thing - ugh, girl, I have already started taking tiny but massive steps back for the coming year. I REFUSE to go through this year again. It was bad on a lot of levels... and my blog suffered for it. I WANT To be more social-media social! But it's not happening right now. Hiatus might have been a good idea for the month of March or April!

      Anyway. Thank you, Rachel. I don't EXPECT people to do that on Twitter for me? But in a way, I was disappointed too. Because you spend your money on mailing books to people for them to borrow (or keep), you comment on their blog several times a week, you retweet their links, etc. and they don't remember you, in the end? Shameful. And suckish.

      *lies down* LOL

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  10. Alyssa, I read your post last night and reflected upon it. You know I'm pretty active on Twitter and only one person mentioned me too. But I wasn't as sad about it as you were mostly because a lot of my bblogger friends are not very active on Twitter themselves. I have never been to any convention or book events but my blogging friends are some of my closest friends. Heck I talk to a couple of them everyday and they know everything that has been going on in my life. They probably know me better than my IRL friends. These are people I've met through commenting and commenting back and afterwards having this relationship moved to chatting or texting or skyping. My point is, you don't have to be going to these events and all to be making life long friends. There are many other ways to meet them and you should definitely explore them.

    As for people not caring that you post daily, I just want to say, never validate yourself through the actions of others. That will only stress you out and put a lot of pressure on you. You have a strong following and have people frequently commenting, be proud of that. Blog because it makes you happy not because you want others to acknowledge that you have 200+ posts a year.

    It does sound like this is getting stressful for you. As a college student myself I get where you're coming from, but maybe it's time to take a short break, reevaluate why you're blogging and come back with a fresh start and a more optimistic view.

    Whatever you do, know that there are people reading your posts and are following your blog and that your hard work is being paid off in a way.

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    1. Actually, you're not going to see it this way but you're one of those people! I see you talking with Jess and Danielle all the time and I think, dang, why can't that happen with me?! Not meaning specifically with them or you, but in general.

      I totally see your point about conventions! But the one about daily posts - that's more of a ME priority, I know people don't care how often they post or how often I post. But I care for my own self. It would be nice if other people noticed or admired this? But not the case.

      Mostly I'm just frustrated with the idea of potentially not doing anything for the book blogging/reviewing/etc. world, and not making a difference next to the next blogger. If that makes sense. Why put in all this time and effort if I'm the exact same as everyone else? Or something? Maybe it's the overachiever that has been ingrained in me since birth - why can't I be better? Better than others but more of better in general? I don't know what the point of any of this reply comment was, I'm going to go now :D

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  11. Hi sweet girl. <3 You are amazing. And I love this post of yours oh so much. And I feel so much the same as you do. That no one notices me or my blog and no one cares. Sigh. I'm sorry for not tweeting about you :( But then, I did not tweet about anyone, and if I had, I would have mentioned you, because I think you are AMAZING. You are so kind. And you write amazing reviews. And you read SO MANY BOOKS. And you are amazing at doing blog tours and all kinds of things. Yeah. I think you are awesome Alyssa :) Hugs. <3

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    1. AH! See, you totally got the point of the post! I feel like a lot of commentors got carried away with the Twitter thing. Although I see you talked about it and THANK YOU, I appreciate the kind words. Seriously. You and Pili and several other bloggers are the nicest! I would probably have up and left if it hadn't been for you all. Mwa!

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  12. Ha. I totally missed the whole #BloggerLove tag. Oh well.
    To be honest, I'm not that active on twitter anymore. Like you, I'm a student, and I can barely keep up with everything. My blog has been lagging a bit because I just don't have time to read. I also have no idea what to tweet, or feel like I'm butting into conversations. I have blogger friends, but I feel like I'm not very close to anyone; that's my own fault, I'm too awkward, haha.
    I appreciate the fact that you manage to study while pushing out great content, and I'm really sorry and surprised that no one mentioned you. I think you're great! :)
    I think all bloggers (or maybe it's just me...) go through this sort of thing. "Why am I even blogging anymore" or "should I just quit"? Well, I hope you don't quit, but you should do you. :)
    *hugs*

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    1. Thank you, Sophia! I agree, it's probably that common crisis that I've seen around but never thought would hit me. Especially for something as trivial as not been accepted by everyone. Which really isn't trivial, but theoretically, caring what everyone else thinks IS trivial. Anyway. Thank you, Sophia!

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  13. Aww, I'm sorry you felt that way. Just know there's lot of people who love and appreciate your blog/reviews!! (me!, aha). Also, I totally know what you mean, I'm super terrible at keeping up on twitter etc. School definitely takes up too much time ): I'm suuuper impressed by how much you still review!

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    1. Mwa! *hugs* I feel like I should let go of the fact that I will never be very active on Twitter... at least while I'm in undergrad.

      Thank you! I needed to hear this! <3

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  14. I heard about the bloggerfest thing and looked it up and it felt a bit... kiss-assy to me. All I kept thinking about was all those bloggers that I have tried to interact with or have left countless comments on their blogs only to be completely ignored. It's not bloggers I've ever felt intimidated of, more like the clique they seem to have between each other.

    I'm not a fan of twitter, it's too busy for me and I just suck at interacting with people. I always end up feeling intrusive and out of place.

    I don't think you need to be very active on twitter or go to book events and signings to make true and lasting friendships. I talk to Nick and Megan every day for most of the day and the majority of it isn't even book related. I don't consider them my book friends, just my friends even if I've never met them in person.

    Don't let the fact that you don't go to book events get you down! And you should definitely be blogging for you, not for other people's opinions. I remember blogging to myself for months and man did it suck! But it was my outlet.

    If it makes you feel better, no better tagged me either but I don't mind :)

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    1. OMG. Nereyda, you have made my night. Tbh I thought the same thing, but then I let it get to me - why does no one think of me?! Girl, you would have been on MY list, had I tweeted one (which I wouldn't have, under any circumstances).

      This is definitely something I needed to hear (read?), especially from an "older" (experienced) and awesome blogger like you. MWA! Thank you <3

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I love comments! I will always try and reply to your comments, as well as leave some comment love on your blog! :)

Also, this an award and tag free blog. While I am flattered that you would think of me, I really do not have the time to follow up. Thank you!