Dear Young Blogging Self on Day 1,
First and foremost, pat yourself on the back for making the decision to join this community. You will learn a lot, make some lifelong friends, meet amazing and inspiring people, find incredible books that you might not have read before and ultimately find even more passion for reading. You’ll struggle and you’ll feel like quitting but there will be this pull that keeps you wanting to be a part of it. Embrace those good days. You’ll need them. Also, remember that this is supposed to be fun.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the numbers game.
The popularity bug will gnaw at you and you’ll start out believing that followers are the end all and the “way to the ARCS” but remember that you have a library to get “free” books, that fellow bloggers will share and getting ARCs can be a double edged sword (Your TBR pile is going to look like HOARDERS). Being polite and gracious to publishers and working hard to write reviews that are helpful to readers will eventually come together to give you the honor of reviewing books from publishers. Don’t ever take that foregranted. You’ve always lived life with the “quality over quantity” mindset so don’t let blogging be any different. You’ll struggle at first but you’ll quickly learn that there is a big difference, for YOU, between blog followers and blog readers and that will change your outlook on blogging.
Blogging can be hard work.
You’ll initially start blogging thinking that it’s easy — just read and write reviews and talk on Twitter. You’ll see bloggers who make it look easy but you’ll soon realize how much time and hard work it is. Sometimes you’ll feel like it’s a second job and you’ll feel obligated to do things but remember the fact that it is a hobby. If you don’t want a hobby that requires that much thought and time…take up bedazzling t-shirts. Don’t try to take the easy route on anything. You’ll feel better about it even if you feel like sometimes what you are doing doesn’t pay off as well as things others are doing.
Blogging might be hard work but don’t set yourself up to “fail” by putting unrealistic expectations on yourself and your blog.
You are going to be high strung at first. You’ll panic, stress and be the perfectionist that you are. Meltdowns and threats to quit will abound until you have a blogging epiphany of sorts and you’ll be more chill and relaxed about your blog. You’ll find that what works for others doesn’t work for you and if you don’t feel like posting 7x a week then don’t. If you want to post about your upcoming wedding (yes it’s coming!) or be completely silly and random…do it. You’ll be way happier when you realize there is no formula to being a book blogger. You do not have to post X amount of times or do anything else that other bloggers do. DON’T STRESS about it. It’s not the end of the world. Do what you can or what you feel like. I promise you that your blog won’t suffer and you’ll be a lot happier when you try not to emulate the way you think blogging has to be done.
Do YOU, girl, DO YOU.
You might not be the best review writer or the funniest person but your readers will truly appreciate who you are. They will love that you are random and silly and they will also love when you are sentimental and share deeply personal things. It’s what will help make your blog stand out. You’ll try at first to emulate other bloggers and their style but very quickly you’ll learn that you aren’t them and it doesn’t work for you. You’ll have way more fun with your blog when you let go and be yourself. And heavens to Betsy, don’t compare yourself. Read the things you want. Don’t read what you don’t want.
Don’t pet the drama llama.
Sidenote: Use that term in your daily life because it ROCKS. DON’T PET THE DRAMA LLAMA. You are going to not like things that people do but keep yo trap shut & leave the snarky comments to the pros. Yes, you’ll see lame, tacky things that you’d NEVER do but…you don’t have to do them. Find your blogging bffs and have a good bitch session with them. However, stand up for things that you believe in strongly — plagerism, censorship, really bad behavior and bullying. Just think before you speak. Sometimes you’ll just simply want to state your opinion but sometimes you’ll be doing it out of anger and it doesn’t suit you well. Nothing good ever will come out of the times you were being petty. Say something when you need to but don’t engage in every petty thing that happens in the community. You’ll sleep better at night.
Embrace the audiobooks
Listen to April already and get into audiobooks. You’ll stop being such a raging biotch because of your sucky commute and mindless tasks at work and cleaning the house will become bearable. You’ll also feel like a champ when you can finish more books.
You’ll stumble and learn along the way but, baby, you’re new. That’s what you do to learn. Be gracious to other newbies and cut them some slack when they do horrifying things because they just might NOT know. You’ll change the way you blog, the things you do on your blog and the way you think about blogging but as far as I can see you’ll be true to yourself. There’s a million things I could tell you to do or not to do (start out with WordPress, don’t eff around with your code, don’t follow for a follow, write a few week’s worth of content before you even begin, etc. etc.) but you’ll figure it all out. Enjoy the journey, enjoy learning from your fellow bloggers and just be yourself. You’ll be proud of how far you’ve come.
Your Older Book Blogging Self, At 1.5(ish) Years Old
What about you? What things would you tell your younger blogging self? Things you learned? Things you wish you would have known? I’m sure they will all be different for everyone as we are all different people! I hope maybe this is helpful advice for new bloggers.