Letter To My Young Blogging Self

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.

 Lastly,

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.

Love, 
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.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Passionate Bookworm says:

    Ok.. I adored this.. and since my blog is only 1 1/2 MONTHS old.. alot of those thoughts are my own and hard to stop :) But I will work on it. Thank you for sharing !

    Michelle

    http://thepassionatebookworm.blogspot.com

  2. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue says:

    Currently loving this post SO much. It's insightful with a touch of honesr humor. I've only been blogging for eight months and already I can read this post and nod my head in agreement!

  3. Steph @ The Caffeinated Reader says:

    LOVE this. Your blog is one of my faves for its originality. I love Wedding wednesdays, pinterest boards,your sporadic advice posts,and everything else.

    I've only been blogging since June and am just starting to get the hang of things. I'm horrible at writing cohesive reviews and I haven't always posted consistently, but I'm learning!

    I've found that giveaway hops are a great way to meet fellow bloggers, as long as you don't require follows. If you *make* someone follow you, then you'll never know who truly enjoys your blog for what it is!

    /End of ramble

  4. All I can say is this post was awesome, and thank you for writing it.
    JNCL
    The Beauty of Eclecticism

  5. Don't pet the drama llama may just be the greatest advice ever. I love it lol.

  6. Jessica ( frellathon ) says:

    Excellent and how I wish I had known this ages ago.

  7. Love this!

  8. So true. Note to Anna 1.5 years ago: That Jamie girl? She's going to be something special to you. ;) xoxoxo

  9. Aww what a fantastic post! Thank you so much for sharing your insights. It's definitely given me a boost, since I've kind of been flailing lately and I've only been blogging for a month and a half (and pinterest has taken over my life… eeeek.).

  10. I love this post…it is pure joy to read!!!

  11. This is the best! Even though I'm not really a "new" blogger anymore (I can't believe I have been blogging for over a year now!), it was still so full of good reminders. And don't pet the drama llama? Definitely finding a way into my daily vernacular. Thanks Jamie!

  12. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    oh my goodness gracious what a gem of knowledge. and you know what's awesome? since i've seen your vlogs and know what you sound like IRL, i pretended you were reading it in your REAL VOICE!!!

    yeahhhh, i thought you'd like that.

    also, DON'T PET THE DRAMA LLAMA has gone viral around my house. i put it on my bathroom mirror with a window crayon!!

  13. Mary @ BookSwarm says:

    SOOOO True! I've been books blogging for about as long as you and it's amazing what you can learn in a year. I definitely second that don't get caught up in the numbers thing (though it's so hard not to, especially when publishers can get caught up in it, too) and I'd add: don't be afraid to try something new. It may work…it may fail horribly. But you can always move on!

    Great post! Read on!

  14. LianneLavoie says:

    I love this! As someone who IS a younger blogging self (I only started my book blog a few weeks ago), I find this to be great advice. It's hard not to get caught up in silly things like number of followers when publishers are saying "You must have at least 1000 followers!!", but really what matters is the awesome community and discussing one of our favourite things (books) with other people who love them.

    Also I will be saying "don't pet the drama llama" from now on.

  15. This post is so good! And the tips you've inserted are great :)

  16. Burgandy Ice says:

    I think I'm on Week 4, I'm rather dizzy, so I don't remember. I seriously LOVE your thoughts & I wish I could have started here, after reading this post!! I thought it would be so easy, you know? & I actually thought my reviews were decent, before seeing all the amazing write-ups out there. I'm not even sure I know when I'm petting the drama lama. (Memorable – thx!!) I started a second blog to vent about the first blog… and revolt against begging for Followers!! But I don't think I've ever had this much fun.

    http://burgandyice.livejournal.com/ – here's my thoughts on my first four weeks of blogging.

    Thx for sharing.

  17. Thank you for this post. I'm not what you'd call "new"- I started my blog months ago. But it wasn't until this month that I got truly excited about it and started posting regularly.
    The numbers thing is definitely the one thing I wish I had kept in mind throughout this whole experience. Remember that tweet a few days ago asking you to check out a blog? Yeah, it was me. I deleted it almost immediately, because I realized it's not the way I want my blog to expand and it's definitely not the way I want to start my interaction with other bloggers. Oh well, mess up and learn, right? Anyway, this post was full of great advice and I'm really looking forward to implementing some of it in my blogging. Thanks a lot!

  18. I just started blogging a couple of weeks ago and I can't think you enough for this advice. I'm sure I'm still going to do a few things that I regret later (like not writing out a few weeks of content in advance, hello!), but this is really helpful and I'm going to keep it in mind for sure.

    Also? Petting the drama llama is going to become a permanent part of my vocabulary.

  19. ahhh, i wish you had posted this back in June. :P I love it. :) These are definitely words to live by in this community. lol at the drama llama. I stay as far away from that sucker as I can.

  20. This is awesome. Although this is a letter to yourself there is a lot of great advice. I am just starting to try blogging again and reading this gives me a new perspective. Thank you :)

  21. I've been blogging for awhile but in a lot of different capacities, and I love your list. I really do. It's easy to feel dejected or unpopular in this world, or maybe just not good. But it is about hard work and expressing yourself and just doing your thing. It's easy to get distracted by all the other crap out there. Thanks for making this list. One of my writing professors actually made us do something like this in the beginning of the semester and then during the summer she mailed them out to us. Sort of insane.

    Happy weekend Jamie! Thanks for all of your support and just being pretty fab!

  22. Jamie – love this…and you. You're so kind, sweet, and gracious to those of us who are newbies. It can be incredibly overwhelming and daunting to want to start out right, have great content, and people who care to look at and read the blog. It. Is. So. Much. Work. Just figuring out who we are as readers and bloggers has been a huge struggle for Estelle and I. What are our goals and how can we have fun with this without losing our passion for reading? It's always so hard when you take something you LOVE and try to turn it into something more. We're trying to stay focused and do the best we can.

    We have awesome blog friends like you and a few others on twitter who've been so encouraging and sweet. Sometimes it's discouraging to see other bigger blogs who look down upon newbies and have such harsh opinions. I think it's easy to forget how hard it is to struggle through the newness to find your way. Thanks for the awesome tips and encouraging post. Thanks for just being yourself and sharing that will all of us. We appreciate you so much!

  23. Cat @ Beyond Books says:

    I shared this post on twitter not just because it makes a whole lotta sense, but mainly because you posted a photo of a llama. LLAMAS ARE AWESOME!

    Just sayin'.

    ;)

  24. Gee, that was really sweet. I have several days where I just want to give into despair. Then I forget that no one is listening and just enjoy. I do wish I had those friends you spoke of. It would sure help a lot.

  25. Melissa (Avid Reader) says:

    This is such a great post. I'm coming up on my 2 year mark and I've definitely gone through a lot of those feelings. I wish I could tell my early blogging self some of these things.

  26. This is such a great post, fairly new myself 3 months, need 2 remember to read 4 fun and not force to read and have a scedule

  27. lisa [the nerd] says:

    i love this. and also you.

  28. April (BooksandWine) says:

    Oh, but the drama llama's fur is so SOFT! Yeah, I definitely pet that damn thing all the time. Sigh, I should stop that.

    THAT STATED

    I love this post and like Cat, shared it on the twitters.

    I love all of your advice. I like that I'm mentioned in here TWICE (I got a big ego). I love that you write in your own voice because it's awesome. And yes, your reviews are some of the best written out there, don't sell yourself short, because look you are FANTASTIC. I would much rather read a review by you than a review by 9/10s of the book blogosphere.

  29. I gotta say, I love the drama llama. So many of them out there. Great advise. Your bookblog.ning friend.

  30. Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields says:

    This was a great post!! Loved it!

  31. Sarah O'Holla says:

    Oooh! I just found your blog via FYA and am loving it! I think I'd also say to my young blogging self, "You're going to make online pals!" I love how I have friends that I have never met now and feel like I really know them, all because of blogging. Also reading other blogs is important but don't let your reader take over your life and your own blogging. Sometimes I just need to mark my entire Bloglovin' as read and move on!

  32. I love this post. I love the thought that you put into it and the delivery. You have obviously learned so much from the time that you have spend blogging. And I admit that I have learned a lot too but I still have so much more to learn. I have not committed to blogging as much as I would have liked to. I take a hiatus every time life gets hectic and I forget that I can make my own rules. But I need to keep writing. And you reminded me of that here. So thank you for that.

  33. This post helps me a lot atm! I have been blogging for 1.5 months now and I have a love/hate relationship with my blog. Also I am kind of number obsessed, but I know the numbers don't matter as long as I'm having fun.
    Thanks!
    Mar
    http://www.thereviewsofmar.blogspot.com

  34. Linked to this post from The Broke and the Bookish so I’m a little late to the party. How do you find those good blogging friends to bounce ideas off of. I’m defiantly new to this game (blogs only been up a week or so though I did write out my first month or so of content already). You speak the truth on the feeling of being a start up blogger, and those of us a square one are defiantly benefiting from your letter, ESPECIALLY the part about not setting unrealistic expectations early on. I planned out my start up content for posting almost every day each week but now that I’ve read this, I think about what will happen when I’m trying to generate new content at that rate.
    Thanks!
    H

  35. I started book blogging about 5 years ago, but I gave up on it twice because it felt to time consuming to write a review for every book I read. I feel like my reviews are still to short, but when I love a book, my reviews are either long or short because there are no words to describe it’s awesomeness. I started reviewing to get ARCs. Turns out entering giveaways on news letters like Shelf Awareness Pro gets me more ARCs…I don’t think my blog has enough followers and I don’t make enough connection. School’s more important anyways. I have to remind myself book blogging is a hobby and not a job. I need to make money, not just get books.

  36. Don’t pet the drama llama LOL! Loved this post! I always love reading you’re posts. Always so great! :D

Trackbacks

  1. […] really relaxed in the past year or so. It probably had to do with some blog soul searching & reflecting  I did and creating my blogging manifesto but I do NOT care one bit if my blog goes silent for a […]

  2. […] you read on somebody else’s blog? Over at The Perpetual Page-Turner, Jamie posted a letter to her young blogging self. She posted it around the same time I began this blog, and I enjoyed reading the advice she had for […]

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