Starting a blog can be lots of things all at once: exciting, nerve-wracking, time-consuming, confusing, and overwhelming. But for me, even when it was–IS–some or all of those things, it’s always something I look forward to, and I’m eager to do MORE. But it’s all about learning as you go, and that’s both good and bad sometimes.
Thankfully, the lovely folks over at Small Review are hosting this Busting the Newbie Blues event to get both baby bloggers and more established bloggers talking about the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. This is such a great event! You can check out more here.
So, here I go!
When did you start your blog?
Waaaaay back on October 29, 2011. A mere almost-three months ago.
Why did you start your blog?
Reading has been my favorite pastime since I was young. I’ve loved it forever. But I didn’t start reading YA until I went to library school, and took some classes in Children’s and YA literature, which was basically just reading lots of books. These were my favorite classes, by the way. And even though I have friends from library school who I can talk books and geek out with, I was craving a place where I could talk about the books I read a little more in depth, and where I could get involved in a community of people who I have more in common with than just about any other people I’ve ever known.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Hmmm…I’d say that just getting things off the ground is challenging. I’m still figuring out what kind of features to run and what kinds of things to post that AREN’T reviews. But I’d also probably say that I’m having a harder time than I thought I would keeping up with my pile! I used to read fast, guys!! Now? I don’t know what happened. But I’m having a hard time reading books in a more blog-friendly time frame.
Also, I’m really struggling to balance my content. I’m very aware of not over-memeing. But I’m still nervous about posting anything that isn’t a meme or a review (like a discussion or issue post) because I feel like my opinion holds no weight, and I’m not reading fast enough to post reviews ALL the time, and I don’t have the ARCs or the contacts to do things like giveaways yet, so I’m kind of just trying to plug away and build things slowly. Post regularly, keep it as timely as possible, and try to spread the word without slamming my blog in people’s faces. It’s hard.
What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
Maybe “discouraging” isn’t the right word for this, but I still feel like an outsider. You know, like that annoying new kid at school who tries to force everyone to be friends with them by butting in on conversations and plopping themselves down at your lunch table and pretending like they were always there? I feel like I have to be careful with inserting myself because I’m afraid of people going, “Who is this REALLY ANNOYING person who keeps showing up? I don’t know this crazy stranger. MAKE SURE you DON’T invite her next time.” For every tweet I send to someone, there’s five more that I delete just because I’m nervous about bothering/pestering people. There’s really no reason for this though, because…
What do you find most encouraging?
…All of the bloggers and authors and publishing people that I’ve encountered so far have been incredibly nice and welcoming and awesome. They’ve been so encouraging and supportive, and that makes me feel both grateful and glad. Once I get over my own shizz, I’ll be golden.
What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I love reading blogs that do their own thing. I enjoy reading blogs that have different structures to their reviews because I like the variety: some reviews are long, like mine; some are short and to the point, which is great; some are broken down into sections, which is probably more organized than I could ever be. I don’t know that I’ve tried to replicate anything except doing what feels right to me, as I’m sure other bloggers do. I appreciate a little humor in my blogs and bloggers who have a unique voice as well, so I’m really just trying to be myself. My favorite bloggers are like this, even though I don’t know any of them personally, really. But I can always get the sense of “This blog just sounds like what YOU would sound like in real life. I can just feel it.”
What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
For me, the things that turn me off from blogs are a little more superficial and aesthetic. For one, I don’t like blogs that have dark backgrounds and white text. My eyes literally go buggy and the letters get blurry and I FOR REAL can’t read what you’ve written, which is too bad because I visited your blog so that I COULD read it! But my eyes! They can’t deal.
Also, I used to do quite a bit of copyediting for my old job and while in NO WAY am I the grammar police (I’m pretty sure I have incorrect grammar in my own stuff), I get a little cringy (see?) when I see things like rampant typos, spelling mistakes, comma splices, using “there” instead of “their” and things like that. I try hard to edit my stuff, but things always wind up getting through so I understand that it’s not easy. Still bothers me, though.
Any advice for other new bloggers?
Haha! I’m still so new myself! Umm…I guess I would say just try to be yourself. And don’t be discouraged if your blog doesn’t blow up immediately. There are still days when I have no one visit my blog at all. But stats aren’t the MOST important thing (although I feel like they definitely matter), so focus on WHAT you post instead of how many people read it, and they will come (Field of Dreams, yo!).
Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog?
Just that I’m sooooo excited to HAVE my blog and I’m loving it so far, even the parts that make me a little crazy and anxious, because I still get to talk about books. I’m grateful for every visit and every positive comment and I’m so glad that people stop by and check out my little corner of the internet. 🙂