Apr 22, 2014

Bloggers Anonymous: Enough is Enough

Welcome to the first edition of Blogger Anonymous. Not quite so anonymous, but definitely a place where people (mainly me, but feel free to join in), post about issues and drama that is currently plaguing me pertaining to blogging.

I debated about making this post for over a month now. Debated, toiled, fretted, worried, plotted, pondered, agonized - 

OK, maybe not agonized.

I feel like this is an issue every blogger faces at some point: Jealousy. And not just "Oh, that's a cute bracelet" jealous. I mean gut churning, dark thoughts, I give up jealous. I seem to be seeing more and more of this, and I will admit I've struggled with this myself. 

About two months ago I was truly fighting daily with myself about closing the blog down for good. It's something my friends and my awesome co-blogger knew about, but I felt like admitting it openly - to everyone in the blogosphere - was ridiculous and so not important in the grand scheme of things. But I didn't like the person blogging was turning me into.

What started as a fun hobby had morphed into an obsession that was constantly eating at me. Every instagram post I saw where a blogger got an ARC or 10 I didn't get, I wondered what I had done wrong. How could I be a better blogger? How could I get on people's radar? What new ways could I up my comments? Or bring more page hits?

It got to the point where I was legit obsessed to a point that was scaring me. I feel like since I started blogging I've always been chasing an unattainable number. When I first started it was all about the GFC count. I convinced myself that if I could hit 1,000 GFC followers then I had arrived. Cue the marching band and confetti. (Please don't ask where/why/how my twisted little mind decided that was the magic number.) And then, about a year and a half after blogging, I hit that number. I was elated.

For a week.

But then it wasn't about GFC numbers anymore. I was about my Klout score. My Twitter followers. My Facebook likes, my email subscribers ... Every time I wrapped my mind around one set of numbers, it changed. Now it's page views. Or unique page views. Maybe both (it took me almost a year to figure out the distinction). 

Wait - or is it Bloglovin' followers?

HOLD ON! This just in! Something called an Alexa is the new standard by which bloggers are judged? The only Alexa I know was in a couple Spy Kids movies back in the day, but OK....

Blogging stopped being a fun hobby and became a chore that I dreaded. Reading books wasn't exciting - it was a means to an end. Read a book to write a review. Post a review to get some page views. I found myself competing with my friends - I got irrationally jealous when they had more twitter followers than me. Or more comments on their posts. 

I finally hit my breaking point one night where I had my cursor positioned on the "Delete Blog" button. I was done. I was over feeling like crap and worrying and freaking out about stuff that - at the end of the day - wasn't the be all/end all of my life.

It took a lot of furious text message sessions between some bloggers friends before I finally settled down and decided to take a step back. I made a conscious decision to breathe and not touch the blog for a week and back away from social media. After the first couple of days, it became easier. Instead of trying to adhere to a a strict book reading and posting schedule, I just did what I wanted.

You know - the way I did when I first started down this rabbit hole 3 years ago.

I guess the reason I'm bringing up all of this now is because I have several friends who are currently struggling with this very thing. And I know we can't be the only ones. I don't want to see a lot of awesome bloggers throw in the towel because they forgot - we forgot - why we started doing this at in the first place.

So what if you don't get that ARC everyone else did? Can you honestly tell me you don't have a shelf or more of unread books somewhere? If people have better stats than you? More followers? More power to 'em. 

Every follower you have in every facet of blogging and social media is someone saying, "You're worth it and you matter" on a daily basis. If even 5 people are willing to follow you, that's amazing. You've influenced and touched those 5 people.

So, stop and count. Right now. Do it. How many people have you reached? Can you name them all? How long would it take you to write each and every single one of them a quick "Thanks for following me" note? 

I'm not saying I'll never get jealous again. But now I can keep it in better perspective and I'm loving blogging again. It's fun. And isn't that the whole point?


  1. Hannah, this was a great, wonderful, amazing post. And so true.

    I'm really glad you didn't throw in the towel. I may not always have time to comment, but I love seeing your responses and running into you sometimes at conventions!

    This especially resonated with me:

    So what if you don't get that ARC everyone else did? Can you honestly tell me you don't have a shelf or more of unread books somewhere? If people have better stats than you? More followers? More power to 'em.

    Every follower you have in every facet of blogging and social media is someone saying, "You're worth it and you matter" on a daily basis. If even 5 people are willing to follow you, that's amazing. You've influenced and touched those 5 people.

    I love you, and this message is definitely important, and so true. I hope you continue loving this! <3

    1. Thank you, thank you, Bonnie. And I love running into you as well! And I love your blog. :) You're awesome. <3

  2. Thanks for this Hannah! I hope everyone can really take it to heart! Especially the part about taking the time to think about every reader you have, instead of those you don't.

    I think when people get overwhelmed or disheartened, they just need to remember that they're under no obligation, and it doesn't have to be all in or all out. They can take a break, slow down, or just let the blog sit there and wait to see if they ever want to come back. Once I realized that if I don't post for awhile, no one even notices, it made all the difference in the world.

    Now I'm so happy that I've found my YADC group, and blogging has become more about the people than the numbers.

    Love ya, girlie!

    1. I wish everyone could have a YADC. You were one of those main people who talked me off that ledge and I am so grateful for you and our friendship. Love you, too!

  3. Awesome, awesome post!!! Thank you for this - I hope it helps others in the same situation. As an author, each and every blogger who has supported me, hosted me, reviewed my book, etc. matters very deeply to me; it's hard to put into words without sounds all gooey and mushy, but you do matter, you do have an impact, and maybe you don't have as many "stats" as you'd like but just know that you are the world to many, many authors who are deeply grateful to you and to bloggers like you.

    1. Thanks, Terri! Sometimes we get so caught up in the promoting and reviewing that we forget the person behind the book. We wouldn't be here without authors. :)

  4. I haven't suffered from any of these. I think maybe it is because I had no intention of starting a blog, but ended up accidentally doing just that trying to enter my first Rafflecopter giveaway. I still haven't figured out how this happened. Because of those beginnings I am what I call a serendipitous blogger. I have no schedule, I don't belong to any hosted weekly features; I blog when I have a review, I have stumbled across something bookishly interesting, or I have a comment as a blogger to make (usually a rant). I don't have very many followers, but I make sure I comment on a lot of blogs, tweets and Tumblr posts, so my blog name is seen frequently by authors, complementing books I have liked. Do I get all the ARCs I want? No, but I remind myself that I struggle to get the ones I have, read and reviewed before the publishing date. Octavia from Read~Sleep~Repeat just blogged about taking one day a week to "unplug" and read what you want for enjoyment and relaxation. I think it is a new book blogger trend. And to those bloggers who blog "how to" instructions for new bloggers for posting and review success, I say mind your own business and don't think so much of yourselves. Most of these "look at me" bloggers won't even answer new bloggers when they have a question. I know this first hand

    1. I'm so sorry that you've had negative experiences. I will admit that I had a lot of those same issues when I started blogging. For all the welcoming and acceptance that was spouted at me, it was a lot like sliding back into high school with the cliques and groups and .... Ugh. It still is like that.

      Keep doing your thing and never change. Don't try to force yourself to conform to what others think is the perfect blog. I read a million how-to posts when I started blogging and some helped, but they only worked if I put my own spin on them.

      While I'm not a big blogger, if I can ever help, please feel free to hit me up. :)

  5. Glorious post! Every day I see people reading books I want to have. It bothers me that I want them really badly when I see someone Tweet or something that they just got the book. But that's just human nature. It's natural for all of us to get jealous at one point. I don't think I've ever wanted to close down the blog just because of how tiresome it can be (maybe it's because I haven't been blogging for a year yet), but I can see how this can happen to any of us. The thing is, if you really love what you're doing (blogging), it'll show in your post and your followers will see how passionate you are, and eventually you'll realize that each of your followers took a second of their lives to click those follow buttons, and you'll be thankful for each one. Awesome post, Hannah. <3

  6. Not a moment too soon. This is exactly why I have been dreading writing reviews for a while now. Can't with the stress but thank you. This meant so much to me, you can't even guess.

    Also, you're worth it. You touched me. (You have a new follower in me.)

    1. THANK YOU! <3 And I'm glad it struck a chord with you - keep doing your thing and it will all fall into place.

  7. Love this post. I had all these feelings when I first started blogging. I was obsessed with my stats, followers, page views, etc. and I would get constantly discouraged when they weren't where I thought they should be. And then as I started following more bloggers and saw all the millions of ARCs they were getting, I got even more jealous. Why wasn't I good enough to get ARCs from publishers? What was wrong with my blog? But after a while I sat back and really thought about. Did it matter if I only have 50 followers or 100 followers when other people have 200+? No. Because my followers are awesome. They consistently come back to my blog and I'm able to chat with them on Twitter and have relationships with them. So who cares if my numbers aren't as good as other bloggers? Who cares if I'm not getting as many ARCs as they are. The day I stopped checking my stats religiously was the day that blogging became fun again. Because it doesn't really matter. At the end of the day what matters is that I'm having fun. And seriously, if I got as many ARCs as some other bloggers, I think I would be ever more stressed out. I already have a million books on my shelf waiting to be read. I'm glad you decided to stick with it and I'm glad you're feeling better about blogging again! <3

    1. It's a slippery slope and we all fall on it. But I'm glad you stuck with it, too!

  8. This was a really wonderful post! I haven't even been blogging a full year yet and I already feel this way sometimes. It took me a long time to realize that no matter how many followers or page views I get, there will always be someone out there with more, and I'm okay with that!

    When it comes to my schedule I'm super relaxed about it now. If I don't feel like writing a post, I won't! The only thing I'm struggling with at the moment is reviews. I've found writing reviews to be really hard the past few months. It doesn't really bother me if I don't have reviews on the blog, but I'm worried that it will affect my followers and views negatively. I may not need to have thousands of followers but i don't want to lose the few that I have.

    I suppose at the end of the day we all have to realise that these are our personal blogs and we should basically do whatever the hell we want with them!

    Really great, thought provoking post. I mean this in the best possible sense, but it's nice to know that even hugely popular bloggers can feel the same way.

    1. Thanks, Jenni! You're so right - these are our blogs. I can post whatever I want. Or post nothing.

      I think everyone has this problem if you have 10 followers or 10,000.

  9. *huggles* Been there, done that, took home the booby prize. I've been blogging for nearly four years and still can get wrapped up in the whole thing with numbers and ARCs and non-commenting bloggers who then whine about not getting any comments on their blogs (this still irritates me. You want comments? Interact. Respond in kind. Sheesh.).

    But then I take a step back and remind myself about all the awesome people I've met, the books, the authors, the publicists... I wouldn't have any of that if I didn't blog and my life would be poorer for it.

    I'm a small fry in the scope of things. Most of my bloggy friends have much larger numbers than I do, have more contacts, get more ARCs... so, when that green-eyed monster taps me on the shoulder, I do my best to ignore it (it'll be hard when my friends get invited to those exclusive BEA parties...that's when I'll hit the minibar and read). Just know that we're right there with you. Don't delete! I'd miss you! :)

  10. Thank you for this! I've been feeling the same way for a long time. I feel like I'm putting in so much effort, and it's not paying off in the numbers. And because of that I get depressed and stop blogging. And then my numbers go down even more. I guess I need to follow your lead and keep things in perspective!

  11. Awesome post Hanna! I admit to feeling a bit jealous sometimes, but to be honest I don't have the amount of time that other bloggers have to dedicate exclusively to blogging, commenting, social media, etc. I am honest with myself and don't try to expect more than what I have worked for.

    I'm happy with my blog, grateful for my followers, for my bookish friends, and for every single book I own (ARCs or not).

  12. *fist bumps* All of this. I get jealous too, but then I see how overwhelmed I am with what I DO have and remind myself that more would be insanity. I've only been requesting things I know I'll like, instead of the shiniest thing the blogger with more follower than me likes, and my TBR list is looking a lot happier for the future. You're so right - let's keep doing what we're doing and reminding ourselves we love to read. YADC FTW :)

  13. Love this post Hannah - please know that you're not alone - I found myself nodding the entire way through this post!!

    I try not to think about stats etc but the other day that Alexa thing just kind of deflated my balloon LOL and I shouldn't let it but it still happens. Sometimes I feel like the kid on the outside looking in.

    It is hard not to let it affect you but I try and if you ever need to commiserate I'm just a click away!

    Thank you for not deleting - you'd be missed greatly!!
    jaime @ Fic Fare

  14. Hannah, I can't imagine the YA world without you and it terrifies me that you were seconds away from deleting your blog. There is probably no one out there that has more heart and concern for others, than you. So please know how much you're loved and how THANKFUL I and a lot of other bloggers and publishers are that you're a part of this amazing community.
    I definitely understand, though, the pressure. It's like another full-time job. But I want you to know that so many people respect you, including me! I love you and I am grateful you're my friend and in my life!

  15. I discovered and began following your blog back in December after being referred to your post on requesting ARCs from publishers, which was super helpful to me by the way. You aren't alone, and I'm glad you didn't hit that delete button.

    I've been blogging a little over two years, and I haven't hit the 500 followers mark on GFC or Bloglovin' and was fretting about that for a while. But I took a step back and realized how grateful I should be for the followers I have because they are reading and commenting on posts. They're friendly, and I've become good friends with many of them. We even go beyond talking about books, sometimes swapping parenting woes, asking for advice, fangirling over movies and TV shows.

    I think the interaction we get on our blog and on social media is much more important than the number of followers we have. If we had 2,000 followers but they aren't commenting or interacting, then the number of followers becomes meaningless. It's nice when I see followers coming back repeatedly to comment and are reading posts. That's a really good feeling.

    I will say I'm feeling burned out with reviews. I've been trying to brainstorm different ways to write them up that will be more fun for me to write. I'm trying to take it easy and not take on so much. The hardest thing I've ever done blogging wise was putting up a note saying I can't accept any review requests at this time. I am so bogged down, I don't know how I'll catch up. And even though I put that up two different places on my blog, I'm still getting requests. It can be overwhelming, but I'm trying not to let it be.

    Enough about me, lol. It sounds like you're allowing yourself to take a step back and just breathe, and that's going to help you so much. I'm glad you're continuing on. :)

  16. Wow.. amazing post Hannah! There have been way too many times when I have considered quitting blogging and most if not all of those times in which I have thought whether to continue or not, has been because I had come to the point when blogging felt more like a chore than a fun hobby. I would dread having to write reviews (and I still do just a little but that might just be laziness) and I would feel this pressure on me to produce content every day. But I have come to the realization that its my blog, and I can do or post anything I want on it.

    When I began I was obsessed with the amount of GFC followers I had, it was crazy. Since then I have learned to not focus so much on the numbers but on making blogging fun again.

    I'm so grateful that you didn't delete if not I wouldn't have met such a nice helpful and all around awesome blogger, plus who knows where I would be without your BEA expertise :D

  17. You are definitely speaking to the heart of so many of us when you put it like that. I don't think there has been a week that went by this past year that I haven't felt that way.

    NUMBERS! It's so all about the numbers and it really shouldn't be. Heck I only recently split off onto my own blog a month ago and already I have started the numbers obsessing. But I was in the car with my hubs yesterday and in the backseat with my little one and all of a sudden I just spurted 'omg I'm so tired of blogging drama and the pressure' and he's like so don't do it anymore then I felt like I had split personalities cause I immediately started defending my blogging hobby and how much I love it. So Dr Jekyl Mrs Hyde there.

    We are all no doubt going to get the ARC envy at one point or another, there is no understanding the way publishers decide who gets what because every single one of those publicity depts probably do it differently. I just tootle along and am happy to get what I get (which is still way more than I can read in a timely manner) and buy the books that I am jealous over not getting once they hit their publication date.

    Heck sometimes more often than not I read the book within publication date anyway even if I have the arc because I don't believe in super early reviews.

    Never give up, never surrender!! It's about the fun of reading and the community of having other blogger friends. All that other stuff is just gravy am I right?

    See you in a few weeks girly.

    1. Tabitha, I always love to find a fellow blogger who doesn't believe in super early reviews! I don't find they are as well received and they don't feel they do my readers much of a service if the books are not available yet. I sometimes get caught up in feeling like this is doing blogging *wrong* but I've been trying to let go of that!

  18. You know, I didn't use to be one to get jealous often but it seems like with different situations with blogging, I did. And it's not a "normal" jealous (to my standards) it's a "I am SO PISSED RIGHT NOW I want to THROW ALL THE THINGS" kind of jealous. It use to be page views, then it was followers. Then it was the books, comments and then all the original posts, memes and features. It just seems like it was this vicious never ending cycle of ENVY.

    I've never got to the point where I've wanted to quit, just to the point where I back away, disengage and mope around feeling sorry for myself; and for the most part, it doesn't bother me because if I can reach just ONE person, it makes it worth it.

    So, I applaud you for speaking out and talking about it. It's one thing to admit to yourself but it's another to openly discuss it.

    And it would have sucked had you deleted (I'm a silent follower lol)

  19. AMEN sister! I am currently feeling overwhelmed by the number of ARCs I have (and it's not really all that many, but I have some waaaay *overdue* ones and ones from giveaways, etc. that have somehow managed to pile up) so lately when I see posts by others who've brought home boxes from BEA or have snagged the next *big thing* I tend to think, "THANK GOD I DON'T HAVE TO REVIEW THOSE TOO"

    I've considered closing up shop many times, but always come back to the fact that I love being part of this community and sharing in the bookishness of it all. I have given myself the freedom to just enjoy reading again and post only when I want to, as I did in the very beginning when literally no one read my posts because I had no idea this community even existed and therefore didn't put myself out there.

    I sometimes find myself a bit jealous about number of followers, etc., but then I remind myself this is more about connecting with other book-lovers and not about stats -- I've always been the kind of person who prefers having a few good friends over a gigantic circle of acquaintances, and I guess that has sort of carried over into blogging as well. But it can be hard to remember sometimes since blogging can take a lot of time and energy, making it natural to then want to see some sort of *results* for your hard work.

    Anyway, I hope you find a better balance & are able to give yourself a break! Blogging can really feel like an all or nothing sort of thing, but it doesn't have to be. :)


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