Has anyone else experienced the peer pressure of blogging? Is it real or imagined? Are these deadlines and schedules self-imposed? Of course, this goes beyond blogging and into any form of social media outlet, including BookTube. Many of us likely feel mild or even intense pressure to update our blogs and channels, no matter the viewer size. I’d like to chat about it, and maybe you can help me through my mini-crisis.
This blog has existed since 2011. Back then it was on a previous URL, and when I started writing, I decided on the tagline “Conquering My Collection,” with the intent of chronicling my journey as I worked through my own home library of TBRs. Of course, I ended up writing about reading and books in general, but that was the point. It was for fun. I updated pretty often in the beginning, and then I had my first son, and writing kind of took a backseat. I’d write more often in bursts of posts, a month with five posts here, then three months of nothing. Then the blog sat dead for around two years while I blogged elsewhere about my son. I came back, again, sporadically, until around January of this year. It was then that I created this URL with the intentions of making a more professional blog.
I wanted to focus on copyediting, most importantly my experience getting a copyediting certificate and doing other self-study programs. Eventually, I just got excited about writing about books again, and I imported all my book-related posts over here. As I find myself getting closer and closer to that certificate, my hopes of starting a freelance career start to stress me out. As someone who doesn’t have work experience in the field, I know it will be difficult. I thought putting myself out there on social media was the first step to getting clients. Starting around July, writing here made me super excited. I’d write a post and publish it immediately, wanting to put my work out there. Sometimes I just felt the urge to write, so I’d whip something up, usually a tag post. Other times, like my reviews, I’d spend hours on and still not feel like they were my best.
I started to worry that I needed an audience and thought maybe I could do that by posting more often. Professional bloggers say that a consistent schedule is key. So, I started out posting a couple times a week, and I worked up to three days. I tried to make it on the same days. Then, for the past two weeks, I posted daily. In order to ensure I could keep up, I posted more and more tag-type posts. There is nothing wrong with these. In fact, they are really fun to do. And usually, they get my most views. Here are a few of the tags I’ve been doing most recently.
But, I still like putting my best face forward. Eventually, all my posts started taking me longer to write, because I still wanted those tag posts to look professional. I even started spending time making my own images. I’d spend hours almost every night working on posts for this blog. The past three weeks was a result of finally sitting down and writing multiple posts a night. This post alone took me almost two hours! I even made a schedule in my planner. Yet, I am still excited to write.
Of course, it’s disheartening when you feel like your time and work has gone to waste. I still don’t have as many followers as I used to have back on my old URL. In fact, despite not being updated in a long time, it still gets views. Almost all of these views are for a post I did about the book and movie The Help. Here are some numbers for you. I wrote that post in 2011, and it got 39 views that year. It got 764 views in the year 2016. It has a total of over 3,000 views in its lifetime. And I am proud of that. But guess what. It has zero likes and zero comments. Maybe all those people thought it was crap, but oof, it hurts the soul!
This blog has some wonderful, loyal followers, and I am happy to say that at least some people are reading what I am putting out there. But it’s rare to see many visitors. Maybe that’s my fault for not promoting as much as I could (or at all). It also doesn’t help there are about a million other book blogs out there, some infinitely better than my own. So what can we do to stand out? How can we continue to enjoy what we are doing if we feel the stress of pleasing others?
The consistent schedule these past few months has certainly netted me some new readers. The tag posts I have done certainly netted me some new readers. And I love writing on this blog and interacting with people who come here. However, I wish more people commented so we could chat about books. Plus, the time/effort versus benefits ratio is starting to become lopsided. I even feel like my writing is suffering because of it.
I’m stressing out too much about how often to post rather than focusing on what I want to post.
I have so many ideas for where I want to take this blog, but I have put them to the side because I know that each post will take me an eternity to write. Just check out my poor Warcraft readthrough as an example. Here are just a few series that I would love to get started on:
I want to delve into copyediting and its intricacies more. I’d love to talk about reading with children. I’d love to touch on some more broader themes in writing as well. I also have to balance my home life. It’s hard to make writing for a blog a priority when you have children and a husband to spend time with, a class you have to study for, and personal reading time. Oh, and I should probably do some chores.
It brings up a lot of interesting points regarding how we spend our free time. How do we decide what’s most important to us? Why do I feel guilty for watching YouTube videos instead of writing, when technically, they are both for fun? What constitutes being “productive?” Do all of our hobbies need to give us that sense of accomplishment, and when is it okay to just take a break?
It’s hard to find that balance, and it will be different for everyone. For me, that’s going to mean writing what I want to write when I want to write and not focus so much on views or followers. That’s a difficult thing to do, as I, like many others, sometimes feel like my self-worth comes from recognition. It might mean some changes around here. It might mean fewer posts. It might mean a shift in focus. And while I have always hoped this could be a professional thing for me, I want to maintain that sense of fun. I’m not getting paid to do this (not yet… sponsors, I’m willing!). It means I need to enjoy myself, first and foremost.
And if you’ve made it this far in the post, I’d really love to hear from you! What are your experiences with feeling the pressure to write or update your blog/youtube? Are there things you’d be interested in seeing around here? Do you have any tips on how to build an audience while simultaneously dealing with the pressure to write? Let’s chat!