I’ve mentioned here before that this is not my first go-around with blogging, even though this is a new blog. Before blogging at A Word and a Whisper, I blogged for about 6 years, experimenting on different platforms, but mostly on a WordPress blog you probably haven’t heard of, because I started out as and remained a teeny-tiny blogger for my entire blogging career. I learned a lot through my old, now no-longer-existent blogs about what I like and don’t like and what works and what doesn’t work in blogging for me. I’ve already noticed some things I’ve been doing differently this time around the blogging bend, and wanted to reflect and share some of them today:
- Blogging about what I want. This probably seems like a given and a little silly, but I am much better at writing posts about things I enjoy posting about now. I don’t feel as obligated to consistently do weekly meme posts, which I do enjoy, but sometimes I don’t want to do the topic or something and now I don’t feel like I have to do them which is nice. I am also simply much more in tune with what I want to post and don’t try to follow what other bloggers are writing about as much.
- Not writing reviews. I do love talking about books and recommending books, obviously, but I don’t think of A Word and a Whisper as primarily a review blog, as I used to with my former blogs. I write a lot more bookish discussion posts and casual book recommendation posts that I enjoy more. I do have a couple review-esque posts coming up, but they’re not traditional essay-long reviews that I used to feel like I have to write. I still write about books of course, since this is a book blog primarily, just in different ways that I enjoy more.
- Engaging with the community more. Something that I always felt was totally missing from my previous blogging experience was actually feeling like a part of the bookish community. I always felt that nobody would notice if I stopped blogging because I got so few comments, likes, and didn’t really talk to people online because I was so shy and didn’t think my opinions really mattered or that people would want to talk to me. Since starting this blog, I’ve made an active effort to comment on other blogs, respond to my own comments, and comment back. I think that has already made a difference in how I feel about blogging in terms of validation and also I think I’m already making a tiny footprint impact on the community.
- Following the right bloggers. There is obviously no “right” way to blog or really “right” bloggers to follow, but I feel that I am now following and interacting with bloggers who are more similar to me in personality and in how they view blogging than when I started. I think when I first started, there were few book blogs and a more “big” or “celebrity” bloggers, who I did like, but also made me feel too intimidated by to talk to since they were so popular. I think blogging in general is a lot less serious and drama-fueled than in the past, people are friendlier and want to engage more, and I’ve found bloggers who care about issues I care about in the book world, which makes me feel like I’m on their level even though I’m new versus feeling like I’ll never reach their level of fame.
- Not trying to be like everybody else. This, I think, goes along with writing what I want to write about. In the beginning, I was just so enamored with the concept of book blogging that I wanted to emulate the style and topics of posts that other book bloggers wrote. However, I eventually grew frustrated by this because I felt like I was doing all the “right” things, but not getting anywhere in terms of “success” or in the community. In retrospect, a lot of the blogs that used to exist did sound kind of the same; people even wrote about the same books a lot of the time. It seems to me that bloggers now are much more interested in being individuals and not doing the same-old, same-old in terms of blogging.
Mostly, I think what’s different about my blogging experience this time around is that I’m doing my best to do what I always wanted to do when I used to blog. I’m trying to be braver and less shy online and actually talk to people, which is helping me enjoy the day-to-day of blogging a lot more. I’m putting less pressure on myself to do what everyone else is doing and on blogging a certain way. In general, I’m simply trying to make blogging more fun and use it as an outlet as opposed to making it something I feel obligated to do.