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I just can’t do everything I “should”

Book Discussion

There’s so much I should be doing!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging (I’m not leaving, don’t worry!). After the craziness that was spring semester, I wanted to get back on the blogging horse so to speak. During the semester, I could barely get comments answered and a book review up a few times a week! Now that it’s summer, there is a lot of grad school work that I need to do, sure, but the timing is more flexible. Therefore, I had been hoping that this would be the time I’d get back to growing the blog and really rocking out. I’m realizing though, that I just can’t do everything that I should be doing to grow this site….

Commenting everywhere!

I read discussions where a blogger talks about how they can’t manage to leave more than 20 or 30 comments a day and my eyes seriously go O.O. I can’t manage more than 10 comments a WEEK currently! I don’t know if it’s some asocial aspect of my personality that causes me to pull back and not feel up to being perky and chatty or that only-child-bookworm nature that makes me want to pick up a book over open my laptop any day of the week. Probably a combination of both I guess?

I love commenting on blog posts that spark my interest and make me want to discuss the topic! I love commenting on reviews where the reviewer makes a great point or I want to relive the awesomeness of reading that book. I don’t love commenting on my phone because it’s a pain in the freaking butt and that is often when I’m reading posts, but I try to save those posts for later commenting (but seriously, make sure your site is easy to comment on on mobile! Is mine btw??). But I actively seek out as many posts that spark my interest as I can find and am often finding myself without enough things I want to read when I’m waiting in line somewhere.

Here’s the real issue though: I don’t love going to a blog with the express desire to find something to comment on and force it…. I know everyone says that you shouldn’t do that, but it seems that in order to be finding 30 posts to comment on a day, you have to be purposefully seeking out posts to comment on right?? Or am I just a comment curmudgeon that feels less inspiration than most?

Requesting and reading all the ARCs!

There are a couple of publishing houses that I just CAN’T get a contact in. HarperCollins is easy to get eARCs from, sure, but I would love to get a few of the physical ARCs I’m most excited for before the eARCs go up. Bloomsbury is one where I’ve gotten approved for eARCs a couple of times, but can’t seem to get onto their blogger email list. Don’t even get me started with Penguin or Hatchette…. Simon and Schuster I used to work with from time to time, but they seem to have switched up how they run blogger relations lately and I fell off the bus.

I’m honestly not banging my chest in agony since I like getting books from the library, but the competitive part of me can’t help seeing those publishing contacts as necessary steps for my continued blogger growth and aiming for them. I go through phases where I don’t care at all, but then I think about a book I really want to help promote and wrack my brain for what I could be doing wrong that is keeping me from that publisher contact. That’s the thing that really rubs, I’m convinced that I’m doing something wrong or inadequately and that’s why they don’t love me ;-). I try to push that thought away, but it’s insidious!

Of course the problem with sending in lots of requests to try to build those contacts is that if they do send you something, you then can get completely overwhelmed with how much you have to read! This is a serious danger when you have a flexible schedule since it would be so so easy for me to devote days and days to reading all the books before my advisor would notice I hadn’t made any progress. But I must resist!!! But finding that balance between reading enough that I’m happy and devoting myself to grad school is still something I’m trying to figure out. I can’t help but feel that if I just read more of a certain imprint’s books, they’d love me *sigh*.

Organize all the events!

I know that I’ve promised I would be hosting an event this year and there were a couple that almost happened, but the timing just didn’t work out. I’m realizing more and more though that while I love the idea of community events, I just don’t have the time to invest in them that I’d want to really make it a success. I can’t even really participate in many currently because of time commitment and my tendency to go big or go home with anything remotely similar to a competition >.>.

Grad school, wedding planning, moving, oh my!

Did I mention that we’re moving into a house this month, I’m planning a wedding ceremony and reception for the beginning of October and my advisor wants me to turn in my comprehensive exam (ie dissertation proposal basically) by the end of the year? Oh and I should be working out a lot more to build my muscles back up after the surgery (though I’m getting a tread desk so I’m hopeful there!).

Why do I need to grow anyway??

What it comes down to is there seems to be this sense that a blog is always going to be growing. You should have higher stats than you did at this time last year, more followers, more comments, etc etc. But you know what the reality is? I have less, about 2,000 less pageviews in June 2015 than June 2014. Why? Not really sure to be honest. I don’t think I was doing anything all that different last year than I am this year, any ideas? If I recall, I think a giveaway got retweeted by Brandon Sanderson last summer so that’s a bit of it I’m sure, but not all.

So the reality is that I’m not growing, I’m arguably not even staying stable, though perhaps I was artificially inflated last summer and this is stable for me now. But why do I even feel this pressure to be constantly growing anyway? I guess part of it because that’s what blogs are supposed to do so I feel like something is broken since this one isn’t. Seriously, if you know of something that I could do differently I want to hear it!

While a bit more growth would be nice to get those publisher contacts that I can’t seem to manage and because more friends to talk about books with it always awesome, I’m not sure how much I should care still. I love talking to you all and already feel overwhelmed with comments sometimes, so I’m okay with the number of readers I currently have ;-). I can barely keep up with the books I get for review, so I don’t really need more (though a few special ones would be nice). And even if I was still growing, you can’t keep that up forever without breaking the internet, haha.

The other thing I can’t help but thinking about is that this blog simply can’t be my priority all the time. Grad school has to be what I spend most of my time and energy doing and this blog has to stay a hobby. I am not an aspiring author, I am not trying to break into publishing, I am not trying to make money from this blog. This blog keeps me sane and happy when grad school is torturing me, but I’m a scientist and my career will have nothing to do with book blogging sadly. I just can’t let book blogging take over my life like I see with other bloggers. I’d like to, I dream about becoming independently wealthy and reading books from my yacht, but that’s not my life and that means I have to have different expectations for my blog than some others.

I think my new goal is going to be stability, I hope that next year this time I have the same average pageviews as I currently do (though I wouldn’t say no to a few more ;-) ). I’m okay going to the library to get the latest and greatest book that I didn’t get a chance to read early, and maybe I’ll even have the chance to read some of those unsolicited copies that look interesting. Or, gasp, OLD BOOKS! (Yes, there are books that were published before 2010 I hear!)

And now that my soul is bare for all of you to see, tell me: Do you feel the need to be constantly growing your blog? Is your blog growing from last year still? Do you think there is anything I could do to improve this place (you can be honest, I can take it!)? 

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Only just now read this post and wow you’re a hard-working blogger! I, too, was in grad school (for biochem molecular biology…what about you?) and that’s when my blog just…died. I didn’t blog hardly more than twice a year, haha, and to see that you’re keeping it up and you HAVE A WEDDING to plan. That’s crazy, missy! Also, wow, people making 30 comments a day…I really can’t do that and make the comments worthwhile :( I guess its skill you learn? I think in the end, I ALWAYS come back to the blog because of the community, not necessarily because of whether my blog grows or not, haha, but that’s probably why my blog doesn’t have 2,000 followers! :P Good luck with everything and keep bloggin! I love coming here every other day to check out what you’re up to :)
    Sharry recently posted…Book Review: Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier. How will a prickly healer hell-bent on vengeance and a hulking brute haunted by nightmares save a Prince and his darling from the sinister workings of an ancient magic?My Profile

    • I’m going for computer science and evolutionary biology :D

      Thanks! Now that the wedding is over, I’m feeling much more sane, and also just letting myself take a while to do blog things if I need to, like answering comments ;-)

  2. Oh, Anya, I cannot even begin to express how much this post struck a chord with me. I kid you not, over the past month I contemplated deleting my blog altogether – I was burned out and I felt incredibly foolish for all the time and effort I placed into moving my blog to self-hosting. It just felt as though I lost vision on why I decided to blog in the first place.

    As a consequence, I took a break from the weekly memes, and from the pressure of reply to every comment, and from the pressure to feel I like I needed to visit 30-60 blogs a day just so that I can get my foot in the door and find a place within the “popularity circle” ha ha! What was I thinking right!?

    Anyway, within that time, I was able to gain clarity and I remembered why I started blogging in the first place. I blog because it’s fun :) I blog because I love writing and in doing so, it kinda keeps my writing skills sharp in that respect. I blog about books because they are my source of life and it’s all I ever truly talk about. Also, I came to discover that I don’t like to follow blogs blindly just to help increase the number of followers for said blogs. That’s the honest truth. I crave genuine connections and a heartfelt community. I’m lucky to have found a few in my almost 2 years of blogging.
    Time flies, and my kids are growing up so fast! I need to make them my priority for now and embrace every moment I have with them!

    All that to say, you are not alone ;) Best of luck on your academics! :)
    Claudia {Sparrowhawk} recently posted…Sparrow’s Book Review: {Torn Sky, Rebel Wing #3 | By: Tracy Banghart}My Profile

    • I hear ya! *hugs* I definitely like that I feel more confident writing my thoughts on anything, including school work, because I write for the blog so much! At least, that’s what I tell myself ;-)

  3. YES! All these things.

    I feel like for awhile there I was SPRINTING with trying to grow my site. Now I’m mostly strolling with occasional naps. I want so badly to keep loving it and for awhile there it started to feel like work. Blech.

    But, I think you are doing great. Your site is gorgeous, your reviews are lovely and you are one of my favorites in this bookish community. :)
    Sabrina recently posted…Review: The Uninvited by Cat WintersMy Profile

    • Haha, and it’s easier to sprint when you are seeing immediate results, but I feel like after a certain point, you just don’t see the same results so it’s hard to keep pushing when it’s not doing anything!

      Awwww you are too sweet *hugs* Thank you!

  4. I’ve been having a lot of the same feelings lately. Like you, I’m wedding planning, I just finished a move, and I really want to finish up one more paper in the next year so I can be done with grad school and go join my fiance, who’s just moved to California.

    I’m doing pretty well commenting on the blogs I follow, but I’d also like to do more commenting, especially on new-to-me blogs. I don’t feel as though I’m having trouble with getting physical ARCs, but I typically get them through newsletters or by cold emailing publicity emails or individuals if I can find their contact info. I don’t have specific people at publishing houses I regularly correspond with though and I wish I did. I’ve recently decided to put most of my time on my blog into event planning, because my favorite part of blogging is the social interactions, but there’s really never enough time!

    My main goal is to continue to grow, even if slowly, but I do seem to have plateaued lately. If I knew the secret, I’d tell you! I don’t even primarily read fantasy and sci fi and I still enjoy following your blog, so you’re doing it right as far as I’m concerned :)
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…Review – Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear WarMy Profile

    • I’m honestly terrified of trying to plan an event because of the amount of work it seems like it takes >.> So props to you!

      Thanks so much hun! Good luck with your wedding planning and paper!!!

  5. I know exactly what you mean about commenting. I do know that I’m rather anti-social, but I definitely comment on posts where I have something to say – like this one ;) I do like interacting with other bloggers and my own blog readers, but it can be so draining for me. If I have to reply to more than three or four comments at a time I already start to feel tired. I usually try to make sure I reply to comments before checking out the blogs I follow, so my chances of actually commenting on others posts reduces dramatically.

    Honestly, I went through something much like this at the beginning of the year. I started throwing myself into my blog and started feeling overwhelmed with what I was trying to do. I’m not sure how many new visitors I got from that, but I couldn’t keep it up. Now I’ve settled into a fairly good balance. My blog doesn’t consume my life (well…only sometimes) and I am happy with it. I don’t feel like I’m not doing enough – least, not USUALLY – and I am happy with the readers I’ve got, even if I don’t get new ones. I hope you can settle into a medium that makes you happy, too.
    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted…Review: Valor’s Choice by Tanya HuffMy Profile

    • Oo, that sounds like a good way of making sure you reply to comments efficiently though! Since I kind of struggle with that, ha!

      I think a lot of this is that I don’t have a stable routine for any part of my life at the moment with all the big life changes, so I feel like I can’t find a middle ground for blogging because I can’t find a middle ground for anything! I’m hoping this fall things will settle out though

  6. Delegate!!!!!
    Barbara Z Johnson recently posted…Game Review: IngressMy Profile

  7. Oh man, this post is so relatable though! 1 thing I’ve definitely noticed is that my blog stats have also been steadily decreasing as well, which I’m sure is in part related to my commenting less than I used to, but also just because I haven’t been following trends in the community and my content is falling out of fashion in a way. But while it’s disheartening to see those bar graphs steadily decrease, I also wonder if growing my audience is really all that important?

    About commenting, though: In 2013 I really did comment on 20-30 posts every day and it wasn’t that I was “forcing” myself to do it, but it was very much a part of my morning routine. Wake up, go to school, putz around in the computer lab for 3 or 4 hours commenting away. Good old high school. Nowadays I’m lucky if I leave more than 5 comments a week. That urge to SAY SOMETHING seems to have disappeared. Plus it’s not part of my routine in the same way anymore, though I think I should try to bring it back, since when I have something to say I do really enjoy commenting!
    Renae @ Respiring Thoughts recently posted…Tyrannosaurus Renae: or, I’m not a hip young blogger anymoreMy Profile

    • Very much agreed, I’d rather do what I like to do and be part of the oldguard with less views and be happy than push to write content I feel fake doing!

      I definitely used to have a similar morning routine where I’d get up an hour earlier than I needed to, eat breakfast, read blogs, comment on the ones I was interested in, but now I like sleeping too much >.>

  8. You’ve talked about a lot here, so I’ll try and split them well.

    I think when it comes to your growth and your statistics, you choose whether they’re important to you or not. From the sounds of things, I’d say they really matter to you, and if they really do, then you can work on them with socialising on social media more, using other networking sites like Pinterest and Instagram, and just generally creating content, like this, that people want. On the other hand, time and other priorities takes away from this, so in the end, you have to personally choose what matters most to you, and I think other things come before the blog, and so growth is harder to achieve. Personally, I want to grow my blog too, but I also don’t want to let the stats get me down, so I go with the flow, and do what people want to see, and slowly, it’s working..

    You shouldn’t look at what people do and think ‘I should do that’, and feel bad when you can’t, or don’t have time, or don’ achieve like they do, it’s life. I think Starships and Dragonwings is a great blog, and you have great content with a loyal viewing, and you shouldn’t think about what you don’t have and think of all the good. Great post though Anya!
    Amanda @ Nellie and Co. recently posted…10 Authors I’ve Read The Most Books ByMy Profile

    • I think it’s more that they did matter and they still do at one level, but I don’t WANT them to matter ya know? It’s also that that worked for a while when I started and then at a certain point there just aren’t that many more people you can easily attract to your blog so you stagnate a bit and you’d have to push really hard to get more, at least in my experience.

      Thanks so much! Keeping all this in mind is definitely helpful to getting into a healthier mindset :)

  9. I think this is something we all struggle with! I can’t juggle it all either. I have a full time job, and it’s quickly become apparent to me that blogging itself, even a hobby blog, COULD take as much time as a full time job if I did everything that I wanted. That would be nice if the blog could actually replace my income, but that’s pretty much never going to happen for me – it’s a hobby blog! I just have to remind myself to keep having fun with it, and like you said a blog is going to naturally grow SOME, just not quickly. and I have to be okay with that :D Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!
    Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm recently posted…2015 ARC August GoalsMy Profile

    • Yup, gotta prioritize the thing that actually pays you to eat! I think it’s hard to see your blog grow fast when you first start and then level off or even drop because you aren’t the shiny new blog anymore and there is a limit to how big hobby blogs can really get. Some people are lucky to be stay-at-home spouses and be able to devote a lot of time, but I just can’t do that and wouldn’t be happy that way so I have to be all right with the time I do have.

  10. This post sums up a lot of what I’ve been feeling lately. I’ve had to cut back a lot. I just dropped out of a readalong that I was very excited about. I don’t read as many blogs as I’d like. I don’t post as often as I’d like. I don’t get as many views as I’d like. I’m trying to let myself be okay with that, because this is a hobby, not my career. (God I wish it was my career, because it’s what I love doing.) And I’ve been travelling a lot this summer both for work and for fun, so I just haven’t had enough hours at my apartment to do all the things that I want to do.

    Right now, I blog and read blogs when I have time. The biggest difference between book bloggers and people who blog about other types of content is that there are so many behind the scenes hours that go into just reading the books, and I think we need to set realistic expectations for ourselves. You can blog a ton for a year or so, but in the long run, it helps to find a more sustainable schedule. :)
    Grace recently posted…“Modern Romance” by Aziz AnsariMy Profile

    • I just completely failed to answer the last week’s questions for the Full Fathom Five read-along >.> And I’m letting it go since I did finish the book haha.

      Oh man, being paid to do this would be awesome! But sadly no since we all do it for free, haha! Totally true, it takes almost a week to prep a review post sometimes if the book is long and so it’s pretty hard to be posting constantly at that rate.

  11. I’d love to be driven to constantly grow my blog. And I try, I really do. But when you work full-time, commute, have a significant other you want to, you know, spend time with…and all the day to day stuff like cooking, cleaning, sleeping and television, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day! At least once a week now, I sit down and blog, by which I mean, I set up posts for my blog, write reviews, and visit my favorite blogs to chat them up on posts I feel like I have something to contribute, talk about /gush over. But that’s an entire day that I could have been reading! o_O It’s a constant struggle I tell you but it’s how it has to be because I can’t imagine not blogging anymore, regardless! So, all that to say that I support your new goal wholeheartedly :D
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Fandom Mashup # 14My Profile

    • That’s exactly it, I used to knock out a bunch of posts every Sunday and be good for the week, and answer comments since I got a lot fewer then, but now hubby wants to hang out on the weekend and that’s the only time I might have to read that week if it’s been busy, so how do I choose???

  12. I do have some fears and insecurities, but about different things. For example:

    * I don’t even think about commenting on other blogs or “quotas” or things like that. That’s just not a goal for me at all. I comment when I have something to say. Period. I don’t even spend time thinking about how many comments I’ve made (or not).

    * Publishers and ARCs have fallen so insanely low on my list of priorities. In fact, I think they’re off the list completely. Though I suppose this ties into the massive reading rut I’m in right now.

    But I stress over other things. I actually just wrote a post about all the things I’m stressed about. Most of it is about how my blog connects to my business and I’m worried about my business growth. I’m worried about my lack of niche, or the fact that I’m targeting two different audiences for different things. I’m afraid that I blog about too many topics and it’s hurting me. I’m worried about where I go from here.
    Ashley recently posted…What the Hell Am I? What is This Place? What do I do for People?My Profile

    • Do you find yourself trying to split your attention between book blogs and wordpress blogging blogs or something like that too?

      I was so happy to see that you decided on what your focus is going to be though, it seems like that was really stressing you out, so hopefully better now? As a book blogger I’ve always found your niche to be “the person I ask about book blogging technical things” but I guess that’s pretty narrow huh? ;-)

  13. I’m also a scientist, who finished grad school two years ago and planned a wedding last year. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that other things come first, especially since you’re a fellow not-aspiring-fiction-author whose career will also have nothing to do with book blogging. I sometimes struggle with the feeling that I want my blog to grow, but then I remind myself that my blog exists solely because it’s something I enjoy doing. There is no final goal or achievement I’m trying to unlock, it’s the process of writing reviews and occasionally commenting or answering comments that I enjoy. I really thought I would have more time after the phD, but now I’m post-doccing and still struggle to find time for all the things I enjoy! It is a bit easier now, though.
    Allie recently posted…Read-Along: Kushiel’s Chosen Part 1My Profile

    • Yes, so much this! The only reason this blog is a thing is because I wanted to write about something and I love reading books, haha. And it keeps me sane during grad school ;-). There’s is no point where I’ll have reached all the goals and taken over the internet, so I need to just not stress about moving forward!

      I feel like I’m kind of doing a post-doc currently since I have funding for the following two years and just need to research and write, no classes etc. Is that basically how it is?

      • Keeping sane during grad school was a major goal for me, too, and I think blogging really helped on that front ;-).

        More or less, yeah, except there’s no thesis pressure anymore. In my field, we usually joke that you do exactly the same thing post-phD, but with more power! In addition to the research, I also do a lot of mentoring grad students now.
        Allie recently posted…Review: Citadel of the Autarch by Gene WolfeMy Profile

  14. I wonder if our stats are falling because compared to even when I started over 2 1/2 years ago, the community has GROWN.

    About growing. I feel like there are *things* implied that we “must do” to grow. Commenting, ARCs and originality, and that puts on the pressure. I am speaking from a personal standpoint, mind you, and his may not apply to you LOL I think the best way to grow is to stay true to yourself and be consistent.

    BTW, you are one busy bee this year!!
    tonyalee recently posted…Let’s Talk: Blogger to Blogger | DramaMy Profile

    • Quite possible! There are a lot of blogs for everyone to check up on now and to fight over SEO listings D:

      Omg yeah, this year is the year of CRAZY. It’s going to be fun writing a 2015 recap and listing all the really major life events that took place >.>

  15. There is a lot happening in this post, but there is a lot that needs to be said. I have seen a lot of bloggers say that their own stats are falling. I was looking at a post I made two years ago, and I have 18 comments on it. I am lucky to have 2 nowadays. For a long time, it bothered the HELL out of me, but like you said, WHY should we have to grow our blogs? And I am getting some very good and genuine comments on my posts, so it is quality of quantity. Maybe blogging has reached it heyday? Maybe there are “younger” blogs that are getting the hits? Is Booktubers the future? I’m not sure.

    30 comments A DAY? *laughs forever* I work full time and I am currently watching my weight. I really can’t have a large number of blogs on my watch list. And I agree with you – I comment on what I want to, instead of finding things to comment on. How will that help the bloggers I watch? I’d rather have 10 awesome comments on my blog in a week than 25 so-so ones and 5 good ones.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Story Sprites Check-UpMy Profile

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one seeing that trend! Maybe blogging has hit its peak for now, I think I’d really be okay with that. Eventually there just aren’t any more eyeballs to get after all. I thought about trying booktubing and then remembered that I hate how I look on camera, haha!

      Just replying to so many blah comments on my own blog would drive me freaking nuts! It’s definitely a quality versus quantity thing.

  16. I completely understand. I also thought I would have more time this summer for blogging, but I was wrong, because I was constantly working. And now that classes are starting again, I definitely won’t have ALL THE TIME. I don’t even think that I will keep up my 4 posts a week.

    As for blog growth, I think that at one point there will be a plateau in the views and comments, and I think that’s fine. Like who cares? GRAD SCHOOL IS MORE IMPORTANT. AND WEDDINGS. AND MOVING. I don’t think you should worry about commenting on all the blogs. Just the posts that truly, truly interest you. If you have nothing to say, then don’t force yourself to comment! That will only make you burn out faster when blogging.

    So yes, I wish you the BEST OF LUCK! :D :D :D :D
    Valerie recently posted…The Initial Impressions TagMy Profile

    • Something that helped me a lot was deciding to go down by a post a week, just knowing that Mondays are the day I don’t post anything and that’s okay helped my time so much!

      Exactly, who cares?!?! Just me, but hopefully not even me soon ;-)

  17. This is such a great post, Anya, I love your honesty. The book blogging world and how much weight it puts on commenting is crazy, I find it really hard to keep up and I’ve been doing it for so much shorter than you have. At the moment, I am just tickled pink whenever someone pays me attention, I scramble to their blog to find something meaningful to say and it takes so much time!

    I haven’t had too many experiences with publishers yet because I am too new to approach them. I always feel that the bloggers who get the ARCs and can generate the prebuzz are so blessed because materials like that can drive traffic – but then I think of how I am struggling to get through my current review copies and decide I’m happy with my current lot. I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Harper Voyager to receive physical review copies lately, and I am still over the moon. Though I try to not weigh my blog’s success on publisher’s interests because that way a dark rabbit hole lies.

    My boyfriend recently commented to me that my blog feels like a 2nd job, and he’s absolutely correct. I started blogging because I love reading. I don’t want it to ever be turned into a situation where I only read because I have to blog, ya know? Trying to pull back and find a balance. But it’s hard when you’re new.

    Good luck with all of your real life endeavours, whatever the case, I will always be here waiting for your blog posts :D YOU should be your first priority! xx
    Aentee @ Read at Midnight recently posted…Book Review: The Three Body ProblemMy Profile

    • Thanks! I didn’t scare you away did I? ;-)

      Yeah, avoid thinking about publishers too much for as long as you can! It’s awesome when they contact you, but setting out to get a contact with them is sometimes rather heartbreaking.

      Blogging definitely ends up feeling like a second job, except we’re not getting paid for it so the paying job has to come first ;-)

  18. Oh man, I totally get have been feeling more & more similar when it comes to blogging lately. I’m like you with commenting–ten comments a week would be pretty spectacular, in all honesty for me, at least consistently. I love blogging, but like you said, sometimes it just *can’t* be a priority, because other life things get in the way–and it sounds like there’s quite a lot on your plate right now. Though, I think desiring stability is a good conclusion to come to. There are times when I realize I get caught up in the “achievement” part of blogging–I feel like I should constantly be achieving something I haven’t yet, whether that’s more followers or getting recognition from publishers or what have you. I don’t think there are anything wrong with having those as goals. . . but sometimes I realize those aren’t really even my goals in the first place, I just feel like they should be.

    • EXACTLY! That’s great for others to have those goals, but I don’t actually want to have those as goals and it feels like that is somehow unacceptable. So let’s set our own goals and be okay with what we can do :D

  19. Anya this is such a super duper fantastic post! I just love your honesty when it comes to everything. I guess with blogs and so many AMAZINg bloggers that seem to do everything and be everywhere and have uber amount of followers, it’s easy to feel inadequate in the sense of things – but when you step back and look at how much they actually DO then you realise how much it takes to get there. I love what you said about growth vs stability – I had to challenge myself to pull it back a little too. And that’s when I started enjoying things a lot more – because I wasn’t pressuring myself to review or comment all the time! You go girl, and good luck.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Video: July Wrap Up & August TBRMy Profile

  20. “I’m convinced that I’m doing something wrong or inadequately and that’s why they don’t love me.”

    I can’t count the times I’ve thought something similar. I feel thrilled to have made contacts at Tor, Orbit, Angry Robot… Or if not direct contacts, at least to have reached that coveted “Auto-Approved” status on NetGalley. For so long I thought that I was getting rejected for books because my reviews were bad, that I wasn’t large enough to make an impact, a dozen or more reasons that all amounted to it not being worth taking the chance and expense on me because there wasn’t likely to be a return on that investment.

    “I have less, about 2,000 less pageviews in June 2015 than June 2014.”

    Given that I relatively recently hit an average of about 3000 pageviews each month, I can’t help but wonder what intimidatingly high number your pageviews were last June!

    I think one of the reasons a lot of bloggers are a little obsessed with grows and blog stats is because we like to see our reach, and we feel maybe a little bit more justified in getting the perks that we do. Books for giveaways, review copies, the ability to host awesome guest posts, what have you. Those things feel like a waste, at least to me, if I’m not reaching a decent sized audience. What’s the point in an author writing an amazing guest post for my blog if only a few dozen will read it, when they could write that post for a bigger and better blog and have a few thousand read it instead?

    Bloggers that started well after I did have more popularity than I do. I don’t know why, sometimes. Maybe their content, maybe they’re better at marketing, maybe they comment on every blog they see, I don’t know. It’s a little bit intimidating, though, because I feel like I’m doing something wrong, that I’m missing some essential step because otherwise, I’d be just as good as those other people. Somehow I’ve been called a big-name blogger, a well-known reviewer. Maybe that’s because I’ve been doing this for years, I honestly can’t say. Perseverance equals worthiness? But I want my blog to keep growing because then I’ll feel like I AM as good as those others, and maybe feel like I can live up to the reputation that some people have bafflingly given me. :p
    Bibliotropic recently posted…In-Depth Analysis: Black Sun Rising, by C S Friedman – Prologue-Chapter 4My Profile

    • Freaking Orbit, that’s another one! I’m finally on the audiobook email list so I can listen to their titles at least, haha. But they have never responded to my emails, sigh, oh well ;-)

      Yeah, I definitely hear you, I want to support books and authors and it seems like the bigger reach I have, the better I can do that. I think that’s the other thing that burns, when newer blogs are able to amass a huge audience and I just can’t figure out where I went wrong. It’s one thing if it’s just “oh they’ve been around a long time” but if that’s not the case, it’s disheartening. Being around for years definitely helps though, but since I was pretty disconnected from the community for the first year or two, I have never been able to figure out where I fit in that measure either haha

  21. Honestly, I can’t imagine leaving 30 comments a day! I’m not even sure how many comments I leave a WEEK. *laughs* I’ve never bothered to count. If I read a post and have something to say, I comment. If I don’t, I don’t.

    I’ve always thought of your blog as a fairly big one, though I can see wanting to grow it even bigger. But if it stresses you out, you shouldn’t worry about leaving all the comments, or doing all the things. Do what bits make you happy, and that you have time for.

    I’ve finally gotten a few publishing contacts, but even without them I have so many books to read! And I can’t think of a single thing you could be doing ‘wrong’. Maybe the powers that be are holding back on some things until you settle into school and see what time you have for the blog and other things?
    Silvara recently posted…When Do You Publish ARC Reviews?My Profile

    • I think I’d be happy if I managed 30 a month, haha! Maybe that should be my goal, one a day, I could do that! That’s very true, I never count even if I’m aiming to comment around because I’m feeling social, I just type until I get tired of it ;-)

      Everyone wants to be more right? ;-) I think I’m happily mid-size these days I guess? I think the hardest thing is knowing that I had more traffic previously and it’s fallen off lately :-/

  22. There’s so much self-imposed pressure around blogging sometimes, it just blows my mind. Like you said, it’s supposed to be a hobby – so we do we let it stress us out so much sometimes? I’m not really interested in having a big blog or even publishing contacts (a few NG eARC requests is all I can manage at this point, honestly) but I still feel weird about comments and page views sometimes. The way I think about it is if the people I want to talk to most – my closest blogging peeps – are still interacting with me/the blog, then that’s good enough. And if you’re looking for more comments, I think discussion posts like this one are the easiest way to get them! Everyone loves sharing their opinions, including me. ;)
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Review: The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo HunterMy Profile

    • Right?? It seems like most of us are pretty type-A goal oriented so maybe we just can’t help but push ourselves?

      I am so weird when it comes to discussion posts, I need to be in this perfect inspired mood to write them and it has to be immediately so that I don’t forget! But I do like them :D

  23. Hi Anya!! I can relate on many things you mention. For me I have tried to stop caring but it’s always there a little bit. I recently lost a contact and it was a bit frustrating but I’ve gotta focus on the good. I haven’t compared my stats to prior years. I’m not sure what that would show but I figure I won’t look! I totally relate to blogging taking up a big bit of life. My kiddo starts kindergarten this month (passes out) and I want to put time into his school and school work. Also, the comments- I never ever keep up. I only comment on what I’m interested in and pay if the time I don’t even do that. I try to not feel bad but meh. My comments on my blog are nearly absent completely. I can so relate! I think we all feel that we don’t have enough time. Great post and thank you for baring your soul <3
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Stacking the ShelvesMy Profile

  24. I know EXACTLY what you mean. With law school starting up soon, I’ve had to admit that I can’t keep reading/commenting on everything. (Though seriously, who has time for 30 comments/day?!) It makes me a little sad, but it’s also freeing. I can pick up a book instead of my laptop! :D (As far as mobile commenting on your blog, I think the only deficiency I ever ran across was that it wouldn’t give me a reply button to your reply to my comment?)

    I’ve tried to cut myself off from most eARC requests for now. I don’t know how much time I will/won’t have for reading this semester, but between all the stuff on my shelf, the library, free trials of reading subscriptions, etc., I’m sure I’ll find something. And I’m leaning toward just doing reviews/plugs of books I enjoy once school starts. Like 3 stars and up only. Save myself some trouble and weed out the unworthy. ;)

    My goal for this semester is to pass my classes, and maybe post a few silly gifs about the law school experience. No stats in sight.
    Kel recently posted…Confession: I Don’t Feel Like Reading Your BlogMy Profile

    • That time we overwhelmed the replying back and forth functionality? ;-)

      I was doing so good at not overrequesting for a while and nearly caught up and then I stopped being able to read as much and started requesting too much because I wanted to read and gah… I’ll make it work though!

      Oo, I’m excited to hear about law school, it seems so mysterious!

  25. *good thoughts* People who leave 20-30 comments a week boggle my mind, never mind people who comments on 20-30 posts a day. Maybe they have a lot of blogs they follow, though, or the comments they leave are relatively short.

    I know that, try as I might, I’m just not comfortable leaving very short “I read that too! It was awesome!” or “Ooooh, that looks interesting!” comments. I can leave maybe one or two like that. Add in social anxiety issues when I do have something I think might be meaningful to say and… Yeah. I don’t leave a whole lot of comments, so I understand how you’re feeling there. <3

    Stability sounds like a good goal to me. ^_^ *more good thoughts* I hope you can figure out something that works better for you. I don't comment much, but I do love lurking on your blog. ^_^

    • Yey, thanks!

      Ha, yeah, most of the time I can’t even find the attention span to read the post if I’m not really interested in it and so then I don’t feel comfortable commenting obviously, though maybe some people do that?

      Lurkers always welcome ;-)

  26. Stability is a very good goal. Growth, as you’ve seen, is difficult and a lot of work. I think my blog is as big as it’s going to get which is okay. Other things and people take priority, we have lives. I don’t get many comments on my reviews or posts and I wish that I got more but then, I’m not an extrovert and socializing is hard plus I’m not generally chatty so maybe it’s for the best.. Like you, there are books that I would LOVE to get physical ARCs of or even a finished copy. My consolation? I do get books from pubs and I know of big bloggers who don’t get the books they want and even get turned down. No one gets every book that they want. I still remember my early days when I mostly reviewed my own books or library books or a few from NetGalley. It’s disappointing not to get the books though.:)
    I have a few pubs I work with regularly, a few who consistently reject my requests, and I few that, like you, I just can’t get my foot in the door. It’s so frustrating. But, we do our best and hope it’s good enough.

    Finding balance is hard but we all need it. You have your priorities and don’t need to apologize for them. This is your hobby, not your job. Enjoy it!
    Bea @Bea’s Book Nook recently posted…Bea Reviews Maya’s Blanket/La Manta de Maya by Monica Brown, Illustrated by David DiazMy Profile

    • That’s exactly it, I just do what I can and hope that it’s good enough. And if it’s not, oh well! I don’t want to kill myself trying and be miserable and probably still not achieve all my “goals” haha.

  27. It’s so funny, but whenever I think of your blog, I am envious because to me you seem so successful! It’s just a matter of perspective I guess. But hey, I feel ALL YOUR PAIN. Because I have many of the same issues, and I’ll bet most bloggers do too. The commenting thing? Let it go. Comment when you feel like it and for crying out loud, you do NOT have to leave comments on 30 blogs a day to grow your blog. I have about 10 to 15 blogs that I consistently leave comments on, because we have the same book interests, but not every day. I work full time, I own a house that needs lots of care, I have two teenaged kids with a million things that they need to do and places they need to be taken, and so my blogging time is very small. I’ve learned to do the best I can and try to not feel guilty. It’s impossible to give everything in your life your full attention.
    Tammy @Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted…ZERO WORLD by Jason M. Hough – ReviewMy Profile

    • Haha, and of course I look at you and think about how I can get there ;-). We can always see our own shortcomings better than anyone else I guess! So true though, I keep thinking “if I just sleep less then I can fit it all in”…. uhhhh… no!

  28. It seems that you are very goal oriented – you have several goals for this blog. I assume you are the same way in other aspects of your life. Perhaps this blog should be more about the fun and wonder of books and not so much about the goals. Not trying to say what you should & shouldn’t do, just noticing that it seems to be stressing you out when you can’t make some blog-related goal that is totally out of your hands (notice from the big publishers). Also, is your audience other book lovers or publishers? Because they are looking for different things, in general, though there is probably some dovetailing.
    nrlymrtl recently posted…Christmas Past by Julie Elizabeth PowellMy Profile

    • That might be an understatement ;-). I definitely started blogging with a very goal-oriented mindset, but realized recently that since I enjoy blogging more than some other things in life *coughgradschoolcough*, it’s way too easy for me to work towards my blog goals at the detriment to what I should really be focusing on. It’s so hard to turn off the goal-brain, but I’m working on it!

  29. I completely understand. I get bad about commenting. I just don’t have time to read, write reviews, post reviews, converse on Twitter and still have time to read and comment on all the reviews. I read a lot of review posts on my phone, but I hate commenting on my phone, so I forget to go back and comment. I just do what I can and it will have to be enough. Good luck with all your tasks. You sound like you have your hands full, but in a good, fun way. :-)
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…A Kiss of Blood Audiobook by Pamela Palmer (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Exactly! I’ll read a post and try so hard to remember to come back to comment and then life distracts me, sigh. I definitely am mostly happy about everything that needs to get done, just fitting it all in ;-)

  30. I can relate to the time management issue. I find I have less time for my blog than I’d like, and I can’t invest as much energy into growing it as I could if I didn’t have a lot of other commitments, but I decided to stop stressing about it.

    I usually buy all my books myself, so getting ARCs isn’t really an issue (the only time it slightly bothers me is when I see a review for a book on another blog and want to buy it and then realize it won’t be out for six months). I never really look at page views, but comments are super important to me, because they make me feel like I’m not talking to myself. I like to reply to all of them and check out other people’s blogs to comment back, but these days it can take me weeks. I figure better late than never!

    I think the most important thing is that you’re happy with your blog and having fun with it, not whether you’re constantly growing it! :)
    Vlora recently posted…So Many Awards I Can Start a Grammy ChessboardMy Profile

    • *as I comment weeks later* I hear ya! That’s also why I live by the email reply notification because I know that most people will see my response when I eventually find time to reply fortunately, haha.

      Agreed, it’s hard to keep that goal in mind some days, but more and more I’ve been able to shift my mindset away from competition and towards just doing what I want to do in this space.

  31. Your blog is easy to comment on with a phone. (Which I unfortunately have had to do since spring, which is why my commenting has gone down) I’m sorry you get overwhelmed by commenting. I feel the same way sometimes. I like to be in a good mood when I comment, but that just hasn’t been happening.

    I think it’s fine that your blog isn’t growing. You still have a lot of people coming.

    Good luck with your move, grad school, and your wedding! :)
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Chains of Water and Stone by Katherine HurleyMy Profile

    • Yey, that’s reassuring, haha, but sorry that your stuck using it! Exactly, I need to be feeling like socializing in order to manage good comments, haha

      Thanks!

  32. :( I’m sorry you feel so overwhelmed, Anya. Even I know how demanding it is to maintain a blog, and I post less often than you do (two to three times a week, maybe four). You just happen to be in a very busy time in your offline line – and you know what? It’s totally OK for it to take precedence over blogging.

    I agree that there’s a lot of pressure to grow our blogs and publicize ourselves however we can. But IMO, how is that possible when we have other things we have to worry about? For me personally, there’s only so much time I want to spend online before it takes time away from other things I need to do (especially revising my novel). Certain social media outlets also aren’t as helpful as they used to be. (Need we discuss Facebook’s algorithms? *blows a raspberry in FB’s direction*)

    In the end, I think we can only do what we can do with the time we have. Sometimes we just have to let go and accept what we can or can’t do in a given time, and hope that people will keep coming back or that new visitors will find a way to our corner of the blogosphere. It sounds a bit passive, but we’ve got lives outside of blogging to take care of, right? ;)

    I’m not sure if this is the kind of response you were looking for, Anya… but it’s my way of saying, in a long and roundabout manner, “Do what you can do, and do it with passion, and the rest will follow.” And anyone who loves your site will be patient and keep returning whenever you post something new. At least, that’s what I’ve come to believe about blogging.
    Sara L. recently posted…Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 14: Writer’s Digest Conference HaulMy Profile

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