In all the posts I’ve written for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, including my guest post which will go up one of these days, the theme for me has been passion. We are all book bloggers because we are so passionate about reading and books that our regular lives couldn’t handle it all, so we had to go to the internet where passions are endless. The thing about the internet is that if you think you’re weird, there’s always someone weirder. In the book blogging community there is always someone who is more passionate than you, who reads more books than you do, who knows more authors than you do, who blogs more, who has more followers. You get my drift? I know for me there were many times, and still are times, when I lose my confidence as a blogger and, as silly as this sounds, as a reader. The thing about passion is that it can never be a competition. Your book blog is your space, nothing more and certainly nothing less. You are in control of it and you should let your passion shine through. Do that and the community will follow, but only if you put a little work into yourself.
When I started book blogging, this community was a different beast. There were a lot of book bloggers, but it still felt like a small, tight-knit community. In a lot of ways it still is, but it has seriously expanded in the last few years. Though there are things I miss about what the community was like back then, I think it’s absolutely wonderful that there are so many people who are passionate enough about books to devote so much of their time to their blogs. In any case, it was easier to get to know bloggers. Now, it definitely feels like book blogs have broken off into niches, like YA or science fiction or romance or paranormal. It can be difficult to find your place, especially if you’re like me and you don’t really have a niche. As I like to say, I have a niche – words. If you’re like me and you aren’t a niche blogger, don’t be afraid to comment on the blogs that are. Some niche bloggers aren’t necessarily niche readers and they might be very interested in what you have to say. As for me, I read plenty of YA blogs and science fiction blogs and fantasy blogs because, well, I’m interested in those things too. Just not exclusively.
Book blogging is an interesting thing. Take my interview partner Sheila, from Book Journey. Sheila and I are very close to the same bloggers, but we’ve never crossed paths. How is that possible? Speaking for myself, I know that I have to push myself to go beyond my comfort zone of bloggers and I think that’s important for all of us to do. But, I hear you thinking, I’m already pressed for time as it is. I know, me too! But this is so worth it. Find those new ideas, find those new voices, even if they’re just new-to-you ideas and voices.
Sometimes, when I hear myself complaining about how I already have too many blogs to read (first world problem), I remember what it was like to just start out blogging. It’s one of those things that, now that all the work is done, I don’t know that I could do it again. You work hard at commenting on every post you read. You read tons of blogs and tons of posts, adding them to your feed reader or your blog roll. And you keep looking for new ones, you keep clicking comment links on other people’s posts, trying to find blogs that are exciting, interesting. As much as I hate comparing blogging to cliques, in a way it is like that. It’s like you’re a freshman at high school, all new kids. You work really hard to find your friends, but then as you get older, and your friends get closer, you get complacent and comfortable. Being comfortable isn’t a bad thing, but it’s good to shake things up a little with some new friends once in a while. Some of those friends might not work out in the end, but you never know. You might find your new best friend.
Did this metaphor get too convoluted? Look, if the best thing about book blogging is the community, I should be willing to devote more time to the community. Life is filled with being busy. We’re always busy and, let’s be honest, we’ll always be busy. But we also have a passion so big that we have to share it with people. Don’t keep that list of people tiny, go out there and make some new friends! Go out there and introduce yourself. Get out there and shake your world up a little. Because we all need it once in a while and BBAW is the best (and easiest!) time to do it. You don’t have any more excuses!