When I first began blogging in January 2009, I was really doing it for myself. I did not know any other bloggers. I had only heard of a couple and realized I would love to blog about books, too. Surprising to me I quickly got immersed in the book blogging community. I visited other blogs and they would visit me back - and shock!- they kept coming back. I developed friendships with bloggers reading their posts and chatting on Twitter, which I had just joined. Then authors and publishers started paying attention to me and wanted to send me books. For free. I was blown away. Me? You think I am cool enough for that?
Over the years since I have taken breaks to go back to school and because of health problems, but I keep coming back because I just love it so much. There is something about sharing your passion with others and finding other people who just get your total obsession with authors and getting bookmail and babbling on and on about the book you just read. I came from a family or readers and had friends who read but no one ever wanted to talk about them like I did. Now I know people I've never met who I feel much more comfortable recommending a book to me than anyone I see on a weekly or daily basis.
I was thinking about these last 5 years- the changes that have come to blogging, the changes in me since I started blogging- and I thought of some things I wish I had known back then.
1. Always, ALWAYS blog for yourself. Never cave in to the pressure to be the next big blog. Don't get caught up in number of subscribers or visitors or comments. While all of that is super encouraging, at the core your blog is for you first and foremost. Do what makes you happy.
2. It's okay that you have to take breaks from blogging. Sometimes things happen that are beyond our control and we have to deal with those without any energy left sometimes for the funner things in life. It's okay. Your blog will still be here when you're ready for it.
3. The blogging community is going to expand. A LOT. There will suddenly be a huge boom in the number of bloggers and you will wonder where you fit in. Don't worry about this. You will find your place.
4. Sometimes you will feel super inspired for weeks or months at a time. Then you will feel like you can't think of anything to write. You will have reading slumps and writing slumps. You will also have periods where there seems to be magic flowing from your fingertips onto the keyboard. Take it all as it comes.
5. The book blogging community will become one of the best things you've ever experienced. Some of your best friends in the world will be people you meet through blogging. You will begin wishing you had the money to visit Colorado and California and Texas and New York and Australia and everywhere because that's where your people live. You will fight to keep the community connected and you'll even become known for it (crazy, right?) As someone will say to you one day in the future, "Take a moment to realize that you are making a difference even if you don't always see it." Enjoy making these new friendships. These people will be part of your life for a long, long time.
6. Buy bigger bookshelves. You're going to need them. Trust me.
What is something you wish you could say to yourself when you were a newbie blogger?