Feb 17, 2016

Insecurities of a book blogger

Book blogging is not a bed of roses. We book bloggers all have our moments, there's never a drought for dramas, tension and negativity, and it's certainly not easy to run a successful book blog while managing one's life priorities as well.

But to top it all off, we all have our personal demons when it comes to our blogs. Things that make us always doubt ourselves, make us feel as if we're not enough, and constantly make us compare ourselves with someone else. We all have our personal insecurities and fears when it comes to our blogging careers, and that's what I want to talk about today.

While we always talk about the general insecurities of us bloggers such as ARCs, reaching out to popular pubs, authors and fellow bloggers, sometimes, we don't touch on certain things, regardless of how many people they bother or affect. Needless to say, we just talk about mainstream insecurities and fears, while intentionally and unintentionally omitting the deep and nagging fears that haunt us everyday as we sit down in front of our computers to blog.

So when I thought of talking about this topic on the blog, I decided that I should focus on these personal fears we book bloggers harbor, but never talk about. And since it's all about personal insecurities, I figured that it would take away the point if it was just me who lists out my own insecurities, so I am curating a list of bloggers who share their own personal insecurities, fears and aspects of blogging that bother them. 

You might ask me, what's the point? Why do I need to take a look at someone else' insecurities? Well, all I have to say is try to take a look at the lists, as you will be astonished to see how many other people share the insecurities that you thought was only yours. You'll be surprised to know that bloggers you admire don't look at blogging as an easy feat. And most of all, you'd discover the satisfaction in sharing some of your dirty laundry, as coming clean on the fact that you're not a wholly confident blogger can take away a weight off your chest.

Without further ado, let me present to you the submissions. I'll go with my own list first, and then share the rest. And since this post's motive is to speak freely about your insecurities, I welcome you all to share your own! You can tell me whether you relate to any of the submissions in the comments. Or you can feel free to grab the hashtag #bloggerinsecurities and tweet away your own secret insecurities!

I am insecure about....

I am so scared that one day I'll lose the passion for blogging. I work and stress so hard for my blog, have insane sleeping schedules, so I can manage timezones and school, and at times, it seems too much. I have this huge fear that one day I'll get fed up of everything, despite the fact that blogging had become a huge part of my life.

I am so cautious about the content of my discussion posts. When I was a few months old newbie, I started to get popular for my discussion posts, and still now, a lot of bloggers give positive comments on my discussion post content and ideas. This makes me so concerned about keeping up to that standard. You might have noticed that the amount of discussions I post have started to deteriorate, and that's because I would prefer no discussion at all to having a less than my standard discussion, in fear of losing the name I have built up for them.

I have a fear that one day I'll blurt out or do something childish, immature or make a mistake that would change the way bloggers look at me forever. I've seen enough occurences in the book blogging community to know that what's said is said, and words and phrasing plays a big role in dramas. I've also noticed that age never matters, and that no one will care that you are just a 17 year old who's bound to make mistakes, as blogging is far more professional than we like to think it is. It's a scary thought, which often makes me think twice before I say anything.

I am nervous that I am too much of an open book. I tend to forget the limitations in sharing personal stuff, and that certain information should be private. I have shared a lot of aspects of my personal life, including my darkest and ugliest experiences. But what scares me most is that I am not careful with my surname, address, photos and other social media accounts. At times, I think how exposed I am to the world through my blog, and it scares me.

I know this might sound hypocritical from a person who supports diversity but.....I am insecure about photographing my hands or legs for bookstagram posts because of my skin colour. This might sound silly, but the majority of hands holding books and with the now famous sock sunday, a lot of legs being understandably white and fair, I hesitate to picture my several tones darker skin. 

I am insecure about the consistency of my blog. My posts are not according to a niche, and my blog has some exciting and super popular weeks and months, while some go pathetically uneventful. It's so unpredictable, and I am so scared that it will hit a really low point and I can never get back the enthusiasm.

I worry whether my enthusiasm and talkativeness come off as annoying at times. I know Caps Lock, exclamation marks and emojis turns off some, as hyperactive fangirling and flailing irritates some. I worry whether I over do stuff at some times, and that it makes me come off as childish.

Here's what other bloggers have to say....

Geraldine @ Corralling Books

Commenting back on a long comment makes me super nervous - I have some awesome readers, who engage so well with my blog and what I have to say, and I just feel so bad when I have no idea how to fully respond to their comments. I then put off commenting back for weeks... >.<

 I'm always hesitant to comment on sensitive topic. I don't know how to really explain this - but sometimes there are just people who are more knowledgeable than me on serious topics in the book blogging community. When they post something about a super serious topic, like about mental health, I want to comment my opinion or thoughts, but I feel like whatever I have to say is meaningless, not that important, and sometimes probably wrong.

 My comment tone worries me too! Sometimes I feel like I'm too rude when I comment. Especially when I visit new blogs, I sometimes feel like I'm being too forward, especially when I comment on a personal post - like one of those weekly recaps you know, where the blogger has mentioned something about their personal life? I sometimes just feel like I'm intruding and the blogger will hate me for it.

 I'm always really worried that people will hate me if I post a controversial topic or idea on my blog.  Nothing bad has actually happened to me yet, but I've heard all these horror stories, and I'm really worried that someone will dislike me because of my stance on a topic.

 I'm worried about not having a unique voice. Something that lots of bloggers advocate for, is having a trademark, a unique voice. I'm always really worried that my voice isn't unique enough, that it doesn't make my blog stand out from the ordinary. 

 I often compare myself to my previous self a lot. Some days, I'll have good blogging days - I'll be really happy with the content I've posted, etc. because people have engaged with my blog, etc. But then on other days, what would make me happy on one day, makes me upset on another. It's all relative to what happened the day before, and in the week in general! :/ 

 I also compare myself to other more popular bloggers. For example, with ARC swag, I get a bit jealous, and I feel a bit insecure with how little my blog is when I see other bigger blogs get ARCs. And then I feel insecure again because I hate that I feel jealous, and I know that people shouldn't feel jealous. It's like an endless cycle

Apprehension is my preferred word rather than insecurity. I say this because while I still proceed guns blazin' into discussions etc. there's this brick wall of doubt where what I say could be understood in a different light (it has happened before). So there are times I have refrained from candid transparency. Don't get me wrong: I don't actively try to stir the pot. But with being part of the [astounding] 12% male blogger statistic in a female-dominated community, there are inherent difficulties to discuss and/or respond to topics without sounding ignorant or sexist or any sort of bad rep guys in real life have which transitions into this environment. I'm not saying that there's a continual witch (wizard?) hunt to seek blame and find fault in the opinion of others but what I struggle with is even if I make attempts at mindful, empathetic diction, the off chance that I draw the ire of one voice that sparks the attention of the community is a chance nonetheless.

Know that I only speak from my own experience as a small fish in the Wordpress book blogging community and am not generalizing the opinion of other male bloggers.

Sophie @ Sophie Reads YA

I've only been blogging since March, so still feel like a proper newbie, and sometimes don't feel like I'm really a part of the community. 

 I feel like no one is really reading what I'm writing, and blogging takes a lot of work. There's times that I have no energy to do any maintained, write any reviews, etc. because of this. 

 I don't have much time to interact with people on Twitter due to my workload at university, and when I do, most of the times the time zones mess everything up.

 I feel like the majority of bloggers are American, and, being English, I sometimes feel disconnected that way.

 I want to stop overthinking everything when it comes to my blog, especially stuff like stats, etc., but that can be hard to do. 

As a newbie, I have this fear that older bloggers won’t take me as seriously. I always feel like my posts are too childish. 

I’m very grateful that I’m able to blog and share my opinions with everybody, but sometimes I feel a lot of pressure to get a perfect post. To me, there’s no amount of editing or photographs that would make my posts perfect to me, and I feel really insecure about that. 

 I always, always feel like my blog's layout is horrible in comparison to others.  Some of that is due to the platform I'm on; there's only so much I can change. Some is the fact that I'm artistically challenged so all my graphics are, ah, basic.  I tend to love my blog's look...right up until I have to share it with publishers/others, and then I get shy and chicken out. 

 I always feel like a stranger in the community.  I've been blogging almost four years now, but (especially on twitter) I don't like to reach out because I feel like I'm just an observer. I'm always mildly shocked when people actually reply to me.

 I'm horribly jealous of bloggers who can do fun things, because my follow-through abilities are, well, nil.  I'm not artistic in the least, so whenever I see people with their etsy shops and instagram accounts with beautiful book pictures and fanart, I just flail.  I'm no good at thinking up memes, and the few running jokes I've had on my blog get dropped quick because I constantly forget about them.  I want to expand and do things that would encourage participation, but my brain is too all over the place to make it work.

 I don't read fast enough.  To be fair, I'm not comparing myself to others in this regard, I just feel like I shouldbe able to read more books than I do.  I used to. Once upon a time I could easily read 2 or 3 books in a week.  Now I'm lucky to get one.  (And it's put me way behind schedule.)

 I want to make videos, but not only am I completely artistically challenged, I hate my voice.  I do also get jealous of other people's book haul videos and book mail photos/comments.  Sometimes it feels like other people are getting a new gifted book in the mail every day, even though I know it's just because I'm seeing a million different book mail pictures all at once.  Of course they're not all from the same person/few people.  But my brain doesn't listen.

"What if no one ever notices me?"
"What if no one ever listens to me?"
"What if I don't matter to anyone?"
"What if people think I'm an inconvenience?"
"What if people hate my posts?"
"What if people hate me?"
"What if I'm not presenting this topic accurately?"
"What if I'm letting my emotions cloud my discussions?"
"What if no one cares about the topic?"
"What if I'm just shouting into the void?"

A lovely blogger who wished to be anon

 Feeling like an outsider. I know the community in general is friendly, but it is still difficult to connect with people and it can be tiring to always be the one to initiate the conversation. 

 Low post views / stats especially after working tirelessly on a blog entry that I'm excited and proud of, only to not get any comments back or even people visiting. 

How fast things get ugly that I'm afraid to voice my opinion or tweet my thoughts for fear of retaliation and unwanted negative attention. 

 Conversing in English when the grammar nazis loiter the internet and will blatantly correct your verb usage for the world to see.

I'm French, and English isn't my mother tongue. I've been learning and speaking it for more than ten years, though, and I think I'm doing okay with it...But, whenever I write a blog post, I am SO afraid to make stupid mistakes, some mistakes I wouldn't notice, but that others would. I'm scared that people won't understand whatever I'm trying to say, and just, to make a fool of myself

I'm always trying too hard. Even if I started book blogging for fun, it's so easy to feel the pressure of blogging. Of tweeting, interacting, producing new, interesting content and original book discussions. I feel insecure that I'm not good enough. I feel pressured to write content, make original blog posts, in order to gain comments, love, and recognition as a book blogger. If I don't, I feel like I'm not worth it.

This kind of brings me to another insecurity: there are so many great bloggers out there, how do you know if you make a difference? I am insecure that, unlike popular book bloggers, I'm forgettable. I mean, even if this all started out for fun, I am loving making new bloggers friends and sharing books and craziness with those people. What if they get bored of me? Sometimes, for that reason, I get anxious when I post a new blog post. I always ask myself: will people come back? Not because, to me, stats matter, but because sharing with the book blogging community matters to me, a lot, and I love it, and I'm always scared to lose that bond.

Amanda @ Nellie and Co.

One of my biggest fears back when I was solely a book blogger was creating content outside of books. I felt that by creating content that wasn't book related, I was lying about who I was both to myself and my followers. What's a book reviewer who talks more about blogging than she does writes reviews? I imagined followers thought I wasn't the blogger they'd first followed and would abandon me. Thankfully, I was positively proven wrong, not only because my followers never left, but they followed me to a new, less book orientated blog, and continue to read my content today. 

Another one of my fears came in the form of reading and reviewing post-published books more than I did upcoming releases, because wasn't the whole point of being a book blogger and reviewer to create hype and be part of the marketing team behind new books on the scene? My last year as a sole book blogger saw me reading and reviewing more pre-published reads, but disliking a large amount of them, and eventually, I wondered what on the earth the point was in reading books I didn't enjoy, when the reason I'd started was because of that very hobby. So I stopped. 

I had many other minor insecurities when I was a book blogger: why wasn't I getting sent ARC's from publishers after doing all the right and advised things? Why was it such a bad thing to continue book blogging because I was getting some pretty exciting physical books before anyone else? Why were my book reviews my least viewed, least interacted with posts when it was the one thing that brought so many of us together? After so many why's, I decided it was time for a different question. How can I change this so I'm happier in the future? The answer was simple. 

I started blogging how I wanted to blog. 

If there is one piece of advice I could give bloggers, no matter their specified subject, it'd be to blog passionately about what you love, whatever that may be. Don't be afraid to add or take away subjects from your repertoire. Don't be afraid to go against the grain. Don't be afraid to not do the same, or be the same as everyone else. Don't let your insecurities and fears get the best of you.  Don't be afraid to be yourself, and blog as you see fit. It's your blog, and so it's your rules. 

Someone somewhere will always be offended, or have a complaint over something you do, but if you're proud of what you do, and it makes you happy, then shoot for the stars my friend, shoot and shine.

     I’ve always been insecure of my blog design. I always see these beautiful, customized blogs with amazing detail, and then I look at my boring, solid pink, blog. I would change it if I could, but I hate/am terrible at coding, design, Photoshop, basically anything techy, and going through the weeks of learning the basics would be more trouble than it’s worth. Still, it really bothers me.

-          I’m insecure in the fact that I do not receive any ARC’s. I try, I request over and over, and I make sure to follow tips to improve my chances, but whenever I get denied, I always have this image in my head that it’s because my blog isn’t popular enough.

-         My biggest fear is one day snapping at putting out an unpopular opinion that will be criticized. I do have a lot, and because I do not want to offend anyone or cause any drama, I leave them out. However there have always been times when I’ve wanted to share them, and have had to let go.

        Lastly, I am scared to talk to larger blogs. I know that I shouldn’t put a blogging hierarchy, but I just can’t help but wonder if I’m ALLOWED  to tweet bigger bloggers about my opinion on something they’ve said, or if I should just leave that to their blogging buddies. It also scares me that because they’re probably busy, they won’t acknowledge my mention and that makes me feel very awkward. 
I’ve always been insecure of my blog design. I always see these beauful, customized
blogs with amazing detail, and then I look at my boring, solid pink, blog. I would change
it if I could, but I hate/am terrible at coding, design, Photoshop, basically anything techy,
and going through the weeks of learning the basics would be more trouble than it’s
worth. Sll, it really bothers me.
- I’m insecure in the fact that I do not receive any ARCs. I try, I request over and over, and
I make sure to follow ps to improve my chances, but whenever I get denied, I always
have this image in my head that its because my blog isn’t popular enough.
- My biggest fear is one day snapping at pu'ng out an unpopular opinion that will be
cricized. I do have a lot, and because I do not want to o(end anyone or cause any
drama, I leave them out. However there have always been mes when I’ve wanted to
share them, and have had to let go.
- Lastly, I am scared to talk to larger blogs. I know that I shouldn’t put a blogging hierarchy,

I'm really afraid that my opinion will offend someone reading my posts. I'd feel very guilty.

I'm afraid I loose interest in blogging one day. It'd be such a bad thing. I love the blogosphere, and I cannot imagine my life without it now.

English is not my first language, so I'm really afraid I make a big error in one of my posts and everyone starts laughing at me.

 I'm afraid my blog will be somehow deleted. It's an inexplicable phobia I have.

I've been around for four years now and there are still things I am insecure about. One of my biggest insecurities: language. I am Dutch, so I'm always aware of the fact I can make huge mistakes without noticing it. I sometimes see people talk about unfollowing blogs with mistakes and how it is their pet peeve when people can't write proper English. It worries me I might be one of those.

Another thing is that I'm afraid people will grow tired of my content. After a certain time it can feel like you've already talked about everything, especially in days where I don't feel inspired to write anything. Also, with so many new blogs popping up, it sometimes makes me wonder if I still get noticed. Am I refreshing enough? Do I have enough original content? Do you still like me? Do I still matter?

Meleika @ Endless Pages

 I guess one of my fears is not being able to provide enough content for posts for my blog. Sometimes I feel like my ideas will one day dry up and I’ll have nothing to talk about.

      I AM AWKWARD. It’s a fact. I cannot stop it, and sometimes it’s just hilarious to hear the things I say… but sometimes on paper they sound weird and I honestly think I scare people lol.

      When I review books, I consider them to be all mini reviews because well, I talk so much that when I write my review, I never really feel like I supplied all the details and thoughts that go through my head.
On that subject, I'm always afraid that other reviews influence my own because I always read them before I start reading the book. 

      Lastly, I feel terrible when I dislike books… I actually never DNF. I feel bad when I don’t. I always have to finish it and I need to change this in the new year.

Not seeming professional enough -
For example, not having my own domain name or being self-hosted. Which sounds kinda ridiculous, because I'm a teen. I don't make money, I don't have a credit card. I shouldn't have to invest in a hobby yet. There are so many awesome blogs on Wordpress.com or Blogspot.

Not having immediate success -
It took me two years to even find the book blogging community (abbr blookunity!) I'm starting my third year and my blog still feels rather tiny! It's really easy to fall into the trap of "I'll always be that blogger in the corner".

On that note, being "just another book blogger" -
Which, again, ridiculous because every blogger has their own quirks and trademarks and I even blogged about finding that trademark! But it's easy to feel that I'm blending in and not being myself enough. Which leads to ...

 Being too pushy and salesy -
Despite, y'know, the point about not making money. Whenever I tweet about my own blog posts or my projects, I worry whether anyone even cares?!?

 Not being able to balance writing + blogging + life -
This blog started as a supplement to my writing, but now ... I actually do way more research to grow my book blog and spend as much time writing posts and creating content for the blog than I do rewriting. I'm trying to downsize and do only the effective things, but I'm afraid that one day I'll just burn out and all my effort will be for naught. Especially since school is getting more demanding this year!

Claudia @ Penmarkings

For me, personally, my most prominent one is the lack of point. The lack of audience, the lack of readership. Because what’s the point when no one reads it? When no one cares? Of course, first and foremost, you should blog for yourself, above all else. But this is hard to remember when you watch days go by, and nothing. When you find yourself thinking, “does no one just not care at all?” and wondering if anyone would notice if you just stopped posting altogether.

I also feel insecure about the way I write. Am I trying to hard? Do I come off as trying to sound “deep” and “profound” when I don’t even fully register the meaning of those words? Maybe I’m too unprofessional. Maybe (I probably do) have a million and one mistakes in my posts. Maybe I just sound flat and stupid.

Shannelle @ The Art of Escapism

I feel like a lame, uninteresting space compared to all those other book blogs out there, who are funny or snarky or entertaining. And I feel like my blog is never going to reach a publisher's standards, even though I have given up trying for ARCs. A part of me still wants to know that a publisher approves of me, and I think I'll be aware of that forever.

I worry that one day, people will be like "Hold up. This is boring. Why are we even here?" and then never come back.

I worry that I will never be "successful", however you measure that. Which I suppose you can't. Which perpetuates the worry cycle. 

I am always afraid that I will offend someone- unwittingly, of course- and end up being hated. 

I am so scared that eventually, all my blogger friends will move on to bigger and better things, and I will be the last one standing. Or that blogging itself will go out of style altogether, and then what will I do?

I worry that I will accidentally copy something someone else has done. I google everything to like, double check, but I am so afraid. Because what if it happened and then no one believed me and I was an outcast forever? (Do you see how my mind works?) 

I am terrified to take any kind of break or hiatus ever because I fear that people will forget about me and move on, and when I come back, no one will be around anymore. 

I'm afraid I've already reached my blogging peak and it's only downhill from here. 

  I wonder if anyone would look at my blog if I didn't have shiny graphics. 

  I have that innate fear that if I stopped updating or commenting regularly, I will be forgotten

 I am terrible at reading review copies, but I'm afraid no one would be interested in a blog that didn't focus on the latest releases - esp as they are my most popular reviews. 

Holly @ The Fox's Hideaway

My blogger insecurities stem from stats and the fact that I put too much stock into them. If a post doesn't receive so many views or comments, my excitement about what I'd written fades a little. I know stats aren't everything, but it's hard not to think about them when they're one of the only concrete ways to measure how successful your blog becomes. And, for me, it's hard not to let all of it get to me, especially when I start comparing myself to others. I start thinking I'm not good enough or that my posts aren't creative enough. I think I should be doing MORE, should start trying harder to stay consistent. I let those insecurities rule me sometimes, not as often anymore, but they're still in the back of mind whispering, "no one cares about your blog."

I want to say thank you to all bloggers who gave in these submissions! Thank you lovelies, it was beautiful to read your confessions!

Also before I sign off, I want to say two things. First, this is not a rip off of the recently popular post of blogger confessions. While it might seem similar, the approach I am trying to take is different, and I hope that I managed to bring it across in the end.

Second, I want you all to discuss and confess your own insecurities! Like I said above, grab the hashtag and let's talk. You have no idea how a declaration can help someone else with the same fear, and how good it would feel to let it all out!

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