I very much enjoyed BBAW from the sidelines, celebrating great blogs getting well-deserved attention, getting to know people through interviews, and learning about different ideas and suggestions from many bloggers. I was excited to see some of my favorites as finalists and winners. Bravo!
Sometimes, though, I end up getting the sense that I'm doing everything wrong! Post often! Embrace social media! Brand yourself! I would fail miserably on these points. But, wait, I really don't believe there is a "wrong" way to execute a book blog. My way is just different. And as soon as I categorize myself as "different," I can almost hear others saying, "Hey, I'm like that too!" Laid-back bloggers unite!
The diversity in the book blogging community is wonderful, both in the different niches and levels of commitment. I enjoy them all. You can post once a day or once a month, write answers to a meme or and in-depth review of a classic, tell me about your pets or the latest book your reading. Pretty much if I like what I see, I'm sticking with you. Long absence foreseen? No worries! I'll be there when you get back, and if you never return, I hope life treats you well in your new adventures.
Long absences notwithstanding, I have somehow managed to stick around. But I've had to rework my blog in order to stay in this book-obsessed environment that I love. Here's the way I do things "differently" that make it possible:
In a nutshell, completely haphazard! No regular posting for me. This is my method: There are several books that I'm pretty sure I would like to review someday, but every once in a while one stands out above the rest. I pick a day to think about that book. I read any notes I may have taken, look for things I've underlined, think about any thoughts the book generates in my head, look online for any historical context or information about author, etc. And then just think about it. It's my day to spend with one novel. Like a date. With a book. While I'm cooking, cleaning, driving, sitting at boring school meetings, etc. Sounds romantic, doesn't it? I love this part!
Then comes the hard part, for me anyway. Writing is very difficult for me! It twists my brain and makes my eyes cross, and I feel like someone trying to rip my stomach out through my armpit. There's no way I could go through this several times a week! It's hard for me to take what my mind is thinking and get it down into words in exactly the way that I mean. And if it's not exactly what I want to say, I get very frustrated. But when the grey matter explosions actually transform into the right words? Utter satisfaction. Of course this doesn't happen all the time, but it's wonderful enough that I keep trying. Sort of like gambling. Which I don't do, so I have to get my thrills somehow.
And then, in about a week or two, I start the whole think, write, gamble process over again. When I'm done, I hit the "Post" button. It's like taking a little happy pill.
One of the things I saw over and over again during BBAW discussions is the need to be on Twitter. I get it, really. I totally agree. I'm on there. Sort of. The most activity I've had on there recently was when my account got hacked. I also have automatic updates going through Goodreads and I'm pretty sure new posts on my blog show up.
I just have never been able to make Twitter a part of my routine or my life. Maybe it will happen someday. I kind hope so, because I love the idea of connecting and sharing little tidbits of people's lives that you wouldn't normally discover. But then I think I'm a little afraid of being too connected, and I have visions of being eaten a piece at a time by this cute little bird...
3. Visiting other blogs
This is where I must admit I need a little help, or a ten-step program, or something. I'm afraid to count the number of blogs in my reader, there are so many. Here's my flawed process for reading them: When I open Google Reader, even though I have categories and all, I hit "All Items." And then I scroll through them all. This is irresistible to me, because I have a completeness compulsion. No, I don't actually read every word, but I skim, and then when something catches my eye, I read more thoroughly, and then if I actually have something to say, I open a new tab for the post, with the intent to comment.
The problem is, at any number of time I have several tabs open and sometimes they stay up there for days. And usually I have tabs open on two computers. When do I actually comment on them? Again, "haphazard" is the key. I'm up and down at the computer here and there, and so I comment on a couple at one time, and a few another time, and some it takes so long for me to get to, I think it must be too late to comment and I close the tab in "silence." There's got to be a better way, right?
I don't do many memes. Do I feel that I am above them? Absolutely not! I love reading them. But when it comes to doing them myself, I don't. Why? Because I'm LAZY! The idea of coming up with ten books that fit this theme or another and other such thing is another thing that brings on brain pain. But I LOVE to read what others have put, so keep them coming! When it comes to book discussions, I'm clearly and "innie" rather than an "outie." (BTW, when it comes to belly buttons, only 10% of the population have "outies.")
How did I get on the subject of belly buttons? Needless to say, this is NOT a post that I've pondered deeply for a day or two. I just drank a large cup of Mountain Dew Code Red (bad, bad, bad for the diet), so I think the caffeine is taking over at this point. I'll rein things in now.
I suppose the bottom line with blogging is to figure out your purpose, and then do what you need to in order to fulfill that purpose. If you need a large audience to make that happen, there are certain strategies you need to embrace. But if you're like me, and are just looking for some personal fulfillment and book discussion, you can pretty much do whatever you want! Nicely, of course. And many, many thanks to those of you who come to visit me. Simply put, it makes me happy!
How about you? Do you operate in a way that makes you feel different from the mainstream bloggers out there? Do you have any deep-seated fears of Twitter? Is your Google Reader out of control?
(And here I will pat myself on the back for following a great blogging technique--asking your readers a question. Do you know why I avoid this many times? It's because I'm afraid no one will answer. That would make me so sad. Something like that happened once when I first started, but it resulted in a subsequent post with a picture of Aragorn from LOtR. No harm done then, right?)