The Short & Sweet Life of a Blogger

Posted August 24, 2020 by Amber in Blogging / 16 Comments

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I’ve been thinking a lot about leaving the book community.

I understand on surface level how absurd of a comment this is.  Leave the book community?  I’m barely in it!  I’m rubbish at blog hopping and only tiptoe around Twitter.  I’m only in one Discord server that rarely has activity and even interactions on my “active” fronts – the blog and bookstagram – are middling at best.

It’s more… the content creation aspect.  I have a lot of ideas of things to write about, but I’m not sure the interest is out there.  There are some other aspects as well.  I’ve tried blogging those about a few times and I just come off as a selfish child, so let’s just say I’m still mulling things over.

In the course of thinking about this, though, I’ve been thinking a bit about the average lifespan of a book blog.  I think that three years is a pretty typical stretch, if not a generous one.  Book bloggers come and go pretty frequently, and some that have stretched longest are either ones who are very good at playing social media (like Paper Fury or Shut Up Shelea), bloggers who are sweet and attract people naturally by being thoughtful and wonderful and sensitive (Drizzle and Hurricane Books and The Quiet Pond) and those who are simply resilient and stubborn and refuse to die (oh hi that’s me).

That’s not to say that people don’t fit in multiple categories, mind you.

A lot of bloggers come and go through the revolving doors.  Blogging requires a decent amount of time.  I’m fairly prolific as far as bloggers go – I can do a review in 30min and a post in an hour if I’m inspired and focused – most people will tell you a post takes two hours, minimum.  Blogging is a large time commitment, and it’s easy to see why a lot of bloggers drop out after a year or so.

Still, the work aside… I do think there’s a level of toxicity to the community that drives people away in their formative stages.  Twitter is intwined well into book tube and book blogging, and I don’t know a single person in the Twitter book community who would say it’s not a toxic place.  While many of the conversations are necessary, they don’t always stay productive.  That is – people start raising their shields defensively, subtweeting, gossiping, retweeting without researching situations, calling out mutuals, drawing lines and picking sides.  This is a whole post in itself that I really don’t want to write – I’m not qualified for it.

The social media communities around the content platforms create a lot of tension.  Creators just entering the scene because of a passion for the subject matter are not well prepared for the social media onslaught.  It becomes exhausting, and it becomes exhausting quickly.

Please understand – I’m not calling out Twitter for cancel culture or anything like that.  It serves as a sounding board for many important issues and topics, and promotes self-education and growth.  But it is a lot.  And it is not always productive, not always kind.

In many ways, I can’t blame the bloggers who step in and out of the scene quickly.  Blogging is a difficult hobby – mentally and emotionally.  Keeping up with the latest book crazes and community trends is challenging.  Doubly so when you’re an international blogger and don’t have the same access to books.  Reading voraciously requires a decent amount of mental energy, particularly for those who juggle blogging with their careers, families, and education.

Sometimes, I wonder if those who cut ties with the community are the smart ones?

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Have you ever thought about leaving the community?  How do you deal with the anxiety of staying on top of all the bookish drama while still reading and creating good content?  Let me know how you cope in the comments!

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16 responses to “The Short & Sweet Life of a Blogger

  1. I’ve thought about quitting blogging numerous times…I’m still here though because I enjoy talking to all the friends I’ve made. I also still really enjoy the content creation process, although recently I’ve been struggling a lot with self doubt about my own content xD As for staying on top…I don’t? Sometimes I’m in the know straight away and other times it takes a while for me to dig deeper to find out what’s happened. Mostly I observe the drama that’s happening, rarely tweet about it and instead like other people’s tweets and retweet their tweets about it since they’re usually better qualified for wading into a lot of the drama. There are times where I have tweeted about the drama but it’s a lot and it’s very draining.

    I know many bloggers who limit the amount of time they spend on twitter, for their own mental health which I do sometimes? I tend to linger on instagram far more than twitter these days. Sending you so much love Amber <3

    • Amber

      Aw, thank you Clo! <3

      I'm the same where I have to step in and out of Twitter because of the way it approaches things and how it affects my mental health. But I'm not always as disciplined as I should be. I love your bookstagram, though, and I'm glad you feel you can safely spend time there. <3

      It's really good to hear from those who have stepped back and weighted their pros and cons about being in the community or not. It's a complicated place to be and I think it's good for us all to step back and assess our place and whether we are being a good influence, taking up space, or something else. I think that's the hardest part - finding and knowing how we fit into the puzzle. And making sure we are comfortable in that place.

      Sending you so much love back, Clo! <3

  2. I’ve just started in the book blogging community, though I have been in other blogging spheres before. I have to say that I’ve thought about quitting numerous times already. The previous blog I ran attracted some really nice people, and I made some good supportive friends. But there is something about the book community that’s, I don’t know, not as friendly all the time? I don’t even go near Twitter, because from what I see of it it just seems like a space for bullying other people who don’t hold the same opinions as you. I have a twitter, but I don’t use it. There have been some lovely comments on my blog, and some people do seem really nice. Your blog, for instance, always feels friendly and warm. I wonder if it’s because it’s saturated space these days? I don’t know. Makes me sad though because I love books. 🙁

  3. This is a topic that’s been on my mind lately as well, I’m happy you wrote about it (but sorry you’ve been questioning your place in the community. You’re such an incredible blogger and I always enjoy reading your post, your aesthetics are on point and you’re just so wonderful, I’m happy you’re here and to have chatted with you no matter what you decide ❤️

    I have to agree with you about the toxicity of it all. Honestly, the bookish community has been turning to bookstagram, book twitter and booktube and the average life-span of a book blog feels so…. low these days. I feel like people start book blogs and end up staying elsewhere and my book blog lover’s heart is sad about that ahah but well, that’s life. ❤️ Honestly, I personally considered quitting even if I don’t admit it often. It really is draining to blog, I spend maybe over 30 hours a week book blogging. But in the end, I love the content creation and am somedays really proud of the work I put out, so I’m staying. Taking time away from twitter and the drama and just focusing on the content creation that no one values as much as before (ironic, isn’t it 😂😂) makes me happy, so… I go on like that ahah.

    My best advice would be to take a little break maybe. Focus on what you love about blogging, content creation. Stay away from social media, ignore it altogether if you’re able to. Chat with bloggers in comments, re-read your blog and see if you find that little spark again. <3
    Here always for you if you need. Take care <3

  4. hahahahahahahaha yeah I feel this!! I can’t imagine ever fully leaving, but sometimes I think about just deleting my twitter account because book twitter is . . . exhausting. I think I’d stay on goodreads and still lurk on instagram, and maybe even try and get more fully back into blogging, but . . . I’m exhausted. I think that the community (especially twitter) has a lot of important conversations, but sometimes I feel like it has them very poorly. like . . . calling stuff out is great, but all the subtweets that start flying around at anyone who called it out “wrong” or who missed the discourse and picked up a harmful book,,,, is sorta toxic. it’s such a horrible platform for productive conversation :((

    • also though!! (I meant to put this in my initial reply but just realized I didn’t 😬) I always love reading your posts, honestly whatever they’re about!! <3 I've been a bit bad about reading blog posts in general lately, but I'm definitely interested in whatever you have to say on here (bookish or not)

      • Amber

        Twitter makes me think really hard about the language I use, because each word feels like a weapon on that platform. Most the time I run through stuff in my head and end up with “I can’t figure out a way to express myself that could not be misinterpreted, and I’m 85% sure this is not a topic that needs my voice” so I stay silent. It’s tricky. And if you’re looking to connect in a community, Twitter seems to be a logical place to begin. When the community there has a tendency to turn sour, it can be difficult to keep your footing.

        Also thank you so much for commenting, you are lovely as always. In answering this comment I JUST realized your blog has moved and !!! I am so behind the times. I love your new design so much and have followed. Thanks for being a loyal follower & bookish friend for so long!

        • Iris @ Countless Words With Iris

          yeah it’s like as if every word matters on twitter, and sometimes it gets a bit much!! sometimes even when it’s literally about my own identity I just back away slowly and rant to a friend instead because I don’t feel like being yelled at on twitter :|| it’s just such a toxic environment sometimes

          And awwww thank you!! <3 I only just switched over a week or so ago haha, so it hasn't exactly been a long time XD

          • Amber

            Ugh, I am so sorry you’ve had to deal with hat on Twitter, Iris, that’s absolute rubbish. Nobody has a right to call out others on aspects of their own identity. It’s so ignorant and harmful. <3 I'm glad you do have people to can talk to outside of the burning garbage pile when it gets like that! <3

  5. I didn’t get a notification about being tagged in your post, and I hate it. Before anything else, thank you for mentioning me and my blog! I really appreciate it.

    Anyway. Back to the topic at hand. I’ve been around long enough to see SO MANY amazing bloggers come and go. While I do think that the tension within social media platforms contributes to the discouragement to keep blogging, I think the main problem lies in how book bloggers are treated within the community and the publishing industry. Generally, book bloggers receive the least support (even among fellow creators) and the fewest number of opportunities (compared to booktube and bookstagram). There’s also the fact that our niche operates very differently from other ‘popular’ blogging niches, such as fashion, sports, gaming – where there are plentiful opportunities for growth, monetization, and rewards. These poor conditions intensify the burnout that book bloggers feel.

    Honestly, my last hiatus was like… probably the hardest one because I wasn’t sure if I planned to come back. I’m glad I did, but yeah, even the most experienced of book bloggers struggle with finding reasons to stick around.

    • Amber

      Hi Shealea! You are the last person I expected to see here – the tag was more a “click through and see this excellent blogger” than a “come hither and chat” but I’m glad you’re here! Pinging the experienced and successful bloggers always intimidates me.

      Writing this post, I definitely came from an emotional place rather than a professional one, but you make so many excellent points here that really only just scratch the surface.

      From a community level, I’m not 100% sure what happens that makes us not only *not* support one another, but sometimes turn against one another. A thought that occurs is the emotional connections we have with books – fashion, travel, lifestyle and many other niches seem to have the luxury of approaching their items as objective products, where book blogging is on many levels a labor of love. I’ve seen bloggers in the past harassed for disliking books popular in the community, and for liking books that are unpopular. In other industries, opinions feel like information, but in book blogging, they can often be perceived as personal assaults. Which is unfortunate. And I’m only grasping at straws here, but that’s a thought.

      As far as the industry goes, you’re absolutely right. This is the only niche I’ve seen where people are gathered to be influencers, but not necessarily even given the product they’ve been asked to promote. Those who are Amazon or Book Depository affiliates receive middling compensation – a cup of coffee on a really, really good month. Agencies and publishers don’t seek bloggers to sponsor and there’s no opportunity to transform this platform into a full time career. As if this wasn’t enough, the etiquette of those in the industry is too often appalling – in the same way there are no professional ties, there are also no professional barriers. Any of these aspects is enough to write a whole post about… and that’s without even touching the way the publishing industry ostracizes its non-American bloggers. So even those who have found a good, happy place in then community are liable to be squashed by the greater publishing empire who not only disregards their contributions to sales and support, but often directly causes pain.

      It’s a difficult river navigate, and often… always discouraging.

  6. I hope you don’t quit Amber, I love your blog and it’s truly one of my favorites! I’m shocked I’ve been doing this since 2014, but I think if I wasn’t doing it for myself then I wouldn’t still be here- I def haven’t reached crazy numbers and only dabble in other social media platforms, but I love having a tiny corner of the internet to call my home and a space to produce content, even if it does feel like it’s disappearing into the void sometimes!

    • Amber

      <3 Thank you Cristina! I don't think I will - I do love the content creation, but it's exhausting, you know? Emotionally more than anything. I've been really touched by the outpouring of love I've gotten on this post, all unexpected. <3

      I think you've nailed it perfectly - it's the joy of having a space, however small, to call home. <3

  7. Obviously I’m way behind here, so I’ll just say I’m glad you’ve decided to stick around for now! I also consider myself in the ‘stubborn and refuse to die’ category. Book blogging has evolved a lot since I started in 2014. I’ve never thought about ‘leaving’ but I have had to remind myself why I do this (i.e. being popular on social media is not/cannot be my goal…). I enjoy a lot of your content so I hope you continue to find ways to make book blogging enjoyable for yourself 🙂

    • Amber

      Oh yeah, there’s a lot of days where I’m just b u r n t o u t but they come and go. I do like my little corner of the web, despite all the weight of the community and work of it sometimes. 🙂 I’m glad you’ve never thought about leaving and that you enjoy it still, six years later! <3