I don't post on Saturdays, but this is a special Saturday! One year ago today, I published my very first blog post - a pretty awful review of Fangirl that I should probably delete, but can still be found somewhere around here.
I thought it would be fun to talk about my experience blogging, and tell you guys a couple of important things I've learned over the past year. If I had known what I know now at the beginning, I think I would have been a happier blogger.
So first of all, I'm going to say something I have never seen another blogger say: I started blogging because I wanted free books. I know it's such a common piece of advice. Everyone says that, if that's the only reason you begin blogging, you won't last long as a blogger.
I knew it back then, when I looked up blogging advice for the first time. But I'm stubborn. I saw people with ARCs and I wanted them too. Worse, I saw people who requested more review copies than they could read - and I knew I wouldn't do that! I would actually read the books, because really, they're free!
And I did read all the books I requested. I promised myself that at the beginning and, even when it was difficult to do, I kept that promise. But I went from blogging all of the time and reading all the books! to not wanting to read or blog at all. For a few months towards the beginning, blogging felt like a chore - and reading review copies felt even worse.
So, to any new bloggers who started for the free books: You should know that free books get old after awhile. I think the majority, if not all, bloggers get more selective the longer they're blogging. We stop requesting so many books. And, while free books are a great perk, they won't be enough to make you stick around.
The truth of it is, blogging is hard work. I didn't go in thinking it would be super easy - I knew there was work involved - but I was still caught off guard by how time-consuming blogging is. Because it's not as easy as typing up a post, making a couple of comments, and growing into a large blog over night.
Typing posts takes time. Reading books takes time. But above all, there are so many great bloggers out there. It's easy to get absorbed in their posts, to spend hours reading them all. This is an important part of blogging, of course - supporting other bloggers, leaving comments to make yourself and your own blog known - but still. It's time-consuming. I have spent entire days going from blog to blog before.
Another thing I didn't think about before beginning my blog was simply the community. I know everyone says it, but it's true that book bloggers are so welcoming. The community has it's drama, I know (although admittedly, I miss most of it somehow), but overall it's really great. And I don't think you can realize how great it is just to get a comment on a post, until it happens. When those emails come I always smile, especially if the post took a lot of time or thought.
Overall, I just think blogging is a really rewarding experience and, despite going against all advice I could find, I'm glad I started this blog. I had so many doubts going in, but after a year I can't imagine my life without blogging.
I feel like this blog has come so far in the last year, and I'm already excited and planning so much more for the future. Hopefully I can say the same next year, and the year after that.
To you guys who are following the blog, or leave me comments all the time, or even have just read this post - thank you so much for reading what I write. The support, the community - that's the real reason I stuck around, in the end.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear why you guys began blogging, and why you stick around now. Have your reasons changed, like mine have?