Why Bother?

 

IMG_2982
Well, we are half way through January and this is my first blog post of 2019.

It is also going to be a very honest and frank post to you all.

I have just not had the motivation to blog and am finding it hard to find my voice.  I see other people doing it at an alarmingly impressive rate.  People I know are reading and blogging and tagging and sharing and retweeting and reposting and I’m not.

On New Year’s Day I sat and looked at my screen and ten minutes later the only thing on it was a blinking cursor.  For the past few weeks, all inspiration and desire to blog about books have deserted me.

I get very few views of my reviews and all of a sudden I started to wonder what on earth was the point?  Who really cares if I wax lyrical about a novel, or share a blistering review of something I have loved.  I just didn’t see the value in me reading and blogging anymore.

It’s hard to admit that you just can’t be bothered. I had become almost a reading machine, desperate to keep up with everyone else, and to be ‘seen’ to be reading at an alarming rate, somehow believing that this made me and my views on books and reading more valid.  That if I could do this, I really was part of the Book Blogging Community – who are absolutely my tribe by the way, and are the best group of people I have ever met.

I also realised that I was now waiting to see which proofs I could get too- don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful when I get sent one, and feel very privileged to do so, but I got into that whole Fear Of Missing Out thing.  I was also getting exasperated when I saw other people with the proofs I was longing to read, and me not being able to get hold of them, and not understanding how the ‘system’ worked.  Instead of stepping away from the screen and into a book, I found myself hanging around on Twitter, making sure I was always ready to reply to someone offering proofs.

In my heart of hearts, I knew that this was not what Years of Reading Selfishly should be about. The whole reason I started blogging in 2017 – (yes it really was that long ago!) was because I loved reading and talking about books, and my personal Instagram feed was book after book and recommendation after recommendation.  Nothing made me happier than talking about and recommending books to anyone who wanted to listen, and I had lost that.

Suddenly, getting more followers and likes were more important than the books and reading and that wasn’t right. Having to write about books had become a chore, I wasn’t just telling you all about books I loved, I was trying to make sure I didn’t let anyone down.  I wanted to make sure the publicists knew that when I got a proof I wasn’t just adding it to a pile of books, that the authors knew how much I appreciated what they had written, and that I was showing my fellow bloggers I was taking this seriously.  The thing is, when you are so busy doing all that, you tend to forget why you loved reading in the first place.

Why am I telling you all this? Maybe it’s because this is the only space I can do this for people who understand what I mean.  Maybe it’s because as well as life being too short to read books you don’t love, life is also too short to try and pretend that you are this one woman reading and blogging machine.  I am trying to step away from the noise and the pressure I have been putting myself under and am instead try and find what made me want to start Years of Reading Selfishly in the first place.

I know it’s still here somewhere, but I am no longer afraid to admit that it might take me a while to find my stride again.  Today I wrote two blog posts for books I have truly loved, and it felt brilliant, and if no one reads them, at least I know I meant every word and that the spark was still there.

Love
Clare

xxx

71 thoughts on “Why Bother?

  1. theliteraryaddict says:

    Things that you have said in this post have resonated a lot with me. Sometimes you just need to switch off, take a step back and collect your thoughts. For what it’s worth, I really love your reviews and blog posts. I like that you know my tastes and will always reach out and recommend a book to me. I for one will be looking forward to your reviews in the next couple of weeks – Iam still blown away by your review of Normal People – Bloody loved that! Keep it up, you are a great reviewer xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. emmar says:

    A couple of months after I started my blog I got totally swept up in what I *should* be doing, how many followers, how many views etc. I had to take a step back, give myself a talking to and refocus. I try so hard not to compare….some days this works better than others! I just want to be a part of the community, help to promote and share bookish love, everything else will fall into place I’m sure. Always available for chats xx

    Like

  3. By Chloé says:

    Clare, this was so heart felt! I love your honesty. I hope you continue to keep the spark going through your absolute favourite books! I, like you, have developed Fear Of Missing Out with proofs and feel my time on Twitter isn’t being spent on the right things, rather than embracing the love of books, I’m more jealous of others’ book post. I’m trying to find my spark for blogging again also, so I’m glad I’ve got someone else on the journey with me xx

    Like

  4. Karen Mace says:

    So glad you wrote this as I have often felt exactly the same but could never put it into words – you’ve done that for me brilliantly! The whole blogging world is a beast at times and I think we all lose track of why we started. Please keep on being you and keep sharing the book love!! X

    Like

  5. Sandy says:

    Hi Clare. First, I need to tell you how much I appreciate your above post. I have also stepped back, feeling like I had to read a certain book, a certain number, etc. Until I realized I wasn’t enjoying reading as much as I should be. And for me that trumps all…my pleasure in finding a great read & getting through it at my own pace.

    As for being part of the community, anyone who loves books & reads even 1 a year belongs. There are a lot of lame sayings floating around these days but one that resonates is “You do you, I’ll do me”. No pressure, no comparing to others. As Drew over at Tattooed Book Geek always says “My blog, my rules”.

    There are so many claims on our spare time & reading is just one of them. I think “reading selfishly” is exactly what you should do. You’re such a great presence on Twitter, always so positive & supportive of others & I look forward to whatever (and whenever) you post next. Hope you’re reading something fabulous!

    Like

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Hi Sandy, what a really lovely message! It’s clear that many of us feel the same, and it’s such a relief to know it’s not just me!! Thank you for your kind words – am really pleased we have met, and don’t you worry, I will be around for a looong time yet! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. alittlebookproblem says:

    It’s sad to hear that you feel like that but I can understand it. It’s hard not to buy in to the pressure to feel like you have to perform a certain way as a blogger. I hope you can step back and just find the rhythm of blogging that makes you feel happy and inspired again. Whatever way you choose to do it, that’s the perfect way!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. corkyorky says:

    I love your blogs, and I understand where you’re coming from. It’s hard not to get caught up in it all, and I too experience serious FOMO …thinking I’m the only blogger who missed out on the next big thing. We all do this for love of reading, and I’m sure you’ll find your passion for sharing again. I for one cannot wait to read #When All is Said, which you brought to my attention…can’t wait for that bookpost to arrive once it’s published next week ☺
    P.S. You write beautifully and have wonderful insight xx

    Like

  8. alwaysneedmorebooks says:

    Fab post. I completely understand where you are coming from. I have been blogging for a year now and I’m still enjoying it but I have become a reading machine and I’m falling behind. I’m hoping I find a balance as I really do enjoy it. I’ve read some fab books but I don’t have time to read the books on my shelves. So long as we can chat about the books we’ve enjoyed still I’ll be happy!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Carolyn Gray says:

    It’s hard to read on demand. I read at least one book a day and have done since I was a child. Insomnia helps. The only time in my life when I didn’t find pleasure in reading was at university in the early eighties. I studied English and it sucked all the joy out of it. I love crime, sci fi, fantasy, non fiction. I could go on but there’s very little I won’t read. I do, however, like having a choice of what to read. Sometimes i’m In the mood for Scandinavia noir. Sometimes, literary fiction. Sometimes fantasy. My mood, my choice. I have never joined a reading group as I know, myself, that reading something I don’t fancy will never work. I was reading great literature at university but not because I wanted to read that book at that time. I really admire bloggers/ critics who can write about a book that they don’t fancy at that time. I currently have 12 library books on my shelf and I’m rereading Louise Penny’s marvellous Inspector Gamache series and getting enormous pleasure from it. I hope you find that joy x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Carol says:

    I have some of these same conversations in my head! It’s not the reading and reviewing that cause me loss of joy, it’s the constant self promotion! Twitter is especially scary! Although it’s not comprised of as many cliques as Instagram. It seems like I can spend more time promoting and thinking about promoting than reading on a given day. I’m heading off now to look for your blog follow button and I’ll follow you on twitter (where I came across your blog link) and insta too (if you have an account there?). On twitter I’m @ReadingLadiesBC. I hope you recapture your joy in 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. bucksbooksbeyond says:

    Clare I love your blog and think you are a huge huge asset to the book blogging community. When I started my blog back in June and dared to venture into twitter you were the first person I really engaged with and it was such a boost to me.

    I got sucked into the vortex of not wanting to miss out on a proof or wanting to get on every blog tour going when I first started out but I’ve said to myself this year that I’m only reading or signing up for things if they really float my boat.

    I personally love to see what you’re reading and you’ll always have a keen follower and friend from me no matter how little or how much you post 😊 xx

    Like

  12. beereaderbooks says:

    I can definitely relate to this, I spent a few months early Summer really dedicating my time to 3 posts a week, sharing, scheduling, social media, commenting etc and saw very little change in interactions, then funnily when I took a bit of a break over Summer holidays with family the posts I’d prewritten & scheduled gave me the best interaction and stats with minimal effort from me 😂 I learned that sometimes it’s good to just focus on reading, writing and putting ideas down and worrying a bit less about keeping up.
    Also, when you can get on twitter the blogger share threads are a great way to get yourself noticed by other bloggers who are extremely supportive.
    I like having a bit of a change to how I present my posts too, including more photography/graphics, SEO tips, text changes etc to spice it up a bit.
    Keep going 🤗🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  13. babbageandsweetcorn says:

    ‪A wonderful post, and I’m sure many of us can relate. When I started this a year ago I never imagined how much time it would take up, and I’m still small fry compared to a lot of you guys. Following Twitter trying to make sure you haven’t missed an important post, or a chance to get hold of a book seems constant sometimes. But as someone commented before,‬ why bother? Because your brilliant at this. I always look to see what your reading or commenting on. But if you want to take a break, take one , do what works for you, it’s your hobby. I’m sure it will come back to you. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist) says:

    I’m an author and book blogger so get the angst from both sides (missing out on books to read / missing out on being reviewed). All I can say is be loyal to your blog title and go with the selfishness: do what you like, when you like. Thanks for your openness and honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Steven says:

    I have recently realized that Twitter is awash with book bloggers and it has been a revelation. I understand where you are coming from. I read for fun and always read what I want. So I understand the pressure one might feel about having to read what you receive, It is one of the reasons I don’t blog or join a book club. I want to read what I want to read when I want to read it. One of the reasons I started following book bloggers is to learn about books I may not have heard of and to me it does not matter if it is recently published or classic. I am trying to increase my sphere of books. So please keep reading what you want and writing about it and I will read your tweets and blogs regardless to see if the book is of interest.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Thank you Steven, it’s a whole new world isn’t it!! Am so pleased you are getting a lot out of it, and believe me, you will not find a more supportive community than the Book Loving one! Thank you for your kind words,
      and I hope you find lots of new books to read and authors to follow (the only downside to this community is the dent it can leave in your bank balance 😬!)!

      Like

  16. Jennifer Pletcher says:

    I started my blog just for myself back in 2015. I wanted a place I could keep track of my reading challenges and then remember what I read! (getting old is not for the faint of heart). I never do it for anyone else but myself. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. gobuythebook says:

    As someone with a demanding full time job, I always wonder how on earth some people read and blog at the rate they do! I read books I think I will enjoy and then review them when I have the time. I think the secret is to ignore what others do and do what works best for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Fictionophile says:

    We all start our blogs with the most altruistic intentions. Sometimes we get blind-sided by the more competitive aspects of blogging, sometimes we covet ARCs… so… that only proves that we are all human.
    I too have felt exactly the way you do. Wondering WHY I bother, yet still I persist. Even if ONE person reads my post/review/whatever then it is worth it – at least for now. I am retired and I’ve found that my bookblog is a great way to not miss working. It gives me a ‘center’. It provides some social interaction. I can discuss my love of books. As you say… bookbloggers are my tribe.
    Hope 2019 provides you with good health, happiness, great books, and lots of refreshed reading and blogging ‘mojo’. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Liz Hinds says:

    I’m a writer who has just started trying to ‘grow her online presence’ and, apart from confused, I am daunted. Daunted by the number of writers out there, by their huge numbers of followers, by the equally impressive frequency of their posts. I think why am I doing this, nobody’s going to notice me or read me or care.
    So like you I guess I need not to think about them but about me and why i’m writing, and for whom. (Although in one respect it is for others as I want to sell my books!)
    I only gave myself permission to not finish a book fairly recently and the freedom to say, I’m not enjoying this so goodbye, is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      I understand exactly what you mean! It can be absolutely overwhelming and difficult to find your own path through it all sometimes. I think that the best thing is sitting back from everything and working out what is best for you – and no one else! Thank you for taking the time to reply- I do appreciate it x

      Like

  20. Rachael says:

    As (many) others have said, I also had to take a step back and a deep breath and remember why I was doing it at the end of last year – it’s so easy to be one overwhelmed with proofs, buzz books, reading challenges etc. and the whole hanging out on twitter instead of reading is me SO often!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. bookwormclare says:

    Time to get back to the ‘selfishly’ part of your blog name!

    I spoilt my joy of reading by feeling I had to share for my business but once I realised I could read for me and then share…or not..I was so much happier. Only 50% of this years reading has been shared on Goodreads, I don’t review there at all and that’s purely because to do so would spoil my enjoyment.

    Pick up a book you really want to read and if you finish it and decide not to write about it just smile and pick up another book.

    Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Thank you for those kind words. I think there is often a pressure to share everything your read and post it everywhere. It’s a really good thing to take a breath and do what you want when you want! Thank you for taking the time to comment, that’s very kind of you x

      Like

  22. SUSAN HILL says:

    So important to step back. Reading isn’t about the ‘latest thing.’ The new novel by X the prizewinning one by Y. Reading isn’t a competition. Writing books isn’t either. Read as you feel ..newest Sally Rooney one day, Thomas Hardy the next, Daphne du Maurer stories the next. And think about what you’ve read. Let it take you sideways. You don’t have to need to say a word to anyone. Or you can. Take your foot off the gas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Thank you for your reply Susan, and you are absolutely right, I think sometimes the passion for reading gets lost amongst the need to be ‘seen’ doing it. I really like your idea of letting reading take you sideways, and is something I should embrace! Thank you for taking the time to reply, I do appreciate it x

      Like

  23. thebookfinca says:

    This this this! I’ve pretty much given up on my blog because life has got in the way and I can’t find the time – or actually, no I just don’t use my time wisely. I’d started to put pressure on myself to review every single book I read and that’s just impossible for me at the moment. I’m going to keep reading and recommending books I truly love but I definitely can’t keep up with all you ‘professional’ blogging types! I absolutely admire people who manage to find the time to blog as much as you do, especially if you’ve got jobs and families too. Absolute Respect!xx

    Like

  24. nickimags @ The Secret Library Book Blog says:

    Brilliant post! I had a terrible blogging slump six months after I first started book blogging for the very same reasons. I just got overwhelmed and felt very left out of everything book and blog related. Fortunately over 18 months later I’m enjoying book blogging so much more and almost feel like I know what I’m doing, 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Thank you Nicki- the reassuring thing is that lots of people have been in contact to say they feel the same, and am pleased I said it out loud! I am sure I will enjoy it again- I wrote two blog posts on Saturday and it felt fab! Thank you for taking the time to reply, it’s lovely of you xx

      Like

  25. kateliliblog says:

    I think this catches up to all bloggers at some time or another. I recently deleted my Instagram account linked to my blog because I was becoming disheartened if I lost followers. I’ve been blogging for 3 years this summer and I love it. It is good to stop and take check of your motivations. Also – 58 comments! People are very obviously reading your blog posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Susan says:

    What you’ve said resonated with how I felt a few months ago. This year I have made a committment to myself (not a resolution!) to explore legal, money-free ways to read the books I want. ARCs are great for this, as are libraries, friends and Kindle Lenders Library. Because the books are free I view reviewing them as the least I can do for the free read. It’s now part of my reading process. No-one ever reads my reviews, which is fine, my reviews are for me! Loved this post 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Meredith Rankin says:

    This is the second post that I’ve read today that spoke to this very issue. Trying to keep up, FOMO, all that, and your words are a great reminder that I don’t have to “keep up” with others. I’m starting out on my book review blog after years of blogging (with little results) under a different name. It’s so easy to become discouraged. But your post helps me keep things in perspective. Thank you. This is the 1st post of yours I’ve read but it won’t be the last.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words – and it’s lovely of you to take the time to comment on my post. I think by supporting each other, and only doing what works for us, that we have got an incredibly strong group of people around us, and I really feel I have finally found my tribe! I can’t wait to read your blog too- keep me posted! X

      Like

  28. bellaojones says:

    Thank you for being so honest about your feelings and experiences. I can completely empathise with what you’ve written especially FOMO and getting sucked down the twitter rabbit hole! I recently started my blog and from the outset I knew I’d be at a disadvantage because I’m chronically ill and disabled (my life is the MO in FOMO). I don’t do much and the little I do manage, I do very slowly and with a lot of help. I know I won’t be able to compete with other bloggers when it comes to how many books I can read, how big my social media following will be etc. and that’s OK! I wanted to start my blog regardless because I enjoy reading and I’d like to share my passion, if no one reads it that’s OK too: I’ll have something to show for all my years bedridden. As it turns out, I’ve received a huge amount of support, practical advice and generous encouragement from my ‘competition’! The book blogging community could not have been kinder towards me, especially given that I don’t know them personally and they have lots to do. I think you’ve done the right thing in taking a step back to reconnect with your love of reading, you’ve said the spark was still there and that’s the key thing! I think you should be enjoying your journey and not worrying about how it compares with other people’s. For what it’s worth, I’ve just recently visited your blog but have really enjoyed your engaging style and have signed up to be notified of posts so I will be back for more as and when you’re ready to share it!

    Like

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Hi Bella,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post and for being very honest about yourself and your life. I think you write beautifully and am honoured that you took the time to read my blog. I also think that you have hit it on the head, that it is far too easy to get caught up in everything, and to forget the reason why we started blogging in the first place. It is your blog, your rules.

      The amazing thing about book blogging is this. I have never found a more kind, generous and supportive group of people, and no one will judge you or say anything against you if you Blog once a day or once a year. We all love reading and books, and that is what brings us together and keeps us going!

      I can’t wait to see what you do next, and look forward to reading what you post and the books you love. Don’t forget we are all here for you, and you are not on your own.

      Much Love and best wishes,

      Clare xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • bellaojones says:

        Hello Clare

        Thank you so much for your kind words, it means so much to me! You’re absolutely right, the book blogging community has been amazing and completely non-judgmental. It’s so refreshing to be able to interact with such supportive and generous people. It’s such a joy to be able to share a love of reading with others who feel the same. Thank you – please know that I am here for you too and happy to support you in any way I can, even if it’s just to let off steam about all the pressures of social media!

        Wishing you a fab weekend,
        lots of love
        Bella xx

        Like

  29. fionastocker says:

    Well that seems totally fair enough! I’m new to the book blogging world. I’ve blogged about other things, and now I’ve had s book published. I’ve been gobsmacked by the dedication of book bloggers. It must be only natural to hit a slump once in awhile. And the whole social media thing is VERY sucky-in. I like your read what you want when you want approach. I believe we all should do what we do at our own pace and sod keeping up!! Carry on ax you are and get your reading and blogging mojo back in your own way. This is a great start!
    Fiona x

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Thank You Fiona – my post seems to have resonated with a lot of people, and have been slightly overwhelmed by the support! I think you are right, and maybe it’s because I am getting older, but I seem to find it easier to stick to my guns now, and am slowly finding my blogging mojo again….!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s