Friday, April 7, 2017

F is for “First Blogging Failure”

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays), I’ll be sharing a short bookish memory with you.

Read All the Things! is my first book blog, but it isn’t my first blog. I’ve been blogging on and off since 2005. My previous three blogs were about humor/lifestyle, the history and ethics of capital punishment, and food. You’d think the capital punishment blog would produce the most angst in the comment section because people are very opinionated about the issue. But, readers of the death blog turned out to be pretty cool. Morbid, but cool. The comments on my lifestyle blog were also very positive.



I never understood how hateful the Internet could get until I tried blogging about food.

On my food blog, I tested out different diets and kept a record of how they made me feel. The comment section of the blog was never the happiest place on Earth, but things went downhill quickly when I became a raw vegan for a month.

“Raw vegan” means no animal products and no food that is cooked or heated. I was basically eating raw fruits and vegetables for every meal.

I hated the diet. It made me lose weight like crazy, which is great, but I felt horrible. I was weak, dizzy, and headachy. I had no attention span or desire to get out of bed. After a few weeks of raw food, I was so sick of it that I would rather not eat than put more lettuce in my mouth. Still, I was determined to get through the whole month. A lot of diets make you feel worse before you feel better, so I tried to be optimistic.

I was honest about all of this on the blog, and people went nuts. (Haha "nuts," one of the few foods raw vegans can (sometimes) eat.) The comment section turned into a war between raw vegans and non-vegans. I was caught in the middle. The raw vegans thought I was insulting them, and the non-vegans thought I was proving them right. Very few people were nice about their opinions. I became a reluctant (and extremely hungry) referee.



I didn’t think the comment section could get any nastier. Then I accidentally ate balsamic vinegar and caused the apocalypse.

It was a careless mistake that happened near the end of the diet. I’d spent weeks Googling everything I put in my mouth to make sure it was raw and vegan, but I was starving and in a hurry to get to class, so I just dumped some salad dressing on my lettuce and ran out the door. When I posted my food journal that night, a hatefest ensued.

The salad dressing had balsamic vinegar in it. As the people in the comments pointed out, balsamic vinegar isn’t raw. It’s made by boiling white grapes to get the juice out. Oops.

The hate was so bad that I had to turn off the comments section. People were calling me stupid and uneducated. They claimed I hadn’t done any research before starting this diet. (I did a lot of research, just not on that particular brand of salad dressing.) They claimed I’d been cheating on the diet the whole time, and that’s why I felt horrible. (I swear the vinegar was the first time I screwed up.) They said I was just writing these posts to make raw vegans look bad and wasn’t really on a raw vegan diet at all. (Not true. I don't have anything against raw vegans. If the diet works for you, that's great. It didn't work for me.)

After I removed the comment section from my blog, I had a What the hell am I doing? moment. This whole situation was idiotic. Strangers were harassing me for accidentally eating boiled grapes. Blogging was a hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun, and this one was making me miserable.

So, I deleted the entire blog. I didn’t post a goodbye message or anything. I just deleted it and never looked back. As soon as my blog stopped existing, I felt better.

I love being a blogger, but I’m not perfect. I learned that one of the keys to enjoying blogging is to find a community that will support you instead of tearing you down. I needed to find people who would forgive me for my balsamic vinegar moments. I think I’ve found that in the book blogosphere. You guys are awesome.



I assume that most of the people reading this are fellow book bloggers, but if you’re not, what do you blog about? If you are a book blogger, have you ever tried blogging about non-bookish things?






27 comments:

  1. Wow! I always find it amazing when people think they have the right to say hurtful, cruel things to others. Like, why? There are ways to be constructively critical without the name-calling. I'm so sorry you had to go through that!

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    1. Yeah, sometimes the Internet confuses me. I was just posting what was happening inside my body, not personally attacking anyone.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  2. Wow, there are people who need to get a life, people who are just mean! I have had the same blog since 2004 (I also have one that I use for work which isn't connected to this one and did set up a separate blog a few years ago while on sabbatical and traveling overland from SE Asia to Europe. I'm curious about your capital punishment blog. I'm not a supporter, but understand why people might be. In some memoir posts, I have written about my encounter with a family who had a husband/father on death row and a man I know who was sentenced to death (later changed to life without parole).

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    1. The death blog was really interesting to research, but it doesn’t exist anymore. I’m also not a supporter of capital punishment. I’m interested in the topic, though.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  3. Dude that sounds intense. The diet and the war that ensued in your comments. I couldn't handle either lol. Glad you got out of that situation!!!

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    1. Yeah, it was all weird and unexpected. That blog is better off dead.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  4. Remind me never to blog about food! That sounds really brutal! Who would have thought that boiled grapes would be so much trouble! People can be really frustrating sometimes. There's no need for anyone to act like that. I did a previous blog which was mostly me talking about life but my life isn't that interesting and I closed it to do a book blog which is much better. Like you say, the book blogging community is a lot friendlier for the most part.

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    1. I also tried to do a journal-style blog where I talked about my life. That blog eventually morphed into this one because the only interesting thing I did in my life was read.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  5. Wow! I would have thought the blog about food stuff would be the mildest! I'm terribly sorry that happened- what a horrible experience.
    I'm not exactly a book blogger so much as a book author- but I enjoy bringing my fellow authors up and helping them by featuring different things on my blog- like this month's theme is character secrets and I'm featuring different characters revealing secrets that might not even be in the books. It's been loads of fun and I agree the bookish world has been super supportive.

    Secrets Theme (AC)
    Decadent Kane Visiting from the A-Z Challenge
    Paranormal Romance Author

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    1. Your blog sounds really cool. I’ll come visit it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  6. I mainly blog about books and writers, but not completely. I don't blog to earn money. My blog is just that, a weblog, but focused on books, art, movies, and music. It is really a diary for me to look back at someday and remember what I liked and what I was doing. I like to post my travel pics there, too. When I get sick of it, I just don't post for awhile. Cheers, Denise

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    1. I don’t earn money from my blog, either. I also treat it like a reading diary. I wish I traveled more so I could post travel pictures. :)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  7. I'm glad your food blogging experience didn't put you off blogging completely. Who would have thought people would get so worked up over salad dressing?!

    I've had a couple of blogs before this one which I have abandoned, but my Click's Clan blog has been going strong for around five years now. It's a catch everything blog, which suits me well.

    Cait @ Click's Clan

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    Replies
    1. I’m glad you found a blog that works for you. Yeah, there are much better things to get angry about than salad dressing.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  8. Wow, I would not have guessed that food blogging would get so ugly. But now that I think about it, when people say they follow a dietary regimen "religiously" they mean with fundamentalist zeal that's rare for people to have about even, well, a deity. Ah well. Glad you were able to not lose your love of the medium and find a tribe. I'm partial to the bookish/writerly blog community too. I had a personal blog even farther back--2001, but ran out of steam with it after a few years (having a kid in 2002 made it trickier to keep up). Once I started blogging my writing journey in 2009, it was a much more fulfilling thing to maintain, not a chore at all.

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    1. I definitely saw the fundamentalist diet zeal. People acted like I’d confessed to committing murder. It was just salad dressing!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  9. Well, it seems like people made a big deal out of not much. I'm glad you removed yourself from the situation.

    I just blog. Sometimes about books, sometimes about other stuff.

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    1. The Internet seems to have a talent for making a big deal out of not much . . .

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  10. And I thought the book blogging community could get petty... turns out it's not so bad!

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  11. I am sorry, but not surprised, to hear about your previous blogging experiences. I have had all pleasant visitors to my blog so far, but I know there is ugliness lurking when I see those awful things on GoodReads and Twitter, where Twitter is one of the most horrible places on earth. Yeah, my blog will never be big, because I cannot bring myself to play the Twitter game, but I still love writing about the books I read.
    Sam @ WLABB

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  12. That's horrible! I mean it was just a little bit of accidental dressing. I am so glad that I decided to just blog about books - it's much calmer. Sorry you had to deal with that.

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  13. Goodness! That is unreal! What is WRONG with people!? You know what? I bet they were just hangry too ;) All that lettuce messed with their common sense receptors. Or maybe they were just assholes, who knows hahah.

    I feel you though- I once tried doing a "mom/life" blog. But here's what I didn't know: "legit" mom blogs are all about making other moms look like pieces of crap, apparently. I just wrote about like, everyday life, and weird stuff my daughter did. It was supposed to be funny, just a way to blow off steam at the end of the day, to not take life so seriously.

    Then a friend of mine, who had an "actual" mom blog invited me to join a group. Oh goodness. It was like a war zone in there. If you didn't cloth diaper your baby or breastfeed it, or sing to it every Tuesday at 3:34pm, you were just absolute rubbish as a mother. Bought baby food from a jar? You suck. Use a stroller instead of "wearing" your baby? You suck. Don't rock your baby to sleep every night? Asshole. And I literally did every single one of their things "wrong" (it wasn't wrong REALLY, because sometimes Lena didn't care for a song at 3:34 on a Tuesday. ;) ) But I never opened my mouth because they would have eaten me ALIVE- just like with your balsamic incident. I saw them RAGING at parents for doing perfectly safe things with their babies- just not things THEY approved of. I just sloooowwwly backed away, and then got the hell out of THAT community. I posted for awhile longer, but then eventually I moved over to book blogging and never looked back! Thank goodness ;)

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  14. Great post! And funny (in an "I'm sorry that happened" kind of way).

    I'd like to hear if you've got any books on capital punishment to recommend on your current blog!

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  15. Yeah, the internet allows people to show who they really are and a lot of times that means they are unpleasant to say the least! I tried a food blog too, but it was WAY more work than I was interested in! LOL Book blogging is fun and I've 'met' some great people, but I have been witness to some craziness too. For the most part I have had mostly positive experiences-fingers crossed it'll stay that way!

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  16. It's so horrible that they hated on you so much for your little mistake. Everyone makes mistakes so it should be okay to make some yourself! And you'd kept up the diet for so long as well, even when you didn't lie it. I had posted a book review once and it was negative. I tried my best to be positive in my negative reviews as I always am. But then the author hated on me for it, and said I should never have posted. As negative reviews are quite controversial, in the comments bloggers vs authors discussed. I waited a week before I calmly replied to any comments, and took a few days off social media because of it.

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  17. Wow. I had no idea food blogging was so cutthroat. Who cares if you accidentally had some balsamic vinegar at the end? Even if you did it on purpose, that's your choice. I think that we shouldn't beat ourselves up about food so much. I generally try to eat healthy foods, but if I have a cookie, I appreciate the treat!

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  18. Oh. My. Goodness. What is wrong with the world? How do we manage to cut each other down so easily? I'm really sad that you experienced that, but I guess I'm glad too because now I get to know you as a book blogger!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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