Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for “Uncertainty”

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. 


Conversations I had with myself while writing posts for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge:



No one wants to read this. Why are you even trying? You should’ve stuck to book reviews.
Wow, that’s self-obsessed.
You’ve already said that three times. Do you really need to bring it up again?
Now you’re whining about first-world problems?
You’ve spent hours on this post. Admit that it’s not going to work.
Delete it. Start over.
There are better uses of your time.
Children were gassed to death today in Syria. You’re sitting on your fat ass and writing about random number generators? *Slow clap.*



One of the things I struggle with is the value of blogging. Why do I do it? I’ve said before that running this blog requires huge amounts of time and mental energy. I don’t get paid to do it. All of my content is free, and there are no ads. This project is a labor of love. Since I put so much of myself into Read All The Things!, I’d like to believe that it has value. I want to think that I’m doing something good with this blog, but I don’t always feel like I am.

Sometimes I delude myself into thinking I’m using the blog to help authors’ careers. I always see authors on Twitter asking people to write reviews. I post a lot of reviews, but realistically, I don’t think I’m doing much to help anybody’s career. This blog has around 1,500 followers. My reviews are seen by maybe 50-80 of those people. My platform isn’t big enough to make a difference in any author's life.

I also don’t post anything particularly helpful on the blog. I don’t educate people. I don’t use the blog to bring attention to important causes. I mostly make jokes and yammer about books. At times, this whole blogging thing feels uncomfortably narcissistic.




Does all that joking and yammering have value? After giving the question way too much thought, I’m going to answer with a hesitant “Yes.” I think that fun, fluffy entertainment has value. If people were serious all the time, we’d probably be miserable. (Or, more miserable than we already are.) Reading and writing blog posts allows me to mentally escape from the world for a few hours a day. It helps preserve what little sanity I have. I think that’s valuable.

I hope my blog has brought you a few minutes of mental escape.




If you’re a blogger, do you believe that your blog has value? Do you ever feel uncomfortable and narcissistic when you talk about yourself in posts?  





31 comments:

  1. If even one person sees a book on your blog and they go buy it based on your review, that's another sale to the author. If that person has a bigger blog and influences others to buy, more sales for the author and that all came from your small blog! Add that to one sale from each blog who posted a review and it all adds up for an author. So you are making a difference!

    My personal posts are rare but I do give my opinion on discussion posts I do and then invite others to comment on it to see how different our views are and what points they raise. I don't see my posts as being in any way narcissistic. I find your blog funny and your posts entertaining which is why I like to visit and I don't see anything narcissistic from you either so don't worry!

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    1. Thanks! I hope my blog is making a difference for authors. I love books and want to support authors in any way I can. I need them to keep writing!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I have done a lot of memoir writing in my blog, as well as travel posts which are often clean-up version of my journal with photos, so in a way my blog is for me. Even my book reviews are for me--I have been writing reviews of books read (not all, but probably 1/3 to a 1/2 of the books) since college and long before blogging. As for being paid, I have given the $200 of ad revenue that I have made since I "monetized" my blog in 2008 to charity. However, I have received quite a few free books.

    http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.com/2017/04/u-is-for-ursa-major.html

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    1. I’ve heard that most bloggers don’t make much from monetizing their blogs. I haven’t even looked into doing it. Maybe it’ll happen someday.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. I have no idea if my blog has value to anyone besides me. For me it is something that is mine. Since I had kids and stopped working I had lost my self a bit and the blog helped me regain something just for me. I have no idea how many people actually follow/read my blog posts but thats ok. I do excited when someone tells me they picked up a book based on my review :)

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    1. I also get excited when people say they bought a book because of my blog. I write a blog because it makes me happy, but since I’m prone to existential crises, I have a lot of “Why am I doing this?” moments.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. I've started writing blogs on a theme with a view to making them into books. I have done one so far, but I'm planning to turn this year's A to Z into an ebook next month. I daren't leave it longer or I'll convince myself it's not of any value! U is for Understanding URLs as you Build a Better Blog. #AtoZchallenge.

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    1. That’s a cool idea! Good luck with your blog/book!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  5. Book blogging in immensely important to authors, at least to small press and indie authors. Getting reviews from general readers is such an uphill climb--to know there are wonderful folks like yourself who WANT to review helps us to want to keep writing.

    I go through cycles of convincing myself that blogging is a total waste of my time, or that no one gives a hoot about what I have to say. (I'd swear it's a hormone thing, because it rotates through my thought life so regularly.) I've made such supportive connections through blogging, though, and that keeps me showing up when I don't feel like it. And sometimes I work with that "am I being selfish" concern to seek out others to guest blog for me.
    Laurel's Leaves: U = Unexpected

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    1. We seem to have a lot in common. I’ve done one guest post, but it’s not on the blog anymore because the formatting of the post got hugely messed up when I changed the blog’s layout. Maybe I should find people to do guest posts.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. I enjoy your posts especially this kind of post. Reading blog posts especially the ones that are funny make me relaxed. You don't know how it really helps me. With all the problems, and responsibilities, that kind of post is very important for me.

    So, thank you so much for sharing. :-)

    To be honest, I blog first for myself. It is my home, my escape where I can do what I love the most. Reading, writing and sharing. I'm glad that some actually read my blog posts and find them valuable. But even if there are none, I'm still gonna keep blogging because it makes me happy. :)

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    1. Thanks! For the first few years of this blog, hardly anybody read it, but I kept going. My blog is my creative outlet.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  7. I do think that blogging has value. I think anything that tries to bring a positive space to the world has value. For many people, books and reading are a huge coping skill (even if we readers just say it's for fun), so I think that anything that adds to that has value.

    And if nothing else, if you enjoy it, it has value.
    Doree Weller

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    1. Thanks! I hope my blog is a positive space that makes people happy.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  8. Probably my biggest obstacle to start a blog was to be okay writing about myself. As a sportswriter, I wrote about much more interesting people and things. Me? I'm just a writer. Not a good one, but one who's learned a lot by doing it so long. (Sound familiar?)

    You and I have similar views of what we do. We love it and we downplay our place in the blogosphere, no matter how concentrated. That's how to look at it. Concentrated. Not short in reach or small in numbers.

    Because if you reach one person and make them laugh or think or think about laughing, well, then you've done a bunch. I spent my entire youth trying to make people laugh. I succeeded 7% of the time. Still, that's 7% of laughs.

    I'm glad I've found this place. You've value to those of us who click, every last one of us. We can't save children a world away, but we can contribute to a necessary levity here, and that's not a small thing.

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    1. Thanks! Feeling okay with writing about myself has been a massive struggle. I love reading personal posts on other people’s book blogs. It’s nice to know the people behind the book reviews. I know that other people like personal posts, but for nonsensical reasons, writing about myself makes me feel guilty.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. that is exactly how I feel, just replace book reviews with random things, I like to think my blog is my space so I can do whatever I want with it and if readers happen to stop by and enjoy what I wrote, then all the better.

    & I think every blog has value and deserves some attention but we shouldn't hope everyone would like what we like, it's a matter of preference.

    have a lovely day.

    ~ my U post - Unpopular list ~

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    1. Thanks! I try to look at my blog as a creative outlet. If people like it, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s okay too.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  10. Ooo! I've had so many of these feelings. What I decided, in the end, is that I write my blog for me. I write it because I enjoy doing it. If I stop enjoying it, I'll stop. If people like what I read and go check out or buy a book because of something I've written, that's awesome. If not, so what? Some people quilt or knit or do home renovation or hike and I blog about books...we've all got our hobbies, and this is mine.

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    1. That’s a great way of looking at blogging. Right now, I love it, but I’ll stop if it ever starts making me unhappy.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  11. i love your yammering. i do know i have issues with thinking does my blog mean anything. i dont have a ton of followers that follow on a regular basis but maybe a few is all i need. i do like to go on about books and this is where i can do that. i do it much better in real life. i am not very talented at writing or making prettry words flow. but i do love books and i do love to read reviews and other posts by fellow book lovers. so yes your blog has value as does all those other book bloggers blogs out there. keep on keeping on.

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    1. Thanks! I’ve found that making connections with fellow book lovers has been the most rewarding part of blogging.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  12. I've had very little time to read or comment on blogs lately, but I've still found time to stop by yours. I think that says something about the quality of what you write. As for if this blog is worth your time, only you can rightly say. Does it bring you joy? Does it make you happy? Does it teach you skills you'd not know otherwise?

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogging brings me lots of joy, but I still have moments of self-doubt. Those are probably normal, even if they are unsettling.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  13. You have waaaaay more subscribers than my blog, though, page views are up (yay!). I was writing reviews even before I was asked to contribute to WLABB. I always liked talking about books on GoodReads, so why not blog. It gives me something constructive to do with my time, since I no longer have all the grading and planning associated with my old life as a teacher. So, it's a win for me, even if I am screaming into a void.
    Sam @ WLABB

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    1. Congrats on getting your page views up! GoodReads is what led me to book blogging, too. A lot of GoodReads users have blogs, so I thought I’d join in.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  14. I think reviewers underestimate the value of themselves (and I am not just trying to big my own self up here.) I spend a lot of time before buying a book checking it out. Mostly I head over to blogs or Goodreads to do so. I read random blogs - bloggers will never know I have read their review, but it does make an impact on whether or not I choose to pick that book up in the end! And yes, I still scroll reviews to get a taste of the book even if it is a bestseller.

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  15. I agree with Grace, that my blog is where I have reclaimed myself. My followers are barely into the double digits, so I'm not writing for them, that's for sure. I'm writing for my reader's heart; I'm writing for creative challenge; I'm writing for the connections I have made. To this introvert, having a handful of regular commenters who also write blogs I regularly visit and enjoy is worth it in a way that having a "brand blog" wouldn't be.

    Your voice is unique. Well, that's obvious, but what I mean is that yours is one of the few blogs I read where I can instantly tell it's YOU writing, where I don't get tired of your schtick (since you don't have one), nor of your pretensions (ditto on those). I am always interested in hearing what you're reading and thinking because of the variety and honesty of what you post. I know you weren't actually fishing for compliments, but if you quit blogging, it would negatively affect my quality of life!

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    1. Aww, thanks! Don’t worry. I don’t have plans to quit anytime soon.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  16. Of course your blog has value! I love your blog and often read the things you write out loud to my husband because I find it so entertaining that I want to share. I do sometimes wonder if anyone even reads some of the reviews that I stress over. My blog has value to me if no one else :)

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  17. I always love reading your blog---it's fun and entertaining, and that's good enough for me. Sure, you're probably not curing world peace over here, but you're making my day a little brighter! That's gotta count for something, right?

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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I do a happy dance every time I get a comment. (You should be grateful that you’re not around to witness this dance. It’s truly horrifying.) Leave a link to your blog so I can visit you.