Discussion

Discussion: How Being A Blogger Changes You as a Reader

Hello, lovelies!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a discussion post recently and this is a topic that’s been on my brain for a hot second these past few weeks, so I decided, why not? The main discussion question is:

How does being a blogger affect you as a reader?

I’m going to get a little controversial (maybe) and say that, for me, it actually affects me negatively.

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I’ve been a reader all my life. I don’t remember what got me started reading, though it was probably school, but I have a lot of fond memories regarding reading.

I remember reading Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure and how it truly got me into fantasy, before reading Tolkien and how it introduce me into epics.

I remember always reading ahead in class, finishing the assigned novel weeks before it was due so I could read the novels I wanted to during our “in class” regarding sessions.

I remember participating in programs we had like Novel Navigators (where we read books and then tried to answer questions) and how, when I was eleven, our school librarian called me a liar because she didn’t believe I got 20/20 correct on my quiz over Little Women (it was an AR program our library did where you read books and took quizzes afterwards to get points towards your AR goals), because it was too high above my reading level.

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I remember choosing to read War and Peace sophomore year in high school because no one else had attempted it for our personal book projects and I foolishly waited three days before the paper was due to start the book, reading it all weekend and writing the essay the night before (and I got a 97%; not trying to brag, but this is seriously still one of my proudest accomplishments).

I remember not reading the first two years in college because I struggled to balance it all and then, one day, in my lowest of lows suffering from depression, I picked up a book from the library and thought, “Hey, I haven’t done this in a while? Why not take 30 minutes and try and relax?” And wow, it was like I was becoming me again, finally feeling whole and smiling again?

So, yeah, there is no question that I’m a reader. I love it. I love escaping into a novel for a little bit, traveling to worlds and realms that don’t exist in our current one, because life is hard to handle sometime. I also read because I just enjoy it, honestly. It’s one of my favorite hobbies.

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That’s why this six week reading slump has been hitting me…hard.

I just…haven’t wanted to read?

And I think it’s because I’m a book blogger.

Because being a book blogger changed me a reader.

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Don’t get me wrong. I said it affects me negatively and it does, but there are so many positives and joys that I would never give it up. I mean, I love this blog. It’s my main outlet. And though writing reviews aren’t always my favorite posts to write all of the time, I know how much they help authors (even if reviews are actually intended for readers) and helping the authors I love is important to me. Hell, helping a reader find an author they love, even if I didn’t enjoy the book myself, is important to me.

I love the book blogging community SO MUCH. There are a handful of bloggers I know who I consider true, real friends. Like, I love them that much (I hope you know who you are ❤ ❤ ), so when I was offline for two weeks earlier this month and I came back to talk to all of you again, that just felt so…wholesome? Like, I struggle with loneliness sometimes being a twenty-something trying to adult, so having that connection just means the world. Plus, I’ve discovered so many books I never would have before that I loved thanks to blogging. I’ve become a judge for SPFBO through blogging, which helped my blog get a little more notice and helped me make more connections. For my future career as an author, the benefits of being a book blogger with connections is indescribeable (<–is this a word? I mean, we’re going with it, but still, I’m curious).

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So, I want that to be very clear: I LOVE being a book blogger, I love what I do and I am SO THANKFUL for it every single day. It’s part of who I am and I hope I never have to stop, because I truly do love it and I recognize what a blessing it is.

But…it also has some negatives, too, that I think have sorta influenced this reading slump I’m in? And I think it’s okay and important to talk about these, too, especially for those who might be looking at me the way I look at most of the bloggers on my feed and be feeling, “Wow, they really have it put together, I wish I could be like that.” It’s important to talk about the struggles, too.

Like:

Comparison Game: I am the worst at this. I see bloggers who are able to do different readathons on the daily, read 30 books a week, have a 300+ book reading goal for Goodreads, get dozens of ARCs from different publishers yet aren’t falling behind, have a gorgeous blog layout and post consistently and I just sit here like, “Man, why can’t I be like that?” My one-book a week or four books a month average seems so minuscule in comparison, especially because I have so many books I WANT to read, but time isn’t always on my side, so sometimes, I feel like a pretty shite blogger (even though I KNOW all of those bloggers I’m comparing myself to and judge myself lesser against have their own lives, needs and anxieties, and I don’t know or need to know those; so just because they appear to be nailing it, doesn’t mean they are. Or, even if they are, my version of being a successful book blogger doesn’t have to match theirs perfectly. We’re all meant to be unique, so this comparison is needless and this jealousy and wishing isn’t necessary, yet hello do I do it anyway).

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ARC Pressure: I am VERY lucky to work with both Orbit (!!) and Titan to receive ARCs. I’ve been able to read some of my favorite series more regularly thanks to this, on top of being introduced to new favorites. Being America-based is also a huge privilege. Yet, I’m always worried that I’m going to lose this wonderful gift because I’m behind and being in this slump is only making me more so. Yet I also want to read books other than ARCs because I have so many backlist books I want to read, yet I feel GUILTY reading anything else because these are so overdue. Add in library books with a timeline, SPFBO readings, books authors have sent me, Tolkien Society readings and how I usually only read one book a week and I think I’ve just overwhelmed myself to the point where I’m just not reading at all, because I feel guilty to read something that isn’t in that list above? Yet I also don’t want to stop requesting ARCs for books I really want (though I have gotten a lot better at not requesting unless I really want the book) because I can’t afford to get them otherwise and since I’m such a mood reader, if I have an opportunity to own a book I *know* I want to read, I try to take it, especially through an ARC, since library holds often get turned in unread (though I utilize my library a lot, too).

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Actual video of my current TBR list.

Fear of Responses: I don’t think one is as major as some of the others, but it definitely is a factor, as well, because now, I’m in the public eye a lot more than I was before! Luckily, I’ve had a lot of really positive responses to my reviews and my blog, but I always get nervous writing negative reviews, especially from authors I admire or for books I know a lot of bloggers (who are friends!) liked. So I think that unconscious fear sometimes slips in there, too, and makes me hesitate to read at all.

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Reading Feels More Like a Job: All of this detailed above (and other factors I’m prolly missing right now, but this is already a unit of a post, so…) has transitioned reading–my main hobby–into more like a job, because now I have deadlines and other people counting on me; even if most of those deadlines are self-inflicted and a lot of these emotions–the guilt, the fear, the anxiety, the comparison–are all a result of my own mental illnesses, anxiety and depression, and not a result of how others actually interact or treat me.

Despite KNOWING that, it doesn’t erase dealing with this “new” way of reading and how it’s affecting my ability to actually read right now (on top of time, which is a whole ‘nother ballgame, but basically, when your summer schedule is weird and you use the mornings to be productive around the house/writing ((AND SOON TAKE MY PUPPY FOR A WALK, WHAT)) and then go to work before getting home at 8:30pm, where I still need to eat dinner and then want to spend some time with my boyfriend before going to bed, reading just hasn’t been a priority lately).

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Listen, I totally get that a lot of these are my own anxieties coming out. I know how wonderful all of the other bloggers are and, though I’d love to read some more so that my TBR list stops shouting at me, I actually like my pace of 4-6 books a month. I know my system works for me, but sometimes, I just wish I could do better, because I want to be a good book blogger. I want to be a good, positive, supporting and contributing member of this community. I don’t want to let Orbit and Titan (and other publishers and authors) down by getting stuck in slumps or life getting in the way or my schedule changes or I put my own book I’m writing first. But I am also tired of feeling guilty and I miss my backlist beauties.

To be extra clear: I have NO intention of leaving or quitting. Despite my complaints above, I really, really do love this (truly). I just…am also recognizing that being a book blogger has put pressure (even if it’s self-induced) on me as a reader that wasn’t there when I wasn’t a book blogger. And sometimes…I dunno. I just miss reading for fun and wish I could figure out how to turn off my brain and the stress and the pressure, like I should be able to. I wish I could be a book blogger without adding that bit in.

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You slogged through that mammoth of a post and one, I’m proud of you. But two, I am SO curious what you think! Do you deal with similar anxieties and stresses? Has being a book blogger changed you as a reader (or, if you don’t blog, do you believe it would)? Do you have any tips on how to combat this, because I am ALL EARS (please, send help)?

Read on, lovelies. And thanks for making this blog one the places you choose to spend your reading time. ❤

33 thoughts on “Discussion: How Being A Blogger Changes You as a Reader”

  1. Totally get the comparison thing! I always compare myself to others…and find myself wanting.😂

    I manage around one book per week too so, yeah, I get that especially when you see people reading a book every day (or two) and I’m like yeah, one a week for me.😂

    I’m in a reading slump too and I think it’s down to blogging, also other stuff but blogging has a part to play in it too. I have some awesome books to read, ARC’s I should be devouring but I just can’t seem to want to pick them up and read them. Even my own books, something that I don’t have to worry about reviewing, just don’t want to and it sucks.

    Great post, one that many will relate too.

    1. Gosh, yes, I do the exact same thing!

      Really? For some reason, I thought you read more than one book a week! It’s a pretty good pace for me, though, even if I wish I could read more.

      I hope you’ve been able to break out of your reading slump! And, if not, then I hope you’re not beating yourself up over it and enjoying how you’re spending your time! And thank you so much for reading and offering your thoughts!!

  2. ❤ I feel you so hard on this, especially the reading challenges point. I take care with obligations and requests, but seeing how many people manage to put out several posts a week when I can only do one or less…that gets to me. And because I don’t let myself start a new book until I wrote up the review for the previous one, I’ve also been getting a bit frustrated – sometimes(like now!) I just want to read and read and read without worrying about backlog. I wish I could write faster, maybe I should start taking notes while I read again.

    Another thing I noticed, reviewing changed the way I read and think about books. I’m a lot more analytical and dissecting when before I mostly read books without thinking much about them – when I started my blog I was even worried I’d quit soon because I’d find nothing to say about most books (obviously hasn’t happened). I’m not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing, just different.

    Anyway, this turned out a bit rambly. Excellent post.

    1. Oh yes, I feel you on all of that! I usually try and write the review before I start the next book, too, if only so I don’t get confused and miss the little details. Because I have the worse memory and if I don’t write the review pretty soon after reading it, then it’s never going to get written, because most likely, I won’t be able to remember anything worth writing anyway.

      Ah, I can totally see that! Interestingly enough, I haven’t become a more critical reader and sometimes, I wonder if that’s a bad thing, since it’s pretty easy for me to fall in love with a book and a story and not criticize it past asking when I can get my hands on the sequel.

      Rambling is all I do. Thank you so much for the kind response (and also, I love all of your posts, no matter how often they happen <3).

  3. This is an awesome post, period.

    Love the honesty and I can definitely relate.
    I think blogging has changed my reading by making me look for things while I read more… i.e. ways to describe characters, pacing, etc. And when I started blogging I was meticulous at taking notes and writing much more detailed/ longer reviews, but it was cutting into my enjoyment… so I basically said, screw it, and now I take a few notes/ maybe highlight some cool quotes, and write much shorter reviews. Just my overall impressions.

    Blogging helps me keep a healthy routine and really relieves my daily stress. It gives me a reason to keep reading.

    1. Aww Paul, thank you so much!!

      I appreciate you detailing how your blogging has evolved, so to speak. It’s interesting to see you go super critical and note-oriented to more relaxed and trying to actively find that balance between enjoyment and being a reviewer. I hope you continue to find books you love and time to blog about them!

  4. I think it’s okay to read slowly. That way you can enjoy passages of poetic prose which would just blur away at high speed. And maybe high speed readers don’t have a day job, so it’s not fair to yourself to make comparisons. Just be sweet you, living your sweet life.

    Yep, “indescribable” is a word. It’s a cool word, too.:-)

    1. Thank you so much, Priscilla!! You’re so right, it’s not a good idea to make comparisons when there are so many other factors coming into play. Just gotta take it one step at a time and do what is best for you!

  5. Wow, I relate to this post WAY too much. Like you, I don’t see giving up blogging anytime soon, but there certainly is a new level of anxiety in my life since I started last summer!

    On the pro side, blogging has meant that I’m reading more. I set a Goodreads goal of 50, which is higher than I’ve read in the past few years (last year was 43), and I’m on track to hit that by the end of summer! I’m also reading more new releases because now I have access to free ARCs; my finances had prevented me from picking up every cool book the day it was released, so I mostly waited for Kindle deals and holidays. Plus, I’ve found a cool community of people who GET all my reading highs and lows, and an outlet for me to flail my enthusiasm at (which has spared my roommate many a befuddled rant).

    But underneath all that, there is certainly the pressure to read all the things and read them NOW. I see people posting reviews for books that are 4 months out and think “I should be on top of that, I should have already read that, I have the ARC.” Or I see a person post that they “only” got through 12 books that month, compared to my five, and I wonder how on earth I can keep up (when I’m already reading more things than ever). Blogging has given me lists, and boy do I love checking things off lists and boy do I get stressed when I don’t get to things on my list. I’m trying to be better about reminding myself that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, the books will still be there, but I totally feel that same pressure to live up to some undefined expectation so I can keep the ARCs coming. I want to read more series all the way through, but ARCs keep getting in the way (except, because I keep requesting sequels, when they actually force me to start a series I’ve been putting off!).

    So TLDR, I am both excited and anxious about the prospect of reading all the books and blogging stresses me out and it also makes me happy and I am a walking contradiction!

    1. CAITLIN. I just adore you. *heart eyes*

      I definitely feel you on ALL of your pros, most definitely. Especially the ability to read newer books closer to when they are released (and especially owning them). I could never read as many as I do without the generosity of publishers and authors, and some more recent works have become some of my favorites of all time; some which I know I still wouldn’t have read yet, only able to get them from the library.

      And YES, of course I agree with everything you said there, too. It’s the ultimate Catch-22. But I’m so glad you blog and I met you through that. I love your reviews and being able to gush with you about books is so fantastic!!

  6. This was great!
    I totally do the comparisons as well.. Even though we shouldn’t!
    It’s okay to read slowly! I do read a lot each month, but then I don’t work, and school only takes a certain amount of from my day (definitely not the same as a job would do!)

    (Www.evelynreads.com)

    1. Thank you so much, Evelyn! You’re right, everyone has different commitments they are also balancing, on top of reading, and it’s important to remember that and be confident and comfortable reading at your own pace!

  7. Oh wow you BET this is relatable. I have always struggled being what I deem a ‘slow’ reader (I’m the same as you, 4-6 books a month on average) and the self-inflicted deadlines and guilt laying is SO real.

    I find it hard when my boyfriend or just friends turn around and give me a stern eye whenever I’m like ARGH BUT I CAN’T RUN A BLOG, YOUTUBE CHANNEL, INSTA *ANNND* READ and they’re like: then stop, it shouldn’t be a job. And it’s like but wait, it’s not a job. And then I start getting all hmph-y because I want other people in my IRL life to see me enjoying what I do. Okay this has turned into a rambly paragraph XD I think you get me though.

    Now that I’m working 9-5 and therefore our 6-6 mon-fri my brain is like wut. Where do these people find time to read when you have to adult. LIFE IS HARD. I think the most important thing is to remember to bake cakes, drink tea and ONLY read what you enjoy.

    1. Ohmygosh, YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS. You bring up such a great point, Kirstie, with when we rant to others about the stresses of blogging and people are like, “Just stop, then?” It is SO not easy, but it is also such an important aspect and I don’t want to give it up simply because it’s not my job.

      1000 times yes. I’m very lucky in that I can write my posts while it’s slow at work, but I always wonder how I’m meant to post regularly once I’m in a job where that *isn’t* possible, on top of everything else!? I like your list of important things and plan to do just that. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful response AND writing such an incredible post that made me feel wonderful when I read it. ❤

  8. I’m going through a similar phase myself. I’m struggling with reading lately, and it feels like more a job than something I enjoy. I totally feel every point of your post. I just had to make an announcement earlier today about the fact that I probably won’t be able to read and review all of the books that got requested of me earlier this year, because I’m starting my freelancing career next month, plus SPFBO and I have a few ARCs waiting I have to get to. Once I finish up this book I’m reading I’ll take a break for the rest of next week before the real work begins. We do need to take a break and consider our own mental health. We shouldn’t feel guilty about it. About wanting to read a book just for fun and without the pressure of writing a review. It’s okay. We are human beings. We aren’t machines. Blogging, and more importantly the community will always be here waiting for us to return.

    1. Yep, I hear you. I remember reading that announcement and I hope you’re so proud of yourself for recognizing that and being willing to take a step back and take a break. I think so many don’t do that until we reach a major breaking point and slip into slumps and no one wants to get to that point–especially at the risk of poor mental health.

      I hope you have a wonderful break, are able to stay on top of your commitments and enjoy the books you choose to read! 🙂

      1. All things considered it was the right thing to do. I pressured myself too much. I had a nice break and so far I still take it easy. Trying to set up a balance to make time for other things too. With switching to 20 hour workweeks it works out pretty well. Though, to be honest, SPFBO doesn’t leave me much room for breaks 😂

      2. Yeah, I totally feel you there!! It’s hard to find that balancing act, especially when of course, we want to do everything possible! I’m glad you had a good break, though!

  9. Oh wow so many thoughts and similarities. I want to come back to this with more thought but we are doing a bathroom paint job this weekend so I may be hit and miss, but I’ll try to come back here with thoughts and comments.

    1. No worries at all! Obviously, it’s taken me a few weeks to actually be able to get to responding to replies at all. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post!! 🙂

  10. This is a very good post – makes me think a lot about things.
    I feel you with your reading slump – I usually suffer from a slump when I’ve picked up a book that I’m not enjoying, it just turns me off because I feel like I have to complete it – or at least I used to. I think these days I’ve learnt to recognise the problem and I usually decide to abandon the book – as difficult as that may seem.
    I think review books can sometimes make your reading suffer, so much pressure to have all the latest books and to review them early, and then before you realise you’ve over committed and that just adds additional pressure when in actual fact you want to enjoy your reading time. I don’t have a solid answer for this because I still manage to do the very same thing to myself – I try and limit myself with requests but then sometimes I just get too excited when I see a particular book – and it’s not a case of being greedy – my good intentions just seem to fly out the window and before you know it I’ve done it to myself again. I think if you’ve had a six week slump maybe you should put the review books to one side momentarily and read a book or three just purely because you fancy them. I don’t have any really good advice although something an author said to me fairly recently, this is someone who offered me their a copy of their latest book to read and I said I would love to read the book but would probably have to decline because I couldn’t fit it in before the release date – and in a nutshell she basically said authors want reviews to be a continual thing, not just something pre-release, in fact they don’t want the buzz about their book to die down so reviews are always appreciated.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Hey Lynn! You’re so sweet with your response, thank you so much for that! And YES, I am not trying to be greedy at all! And usually with my requests, I know when I’m going to love a book, so I don’t want to let it pass me by, but at the same time, you’re right, I don’t want to become completely overburdened, either. Yet, I also don’t want to say no to an unknown book or author simply because they are unfamiliar and I already have a lot on my plate, especially if I might love it and my review could potentially help them.

      I dunno, it’s a balancing act for sure! But I also DEFINITELY need to remember that authors are never going to be upset if your review of an ARC comes six months after release, because you took time to REVIEW THEIR BOOK. And that’s so important and helpful.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lynn! I appreciated it, as always. ❤

  11. Hi! Just popping in and saying for one I love your blog so much! And for a second, I totally get where you are coming from! I hate feeling like I am comparing myself to other bloggers, and that is what I do. I think what makes them have more followers, or a large Goodreads Challenge that they are absolutely powering through: How do they have so many people tagging them all the time, and how do they always have something to talk about? It gets so tiring sometimes!
    I think blogging has changed me as a reader, both negatively, and positively. I think that negatively, I am so much more critical now of a book, rather than just reading to enjoy it. But positively, I am able to have a broader understanding of a book rather than looking for details that are only skin deep to satisfy everyone.

    I do have one tip: Don’t force yourself out of your reading slump. I mean it. Forcing yourself will make it harder to read more and enjoy it. I suggest taking a hiatus. Maybe just reevaluate your TBR, see what you are still genuinely reading. Write down the books on seperate post-it notes (if you can! Maybe just some…) and then physically throw out the ones you won’t prioritise anymore: I find it extremely therapeutic and I feel less stressed about having so many books on my TBR to catch up on, as if it measures my success as a blogger.

    Sorry this is so long! Lol!
    -Emma 🙂

    1. EMMA, ohmygosh, THANK YOU. I am so sorry my response is so slow–life has been a tad bit hectic and I didn’t want to rush replies for the sake of being timely, yet not thorough! I agree, though. I definitely fall victim to the comparison game *all of the time* and I need to get better at that, for sure.

      And thank you for that tip! I actually embrace it and came out of the slump naturally since, which was really refreshing, instead of trying to force myself to continue to read books when I knew it wasn’t the right time for it. I also picked up a romance instead and mixed it up, which helped a lot.

      Ha, don’t worry at all, brevity and I don’t mix, so I love long comments. Thanks for taking the time to write!! xx

  12. I am so in love with everything you wrote in this post because it echoes so, so very deeply within me and thank you SO MUCH for writing all of this down, I feel less alone. I also feel all of these pressures and sometimes it gets overwhelming. I’m pretty proud of my reading rhythm despite working full time and still, when I see bloggers being able to read over 30 books per month, I am amazed. I know that I can’t realistically do that, yet I still feel that… envy, somehow? And ahhh the fear of responses, right here with you and this goes for any post I write at all times, reviews or not haha. You’re not alone. You’re doing fantastic, take your time with reading and go towards what your hearts wants you to read, at the time. It’s hard to overcome these pressures, but it’s important to keep the joy of reading ❤ ❤

    1. MARIE. ❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you so much for reading it!! I definitely feel that envy, especially when I read about bloggers who are bummed they only read 25+ books that month and I'm struggling to read more than five! But I have to take a step back and remember that their reading styles and what they want out of reading is different from my own and if they are disappointed they didn't read more than 25 books, they should be able to feel that; just like I can.

      Thank you so much for sharing your own experience! I hope that your reading some wonderful books and the pressure doesn't feel so heavy, lately.

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