Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by ThoughtsStained
Welcome to a bookish discussion post I didn’t know I was going to write! However, it was born organically, after I noticed a trend in my comments section from another post I wrote. I’ll get into more of the details below, but it made me want to ask one very key question: book bloggers, why aren’t we kinder to ourselves?
Like I mentioned above, this post was inspired after I received a (very surprising!!) amount of traction on a previous discussion post this year. That post was part of the Let’s Talk Bookish prompts, Let’s Talk Bookish: Blogger and Audience Relationship. In that post, I discussed the underlying relationship between bloggers and their audiences. It resonated with a lot of people (thank you!).
Yet, what stuck out to me more was the common refrain I found in the comments, especially around one key element: pressure.
One of the prompted questions for that Let’s Talk Bookish topic was surrounding pressure. Do we feel it and in what way? I wrote that I feel pressure to continually write good content, stick to a schedule and create a safe space, yet I’ve never had that pressure placed upon me by my readers.
And, based on the comments I received, many have a similar experience.
What I’ve Found
A very common refrain continued to pop up in the comments: how so much of the pressure we feel as bloggers comes internally, rather than direct feedback from our readers. A few quotes–pulled from the comments of that post–below, the first coming from Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books:
That being said, I’m just like you sometimes and I’m having all of these expectations I’m putting on myself, on my own. My audience never directly pushes me or criticizes me…”Marie @ Drizzle And Hurricane books
The second is from May @ Forever and Everly, which particularly resonated with me:
i think there’s definitely a sense of external pressure when you’re a content creator and there are people who like to consume your content regularly, but most of the time it truly is just pressure we place on ourselves—i don’t think i’ve ever had someone tell me that i suck for not putting out content regularly, even if that’s what i might’ve thought about myself…”May @ Forever and Everly
Both of these are just from the comments section from my last post. And both come from two bloggers who are, like, god-tier level bloggers, in my eyes. I respect them both immensely.
Yet, looking at those quotes, it made today’s theme very obvious: it’s not uncommon for book bloggers to feel intense pressure–sometimes to levels that can be anxiety inducing or that hurt our own mental health and esteem. Yet, that pressure often doesn’t come from feedback within the community itself.
So, Why Aren’t We Kinder to Ourselves?
This, my friends, is the million dollar question. Is it because book bloggers are naturally high achieving, caring individuals who are used to putting pressure on ourselves? Perhaps because we have built a platform that promotes books (albeit for free, in many cases) that makes us feel pressure to perform to unspoken expectations? Or is it a personality trait, where we want our hard work, our passion, to be appreciated, well-received and noticed–and added internal pressure in a natural part of that?
I’m not sure of the answer. Hell, I’m not even sure if there can be a specific answer or if it’s a combination of all the above and more.
The point of this post isn’t to know why aren’t we kinder to ourselves.
It’s to say that we should be.
I believe that we deserve to treat ourselves with more kindness and more grace that we obviously do. Pressure inherently isn’t a bad thing! But, from the response of that post, to other posts I’ve read over the years, I do think there is often an issue within the blogging community of tying too much self-worth into statistical relevance or internal pressures we place upon ourselves. Especially without anyone who enjoys our content giving validation to those pressures.
So, this is my plea: for all book bloggers to be kinder to ourselves. To give yourself grace when you miss a post; when blog hopping becomes scarce; when you didn’t enjoy that book as much as everyone else. Or hell, when you don’t read at all. To not be ashamed if your stats dropped or you demand to be paid for your work.
You are worth so much more than any number can give you value. Your content matters. The work you put in is underappreciated and often not recognized the way it should be. But that doesn’t mean you should be adding fuel to that negative fire yourself.
Thank you for reading! If this resonated, take a moment and tell a blogger you appreciate them today. Share their post, give their blog a follow, write a comment when you’d normally only leave a like. Let’s remind each other–and ourselves–all the good we are doing and celebrate that. 🖤
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Davida Chazan says
Interesting… yes, sometimes I feel a bit pressured to make sure I have posts ready on time, but mostly, I just try to enjoy myself. But I agree, we do need to be kind to ourselves!
I think we should all be trying to enjoy ourselves, though, so I’m glad that’s exactly what you’re doing!!!
Anne Bennett says
I agree that we need to be kind to ourselves and not put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best blogger ever. I often find myself comparing what I write to others and my writing falls flat. Who’s judging me? Me! I also compare the books I read or don’t read. How cares? Me. There is a lot of pressure we put on ourselves. Time to be kind to self!
What do you do when a favorite author dies? Let’s Discuss!
Right!? It’s completely baffling to me how much pressure we put on ourselves when it’s literally only coming from us!
riv @ dearrivarie says
being kind to ourselves is so hard but definitely needed! i’ve kept my blogging “reach” very small and have never experienced any pressure to perform but i’m always disappointed in myself if i don’t reach a certain quota that i’ve set for myself at the start of the year/month. it took a long time but i think it was interacting with other bloggers, like you mentioned, that helped give me a better perspective and therefore relationship with book blogging 🙂
Oh gosh, yes. I connect with this, Riv! I definitely have moments when I get so down when I don’t meet goals I’ve set for myself. Here’s to both of us being much kinder to ourselves!
i absolutely love this post, nicole. i admit, it isn’t something i would have thought to discuss ever though its a common experience in the community. we do need to be kinder to ourselves. i wonder where this internal pressure comes from and how everybody develops it.
Thank you so much, Sumedha! I am definitely curious and wish I could nail down exactly why this experience seems to be so widely common! And more sure fire ways to combat it.
Malka @ Paper Procrastinators says
Nicole, this was an absolutely fantastic post! I’ve felt this way before so many times! Any time I have to take a break from the blog, I berate myself. Whenever I can’t blog hop or answer comments right away, I feel like I’m failing as a blogger in some way. But like you said, all this pressure is internal, and so I’m trying very, very hard to remind myself that my mental health comes first. Which means that I need to give myself time to recharge and not make blogging a chore just because I feel some sort of internal expectation.
I think I’m heading in the right direction, since I took time that I needed in February when life just became too hectic instead of forcing myself to make time to blog. But I will say that this post was just the reminder I needed not to put too much pressure on myself as I make my return back to blogging!
Ahh, thank you so much, Malka!! I think your comment just helps prove how common this is amongst the bookish community (which is such a sad truth). But the fact that this post resonated and help remind you to be kind as you come back from hiatus!!! That’s exactly the sort of kindness we should be showing ourselves day in and day OUT.
I hope you continue to treat yourself with grace and compassion!! And I appreciate these thoughts so much. ❤