Despite all of my bookish talks about statistics and how they don’t matter, despite everything I could say, or try to say and try to brainwash myself into thinking, I’m only human and, so is everyone around the bookish community. Okay, maybe there are some robots in there, I don’t know, I only know humans so far (if you’re a robot… please don’t tell me. That would definitely freak me out).
I’m only human and that means I’m a selfish, number-focused creature that, no matter what she might do, will always seek validation from the outside world.
I started book blogging because I wanted to, no one was holding a knife to my throat and telling me “NOW YOU GO TALK ABOUT BOOKS ONLINE AND THAT WILL TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE”. (Spoiler alert: it did take over my life, but… that’s not the point). I started book blogging, because I wanted to talk about books online and I wanted to find my people. My thing, too. I did.
Yet somewhere in this blogging journey, early on, I, just like anyone else, started seeking validation. Feeling validated, like we matter, like we did something good, is the best feeling in the world and let me say it out loud already: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be noticed, to have a great following, great statistics, to get amazing opportunities and so on.
Book blogging takes loads of time, sweat, frustration and tears (maybe it’s me. I am kind of intense). Book blogging also brings a whole lot of happiness in my life and it’s only human to want to feel like we are doing this for something. Like we have a voice here in the community that matters. Like WE matter. We want to feel like our reviews are being read, like people are buying the books we recommend and think, oh! I did that! We want to get views and comments and have people to chat with and feel like that post we spent hours on actually works, somehow, actually matters because people are looking at it and commenting on it and enjoying it. We all know that’s goals for any kind of blogger. Feeling like our voices matter.
How the heck do you feel validation as a book blogger?!
In my book blogging journey, it took me quite some time to feel like I was, well… okay as a blogger. To feel like I mattered, like I have something interesting to say, like, people actually care about what I spend so many hours on. That being said, when I think back to everything that happened to me in over three years of blogging… I feel pretty lucky to have gotten this “validation” feeling, whenever….
- I get not ten, not twenty, not hundred, not thousand of comments, but ONE comment. One comment already makes me feel that way,
- Whenever my stats increase, because we (me included) can say whatever the heck we want, we are still quite HAPPY when these damn stats increase.
- Whenever someone actually mentions, casually, that they like my blog?! In an award, in a blog post, in SOMETHING, I’m already tearing up.
- Whenever someone just thinks about me for a book tag? I mean, they thought, yay, let’s tag Marie and I’m like, AWWWW. Even if I have tags back from 2015 I haven’t gotten around to.
- And yes, let’s mention that one because, let’s face it, it is a dream and it WAS one of my dreams, I’m not scared to say this: getting my first physical ARC, as an international blogger.
There are other, tiny, small or bigger things that, in my blogging journey, made me feel like I was somehow, doing good. Doing something right.
We all want traffic. We want books. We want answers and interactions to our blog posts. We want twitter accounts over 3 K, because that’s where everything happens now and we want authors to recognize our names (or twitter handles. whatever). We’re all greedy and humans and we just want to succeed and, success is more often than not, in our minds, completely linked to these things.
We just want to feel like, in a community of thousand and thousand of people, we are not just one grain of sand.
Validation comes from outside, but it also needs to come from inside. Before anything else.
Visits, comments, ARCs, everything else coming from outside that might make you feel like a book blogger, are things that can completely be out of your control. Blog hopping, commenting, sharing with the community and everything else, like I did a whole lot since I started blogging, helped me create a love bubble and made me feel included and therefore validated, somehow. Yet, these things are sometimes totally random. People get busy, visits go down. You don’t live in the United States, so ARCs are harder to come by. You’re just not made for twitter, because that amount of drama freaks you out.
And you know what, that’s okay, too, because you don’t need any of these. Validation as a book blogger needs to come from inside, too.
I know I personally have trouble doing that thing, because I tend put others, the community and outside people and opinions before mine. Not trying to show off, say I’m awesome or anything else here, because if you know me, I am far, far from being that person. I tend to make validation come from outside and I’ll admit it: I didn’t feel validated as a book blogger until late last year, because I let other factors determine my worth as a book blogger. It mattered for me, but I just realized how wrong I was.
As fun and amazing as being validated by exterior factors feel, what matters the most is what we think of ourselves, what we put out there. I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished and this is the first time I’m writing this down, really. This feels weird. Obviously, I won’t be lying and say I’m not proud of the followers, the blog, the comments, the shares, every single thing that the outside gave me for so many years.
Yet, I’m also proud that I kept up with this for so long and I still love it. That proves something.
I’m proud of the connections I made – aside from the comments these people bring me, I’m proud and happy and thankful to have genuine friends that will recognize themselves, my queens and so many others. I sometimes still need my sister to tell me that I’m doing okay, that I can take a break every once in a while, that it’s okay if there are highs and lows and ARCs denials and mail that will never come. I’m still standing and doing this and I’m just validating the hell out of myself because I’m doing good. As long as I do it with love.
What makes you feel validation, as a blogger? Comments, followers, statistics?
Do you still struggle with that feeling of “do I matter?” or not? (Let me tell you, YOU DO, you’re doing great, keep on going!) ?
This was your reminder to be proud of yourself, you’re doing FANTASTIC and, personally, I am so proud of you.