I started Drizzle & Hurricane Books as a 21 years-old student, over 500 km away from home. It’s been 5 years now and my life is different in a lot of ways. I got my first job, my first permanent contract, I celebrated my 26 years old, I travelled, moved back home, changed, grew.
In those 5 years, I turned my sister into an as big reader as I am, tripled my bookshelves, discovered new favorite authors and new favorite books and fell in love with reading all over again.
In those 5 years, I wrote 851 blog posts and a gained a certain number of followers I’m a little baffled to admit (and makes me feel like I need a new glasses prescription because I might be seeing double?????), bothered everyone by talking too much about books, opened book mail and cried (for real).
In those 5 years, I met some people I talk to every single day and can’t imagine my life without. I met some people I admire, some people that inspire me, make me want to grow, to do better. Some people that make me feel like I’m enough, somehow and that I can do something great.
It’s been 5 years since I created my little book blog and the best lesson I’ve learned in all of this is that, wow I can manage to stick to something when I like doing it, no matter how hard, frustrating, complicated and sometimes overwhelming it can be.
Today, to celebrate, I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned over the course of 5 years of blogging, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
📝5 book blogging lessons I’ve learned
1. You should just read whatever you want to read 📚
I know, I know. It sounds strange to start by this statement. It seems pretty obvious, to read whatever you want, whatever you like. Yet, as you start blogging, as you get deeper within the community, immersed into it all… well, believe it or not, it’s easy to forget about what you really want to read. I know I did, more than once.
It’s too easy to see everyone all around getting incredible-looking early copies from publishers and to want to read them, without even knowing what they’re about. It’s easy to see everyone screaming about a series, a new book, an incredible one you should be reading and how come you haven’t read it now? It’s way too easy to get swept up by the hype. It’s too easy to feel like you want to read a book, but…. really, in the end, you don’t.
In the end, you’re the one that will be spending the precious money you put together for your books. You’re the one who will be eagerly waiting for them at the library, wishing for them on a star, on an email to a publisher and so on. In the end, you’re here because you love books and, god, there are so many of them. Just make sure you’re spending your time reading what you really want to read.
Related blog post: Do I really want to read this book, or does the hype make me want to?
If you can’t read 100 books a year, it’s okay, too.
If you don’t want to read, sometimes, it’s okay, too.
It doesn’t make you any less of a book blogger, or of a book lover for that matter.
2. Statistics don’t mean sh*t 📊
Sorry, I’m being kind of blunt here, but… you know what? Sometimes, I need it, too.
I know we’re all starting book blogging as a hobby, because we love reading, because we want to talk about books, find other book bloggers and so on. That’s what I did, 5 years ago. Yet… we live in a capitalistic world where numbers matter, or seem to matter and our minds can’t help but get focused on that a tiny little bit, whether we want it or not.
It’s so easy to get obsessed with statistics when you start out, when you start getting one, two, three comments, followers, interactions and so on. It’s easy to feel exhilarated at your blog’s growth, and you know what? I find it even easier to have your mental health plummet down whenever numbers don’t grow the way you imagine it too.
You know what? It’s okay to care about statistics. It’s okay to want our numbers to grow, it’s only human. It’s okay to want to thrive for growth this way, to write posts that your readers enjoy the most, to want to reach followers goals and pageviews goals and so on.
It’s also okay not to care, to never check your statistics at all. To write blog posts for you, even if they’re not that popular.
No matter how you view statistics in your mind, IT IS OKAY.
No matter what, statistics are numbers and numbers are hard to understand, even harder to control. Whether you have 10k followers or 10, it doesn’t mean a thing. It doesn’t tell you that you’re not a great book blogger, that you’re not writing with all of your heart and soul. I’m not going to tell you how to care or not care about statistics. You do what you want, but no matter what the numbers tell, just take care your blog with your heart. Honestly, it’s all that matters.
Related blog post: The truth about book blogging statistics
3. Interact at your own pace… and for your own comfort 💬
I’m the first one to praise blog hopping, meeting new people and chatting with them. I’m the first one to tell you that it’s incredible, the people you’ll meet, the community you’ll feel part in, the ways it will make your blog grow, too.
The truth is: interacting is overwhelming, it’s maddening, at times. Sometimes, you just don’t want to interact, at all. Or maybe it’s just me and my anxiety speaking, but… well, sometimes I just want to crawl into a hole and don’t do a thing.
I might be the worst at taking care of myself and knowing when I should step away and take some time for myself, but it’s important to. If there are comments pending you don’t want to answer to, just don’t. If there is too much happening on twitter, just take a break from it all.
Interaction is, for me, even more overwhelming than writing blog posts. It’s easy to feel like you have to be there all the time or you’ll miss our. You know what? You will miss out on things either way. Because of time zones, because you can’t always be there even if you want to.
Choose your social media wisely and quit if you’re not okay with it. Don’t interact every day if it gets tiring. I used to do this and I realized I just couldn’t handle it. It was too much.
Know your limits and believe that the right people will always be there when you’re ready to interact again.
4. Make your blog yours – and not anyone else’s 💻
You know something that makes me really really angry? People taking other people’s ideas and passing them as their own. I’m always linking back to Cait’s brilliant blog post about inspiring vs copying, because it’s always, always relevant.
You can’t be original in the book community. Everyone has talked about a topic one way or another, about a book one way or another, has done a recommendation lists like the one you imagine and so on. There are unique ideas, obviously, there are some incredibly unique and original book bloggers out there, yes. Yet, there are more ideas that have already been done than not.
You know what makes a difference between you and the ten thousand gazillion book bloggers out there? YOU.
It’s your voice that makes a difference. Your unique opinions. The way you’ll write your blog posts, the layouts you’ll imagine for them. Your blog, your platform, your design, the way you imagine your brand to be.
Making your blog entirely yours takes time. It takes practice, too. It took me like, 4 years to brand my blog properly. It’s okay to take your time with it all. It’s worth it to create something that’s entirely yours, something that you can be proud of.
Related blog post: How to find your blogging voice and your best blogging-self
5. Just do whatever makes you happy 💛
Book blogging is a hobby is a mantra that I’ve been telling myself for the past 5 years now. It’s easy to get swept away by it all, by wanting to do it all. Reading all the books to be able to talk about them with everyone. Writing blog posts every day because it seems to work better for my blogging stats. Interacting every single day and every single time off I have, just to make sure that I’m there, not missing out on anything at all.
I’m spending 30+ hours per week on book blogging and no one forces me to. I don’t make a dime out of it either, so whether I spend 20, 10 or 1 hour a week on it all doesn’t matter, really.
What matters is that blogging makes me happy. Drafting blog posts makes me happy, interacting at my own pace makes me happy. Seeing that, after 5 years of blogging, I’m still there writing blog posts and shouting into the void, makes me proud.
Seeing the pile of books I have waiting to be read makes me happy. Seeing that ARC I received, that dedicated book I won, these words written down by one of my favorite authors makes me want to cry.
Seeing this blog I poured my heart in for 1826 days now makes me feel proud.
If you take one thing from this blog post -or if you skipped to the end… I get that, I ramble a lot -, let it be this: just blog because it makes you happy and do whatever makes you happy and try not to worry too much about the rest of it all.
How long have you been blogging for?
Do you have some lessons you’ve learned in your time blogging? Any tips you’d like to share? Let us know in comments!
🎉 A side note:
I am celebrating my 5TH YEAR of book blogging this November! To celebrate, I thought about doing a Q&A so…. if you have any question you’d love to ask me, about book blogging, reading, writing, traveling, life, anything, feel free to! You can do so by answering to this tweet , sending me a message -dm, email- or by commenting your questions below, just as well. You have until the 22nd to send me your questions and I’d LOVE to hear from you, friends. x