Like all things worth doing, there are good and bad factors to running a blog. Here I'll share a few of the reasons I keep going and be really brutally honest about some of the things that drive me insane.
1. The Community. I've made some awesome friends since I started I Write, I Read, I Review. Without people who are interested in my blog, I'm not sure how well I would do at keeping it going. (Writing + reading + blogging + life is challenging enough!) Whenever I get too overwhelmed and wonder whether this is still for me, it's ALWAYS something to do with the community we share that makes me decide to keep going. And my favorite memories as a blogger tend to be of people, rather than books or events or any of that stuff. It's nice, yeah. I won't lie about that. But without people... what's the point? (Do not confuse this with an inability to recognize that one must first blog--much as one must first WRITE, for oneself. Just wanted to make that really clear.)
2. Discovering books and authors I might otherwise have missed. I can't begin to count how many awesome stories I might never have read if I hadn't started my blog and met other bloggers. As a writer, being exposed to a wide variety of stories is important to both improve my craft and nourish my own imagination. I read a LOT more now than I did prior to blogging.
3. Blogging takes a very solitary hobby and allows it to become more social. I love getting involved in events where I can discuss what I am reading, or where I can see what others are reading and what they think. Sometimes having, say, a read-a-thon pop up during a draft I'm writing can be a good reminder to take a step back and replenish the well and take a bit of a breather, for example.
4. The ability to help authors ensure that their stories are read by more people. I know how much I want people to read and enjoy my own book, so when people approach me for help with promoting theirs, I tend to feel very honoured and I tend to feel that, as a fellow writer, it is my responsibility (provided I think the book is GOOD). That's gonna be me this year, and I tend to believe in good karma.
1. When I review books I often feel that I am repeating the same things. This gets really boring and has lead to me fiddling with my review structure and trying to find a way that works better. I often feel that I have things I really WANT to say, but also feel that I CAN'T say them because a review is suppose to be for someone who hasn't read the book yet. It's a vicious cycle that drives me crazy! Six paragraphs of "this book is great!" or "this book freakin' sucks!" isn't going to change my mind, but if I talk about what I really think or feel I risk ruining things for people. Maybe THAT's how I need to sort my reviews? With Spoiler and Spoiler Free sections? That might be an idea... *ponders*
2. Agreeing to review something and discovering it *sucks*. I'm not talking, "Eh, this is getting 2 hearts" okay. I'm talking "What were you THINKING, person?!" levels of cringeworthy. I've only had this happen a couple times and I've never had a "bad" experience in response to a book not working out. But it makes me feel TERRIBLE. Despite my liking or not liking a book, I know somebody out there put their heart and soul into the thing and I know what that's like. I know that tough skin is part of being an author, but I hate being the arrow that has someone racing to grab a shield.
3. What I call the "cycle of writing". In short: "If I'm writing I feel like I should be blogging. If I'm blogging I think I should be reading. If I'm reading I think I should be writing.". It leads to a soul-draining, brain numbing paralysis where I do NOTHING and it totally screws me up sometimes. A lot of the time the only way to get back up is to drop a ball (i.e. let one of these things go momentarily) like I am a juggler who still can't manage three items yet. What I know for certain is that it is probably my biggest source of blogging / writing / reading kryptonite and it is the thing I wish I could master the most.
So, what are your blogging pros and cons? I'd love to know so feel free to link me up!