This Kathleen Hale business has led to a few things:

  • Bloggers being concerned about their safety and privacy
  • Bloggers starting a “Blogging Blackout”—no book reviews for a while
  • A few silly authors criticizing bloggers for participating in the blackout
  • Bloggers getting discouraged, unmotivated, and wondering, “What’s the point?”

A blog is for YOU! Keep it that way!

Blogging is not about:

  • Reading as many books as possible
  • Getting all the ARCs
  • Forging as many publisher relationships as you can
  • Pleasing authors
  • Pleasing publishers
  • Reviewing for other people

That’s just not what blogging is. Blogging isn’t about you pleasing someone or making connections. You blog because YOU want to blog. You blog about books because YOU love books.

Having a blog is all about what you want and doing something that you love because it makes you happy. This is a hobby, not a job. You’re under no obligation, you don’t HAVE to read ARCs if you don’t want to, you don’t HAVE to read 100+ books a year if you’re struggling to meet that, and you don’t HAVE to aspire to please all the authors.

This is your blog and the only person you have to please with it is yourself.

  • Stressed out over ARCs? You don’t have to accept/request them.
  • Are authors/bloggers/random people criticizing your decisions? Screw them, it’s none of their business.
  • You don’t have a post quota to fill. Don’t force yourself to post more than you’re able to.

I think some people have forgotten that we all started blogging because we loved books and wanted a space to rave about them. This is YOUR space and you can do whatever you want with it. If there are parts of that space that are stressing you out or no longer fun, stop doing them! You don’t have to request ARCs just because that’s what everyone else seems to do. You don’t have to try to post as often as possible, out of fear that your blog will fall off the grid. There are no rules there. When it’s your space, you can do whatever the hell you want!

What have you done lately to celebrate blogging for yourself? Have you broken any “rules” or made any big changes?

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  1. Awesome post and you are so right. Lately my wrists have been hurting so I havent been able to post as often and I have been feeling bad about it but your post makes me remember I blog for me.

  2. Amen Sister! I started my blog without getting books from authors and publishers because I like reading and wanted to find others who like reading as well. I will not be doing any sort of blackout, I am not worried about my blog and it’s future. If I don’t get any more ARC’s I will still blog but it will just be books I bought or got from library, it’s nothing to stress about. I recently started stressing over my ARC’s and decided to stop looking at netgalley for a while until I got caught up because as you said, we shouldn’t be stressing over reviewing or our blog. 🙂 So for now I am making a list of books I think sound good so that later on if I want to get them I can purchase them or look at the library for them. No more stressing for me. 🙂

    1. Same here! I’m not going to let a few psychos/idiots ruin blogging for me. I’m not going to let them take away my motivation. My motivation is MINE, just like my blog is mine. I’ll do with it what I will, regardless of what they want/think/say. 🙂

  3. So I obviously completely agree with blogging however makes you happy and doing what you enjoy. I think the stress really comes in though when you have goals that you really want to achieve (usually related to ARCs/numbers/publisher connections) and you’re trying to figure out how to achieve those goals. I don’t think it’s wrong to have those goals in addition to loving reading and talking about reading, especially since a lot of us are very goal-driven people. It seems more that when there are those goals that you can’t get out of your head, finding a way to balance between not driving yourself crazy stressed and still working at whatever pace works for you towards them and that’s what we forget sometimes.

    1. I don’t think it’s wrong to have those goals either. I actually have a post scheduled all about goals and numbers. 😉

      You’re right though, balance is key!

  4. I think that people forget that we started blogging because we love reading books. That’s why I started a book blog. Now after every 2-3 arcs that I review, I actually read something for pleasure to keep it fun again. I think that way I will enjoy it more. Also I’m trying to scale back on how much I post because of my hand, and the carpal tunnel issue that I have.

    Grace Fonseca recently posted: We have Winners
    1. Yeah I tend to read whatever I want, whenever I want, regardless of whether it’s an ARC or a book that I purchased. If I want to read 5 of “my” books in a row, so be it. If I feel like reading 5 ARCs next time, that’s fine too!

      I just don’t let myself feel obligated one way or the other.

  5. I couldn’t agree more. I’m planning to do a post on blogging and stress soon because I’ve come across this so many times in the blogosphere. It stresses me out vicariously reading things like “I only read 120 books this year, that’s so little compared to last year!”. And I’m sitting here like: I didn’t know this was a competition to read as many books as possible? I only read like 30, should I shut down my blog now?

    Vlora @ Reviews and Cake recently posted: Update and Stacking the Shelves (5)
  6. I think I read an equal number of ARCs and books that are already published. As you said, blogging is a hobby and it an investment of money and time too. It is not a competition in popularity or who can read more books or who can get more ARCs. We all love reading and raving about what we read, I also share a bit about my life, to discuss any and all topics, share crafts I’ve done or things I bake/cook.

    What happened with those authors is the exception to the rule and I don’t think it should discourage others from reviewing any book.

    Liza @ Reading with ABC recently posted: Why I Love Halloween!
    1. Yeah sometimes one thing will happen and people will overreact and start questioning EVERYTHING because of it. We don’t have to let one stupid thing affect our stride.

  7. Great post and I agree with you 100%!! I’ve stopped stressing about my numbers (followers & reviews) and now take a relaxed approached to blogging. I only post what I want and when I can since I am busy with family and work. I love reading and blogging and I refuse to let all that drama interfere with it.

  8. I completely agree with you. I mean, I understand that the Kathleen Hale thing is a big deal but I mean honestly, there are hundreds of bloggers out there and it happened once. And nothing dangerous even happened. Totally get why people would feel disheartened but they shouldn’t let this affect them. 😀 I’ve started to just chill out a bit. I don’t feel as guilty as I used to when I wouldn’t post for a day or two. Plus, I’ve gotten addicted to Instagram which totally makes me feel better!

    Laura Plus Books recently posted: Are You In Any Book Clubs?
    1. I totally agree. I honestly don’t think people need to suddenly start fearing for their safety. It’s like: if one of your friends gets mugged, are you suddenly afraid of going outside ever again? No, because stupid things happen now and then. That’s just life!

      It was a stupid, totally messed up situation, but that doesn’t mean we should let it ruin us.

  9. Well, this is a great post! I’m really glad you put it all together like this – all the minders of why we started to do this in the first place.
    My blog is still tiny, so I’m not really worried about pleasing anyone per se, but it can sometimes bre disheartening to get so little response. But posts like yours remind me that I started to write for myself and I get a new jolt of energy to continue doing just that. Thanks! 🙂

    Kaja recently posted: My October
    1. Yeah it can definitely be disheartening at first. I know exactly how motivating comments can be, or how demotivating a lack of comments can be. I think it’s important to hang in there because blogs do grow with time, but if you stick around long enough you’ll totally find your stride and your audience. 🙂

  10. Awesome post! I’ve only been blogging for about two months, and I already feel overwhelmed. The other day, I just said, ‘fuck it!’ I don’t need the stress, especially with life and grad school, so I’m going to do what I want. I hope other bloggers read this and appreciate it. Oh, and THANK YOU for your plugin! It’s a life saver!

    Cristal Hummingbird recently posted: Excerpt: Among Monsters by Jamie Mcquire
  11. Excellent Post! I found it via Reading Books Like a Boss. This is exactly what my blog partner and I have been saying all along. We started blogging a year and a half ago and there has only been a brief few months when we signed up for a lot of tours and accepted a lot of ARCs. It stressed us out a bit so we stopped it. I have no tours or cover reveals lined up at all and we don’t do promotional posts. We mostly buy our own books, get them from the library, or snag a handful off Netgalley. We’d rather take the authors and PR people out of the equation, as much as possible. What’s left? Books we want to read. Every single book is for us. The series I’m currently reading was written about 15 years ago. 🙂 We have a blast reading and reviewing and blogging. It’s not our life. It’s our fun, little hobby. As soon as it stopped being fun, we made some changes, and luckily we realized it pretty quickly. We try not to read about the drama. We’d just rather not know. We’ve unliked pages that talk about it, simply because we don’t want to get pulled in.

    Thanks for the post. My blog partner is putting together something similar right now because we were feeling the same way.

    Hildy recently posted: Becoming Calder by Mia Sheridan
  12. Such a true post, and awesome all around. YES we blog because we enjoy it, not because someone is making us review books or do something particular. My co-blogger and I blog how we want, and about what we want. And we make changes where they are needed to keep it fun.

  13. Great post.

    blogging should be fun, not stressful. This is a labor of love, not a job, not a means to an end. it’s a hobby. blog about what you want, when you want.

  14. Great post 🙂 I’m a big blogging mess right now, and actually deleted my entire blog earlier this week. I was feeling really uncomfortable with how much personal info my blog had on it. Trying to figure out what to do at this point. Lots to think about!

    Finley Jayne recently posted: Taking a Hiatus and Restructering
  15. I’m proud to say that I didn’t consider quitting blogging for a second when the Kathleen Hale mess came up. I’ve made quite a few wonderful blogger and author friends through the book blogging community. I get pleasure out of sharing the books I read, and I’m not ready to give that up anytime soon. I did, however, scrutinize my posts and tweets more carefully to make sure I wasn’t revealing too much personal info.

    I’ve been a bit upset about not posting regularly because of school, but you’re definitely right about not feeling guilty about it. I’m just kinda sad about not being able to blog as often.

    Dana @ The Nerdy Journalist recently posted: Happy Sci-Fi Month + Read-a-thon/Reading Challenge
  16. Amen! I realm don’t stress out about my blog anymore – I used to, but lately I’ve been pretty calm about it. My only real concern is when I get behind replying to comments. It’s really important to me that I reply to every single comment and that cam be really easy to fall behind on. I have to say, the Hale businesses really hasn’t phased me. I guess i figure its isolated and likely to end up in a court room. I’ve always believed i needed to be careful online, so that’s nothing new. Its just sad that an author really would take things so far.

    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: My TBR List | November 2014 Voting
  17. So true!! I used to worry about getting a review up immediately upon finishing a book. Now I’ve put a ‘clause’ in my policy stating that I put reviews up twice weekly. I work 60+ hours a week in “the real world”; I read for me, but love sharing my opinion. While my review blog doesn’t get noticed all that often, I love sharing my opinion with the authors, publishers, and the readers who do stumble across me. But when I’m forcing out reviews because I finished the book yesterday… I lose myself and I have nothing to say other than the generic same ol’ same ol’. I want each review to be personalized to the book — they ought to be. And to do that, I need to be able to take the time to digest and not fear that by not getting a review up yesterday, I won’t be accepted for ARCs and whatnot. If that’s the case, heck, I have 1k+ books littering my house that would love to be reviewed, too.

  18. Amen, sister! I 100% agree. I have been saying this from the get-go. Even though I love it when other people enjoy my blog, I don’t write posts for them, I write them for me. I love reading, I love talking to nice authors, I love sharing the books I love, and I get to do that on my book blog. It’s a great feeling. I try not to worry about what posts people like the most, or what’s poplar, I just post what I want to.

    I even had a big publishers start sending me ARCs like every week without me even asking for them. I guess I got put on a list or something. But I wasn’t really enjoying those books every often. I only reviewed about half of them. I was getting too many to keep up with. All of a sudden, they stopped sending me ARCs (I am assuming because I wasn’t reviewing enough of them or because a lot of my ratings were low), and you know what? I was cool with that. It was becoming too stressful to try to review all the books they sent me, especially when I wasn’t interested in a lot of them. I don’t need ARCs. I can buy the books I want to read. That’s the point of book blogging, reading books you WANT to read.

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Stacking the Shelves #101: Love is the Drug

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