Well, the title says it all, really: I’m quitting book blogging.
And… I feel sad to write this post. I feel a bit of regret having made this decision, but, I also know that I have to do it.
I love my blog, Read Think Ponder, so much. I have spent, easily, thousands of hours on this blog, making it into what it is today (for better or for worse), and I’ve really invested so much of myself into this blog. I wrote 152 reviews. I wrote a year’s worth of book recommendation posts. I wrote 11 discussion posts. During my time as a blogger, I’ve read a little over 320 books.
I invested five years into this blog. Five years ago, I had just finished my undergraduate degree, and between now and then, I have worked full-time and am now back at postgrad. This blog has been with me through the best and worst years of my life.
Read Think Ponder will always be my joy, it will always be something that meant and means a lot to me, and it will be something that I’ll always be proud of. For a long time, book blogging was my whole world. I just… I can’t put to words how much book blogging meant to me. It was such a core part of my identity as an individual.
But, I also think that my time as a book blogger has to come to an end. And… I think, I’m finally okay with that. Hence why I am writing this post today. I want to keep this post short, so, I have summed up why I made this decision into two reasons.
Reason 1: I want to devote more time to art.
So many of you are probably bloggers so you will understand when I say this: blogging. takes. so. much. time. There were days (before I returned to university) where I’d come home from my full-time job and work on my blog until I went to bed. There were days where I worked on my blog until way past midnight, even though I had work the next day. This is not something I am bitter about; I knew the work that went into blogging, and I genuinely really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed producing content, having people read my content, and for people to share my happiness over books. I loved meeting people who loved the same books as me, who had the same passions for diversity, who were blog visitors but became my dear friends.
But now, I have found something that I really love and enjoy doing more: art. I want to spend more time on that. I think I can have some sort of future with art; I feel like I can fulfill a small piece of my dreams through it too. Even if I never make it with art, I feel like I have to try. Even if I never make it at all, at least it is something I will love, something that is fulfilling alone and isn’t dependent on follower number and visitor stats. I want to pursue this the best I can. But because blogging requires a lot of commitment and time, it’s no longer sensible for me to do both. I want to pursue art, which makes me happy, and I need to let go of blogging which has been, for the most part, absolutely wonderful.
Reason 2: Blogging takes so much time, and I felt that the work was underappreciated.
I wish this wasn’t a big reason but if I had to be honest, it is a big reason. And this reason makes me sad.
I really want to emphasize the first part, because I feel like some non-bloggers do not appreciate this enough. Blogging takes so much time. And, we do it all for free. We do it because we love reading, because we want to share the books we love, we do it for our communities, and we do it for the teens who deserve to be heard, listened to, and understood. Connecting books with readers who share representation has been one of the greatest rewards of blogging.
Book blogging, especially the work done by diverse book bloggers, is a noble cause. Blogging and advocacy is something where we give, give, give and hardly ever take. The rewards are invisible, but they are there and meaningful. We devote so much time to reading, giving authors and their books that we love all the support and free publicity because their success is ours. But.
I began to feel like bloggers and the work that we did was not appreciated. This is also an inherently personal reason, because I like feeling like my work is valued and appreciated. It’s a culmination of many things, but I knew I had to leave when I saw scornful comments shared between some ‘big name’ authors about bloggers. Authors don’t have to like or love us, but I genuinely didn’t realize some authors downright despised us so much. Authors don’t owe us bloggers/readers any emotional labour, but seeing those comments, with so many authors and bloggers supporting it — it made me think: I don’t want to be a part of this toxic author-blogger dynamic and environment anymore. I don’t want to be part of a community which has always been about favouritism. Moreover, having my work be plagiarized and having to be silent about it (and heck, the people who I told said it would be better for me to be silent), knowing full well that no one would come to my side if I told everyone who it was and knowing people who supported me would take back their ‘who do I have to fight‘s in a heartbeat if they knew… yeah. Being a WoC in a community devoted to diversity is no different to anywhere else at the end of the day.
I don’t want to end this reason on a sour note. Because after all, I am moving onto something that will be better for me. There are still plenty of incredible people doing incredible work in the community, and their work is still meaningful and important.
So, listen, book bloggers and diversity advocates:
The work that you do is amazing. Thank you for devoting so much of your time, energy, and effort into writing reviews, writing content, reading all those books, and spreading your joy in online and offline communities. I know what the sacrifices look and feel like, and I know that it is sometimes frustrating. I am sorry if you ever feel underappreciated, like your work is not listened to or cared about – I understand how that feels, and it sucks, and I am sorry. But, I want you to know that your work, your effort, and your voices are valued. Your reviews are important and appreciated. Your advocacy is needed, and is making positive changes, even if they are invisible at first. So. Thank you for doing everything that you do.
What will I be doing next?
- I’ll still be reading. I still love reading. I’ll still read diverse books.
- I will still be on Twitter, if the community will still have me.
- I will continue to draw and share my art, and will be active on Instagram.
- I will still be offering commission work and opening a Society6. I may start a new blog/website for my art.
- I will not take down Read Think Ponder, because I want what I’ve written and worked on to remain available to those who may need it. But, that is NOT permission to plagiarize my work.
To the friends who still want to remain friends: I hope this isn’t goodbye. I’ll still be around, and if you will still have me, I’d like to continue being friends. I’ll still be on Twitter, my Instagram, and I’ll always be available via email too (firstname.lastname@example.org). Drop me an email if you ever feel the inclination – I’ll always be happy to hear from you.
To all of you who followed me, to all of you reading this right now, to all the news and old friends, I want to say thank you.
Thank you for all of your support, your kindness, and your love for the last five years.
Thank you for reading my posts, for being my friend, and for sharing books with me. I appreciate it immensely – in fact, it’s beyond words. I’ll always look back on book blogging as an ultimately positive experience, because that’s what I want it to be, and something that I’ll look back on and think fondly about.
Thank you for everything.
All the love in my heart,