Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What Makes Blogging Worth It For Me

Validation is important. It’s not the MOST important thing, because so long as you love something, no one else’s opinion matters, right? But deep down, I think validation is something we all WANT (at least, a little bit). That praise that makes you feel like a success, like you did something great. Those compliments that put a smile on your face and completely make your day. As a blogger, I can’t tell you how much it means to me when I GET that validation. I don’t seek it out, and I don't NEED it. But something as easily as no comments on a post can totally derail my feelings about it, or about my blog. So when someone says something really nice about a post or about my blog, I feel like I’m doing things right, or that my hard work is paying off. And when I get recognition as a blogger, especially as a reviewer, it makes blogging SO worth it.

I’m pretty weird about tagging authors in reviews. I’m kind of picky, because I make sure that there’s nothing negative/it’s above 4.5 stars, at least. I also don’t always feel that great about my reviews (even if they ARE full of positives), and I don’t want to share something less-than-stellar. Do you want to know how many times I edit my reviews before they’re published? Let’s just say that it’s A LOT. (I do this with discussions too, just like this one). And I constantly worry about whether or not I’m conveying what I want to. Since writing is such a huge part of who I am, and what I do every day, I want it to be perfect. I want it to MEAN something. I want all of my reviews to feel different from each other, and tailored to a specific book, so that they don’t become unoriginal. I put so much time and effort into my reviews, and it’s nice when I get recognition for that hard work.

But recognition doesn’t always happen. People get busy; publishers probably get tagged in dozens of tweets per day, with reviews and all sorts of fanart. I don’t expect, when I tag someone (whether that be author, publicist, publisher, etc), to even get a response. But when I do get a response, it seriously makes my DAY. I’ve treasured replies from authors talking about my writing, or how much they loved my review (when Michelle Smith said my Play On review made her ugly cry, I was ecstatic -- as bad as that sounds, haha). As a writer, I want what I write to mean something. I want to provoke thought and emotion and make people feel as if the time they spent in reading a post of mine was worth it. That kind of validation gives me more confidence in my ability to one day produce a book that will find special places in people’s hearts.

So yes, the validation is kind of critical for me, in this journey. And I think a lot of bloggers would tell you how much recognition means to them, whether it’s a simple RT/like, or being freaking QUOTED. A few days ago, I was tagged in the below tweet by The Novl (which as most of you know is the social media presence of Little Brown). And I just about DIED. Not only did they share my review (which is so NICE honestly, and publishers please take note that even a simple thank you or RT goes a long way [I have heard they used to never respond to bloggers, I think?? But they apparently do so more now, and it’s such a kind thing to do]), but they QUOTED IT in a lovely graphic! I was thrilled. I was seriously in shock. I’ve never before received recognition on a review like this from a publisher. Maybe an RT here and there, but nothing like this awesomeness:
I don’t blog for validation, but when I do get it, it makes me feel so VALUED. Not just as a blogger, but as a freaking human being. Sometimes I think publicists and publishers forget that most of us do this for free, that behind the screens, we are people who just love books and love fangirling about our favorites. Sometimes I feel, frankly, undervalued for what I do on here. Sometimes I feel like no one appreciates how hard I work or how much effort I put into my reviews. Sometimes I feel like just another blogger in the pool of bloggers, without a unique enough voice. But then I receive a compliment about a post/my blog, or I get a lovely reply from an author about my review, or even just a simple thank you from someone. It goes a long way in reminding me WHY I do this. Not for the praise and the compliments, but for the feeling that what I say matters to someone.

A few days before The Novl’s tweet, a friend mentioned that someone had given my blog a shout-out on theirs (thank you again, Karen!), so I’m kind of riding on a high right now. And this is amazing to me, because I’ve been feeling SO negative toward my blog lately. I have felt so down about it, even though I’ve still been posting and coming up with ideas. And things like this just continuously show me that my work pays off, that the effort I put in IS noticed. That people like my posts and my musings, and that they’re LISTENING. When the only way you can really measure your success here is through stats, it leaves you hanging onto numbers. So it’s hard, when you feel like you’re not going anywhere, and that no one cares. But when you get validation, it’s something you can hold onto in the worst moments, when you feel like quitting and just packing it in.

What makes blogging worth it to me, are not only the connections and friendships I’ve made with people, but the little moments that make me smile and keep me here. They keep me grounded; they help me ignore the numbers and the days of feeling like a failure. A comment on a post that didn’t get any love. A comment on a post that a lot of people seemed to like and wanted to talk about. A compliment on my writing, whether in review form or in general. Someone loving a book I recommended (no better compliment, tbh). Someone sharing a post of mine just because they loved it. A reply from an author or publisher, especially when I know they’re busy. A thank you for reading and reviewing. Even a simple RT or like is enough for me to feel heard and valued. For me to feel like what I do here is worth it. These things, these precious moments, I treasure them. And when the hard days roll in, I take them out of the glass box they’re in and tell myself, “It’ll pass, stick with it.”

Do you have those moments that you treasure? The ones that completely made your day and made you feel like blogging was the right choice for you? Do you think validation like this is, in some way, really important? Do you think it’s okay to WANT it, even if you’re absolutely loving what you’re doing here (and your opinion is obviously the only one that truly matters)? Let’s chat! :)

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Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3