Backstage Blogging: Section 2, Part 2
It’s time for Backstage Blogging Section TWO!!
Section One of backstage blogging centered around blog utilization. I asked a group of thirty bloggers who had been blogging for less than six months “What do you hope to accomplish with your book blog beyond sharing your love of literature?” You can see their responses to that question: here & here. I also asked a group of thirty bloggers who have been blogging for over six months to several years “As the operator of a well-known blog, how do you put your star power to good use?” You can see their responses: here & here.
This next section is centered around voice! You can find last week’s post, here. Stay tuned for the next two weeks to here from more book bloggers!
(Special thanks to Susan from Wastepaper Prose who inspired and helped me develop this series!)
“Is the idea of finding your voice and creating a unique blogging identity intimidating?”
In some ways yes it is intimidating, and in other ways it isn’t. Sometimes I look at blogs and they seem so far away from anything I could ever hope for regarding my own blog. At the same time, I am so proud of how much I have accomplished in such a short amount of time. I think that as time goes on a bloggers natural blogging identity will emerge on its own. It’s not something that can be forced. For me, I have tried a few different features on my blog that just never fit. I soon realized that the best response from my readers comes from me just being myself and posting things I want to post. Nothing makes me happier than to get a nice comment and that is when I feel my true blogging identity taking shape. It’s okay to feel intimidated and it can allow us to push harder and find our own way, but I try to never let it get me down. Blogging is meant to be fun and finding your voice in this community can happen without a conscious effort. By staying true to who I am and presenting the information that is important to me, I hope my blogging identity will take shape on its own.
In a word yes the idea of finding my own voice and creating a unique blogging identity is intimidating. I think this is because there are so many great blogs out there and it seems (to a newbie) that everything has been done. There’s always someone who writes better reviews, gets awesome books before you or comes up with fantastic features I’d never manage to dream up. I went through a stage of being a little intimidated by those bloggers with an Literary background who critcise (or praise) writing style in detail. It made me feel a bit stupid as they were commenting on things that I would have never picked up on about use of language and writing perspective. I’ve tried to battle said blogging identity demons by looking at other people’s blogs and trying to find something that works for me without copying other people’s features shamelessly and by writing reviews based on what is important to me (enjoyment of a book rather than perfect prose). For now I’m just content with the fact that I’ve actually managed to get a blog going (I’m no techno wizard) and plan to try things out to see what works and what doesn’t in the hope to carve out my own little identity in the blogging universe.
The idea of finding my voice and creating a unique blogging identity is inimitating. There are so many great bloggers out there, that have been around for such a long time, that to make yourself stand out you must be well… unique. You have to try something different, review uniquely, and of course be yourself. I hope that I can too create and establish an unique blogger experience. And that I will be around for a long time as well.
It is, and it isn’t. Read on for my reasons . . . 2 months into it, I admit that blogging still comes with a big challenge, which is finding some sort of defining and unique voice to go by. Especially since there are so many blogs out there, it’s difficult finding one particular path and just going with it. Are my posts going to be funny? Serious? Witty? What am I trying to achieve, what do I hope to convey to my readers when blogging?
However, I’ve just come to accept the fact that I can’t seem to come to that final decision just yet, or just pick one certain voice and identity to go by. I believe this is something that all new bloggers have to face, and while it is intimidating when looking at all the *MAJOR LEAGES* in the book blogging community, I’m hoping that a definitive and unique voice & identity will eventually just, develop. I know that all these things that come with blogging and WRITING take time, so I’ll just go with the flow and see where that leads me.
Yes. No. Something. Can I pick another question? ::looks around, scared:: Oh, fine.
There’s something to be said about finding your voice and creating it; placing it out there for people to read and critique and review on their own terms. It’s very much like the process of publishing we blog so much about. Whenever I look back on what my blog is for, and realize that I have to be a unique personality and completely unlike everyone else, I get a little intimidated. ‘Why,’ I ask myself ‘Can I compare myself to such good bloggers?’ I see such amazing blogs and writing done every day, and there’s always a part of me that will be intimidated, and even scared, of how I make and express my unique voice.
At the same time, it’s rather easy. I’m flamboyant and talkative and opinionated. My voice is pretty unique to begin with, and no one else can be me. I try to make myself different from the other bloggers in style, tone, and what I review, and it really isn’t that difficult.
Until I think about it again. Then I practically pee my pants from the ‘Holy crap’ factor. If this is what authors go through putting their books out there, I may have to rethink my priorities….
The idea of creating a whole unique, memorable “me” blogging identity is pretty intimidating, yes – there are so many bloggers out there, and thinking about standing out among all of that when there are so many established, well-loved blogs out there can be overwhelming. But I think in practice, it’s actually not as scary as it sounds. My “strategy,” if you can call it that, is just to be myself and not try too hard to force uniqueness.
Yes! There are so many wonderful book blogs out there. As I was creating my blog, I couldn’t help but wonder if there is really room for another one, and I’m constantly insecure about whether my reviews and posts are really adding anything new to the discussion.
It feels like it is incredibly difficult to do something “new” as a book blogger. There are a few things that I am trying to do to distinguish myself from the crowd: I usually skip over reviews for books that just don’t need any extra hype, focusing instead on smaller titles. I post poems and blurb/acknowledgment excerpts that I like, which I think are fairly unique features. When I have time, I’m planning to begin a weakly feature dealing with the history of children’s lit, the psychology of reading, and reviews of literary criticism books.
I don’t feel like I’ve truly carved out my niche yet, but my blog is a work in progress. I hope to develop a lot more unique content in the future.
Absolutely. There’s just so many great book review blogs out there, with those that focus primarily on young adult literature leading the pack in terms of numbers, that it’s hard to think there’s even a possibility of my blog bringing something new to the table when we are all reading the same books for the most part. With that in mind, I started the blog in the hopes that if I just posted well-written reviews people might enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.
I love the blogs where the blogger’s personality shows through, it makes me feel like I know them and their opinions tend to carry more weight with me. To bring my personality in, I do weekly cover critiques since I come from a graphic design background. The critiques give me a chance to infuse a little sarcasm into my writing and point out fun design details that some people may not have noticed. Now that I’ve been blogging for a couple months, I’m not quite as intimidated since I feel like I’m settling into my blog a little bit more, but in the beginning I had some stress thinking about what would make me different!
Yes, absolutely. When I first started blogging there was a bit of a (justified) brouhaha about plagiarism. I got really paranoid that I wouldn’t be able to make my reviews original enough and that I might get accused of copying other bloggers just by accident. Several months on, I still don’t read reviews of books that I know I want to write about until after I have at least drafted a review. However, now that I have been blogging for a while I am also happy that I write in a way that is completely specific to me and positive comments and emails have backed that up (phew!). As for a blogging identity, I think that for me that is very much a work in progress. I ran my first “event” week recently and felt for the first time that I was establishing my blog as something rather than just a review site. I’ve also had a lot of positivity towards non-review posts that I have written and suspect that posts such as those (which, after all, give you a chance to express more than just your thoughts on a book) are the key to creating a unique identity in the blogosphere.
It is very intimidating! There are a lot of great bloggers out there. You can look at certain blogs and see all their achievements: publishers who know them by first name, friendships with authors, a swag bag that is as big as the weekly garbage, and a follower list longer than Santa’s naughty or nice list. So it makes you wonder, why is my blog special? Why should anybody care about what we have to say? But it is through that envious mint-chocolate chip ice-cream eating stress phase that you have to sit down and say, none of it matters. Would I be blogging still if I didn’t know any authors, didn’t get any ARC’s, and had 5 followers? Yes. Our blog is just as much for us at it is the followers. And that’s how we found our blogging identity, because nobody does us better than us.
Remember back to when you were a tween? What advice did you hear over and over again? Well, for me, it is be yourself and do not give in to peer pressure. Since I am constantly being reminded to embrace my differences, I find it easy to do so on my blog. When you come to Reading Vacation, you will see posts that are clearly written by a middle-school girl who is on the nerdy side. Yep, that’s my voice.
At first I did find the idea of finding my voice and blogging identity scary. I was thinking about what if people didn’t like my blog? What if they didn’t like my posts, opinions, etc.? What if they hate the way my blog looks? Eventually though, I just had to tell myself that I would never know if I didn’t try and I jumped right in. It took me multiple posts and reviews to start feeling comfortable with what I was writing and I had to go through a few different styled layouts to find one I was pleased with and made me proud of how my blog was presented. I’m still extremely nervous about what I write and the different things that I post because I’m such a new blogger and I tend to over think things. What keeps me going though is the response and support from my wonderful followers and that is always enough to remind me why I made my blog, to share a love of reading with the world.
-Monica of The Ramblings of a Book Addict
As soon as I started to design my blog, I knew exactly what I wanted and what the name was going to be. I had a clear vision for my blog from the very beginning and I wasn’t going to compromise on what I wanted. I feel as though I have quite a different rating system from any others I have seen and I’m proud of what I came up with. I can honestly say that I never thought about what other people would think of my blog once I eventually put it out there.
I completely love my blog and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write what I want and when I want and nothing will ever change that. Although I write my reviews to share what I think with others, I also write them for myself and I always keep that in mind. It is always nice to receive feedback on the blog but I would never take it to heart if someone didn’t like it. Everyone has their own opinions and I think it is really important to remember that when starting your own blog. If you do what you love because you love it, I think your own voice and identity will come across clearly.
It is totally intimidating. I’ve found that, to be a blogger, you have to have a lot of confidence. You have to believe that there is a reason you’re blogging. You have to really believe that someone out there will benefit in a way from what you have to say. If you start thinking, “Who am I to be writing this? I’m not important,” you’re never going to get anywhere. You’ll start to get scared. In order to be a blogger you have to overcome that self-consciousness. Also, there’s worrying about whether or not your posts are unique, whether or not they’re funny… belief in yourself is something you need a lot of!
Actually, what we find most intimidating is finding something fresh to say every day! The three of us really have different styles and somewhat different tastes, so our website will have differing opinions and points of view. Our “voice” is really a harmony. But we think that is what makes us unique as far as our blogging identity goes. It’s funny when we disagree about a book or character (*coughteamjacob*) and we laugh and giggle like little kids when we’re together. We just enjoy reading books, writing reviews and truly feel blessed that we are doing something we love – hanging out together, chatting about books for podcasts and interviewing really cool authors. If we were in it for the money we might be more worried about this identity thingie!