Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blogging Without Remorse

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read "President Can't Swim". – Lyndon B. Johnson

That's one day of this week's Weekly Geeks down! It's the other six I've got to worry about now. That's right, Dewey proposes that we share a quote every day this week.

There's something I just love about this quote other than the total relevance it has for politicians (and rather many of the people who spend a lot of time in the public eye). That's not why I chose it, though. I chose it because there's something I feel like I can relate to in it. That feeling that no matter what or how much you're doing you're not doing quite enough.

I realized this week that I've been making this blog into a burden and letting it sit heavy on my shoulders. This makes me think that maybe I need to do a sort of second look at my motives and figure out what it is I'm doing here and what it is I intend to keep doing here. A rehashing that, perhaps, has little to do with the inderminate "you" who may be reading this right now and more to do with getting things out on the table for myself.

I started this blog almost a year ago, and I'm honestly surprised that I've stuck with it this long. I'm not particularly known for my stick-to-it-iveness in the face of more "extracurricular" activities. I started this blog for but one reason. I was bored. Last year at this time, I had no job. I'd just moved, and I didn't have a very demanding social life either. I missed using my brain. I missed the joy I took from writing. So, I thought, what if I just start trying to review every book I read just to see how it goes? I anticipated doing it in some sort of internet vacuum that doesn't exist. I didn't start this up thinking, "Hey, I gotta go out and get some readers. If nobody comments, then I'll be lost and feel unloved and unpopular." It was just a personal project. But then, much to my surprise people did read it. People who like books a lot. People who write books and saw their books reviewed here and liked what they saw. People looking for new sort of way to market books. Unwittingly, I was on the radar.

Suddenly, my focus changed. I began to think things like "I must post this week so that the people who read my blog will keep reading" or "If I don't have a book review done this week, what kind of poor excuse for a book blogger am I?" or "If I don't get around to participating in this or that blogosphere event then people will just forget that I'm here at all." Soon, my blogging became all about other people and stopped being about me. It started being another responsibility heaped on top of many I'm trying to balance instead of something I was doing just for the joy of doing it.

So...I'm refocusing. Not quitting, certainly not that. I love books. I love talking about books. I love the people I've met through this blog. I love the book blogosphere and finding people who are more like me than most of the people I know in real life. I love receiving comments and I love giving them. I just don't like the pressure I've created for myself to maintain a "good" book blog by the standards of everyone else, and I'm ready to settle for whatever it is that I can accomplish with the time I've got within the parameters of what I can do while still enjoying what I'm doing.

This is not to say that I will renege on commitments that I've made or anything like that - merely that I will get around to things when I get around them. I have a job, a family, a social life, and places to be that aren't in front of the computer. If I can't post this week, that's okay. If I have to mark the posts in my feed reader "all read," I won't be happy about it, but I won't feel bad about it either. I guess I'm just trying to say that from here on out, I've determined not to feel any guilt and not to make any apologies about blogging. Nobody wants to hear that anyway, right? This post is for me. This blog is for me first. If other people enjoy it and benefit from it or get a kick out of "knowing" me through it, then that is a great bonus. But then, if you all pack up and move on to other blogs, never to leave me a comment again, I'll probably be bummed about it, but I'll survive. If my Technorati authority plummets and the new hits on the stat counter fade away and the internet forgets that I exist, it'll be okay, because I'll still be here doing what I enjoy when I enjoy it, even if I'm back in my imaginary internet vacuum.

Having been thus relieved of my self-packed emotional baggage, I hope to be a better blogger than ever, mostly because I won't have to live up to my own lofty rules and expectations which are so much more difficult than anybody else would even think of putting on me. Ah, I'm feeling refreshed already.


But wait! I've come up with a brilliant way to balance the me-fest that this post (this blog?) has become. Something I've been meaning to blog about since I heard about it, but am just now getting to. Hopefully, you've all heard about it by now, but if you haven't, allow me to share. I happened by Maw Books Blog the other week to find that this month Natasha is reading and blogging for a cause. That cause is to help the people of Darfur and to inform more people about the genocide that is taking place there. There are any number of ways that you can help ranging from something so simple as leaving her a comment to linking to her from your blog or even volunteering to donate a penny per page that she reads this month to organizations committed to doing something about Darfur (something I'm happy to say that I will be doing). Please if you've got an interest in this at all, click on the picture to learn more about the genocide in Darfur and what you can do to help.



  1. I completely know what you mean. I started blogging because my job didn't allow me to have much of a home life so I couldn't join a book club or spend much time with people who love talking about books as much as I do. I have a desk job now, and ironically, don't have the time to blog every week because I have a life now and am often too busy! I do wonder if that will mean I will lose the small number of readers I already have, as I don't post as regularly as others. But I have discovered that I love to blog, keeping a record of all the books I read, and getting recommendations from other bloggers, and it doesn't matter if I don't have a mass of readers. The important thing is to blog because you enjoy it. I for one will keep reading even if you don't post every week!

  2. Hurray! Blogging should never become a chore, in my opinion, and I'm glad to see you reclaiming yours! I'll still check your blog, whether you post once a day or once a month!

    And, I love the quote, btw. I'm sure most presidents feel that way at one time or another. We seem to give them so little credit and so much grief!


  3. You're stuck with me as a reader regardless. :-) Seriously though, your blog really should be about you.

    I do understand where you are coming from. My husband and I have had discussion after discussion over the last couple of months about the direction my blog has gone. Much of what you describe applies to me too--sometimes I do have to stop and ask myself who I am blogging for and why.

    I'm still sorting through my own thoughts about the direction I want to go, trying to find my legs. I do know that I need to be true to myself above all.

  4. Thanks guys, I appreciate the support. You can be sure that you won't be rid of me reading your blogs even if you only post like...once...a year (I mean, I'd sure miss you, but think of how much easier it would be to keep up with my feed reader! LOL!)

    Mariel - Isn't a shame how those pesky life circumstances change and cut into perfectly good blogging time? I like the stuff I'm doing with my life, but I miss being able to blog on a more regular basis, too. I'm glad you'll be sticking with it even if you don't have the time to dedicate to it that you used to. :)

    CJ - Thanks! I knew I needed to reclaim my blog when thoughts about how "behind" I was getting was keeping me from wanting to blog at all. I'm only "behind" my own unreachable standard, so it feels good to have unloaded it! And doesn't that quote just say it perfectly? It always surprises me how simply and cleverly that seems to sum up the realm of politics (and life?).

    LF - So glad I'm "stuck" with you - you'll be stuck with me for a good long time, too! It's funny how the things we do sometimes take on a life of their own and seem to wander if in directions that weren't expected or intended. Best of luck sorting through the direction you want to take your blog - hope whatever you decide makes you happy! :)