Well, readers, Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm is on a hiatus this week, so I decided to go back and find a post in my Drafts box that I really wanted to finish, but was so busy with schoolwork that I couldn’t do it.
(Honestly, though, June has been absolutely insane in terms of real-life topics, so at this point I’m just trying to keep my head above the water and not drown. I’ll let you know how that goes.)
This is actually a post that I started back in November (?!) of last year, and never finished for one reason or another. (I blame Jane Austen.)
This is somewhat of a different topic all together. It’s a little more personal, because it doesn’t really have to do with books at all: it has to do with why I blog. Why do I blog? I will say that this is probably one of the hardest Top 5 Tuesdays I’ve done, because it involved a lot of staring at the screen and wondering, Why do I do this to myself, anyway?
Are you ready? Here we go.
This is probably the simplest reason. I’m a writer, that means I have to practice writing, in some form or another. Sure, I should probably be using this time to work on my thesis, but sometimes you have to break away from one thing in order to come back to it with a fresh mind.
I’m probably writing things that are more personal and non-fiction-based than fiction-based while I’m working on my blog, and that’s okay. At some point, I’ll have to go back to writing small short stories, maybe even flash fiction, and posting them on here. I’m going to wait until my life settles down a bit more, though, because at the moment it’s like everything’s on fire and all I have to put it out is a small squirt bottle. The past two months have been crazy and I can’t even begin to put words on paper. Every time I sit down, I blank out.
That’s where the blog comes in. It allows me to stretch my writing muscles without forcing me to write something super creative (although I will say these Top 5 Tuesday posts certainly help with the creativity!) so that I don’t get rusty and out of practice.
For the Community
This is probably a straight-up gimme. The blogging community is something that I have truly come to enjoy over the past fourteen or so months I’ve been doing this, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I would’ve kept this up if I hadn’t encountered so many wonderful people. It’s been truly amazing.
Shanah’s weekly topics help keep me on my toes, and the First Impression Friday series over at Storey of Storeys also helps. I want to be able to have a recurring series every single day, but at some point, life gets in the way. The blogging community — or at least what I’ve seen of it so far — all seem to be very important.
I’ll sometimes go through the WordPress Reader and look for new blogs I haven’t encountered before, and see what they’re up to. I’ll leave an encouraging comment on a new blog here and there, and sometimes that’s all the boost a new blog needs to keep it going.
To Find New Books
Sure, I could probably just check Reddit every single day in order to figure out what’s going on in the book world, but this sort of ties in with the previous point: I want to find new books, and this is one of the best communities to do so in. When I worked at the bookstore, I was constantly on top of new releases and knew pretty much everything. It’s been two years since I quit there, and I couldn’t tell you what’s come out during those past two years. It’s a mess!
My shelves are filled with books that I’ve found in the clearance section of Barnes & Noble, but sometimes I want to buy some pretty new books. I never would’ve picked up Six of Crows, for instance, had I not seen it repeated over and over on various blogs. I wouldn’t have picked up a lot of books, honestly.
I’m hoping to always find new books on other blogs and to recommend new books to people who visit my blog, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m here.
To Create an Online Portfolio
This may seem similar to the first point, “To Write,” but it really is slightly different.
I originally was going to go with Tumblr for my blog, and work on putting up short stories there, but after doing a bit more research, I realized WordPress was more suited for what I wanted to do.
When I originally started this blog, it was going to be more of an online portfolio than the mad ramblings that it’s turned into. I wanted to have a catalog of book reviews for people to discover (although only my very first book review probably counts as a literary review, because I actually followed real how-to-get-published book review guidelines for that one, since it was part of a class project), and I wanted to have a short portfolio of short stories. Instead, the blog has turned into recipes, Top 5 Tuesday posts, the First Impression Fridays things… It’s become a conglomerate of pretty much everything, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to wrangle it for it to seem more “professional.”
Authors are encouraged to cultivate their online presence, and I’m just hoping that at some point, I’ll be noticed. Once I actually publish my first novel (because I’m going to get there!), I’ll probably have to be more careful about what I post here, but for now, it’s just something fun.
As to what I’ve already published? You can check out my page of published works here. There’s not a lot there so far, but I’m going to be attempting to get other things published very soon. I’m just going to finish out my thesis first, and then I will literally have nothing else to do besides go to work and come home and work on things for me.
To Force Myself to Read
This is a big one, and it’s one that I’m honestly a bit ashamed to admit. Since starting grad school in the fall of 2016, I’ve barely had enough time to read the books that I want to read on my own. I’ve barely even managed to read the books that are assigned for class! (You just have to look at the two series I’ve written so far, the Jane Austen and the Kurt Vonnegut ones, to see the truth in that…)
I have so many books (even books that I bought while I was still employed at the bookstore, which I quit in March 2016) that I haven’t read yet. They just keep stacking up, and I keep buying new books and putting them on the shelf and not actually reading them. It’s really embarrassing. I used to blow through more than a hundred books a year (my junior year of high school, for example, I read about 215 books, because I didn’t really do much else other than read).
Now, I get home from work, maybe make dinner, and just chill on the couch and think about nothing until it’s time for me to go to bed. Or I go out with friends. I think I’ve lost the attention span required to just sit and read for hours — either that, or the books that are being published nowadays just aren’t enthralling enough to keep me focused. I really enjoyed the first part of Six of Crows, for example, because heists are my FAVORITE, but once they got across the ocean/lake/whatever body of water it was, I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.
I signed up for NetGallery to force myself to read, and to force myself to actually have content for this blog. It’s going…poorly. I’ve read a few, and then I realized I just don’t have time to read the ones I signed up for, and I feel like I’ve probably been blacklisted by now. We’ll see, if I ever return to it once I have more time on my hands to finish.
Well, there you have it. A few short things that make me tick, and what keeps bringing me back to work on this blog week after week. I’m hoping to be around for many years yet, but I do have the feeling that it’s going to get a lot harder before it gets easier. I was able to have a lot of extra time in May to write and schedule all of my posts, but to be honest June is shaping up to be a lot harder than May.
Maybe at some point, I’ll be able to sit down and actually write without fear of interruption. I think once I get my desk (and the rest of my furniture…) established at my apartment, everything is going to be okay. I’ll have an actual writing center that I can focus on, instead of climbing into bed with my laptop and waking up at two a.m. with all the lights still on and me face-down on the keyboard.
What about you? Why do you blog? Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.