Tuesday, March 24, 2009

why I blog

I really needed a good night's sleep last night, after several nights in a row filled with sick little boys and little boy nightmares and obnoxious cats and.... Unfortunately, I was my own worst enemy last night, tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep. All because I was debating with myself the idea of giving up blogging.

In reality, it was no contest. Giving up blogging would be downright painful.

People blog for all sorts of reasons. When I first started just over three years ago, it was really just a place to record stuff about my family and save those memories until I had a chance to get them scrapbooked. But then I started meeting wonderful people and making friends. Then I joined my first reading challenges and began meeting even more wonderful people. People who shared a passion for books. And oh my goodness, I simply couldn't have guessed how much I would come to love some of these new friends I was making.

So, now, while I still blog to save stories about my family, I think I'm even more motivated by the friendships I've made. For me, blogging has become about keeping in touch with friends, and making new friends. I don't really even consider my blog a "book blog," for while I do talk a great deal about books, I also throw in a lot of personal family stuff, too. And yet still, I have to admit that I felt attacked yesterday by some of the chatter going on in the book blogging world. And that's what led to my tossing and turning...and what led to this post.

It seems that there are some people who are of the opinion that there are but a few "top-tier" book blogs, and the impression given was that they felt everyone else should just get out of "book blogging" altogether. The word "parasite" was even used in reference to smaller book blogs. This attitude makes me both sad and angry, but mostly I just find it baffling.

For if not for us little pissant book-lovers out here, who would be reading their blogs?!! I'd be willing to bet that a lot of "top-tier" (not my word) blogs get most of their audience from small book bloggers. Why would they want to insult the audience they so very badly seem to want?

And the fact is that there are plenty of very popular book blogs out there who don't hold such elitist views...Nymeth, Becky, Eva. And I definitely don't mean to imply that that is an exhaustive list. Just three very popular blogs, run by three very gracious and welcoming ladies.

Like I said, baffling. If some people want to turn book blogging into some sort of competition, so be it, I suppose. But I genuinely hope that those people new to blogging don't become discouraged by that kind of talk. Because there really are a lot of friendly people out here who just love books, love to talk about books, and love the chance to meet other people who love books.


raidergirl3 said...

I agree with you - it's the group of friends with a common interest that makes blogging so much fun, but where was this snotty little discussions going on? I completely missed that. And maybe I'm glad I did.

My philosophy is to be happy in my little corner of the blogosphere with the people and friends I've met that share common interests and not worry about the big picture.
Great post today Debi, lots to think about. Happy reading!

~**Dawn**~ said...

I believe those with elitist views on blogging exist in every single genre & nuance of the blogosphere. You know what I do with those blogs? I remove them from my Google Reader & I don't return. Blogs that don't make the blogging experience an enjoyable one for me do not get my time & attention. Not when there are so many other gracious bloggers with wonderful blogs to enjoy.

Fyrefly said...

I apparently missed all of the snotty discussions too, thank goodness, but I really have to wonder, what possible harm does the proliferation of "second-rate" book blogs do to the "top-tier" sites? That's just ridiculous.

Chris said...

First of all, I'm so glad to hear that you didn't decide to stop blogging!!! Debi, I would be so lost without you in this community...among my best of friends that I don't know what I'd do. It would certainly not feel the same without you here. Honestly, you're one of 3 or 4 blogs that I absolutely have to read every day even if I don't have time.

There are always those that will want to ruin things for the majority...that like to stir the pot a little bit. But the key is to not let ruin it for you. Which isn't always so easy, I know. You can tell who the bloggers are that blog because they enjoy it and enjoy the friends that they've made. And that's the majority of us. There are always those though that have to be the "best of the best". And I guess there's nothing wrong with that....it just gets to some people's heads I guess.

But I totally agree with Raidergirl....i'm happy in my little corner of the world and with the few little friends that come and visit me. If people enjoy it, that's all the better. Please don't leave Debi!! I don't know what I'd do without you!!

Susan said...

Debi, I've just discovered you and your blog, and I would really miss you if you stopped. I missed the blogging conversation of the elitists, but if you could tell me who they are, I want to go read what makes them better than us. Us as in, we blog for love, and we love books, and I can't think of a better reason to blog about books!! I agree with Raidergirl and Chris and Fyrefly - there is no excuse for the elitist book blog attitude, but they don't matter either, not in the long run. We matter, to each other, and that's what counts. And we're friendly and except for competing on who has the most books (in a very friendly way!!) and who can read the most enjoyable books, there is no competition here. The only requirement is a love of books.

So please don't go! Unless you don't enjoy it any more.....in the meantime, I understand perfectly about sick little boys, since now the youngest son has the fever virus that struck our daughter all last week. and every time anything gets moved, he gets upset!

Trish said...

I'm sneaking in a few minutes at work (shhhh...don't tell) so my comment will be brief. but I wanted to say 1. DON'T QUIT BLOGGING. I would miss you terribly terribly terribly--I love your posts and musings and ramblings and nothing of importance (how many times have I said that??). 2. I don't know what you are referring to, but I'm infuriated. Mind directing us to this "conversation" so a few of us lower-tier bloggers can put in their say as well!! :)

Stephanie said...

Yeah, I kinda jumped into this conversation yesterday. I was pretty offended by the comments (of a person who wanted to remain anonymous, no less). Why? I am small blogger. I just don't have the time or energy to be a full-time blogger. And I'm ok with that. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, I blog for me. The fact that others actually read it is just icing on the proverbial cake.

I thought about bringing up this topic myself. But I think I'm done with it. Do I think my blog "taints" the waters for "real" bloggers? Nope. Blogging is my little island of sanity in my very insane life, and I would be incredibly sad to give it up. I can't post daily...and I can't blog hop daily. It just doesn't fit into my schedule. But I have found a group of people that I have lots in common with, and I am happy.

Don't quit Debi...you are my reading soul sister! I'd miss you too much!

Nymeth said...

Dear Debi,

If you were to quit blogging, you would force me to get on a plane to NY with the sole purpose of kicking your ass. And we don't want that to happen, do we? Not that I wouldn't want to visit you, but preferably for another reason. So don't quit. OR ELSE.



Becky said...

I'm so sorry you got upset and had a bad night. :( I have spent a few nights like that myself when I have something on my mind that just won't quit.

I love your blog, as you know, and I do consider it among my favorite and my best. :) I think most of your readers would step up and say that. Not because you're feeling down, but because it's the truth. Plain and simple, your blog inspires loyalty and friendship. Your blog keeps it all real.

I haven't kept up with all the comments. But I did see the initial anonymous post on My Friend Amy's blog. And it is baffling. I can see why they'd want to stay anonymous. If they didn't people would at least consider stopping reading their blog.

I think one of the many reasons this is so absurd is that there are no absolutes in the conversation. There isn't an absolute list of blogs that are "top-tier." And it's presumptuous to think there ever could be. Not really.

It's all subjective.

What is so frustrating is how high school some people want to make this blogging community. They want cliques. They want to lift themselves up and push others down so the spotlight is all on them.

That's just one of the many reasons Dewey was so awesome. She made every single blogger feel special, feel important, feel valuable. She inspired a connections and friendships.

Amen to your conclusion, I think many of us are welcoming and just want to talk about books with anyone and everyone.

Chris said...

LOL...I'm totally with Nymeth! We'll BOTH come over there and kick your ass if you quit blogging ;)

Carl V. said...

I wouldn't let people like that get you down. I don't even bother to read stuff like that. It is just silly. I've read reviews on what some would consider 'top tier' blogs that get a ton of hits that are no more well written or thought out than anyone else who book blogs. Some people have managed to find that magical combination of a type of blog and format and name recognition, etc. that makes their site one that is frequented by many. To do that takes a lot of dedication and a willingness to read far more books that I am willing to read in a year and devote far more time to blogging than I personally think is health in a well balanced life.

If you enjoy blogging and you personally get something out of it you should blog. You should never blog about something that you feel pressured to do. Your blog should do for you what you want it to and people can come or go as they see fit.

I've had the same feelings as you in the past but couldn't seriously consider giving up blogging because I don't want to lose these connections with all of you good people.

I had over 100 people sign up for R.I.P. last year. At risk of offending everyone, none of us would be considered 'top tier' bloggers by some numbers standard or by those who considered themselves the cream of the crop. Who cares? Over 100 people got together, read similar books, talked about them, had shared experiences, formed new blog relationships, etc. That connection is all that really matters, not getting some recognition that one's blog is a stellar example of book blogging.

I rarely frequent blogs that have huge readerships. Not because I feel snobbish about it, but because I get more out of the personal connection I have with people who have the time to read my comments and occasionally comment back.

I will go to those sites when I am interested in a particular book review because often they are very good at that. But if I read elitist language (good word Dawn) then I'm outta there. I just don't need the attitude.

I'm not saying people shouldn't aspire to great blog success. There is nothing wrong with a person deciding that their blog is where they want to exercise their creativity. If a person wants their blog to become a successful, top-tier blog then that is great, as long as they are willing to put in the time to make it the kind of professional blog that should rise to the top. But that is a lot of work and shouldn't be the goal of the average blogger, in my opinion.

What I wanted and what so many of the rest of us wanted was a way to connect with like minded individuals as well as people different than us who could inspire us, motivate us, etc. And I think we all do that. Which means that we are successful and shouldn't be dissuaded by the nay-sayers.

I would bet most of those complaining about 'little blogs' are those who feel blogging is somehow stealing their thunder. Too bad for them. I would recommend ignoring them and enjoying yourself.

cj said...

Ah, c'mon, Debi. Don't let the idiots get you down.

There has always been that 'elitist' element when it comes to books, hasn't there? I mean, reviewers who frown on books because they're not 'erudite' enough or whatever. They look down on certain genres and feel so smug and superior because they're some how above the common reader.

I guess it was only a matter of time until that attitude filtered into the blogger world, wasn't it?

Here's my bottom line: I started my political blog first because I needed a place to vent. It was that simple. I still need a place to vent and it doesn't matter to me if another person reads it or not.

I started my book blog to keep track of what I read in a year. It's that simple. Along the way I've found friendships that I truly cherish. I've found people who are open and accepting, unlike the person who started this 'conversation'.

I appreciate those who read my blog and leave comments but I would probably keep plugging away if no one ever did.

Bottom line - do what your heart tells you to do and I hope it tells you to hang around for a very long time.


Amy said...

Dearest Debi,

I don't comment here often, but I always read. I find your blog to be a place of warmth and I always look forward to what you have to say.

Since said conversation took place on my blog, I apologize. I hope you know that comments on my blog do not reflect my opinion.

I blog for the same reasons you do. I blog for an outlet, to stay connected with people who don't live nearby, and to keep in touch with the new people I have met.

I would be devastated if what I meant to be a positive conversation initially turned into a catalyst for you to stop blogging. Please don't go anywhere!

Anonymous said...

Like many, I missed the discussion you're referring to (and glad of it! I'd react similar), but what I do know is that I'm sad to hear about the hurt and lack of sleep it's caused you. *sad noise and offers hug*

I hold with raidergirl3's philosophy as well. I want to be happy with my (miniature-)niche in the blogosphere and the friends I've made and could still make. (I'm not good at commenting. *pause* Or discussions for that matter. Scary things...) I am happy with my tiny niche and slowly meeting new people like yourself. That, to me, is part of what blogging is about. I've met so many wonderful people online... I would miss that terribly. I would miss the opportunity of that terribly.

*sends healing thoughts to family and good vibes to all*

Melody said...

Don't you dare quit blogging, Debi!!!! I wouldn't allow it! I love hearing what you said about books, and I especially love hearing you share with us about your family and your lovely children. We blog because we enjoy blogging, and we love making new friends! Well, what anyone thinks is entirely his/her own business, after all we can't please everyone, can we?

So, please don't stop blogging, Debi! {Hugs}

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I could understand a little bit of both sides of the conversation of Amy's blog. Obviously, anon's comment has very different goals and reasons for blogging as a lot of other people. Discussing this on Twitter yesterday, I mentioned that it's not a competition! Sure more blogs are more successful (and how that term is defined is completely different for everybody) than others. Sure, we compare ourselves to others. But if YOU feel that you are running your blog how YOU want to and you're happy with it then who cares about everything else?

Don't stop blogging. There's room and a place for everybody. It's not like book bloggers are an exclusive club or anything. Everybody should feel welcome.

Jean said...

Sorry I missed all this yesterday, Debi, but I'm with Nymeth in threatening to come kick your butt if you stop blogging. After all, you got me started, so if you quit, I might have to, too. So there!

Scrap girl said...

Don't you dare give up blogging. If they don't like our type of blogging then they don't have to read it. However, I love what we all do. I am passionate about books and love to let people know about the good ones. I am passionate about life and like people to know that too. I couldn't give a stuff what these silly people say. You are fabulous as what you do and we all love reading it, do not let anyone else get you down. We read your blog because we love it!

Kim L said...

Debi, there is no quitting allowed. I have had that same argument in my head plenty of times and I wonder why I still bother blogging at times because I just honestly don't have the time and energy to commit to make my blog "top tier". But then it is the community that keeps bringing me back. I think of my blog friends as my real life friends (its a silly distinction anyhow between people you know in real life and online).

So this is me, sending an ole e-hug and some encouragement. Keep up the blogging!

Jennifer said...

Debi, I'm not a part of the book-blogging world, but I agree with what the others here have said.
I certainly wouldn't worry what anyone else thinks..who cares really? You blog what you love, and people love to read your blog. That's what important. And those "others" just don't really matter!
I know I haven't commented lately, but it's not because I don't love your blog. I've been pretty absent in the blogging world lately. Trying to get back into it. Facebook has sucked up my extra time! But I've been reading! I don't usually comment on your book posts, because I don't have anything intelligent to add since I'm not an avid reader. But I still enjoy your posts. And I would so miss you if you went away, so I'm glad you didn't!
So blog away and don't worry about what anyone else thinks about it. You know you are loved!

Literary Feline said...

You weren't the only one, Debi, who was baffled by that particular comment. I haven't spoken up about it because I am at a loss for words. When I first started blogging, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I never guessed at the wonderful people I would meet and come into contact with. There are all sorts of blogs out there, varying in size and style. I appreciate the individuality every one of us brings to the blogging community. We each got into blogging for our own reasons--and if you are happy with what you get out of blogging, it doesn't matter what someone else thinks. I am glad that you decided to continue blogging, Debi. I would miss you if you weren't here.

I agree with much of what everyone has already said--I couldn't say it any better. As Dawn and Carl said, I find elitist language to be a turn off. I am most drawn to the blogs where the bloggers are friendly and welcoming. We parasites have to stick together!

Wendy said...

Glad to hear you are not going to stop blogging! I had several emotions reading the "parasite" comment - first I thought it was a joke, then I felt angry, then I laughed...top tier? people blogging only to get free books? parasites? The whole thing made me want to shout out "Give me a break!"

I love the book blogging community and I don't think Anonymous' comments represent how most feel. Some of my favorite blogs are the small, personal ones - yours included! Everyone offers something individual and special and that is why I have over 300 blogs in my Google Reader!

valentina said...

oh my, some people are really competitive and elitist aren't they?
I'm glad you decided to keep blogging!
Despite being around for almost 2 years, I feel like I've only started. I wouldn't like to lose a potential friend like that, you know ;)

Like others, I wasn't aware of that conversation going on, but as far as the Anon comment goes, I wouldn't give them too much attention. If blogging has given you more joys than pains why quitting? I myself am not the best of bloggers,but I love my little blog,I love sharing my thoughts with other people, especially about books, and I normally turn down ARC's offers because I don't even have enough time to read them...

So anyway, keep doing what you enjoy doing and don't listen to that worthier-than-thou rubbish :D

I know it's an old post but I wanted to give you my two cents too!

Anonymous said...

hmm. interesting style!