Comparison, the joy thief

Hello, friends. It’s been a while, and I hope this is the end of my unintentional blog hiatus.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve started this post, re-written it, hesitated, felt like a big old failure, and pushed it aside. I’ve apologised many times on this blog for disappearing for a few months and not posting here, but this time my disappearance felt different. As I get older I find new and exciting ways to put pressure on myself and prior to my overseas trip, I genuinely wasn’t sure if I was going to keep blogging. (Or trying to blog, since I wasn’t actually blogging.)

I signed up to blogging groups/online courses to try to work out what was wrong. I set goals and missed goals and began to feel like I was destined for blogging failure. I didn’t have a product to sell, I didn’t have enough followers and readers for ads or sponsorships, and since monetary success seems to be the end goal for most bloggers I just figured that it wasn’t worth even trying.

Well, fortunately, a change of scenery and a change of pace has helped me to re-assess where I am and what I want from my corner of the internet. For me, this has never been about making money. Sure I have a work with me page in case my knowledge and skills can be of benefit to someone else, but I never wanted MC&C to be filled with annoying ads or branded posts. When so many blogging courses all seem to work towards monetary success, it can be really freaking hard to not feel like a failure because you’re not kicking the same sort of goals as other people.

Let’s take a look at what was really dragging me down…

PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography has been the biggest pain point for me. I had started to (and still do to a certain extent) feel like the only successful bloggers out there were the ones with the most elegant, bright, and perfectly styled images. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like that.

I have a decent camera but I don’t have a drawer full of props or extra lighting or marble backgrounds or, to be perfectly honest, the time or desire to create the world’s most perfect flatlays. I appreciate the people who do, but at this point in my life I am working full time, trying to read my way through a never-ending pile of books, and also trying to grow this blog into a little online literary space. Maybe one day when I’m back on track with reading and writing the photography will flow more easily, but also maybe not. Maybe it’s not my thing and that’s okay because happily, this isn’t a photography blog.

At the end of the day, I’m also not trying to be a bookstagram account. Thousands of followers would be nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not my primary aim. I’m sure most of you don’t care at all about my photos; you’re here for the books. You’re here for the books and I’m here for the books, and this is a mantra I need to try to focus on.

So, I apologise if some of my photos are shit. That photo at the top? Not mine! It’s a stock image that I have the license to use, but it’s not a photo I took. Photography will no longer be a factor that prevents me from posting here.

WHAT I READ

Ahh, another fun one! Sometimes I don’t feel well-read enough to do what I do. I don’t just mean the blogging, I also mean my job and all the bookish communication it entails. I feel like an imposter and that one day my secret will be revealed and I’ll be labelled a fraud. A bookish fraud. Ridiculous, I know, and yet still on the tamer end of how my brain works some days.

I love my job and nearly every day (this is not an exaggeration, ask my boyfriend) at some point I am overwhelmed by just how lucky I am to do what I do with the people I do it with. I am painfully aware though that I’m not as well-read as other people doing similar jobs in the industry, nor do I finish as many books as them. I never read A Little Life or The Goldfinch, and I have never finished a full Jane Austen novel. I know, right? Awful.

When you’re surrounded by people who read widely, it can be really hard to remember that you’re not representative of the general population. On average, people read less than 15 books a year. I’m pushing 40 for the year and we’re not even halfway yet. Most years I’m not going to have read the biggest literary titles, but I don’t think people coming to this blog would expect that. I can’t read everything — no one can. I read what makes me happy, I put down books that don’t, and on this blog, I’ll be trying to talk more about the books that excite me. I can’t please everyone with my recommendations, but I can please some and that’s what’s important to me.

TIME

With both of those fairly weighty factors looming over me, I couldn’t justify taking time out of my day to work on something that was ultimately making me feel bad about myself. I was sitting down at the weekend to blog and feeling completely uninspired. I’d finish a good book and want to write about it, but then feel unsure about what photo would suit it best and skip the process entirely. I’m a bit sick of that feeling.

I can’t promise to be a perfect blogger moving forward. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing. What I will try my best to do is to write about books more often, even if the posts come with un-Insta-worthy photos.

I’ll try not to disappear for as long. I’ll try to feel less bad about what I read and how quickly/slowly I read, and hopefully, along the way, I’ll re-discover the passion for blogging that I had when I first started.

And, finally, I’ll cut myself some slack. You should too. We both deserve it.

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  • You are awesome and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Blogging IMHO should be about having fun (let’s face it, no book blogger is ever going to be super rich and all the time spent making photos pretty could be spent reading, or baking, or watching footy). I really like your blog and always jump to your posts first in my reader.

    I feel similar to you – I’m never going to keep with those who do nothing but read as I work FT and am studying again. I just need to choose what I want to read rather than pleasing everyone else, but it’s so hard at times to do that. I still haven’t read The Goldfinch either…will I? Not for ages…

    • tonile.helena

      I never saw this! I’m so sorry. Thank you for leaving such a wonderful comment — it really does mean the world. And here’s to saying not right now, thank you to the books we feel like we should read but in reality don’t actually want to read. Maybe one day? But if not, that’s okay as well.