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ANNA:I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now and I absolutely love it. I first started blogging in order to share my love of books as well as keep up with my writing over summer, so my abilities wouldn’t diminish. I never knew it would lead to something as big as it has. I’ve developed so many great relationships with amazing people (bloggers, authors, publishers, etc.) and I’ve really fallen in love with the community as a whole. In fact, some of my best friends now are people I’ve met through blogging, and I can’t tell you how rewarding that is. I know these people will always have my back when the drama strikes, and it has. The lowest moment during that first year was probably the first time I found out someone was talking about me behind my back. I thought, “No way, the blogging community is so tight-knit, no one would ever say something bad about someone else!” Of course, that was just me being ignorant and naïve, because there is always going to be drama in life! I immediately ran to a couple of my blogging friends, ranting to them about this person who was saying rude things about me, and they did everything in their power to comfort me. I really appreciate having people like that around, because it makes blogging, and the drama around it, so worth it.
I also remember my first review request. I think was about a month into blogging and a woman emailed me asking if I wanted to review her book. It was a self-published ebook, and I didn’t have an e-reader, nor did I know what self-published even meant, but I had no idea people would even ask me to read their books so I jumped on the chance! I didn’t do any research, read the synopsis, anything before agreeing to read it. Of course, that was a huge mistake. I read about 5 pages of it, on my computer, and thought, “Wow, this is awful! Why am I reading this?” And that was my first DNF as a blogger! I grew to realize that I didn’t have to accept every book pitched to me, nor did I have to review every book I accepted. I try to only accept books I know I will love, but sometimes those DNFs slip through and I’ve let go of feeling bad when I can’t get through it. Because of this, I’ve also grown more honest with my reviewing. I’m not afraid to write a negative review for a book I just didn’t like. I’ve grown a lot in my year as a blogger, and I am grateful for every up and down I’ve had because it’s made me a stronger, more honest, and better person. I never knew blogging could affect me in such a way, but it has and I have to thank the entire community for that.
The best advice I can give to any blogger, new or old, is to have fun. Don’t let blogging become a chore. Don’t focus on the numbers. Let yourself shine through and be who you are, the rest will come. I get a lot of emails from people who want to know how to build their blog up, get review copies, work with publishers, and all that jazz. You have to work for it, but you can’t make it a priority. When you take the fun out of blogging, it just becomes another hobby that falls by the wayside. There have been plenty of times when I’ve thought, “Blogging is too much. I can’t do it. I can’t make all these commitments and I don’t want to post a teaser tomorrow!” So you know what? I didn’t. If I didn’t want to post, I didn’t because it’s my blog and I can run it the way I want. I think my first year of blogging was the hardest, but since I’ve gotten through it I’ve learned how to schedule my blog around my life, and not the other way around.
Anna @ Literary Exploration