Obligation in the Book Blogging Community

Friday, February 6, 2015

Today I want to talk about a subject that may or may not hit close to home:

Obligation in the book community

This is rather vague, I admit. It could relate to a number of things, but I want to talk about how you decide to run your blog and the self-pressures that come with that, even going as far as requesting and receiving ARCs and how there's a bit of a difference between being given books and receiving books that you have requested (but that's going to be next week's topic of conversation...YAY!). 

So first, let's tackle the pressures that visit book bloggers and invade their dreams at night. I've heard the word obligation thrown around in comments on my blog and in conversations on Twitter. I know as bloggers, we feel like we are obligated to post every day, or obligated to respond to all comments, or obligated to comment on all the blogs, or obligated to read the latest books to feel like your blog can keep up with everyone else's blogs, etc.

Those are all valid. So hear me say this: your feelings are valid and I completely understand them. 

Now throw them out the window.

You are not obligated to do things you do not want to do. You don't have to respond to all the comments, or comment on all the blogs, or even a read a book that everyone is flipping their shiz over. 
You do what you want to do!

Your blog is yours, and you can choose to do whatever you want. Read the books you want to read, the books that interest you. Post when you want, and post what you want. < That's important too!!

You might be surprised how much people love you and your posts when you start enjoying what you do and when you begin to feel less obligated and more joyful about the posts and books you are reading and writing. 

There is only as much pressure as you put on yourself. 

Now, yes, there are two sides to obligation. Sometimes you do have to do things you don't want to do. Like for instance, you need to make sure you at least post one review this week, so you actually have to sit down to write it, but again, that's the pressure you put on yourself. And if it takes too much out of you, take a step back, if not sometimes the pressure can be good. 

You don't have to post the latest and greatest to still be considered "in" or to be one of the top blogs. Yes, there is a process to becoming a top blog contender, and it requires a lot of work, but don't let yourself get bogged down or get the infamous blogger burnout!

So what do you think about obligation in the blogging community? Do you feel all the pressure? Share with us!

37 comments:

  1. I definitely feel obligated to comment on new posts that are on my Bloglovin feed. I'm actually doing that right now lol. I go down through all the blogs I follow, check out the posts I haven't read and comment on them. I think I've been doing this for the past 3 hours hahaha. Idk, it's really hard for me to not check out posts and to stop commenting on other blogs.

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    1. Oh my gosh! 3 hours?! That's intense! If that's good for you, then go for it!

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  2. I always say: "It's your blog, you have to do what you want." If you do things you don't really want to, you won't enjoy blogging or reading at all and that's not good for anyone. Do what you want to do, what you feel good with doing. I do feel obligated do certain things like have two reviews each week at least and go through my bloglovin feed like Leigh does to keep in touch with my blogger friends.

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    1. Yeah! And when you don't enjoy blogging, I think your readers can definitely tell when you don't enjoy it, so obligation though it can help sometimes, it shouldn't be a constant feeling. Thanks for your input to the conversation!

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  3. That's a great post! You're absolutely right! And that's a nice blog profile you have! It's beautiful! :)

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  4. I've got to say, I used to feel pressured about what I was doing and what I was saying, but one day, I must have woken up and gone 'sod it, this is my blog, my rules' and now I just do what I do. I don't reply to everyone, I don't check loads of people out, I don't follow back unless I really want to, I post what I want, went I want to, and I do it because I want to, I'm not fussed about anything else really. Obligation is a big thing in the community, the must-dos and such, but there aren't any, people just create them to be awkward, and you've done well to highlight this Amanda :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, girl! Yeah, I completely agree! There's a ton of obligation in the blogging community, and it makes me sad, because we should learn how to limit our obligations by ways that will work for everyone individually. Hopefully, the community will get a bit more positive in the next months or years.

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  5. I think this is what it's all about: "There is only as much pressure as you put on yourself."

    The only pressure and obligation is the ones you put on yourself. Nobody is forcing you to post every day or to reply to every comment right away. It's all in your own head. It's vital to understand and realize that it's YOUR blog and YOU decide what's going on :) Sure, sometimes I feel a certain need to post something because 'it's been a few days' but I always remember myself to take a step back and breathe. It's okay.

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    1. EXACTLY! I think we forget that sometimes because we get so lost in our stats or comments or views or whatever, and we forget that we only put as much pressure on ourselves as we allow. Thanks for dropping by, girl!

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  6. AMEN. Blog for yourself. Blog because you love it. Comment if you want to. Read if you want to. It's very simple. It's very clear to me sometimes from reading blogs who is doing this because they like it and who has gotten caught up in these imperatives of blogging. This should be casual and fun!

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    1. Yes. Yes. YES! I agree completely with everything you just said. Thank you for your comment! :)

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  7. I think there are obligations, actually, for specific choices you make. If you request ARCs, you're obligated to read them. I don't like it when people think that they can use ARCs as a way to save money on books. Like, that isn't what they're for. You can't just request and not read them. There IS an obligation.

    However, if you don't request ARCs and you don't contact authors for author posts/giveaways, then there's pretty much no obligation for anything. Your blog is what you make it, obligation or not.

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    1. Definitely, I agree with you, though I will be tackling obligations and ARCs more thoroughly next week in my discussion post. :)

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  8. Ohh, yes, I AGREE! A blogger shouldn't feel like this is a time-wearing job...obligations really suck the fun out of things. :( No one is obligated to DO ALL THE THINGS! And we shouldn't pressure ourselves! Although, doing all the things is the biggest way to grow your blog, so I guess it depends on what you want, right?! What your goals and aims are for blogging. *nods*

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    1. I know!! It's the hardest thing to come to, wanting to grow your blog or to actually have a life, because for a lot of people those are the options, especially when they have jobs or school, or families.

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  9. I definitely feel the self pressure and obligation, and lately it has been getting me down. And I hate that SO MUCH. I have never felt like that before, but I was absent from the blogosphere for two weeks back in December, and I feel like I will NEVER catch up. There are comments I need to reply to, and blogs I need to visit. And don't get me wrong - I want and love to do these things. But I feel like I'm never going to catch up. And I stress about how much time it is taking me to reply/visit. And then I get all stressy. Which is not the point of blogging. Blogging is FUN.

    I think I'm going to try really hard not to freak out so much about time and obligation, because the only person it is affecting is ME. Everyone understands that life can get in the way of blogging, so i need to be able to understand that myself!

    Great post, Amanda <3

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    1. I really hope you come to the point when you don't feel so much pressure. I know how difficult it can be. I will say that one thing that has helped me is a blogging schedule and giving myself a day to work on my blog and schedule a lot of posts for the following couple weeks or for the month. Also, sometimes you just have to let the catching up on older posts go and eventually just focus on the here and now. You won't lose your followers. I know that if I comment on your blog, if I don't get a response, I'm okay with that, because I purely just liked reading your post and wanted you to know my thoughts.

      And a lot of the time, life is way more important that our blogs (though I will admit a lot of the time they seem to go hand-in-hand in our community just because we love books so much), but remember to take some time for you and do what makes you happy!

      *lots of hugs*

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  10. Love this post! I totally agree-I think people can sense when you are enjoying what your doing versus not. I had a pretty big slump last year and updated out of a sense of obligation. I think my readers could tell I was feeling Bleh. I think we all need to remember that we do what we can but there's nothing wrong if you can't comment back or reply to comments. I think everyone of us can relate and understand. Beautiful post!

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    1. Yeah, I was right there with you. Up until October-ish time, I was just going through the motions, and I was getting into a slump, and it sucked, but somehow, I found my groove again (I think some of that had to do with the New Year and new blog design), but it has been much better. :)

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  11. I definitely feel obligated to read ARCs when I receive them but apart from that I try not to put any pressure on myself when it comes to blogging. I've been in a real reviewing slump lately and have hardly posted anything on my blog but I will catch up as and when I feel more like it! I'm not going to get worked up about it because where is the fun in that?!

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    1. Good!!! Because obligation can bleed through into your written posts, and sometimes you just have to take a break! :)

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  12. While I will read what I want-be it a popular book, Indy title or older book it is my choice. I love a huge variety so my blog covers a lot but it is what I enjoy. However, if I take on an arc or accept a review request then I do feel obligated to read the book.

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    1. I agree with you, though I will definitely be going through my opinions on ARCs more thoroughly next friday on my next discussion post! Thanks for dropping by!

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  13. "You do what you want to do." <--yes, this! I need to constantly remind myself that I can blog however I want and post whatever I want. But I still worry that I'm not doing enough or being creative enough for my readers. I've also put myself in incredible slumps before and put a lot of pressure on myself to keep doing more and read ALL THE ARCs before their release dates. It's something I've been working on a lot since the new year started, which is why I decided a few weeks ago to step back a bit to gain some perspective. Not having that mindset of posting everyday or even forcing myself to write one up when I'm not feeling it is a wonderful feeling. I've been posting a lot less, but I've been posting what I want and what I feel up to writing.

    I'm not a new blogger, and I STILL struggle with this immense feeling of obligation. And you know what? It's time to stop letting all of the negativity affect this hobby, because it's supposed to be FUN and EXCITING and HAPPY. And when I'm letting myself become stressed and worried about everything, I lose sight of that. That's not why I created my blog, and it's something I need to remember. :)

    Wonderful discussion, Amanda!

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    1. Yeah and stress is not good for anyone!!! Sometimes taking a step back is a VERY good thing. I had a friend who stepped away for a month and when she came back, it was with a vengeance! She was spot on concerning her posts and it made her blog even better!! :)

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  14. This is a brilliant post! I think that it's very important to remind ourselves that blogging is a hobby and something that we do for fun, and therefore there should not be any pressure. We can give ourselves pressure on the blogging--like with requesting ARCs (then I'd argue you'd have the obligation to review it seeing as you requested the book in the first place and it's not like ARCs are free--apparently they cost more to print than the final copies) but like you said, "there is only as much pressure as you put on yourself."

    Great post, hun! <33

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I mean there are definitely professional bloggers out there, though I am definitely not one of them. And if you end up not enjoying what you're doing that just makes everything so much harder for you and your readers. :)

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  15. I'm an obligation-free blogger.

    I might set a few deadlines for myself, like I want to post a review for book X this week and write a discussion post for a certain topic, but if I find myself staring at a blank screen forever and the words just aren't coming, I have no qualms about shutting my laptop and moving on to something else. Maybe the words will come next week or maybe they won't. Regardless I won't let it give me heartburn.

    I don't feel obligated to respond to comments on my blog or return the favor by clicking through commenter links and leaving a comment on their site either. Recently, there have been a lot of posts about commenting etiquette, how other bloggers should strive to respond to comments and make it a goal comment on other bloggers posts because they put so much effort into it. Etiquette posts tend to annoy me in general, but who are these bloggers to dictate how others interact? Perhaps some bloggers choose to interact via Twitter or Skype or E-mail instead of blog comments. Why should it matter as long as the discussion of books is taking place?

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  16. I feel somewhat obligated to comment back and to reply. This is a self-imposed obligation, though, and I'm aware of that. I do it because I like to have back and forth conversations with other bloggers and I like to see the same people coming back. Replying and commenting back really helps that process. I also have a self-imposed obligation to comment on all of the discussions that are linked up to the 2015 Discussion Challenge (which is how I got here - obviously, I'm a bit behind :-). I really love discussions and I feel like if I want to generate discussions for the challenge and keep them going, I should participate, right? But it's good to have some perspective and to realize that I'm human. If I don't get to every comment, the world won't end and my blog won't fade into anonymity. It's a matter of balance. Great discussion!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  17. I only really feel obligated to read ARCs/books when I request them because, at that point, it's about respect for the people who gave those items to you. For me it's kind of like asking myself if I respect the publisher's willingness to let me help promote an author. Plus, I got an ARC that I said I wanted that someone else may have wanted even more. I think we need to respect those aspects of it. But I also believe, the ball is pretty different when you get an unsolicited ARC/book.

    This is a pretty sweet article.

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  18. Yes the pressure is there but as you said I'm having way more fun with my blog and blogging now that I've relaxed the pressure on myself and am including more of what I feel like doing. It may be a book blog but nite I do a weekly art post because it's my other main hobby and I want to share it. Also I'm cutting back on the amount of books I request so I can for in more of books that I've bought for myself in the past several years that keep getting pushed to the side. That and I do way less "tours" and when I do agree to then I mostly only accept guest posts because I'm to tired right now to write interview questions. Ultimately I'm having so much more fun blogging just from those small changes. :-)

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    1. Isn't it crazy the change you feel when you actually decide to do things you love? I think it changes everything, and I love when book blogs get a little more personal! Like you add posts about your art (which I love seeing btw), and I post stuff about writing. I think we forget sometimes that we can do whatever we want with our blogs. We are the deciding factors! :)

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  19. At a minimum I try to respond all the posts on my blog. Getting around the block and visiting other blogs sometimes takes a back seat. I need to eat, sleep and spend time with my family. Oh, and don't forget that I have to read! :)

    I tried to set a schedule right when I started by blog in 2013. One review a week and then when I had a nice stockpile of reviews, I went to 2 reviews a week. So I usually average 2-3 posts a week now that I'm trying to do discussion and how to type posts. I try not to get too stressed when life gets in the way or I feel too tired at night to something blog related. It's tough, but everyone needs a break!

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

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    1. Definitely! Blogger burnout is hard to get out of, so we need to make sure that we take time for us sometimes too. Thanks for stopping by, Terri!

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  20. Love this! Everytime i look at my blog and say of I should do this, then i tell myself... I do what i want bitches! and then i do what i want lol. Great post!
    <3 Britt
    DO WHAT YOU WANT!

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  21. Nice and a very useful blog for me. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep sharing.

    www.optickart.in

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