I originally saw the idea for a blogging manifesto at The Perpetual Page-Turner. Jamie shared her reasons for blogging in general, and then went into more detail about how she wanted to blog. I loved this idea so much, that I launched my own blogging manifesto on Radiant Shadows.
Fast forward a few months, and I’m crawling out of the worst blogging slump of my blogging career. So even though I still love the idea of a blogging manifesto, a guideline to turn to whenever I begin to lose my way, I want to change it up a bit.
I was recently reading So Obsessed With and saw that, instead of a list of “shoulds” and “should nots”, Hannah decided to come up with things she wanted more and less of. I absolutely love this way of thinking, since it’s not necessarily a tangible thing that could be measured. If I can look back and think, “Yea, I did less of this thing I wasn’t happy with in the past, and more of this new thing that made me happy”, than I can consider myself successful.
So with Pretty Little Reader, here’s what I’d like more, and less of:
I think that, with Radiant Shadows, I forgot that I started blogging because I loved reading. It became about the self-induced pressure to post every day, which meant I turned reading into a chore; into an obligation. Instead of reading for fun, or because I really liked the sound of a particular book, I read because I felt like I had to. So with Pretty Little Reader I want to read more of what I want, and I want to read more because I love reading.
I really love the advice Asti from A Bookish Heart gave new bloggers recently, and I think it’s exactly what I’m hoping to achieve by being more creative:
I don’t think starting a blog and being successful means creating completely unique and original posts that have never been seen before, because I don’t think that’s necessarily possible. Instead, it’s about not being afraid to be yourself. Whether that means changing up something that everyone else does or featuring something on your blog that doesn’t get attention anywhere else, don’t be afraid to give it a go.
I really want to push the boundaries of what I’m comfortable with, and spread my wings creatively. I want to try designing more of the graphics I use, I want to create original features about topics I’m passionate about and I want to approach old topics with a fresh perspective. I’m really good at finding inspiration, but I want to be even more creative about what I do with that inspiration; I want to show more of my personality.
I’ve always loved discussion posts; they’re my favourite to write and my favourite to read on other blogs. With Radiant Shadows, I often discussed the more controversial subjects, which is something I can see myself continuing with Pretty Little Reader, but maybe not as often. I want blogging to be fun, so I want more light-hearted discussion pieces; I want discussion pieces that make people laugh, or think about something in a way they might not have before. I want to uncover things about the publishing industry that might be little known secrets; I want to find those
odd habits that all of us book bloggers have in common, and poke fun at them; I want more from my discussion posts than ever before.
While I wouldn’t call myself a hermit, necessarily, and I wouldn’t refer to myself as a shy person, I am a bit of a lurker. I’m quite active on Twitter, if that means I stay in the know by reading everyone else’s conversations, but I rarely engage. I’m a heavy-handed liker on Instagram, but I rarely leave comments. I follow SO MANY BLOGS, but I only comment on a handful. So I want more social interaction with Pretty Little Reader. For now, instead of posting a weekly wrap-up post on Sundays, I’m going to make Sunday my socializing day. I want to spend more time conversing with people on Twitter and engaging other bloggers in discussion on blogs.
By the end of my stint on Radiant Shadows, I was feeling guilty over everything: for not replying to all the comments on my blog; for not commenting enough on other blogs; for not reading enough; for not writing enough engaging content outside of reviews; for putting off doing reviews because they were becoming tiresome; for failing to read a review copy before its’ publish date; for not replying to emails in a timely manner; for ignoring everything that I didn’t want to do. With Pretty Little Reader I want less guilt, and to accomplish that, I’m undergoing a BIG change in attitude. For now, that means no review copies: I will read what I want, when I want so I can’t feel guilt about missing a deadline. I’ll give my head a good shake as soon as I start worrying about not having a blog post scheduled, because it’s ok to miss days of posting. If I’m not in the mood to write a book review, I won’t. And if I can’t make the time to reply to every comment on my blog, or to visit other blogs, I’ll remember that I’m just one person. And hope that everyone else remembers that too
100% of the pressure I felt with Radiant Shadows was pressure I put on myself. I saw blogs that had started around the same time as me, being more successful than I was. I worried that I was doing something wrong, and spent hours just looking at other blogs I liked, wondering what it was they had that I didn’t. I re-read my scheduled posts over and over, looking for ways to improve them, thinking that all I needed was that one, break-out post, to really hit the big leagues. Looking back, if I hadn’t placed so much pressure on myself to reach some imaginary goal, I would have seen just how successful I was. With Pretty Little Reader I want to put less pressure on myself to “succeed” and remember that I started blogging for fun. I will consider myself successful if I can keep the pressure off.
This kind of ties in with both Guilt and Pressure. With Radiant Shadows, I felt an obligation to constantly strive for more. Every milestone I hit was just a stepping stone towards my next goal. I never took the time to look at my accomplishments and be proud; I was constantly looking forward. I also felt an obligation to post every day, to score ARCs so I was posting reviews for books most people hadn’t read yet, and to grow my readership. As with the Pressure, 100% of the obligations I felt were self-induced. With Pretty Little Reader I want less obligation. Actually, I want no obligation – this is a hobby that I do for fun. I won’t make myself feel like I have to do anything. If it doesn’t get done today, there’s always tomorrow!
For me, Hype is a two-fold problem. There’s the hype for a book, or series, that I buy in to because it seems like everyone and their dog loves it! Often times, specifically because of the hype, I find myself disappointed. Then there’s the hype over the drama. With Radiant Shadows, I was like a moth to the flame every time some scandal broke out. Unless I’m somehow directly involved or have something constructive to add to the conversation, perpetuating the hype around the latest scandal does nothing for me. So since neither kind of hype has done anything for me in the past, I will involve myself in hype less with Pretty Little Reader.
So there you have it! My blogging manifesto, of sorts. What kind of things do you want more of less of in 2014?