blogging, reading

What inspires you to keep blogging?

Lately blogging hasn’t been as fun as it once was. When I started blogging almost three years ago, I loved to turn on my computer and talk about the latest book I read or see what books other bloggers were talking about. In the last year or so, the atmosphere of the blogisphere has drastically changed. The atmosphere isn’t as friendly as it used to be. There’s been so much talk about the in-crowd and who’s in them and who’s not. Three years ago there wasn’t many bloggers so it wasn’t enough of us to even make a crowd! Even with the changed atmosphere I’ve made so many friends in the past year who shares my enthusiasm for books.

After going through my Reader last week, I’m noticing a kind of blogging/reading rut that’s still going around. I noticed it in January and February when I was going through it and this week there’s a few posts by some of my favorite bloggers about taking a break from blogging.

So it made me want to ask the question: what inspires you to keep blogging?

For awhile now I’ve been thinking about giving up blogging permanently. I would still be on Twitter to discuss books and life but the pressure that I’ve been putting on myself to churn out reviews has been stressful. Last week I started thinking about National Poetry Month which is celebrated in April. I thought about all my favorite volumes of poetry and several of the review copies of poetry that I’ve received lately. I’m not a huge reader of poetry but I started thinking about ways I could celebrate NPM, becoming energized about reading and blogging in a way that I haven’t been in a long time.

I wonder if the librarians in charge of holds at my library are wondering what I’m up to. I’ve placed at least twenty volumes of poetry on hold, from Hip Hop Speaks to Children edited by Nikki Giovanni to Writing and Enjoying Haiku by Jane Reichhold. I still don’t know exactly how I’ll celebrate poetry next month, but I’m sure there will be tons of poetry reviews.

So for now poetry is influencing my reading and inspiring my blogging. What’s inspiring you to blog right now? Are there any poets that you recommend?

Other readers who are discussing blogging: Literate Housewife and Michelle

45 thoughts on “What inspires you to keep blogging?”

  1. What inspires me to keep blogging? Partial employment for one, I’d go nuts without this hobby. Everyone I know is in school or working, and I’m trying to work, so blogging keeps me from getting cabin fever. Also, the interactions with other book lovers is amazing, plus it’s like a small vetting system and helps me find books I’ve never heard of to add to my TBR. Also, I really do see writing reviews and bookish posts as a great creative outlet. I know that’s weird, when people do creative things they paint or write poems or books, well mine is reviewing.

    As for your question about poetry I have a ton of recommendations for you, as I used to be really into poetry and took the most awesome course on it. I love love love the Beat Generation. You can’t go wrong with Allen Ginsberg. I also recommend T.S. Eliot, he wrote my favorite poem ever — The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Walt Whitman – for Song of Myself. Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Maya Angelou, Billy Collins, as for slam poetry check out: Taylor Mali, Saul Williams, Anis Mojgani, Buddy Wakefield, also the anthology: Bum Rush The Page… another great anthology which isn’t slam poetry is The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, and one of my favorites sooo dorky – The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry!

  2. I would so miss your blog if you quit! I understand that certain things have seasons in life, though, and no one should feel obligated to read and review just for a blog. I say read for enjoyment and blog about what you’re reading when you’re inspired to, but take away the parts that make you feel overwhelmed.

    Hmmm, favorite poets: Billy Collins, Wendell Berry, Luci Shaw. And recently I discovered Ted Kooser – his collection Delights and Shadows is wonderful! I’m really looking forward to NPM, too.

  3. I would also miss you if you stopped blogging, but I can understand feeling pressure to write posts, comment on other blogs, etc. I think what keeps me doing it is that writing posts is really my only creative outlet at this point. Plus, I love other book bloggers and like visiting their sites (even if I might not feel like doing it every day). But if I wasn’t enjoying myself, I definitely wouldn’t be blogging.

    I also wonder what the librarians think of me sometimes when I order a whole bunch of the same type of book! No one’s ever said anything beyond, “Oh, you’re THAT girl.” 😛

  4. I stayed inspired for 5 years for basically one reason: I don’t really consider my blog a blog. To explain more fully, I’m not writing my “reviews” for anyone else but me. It’s a public version of a book journal so I can keep track of what I read and what I think about reading. If other people get stuff out of it, great! But I’m not writing anything primarily for them.

    There are some great benefits to having my journal public: for instance, it forces me to consider my reading more thoroughly. And that helps me remember what I read better. Or, for instance, makes my commitment to diverse reading something I can get called on when I fail.

    But since I’m not writing for authors or anyone else but me, if I’m not getting any reading done, there’s no pressure to churn out reviews. I haven’t written one this month at all. I don’t participate in any of the weekly memes either. Those can be great inspiration to post thoughts, but they can also become something that a person feels forced to participate in because they can also be a rut.

    My suggestion to people who feel it as a burden is to take a break. Or purposefully stop posting in the things that feel like constraints. Or skip reviewing a book, just because. Basically, post only if that post gives you some pleasure. Or quit if the whole thing seems pointless.

    About the only real request I have as a blog reader is that those who quit blogging actually say so. Too many just post less and less frequently and then you don’t see anything for a few years. Should I drop the feed? Did they move their blogging somewhere else? I don’t like the uncertainty.

    To end this comment, I’ll leave with a quote from John Scalzi:

    The vast majority of blogs, in fact, have nothing but the following three posts:

    Post One: “Here’s my blog! This is where I’m going to share all my thoughts about life, the universe and everything! It’s going to be great and I can’t wait to tell you all what I’m thinking about everything!”

    Post Two: “Hey, sorry I haven’t updated in a while — life’s been crazy. But I’ll be back soon.”

    Post Three: “Here’s a picture of my cat.”

    And then it’s done.

  5. Hehe I like the commemt above me. I agree if something isn’t giving you pleasure cut it. I’ve seen some book bloggers change their blogs to common place journals full of quotes, or quit reviewing to offer thoughts in a less formalised style. I love a ton of blogs that very rarely review, but instead offer up chunky posts about reading life in general and their own lives (Michelle’s Masterful Musings, dovegreyreader, even The Striped Armchair is less single, review focused with those big posts about a ton of books). Just cut what you don’t like and keep what you do.

    What keeps me going is that I love to read and talk about what I read – I really can’t do that anywhere else at the moment (except for the big blockbusting books my rl friends will have read). But I have so much more time to pursue this than some other people (no partner and a pretty undemanding job). I have no idea how people who take care of a family and work fit book blogging in. It seems like a ton of people are moving to Twitter, but I don’t love Twitter interactions as much as the blogs.

    Now poets. I’m going to keep saying it until someone listens – everyone must read Srikanth Reddy ‘Facts for Visitors’. A small collection, but totally awesome! And my personal favourite funny poet is Wendy Cope, she is a nice pick me up when down.

  6. As you know, Vasilly, I’ve been asking myself the same. On the one hand, the friends I’ve made keep me going, but at the same time I sometimes want to stop for their sake. I feel that now that we keep in touch via twitter, e-mail, etc, my blog has become a burden to them. They feel forced to read it for the sake of our friendship, and I don’t want that. This is the reason why I never told anyone I knew in real life why I had a blog, and now that some blogging friends have moved beyond the realm of blogging friends, the same sort of awkward situation has been created.

    But then there’s the fact that I really, really enjoy writing about the books I read. When I sit down to write a post, the process is similar to what King Rat described (I love his comment). It’s for me, and I enjoy it a lot. So I guess that at the end of the day, it’s really this that keeps me going.

    As for poets I’d recommend: Sharon Olds, Katrina Vandenberg, Margaret Atwood (her poetry is so good!), Fernando Pessoa, Anne Sexton, Christina Rossetti, Robert Browning.

  7. Hmmm, I blog because I love to share what I have read. I still get enthusiastic when I have read something brilliant and want to share it with someone. I live in a house of non readers and come from a family of non readers, so my blog allows me to tell everybody what I think.
    It can be time consuming though. I recently culled my google reader and got rid of all the blogs who are only out to exceed their number of followers and also people who churn out about ten posts a day. That has helped a lot, so I no longer feel so obligated. I also have cut down the amount of days I post and when i don’t post I don’t visit other sites either, thus giving me a break from blogging to deal with real life.
    I worry if I stopped blogging, I wouldn’t know what books are good and what are not anymore as I have come across so many excellent blogs since starting this.

    1. “I recently culled my google reader and got rid of all the blogs who are only out to exceed their number of followers.”

      Ever so often, I ask myself if I want to increase followers or enjoy the company of good friends. I’ve seriously thought about deleting the follower feature so I don’t worry if my popularity is growing. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be read, but these days I’m concerned more with who than how many. I, too, want to spend time at blogs where the blogger is interested in connection and writing truly when s/he has something to share.

  8. Such a good and timely question for me to ponder.

    I do not use social networks much, so really my blog is my only outlet to the cyber world. I truly enjoy those that I have met in this way and I would like to keep in touch.

    I do find pressure to post on a frequent basis, and at times in life when that is impossible, I feel tremendous guilt.

    When I first started my blog, it was the first time that I had formally put my thoughts in writing. Come to find out — I like to write. In fact, I have now branched out into creative writing and journal writing. In essence, blogging has opened my world to many other interests and that, in turn, has curtailed the amount of free time that I have to blog.

    I still love my morning routine of leisurely drinking my two cups of coffee and casually reading new blog posts. It is the perfect way for me to start the day and if I never write another blog entry, I can’t imagine giving up reading blogs. I am constantly being introduced to new books, new literary ideas, and new ways to interpret old classics – I NEED this kind of mental stimulation in my life. For example – I know very little about poetry, but plan to check out the several books and authors listed on this post to further that portion of my ongoing education 🙂

    I look forward to following the conversation on this topoic!

  9. I’m sorry to hear that you’re not enjoying blogging any more. I love blogging, but I have been doing it for less time than you – perhaps I’ll reach that 3 year boredom level that so many others seem to be facing.

    I think the key to enjoying blogging is to keep trying new things. I think so many people are doing the same thing, so if you have read similar posts for 3 years I imagine that it would get dull.

    I hope that you find a way to enjoy blogging and decide to stick around.

  10. I started blogging because I wanted to share my love of books and connect with other readers. I keep blogging because I love the community and the opportunities blogging opens up to know people I wouldn’t have known and to understand publishing in a new way. But that’s just me.

    If it feels like work, you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. But please don’t stop blogging! I would miss you.

    Re: the in-group/out-group conversation: I’m sick and tired of it, and I think it’s born out of insecurity, uncertainty, and the fact that bloggers don’t share their stats with anyone, so NO ONE has any idea where they really stand. And that’s hard. And it makes some people behave like teenagers. And that is decidely NOT something I wanted when I started blogging. I want people to do what works for them, visit the blogs they connect with, and stop worrying so much.

  11. I think all of us who have been blogging for a while (raising hand like someone in AA: “Five years this October”) know exactly what you mean. Why do we continue to blog? Like King Rat, I blog for myself, but also I blog for others: hopefully to inspire them to go for a walk, a run, or to exercise, period; to pick up a book (not necessarily the one I’m reading, but any book) and to think about things from a spiritual perspective once in a while. I also hope to make people not think with my sillier posts. I had a book blog for a while and still write about my reading, but I don’t focus exclusively on reviews when I do.

    Personally, I think the best book blogs are like Jodie describes, with a mixture of their own life included with the reviews. I also tend to like those book bloggers like yourself and Rebecca Reads, for another, who question from time to time why they do what they do. I think that introspection occasionally is healthy, because often like in your case, it makes the reader also question why are they doing it. Why continue this pursuit when you’re not making the big bucks from it?

    On the subject of poetry, I think what everyone has recommended is great. I was going to say Billy Collins too and think he’s a great place to start because he is so accessible. One of my favorites also is the late Czeslaw Milosz. Other than those two, I think whatever else was said is on target with the greats in poetry, past and present.

  12. I was pretty much going to say what Rebecca said. I love books and I love the connections my blog has give me to other readers and authors. I just ignore the negative conversations and keep doing what I enjoy. I hope you’ll stick around and just post when you feel like it.

  13. I blog because I love to read and I love to tell people about the books I love to read. About six months ago, blogging did become quite a chore for me. My life as a full-time working mom of two was pretty hectic. Then I stepped back and realized that all the stress I felt about blogging was self-imposed. I don’t care if I’m part of the so-called in crowd. I blog because I love books, no matter how popular my blog is.

    I personally don’t see a change in the blogging community. I think it’s incredibly friendly and nurturing. Perhaps that’s because I chose not to take part in the drama that seems to come up on a pretty frequent basis. Ignorance is bliss in this case, I think.

  14. I totally consider not blogging anymore all the time lately! It sort of feels like pressure now! Even though there are good things about it, like virtual friends and connections. But each week I consider anew and think: okay, next week I think I’ll stop.

    As for poets, I picked James Joyce, but then was sorry I didn’t pick Langston Hughes. I love him, so I’d suggest him as a poet to feature!

  15. Having been blogging on and off for 12 years now, not always about books but always a little bit about books, I can honestly say that there are blogging slumps and I think almost everyone goes through them. No one should feel bound to update regularly (unless they’re a paid blogger, I guess) and I think if I ever started to feel responsible to the readers of my blogs, I would probably quit for good. Those of us reading would miss you, of course; but I’m pretty sure that the readers you want to keep are the ones who will understand a need to stop, too.

    My blogs are for me, entirely. The book blog was primarily a way to keep track of what I was reading, and I’ve continued with it for that reason and also because I find that it makes me think a little more in-depth about what I read and why. I read much more widely now than I used to, and I enjoy that. I like it when people comment, but I have carefully trained myself (it took some time, because who doesn’t want to be loved?) not to be upset if they don’t. I have no idea about my stats and again, I’ve decided not to care.

    For this reason, regarding blogging politics: having been enmeshed in online imbroglios in the past, I’ve learned my lesson well: stay away. It’s a surefire way to make myself feel absolutely obsessed, miserable and angry all the time. And in the end, it’s over nothing that matters to me very much in the grand scheme of things, so why would I choose that path?

    1. Twelve years? Wow. Kudos to you for that. I didn’t even know blogging had been around that long. I bet you have a lot you could teach all of us about blogging.

      I also agree with you about politics. Unless you have a political blog, it’s best to stay out of it. I almost always do myself, except for the rare silly post.

      1. Oops, my alter ego is unfinishedperson, who commented above already. 🙂

  16. For me, long before I started a blog, I wrote notes about each book I had read just for my own records. I like sitting down and penning a few lines (at least!) about what I’ve read, because I think it helps me better understand what I’ve read, and I also think it helps me as a reader – I get to articulate what did or did not work for me in a book, and better understand what I look for in the books that I read. So in that sense, blogging seemed like a natural extension!

    I think that what’s important is that although I really appreciate each and every person who comes and reads my blog and gets something out of my posts, I always feel like I’m writing for me first. I think that’s critical. Once you start worrying about your audience, well, then you blog isn’t for you anymore, and I think that’s when the cracks begin to appear. I write what I feel like writing, when I feel like writing. I don’t always write about books, and I don’t force myself to publish everyday. In the month of February, I think I only posted 9 times! I don’t want blogging to feel like a chore or a burden, so I give myself full leave to take breaks when I need it, without explanation or recriminations.

    And you’ve been doing this for three years, so maybe that means this is the time to re-evaluate what you DO find rewarding about your blog, or how you might like to freshen things up. Maybe you want to scale back the number of reviews you feature and instead write about other things (bookish or otherwise). Do what you need to do!

    As for poets, I’m kind of hopeless in that area, but maybe you could take a look at Pablo Neruda and Dorothy Parker!

  17. Oh I hope you don’t stop blogging because I don’t twitter and all that stuff. It would be so sad not to have you around. I don’t really know about the in-group/out-group probably because of that, that I don’t twitter, etc.

    What keeps me going: the friends I’ve made. It would be so sad to lose contact. As you know, I’ve been considering stopping permanently and often feel bogged down by the pressure of finishing a book in time to write a review. The finishing-a-book part I don’t mind the pressure of. The writing-the-review part I do. So have decided to do something that eliminates that. I really do hope you find your balance and still continue to grace us with your presence. 🙂

  18. What inspires me to keep blogging is that I started my blog for me and not for an audience so when it comes down to it I still want a place that I can have a record of the books I read and my thoughts at the time I read them. If I never got another comment or hit I’d still keep it going for that reason alone. It’s my reading journal and I enjoy keeping it this way.

    Bottom line that’s why I started the blog and I still want to do that. With Wordless Wednesday it’s also become a place to keep my very favorite photos too.

    I have non blogging friends who occasionally mention that they follow my blog for book recommendations. That happened this week when a non-blogger friend mentioned in our message board that she loves my blog.

    So for me the priorities that keep my blog alive and going after 3 (nearly 4) years are:

    1. my initial reason for it – a place for a record of my reading.
    2. my friends who enjoy coming there for book recommendations and my photos.
    3. other readers (mostly bloggers) with whom I enjoy sharing book discussion.

    I don’t let my blog become work. I don’t feel any obligation to post certain things at certain times (except for Wordless Wednesday of course) or to post x number of times a week.

  19. I agree with several other comments — most of the pressure we feel is self-imposed. Step back a bit if you’re feeling burned out. Write some mini-reviews, read deliberately, participate in a couple of memes. I’m still 6 months from by 2nd blogiversary so I’m not where you are yet. But every time I feel the pressure of a blog deadline (and this on top of my work deadlines), then I try to remind myself to take a deep breadth and remember that nothing bad will happen to me if I miss a blog deadline.

    Blogging should be about you and should fit your own needs and schedule. I have only two days that I feel pressure: Wordless Wednesday and Weekend Cooking — and neither feels all that burdensome to me.

    Step back and find your rhythm again. Sorry I am of no help with poetry!

  20. I’ve only been at this blogging thing for a little over a year and a half, so maybe I’m too new to have gotten burned out. What I love about blogging is the conversation about books that I simply don’t get in my in-person life. I’m able to write with more depth about books on my blog–and read more in-depth posts and comments–than I can get outside blogging. That’s probably one of the reasons that my blog is very book-focused, with personal talk only coming in as it related to books (although I do enjoy the personal talk on others’ blogs–it’s just not my focus).

    One things that has helped me not feel too much pressure is blogging with a friend. Most of the time, if I’m having a slow reading/posting week, Jenny picks up the slack, and between us we can usually do 3-5 posts per week without memes (other than Sunday Salon). Plus, when we lived in the same area, Jenny and I talked books all the time, and the blog is sort of a way for us to continue our own conversation that’s been going on for years.

    And like others, I try to keep the blog from being work. If I don’t feel like doing something, I usually don’t do it or put it off until I feel like it. I’m careful in the commitments I make, request very few review copies, and try as much as possible to keep blogging fun. (For me, the reading-related pressure comes from my huge TBR pile, which, alas, was a problem long before I started blogging.)

    Regarding all the in-crowd/out-crowd talk, I get fretted about it every now and then, but mostly I blog for myself. In doing so, I’ve found a modest but seemingly loyal audience of readers who also blog in a way that I enjoy. If that audience is smaller than others bloggers’ audiences (and I know it is), that’s fine. No one has time to read every book blog out there, and just as our tastes in books differ, our taste in blogs will differ. Some blogs, like some books, will be almost universally loved; others will be popular, but disliked by some; others will be nichey but beloved by a few. Sure, in some cases, it does, the best books, movies, etc., are not always the most popular. I’m not always convinced the popularity equals quality. And even quality is subjective.

    That said, I hope you can find a way to make blogging a pleasure and not a burden. I don’t comment often, but yours is one of the blogs I make a point of reading regularly!

    As for poetry, I don’t have any poets to add, but if you’re looking for something a little different, I just finished Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled, which is a guide to writing poetry for fun. It’s funny but informative, with lots of exercises that you can do to try out different poetic techniques.

  21. I love your blog, but I know what you mean about the change in book blogging. This is why I don’t do exclusive book blogging. My blog is a quilt of things I like (and sometimes things I don’t like). Maybe freeing up your blog and not doing exclusively books would allow to feel some freedom. Just a suggestion as I’m a fan!

  22. I am relatively new to the whole book blogging scene, but I think I understand where you’re coming from. I could blog as a full-time career. Like others who have commented, I try to tell myself it’s just for fun. It’s not a job. People do get wound up and mean, but I just ignore them. I hope you stick with it because I like reading your blog and receiving your lovely comments! 😀

  23. I think the key to blogging in this changing atmosphere is to keep it personal and for one’s self as opposed to whoever might be out “there.” I kind of threw up my hands and gave up giveaways, interviews, projects. My blogging is truly just for me again, and my personal life (baby, family, etc.) are helping keep things fresh. My blog is changing as I’m changing, and the key to keeping it fun is to accept that I don’t need to fit in with whatever is current in the blogging world.

  24. I sincerely hope you won’t stop blogging. I love your blog and am always inspired to read more deliberately as a result. Your insights are always, well so darn insightful! Anyway I often think I want to quit blogging. Sometimes it seems like another thing on my list of things to do. I love to read books and other blogger’s blogs but sometimes keeping my blog going seems like a chore. What inspires me to continue is when I get a comment from a new reader that makes me realize that people actually care what I have to say about books and maybe just maybe I might inspire someone to read something or anything because of something I’ve written. I can only hope that my readers are as inspired as your blog makes me!

  25. What inspires me to keep blogging?

    The opportunity to share my love of books with someone, anyone who is willing to listen. My friends and family for the most part are quite uninterested in books, and so it is nice to discuss books on the web.

    Apart from that, I like the discipline of writing and the pleasure of receiving comments on my blog posts

    I guess that’s what keeps me blogging 🙂

  26. I know I’m late to the party here, but I wanted to comment, anyway. I completely understand how you (and Nymeth and Rhapsody) feel. I don’t know if I will stop blogging entirely come the fall, but it will be drastically curtailed, I think. It’s ok. It has to happen eventually, right?

    I’ll miss you, but I hope we stay in touch 🙂 Especially on our Native American scheduled reads, at least!

  27. What keeps me blogging: my love of reading and having a place to express my ideas about books, in the absence of any in-person interactions with bookish people. I live in a tiny, rural town 5000 miles from my previous home. Discovering other book-lovers online was such a revelation!

    Are there rules about blogging? I must be breaking all of them. Seriously, if poetry is getting you excited, then why not write about that? As far as I can tell, there’s no reason not to radically change direction with a blog if that’s what you want to do. I’d say keep yourself happy first of all and don’t worry about the readers.

    And who are these in-crowd bloggers anyway? I’m obviously not reading the right blogs 🙂

  28. I’m so far behind commenting, but I’ve been on a school-induced blogging break for a bit now and I’m just starting to explore through some unread posts.

    I think what keeps me blogging is that if I didn’t, I’m not sure who I would talk about books with. I have friends who ask for recommendations occasionally, and one book club I go to, but that’s about it right now. I love having the space to write about books and then use that writing to talk with other people.

    I do get tired of the same old thing over and over again, which I think means I’m going to be changing up my review style pretty soon and trying some new types of posts.

    I think the main thing is to give yourself a break. Like Beth F. said — most of the pressure is self-imposed, so sometimes the important thing is to just give yourself permission to take a break.

  29. I, too, feel the change in the book blogging community. I began my book blog in 2006, and it seemed such an easy simple thing to do: discuss books with like minded blogging friends. Now there’s all this hullabaloo about Twitter and Facebook and gadgets/widgets/whatever I can’t be bothered to even think about. I don’t like pressure in my life, and certainly not when it’s applied to the pleasures in my life. I guess what keeps me is the few friendships I’ve established, but probably what’s most essential is that I can express myself in this venue. Whether it’s appreciated or not, it’s important to me to have a voice, and to organize what I’ve read through my blog. So, selfish as that sounds, that’s mostly what keeps me going.

    I can’t believe I only met you this Christmas; see? I tend to stick in my shell, I guess!

  30. I’ve enjoyed your comments on several book blogs, particularly Nymeth’s. My answer to blogging burnout (after two years of a weaving blog) was to start a new blog with a new focus: a book blog. I guess I’m still in the honeymoon phase, there. It’s just so amazing to me that there are people who read such interesting stuff, and have such interesting and fun things to say about it. I still do the weaving blog, but it’s not what impels me to write just now. I have huge admiration for ANYONE who can blog and be in school at the same time. I remember how writing papers totally absorbed all my writing energy, and studying came close to absorbing all my reading energy.

  31. I’ll miss your blog if you stop blogging, but I’m glad you’ll still be on Twitter!

    I keep blogging because I like discussing books. I enjoy picking through my reactions to figure out why a book did or didn’t work for me, and I love having the opportunity to recommend titles that really moved me. I do sometimes find it discouraging, though, and it’s largely because of the whole in-crowd thing. My blog is pretty small, so I often feel like I’m on the outside, looking in. I see people say things like, “that post was really unpopular; I only got six comments on it,” and my eyes bug out because I love it when I get six whole comments on a post! Stuff like that makes me feel like I don’t belong; like I’m not a good enough blogger to hang around with the bigwigs.

    So I find that sort of thing discouraging, but I keep at it because I really do love writing reviews and connecting with other book lovers. I have scaled my blogging back a little, though, because I don’t have very much time to blog hop at the moment and I sort of feel like I have no right to expect others to read my blog if I’m not getting around to theirs. I plan to rev things up again once I finish work and am able to visit others on a regular basis.

  32. Like many other here, I keep it fun and meaningful by doing it for myself first and foremost. The relationships and great conversations are bonus. And then, I am a librarian which makes me (to borrow from some names others have given me) a book fairy, book temptress, book pimp. So I always think of all those lurkers out there that never comment but might be getting some temptation to read more than normal from something I have written.

    Don’t quit. We would all miss you. Retool. Rethink. Just don’t quit.

  33. I think you have to do what feels best but I would miss you terribly if you stopped blogging. Like Frances says: retool, rethink, and I’ll find out if any part of blogging brings you joy and go with that!

  34. I hope you don’t stop blogging totally. But as many have already said, maybe step away for a while and come back fresh. I haven’t felt that “burn-out” yet, but a few of you bloggers seem to be feeling this way right now.

    Poetry? I enjoy anthologies as a way to introduce me to various poets and styles, and recently picked up a couple good ones: “The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry” edited by Kaminsky and Harris (published this year); and the one I bought on vacation: “New European Poets” by Miller and Prufer. The latter book actually focuses more on Eastern European poets, rather than what most might think “Europe” is (England, etc).

  35. Oh no, you can’t give up your blog – I’d miss you so! But I do know what you mean about the blogosphere being so different now. I used to try and keep up with book blogs but now there are new ones coming up all the time and I know realistically I just can’t keep up. As far as keeping mine going, I just do my thing… Not always reviews, a lot of lists, sometimes I write about other bookish related things, etc. and that keeps me going. Oh and I don’t post everyday. I like to have a bit of a breather so that keeps me going.

    Anyway, hope you’ll find your blogging spark again 🙂

  36. I have been wondering about the same things myself… Sometimes I consider not blogging anymore, but then I think of something I want to say and I am back again…

  37. Though I’ve definitely been through bloggy droughts, I know I want to keep blogging. I love writing, especially when it’s writing my own opinions (since I have so many). I also like reading those of others. I have to remind myself that I don’t HAVE to blog…it’s not a chore!

  38. I don’t have much to say that adds to the comments above. I will say that based on the quantity of responses that you would be sorely missed if you were to stop blogging! Having said that, if it causes you stress and isn’t a pleasurable and fun experience for you then perhaps it’s time for you to take a break. Life is hectic, filled with school and kids and work and real responsibility, to pile more pressure on yourself because of a hobby doesn’t make any positive mark on your life.

    I say blog when you want to blog, join in on the conversations you want to and leave it at that. When you feel energized hop on and share it 🙂

  39. My life has changed and so my blogging has to change, too. I’ve only been reading you for a short while but I would miss you. I hope you find what works for you and I’m hoping that you will discover a way to blog that you enjoy.

    I love poetry and I have practically abandoned it since blogging about fiction. Look for Tracy Smith, The Body’s Question. She is an amazing young poet. Literate, skilled and committed to craft. I’m not a snob but I want poetry that feels like the poet really knows her craft and the world of poetry at-large. I am a Nikki Giovanni fan and I love Sonia Sanchez and Lucille Clifton. Cornelius Eady and Tyehimba Jess are men who get it right. I’ve heard both read live. Let me say, I’m not a blues fan but after hearing Jess read from Leadbelly, I was truly inspired to investigate the music and poetry. A good friend, January O’Neil’s Underlife is chock full of love, identity and loss and strength. I think sensibility wise, you’d like her.

  40. I haven’t blogged for about 7 weeks, partly because of life commitments but mainly because it suddenly felt like a chore. It wasn’t fun and spontaneous, instead it became dull.

    I haven’t given up on blogging but I’m not rushing back into it.

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