Blogging Life: The Challenges I Encounter With Discussion Posts

Discussion posts rank highly among my favorite aspects of the book and blogging community. They bring us together, offer insight and encourage..well discussion. Through them, we can learn a lot about one another and expand our own views. They can be a highly rewarding experience. But for me, they are not without their own set of challenges.

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The Challenges I Encounter With Discussion Posts

Insert my usual disclaimer: These are my own thoughts and experience, not intended to be advice or guidelines. I do not believe there is a right or wrong. Just do you.

Discussions, they are wonderful! And I will continue to present them and hopefully grow through the experience and improve not only as a blogger but as a person. I consider them to be one of the most beneficial aspects of the community. Afterall, we are all here to share common passions and hobbies. What better way to do so than through friendly talk and debate? But I have found that I am at times intimidated by the prospect of posting a new discussion. It is not something I openly admit, but sometimes I force myself to hit that schedule or publish button… It is easy to wear a mask of confidence behind this screen.

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So Why Do I Struggle At Times?

  • Coming up with original content is practically impossible in this sea swimming with millions of bloggers. Is my discussion still relevant? Do my viewers want to read it?
  • Tackling sensitive or personal issues is very important but challenging. I do hold that secret fear that I will unnecessarily offend or upset another (which is something I will never, ever intentionally do). I proofread discussion posts for hours to assure my point is clear and not offensive. But it can still happen. And I am still nervous every time I post.
  • Constructive debate and exploration of opposing views and thoughts are what discussion is all about. However, there is always that chance that someone will respond in a negative manner. It happens, but how do we handle it? I finally encountered this in last month in June, and I was floored and honestly, heartbroken. I attempted to apologize and steer the conversation back on track. I failed. So I simply stopped replying since I did not wish to block the commenter or encourage argumentative behavior. I am still not sure I handled this correctly? Is there a correct way?

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  • Is my point actually clear or am I rambling? I find it difficult to address topics that I feel strongly about without my post turning into a very winded and personal session. And I do not want this. I want it to remain open and encouraging for all opinions and viewers. I often worry that personal ramblings may come across as selfish or pointless.
  • Discussion posts tend to gain more views and shares than book reviews, tags, etc. I feel like I am really putting myself out there and it really intimidates me at times. I know this point might sound ridiculous because isn’t that the point of blogging? Yes, but there is still something about logging in to see a discussion post making all of the rounds that has me slightly on edge. I suppose I am sitting here reflecting on all of the above.

And there you have it. I am sure I could spend another hour rambling about my personal experiences with drafting, sharing and responding to my own discussion post but these are the biggest hurdles I encounter. Do you post discussion posts and if so, what are some of your own struggles? Maybe you have some personal advice or tips you can offer for myself or those who still encounter many challenges.

Let’s Chat,

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Blogging Life: 6 More Things I Have Learned Since I Started Blogging

 

I recently took a small hiatus to rest and recover.  My time away from the blog, long or short, always allows me to reflect on how much I am enjoying the process, what I am learning and what I could do to improve that time. This is the cycle of my brain in pretty much all aspects of my life. So today, it felt appropriate to share several more things I have accepted learned since I became a blogger.

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6 More Things I Have Accepted Learned Since I Started Blogging

(These are simply personal reflections and not intended to be advice. I do not do advice.)

  1. Finding that distinct voice that I mentioned here, is actually quite a process at times, at least for me. Maybe it should not be, but it is. In a world where there are over 440 Million Blogs (according to the internet), we are each small fish in a very large pond. Depending on our personal goals, making our own mark can be challenging. I find myself constantly discovering new ideas and content the inspire and influence me. This also means I am constantly assessing the direction of the blog and the content I want to provide. In other words, I never seem to have a clearly defined direction. Who am I as a blogger? Which leads us to number 2.

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  2. I am living in a perpetual state of “winging it”. No matter who much I plan and organize, there will always be something. I am simply not an individual who has the ability to plan months of content in advance (not for lack of trying), and when I begin to gain a firm hold on posts life seems to inevitably happen. Be it health, family matters, or even just simply brain fog and lack of creative inspiration, I am destined to fall behind at least once a month. Setting unrealistic goals and spending hours on end trying to catch up will only worsen the situation. Sometimes I just have to roll with the punches and hope for the best. This can include last-minute content that is drafted sometimes only a night in advance.
  3. While I avoid stats like week-old leftovers, I value followers with all of my little <3. After all, I do this to be part of a community. It is always refreshing to see new faces and know that I have like-minded individuals I can share my passion with. I spent over a year and a half feeling guilty and concerned about each health break and hiatus I had to take. I was nervous that I would lose some of you and perhaps disconnect with the community in some way during my unplanned time offline. I was wrong. Breaks are not something I plan to make a habit of but they are beneficial and not detrimental. The book and blogging community is incredibly supportive and understanding. Not only do each of you continue to encourage me to take the necessary breaks, but I often return to several more new faces and feeling ready to tackle new content.

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  4. It is ok to deviate from the normal topic from time to time (or even often if that is your thing). I am a book blogger in the sense that this blog was created to share my love of all things books. Every social media account attached is also focused on books. Reviews, book photos, book discussions, interviews, you name it. But that does not mean I cannot talk about other things. In fact, I have found that post such as my Friday Favorites are normally well received. The ability to branch out at times and share other hobbies or passions helps maintain my enjoyment of blogging and recharge the creative fuel! And I feel like this helps with number one ⇑, finding the distinct voice.
  5. I will always preach that blogging is a hobby and should never feel like a chore. But sometimes it does, and it will. I have goals for the blog and the connections I want to establish within the community, and with those goals come some commitments. I have to accept that to achieve some of my personal goals I will need to put in some work, and work is a chore at times. But the important thing here is that I am reaching for something I desire and am passionate about. So it is not detracting from my overall enjoyment. Passions and hobbies can include aspirations and working hard to achieve these is simply another extension of that commitment and enjoyment.

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  6. I will never have all of the answers or win the internet. Each day will be a continuous process of learning from each of you and growing on a personal level. Embracing this aspect of blogging allows me to enjoy it to the fullest.

I wanted to do something a little different today and ask you, what are several things you have learned since you started blogging? I would love to know! So I am inviting you to share a post or your responses on social media and tag me or this post so I can see!

Let’s Chat,

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Blogging Life: Is There a Proper Etiquette for Unsolicited ARCs & Review Copies?

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Recently I received an email from a publishing marketer wanting to know where my review was for an advanced reading copy they had sent. The problem was, this copy was unsolicited. It arrived in my mailbox as a pleasant surprise and after a courtesy Instagram post made its way to small but kind of growing pile of unsolicited book mail. This was not the first time an email like this has happened, and it kind of upset me. The more I thought about it, the more I felt the marketer was out of line to approach me in this manner. After deleting the email (I try not to allow myself to angry respond – lesson learned there) I took to Twitter with my grievances because that is what we do in this day and age of booming social media.

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It turns out that many of you agree (because I am right) and I had some nice discussions about these unsolicited copies and unread review policies (Spoiler – nobody reads them). I wanted to carry that over to the blog and discuss it further because it’s fun to do. So let’s do this!

Unsolicited Book Mail: Is There A Proper Etiquette Involved?

This is a tricky one for me because I say yes and no. Technically, I feel as though I did not ask for it, therefore I am in no way, shape or form committed to respond or react to it. But I also happen to be a nice and appreciative person *wink*.  So do have a haphazard system in place that I hope is courtesy and grateful because I do love book mail and being thought of ❤

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My System (Attempt at Unsolicited Book Mail Etiquette)

Keeping two shelves for ARCs & reviews copies: Here I separate the requested and agreed to reading versus the glorious and ever elusive surprise mail into two defining collections. And well, I bet you can guess which takes priority *double wink*

Contacting the publisher: If I am provided with contact or have the information for the sender (a few I work with regularly will send titles they think I might like) I will send an email thanking them for the book and let them know that if/when I have time to review it, I will be sure to send them the link. I do understand these ARCs cost them money and like to be appreciative and responsive when I can. However, I will not go out of my way to track down senders of the random titles that arrive with no additional information.

Brief promotion without/before reviewing: I always attempt to share the book mail on Instagram and social media in advance. Albeit my following count is hardly worthy of actually labeling this as a promotion. I feel that bringing any awareness to the titles is the least I can do before it goes on the glorious surprise mail shelf.

Reviewing: I will review and acknowledge that it was sent via the publisher and shoot them a link once I am finally able to do. I do not review the random romance or spiritual titles that arrive. To be fair, I have a policy that states I am closed for reviews and do not accept these titles EVER. Should have read that *triple wink* <– is that a thing?

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I appreciate and respect those rare occasions that I am sent the unexpected. Particularly when it is accompanied by a nice note or explanation. I have one publicist who will send books with a card saying “This sounded like your cup of tea” I adore her! I do the best I can to acknowledge and review the titles. But I also believe it is out of line for any publisher to demand a review when the title was never actually requested. I am hoping this is a rare event that I will not encounter too often.

How do you handle unsolicited books? Perhaps you have experienced something similar (although I hope not). Do you feel there is a proper etiquette involved with unsolicited book mail?

Let’s Chat,
Danielle ❤

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