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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Negative Reviews: Why I Appreciate Them As A Reader

If you have been following the blog for any length of time, you know I tend to keep my discussion posts lighter. I prefer for the majority of the actual discussion to happen below, in the comments 😉  And as always, these are just thoughts not intended in any way to express a right or wrong, how to, or pass any form of judgment. Just a little nice discussion over some tea ☕

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I touched on this with a lot of you recently when I discussed Tagging Authors in Blog Post Titles: I Have Questions (Asking for a Friend), I am a firm believer in book reviews being for the reader. They are written to discuss, share and offer thoughts with other readers. So as readers, we rely on them to help us make informed decisions.

I want all of the details.. Just give it to me straight!

Like most, I read reviews to help me determine whether books are an ideal fit for me. I am generally looking for several pieces of information ranging from how the book made the reader feel to how well it was executed and presented. I want the facts; the good, the bad and the ugly. Just give it to me straight!

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I love enthusiastic book reviews because I can relate to the joy that comes from a great reading experience. We all can. There is nothing better than closing a book and immediately wanting to share it with others. As readers, we live for that bookish elation.

But I also feel that sometimes those less than stellar reads can be very beneficial in the community for several reasons. The obvious is that sharing a disappointing experience is still valuable information for potential readers looking to make a decision. Reading is an individualized process and your negative review is not necessarily a deterrent but helpful in the decision process. I have also found that some of the best book discussions stem from sharing these experiences. It is easy to rave about what works, but understanding why it didn’t can really solicit great thought. You are given the opportunity to encounter opposing views which offer more insight when in a safe, constructive environment!

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And let us not forget problematic books or triggering content (which are two separate things but both being mentioned here for the sake of brevity). Because they need to be discussed too! If it upset you or unsettled you in some way, there is a very large chance you are not alone. If a book truly presents with problematic or triggering content address it! You just might spare someone else potential distress.

Finally, negative reviews help lend some credibility to the reviewer. Of course, you can be one hundred percent honest and choose not to post negative reviews (I follow and highly respect several bloggers who do not share negative reviews) but there is a certain amount of authenticity that seems to grow over time when we are exposed to the good and bad with a reviewer. We establish an expectation that they are going to tell it as is regardless.


So what are your thoughts on negative reviews? Let me know whether you share them or not and why. Do you find them beneficial?

Let’s Chat,

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Books Including Trigger Warnings: Let’s Discuss This

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I am very open to graphic content in books, as I have mentioned in my post Graphic Content In Books: Can It Add Value? Because I do feel that a lot of times, it does add value and helps to deliver powerful messages when utilized properly. I will also admit that I have an unusually high tolerance for such material. I grew up on horror, and later became a fan of watching films and reading novels that challenged me even in the most uncomfortable of ways. But like any reader or viewer, I have triggers and limits. I believe we all do.

So what happens when we stumble upon those triggers unexpectedly?

An entirely otherwise ideal reading experience can come crashing down within the matter of a few mere sentences or one traumatic scene. Let’s face it, awareness is often a huge determining factor in how negatively or positively we are impacted by something challenging. While I am open to exploring topics that are outside of my comfort zone, like many other people, I prefer to do so at my choice.

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 Why does awareness matter so greatly?

Because preparation is key. As readers and individuals, we deserve the right to be informed. We dedicate varying amounts of our time to the act of reading for various reasons ranging from escapism to actively seeking out knowledge. Our choices should be made accordingly with the appropriate information to do so. Life hands us enough situations where we do not get to select our comfort levels or easily avoid triggers, but picking up the next book should maybe not be as risky?

I’m not talking censorship, I’m talking accessible content warning labels.

I firmly believe in freedom of speech and will advocate against censorship strongly. But doing so, I also understand that there comes a responsibility to use those liberties wisely. And educating yourself and being informed are the first steps. Multiple sources of media present ratings and warnings for viewers and listeners to make educated decisions (I am going to refrain from dates and specifics here as I feel most of us are very familiar with the MPAA, etc). Television and music carry rating systems and explicit content warnings, while video games also offer consumers the same. So why not books?

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Possible dilemmas or challenges to including warning labels?

I have no doubt that there are many! I would hate to see audiences limited and do not feel that age restrictions should be placed on titles, but maybe there are some who would disagree. However, adding such labels will probably impact sales and marketing. Parents who are not reading the books children pick up, might suddenly find themselves second-guessing those purchases when they realize that there is graphic content included. And informed readers will likely pass on certain titles when given the choice to make an informed selection. This could lead to a loss of sales, although how significant would be hard to say.

Labels would also come at production cost. While maybe insignificant for larger publishing firms, would smaller publishers be able to maintain them? And does this responsibility ultimately lie with the publisher or the retailer?

Perhaps though, the biggest and most important hurdle would be determining what topics warrant such labels. There would need to be clearly established guidelines that spelled out the full encompassment of each warning/topic listed. This process alone would be no small undertaking.

And then we run into the issue of preexisting material. Are retailers responsible for labeling?


While I love the idea of including trigger warning with books, I am aware that is not something to likely happen overnight. But I do not see why this could not be part of our reading future. What are your thoughts on including labels to help consumers make informed selections?

Let’s Chat!

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