BBAW: What’s in it for me?

Today’s BBAW topic is “What does book blogging mean to you?”  I can sum that up in one word: Community.

In yesterday’s interview with Chris @ Chrisbookarama, I said:

The best part about blogging — and it was totally unexpected — has been the community of other bloggers.  And the most important thing I’ve learned, and am still learning, is about how to build and sustain community. … It’s important to understand what you most enjoy about blogging and devote time and effort to keeping that flame alive, but be flexible and open to new ways of doing so.

We all have those low periods where our blogging energy flags.  When this happens to me, it’s almost always because I’m feeling disconnected.  Sometimes I bring this on myself — such as when life gets busy and I don’t visit & comment on blog posts as often as I’d like.  At other times, I’ve felt “overworked” by blogging itself.  I used to do a lot of reading challenges, until I got bogged down in maintaining challenge lists, setting up reading plans to make sure I finished each challenge, posting links or reviews on challenge blogs, and writing challenge posts and wrap-up posts.  I scaled back on challenges in 2010 and dropped them entirely in 2011, and enjoyed the flexibility this brought to both blogging and reading.

But even though blogging became easier, it took time to find a new community to interact with.  So many book bloggers had jumped on the ARC bandwagon, reviewing contemporary fiction, interacting with authors and publishers, and hosting giveaways.  But the commitment to ARCs just looked like challenges in a different form.  It wasn’t for me, but I sure felt like I was missing out on something good.  And for a while, I felt like a lone voice in the wilderness.

That is, until I stepped back and thought hard about the type of literature I most enjoy, and the books that have landed on my “all-time favorites” list over the years.  I gravitate towards prize winners & nominees, and classics, especially those by women authors.  So nowadays I consider myself a literary fiction & classics blogger.  This may be a niche; at least, it’s taken a while to find community.  But it’s there if you invest the time and effort.  Several of my favorite literary bloggers are fans of Virago Modern Classics (books by oft-neglected women writers).   The Classics Club is working hard to create a blogging community, too, and I’m looking forward to expanding my connections there.

And I’m always open to suggestions.  Where have you found community?

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18 thoughts on “BBAW: What’s in it for me?

  1. There is something to be said for commenting, it can be too much if you try to comment a lot but at the same time if you don’t do it as much as you’d like it makes you feel away from the community. It’s good to find the blog community that works for you, so much changes when you find people who read what you do. I think quite a few of the people I follow are on that classics club list.

    • I agree with you about the importance of striking the right balance in commenting, Charlie. And I need to pay more visits to Classics Club members!

  2. The book blogging community is fantastic isn’t it? I’ve only been blogging for a short while but everyone has been so welcoming. Thank you so much for sharing the links you have…I’ve been hopping all over the place!

    • Jennifer, events like BBAW are a great way for new bloggers to get connected. I hope you’ve enjoyed the week as much as I have (and it’s only Wednesday)!

  3. The book blogging community is so diverse. There’s a place for everyone, I think. Finding it can sometimes be difficult though. I agree with so much of what you said, particularly about the reasons we sometimes feel burnt out. I know that feeling of disconnect is often where my issue stems from.

    Great response, Laura.

    • Ooh, Gautami, you are right about book blogging making reading more intense. There are two aspects of this for me: 1) I need to pay much closer attention to what I’m reading, and 2) I have really raised the bar in terms of the type of books I read, compared to my pre-blogging days.

  4. “We all have those low periods where our blogging energy flags. When this happens to me, it’s almost always because I’m feeling disconnected.” I TOTALLY get this, as I get this same feeling under many of the same circumstances you do. For me, BBAW could not be happening at a better time to help counteract that!

  5. This struck lots of chords for me Laura, particularly the comments about. reading challenges. I was quite enthused when I started blogging and saw how many others were joining in readalongs and challenges. By happy accident I held back from joining Mosander of them and now I’m glad I did because I’ve realised that reading for me isn’t about how many books I read in a year or how many pages I’ve read each month. It’s about enjoying the moment itself and sharing in discussions with other readers.

      • Just noticed my terrible typo. It should have said ‘most of them’ not Mosander – whatever that word means. Sorry about that everyone. Typing on an IPad is not wonderful I am discovering.

  6. Pingback: The Estella Society » Blog Archive » Connect and Energize with the Book Blogger Buddy System

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