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