A where we’re at post, a why we’ve been absent post, an honest and confused post. Lots of information you probably will have guessed, but we’re trying to be honest on this platform, this mini-soapbox.
Virtually Readers, if you’re still following along while Shanti and I have half-abandoned the blogosphere, then you might have seen my last post. It was mostly about reviewing I Contain Multitudes, but I mentioned what a blogging mess I am at the beginning.
Anyway, I could post about the books I’m reading at the moment (Sophie’s World sprinkled with The House at Pooh Corner, a dash of The Taming of the Shrew and a helping of Half a Yellow Sun) or write a post about blogging, but I though instead I might explain in a bit more detail why I haven’t been blogging that much. Shanti and I have a whole personal blog for details about our lives but this is more about how our lives have intersected with us book blogging.
As you may know, Shanti and I both started university this year at different places in New Zealand. After an 8 month break following high school (which really wasn’t a great time. This makes me I was definitely ready for a fresh start. Before I started I drafted heaps of blog posts so I could keep posting without stressing about that and uni. But since those ran out in about May, you may have noticed my blog post frequency (and quality) dropping off significantly. It kind of feels like something I know I want to do yet struggle to prioritise.
This year, I’ve had lots of priorities. I try to make God (and bringing God’s kingdom on earth in everything that I do) the first one. Then it’s studying and friends, volunteering, continuing to play music, and blogging isn’t really in the top 5. I’ve been very busy, although I was very busy in high school. Maybe I’m getting worse at managing my time, but I think I’m just doing other things with it.
Blogging has been incredibly valuable to me. It gave me regular writing practice ( I have improved So. Much. since 2014). It inspired me to read and write. Most importantly, the blogging community was the only thing I had outside of high school and all the things I was involved with. It wasn’t linked to my loneliness at school or competitiveness with academics. In blogging I found friends who were as nerdy about books as I was. I think I got to be more fully myself on the internet, and I think I considered blogging an important part of my identity.
Now I don’t know where I am. I know Shanti and I have both come a long way from being those lonely 14 year olds who started a blog with no clue what they were doing. Blogging got me through those final years of high school, years that weren’t wholly miserable but in hindsight makes me realise how much I was missing out on. I feel I’ve come into myself more, grown; it’s hard to quantify how much blogging has played a role in that.
The main reason I haven’t been blogging, I suppose, is because I don’t need it. I have other things to do with my time (although sometimes I still idly scroll through Facebook or Instagram). I have events to go to and my life to organise. I’m trying to find time for exercise and music practice and God and everything else. But I haven’t moved on. I still think about blogging friends (and I saw the two we know in NZ, Ella and Lara, just the other day) . I’m still interested in new YA releases. And I still read: not as much and not just YA. Before, I’d have to choose blogging over schoolwork or sitting in my room doing nothing lol. Now, I struggle to find the time to read… and I’d rather read than blog. I’m putting studying and spending time with my friends above this, and I don’t really regret it.
I don’t really know where this leaves me. I don’t want to give up on blogging, and I suspect I’ll have more time for it in the summer. As Shanti has pointed out, it’s good writing practice (even if I don’t engage with the whole community, which is one of the things I liked best about blogging). I still love reading. I still love the concept of blogging. What I do know is I’m not giving up on it yet. What I do know is that my attitude to blogging has changed. What I do know is that even if I stop (if I do, I won’t disappear off the face of the planet, I will alert you) it won’t change the fact that it’s been important to me in the past. I do know I won’t stop being a bookworm.
Like Shar, I’ve been struggling to find the time to blog. It’s not about the time necessarily, because I still spend heaps of time reading and writing, even though I do have lots going on. It’s two things: first, I think that I am most clued in to the YA community and I’m reading much less YA. Perhaps ⅓ of the books I’ve picked up in the last two months have been YA? This video from Ariel Bisset really reflects some of my thoughts on how and why my reading tastes have changed. And I’m okay with it, really! It’s so exciting to have so much more to read.
Blogging is important to me. I like that I have a low stress-low expectation outlet for my thoughts. But I think it’s going to stay that way, and the blogging might drop off a bit. I’m still trying to review and I’m still trying to do discussion and feature posts when I can. But I have other outlets for writing now–my student magazine, especially. I so admire the intense committments and commenting back and everything that some of you wonderful people do. But blogging has never been such a high commitment for me, and that’s let me try things out, post really unedited writing, and learn to get way better at structuring my ideas. If you followed this blog for heaps of YA content, I get it if you want to unsubscribe. But if you want sporadic (but hopefully still thoughtful) posts about all kinds of books (including lots of YA probably), please stick around. I might never reply to your comments–but I swear I read them!
Thank you to everyone who has been part of Virtually Read so far. We love you all.