BBAW short lists were unveiled this week. As I watch people express their excitement at being part of the short lists, or search my own feelings at not being included, I can’t help but wonder at this weird and wonderful thing called blogging. We say we do it for ourselves, yet we all admit that we love comments and notes from others. Similarly, I write from the heart but cannot help but try to figure out what I did wrong to not be included among the Most Well-Written or Best Eclectic Blogs short lists. If I blog for myself, would I truly care whether I receive attention from others? In this day and age, is blogging really only for one’s self?
If I am going to be honest with myself, I started blogging because it sounded like fun, and I was enticed by the idea of receiving review copies of novels. I’m a book lover. Free books has me practically drooling. I made some decisions relatively early on in blogging that prevented me from growing my readership by leaps and bounds, as compared to other new bloggers, but I received comments and support from friends and received the occasional review copy and was happy. Yes, I would look at my stats, watch others talk about theirs and question whether I made the right decision. I stand by my decisions not to do certain things that would guarantee more followers, but there are days where I lament my low readership.
On a similar vein, I write from my heart and not to please my readers. Yet, I cannot help but feel disappointed that I was not voted into the short list. Judging by some of the reactions, others who are included on the list are equivalently happy. Again, if we were writing for ourselves, then it shouldn’t matter.
Because it all matters – comments, followers, peer recognition, author/publisher recognition and relationships – I have to conclude that we aren’t writing for ourselves. Yes, it may be a hobby, but we ALL want the recognition and accolades that come with doing something into which we pour our heart and soul. If we were only writing for ourselves, we would mark our blogs as private and make our words available to a chosen few. The fact that we have gone public with our thoughts, our secrets, and other items about which we write is proof that we inadvertently seek approval from others, whether it is via a comment, a review book, an e-mail from an author, an award, or some other form of attention from someone else that makes us feel good about our blogging.
After thinking about this, it is time to stop hiding behind the idea that I am putting forth all this effort and energy into something that I am doing solely for myself. I will confess that I am not blogging just for myself. I want the recognition and prestige I feel when I form a relationship with a publicist or publisher. I seriously jump up and down when I get review books and ARCs. I would love to turn writing my blog into a paid career and have taken steps to start building a professional portfolio to do just that. I was hoping that peer recognition in the form of the BBAW awards would help set me apart from others and could be something I would use in my portfolio. While I am not willing to employ certain gimmicks designed to build followers, the loss of followers I had after I switched domain names upset me horribly. While blogging is still a hobby, it has become something I value and place among the higher priorities of my life. I hope to be recognized for my efforts and tend to get down on myself when I do not receive a comment on one of my posts. Selfish? Maybe. The truth? Absolutely.
Thoughts? Dig deep and tell me the truth behind the reasons why you blog. You may just surprise yourself.