These are my thoughts on various trends that have me rolling my eyes, raising my eyebrows and in general wondering about the state of book blogging. I’ve discussed readathons, giveaways, blog hops, rules and reasons to start blogging, followers, comments, overdoing guest blogging, and reviewing.
I was sitting in a conference at work one day, one which was trying to teach me all about becoming a better manager and dealing with difficult employees, and I was struck by this idea of improving oneself. There are literally millions of how-to books out there, as well as employer-sponsored training, that are designed to help one improve one’s work skills. In fact, at most places of business, attending such training is all but mandatory. Now, jump to one’s personal life. Do we, or do we not, also strive to improve outside of work? We attend classes, seek out lessons, and practice, practice, practice to improve in whatever area we want – cooking, exercise, rock climbing. Is this because we are driven to get better or because of the lure of a challenge?
A few weeks ago, I discussed the importance of having a well-written blog and being professional in everything written. Writing well is a skill that takes time and practice to learn. Then I started thinking, even if a large majority of bloggers never hope to/ plan to/ expect to make any money from blogging, should we or should we not approach blogging in a similar fashion as we do other passions? If I want to be a better cook, I will take cooking lessons and will practice at home with my family as my guinea pigs. Do I owe it to myself and to my readers to work on improving my writing skills as well? Better yet, if I hope to portray myself as a professional writing hobbyist, can I do this without working on improving my writing? Even if it is just a hobby, does it not necessitate the same drive to improve as in other areas of our lives? If it does not, why not? Why is blogging “just a hobby” but rock-climbing or running is not? Is there such a thing as just a hobby?
I ask this because I do feel that bloggers get a bum rap some times. Everyone from Mommy bloggers to book bloggers to fashion bloggers and beyond are stereotypically viewed as somewhat anti-social, shy people who feel their words are important and feel the need to share them with the Interwebz. In spite of their popularity and power to influence the masses, I feel that certain people still view blogs as whims or delusions of grandeur. It is almost as if no one expects a blogger to strive to improve, and I cannot help but feel that poorly written blogs only perpetuate this stereotype.
I throw these thoughts out there because it is something with which I have wrestled for quite some time now. Having never considered myself a writer, it was an epiphany for me to realize that even though I am not published in the traditional sense, through blogging successfully for almost three years now I really am one. Don’t get me wrong; I have no desire to write a novel of any sort. I just want to put forth the best blog posts that I can. Yet blogging is the one area of my life that I have ignored when it comes to self-improvement. Is this fair? Is this a good representation of who I am, especially when I strive to improve in everything else I do? If I do hope to improve my writing skills, is writing posts enough? Are there other exercises I should be doing?
What do you think?