Seeing as it has been over two years since I began The Past Due Review, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on some of the unforeseen consequences of running a book blog. I realize that I have expanded my content to include movie reviews and Music Monday posts, but this site began with the wish to share what I have been reading and my thoughts on those stories. Though some of these revelations probably seem rather mundane or obvious to others, I was taken by surprise in both positive and negative ways. Let’s start with the bad; it can only get better from there, right?
*It occurs to me that the negatives I point out are very subjective, so please keep that in mind.*
The Blogger Guilt Award:
Blogger awards are a wonderful way to network and share blogs that you support in this vast and beautiful blogging community. It is this realization that causes me a lot of guilt after being tagged in blogger awards and not participating. I am truly grateful whenever I am nominated, but part of the reason I don’t participate is the strict schedule I keep for my posts (which I will talk about later). While I appreciate each nomination, I don’t have the time to fit in more content to the amount I am already creating. As such, I do worry that my fellow bloggers think me ungrateful or that I believe I am above such blogging memes; this is far from the truth, and extends into the reason I don’t review new books.
New Book Fatigue:
My blog is built around the premise of reviewing movies and books that aren’t new, which helps it stand out from the vast majority of blogs posting about new and upcoming releases. This was done consciously, not to say there is anything wrong with reviewing new books, but I personally begin to feel fatigued seeing the same books reviewed at the same time. I realize that many of these are Advance Reader Copies sent out by publishers in order to market their latest releases, and these are a great way to get book recommendations (which, again, I will talk about later), but it does cause me to skip reading more posts than I would normally.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS):
While I realize this is probably not a problem for most book bloggers, as it seems the vast majority are female, I have seen more shirtless men and their abs thanks to romance book covers on here than I would ever need to. Seriously, the romance book reviews have more six packs than a liquor store (badum tss). I was not prepared for the amount of shirtless men to show up on my reader feed, though I have learned to be grateful for my privacy screen when blogging in public. Luckily, book blogging isn’t all bad; though, there is an amount of work behind it that most people take for granted.
It is easy to lose track of the amount of work that goes behind each post on a blog, especially when that content is varied in its format and style. For my book reviews, I begin by taking a picture of the book for the featured image, then take at least a week to read the book and take notes before knocking out a review in around half an hour. My book reviews are scheduled around a month out and I plan ahead 6 to 8 books at a time. For movie reviews, I gather the IMDB info, look up photos for the corresponding blog post and save the links, watch the movie on one of my days off work, and then take around half an hour to write the review.
Music Monday posts require picking songs that fit the different moods or seasons, then I assign those to appropriate Mondays in the coming year, type up the lyrics to give me a more intimate understanding of them, find a YouTube link for song, and take photos of vinyl records when appropriate. I also collect a photo and all of the social media accounts for each artist. For the concept album posts, I write up a band summary, and then go song by song through the album to describe the general story or sound of the songs. All of this is done in my spare time, and I find that templates are your friend when it comes to writing content in order to save time and create a uniform look across the platform. Though there is a lot of work put into the blog, that isn’t to say that there isn’t any payoff.
Do You Validate?:
As you read above, I put a lot of time and effort into my posts, like most other bloggers, so it is nice to have a bit of validation for all of the hard work I have done. I do not get paid to write my blog, like many others, so putting this much of myself into something feels rewarding when other people are able to get something out of it. As you can see above, there is a lot of time and energy that goes into this blog, and there are probably aspects that I forgot to add despite my aim to be thorough. Getting likes and views on my blog, as well as seeing the proof in my stats, is incredibly rewarding, but the best byproduct is the amount of discussion that comes about in the wake of sharing content.
Let’s Talk Books:
In addition to having discussions and sharing our favorite (and not so favorite) reads, the blogging community is wonderfully supportive and has created a means to reach fellow readers around the globe. I have had wonderfully engaging discussions with my fellow bloggers regarding some of my favorite tomes; this goes far beyond agreeing with one another and loving the same books. I love finding out other people’s opinions of things I love, especially when it is converse to how I perceive the work. It shows the variety in human experience and allows me to take a step outside of myself and see something from a different perspective, which often comes as a byproduct of living in completely different cultures.
A Global Connection:
I have been able to connect with people from all over the world, and this has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. I am able to gain new perspectives on books, music, issues, and films that I may never have come into contact with otherwise. The blogging community is a wonderful place to meet like-minded individuals with similar interests, which is something seldom seen in a world of social media accounts that seek simply to improve their own stats.
I find it difficult to believe that I have been here for over two years, with supporters and readers who take the time to look at what I spent so much of myself in creating. I will continue to blog for the foreseeable future (despite all those abs), and cannot think of a better way to express myself creatively while being part of a welcoming and supportive community. Yes, these consequences were unforeseen, but the bad are typically overcome by the good and I can’t wait to see what new experiences surface in my blogging career. Has there been anything you were surprised by after starting a blog, book related or otherwise?