On Disappointments and Setbacks When Blogging

Strap in friends, it’s going to get real honest up in here.

I try my best to be positive and happy across my various blogging platforms because a) we all love books and we all turn to blogging & reading as an escape from real life and b) I don’t necessarily want my negativity to trigger other people. However I thought writing up this blog post would be a good idea, both to get my thoughts out and to provide a little support if any of you are going through the same thing (I’m always here to talk if you need me!).

Recently, Bookstagram (my primary book blogging platform other than WP) has been leaving me in a pretty, for lack of a better term, shitty place. I started Bookstagramming more than a year ago when I was on break from uni, both as a way to cure my boredom and to talk about books with other people who love them. Now, I don’t regret my decision – most of my friends in real life are not big readers and because of blogging, I have met some of the loveliest people on this planet, who share so many of the same passions that I do. It also helped me grow as a person – I always thought of myself as more of a practical person rather than a creative one and Bookstagram proved me wrong, opening up so many more opportunities for me. So basically I really, truly love Bookstagram and blogging and the community that has welcomed me with open arms.

However, despite the positive, I felt myself focusing on all the negative and it started hitting me really hard. After the introduction of the Algorithm by Instagram, all of my stats took a hit. I was gaining followers only a fraction above the amount I was losing them, my pictures weren’t getting as many likes, I was getting less comments and interaction overall was down. I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into a really dark place where I was fixated on all these figures and I was taking photos based on what I thought other people would like, not for myself. Because of this, I grew really unhappy with my photos and my feed and this unhappiness was affecting all parts of  my life, not just my blogging. I started posting less and less due to lack of motivation, from two photos a day to about two a week (if that), which in turn made me stress out even more. I had all these expectations built up around how my pictures should look, how well my account should be doing etc. and eventually, I caved under the pressure of them all.

To add to my problems with Bookstagram, the amount of books that I had to read (particularly those from publishers) were piling up and it was becoming impossible for me to review all of them. Beyond that, it left no time for me to read books that I actually wanted to read without feeling more than a little guilty. And when I tried telling people in real life about it, I felt so ungrateful that I had the privilege of getting books for review and I was complaining about it. All in all, for about two months, nothing to do with blogging was appealing to me anymore. I didn’t want to stop because I had loved it so much but I also did not want to keep on going forward in the same mental state that I was in.

For me to have such negative feelings towards blogging – something I started as a way of having fun – was such an eye opener. For my sanity, I decided I just needed to take a step back and reevaluate everything. Below are a few things that really helped me get through this little period of my life and I thought I would share them with you. Obviously, different things work for different people and I’m not saying that they are permanent fixes either but, as I said, they worked for me and hopefully they can help you as well.

mytips.jpg


1. TAKE A STEP BACK


Stop. Breathe. Relax. 

Sometimes the only way to do things better is to take a break from them first. I found that taking a break from posting photos and writing blog posts was really beneficial to my mental health and in the end, that’s what matters first. Take this break to do things you’ve been putting off or just take it as time to recharge. Hey, maybe even venture out in to the mystical world that is the outdoors. Or do something a little less drastic and binge watch the High School Musical movies in bed. Whatever works for you, do something that you enjoy and you’ll find that everything gets a little easier to manage.


2. REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED BLOGGING


If things start feeling like a chore, you know you are doing something wrong. It all depends on why you started blogging in the first place – remember what that is and see if it still brings happiness to your life. When I started Bookstagramming, I honestly never thought I would have come this far and focusing on that helped a lot – people do like my content and I just have to remember that when I start to think that nobody does. When you feel like you’re running out of creativity, try to not be so hard on yourself; don’t try to pressure yourself into filling up this strict quota you have placed on yourself and instead, try to have a little fun.


3. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS


This is a BIGGIE. Nothing good is ever going to come from looking at other accounts and thinking “hey, why are they getting more interaction than me” or “why can’t I take photos as pretty as that?”. Take photos for you, first and foremost, and you’ll find yourself liking what you do a lot more. Obviously there are going to be times when you hate everything that you write and that you take. But there are also going to be times when you love your content – focus on these times! When you are loving what you do, tell people about it! Never be ashamed to love the results of the effort that you put into your content.

Also, I see a lot of people who get discouraged on Bookstagram because they can never own as many books as someone else, or they are forced to borrow books because space/money constraints prevent them from doing otherwise. You know what? Don’t worry about “expectations” or the supposed “guidebook for Bookstagramming”. You do you and don’t be apologetic for it! If you want to borrow books? Then snap the hell out of those library book hauls. Readers are readers no matter how they read and the book community will love and support you for it (and if the select few don’t, well you don’t need them in your life anyway).


4. FOCUS ON THE GOOD THINGS


As I was mentioning above, some of the people who I have met through blogging have literally been my literal life savers, even if they aren’t aware of it. Twitter has actually brought so many people into my life and just knowing that they are there for me to talk to is such a relief. I’m not going to say much more (possibly because I am starting to tear up and I really need to finish this blog post) but I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have brought such positivity and happiness to my life (especially in the last few months when I really needed it) ❤

Another thing I find that helps me a lot is replying to comments. It’s just really therapeutic to me and the positive comments on my pictures and the occasional DM’s that I get are so filled with kindness and remind me why I blog in the first place. If you have a spare moment, go leave a nice comment on someone’s post – I promise it will make them feel amazing and it could actually be doing more good than you realise!


5. ACCEPTANCE


They say acceptance is the first step to solving any problem and this isn’t any different (even though it’s number 5 in the list but we are just going to ignore that). Disappointments and setbacks are inevitable when you do anything in life. It’s the way you go about getting through them that turns them into learning experiences instead of experiences that debilitate you. Trying to put extra pressure on yourself when that really isn’t what you need is not going to do you any favours. Accept that you need to take some time away – the book blogging community is still going to be there when you get back! I find that “going with the flow” is really helpful sometimes – if feel like you can’t post photos everyday or maybe want to focus on something else instead, just go for it!


Right now, I’m in a better place. I’ve stopped requesting books because I want to be able to read the ones that I want to without feeling guilty and I’ve started taking photos again for Bookstagram with a focus on doing things that make me happy.

I’ve also started traditional blogging a lot more (as you may have realised from the influx of posts this week) because it has started to make me a lot more (warning: weird word choice upcoming) satisfied. It feels a lot more personal to me and also makes me really proud of myself so, for now, I am going with the flow.

I hope this post has helped any of you that are going through the same thing that I am.  If you need to talk, send me a DM on Twitter or IG (@headinherbooks) or leave me a comment and I will definitely get back to you. Just remember that you are strong enough to get through this!

Until next time, 

happyreading,jananee

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50 thoughts on “On Disappointments and Setbacks When Blogging

  1. Jenn says:

    Thank you for this. I’m going through a bit of this myself. I used to post all sorts of pictures to my bookstagram (bookwise) but now I feel I can only post the ones that are of a certain ‘theme’ and it just means I hardly post as I have a very busy life.
    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bramblebooks says:

    I’m feeling the same with my writing, and I’ve irresponsibly signed up for NaNoWriMo. The pressure to get a novel done in a month is terrifying, and I’m worried that, being a parent, working almost full time and the amount of books I need to read is going to send me under. But your words have helped, and I’m not going to stress out too much about *having* to write 1,667 words a day for the month of November.
    So thank you for your encouraging post 💗

    Liked by 2 people

  3. thebookcrux says:

    This blog post helps alot.. I’ve been feeling down lately because it’s so hard to find the books that I want to read in Sri Lanka ( where I’m from) and seeing people having more books that they know what to do with, really sucks and leaves me depressed from time to time. I’ve often felt like not having access to these things limits my creativity and exposure. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that I started bookstagramming because I love books and reading😍 I’m doing this for myself. And so far I’ve had an amazing time taking photos and being creative and alot of people have encouraged me . So thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. seaweedbooks says:

    Aww Jananee! This was everything! Thank you so much for posting this because it really did cheer me up and brought some motivation back into me. And ikr, the new Instagram Algorithm SUUUCKS. Also, I, being pretty young read the majority of my books from a library so you totally made me feel #librarypride❤

    P.S: I ADORE YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM OKAY? LOW KEY STALKING 😂💛

    Liked by 1 person

    • headinherbooks says:

      Awwww I’m am so happy it helped! When I was still in high school (and didn’t have a job) all my books were from the library so I totally understand! And yes the Algorithm does such but we must learnt to live with it *sigh* AND THANK YOU 🙈

      Like

  5. SarahLostButFound/ Ritterstories says:

    Hey, thanks for sharing this. I have been going through the same and put so much pressure on myself and my bookstagram. I needed to completely re-focus and it’s helped a lot.

    I really hope that other people read this and it helps them remember their love for bookblogging and instagraming!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. rabidwhite says:

    I always feel guilty when I go for weeks at a time without posting on Bookstagram, or doing some sort of blog post (whether that is a review or a tag). It’s one of those things you just have to keep reminding yourself why you do it 😛

    Great post Jananee! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  7. somesortofspell says:

    This post is exactly what I needed to read today! I’ve been going through a bookstagram slump myself, and for the same reasons you just mentioned: i keep on comparing myself and my account to some other people with better or bigger accounts and it makes me feel bad about my photos. I haven’t posted anything in the last few days and I really miss it, the bookstagram community is amazing and after reading your post I’m definitely motivated to go back to my usual posting schedule. Thank you so much for reminding me why I started it all!
    P.s: I absolutely love your bookstagram account & your blog! #goals

    Liked by 2 people

  8. KennaReads says:

    YES! I’ve been feeling this SO hard! I’ve been so discouraged and focused on numbers and what other people have been doing. It made me go inactive for a little bit and I’ve been trying to bounce back. This post came at the perfect time, you said everything I’ve been feeling exactly!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Jennifer F. Santucci says:

    Oh Jananee! Thank you so much for posting this! I think everyone is feeling this because of the algorithm. I’ve been having a hard time keeping up and I get stressed but I’m starting to be kinder to myself and just focus on what makes it fun. I think it’s good to hear we’re all going through this.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Brooklyn (@bsippingtea) says:

    This is a great post! I don’t do bookstagram, maybe one day but I can totally get where you’re coming from with the numbers and everything. I try not to focus so much on the numbers as a blogger but it really is difficult when I’m trying to grow my blog organically and it can get stressful. This is awesome advice, I love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. dearautumnuk says:

    This is a great post! Sometimes I think we pressure ourselves a lot and we forget to enjoy the experience…numbers are there true but we shouldn’t forget why we started blogging or bookstagraming…
    Or that is what I tell myself when I feel bit down or everything I do (pics for bookstagram or a blog entry) feels not good enough…
    Your 5 tips are great!
    And keep going, I love your blog and bookstagram feed! 😘😘

    Liked by 2 people

  12. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    I feel your struggles 100%! I used to feel this way a lot when I first started my blogging and had a lot of insecurities about my blog. I now feel the same way about bookstagram because it’s my newest social media platforms and it’s hard not to feel dishearten when I think I will always be behind everyone else in terms of followers etc… And whenever I feel bad about it, my instinct is to give up and walk away – which of course will never resolve the problem. I love your tips – and I do think it’s important to be objective about it at the end of the day – what difference is it going to make to me if I have loads of followers? I now try to read and review what I like, when I like, and I barely ever request books anymore because I have decided I like the library better XD

    Liked by 2 people

    • headinherbooks says:

      Thanks Aentee! Yeah I think it’s such a struggle to put things in perspective sometimes, especially when it revolves around something you put so much effort into! But yes, I just try to remember that I actually started this to have fun and go from there 🙈

      Like

  13. Puput @ Sparkling Letters says:

    Great post!! I’ve been going thru the same thing these past couple of weeks… I was bored with my aesthetic on bookstagram and I was tired of taking the same kind of photos so I took a break and didn’t take a single picture for two weeks :’) I still post everyday bc I have stocks, but just yesterday I tried taking new photos and found out that my props, some dried flower petals, were ruined. I put them in a box and apparently not seeing sunlight for weeks broke them 😦 I also wasn’t as enthusiastic on writing blog posts, but mostly because I was busy and I feel guilty if I use my time for blogging while I have other more pressing things to do. But then I feel guilty because I didn’t have the time to reply comments, let alone visit back and drop some comments in return. This whole thing was making me feel guilty and I started treating my blog as a responsibility. After apologizing repeatedly on my post, most of my blogging friends told me that it was okay to take break and that they’d still be there when I’m back. So I did take a break and it was great! Once I sorted out my personal business, I am now ready to dive into blogging again ❤ This is me catching up with a week worth of blog hopping 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  14. houseofrogue says:

    Disappointment’s a real bitch. It can sting like a poisonous injection. But you have all the power you need within yourself, don’t forget that! I’ve just finished a piece about dealing with disappointments and I hope it’s as helpful as yours 🙂 Keep on going at it, it inspired and motivated me for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

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