Thanks to my final university exam, having to make a decision about MSc courses, the university ball, my housemates moving out and yet more (!) gallbladder issues, this post has been a little delayed (I had intended for a nice shiny 1st of June post). Instead, I’m posting it now, and if I get time throughout the month I may post a few extra posts and backdate them, to see how a month of no memes could look as a whole.
You may remember that in my last Stacking The Shelves post I linked up to this post from Rachel of Fiktshun and this one from Celine, and said I’d be mulling over my thoughts and posting something related. You should really check out the posts because they’re great, but to summarise (or give you a recap if you’ve already read them), they both discuss book blogging, and particularly their feelings on memes, promo posts, spotlights, reviewing and generally the book blogging world.
Although I don’t post spotlights or promo posts, I do participate in several memes and some book tours, and their posts really got me thinking about how I honestly feel about participating in those. When I really sat and thought about it, I found a few problems:
- I have more books than I can possibly read, and signing up for a great looking tour just means other books get pushed back in the pile.
- I LOVE the memes I participate in at the moment (It’s Monday! What are you reading?, Top Ten Tuesday and a few different mailbox types) but it’s very easy to fall into a bit of a rut – a few sentences and some cover art, job done. I don’t always feel like they’re ADDING to my blog.
- Because the meme posts are easy to write (see above!), I’ve dropped a lot of the ideas I started the blog for, because they’re “harder” to write. I’ve talked several times about how the blog has focused more and more on books than the other student-related features I originally loved and started blogging for, such as my filofax posts, recipes and outfits.
- The older posts actually remain the most popular. Although my meme posts draw people in on the day they’re posted, they rarely draw people in again.
- Issues with each feature – these definitely reflect my blogging and the way I approach these memes rather than issues with their design.
- Monday plans: I LOVE planning out my reading…sometimes. Sometimes I just want to be a moody reader! Also, sometimes life just gets in the way, and then I feel terrible following up the next week to say “Er well, I didn’t actually read anything!”
- Top Ten Tuesday: I find myself picking some books/authors over and over, because my old favourites are favourites for a reason. That might mean they fit into great world-building, kick-ass heroines, sultry romances and my favourites of a certain genre. Harry Potter, Conn Iggulden’s Genghis series, anything by Robin Hobb, Maria V. Snyder & Kelley Armstrong have all come up multiple times!
- Stacking the Shelves: Book blogging jealousy is a pretty common topic (a quick google search on it garnered me 59,100,000 results) and this post from Megan at Book brats sums it up really well. ALthough we talk about it a lot, it’s hard both to own up to and even necessarily to identify! I don’t generally consider myself jealous because frankly, I put nowhere near as much time into this blog as others do! I stil hate putting up a Stacking the Shelves that says “I didn’t get anything this week” though, so I’ll find myself trawling for kindle freebies, or buying books I don’t need. As well as that, seeing everyone else’s Netgalley books sends me on an impulse requesting session, and it all adds up to being even more inundated with books!
- As well as the memes I take part in now, there are other GREAT ones I’d love to do, but I can’t possibly fit them all in! Oh, How Pinteresting and Feature & Follow both got dropped from my schedule over time, and there are lots more I’d like to try including (but not limited to) Book Blogger Confessions, Waiting on Wednesday, Dirty Little Secret and My Filofax week.
So basically, my objections add up to two broad problems; too many books to read, and not enough content that I’m proud of. So, inspired by Rachel and Celine’s thoughts on the state of book blogging, I’ve decided to give myself a project for the month of June. It’s quite simple really – I’m aiming for 100% original content, for the entire month. If I want to post a reading plan or a book haul then I will – but I won’t be linking up anywhere and I won’t be using memes as 12 days of “easy” content! If I post them, I’ll also be trying to add more content than filler to these posts.
At the end of the day I love reading posts like Jamie’s discussions, Gala Darling’s filofax set-up, great book reviews and delicious looking recipes – these are the sorts of posts I follow a blog for. Do I think my challenge will result in amazing content like this? No! But it will hopefully force me to think outside the box, go back to the sort of posts I originally started blogging for and to try out a few new ideas that I’ve put off until now. It might mean less frequent posting, or some less niche posts, and that could well mean a drop in my stats, but that’s okay. If I can produce a few posts I’m proud of, experiment a little, find a balance of memes:content, and start to feel that my blog is more a reflection of ME, I’ll consider the challenge a resounding success!
Wish me luck!