Beware, this might turn into a rant. Just hang on, or pass, and wait for my next book post.
On second thoughts, it’s not really a rant, it’s a late reaction to Litlove’s thought-provoking post (as always!)
Everywhere I turn, the blogosphere urges you (me!) to “define your message” to increase your readership. To put yourself neatly into one of those tiny white squares and cut, cut, cut everything that goes beyond the neat black line.
You’re a mommy blogger, so you’re entitled to an opinion about education, breastfeeding, guilt trips, and if you ever speak about books, they are supposed to be on family stuff, on organizing your pantry, or on upholding values (I’m kidding, or am I?)
You’re a book blogger, so your entire (free) time must be devoted to books, and it’s even better if you can narrow it down to one or two genres so that you’ll become some kind of specialist (niche markets are what internet is all about, supposedly). Don’t ever dare mentioning that you might want to write a book yourself. And forget about your family, the favorite food or other interests (you may only mention snacks that go well with reading books). Or branch out and just write another blog.
You’re an aspiring writer blogger. You’re supposed to talk techniques and rant about inspiration, encourage each other with word counts and deadlines and book deals (not be jealous), whine about rejection slips and the big mysteries of the dark forces behind the Submission desk. But you have no family, you simply don’t read and don’t eat.
Of course this is not as black and white, but these are prevalent expectations everywhere. And I am guilty as charged as well. As a blog reader, I am cruising the internet with those very same prejudices. I scoff when a mommy blogger mentions, by the way, that she is reading Madame Bovary. I scroll down and wait for the next post whenever a favorite book blogger speaks about family trips, or pets, or whatever s/he really had in mind on that day.
Pardon me, but that’s incredibly rude and harsh, because behind all our little blogs we are people with many diverse interests and worries and events going on with our lives. We write posts because we care. This is no TV show here, we don’t lead perfect lives with only one or two “plot lines” that “arch” perfectly so that every added episode adds to a breath-taking saga.
Well, well, of course everything that runs on the internet should be taken with a pinch of salt. Even my own posts I suppose.
Ever since I opened this blog, I never changed the design (is it getting boring?) nor did I put much thought into defining who I am, what I am doing here, except for the two little words: “writing and reading”. Not really earth-shattering I’m afraid.
Reading, check. But I am not here to write a proper review (sorry you guys who stumble here looking for stuff to copy-paste into essays… I bet I won’t get you a good grade). My posts are more about feelings, memories that a book might spark, and I do love to compare books on similar themes. I’m as un-professional as you can get.
Writing, mmh, I’d perhaps leave the thing blank. My writing hasn’t gone anywhere since my son’s birth, nearly four years ago. And I hasten to add: I don’t mind it so much. The odds of ever getting published again must be getting lower by the day, but you know, now isn’t the right time for me. And my blogger self has an acute awareness of how many good novels are getting published every single month out there. My whole life can’t be defined by getting my own words onto printed paper, validated by people I don’t even know. Perhaps I can just use this blog as a neat place for my own little pieces of fiction or non-fiction.
I don’t fit into a square. Hey, I’m curvy in real life. And I want my life to be anything but one- or two-dimensional. So I’m with Courtney here, not eager to be pigeon-holed anywhere. Never mind readership stats, just here for fun.