Sunday, April 4, 2010

Exceeding my Expectations!

It's been four months since I started this blog, and I've been reflecting on how it's impacted my life. I hadn't expected to be spending so much time on it for one thing, although it's been really enjoyable. I started blogging mostly to be able to talk about books with like-minded people so I could stop boring my non-book friends with shop talk. And I have been successful at that. What I hadn't anticipated was some other benefits. Firstly, that blogging has gotten me reading a lot more.

Actually, I would have anticipated the opposite. I had worried that the time blogging took up might come out of reading time but so far, so good! I've been able to cut my TV watching a bit with further cuts in the immediate future (the end of "Lost" and "Ugly Betty" and the Style Network moving over to digital-cable only), not to mention a lot of blog stuff I can do while TV watching (links, lists, surfing, formatting, looking for images). And being accountable for my reading in a way I haven't been since college has really made me ramp things up. It was helped a lot by my December rereading binge. I got hooked on the joy of completing a book in two hours or less and so I have kept up interspersing MR and YA books with my adult fare. Challenges have also helped. I wasn't sure if I should sign up for any this year, since it's my first year doing either blogging or challenges, let alone both, but I am really liking them. Aside from the Shelf Discovery Challenge (which I am adoring but that's an exception), I like how they're so broad and nonrestrictive aside from some very forgiving outlines and deadlines. Normally I resist being told what to do (which is why I refused to declare my major in college until second semester Junior year when I got a letter threatening to kick me out if I didn't declare RIGHT NOW) but these just fall along with my normal reading tendencies - just with a tad more direction. For none of them do I have to buy any books - I have plenty to fit all categories already in my house. If they had been really strict - a list of 10 books, read 5, that kind of thing - I liked would have signed up for few and not finished any of them until December (if then). But if I'm going to be reading audio books or nonfiction books or books featuring art history anyway, why not share them with like-minded people?

The second bonus was that I really hadn't expected to make friends. Yes, I did of course think (hope) I'd get comments, but I didn't realize that you'd really mesh with certain people and have a constructive back-and-forth that isn't on a single topic, but is consistent and across multiple subjects. I didn't realize that one could really and truly make friends with complete strangers, but that's exactly what I think has happened with a few! Maybe it's the modern-day replacement for pen-pals.

Third, was how it's gotten me more involved in the book blogosphere. Before, I really only followed a couple of blogs by friends, and some that were more silly (CakeWrecks, Slaughterhouse 90210) than book-related and pertinent. But as the book industry lurches towards the future, bloggers are often at the forefront of trends, and it's a way for me to connect with end-users (aka readers) of our products that I haven't really been able to do since I stopped working in bookstores, more than 12 years ago. It's a way to track the zeitgeist of books and hear regular consumers' opinions of things like ebooks and ereaders without the noise of industry worrywarts afraid of being made redundant.

It's been fun. I'm learning things a baby step at a time, but I am slowly but surely. I have a few blog-improvement projects I work on behind the scenes but I am not a techie so I'll probably never get too fancy. Thanks to everyone to making this experiment exceed my expectations! Now, back to my book....


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I've been around almost two years...I never expected to keep blogging!

I found you via the Hop and just became a follower!

BTW, I'm having a contest at my blog. Today is the last chance to become a follower at my blog and leave a comment to try to win one of two $10 Amazon gift certificates. Stop in today!


Carin said...

I am SO sad about Ugly Betty. It is one of my favorite shows! I've had the opposite effect on my challenges. I keep finding new books that I want to read that don't fit in with the challenges (I'm going to tweak my RYOB Challenge List because I'm making no progress).

I really enjoy reading your blog and am glad that you are enjoying putting stuff out there for me to read. I think you are really insightful in your reviews and topics!

The Book Mole said...

I started blogging less than a month ago, and its been so much fun! Just thinking and talking about books gives me so much pleasure.

I like your blog very much, and am glad that you are enjoying blogging too!

Hannah Stoneham said...

Well done you. I love your blog and I too have been blogging for quite a short period (I started on 11 Jan) - it has been a fascinating way to discuss one of my favourite subject and I have really love it.

happy blogging!


Julie P. said...

Congrats on your blog. You are doing a wonderful job! I'm so glad you joined the Shelf Discovery Challenge too!