Welcome to a new Top Ten Tuesday!
Today I want to get a little more personal and meta and talk about some of the ways being a book blogger has changed my life. Now, I’m not talking HUGE changes. I didn’t gain a lot of money, quit my job and went to live on an island. I didn’t get so famous I can’t cross the street anymore without being recognized. I didn’t gain so much knowledge from reading that I’m now a genius mastermind who’s only days away from world domination (or am I?).
But that doesn’t mean my life hasn’t changed since before I was a book blogger. Even if it’s been only three years, there are definitely some changes that impacted my life, both my reading and online life, as my personal life, so why not talk about them?
Here are ten ways book blogging changed my life! *cue dramatic music*
I read more
Let’s start with an obvious one, shall we? I’ve always been a reader. But while I used to read, say… 10-15 books a year, I now read 50-60 books a year. Why is that? One, because once you start blogging about books, you feel like you NEED to read more just to have content for your blog. But that’s not even REALLY the biggest reason. The biggest reason book blogging caused me to read more is because talking about what I’m passionate about and hearing other bloggers passionately talk about books makes me WANT to read more.
I read more critically
Another obvious one, but also a big one. Before I started book blogging, I either liked or didn’t like a book. I didn’t think too much about the reasons WHY I liked or disliked certain aspects. But being a blogger naturally means writing reviews, which need to be something more than ‘I really like this book, please everybody read this!!’. So reading critically is a logical consequence of being a book blogger. In general this is great, but sometimes I also just want to be able to enjoy a book without dissecting it and talking about flaws, you know what I mean?
I have piles of books on my shelves I haven’t even read yet
Wanting to read more naturally comes with buying more books. I’m more aware of new releases and I get more hyped for books I hear other bloggers talk about. While I try to reign it in nowadays, when I first started blogging, I let go and bought sooo many books. I used to have one bookshelf that contained both books, dvd’s and cd’s. After three years of blogging I have three bookshelves almost falling over with the weight of all the books and even more books on my Kindle. *oops* I’m trying to get through that backlist, I really am! If only they could stop releasing so many amazing new books every day…
I pick up books I wouldn’t have before blogging
Before I was a book blogger, I only read the most popular books, the ones that I found in my local bookstore. I’m talking about books like Harry Potter or Twilight, books everybody was already abuzz over. Now I still pick up those books, but I’ll also hear a fellow blogger rave about a hidden gem and pick that up on nothing more than a recommendation and a feeling I may like it. I’ll pick up a book outside of my normal genre because someone on booktube raved about it and the excitement was contagious. I started trying new formats like graphic novels or mangas. I still have so much more to discover, but book blogger me is already a way more adventurous reader than pre-blogger me.
I have learned so much
Both books and the amazing bookish community have taught me so much about the world. Things that I’m now ashamed to admit I didn’t know or grasp just 4 years ago. I’m especially talking about diversity and marginalisation. I have learned to see things from someone else’s perspective. I have heard so many different opinions and have witnessed many Twitter debates that have made me rethink the way I used to see things. I’m still learning every day and I’m so thankful for the way blogging has broadened my mind.
I have gained new skills
One of the reasons I waited so long to actually START this blog is the fact that I was super scared and intimidated. I had no idea how to create a blog. I couldn’t do fancy designs. I only knew basic social media. How would I plan? Would I be able to write well enough? There are so many skills required to blog and I didn’t know if I could do it all. But I figured, let’s just try this one day at a time and here I am. I’m still not an expert in any way and my lay-out and designs are still simple at best, but hey, I’m doing it and learning something new every day and that’s pretty cool!
I have made friends
I can’t thank the amazing bookish community enough. Everybody here was so kind to me when I first started and everybody is still so kind today. As a socially awkward and anxious person, the idea of making friends online really intimidated me. Commenting on my first post was a stressfest – did they really want, need or care about my opinion? What was I doing, just commenting on someone else’s blog like they would be happy to read my comment? Turns out, everybody here LOVES comments. LOVES meeting new bloggers to talk to and rave about books. So there’s no reason to be intimidated at all! Now, I’m looking forward to talking to my online friends on a regular basis. I love talking and chatting with you all!
I discovered new things to enjoy outside of reading
Well, this may come as a shock, but us bookworms do enjoy stuff outside of books as well *gasp*. And the wonderful thing is that I love hearing my bookish friends rave about other things they enjoyed as well. It makes me want to try that other thing out as well, and since they have awesome bookish taste, I already trust their opinions on a lot of non-bookish stuff. It’s how I discovered some of my latest fandoms and obsessions that I couldn’t imagine life without anymore. It’s how I got into Hamilton. It’s how I discovered great new (to me) bands like Pierce the Veil, Waterparks, Sleeping With Sirens or Without Confidence. It’s why I decided to pick up anime again and try manga. It’s how I got into kdramas and kpop. Could you imagine me nowadays without my kpop obsession? I sure couldn’t.
I have lost my free time
Let’s be real for a minute because it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows either. As much as I love to blog, it takes TIME. A LOT OF TIME! Forget all the reading for a second, there’s posts to write, plannings to be made, reviews to be translated from ‘ARJKFD READ THIS NOW’ to articulate words with meaning, posts to be lay-outed, graphics to be designed, comments to be replied and bloghopping to be done. Blogging is almost a full-time job, but it doesn’t pay which means I still need another full-time job to survive as well… So any blogging is done in the evenings and weekends. And it’s not always fun. Sometimes I want to just veg out on the sofa and binge some series instead. Instead , every free moment I need to choose between adulting, socializing, blogging or reading. I can’t do them all and it’s giving me some serious stress as well. I have honestly thought about quitting, if not for this next thing…
I have gained a purpose
Wow, that sounds dramatic! What I mean is, this blogging thing has become more than just a hobby. I love it so much, it has become a part of who I am. I’ve had some times over the past few years where real life got the better of me – there was losing my job, family health problems, toxic people – and during those times, blogging was a sort of lifeline for me. Talking about things I love with like-minded people, improving my blog and reaching new blog milestones is something that I’ve always had to look forward to, something that made me proud and ultimately increased my self-confidence. It’s more than a hobby, it’s a purpose, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.