For the past couple of months I’ve felt really unsettled with my blog especially with the absence of my weekly participation in Top Ten Tuesday. And for a while I’ve been quite jealous that other bloggers are just so witty, funny, and creative; all three characteristics that I lack naturally. So I decided to finally start my own discussion blog series called Summer Says in hope of finding my own creative bubble and voice. It’s going to be difficult for me and this may be just a sporadic feature, but I’m hoping this will allow you guys to get to know me better and give you a chance to join in the discussion. And, ultimately, allow me to engage with some readers I haven’t been able to chat with yet.
So my first topic is one that is long overdue and I probably should have addressed in the very beginning of Xingsings: why I started this blog.
I realized that I never really made an official post about why I started to blog aside from my very first one, which I actually took a look at the other day (and cringed after reading). In several other places (aside from that post), I mentioned that I wanted to try my hand at blogging, meet other bloggers, improve on my writing, and take advantage of WP as a platform to share my thoughts. And I like to think that I at least tried handling all these goals though I’m quite no where near accomplishing them yet–except for the friends bit. I’ve made some buddies. (Hope the feeling is mutual, lol.)
I never really explicitly claimed being a book blogger but I gradually became one. I began, like most bloggers, not knowing what my focus would be, hence why my handle is Xingsings, a completely non-bookish and awkward name to say out loud. I tried creating blogs in the past using Blogger and Livejournal but the only one I really kept up with was my tumblr, my cheat blog where I reblog K-pop/Exo related stuff. And that was where Xingsings thrived and came to be somewhat known in the internet world. (I’m actually still pretty active on tumblr.) The name, Xingsings, itself originated from my love for the K-pop boy band, Exo, and one of its members, Yixing (aka his stage name, Lay). He’s pretty popular for his dancing but I always was amazed by his vocal skills, therefore Xing Sings.
Anyway, in the beginning, I was pretty obsessed with WP and constantly was checking my reader to leave thoughtful comments and like posts. I genuinely wanted to make friends and (not going to lie) gain more blog traffic. And when my blog reached a modest following I was pretty happy about, had enough traffic that made replying to comments in a timely manner challenging, and led me to making enough blogging friends I was afraid I’d get their names confused, I began to feel the pressure to produce better quality posts and more interesting content, both things I fail at naturally producing it seems.
Then I vaguely mentioned about having a bad day in one of my posts, which somewhat prompted me to stop partaking in Top Ten Tuesday altogether, which was a blow since they were my most read posts. During that time, one of my worst nightmares came true: I missed one of my college finals (it wasn’t entirely due to blogging). I potentially could have failed that class because of that one mistake. And I had to live in weeks of misery and self hatred for being so careless and dumb. And so I just stopped everything. Stopped Top Ten Tuesday posts. Stopped checking my feed as often. Stopped looking at the stats. Partly for feeling not qualified as a blogger since I was a failure (I know I sound melodramatic and it really does sound outrageous now that the ordeal has been solved) at school (and pretty much life, since I’m at the age in which school is my life). This mistake, though not an end-of-the-world disaster, made me upset. Life’s usual, hectic schedule and pharm school apps didn’t help the situation either.
When summer break came around and throughout my short blogging hiatus, I realized that I was too obsessed with blog traffic and kind of lost my own identity in real life. And that this probably added to my fatigue of missing my exam. I discovered that some point along the way of blogging (though my journey so far has been short) I tossed out my original initiative to blogging and was doing it for the numbers. I had some long, deep conversations with some other fellow bloggers (particularly with Savindi @The Streetlight Reader), and I discovered that I wasn’t blogging for myself and that I should.
It’s okay to smile when you gain a follower or another country’s flag appears in your visitors stats. It’s okay to jump up and down when you get contacted by publishers to review ARCs. It’s okay to spend an unspeakable (and embarrassing) amount of time to tweak your blog and create posts. But blogging should never be a chore or an obligation that keeps you from experiencing real life or make you uncomfortable as a contributor in the blogosphere (when I say uncomfortable I mean when you have opinions that clash with others, fan wars in the comments, black sheep status, outgrowth of certain types of books, etc). And if it is, you’re blogging for the wrong reasons.
So don’t ever feel bad about taking a hiatus or returning after months of unannounced absence. It’s not your duty to stay active and there never should be obligation to make excuses (or even apologize really). It’s important to soak in the details of your real life even if blogging is a big (or small) part of your life. And now, I know why I started to blog: I did it for no one but myself. I blog for me.
Writing this much more personal post really put me at ease. It just feels so good to vent, you know? I’m actually still pretty nervous to see how this new series will be received and if these discussions will work out. But I guess, we’ll see!
So what do you have to say (that sounds so accusatory, omg)?
- Why did you start blogging? And how did you come up with your handle/brand/username/name thing? (I realized I don’t know the “story” behind a lot of your blogs??)
- What post are you most proud of so far in your blogging career? (Please leave a link if it’s not too much trouble.)
- And, what is the most rewarding thing about blogging for you?
I know, I know. Most of those post-reading questions are very much tailored for bloggers. But for you readers/non-bloggers: What makes a blog worthy enough for you to (actually) follow up with its future posts?
Update 7/8/2015: Seriously, thank you guys so much for taking the time for reading and/or commenting. After publishing this, I was embarrassed (and somewhat ashamed?) but I regret nothing. In hindsight, I’m glad I did it. Thank you for the kind words and letting me know your thoughts. I wasn’t expecting this to be relatable for some of you so thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone.
And it’s not like you guys are concerned about this but I’ll make sure to reply to your comments all by the end of the week. So don’t feel alarmed (not that you would be) if I commented on one of your recent posts but didn’t reply on here. Again, thank you guys. Virtual hugs (I’m not even a hugger in real life so this shows the extent of my gratitude.)