Hey, y’all, it’s Lila! I hope you all had a wonderful New Years, whether you were out partying or relaxing at home. 2017 was an…interesting…year. So here’s to hoping that 2018 knocks it out of the park!
Anyhoo, with the beginning of 2018, I’m entering my third year of book blogging! I know it’s cliché to say, but I really can’t believe it! It feels like just yesterday I was just beginning this journey! I can’t believe that I’m fully out of the “baby blogger” phase and now fully into the “toddler/young child blogger” phase, haha! I’m so happy to have stuck with doing this and so proud of the fact that I did stick with book blogging, considering that I wasn’t in a great place when I first began. It’s been a treat to watch this blog grow and especially to become friends with all of y’all!
I figured that to celebrate, I’d take a moment to reflect on the life lessons that book blogging has taught me. I think the nice thing about hobbies is that they often teach you things that you may not even notice while you’re off having fun. Blogging is just the same as any other hobby in that manner. And when I paused to look back on my blogging journey, I was surprised to see that it’s taught me quite a lot. Let’s take a look…
1. Take what you have and do the best you can with it.
Story time! Y’all know that I make edits. I have a Tumblr devoted to my edits. It was how I first got into blogging. With over 1200 followers, including some of my favorite authors, I’d say I’m fairly successful. Now here’s a confession: until 2017, I didn’t use PhotoShop. I used all free tools and apps to make my edits. Having done this taught me a valuable lesson: it’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with what you have.
2. A little creativity goes a loooooong way.
For me, blogging is all about how far I can stretch my creative limits. How can I take this and make it that? How can I take a single idea and turn it into a series of posts? How can I take my other passions and give them a bookish spin? These are just a few of the questions I face that lead me to get pretty creative with what I’m given.
The nice thing about creativity is that you don’t actually need a ton to create something really cool. Just a teeny-tiny little bit of creativity can turn something ordinary into something totally extraordinary. Though I’ve always seen creativity as an incredibly important part of my life, blogging has taught me to always keep a dash of creativity in my pocket so that I can sprinkle it over every aspect of my life.
3. Fake it ’til you make it.
Oh, you thought I knew what I was doing? HA! You adorable little ducklings!
Well, I’m flattered that some of you may think that I know what I’m doing, but…I have a confession for y’all: I have no clue what I’ve been doing and I’ve been winging it this entire time. But hey! At least I’m having fun, right?! And that’s all that matters!
See, I happen to have learned a little secret: no one know what they’re doing–we’re all just completely faking competence and confidence 24/7.
When I began blogging, I thought there was this magic formula that successful book bloggers had figured out. But now I know that most likely they’re just going with the flow and letting it take them where they need to go.
But then why do they look so competent and confident? Well, that’s where the “faking it” comes in, friends 😜
4. Taking the chance and saying “hi” will get you friends most of the time.
No one’s gonna be your friend if they don’t actually know that you want to be their friend. And letting them know that starts with saying hi.
It may not seem like it due to its online nature, but half of blogging is really just socializing. Whether it’s through commenting on posts or interacting on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, getting your blog out there and feeling like you’re a part of a community (versus feeling like you’re just screaming into the void) requires making some friends.
I remember how awkward and shy I was as a baby blogger. I didn’t comment on other bloggers’ posts and I barely responded to comments on my blog–I just didn’t know what to say! Naturally, I got pretty lonely. I came to realize that I just was gonna have to put myself out there and start a conversation with someone. I’m not gonna lie–it was awkward at first. Not everyone you talk to is someone you’re gonna click with immediately, if at all. But if you keep at it, eventually you’ll find people who you connect with. Admittedly, I’m still working on this (for an extrovert, I suck at making friends online)–but now I’m not so afraid to just get in the game.
5. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
I’m not gonna lie: I’m not a perfect blogger. In fact, in my opinion, I’ve “failed” at quite a lot of things when it comes to book blogging. But it’s something that I love doing, so I get up and try again. Through unplanned hiatuses and features that taper off into the unknown because I can’t keep up with them, I have yet to give up on book blogging as a whole.
Here’s the thing I’ve come to realize about book blogging and life in general: 95% of the time, your first try at something is going to be complete and total crap. Hey. Don’t look at me that way, I don’t make the rules here. Anyhoo the second part of that realization is that even though your first try probably isn’t going to be flawless, practice makes perfect (or, at least, as close as us humans can get to perfection…but that’s a whole other philosophical tangent). Learn to get comfortable in failing and to never let it stop you if you’re going after something that really speaks to your heart. And also–learn to laugh at yourself. Trust me, it helps.
6. Personality and originality take you far.
My favorite bloggers are generally my favorites because they’ve got personality. But here’s the thing: they’re not trying, they’re just being themselves. I’m drawn to them and their content because of their genuineness in being 100% themselves. Life’s like that too–the more you show off your own unique individuality and are genuine about it, the more genuine connections and relationships you tend to make. Being yourself also sets you apart from the crowd–in blogging and in life–and that in and of itself tends to attract great things to you.
7. Hard work pays off.
Blogging is effing hard, y’all. It takes a lot of time, energy, effort, and dedication. But it’s also really fun and rewarding if you love to do it. It’s especially rewarding to watch something that you put so much love into grow and develop. It just goes to show that hard work, dedication, perseverance, and love can result in a beautiful creation.