Remember when I used to be a regular blogger?
Exactly, 501 years ago, I believe it was. 😌 Back in my wild and woolly youth. I had a posting schedule, I answered hundreds of comments per day, I visited so so so many blogs, I spent hour upon hour on posts. And I do not regret it. It was hard, but it was also rewarding, my blog grew incredibly, and I really made great friends. I started this all in May, 2011, when I was 17. At the same time I really seriously started pursuing an author career — and fell in love with book blogging along the way.
But then in 2018, it all sort of fell apart.
I think sad music needs to play right now. 🥺 I’ve put two screenshots below of my blogging archive, to show how many posts I was putting up per month in 2017 vs 2019. So you can SEE it halved.
…whyyyyy, though? I mean this isn’t uncommon for bloggers to lose motivation. I think I read a statistic somewhere that said most bloggers last about 2-3 years on average. (Book blogging is a particularly difficult niche, because we don’t get paid but we’re under so much pressure to read/review/promote everything.)
I do have a complicated mess of reasons for my crash, so I want to actually TALK about them for once.
- The very very very first reason is MY BLOG BROKE. It stopped emailing people my posts and after a month, I went from 100 comments to 50 comments. I had no idea what was happening. I’m super busy, so it took a while to notice I was losing touch with other bloggers — and I didn’t realise my posts weren’t going out, so I kind of assumed people were stopping blogging. BUT NO. IT WAS ME. Turns out my blog’s (I’m self-hosted wordpress) scheduling wasn’t working. I realised this, stopped scheduling, and now manually publish my posts. But it took me over a year to figure this out so the damage was done. 😭 It’s still broken. I never schedule now. (And yes I’ve tried to have it fixed, but I don’t know what’s going on.) I still have people messaging me with: “Oh I thought you quit blogging.” 😫
- At the same time, I had three big life changes happening. (1) I got my dream of being an author, which was amazing, but stressful and complicated and new. As an autistic, I don’t actually function well with new things (EVEN IF I REALLY WANT THE THING) and there was a lot that went wrong a lot behind the scenes. They are still going wrong, bless. 😌 I’m stressed. And (2) I moved house and it really shook me. See aforementioned struggling with change. And lastly (3) my mental health just collapsed. Like, being honest? I was not okay. I feel a little more solid now, but I’m treating myself really gingerly. Depression and anxiety are actually illnesses, and I’m allowing myself to believe that now. I’ve lived with anxiety/depression for over 10 years, and it’s taken things from me. Motivation. Memory recall. Clarity. Coping mechanisms. Etc. etc.
- (And look, I don’t often talk about this because I like privacy but also I don’t want to sound like I’m asking for pity! I do honestly feel okay right now! I’m working hard, I’m chasing dreams, I’m coming to peace with the fact I will never know left from right so please don’t give me directions. But I say it today because I know lots of us struggle with mental health so 💛 hey, you’re not alone.)
- So I sort of fell out of the community. Partially because of my blog breaking, people not knowing I’m posting, etc. Partially because I started lacking the ability TO put 2+ hours a day into blogging!!! I’m STILL struggling with this and I apologise 100 x over, because I feel rude and snobby to not answer your comments and visit your blogs, when I’m just so so mentally exhausted. And you get what you put out in blogging. I don’t want to whine that my blog is dying when I’m also not actively working on it like I used to. So that’s on me too!
- Please don’t feel I’m complaining and wishing YOU worked harder when I’ve not been supporting you either. My apology is also here to you too for not supporting your blogs these last 2 years.
- I also found it was hard to be a blogger AND author. I didn’t properly anticipate it. When my debut came out, were a couple of times going to visit friends’ blogs (people I’d talked to for years…) to find them giving my book really harsh reviews. And LIKE OKAY. This post is for being raw and honest so let me say: I fully believe you should review books however you want. But like…we were friends?! Maybe they could’ve hated it and not reviewed it, knowing I comment back so would absolutely visit their blog. Plus I stopped negative reviews (I don’t think it’s appropriate for an author to put down other authors — just MY opinion) and I started noticing just how negative the community could be. NOT everyone!!! This isn’t a call out!!! It’s just…I even looked at MY content and felt I did so many “unpopular opinions” and snarked about books a lot. I kept reading reviews were it didn’t seem anyone really thought about the books? It was just “this book is bad because BAD THINGS HAPPEN” and I’m just ?!?!??!?!?!?! Again, this isn’t everyone. But things built up. Dissatisfaction at my own content, plus anxiety about accidentally seeing reviews of my books, plus feeling we all get more likes/reactions when we’re being negative.
- Plus I saw again and again authors/readers clashing on twitter. Authors harassing and openly mocking readers. Readers being outright cruel to authors. It was overwhelming. I didn’t feel like an author (every time I tried to make author friends I was very politely acknowledged once and then very politely ignored) and I didn’t feel like a blogger (I couldn’t keep up with posting or commenting).
- I had a CRISIS. I didn’t know where to sit. Maybe on the floor??? Crying????
- BURN OUT. We have to talk about it. It sucks. It’s real. This year, 2020, I will have been blogging for NINE YEARS. You run out of content after a while!!! Your brain burns out!! Plus so so many of my old blogging friends have left or stopped or moved on. Not all, thank goodness, but I miss a lot of people. And then…I can’t think of fresh funny blog posts anymore.
Lastly I started putting my effort into instagram.
And it ended up being way way more rewarding for me. It turned into my mini-blog. I talk about books there, I do funny memes in my Stories, I’ve found so so many epic people I ADORE. I answer 100+ comments there a day. I help run a bookstagram tour company! I really really love visual things and book photography makes my heart sing. 😍
It also gave me a wider reach for promoting my books! Which I sorely needed. And it’s just quicker and easier to use. Instagram (#bookstagram!) is my focus now and will stay that way!
soooo…what happens next for the Paper Fury Blog?
Now it’s the start of a new year. A lot of my old blogging problems haven’t left → I still feel awkward being an author AND blogger. And I don’t know how to write blog post content because I can’t THINK of any. I’m very very tired still and don’t have the energy I used to.
I put so many hours into instagram that I have none left for the blog.
Now this is the part where I could probably say: “I’m quitting blogging and just using instagram.” But I don’t wholly want to do that because: (1) reviews are easier to log, find, and be searchable on google if they’re on a website! (2) I PUT LIKE 9 YEARS INTO THIS BLOG DAMMIT I CAN’T ABANDON IT. (3) It looks pretty, duuuuude my blog is nice. (4) I would miss you. 🥺
this is the part where I ask for your advice, opinions, and wisdom on what I should do next with PaperFury.com!
Because this blog is firstly here because I loved blogging. But also it’s content I make for readers. So I want your input and advice and feedback. I don’t create in a vacuum. I create to entertain and make friends and have a platform for my work as a writer. (And also because I really freaking love talking about books?!?) Audiences are important. That is a fact.
So talk to me. (If you want!)
- I blog twice a week. A review and an article (maybe a top ten list or writing tips or a book discussion). So basically what I’m doing now. Except…actually do it. (I think I just went 2 weeks without blogging again oops.)
- I blog like I instagram. Short, regular post. Popcorn style reviews. Mini discussions. Focus more on your comments than on me writing 2K posts. We’re talking 500 word posts. It would be doubled-up content from my IG and light/fun — ergo much less work for me.
- I blog like AN ERRATIC BEAR and you will just never know what’s coming but at least there will be pretty photos when it does happen.
- I blog mostly reviews, because I have…so so many of them. But it would be regular content, probably helpful to authors/publishers, and I find them way easier to write so I wouldn’t feel pressured.
I really really value your feedback on this! And I KNOW so many of you are the absolute loveliest and will just say “do what you want!!!” but I don’t know what I want 😂 hence you have to decide. And I want this to still be a blog you enjoy clicking on.
And look, no pressure too, okay? I’ve already apologised for not being as supportive as I should be TO YOU as well. So please don’t feel like I’m whining for more comments. I am absolutely okay if my blog is quieter. I’m actually really exhausted. 😂 Instagram WILL still be my focus. And I also want to find time to write novels + read books + be a loaf of bread.
I can’t go back to blogging as hard and industriously as before. I just have to accept that time is finished for me. But I don’t want to vanish forever.
Also? If you want to ever chat with me: Instagram DMs. Guaranteed I will actually answer. 😂
Anyway. LOVE YOU!!! thank you for reading this heartfelt ramble!
give me all your thoughts! and tell me about YOU. have you felt blogging has changed for you? do you feel worn out or keen to blog more this year?