The Expectations We Put On Ourselves as Book Bloggers

Hi folks. As you can see I still can’t muster up the energy to write a review so I’m here with the rare rambling discussion post instead. Today I want to chat about the expectations we put on ourselves as book bloggers.

For the vast majority of us book bloggers out there, this is a hobby. We’re not in this for money, this isn’t a job. Sometimes we might get free books and that’s always nice but those free books also come with their own set of pressures and expectations. Many of us invest a lot of time and sometimes our own money (web hosting, word press, graphics, etc) into this ‘hobby’. My husband likes to make fun of me often saying ‘only you would get a hobby that is just like work’. But it’s true, this is a hobby that can come with a lot of work to it so to keep up with it you really have to put your heart and soul into it. And when you put so much of yourself into something, spend so much time on it, you set certain expectations for yourself–otherwise all that work can feel kind of like a waste? No one likes to feel like they’re wasting their time.

I can’t speak for all bloggers, but I know the expectations I put on myself. I love growing my audience because that means meeting and interacting with new book friends. The work that goes into that is, however, immense. It seems like the minute you miss a post people start jumping ship. After all, there are a million other book blogs out there, why stick around if content isn’t being produced? So then you think about the kind of content you’re providing–do people want reviews? Discussion posts? Book blog memes?

Now I know that all this pressure to perform is purely internalized. I’m not really getting any outside pressure (aside from an occasional email from an author or a publicist asking when I might have that review up for that book that just came out). Followers, views, having great content, posting as much as possible–does any of this really matter at the end of the day? I guess, if you let it? But truthfully, no.

Here’s where I admit that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. But like…a half-assed perfectionist. I want things to be good enough to get by but I also, deep down, that’s not good enough and I’m always pushing myself to do more. And in regards to review requests, I feel a certain sense of obligation. I don’t want to let people down. I have been accepting a lot less requests for this reason but even when I have a single outstanding review for a request I put all kinds of pressure on myself. And maybe this is just a me thing?

Anyway, since this is a ramble I don’t have a real conclusion here. Except to say that we all need to be a little kinder to ourselves when we fail to meet our own expectations, after all this is just a hobby. A really work-intensive hobby. And we all need a day off now and then. I’m really talking to myself here, but maybe it will help others that read this and if so, yay. Do you ever feel the pressure that comes with being a book blogger? Do you also have high expectations of yourself and your blogging? What do you do to stay motivated? Leave a note in the comments, happy to chat!

62 thoughts on “The Expectations We Put On Ourselves as Book Bloggers

  1. mistysbookspace says:

    Honestly I’ve never experienced theses feelings of pressure. Since I started blogging almost 5 years ago now I’ve just been very laid back about it. I do what I can when I can and don’t pressure myself to do more.

  2. LairOfBooks says:

    I’ve also been told by loved ones that I’d be the one to choose a hobby that can look & feel like work lol, it honestly probably aligns perfectly with my personality. I used to feel this pressure to produce & have all arc reviews posted by publication date, not any more. I’m way more particular now than I’ve ever been when requesting arcs so that I have wiggle room for mood reading. Its the mood reading for me that gets me motivated to blog. This year alone I’ve been diving into my backlog and finding that I’m reading more because there’s no pressure. Every once in a while guilt creeps in when I’m only able to post once per week but I try not to dwell in it because I’m also posting on Instagram. Great discussion post! Happy reading ❤

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, I am so much more picky about accepting ARCs now–I’m also a huge mood reader so I know reading on a schedule doesn’t always work for me.
      Backlog sounds fun! I’ve been doing tht here and there myself when I have time.
      Thanks! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. Tammy says:

    I feel pressure all the time! And I agree, it’s so hard to keep your audience because the internet is over saturated with book bloggers. And I’ve noticed a downturn lately in my own stats and the amount of comments I’m getting, it’s very frustrating because I’m not doing anything different. I almost feel as if book blogging is losing steam in general, which is sad. But I love what I do so I guess it doesn’t really matter, but it’s hard to do something just for yourself. I need the audience and feedback:-)

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah. I do feel like blogging isn’t quite as popular now as there is also book tube and bookstagram so there’s market has become a bit divided? I think there will always be people that prefer one over the other though.
      But it is really tough when you see your stats dip and you’re doing the same thing you always have. Like what did I do in January NY stats were awesome? The same thing I’m doing now so…. 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️
      It’s a bit of a mystery sometimes.

  4. aquavenatus says:

    I’ve been posting every week for over 2 years, and I’m about to finish grad school. This means that I haven’t been able to do a lot of reading because I’m trying to graduate on time. I’m debating on whether or not to take a brief hiatus during the last month of the semester. Then again, I can’t stop writing reviews/essays to post. It’s a habit we can’t break.

  5. Kristina says:

    I certainly feel the pressure of having to keep my three post schedule in place — although the only one that probably really care about it is me 🙈 I still get my bouts of inspiration, though with the pandemic this has been greatly affected..

    I also have a problem with shorter post.. although iknow it’s alright as long as it get the point across and etc etc… to me it still don’t feel good enough. To me it’s missing something xP

    This is why I don’t really go for arcs anymore rofl- as a mood reader, I can’t guarantee when i’d get to it, or even if I can finish it in time.. as i’m also quite slow with english books..

  6. Mischenko says:

    I love this topic, Lisa, and feel the exact same as you. Book blogging is like work at times, and it often is under-appreciated. I’ve learned to only read what I want, and when I want, and feel so much better about that decision. Slowing down on ARC’s helped too. Personally, I had to wake up and realize that I’m in control and don’t owe anybody anything. Saying no was difficult, but having all those pressures took the fun away for me. Always good intentions for helping others, but I had to step back. I really appreciate you posting this and for all the support you’ve given me. ❤️

    • waytoofantasy says:

      It really does feel unappreciated sometimes! That’s part of the rub, especially when it’s so much work going into it.
      I’ve also pivoted to more of just reading whatever I feel like but I still have some review books now ND then. When they pile up and I have 4 due in one month I suddenly get anxious about it lol.
      Totally get taking a step back! Honestly I should probably take a small break at some point it would probably be refreshing.
      Aww, ❤

  7. JonBob says:

    I went through a period of feeling like this this, but I wasn’t as conscious of it at the time as you are here. When I did become aware of it I did everything I could to hammer home to myself that it’s a hobby and it should always be geared towards fun.

    In my mind now literally every aspect of blogging is in service to me having fun and if something stops being fun I just stop doing it. I stopped caring at all about building an audience or having regular content or anything. Now I just post when I want and have fun chatting to the small but wonderful group of people I’ve made friends with so far. I’m sure I’ll make more book pals in future but I’m content with how things already are. I think that’s one thing I always had in the back of my mind, that when you’re consciously seeking to build an audience and seek out new contacts, it’s never going to end. I might reach a particular target one day but then I’m just going to pluck another number out of the air and repeat ad infinitum. And there’s something about that that’s just inherently unsatisfying to me. Obviously it’s not something everyone is immediately able or wants to be, but I’ve just learned to be content 🙂

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I tell myself it’s a hobby all of the time but I still feel bad when I don’t meet my own goals. I think I’m just wired that way–I’m trying to be different but it never works out 😅😅
      I wish I could let myself be more free like that. Sounds like you found a good balance!

      • JonBob says:

        I don’t think it’s much of a balance haha, it’s probs way off the other end of the spectrum. I’d actually like to have some more consistency but I know I’d end up resenting it if I did so I’m more than happy to just have this free-wheeling, structureless thing going on.

        Honestly if you adopted a less structured way of posting I for one would still read your posts whenever they popped up.

      • waytoofantasy says:

        Well, by balance I mean it’s like when you have a work/life balance but this is blog/life balance LOL.
        I kind of like my structure as it helps me to stay organized, but I will probably break it now and then when I can’t think of other things to post haha.

  8. Louise says:

    I must admit that I put a lot of pressure on myself too and then you start to feel a bit burnt out don’t you? This week I realised I had only shared tours and quick book memes. I was 3 reviews behind and it made me annoyed at myself, but why? This is a hobby and this is supposed to be for fun but I totally agree with you that it is a lot of work. Try to be kind and I love your blog so there will be no jumping ship from me at least!

  9. honestavocado says:

    I always feel the pressure of what I think I should be doing. Especially when I see bloggers who started after me but already have way more followers. That said they put in mich more time and effort! But yeah, at the end of the day I have to keep reminding myself it’s for fun and set myself really easy to achieve goals. At the end of the day as long as I write and read more than I would have without the blog I consider it a success.

  10. Mary Drover says:

    I’m just recently coming out of this kind of struggle, and though I’m still not quite on the other side, I’ve finally got more than a single day’s worth of blog posts scheduled, and I feel a little more relaxed with a couple weeks ready. But, at the same time, I wonder why I put so much pressure on myself to be posting on a schedule that literally no one is holding me to except, well, me? It sounds absurd when you say it out loud, and though it can be frustrating, as well as helpful, I always appreciate when my friend reminds me that no one is actually expecting me to produce anything. This is just a hobby, and while, at the end of the day, I’d be heartbroken if some of my favorite book bloggers disappeared, I know it would be the best thing for them, and that is really what matters. If it’s fun, do it. If it’s not, don’t. We put so many expectations around reading and blogging that, sometimes, we crack the foundation of why we’re here in the first place, and you’re right. We do need to remember that foundation, to remember that we came here to have fun, and to be a little easier on ourselves and our weirdly high expectations. We tell everyone else it’s okay to take breaks and not to pressure themselves, so why not turn those conversations back on ourselves?

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yes, exactly. It’s all self inflicted stress! But I think maybe it’s because we want to do our best and we all have our own ideas what that entails, even where our hobbies are concerned.
      I love your analogy. Yep, gotta remember that foundation. ❤

  11. cupcakesandmachetes says:

    This was part of the lesson for me for 2020. I needed zero additional pressure so I quit really giving the blog my attention. I’d pop in now and again and that worked great back then. Now, I try to post twice a week but I also learned not to beat myself up if I don’t feel like it. If I force it, I feel like I’ll produce crappy content anyway. I’ll never make it to professional book blogger but as long as I still enjoy reading than that’s all that matters to me.

  12. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    As far as I know, any kind of hobby requires a certain amount of work: I’m thinking about gardening, for example, or DIY projects, and so forth, so of course book blogging does require some effort from us but I see it as a work of love, so the “weight” does not feel so burdensome. Granted, there is a form of pressure represented by review books, and that’s one of the reasons I stopped accepting author submission and only request from NetGalley the books I’m very keen on: that way I can pace myself and ease the unavoidable pressure that comes from the feeling of having entered a serious commitment. Still, it’s only human to have expectations and to strive to fulfill them: that’s the moment when we have to remind ourselves that we are here principally for FUN, and that the pressure is only… self-inflicted, and therefore much more easily moved by the wayside… 😉

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Oh yes, gardening is a lot of work as well. lol
      Yeah, a lot of my ‘pressure’ comes from review requests. Although I have cut way back even when I have a few pending it stresses me out! Like you said, it comes with a sense of commitment.
      I really do have to get better at just letting myself be okay with going with the flow.

  13. Leticia Toraci says:

    I do not to pressure myself at all with numbers of followers and number of posts. My blog is a small thing where I post once or twice a month about books or writing and in consequence of this I have few followers, but it is what it is, a place for me to write when I have the time and energy in my really busy life, and it’s not more than this at least for the moment.

  14. Marta the Monogamist Reader says:

    *Sigh* I am not exaggerating but I am really about to cry. I wasn’t able to post many contents this week or keep up with blog hopping. I have a review due on Sunday and haven’t even started yet. This week was horrible, because of work, the real one. One year in lockdown is taking a massive toll on me. And there is my blog… Your husband is 100% right, this is more of a second job than a hobby. A job I don’t get pay for but I pay for everything. I don’t know when I started giving myself pressure but I do. The more people like/visit my blog, the more I feel I have to come up with more, more reviews, more contents, more meme… more. I love it but I think not everyone realises how much work there is behind the scenes. It’s not just about reading or getting free books. Your post was a warm ray of light, thank you. I needed to hear that, I need to be kinder with myself and if I don’t post much for a bit, so be it. ❤️

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, it really is a lot of work. The hours I put into it, I could have a part time job! But most of the time I don’t mind. But yes, there is so much pressure we put on ourselves to do more, to be more, etc. I think it’s good to realize now and then that we can take breaks or just chill out for a while.
      I get it about the reviews being due, that’s my number one stressor when it comes to blogging. I have one that is overdue myself and at first I was freaking out but now I’m like ‘eh, I’ll get to it eventually’. Please take care of yourself or you’ll get burnt out! It happens to so many of us. Take some time if you need it, the community will always be here. ❤

  15. @lynnsbooks says:

    I think as well that some of it boils down to self doubt – for me anyway. Every now and again I become overwhelmed thinking that I’m doing everything wrong. I do understand the thing about comments but I think it’s probably the time of year too. I always feel busy at this time of year, Spring, etc, then I overdo it and feel too tired to blog, then I get behind, etc, etc. Vicious circle.
    But, I do enjoy blogging still – although, like recently, I do take a break every now and again.
    I won’t stay don’t stress about it because it’s too easy to say – be good to yourself missus.
    Lynn 😀

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, I do get it about being a vicious circle–it feels that way sometimes which is why I probably pressure myself not to get too behind because I know it’s going to be a mess to catch up but then also sometimes we need a break, right?
      I do enjoy blogging too! It’s such a wonderful community and I love chatting about books with everyone. Thanks, Lynn! ❤

  16. Leyanis @ thebloggerandthegeek says:

    I don’t feel pressure when it comes to blogging. I blog when I can, I may take long breaks without announcing so, and I just go with my flow. Sometimes I have a lot of free time and I choose not to blog or do anything blog-related 😅 but, I do see your point and other people’s pov. I think we are all different and we set different expectations on things which is understandable!

  17. Zezee says:

    I think we probably all put some pressure on ourselves, even if we try not to. I try not to think about the followers and stats and all that but I can’t help feeling pressured sometimes. When that happens, I remind myself that this is a hobby and I blog for me first. That usually helps, but having outstanding reviews/reads for books I’ve agreed to review does add pressure that doesn’t go away with the aforementioned calming thought. That’s why I don’t seek/agree to review stuff much these days. I lean more toward keeping it simple and read/review what I own/bought. And I agree with Tammy’s comment above that the focus these days is less on book blogs and more on bookstagram and tik tok.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I don’t look at my stats as much as I used too, I think the one thing that I do worry about is if I take too much time away will people forget about me?
      But yeah, ultimately this is just a hobby and I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself about it but sometimes it’s tough because that’s just who I am and it’s hard to change that LOL. I’m also not doing nearly as many review requests as I used to either. And once I get through this current batch I’m probably laying off for a while.
      I agree with the bookstagram and tiktok and even booktube–the trend is in different medias these days.

  18. Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    It’s hard to keep up with everything that comes with book blog- reading endless TBR, social media and posts we write and I will be shocked if someone say they don’t feel pressurised. It’s important to know our limits and enjoy what we do without burning ourselves out. Great post!

  19. msbookworld says:

    I can definitely relate to the pressure. I’m a perfectionist myself so it’s hard when I’m not living up to my own standards. I do think that if things get overwhelming it is absolutely ok to take a step back and recharge.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, it’s tough being a bit of a perfectionist, it’s like you automatically have super high expectations of yourself! It’s tough reconciling that with the need for a break and also realizing this is a hobby sometimes.

      • msbookworld says:

        Very true. I sometimes find that talking things through with friends can help me realize that my expectations are sometimes higher than the situation warrants and that can help me de stress a bit as well

  20. Kal @ Reader Voracious says:

    I feel this post deep in my soul. As a perfectionist myself, I tend to hold myself to unrealistically high expectations/standards for everything, but for some reason with my book blogging hobby it’s intense and different? The pressures of not ruining relationships with publishers, with reading on a deadline (usually self-imposed!), and being ever present leads so many of us to burnout and its so sad. The thing I’ve learned and have to tell myself over and over again: no one cares about my self imposed deadline or if I missed a posting day or five. They really don’t. Publishers haven’t gotten upset with me for being hella late and I still get more requests than I know what to do with. I just wish we all could be kinder to ourselves.

    Great post!

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah I get it!! It’s super intense! I feel the same way, I don’t want to let other people down somehow? Like it’s not just me riding on this but publicists and authors and all kinds of stuff that goes into it.
      I’ve seen soooo many people burnout over the three and a half years I’ve been doing this, blogs just suddenly disappear. It’s sad. Because I do think it’s a bit unnecessary that we’re so hard on ourselves.

  21. Realms of My Mind says:

    I have a deep problem of playing the “numbers comparison” game. Especially when I see people on Twitter closing in on 1500 followers after six months, when it’s taken me 2.5 years to be close to 850. But I’ve also been better about emotionally taking a step back from the blog in the last year. I had to admit I could not keep to my schedule of five posts a week. Writing has become a big part of the day job(s) I’ve taken on in the last year after being laid off, and I was hitting burn out writing all the time, even if some of it was for “fun.” I try to keep myself to a minimum of two posts a week now, which has been good for me, even if it isn’t great for my stats.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah I try not to worry about numbers, especially since I am not requesting books as much and that’s what it’s most useful for. But also I do find myself worrying about it on the downlow sometimes–lilke I can’t help it! LOL
      My new job is an office manager so I spend all day on the computer, I feel like I don’t want to look at my laptop some days when I get home so I certainly get it. I think the key is finding what works for you! I’m glad you have found that.

  22. William says:

    I take a lot time for my blog and I also follow other blogs, read comments on my blog and reply, prepare a new blog post. Sometimes, I feel exhausted but I love blogging.

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