On book blogging and balancing “dual lives”…
I wouldn’t trade being a book blogger for anything. Every day I’m so grateful that I found a hobby that I love so much, has presented me with so many opportunities, and has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people… But it’s also a tricky hobby at times because it IS so public.
BLOGGING + HOME: I’ve never been a really outgoing person. In my group of friends — from elementary school all the way through college and even adult life — I’ve never really been the outgoing one or the risk-taker or the one to put myself out there. When I started a book blog a little over two years ago, part of the reason I did it was because it was essentially anonymous. The only person who knew I was starting a blog was my one friend who enjoyed reading as much as I did and honestly that was it. I didn’t tell my family until after I had started blogging for a while and it started to become a bigger part of my life and I definitely didn’t tell my extended family or my friends because… well, it just felt WEIRD. It’s not like I was saying anything in my blog that I wouldn’t say to my family or friends but there’s a little sense of security putting your thoughts out there knowing that most of the people who are reading it will never meet you in person and you get to distance yourself from it a little bit. (Granted two major things have changed over the years since I latched onto that idea and one is that I have made such good friends with so many book people and HAVE met them in person and do in fact know them really well now and two that I actually do share some personal things on my blog from time to time (like now?) although it’s not as often.)
I’ve finally gotten to a point where some of my closer friends know about my blog and my family definitely does… My mom still brags about it to people like my aunts and cousins and I still get embarrassed (even though they say they’re impressed haha). I definitely still have a distinct separation there, but not really so much with my “regular” home life. Obviously my fiancé knows how involved I am with book blogging and supports me with it and he’s really proud of me too. I TRY not to let blogging activities interfere too much when we’re at home spending time together (reading, tweeting, blogging) and do that when we both have time to sit down and do our hobbies. Sometimes I have to reel myself in when I’m doing too many blogging things and not really paying attention to Shane because it’s just so easy to get addicted and glued to my phone or computer when I’m getting blog comments or tweets or Instagram likes but I have to remember that while those things are very rewarding and as much as Shane does support me, I don’t want to neglect him because of those things.
MEETING BOOKISH PEOPLE FACE-TO-FACE: I think the other thing that people don’t normally think about as far as “balancing dual lives” is the face-to-face interaction when I DO attend book events and I DO see other bookish people in person. I’m not the best conversationalist. I enjoy writing blog posts because I get to take my time, formulate my thoughts, and figure out exactly how I want to word things. I can interact well with people via email and Twitter and blog comments because they’re quick interactions and I don’t feel the pressure to keep the conversation going or make sure I say exactly the right thing in exactly the right way. When I first started going to events, I was just a nobody so I didn’t even bother trying to interact with people because, well… I didn’t know anyone! I was happy to keep to myself and just enjoy the event.
Maintaining a blog can be a lot of work but for me, that’s the easy part. The hard part for me comes the time where I meet people face to face — especially people I’ve been interacting with via the internet for weeks or months or even years — and then I feel the pressure to come off just as smooth and eloquent as I feel like I’ve made myself during internet exchanges and that’s really not an easy thing for me. Even after knowing some of my local bookish friends for a year or more now, I still find myself uneasy and not knowing what to say when I see them again at book events and sometimes we don’t even sit together because I’m just too awkward to put myself out there and invite myself to sit down. I’m afraid I’m that girl who talks too fast and says weird things. It’s easy to sit in front of a computer screen and feel confident about what I’m saying and how I’m projecting myself but I just feel so much more pressure to do those things in person and sometimes I DO feel like I’m two different people when I’m talking to book people in the flesh.
BEA 2014 was somehow “worse” than 2013. BEA 2013 was my first year attending so I was more focused on meeting Alyssa for the first time and not being a total weirdo with her (thankfully this was an interaction that was totally natural once we were together and things just flowed so smoothly!) and then I had to navigate the conference for the first time so I was more focused on where to be and how to get there and what books to grab. 2014 was a very different BEA for me because it was so much more social than the previous year. Yes, I did meet a lot of bloggers for the first time in 2013, but I felt like I had established much better relationships by 2014 and I even had a few publisher contacts who I was really nervous to meet in person as well! I really do love all of my blogger friends but it was so overwhelming to see SO many people that I knew but still hadn’t actually MET in person and I easily freaked myself out about what to say and how long to stop and say hi to people and who would recognize me and who even WANTED to talk to me so … I did the awkward thing and avoided people. Again. I mean, I didn’t intentionally AVOID people, but if I spotted someone from across the room, I didn’t go the extra mile to go say hi because I was so nervous about what to say and how to say it, what to talk about, how to say goodbye, when to leave. I know I was overanalyzing things, but it’s overwhelming to meet so many people for the first time! I tried to do my best to act natural and just like myself because obviously that’s who I am when I email and tweet and comment, but I just get easily flustered in new situations and tend to stick to myself or cling like GLUE to my roomies in social situations even though I felt totally confident wandering the floor and even walking the 25 minutes from my hotel to the bar by myself in a city I’ve never navigated before for a blogger party because I couldn’t catch a cab. Sometimes the social situations really are the hardest things for me.
To anyone who was a victim of my awkwardness and shyness, I apologize and I hope you understand! I’m constantly making a fool of myself in front of the super exciting but super scary people like authors and publishing contacts (which I’m sure I did at BEA too) but I’m never sure how much enthusiasm is endearing and exciting and how much is actually creepy and overboard! If you’ve ever felt my awkwardness, please know I don’t mean it personally! I surely did not mean to brush you off or avoid you or talk your ear off when you wanted me to leave you alone! Sometimes I feel like meeting book bloggers and industry professionals is like being around your crush. I just have a massive book-crush on you all and I never know what to say or do to make sure I come off as best as I possibly can! 😉
I know I’m not the only person who feels this way! Do you ever feel like you’re balancing two different lives being a book blogger? Do you find it more difficult to balance at home? Do you have difficulty with the social aspect like I do? What’s the best way to balance your blogging life?
17 thoughts on “Book Blogging: Balancing Dual Lives”
It’s weird, but I think I’ve integrated blogging into my life in a way that feels like it’s a natural extension. I do try to keep most of the personal things in my life private to a certain extent, but with me, what you see on my blog and my social media sites is basically what you’re going to get in person! I’ve found a way to strike a better balance with it these days (since my philosophy is and always will be life > blogging).
As for in person interactions, I still get awkward sometimes too. My awkwardness manifests in either standing in a corner, clinging to people I do know or babbling like crazy, depending on the atmosphere. I do think I’ve gotten friendlier and a lot more comfortable putting myself out there when I meet people (which I’m grateful for), but I’m definitely still working on being more poised.
I loved meeting you at BEA this year! Even though we didn’t get to chat as much as I wish we could have, I did like our little conversations. Hopefully, we get to sort of hang out and get more comfortable with each other next year <3
I do feel like I am balancing two lives a little bit. My close friends and family know I have a book blog (my mom brags about me too – I too find it embarrassing when she does that) but I don’t go around advertising it so most people in my life don’t actually know how much I read and what this hobby of mine is that takes up so much of my free time. But since I don’t have a significant other, I don’t feel like I have to do so much balancing at home. In some ways book blogging feels like a little secret of mine which is ironic because of how public a hobby it is.
But regarding the social aspect, I guess I would say I am more comfortable online than in person, but I still don’t feel totally comfortable online. I don’t feel like I am a natural at connecting with people… i don’t know. It is a little weird meeting people in person for the first time after you’ve been talking online for a while. It’s like you know each other but then again you don’t. I don’t get scared so much just saying hi (I basically attacked you at BEA! But don’t worry I didn’t find you awkward at all! (:) unless i “know” them more than they might know me. That’s when I get intimidated. But I do always worry a little over keeping conversation regardless of who I am talking to – but that’s just me in everyday life. I am much more introverted!
“Sometimes I have to reel myself in when I’m doing too many blogging things and not really paying attention to Shane because it’s just so easy to get addicted and glued to my phone or computer when I’m getting blog comments or tweets or Instagram likes but I have to remember that while those things are very rewarding and as much as Shane does support me, I don’t want to neglect him because of those things.” THIS SO MUCH. I’m really struggling with how to balance everything–trying to maybe schedule blog time so I can get in and out and be done, and only do it on certain days, but that’s HARD, because I only feel like writing when…I do. lol. And talking to friends is fun, so it’s hard to strike that balance.
Anyway. My friends & family all know about my blog, and they ask for book recs IRL, but it’s like this thing we don’t *discuss,* which is so weird, because it takes up a huge chunk of my time. I have no idea what to think about it, so I just don’t bring it up with them, either. ?? Luckily, I can be excited about ARCs and fangirl over new releases and stuff with you guys. I’m a total dork online, though I’m a major introvert, so it is kind of nice to be able to retreat when I want. Yay, internet, for that. 🙂
Awww, I don’t think you’re awkward IRL at all! You may be a little shy, but I’ve always thought you’re awesome :). I don’t really have a problem balancing my two lives, mostly because everyone in my “real” life knows about my online work. For me it doesn’t feel like two different identities because I’m the exact same online as I am in person. I actually have a more difficult time getting who I am across online because it’s difficult to express my energetic/outgoing personality through writing. I mean, there are so many caps and exclamation points I can use before I just look obnoxious. I always end up warning people before they meet me that I’m super friendly so I’m not overwhelming haha. I get where you’re coming from though. When I first began blogging, I felt like this world was my secret identity because I didn’t know any bloggers IRL and nobody knew I blogged. Oh to be a naive newbie blogger again.
I love this post, whilst I have been absent from the blogosphere for quite a while, I still have not told any of my friends or family really about it because in some ways I’m embarrassed by the geekiness of it and what they will think. I do not really want them to read it as I feel like it is my private space, so I do feel like I am balancing two very separate lives.
You are almost certainly not alone in sometimes being an introvert, but I hope meeting more bloggers and attending more events helps bring you out of your shell a bit more now!
I’m still a newer blogger yet and haven’t met any other bloggers face to face. I also don’t have any interest in the big book events, like BEA, so I doubt I’ll ever meet anyone?
My family and friends know I have a blog but it’s not something I bring up a lot, besides an occasional post on FB if I blog about something I think will interest them (like earlier this week when I blogged about voting yes on a library mileage, which affects my local contacts). I don’t think any of them actually follow/read my blog. I do know the librarians at my local library are followers though 🙂
Great post today!
Ahh I totally agree!! So I didn’t tell a soul about my blog except my husband knew and he told his mom (gahh so she reads it) and I liked that I could totally freak out over books with people that totally got it. And then sometimes I tdo personal posts and I just didn’t want people in real life to read it! I just didn’t! It was like my thing. Now a few of my friends know just bc they were like oh why are you going to NY? Haha. I get what you’re saying about meeting people at BEA! I’m actually pretty outgoing so I get really excited and go and say hi to people but then I’m like oh wait is this awkward now? Am I freaking them out? Ahhhh. Haha. And there were totally times I saw people from afar that I knew but I wasn’t sure if they’d remember me..I dunno, so I didn’t approach. Basically agree with everything here!
I seriously DO feel like I could’ve written this post, it’s a little crazy.
I didn’t tell my family or friends about my blog at first, either. I’d also had a LiveJournal a while back, which was private, and I was used to the security and anonymity of my online life, so I definitely didn’t want to infringe on that especially when I was first starting out. I did eventually tell my parents, though, and they responded exactly like yours – they brag about my blog to whomever will listen and I’m just like “SHHHHH IT’S A BIG DEAL *hides face*” It’s also really nice, though, to have people around who don’t necessarily relate 100% but who are super proud of you anyway.
I also have a really hard time meeting new bookish people, as well… which actually might surprise people who I met at BEA and recent author events. When I’m in situations where I can’t avoid meeting people, I tend to come across as excited and comfortable (albeit a bit awkward), but inside I’m freaking out. I definitely had moments at BEA where I saw people across the hall and I was like “I KNOW THEM but omg I can’t just go up and say hi this is so awkward.” >_< I have a MUCH easier time on Twitter and just blogging in general. I've always expressed myself better through writing than through talking with people, and am so much more comfortable in that space rather than face-to-face.
That being said, when the face-to-face turns from potentially-very-awkward to AMAZING, like often happened at BEA, then I'm totally fine. I still over-analyze the stuff I said and wonder if I made a fool of myself, but the fun moments are worth it. But that doesn't mean it made those glimpses-across-the-convention-floor any less daunting.
Sometimes I feel like meeting book bloggers and industry professionals is like being around your crush. I just have a massive book-crush on you all and I never know what to say or do to make sure I come off as best as I possibly can! <— SO MUCH THIS. I worry constantly about how I'm coming across to people, and online, it's great because we can think for longer and formulate our words before they're Out There. In person, it's all unedited and uneditable, and that's… kind of terrifying. -_-
I’m a pretty terrible conversationalist as well. Part of the problem is that I run out of things to say, but I don’t find pauses in conversation awkward (although the other person definitely does). And I very rarely go out of my way to say hi to people if I see them in passing, even if they’re people I know really well. I’m very introverted, but being in college and living with 100 people on the same floor has made me a little better at chit chatting and saying hello. But just a little.
I haven’t met any other book bloggers in person yet, but I know it’ll happen eventually. I’ve never been to a book convention but I definitely want to and I’m sure I’ll run into bloggers I know.
My blog is super low-key, because I’m an engineering student and I just don’t have time to post every day. That, and I don’t have hundreds of followers so I don’t get much interaction either. I kind of like it this way – I’m not pressured to constantly be checking twitter/my blog/etc all the time. I definitely spend more time blogging when I’m at school than when I’m at home though. When I’m with my family I feel really guilty if I’m not spending time with them because I only see them a couple of weeks each year.
I think most people in my circles know about my book blog, so I don’t really have to be different in each one. I do have a hard time meeting random bookish people at events and putting myself out there. Sometimes I force myself, but it feels so awkward just coming up to someone and chatting them up, right?
I can relate to a lot of this, Brittany. Although I don’t really feel like I have a double life, I definitely have felt or done or still do a lot of these things.
I’m also not a very outgoing person. I never have. I’m a homebody, and even though I like traveling in a way, I am always so stressed when I’m away, and when I get home I feel like I can finally relax. And basically I would always rather be home reading, or having a quiet dinner with friend and family than going to big parties or anything like that.
But I did start a blog two years ago, and it is sooo not something I would have normally done. When I started, I decided to ease myself into it. I just wanted to see if I actually liked it. So I gave myself six months to just really figure out what my ideal posting schedule would be like, and I didn’t really go all out looking for subscribers. Not that I didn’t want people to read what I was writing, because I did, but I was nervous too. What if I wrote stupidly or poorly? What if I was boring (because really, I am a very boring person)? The only two people that knew about my blog was my mom and dad. I didn’t tell my any of my friends or family. And I made my parents promise to NOT tell anyone.
After about six months, once I realized that I really loved blogging and wanted to try to become more a part of the book blogging community, I let my parents tell some of the family if it came up. I was too nervous and embarrassed to tell my family myself though.
And I did finally tell my best friend, and I was so nervous about it. But she was totally encouraging, so I don’t know what I was so nervous. Well, I do know why. I’m pretty much always nervous or worrying about something.
As for meeting new people – I am just like you!! I went to BEA this year, and I definitely recognized some other bloggers – bloggers that I talk to on the Internet (like you! I totally saw you once) and do you know what I said? NOTHING! I just couldn’t do it. If someone came up to me, I could of course talk to them, and I would love it. But starting a conversation – nope that just didn’t happen. I’m such a shy person. I mean, like I said, if someone comes up to me, I am talk back to them and feel pretty comfortable. But in groups or me starting up a conversation – it’s just not going to happen.
I definitely agree about everything you’ve said here. Some people at work know that I have a book blog and one of the project manager’s that I do work for asked me to send him the link so I did. Then he opened up my blog while I was in his office and it made me feel sooo uncomfortable. It seriously felt like I was standing in front of him naked. It’s not even that personal (although I do some personal stuff), but it’s special to me and means a lot and it’s always hard when someone you know (that doesn’t read btw) is looking at it. Because I wanted him to like it, but I knew he wouldn’t really “get” it. Does that make sense? Anyway, it was fine, but so awkward for like five minutes.
And as far as introducing myself to people at BEA… it was hard. I hope I wasn’t too awkward with you. Lol. It’s hard to know what to say to people for the first time because you kind of feel like you’re already friends, but you don’t really know each other so you do that awkward first time meeting stuff even though you’ve been talking for months on the internet. It’s just a strange situation I think. I tried my best, but my goal next year is definitely to introduce myself to more people.
AHHHH I felt like I was so awkward! Like, HI, we’ve talked so many times online and YAY so nice to meet you and… and… what do I say now? LOL. I feel like I just get so tongue-tied meeting bloggers in person for the first time! Like there’s all this pressure to CLICK or something, you know? It’s hard to introduce yourself to people! I said I was going to do that more this year too and I think I was even worse than the year before. Like 2013, I took a plunge and this year I was like ahhh, I’m more comfortable so I’ll just stay in my comfort zone LOL.
Omg, I can’t even imagine STANDING THERE while someone looked at my blog! You are brave!!! That’s how I feel too. My family (more so than my friends) are like, “Oh, how nice!” but they don’t really GET it.