• Mel Leslie

Back to Basics: Why I started a book blog in the first place

Updated: Mar 29

Lately, I have been reflecting on why I started my blog in the first place.


I have felt as though I have strayed from my original intentions and I want to reset and refocus on why I started this blog in the first place.  Reading through my journal, and remembering my mindset at the end of last year, I started this blog as a way to express myself creatively, do something for myself, get back into reading, and potentially generate passive income (an added bonus, but one I realized might take awhile, if it even takes off at all.)  I had no idea where to really start, but started doing some basic research on how to create a blog.  I read things that made no sense to me: domain names and HTML seemed so daunting, but I educated myself and I did the damn thing.  I purchased a domain name and established my blog with WordPress.  I found the program overwhelming, so I switched to Blogger.  I spent hours on the phone trying to transfer my domain name to Blogger and I am sure the rep thought I was an idiot.  I had no idea how to even ask for what I wanted.  But, I did the damn thing.  And in January, well ahead of my intended schedule, I published my first post.


I did the damn thing.


I transitioned my Instagram account to promote my book blog and found that there was a huge book community that I had no idea existed.  The terms "bookstagram," "bookish," "ARC (advanced copy release)" and "TBR (to be read)" entered my vocabulary.  I found Instagram accounts where people posted gorgeous photos of book covers and book stacks and posted their monthly reading lists and Book of the Month picks.  My eyes were opened to a world I never knew existed and I quickly realized my idea of being a "pioneer" in book blogging was long ago thought of by many other people.  It feels like in this day and age of immense knowledge available at our fingertips, no idea is new.  I was not surprised to find that what I had thought did not exist, already did, and was a huge, thriving community.  My idea shifted to joining that community, but maintaining my authenticity.  I started following accounts that I enjoyed and started engaging by starting and joining conversations.  I posted a few pictures here and there and listened to podcasts about how to grow your Instagram account.  My intentions were to use my Instagram account to be a platform where I could promote and direct people to my blog.


Last November, I deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps off my phone, with the intention of spending less time on my phone and to stop letting social media make me feel inadequate.  I have a tendency to compare myself to other people and through self reflection and therapy, I realized that social media made me feel worse about myself.  So I did a social media cleanse and it was amazing.  After about a week, I noticed I stopped instinctively reaching for my phone and spent more time being present and content.  I reactivated my Instagram account when I started my blog and it derailed me.


I have realized that my original intentions have been sidetracked by the addictiveness of Instagram.  I have found myself with my phone in my hand, more often than a book.  Checking my follower count and refreshing my notifications.  Liking pictures just to like them and commenting vapid things, without putting meaning and intention into them.  I set a 30 minute time limit on my Instagram app, but found myself ignoring the time limit and mindlessly scrolling.


I feel gross.


I am not sure how else to describe it other than addictive and yucky.  Don't get me wrong, Instagram is an amazing platform and I have loved meeting people and supporting their pages, but I want to spend my time intentionally when I am on there, rather than mindlessly scrolling, liking, and refreshing.  I want to limit my time on the app, but use the time I am on there to its full potential.  I want to look at accounts that make me happy, support my bookish friends, not worry about how many people are liking my posts or how many followers I have.  I want to not compare myself to other people and wonder why publishers are not flooding my mailbox with ARCs.  I want to ENJOY reading and writing.  I want to not feel pressured to read all the new releases that are being hyped.  I want to read books that I WANT to read.  I want to write and express myself creatively.


I am setting my intentions to get back to the basics, why I started this blog in the first place.  I am going to read books that I want to read, write reviews, and use Instagram sparingly to promote my blog.  I want to write, because that was one of the main reasons I started this.  I loved writing as a child and I want to write reviews that people want to read.  I want to be intentional with my time, which is ever so precious when you have little ones.  I want to be on my phone less and be present.  I want to be content.  I want to stop comparing myself to others.


I appreciate the love and support you have all shown me since starting this venture.  I felt silly and vulnerable when I first started posting, almost embarrassed to tell people I started a blog.  But my friends tell me that they are reading more often now and that they enjoy my posts, which has filled my heart with so much love.  And I have met some amazing people in the book community who are now becoming friends.  Your support means so much to me.  I want to keep doing this, but also remember why I want to do this and not get side tracked with the addictiveness of social media and the thief of joy, comparison.


I hope you all enjoy reading my reviews and I hope you all subscribe to my blog, that way you can receive emails when I have a new post.  {Click the "subscribe" icon at the top of the page to enter your email.  Who knows, maybe I will do a bookish giveaway to those who subscribe. 🙂 You will never know unless you do!}I know I am not alone in feeling this way, so please, if you feel comfortable enough, let me know if you have ever felt this way and what you do to help get yourself back on track.  I take recommendations to heart and the only way we can help each other through the yucky times is by being open and compassionate.  Take care and happy reading!

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