Did you know that in the span of nearly three months, I’ve changed the layout on Books & Tea about six times? Twice in the process of writing this post (mind you, I drafted this post about two weeks ago)? I mean, that’s not saying much because I’m using the free version of WordPress, and there is only so much I can actually customize. But, I digress! During this weekend’s theme shuffle, I forced myself to take a step back and think about my overwhelming need to keep changing the layout of Books & Tea. I determined I was in some kind of hazy, blogging limbo, and here is why:
I’m procrastinating (which reminds me of this video created by Vlora from Reviews and Cake). I have a million ideas (roughly) for blog posts and mini series and month-long themes, which as it turns out is just as much a curse as it is a blessing. I’m not quite sure where to even start, and then I also find myself a little overwhelmed by all of the work it’s going to take to publish the articles. So, instead of tackling the projects, I find myself shuffling through WordPress themes, or worse! my feed reader, which only inspires me to add more ideas to my list.
Suddenly I feel the need to brand myself. I’ve been present in various blogging communities for sixteen years, and all it has ever been is a hobby, a creative outlet, a way for me to make connections with people with similar interest. But the dynamics of blogging has changed drastically over these past sixteen years. People can actually make an income from their internet presence, which has driven this branding phenomena. Everybody is a brand nowadays, and I’m starting to feel the pressure that in order to have any kind of presence or influence in the blogosphere, I must be a brand too. I’m trying really hard to resist that because I perceive that there are so many more responsibilities and restrictions that go along with it, yet I keep gobbling up post after post about how to brand yourself effectively.
It’s for the best that I’m not diving head-first into branding myself though (or rather Books & Tea) because I’m not really sure what role I play in our book blogging niche anymore. It used to be easy when, aside from reading two or three non-fiction books during the year, all I wanted to read was young adult novels. But now, when I go to the library, most of the books I borrow are not young adult novels, which complicates things when you’ve been writing for an audience interested in young adult novels for the past 4+ years. How do I shift gracefully and without losing my entire audience to a blog that reviews ALL THE BOOKS? Is that even possible? Is that too ambitious? And don’t even get me started on the whole tea aspect of Books & Tea. Did you know that the last five Instagram photos I posted that featured a beverage were of coffee instead of tea? (Although, for the record, I’m currently brewing myself a mug of peppermint tea).
Perhaps all of this is rooted in my identity, which I feel has shifted so much over the past few years. This is not to say that I feel like I’ve lost my identity in any way. If anything, I’m just finally starting to discover it– this wonderfully (and obviously biased) creative and curious and happy version of me. Despite all of this, I feel like I’m stuck at a starting line– Ready…Set…HOLD ON! It’s times like these where I wish I had deadlines or obligations in blogging– something that would force me to take a step in creating and changing even though it’s going to take work. Instead, the only changes I have been making are the superficial ones to Books & Tea.
Which leads me to the part of the post where I am supposed to enthusiastically declare that as a result of this epiphany, today is the day I launch myself from the starting line, but that would seem disingenuous because I’m a pretty stoic person in real life. Truly though, I’m going to launch myself from the starting line today. I am going to work my way through my idea list, and even though floral wreaths are the antithesis of me, I am absolutely NOT going to change my layout until I have something to show for myself…!!!
Have you ever been in blogging limbo? How did it affect you and your blog, and how did you overcome it?