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This Blogging Thing Reminds Me of High School

Disclaimer: this post is not a request for you to tell me how wonderful I am (though that’s ALWAYS welcome). Rather, this post is intended to name some feelings I’ve had (whether now and in the past) in the hopes that others will relate and gain something from what I have to say.

A while ago I read a blog post on a non-book blog about how blogging reminds her of high school and all of the insecurities she felt: wanting to be accepted, wanting to be part of the “cool crowd”, etc. I wish I’d kept the link, but I didn’t.

So then I was reading at one of my favorite non-book blogs, Smoothpebble, and SHE had a post about blogging and high school and feelings of inadequacy.

And then just today, Bethany from B&b ex libris posted about whether the book blogging community has a cool and uncool group, and her post was the impetus I needed to finally publish this draft that’s been collecting dust.

I think feelings of inadequacy are more prominent in creative blogs (I have a friend who’s really creative and I’ve tried to convince her to start a blog, but she doesn’t want to because she’s not as good as the bloggers she reads), but I can’t imagine that I’m the only book blogger who sometimes feels like they’re back in high school. Let me explain.

In high school, I wasn’t an outcast but I certainly wasn’t popular. I was pretty quiet and generally kept to myself except with my circle of friends. I was usually in the advanced classes, so I was with all the other “nerds” anyway, so I never felt particularly nerdy myself. I don’t think the word “cool” would have described me at that time. I was nice to everyone, so I was never picked on. But having graduated more than 10 years ago, I’d be surprised if anyone other than my circle of friends remembers me.

But now, with blogging, I have a lot of the same feelings I had in high school. I wonder if people like me. I wonder if I’m nice enough. I wonder if my posts are good enough (even though I was in the advanced classes, I was never the smartest. In English, my teacher never held up my paper and said, “THIS is good writing.” like she did for another student (that happened to be struggling with anorexia….but I digress.)). What does this translate to? What does all this angst really spill over as? This:

Why don’t I get linked to more often?

Why aren’t my stats as good as so-and-so’s?

Why don’t publishers send me more books?

Why don’t I get as many comments as so-and-so?

Why doesn’t so-and-so like me?

Why aren’t I as funny as so-and-so?

Why can’t I be as chummy with authors as so-and-so? (erm…that might have something to do with my amazing ability to stuff both feet in my mouth at the same time and still talk)

Perhaps all of this has to do with my Type A personality, my drive to do better, do more, and do it all perfectly. I really want to do a good job.

Here’s a quote from Blue Yonder:

On the other hand, blog surfing can be, well, kind if intimidating. It can make you feel pretty inadequate. You can start to think that “So and so would handle this so much better than me” or “SHE would probably never raise her voice” or “That person would never forget about the birthday party and buy some plastic noise making junk to wrap in the car on the way over. Oh no, SHE would make something beautiful, something that would be treasured into the birthday boy’s retirement.” or “I’ll bet SHE never has piles of unfolded laundry on her couch for days.”

When I peruse the blogosphere, I often have to remind myself that I’m looking at someone’s life through a pinhole. I’m only seeing the wee-est little bit. If I knew them in “real life” I would see all the rest, and it would probably look as messy as my life.

I love this quote because while I struggle with feelings of inadequacy about my blog, I remind myself that I’m not someone else. I certainly don’t begrudge blogger’s their success! But it’s hard not to compare myself to others, so IΒ have to remember that my life is what it is. I have a husband. I have a full time job and a part time job. I enjoy knitting. I have (however few) real life friends that I hang out with. And in the end, not everyone has the same circumstances and it’s not fair to compare myself to someone else, because it’s comparing apples and oranges.

I can only compare myself to me. Is my writing getting better? Are my insights into books getting more thoughtful? Is the traffic to my blog, which is tangible, growing each month?

But I think what might sum up this whole post is what Marta said on Twitter when talking about Bethany’s post:

I think whether you feel like you’re in or not depends on hormones and your chocolate supply also.

I’m thinking I need an extra supply of chocolate.

I want to reiterate thatΒ this is not a request for you to tell me how wonderful I am. Rather, this post is intended to name some feelings I’ve had (whether now and in the past) in the hopes that others will relate and gain something from what I have to say.

80 comments »

80 Responses to “This Blogging Thing Reminds Me of High School”

  1. Chris@bookarama

    “Why doesn’t so-and-so like me?” I like you! πŸ™‚ I think we all feel that way sometimes. It’s part of being human. But I have to do the blog for me first. It’s my blog afterall.

    I like what Marta said. I can relate to that. Things that bug me during *ahem* ‘that’ time don’t bother me at all during others. Or I just wake up cranky for no reason.

    [Reply]

  2. Molly

    Oh my goodness — you have hit the nail on the head!!!

    It has been much longer than 10 years since I graduated from high school (in fact, I have 2 children that have graduated – and one will graduate in 2 years)……and yet I must admit — the entire book blogosphere is definitely like a microcosm of the high school years. Of course, it doesn’t help that I am a type A personality and constantly compare myself to others; or that I am a perfectionist and want to have the “perfect” blog — but I will tell you from a newbie looking in……there is definitely an “in crowd” — and you are a part of it πŸ™‚

    I think the main difference between the book blogging community and high school, however, is that this community is very accepting of others — and encouraging to all. So while I may not have the 100+ followers, or the 50+ comments per post — I still feel accepted by a very “cool” group of people. I think my insecurities lie within me — not within the community. That is a very comforting feeling. My blog should reflect me — and those who are interested will find me.

    YOU ARE GREAT!!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    I agree, Molly! One thing I didn’t say but that I said on Bethany’s post is that the book blogging community is very accepting. I never feel like anyone is unreachable. And I never hear any gossip (the bad kind).

    [Reply]

  3. Natasha @ Maw Books

    I ask myself all of those same questions ALL the time. Especially right now as I’m seeing a decline in visitors, comments left, Alexa ranking and Technorati rank. I often wonder what I’m doing wrong to have made my stats increasingly rise, plateau, and then decrease. I’m blaming it on the nice weather! But I definitely relate to you about those feelings of inadequacy. I feel like I beat to the rhythm of my own drum and wonder what people think because I don’t do the meme’s, sunday salons, awards, etc. I figure I’m content with my blogging style and hope that others won’t abandon me because of it.

    I think that blogging is MUCH more accepting than high school. And thank goodness. I sometimes ask myself, if I knew this blogger w/o the blog would I have known that we could be such good friends or would any prejudgments come into play? I’d like to think that our circle of friends has increased because of the blogosphere being so welcoming of all types of bloggers and not the other way around.

    [Reply]

    Molly Reply:

    This thread has absolutely fascinated me (I think I am a closet psychologist)…..

    I have forced myself to stay away from the technorati sites. If I did…I would constantly compare myself to others and I know I would fall short. That, in turn, would cause feelings of inferiority (caused only by myself) and in turn depression. I know myself well enough to know that I would eventually give up blogging — something I truly enjoy — because I am not the “best”

    And yet…..I think that by comparing myself to others it forces me to improve — and my top priority in life (almost) is to be a life long learner — to always try to seek to be better today than I was yesterday.

    I teach writing (good grief – how knows how I got into this profession) — and I truly think that my blog has taught me to be a better writer. I have a long way to go — but what I learn here I can pass along to students – which is a very worthwhile goal.

    The bottom line with blogs – I think – is that we must first be true to ourselves — and accept ourselves for who we are. Those who wish to follow will — and we should be content with that.

    I am very grateful for all those who have chosen to follow me — to those who have taken the time to comment on my site – and to those future followers that may find a connection with what I have to say.

    I am also very grateful to YOU — Natasha and Trish and…..too many countless people to name — who have taught me excellence in blogging without judgment.

    [Reply]

  4. Wendy

    Well I am many more than 10 years out of high school since I am closer to age 50 than 40 at this point! After reading this post, I found myself remembering those high school years…like you, Trish, I wasn’t part of the “in” crowd. I was a bit of a nerd. I was terrified to talk to boys. I ran track (1/2 mile!) and was as skinny as a rail with absolutely no curves or womanly development. For a long time I struggled with that high school image that I dragged around with me like a knapsack full of rocks. Sometime in my mid-30s, I started not caring anymore if I fit in with everyone else. I started to appreciate some of those things about myself that made me different. For a really long time after I started my blog I didn’t even keep track of my stats. I am always surprised when I see that there are people out there who care enough to stop by my blog and read what I have to say! I think it is very normal to find ourselves with self-doubt and recriminations (women, especially, are so good at not appreciating themselves!)…but I will say that the book blogging community has never made me feel left out or “less than” someone else. It is one of the safe places, in my opinion, to hang out and be completely accepted for who I am.

    Trish, I know you didn’t want a slap on the back and a “you go, girl”, but I’ll give you one anyway. You were one of the first blogs I glommed onto and fell in love with BECAUSE you are different! And all those commenters above? I just want you to all know you are in my Google Reader!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Wendy, I agree. It’s never been the people or the community who make me feel insecure…that’s all my own doing!

    I think what I was trying to say was that blogging reminds me of high school, not because of cliques or pettiness, but because I wanted to be liked (though I wanted to be invisible, too!) and I wanted to do a good job. It’s because of those two things that I sometimes doubt myself, though I’m really good at keeping a positive attitude, and I wanted to voice feelings I’ve had because after reading posts on non-book blogs about this, I realized it wasn’t just me!

    [Reply]

    Wendy Reply:

    *nods* I know what you mean, Trish.

    I find it amazing how many people have come onto this post and left a comment expressing how they felt they did not “fit in” in high school. I was never so glad to graduate and go off to college in another state so I could “start over.” I think if most people were as honest as you have been, Trish, they would admit to feelings of self-doubt at least some of the time. I think it is natural to wonder if we are “liked” or “popular” to a certain degree. But I also think it is healthier if perhaps we put the brakes on when we are feeling that way…my experience is that often my feelings of not fitting are just that…feelings; not reality.

    [Reply]

  5. Pam

    I have always had a personality where I am confident but not overly so. I look at what people do and how they act and how intelligent the things they say and do make me feel about them and I hope others do the same.

    I don’t care if your blog isn’t W3C and it isn’t the prettiest website out there, I don’t care if you can’t figure out how to code your posts and they are a bit hard to read. What I do care about and what makes a blog that I want to read is content, consistency, and honest reviews.

    I don’t like blogs where the blogger:
    -likes everything they ever read.
    -OMg uSes weBsPeAk.
    -does memes only.
    -has reviews that consist of the book jacket and 3 sentences on if they liked it or not.

    I am new to book blogging but not blogging in general and I have never cared about the same things most others do, I am not catty or petty and I try to be a genuinely nice person to everyone I meet on and offline. I didn’t understand until today that all bloggers didn’t get requests from pubs to review. I thought everyone did, I am turning down books here. That doesn’t mean I am a great book blogger, I am average and I am well aware. It means hopefully I am consistent, honest, and trustworthy.

    I have linked to and RSS’d this blog of yours Trish because it has all the things I look for in a book blog. So kudos for working hard and making something nice for me to read.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Excellent comment, Pam. And I love how you said, “That doesn’t mean I am a great book blogger, I am average and I am well aware.” I tell myself I’m better than some and not as good as others, and that brings things into perspective. But being hard on myself has been something I’ve always struggled with, and I know I’m not the only one who finds their biggest critic is themselves!

    [Reply]

  6. bethany (B&b ex libris)

    Thanks for posting this, yes we all feel this way maybe just that once a month (haha!) or more often depending on our expectations. Thanks for being vulnerable, it is always hard to put yourself out there.

    Happy reading Trish!

    [Reply]

  7. mari

    Just wanted to say that your high school self, and actually your present self, sounds a lot like me. But I graduated from high school 15 years ago! OMG, I can’t believe it was that long ago.

    Anyway, there is a point when we stop caring about what others think of us, right?

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    I don’t know if there’s a point where you stop caring what others think…or maybe the time comes when you stop doing it for other people and do it for yourself. I’m pretty good at that, but putting myself out in the world with my writing and opinions gives me pockets of times when I don’t feel good enough, smart enough, and no one likes me.

    But most of the time I’m pretty good about believing I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit, people like me!

    [Reply]

  8. Dawn - She Is Too Fond Of Books

    “I can only compare myself to me” That’s the key! Am I happy with what I’m doing, writing, creating, with the response I’m getting (or not getting). Have I grown in my reading, writing, understanding, etc.? Have I expanded my library (by this I mean expanded into genres I hadn’t previously explored, NOT have the number of books in my library grown), my relationships with other people (bloggers, authors, others I am in touch with in publishing)?

    If not, do I want to change these things? If do want to change, then I take steps to improve, reach out, step outside the comfort zone. If at first you don’t succeed (by your own yardstick), try try again (if you want!)

    I think that’s the right attitude. My humble opinion of course, everyone has their own goals!

    And I went to high school so long ago it was Ye Olde Inn Crowde and Ye Olde Out Crowde!

    [Reply]

  9. Darlene

    This is a really good post. I started my blog a year ago to write reviews of what I was reading for me. I started getting readers and making friends and it was great but I find now that sometimes I do feel left out or not as good but I guess that’s my own insecurities. I love seeing new followers and comments. I like knowing that people enjoy my blog and hopefully make a connection with me. Ultimately I write for me. I enjoy the hussle and bussle of reading, book tours and getting reviews written. I think anything whether it be high school, the office or the blogging community you’re going to have those who are more popular and all that good stuff and there will be others, like myself, who fight with wondering if they are good enough. Maybe we should just forget it all and concentrate on having fun!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Well, I think this something that most people fight with. I wrote this post because I wanted to let people know that even though I’ve been told I come across as confident, poised, articulate, and outgoing, I don’t always feel that way! This is something that I would normally keep to myself, but I started writing it when I read similar posts on other blogs and I though it would open a good discussion. I think it’s good to know that people who look like they have their act together don’t always *feel* like they have their act together!

    [Reply]

  10. Ali

    I love your final analysis: I can only compare myself to me. So true!

    [Reply]

  11. I Heart Monster

    I agree that there is definitely an “in crowd.” But hey, who cares, that’s not why we started blogging, right? ;o) I honestly agree – everyone has been really accepting of me and I can’t seem to even pull some constructive criticism out of y’all, so that says a lot!!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    If there was any constructive criticism to give you, we would have! πŸ˜‰

    And I know I’ve told you this in private emails, but I think the best thing to do is throw yourself into the book blogging world 100%. I’ve seen you do that and maybe it’s just my perspective, but you’re positioning yourself to be very influential!

    [Reply]

  12. Corinne

    Oh, how I have written this post in my mind πŸ™‚ For me, it was more junior high than high school, but the feelings are the same and for some reasons, for me, they have struggled with growing up along with me πŸ˜‰ I have nearly come to terms with the fact that, like you, I have a really busy life beyond my blogging life. Between my three young kids and the books I actually want to read and everything else, I just can’t be as “out there” as everyone else. I can’t comment on people’s comments, I don’t even hardly comment at all, but it doesn’t mean I’m not reading and involved. It’s just at a different level πŸ™‚ I appreciate you writing this because it’s nice someone else out there is thinking the same things πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

    Lorin Reply:

    Corinne summed up exactly what I was thinking when I read your post, so I’ll just say, me, too!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Sometimes I wish I had other people’s lives, but then I have to remind myself that the grass is rarely greener on the other side!

    [Reply]

  13. thatsthebook

    I used to have the same insecurities about my blog. It wasn’t until recently that this changed. I’ve decided that my blog is for me to express my thoughts and feelings about the book work and the books I’ve read. As a result I’ve become less and less concerned about the traffic to my blog and the number of comments I get. Don’t get me wrong I love to see people come to my blog and I love even more when those that stop by leave a comment or two. And I’m looking for ways to show my appreciation for those that do leave comments and come by to participate. I’m giving a book away as a thank you for the person that left the 500th comment. I also try, it hasn’t been all that successful, to encourage conversation on my blog. But I think it’s all how you look at your blog.
    I’m content with the way my blog looks and the writing I’m doing. Anything that may come out of that is just icing on the proverbial cake. Enjoy what you do, even though people don’t leave comments someone else is taking enjoyment from you have to say!!!!

    [Reply]

  14. Marg

    I think the thing is that blogging relationships must likely echo real life relationships (like high school etc) and therefore it is about the way I feel about myself more than anything. I often sit here amazed at the groups which appear to form and think how come that never happens for me. It is not often about number of hits, or number of publishers (mainly because I can’t keep up with the ones that I do have contact with) etc, but I do definitely feel as though I sit on the peripheral of the blogging world a lot of the time!

    I guess what I am trying to say is that you are not alone in the way you feel. I think that most people have those days where they feel a little down or a little inadequate.

    [Reply]

  15. Gwendolyn B.

    Wow! I, too, brought up this topic with a friend recently — and I’m a long, long way out of high school! One of the most enlightening moments of my life was close to graduation, when I wrote in another girl’s yearbook that I thought she was a really interesting person and that I wished I’d had the confidence in myself to have tried to be her friend, and it turned out she had written pretty much the same thing in MY yearbook! So, yes, we all experience these doubts and insecurities at times, but we are not in high school any longer. Hopefully, we become wiser and more compassionate as we grow older. I’ve been reading book blogs for about a year now and have exactly 8 posts on my blog — I can hardly make a move without consulting with one blogger or another because blogging is such a leap for me; I’ve so much to learn. I’m pushing past my insecurities and finding support and encouragement every time I reach out to another blogger. It’s a great community. I enjoy it because I have broadened my reading range, flexed my writing muscles, and found some point of commonality with every blogger with whom I’ve conversed. I only wish I had more time to spend exploring and enjoying this new aspect of my “reading” life.

    So, Trish, I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I think you’re funny and smart and brave and cool. Oh, but guess what else — I think I am, too!

    [Reply]

  16. Shelley @ ChainReading

    For me blogging is supposed to be fun, and if I ever start worrying about things I just remind myself of that. I’m not in it to increase my traffic (which is good because I don’t have a ton!) Honesty, I think it would really freak me out if I had a lot of readers, because then I would feel pressure to improve my writing skills, which I don’t think is in me. And the thought of doing an author interview TERRIFIES me! I know that’s silly, but it’s true. I just figure if people like what I have to say, great, and if they don’t, they don’t have to visit. I do get really excited when someone becomes a follower! I love to see those faces on my blog when they come up!

    [Reply]

  17. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I think since it’s mostly women discussing this, it’s also good to point out that this is what we do. This is what women do. We compare ourselves constantly…do I measure up? Am I skinnier, prettier, better dressed, more successful, earning more, getting invited to more parties, do I look like everyone’s confidante? more spiritual (in church), more generous, etc. So it makes sense that it transfers over to the blog. Do I get as many comments, have as much technorati authority, what’s my subscriber number in comparison, are people telling me I’m a great blogger? But we can only be free when we stop making these comparisons.

    I think it’s so strange you’d feel inadequate Trish, but it makes me feel more kinship with you. I think you are so naturally funny and smart. You’re the kind of person people want to be friends with.

    [Reply]

  18. bybee

    I know why I’m more on the uncool side: I don’t care anything about brand-spankin’ new books, and I don’t link enough or participate in enough challenges. My blog’s not cute or blingy. The only things I do right are post more than once a month and comment on other blogs with some regularity. I never meant Naked Without Books to be much more than my online diary. So as Dorothy Parker put it: “I shall stay just as I am/because I do not give a damn.”

    But you, Trish…you should not feel inadequate. I love your blog!!! Heart!!!

    [Reply]

  19. Literate Housewife

    I’m just glad to know that we all share the same feelings. I happen to agree with you that Marta’s comment is right on the money. So right, in fact, that I’m going to get another skinny cow out of the freezer and eat while beginning Boneman’s Daughters (BTW, why is it always the daughters who get put in these positions???).

    Peace and Insecurity OUT! πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  20. Tracy

    I miss reading blogs for a few weeks and look at all the fantastic posts! I Love your blog! such fantastic discussions:) I have the same feelings, the “mom” community is MUCH worse. that’s why I love my book bloggers!

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    And like I mentioned in my post, I wasn’t surprised to see people talk about insecurities on the more creative blogs. But that doesn’t mean book bloggers don’t get insecure, though I’m really glad we have such a nice community that doesn’t have the heirarchy that mommy blogs seem to have.

    [Reply]

  21. Trish

    I guess what I wonder is where did all of this obsession with being the best come from? A year ago no one talked about stats and visiters and page hits and subscribers and followers and ARCS!!! None of this stuff was a big deal. Surely I’m not as sheltered as this comment makes me sound, right? I’ve been an active member of the blogging community for almost two years and I’m astounded at the turn it has taken for popularity. My bottom line question is who cares and what is the big deal? Hate to be blunt, but all these questions about popularity and top-tier bloggers (sorry to drag out that tired one again) are grating!! πŸ™‚ I say all of this with a good heart. But really, can’t we all just get along?? Can’t I be happy with my small but loyal following? I am and I love the friends I’ve met. But really…

    [Reply]

    Amy @ My Friend Amy Reply:

    Poor Trish!

    Sometimes I miss the days when I didn’t know how to check my stats! I guess what I was trying to say was…it’s just another vehicle for comparison.

    [Reply]

    Pam Reply:

    I check mine but I don’t do it to compare or to be disappointed in my results, I just like to see what brought people to my blog, I am a nosy witch.

    [Reply]

    Amy @ My Friend Amy Reply:

    I don’t really use it to compare either, as I don’t nose into what kind of traffic other blogs get. (there’s really not a reliable way to do that btw, I did research it once. πŸ˜‰ But I can see that it would be a way to start measuring yourself.

    I’m nosy, too!

    [Reply]

    Natasha @ Maw Books Reply:

    You know Trish, I don’t use stats to compare myself with others in a “less popular or more popular” mindset. It’s not a competition. It never should be. We all have something to contribute. But I’m also not the type of person who would still be doing this if nobody read my blog. My personality needs the social interaction. I also love to share what I gained from my reading with others, so I use my stats to see if what I’m doing is making an impact on disseminating that information to other book lovers. Am I doing something right or am I doing something wrong when I make a change or add a new feature in? Am I continually improving my blog or have I become stagnant? Stats help me use that information so I can see if I’m meeting the goals I have set out for myself. I also use stats to see what successful bloggers are also doing, so I can learn from then and adapt some of the same techniques to my blog. That said, I don’t check them everyday. Only about once a week.

    [Reply]

    Trish Reply:

    Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally glance at google analytics to see how I’m doing, but I also doing really think it is always indicative of YOU [i.e. the loyal return visiters] who come by. The stats are oftentimes skewed because of people doing google searches for some books over others–my most viewed posts are usually not the ones that were most commeneted on. Pam, I am a nosy witch as well, trust me! πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

    Marta@Marta's Meanderings Reply:

    You know when I stumbled on doing a book blog 3 months ago, I never dreamed everything that I’d have to learn…and quickly! When you tell people you do this, people tend to think that you read a book, and on your blog write something like ” I liked this book, go buy it”..and that’s it. It’s soooo much more than that. Depending on how anal you are (top of the scale on that one here) you can turn this into a full time job.
    I think it’s only natural as the book blogosphere grows bigger that there is going to be more competition. As much as we don’t want to have to worry about the stats, I have a feeling it’s going to be something that more and more publishers are interested in. From a business standpoint it only makes sense for them to do that. Do they send their limited number of arc’s to the blogs with 10 followers and a low technorati score, or the blog with 100 followers and a 60 score.

    [Reply]

  22. Renay

    Dear all bloggers feeling unloved/inadequate,
    You should join me on Livejournal for about three months with a book blog, THEN come back to your regular blogs. You will ALL feel like superstars. No, no, I’m not bitter that people won’t embrace OpenID. Not at all. >.>

    I will say that BNFs in the book fandom are all super nice and willing to reach out to new folks, which is a marked difference from other fandoms. πŸ˜€

    [Reply]

  23. Florinda

    I mentioned this in my comment on Bethany’s post: I see a lot more of the “in/out” crowd/”cool kids” stratification in the mom-blog niche, where I feel I’ll always be on the fringes. Among book bloggers – sure, some will be “bigger” than others, but it feels like there’s plenty to go around and I haven’t seen much rivalry or pettiness at all. (But you’re “in,” Trish – no question.)

    But the high-school feeling? Yeah, it happens (and I’ve been out of it for over 25 years, but sadly, I remember it well), more often that I want it to. (Stumbling into discussions late on Twitter isn’t helping.) But I think Amy makes a good point in her comment – no matter how old we are, women do tend to compare ourselves with others, and when we do, we usually score ourselves lower than the others.

    Between you, Bethany, and Becky, this has been quite an introspective day in book-blogger-dom!

    [Reply]

  24. amy btw m

    Good post. I just try to blog to please myself, if for no other reason than to keep track of which books I read, which I liked or didn’t, and of course my crazy little haikus have to be displayed somewhere. I don’t intentionally try to compare my blog to other book blogs. I feel like I have a long way to go though. It’s okay, I’m good with how things are.

    [Reply]

  25. Julia

    So cool! Thanks for that article! πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  26. Meghan

    As everyone has been saying, we all feel like this sometimes. I’ve never been a cool kid either, nor the best at anything; pretty good, but not great. I think the high school feeling follows us everywhere. In some ways even work environments are like high school. I’ve tried very hard to be content with who and where I am, so I really like that you said you can only compare yourself with yourself. That’s the best attitude. =)

    Also, you said you don’t want to hear it, but I think you’re pretty cool! You make me laugh and that always wins points with me.

    [Reply]

  27. Bibliolatrist

    I often feel inadequate and not part of the “cool” crowd – but then I remind myself that a) I am prone to paranoia, and b) my blog is a silly little thing that really isn’t important either to my life or to the grand scheme of things. Usually feeling inadequate is a sign I need to step back from blogging and enjoy my *real* life πŸ™‚

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  28. sassymonkey

    It’s all about perspective really. If book blogging were high school we’d still all be geeks that hang out in the library during lunch.

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    Ditto what Sassymonkey said – so true!!

    [Reply]

    Marta@Marta's Meanderings Reply:

    lol…my first thought when I read your original post was (insert valley girl accent)OMG she quoted me…I must be IN! NOT REALLY…

    I was a total band, choir, and english geek in high school. I was even the editor of the poetry section of the school paper. MAJOR GEEK!
    I also tend to think that I should do everything perfectly right off the bat…I don’t tend to allow myself a learning curve. Because of this I’ve thrown myself into this book blogging 100%. I also don’t have much of a life so that makes it easier too πŸ™‚

    But I know I’ve felt left out at times…and then I have to slap myself around a bit because sometimes it’s just my being paranoid and at other times it’s me withdrawing. I think it’s like that feeling of being incredibly intimidated by the cheerleaders in high school!

    I feel incredibly blessed to have found this group of people, and book blogging. i’ve made some great new friends and it is giving me a purpose and direction that I haven’t had in a long while. It also lets me have intelligent conversation that I don’t get around here either.

    If there is ever anything that I do that someone wants to know how I do it, please ask. I’m more than happy to tell you how I do it. (Of course if it’s trade secrets…might have to kill you afterwards…but we’ll figure that out at the time πŸ˜‰

    If you ever just want to talk on twitter or email or whatever…just say something…usually even just saying hi…or aaaaaahhhh or any other guttural sound is enough to get me started. I love chatting. One of my favorite challenges in high school was when people would bet me I couldn’t stay quiet for 15 minutes or something…lol

    And if you see something on my blog that you think is kinda stupid, or weird…or that you think I could do better…say something…I promise not to be hurt after the first 5 minutes.

    Anyway…I’m glad to see that we all have the same feelings, jealousies and insecurities. I think these posts have been good in getting that feeling out front and center. I’m sure we’ll all continue having those feelings…but for some reason it’s comforting to know that everyone else is feeling inadequate too.

    As for being one of the people who gets tons of books…if you want to know the secret…I will share it…it’s a lot of work on a daily basis though…but I’ll fill you in on the secret πŸ˜‰

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  29. Chris@bookarama

    I has some more thoughts. That we can have this discussion says something about the attention book blogs in general are getting. Would we be discussing blog stats and popularity and ARCs a few years ago? We’d probably be happy getting any comments at all. We’re growing and there are good and bad things about that.

    When Mommy blogs started getting attention, this came up here and there. There was that whole Disneyland thing where a few Moms were invited and there were hurt feelings. About that time a lady wrote a post along the lines of ‘you’re not as popular as you think you are’- which is kind of what Sassymonkey hit on. It’s all about perspective. Outside of the blogging world, the Big Guys are just the people standing next to you at the bank.

    If I deleted my blog tomorrow, would anyone remember me in 2 months? Not that I believe my blog is popular, but popularity is fleeting on the internet. I think it’s longevity and persistence that gain attention.

    And yes, I believe Trish is one popular gal in the book blogging world but even if she wasn’t, I’d visit her blog anyway. To quote Popeye, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” And that goes for my blog too but that doesn’t mean that I’ll stop trying to make it better.

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  30. Eva

    What an interesting discussion! I don’t there’s ONE ‘in crowd’ so much as circles that interlap to greater or lesser degrees like a big Venn diagram of book bloggers. πŸ™‚

    I’m really lucky, in that I just don’t compare myself to other people. I never have, even in high school when I had low, low, low self esteem in the appearance department, it was never ‘I’m uglier than her’ or anything. So as far as evaluating myself goes, I’m pretty much self-contained!

    For awhile, I was pretty caught up in watching my blog’s stats, trying to increase my visitors, links, etc. But now, I feel I’m as big as I’d ever want to get, so for the past few months I haven’t really been worrying about it. And I’m also aware that once I get a job, I’m not going to have as much time to blog, and I’m ok with my stats going back down as a result of that. For me, it’s become more about the quality of my relationships in the community than quantity.

    I do try to go out of my way to welcome new bloggers whenever I stumble across them! I remember when I was starting out, and a comment could make my week. πŸ˜€ But there are so many book bloggers at this point, it’s impossible to follow them all! So at a certain point, you have to choose blogs not to read, and it’s not because they’re not cool or well-written or whatever, it’s just because they’re not quite what meshes with you. It’s not a personal decision, so if other bloggers don’t follow my blog, I don’t take it personally either! πŸ™‚

    And chocolate definitely makes everything better. πŸ˜€

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  31. Beth F

    If blogging were like high school, I wouldn’t be here. No amount of money or youth would make me go through that again! And I was well liked and had friends! Even the cool kids were insecure and didn’t necessarily feel cool (so my mom kept telling me!)

    The day blogging and book reviewing becomes a competition is the day I stop. I work hard at my blog and my reviews because that’s my personality. If that makes me cool or not, I have no clue. If my blog is top tier, if I deserve to get ARCs, and all the rest means less to me than my own assessment of whether I can be proud of my reviews or not, proud of my blog or not.

    And you do a super job and I like you — so there!

    [Reply]

  32. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog

    You know, I was a lot more concerned about my stats when I started blogging last July than I am now. Back then, I wasn’t sure that anyone would want to read what I have to say. Now that I know I have loyal readers and that people are interested, I’m not really concerned about how many of them there are. As you said, I’m happy if my traffic goes up each month, if I feel that I’m growing from what I’m doing, and if I continue to receive positive feedback that indicates that what I’m doing makes a difference, however small.

    You hit on something really important when you talked about the other things going on in your life. I’m not a professional blogger. I’m not a full-time blogger. Really, I’m not even a part-time blogger. I’m an “hour-a-day-to-write-a-post-and-squeeze-reading-other-posts-in-when-I-can” blogger. If I didn’t work, or have a husband and a dog and house to take care of, or friends and family nearby to spend time with, I could devote more time to blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Glue, and all the bajillion other ways of creating an internet presence. Or I could choose not to engage in the other things in my life so that I could blog, Twitter, facebook, etc. But I think balance is important, and my real life is more important than the time I spend online.

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  33. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog

    And you know, I realized that I know who the supposedly “popular” bloggers are, but I really have no idea how much traffic other bloggers get or how they compare to mine. It’s not something I’ve given much thought to. I could guess at who gets more or less than I do, but I have no idea about solid numbers. And really, I don’t think I want to know.

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  34. Lisamm

    All this hubbub over popularity and top-tier and blah blah blah etc. just makes me laugh. Really, there is this much angst over who is better, who is best? I NEVER think about it. I watch my stats and I get ARCs and a few comments and frankly I’m quite shocked anybody cares at all. But I’m blogging because it’s fun and I love to read. I don’t have the biggest or prettiest or best blog. I have no idea if I’m “in” or “out”. I comment on other blogs when I’m moved to, but I don’t feel I have to read x number of blogs a day, place x number of comments a day, get x number of hits a day, etc. to feel loved and accepted. It’s not a competition, thankfully. And maybe it’s because I’m older than a lot of bloggers- all that wisdom and perspective that comes with age (ha!)- but I find all this kind of funny.

    Trish, I think you’re GREAT! THere, I said it.

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  35. Matthew

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most of life is like high school. Put a group of people into any situation, apply the lightest amount of stress, and suddenly it’s 10th grade and no one is talking to Jenny anymore because she wore red shoes today and that was, like, soooo last Thursday. I just do now what I did then–find the people who accept me for who I am and ignore the rest.

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  36. Tara

    I’m with LisaMM. I guess I don’t really think about this stuff. I just want to write a bit about books and read about books…so I read the bloggers I feel a bookish connection with – that is the only thing that determines who I read. I do this to have fun, and too much pressure stresses me out so I don’t do challenges or participate in weekly meme sorts of posts…I am not savvy enough to make my site looks great, nor do I have the time to figure it out…surely my cool factor is way down but that is fine with me.

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  37. Missy

    Wow! This is everything that I have been feeling and more! If only I had the courage to blog about it….I’m glad that you did! I am brand new to blogging. I started my blog a little over 3 weeks ago, and felt so upset every time I would log on, and no one would leave a comment. I had no followers….what is wrong with me? Honestly, I had no idea others felt the same way. Same thing for me in high school, not popular, but not nerdy….the list of similiarties is long! I didn’t really start my blog to make new friends. I love reading and books, and thought it would be fun reviewing them (which it is!). My reviews still read like a sixth graders book report, but I am working on that…I know that good writing takes practice. I have met some lovely people on here, and I am glad that I can push my paranoid feeling aside, and just enjoy bookblogging and reading other blogs. πŸ™‚

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  38. nikki

    I must have low self-esteem, because you pretty much hit the nail on the head for me. There are a lot of blogs out there that are smarter and funnier than mine and it does make me worry. But I think that’s just my natural fretful inclination. I know it’s ridiculous to worry. At the end of the day, I’m somewhat happy with my blog and myself and that’s all I can ask for.

    Parenthood is quite the same thing. Every morning when I’m shouting at my son to hurry up and get moving so we won’t be late (again), I can’t help but comparing myself to my neighbors who have a son almost the same age. I never hear them raise their voices to their son…never once. Then I worry that they’ll think I’m a bad mama for raising my voice every morning. But I have to remind myself over and over and over again, that it doesn’t matter what they think of me. All that matters is that I’m doing the best I can AND that I know my own son and I’ve learned that nothing will light a fire under him like his mama yelling at him.

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  39. Nit

    I totally agree! Sometimes I read blogs and wish I could be as witty or have something as interesting to talk about…then I remember my reason for blogging (to have something permanent to look back on) and I’m ok with my boring and uncool-ness.

    πŸ™‚

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  40. Yvette Kelly

    Just to prove how stupid I am,as I was reading I thought there are so many comments that you definitely dont need mine as well.Then I thought that’s the whole point.I need to be a bit more confident so here we go.First of all you are very brave to do a post like this.I would never be so brave because I would get few,if any comments on it.I am so out of the in crowd I dont even know who is in the in crowd.I stay up till late so I can check my traffic and now I have stopped checking how long people stay because I feel terrible when I see someone came and left immediately.The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that no one knows who I am.Which takes me back to school.I didnt have a lot of friends but my friends would always answer “different” when asked to describe me in one word.I am so new to this I dont really know how to conduct myself as a book blogger.The only thing I am confident about with my book blogging is that I love the books I blog about.But it is nice to see there are lots of us in the same boat.I thought I was the only one so for this post,I want to say thank you!!!

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  41. blueviolet

    It’s terrifying out there in bloggy world sometimes. It’s taking a risk every time you hit publish. You just don’t know how it will be received or if it will be received at all. I think we’re all insecure in our own ways. And if blogging was REALLY like high school, I would never, ever, ever do it. I despised high school!

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  42. jackie

    Crap – I write about this topic and get 19 comments. You write about this topic and get 41 +. Now I know where I fit in the pecking order…….; ). Obviously this is one topic that a lot of people can relate to. And you know I’m starting to notice a pattern, these feelings tend to occur monthly. Maybe PMS, I’m just saying. Also, I’m aware enough to realize that if I stopped blogging there would hardly be an echo as the plug was pulled. There are so many blogs out there that are have funnier writing, less whining, cuter kids, more stunning photos, hotter trends, ikea furniture, a bazillion etsy sales, chickens, etc. I think too, that only a few exceptional bloggers will reach the point where they get tons of readers without being reciprocal in their commenting, and paying attention to other bloggers, etc. But who has time to visit all of their favorite blogs, all the time? And not only that there are new blogs every day. Okay, and blah, blah, blah.
    Really blogging has been a wonderful way to connect with so many people, and it makes me feel like the world isn’t as big as I thought. I think you did a wonderful job adding to this discussion!

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  43. Jeanne

    I’ve been wondering–especially after reading all these comments–if book bloggers who want more readers should begin to specialize more. Because like many who’ve commented, I only have an hour or two a day to write/read blogs…at the most! And if I know a certain group of bloggers are all reviewing Sarah’s Key or whatever, I’ll hit one of them and miss the rest. Same with the Thursday question and other weekly features. On the other hand, if I had the time, I’d love to link to everyone else’s review of a book I’ve just discovered, as several bloggers have been doing recently.

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  44. Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading

    I have to admit, I sometimes compare myself to other bloggers too. I will see the comments others get and the followers they have and get a bit discouraged. But, like you, I also have a family and a full time job that also need my attention. And, for me, blogging should first and foremost be fun. If it isn’t anymore I’ll quit doing it. In the meantime I love all the different people I have met through blogging.

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  45. Rebecca

    This is a very interesting discussion!

    I understand your feelings about inadequacy and feeling the need to be popular and have as many comments, retweets, links, etc. as other bloggers. It is a lot like high school. I often feel like the new kid who came in during sophomore year where everyone already knew each other, had a report, and I am trying to play catch up and find my niche. But luckily most bloggers I have come across have been super friendly and welcoming and supportive and that makes a huge difference. Although I have run across one or two that seem to be the stuck-ups. But that’s okay. There are enough sweet and friendly bloggers to more than make up for the couple of sours. And the best thing is I am learning from them all. Thanks for the post. πŸ™‚

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  46. Lori L

    WOW! Look at all the comments on this post! You must have hit upon something that is true for many people. I’m 50 (well, in a few weeks) and even my kids are out of high school. I’ll have to admit that I never really mentally compared the blogging community with high school. This could be because I’m pretty darn sure I’m not cool now, so why worry?

    I started my book blog simple because I needed to keep track of what I read and post reviews for an online book group. The group is gone, but I enjoyed keeping track of what I was reading and occasionally posting other things so much that I kept at it. Actually, if my stats show a surge in readers, I get nervous and wonder what I was doing that day to attract attention to myself. (Then I assume it was someone doing a Cheez Waffies search, LOL! )

    If it means anything, you’re popular with me!

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  47. Jeane

    I came late to this conversation- my in-laws are in town, so rather busy- but just wanted to say that I often find your posts interesting, and that’s why I keep coming by! When I first started blogging, I was always trying to figure out why other bloggers had more comments, or links, or recognition, whatever. I tend to notice when I get dropped from someone’s blogroll- I do like to check them to find new blogs- but I figure with so many blogs out there, they’re just found others that suit their reading interests more. But one time I got very upset when a blogger not only took me off her blogroll, but apparently blocked me from visiting her site. I loved reading her blog, and for two weeks I kept trying and couldn’t access it, until I figured out I’d been blocked. It made me feel terrible. I felt sure I’d offended her in some way- a comment I left? a post I wrote? and I drove myself crazy for a while trying to think what I’d done… now I realize that’s all rather silly. I can’t keep up with all the dozens of blogs in my reader, so I stop by and comment on those that interest me- and hope that others do the same in return, without stressing about it… have I digressed? In high school I was such a loner, never in the “in crowd”, blogging feels very different to me- because I always feel (except for that one time) welcomed and engaged with others book-lovers like myself. I think it’s wonderful!

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  48. chartroose

    You’re wonderful! Let me reiterate…you’re wonderful! (And you totally rock, too).

    I never worry about that stats stuff, but I do make an effort to entertain my audience. I think I’d start worrying if a bunch of readers suddenly dropped me.

    Everybody lurves you, baby. How could they not?

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  49. gentle reader

    Oh, man–maybe I should be checking my stats more! I don’t feel like blogging is like high school, but I do understand the wondering about attracting commenters and visitors, etc. I guess I always feel like the reason I don’t get more visitors is that I don’t work at it enough. But maybe all along it’s been that I’m not cool enough! Actually, I’ve been impressed with how nice all the book bloggers seem to be, and how accepting of new folks. I think other areas of the blogosphere are snarkier and less accepting.

    And by the way, I think you rock!

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  50. Callista

    I’m late on all this latest blogging/highschool/cliques thing but just wanted to say that I feel the same way. I WAS an outcast in highschool which doesn’t help but still. Very sound advice, to remember that the blogger that looks so perfect may be showing his/her best side on the blog and may be struggling just as much as us at home.

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  51. Jennie

    Trish-I remember you from high school πŸ˜‰ I enjoy reading your blog, you are a wonderful writer and you should not think back to those anorexic girls from our high school!

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  52. Moni

    This is an interesting post. I found it reading one of my daily blog reads that linked to a blog that linked to your post.

    I’m a knitter and have been a part of the knitting blog community for many years. I have had these exact same feelings about the knitblog community. At first I thought, “what is this? I graduated from high school 20 years ago. I don’t want to relive these feelings.” I’ve since grown to not care (much the same way I coped in high school) but these feelings of inadequacy still come up to the surface now and then. I find it interesting that these feelings are prevalent in other blogging communities and it makes me wonder why. What is it about the blogosphere that causes people to revert back to these feelings. If I were a sociologist I would study it because, while annoying, it is also kind of interesting too. πŸ™‚

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  53. The Brain Lair

    I feel as if you were channeling me. Great post. I love it.

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  54. Heather (Belle of the Books)

    I think the sheer volume of responses to this post shows how much we all feel like we’re in high school again from time to time. I haven’t been blogging for long, and sometimes I get so hooked on my stats I have to stop and think why it bothers me. The counterpoint is how supportive and open the book blogging community really is, so I always find it hard to keep feeling down about myself when there is so much love floating around our little cyberspace.

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  55. Jenners

    I’m just catching up on all these posts. To me, you are a cool and wonderful blogger. I know what you mean though … sometimes I feel really good about my stuff and and then I read other blogs and I think “hmmmmm…not so much.” It is hard to hit a “home run” every time out. And it can be easy to burn out from something that is so “daily.” I do try not to blog for the sake of blogging but only when I actually have something to say … that helps I think. And when I first started blogging, I got caught up in the “glamour” (and I use that term loosely) of having followers or readers or comments but then it kind of became more balanced. I think real life must come first and blogging can be a fun hobby … with the emphasis on fun. If it become “unfun” then I think it is time to stop! ; )

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  56. daphne

    I think these feelings are just part of how humans deal with things – whether in high school, work or in other parts of life. But I am reminded of a line from one of my teenage daughter’s favorite movies, The Princess Diaries (which we just watched again this weekend for the bizillionth time!): “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”

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  57. sarah pekkanen

    I so love this honest post, and I can relate to the feelings. I’ve had those insecurities about my agent (does she like her other writers better? she probably does! she’s probably emailing them right now, in fact!) and my editor, and when someone unsubscribes to my newsletter, I feel a little pinch, like, wow — I guess my last update wasn’t all that good. I can’t even imagine how I’m going to deal with bad reviews, though they are inevitable and I’m steeling myself for them. Thanks for this post!

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  58. J.S. Peyton

    So much has already been said on this subject, so I won’t beat a dead horse. All I wanted to say that I feel the same way sometimes. And it’s nice to know I’m not alone in those fleeting feelings of insecurity. Whenever I start stressing about my blog traffic and the number of comments I am or am not getting relative to some one else’s blog I know that it’s time for me to take a step back and do what got me into this blogging thing in the first place: read. It always picks me up. πŸ™‚

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  59. Semicolon » Blog Archive » BBAW: Best Blog Post

    […] This Blogging Thing Reminds Me of High School (Hey Lady, Whatcha’ Readin’?) : “I can only compare myself to me. Is my writing getting better? Are my insights into books getting more thoughtful? Is the traffic to my blog, which is tangible, growing each month?” […]

  60. Ashley

    Girlfriend.
    1) hi! Just found your blog, and this post, I’m Ashley.

    2) I’ve wanted to stop blogging completely recently, because I am constantly pitting myself against other people. It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around.

    [Reply]

  61. The 2009 BBAW Awards Shortlists | Book Blogger Appreciation Week

    […] Blog Post This Blogging Thing Reminds Me of High School (Hey Lady, Whatcha’ Readin’?) On Fantasy and Why I Read It (Things Mean a Lot) Write the Words of My Heart (My Friend Amy) The […]

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