Sunday 23 September 2018

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Six for Sunday: Reasons I Love to Blog

Six for Sunday

Six For Sunday is a weekly feature run by Steph of A Little But a Lot. You can read all the Six for Sunday prompts for the rest of 2018 here. This week, we're talking about reasons we love to blog.

This is a really interesting topic, because I've been book blogging for nine and a half years now, and the reason I love blogging now are undoubtedly different to the reasons I blogged when I first started, and it will be the same for others. Really looking forward to everyone's reasons, but here are mine.

A Place to Share My Thoughts

I have always liked talking about books. When I was younger, I pretty much solely read my Dad's high fantasy books, and I would discuss them with him, and talk about my theories, or how surprised I was over certain aspects. When I broadened my horizons to include urban fantasy, and later YA, I no longer had anyone to talk to, because no-one else I knew read those books. So I started a blog to share what I thought. At the time, I didn't know that I was book blogging; I didn't know that was a thing. I just needed to say what I was thinking. Then of course I found the community and discovered more about book blogging, but primarily it was to write down what I thought of the books I read, and that's really still the main reason I blog. I love talking about books, and I love writing, so book blogging combines the two.

Getting to Highlight Things that are Important to Me

As time has gone on, there are few things that have become important to me, in general and in books specifically. With my blog, I can talk about and highlight books that cover things I feel are important, or what I feel is important when it comes to books. Like diversity and intersectionality in books. Like feminism and sexism. Like rape culture. Like sex education. Like positive body image. By reading, reviewing, and discussing books that tackle things I'm passionate about, there is the potential for other people to read the books I recommend, and perhaps have a change in perspective, or think about something that has never occurred to them before, or have their eyes opened to certain realities. And by talking about the importance of diversity and intersectionality in books, and reading books that include both, I am potentially helping bring about change, and also potentially showing a reader a book that they can see themselves represented in, a book that will show them they're not as alone as they may have thought.

The Books

It's pretty obvious that book bloggers love reading, and I would be lying if I said having access to ARCs isn't a huge perk of book blogging. If I wasn't a book blogger, I wouldn't be able to read like I do now, because I couldn't afford to. Yes, I could borrow books from a library, but I would only be able to read books that were available, and only when they weren't already with another reader, and I would only be able to read new releases long after they had come out. My local library, and the surrounding libraries, aren't that great; they have small YA sections, and they take a long time to get new books in. And I wouldn't be able to find the books only published in the US. So being a book blogger, and getting to review ARCs gives me access to books I wouldn't have otherwise. I don't at all take that for granted.

But as well as ARCs, it's books in general. Being a book blogger, I hear about so many books I may not hear about otherwise. From publicists, from fellow bloggers, from the community at large. Mate, I have read so many books I wouldn't have heard of otherwise, so many books I may not have picked up, even if I had heard of them, without the praise bestowed upon them by those I trust. When I think of how many books I would have missed out on if I wasn't a blogger... it doesn't bear thinking about. My reading life is much richer for being a book blogger.

The Community

The bookish community - specifically, the YA bookish community - is massive and, for the most part, wonderful. Like I mentioned above, I discover so many books through the community, and there have so many people I have "met" who I and become friends with I wouldn't know if I wasn't a blogger. I know the YA bookish community isn't made up of just bloggers, it's also compiled of booktubers, readers, authors, and even publishing people. But I don't think I would have known this community was there if I wasn't a book blogger. I don't know how I would have found you all. Would I have known about bookish Twitter chats like #UKYAChat without being a blogger? Doubtful. Would I have found other book blogs without being a blogger? Also doubtful. The community has had it's moments where things haven't been great, but on the whole, it's full of passionate, supportive, wonderful people who I'm able to rave about books with, and it's just brilliant.

Being Educated

This links back to both the books and the community. It's through access to and discovering books, and being apart of the community, that book blogging has brought me, that I discovered how privileged I am, and what that means. It's through the community and the books that I learnt the importance of diversity and intersectionality. It's through the community that I learnt about #OwnVoices. It's through diversity becoming something that readers demand that I've read books that teach me about other peoples experiences. That have opened my eyes, or made me look at things through a different perspective. Or just taught me things about other people that I didn't know. It's through the community that I've discovered that certain books are problematic, why, and what that means. It's through the community, and through reading books with accurate representation, that I've learnt to identify problematic elements of a story/books as a whole. Which has in turn taught me to identify the problematic things people say or do, perhaps without realising. It's led me to have certain kinds of conversations with people I know about certain kinds of topics, and the discrimination, bigotry, or mistakes that are made due to privilege relating to those topics. I believe the education I have received through the community and the books I've read - which are down to me being a book blogger - has made me a better person. However, I know I still have a lot to learn, but it's all made me open to learning. I want to learn, I want to do and be better, understand that which I don't. That can only be a good thing.

Connecting with Authors

I used to think - and in some ways, I still do - that authors are like famous people. Of course, some authors are famous, but not all. Anyway, I thought of them as these really awesome, amazing people who have written such fantastic stories, and they're not like the rest of us. I put them on pedestals, and was in awe of them. Of course, authors are just like us, people who also love books, they just happen to write them, too. And while there are a number of authors I do kind of hero-worship, for the most part, they are actually approachable through social media and through email. Through publicists and through emailing authors on their websites, I've been lucky to host a number of authors on my blog for interviews and guest posts. And it's been so awesome to learn more about their stories, and about them as writers. It's incredible to get this insight, and to have authors willing to take time out of their busy schedule to write something or answer questions. Of course, it's all promo for them, so it's win-win, but it's not something they get paid for, and writing a guest post/answering interview questions does take precious time away from their current works in progress. So I really appreciate the time they take.

And, as already mentioned, so many authors are really accessible through social media, and really approachable. They allow us a small insight into their lives, and allow us to talk to them through it. And sometimes, they respond. I actually don't think I would tweet authors at all if it wasn't for book blogging, through speaking to them through email for blog reasons, and seeing that they're people just like us.

So those are my reasons! Blogging has being such a big part of my life, and brought me so much joy, I really don't know what I would be doing if I wasn't blogging.

But now, over to you! What are your favourite things about blogging? Why do you blog? And if you've taken part in this week's Six for Sunday, please do leave your links in the comments!

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  1. The community is definitely why I keep blogging. I love connecting with the people I now consider my squad. It may be a small squad, but they are awesome and loyal.

    1. The community is really awesome! And I think it's understandable that you'd form closer friendships with smaller groups of people; there are so many of us, it would be difficult to be friends with everyone.

  2. Love this! I love to blog to share my thoughts and it's truly something I enjoy doing.

    1. Right? I also find I think a little more deeply about why I liked a book when I have to actually write it down. Why did I like it? Or why didn't I? Breaking it down is fun, and actually helpful for me. And I just love it!