I’ve had some dilemmas over blogging lately, and I’d like to share a story that might explain why. A few months ago, a friend of mine had some fantastic news to share. We were all so excited! What followed was a slew of blog posts from friends. Everyone was sharing the news and spreading their excitement over what had happened. I was happy for this friend, but I let some jealousy seep into my “what’s fair-o-meter”. I thought, hey, these same people never put up blog posts when I announced a book deal. In fact, most of them don’t put up a post about any of my publishing news. What the heck? I started to stew and fret and get super-irritated. I lost my excitement for my friend. Needless to say, I thought some really nasty stuff about a lot of people. I got so upset that I emailed some of these friends asking them why they had never shared any of my exciting news. Did they see me as lesser? Did they not care about me at all? Yes, it was much unneeded drama. These kind friends emailed me back, apologizing, but not in the ways my offended little sensibilities wanted them to. I wanted a big gasp! we totally overlooked you and we’ll never do it again! Instead, both said they honestly didn’t think I wanted that attention since I never posted people’s news on my own blog. They gently reminded me that they do share my news in tweets and on FB. They also reminded me how much they have supported me by coming to events I’ve planned, etc. They never meant anything vicious or mean or offensive by not announcing certain things on their blogs.
That’s when I realized that as much as I don’t want to admit it, many people blog reciprocally (I mean this in general, not anyone specifically). You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours kind of thing. If you’re part of a specific group of people online, most likely, they’ll all blog your news anytime something happens. The problem is that I’ve never felt like I fully belonged to a set group of people. Just like in high school, I flit about from one group to another, keeping a hand and a foot in as many as I can. But what I’ve noticed is all of those groups formed long before I came along. There’s history there I’m not a part of. I just happened to make good friends with some people in the group, and I come and go, not engaging myself 100% because in the end, I’m afraid to try to attach myself too much. Not sure why. Fear I might lose something. Fear of rejection. I don’t know. And maybe everyone in those groups feel the same way as I do about their own situation. I have no idea.
Then this past spring, an offline friend of mine I’ve known for many years, made it quite clear that I’m really bad at reciprocating things, period, and she was hurt by it. I rejected her accusations at first because my intentions are always good, but yeah, I can be a crappy friend when it comes down to it. Part of it is that I just plain forget stuff. Not a great excuse, yeah. Things aren’t good with this friend now, and I hope one day we can patch things up, but it’s going to take me a long time to get to a place where I feel I can be okay with myself and with what happened between us. I’ve had to face some things I never wanted to face before. I’ve made some changes in my life. I’ve made a huge effort to try to keep more on top of things memory-wise by keeping better notes and lists, etc. But in the end, I am who I am, and I can’t change myself for other people. Nobody should do that.
So what does all of this have to do with my dilemmas in blogging? If you haven’t noticed, I don’t review books on my blog. I don’t do cover reveals. I rarely do interviews, guest posts, or blog tour posts for authors unless they ask me specifically if I will help out. Most everything I post here is for me and my books because, well, it’s my blog. It’s my personal space. I used to do the reciprocation thing. I used to try to announce everything about everyone I knew closely online, and then as my pool of online acquaintances grew, things started to blur. Who did I consider “close enough” to share their news? I started picking and choosing, and what happened wasn’t pretty. I got flack for posting one friend’s big news, and not another’s. I saw how troublesome it was to have my hands and feet in different groups. I wanted to be a friend to everyone. I wanted to help everyone. But guess what? If I did that, that’s all I would do. My blog would become a billboard for everyone else and not be the quiet, happy place I need it to be. I started using Twitter and Facebook and my newsletter more. I started to see that those networks were where I wanted to share news, and my blog could stay my personal spot.
So … you can see why I was being a little hypocritical getting upset about my friends not posting all my “amazing, fantastic” news on their blogs. I do enough of that on my own on my blog, and I do kind of put across the attitude of wanting to remain insular in the online world, whether that seems stuck up or not. Mostly, it comes from my HSP personality, but I don’t expect many people to understand that.
So what is blogging, really? It’s what you want it to be. It is different for every single person. For me, after blogging for almost four years now, I’ve found a good place for my blog. It’s a place for me to share my news with anyone interested, and it’s a place for me to talk about things important to me so I can get them out there. Once in awhile, I will participate in helping out with blog tours. I’m more than happy to do that if asked!
I tend to overreact to things like blogging and reciprocating and trying not to offend anyone, but there’s a point where you have to step back and be happy with who you are and how you’re handling things, especially if you’ve tried the best you can. This is where I’m at right now in my thinking. I love my friends. I always want to help them out. I don’t want to feel jealous and angry over silly things like blog posts and who is supporting who in specific ways. Friendship should extend far beyond that, and I intend to keep on top of that the best I can.