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Chronicles of an Obsessive Bookblogger: Comment Love

chronicles of an obsessive bookbloggerComment Love

Here’s the thing: blogging for me is an incredibly personal endeavor… but I wouldn’t have made my blog accessible to the public if I didn’t want other people reading it. I wanted to highlight my love of books but, more importantly, I wanted to geek out about them with other people – that’s where the comments come into play.

You could say getting thoughtful comments on my posts is the ultimate goal of my book blog. And, if comments are the ultimate form of support – meaning someone took the time out of their busy day to read what I had to say and share their thoughts on it – shouldn’t a response be the highest priority on my to-do list? In my opinion, the answer is yes.

So why, then, is it so hard for me to respond to comments in a timely manner?

In all fairness, when I comment on other blogs, I don’t expect and answer right away. As long as the blogger gets back to me within a week or so (i.e. before I forget what I responded to in the first place) then I’m happy. But for some reason I hold myself to a much higher standard. If I don’t respond to a comment within a couple hours of reading it, I feel incredibly guilty, and it hangs over my head until I’ve answered back. I think it’s mostly because I want everybody who comments to know how much I appreciate their attention.

However, there are a few exceptions.

My heaviest commenting days are Tuesday and Wednesday where I participate in the memes Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday. There are always a handful of people who hit as many blogs as they can on those days, copying and pasting generic comments as they go. In my opinion, they might as well just write “I’m actively soliciting you to come look at my website and don’t really give a shit what’s in your post.” I know I’m not the only one who finds it a bit tacky, and am always less inclined to respond to the comment if I can tell that’s what they’ve done.

The silver lining is that for every ten generic responses, there’s always one or two genuine ones that surface each week, and these thoughtful comments is where I have met several of my best book blogging buddies.  In fact, all of my awesome blogging friends have one thing in common: Comment Love. It is virtually impossible to have good blogosphere relationships without great comments that show you’ve taken the time to read and appreciate what the other person has to say.

So thank you to all of you who are still my blogging buddies despite the fact that I almost always suck at getting back to you in a timely manner. Just know it doesn’t lessen my appreciation in the least, I’m just waiting for a times when I’m able to respond just as thoughtfully!

 Now I want to know what you think: 

 Do you have a difficult time keeping on top of comment love? How long do you think the appropriate response time should be?

by Niki Hawkes

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Chronicles of an Obsessive Bookblogger: Reading Challenges

chronicles of an obsessive bookblogger

Reading Challenges

This is the first year that I’ve taken part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and I don’t know about you, but when I signed up I thought, “this could be a very bad idea.” You see, adding a reading challenge of any sort has the potential to suck some of the fun and spontaneity out of reading. I was worried that the end of the year would come around and I would be really disappointed if I didn’t hit my goal of 100 books.

Sure enough, around August I started paying attention to the little widget tracker as it helpfully informed me I was 8% behind schedule. Then October hit and I knew I was in trouble: I was a whopping 12% (thanks to easy math, exactly 12 books) behind my goal.

That meant I would have had to read 3.5 books per week to reach my goal by the end of the year (I average 1.75). Rationally, I knew it wasn’t going to happen – between family, work, blogging, and everything else that keeps my life so busy there was no way I was going to finish that many books a week. But, like any stubborn reader would, I tried…

I even came up with a game plan – I would read as many YA as I could because, let’s face it, they are the easiest to get through. Almost all of the adult speculative fiction on my shelves are well over 500 pages which take me at least a week to read. As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before I started to get really tired of reading all YA (I was focusing mostly on dystopian because I was doing a challenge for that as well). It felt like I was reading because I had to, and not because I wanted to. That’s NEVER good.

A few weeks ago, I finally threw in the towel. I was so tired of reading books that I knew would help me towards my goal that I randomly snatched an 800 page book off my shelf to reread and concentrated on that for a solid two weeks… it was bliss.

So what have I learned? It’s no fun to read things because you feel like you have to (even if they are really good books) and reading challenges can be stressful if you don’t pick goals that are consistent with your current reading habits.

In 2014, I’m going to start with 80 books as my Goodreads challenge goal and if I read more I’ll just bump it up accordingly at the end of the year. I’m still going to continue with the Dystopian Challenge (hosted by Blog of Erised), although I don’t think I will come anywhere near that 24+ books I read for it this year. Finally, I’m doing a Series Challenge (hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat.) with the hopes that I can finish out a few of the dozens of unfinished series still hanging over my head. I’m worried about the last one mostly because I don’t want to feel obligated next year and I kind of already do when it comes to finishing what I start.

What about you? How many challenges do you have for yourself in 2014? Does participating stress you out like it does me?

by Niki Hawkes