|Around the Jing'an Temple on a winter's night.|
Reading these non-book blogs has made me think about what I want out of this blog. For the majority of its first three years (yes, my blog is three years old now. Kind of astonishing to think about, really), Steph Su Reads has been inarguably a book blog. I post book reviews, book-related news pieces, my reflections on book-related topics. It's been an incredible experience, but since graduating college and moving to Shanghai, I can't help but sometimes feel as if I want to do more with my blogging. If I grew tenfold as a person from entering college, I am growing even further in post-grad life. There are things I see, things I think about, things that I have changed that my fingertips sometimes tingle to write about.
And yet, at the same time that I feel like I have more to say, I have withdrawn from blogging. In the past few months, I have posted reviews and Cover Lust posts. Not much more. I used to feel the fire of wanting to write about hot topics in the book world burning through me. Not so much now. While I want to expand my writing here on my blog, part of me is also fiercely afraid of doing so.
I have always drawn a very thick and uncrossable line between my private, "real world" life and my online blogging presence. I don't do vlogs. I rarely post pictures of myself. I find it hard to take my online friendships with other book lovers into the rest of my life. I've cut back on the number of author and blogger friend requests I accept on my personal Facebook account. (No offense meant to you if I don't accept your friend request! You're better off finding me here on Facebook.) Whenever someone in my "real world" life mentions that they have read my blog, I sputter out a nervous laugh and blush fiercely.
The blogs I have been reading lately plunge deep into their writers' lives and discuss all of their joys and worries, good and bad points. I like reading them because it feels like I'm reading a first-person novel. Part of me wants to have that sort of candidness and authenticity in talking about myself and my insecurities, but the only outlet through which I have been perfectly honest is in my dozens of handwritten journals, and those will be private until the day I die. I admire the honesty and authenticity of today's memoirs and blogs (well, so much as any form of written and edited communication can be considered honest and authentic, but that's a discussion I'll save for my Victorian Literature & Culture seminar classmates), but I struggle in revealing that much of myself for others to read about and judge.
The great part about the blogging and memoir culture is that readers find community and connection through personal accounts. Part of me longs to join that community, but a stronger part of me sadly withdraws even more.
I think that as book bloggers, most of us already keep a large part of our lives off our blogs. Oftentimes there feels like an invisible circle of acceptable topics that we book bloggers can blog about, and if we blog outside of those topics, we lose followers. (I admit, I have been guilty of unfollowing people on account of how they became non-book bloggers. It's funny, because now I am thinking about scaling back on the number of book blogs I follow, so that I can expand my blog-reading repertoire without being overwhelmed.) So I'm curious: How much do you, as a book blogger, feel like you must only post about book-related topics? What outlets do you have for when you want to write about non-book topics? How do you think you'd gauge your level of interest for any non-bookish posts I may write in the future? How do you maintain the balance between your online persona and your real-life person?
Happy Valentine's Day. :)