Have you ever gotten so damn old that you forgot your own impending birthday? Happened to me. I mean, fine, not my actual birthday, but my blog’s birthday. I really almost forgot. I had this… nagging feeling that I was missing something, though. So here we are, on time somehow. Honestly, if Sammy’s birthday wasn’t the very next day, also four years ago… well, I’d never remember okay?

Thanks, nugget!

But I really haven’t a clue what to say this year. This year has been… different. So let’s just talk about four random bits of blogging wisdom I’ve learned over the past four years, okay?

1. Hard Work Pays Off

Yes, yes it does. When I started with this blog I worked really damn hard. I posted like, 5-6 a week minimum, commented on all the things, responded to every comment without fail. I did a lot of research on coding (let’s not get carried away, it’s beginner stuff!), GIF-making, graphic designs, etc. I tried to make things the very best I could with the resources I had. And I like to think that it worked, to some extent? Sure, I’m not famous or anything, but I have some readership and such, so hey, I’ll take it.

The thing is, you’ll just feel prouder of what you’re doing when you work hard. I’ve always believed this, and sometimes I take it to the extreme. But I think the real lesson here is that if you feel good about what you’re doing, you’ve succeeded.

2. Screw That and Calm Down

Okay, look. There comes a point where there is such a thing as working too hard, especially on something that is supposed to be a fun hobby. And that’s where I was at this time last year.   Burned out, ready to collapse from exhaustion half the time. I had been spending a solid 4-5 hours a day blogging. And that… is ridiculous. Now I do other things, like whatever the hell I want.

Things like always posting about The 100, for example.

Or watch shows, or just stare at the wall, Idk, whatever I feel like doing. And then you know, actually sleeping from time to time. The thing is, if you find yourself burning out, you will stop enjoying what you’re doing. So taking a step back, reevaluating, and figuring out how to do what you love in moderation, it’s the best plan.

3. Meet ALL the People

Oy, when I first started blogging, I was so damn terrified to reach out, to put myself out there in any capacity. Which probably a lot of you have gone through. It’s scary at first, especially when you really don’t know what the community is like and such. But then I finally did, and I am so happy that I did! I have met some of the BEST people ever. You can find a pretty decent list of them here, or at the bottom. And there are other wonderful creatures who don’t have blogs, or blog buttons, or whatever,  but TIME, you know?

It’s not that dire, I just want to go watch Netflix tbh.

BUT! What is better than talking to fabulous human beings on the internet? MEETING fabulous human beings in PERSON. Yes, this is the part where I am going to extrovert all over you. I like socializing! I do. It can be scary, I get that. But you know what is less scary? A bunch of bookish people who you already know via the interwebz! I remember the first time I met Holly and Val, at BEA 2015. I was so damn nervous, but it was so easy– just as easy as talking to them online had been, but even better because we got to do all kinds of fun shit together over the years! Not just bookish stuff either, which is great too. I hope for more of that in the future, no question! There’s just something to be said for doing actual things with actual humans, internet-less for a bit 😀

4. Don’t Forget That Reading is a Thing You Do for Fun

The most ironic part of book blogging is that somehow, there seems to be less time for actual reading. And I think that it becomes harder to find books that you flat out love, too? Maybe this is just a personal thing, but I have found that since I have been reviewing books, I seem to find books that blow me away less frequently. While I am very glad to be more critical of certain aspects of books (especially in regards to representation), I do want to be able to chill and enjoy books too!

Look how relaxed Pingu looks!

Books can be a great form of self-care, too. Which goodness knows we could all use these days, yes? My big wish for Year Five is for the whole of it to not be garbage fire and/or the actual apocalypse. A girl can dream, right?

Idk, let’s just cross our fingers for a less dumpster-y 2018!

I could not decide what to give away. At all. So…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yes, this is literally whatever the hell you want. International, as long as it’s under $20 US. And I don’t just mean books, I mean seriously whatever the hell you want. It doesn’t end til December 31, because I am kiiiind of broke from all the giveaways this month (from #ShatteringStigmas, Discussion Challenge, and the October New Release), so there you have it.

What are some things you have learned from blogging and/or the bookish community? Have you met (or want to meet) any awesome bookish people (if we’ve met I’ll totally just take that as a yes 😉 ) ? Let us discuss all the things!

Posted October 8, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Recaps, Funsies, Giveaway / 50 Comments


50 responses to “Oh Look, I’m Four!

  1. Happy 4 years!!! That’s awesome!! And hard work definitely does pay off– your blog is great, and I think well-known, so GO YOU!! I’m one of the super lucky ones who have got to meet you in person, and if anyone is reading this– if you get the chance to meet Shannon in person, DO IT!! She’s hilarious and nice and just cool peoples.

    I’m super happy you started blogging and I found your blog. It’s entertained me a lot over the years and you have such a strong/unique voice. I would miss it desperately if it were suddenly gone!! Also, thanks for all the DMs explaining books to me when I am dumb and can’t understand things!! I’m sure that will happen in the future because….. well, books are confusing sometimes!!! And you are smart!!

    Anyway, happy blogoversary and birthday to the cute little boy up there!! Thanks for being you!! And thanks for being my friend!

  2. Happy blog birthday!!! Yay for four years. And 1 and 2 are so true- the hard work pays off and then we get burned out ha ha. Seriously though, your blog rocks and I’m happy to call you a friend. Here’s to many more *clinks glass*

    And yes #4- what is that? I blog about books so I read… less? Whazzis??

    Oh my gosh lesion Clarke is so nasty lol. C’mon nightblood- get working!!!

  3. Happy blogoversary!!! And ah, yes, I too went through that work super hard phase, and then I realized I just couldn’t keep up posting so many times a week and visiting other blogs and everything. But all of it is part of finding your flow with blogging, I guess! And I think it’s funny how we all end up reading less once we start blogging. But yeah, I’ve also found that it’s really hard for a book to impress me now :-/ Still, we get to read books and talk about them and share our passion, so it’s worth it!

  4. Happy Blogoversary! 4 years is amazing! 🙂
    And yes, I definitely learnt a lot of this stuff too. I was especially terrible at reaching out to people at first, because I’m super introverted, and everyone already seemed to know everyone else. But then once I put myself out there a bit I realised that most people in the blogging community are actually incredibly friendly! That was definitely the biggest learning curve for me 🙂

  5. I admit I cackled a little at the “whatever the hell you want” giveaway, that is genius. Anyway, HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY MY DEAR SHANNON! I’m so so glad I met you through blogging – you’re such an amazing, kind, and funny person, and I’m grateful to call you my friend ♥

    (slides you cake)
    Also omg I hear you with the accidentally-blogging-so-much-and-not-reading.? ME. I look back at the year I read 300 books and I realise how big my blog has grown since then because somedays I STILL spend 4+ hours trying to catch up on blog reading and comments.? Ah well. As long as we enjoy it right?! (I have cut down WAY WAY much now too though. For sanity’s sake. I must preserve what little I have.)

    Also happy birthday to your smol cute human Sammy!!!

  7. HAPPY FOUR YEAR BLOGOVERSARY! Also, I’m confused – did you start a blog and then have a child a day later?? And then post 5-6 times a week? That either can’t be right or you’re actually a superhero from a distant planet. Please clear this up for me haha. I’m very happy to know you, and I hope we can somehow sometime meet in person! I’d love to meet all the bloggers I like – maybe I’ll win the lottery and do a world tour or something. 😀 Also, it’s totally true – more blogging means less time for reading, it’s truly the definition of irony. And I totally get you about wanting to just enjoy books sometimes. It’s good to be aware of issues, but sometimes it really ruins the reading experience.

  8. Happy 4 years! That’s an amazing accomplishment. Have you ever done a post on reading while being a mother? My first baby is due in January, and I’m just not sure how reading is still going to fit in my life. I’m super impressed that you were still managing to read AND blog. Anyways, as I have said before, your blog is my favourite! 😀

  9. Congrats on 4 years! Things can and unfortunately will get tough throughout the years, but it’s important to persevere and reevaluate constantly! I usually find myself being too harsh on books that I would otherwise love if I hadn’t read the same somewhat basic story 100 other times. I guess it’s the price we pay for reading the number of books we do on a yearly basis C:

  10. I put a yearly reminder on my phone calendar so that I know when my blog’s anniversary is and never miss it. I almost forgot this year too! I relate to number 1 and 2 and – okay i relate to all of your points. Working hard pays off very well. You learn that you actually know what’s the road to success, we just have to put time into it and work with it.
    But chilling for a while is also the key to blogging and avoiding a burn out. I am so happy that your blog is 4 years old! That’s so great. Congratulations for everything you’ve done. Way to go!

  11. What a stupendous 4 years it’s been! Happy blogoversary and here’s to many more! I remember seeing the bloggers I followed at BEA in Chicago (I saw you there), and it was fun to put a real face to the blog.

  12. You’re FOUR?! For some reason I thought you’d been around a lot longer. I can’t imagine spending more than four hours blogging any more. I could do it in the beginning, but life has gotten so busy that I can’t spare those four hours, even on the weekend. I did do a whole day of blogging recently though and that was tonnes of fun. I might try to do that every couple of months or something.

    And happy birthday to Sammy 😀

  13. A very happy Blog anniversary, Shannon! 4 years at it is such a great accomplishment, and you have created such a lovely little corner of the internet <3 A very happy birthday to Sammy as well – you two look SO adorable! <3
    I love your advice here as well – it's so good to remember that we're doing this for fun, so…We should chill once in a while and try to read FOR FUN AGAIN because it is a lot of fun, even if sometimes, we forget about it. <3
    hope you'll keep on blogging for many years to come! <3

  14. I’d love to meet more bloggy people in person – it’s really fun. The ones who USED to live somewhat close to me no longer blog, so I don’t really get the chance to see people. ALA was great this year though!! 🙂

    Congrats on four years though – these are all really great lessons. I tend to post around 5 times a week but that’s mostly because I HAVE SO MUCH to post. I don’t really have a set schedule though, so I try not to overdo it and actually find time for reading and other fun things. I find that I’m not that critical of books, which is good because it could be bad after 10 years of reviewing – but I know a lot of book bloggers have that problem.


  15. Kel

    Congrats on 4 amazing years, Shannon! I totally get the forgetting anniversaries thing. I think that was me earlier this year at 3. ^^;

    I’ve also noticed that there seems to be less time/energy for reading when you blog. And I’m not sure if it’s that fewer books actually blow me away, or it’s just more noticeable how few do blow me away when you’re keeping closer track of them for blogging/stats purposes? Other than that, I think I’ve learned that life happens, things change, and it’s okay to change blogging goals/priorities with that. Also, I’m SUPER awkward at conferences/conventions. Sometimes you find those one or two people you can chat with for hours. Sometimes, even with people you can talk with easily online, it’s just a puddle of awkward. Ah, life. 🙂

  16. Congratulations, Shannon! Blogging for four years is such an accomplishment, as is getting the place you’re at now, where you have a solid readership but are remembering that blogging isn’t a job and that reading is supposed to be fun. 🙂

    I’ve met some very awesome people from the bookish community (including my boyfriend), but I have even more I hope to meet one day.

  17. Happy bloganniversary! Also, happy birthday to your son. Time flies, right? 🙂 Although I’ve only found your blog a few months ago, it is one of my favourites. Your post always bright up my day – and put a smile on my face.


    And HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY. And tell Sammy that he’s a little squish squish. And I didn’t bother reading through this post because I already read your draft, so I’m assuming nothing is updated. I’m a horrible friend. I STILL LOVE YOU

  19. ooh, I’ve never met a blog person IRL. Wait, I take that back; I went to a writing retreat last year organized by a blogger I adore, but she’s not a book blogger. ANYWAY congratulations, and I count myself amongst your many fans. I’m only two years into this, and have been slumping badly lately on the blogging, but not on the reading. i think I am still working on figuring out the right balance, given that my main priority is to enjoy myself. I was going to say it’s my only priority, but connecting with other bookish people, sharing my enthusiasm, and developing my writing voice are all part of what drives me as well. I am GLAD you blog and that I found your blog, and I agree that I’m a bit bewildered about how one would start blogging and mom-ing the same week. Phew.

  20. Jana Leah

    Congrats on four years! I’ve enjoyed being exposed to so many different genres/authors/books thru blogs.

  21. HAPPY 4TH BLOGOVERSARY TO ONE OF MY FAVE BOOK BLOGGERS EVER!!! I love your posts and I really, really appreciate the sincere comments you leave on my blog. YOU’RE AWESOME! ALSO, happy birthday to your son!

    I was literally just thinking about how little time I have for reading tonight as I’ve been blogging for the past two hours. XD It’s so important that we remind ourselves that reading and blogging are fun HOBBIES that we mustn’t stress and pressurise ourselves over! Also WOW, how did blog so much every day?! That’s crazy impressive but I know if I tried to do that I’d definitely burn out! I’m happy that you’ve reached a place with your blog where you don’t pressurise yourself to blog if you don’t want to! <3 I've also taken that approach and it's much more relaxing.


  22. I just started following your blog and it is already one of my favorites. I started blogging very recently and your points, especially the first one, gives me hope that I can have a following too! Thanks for the post and HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY 🙂

  23. Happy 4 years of blogging! I completely agree with all your points. Even three years later I still find blogging to be hard work. Some days more than others but there is a whole heap of time which goes into blogging which no one ever realises. Sure, I’ve learned to cut back and remember it’s also fun but even with being more blog chill it’s still a time suck and I love it. I do find people still scare me when it comes to blogging but then I get all excited seeing familiar names stop on by and when you get a good conversation going it’s great. I do find I’m reading less lately and that’s kind of my blogs fault but also because the hours don’t seem to stretch as far as they used to but oh well, I read when I can and that’s ok with me.

  24. Isa

    Happy 4 years!! I definitely could relate to being burnt out, I think I lost interest and inspiration in book blogging but I really miss connecting with community. I have never been so exposed to so many readers or had the opportunity to talk about books with so many enthusiasts. Its incredible that you meet people, I wish there were book conventions and festivals where I live. Book blogs definitely helped me discover so many authors and books and it cultivated quite the reading addiction.

  25. Happy 4th blogoversary, Shannon! I am one of the witnesses on your passion about book blogging so you deserve all the cake and celebrations. Thank you for being the instigator of things that promote a healthy book community: Discussion Challenge, Shattering Stigma. Some of the things I’ve learned from hanging around the periphery of the book community: representation matters, your blog is yours so your own rules apply as long as you don’t step on people.

    I live in PH and we don’t have much book conventions here but I was able to meet a handful of fellow book bloggers already: Hazel @ Staybookish, Kate @ The Bookaholic Blurbs are just some.

  26. CONGRATS on four years, Shannon! I totally know what you mean about “burning out”- I’m currently there a bit myself right now to be completely honest. Blogging takes a lot of hard work, energy, and passion and it’s great that you’ve been able to keep it up for so long! I can’t wait to keep reading your blog in the years ahead!

  27. Item the first: CONGRATULAAAAAATIONS!!!
    I love your list. The funny thing? I’ve only been blogging for maybe a year and a little bit, but all these things are sort of surfacing in my own mind. I never did work 4-5h per day (what??? How?? What about life stuff?? O.o I’m so glad you stopped doing that to yourself :D) that said though… I do work a lot on my blog. But I think posting 4 times a week is my limit and I’m going to stay at 3-4, roughly. And I’m also thinking that I need to lower my Goodreads goals for next year. Because like you said, read what you like, right?

    BTW, how is your reading slump?

  28. binabug

    Thats a long time in the blog universe!! congrats, I’ve had a week off work and I’ve sped read thru too many books and now have to slow down LOL

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