Why did you start blogging? How has it changed (for) you?

June 21, 2015 Fun Questions 41

Fun Questions LogoJoin me as I ask a Fun Question that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

Why did you start blogging? How has it changed (for) you?

I’m asking this question for two reasons: (1) I’m always curious about how people got started blogging and (2) I’ve had a recent epiphany about why blogging has changed for me, and it stems from where I started. I think this epiphany came from reading over some tweets from a really cool twitter chat I missed today (well yesterday now) – it was #BookNerdBoost and the detials are here. It got me thinking about how I’d rather spend an hour (honestly it’s usually more like three) on the phone with a blogger in NJ I’ve never met in person than anyone else. When anything happens in my life, she’s the first FRIEND I think of to tell. And we’ve never met! It got me thinking about how I ended up here and why I’m struggling so much with keeping blogging the same as it’s been the past two years when I clearly still love the community so much (not to mention books!). And BAM! Epiphany!

So I started blogging on a whim. I had no real plan or even understanding of how book blogging works. I had a name, a desire to get free books (LOL yes, NetGalley was part of why I wanted to blog), but most importantly – a desperate need for escape. What I don’t think I fully understood until now, was that I was very depressed. Functionally depressed, if there’s such a thing. Kinda like a functioning alcoholic or drug addict. You can lie to yourself and say you aren’t because you don’t have the classic identifying marks. I did not sleep a lot, cry a lot, feel physical pain, a loss of desire for life – I did well in school, had a happy relationship, etc.

But that’s why I say I was functioning. Because looking back I realize I MADE MYSELF not be those things – and a lot of that was because of the books I escaped into. (Note: I am by no means suggesting that people can escape depression by sheer will power. I am not a doctor, but I do believe that if someone is feeling depressed they should seek medical help. I did see a therapist during this time, though I don’t think it clicked how unhappy I was until now.) But in July of 2013 I was looking for more. And looking back I think book blogging saved me from falling into a severe, debilitating depression.

See, in 2011 I had the best spring semester I think a girl who never dreamed of even going to college could ever hope to have. Starting in January, I began getting phone call after phone call and email after email notifying me that I had been accepted into grad programs. Not just any grad programs either – Northwestern, Rutgers, UT, USC, WashU to name a few. These were good programs. Of the 16 schools I applied to (yes, 16, because I was SURE no one would accept me) I got into 11! And every single one of them offered me a full ride – as in, they’d pay my tuition, give me health insurance and pay me a generous living stipend. For a girl who’d just spent 5 years working 2 jobs – 1 40 hours a week, the other 25-30 hours a week – while attending full time classes just to make it, this was a dream come true.

I spent that semester visiting universities, where they treated me like royalty. They wanted ME and we’re spending money to convince me to come to them. I also won a ton of all awards and a local news channel did a spolitlight on me. I graduated summa cum laude and my estranged family even came to the graduation.

I’m not telling you all this to brag, but to try to paint a picture of how amazing I felt. Life had really been making me fight up til that point. And finally it was MY TURN. Finally life was going to be good to me.

Then I went to grad school. I probably chose my grad school poorly – I had a lot of choices and was overwhelmed. I chose the one that offered me the most money, was closest to home, and SOUNDED best. Needless to say, it wasn’t my turn after all.

My boyfriend and I moved 600+ miles away – thank goodness he came with me, he’s been my safe place all these years – and more than a week before my semester started the work came flooding in. Everyone had told me grad school was hard, so I just buckled down and got to work. I went to my first class so prepared. I’d read so hard. And then I felt so lost, Elle from Legally Blond had nothing on me, I was so clueless. I got home and cried my eyes out.

I’m not a quitter though, so I kept trying. I’m finishing up this August (assuming they give me my masters, that’s still uncertain, honestly) after 4 years with a 3.92 GPA. Sounds like I did well, but not emotionally. In the three years I lived there (I’ve been finishing up from back home – though I’ve been done since before this year started. This year has been the fight for the master’s degree year…) I made ONE friend. ONE. And we weren’t close. Hung out maybe 5 times in the entire time I lived there. I have never been SO ALONE in my life. Never felt like everything I AM was so wrong in all my life. And while I’m only talking about school – school was everything. I’d moved away from friends, jobs, and famly to go here. The only piece of that I had was my boyfriend who came with me and supported me through it all.

I think my blog saved me. I started it, like I said, on a whim. It was summer – for a grad student that’s not technically summer vacation, but I had more down time. And I used EVERY ounce of down time on my blog. I woke up super early excited to read comments and reply back. I stayed up super late writing posts and visiting blogs. At a time where I felt SO ALONE and like something was essentially wrong with who I AM, y’all became my friends and saved me. I gradually wasn’t so sad all the time. And eventually, I stopped caring what the pretentious snobs I associated with thought of me. I even let them see what I was reading and didn’t care that I overheard them talking about how uneducated my reading tastes were. Because y’all got me. I wasn’t alone and didn’t need their approval anymore.

This year I finally made the decision to leave that world fully. Instead of getting the PhD I was accepted for, I let them know I was unhappy and didn’t want to continue. “You have what it takes” and “you’d be such a great professor” they told me. I told them, “I know I can do it, I just also know I don’t want to.” I think I found the strength to say that, to be okay with that, here too.

I enrolled in an alternative teaching program and got hired as a 5th grade teacher almost immediately. I start in the fall and I’m so excited. I also started writing and even had a short story published. Hell, thanks to the blogging communty I’ve gotten the motivation to get fit, run several 5ks and lost a ton of weight (still have a ton to loose, but who’s counting?) I’m finally comfortable being me and going after what I want in life!

The surprising, somewhat negative consequence? My blog doesn’t have the same role as it once did. I don’t need it to save me like I used to. And I finally understand my blogging slump. I’m figuring out what my blogging life looks like when I’m not dependent on it. When I’M HAPPY.

Point is, I started blogging because – whether I knew it or not – I was depressed and heading someplace really dark. My blog – and more importantly the blogging community saved me. My BEST FRIENDS (I started to do a shout out and then realized I was so going to miss someone that way, so y’all know who you are!) are in the blogging community. I’m not going anywhere, this blog is way too important to me for that. But it’s changing, because I’m different. I’m not struggling. I’m not fighting. I’m happy. Thanks to all of you for helping me get here 🙂

So that’s my Saturday night epiphany. Care to weigh in? Why did you start blogging? How has it changed (for) you?

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

41 Responses to “Why did you start blogging? How has it changed (for) you?”

    • Berls

      🙂 Thanks Felicia! XOXO! It’s really great to realize that my life has come so far – and it’s kinda amazing that I owe so much to the blog!

  1. Stephanie

    What an ephiphany! I’m so glad the community was here for you!

    Lisa and I started Once Upon a Chapter because we had been furiously emailing back and forth and a lot of that had to do with books. I was at Cedar Point with my husband when the thought came to me. How much fun would it be to have a site that does the same thing?

    I actually didn’t realize there were a TON of other people with the same idea! My first few years of blogging were a little overwhelming to say the least! 🙂

    I hope you find a balance for your blog in the happier place your life is now.

    • Berls

      I’m very thankful!

      It’s too funny that you thought you were doing something different and there’s actually this whole community – but how great there is, right? I totally understand what you mean by overwhelming!

      Thanks – I think I’m finding that place, it’s a bit more laid back but still tons of fun 🙂

  2. Red Iza

    It’s a wonderful story, Berls, I’m so happy for you ! And you can be proud, because changing everything that was your goal in life, for which you sacrificed so much, to finally do what you truly wanted to do, that takes courage. Some people realize what their really want/need, but stick to their paths because even if it fnally makes them bitter, it’s also easier. So kudos !
    I started blogging because I started reading a different kind of books than I usually did – I mean romance. I used Goodreads but their shelves weren’t practical, so I started a blog, not really expecting to be followed or commented : how many blogs are there out there ! I mostly wanted to keep track of what I read. Blogging is not my issue, I enjoy it very much and I’m so glad I met so many fellow bloggers ! Reading to lose myself in it and forget harsh realities *is* my issue. This is why I decided, from august on, to blog one week, not blog the next. It will force me to face my problems and finally solve them. And I’m glad I took that decision 🙂
    Red Iza recently posted…Review / Tessa Bailey : Risking it allMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks so much Red 🙂 I don’t think I could ever stagnate like that – if I’m unhappy I have to do something about it. I’m not one to just accept things as they are.

      I know what you mean about not expecting anyone to really come to the blog – I figured I’d be lucky if my family came by regularly. But then all of a sudden I belonged to this amazing community. It really is so great and I feel so blessed to be part of it.

      I go through phases – sometimes I just want to read, other times I just want to blog lol! So I understand the struggle 😉

  3. Suzi Q, The Book Dame

    This is such a great uplifting post. It is not what the community did to make you better, it is what the book community did to make you see how awesome you are. Sometimes we have to expand our world to find our niche, and it is awesome that you built upon that and felt confident enough to go out and get the teaching job. I hope that it is everything that you are hoping it will be. Congratulations.
    I started blogging without knowing a lot about it after being encouraged by a friend in the publishing industry. I had no idea that the community was so big at the time. I started of star struck and like many, took on too much.
    I now blog with my own style without any thought to whether it will appeal to others and I write my reviews for myself, but with the hopes of connecting with others who have a genuine interest in my style. As much as I enjoy talking about books, I have a solid understanding that I am not doing anything that will drastically change the world. It is a hobby and it is a load of fun. I do what I can to keep it enjoyable.
    Suzi Q, The Book Dame recently posted…Should Have Been a Short Film: The Insect Farm by Stuart PrebbleMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Suzi, that’s so sweet of you to say 🙂 I agree – sometimes are niche just isn’t as easily accessible – thank goodness for the internet right? I wonder if I would have found so many book lovers without it?

      I think that’s a common story Suzi – I know I took on too much when I first started too. In my first month I easily had 50 posts – because I was just over doing it! I love that I’ve found my own style and place and just love to meet others who get me. YOu’re very right – we’re not doing anything that’s going to drastically change the world, so why stress over it. Let’s just have fun and meet great people!

  4. Jen Twimom

    Great post!! I love everyone’s stories. Like you, I started on a whim because “everyone else (on twitter) was doing it.” I created the blog just to chat about “stuff,” and it wasn’t going to be a book review site. But then after posting some “thoughts” about a book I read, I received a ton of positive feedback on my “review.” So I started actively pursuing books to review (Netgalley, publishers, even authors), and created a book review site. I added additional reviewers and worked to grow my blog. But then it turned into a job, and I was disappointed with my “numbers.” Then I stepped back and remembered that I love to read, and reading should be the focus of my blog – so I took a lot of pressure off myself to get back to reading and sharing my joy of books. I don’t care about “numbers” and blog for myself. Of course, I added the fitness aspect last year and audiobooks this year – all because I love it. Most of all, I enjoy the friends I’ve made!
    Jen Twimom recently posted…Review: Misery’s Way by J.C. DanielsMy Profile

    • Berls

      It’s funny that you mention numbers because shortly after I first started I went through an obsession with numbers – I was constantly tracking how many people viewed the site, how many subscribers I had, etc. Now, I have no clue. I’m not exactly sure when I stopped paying attention, but I know that I belong to a great community and I don’t care if my numbers are “Good” or not. I just know I’m happy with where my blog is at 🙂 The friends are really what it’s all about – I totally agree on that point!

  5. Terri M., the Director

    Amazing post! It’s wonderful how our hobbies can save our sanity. I took up photography because I needed something to fill my hours when my husband was working 2nd and 3rd shift. I took up horseback riding because of something my father said to me and my deep childhood desire to own a horse. Horseback riding is still a sanity point for me. When I get stressed at work, I just want to be at the Barn on my horse focused on riding.

    As for blogging, I got started because I met all these wonderful local indie authors who weren’t getting press. So I wanted to scream about them from the Internet rafters. It’s been so much fun getting to know them. I never thought they would be reaching out to me and offering ARCs and special exclusive posts. It’s amazing and I’ve started bragging to my family. 🙂 It’s all going to my head!!

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…In the Spotlight: Emerald O’Brien, author of Lies Come TrueMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Terri! I agree – I never would have thought of a hobby as a life line, but I guess it is for a lot of people, not just me! I love your photography, it’s neat to learn that they also started as a way to maintain sanity.

      How cool that you met authors before blogging – I don’t think I’ve heard of many people doing it in that order. For me it’s very much the reverse, blogging opened me up to the world of authors. It’s such a treat to be part of this world – however we joined it!

  6. Lexxie

    *BIG HUGS* Berls! I’m very happy you started blogging, even if it’s a little sad that you were in a bad place when you did. I’m so glad I found you and your blog, and even more so that we were able to meet in Dallas in May! I agree, I speak more to some of my favorite blogger friends each week than I do with other friends whom I know in real life. I think one of the reasons is because you’re all as obsessed with books, reading and hanging out chatting about that as I am. But also, my closest blogger friends dare to be REAL! Just like you have been in this post. And I love you <3

    I'm so happy you turned down the opportunity to get your PhD, since that's not what would make you happy. Now, you'll be a teacher anyway, but you may very well be able to have a bigger impact on your students lives because they are younger. And I'm sure you'll be an amazing teacher. Your sunny disposition, great personality, and the fact that you'll actually like and respect your students will make them all love you as well.

    I'm sure you'll be able to figure out the new direction you'll take your blog in. I think it's normal after a while to ask ourselves if we want our blog to continue the same way, or if there are things we would rather tweak a little (or a lot) to continue to challenge ourselves 🙂

    Have a fantastic week ahead, my dear! *HUGS*
    Lexxie recently posted…The Sunday Post #36My Profile

    • Berls

      <3 Thanks Lexxie! I'm so glad I got to meet you in May - I can't believe it's already been a month since then :(

      When I finally decided that I wasn't going to do the PhD it was this incredible wieght lifted. And now that I know I'll be teaching in the Fall, everything just feels like it's falling into place. FINALLY! Even my blog is starting to find it's new rhythm. it's a lot less structured, but still me :)

      HUGS!!! Hope you're having a great week!

  7. A Voracious Reader

    Wow! I never knew! I’m so glad we could all be here for you when you needed us most. I’m happy that you’re happy and most of all I’m happy that you figured out what was causing your slump. Now you can change things around to suit who you are now. We all change, that’s part of life. The hard part is sometimes those changes are just so damn hard to figure out. In other words, even changes can be asshats sometimes. hehehe

    Back in 2011, I started blogging as a way to share my reviews. When my computer died this year that started a cascade that lead to the slump of Holy Slumps. I think it was grief over my lost info combined with too many books to read and the discovery of Buffy (and Spike, sweet bejeezus, Spike *fans self*). I’m slowly coming out of my slump, but I’ve decided to take it easy. I’m not pressuring myself to get a post up every day. I am trying to get reviews written in a more timely manner so I’m not so stressed over them, but other than that, I’m just going with the flow. 🙂
    A Voracious Reader recently posted…The Sunday Post ~ 98th EditionMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Carol – I didn’t fully know either 😉 I’m really finding my new blogging rhythm and it’s definitely different than it used to be. Change can be such a bitch though- even if it’s postive!

      Having too many books to read can be realy overwhelming and suck out the joy actually. I try really hard not to overcommit myself anymore. Like you, I’m also not really worrying about whether I havea post every day or not. I have a post when I have a post. I actually have tons of reviews to get up, but I’m putting them up based on when I feel I can be around, which isn’t always a lot anymore.

  8. Julie

    Girl you have definitely struggled with getting your education and I hope the rest of the road to that masters isn’t as much a fight as you’ve been having and you get your turn at a simple happy life finally!!
    I think I also started blogging as a way to escape and do something enjoyable that I had control over. The book blog I started with a friend right when hubby went on a deployment, so the book blog helped keep me entertained and my mind off being alone. Plus, it helped build some great friendships. Now that things are busy with life at home (with baby) the blog is definitely taking a different turn and it isn’t an escape as it is a way to connect with others virtually since I don’t go out as often as I used to.
    Julie recently posted…Chat Between Chapters: Books that ruined you for other booksMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Julie 🙂 It’s been quite the road, but I feel positive about where things are headed!

      I love hearing how situations in people’s’ lives brought them to the blog and then new life situations have changed its role. I hadn’t thought about how the blog might be a great way to connect when leaving the house is more challenging with baby.

  9. Lanie

    First off,congratulations on your personal achievements and fighting your way out of depression. I think it’s awesome and the fact blogging gave you that outlet you needed is wonderful. Glad to hear you’re feeling better and that because of that your changing how things will function for you including your blog!

    I’m a new blogger, only been doing this for a few months but I have fun doing it. Its a great way to interact with other like minded women that like a lot of the same stuff I do. Like Lola, I started off on GR and loved it, it actually prompted me to become a regular beta reader, reviewer and occasional editor for a few different authors. Life happened it kinda pushed me into creating a blog. I wanted a space where I could interact with my friends and it feel personal without be inclusive, ya know? I sometimes feel like a lot of websites are very clickish and I didnt want that. So far though, I love blogging and love the ladies I get to chat with on a regular basis. Blogging has definitely helped with my health as well and prompted me to be even more social:)!
    Lanie recently posted…Review: Netherworld (The Chronicles of Koa #1) by K.N. LeeMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Lanie 🙂 The blogging community is absolutley amazing and I’m so glad to be part of it! I think I’m finally figuring out my new blogging mentality, which is a plus too!

      Goodreads seems to be the way a lot of people started blogging – I didn’t actually start using goodreads until AFTER blogging. I did use shelfari though and that’s how I found the book blogging world. I do love that in the blog world you get to be a bit more personal than in goodreads/shelfari groups. It’s surprising the way blogging bleeds over into our RL and impacts things like health! Welcome to the blogging world BTW – I thought you were just a new discovery of mine, not a new blogger LOL!

  10. Ramona

    Oh, Berls…! That sounds terrible and surreal, because I can’t imagine anyone interacting with you for two minutes and not reacting to your cleverness and warmth… All I can say, that must have been one stupid school, populated by blind people. Don’t waste one more moment looking back, ducks – it’s SO their loss, not yours. Never yours! I can’t wait for you to start your new job, because I’m sure you’ll be amazing 🙂
    I love that you’re so self-aware. And that you ask questions and can be so honest. Hugs xx
    I started blogging as a way to connect with other people who love books as much as I do. Yeah, I know, my reason is flimsy, but I was finding it hard to stay on top of all the new developments in book world. Now I feel I have a much firmer grasp on things. Plus, I made some really awesome friends! <3
    Ramona recently posted…Lack Of Diversity In Children’s BooksMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks that’s really sweet of you to say 🙂 The school was the wrong fit for me across the board, but I was blind to that when I visited. Oh well, no point dwelling on what you should have known – hind sight is 20/20 as they say. I think that the amount of gossip and negative talk about others made me never feel comfortable showing who I really was – so they never got a chance to know me – well not until I realized I had no interest in knowing them.

      I’m so excited to start the new job – I’m nervous though, too :/

      I think starting blogging because you want to connect to ther book lovers makes perfect sense! And making friends is such a great bonus 🙂

  11. Angie F.

    Wow. I’m so glad you figured out your slump and that it’s actually something positive! I mean, I know it came from a hard place, but being happy now is amazing! *huggle*

    I think your story is probably quite common. Not the details of course, but I’m sure a lot of us got super into blogging because it was an escape or because we were lonely. I know that’s a big part of why I started. I would probably be completely isolated if it weren’t for this community.

    I hope that since you’ve figured it all out, you can find where your blog fits into your life now! 😀
    Angie F. recently posted…Sunday Post #187: It keeps going and going and…My Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Angie! I think you’re right – I think that while the specifics are probably pretty different the essentials are probably very similar. Book nerds aren’t the majority in our world and we tend to be the shy sort, so real life interactions are less likely to happen for us.

      I do think I’m coming out of my slump too. I just think I needed this epiphany to realize that blogging is just different for me now. I still love it and the community, so it’s still important. I just can’t try to make it the same as it used to be. Now that I get why, I think it’ll be easier to move forward. Understanding why is so important in my brain :p

  12. Katherine

    What an amazing story! You seem to have such a good grip on who you are as a person and what you want to do. My story is nothing so dramatic. I wanted an outlet and thought it would be fun to review books because I’d always been a reader and then fell in love with the bookish community.
    Katherine recently posted…This Week in Reading – June 21My Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Katherine! LOL I’m glad you’re story isn’t so dramatic 🙂 The bookish community really is wonderful, I’m so glad to be part of it. I think that it’s changed the way I read books for the bettter too – not to mention introducing me to so many books I never would have found otherwise.

  13. Lola

    This is such an interesting and heartfelt post and I think it makes sense you are in a blogging slump now as when you started blogging when you needed it and now that you are happy blogging has a different role and you have to try and figure out how blogging fits in your live now. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I think I went through a depression as well a few years ago, twice even, once during the end of high school and once during the end of uni. And I can say that depression is the worst, you can still function, but inside be miserable. And every day it’s hard and it’s all you can do to get through each day. I never got it diagnosed, but I studied pyshcology in uni and knew the symptoms.

    I started blogging to have a place to talk about books. First I joined goodreads and it was just amazing to find a site filled with peopel who also loved book. I never have had a lot of close friends, I often had one friend and nowadays I have my boyfriend who understand me. But beside that I didn’t have any close friend to talk with and I still don’t, but I am okay with that. My blog gives me the opportunity to talk with other bloggers. I started as a co-blogger on another blog, learned how it all worked and then we went our seperate ways as it kept feeling like her blog. So I started my own blog and since summer last year I became even more active in the community, I started posting mroe regulary, started interacting and commenting more and I still love blogging. It gives me a place to talk about books and everything else I want. Writing helps get the thoughts out my head and I feel like I need to write a review to properly finish reading a book.

    So my reaosn for blogging didn’t change and it still means the same to me, maybe even more now that I am more involved in the community. Which is probably part of the reason I never got into a blogging slump. And now I am wondering if other people also get into blogging slumps because their reasons for blogging changed or went away.

    Great post Berls! And I think it’s great you feel happy now, even though that means you are in a blogging slump. It’s so important to be happy and enjoy your life and I hope you’ll figure out how to blog now you are happy as well.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #131My Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Lola! I kind of just let it all spill out 🙂 I do think I’m coming out of my slump, I’ve been blogging pretty consistently this month – though I take a random day off here and there and I’m not scheduled like I used to be. I just was really struggling to understand why blogging had changed so much for me and I finally get it.

      I’m the sort of person who tends to have a lot of acquaintences – and maybe they think of me as friends, but I don’t feel like I can be myself around them so I don’t feel that way back. I put out this very bubbly, happy demeanor (even when depressed) so I get along with people. That can be so isolating, to be surrounded by people but have no one you feel you can be yourself with. So I know what you mean about being okay with not having lots of friends, I’d rather have all of you who know ME than tons of friends that don’t.

      That’s so cool that you were co-blogger before, I had no idea! It’s funny you say that about needing to write reviews- I’m the same way now. Writing reviews makes my enjoyment of them so much fuller – while I read them I’m appreciating them more because I’m sort of writing the review in my head as I read. And then the process of sharing those thoughts and talking to others makes reading so much better than it is when you’re doing it so alone.

      I know, I’m wondering if the reason I fell into a slump is the same for others. I know that blogging is such a huge part of my life and it’s something I can’t imagine ever stopping. The community means WAY too much too me. I think it’s found it’s new place in my life too – I just had to fully understand it 🙂

  14. Michelle

    That girl in NJ sounds awesome 😉 She must be a talker to keep you on the phone for 3 or 5 hours!

    When my BFF passed away 11 years ago I always felt I lost that one person who really understood me and pushed me to be a better person. After she died I was alone with being me. My husband understands me but doesn’t like the same things I do and then I had my kids (God I LOVE them so much they are a huge part of me), Ryan was a handful and I seemed to spend so much time trying to get him better I sort of lost myself and realized how ALONE I really was. No matter how hard I tried I could never just be myself because no one liked anything I liked, I was never popular and I didn’t have a lot of friends. So when I started reading again it was by chance that someone asked me to review a book. I was so excited and realized it was my escape so on a whim I started a blog. I finally found people I could be myself with and people who understood me. I found the most amazing person in Texas that gets me my like BFF did. Someone I might have never meet in person but someone I feel like I have known forever. The community has given me better friends than I have in Real life and I am totally ok with that. I love doing this and I have gone through my slump in the beginning of this year but that was more family issues than anything else. I think blogging helped me finally be the person I was meant to be…myself 🙂

    This is a great post my friend! Love you lots! oxoxoxo Thanks for always being there for me and being one of the Best, Best friends I have ever had (and never meet, Lol) and I will always be here for you! One day we will meet, I promise you that 🙂 *HUGS*
    Michelle recently posted…Happy Father’s Day! ~WIR & TSPMy Profile

    • Berls

      Oh she is! Sometimes my phone gives up and just hangs up on her 😉 Hers does it to me too!

      I think that there are lots of different kinds of book bloggers out there – but from the comments here and just some general observations – I’m starting to really think that a lot of us are here because we needed someplace to go to (1) get away from things in our life a bit and (2) find people who really truly GET us. For me what’s always been hard is that I do well in social situations. I don’t have awkward moments in conversations because I’m good at acting like other people. It wasn’t until going to Grad School that I realized that didn’t actually make me happy or real friends. I think that was the first time in my life the people I was trying to be like were people I didn’t want to be anything like and that I really didn’t know how to be like. So I think I’ve been alone a lot longer than grad school, but that was the first time I couldn’t even pretend I had friends, if that makes sense?

      Anyway – Love you bunches, I think our friendship and this little COYER community we built together has been so important for me actually being a happy person. We will meet – I might even get on an airplane if I have to! *gasp* XOXO

  15. Stormi

    I have always been a reader, but nobody I know are really into books like me. I live in a book world others might read one here or there and they sure don’t blabber on about them..lol. I seen a few book blogs and thought that is something I should do so I can chat about books to people who understand that love for books. 🙂

    It wasn’t always Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! First it started out as just a blog about writing things..called Write Thoughts..yeah that didn’t last long..then it was Mystery, Suspense and something can’t remember…lol..and then it became Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! and it was on blogger..then I switched to Word Press a few years ago..and that is that..lol. 🙂
    Stormi recently posted…The Week In ReviewMy Profile

    • Berls

      Oh that’s cool – I didn’t realize there were other book blogs before Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! I know what you mean about living in a book world – I’ve always loved to read. Though, I definitely read less before book blogging. I think that for me, the social aspect of reading made it so much more complete. As much as I love getting lost in books, I love them more because now I can talk about them and people GET my excitement. They understand the book sniffing and other weird quirks. It’s realy great to have finally found my community!

  16. Melanie Simmons

    I know exactly what you mean about how doing something can help prevent you from falling into a deep depression. I went through the same thing when I first started volunteering at the zoo. I was going through a hard time and then I started spending time with those great animals and telling people about them. Made me feel me so much better.

    I started blogging after Loupe asked me to guest review on Hot Listens and it just grew from there. I love it so much. I’ve made so many friends. Some I’ve met recently at book cons, others I haven’t met in person, but still feel like I great friends with them.

    Great post Berls
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…2015 Audiobook Challenge Second Quarter Update – Giveaway!!My Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Melanie 🙂 It’s funny, because I don’t think the therapist I saw ever recommended I find something that made me happy to alleviate the stress and saddness of grad school. But it makes a lot of sense that if you’re unhappy, even if you need some SERIOUS help, finding an activity that brings you joy would help, right? I think volunteering at a zoo would be so cool! How close did you get to the animals though? I’d probably be scared, though you’re like an animal whisperer in comparison to me 😉

      How did you and Loupe cross paths? Y’all met for the first time at RT right? I know exactly what you mean though – I consider y’all, my bloggng friends, some of my closest friends even though I’ve only met a handful of you in person.

      • Melanie Simmons

        I do get to handle a few animals. The first few years I handled snakes for people to come up and touch them. I now work with helping to feed the giraffes. I’ve also handled small alligators, turtles and armadillos. Mostly I stand in front of the animal exhibits and talk to people about the animals and their plight in the wild.

        I think I met Loupe because I followed and commented Hot Listens. If I remember correctly, there was a Twitter conversation about an Anita Blake book that really got us talking. One thing led to another, and I’ve been reviewing at Hot Listens ever since. Yes, we met in person for the first time in Dallas this year. She is so sweet. I had such a great time meeting other bloggers.
        Melanie Simmons recently posted…NEW ADULT AUDIO QUIZ! Time to play for a chance at a free year of #Audiobooks #JIAM #AudiobookMonthMy Profile

        • Berls

          Wow, you’re brave! I could never handle snakes, I’m terrified of them. I love animals, but most of them I prefer to observe from a distance! That’s too cool about you and Loupe!

  17. Trish

    I can identify with so much in this. I too started blogging at a very low point in my life and I was using books and blogging to avoid thinking about an issue that was causing me a lot of pain. Now I’ve obviously had to deal with the issue in the meantime but blogging gave me a much needed distraction from my raw feelings. And not just a distraction but it became something positive in my life, it really was a little life raft for me.
    I hope you can continue to make blogging work for you and that it will be there for you in good times and in bad times. Great post, I love your honesty 🙂
    Trish recently posted…The Sunday Post : Get your Bookish News #70My Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Trish 🙂 Blogging can be such a great distraction because it’s so filled with great people and positive experiences, it just lets you forget for a while that you’re feeling a lot of pain. I know I carried my blog with me all day for a good part of the last couple years and it’s what kept a smile on my face. I think having something so positive makes dealing with the issues more manageable because those negative things can consume you if you let them. You have to be able to set them aside sometimes.

      I’m sure I’ll make blogging work for me, I’m already pulling out of my slump 🙂 I was just trying to figure out why it was so different, why I couldn’t seem to have it be the same thing it used to be and I finally get it. I don’t always accept change well – it really helps to understand it. So I’m not going anywhere 😉

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