Reading for the Sake of Content // some honest thoughts from blogging over the years

Happy new year, again! Cue the yearly reading challenges, resolutions, and pledges to read more!

NY resolutions from january 1-30 🥳

Maybe not, though.

This year, we all seem to want the universe to please cut us a break. It appears that many people have taken the initiative to carve out some guilt-free, time for rest in the upcoming months, and for some avid readers, this means cutting down on how many books we’re aiming to read by 2022. 

Although I personally don’t plan on scaling back my reading this year—there’s only so much reading my “slow-reader” butt can cut down on before I’m not reading anything 😅—the idea of slowing down how much literature I’m consuming brings to mind a question I ask myself often: how much do I read for the sake of content for my blog and YouTube channel? 

a look back

this feeling that i’m reading for the sake of content is something i experience in waves.

I tend to share this often in discussion posts 😅, but:

Back when I started my book blog, I was motivated to write posts so that I could reflect more on what I was reading and interact with other readers. Writing book reviews and little musings was (and remains) challenging, yet doable, but I naturally didn’t have many people reading my posts at the beginning. The part of me that wanted to talk about the books I was reading with others, which had also branched off into a general longing for feedback on what I was writing, wasn’t fulfilled. 

I began to search for ways that I could reach more people and increase engagement with my posts. One of the ways I was able to do so was by posting consistently to raise the chances people would come across my blog. I found a good balance creating things that I enjoyed with what interested people in book reviews and discussions, especially discussions, but in order to regularly write those posts, I felt like I had to read more. 

Related: Eustea touched upon feeling the need to make your blog ~relevant~ in “Is Your Hobby for You or Your Blog/Instagram?” 🙂.

This inclination was intensified by (1) my ego and need to feel more like a well-read, “legitimate” book blogger, (2) the fact I had I got caught up with statistics, and (3) simply because I needed bases for posts.

For instance, book reviews. They seemed simple enough, but I couldn’t write one no matter what if I didn’t actually read a book 😅. 

“whaduheck. ☹️”

Meanwhile, many of my discussion posts, like why I enjoyed author’s notes and science fiction or the pros and cons of audiobooks, weren’t inspired by a specific book. Instead, I was able to pinpoint some general feelings I had on different bookish topics because I had noticed patterns about my reading habits and attitudes over the course of reading multiple books. 

Even with book tags, recommendations, and other kinds of posts I made less often, there was a certain number and rate of recently finished books that I felt like I needed to match to keep my content “fresh”. I didn’t want to keep yelling at people to read the same five books.

(— have you read Picture Us in the Light tho 👀? I will never not scream at people to read Picture Us in the Light 👀👀.)

After I started my YouTube channel, the feeling that I was reading for the sake of content only heightened. I found an immense comfort in making reading vlogs last year, but creating reading vlogs was like writing book reviews: I actually needed to read books to vlog about them.

In truth, most of the comfort I derived from making reading vlogs was purely because of I love editing videos so much. At times, I questioned my process of reading in order to make a vlog to fit the theme of my “booktube” channel when I wanted share and make other videos. But now we’ve ventured into unrelated and “sounds like a you problem” territory 😂.

Related: Should You Start A Booktube (Book YouTube) Channel? // why i finally made one and some pros and cons based on my first impressions

conclusions? solutions? takeaways?

I don’t know, dude 🤷🏻‍♀️. I’ve sat on this topic for so long because I don’t have any great or helpful insights 😅, but I wanted to share this post because I know this feeling may be relatable. There’s one side of me that thinks that I probably shouldn’t overthink this whole idea and be more chill in my approach to blogging and YouTube ☮️🌊🕊️, then there’s the side of me that thinks that I should push myself to read and do more because ~I can~ 💪💯💦. Plus, there’s nothing completely wrong with posts and reading vlogs motivating me to read, right?

(is this where i can blame conflicting messages in our capitalistic society 🤌🤌?)

I do want to read more intentionally (in specific ways that I won’t go into 😅), so I’m not just reading books to write and talk about them. Even though I do gain a sense of accomplishment by habitually reading and posting, I think what would make me feel more fulfilled is if I take my time to enjoy, learn from, and respect the works I read. Hopefully, reading intentionally will snowball into considered and thoughtful content that’s on par with what I consume.

all i know is that i want my content to be more of an effect of what i read, not the driving reason i read.

am i making sense LOL
Related: Marie from Drizzle and Hurricanes wrote a post about feeling obligated to read in “Do you still love to read?” (which I do, btw. I still love to read 😂). If you made a post that relates to this topic and you’re okay with me adding it here, let me know 🙂.

i made a casual video about this topic!

I repeat a lot of what it’s in this blog post, but I did talk a bit more about how “reading for the sake of content” affects me in terms of making videos on YouTube 🙂.

Thanks for reading this far!
What do you think? Do you ever feel like your reading for the sake of making content? Or maybe you feel a pressure to read for reasons you wish you weren’t? Let me know 🙂.

22 thoughts on “Reading for the Sake of Content // some honest thoughts from blogging over the years

  1. I think this is something we all struggle with! Are we reading this because it’s hyped? Are we reading this because we need something to say? Is reading for blog/youtube content the same as reading for a reading challenge?

    I have no answers either, just comiseration.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I understand this post so well. It makes sense – in order to talk about reading… you kind of have to read :’) This is actually the main reason I stopped blogging the first time around. I wasn’t reading enough to generate content and it felt like I was constantly recommending “the same five books” (literally, though).
    Sometimes, yeah, I catch myself reading for the sake of content, particularly when it comes to books I don’t make an instant emotional connection with. And of course, I don’t think that’s always necessarily a *bad* thing, as long as you’re reading for enjoyment or other reasons sometimes as well.
    Great post as always, Belle! Really well thought out and organised + funny and engaging 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sabrina 🙂! I’m glad you understand! And I’m also glad that you ended up coming back to blogging hahaha. There’s definitely a ton of great books I wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t to make something, so there’s for sure some *good* things about reading for content haha. Thank you again 😄!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was very interesting to read and got me thinking about myself and my own reading habbits and I have to say I was probably doing the same thing before last year. Making TBR lists to read the popular books at the moment so more people could come to the blog and talk about them but then I stopped and during last year I read what I felt like and you know what? I could really see the difference both in my reading and blogging habits. And I discovered that the people actually liking my posts and the same books stayed and engaged in my content. And that felt pretty great. I Loved that you brought this topic to the surface! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, and thank you for sharing your thoughts 😄! I’ve definitely tried making TBR lists partly with that intent too! It did feel great to get some engagement, although I’d beat myself up a bit when I couldn’t keep up with the TBRs hahahaha 😅. What made you change your reading habits, if you don’t mind me asking?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really didn´t like the way I did my reading, reading should always be for fun. So I went through all of my unread books and unhauled the ones I didn´t feel OMG I WANT TO READ IT NOW and guess what now I always feel like I have great reading infront of me 😀 And that feels so much better than before 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a wonderful discussion post! I’m feeling this right now especially – I’m in a huge slump and not in the mood to read but am constantly beating myself up because I’m not going to have any new content to get out. It’s a no-win situation! I think it’s easy to tell yourself “it’s a hobby, don’t take it so seriously” but sometimes our brains just don’t get the memo? Also the internet and social media has truly tortured us with the ability to see our stats because now we just obsess over them, even though we know we shouldn’t! sigh. Hearing your thoughts on this definitely makes me feel better about the topic though! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! And yes, exactly! I hope you can kick your slump soon, but also no pressure if you’re just not in the mood to read (I know that’s easier said than done hahaha 😅). Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Erin 💛!


  5. Oh thank you so much for sharing my post! This is such an interesting topic and I’ve been in that mindset before, where I feel like I “have” to read more and to do more in order to produce more content, too. I also sometimes feel like I have to read a certain kind of book to be relevant and, yes, to publish book reviews to be a legitimate book blogger. It’s a vicious circle, but in the end it just makes me feel like I’m supposed to be a robot and… does not make book blogging fun, at all. Also: can we talk about the fact that so many book bloggers now barely ever publish book reviews? SO… that puts the whole “reading more to write more book reviews” out the window here ahah.
    Anyway I’m ranting here, but I’m writing all of this to say: I understand and relate to this post a lot. I feel that way a lot, as well and… I’m trying my best to let go of this mindset and to read for me, what I genuinely want to read and enjoy and the content comes next, because… I need to keep on having fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s no problem! I always check your blog when I’m writing discussion-y type posts because I know you’ve probably already written something hahahah 😅.
      That’s a good point! I don’t see as many book reviews in my feed anymore, or if I do, they don’t seem to be as popular! Your rants are the best, and I’m glad you understand 🙂. “I need to keep on having fun” is something I feel big time, especially with everything going on 💛.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely think bloggers feel some pressure to read more to get content! However, as you say, discussion posts are very popular and I think we can expand our idea of reading to get ideas for those. Reading bookish news or other blogs, for example, might inspire a train of thought about a discussion post. No need to read a 400-page YA book! But I do think it is important, no matter what we read or how, to try to read mindfully, as you suggest. We want to enjoy blogging, not feel like it is a chore!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great point! Keeping up with book news and reading book blogs can inspire some thoughts! And there’s definitely other ways to get some ideas that don’t require expanding our idea of reading hahaha. Booktube (or youtube videos in general), tv shows, movies… really anything can be inspiration! Thanks for reading this and sharing your thoughts, Krysta 🙂!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love how you put down your thoughts. It’s so natural and I think that’s what you should go for when it comes to your content and your reading habits. Read what you want, when you want, forget about the blogging current and swim where you want, when you want! It’s when we try to do more than what we ever thought we’d do that that we suffer from this hobby. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really, REALLY loved this post and I actually hadn’t thought about it too deeply but my reading habits have definitely changed since being a blogger. There is an almost urgency to the reading, like I have to read so many book and I have to read this type or make sure I keep up with new releases which I don’t think I ever thought of before. I would say some of this is due to just knowing more about books as I’m consuming more content than I did before. But the content I’m making can make me feel like I always need new books to talk about so people don’t get bored. I think last year I certainly pushed reading more so I’m trying not to feel overwhelmed by my reading goal this year as I want to read more adult fantasy which takes me longer to read. It will be interesting to see how this affects my content as I might feel like I have less to say I guess. But I hope to make sure my enjoyment is a priority, haha !!
    This was a great read and it is quite complicated to think about because of the muddle of feelings in a way but you did it really well and gave me something to think about. Thank you for sharing !! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Urgency!! That’s what it is hahaha! That’s a great point – knowing more about books definitely factors into the feeling. It’s awesome that you’re going to read more of what you want to read! It’ll for sure be really interesting to see how it affect your content. There’s a few Adult Fantasy Series that I’ve put off too because they going take me longer to read 😅. Thank you so much, Sophie 🥺! I’m glad it was understandable hahaha and could give you something to think about 💓.

      Liked by 1 person

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