Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Why Do We Blog? Values 101

why do we blog

As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics.

If you have missed previous posts, we are still talking about:


In today’s Chitter-Chatter series, I would like to chat about why we find blogging enjoyable. I will explore the topic of personal values to help us understand.

A lot of coaching starts with exploring our values. Coaches believe that it is important to know them as they represent our core beliefs. They are our base and define who we are.

It is important to keep in mind that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ values.  For example, if family is a strong value of mine and my friend’s value is career, I may think of some of her choices as strange as they may go against my own value. This is when we can potentially get into conflict with others as our values may be clashing.

Knowing our values is also helpful in terms of being able to understand why we feel certain way. Susan David in her book Emotional Agility talks about emotions, that we sometimes perceive as ‘negative’, as actually being valuable to us. Those emotions can give us useful insights about what’s important in our lives and what our values are.

For example, let’s say someone cuts me off in traffic and I get angry. Rather than beating myself up for reacting that way, I can just pause and tell myself: “of course, I’m angry, respect is a value of mine and I feel it’s just been breached by that ‘disrespectful’ behaviour”. Side note: it’s not a fact that the behaviour was disrespectful, it was my opinion, but it helped me understand why I felt the way I did. The next step would be then to examine why I saw that behaviour as disrespectful and if I would like to change my opinion or if I’m happy with keeping it as it is. There is nothing wrong with keeping it as it is by the way. We are all entitled to have opinions!

I believe we all deep down know our values, but we haven’t named them yet, so they may still be a bit unclear to us.

I find helpful asking myself questions such as ‘what do I love doing’, ‘when do I feel content’ or ‘what makes me angry’ and so on. And when I notice my emotions, I can dig deeper to find what values are possibly behind them.

How does that relate to blogging?

We have different reasons why we blog, mostly because our values are not identical.

For example, if my value is creativity, I will blog regardless if I have followers, likes, comments etc. Because the act of writing honours that value of creativity. However, if my value is recognition, my motives will be different and I will find promotion of my work important.

We normally have many values and how we perceive them can sometimes present an internal value conflict.

For example, if both creativity and recognition are my values, they may cause me an inner tension as creativity wants me to spend time creating and recognition wants me to spend time promoting my work. They may argue over my time. When I recognise I have these values, I can divide my time so they both get my attention and I feel aligned with them. I could say I’ll spend x amount of time this week writing and y amount of time promoting my work. Or I could also change the way I look at promoting my blog in general. If I know I love being creative, I can see marketing as a creative process and acknowledge that I am honouring both of these values at once. It’s important to notice and name our values as that may help us shift our perspective.

The reasons I enjoy blogging is that it honour these values of mine:

  • Creativity – it’s fundamental that I create. If I don’t write, I must take photos, garden, draw, read (it’s considered creative due to imagination we use whilst reading), sing, bake, cook, dance… I just need to make stuff. If I don’t, I get super grumpy.
  • Connection / Love / Generosity – I group these together as I see them as one. I want to connect. I love people and blogging has enabled me to meet some wonderful peeps. I guess I could be writing posts just for the sake of my creativity but without that connection, it would feel less satisfying.

For me, connection doesn’t necessary relate to my blog. I am happy to visit others’ blogs and connect that way. Via doing so, I am sort of removing an external condition that people must read my blog for me to connect with them. Please don’t feel you have to visit my blog if I ever comment at yours. I am honestly commenting because I love your post!

But equally, please don’t feel that I don’t appreciate if you do comment on my blog. It means a lot to me and I am thankful for all those sweet and kind people who have commented so far. I appreciate every one of you. 

  • Authenticity– it’s extremely important to me to stay true to myself and to my values. I am not everybody’s cup of tea and that’s absolutely fine. Dita Von Teese once famously said: “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches”. 😉 I want to write my opinions. And I am more than happy to have them challenged… but I won’t be writing reviews to please people nor will I read genre I have zero interest in to attract traffic.
  • Curiosity – I swear that one gets me more often into trouble that it actually serves me! My favourite word is why and I was one of those nightmare kids who would always ask questions and would never get satisfied with the ‘that’s the way it is’ answer. My poor parents had to constantly answer questions of: ‘why is the grass green’, ‘why is this man angry’, ‘why does this person need two seats’.. I wasn’t a mean child, I wanted to understand. And because I’m curious, I love analysing books. I want to get to know characters and understand their motives. When writing critical reviews, my curiosity is blissfully happy.
  • Growth – It sort of goes hand in hand with curiosity. I don’t feel I need to change but I still crave growing and evolving. If a book has a character that doesn’t grow, I lose interest. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to grow by the way, it’s just something that is personally important to me.

I also feel that I’m growing when I read positive reviews of books I personally didn’t enjoy reading that much.

Curiosity wants to know why these opinions are different, generosity enables me to keep an open mind and growth gets satisfied when I understand those different opinions. 🙂

These are not the only values of mine, but I find them fundamental when I’m blogging. When I’m honouring them, I am content and happy to carry on.  I am still figuring my values, please don’t feel bad if you don’t know yours yet. It is a process which doesn’t happen overnight.

If you know your values, your list may be very different to mine – and that’s ok! I appreciate how different we all are – it makes this world such an interesting place to live in.

Just before I wrap up, I want to tell you a story. A few years ago, I had an Instagram and Twitter accounts that related to rock climbing. I love taking photos and initially really enjoyed honouring this creative outlet of mine. My followers’ numbers grew, and I was getting more and more likes. And I’m not going to lie to you: it felt initially great. But then it somehow stopped feeling good and I started seeing it more as a chore. I thought long and hard about why my perspective shifted. I think my problem was that I wasn’t taking photos for me but rather for my audience. That started going against my value of authenticity. I also started neglecting connections as I was not fully present with others whilst thinking about what photo to take during my time with them. And it didn’t feel good. Once I started understanding my values, I also started understanding why I felt the way I did.

I’m sharing my experience not to preach my values. I’m sharing it as an example to demonstrate how knowing our values can help us understand ourselves better.

I believe that we feel good not because what our values are, but rather because we are aware of them and are aligned with them.


It’s time to chat.

  • Do you understand your values? (I’m still working mine out so don’t feel bad if you don’t, you are not alone!)
  • If you do, what values of yours relate to your blogging?

Please let me know in the comments below, I am dying to know… (that curiosity again…!)

PS. I am not judging anybody who has different values, please keep that in mind if you feel a bit scared or intimidated! 

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: How to Feel Better During Reading Slumps

CaféLatte (1)

As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics. If you have missed previous posts: we talked about To-Be-Read lists and how to manage them. In the previous episode we talked about Reading Challenges and how to feel comfortable at failing them.

For today’s Chitter-Chatter series, I have chosen a topic that is unfortunately well known within the bookish community; let’s talk reading slumps, shall we?

There have been many great articles written on reading slumps. Some of my favourite ones are:

  • Norrie @ Reading under the Blankie offers great tips on how to deal with such periods of time. I found some of her strategies useful.
  • The Orangutan Librarian talks about the joys of re-reading books and how that can help getting out of reading slumps. I can totally see her point and it is something I am planning on trying out shortly as well.
  • Krysta @ Pages Unbound talks about why reading slumps can actually be valuable to us, readers.  Her thoughts inspired me to write today’s post. Thanks Krysta for that!

What I want to talk about today is how to feel better during reading slumps.

I think these times could be troublesome to us, readers, as we may start feeling like we are failing at being readers. And that doesn’t feel good. Hopefully in today’s series, I can offer some tips on how to possibly change that.


As a life coach in training, I get told regularly how powerful words are. I suppose I don’t need to highlight it any further as my assumption is that readers of my blog love books therefore are in love with language and words. I could be wrong but I’m going with this theory. 🙂

Have you read a book that made you think a certain way and because of that you started feeling particular way? You may not even realise you were thinking something; you may just remember those awesome feelings you had afterwards.

The gift of books is to bring us thoughts than can make us feel certain way. Some books do it “cheaply” and go for obvious joyful or tear-jerking moments, some do it in a more subtle way but ultimately, all books make us think and therefore feel.

So how does that relate to those dreaded reading slumps?

In my opinion, how we name such periods of time is critical as that is what is forming our thoughts. If I say I’m in a reading slump, I honestly start feeling dreadful. Because I’m thinking I’m in a slump and therefore that I’m failing. All of that thinking is causing me to feel miserable.

As a self-confessed “recovering perfectionist”, I often make such statements about myself; shame again – it’s not my actions that are failing but me as a person who is failing. Because I’m thinking I am a reading failure, I also start producing thoughts causing apathy such as: “what’s the point anyway”… and as a consequence, I start feeling even less like doing something about it. And it all started with an innocent word slump that I made into a story, which then made me feel certain way.

We are all different and for you, that word may not spin into a story I told myself above. If that is the case, please carry on using it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But if you can somehow relate to what I have just written, here are some strategies you could try to stop feeling that way:


1)      You could not use that word slump. You could use something that makes you think differently about this phase and that will serve you.

I use ‘I read less than previous month’ or ‘I don’t read this month’ sentences. They are factual. However if I add judgement to them such as: ‘I read less than before and I’m failing’ it stops serving me.

So I’ve done what many coaches do, and have used a technique that softens an impact of a sentence and prevents me to add my own judgement to it. In this case, the sentence is: ‘I read less than previous month, and that’s OK’.

Can you feel the difference as soon as you read it? I certainly can.

2)      You can make the negative ‘I read less than before therefore I’m failing’ thought more neutral via: ‘I read less than previous month but there are certain days of a month when I am reading’.

Once that one is digested, you can take it even further ‘I read less than previous month but I read on a few evenings every week’.

You are basically trying to make yourself slowly feel like a reader again… that technique is moving your thought of the ‘I’m a failed reader’ to the ‘I am still a reader’ thought. All done in a believable way, which is based on facts rather than judgement.

3)      Or you could put a positive spin to it and add judgement that will make you feel better.

Side note: this is sometimes difficult to execute as you kind of have to believe it to get on board.

In this case, an example would be ‘I read less than previous month, and I finally have an opportunity to do other things I have been putting on hold’.

For some people, this strategy may be initially too radical and the first step to take maybe to try points 1) and 2) instead.


Disclaimer: I am a big fan of Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School podcast. It’s for everyone who is curious to see what a self-coaching may look like. Brooke offers many extremely valuable and free insights and I adore her no no-nonsense, let’s have a frank conversation approach. These tips above were inspired by some of her podcasts. If you find them useful, I suggest checking her podcast out as well as she talks about other topics that some may find interesting.

I firmly believe that the language I use in my head to describe my actions has immense power. If I start judging myself in a way that triggers feelings of shamehurtapathyfear… then I am not doing myself any favours and the likelihood of me getting out of a reading slump is smaller. Why? Because as terrible as this sounds, thoughts of this calibre can be quite indulgent. Brooke Castillo did an entire podcast on Indulgent Emotions and I’m telling you, they honestly can be that way once we give them enough room to roam free, I know that from my own experience.

Writing another believable narrative in my mind has helped me personally. I feel better that way. I enjoy those periods when I don’t read as I have trained my mind using all three of those points above. It’s still difficult sometimes as unwanted thoughts pop in now and again. But being aware of them and either privately journaling or talking to my loved ones are some of my coping strategies.

And then there is this lovely bookish community as well that has brought me so much joy already. All you wonderful like-minded book lovers that can provide useful insights and that generally ‘get’ it. Sometimes knowing it’s not just me but other people are going through that as well brings me a lot of comfort. So thanks so much for being there, I am grateful for that.


I use this as an opportunity to pass it over to you guys. Let’s chat.

  • What do you THINK of reading slumps?
  • How do you FEEL during those?

Fancy sharing that with me? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Thanks.

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Reading Challenges and the Art of Failing

 

 

Reading Challenge

As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics and which I started with a TBR list discussion. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here.

I’ve decided to talk about Reading Challenges as that’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately as well.


Early in January this year, I set my first reading challenge. I wanted to be pushed and to read a lot. I pledged 100 books in the GoodReads 2018 challenge. The main reason being that I somehow miscalculated the amount of weeks in a year. 😳 Side note: I have a Maths degree…

After I was reminded that 100 books is not 3-4 books a month…. I freaked out a little as reading a new book every three days or so seemed impossible. And I sort of felt I was signing up for a failure. Then I decided to tackle it head on and read and read.

I was on track until early March when my reading pace slowed down. April was even a slower month reading-wise and GoodReads now cheerily reminds me I am quite behind.

I thought for a second of changing those 100 books to something more ‘doable’… like halving them.. I reasoned with ‘nobody knows, nobody notices’. That thought of avoiding a potential reading failure brought me a sense of relief. Interesting, isn’t it?

And then I though: “hang on a second. Someone will know. I will know.” And I may use that in future against myself. I could be very crafty when needed.

So I took a deep breath and accepted that I am quite likely to fail. I may get close, I may not or I may even successfully complete it. What is the worst that will happen? Well, I won’t meet my own expectations, that’s all.

What’s interesting about us not meeting our expectations is usually what we make it mean. It’s the stories we spin, especially if we make them about us, not our efforts.

Have you ever beaten yourself up after a certain “failure“? Have you talked to yourself harshly and has it demotivated you? Have you played it safe for a bit afterwards? Been there, done that.. many times.

I just read an interesting article that we should aspire to fail daily. So we become “good at it” and are willing to grow even more as we are willing to get involved in uncertain, uncontrollable scenarios. I love control. As a “recovering perfectionist” I’m learning how to let go. And it’s sometimes tough as this particular challenge reminded me. I guess I can now appreciate the effort vs the outcome. And that’s progress. Even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it.

Do you have a reading challenge that is going breezily? How would you feel about doubling it?

You may say: come on, I won’t complete it then.

My answer? That’s exactly the point.

You don’t of course have to, especially if you are already being challenged with your current reading challenge as it is. I’m also not suggesting it so I am feeling better about my own challenge. It’s just a suggestion – what’s more interesting is to perhaps observe what thought popped in your head when I made that suggestion. That’s where the work usually starts..

I want us all to be comfortable with failing. I want to cheer each and every one of us when certain expectations of ours are not met. Let’s dare greatly and pick each other up when we fall.

Whatever you decide to do, I do wish you well in your challenge and sincerely hope you are having a very enjoyable reading year. 📚 💕


Chitter-Chatter Time

What do you think about Reading Challenges?

  • Do you have one?
  • If you do: how is it going?

And how do you feel about failing / not meeting your expectations about reading challenges or any other aspirations of yours?

Let me know in the comments below.