Book Blogging : How Has it Changed My Reading Habits?
The hardest part about writing a blog post, is to start.
It is not just for blogging, it also applies for writing in general – creative writing, in particular.
Whenever I start a blogpost, I usually have something witty or funny – your girl thinks so, at least – to start with. Today though, because of the extremely hot weather and the heatwave that has been going on strong for 2 days in a row, I think some of my brain cells must have been fried alongside the heat. Leaving me kind of lazy and creative-juice-less.
But me jabbering about the weather aside, it has roughly been about a year since I started blogging. It is interesting now, when I look back, how much blogging has changed me not only as a person, but also improved the quality of my writing.
It is truly incredible what blogging can do to a person. Whether it is mindset, confidence, way of thinking, or self-discipline. While that might be interesting to get into as well, it might be a tad bit too lengthy to squeeze it all into this post alone. It’s like a whole piece of cake, you can’t just go Tarzan mode – I mean you could, but … why? – and shove it all into your mouth. You have to cut it into tiny, more edible and presentable pieces.
Which is why, today, I decided to cut a small piece out of that cake and share with you how book blogging has changed my reading habits.
When I started this blog, I was actually in a quite nasty book slump. For a blog that is basically half about books, it is indeed quite ironic to say that at the time, I haven’t read a book for at least a year. Maybe even more.
Shocking, I know. Especially for someone who used to constantly have a book in her hand whenever she went. It was like day and night. It was as if, in the blink of an eye, I could not even stand the thought of cracking a book open to read.
Granted, for that period of time, a lot of things happened. I moved to a totally foreign country all by myself. Learned a new language. Made a lot of new friends. To summarize, for that one year time where I wasn’t reading, I was undergoing a lot of changes. Things were moving, and they were moving so extremely fast that I find myself having trouble catching up. There wasn’t enough time in my 24 hours to do everything I wanted to do. To explore every nook and every cranny of this new and exciting page of my life.
As time went on, and the “honeymoon phase” of moving to a new country is over however, reality started to seep in.
And I realized, for the first time in my entire life, I was alone. Worse, I was lonely, in a country without anyone who I can truly rely on. And for the first time in my life, I was genuinely, absolutely, terrified.
I remembered the days where I would lock myself in my room and cry. I remembered the nights where I had to curl into myself because I was sobbing so hard I couldn’t breathe. I remembered staring at my apartment walls with eyes filled with tears as I grabbed onto myself, wanting to tear my skin to shreds at the same time begging myself to hold it in and keep it together.
If I thought I have felt pain and misery before then, let me tell you now, I was wrong.
As much as I hated to admit it, thoughts – negative thoughts – started trickling into my brain. I started to wonder, was this depression? Was this anxiety? And it went on, and on, and on. For days, weeks, months, I had trouble sleeping. I would turn and toss, and would eventually gave up on sleep.
Countless of nights I would stay up all night and stared at the ceiling in the darkness. I wondered what went wrong. I should be happy. I was living the dream, I should be happy. Right?
On and on I tried to tell myself. Again and again I tried to console myself. Was it a battle against myself? Against the world? Who am I fighting, what am I fighting for? Why wasn’t I happy?
But I couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried to fix it, to sew myself back up together, all I felt was one thing, and one thing only.
Then one day, I went on Goodreads. For whatever reason that I couldn’t recall now, I decided to go on a site that I hadn’t visited for more than a year. I scroll through the site and look through books and reviews. I scrolled. I looked around. And one book caught my attention. I didn’t know what had gotten into me at the moment, but I didn’t think twice before I instinctively clicked the buy button.
Me, a girl who had been so frugal with her money ever since she stepped into this new foreign country. Me, who, from the moment she started living alone up until that second, had never spend a penny on anything recreational. But I clicked on the “buy” button as if that was the most natural thing in the world.
I wish I could describe to you what it felt like when I finally was able to hold the physical book in my hand. I supposed if you really needed an example, it was a comparable feeling to a drug addict injecting that shot of heroine into his veins. Or an alcoholic having that taste of beer after days of trying to fight the urge.
It was gratitude. It was relief. It was reunion.
It was like coming home.
When I saw the book in my hand and let my eyes roam through the pages, I could feel the knot in myself loosen. When I stared reading and let myself get lost inside the world of fantasy and imagination, I felt lighter than I had ever felt in a very, very long time.
A New Beginning
So I started reading more. And more. And more.
I started getting back into a habit of reading, eventually creating a blog so that I could push myself into reading even when I didn’t feel like it.
After all this time, I finally realized that reading is my way to unwind. It was my way to escape from the stress and hectic-ness that is everyday life and just disappear into a world of possibilities and imagination.
In a world filled with demons and pain and struggle, everyone has their choice of drug that kept them going.
Reading is my choice of drug.