I am an optimist at heart. I always look for the good in someone and something, no matter how small. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in such an abusive environment that even in the darkest moment there was hope, perhaps it’s because of my wonderful great-grandmother who nurtured and loved me, perhaps it’s because of the wonder and beauty I see in my children every day, or perhaps it’s because of the beauty and love I have seen through my Heavenly Father and my relationship with Him. Maybe, it’s a combination of it all.
To get to this silver lining that I want to share with you, I must first go to the dark side. The dark side of blogging. Below are links that you can read up on to be informed of what has happened.
These hashtags can lead you to some of the discussions that have happened on Twitter: #BlogHonest, #StopPlagiarism, #TruthTrain
The Ugly Side to Blogging:
1. Don’t be bullied into silence. If someone is private messaging you, emailing you, calling you out on social media to get a response, don’t respond. However, don’t stay silent on issues that are important to you. The issues are separate from the person. Issues teach us how to grow and learn from them, how to bridge support, and how to help one another. Talking about the “issue” doesn’t mean the person is being vilified. It means we are using the issue as a platform to grow.
2. At the end of the day, all you have is your word. If you can’t keep your word, then that is an issue and a person I choose not to be around. I want to be around those I can be myself with. I want people to be around me, who can also be themselves. Trust is highly important and I want to be able to trust your word, no matter how bad it may seem. If we can’t be transparent and authentic, especially behind closed doors, then our relationship is based on falsehoods, and I don’t want to invest my time in that. So, choose your inner circle wisely.
3. Everyone has an opinion. That is what I love about social media. That is what I love about America. That is what I love about Texas (because yes, all Texans believe Texas is a great country-it’s our joke). Will everyone agree? No. Will everyone disagree? No. People will have their opinions.
Truthfully, I don’t know how anyone can watch The Walking Dead. It’s creepy and gross. But, I’m in the minority…aside from being Latina and female, I know I am because so people love that show. My son loves it, watches it every week, and my bloggey friends post all about it. I still adore them and love reading their posts and know what they’re reading! You know what? I don’t try to force my infinite love for Housewives on my son or my bloggey friends. But- I do talk about it! Because I love those shows (minus Atlanta and Miami). Hopefully, they still love me even though they have no idea why I love to watch them!
Same goes with the issues of plagiarism and the person who did it. People have opinions that some will agree with and others wont. You know what? That is okay. My opinion: that person is not horrible, or a pariah. She doesn’t have to be exiled or banished from the blogging world or any world, for that matter. She is a wife and mom, who made a ridiculous mistake that has natural consequences. However, it brought up great points for us to discuss: when to say no, how to say no, how to ask for help, what it means to blog, and what we can do as a community to bridge this division that has been created.
While people may want the talk of “plagiarism” to go away, it won’t. It won’t because people need to process through what happened, especially when it happened to them or by someone they trusted. It’s a grieving process of sorts. It is not okay for someone in J’s camp to belittle, harass, or send private messages to ask what you implied, what you meant, and say they are “her protector”. We are grown adults, we can speak for ourselves. An apology was sent out, whether someone chooses to receive it or not, is up to each individual. However, it is not someone’s right or place to feel the need to check in with everyone and see where they stand. That is childish and brings up a whole other set of issues.
My Silver Linings:
1. I learned the importance of copyright: I spent a lot of hours on my blog posting copyright information, after being informed about what it actually means and how to protect my work from being plagiarized.
2. I have simplified my reviews: I don’t post a whole lot of descriptive information (unless it’s from a book tour), and I write about what I love about the book. I don’t write negative reviews. I don’t care to invest my time in writing about a book I didn’t enjoy. Why would I want to even finish a book I didn’t love? So, my blog will contain reviews on books that I want to share with others.
3. I am streamlining my presence on social media. I am still working on my accounts, but am limiting my social media accounts to FB, Twitter, and Bloglovin’. I will also still keep my FB page because that is where I like to share all the freebies Nook has to offer! It’s exhausting, overwhelming, and unnecessary to have accounts in every place…at least for me.
4. I have learned the value of “blocking”: Life is short. My time with blogging is limited. This is a hobby I enjoy and will continue. This means that I choose not to read the negativity or attacks on people, who have an opinion that is different from theirs. It’s okay not to agree with everyone, it’s okay to not necessarily enjoy everyone’s posts, and it’s okay to not follow everyone on social media. It is okay and the world will still go on. Surround yourself with those who value your worth, who inspire you, and who teach you….and yes, surround yourself with those who have a freakish, crazy habit of book hoarding, too!
My goal on social media is to promote great books and authors, whose work I love. The bonus to that is I have met some incredible bloggers and have enjoyed reading about their daily life, what’s on their bookshelves, and tours they have joined. I also like to share about my daily life and my crazy love for reality tv. So, I’ll still be tweeting, just not as much.
5. Back to Basics: Like any hobby or job, anything can be consuming if we allow it. Therefore, I plan to spend less time on social media and more time being involved with my family and friends, in person. This means not checking in on social media, while out to dinner with my family! I am at a place in my life where I am able to move around and exercise (no longer suffering from shoulder pain), and I need that for my own self-care. I can’t be a help to others if I am not taking care of myself.
6. My family comes first: When my hobby is overtaking my family time, it’s time to step back. These past couple of months have shown me the importance of that, as I’ve dealt with health issues and family friends who have health issues, too. I have spent too much time reading tweets and FB posts and not enough time doing the things I should be doing-like printing out our Hawaii vacation pics from 2010!!
7. It’s okay to say NO: Saying no doesn’t mean I don’t want to, it just means I can’t right now or in the near future. I really hate having to tell publishers, authors, and tour hosts- “no thank-you”. However, I have been doing more of that and feel more free to read what I can without the pressures of review dates. Due to my health issues last year, I had to cancel on book tours and realized that while I can “today”, things can change down the road. Thankfully, the tour hosts have always been quite understanding, very helpful, and immensely supportive.
8. Self-care: I mentioned that earlier- if I can’t take care of myself, I can’t be of help to others. This means making time to exercise, spending time with my Bible and having devotionals, volunteering more (because that brings me joy), and doing things I enjoy that doesn’t include a laptop or a book. Gasp! Yes-I just wrote that!! And, that’s hard because I always have book with me. However, it’s all about balance!
9. Forgiving others: It is so important to forgive others, even when they hurt you (intentionally or unintentionally). Life is too short. Anger and hate takes too much energy. I have forgiven J and even “her protectors” because they are human, they are doing or did what they thought was best at the time, and it gives me peace to move forward in my own life. I choose to enjoy the talks and moments I did have with them and realize that some friendships end, while others begin.
10. Being Helpful: When I first started blogging, it was because of my love for reading and talking books with others. I had just had my car accident and was unable to drive, was in constant pain, and limited in what I could do. Bloggers were my cyber friends, who talked about books and shared about their joy for reading. I learned so much from them, continue to, and I want to do the same. I want to help those who need my help, even if it’s just giving emotional support or prayer.
Our community of bloggers have one thing in common: we love books. Behind our computers, we are all people, who truly care about books, love to talk and share, and are compassionate people. That is my goal: to not lose my compassion and to always look for that silver lining.
My thanks to these awesome bloggers that started this conversation, so that we can all grow and learn as a community. If I left anyone out, it wasn’t intentional. Please add your link and I will add it to this post.