Maybe I'm alone in this, but I don't think I've ever given any real consideration to the question of why I blog. Do I blog because it's fun, like most bloggers? Honestly, probably not--especially lately, blogging has felt more like a chore than a hobby. (Not that it's never fun; I've just had a pretty lame six months!) Do I blog because I think I have valuable opinions to share? Not really; I'm no more interesting than anyone else and much less interesting than a lot of people, and my voice is perpetually lost in a sea of voices much more charismatic, outgoing, and appealing than mine. Do I blog because I enjoy making connections with other blogging? While I'd love to say yes, at this point I'm the book blogging equivalent of a hermit. Because while many people with IRL social anxiety issues find it much easier to come out of their shell online than in face-to-face interactions, my anxiety is just as bad in both scenarios.
So what the heck do I blog for?
Well, for one thing, writing book reviews helps me appreciate stories in a new way. I'm no longer simply a consumer on the lookout for my next favorite author, series, or novel. Now I spew collect my thoughts about any given book--wonderful or terrible, as the case may be--in review form. It helps me keep track of details from otherwise forgettable books, so I can refer back to that external memory if I find the need. It--along with cataloging sites like Goodreads and Leafmarks--helps me keep track of what I've read in the first place, as opposed to haphazard "I'm sure I'll remember" style I used to have, which inevitably led to the numerous books I'm still trying to track down with the almost nonexistent help of extremely hazy memories from ten to fifteen years ago.
Meanwhile, by forcing myself to put myself out there, so to speak, by blogging, reviewing, joining memes, and the like, I'm helping myself slowly overcome those aforementioned social anxiety issues. I've managed to create a space that is in some capacity my own; I'm in control here, which is something I would've have if my reviewing activities were limited, as they used to be, to Goodreads or a similar site. For someone who struggles with interpersonal interaction, that's extremely important. Having a blog is a nice balance between a personal bubble and speaking publicly. It's a stepping stone to more rational online confidence, if you will.
But mostly, of course, I blog because I want to. There are a lot of little perks here at there: it's a way to persuade myself to keep reading and writing, as otherwise I might fall off the wagon again, as I did in middle and high school. It's a doorway to meeting new people, and while that terrifies the part of me that's ruled by an overactive amygdala that feels "fight or flight" is an appropriate response to being within five feet of another person, the part of me that really wishes my adrenaline would calm the hell down is grateful for a way to positively interact with people who share my passions. And it's a great way to not only discover books, but to get them; while things like Goodreads recommendations and ARC reviews introduce me to new books I'm interested in, blogging opens the door to actually receiving ARCs via sites like Netgalley and Edelweiss. I love that, though sometimes it's clashed with my procrastination habits to become more of a curse than a blessing!
So in the end, I suppose I can't really come up with a single, end-all, be-all answer to why I keep doing this, and there are some days when I really want to forget the whole thing. But those reasons up there keep me going, and I guess it's all of those little things that add up into the great big "why" of the existence of Amara's Eden:
Why the hell not?