On May 18, I made my first Bookstagram post. Last week, I forgot to celebrate my three months on that account. Today, I’m going to pretend there’s some kind of philosphical reason to this post when really, I just want to talk about how the past three months have been.
When I started the account, it was because I wanted a place where I felt like I could post consistently about books and writing without “annoying” people on my personal account. Sure, they were supportive of my posts up until then, but it wasn’t the same as having a space dedicated to my love of reading.
The decision to start a second account had been harder than I imagined. In a previous post, I talked a little about how I had tried having a second account back in January. That attempt was half-hearted and it didn’t work very well, so I was hesitant about trying it again. But armed with new photos and forcing a more positive attitude, I restarted my Bookstagram and told myself to just have fun.
This new attitude helped a lot as I hit “Post” on my first Bookstagram photo. A mini introduction to myself and my account kickstarted the three month journey I’ve been on. I’m still so glad I made myself restart this account and upload that first image because it’s been one of the few constants in my life over the past three months.
I think it also helped that I decided on a theme that felt more like me before I started posting. Previously, I had tried a brighter theme with lots of wood backgrounds. But while other Bookstagrammers can easily pull it off, I needed something that mixed comfort with a moodier tone.
My first post is still the most liked photo on my feed, but I needed to remember that the numbers weren’t important. I was starting from scratch and learning how to take photos that felt like me. Even after several classes around photography and videography, I’ve never quite had the “eye” for what makes a good picture. It’s gotten better and you’ll see that in my pictures as this blog post continues, but I can never claim to be one of the Bookstagrammers with super cool angles.
Over time, I started to discover what photos did really well and what I was good at. Some standard shots are the ones of my holding books in front of my tapestry, as well as “Currently Reading” pictures of open books and a grey blanket. Slowly, I introduced pictures against my grey duvet, as well as plenty of shelfies (pictures of my shelves, with or without me in them). I’ve continued finding new ways to be creative with my photography and I try to mix up my feed with old and new photos. And throughout all of that, I have to consistently remember that it’s not about the numbers and that I’m still new to this. Three months in and I’m still considered a huge newbie in the Bookstagram community, but that’s okay.
I’ve found a great sense of routine in having my Bookstagram, which I’ve been incredibly grateful for. Starting the account after I graduated and while I was looking for a job and considering moving meant that few things were consistent or stable in my life. Bookstagram was always there and I had something to do every morning. Giving myself a posting schedule got me up in the morning to write captions or take photos if I didn’t have one ready. I would spend afternoons staging, taking, and editing photos to make sure I never ran out of content.
Planning my Bookstagram gave me something to look forward to each day and kept me productive. There are many evenings when I would put on a TV show, open up my Notes app, and plan a week or more of posts. It gave the planner in me something to do while I’m unemployed and job hunting. And in many ways, being on Bookstagram helps keep most anxiety away while I figure out what exactly I’m doing with my life.
Being part of the community has made a huge difference in my life. I’ve spent more time on this account than my personal account in recent months. These people are the community I’ve always wanted to have and they’re constantly introducing me to new books. In many ways, it’s a more manageable part of the book world than my attempt at a BookTube channel was. I get excited when someone I follow decides to follow me back. Some of my favorite Bookstagrammers have followed me and it’s made my day many times.
Lastly, I have been far more encouraged to try new things with my reading. I learned so much about important literature regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, none of which I would know if it weren’t for Bookstagram. I have lists of books from black authors in both fiction and non-fiction that I want to read now that I have a library card and will eventually want to purchase.
Using my local library and finding indie bookstores has also been a conscious decision since I moved to a new state. With a great library 5 minutes away, I’m looking forward to reading more borrowed books and supporting the local library system. I was so excited about applying for my virtual library card and already have several books on hold. Before Bookstagram, I wasn’t as interested in using the library system or finding indie bookstores, but the platform has shown me the importance and value of these places.
I’m glad I found this platform and decided to become part of it. Getting to freely share my love of books and writing has made my life happier and I’ve met so many amazing people through this space. It’s a space I know I want to continue being a part of for as long as I can, and hopefully, I’ll continue finding this level of joy in it.