Guys, for the longest time, I was totally against getting an Instagram account and joining the Bookstagram community.
I have enough social media to contend with already, I said.
When will I even have enough time to take my own pictures anyway, I said.
But about 6 months ago I caved, and oh boy, I have been utterly enraptured since!!!
I check in on the app AT LEAST once a day to stare at all the pretty shiny things on there, and wow, looking at everyone’s accounts makes me feel so inspired.
Learning how to use, cope, and post on this site has actually felt like a real journey, which is kind of a weird thing to say about something that is essentially a social networking platform! However, I have a feeling a lot of you will:
a) empathise with my struggles
b) feel a little less alone by reading them or
c) find them highly amusing.
…and that’s why I’m bringing this post to you today! So without further ado, here are the 10 stages of being a newbie on Bookstagram from yours truly!
STAGE 1: Utter confusion
Um, how do I use this thing? What’s an Instagram story? What are tags? Why can I use a filter that gives me cat ears? Where do I find the books?!?!
STAGE 2: Discovering the joy and wonder of epic bookishness…
…and crying hysterically because omg the book beauty.
Books everywhere. Rainbow shelves. Bookish themed pictures. Book subscription boxes. Bookish themed candles and bookmarks!!!
MY BANK BALANCE CANNOT HANDLE THIS.
STAGE 3: Trying to take your first picture.
Okay, I got this. I love books. I can take pictures of them, right?
*3 hours later and realising that all your photos look god-awful and amateur.*
*Looking around helplessly for something that makes the picture more interesting.*
*Contorting yourself into the weirdest positions in the name of a ‘good angle’.*
STAGE 4: Using alllll the filters.
When you realise that you can drastically change the look of your amateur pictures by snazzing them up and you have an utter freak-out.
Black and white? Moody/dramatic? Sepia? Super bright and colour boosted?!?
I AM HERE FOR THIS.
Of course, it’s hard not to go overboard and use them ALL AT ONCE which results in an oversaturated picture that looks over-edited.
STAGE 5: Sending your first few pictures out into the world… and that deflated feeling when you don’t get much interaction or likes…
….because you can’t get instagram famous overnight folks… and lets face it, your pictures still aren’t that great right now!
STAGE 6: Upping your game and BUYING ALLLLL THE PROPS.
Coloured candles, patterned fabrics, random flowers and foliage? Potpourri? Bizarre bits of twine? Fairy lights? IT ALL GOES IN THE BASKET.
Oops, how much did I just spend in the name of books?
STAGE 7: Diving headfirst into Instagram obsession and improving ‘like’ numbers.
Aka, plotting WORLD DOMINATION.
Checking in on the website 10 times a day.
Looking at every ‘How To Improve Engagement’ post ever written.
Overanalysing your number of likes and stating at your follower count – watching it temporarily go up…and then back down again because spam account are MEAN.
(At this point you can pretty much cue crazy eyes!)
STAGE 8: Discovering you’re supposed to have some kind of unique bookstagram aesthetic. #WHATISTHISWIZARDRY?
You learn that Instagram accounts with their own theme/aesthetic do much better, e.g. ones that use the same set colour schemes, props, filters etc.
Sounds easy right? EXCEPT WHEN YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO IT.
Hows does one develop this elusive theme? Is it something you find in the wild? Is it gifted upon you by a wise mage? Do you fight your way through a series of trials to earn a scroll that shows you the way?
*Falls into a pit of confusion and head scratching.*
STAGE 9 Feeling TOTALLY OVERWHELMED and like you’ll never contribute anything meaningful… and then coming back out the other side again.
You start to fall into a pit of despair.
PITY PARTY 1: ‘I’ll never be as good as these other bookstagrammers with 34k followers.’
PITY PARTY 2: ‘I’ll never be as good at taking photos as everyone else who seems to have high-quality cameras and mad skills.’
PITY PARTY 3: ‘What is the point in me even doing this? No one is interested, I might as well give up.’
….Then pulling yourself together because YOU DO THINGS FOR YOU, NOT FOR OTHER PEOPLE.
YOU TAKE THOSE BOOK PICTURES BECAUSE YOU WANT TO AND IT’S FUN. Don’t let anything else distract you or make you think otherwise!
STAGE 10: Finding your feet and going with the flow.
The 10th stage is acceptance, folks.
You learn to let go of the little green monster. You accept that you will never be perfect and just have fun AND YOU’RE SO MUCH COOLER FOR IT.
You remember why you joined in the first place (for the joy of books and bookish merch) and reach a higher level of bookish contentment because of it.
When you relax, your creativity grows and your pictures start to improve, maybe you even start to develop and book theme/style (turns out the key was a mental battle rather a sword fight one)!
I hope you found this post to be a little bit of fun!
Do you have a Bookstagram? Do you get overwhelmed by bookish excitement when you spend too much time on it? Do you ever get bookstagram envy or worry that you’re not contributing anything meaningful?
Let me know in the comments!