You’re seriously considering not blogging anymore. But you’re uncertain, right? All of that effort. Years of work. But you still really like reading though and you do like blogging. Maybe you’ve even started a side blog that you don’t take seriously at all.
At least, that has been me.
First of all, acknowledge that it’s okay. Maybe you’ve grown out of blogging. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re done, you’re done. Don’t worry about it. You can still enjoy reading blogs and reading itself without being a blogger. Also, don’t worry about making that decision in a hurry either. It’s not that serious.
Blogger burnout. It happens. To all of us. The last couple of years I haven’t been great about blogging consistently but I’ve still learned something really important. Something I think quite a few people are currently struggling or have struggled with.
It started in December last year when I opened up my blog and looked at the home page. It looked good. I had put a lot of work into the design and had paid someone for the banner. But as I looked at it, it felt dull to me. It wasn’t fun and I didn’t even want to click through to a blog post. Not because I didn’t like what I wrote, but because it wasn’t visually appealing.
Tip: If you don’t even want to scroll through or click through to blog posts on your own blog, you have a problem. Why would someone else read it if you don’t even want to admire your hardwork?
So I went into the the themes section in wordpress and I pay for Nosegraze hosting which means I have access to a lot of themes and can change my theme at will with no extra charge. Plug: look, it’s $20 a month but Nosegraze hosting is SO worth it. I’ve never had any issues.
Anyhow, I went into the themes and started browsing through them. I previewed a couple of themes until I found this one I currently am using. I had actually considered using it before but wasn’t ready for it at the time. Now though, I looked at it. I clicked through the preview. And I liked it. However, I was still really uncertain.
So I ran a poll. I showed family members in order to supplement the poll, and asked them which they preferred since they were a batch of fresh eyes. With very little dissent, nearly everyone concurred with me. This new theme was better.
Knowing I could always change it back if I wanted to, I took the leap and changed my blog theme; and you know what happened?
Seriously though, I couldn’t wait to post something new on the blog. I was excited about it again. And funnily enough, for some reason I felt more relevant in the blogosphere with my new design. But my blogging didn’t start picking up until, guess what? That’s right. My reading.
You’re Not You When You’re Hungry
Once upon a time, I was an English major and it ruined reading and writing for me. I fell into a world of constantly watching TV instead and scrolling through social media. This is not a slam on watching TV or using social media. Your girl binge watched 8 seasons of Vampire Diaries in like 2.5-3 months in early 2017 when I wasn’t reading anything. No reading was happening anymore unless it was for school. But I remembered loving reading and I wanted to read the things I knew I would love. So I changed my major, because I don’t think school should make you hate the things you love.
I am still recovering with my writing to be honest. And I went an entire year without reading anything. From July 2017-July 2018, I finished 0 books. I tried to read but it just wasn’t happening. I was so burnt out because of my major. Then a lovely book popped into my sights. Contagion by Erin Bowman was published and it pulled me out of this no-reading hole that I had been in. I actually read it to my husband and we both loved that book. I actually read it for so long one Sunday that my husband started reading to me instead because my throat was hurting. If you haven’t read it, you need to.
Anyhow, I read this book and something magical happened. I wanted to read more books. I proceeded to read 3 books the next month. I didn’t finish any in October or November but I did go to two book signings. I then read 4 more books in December.
During this time though, I was reminded that I could read as slow or as fast I wanted. I was in the mood to read books that I knew I would like and were shorter books that I owned. It was amazing after all this time.
As book bloggers, we tend to feel pressured to read every new release the year it comes out. If that is what you truly want to do, then there’s nothing wrong with that. But do you really want to read all of those or do you feel obligated?
If you aren’t being paid to read those books or compensated in some way, you’re not obligated to do that. You don’t owe it to anyone. Not even your blog readers. It’s okay. Want to read that huge book but know it’s going to take you a month or two? That’s okay. Do it. Read that huge book on your bookshelf. I have some books that are pretty big and I know it’s going to take me a while to get through them and I constantly remind myself now that I can read them when I’m ready, and I don’t need to feel pressured to read them quickly. I can read them at my leisure.
A Note on Reviewing & ARCs
You don’t need to review every book you read. You just don’t. I like to read the occasional contemporary but I don’t really like reviewing them. I don’t know why and I honestly don’t care. I may write a few lines about it, and that’ll probably be it for me. But, give yourself permission to read books that you’re not going to review. That’s okay.
I would also like to take a moment to address ARCs. They are wonderful things. In moderation. If you can handle reading a bajillion ARCs. Go for it. But I know I had to make the decision a couple years ago to stop requesting ARCs. I rarely do it anymore. As fun as they can be, sometimes having to read something can take the fun out of it. Part of the fun, is waiting for a book sometimes.
Another thing I stopped doing was taking review requests. I don’t like the restraint they put on me. I have yet to be offered payment for promo stuff like that, so I’m going to continue to say no until I feel like saying yes.
Once I started really realizing all of the above – I mean, we all know it, but I don’t think we take it to heart – my desire to blog picked up. I have written nearly ten blog posts in the last month or two and I’ve set realistic goals for ME.
The thing about goals, is that they need to be attainable. For me, posting a blog post at least once a month (even a busy month) is easily attainable. So I set my base goal at one a month. And I can now say that I have my blog scheduled for almost half the year. But since I’ve that done, when I go in and write another one, I can add it to an earlier month so then I have two. And on and on it goes.
It’s a good thing to push yourself, but it’s also good to know when not to. For me, with blogging, I consider it an accomplishment if I have one post going up, because that’s better than none. I work better with blogging though if I can go in and say wow, I have exceeded my goal. I have two posts going up this month or whatever number it is. I feel more inspired. I have more breathing room to create for it. This has done wondrous things for me.
Blogging Is Creativity
I think that’s the key. Book blogging is a creative act, and we need to allow ourselves room to be creative, which means that we need to put ourselves in moods or places that are conducive to this particular type of creativity.
One sure fire way for me to refuel as a blogger and a writer, is watching booktube. I actually put it on in the background, and I’ll watching book hauls or writing videos or whatever I feel in the mood for. Now, for someone else, running might be the thing the refuels your creativity. Whatever it is, find it and remember what your thing is. Booktube is one of mine.
Honestly, I’d like to take this moment to give a shout out to Sasha Alsberg and Christine Riccio, whose channels I’ve been following for years. Their writing journeys are fun to watch and inspiring to me. Plus, they make some fun bookish videos.
So don’t be afraid to step back and breathe. Take a break. Evaluate if you need to. Stop saying yes to every blog tour or every bookish favor someone asks you to do. If you don’t want to do it or you can’t, it’s okay to politely say no. And if that person is mad? That has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. Don’t feel like you need to read every new release or request every ARC.
Enjoy reading and have fun with your blog. Just have fun this year.