Saturday, July 26, 2014

Life as a Bookworm: Am I in a Slump?


I've been a lucky blogger. In the almost four years since I've been blogging, I haven't really hit a rough patch or a slump. I hear bloggers talking about it all the time but I never experienced it myself.

Until now.

Yes, my friends, I've hit a wall. But, the good thing is I think I know why.

If you've been following along with my life and posts, you'll know that I was unemployed for a good chunk of 2013 and part of 2014. While that sucked (A LOT) for my wallet and mental well being, it was great for Books Etc. I had lots of time to read, in between searching for jobs of course. And I was able to write reviews as soon as I finished the book so I could move onto my next read. This is huge for me, and for a lot of other bloggers, because we want to get our thoughts on one book out and recorded before moving on to the next world, er, book. Because I wasn't constrained by a work day, I could finish a book at 10am, bang out the review, and move onto another book that afternoon. It was great.

Then the sky parted and rainbows and unicorns arrived to deliver me a job. Wahoo! Finally, I'm back to contributing to the world and making (a little bit of) money.

But...that means I'm back to only being able to read at lunch time or after work. Reviews must be written in the evening when all I want to do is hang out with the boyfriend, watch TV, go out with friends, or play with my pet bunny. Once I started my job I realized that I had completely forgotten how to balance work, life, and blogging. It doesn't help that I work at a very busy and very small non-profit so lunch breaks are basically only for making sure you're nourished. I stretch it out and make sure I take a half hour break but that's not a lot of time for reading and eating (and chatting to coworkers and volunteers since you're eating in the communal kitchen/office where everyone is). So, it's not uncommon for me to start a book at Monday at lunch and only be halfway through by end of day Friday. In fact, this has happened the last three weeks in a row and it's super frustrating.

I suppose I can be glad that this slump I'm in doesn't seem to affect my desire to read. I know some bloggers just don't feel like reading what they "have" to and that puts them off all books altogether for awhile. Sure, my TBR pile is daunting as hell and I don't know how I'm going to get all of them read but at least I'm excited about reading them. I still have a healthy sense of "I'm blogging because I want to and even though all these lovely authors and publishers want me to read their book ASAP I will get to it when I can and when I am in the mood for it" and I think that has helped.

It's funny that this slump seems to be focused around the physical act of blogging and promoting. I love writing (but no, I'm still not ready to write a novel), I love interacting with other readers (I could happily talk about books ALL DAY), and I love social media. But, for some reason, I'm loathing the time I have to put into sitting down and writing something. I cannot tell you the last time I actively set out to comment on others' blogs. And I've been so focused on making the social media channels at work awesome that I don't feel like managing another page when I come home. It's weird, right?

I'm trying to get better. I know that I'm having a sort of scheduling crisis and I'm being mindful of setting aside time to read and write. For example, this weekend I'm heading up to my mom's house up north and I hardly ever get time to read when I'm visiting. We're a family of readers but I don't visit nearly enough so we want to spend time together actually doing things instead of immersed in our own little worlds. But this weekend I must make time to read. (Sorry, Mom.)

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts. I'm hoping putting this out there will help turn things around somehow. And maybe someone out there has an awesome tip for me (please share!). But for now I'll just keep plugging away at my TBR list and fitting in the actual blogging work when I can. That's just going to have to be ok :)

4 comments:

  1. I definitely don't have an awesome tip, but I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this. :) Even though I'm not a book reviewer, I can relate to the balancing a full-time job, life, and writing and managing a website part, with books and the Starry Kind of Girl site. And also reading, because authors need to read a lot! What may also be making the balancing act more challenging for you right now is your job being a relatively new job. There are all sorts of things that come with that, which don't come with a job or workplace you've been at for a while. (Building good relationships when you have a few minutes of free time or over lunch, the mental effort of doing things that are new to you and continually learning new things, and wanting to keep making a good impression on everyone are all examples.) It can take up more time and energy for the first few months or a year than you sometimes realize, or than others sometimes realize!

    Also, it definitely makes sense that you don't want to do other social media things when you get home. It's what you've been doing all day, plus your brain needs a break. (A good read for this is Focus: A Simplicity Manifesto.)

    Know that it's okay to give yourself vacations, or to be closed to new book review submissions for a while, or that you'll only take on certain genres for a while or a certain number of new books per month, or some other criteria you set based on what you most want and enjoy while you take the time to balance out your life. Or another suggestion is to see if there's someone out there who loves reviewing books who'd want to be a volunteer blog contributor at your site for a while when you need to take time out? And always feel great about taking time for you and paying attention to the rest of your life!

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  2. I feel that way a lot! It definitely takes a lot of work to go to work full time and then come home to blog (and social media!). It's good that you were able to pinpoint the cause of your slump though; I hope you come out of it soon!

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  3. I heat ya. When I started blogging 5 years ago, in college, working very part time, and living with my parents. I devoted a ton of time to blogging. Now it's a lot harder since I have a grown up job, husband, house, and baby on the way. I just do the best I can. You'll get into the swing of things too!

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  4. I know exactly what you are talking about! I'm finding myself in more of a blogging slump now that summer craziness has kicked in at work! Bleh! It sucks growing up and having a big girl job sometimes lol!

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