Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions (2)


Welcome to the very first Book Blogger Confessions, a meme hosted by Karen from For What It's Worth and Tiger from All-Consuming Books on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, to discuss some of the frustrations that are unique to book bloggers.

Q: Have you ever had reading/blogging slumps? How do you work through them or work around them?

I think that controlling this issue is about knowing the things that can cause a block or slump and then developing solutions to combat them. All of this must also be taken with a grain of salt if there are things about an individual that would not fit with them, of course. Anyway, here are some of the blocks and slumps I've either faced or worried about, as well as the solutions I have used or planned on using if they happen to me.

1. Pressure Makes Reading Not Fun

Last BBC I talked about making sure you don't yes yourself out. If you do, odds are you will end up here. Running around like a crazy person with a schedule of reviews, events, etc. longer then an elephant's nose is bound to wear anyone out. A candle that burns twice as bright lasts half as long. It might seem totally glamorous to have something amazing up on your blog every day, but the upkeep can be totally killer, and sometimes what it can kill is your desire to actually sit down and read.

Remember, odds are you started your own slice of the blogesphere because you love reading. Remembering to value your love of reading is not just a key ingredient in book blogging (in my opinion), it's the core ingredient. Is it important to get things done if you promise you'll do them? Absolutely! But that is why knowing your limits and sticking to them is important. Most of us aren't getting money out of this -- our blogs are labours of love. Knowing what you love about blogging and working with that is vital.

2. "But I Just Read Four Books About Zombies..."

It's been said that variety is the spice of life. That is good advice, and it applies just as much to book blogging as to anything else. Making sure that you are getting enough variety -- in the books your read, in what you are posting on your blog, in making sure you aren't neglecting things outside of your blog -- is key to keeping things in balance. 

I have a lot of trouble with this one. I go on a "kick". I want to read dystopian fiction. Or I am really interested in a certain series, or mythology, or author. Or I'm really into something else and it messes with my blogging. (Working on Moon Dance, or playing Star Wars: The Old Republic both come to mind.) A lack of balance can go beyond mere blocking and actually lead to burnout. 

3. Your Mood Is Just As Important As Your Reading Schedule

Are you reading what you want to read or what you have to read? One of the things I've learnt about myself is that I can block my reading if I have deadlines looming but there is another book, not for a deadline, that I'd rather be spending time with. Even if you are more comfortable with dealing with deadlines then I am, making sure you have time to read things that are of your own choosing is important. It can keep this from feeling like some type of an obligation. 

4. All Work And No Play...

Reading and reviewing are without question the heart and soul of book blogging. But there is room for other things, like taking part in events, hanging out with friends on twitter, doing memes, etc. I think that overall it boils down to doing everything at your own pace and in whatever ratio you are comfortable with. Some people review a book a day, some review a book a week. I think that knowing you are enjoying your blog is more important then keeping up with blogger X or trying to fulfill some imaginary quota you've made up for yourself. 

5. Sometimes You Just Need A Break... 

Sometimes there is nothing to say except that life gets in the way. Pressure from work or school. Just not feeling as deep an interest at the time. Being interested in pursuing something else. There are a thousand things that might make someone need to step away or at least step back. I think that it is wiser and more courageous to be able to admit this then to trudge on half heartedly doing something. 

Anyway, those are the issues and thoughts that I came up with. What are your thoughts on being blocked? Feel free to share. 

13 comments:

  1. so true about taking a break and mixing it up a little :) zombie books ..I need to read more of these books

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  2. You gave tons of good advice and things to think about. I just have to find some way to put it into practice. I can't seem to say "no" when I'm asked to read someone's book which tends to lead to being over-scheduled.

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  3. So true. Having a break and reading when the reading mood is on, would make all the difference. Great post! :)

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  4. Lots of good advice. Gauging your "reading mood", mixing things up, and easing pressure are all great ideas. The bes, IMO, is taking breaks. Just like a work vacation, a blogging vacation is a great opportunity to reboot.
    Great, informative post. Thanks!

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  5. I love your point about being sure not to yes yourself out! I did that bigtime in 2011 and I'm still trying to recover from it! Excellent slump busting ideas here - thanks! :)

    Bonnie @ Hands and Home www.handsandhome.ca

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  6. Great points!

    I, like Bonnie above me, yes'd myself out in 2011 and am trying to recover. I had to make the decision to take a sabbatical from accepting review requests this year in order to catch up.

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  7. yes! I kept nodding my head while reading your post. And I agree with Bonnie --- you have some great slump-busting tips!!

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  8. I totally go on "kicks" too! I'm currently completely burned out on dystopia - although it's still one of my favorite genres. Right now I'm on a contemporary kick, which is so weird because I rarely read contemporary books. But once I"m through a kick, I definitely get into slumps because even if a book is from a completely different genre, it feels like it will just be the same old thing.

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  9. I <3 this post SO much. I may bookmark it and make sure I read it when I get that panicked feeling.
    I *know* all these things but sometimes when you're in the thick of it I feel overwhelmed.

    I''ll get into reading kicks too. If I read a brilliant YA contemp then I want another one right away but it either doesn't live up to the first or gets too repetitive. I caught myself this time - I read a UF that was amazing! My first inclination was to look for another UF series to blow me away but instead I didn't read anything for a few days then went to a YA dystopian. Now I'm reading a YA contemporary.

    I'm slowly learning my lessons :-)

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  10. I agree with the mood thing too. I think my bad mood kept me from enjoying Divergent and Shatter Me more. It might be keeping me from enjoying The Vampire Diaries now. I hate when that happens. Great post!

    -Kim

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  11. I can totally relate to ''But I just read four books about zombies'' :)

    But variety is so important when you read so much - otherwise everything blends together and it can get a little stale. And we certainly don't want to wear out our love of our favourite books!

    We all need to be a bit kinder to ourselves and take a break when we need it - then we can come back all guns blazing and re-energized!

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  12. I LOVE what you said about pressure. I was the girl who could read 100 books in a year, but would fail her English tests because I was forced to read a book. I hate feeling forced into reviewing something, and I really felt like that I had to do what others wanted while my blog was starting. If a publisher sent me a book, I HAD to review that one, and I feel my blog suffered for it.

    Here's my confession:
    http://theirishbanana.blogspot.com/2012/01/book-blogger-confessions-2.html

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