Trying this blogging thing again

Romance_Aniceto&Francisca-Luppi

I quit blogging about 5 months ago. I have missed it all that time, but haven’t been able to really start up again. I am completely disinclined to go back to my old blog, and I wish I could intelligently articulate why.

It may have something to do with the wrong turn I made last year in blogging. To shore up my flagging enthusiasm, I started taking ARCs, signed up for book tours, attended Book Expo America, started to develop relationships with publishers. In no time, blogging felt like work. I was reading to blog, on someone else’s timeline, not reading for the fun of it, so even reading felt like a chore. In short, at a time when I needed to (a) take a break, and/or (b) write more for myself, I (a) committed to writing more reviews, and (b) wrote more for some mythical audience than about what I was really thinking or feeling.

In January of this year, I didn’t buy a single book. I donated most of my paper books to local charities, and got to know my digital TBR a bit better (I have about 400 books on it). I’d like to continue mining my TBR (although I can’t promise a complete book buying ban for 2013. I’m reformed, not insane.) and chatting about interesting bits on this blog. Right now, I cannot imagine being able to write a formal book review — I’m exhausted just thinking about it —  but then again, five months ago, I couldn’t imagine writing a blog post for a new book blog.

I still read so many great book blogs. I have a follow list of those on WordPress in the footer, and plan to add the rest to a links widget. It’s reading the blogs that inspire me that has made me feel like blogging is a worthwhile hobby to get back to someday.

I recently read four posts that coalesced into a concrete direction for a new blog, and to which I owe this blog’s name. My thanks, or apologies, to the following:

30 responses

  1. Welcome back! It’s amazing how easy it is to get caught up in the hype machine even when you don’t think you are. I find that reading what I want to, rather than what everyone is talking about, makes a big difference, so your TBR adventure sounds great to me. And guess what, those It Books are not going anywhere. If you want to read them later, the writer/publisher will be happy to take your money. 😉

    I intended to stop blogging completely, but I miss thinking out loud. But no schedule and no themes! And hey, thanks so much for mentioning the 750words site a while back. I’ve been using it for two or three months now, and while I’m anything but consistent, it’s been a good tool for me.

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    • Hey Sunita! Thanks for stopping by. It means a lot to me!

      I’m feeling good about this. No rules or expectations. Like the old days, a zillion years ago in internet dog years.

      PS. I had forgotten about the 750 words site. I’m glad you find it useful.

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  2. Welcome back! I’ve been thinking about your post all day. At the end of last year, for the first time since I joined Twitter & then started my blog, I accepted freebie books. I am a sporadic blogger and only occasionally review books so I was unsure of whether there was an expectation was for me to spruik these books on my blog (which I have not done so). The experience did leave me considering how I wanted to proceed this year and I have decided to not accept any more free books. I’m not blogging to earn money, or to have lots of follows. I have found that my blog posts are thought vomit and if I don’t write it out it remains in my head and I can’t concentrate on life. Getting involved in the hype could be fun but I would be over-committing myself and I certainly don’t want to feel indebted or coerced to write about something that doesn’t interest me. Your post has further cemented in my mind that this is the way to proceed. As for reading and a TBR – last year reading became a chore. This year I have set a goal of 1 book which I have met. I am free to explore unhindered from here on 🙂

    PS I’m chuffed that you have included my blog on your list. Thank you!

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    • Thanks for teaching me a new word: spruik (pronounced “sprook” for my fellow ignoramuses)! I think the expectations publishers and authors have when they give books to readers both vary widely and are often inchoate. I’ve observed pretty big backlash when publishers have tried to set strict limits. I trust that most bloggers will not value the freebie, the being “first” to have a coveted ARC, or even the good relationship with the publicist more than they value their own control over their time and their blogs. The other bloggers, I don’t read.

      I also like “thought vomit.” One of the things that changed for me in 2012 was that I started working on a few research projects during the academic year, instead of back-burnering them until I had a bigger chunk of time (usually summer). That left much less time for blogging. On my old blog, I had set a certain standard for myself for my reviews and posts. Whether it was a high standard, I don’t know, but I know it took hours per post to meet it. I realized that I can’t have a blog if it means I have to post a lot and post really long posts. But I want to blog, so thought vomit it is.

      So thanks!

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  3. I’m glad to see you return. Secretly I often enjoy those post that are not “official” reviews most, I just wish I was better at writing them. I feel blogging is often a struggle to balance what you really want to be/do/post. I have never yet felt the urge to leave it all behind, but I do encounter problems, doubts, and a complete lack of motivation every few months (at least in the last 2 years). It’s difficult at times, but unplugging often makes me feel disconnected from the friends I’ve found online (or think I’ve found) and from this idea of letting some of your thoughts out on a forum which caters to something I do not encounter anywhere else? Does any of that make sense? I don’t know. I’m just happy you’re back.

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    • I love your point about unplugging making you feel disconnected. I totally agree. And it’s not just that phenomenon they refer to as “not wanting to be left out.” It’s the actual connections. Especially in the romance community, but I suspect with other kinds of readers, too, it can be hard to find any similar readers in “real life.” And being in the community without blogging, or at least commenting and/or tweeting, feels like being at a great party but standing by yourself in the corner hoping to catch snatches of conversation.

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  4. It’s so good to see you blogging again! I completely understand why you felt burned out after getting more closely involved with the publicity side of blogging. I almost felt that way a few years back, but I managed to recharge without having to step away from blogging. But I have taken short breaks every now and then, and I agree with what you and Iris say about missing the connections. In the end, that’s what makes me stick around.

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  5. Hurrah for your return! I too am in and out of blogging in ways that are more or less related to my job stress, so that plight fills me with sympathy. But I always delight in your thoughts and recs, and miss them when you are gone!

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  6. Hey Jessica! I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes breaks are good (and necessary) for the soul. Hopefully this blog will feel like fun and not work for you. Welcome back!

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  7. Thanks for the warm wishes! New beginnings are nice, but longtime ‘net friends are even nicer.

    And SUE! I forgot to put your blog on my sidebar. An oversight I shall remedy immediately.

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  8. Pingback: Stray Sunday Thoughts | Something More

  9. It’s great to see you back! I totally understand the feelings of responsibility that come with taking ARCs and all that goes with it. Which is why I hardly ever do. I like being able to post only when I’m moved to do so. I think it makes me more enthusiastic and I write better posts.

    I hope you can rediscover your joy of blogging with this new effort.

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    • Hey Lori! Thank you, and yes, so far it is working. I’ve been getting in touch the last several months with the importance of environment for writing and working, and I think, although it’s really all bits that look the same underneath, having a new visual space and no backlog of posts and unfinished projects, etc., actually makes writing feel different… lighter and new.

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