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Friday, February 19, 2016

BBAW - About keeping that ol' wheel turning...



Last day, last day of BBAW 2016!!  It's been a fun week and I hope that you all feel the same way.  If this has not been to your taste necessarily, well, next week we'll return to our 'regularly scheduled programming'.  Today's topic is about burnout - in reading and in blogging.  Here's the question:


One of the unfortunate side effects of reading and blogging like rockstars seems to be a tendency toward burnout.  How do you keep things fresh on your blog and in your reading?



The dreaded burnout or reading slump!!  We've all been there, right?  I have.  I had another blog before this one.  Back when I began (2008), the book blogging world was growing rapidly. Everyone was friendly and cheerful and excited.  It was fun to meet people who loved reading and there was the whole 'advance reading copies' phenomenon - aka FREE BOOKS!!  So amazing!

Time passed and then the drama trickled in.  There were squabbles and upsets. Also, everyone was trying to figure out the 'rules' and how to ramp up their reading to comply with what we 'thought' was expected by our audience and by the publishers and authors. So then came the burnout and not enough time and 'no fun at all'.

I wasn't completely caught up in all of that, but I will say that there came a time when I was weary of writing reviews and weary of expectations (most of which were in my own head).  So, I dropped out.  Ended my blog and deleted it (so I couldn't change my mind).

Eventually, I did change my mind and began again.  Some differences this time though.  Here were my goals and maybe some of this will help if you find yourself hitting the 'burnout' time:

1.  Your blog belongs to you.  It reflects you.  And only you.  Make it what YOU want it to be.  Talk about what you are interested in.  Share books or life events or puppy pictures or random lists of things or whatever.  Again....about YOU!

2.  Don't compare to others.  Their blogs are about them.  Some have been around for a long, long time and so they know more people.  Some work harder to 'network'.  Each of us is unique.

3.  If you want to get 'advance reader copies', join Netgalley or Edelweiss.  That being said, it seems to be a slippery path for many bloggers.  A lot of 'expectations' (mostly self-inflicted) to read every one and review every one you accept.  Here's a clue - you don't have to read or review every advance book that you accept.  If you feel like it could get away from you, don't accept ARCs.  Oh, and you don't have to answer every email from a publicist or author that is pitching a book to you.  It doesn't mean that you are rude if you don't answer.

4.  Don't worry too much about your number of followers.  There are ways to increase the number, but it's hard work.  And if the hard work becomes too much like a job - there's the burnout.

5.  Read what you want.  Maybe scheduling your reading from now to the cows come home works for you.  It feels rigid to me and like being in college.  Hence - burnout.  I'll say it again - READ WHAT YOU WANT.  And if you hit a reading slump - maybe, don't read for a little bit.  I know.  Sacrilege.  Try it.  Ha!

6.  Make your blog your Zen place - a relaxing pursuit - not something that will have your shoulders up under your ears and your head hurting.  And take breaks when you need to.  I do and I think giving myself permission to step away when it feels right is what keeps this ol' wheel turning.

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Thank you so very, very much for stopping by here and sharing this Book Blogger Appreciation Week!!  I've had a fun time.  Again, you are most welcome to pop in occasionally or more often to share 'kay's reading life'.

Here's hoping that your blogging time is an easy swing in a hammock with a cool breeze and good book!




  

84 comments:

  1. You talk a lot of sense Kay - I've not been blogging that long and as with any group of people there are bound to be differences of opinion and that happens in this group too. I don't blog to argue with others but it is easy to get het up by the perceived 'rights and wrongs' Right from the beginning I was clear what I wanted from my blog and for the most part that's what I do - I've cut back on the review copies this year because I have lots of lovely books I want to read and I don't have enough time to do it all! As you say what suits one person won't fit another

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    1. Exactly. Know what you want with your blog and then do it. And no guilt.

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  2. Great advice and totally agree with all your points, Kay! There was a time I stopped blogging after having my first child; being a new mother and having a full time job was too overwhelming so I figured one thing has to go and that's blogging. Looking back I'm glad I didn't pressurise myself though I hated the idea of not blogging. That said, I'm glad to be back and that several friends/bookbloggers haven't forgotten about me. :-)

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    1. No, that's the fun part. People don't forget you. It's amazing that way.

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  3. I agree with all of your points! The most important to me are to read what I want to read, and to do what I want to do with my blog - I have to keep reminding myself of both. I will also keep your Zen advice in mind :)

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    1. It's good to be relaxed about it. I think we bloggers are way too hard on ourselves. And it's too easy to guilt ourselves about all kinds of things. I say to have fun with it!

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  4. I love it! MY saving thing is discipline: only request what I REALLY REALLY want to read.
    And oh, stay away from squabbles!!

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  5. Yep, most of those expectations are self inflicted. I try to stay off of netgalley because I tend to request too much when I do go on there.

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    1. Yep. Me too. Bloggers are way too guilt-ridden, in my opinion. I say 'take it easy'.

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  6. Such great words of advice! I was lucky that I learned #4 really quickly. I do not answer every email that I receive from a publisher or author, I would venture to say that I don't answer 95% of them. I love that I have that choice. I could see beating myself up if I accepted them all and felt I had to review.

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    1. Yes. We are all too quick to beat ourselves up. This is a fun pursuit and if it's not, well, do something else.

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  7. A lot of wise words there, Kay. It's taken me a while but I've settled into my little corner of the blogging world and am no longer intimdated by book blogs that are far more literary than mine or who have a multitude of followers. I rather like my quiet little corner where a handful of folk I consider friends come and chat to me from time to time. It's so lovely.

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    1. I totally agree with you, Cath. And I love your little corner of the world. :-)

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  8. :) Long-time book bloggers have to come to term with all of your points in order to continue blogging. Sometimes, we have to come to terms over and over again!

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    1. You are completely right, Jenclair. I know I've had to learn these things again and again. I keep telling myself - relax, relax...

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  9. I really look forward to reading, blogging, networking when I want, that is such great advice. And make your blog your own, absolutely. You learn some things quickly but others the burnout overtakes you.

    This has been a rewarding week for me and great to reconnect or find new bloggers.

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    1. Me too, Marce. And may I also say that I'm glad for the weekend. A little worn out from this week. LOL

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  10. Lots of great advice Kay! I've been around since 2007 and been through all those things you mention. I took one hiatus, but it only lasted 4-months LOL I couldn't stay away. But it did teach me some things and I've loosened up back to the way I was in the early days. I miss those days when book blogging was a smaller community, when everybody knew everybody LOL perhaps 2005-2009, then all the book tours and money-making schemes and only reviewing new books took precedent. Stats and followers mean nothing to me. I like commenters but they show-up all over, mostly on goodreads with a few on my blog.

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    1. I remember those days too. Things are a bit different now, but there are still some of the same people around, which is a good thing and quite enjoyable.

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  11. I remember that both you and Les decided to step away from blogging around the same time and I was so sad! I remember thinking but you don't have to just blog about books! Blog about everything! I'm glad that you both have returned. :)

    Wise wisdom, Kay! Back when I was doing a lot of reading challenges I had my reading so scheduled out and over-committed that I fizzled. Ever since then I've stopped scheduling out what I'm going to read (with the exception of some themed months) and am much happier. I think it's also important to realize that there will be ebbs and flows in life. Sometimes I don't WANT to read, and that's OK, too.

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    1. I know - hey - it's OK not to read. Really. It takes us a while to figure out what works for us. I think that the people who don't do that are the ones who drift away completely.

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  12. I'm nodding my head to all of those! Blog what you want and how you want, and you'll find your niche. Hobbies shouldn't be stressful!

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    1. Amen. Hobbies should not be stressful. :-)

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  13. Perfectly said, Kay. I agree with everything you've said.

    I especially love what you say regarding your first point - our blogs should be a reflection of us, and I think sometimes we forget that and share what we think others want to see (or what is popular) as opposed to what we actually want to be sharing.

    Reading With Jade

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    1. Well, they are a lot like life - the 'in' crowd and such, but finding our own spot is the best. And then just settling in. And having fun.

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  14. Your advice and my advice are like twins separated at birth. Yes to all of it. High five on the mind meld.

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    1. I love it - mind meld - cue Star Trek music. LOL

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  15. Kay, these are wise words indeed. I've really struggled with all the "shoulds" instead of just creating my own little oasis. Thanks for reminding us all about what's important.

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    1. Oh, I suspect that many of us have 'shoulds' in our regular life and I try really hard to only have a few of those. Now to get my mind to cooperate, right?

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  16. READ WHAT YOU WANT. That's such an important one! This is a great list.

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    1. Thank you. I guess I could have just said that and only that. Read what you want. That is all.

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  17. I agree with all of the things you said here! There was a time when I was jealous of other bloggers getting ARCs. I never used to get any because publicists didn't want to send books all the way over to the Philippines / Singapore. But now I'm grateful that I never got into the habit of requesting or receiving ARCs. I do get them now but only from authors that I really read.

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    1. That's what I mean - you settled in and found what worked best for you and maybe it wasn't getting all these ARCs that you really couldn't or wouldn't read anyway. Only from authors that you really read. That sounds perfect!

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  18. Great advice, Kay! I certainly find the longer I blog the more relaxed I am about it. Taking breaks is necessary sometimes - even the worst employer gives the occasional holiday! And there's such a disconnect between numbers of followers and people who actually read and engage with the blog I barely look at follower numbers any more. Instead I value the people I interact with on a regular basis. I often see new blogs come and go within a few weeks and am sorry - it took months before my blog started to feel established. And as for free books - well, some day I hope to cure my addiction... ;)

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    1. It's a lot less of an ordeal when one isn't stressing over stats and 'shoulds'. Right?

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  19. This is such a great post, Kay. I found myself nodding at every point you make. All of them have been true for me, and I think have helped me keep blogging.

    I remember well that early enthusiasm we felt. :-) And the drama! Haha. I never really got into that side of it, but it was hard not to be curious what it was all about. There's still drama. Most of which I thankfully remain oblivious too. If I've learned anything, I've learned to do it my way and not worry what others might think I should and shouldn't do. The only "should" is that we should blog in a way that works best for us.

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    1. Exactly. Your last sentence says it all. :-)

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  20. Couldn't have said it better myself. Great advice and insight, Kay!

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    1. You and I agree on a lot of things, Susan. Right? LOL

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  21. Glad to hear it's not rude to respond to emails from publicists. I've always wondered because I never respond! It says on my blog that I'm not interested so I figure if they didn't take the time to read that then I won't take the time to reply lol! I agree with all of your points!

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    1. I think too many bloggers worry so much about the requesting of the ARCs and the saying no, etc. You can respond if you have a minute, but if you don't, it's not a big deal.

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  22. Great advice! I will say that I do respond to publishers and publicists. It takes less then 30 seconds to say "thanks but no thanks," and they are always so appreciative to hear something.

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    1. I agree with that, Michelle. And I do understand. I do think that so many bloggers are so worried about all the aspects of connecting with the publishing world. Afraid they are 'doing it wrong'. I say - it's all good.

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  23. I agree with everything you say! I especially like that you emphasis not having to reply to unsolicited communications from publicists. I seem to get a lot of those on my FB page, to the point that for awhile, I disabled the ability for messaging. I do have to work harder at not over-committing to book tours though. I like to do about one a month, but they pitch so many good books!

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    1. I think each of us has to work out how much is too much and find our balance. Glad to hear that you're doing that.

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  24. It has taken me a couple of years to get this insight. I would think I wasn'd blogging ok because I couldn't get ARCs or followers, so tried to do what I thought was right and be bored pretty easily. Until I realized blogging is not my job, so who cares if there are people following as long as I'm having fun! It's so easy that it's difficult to realize it. Great advice!

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    1. Have fun. That's a perfect statement. Just have fun. :-)

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  25. Excellent advice. I've been blogging since '07 and have tried to just do what worked for me and thankfully avoided all "that" drama. It is still hard to to go crazy over at NetGalley!

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    1. Yes, I think NetGalley is temptation to everyone.

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  26. I like how you say read what you want. That is a big one. When I first started it was like I was being directed by reviews that publishers wanted. I gave that up a couple years ago. I am just as likely to pick up a new release as I am to pull something off my shelf that is 5 years old.

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    1. I'm definitely at that point these days. I'm enjoying reading older books and they deserve to be read, right?

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  27. "Make your blog your Zen place!" This is the best advice I received today. :) Thank you!

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  28. Great advice and very good points, Kay. Thanks!

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  29. You made some very good points. Sometimes it is hard to find a balance between having a good time and stressing too much (in any endeavor).

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    1. It is difficult at times and sometimes you have to make mistakes and then pick yourself up and begin again. :-)

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  30. I love your last advice. (I love all of them but the last one is the best.) That really is the whole point - you need to feel zen and happy and excited about coming to your blog and if everything about it is feeling like work, then you are doing something wrong.

    Great tips!

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    1. I think of my blog as such a relaxing thing - something I do for me - probably why I don't talk about it much with family or friends. Not sure they would understand. But you guys get it. LOL

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  31. Great advice! I went through a lot of turmoil in the first two years of blogging, worrying about followers and comparing to other bloggers, but I think I've gotten to an okay place now. (Not sure if I'm quite Zen about it yet, but I can aspire to that.)

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    1. I think it takes a while. We're so afraid that we are doing it 'wrong'. And there really is no 'wrong'. Glad you are in a better place now. Good luck!

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  32. Excellent point about not sweating the numbers. I think that's a really easy trap to fall into when you're starting out.

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    1. I agree with you. Takes some time to get over that.

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  33. This is great, Kay! I've never had a reading slump and can't even imagine what it must be like. With both my blog and my reading, it comes down to me needing extended quiet time to do both. Not easy these days, but for three very good reasons! ha!

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    1. Yes, you do have some great distractions. I don't have reading slumps often, but I have had them on occasion. And then I don't feel like myself.

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  34. "Read what you want" is HUGE, but I think knowing WHY you want to read something is important too. (I think you just gave me an idea for a discussion post!) But you know my Blogger's Credo--there's no one right way, so we do what works for us, and maybe that will strike a chord with others, too. Great post, Kay--happy BBAW!

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    1. Thanks, Florinda. I think that the idea of 'read what you want' is one I've come to over a long period of time. And also, don't apologize for what you read. :-)

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  35. Good advice! I shied away pretty quickly from the whole FREE BOOKS aspect of book blogging -- after all, I get free books at the library.

    I love this thought: "Make your blog your Zen place." Made me smile!

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    1. Glad it made you smile, Joy. It's how I think of things here. :-)

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  36. Such good advice! I totally agree on not comparing yourself to other bloggers. Everyone blog for a different reason, and that motivation affects the decisions they make. I'm a journalist, so I consider my blog a semi-professional place, which affects my choices on what and when to post. Other people don't do that, so their blogs are obviously going to be different -- you do you :)

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    1. I think that comparing is usually counterproductive. Then the dissatisfaction begins. Love your last bit - you do you. Absolutely!

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  37. Kay I've missed out all the fun on BBAW - just too much stuff going on last week but I had a great time catching up on your posts and others too. Being part of the book blog community is so rewarding and you give some great tips on avoiding burnout, etc. Hope you've had a great weekend! How did it go by so quickly though? :)

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    1. There's always next year for BBAW, Iliana. I had a good time with it. Hope you guys get some rain this evening and night. We've gotten a very, very little.

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  38. Amen, sister! And can I just say that I am so glad you decided to come back to blogging. I was really bummed when you quit and I'm sorry you deleted your old blog, but I'm so very happy you returned. Here's to us old-timers. :)

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    1. Thanks! I'm sorry in some ways that I deleted the old blog, but maybe it's for the best. I'm much more relaxed about this one. And yes, we've been around for a while. :-)

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  39. Excellent points, all. Read what you want, absolutely! There are few places in life where you can say that it is indeed all about you...but your own blog should be one of them :)

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    1. Thanks and we are in complete agreement!

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  40. You are so very wise, Kay. And that's why you always have so many people excited when you come back from your breaks:)

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!