The State of the Blog

Posted June 23, 2015 by Debby in General, Lifestyle

Hello folks! Welcome to my State of the Blog Address. (I’m so incredibly original, it kills me.) I have always run this blog with 100% honesty, and that’s why today I wanted to let you all know about some changes that will be happening on the blog as soon as next week, and why I believe they are necessary. Hopefully, you’ll understand where I’m coming from, and this will let us all move on to happier blogging times.

I’ve been blogging actively here since October of 2012 – more than two and a half years. And in that time a lot of things have changed – not just personally, with respect to college, work, etc. – but also within the community. For at least half a year, but probably closer to a year, I have not been feeling happy about blogging in general. And I’ve known that things needed to change, but due to being busy, I kept putting it off for later – when I have time. But, recently I’ve been getting the itch to quit blogging on a near-weekly basis, and I’ve realized I need to push my plans into action now, before the blog crashes and burns and probably puts a dent in my mental health as well. I’ve realized that mental health should come first.

There are three main reasons why these changes are necessary, and I will try to concisely explain my feelings on them.

The blog seems to have plateaued.

I know that as book bloggers we shouldn’t think too long and hard about stats and size and ARCs and all of those pesky little things that take the fun out of this hobby and turn it into an obsessive competition. But as bloggers who still hope to work with publishers, we do have to think about those things occasionally. Last year, I felt like I truly hit my stride. I passed milestones of followers, got a press badge for BEA, got added to two publisher mailing lists willing to send me physical copies OVERSEAS, and felt generally productive and well-regarded.

This year, it’s been more or less a flatline, as far as stats are concerned, but other things have put a dent in my confidence. I got removed from my favorite publisher mailing list without any notice after the publicist left. I sent my reviews to the general publicity email but was ignored. And ouch. Now, logically I know that I shouldn’t take this personally. As an international blogger, it’s always been hard. Likely they just had a change in policy and are no longer sending things to international bloggers (at least, that’s my headcanon and no one tell me otherwise). I’m not entitled to ARCs, no, and in fact, I’ve become demystified about them in the last year. Often they don’t really work out for me and I have better luck with backlist titles that I select myself with the help of existing reviews; and so, ultimately, I’ve become more selective about them. But it’s the act of losing something that I had available to me as an option that stings. It’s the idea that… I am no longer relevant.

Relevancy is something that I think we all want to achieve in blogging – be it in terms of publisher contacts, blogging friends, followers, etc. And it’s what I feel is slipping away from me this year. I’ve been pushing myself to put out as much content as possible, but engagement seems to be at an all-time low. Comments are hard to come by, though Morgan from Gone with the Words made a good point that it seems like most bloggers don’t comment that much anymore and only interact via Twitter. I am guilty of this myself as well. Comments shouldn’t make such an impact, but often I’ve been left wondering if anyone’s reading the content I’m putting out at all. I stopped vlogging my book hauls because they got so little engagement and it seemed like no one cared either way – though Mel from The Daily Prophecy said she missed them, for which β™₯

Twitter is also a sore spot for me, because due to the time difference and my new work schedule, I’m constantly missing out. I barely have the time to catch up, and when I do all I see are conversations I’m not involved in (hours after the fact) and people growing closer without me. I know it’s not all about me and it’s my own fault. I could reach out more myself, but I don’t have the time to tweet anymore, and I’ve realized that if you don’t, you’re really easily forgotten. I mean, the friendship is still there, but out of sight, out of mind, you know? (For the record, I know I shouldn’t let this bother me, but it’s my social anxiety at work.)

The fact is, the book blogging world is almost overrun. New blogs are starting up every day and growing so quickly in size, and the “older” bloggers from my generation and before are retreating if not quitting altogether. I don’t see myself growing anymore than this. I think the blog has peaked. And so I need to move to a format where this relevancy aspect will not bother me so much and I can enjoy the blog for what it is.

Blogging is a timesuck.

I know, I’m playing Captain Obvious today. But really, it’s probably more than a little scary how much time in my life is devoted to blogging. Since BEA last year, I’ve been striving to post at least 5 posts per week, preferably 3 of which are reviews. As far as reading the books goes, I’m usually okay because I have a lot of idle time commuting to work. But then there’s the act of writing those reviews (which take around 1.5 hours each for me – seriously) and finding inspiration for the other posts. With my new job, I just can’t handle it anymore. I’m scrambling every weekend to prepare for the posts of the week ahead and putting out content that maybe my heart is not 100% behind.

Now, I know you may be thinking, “But Debby, you had a full-time job before this, and you were a full-time intern before that,” but to be frank those jobs gave me a lot of downtime at work. I wrote a lot of reviews at work. At my new job, I’m lucky if I have a spare minute to check in on Twitter – blogging is definitely out of the question. (Which is a good thing – I like being more productive and involved at my job!) This paired with my exhaustion when I get home means that all blogging work is left for the weekend… and it’s taking up almost all of my time. I mean, yeah, I do chores, see family, and sometimes go shopping, but I won’t lie to you: for the past three weekends I’ve denied myself the opportunity to go to see Avengers: Age of Ultron because I’ve had blogging work to catch up on.

What kind of life is that? I like blogging, but it’s becoming almost 100% of my free time. I want to do other things. I want to be able to go to the movies when I feel like it. I want to be able to play a video game for a change (the E3 announcements asdfjkl; omg). I haven’t even touched The Sims 4 since I made my Lunar Sims! I know this is very much my own fault, but my sense of obligation to my blog is just way too intense. I need to get my life back – especially if the amount of time I’m currently spending on blogging is not really getting me anywhere in terms of relevance, growth, or fulfillment in general.

The community has changed.

I know a lot of people are struggling with this lately, and yeah. It’s on my mind as well. It’s not just the older bloggers leaving and newer bloggers coming in. It’s not the rise of BookTube and the implied BookTube vs. blogging war. It’s not the upsettingly many friendships that have self-destructed for me over the past year and a half. It’s the general mood within the community. And it’s not just our community – it’s the internet at large. We’re becoming an internet culture of outrage and backlash, and while I feel like awareness of social issues and privilege and such are important, it feels like every other day there’s some new author/person that we’re meant to be mad at. I see one tweet get a tidal wave of hatred, one line in an interview get twisted and misconstrued, and people are waving their pitchforks for days.

I can’t handle that amount of negativity in my life. A year ago, this was not as big a deal. There were a couple of blogging scandals, and maybe I tweeted about them once or twice. But now it’s so often and so much. I’m taking Will McAvoy’s mission to civilize to heart. When people are in the wrong in the public sphere, you can call them out on it, but I personally don’t feel the need to add vitriol and make it a public spectacle. I want to remember the humanity of these people and remember forgiveness. We all make mistakes and say things that aren’t as eloquent or well-thought out as they ideally would be… but I don’t think we all deserve to be publicly shamed for them.

Basically, all that this mood in the community is doing to me is silencing me. I don’t want the conflict. I don’t want the incessant debate. It’s making me retreat. It’s making me think, “Maybe I won’t go on Twitter today.” But tl;dr: Maggie Stievater has said it all so much better than me and I agree with her 100%. (This CGP Grey video also has some more educational thoughts on the subject.)

Now, I’m not casting judgment on people who do get involved in these “scandals” or whatever you want to call them. You have a right to comment on whatever you come across on the internet in whatever way you want. But I think it’s time for me to prioritize my mental health and cut the negativity out of my life so that I can find enjoyment and fulfillment in this community again.

As A Result

Hopefully I’ve given you a good idea of where my headspace is at these days, so you can support me in the changes that I deem necessary to the blog. I’m not saying these are 100% set in stone, but they are ideas that I will be implementing ASAP and might be tweaking here or there until I feel comfortable in my blogging space again.

1. I’m cutting back on content.

An obvious change, right? I hope that, especially with the “timesuck” aspect, you can understand that. I will no longer be aiming for 5 posts per week, but rather 3 posts per week. The majority will probably still be reviews, because that is the content that feels most natural to me even if it maybe isn’t the most engaging. It will enable me to go from this… (where I felt like a failure for not reaching my five posts per week goal)

2015 June

…to this…

2015 July

See the difference? As soon as I adjusted my calendar I felt like rejoicing. It means that at most each weekend I’ll have three posts to write – though hopefully when I’m caught up, I’ll have the energy and motivation to do little bits of blogging work throughout the week as well. With my reading speed unchanged, this will give me the flexibility to not write reviews for some books that I read and to finally reread some books (esp. to prepare for last installments in series). I might write series reviews for some of my upcoming binges – to further condense/simplify content – and I’m forced to cut further back on ARCs. And I will probably throw discussions in every now and again – when a genuine inspired idea hits me – but now I won’t be pressured to think of one of those every week.

I might throw in a fourth post when necessary for publisher commitments, or if I find I have more free time left over than I expected. But for now, this is looking pretty damn good to me. It also gives me more time to promo new posts with the gaps in the schedule, so hopefully I’ll feel less obnoxious doing that.


2. I’m trimming down my feedly.

Every time I log in to feedly and see that there’s 30 posts for me to catch up on, I back out of there as soon as humanly possible. No more! I’m trimming out some of the content I wasn’t as interested in so I can spend more time on my friends’ blogs. I’m also making it my goal to read the posts more quickly and to leave a thoughtful comment – you know, be the change you want to see in the world and all that. I love my blogging friends, and I don’t want them to feel as irrelevant as I have. I know I’ve been rubbish at this before, but I’m really going to work on it now. By spending less time making content myself, I’ll have more time to look at the content from others πŸ™‚

3. Stop adding fuel to the Twitter obsession.

With my new schedule, it’s obvious that I can’t keep up with everything on Twitter. My completionist habits have until now pressured me to scroll back through all the 8 hours that I missed while I was sleeping and then again at work, but it’s not really doing much for my mental health, FOMO, or “live in the present” kind of goals. I’m working with lists now! I’m adding all my favorite Twitter people to a smaller list, so I can keep up with them, and not obsessing anymore over the larger timeline. It will be hard to let go, probably, but Twitter is giving me such anxiety, so it’s really for the best. Also: unfollowing/muting the negative people.

4. No more stats in the sidebar.

I used to have all my follower counts listed there, but no more. I’ll check them once in a while to update my NetGalley and Edelweiss profiles, but I really want them to be out of sight, out of mind. I’m never going to be the biggest. I might as well not dwell on that fact. Publishers can get the stats upon request.

That’s It!

Wow, that was long. And in case you’re wondering – this post took over two hours to write. But I feel a renewed kind of energy now to continue blogging for the time being. I was really spreading myself too thin and putting so much pressure on myself to put out ALL the content and have ALL the followers and be the PERFECT book blogger, but that’s just not healthy. I’m still obsessive about organization and structure, so yes a calendar is necessary to me, but believe me that this is way more flexible and relaxing than before.

I hope you’ll all support me in these changes, and if not… well, that’s too bad!

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31 responses to “The State of the Blog

  1. <33333

    I HAVE SO MANY THOUGHTS AND HEAD NODS AND YESES AND ALL THE FEELINGS but it's late here (HELLO TIME DIFFERENCE) and I know they won't come out coherently. Just know I think this is great and I support you. I've cut down so much of what I did vs. what I do (in terms of time on social media/what I consume blog wise) and idk it's made me happier mostly so I hope this helps you. The FOMO is real but I realize the world (AND MY WORLD) still spins when I'm not on there all the time. It is what it is and at the end of my life I'm not going to be like MY ONE REGRET IS THAT I WISH I WAS ON TWITTER MORE OR THAT I BLOGGED MORE ETC. ETC

    Love you! Glad you took some time to really reevaluate!

    • Jamieeeeeeeee <3

      You know my heart still jumps when I get a comment from you. So basically <3 It definitely seems like we are not at all alone in these feelings, and that is so so comforting. But YEAH it's so hard when you have followers and contacts who all have expectations of you to just not let that affect you. Just making this new plan already made me so so happy and gave me new energy, so I'm thinking it'll be one of the best decisions of my blogging life πŸ™‚

      "at the end of my life I'm not going to be like MY ONE REGRET IS THAT I WISH I WAS ON TWITTER MORE OR THAT I BLOGGED MORE ETC. ETC"

      ^omg so much truuuuuuuuuth. I need to force myself to think about that once in a while. It can be so easy to forget.

      Thank youuuuuu <3

  2. Albert

    I love your post and I really think this is very good for you!
    I, myself, don’t accept ARCs anymore. It made it look like a competition, i’m an international blogger so it’s very hard to get an ARC too. And just reading the book you wanna read IS VERY REFRESHING! It’s not like a chore or something. And the outcome is pretty decent, so far i have loved all the books i read! That made me happy. and my TBR pile has not reached even 30 yet!

    Because i’m small blogger. I personally don’t care when i post. Everytime i feel like writing, i write. Not only is it more relaxing, but you finish your books faster! And because of that, it bring reviews out and more content i think!

    Lastly, i really think you should consider changing your template! It’s a bit hard and may cost some money, but it’s really worth it! If you love your template the way it is, it’s okay, but changing it just gave it more off a fresh and made you slightly motivated!

    • Aww, thank you so much for your support! I’ve considered cutting off ARCs entirely, and I’m still kind of going back and forth on it. I think it would be suuuper liberating, but there’s always 1 or 2 titles that I’d jump at the chance to read early. For now I’m just limiting myself to 3-4 ARCs per month. But maybe I’ll scale back even further in the future πŸ™‚ I might enjoy that freedom too much.

      Aw, man, I remember the days when my blog was so tiny and I posted whenever. I would write a post and post it immediately and not worry about any schedule or pattern. But I’m such a structure freak, and when your blog grows, people kind of expect something from you. It’s hard to resist all those expectations, but oh well. Hopefully with this new schedule I’ll have the right balance of freedom and structure.

      It’s been on my mind for a while to update my blog design, actually! It’s just been another one of those things I “haven’t had any time for”. Hopefully now I’ll be able to do that πŸ™‚ And yeah, design changes often recharge me as well. This one has been up for far too long.

  3. Aw, Debby. I’m sorry you’ve been having such a hard time with everything. It sounds so stressful. I have to say though, it seems like your changes will definitely help you out! Especially mentally. I know when I’ve been on the downside (in simple terms), changing things around helps a lot! I hope this really helps you and that you get your spark of sorts back.

    Definitely take care of you, always. Blogging is a hobby, it should never feel like a job or a full time activity that causes you to freak out and back away. Same with the internet community, if that’s interfering with your mental well being, take a much needed step back. I know you did that during BEA (I believe) and I think it’s great that you did that for yourself.

    I see what you mean about people growing closer on twitter and missing out because you’re not on. I’m on a fair bit myself, but I still feel a bit on the outside. I’m always available to chat though with you! If you would like. πŸ™‚ I’ve been wanting to talk to you more but just…don’t know how.

    I know what you mean about the arguments going on. I started blogging in July and there were like two big “arguments/dramas” of sorts going on and it was just like “Um, what did I get myself into again?” and since then it’s like there’s something new every other day to get mad about. Diverse books, authors, bingos, plagiarism…It never seems to end and that’s sad.

    I hope you get out of this slump soon. <3 I think the changes you're making will be great for you. Especially Feedly, I always back out of BlogLovin when I see I have over 1000 posts (in my "favorites" folder!) and haven't commented in a long, long while. Out of sight, out of mind definitely works with the stats.

    This is a great post. I like it, even if it made me a little sad to read (it seems a lot of people are feeling similarly down). I definitely support you and your changes! <3

    • Aww, thank you Amber! I really think these changes will help πŸ™‚ and yeah, I’m going to really focus on myself for a while – just enjoying life and blogging when I feel like it. Sometimes that’ll mean taking a step back, but it’s better to come back recharged than to sit in a pit of negativity and jealousy and FOMO. I’m not subjecting myself to that if I can help it.

      I sure hope I’m not intimidating to talk to! ^^; I kind of get you though, I’m an awful conversation starter. I actually had an idea a while back to ask one general open-ended question on Twitter per day and hopefully talking to a load of different people based on their responses. I think I might put some effort into working that out and doing it. It’ll help me use the time I do have on Twitter to the fullest πŸ™‚

      As far as the drama goes, I get you. There’s always something. I used to kind of get involved in things as well, but it’s a matter of perspective. Like the Kathleen Hale thing was so upsetting and wrong and bad, and now everything that stirs up is just like, “Guys. Chill. Let it go.” I feel like a lot of people in the community get sucked into the negative spiral of drama and (kind of) get off on it. Even if they don’t realize it. I had that to a lesser extent a couple years ago, but it’s so not healthy. I really hope this will change, but for now I’m just following people more selectively. The last couple of dramas I barely heard anything about because the people in my feed just weren’t involved. At most I saw a couple of “Can this please stop?” tweets, so basically I’m following the right people.

      <3 Thank you so much for your support! It definitely means the world to me.

  4. First of all, I just want to say that you are not alone! So many people, SO MANY, are feeling much of what you wrote in this post, myself included. I’ve been feeling just really BLAH about blogging in general, too, so I’m trying to just be chill about everything. I want to make some changes, but I don’t even know where to start. I’m going to spend my summer coming up with ways to make blogging fun again, because somewhere over the two and a half years I’ve been doing this, I lost that. And I lost the passion for it. But I don’t want to quit! Not until I give it my very best.

    I’ve talked with friends about this very thing, and I’ve read others’ conversations on Twitter. When my friend and I were discussing how we felt, she mentioned that it seemed like the book blogging COMMUNITY is in a slump. I kind of feel like it’s true. And I’ve also noticed, like Morgan, less and less interaction on blogs, too. I think Twitter is a big portion of why, and I am guilty myself of spending more time talking on there than on my own blog or others’ blogs. It’s easy to throw out a 140 character tweet than it is to visit and take the time to write a thoughtful comment (though I do love leaving people novels). I don’t think it’s an indication of how any blogger personally is doing, but a reflection on the state of the community in general. It just seems so much LESS than it used to be (I really don’t know how else to describe it). It’s definitely changed a lot, and I’m not sure how if it’s for the better, especially with how dragging the negativity can be.

    Second of all, I’m so glad you’re sticking around! I don’t comment/visit nearly as much as I want to, but I adore your blog and your posts. But yes, do YOU. Do what you need to do to not burn out and push yourself into further negativity and possibly quitting. Even if you don’t interact as much anymore, or you you can’t find the energy to post 3x a week like you plan, we’ll still be here. It’s so hard not to feel irrelevant or like you’re falling behind when everyone else is moving forward, and it’s something I struggle with as well. But at the end of the day you have to ask yourself: is it worth it? And if you say yes, then you find out what you need to do to remember why you started the blog in the first place. Which is what you’ve done here, and I sincerely hope that these changes help you find the fun and passion in blogging again!

    Wow, this was long and rambly and I’m not sure how much of what I said articulated well. But I just wanted to say that I feel you with this post and I’m glad Snuggly Oranges isn’t going away. πŸ™‚

    • Aww man, that is SO TRUE. The community is totally slumping. I’ve seen a lot of sentiment like this on Twitter, and also just in the other comments here. It’s kind of upsetting. Like, when did this switch happen? I think maybe Twitter is just making people feel like it’s so much more efficient, reaching so many people at once – and so one-to-one, more private conversation is becoming a rarity. But I definitely feel you: the community feels LESS… awesome. I dunno. It’s lost its spark? I’m hoping to force it back in, at least in my blogging life πŸ™‚

      Awww, thank you so much for your support πŸ™‚ If anything I’m glad I wrote this post because so many more shy or quiet readers are coming out and commenting. That’s kind of helping me remember why I liked this whole blogging thing in the first place. So I’ll definitely try to have more thought-provoking content in the future πŸ™‚

      You articulated yourself perfectly πŸ™‚ no worries! I love rambly thoughts. <3 Thank you!

  5. I can understand everything you’ve mentioned in this post and felt exactly the same way with my own blog and made my own personal changes. I think that you’ve made some great decisions that I really hope help you and your mental health. Blogging is a hobby, not a chore and the minute it changes, we have to do something to deal with it.
    I definitely need to take more time to comment on other people’s blogs too so I’ll do what I can.
    Thank you for a great post and I wish you all the happiness right now. πŸ™‚

    • It seems like we are really not alone in this at all, and I think that’s somewhat comforting. It’s so easy to get sucked into blogging, feeling like you need to DO MORE, ACHIEVE MORE, especially when it’s sort of expected or hoped for by publishers and authors whose esteem you still want to get. But yeah, we really need to take the power back.

      I’ve never been brilliant about commenting, but I’ve really had a reality check here and noticed just HOW MUCH it helps you to NOT feel like you’re shouting into the void. So yeah, it’s time for me to work on that πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much!! Your support means a lot to me.

  6. Re: Relevancy: I’m right there with you on this. My stats have pretty much plateaued. I’m still getting ARCs (living in the US does have a few perks), but it’s rare for me to get more than two comments on any post. It’s not rare for posts to get zero comments. Even though I see the stats, it’s hard not to feel like I’m typing into the void. But, like you say, I myself am generally too lazy to read comments, and I only read like four blogs with any regularity.

    It sort of kills me how much less reading I’m doing this year. I think I’ll end up having read just over 200 books, which I know isn’t bad, but it’s not a great number for me. It’ll be my lowest since I started blogging. Still, I was able to do that because I didn’t have much of a social life and I didn’t have to travel for work. I just do not have the time now to do what I once did.

    MISSION TO CIVILIZE. trolololol

    Okay, but seriously, I sometimes struggle with wondering if things were actually better before or if it’s just that I’m remembering the old days as golden when they weren’t. I guess it doesn’t really matter ultimately because the drama, when it starts up, really upsets me now. The turning point was KH. It’s like “this is something to be upset about” and nothing else has really been upsetting to that degree and people need to calm down.

    Not having to review every book is nice, though it can also add to the no posts problem. Three sounds very manageable, and I really hope it helps you feel at home again. I’ve been thinking about quitting too, but I suspect I’ll have more changes in the works like this before I actually go that far.

    I am SO glad I never put my stats in the sidebar. I get a weekly email about them, but sometimes I delete it unopened. It’s helped A LOT.

    Hmmmm, I don’t think I’ll support these changes. JK. Do what you need to do, and obviously I’ve got your back. *BIG HUG*

    • CURSE YOU US ADDRESSES AND YOUR ARC PERKS. lol jk. Sometimes I’m kind of glad that I’m international because I KNOW a “no” is so much more likely than a “yes”. My expectations for ARCs are miniscule, so I’m genuinely so happy anytime I get one.

      RIGHT, that’s so weird. My stats have been *relatively* the same, but comments have been so much less. It’s like everyone in the community just stopped commenting OR just moved the interactive part of the community to Twitter. I mean, I’m not faultless on that aspect, but yeah, the shouting into the void thing… not a cool feeling. I’m hoping that by having more time to promo, reply to comments, and visit other blogs, I will start feeling relevant again. It seems like a better solution than just churning out as much content as possible and remaining on my solitary island. (But we know my “I hate people” mentality so who knows how long this will last.)

      200 books asdfjkl; girl plz.


      That is a GOOD point. I think KH was definitely a turning point for me as well. Like, author legit stalks a BLOGGER FRIEND and brags about it? SCUM OF THE EARTH, GET HER AWAY. Author X says ABC questionable comment in interview or on Twitter? Guys. Let. It. Go.

      I think this trimming down of content will definitely help. I’m expecting it’ll let me get way ahead of schedule and then just reading whatever I want for a while and just having so much freedom. Maybe I’ll regain my love for blogging or MAYBE I’ll love the freedom so much, I will quit entirely. (I doubt it, but maybe.) In any case, this is just necessary. I could not continue the old schedule any longer. The guilt and stress were just way too much.

      YOU MEANIE. *sniff* whatever *tackle hugs*

  7. Debby I can relate. I just hit 2 and a half years and I’ve had all of these exact same feelings. I cut down on my posts per week (do about 3 now). I try to stay away from twitter a bit more (sometimes I don’t succeed and get life sucked away). I have requested far fewer books and am trying to take more control of what I read and when. I didn’t bother with the GR challenge and it’s been so freeing to have no clue how many books I’ve read. I took out my stats from my sidebar too. I hated them staring me down. My blog hasn’t been growing all that much lately either. I only see growth with giveaways πŸ™ A few reps have left but one in particular I’ve had to start from scratch on proving myself though I worked with them over a year and had worked with this publisher a ton. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to not even get a response. That saddens me so much. I hope that posting less and taking the pressure off will help revitalize you! I would hate for you to stop book blogging.

    • Aww, Kristen, I’m so sorry you’ve been having similar feelings, but at least you know you’re not alone. And judging by the comments, a lot of us older bloggers are feeling the same way.

      Losing my pub contact sucked, a lot.. but I’m trying to focus on the silver lining that this means I’ll have less blog obligations. And that’s kind of freeing! The books will come out eventually. And I actually did get a new pub contact this week, so these things just come and go. Still, by cutting down content, I’m cutting down review slots, and I’m forced to be more selective, which will hopefully mean more good books in my future πŸ™‚ instead of just “all the ARCs I can get my hands on”.

      Honestly, just putting these thoughts on paper (or, well, the blog) already helped so much. I’m more relaxed, I feel more interactive, and seeing how many people understand where I’m coming from is making me feel like more of a part of the community. I’ll probably be around for a good while yet πŸ™‚

  8. Yay! I’m so glad to hear you aren’t going away forever. I was nervous when I saw the beginning of the post lol. I think I’ve said before how much I genuinely enjoy reading your blog – yours is one of the few that I actually read ALL posts and reviews that are posted. I love your voice and I generally am nodding my head along with everything you say.

    It’s so easy to get bogged down with things like stats, ARCs, Twitter drama, etc. I find myself spending less time reading things I don’t want to read and more time focusing on what I want. It’s hard to make that adjustment, especially when FOMO is so real (esp where ARCs or Twitter are concerned). I’m really glad you’re able to make your schedule work for you and I’ll still be looking super forward to all of your posts! <3

    • Oooh I’m so sorry I may have scared you there! To be honest, the thought of quitting has been on my mind so much lately, but I’m not ready to just drop it all now. If anything it’ll be a slooooow tapered process. Hopefully now with less pressure on content I’ll rediscover my love for this whole thing. And hey, if posts get this kind of response more often, I don’t see myself going away for a good long while πŸ™‚

      I feel like in the blogging life cycle we all get to a point where what readers and publishers want from us overtake what we want to do ourselves. And it’s hard, because that usually comes paired with a kind of level of success. We need to take the power back and put ourselves first again πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much for being such a great supporter β™₯ I definitely don’t show my appreciation enough, but I’m going to try to do a better job on that.

  9. Debby:
    Not a blogger here. “Just” a teen services librarian and avid reader who stumbled across your book spreadsheets one day. Now I read whatever you post. And oh man it never occurred to me that NOT commenting would be a bad thing. I love your reviews, I look forward to your monthly wish lists, and treasure your Book Nerd Problems.

    Thank you for the time you give. Personally I think 3 posts a week is still incredibly generous.Take care of you first. Us loyal followers will still be here for you!!

    • No “just” anything! Thank you so much for commenting, and wow, I’m kind of stunned that my blog reaches librarians. πŸ™‚ Not commenting is not necessarily a bad thing, but for bloggers who have been around a long time, if you don’t get very many comments for a while, it kind of feels like you’re shouting at the void, you know? A little comment love to show you’re there goes a longggg way and is much appreciated πŸ™‚ so thank you!

  10. First of all: I <3 you and am sorry that you've been feeling like this lately!
    But I get it, I completely understand and have felt at least some of it myself. Especially the talking into the void thing, I mean, it's hard when you put in so much work and then basically noone seems to appreciate it enough to leave a comment. I'm also very guilty of not commenting enough myself, but I just can't keep up with everything out there.
    I love this post and it's good that you reevaluated and I hope this means that you will continue to pop up on my Bloglovin for a looooooooooong time!


      I think basically the majority of the blogging world is kind of slumping in a similar way. With so much of the community focused on Twitter, if you're not able to be THERE for the BIG DISCUSSION, blogging itself can so sound like screaming to the void. Buuuut I think maybe we all just have to put in more effort to comment and be more personal with each other - especially if so many people can relate judging by the other comments.

      Dude, even if I stopped blogging, you would not be rid of me because book club. BOOK CLUBBBBBBBBBB.

  11. MJ

    Thank you for saying this. I feel like this is a common feeling in the community. To be honest, I feel huge blots of blogging depression lately. Sometimes I really don’t think I’ve found a niche in the community. Sure, I’ll chat with people occasionally, but like you said it’s very easy to become forgettable in the huge blogsophere. Especially when people are coming and going as frequent as they are. As for ARC’s and Stats I’ve given up on those long ago. Having a full time job makes it extremely difficult to keep up on the things that you need to do, in order to attempt to have a “big” blog. I know some people who work and do it, but I honestly don’t know how they do it.

  12. I totally understand everything said in this post. I feel like there is a disconnection in the book community. I no longer feel that people are really connected and that it is no longer truly for the passion of reading and books. Blogging can be really overwhelming and when it seems like no one is really listening it doesn’t feel worth it.

  13. There are so many points here that make me smile knowing I’m not the only one thinking these things. I’m fairly new to blogging-officially almost 2 years, but really only 6 months consistently. I’ve seen the changes in the community and like you I feel pressured to give so much. I had to cut back on how often I was posting and it has helped me so much! I also agree with the twitter thing-I can’t be on it all the time and there are days I don’t even think about checking it. When I do, there’s either some sort of crazy level of drama going on or all these inside jokes that I may not understand because I wasn’t part of the original conversation. It makes it hard. I’ve been better about sharing posts I like from other blogs, but not necessarily commenting. Like you said though-be the change you want in the world and all. πŸ™‚
    I hope these changes truly help you feel better about your blog. It’s one I’ve followed and loved for awhile now and would hate for it to disappear completely.

  14. Oh, Debby, your post really hit home for me, because I’ve gone through many of the same feelings over the past year and a bit. I’ve wavered between wanting to throw in the tool, to spending money on a new site design and being all excited about blogging again, to feeling terrible guilt over spending the money on my new design because I no longer feel like blogging and want to quit again. I suppose that I’d be considered one of those “older” bloggers, since I’ll be at four years in November; however, I still feel like a newbie. I never acquired a big following when I had lots of free time to blog (in the pre-marriage, pre-kids stage of my life), and now life just doesn’t allow much time reading, much less blogging. I’ve come to realize that all of my blogging stress is self-imposed, but cutting down on ARCs and not forcing myself to blog when I wasn’t feeling it definitely helped. At the same time, I try not to worry about the lack of comments, but it is hard to log in and see that no one has commented on a post that I put a lot of thought into writing. And I feel the same about Twitter; even without the time difference aspect, it’s really hard to keep up. I feel so out of the loop from everyone that I used to be quite close to, and I do miss the camaraderie portion of blogging. I have recently started watching a few BookTubers and, while I enjoy anything that promotes bookishness, from book blogs to Etsy shops filled with bookish goodies, it saddens me that some of the bookish wonder found on the Internet doesn’t get along with some of the other bookish wonder. We all love to read, so we should be united!

    This is getting really long, but I just wanted to say that I feel what you feel, and I applaud you for writing such an honest and beautiful post. Your blog has always been one of my favourites and (even though I am guilty of rarely leaving comments myself), I always love what you post.

  15. Oh, this post. I love it and can so easily relate to many of the points you bring up. I know it’s SO easy to say stats don’t matter, but it’s a lot harder to believe it, especially when a random blog that started last week has ten times the followers you do! That said, it was just yesterday that I removed my stats. Naturally I’ll still check them every so often (for the reason you mentioned – NG, EW, etc) but I think it’ll do my mind a world of good not to have a number stare back at me every time I look at my blog.

    Don’t let a lull break you down! This summer my blog turns four and, to be honest, I feel like this year I really hit my stride. The previous three years were slowly working up to this point – I know feel like I know who I am as a blogger and where I want to go.

    I will never NOT be in awe of bloggers who are able to have a new post every single day, AND have a constant presence on twitter, AND have a full-time job. When I first started, I told myself blogging is, first and foremost, a hobby. If it ever reached the point to where it felt more like a chore, it would be time to walk away. While it’s incredibly there are people who are able to do this 24/7 in addition to work/school/life, that’s not me. And that’s okay! I like having a few posts a week – usually early in the week like Monday or Tuesday, mid-week (Thursday/Friday) and then my recap on Sunday. Some weeks it works to where I happen to have four or five posts scheduled – whee! Other weeks, like last week for example, I only had one review and then my weekly recap.

    I’m terrible when it comes to twitter. On my days off I’ll be around constantly, but the rest of the week I’m virtually nonexistant. To me, it’s both a curse and a blessing. Because I’m not around as much as others, I miss out on blogger interaction, but I also avoid drama. It was only because I happened to be on for a bit that I learned about the ridiculous blogger/booktube issue. πŸ™ It’s heartbreaking that communities created over a love of stories have decided to take up arms against one another.

    I hope everything works out for you, lifts the weight, and helps you to fall in love with blogging once again. ♥

  16. Yes to this post!!!! πŸ™‚ I am currently trying to come out of my biggest blogging slump yet. I have a new job as a library manager and it cut in to my blogging time. I could never blog at work, but I worked a lot less hours and had plenty of time to blog. Now I have barely any free time, and when I do I kind of want to make an effort to see my wonderful family and spend time with my boyfriend. We love together, but working different hours means that our time together isn’t always easy to come by. The blog just suddenly took a back seat. I’d also stopped enjoying it as much because of how much pressure I had put on myself to do it. I felt like I needed to post 5 times a week. And comment on all the blog posts of all my blogging friends. I was exhausting myself and it was not fun! But this post made me feel better because it’s nice to know I wasn’t alone in my feelings.

    I hope all the changes work for you and that you’re happier because of it! πŸ™‚ I think it will do you a world of good!

  17. This is a wonderful wonderful post and I’m glad you’re changing things to take care of yourself and make reading/blogging fun again!! That’s such a bummer about your favorite publisher, I can see how that would be deflating. But like you said, I’m sure it was a policy change and there are so many amazing backlist titles too. All books come out eventually! The time zones would be hard on me too, I have big FOMO and totally scroll back for hours when I wake up, it’s so silly. But I have to! For the record, I don’t think you’re easily forgotten <3

    Ooh what E3 titles are you excited about!! I pretty much only play Halo because it's Chris' mega obsession (and I enjoyed playing all the games) so I'm excited for 5. Chris also has all the Disney Infinity playsets and the new Star Wars ones look awesome. I LOVED the look of the female assassin in Assassin's Creed! And that crazy robot dinosaur prehistoric future game. I mean, WHAT?! But it looked rad. My main love though: Nathan Draaaaake. I LOVE Uncharted! I'm terrible at playing but I watched Chris play them all like a really long movie haha; I love the history and adventure, I'm really good at the puzzles, and yeah Drake is hot. There, I said it πŸ˜‰

    I try to stay away from the negativity as much as possible. It might amount to a little sticking my head in the sand but I'm trying to make Twitter my safe happy space and I don't have time for that ish. Your new schedule looks great! oh my gosh it's been so freeing and wonderful to reread books this year! I used to feel such guilty but I've loved it. And series binge posts are really fun, can't wait to read some!

    I hope all the changes work for you because I love your blog and talking on twitter and leaving you ridiculous comments esp about fairy tales and fluff haha πŸ™‚ xoxo

  18. I hope all these changes will work for you. I think it’s a good idea to post less content and to focus on a smaller amount of blogs.

    It sucks when you put so much time and effort in a post and you hardly get any comments on it. I don’t blog for my followers alone, but getting appreciation is nice.

    The change in the community is definitely something I struggle with. I love that there are new blogs, but at the same time it gets a little overwhelming. Also the hate every now and then.. It’s tiresome. I also feel a little left out on Twitter and I don’t have the energy to change it. I have taken a step back and I should stop worrying about it.

    And yes, I definitely miss your Youtube book hauls. I always enjoy watching them πŸ™‚

    My reaction is a bit rambly and all over the place, but I’m a little tired and I just wanted to give you my support!

  19. This post has been on my mind all week. I didn’t respond back right away because there were a lot of feels that came along with this post.

    For Twitter: Yeah, I totally understand. By the time I get home, most of the conversations have come and gone, and I always feel like I am clinging onto the last bits of a conversation or a trend, and I feel very aggravated that I have missed so much during the day. I have this horrible feeling that I am losing friendships because I can’t be on Twitter all the time, and when you don’t have that constant connection, then you get pushed out more and more from the inner circle.

    As for the drama, I might be one of the worst offenders. My biggest problem has been the backlash from other bloggers towards the people who post about these issues (this is not directed at you AT ALL!) When that whole Andrew Smith thing came out, I stayed on the fringes because I had a lot of inner turmoil over what happened. What really pissed me off was all of these bloggers telling other bloggers to shut up, get over it, and stop getting so offended. Hell, I saw one prominent blogger tell others to use their Twitter for something more worthwhile! On GR, a blogger told others that if they were offended, they were just buttholes. This isn’t what I signed up for. We all don’t have to get along, but this community has always celebrated discussion and honesty, and I must admit, I have been a little less impressed with the entire blogsphere after this all happened.

    And while I am here, pouring out my heart, I might as well point out how disappointed I am in some people. Some bloggers still act like high schoolers, and that has been very disheartening. What happened on our own blog recently slapped some reality into me and disenchanted me even further. All it takes is one offended brat to ruin years of work.

    As for the comments, it is really REALLY disheartening to spend hours and a lot of energy on a post, just to see no comments on it. I’m not looking for praise, but I love to see the reactions from others and read their own input. Prior to today, I had two posts that I LOVE with no comments and a TTT topic with just two comments.

    So in short, yeah, Debby, I totally get you. I love your blog and I adore you, but I totally understand the need to disconnect. As a fellow full-time worker, I can fully admit that work and blogging don’t always mix, and I constantly feel like the weakest member of our blogging team because my time is eaten away due to work, the gym, the cats, reading and tending to the household.

  20. I completely get this, Debby! Put yourself first, and if it means less posts, then so be it. I will still be here, I really love your blog, even if I don’t comment enough (although that’s a general thing at the moment…). To be honest, you’re a well established blog, all your long term followers and friends will stick with you through whatever decision you make.

    That’s a real bummer about the mailing list though πŸ™ I guess one upside is that it puts less pressure on you to get reviews out in time?

    Take it easy, don’t stress yourself out, and don’t forget, this is supposed to be a fun hobby. If it’s not fun, cutting back is a good idea.

    Best of luck! <3