I know I said I’d be posting my Musings topics on Thursdays, but this week I’m hosting a stop on the A Spark Unseen Blog Tour, so decided to just post my topic earlier in the week. (Plus there’s that whole thing where I didn’t get anything read, so don’t have a review to post….) I really want to make this a weekly feature, so decided I’d best get into the swing of things!
In my first Merin’s Musings post, I talked about organizing your blog’s posts via the use of a schedule. This ties in nicely with what I want to discuss today, because for me at least it goes hand-in-hand, especially as I struggle with this aspect of blogging. So.
Today’s Musing Topic is: Balancing Real Life AND Your Blog.
I have not been shy in stating how much I’ve been struggling with this of late. I used to be able to read and review 2-3 books each week, but since I started back to work in August, I’ve read a grand total of TWO books, and have numerous other ones started and then left to sit in a pile. I am trying hard not to stress overly much about this – I know that I will eventually organize myself so that I’m once again reading more regularly – but it’s been over a month now and I still really have no desire to pick up a book.
Everyone goes through reading slumps, but for the most part I’ve really avoided ones that were bad enough to cause a hiatus on my blog. But right now, by the time I get home – which isn’t usually until 5:30/6pm-ish – I just really don’t want to do anything, and that includes picking up a book. I think this is because I get so emotionally invested in what I read, and those feelings can be exhausting. When I’m already tired from wrangling 22 first graders, adding MORE to my plate that can also tire me out doesn’t sound all that appealing. I also sometimes just want to sit and veg in front of the TV, or put my headphones in and pull back from the world. Throw in the never-ending lesson planning and reflecting on how the day went and what you should maybe change (and the endless mountain of papers to grade), and reading really just HAS to fall by the wayside, at least right now. For me, currently there IS no balance between life and the blog: it is all about life, all the time.
So that brings me to my questions for you: how do you balance things out? How do you manage to squeeze in your reading time while still leaving time to do other things you may want (or need) to do? What strategies or advice do you have for me to better help me get back into the reading groove? (As a teacher, I’m big on strategies!) What do YOU do when you’re in a slump? And how do you keep your blog active when you ARE on a slump?
Going back to the first Musings topic, slumps – or, in my case, exhaustion – make it really difficult to stick to your posting schedule. I used to keep a calendar with the books I was hoping to read each month tentatively penciled in on the days I would usually post reviews. For the most part, I stuck pretty closely to the schedule, with a few exceptions here and there. Because I used NetGalley and Edelweiss fairly frequently, I needed the calendar to keep up with the galleys I was given access to. The calendar helped me keep their release dates in mind so I could “order” which books should be read first.
But since I’m not currently reading anything, that calendar became more mocking than helpful, to the point where I finally went in a few days ago and deleted everything except the dates I’m scheduled to review a book for blog tour stops. Since doing that, I feel a bit better because now I don’t feel like I’m missing deadlines (and yes, I realize that those dates weren’t hard and fast and it wasn’t like I was going to get in trouble for NOT posting what I’d intended, but still). I do still plan on reading and reviewing those galleys I receive, but have come to terms with the fact that it’s just going to take me longer to do so.
So, again, I’m currently struggling with finding that balance between life and the blog. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had similar problems, though, so would love to hear from those of you who likewise struggled and have since found something that worked for you. I’m all ears (or eyes, as the case may be)!
I am teacher so I understand the sheer exhaustion factor!
It’s so terrible! I love working with kids, but they are just absolutely exhausting. I don’t know how teachers can also be parents! I’m so glad to leave them every night, even though I DO like them a lot!
It really can be a struggle to balance working life, personal life, and blog life. Plus, I know you’ve had a bit of a change with your job, which I’m sure has been pretty stressful. I really like to post three reviews a week, but of course that isn’t possible all the time. Especially when I’m super busy, or when I am in reading slumps.
Here’s what I do that really helps me out. I designate Sunday for reading. I do very little else (usually) and just do house work, and read. I try to read a whole book on Sunday. Having one day that is just devoted to reading every week is so helpful for me. I also take advantage of audiobooks. Sometimes I take breaks from them, but the majority of the time, I have one going in the car. Even though I have a really short commute to work, those 15 minutes back and forth really help with keeping my reading numbers up. Sometimes, I even listen to an audiobook inside my house when I am getting reading in the morning or doing housework.
One other thing that I find helps me in times of reading slumps or when my life is just so busy I don’t have a lot of time to read is to have a little surplus of reviews. I think you mentioned using the draft feature in wordpress in your last Merin’s Musings. If I’m in a reading slump, even if I have four reviews drafted, instead of posting three in a week, I will cut that number down to two. I always try to adjust depending on how my life is, and how I think it will be for the next few weks.
I don’t really know if this helps so much with the situation you’re in right now. But maybe it will be helpful once you aren’t so busy at work.
On another note, about being so tired you don’t want to read anything that will tire you out more. I always find Meg Cabot an easy read for situations like that. Good luck :)
Yeah, it’s times like these that I wish I had the attention span for audiobooks. I’ve tried them a few times and find myself daydreaming and missing half of the book! I did pick up The Raven Boys, though, as well as The Girl Who Circumnavigated…, so maybe they’ll do the trick. I could listen to them in the afternoons after my kids are gone while I’m puttering around my classroom doing various things.
I use a calendar but I don’t schedule it ahead of time. What I mean is, when I finish a book and write its review, THEN I schedule it on my calendar. (This wouldn’t work, obviously, if you post a review as soon as you write it. I’m scheduling into October right now. I don’t want to get too far ahead, but it’s nice to have those extras as a cushion if I need it.) I can’t do that ahead of time because I never know if another book is going to come along and distract me or some life event will get in the way. It could take me a couple of hours to read a book or it could take me a couple of weeks.
Then I fill in other posts as I have time. Last night I did my memes for the week. I really like the ones that give you the topic early so that you can do that. Otherwise I’m scrambling to get it done on the right day. Waiting on Wednesday is easy to do ahead of time too.
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