Wednesday, April 25

I Abandoned You for Buffy. . . and I’m Not Sorry!

 

That's right, I am not sorry.

Blogger Burn Out.

In A Rut.

Blogger Blues.

Hit a wall.

Bloggers Block.

Blogger Constipation.
(Thanks to Kara from
Great Imaginations
for that last one!)

Whatever you call it, I was in it! My husband took a week off for us to have a Spring Break "Staycation" (I know, I hate that term too but it is accurate). I had all intentions of still posting during this time. I know that every time I take a break of more than a day or two I lose followers and my page views plummet. The thing is, I just could not get motivated to write a post. I decided I would skip a day and get a post up the next morning. Then the next morning came and I decided to watch TV instead. I watched everything on my DVR. I thought for sure I was ready to get a post up on the blog, I had nothing else to do. . . I just could not bring myself to even turn on the computer.

Buffy_S7I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV series on Netflix a few months back. Then I added in watching the Angel spin off because I did not want to miss the crossovers. Last week I felt like I needed to get something up on the blog, but I WANTED to watch Buffy. I made a decision to watch Buffy and I am glad that I did. The thing is, I feel pressure to make Books Devoured special and awesome and entertaining and all of that stuff. That pressure? It comes only from myself. No one emailed me and asked why I had not posted in a few days. No one got on twitter and called me a loser because I did not have a review up. Probably no one even noticed.

I will admit that part of this is because I am 6 months pregnant. This will be my third child and this pregnancy has been pretty hard on me to tell the truth. Me and the baby are for the most part healthy. It has just been 6 months of small things; hurt wrist, hospitalized for severe dehydration and weakness, ER trip to make sure labor had not started early, and most recently a broken tooth. That does not even include the normal stuff like heartburn and just generally being always uncomfortable. I know it sounds like I am whining and I guess I am. All these things have just contributed to my Buffy marathon.

I see it from bloggers all the time. We miss a few days and then post about why we were gone. I think the truth is we are writing these posts more for ourselves than our readers. We feel guilty. We shouldn't! Life happens! Pregnancies, weddings, family trouble, computer trouble. You know, LIFE. We assume that our readers are checking our pages and feeling upset with us because we have not posted anything. Maybe I'm wrong and others don't feel like this but I realized that I do. I have started to feel like this is a job that must be done and not the fun hobby it started out to be.

So what happens now? I tweeted that I wanted to just quit. I was feeling nothing but stress about the blog. A few friends reminded me that this is supposed to be fun. So instead of forcing myself to get a post up before I was ready, I watched more Buffy. You know what? It was worth it! I let myself forget about the blog for a few days and watched Buffy and enjoyed it instead of spending my tv watching time feeling guilty. It was just what I needed because when I stopped worrying about the blog, I finally missed it.

The questions I needed to ask myself were:

1. Where is this pressure coming from?

2. Why do I feel I can't take time off from my blog?

3. Who am I accountable to?

4. Why did I start this blog in the first place?

5. What do I do now?

I answered those questions after I took a real break. Not the first few days off where I wasn't posting but was still stressing about it. I was only able to really answer them after I let myself off the hook and really enjoyed a few days off.

The answer to number 5 is one I would like to share.

What's next is I am going to make CHANGES!!

Coming soon I am going to have 2 new features. The first is called "Shannon's Shelf Saturday." I love taking review requests because it opens me up to books I might not otherwise have heard of or read. However, I was taking too many and because of that I have SO many books on my shelf that I want to read that I bought and paid for. I did not read them because I would feel guilty knowing I had review books waiting. SSS is a way for me to take away some of that guilt. I am scheduling in a time for me to read my own books. Sometimes they will be new books and sometimes they will be older. Either way, they will be ones I bought because I was excited to read them. I even have a possible graphic made for this one!

SSS2

Another feature I plan to roll out soon is tentatively called "Cookin the Books." Oddly enough, I always planned to review cook books. I love cooking and really enjoy collecting great cookbooks. That is part of the reason I chose the name Books Devoured. I always planned to incorporate food into the blog but I just lost my way. I am not sure why I never got around to doing this, I think it was because of the pressure to take review books instead. I don't have a graphic for this one yet or all the details worked out but I will probably have some videos with this feature. I will talk more about it soon!

So maybe this post is more about me working something out in my own head than it is for the readers. I do hope that other bloggers read it and remember it in the future when they need it. The best thing I did was take a break. A real break where I did not feel guilty about it. Next time that you have Blogger Burn out, I hope that you will allow yourself to take a break too!

What about you? Have you had blogger burn out?
How did you get past it?

37 comments:

  1. Nothing like a little Buffy butt-kicking and snark to cheer you up!!!

    I agree with you. If blogging has stopped being fun, it's time to re-evaluate. I try to read books I like, ditch the ones I'm not loving and try new things.

    I think mixing up the routine might help. I used to love this show called Dinner and a Movie. They'd cook and provide recipes for the perfect meal to watch with a different movie each week. How about book/food pairings?

    Take care of yourself and the baby!

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    1. I am so loving Buffy! I am going to be sad when I finally watch the last episode!

      Another thing I suck at is letting go of a book I am not loving, I usually finish it anyway and I need to let it go!

      The Book/Food Pairing idea is awesome, I will have to think about that!

      Thank you!!

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  2. You were right...if you put Buffy in the title, it will get read!

    Was this your first time watching Buffy? I admit, I do most of my writing/editing with Buffy in the background. I can't tell you how many times I've seen all 9 seasons! (And Angel, of course).

    And good for you...that's what a Staycation is all about! Even if it means taking a break from something you enjoy doing, to remember why you enjoyed it to begin with :)

    PS: I would love to see some reviews of cookbooks!

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    1. Ha! I tricked everyone!!

      This is my first time watching Buffy actually and I am sad for it to end. I think Buffy will make excellent background for the future for me too!

      So glad to see positive feedback on the cookbook thing. It is something I feel pretty passionately about and have been planning for a really long time.

      Thank you so much!

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  3. Love me some Buffy. My husband has actually never seen the show before, so I've been forcing him to watch them all on Netflix as well. We're halfway through the first season.

    I've definitely had blogger burn out before. I get it quite often - between 60+ hours at work, dealing with real life issues that have been going on, keeping my house in order, etc, there are a lot of days that I am just way too tired. I curl up on the couch, watch a movie, read a book that I want to read, not one sent to me for review, and just veg. Best solution I've found for it so far!

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    1. I can't believe I have not watched Buffy before now myself! Thanks goodness for Netflix! I am on the last season of Buffy and the 3 or 4th of Angel. I wanted to watch them together in order.

      I can not imagine working that much and still maintaining a blog! I am a stay at home mom. I do homeschool my 2 children too so that takes quite a bit of time but at least I am at home and make my own schedule.

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    2. I actually could never get into the Angel spinoff! I'm not sure why, but it's so weird because I really loved Angel's character. My husband just watched the episode where Buffy finds out Angel is a vampire last night, so we still have a long ways to go.

      And it's definitely hard! I usually have to try and write 2-3 reviews at a time, que them, and just try to stay ahead. That way I can occasionally take some time off without forgetting about my blog.

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  4. I became incredibly overwhelmed over at Pure Textuality. I did the same thing you did - accepted so many review requests that I just couldn't keep up. I ended up seeing my random posts dwindling and I was getting a heavy dose of the self-imposed guilt because I felt like I wasn't getting enough reviews done. I ended up decided to bring some reviewers on board. I now have a review team of 11 people including myself and now my site is always active. Even if I am blocked and cant find anything to say (or just a lack of motivation to do so!), one of the other 10 always comes through. :) LOVE the post! LOVE BUFFY! ;)

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    1. I have to admit I have thought about bringing on other reviewers too. I think that I am just too controlling to actually do it though, lol!

      I am so glad you loved the post!! Thanks again for all the extra Buffy info you gave me on twitter!! I am excited to see what books are narrated by Spike for starters!!!

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  5. I had blogger burn out really bad last month. I was also going through a lot in my life, and worrying about blogging on top of it all would have pushed me over the edge.

    So, I didn't mess with my blog. It made me feel guilty at first, but I made sure to schedule the things that I had committed myself to prior to my burnout, and I didn't worry about the rest. Instead I focused my time and energy on the things in my life that needed my immediate attention, and just gave myself some time off.

    Now, I've had a good break. The real life things that were stressing me out and upsetting me and taking up my time have passed. And I find myself feeling happy that I can once again spend more time reading and putting some work into my blog. And I've realized that the world won't explode and I won't have a mass exodus of readers if I don't post for a while, which lifts a ton of the pressure that can so often make blogging less fun. I've been reminded that this is something I like to do, as long as I don't make it feel like a job instead of a hobby.

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    1. It is good to know I am not the only one who feels guilty when I take a break from the blog! I am hoping that you and I both get better about it though. We should be able to take a break when we want! This is supposed to be fun!

      I think my biggest struggle lately has been remembering that this is supposed to be FUN!! I have this need to be perfect and professional all the time. That actually made me lose my "voice" a little bit too. I used to have more fun with my reviews. Lately they have felt a bit formulaic. I am trying to work on that the most!

      Thanks and I am glad that all the stress you had last month is clearing and things are better now!

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  6. LOL Shannon. I'm probably going to get a ton of hits now because of that link-up. Who is that crazy blogger who said Shannon was constipated?

    Anyway, I'm glad you are going to make time for your own books. Everyone needs to do that. Blogging becomes work and tedious if you don't have fun. So you need to do whatever you do to make sure you have fun while doing this.

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    1. HA!! I told you I was going to do it!! It is FUNNY!! That is what this post is about girl, I need my fun back!

      I am really excited to read some of my own books!!! Which is a silly thing to say!

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  7. I think a break for Buffy (or in my case, Downton Abbey) is needed sometime. Most of the pressure comes from the pressure we bloggers put on ourselves, and it's good to take a breather sometimes. Love the idea of really taking time to read your OWN books. I do a YA Arc tour, and I love participating, but having one week to read a book, mail it off and then write a review is pretty daunting sometimes, especially when 3 arrive at the same time. I can get them read, and reviewed, but it makes it hard to read the books that are all ready lingering on my shelves. Thankfully the Readathon and the Spring Into Horror Read-a-thon have forced me to read some of my books, like Anna Dressed in Blood and the last Scott Pilgrim. It's nice to get to books that I was once so excited about, so I'm really looking forward to your feature!

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    1. Downton Abbey is on my list of possible shows to watch when I finish Buffy!!

      It is interesting to see other bloggers admit the pressure that we feel. I really think it is self inflicted. In a way it shows that we take what we do seriously and in a way that is a good thing I think. I occasionally participate in an ARC tour too and it does add to the stress a bit.

      I am looking forward to reading my own books! I think I will start with Pandemonium!!! Thanks!!

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  8. I am so happy you wrote this post and glad to hear you are feeling better about everything. It is completely 100% fact that we put this pressure on ourselves and honestly, this is your blog and you can run it how you want to. Period. Those who adore YOU (because it is YOU they come to this blog for) will stand by.

    Keep on keepin on, chic! And good luck to you and baby. Hope L&D goes smoothly.

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    1. Thank you so much Ash!! Thank you for being one of my encouragers! That support means a lot and I will do my best to do the same for other bloggers when they are going through the same thing. I think we can all use a little encouragement from time to time.

      Thanks!! July seems so far away but also so soon! I am not excited about the actual birthing part!!! HA!

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  9. Hey, everyone deserves a Buffy break! And Spike! *sigh*

    I try not to look at my stats, as they bounce all over the place and I don't want to stress over them. Blogging is stressful enough at times without worrying about losing followers.

    I post when I post, some weeks more than others. Your friends are right - this is supposed to be FUN! We all need to remind ourselves of that every now and again.

    Anyway, love the cookbook idea! And the graphic for SSS is awesome too! Welcome back! :)

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    1. !!!! YES!!! I am all about Spike!!!

      I don't look at my stats too often. Usually when I do it is only the month total. You are right. I know I should not worry about losing followers but it kinda hurts!

      So excited to see that you love the cookbook idea! That makes me even more excited about it!!

      Thanks so much!!

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  10. I love your idea of scheduling particular things like the Shelf Saturday and Cookin' the Books (GREAT title).

    Six months pregnant, by the way, excuses you from EVERYTHING. Glad you enjoyed Buffy!

    Be well!

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    1. Thanks so much!! I am really excited about both of those new features!

      HA!! Yes, I like being excused from EVERYTHING!!! Fortunately, I have an amazing husband who really does a lot for me. I don't know what I would do without him!

      Thanks!!

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  11. I definitely have felt overwhelmed at times. I am going through one of those times right now, particularly since my personal life has a lot of stresses in it as well. My husband is in the military and was posted in December four hours away so I only see him every other weekend, plus my father passed away before Christmas. It really made me think about my priorities so I have decided to take about three months off this summer and focus on my reading needs rather than always on someone else's. There are always some authors I will always drop everything and anything for as I have developed a great rapport with them over the years, but I need to do this for myself. When reading stops being fun and is more like a chore it's time to take a break and right now, I'm not enjoying the blogging experience. However, I've been doing this long enough that I know it will come back and it will be fun again. One area I do still have difficulty with though is stemming the review tide as I have difficulty saying no and there are so many GOOD books out there to review. I have to learn to say NO sometimes.

    I too, am doing the Buffy, Angel, and X-Files thing right now. Love Netflix!!

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    1. I am so sorry to hear about your father. I can't imagine how hard that must be. My husband is military also and I know that is a tough road! I can totally understand why you need this break! I took the better part of 2 months off when I first got pregnant because I was SO sick. It was good to be able to come back after the break excited about blogging again. I hope that the same thing happens for you!!

      I think I am too chicken for X-files!!! HA!

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  12. Oh I've been there and not just with blogging, but with life! And taking time to power down and away from it all is very healthy for the mind. Never taking a vacation has scientifically proven to make people hate what they do more, so don't hold it against yourself nor let it make you feel guilty.

    Take all the time you need till you get that passion to just write or even read.

    (PS - Buffy is amazing! What episode are you up to so far?)

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    1. I am really trying to feel better about taking breaks. I think the best thing I can do is to schedule a lot of days off. Somehow if I plan to be off that day it feels better, lol.

      I am on the last season of Buffy and I am so sad! I don't want it to be over! I have only watched the first few of the last season so far.

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  13. Hey Shannon,

    Glad to know you and the baby are doing well - although it is clear to me that the fatigue and the stress of it all has you quite uncomfortable.

    As all your other readers have opined, it is perfectly fine for you to take a break from time to time. Or any time, for that matter. And why must you feel guilty about it. Blogging is like any other job in life - from time to time, you just need to step away, to get back your love for it. You are one of the most conscientious and honest bloggers I've ever had the pleasure of encountering, thus your reviews hold real sway for me, and I'm glad that you feel like you can share all that you feel with us (your readers!).

    Take your time, enjoy your pregnancy, don't worry about us, we will be around when you are ready to return! :)

    Love,
    ~Hira~

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    1. Thank you Hira!! I have missed you lately!!

      I am really working on remembering that this is FUN! I love books and I love being part of the community. I am scheduling in lots of breaks starting next month and I think that is going to help a ton too!

      ((HUGS))

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  14. Now I would fall into a Firefly stupor, although I am also fond of Buffy ... and I think cookbook reviews would be great! Especially if you are going to be trying recipes etc ...

    And hey we all get time off from the blog - you especially, you have so much going on!

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    1. I have Firefly on DVD and I need to watch it soon! I started it a while back but then I got sidetracked and never finished it. I want to start over and watch them all and then watch Serenity.

      I am so happy to see positive feedback about the Cook Book idea!! I DO plan to try out the recipes, maybe even on camera! We will have to see how I feel but that is the plan! =)

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  15. I almost quit last year. I hated reading (taking on to many request/review books) and I hated blogging. i took almost all of Nove/Dec off.

    It has helped. We really need to remember why we all did this in the first place & get back to that.

    This is your little corner of the internet to express yourself however you want - how often you want.

    If you want to have a Buffy/Angel marathon go for it! I think it's an excellent use of time btw and I would have joined you had I known lol

    I hope you find a way that gives you balance and continue blogging ;-)

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    1. I am glad that you did not leave completely but I totally understand wanting to!

      This break really helped me too. I think I am going to try scheduling lots of days off for myself. That will make it feel a little less like I am skipping what I "should" be doing.

      I will be watching more Buffy soon! I am on the last season and I am so sad!!

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  16. I have been a bit overwhelmed lately with all of the books I have to review. It's totally my fault, and I have learned my lesson. It is okay to take a break. You and your family come first. Blogging should be fun, nit stressful. You need to do what you think is right so you can still enjoy it. Whenever you do blog, I will be here reading it, whether it's everyday, once a week, whatever. I enjoy your blog and I look forward to your new features and blog posts.

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    1. I do the same thing! Especially with self published or smaller press books. I take them out of guilt I think. I really want to help the authors out. Sometimes though, it ends up that I don't love the book and that stresses me out so much! I think I am generally a nice person and it is SO hard for me to write a review if it is not glowing, you know?

      I am really working on taking less, I have gotten better at saying no. I have had to just stop taking self published all together until the baby is a few months old. I need the break!

      Thank you for reading and being such an active part of my little corner of this community, it really means a lot to me!

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  17. I think most of us feel exactly the same as you. I need to bookmark this post so I can make myself re-read it once a week as a reminder for balance. Thanks

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    1. I think it is pretty common, we just all go through it at different times, lol. The biggest thing I am taking away from this experience is letting go of the guilt. I am taking less books for review and that is helping already. Come back and check it out anytime you need! Or better yet, hit me up on twitter so I can offer some encouragement like others did for me! =)

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  18. You know, I've been thinking about the exact same thing recently - we went into this book business, because of our PASSION. We love books so much that we want to share that love.

    But when passion becomes a chore, that's absolutely the best time to step back, watch something Joss Whedon created, and re-assess what we want. :-) Thank you so much for the reminder!!

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    1. Hi Shelby,
      Yes! It is the Passion that gets lost in the details! I think we all go through this at times. The best we can do is try to take a break and refocus!

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Please feel free to jump in anytime, all comments are appreciated!