Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hardcover Lover Confessions (11)

Hardcover Lover Confessions (or HCL Confessions) is a discussion post feature on The Hardcover Lover. In the posts, I confess bookish habits, thoughts, or other random things with my readers, and then I encourage everyone to start discussing that comment with one another.

There really isn't an order as to when I post my Confessions - I kind of come up with them when an issue arises or a thought pops into my head. Ergo, there could be one a month or there could be a few a month. It just all depends on what's going on in the book community or how I feel.

This week's confession is a lot more personal than ones in the past have been, so please bear with me. I have been holding all of this in for a while, and I felt like just letting it out would be therapeutic for me.

HCL Confession on Blogging Slumps

I don't know if you have noticed or not, but I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately. Well... I should actually say huge blogging slump. I honestly don't even know why it's happened to me because I was really on top of things for a while. I was organizing posts left and right. I was sorting through books to see which ones I would read next. I was happy. And then I wasn't.

I know other people were saying that the whole blogging and book community is in a bit of a slump, but it feels like more than that to me personally. I don't know if it was caused by a lot of the previous drama that happened with the book community, the lack of responses for a blogiversary event I was going to host, or if it was a particular project I was working on with someone else, but something hit me. And it hit me hard. Recently, I've even thought about just packing it in and quitting, but I just love discussing books with my readers and the people I've befriended on Goodreads.

Lately I've been finding it hard just to come up with post ideas, and to be honest, a lot of what you've seen lately has been scheduled in advance. I used to love participating in certain memes, but I just look at them and feel like it's all been done before or that it's just not worth it. Other times, I'm just too busy to create a post, and then I feel bad... like I'm offending the host for skipping a week. I've even missed two weeks of my own meme, Soundtrack Saturday, because I don't feel like blogging. 

I used to love commenting on other blogs, but again, I just feel so out of place when I go to comment on a blog because I feel like it's all about self-promotion now. I see people leaving links to unrelated posts on other people's blogs, and it just makes me think about how much it really looks like spam. I don't want people to think that I'm that kind of blogger. I don't mind CommentLuv, as a feature, but there are times when I see some really wonky comments out there that just include links. Like really? That's spam! Personally, I comment on a post that grabs my attention. I comment on reviews for books I've already read. I don't want to feel like I'm being pressured into commenting on all these posts. I also don't want people to think I'm only commenting on their post so they will eventually comment back on my blog.

And it's not just a blogging slump that's hit me. I think I'm also in a reading slump because it's taking me so long to finish books. I am usually able to finish a book in a day or two, but now it's taking me a week or two just because I feel like I'm just tired of it all. Not only do I feel behind on posts, but now I feel like I'm going to be behind on reviews, especially ARC reviews. I keep looking at my ARC pile and list of eARCs, and I feel sad because even though there aren't that many, I know I won't be able to read some of them by the books' publication dates. It's just a disheartening feeling to not feel like what you love is something that you really love.

And then I keep getting review requests, even though my review policy states that it's closed. I don't know where all these authors are finding me to ask. It's flattering that they'd ask, but it's annoying to deal with requests for reviews when A. I'm not accepting them, and B. They are for books in genres I don't read. I thought those days were done and over with, but I guess not. I just feel like I'm wasting time replying to these emails, and it's taking away from my love of reading and blogging.

I know I'm not the only book blogger out there who feels this way. I've seen quite a few Twitter statuses about it, but I just feel so alone in this feeling. I know I've confided in a few friends about it, and they've told me that the feeling will pass, but it's been months now. I just can't shake it. Maybe this post will help. Maybe it won't. Maybe my pile of ARCs will light a fire under my ass and get me started up again. Maybe celebrating my blog's upcoming anniversary will help. To be honest... I really don't know. All I really do know is that I had to let all of this out. I had to express my feelings, and I do feel a little better now that it's all in written words.

Your Confessions

If you've read this much, just know that I love you for taking the time to read that whole rant. I really, really do. 

I don't even know if this post will be relatable to everyone out there, but if it is, I'd love to hear what you have to say about blogging slumps. I'd love to hear how you came out of a blogging slump or if you're feeling the same way at the moment. If you're feeling frustrated, let me or anyone else know. I'm sure we'll be able to get a good conversation going on this post. 

And like all HCL Confessions posts - please be respectful with your comments. I don't think it'll be an issue on this post because it's not controversial, but remember that I can always ask you to refrain from commenting on future HCL Confessions.
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  1. I've been in a huge slump since about March. Or February? I got sick in February and I tried to keep going but then I got sick again at the end of March. I think I was struggling even before that, if I'm being honest. Then my cat got sick and I've had trouble even wanting to blog since then. (She's doing well again, or as well as a 15 year old cat with kidney disease can be doing.) Then the weather got nice and I wanted to spend more time outside. There's always some excuse. I haven't written a blog post in about a month and a half, until just a few minutes ago. I haven't had a post go up since May 26, when I ran out of scheduled posts. I was already behind on ARCs and now I'm even more behind. (I don't think I have *any* that haven't been released already. I feel bad about that, but...) I haven't opened Bloglovin since March-ish. I was totally out of the loop about BEA, whatever drama you mentioned, and I don't even know what else. I keep saying I'm going to get back into it, but I just haven't. Now I'm starting to feel more motivated. I want to blog, but actually sitting down to blog again is hard. I'm going to give it one more try, a good try this time, and if I don't get back into it this time, I think I'm done. I'll miss it, but sometimes it's time to move on. I don't know if it's time or not. I hope not (for both of us), but it might be.

  2. That's the other thing that I didn't mention - but I've been really sick too. It's so frustrating to try to blog while you're sick.

    I'm really sorry about your cat, Jenna. My Lorelai passed away last year, and I was a mess the whole time she was sick and for months after she passed away.

    I used to always have a Bloglovin tab up, but I don't do that anymore. I just check it when I feel like it, instead of having it sit there to haunt me. lol

    I really hope you get back into it, Jenna. Your blog is one of my favorites out there, and I always love seeing what you have to say. :) I totally understand if you don't get back into it though. It seems like a lot of people have stopped blogging lately, and I really do see why. It's frustrating at times.

  3. I hope you feel better soon. Blogging is no fun when you're sick! I know some people use their iPads or even their phones, but I just can't do it unless I'm on my computer (and I have a desktop, so at my desk, not even lying down) . I can maybe take notes on the book I'm reading on my iPad, but usually I don't even do that.

    I'm sorry about your cat too. It's hard.

    Aw, thank you for saying that. It means a lot. I love your blog too. Yours is one of the few that I have read posts from, even though I haven't left any comments. I'm going to work on getting my own blog back up and running before I try to get involved in the community again. One step at a time! I was never as involved as I wanted to be, so I figured people wouldn't miss me. Maybe I'll do better this time.

  4. I always think the biggest thing is to focus on doing what you WANT to do. Even though ARCs are technically a commitment, you're better off waiting until you're in the mood for them and giving them the review they deserve. I feel like taking a step back, reading books you REALLY want to read, and not stressing about commitments can help. Don't feel bad about not posting because its your blog and everyone understands! :)

  5. I don't understand how people can blog from phones. I can't even blog on my Kindle. It's just too complicated, and nothing is saved on there. I use my MacBook, so at least I can sit up in my bed, but when I'm sick, I'd rather just relax.

    Thanks. She was a good cat, but I've got two little devils now. lol

    Awe thanks. :) I know I haven't commented on yours in a while, but it was one of the first that I followed. I fell in love with your color scheme. It took me a while to get Disqus up and running on here, but it's worked out well since. The Blogger comments were just the worst. lol

  6. That's great advice, Lauren. :)

    I definitely need to step back and prioritize things. I'm hoping the SBPT will help. I have most of those posts scheduled, and I had a lot of fun meeting some new bloggers through it.

    I do have a few books on my shelves that I want to read for myself, and I might try to sneak a few of those in over the summer. It might be just the cure.

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on us with the blogging slump Erin. Sometimes, we just need to go and take a break to get a fresh perspective on things. When we get annoying review requests, spam, drama, it can definitely be demotivating, but focus on the positives and the things that you love about the community and I hope it will give you a better time :)

  8. You're welcome, Jeann.

    I think the bit of a break that I took kind of helped. And yes... everything that happened to the community and me personally just made it all seem so much worse than it probably was. I just needed to spill.

    Thanks so much, Jeann. There are definitely a lot of amazing things in this community that I love, and I'd be extremely sad if I left it before I really felt like I was a part of it.

  9. Kayla @ The Thousand LivesJune 29, 2015 at 2:53 PM

    I’m sorry you’re feeling this way Erin! I know how awful a blogging slump can be.

    The best thing I’ve learned about a slump is that it’s okay to back off. Even if you do one or two memes per month, it’s still all right! I’m down to posting four times a week instead of my six from before, and it’s made a big difference.

    But really, it’s whatever you need to do! Take a break for a month, force yourself to post - whatever works best.

    I just ignore review requests after a while :/ If the author is rude enough to completely ignore what you’re saying, then I don’t mind just deleting the email!

    I hope you get the groove back soon <3

  10. I love Disqus! I used it when I was on Blogger too. I've been thinking of a redesign of my blog, but first I want to make sure I'm going to keep going. My domain is up for renewal this summer so I'll have to make a decision soon.

  11. Aww Erin, you are so not alone with this kind of thought. Especially when I feel like not posting anything. I really suggest taking a break for a while or just reading a book that you really WANT to read and not because it's an ARC. :) Thanks for this great post <3

  12. I kinda feel the same Erin! :( Just take a break if you need to. Don't feel pressured to post. *hugs you*

  13. Erin! *hug* Don't let the blogging get you down! What I always tell people is that YOU are in charge of YOUR blog which means you get to do whatever you want whether than means taking a break, not posting, or just walking away (although I'll miss you if you walk away.

    If your review policy says you're closed, it's cool to ignore requests or just reply with a canned "no." The key also is everything is a "request" or a book received for a review obligation. You don't owe anyone reviews or posts or new content. Just do what makes YOU happy.

    Also there is totally value in taking some quiet time to regroup.

    I had some major commenting angst earlier this year but I've started cutting down on the blogs I read so that they are only ones I really, really like and I only comment when I really have something I want to share whether it's a book that sounds similar or just some thoughts like here.

    It's hard sometimes but a very smart friend also reminds me sometimes that she blogs for herself and the rest is just a bonus. Remembering that helps when I'm feeling down.

    In terms of reading--your pace will even out! I find having a monthly reading tracker post helps me see what's what but again, try not to stress and just take it one step at a time whatever that step might be. *hug*

  14. Thanks, Kayla. :)

    The requests are definitely the worst. I got one the other day, and I told the author no and linked him to my review policy because I don't review poetry. He had the nerve to ask if he could email me again in a few weeks and then add me to his Google Circles. I was so angry.

    I hope so too. I just feel like I've exhausted everything I need to say.

  15. I think I am going to do that. I have a few ARCs that I really want to read, but I also have a few older titles that I want to get to before summer is over. I think it will help out with the whole thing.

  16. I think a little break would be good. I'm hoping that a little weekend away will do the trick, and then I'll come home and get back to the grind.

    Thanks so much, Angelica! <3

  17. Thanks, Emma! I really, really tried not to let it get me down, but it did. :( I'm really hoping that letting things be still for a while will help, and then I can just get back to it.

    It definitely helps to look at ARCs that way. I know for a while, I was rushing to read all of the ones I had just because I felt like I needed to review them. I know a few publishers look for a review in a certain amount of time, but I need to just take a step back and focus on me.

    Commenting is the best and the worst. I feel like I offend people if I don't comment on their blogs, especially when they comment on mine, so I always try to hit up a few a week, and then I comment on a lot of my friends' blogs, but I've noticed that they don't really care if I do or not, so it's nice not to feel pressured. :)

    I think being sick also contributed to the slower reading pace. I just didn't have the energy to sit up and read. I'm hoping that I'll be feeling like reading more now that I'm starting to feel better.

  18. Disqus is so nice, and it's so much faster than Blogger's commenting system. I almost thought about adding the new Google + commenting system, but I hate using it on other blogs. It's just so slow to load!

    That's one of the reasons why I haven't bought my domain yet. I'm unsure of how things will pan out for me in the future, especially if I get a full time teaching job.

  19. Honestly, blogging is meant to be a hobby. I (along with all of your other adoring, loving readers) would hate to see you leave blogging. Do something, like reduce the amount of content you produce, skip a few weeks of a meme (I promise skipping a week will not cause a host to hate you. I mean, who could?), eat some chocolate, or even take a mini-hiatus. No one would be upset with you.
    I have been in blogging slumps before (there have been months when I have not touched my blog) but I have always gotten back into it. I love it, even if my schedule does not. Talking with other book lovers and sharing ideas is enough to keep me going. If you need inspiration, talk to us! We will be your shoulder to lean on. If you need post ideas, I know there are at least a dozen bloggers who would love to have a brainstorm session with you (including me).
    Another important thing about blogging is that you are NEVER alone. Even if the whole community is in a slump, we are still in the slump together. And we will get out of it together. There is absolutely no way that we will leave you behind.
    I really hope you can shake off this blogging slump!

  20. Sometimes it's good to take a break! I've only been blogging six months now, but I've already taken two small breaks. After each one I was excited to get back to blogging again. If you do take a break, be sure to come back once you feel rested! We will miss seeing you around :P

  21. That's how I see it, but all of these publishers (a lot of them being Indie) seem to make it seem like it's a job. They just push and push and push until it becomes an annoyance. I had ten review requests this week, plus I had a publishing house practically beg me to be a part of their tour company. It's too much, especially when they are pitching to all the wrong people.

    I never thought of brainstorming with other bloggers. I have, but I've never really taken it seriously just because I'm so afraid of people stealing my ideas (it's happened before on other places).

    Thanks, Tessa. I'm really hoping it's just because it's hot, I'm sick, and all of the annoying pushes from everyone out there.

  22. I feel you. I've just taken a two-month hiatus from the blog and I really felt like it was the right decision for me. I now have a ton of scheduled posts, and am currently crawling from the depths of a month-long reading slump. Definitely take a break if you feel like you need one, and don't feel guilty for it!

  23. I noticed that, Inge. I missed your presence. I'm glad that you're back to it, and that you have a lot of scheduled posts. Personally, my blog lives on scheduled posts just because I find it easier to write them ahead of time rather than the day of something.

  24. It hits all of us at times! The drama definitely makes me pull away, but it makes me want to read and disconnect so that still kind of works for me as a blogger since I build up a few reviews to write. Really, all you can do is take a break and read whatever books you want to read and try to get that passion back without forcing it I think!

  25. Breaks are GREAT! Definitely. If you feel like you don't want to post, then don't do it. Your followers will still be here when you come back. Or if you don't want to take a break, just slow it all down. Be more chill about letting days go by without a new post up. So many of us are in blogging slumps right now, and I feel you so much on this post. I think I'm slowly coming out of mine, but I'm still finding it hard to write up posts, especially REVIEWS. I hate it, but I don't want to push myself, you know? I feel like people can tell when you're just not IN it. So I do the posts I want to, and don't put too much expectations on myself. I don't wanna get burnt-out and end up with another "I want to give up" thought.

    I hope you get out of this slump soon! :)

  26. The drama is definitely a turn off. I know it's always going to be there, but sometimes, it's about the stupidest stuff. Like I don't complain when people go to conventions and get ARCs because I realize that people pay a lot of money to go to those conventions.

    I think I'm coming out of the blogging slump because I'm finding that I want to post, but I'm still in the reading slump. Everything is just taking forever for me to get through. I'm hoping it will go away soon because I really want to get back to reviewing.

  27. HOLLY! I know breaks are great, but I'm not the person to take a break. I got in the habit of having at least one post per day, and I think that added to the stress of it all. I'm trying to get used to not posting every day, and while it's nice, it's still so frustrating because I hate seeing the scheduled posts go down with nothing to fill them with. :(

    It's so weird that so many people got in slumps at the same time. I think the start of summer got to everyone though.

    I know what you mean about pushing yourself. I've taken breaks in the middle of a review, and then when I come back a few hours later, I feel a little better about it.


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