So you may have noticed that I was missing for a few days, and the answer for that is simple: I was away at a camp (retreat?) hosted by the program that gave me the resources and guidance I needed to complete college at age seventeen. The whole goal of the three days was to bring the students together (there were forty of us that actually attended) and allow us to be with people who had similar experiences. I’ve been very lonely, as most of my friends are still off at college while I’ve skipped ahead to the working and moving on with life stage, and this weekend gave me an opportunity to meet like-minded people.
It was absolutely life changing, in a nutshell. We had speaker after speaker, all with something relevant and impactful to share with us. It was long, but never felt like it because of how interesting everything was. The whole weekend was jam-packed with activities, and I got a total of eight hours between Thursday and Friday night (one hour on Thursday night because I was playing nurse till 4:30 in the morning and seven of the deepest sleep I’ve ever had at a camp on Friday night). I won’t go into everything that I learned, but there were two lectures that really stuck with me: “How are you managing your time?” and “What is your purpose in life?” And I’ve come to a conclusion:
I need to cut back on blogging, and refocus on what makes me happy and what I truly want to do in my life. I know, shocking. But I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers lately are burnt out, and despite my belief that it would never get to me, I’ve fallen trap to it. I’ve no pleasure in writing posts, or even reading books, anymore. I’m just tired, all the time, and it’s showing in my writing. I work all day, then I force myself to come back and spend another two hours scheduling posts and leaving comments. And then on top of that, I have all these deadlines for book tours, ARCs, and all the other fluff bits that really aren’t the reason I started blogging in the first place. So I end up forcing myself to read books that I truly don’t want to, and in the end I’m resentful and actually dread reading. That is never a good place for me to be. EVER.
This isn’t to say that I’m going to quit blogging. I love blogging, and it’s a highlight of my week. There are some truly incredible individuals that I’ve met, and the opportunities I’ve had were just pipe dreams only six months ago. I wouldn’t give that up for anything, but I do need to make some minor changes. And I think it started with me, and fixing my perspective. Here are some goals that I’ve set for myself, and you’ll see effective immediately.
1) It’s okay to not comment on posts every single day
Those posts will still be there. If I miss a day, I can always check them the next day. I think I was most afraid that if I didn’t comment every single day, no one would visit my blog. But after missing a day or two, and seeing no change in my stats, I realized that people won’t ditch me just because I couldn’t leave a comment right when they posted. An extra twelve hours isn’t going to make that much of a difference!
2) Stats don’t matter
Here’s what else I learned – it’s okay if I have a slow day. It just makes the active days that much better! When I was away, and I got back, there was only one day where my stats were abnormally low. And even then, I shrugged and moved on. It was far less traumatic than I thought it would be. Again – people aren’t going to leave me because I can’t do everything I want when I want it! That was a huge wakeup for my self-esteem – my followers are here because they enjoy what I post, when I post it. They’re not going to leave me just because I can’t post every single day.
3) It’s okay to skip a day
If I’m tired, and don’t want to shoot a vlog, or just don’t feel like writing all three reviews each week, skip it! Before, I had a very demanding schedule that I had placed on myself – eight to ten posts a week! That’s three reviews on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, plus all the memes and discussion posts and fun posts I write. It’s exhausting, and it showed. My reviews weren’t as polished as I wanted, and my discussions were lackluster. And my fun stuff? More like snooze-ville! So what if I only write a review for Monday and Friday? There’s always next week. And double posts? Nah. One post a day is good enough. I don’t need WWW Wednesday and a review for Wednesdays – one or the other will suffice. This isn’t to say I won’t post every day – I actually might keep doing that! But if it happens that I can’t, I won’t freak out like before.
4) Don’t take on ARCs and tours unless you really want to
I think this was the main portion of my burnout – I signed up for all these tours, and then requested a million books on NetGalley, and now I’m locked into reading these books, and don’t have time for my personal books. Those huge orders I placed and was so excited for? I’ve read two out of the twenty. Nearly $200, just sitting on my shelf. And now reading has become a chore, because even though I may be interested in the ARC or tour book, I’m not at that point, but I still have to read it, because of deadlines. So now I’ve decided that I will only request on NetGalley or sign up for a tour if I really, truly want to, or if it’s a favor for a friend.
5) Have more fun with it!
This is the most important part. You may have read my Seven Oddball Terms I’ve Come Up With Since Starting Blogging. That was the most fun I’ve had writing a post in weeks – and you know what? People noticed it, and truly enjoyed it, and commented because they actually felt compelled and excited enough to comment! I’ve missed that part of blogging – the silly, goofy, fangirling side that truly identified my personal style as a blogger. Maybe it’s more informal, but it’s mine!
So those are my goals – and the purpose for this is to leave time for 1) reading at my own pace, and reading what I want to read, and 2) Making more time for my purpose and goals in life – writing my own novels. I miss that creative part of me, and even though I lost my muse for a while, she’s coming back, and it’s time to finish my transformation into the new Kayla.
If you’re struggling with burnout, I really recommend taking a look at your habits, and just remember: we will still be here when you get back, or reduce your post amount! We follow you for a reason, and we won’t hold it against you if you have to take a break. Life is hard enough without feeling like you’re tied to something – we don’t get paid for blogging, and it shouldn’t feel like a job. Just enjoy it!