As I mentioned last week (with my New Year, New Reading Resolutions post) I have decided I want to change things with the way I read and get tougher, well I think the same thing needs to happen with my blogging life too. I promise this is not a navel gazing post; I have spent hours editing it, rewriting it etc so I hope it comes across as a constructive one instead. The thing is over Christmas, and possibly a bit before then too, I got really fed up of books and blogging – I am fine now – and decided to look at why and what I could do to make it better or if I needed to stop blogging for a while or simply full stop.
The main reason, like with my TBR as I mentioned last week, was that I was spending a lot of Christmas feeling guilty, self inflicted maybe yet that is what I was feeling all the same. Several things set this off and the main one was lack of time full stop. Towards the end of last year with Gran being so ill, the homophobic neighbour from hell, work being a real rollercoaster and the Green Carnation Prize to sort – I was just running on empty. Lovely people were asking me for my books of the year, people were sending lovely messages to me about Gran, delightful comments were being left on the blog about books and Gran too, people who I didn’t know where demanding to know why they weren’t on my blog roll, authors independent of publishers were emailing about books of theirs I had to read, social sites wanted to team up with me, and I felt slightly overawed and simply didn’t have time to respond. In fact there was becoming no time to really read anything, which is my greatest joy and the life blood of this blog, and that was worrying me too, especially with the ever growing Mount TBR.
Interestingly around this time, on Twitter I think, I spotted a link to Simon of Stuck in a Book’s post, On Commenting, and it really resonated. Have a read of it yourself but he talks about how comments on his blog have lessened and yet his visitor hits are higher (snap) and that he missed them. At first reading the comments made me feel better, it seemed it was a time issue for everyone, but then it started to make me feel even guiltier, so I decided that the positive thing to do, instead of beating myself up about it, would be play catch up over Christmas. That would be my ‘blog admin time’ both for my blog and others too. What I hadn’t realised was that I had actually not responded to my own comments since October (shame, shame, shame on me) two days later I was just about mid way through Novembers comments. I then realised that I had not checked other peoples blogs since that time, this became all the more daunting when I realised that I seemed to have been adding blogs to my favourites and now had a list of 72 of them! I realised something had to change…
So I have decided that for both my reading and my blogging it’s a) time to go back to basics b) time to start from scratch and c) time to be a little bit more selfish (in the nicest possible way). And I have come up with these guidelines – not rules, blogging isn’t about rules- which are in force as of now, if people are offended by any then I am really sorry however Savidge Reads is my blog and my free time, anyway…
Reading Comes First, Blogging Second
I read and then blog, I don’t blog to read and that is a mantra I need to remember. Yes part of my job is reviewing books but blogging is not my job. I love books, and I love blogging, but if the joy of reading goes – which it almost did at the end of the year – then there won’t be any blog anyway. Reading needs to be enjoyable not done to a deadline, which links too…
My reading this year will be by whim, apart from (see there are always exceptions) my Persephone Project (which is a project I am doing alone because I love the books and their variety), finishing Classically Challenged (which is reading books I have meant to anyway) and The Readers Book Club (which is a joint choice of what me and Gavin want to read or have loved reading). I will not plan any reading or blog posting from now on – I used to think ‘ooh that book would be great for that authors birthday’ or ‘ooh Fridays are quiet I should schedule a book for that day more people might be able to talk about’, no more. It is whims all the way, I might do three posts on one day or non for three days/weeks who knows. Whims are whims after all, ha!
Savidge Reads and Publishers/Authors
I am very lucky with, and very grateful for, the relationships I have with publishers and we have all been emailing in the last week about my new reading by whim. I am still going to request books on whim and review when right rather than right now (this worked marvellously with ‘My Policeman’ which I was desperate for when it came out in hardback, went off for some unknown reason –really I have no idea why – then read in December and adored) and that I am happy for unsolicited books which I might love (like Madeline Miller’s ‘The Song of Achilles’ which I wouldn’t have chosen myself) as long as they don’t arrive with unsolicited pressure. Lovely. I have decided I will not be accepting books directly from authors however.
I want to try and have more personality and emotion in them, this means they might be longer and a little wry humoured but the blog is not like my reviews for work and there should be a difference. If people like it lovely, if not… erm… well…
Commenting Back On Savidge Reads
I love getting people’s comments and I am really sorry I was so rubbish at responding last year. Now that I have officially caught up (yes even yesterdays comments are answered) I will try and comment back as much as possible if, that is, I have anything I think worth adding and if I have the time as the next few months are going to be bonkers with seeing Gran as much as I can, reading, spending time with The Beard and our pesky and adorable kittens, new projects off blog, etc.
Other Blogs and Commenting On Them…
I admit I need to catch up on the blogosphere. However there are simply too many new blogs coming all the time for me to manage them all, without even thinking about commenting as well. I am not an old-school blogger who doesn’t like all the new blogs, the opposite the more the merrier and in fact I am always telling people who comment or tweet that they should have their own blogs – that doesn’t mean I can read them all. I will try and play catch up over the next week or three and if I feel I have something to say or add to the conversation I will pop a comment, if not I will lurk. No added pressure… which is how I would like you all to feel about commenting, if and when you do, and why you lurk, when and if you do. Make sense?
Ooh, that does feel better. I do hope it all makes sense and you aren’t thinking its whinging/arrogant/arsey/navel gazing etc – all the things I don’t want it to basically. When I started this blog no one read it and it was really me talking to myself about my thoughts on books and bookish things (oh how me, me, me – ha!). I have loved that over the years some people have popped by and also having the comments and support that you have all provided, even if you think because you have lurked you haven’t you actually have, over the last five and a half years. I just needed to readdress and reassess the blog to myself really (and indeed blogging in general) and I think I have. I hope you all understand that? It has been quite therapeutic for me; maybe some of you feel the same? Anyway… how are you all? Exhausted from the above probably!