The Mathematics of Meltdown

This weekend I think is the closest I have ever been to having some sort of bloggers breakdown. Okay maybe that is a bit dramatic but everything seemed to get a little much and so I have shockingly, apart from finishing No Name on Saturday morning, not read anything this weekend nor have I visited any book blogs or indeed blogged. My blackberry also broke so I had no internet on my travels and it was in a very strange way quite liberating. What I needed was some book space, a saying you will rarely ever hear come from my lips**

Instead I have caught up with lots of friends, been to the theatre, slept lots, not done any freelance work and eaten takeaway in front of the X Factor. However I have thought a lot about books and blogging and possibly definitely went on a book hunt. The main question was when did they take over my life to a slightly unhealthy degree and what made me need not just a blogging break but a book break? I started working on some bookaholic equations such as…

2 over thirty hour jobs + freelance work + 1 daily book blog + reading the books to blog = absolutely no rest and no social life and not the most fun filled Simon.

Now one of them is going already, yes sadly on this Friday coming I am leaving my charity job, which will mean my day times are freer to fit in the freelance and editing that I do in the evenings along with blogging. I have also made the pact with myself that for one whole month in November I am not working. I am fortunate to be in a position where I can do this and know it’s lucky but when I look back at the last time I had a holiday that wasn’t also a travel feature I have to go back to 2007. If I go back to a weekend I last didn’t work a day of I am looking at 2008. Even when this last relaxed photo of me below was taken, you guessed it, I was on a work trip and though they are cushy, it’s constant mental notes and then a whole load of write up after.

My month off is already getting filled I am off to look after one year old twins for a few days as of Saturday and I am booking myself up with coffee’s and catch ups left right and centre and Gran is coming down. I also realised I don’t have to blog everyday.

Blogging daily used to be easy last year when I had a one year freelance contract and worked from home. It was also easier when I wasn’t getting comments and readers, I didn’t look at hits a day or anything and whilst I am no means addicted I will admit I  pop and look to see if lots of people have popped by. Now I don’t mean that I wouldn’t want commenter’s or visitors, I love it, I have noticed that I now ‘have to blog daily so people come back’ which as The Converted One put it “is all in your head Simon, if people like it they will come back, just make your blog work to your schedule”. This change in schedule made me think of the next equation that even though I have a good chunk of time off coming up…

9 weekends of sensation season books x 600 pages on average per book = 5400 pages of sensational reading which is slightly excessive.

So I have decided to change the schedule for The Sensation Season so if you are joining in check and see the book is still very much on the list. Those of you who have told me you have copies in advance I am making sure I am still reading those. There was factor that someone very wise, which wise friend it was I forget, mentioned to me was the fact that “if you read all the Wilkie Collins books now you will never have that first read of a Collins book again” and that’s a very valid point. I also don’t want to get sick of one of my favourite authors and genre’s. Plus I have so much else that I have planned to read at the moment or planned read-a-thons in the past few months as….

1 Man Booker long list + 1 book group read + reviews for a magazine + being on a radio books show panel + 1 sensation season = too much planned reading.

When I worked this out and the amount of books that I own and how long it would take to read them all I was stunned.

852 books on my TBR ÷ 118 books I read a year (on average) = 7 years to read every book that I own currently.

Not stunned in an ‘oh dear that’s too many books to own’ way or in a ‘I won’t buy any books at all for a year’ HEiotL way (I have given it some thought mind) but just in the fact that maybe I should be wandering through the books that I own and going off on the journeys they take me rather than joining in on another longlist, another challenge or read-a-thon. Which sadly means that I won’t be joining in on Simon Stuck-in-a-Book’s group read of Ivy Compton-Burnett’s ‘Manservant and Maidservant’ if I had the book to hand I would do but I don’t and ended up on a very long and manic hunt this Saturday through some of London’s secret second-hand book shops. I couldn’t find it, though I did find a few other gems I purchased – the seven years worth of books will not stop me getting new ones, and so felt fate had intervened. I also have a stack of library books I want to get through and as you will see (on Weds) some of my month off will involved reading some tomes that have been on my hit list for ages but are too big to lug around on a commute. So now I am feeling much happier about it all and much more relaxed. The next week is a madly busy one and so if I don’t blog everyday so what?

I won’t not be blogging in November just taking a different approach to it all. I am also going to get reacquainted with my bookshelves, I do feel like they are giving me rejected puppy dog looks when I see them and evil eyes when I have my back to them. I am just going to see which books jump out at me, no plans, no ‘I must finish it if I have started it’ (hence why my current reads widget has vanished) and if I don’t fancy reading anything what’s the big deal? Who else out there has had a ‘blogish break down’ I bet some of you have, come on fess up I feel much better for sharing and would feel even better if knew I wasn’t the only one. Has anyone worked out the maths behind their TBR and the reading rates?

**Please note – None of this was a moan by the way, if I didnt love books, reading and blogging I wouldn’t do this, as thats why I do it. The moment I really don’t enjoy it all I simply just stop blogging at the moment I am loving it I am just a bit manic and need to relax. I also just wanted you to see a truthful post about some of the delightful perils of book addiction hahaha!


Filed under Book Thoughts

34 responses to “The Mathematics of Meltdown

  1. jessicabookworm

    Hello, I’ve recently started a book blog and have almost fell into the same obsession when trying to get views, that I feel I must review every 5 minutes. I decided that I would review books I had previously read to fill in while I read one new book at a time. You have some dediction with that many books to read lol I thought I was bad with just one shelf of books to read! I think you most definitely deserve a little break. x .

    • It does become very addictive as well, you want to pop to your favourite blogs whenever you can and see all the book discussions going on as well as keeping your own visitors happy with newer thoughts and reviews.

      I am just having a break from everything and will eb blogging a bit more leisurely I think.

  2. I’m not surprised you are having a meltdown! You are trying to squeeze far too much in! There is no need to blog every day – people have google reader or something similar and so know whenever a new post is written. Reading isn’t any fun when you have to work to a deadline.

    I try not to think about all those books in the TBR pile, but I think it would take about 10 years for me to read all mine.

    I haven’t had a blogging meltdown yet, but I have a lot more spare time than you and try to ensure I have several reviews in the pipeline, so I can actually go several days without worrying about writing something.

    I hope that you have a relaxing November and start to enjoy reading again.

    • It’s not the reading thats a problem really Jackie I am still loving it and its the perfect escapism from everything else. It’s the everything else that is just taking a lot more of my time at the moment.

      I will have much more free time coming up and actually the first week of november is mainly going to be spent on my sofa reading having tea and just totally relaxing.

  3. Dot

    Simon, I love reading your blog and your dedication to it is obvious for all to see but I would still read it if you only posted once or twice a month as your posts are so interesting and nearly always lead me to buying more books! Hope that you have a lovely break!

  4. Hi Simon,

    I’m not surprised that you’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed! Book addiction can indeed pay its price and I’m sure that almost everyone who reads this blog will identify with some aspect of it – whether working too much, trying to reply to comments and post.

    I think your restful November sounds like a great plan, and I hope you manage to go with the flow – read and blog about what you like when you like. I have long given up reviewing every book that I read;I would love to write more but reading is more important to me!

    • Oh thanks Verity, I was slightly worried people would say, oh Simon just shut up moaning and get a grip but people seem to understand which is a good sign.

      November is going to just be about chilling out. Something for a year or so I simply havent done!

  5. Simon, you are not alone! It’s easy to feel burned out when you have so many books and challenges lined up. This is supposed to be fun but when the freedom is taken out of it, it can seem like a chore/homework. Take time and the opportunity of freedom to reconnect with your books and blogging when you can. I will still love to read your blog when you do post and would much prefer a sane (?) Simon to have book-chat with -online and in person- than an exhausted, stressed-out one!

    • P.S. Recently I worked out (based on averages) how many books I had time to read between now and when I die (80yo) and despite the inaccuracy and speculation it still worked out as a depressing 5200 books, which freaked me out way too much.

    • Hahahaha I have been a bit of a mass of grumptiousness over the last few weeks fortunately that seems to be fading fast. This is not from reading mind just from being overloaded with stuff. I wll be a new man at book group.

  6. Like Dot, I will continue to read your blog regardless of how often you post. Hope your November break is all that you need it to be…relax and enjoy!

  7. armen

    Simon, apart from anything you better take care of yourself. you have your readers, no matter how many posts you have.

  8. armen

    and for TBR list, i always save the long list for the retirement age. that helps alot 🙂

    • Yes thats very true, though oddly my Gran is retired and she does less random reading (partly due to being in 3 book groups) than she used to as she gets so busy doing all sorts of groups and meetings and the like. Retirement sounds great.

  9. The Converted One is correct — we will read your blog whenever you post because we like what you write — not the quanity, but the quality.

    I love your mathematical calculations! I need to take some time out and do some Life Assessments myself.

    How fortunate you are to be able to take a month off – and it sounds like you will be taking full advantage of that gift. Enjoy – Rest – and Relax.

    • Again thanks Molly people are writing such lovely stuff its very kind. I thought the maths might explain things better and also be something a little bit different!

      After not having more than a day off properly in a row for a year or more I think a month off isnt too much.

  10. For the last wee while I have had no idea how you have kept up the pace. Glad to see you are human after all!

    Here’s to your peaceful and delightful November!

  11. kimbofo

    From someone who’s been blogging since 2000 in one form of another: it happens to all of us. It’s called blogger burn out.

    The solution is simply to take a rest, and only blog when you feel like it, not when you think you should. I never understand these people who post every day or who schedule posts in advance. I’ve been known not to blog for weeks, sometimes months at a time, and I’ve never lost readers or commenters. If people like your blog they’ll return regardless of how often you post.

    I hope you have a truly wonderful guilt-free November!

    • Blogger burn out definately seems to be what I have been hit with.

      I can understand the addiction to posting daily as you can see from my blog but I think what you need to be good at, and is one thing I admire with you, is just saying no and not blogging for a while etc.

  12. I’m not surprised you’re exhausted! As everyone else has said, I will read your blog regardless of how frequently, or infrequently, you post. I actually prefer it when people don’t blog every day, because it gives me time to digest the post and comment on it before another appears. When people blog every day, or even multiple times a day, I can’t keep up!
    Your ‘real’ life has to take precedence over your online antics and allowing yourself to scale back is a very good idea. Life is not about pressure and stress and challenges and endless piles of ‘should be doings’…it’s important to sit back and get some perspective and take the time to work out what’s really important, and rejuggle life accordingly. Feeling a hamster in a wheel is never fun!
    Enjoy having a bit of a break Simon!

    • I had a phase of late of multiple daily posts, which just was too much and didnt work. I would then struggle with something to say for a day or two and that is very unlike me.

      Reading and books are fun and I just want them to stay fun and hopefully with my new attitude to it all they will!

  13. Loretta Dunne

    I have no idea how you do all of the reading and blogging that you do, besides working a job. All I want to add is that part of why I enjoy your blog is your excitement and enthusiasm – you seem like you are having fun and I like to join in. If keeping your fun means blogging less, than so be it. Your loyal readers will continue ….

  14. Rhian

    Simon I agree with the above – I will be reading (and enjoying) your blog however often you post. Actually, if all the bloggers I enjoy reading posted less often maybe I would get through my TBR pile a bit quicker… (And I am not going to attempt to work out how long it would take me to read everything – it would be too depressing to discover that the only chance I have of clearing it is to never buy another book).

    • Oh I wouldn’t go as far as never buying a book again, I managed to buy a few this weekend in the knowledge that i ahve as many as I do. I just needed to have some sort of reality check that I need to sort everything out, not just all things bookish!

  15. novelinsights

    Yes, I think you sometimes need to have a little zone-out Mr! I’m not sure how you do it all either and manage to have a social life. I love the pensive picture of you in your bathrobe lol.

  16. Pingback: Goodbye To Berlin – Christopher Isherwood « Savidge Reads

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