This Blog Is Changing (How I Plan to Avoid the Seven Year Itch)

So we have all had some fun and frolics in the last week, we even had some birthday cake yesterday, now it is time to get serious. Well as serious as it can get when this is being typed by a 32 year old man in a Hogwarts t-shirt. True story. Anyway, I have mentioned that I have been thinking (definitely not navel gazing or omphaloskepsis as I like to call it) about blogging and books and reading and all that stuff while I had a break. The verdict is in; I still want to keep Savidge Reads going, I just think some changes need to happen though that will make me happier even if it doesn’t make everyone else happier. So let me explain but be warned, a lot like Savidge Reads going forward, this post may contain swearing, snarkiness and some other things beginning with S which I can’t think of right now.

So, while I was away I contemplated it all. I decided it wasn’t necessary for a relaunch but a reassessment and restart. I should head back to where it all began and, as Julie Andrews put it so well in the Sound of Music which I have still never seen, ‘let’s start at the very beginning’ when things were simpler and everything was easier. I found an old copy of some guidelines I wrote way back when and so have tinkered with them and here are my new blogging guidelines…

  • Reading always comes before blogging as though I enjoy blogging it is reading that is my passion. Reading more may mean blogging less and that’s fine. Sometimes life is also allowed to come before reading, sometimes.
  • I started writing Savidge Reads as a personal journal of all things bookish and not for anyone else such as publishers/authors or blogger fame/hits (though it is lovely that you pop by) and that is what I always need to remember, or I could become a bit of a dickhead and no one likes an egotistical/self important blogger, nor do we need any more of them.
  • I also need to be myself so if that means being slightly snarky, tongue in cheek, giddy, downright cross or any of the spectrum of emotions that go on in my head – this is fine. There is no need to be offensive or uncouth, yet I don’t need to be polite for the sake of it either. Yes, some negative reviews might just be on the way when called for, not just to be an arse. After all we all read some stuff that we just think is a bit ‘meh’ or even complete bobbins.
  • I want to read older stuff, more of my favourite authors back catalogues of work.  That said…
  • I will still be reading new stuff but not every ‘big book’ that is hyped to ridiculous proportions, you know the ones I mean the ones people who don’t even really like it like because they should. At the same time there are authors who I love that are getting (from previous experience I have had) deserved hype like Ali Smith, Ian McEwan or Neil Mukherjee and so as I would be reading them anyway they don’t count. I also really want to discover lesser known/left of field stuff. I love Fiction Uncovered and would really like to uncover more fiction that might have been missed and that is quirky and should be read. I want to go off and be a bit rogue basically, hopefully introducing you to new books and not just be one of the hundred people reading and then writing about the same book.
  • I am happy for publishers to still send me books, I love a new book and it still feels like Christmas every time, yet things need to change. I was sent a autobiography of a jockey last week and I hate horses, we all know this what is the world coming to? Also, I won’t be reading e-book copies, I won’t be doing any blog tours and I don’t want to feature author videos when I haven’t read the book just to earn brownie points. I have created a more in depth Review Policy here.
  • Reviews will probably get a bit longer, chatty posts a little bit shorter or longer or stay the same. Though I may again break this rule when I have read a few duds or books I don’t have much to say about by creating bulk mini reviews. Reviews with spoilers in will say so.
  • Blogging doesn’t have to be daily. It doesn’t even have to be every other day! I know, who knew?
  • Over all, I want to read by ‘whim’ I don’t want to be reading to deadline unless I set one myself. This is of course instantly hypocritical with projects I have going at the moment like Trespassing with Tremain and the ‘on pause but back soon’ Persephone Projects. Yet these are based around personal little reading goals or pacts I have with myself. If you crazy kids want to join in that’s lovely, I might just not jump on board anyone else’s challenges, no offence.
  • I will comment back more. I kinda like you lot you see.

So basically what I am saying in a long winded and more grown up way above is that it is my blog, my rules… so nurr, nurney, nurr nurr. Ha! Seriously though the most important three things (which I could have said much quicker but where is the fun in that?) for me are that it is all about whims, it is all about going off and finding different books/being a bit rogue/uncovering some wayward gems and it is all about fun and me injecting my personality into it. I recently wrote a piece for The Writing Platform which I enjoyed immensely as it mixed my honest opinion with my tongue in my snarky fat cheeks. That along with my favourite of my own posts (vain I know) is where I want this blog to go. I also want it to be brimming with good quality reviews, after all Gran said ‘you’re reviews are getting much better you know’ before she died, from her that was quite something to be proud of. Hopefully you will all be along from the ride, be it bonkers, bumpy or something else beginning with B that I can’t think of right now! Oh BOOKISH, how could I forget that?


Filed under Random Savidgeness

53 responses to “This Blog Is Changing (How I Plan to Avoid the Seven Year Itch)

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    I think those are really *excellent* blogging rules Simon – reading by whim is what I pretty much do, and it means you’re reading from the heart, the books you want to not the books you feel you have to. And if you want to abandon them because they’re pants, you can. I think it’s about honesty – I’m trying to veer away from too many review copies, only taking on ones I think I’d really like. Look forward to more snarkiness, long reviews and bookishness!!

    • Hahaha glad you’re looking forward to it. I think honesty has always been in my mind… When I review books I liked or loved. But I would avoid reviewing books that I didn’t. How are people meant to know what I do or don’t like then? If you know what I mean. Plus I wouldn’t review for fear of being seen as bad or people being angry. I’m not so bothered in real life why should I be on my blog.

  2. “Reading always comes before blogging as though I enjoy blogging it is reading that is my passion. Reading more may mean blogging less and that’s fine.”

    — Well put!! I think your rules sound great. Look forward to reading more of your stuff.


  3. Many excellent boundary-setting ideas for any book blogger to keep in mind, whether she/he has been blogging 7 years or 7 months. No blogger wants the blog to take over, like a cart pulled by runaway horses. Thank you for these wise ways to say, “Whoa!”

    • I think sometimes the lure of books take over. It can happen in a bookshop it can happen on a blog and publishers add to that in good and bad ways. Nice intent obviously. Well. Mainly.

  4. I love your resolutions they sound entirely sensible and echo my own recent thoughts on how to go forward with my own blog

  5. Hear, hear! Well stated. The thing I most appreciate about book bloggers is that everyone of them is unique. I don’t have the time to take up blogging at this particular point in my life, but I like joining in with the reading community when I can. I would never have picked up HhHH, for example, if it hadn’t been for the discussion on Hear! Read This, so I say a hearty, YES! Go read by your whim…who knows what jewel you will find to share with the rest of us? 😉 And, many belated happy returns on your 7 years.

  6. Love your new goals with regards to blogging! I’ve been feeling pretty anti-bloggy lately and as a result my blog has suffered. So I must admit that this post was inspiring – thanks! I definitely plan on reading more and not worrying about posting as much. I just want to enjoy blogging like I did when I first began blogging. Cheers to you and this post!

    • I think all the blogs get too much. I have to admit I have gone down to reading five and those I dip in and out of. It’s not because I think I’m the best, it’s time and it’s the fact that sooooo many blogs talk about the same things. I tend to read the ones I do because they point out things I might have missed or aren’t talking about the bloody Bone Clocks.

  7. It’s great to see what others think of the books you are reading but it’s also lovely to discover books I’ve never heard of (although it’s getting harder and harder because we’re all so connected on the internet). But I agree, your blog, your rules!

  8. Deb Baker a.k.a. DaisyBaker on Twitter

    Hurrah Simon! To thine own self be true.

  9. sharkell

    I like your plans and am looking forward to reading about some lesser known books.

  10. great, as we definitely want you still around. I think lots of us bloggers do not agree to blindly review unsolicited copies

  11. Annabel (gaskella)

    I love the way Sakura put it: ‘Your blog, your rules’. The blogging world has changed so much since I started six years ago (today as it happens), but it’s great that most of the blogs I started reading back then are still here – including yours of course. Long may it continue.

  12. I like it when I read blogs that just blog about what they want to – following the crowd and having a blog the same as the next is dull, and makes me less likely to keep reading.

  13. Very wise – and sound advice which I have been thinking about following myself. I’ve felt under pressure to read for reviewing, to read all the latest things, to join in discussions about the latest books… And somewhere along the way the fun of independent reading has gone missing. So here’s to a 2015 of more adventurous and different blogging – and I have the feeling you will be joined by quite a crowd, judging by the comments.

    • Independent reading and blogging puts it in a nutshell obviously I want people to pop by and even discuss books with me but deep down it’s all about my reading journey and reading the books I love.

  14. Hanna Poole

    Before you go anywhere I wish to fire you up some more. I would like to see South African author Deon Meyer featuring on you blog. I read him in Afrikaans, but his books have been translated into about 20 languages. For you convenience:
    Hanna Poole

  15. Sounds like the exact refresh you need. Congrats on seven years and good luck in the eighth!

  16. great reboot and refocus ,I still putting all the efforts in for translated fiction ,I get a few books sent like you that I would never read ,shame people don’t check such a waste of publishers time and money to not focus books on the right people .

  17. As someone who has also been blogging about books for seven years, I can very much relate to this post. Unlike you, I have gone extended periods without blogging. Each time it seems to last longer and be more chronic. I was never an every day blogger to begin with (2 daughters will help take care of that) and I’m not a particularly fast reader. This makes it hard to keep up with books I’ve requested. I found last year that by pushing myself to read more than is natural and honestly feasible for me was just plain unhealthy. I’m still working out the future of my blogging and reading life. I hope this works very well for you. The idea of reading on a whim or on no other schedule but your own sounds like bliss.

    I don’t see Patrick McGrath in your list of categories. If you haven’t read Asylum yet, I hope it catches your fancy. It’s my favorite Gothic novel. I love me a dark read set in an insane asylum.

    Congratulations on your milestone and what lies ahead.

    • Awww thank you! McGrath has actually been on my list of authors I must read at some point so I will bump him up the list!

      I think what’s amazing about social media is that it doesn’t matter how much you’re reading or how fast or slow you can just have a natter about books and you don’t have 800+ words to contend with. Hence why some book bloggers are becoming book Twitterers! I considered it.

  18. A bit behind on this, I was away on holiday (with a stack of books of course), but I think your approach is great. It is all very sensible and hopefully will keep the blogging fun for you too.

    I realised, like you, I was starting to read for the blog, rather than just picking up the next book which I fancied reading. I am trying to stop that now.

    Interestingly, I generally only review books that I like, never the ones I don’t. If you see a book in the “currently reading” sidebar, and then it disappears without trace, you know I didn’t like it! I was chatting to someone on Facebook about this, and they said that rather than reviewing books in a critical way, I was making recommendations, and I hadn’t really thought about it that way.

    Looking forward to all the new content!

    • I think reading for the blog is exactly how I was unintentionally feeling. I also think that it was becoming a monster I needed to feed everyday. I am much happier now. Back to my old self. Literally.

  19. Pingback: Changing My Reading Habits (Part 1) | findingtimetowrite

  20. I’m thanking Marina for leading me to your blog, Simon. Good to make your acquaintance.
    Best wishes on your fresh approach.

  21. Pingback: Lost Books – Goodbye, Mr Dixon | 1streading's Blog

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