Celebrating Canada & The State of the Blog

Happy Canada Day! Wave your Canadian flag proudly! πŸ™‚

Why yes, that IS a horse's ass! But look! There is also a maple leaf!

Why yes, that IS a horse’s ass! But look! There is also a maple leaf!

Before I delve into a very LONG post, I have to give props to Laura, Brie, and Tania for helping me out with what you are about to read. Can we say book blogger anxiety attack? At any rate, this Canada Day is not only a celebration of this great and beautiful country I’m so fortunate to call home, but it’s also a bit of a new beginning for the blog. You may have noticed a total onslaught of posts filling your readers from my blog and I have a reason for that.

Read on!

As I sit here typing this on April 22, 2014, I remember the day when I started my blog. Waaaaay back in November of 2009 when I had first thought myself to be a real devourer of books. I had fallen in love with Twilight and all the other books like it and wanted to talk about it with people. Since I couldn’t find a whole lot of book blogs on the internet, I thought it’d be fun to start my own. Lo and behold, Reading in Winter was born.

Of course, when I started the blog back in November of 2009, there was no rhyme or reason to anything, and that worked for me. I’d post lots of random reviews sporatically throughout the month, sometimes posting a few reviews a week, sometimes going weeks without posting anything.

Then something changed.

In October of 2011, I slowly became a crazy person (if you will) and decided that I had to be more scheduled with my posting. I had to post every single day, whether it was a meme or an update post or a review … something had to be on the blog. Sometimes I’d post numerous posts in a day!

(Sound reminiscent of these past few months?)

A while after that, I became even more scheduled — if such a thing were possible. I had read what other people said about book blogs and how book blogs needed a schedule so that the readers could know what to expect. So I started making up my own content (which wasn’tΒ a bad thing) and my own schedule for the blog. There were features that I decided to do. Some stuck around, some faded away. I felt like to be a real book blogger, I had to do everythingΒ by the book. I had to be rigid.

Sure, I still tried to have my personality shine through my blog and I think I’ve done an okay job with that, but that schedule! It just became a word that haunted me. Little did I know that it was going to get worse.

Last year, I became pregnant with my beautiful little boy and this crazy OCD monster was unleashed inside of me. I was obsessed with whether or not I’d have time to read once I had a child. Being someone who read nearly 30 books in a month, this was very, very important to me. Not only that, but I had to be sure that I had content on the blog after he was born because I knew that once I had a baby, I’d never read enough books to keep up with the blog!

I saw all of these other blogs who posted numerous times in a day and I had to be like them. So, off I went, reading books in every square inch of free time that I had, making sure to write reviews immediately and draft them up well until the end of 2014. I pre-wrote discussion posts, cover love posts, even WOW posts as far as I could go. I solicited other bloggers for features, scrambled my brain for new features, and had notebooks full of what I wanted to do, crossing off my lists as I went. I had to be sure that the blog had 3 solid posts each week until the end of the year because part of me felt like the whole thing would fall apart ifΒ the blog wasn’t severely scheduled.

Then I had my little boy and the world stopped. I was so, so deeply in love with him — my love growing every day for this amazing little boy — that I realized that the blog wasn’t my top priority anymore. I started slacking when it came to responding to comments on the blog and those spare two days a week that I had open for content sometimes saw “new” content and sometimes they did not.

And this was all becoming to be okay to me.

Over the course of my little man’s new life I wondered if I really needed to blog anymore. Part of me was scared to let it go, part of me was more than happy to let it go, and yet another part of me really wanted to just get away from the pressure of review books and scheduling and do whatever the heck I wanted to do with the blog. Once I thought about that, another part of me was pissed off at the pre-baby me for schedulingΒ so many damn posts until the end of the year. I wanted to start fresh and I did not want to wait until 2015 to do so.

For two years, the blog lived under sporadic posting. For the next three years, it lived under a rigid schedule. And now I feel like I have come full circle with it. I’ve been a blogger on both sides of the spectrum and have experienced what it’s like on both ends.

In the past few months — again, remember I’m writing this at the end of April — I had real serious thoughts about just shutting down Reading in Winter and never blogging again. I’d close down the Facebook page and maybe even my Twitter feed and just stop being present in the blogging community. For me, blogging had become this whole other beast. When I started there weren’t a lot of blogs out there and they all seemed so unique and special. Nowadays it seems like “book blogging” means to post book blasts and blitzes, cover reveals and giveaways, and it’s all about the promotion. I felt like I had to keep up with the trends of young adult, new adult, monsterotica, and read the many, many indie authors who are out there — just like everyone else was doing. I felt like it wasn’t my choice anymore to read what I wanted to read because the world was throwing this all at me.

I had had enough.

After a mini breakdown and speech sent forth to my group of Edmonton Book Bloggers, I was talked “off the ledge,” so to speak. They reminded me about my other blog (now defunct) Winter Distractions, and how much fun I had with that. They pointed out that a lot of them don’t post every day, nor do they feel the need to. I realized that if I shut everything down, I’d miss that interaction with the community because through both ends of the spectrum of blogging that I’ve experienced, it’s always been about one thing — the books.

So, on this day — that is, July 1st, the day this post goes live. I am saying “no more!” to scheduled posts. I want to go back to the days when I started blogging and be sporadic. I want to post what I want, when I want. I want to go a week or two reading the same book and not worry about whether or not there’s content on the blog. I’ll still post reviews, but I won’t have certain days just for them. I want to post about the music I’m listening to, or the music I’m writing. I want to talk about TV shows or cooking. I want this blog to be a reflection of me now, not the me who had a gazzillion hours a day available for book blogging.

As time goes on — and as I look at my little boy who is growing up so fast and learning new things — I realize that I’m evolving. I’m changing. I’m growing and I’m learning new things. And change is a good thing. Therefore, the blog will change with me. This will be the last scheduled post, aside from the scheduled quarterly Book Bingo posts, and from here on out I can’t say what the blog will bring, but I know that it’s going to be something that makes me happy and excited about blogging again.

From this day forward I vow to be less stressed, less rigid, and just relax and have fun with the blog!

If you’ve read this far you deserve a medal. πŸ™‚ Since it’s Canada Day I’ll offer you this beautiful photo instead:

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Thank you to all of my blog followers for helping me through the past 5 years of blogging!

You are all wonderful.

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28 thoughts on “Celebrating Canada & The State of the Blog

  1. This is a beautiful post! Happy Canada Day! I prefer nothing more than to post my reviews as soon as I write them I definitely don’t have the organisation to schedule posts! Good luck!

  2. I can definitely sympathize with blogging anxiety, Kristilyn. I question the point of my blog like four times a year, haha.

    Congrats on the big decision (because I know it IS a big decision). I’ve been talked off the “I’m quitting” ledge as well, so I know the feeling. I’m happy for you that you’ll finally let some of this needless anxiety disappear. All that we want, as readers of your blog, is to get content from you. That’s it. Don’t need a quota, we just need your voice πŸ™‚

    Here’s to a wonderful, relaxing, rest of 2014!

  3. Good for you, Kristilyn!

    I think these people who say blogs “have to have this…, do it this way…, blah blah blah” are all phooey! We’re all blogging for fun! It’s supposed to be a hobby, not a job. I’ve never been one for scheduling stuff for my blog. Heck, it’s been so long since I’ve posted, it’s laughable! πŸ˜‰

    Now your organizational skills (and OCD tendencies) can all focus on your baby boy and husband. Teeheee! πŸ˜›

    • It’s so hard after a while to remember that this is a HOBBY — hobbies should have no rules!

      I’m not sure I have organization or OCD around my boy … we usually fly by the seat of our pants!

  4. You blog when you want to and how you want to. I’ve noticed this trend amongst myself and my friends: we are so used to stress, we try and make everything stressful, including hobbies that are supposed to be fun πŸ™‚ I’m glad to hear you’re sticking with the blog and putting the joy back into it for yourself! You rock!
    Happy Canada Day!

    • That’s so true, Tania! We have so much stress in the other facets of our lives … why bring it into our hobbies? Hobbies should be fun! I hope that this brings more joy to me … I’m definitely feeling a little bit of anticipation right now, but I’m sure it’ll pass. πŸ™‚

  5. Dang girl, I want to jump through my computer screen and give you a high five πŸ˜€ Loved this post so much, and I am sooo with you! I’m a newer blogger yet (started end of February), and I’ve already decided to go in a different direction with my reading and blog. I have three kids and they have to have priority in my life. Family first, blogging and reading second, housework and laundry a distant third πŸ˜€

    I recently cut back from daily posting, to three days a week, and starting this fall I’ll be cutting back even more, due to a big life change that’s going to be happening (stay tuned for more info, lol). Starting in September I’ll only be blogging once or twice a week and that’s ok.

    Blogging gives us an outlet to share our love for books and to also participate in an amazing community of other people who ‘get it’. Really, that’s what it comes down to πŸ™‚

    • Ha ha … housework and laundry are definitely low on my priority list, too! Usually when we really, really need something, I’ll wash it, and my house is tidy — no fine tooth combs allowed here! I had all the time before kids, but even with one I notice that the things I thought were priorities just aren’t anymore. And it’s kind of great.

      Oooh … I’m curious about the life change! That’s awesome that you’re okay with all the changes — you’ve made some amazing changes! I was reading your posts yesterday thinking that that’s everything that was in my head a few months ago. It’s great to see I’m not alone!

      It’s great to find the part of the community that gets that book blogging isn’t just about promotion — it’s ABOUT community. Let’s just talk about the books!

  6. Yay, I’ve been waiting months to read this post! (Even since you gave us a little tease of it back in April, I think?) I’m so excited to see where your blog takes you and for you to incorporate a little more “you” in it. You already know all my thoughts on blogging schedules, etc, so I’ll save you from them again, but just know I support this decision and change 100% and will be here to read whatever and whenever you choose to post πŸ™‚

  7. I’ve felt intimidated by blogs posting things every single day and scheduling out their posts for the month – I just wing it. I read when I have the time for it, write my reviews and blog posts when I feel like it, and visit other blogs when I have time. Sometimes I feel like I need to do more, but mostly I feel like it should be fun, not a chore. So good luck with going back to winging it, and I hope you have a fantastic experience with blogging again πŸ™‚

  8. Thattagirl!! I don’t know who started saying that all book blogs must have 7 posts a week, most of them reviews, and you should do this, and you shouldn’t do that, etc. but I am so not a fan of all those supposed rules! This is your blog, your space, and you should post what you want – and the readers that like to read your thoughts will like your posts no matter when and how often you decide to post them! I also really liked Winter Distractions and I’m all for introducing new non-bookish content if that’s what you want to post! I’m glad you’ve come to this realization and I think it’s so sweet that it was having your little one that made you realize the important things in life πŸ™‚

  9. Congrats on five years! Glad you are keeping on with it. My five years is coming in early August and I have never scheduled a post. I’m just not wired that way. I think it’s good that you’re breaking free from that. You will feel so much more free. πŸ™‚

  10. Glad you’re “back”! I’m in a rut of my own these days and am taking time off reading, not blogging, which seems drastic but we’ll see what happens. Look forward to relaxed blog posts when you have time πŸ™‚

    • Good luck with your time off! I’m just reading super slow … I *could* read more during the day but I’ve been sucked into TV or movies, and just doing nothing. Plus, sometimes I’m terrible for really letting the housework back up and have to tackle that!

  11. That’s a great post! Blogging shouldn’t be this huge task we burden ourselves with; if one is happy with regular-twice-daily postings; why not? And if one would rather post twice a month, why not? Do what feels good for you, is what I think. I am happy to see you made decisions on what you would enjoy doing! πŸ™‚ And I, as a follower, will be happy to still have the chance to read your blog!

    • Thank you, Kay! I’m happy with my decision so far … though we’ll see how I feel by the end of the year! The blog has been around for 5 years so I don’t want to part with it … it’s just going to have to evolve with me! πŸ™‚

  12. I really enjoy this blog and Winter Distractions! I’m so glad you that Brie, Laura and Tania managed to talk you into continuing with this. Personally I feel like the sporadic posts make me more excited because it’s like “OH YAY, NEW POST!” even though I’m extremely guilty of hardly checking my reader these days. And I totally understand you, my reader is usually just filled with book blasts etc, and between school, volunteering, and trying to finish my piano stuff, I had to put down the blog pretty much for the whole school year. I’m picking it up again for the summer, but as you know, it’s pretty much a mix of everything I enjoy!

    On another note, I just started reading The Cuckoo’s Calling after not having read in 2 months..

    • Thanks, Leanne! I’ve been so guilty of rarely checking my reader, but I’m trying to put aside a few minutes each day to go through it a bit! Though, in my spare time I do want to try and read and do other things as well, since it’s so fragile!

      Ooh, you’ll have to let me know what you think of The Cuckoo’s Calling! I just couldn’t get into it, but I hope you like it. πŸ™‚

  13. Pingback: July | Reading In Winter

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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