Happy Canada Day! Wave your Canadian flag proudly! 🙂
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.
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’t 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 everything 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 if 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 scheduling 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. 🙂 Since it’s Canada Day I’ll offer you this beautiful photo instead:
Thank you to all of my blog followers for helping me through the past 5 years of blogging!
You are all wonderful.