Hiatus and me: self-imposed pressure in the blogosphere

As some of you may have noticed, I ended up taking a hiatus (inadvertently, might I add) for most of February and March this year. This was due to a large number of factors, including stress about law school (by which I mean I was spending every free moment refreshing my application status checkers and checking r/lawschooladmissions to see which schools were sending waves of decisions), added responsibilities from my new position as a moderator in the TBR and Beyond Facebook group (big shoutout to everyone there–y’all are wonderful and I love it so much), general coronavirus anxiety (yeah, we’re all in that headspace now), and a family vacation to California (which was super fun until the coronavirus things started majorly blowing up during our last 2-ish days there, and then was a tad more stressful).

But there was one other thing that I think was keeping me from making blog posts, and it wasn’t just being generally busy, because let’s face it–even when I was really stressed and had a lot going on, I still had time to watch TV with my family, idly scroll through social media, and keep reading books. No, the real problem was that I was starting to dread making posts because of the time commitment involved.

Don’t get me wrong: I love blogging, and I love writing reviews of books. The online book community is amazing, and I’m so happy to be a part of it. It’s just that somewhere along the way, I got this notion into my head that, in the case of reviews, quality and length were directly correlated. I started dodging review responsibilities for books that I felt strongly about because I wanted to make sure I really captured every detail of my thoughts. I avoided writing reviews on books I had fewer thoughts on because I didn’t want to write a review that was “too short” or not thorough enough, but I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to write anything long-ish.

Basically, no matter what my feelings on a book were, I had an excuse to avoid writing it.

Eventually, I realized consciously something that I think had been lurking in my subconscious for a while: longer doesn’t always mean better. Let’s be real: how many of you actually read the entirety of a long review? Even I don’t, most of the time–I appreciate the effort (god knows I do, having written so many of them myself), but I’m more likely to just skim it for the points that interest me most. A lot of times, a long review–at least one for something the reviewer don’t have strong feelings on, because, you know, a rant is still pretty fun to read–ends up being a heck of a lot of fluff or just a reiteration of “[insert element here] was okay but not stellar, so idk man I guess it was decent.” I’m a huge fan of detailed reviews, but only if the detail is truly warranted. But my self-imposed need to make reviews long had me somehow exempting myself from that general statement.

Also, typing long reviews on my phone–which is what I do a lot of my blogging from–kind of makes my thumbs hurt after a while.

So, I’ve made a few resolutions for myself, to help deal with the stress and get me back on the blogging path:

  1. Write a review for every book I read. The review doesn’t have to be long–just a single paragraph, if that’s all I’m in the mood for–but it needs to be written. (Exceptions to this rule are short stories, novellas, and rereads, unless I actually want to write a review for them.)
  2. Write that review within a week of reading the book. That seems like a generous enough deadline for me to flex my schedule if I’m busy, but not so far out from the reading that I’ll get fuzzy on my thoughts and details.
  3. Make at least three blog posts per week. I was writing posts almost every day, and it was fun, but sometimes I’m a little low on inspiration, and if I’m in a reading slump, it can be hard to come up with reviews. Plus, there are only so many Top Ten Tuesday lists and book tags I can write posts on before those start to blur together. I’ll hopefully increase this number as I get back into the swing of things, but I’m determined to not burn myself out in the process.
  4. No reading challenges based around large numbers of titles, at least for the next 2 months. I love trying to meet prompt challenges, but it’s making reading feel a little too stressful for me. Having one or two assigned books per month for a group read is fine–it’s actually fun! But trying to jam 10 books, with specific criteria, into 25 days makes me shy away from longer books and feel pressured to read as many pages as possible (sorry, Reading Rivalry).

Here’s hoping I’m able to stick to all of those!

As a final note, here’s a little good news: in the past two weeks, I’ve finally gotten accepted to two law schools, including one of my top choices! I’m still waiting to hear back about financial aid (which I very much need), and I have quite a few schools I’m waiting on still, but the crux of the matter is…I’m going to law school!!! Stay tuned for more info on that, as I keep waiting for more details.

With that, I wish you all a great day. Here’s to some more regular posting and a happy blogging future!

All the best,

Kathryn (“K-Specks”)

2 thoughts on “Hiatus and me: self-imposed pressure in the blogosphere

  1. Carol March 23, 2020 / 6:22 pm

    Congrats on your law school admission status! 🙌😍 Re the energy required for long book review posts….occasionally I’ll use a bullet point format and the ease of that helps when I’m feeling overwhelmed or lack energy to compose complete sentences. I think the change in format is nice sometimes…even for followers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathryn Speckels March 25, 2020 / 5:13 pm

      Thank you! It’s been a long time coming so I’m really glad that I have options now 😊

      And I might have to do something with bullet points…for audiobooks I do mini-reviews with “best parts” and “worst parts” as bullets, but something even less structured might be better! (And you’re right, probably would be a good break for followers as well)

      Liked by 1 person

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