I know you know it: that feeling of finishing a really good book and you've got that stupid grin on your face. Or you're feeling a "wow" inside you that's hard to shake off (or whatever the feeling you feel with a good book). The "book high" is a wonderful experience.
I know you most likely started your own book blog because you love your books and want to share that love!
But when did reading become such a stressor? When did it become so complicated? And why?
I've heard plenty of book bloggers complaining about burnout. We're a passionate bunch and we can't help but push ourselves to keep reading, keep reviewing, keep in the loop, engage with the community, engage with authors. Memes, giveaways, book hops, book tours, I could go on and on. Then there's another layer of being a "good blogger" with time management, social media management, SEO, etc. etc. I know you know what I mean. My head, stop spinning.
I love to read. It's simple. And I want to keep it simple. It should be simple. And that's the reason I named my blog Guiltless Reading.
Here's how I keep my book love–and by extension book blogging–simple and stress-free:
It's about meI read for selfish reasons: I want to, I enjoy it, I love a good story. I also started blogging for selfish reasons: I get to express myself, I get to share some great reads, and it tickles me pink to get a few people interested in what I have to say. So while I admit that my reasons for reading and book blogging have grown beyond those simple reasons, I remind myself that reading and blogging really is about me.
I read what I want to readI remember pre-book blogging, picking what to read was so easy. I read what I wanted to read, as the mood carried me. I have generally stuck to this principle, and dug my heels in adamantly, because I cannot imagine forcing myself to read something I'm not remotely interested in reading. Do I really want the pressure of "required reading" a la university? So when a book is offered up for review or recommended highly - and it just doesn't rock my boat - I just say "no thanks." Nothing wrong with that.
I read when I want to readThere was a time I read and reviewed at least a book a week. I pushed myself, loved the thrill of it but it took its toll ... naturally I burned out. I never force myself to read. I pick up books at will, when I have the time, if I have the times. If life happens and I don't get large blocks of time to read, I read in snippets when I can and when I know I'll enjoy it. (You're probably wondering about reviews - that's a different story. If you commit, deliver.)
I don't competeThere's a lot of great stuff going on in the community - memes, readathons, reading challenges, and more. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement and busy-ness that comes with them. But it can also arouse the competitive streak in people (I know most of it is friendly, but some has become downright nasty). Like in life, there will always be someone who has read more, reviews more, has more creative ways of doing things. I just don't compete period.
I steer clear of the dramaReal life is more than enough for me, so no thanks.
I don't guilt-trip myselfI've had book slumps. I've even disappeared from the book blogging scene over the years. I've been a "bad" commenter. Heck, I've even fell back on my reviews (confession: I apologize, sometimes I don't). But I never, never guilt-trip myself about it. Books and book blogging are just a part of my life and while I love this, I won't allow it to consume me.
So tell me, my book-loving (and book blogging) friends, what keeps you loving your reading and book blogging?
Gorgeous "love" graphic from Creative Market (affiliate link)