Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekly Geeks: Burn Out?

This past week wrapped up Book Blogger Appreciation Week, in which I'm sure many of you participated. In two weeks will be Banned Books Week, in which I'm sure some of you also will participate. I'm also sure that many of you participated, and will participate, with at least a post per day, if not more, on your respective blogs.

Personally, after such weeks, I feel almost burnt out and think, "Why am I doing this? I'm not getting paid for this." Do you ever feel the same way after weeks like the ones mentioned above? If you do, what do you to counter it? How do you keep going? Do you take a break from posts after that, or do you just "soldier on"?

Or if you don't feel burnt out after such weeks, why not? Also why are you a book blogger? From what I've seen and experienced, it's certainly not the fame or the glory that you get. So what is it? Why? Why? Why?

What a timely question that will allow me to engage in some shameless mildly self-pitying navel-gazing! Honestly, I was thinking about this sort of thing as BBAW came to an end and we were asked to consider our goals. I had a great time with BBAW this year. I gave myself some extra time to spend, tried to participate more actively in the daily blogging themes, and it really paid off. I'm sure I discovered a bunch of great new blogs, and I had a great time getting out and about in the book blogosphere all week long.

That being said, though, as much as I enjoyed myself I found myself with a sort of underlying melancholy the whole week long. Even as I attempted to battle the feeling by entering a plethora of giveaways (if you're me, nothing beats bad moods like free sparkly new books!), I couldn't seem to shake it. Whenever events like this come along, I find that along with being excited and engaged, I also feel, well, not good enough. I see everybody's sparkly blogs with their zillions of reviews, their thought-provoking posts, their book reading totals at 100 or above for the year, their thoughtful and numerous comments on others' blogs, and I know I can't keep up, and then I wonder why I bother. What do I have to offer in the face of all that awesomeness? And I think this, and the fact that sometimes sustaining a blog along with all the other things that must be done on a day to day basis just begins to seem like an insufferable chore.

It's at these times that I'm most uninspired to write a good book review or comment on others' blogs. Why bother? I'm never going to have the time to do as good a job at blogging as I want to do, and something in my character just makes me hate doing things or feeling like I'm doing things only halfway. It's on these days, in a fog of undeserved self-pity, that I wonder if maybe I should just pack it in because I don't have anything better to offer here that hundreds of other book bloggers aren't already offering, and both my content and style are both sadly lacking in comparison to what blogs much much younger than my own are putting out. And hey, at almost two years old, this blog is already one of the things I've stuck with the longest of most of my extracurricular endeavors, so it wouldn't be so shameful if....

Ah, but wait, this is not a ploy to gather reassurances (really, it's not!) about the state of my blog and get everyone to tell me how awesome I am, and all that. As a matter of fact, I'd probably feel a little silly and more than a little guilty if you did. This is not a farewell post, not by a long shot, because, you see, I'm about to answer the second question, you know, the one about why I'm a book blogger.

Despite the fact that I don't read nearly enough of them, I love books. I love having them, I love knowing about them, I love making lists of them. I even love trotting out my poor neglected writing skills (use 'em or lose 'em, right?) to write reviews of them. Even so, I could love books all on my own, right? But I don't have to because, as it turns out, I love book bloggers, too. I love that there are all these people that get the same kick out of reading/listing/reviewing/owning books that I do, and I that they're all so nice, and I know that if I really packed it in, I would miss them (you!) all dreadfully.

One book blogger whose giveaway I entered this week asked us for our favorite book blogging moment which got me to thinking, really thinking. I mean, the new bookish friends, the books I never would have read without them, the wider community pulling together in pursuit of bookish goals, are all great. After some consideration though, I remembered the very beginning of of 2008, when my blog was yet young, probably not yet 3 months old, when I posted about a most unfortunate beginning to the year. It had nothing to do with books or blogging, just me all sad and frustrated and ranting at length. Even then, when, if you ask me, people had little reason to care about me at all, a whole bunch of bloggers cropped up in my comments section with an unexpected show of sympathy and encouragement that warms my heart even now. Nobody had to do that. Nobody had to care about me and what I was going through then.

I'm sure we've all come a long way since then, but even so, that is the type of community that we had then and the type of community we continue to have now, the community that crazy weeks like this last one has been celebrate. At the end of the day, when you strip away the stats, the ARCs this or that person got, the reading totals, the impressive giveaways, the pretty layouts, that sort of community is what counts for me and sustains me and helps me soldier on when the blogging blahs come knocking at the door. And, that community *meaningful pause* that is why I have been and will continue to be proud to be a book blogger.


  1. This is a great post! I love book bloggers and the book blogging community too. (Also, I think your blog is great - otherwise, I wouldn't subscribe to it.)

  2. I agree! And don't feel about being less prolific-when I was in grad school last year, I only posted 4 times in November! :)

  3. How true - nothing can change one's mood but receiving a free book in the mail. It's like christmas every time that happens here :)

  4. I know you're not after reassurance, but mind if I tell you what you have to offer? It's pretty simple: your very own unique MEGAN brand of awesomeness, and there's absolutely nothing that beats that. And I don't care if this sounds cheese - it's TRUE.

    As for your favourite's things like that that make blogging for me too <3

  5. You'd be surprised at how many book bloggers said the same thing to me -- they can't compete, they feel inferior.

    It's a shame. Each one of you (us? I'm not really a book blogger) brings something unique to the table and to the discussion. So you can't give it full-time attention. Give it what you can. We're better off for it.

  6. Well said!

    And Megan, I believe with all my heart that you're not out to garner "I love you" and "Don't you ever stop blogging" and "Your blog is totally awesome" comments. But guess what...I do love you, and you better not ever stop blogging, and your blog is totally awesome!!!!!!!!!

  7. I have to agree with just about all of your post. I'm not currently burnt out by BBAW, because I just simply didn't participate. Doesn't mean I don't love my fellow book bloggers...I just don't have time! (I posted a much longer and more thoughtful response to Dolce Bellezza's post on the same subject.)

    I think you and I are a lot alike, when it comes to blogging habits. Our blogs are about the same age, we both post quite sporadically, and we both seem to have some lingering GUILT over not doing enough, reading enough, posting enough, whatever. I battle it every day, because there are so many great blogs out there that I read.

    So let's make a pact. I'll read you and you read me, and if no one else reads us, at least we'll have each other!

  8. Kathy - Thanks! Sometimes I forget about why I do this and need to remind myself, so this was such a great opportunity. And, thanks again. =)

    Eva - Doing all this crazy real life stuff certainly does make being a prolific blogger a challenge. I guess it's good that I'm not prolific, in some respect, because it means I'm getting out of the house and doing other stuff (which is not a bad thing!)...but sometimes I can't help feeling that I'm trying to do everything and am being much less than successful at *all* of it!

    DelGal - Books in the mail are definitely a sure fire way to turn my frown upside down, er, cheesy as that may be.

    Ana - *blushes* Aww, thanks. =) The book blogosphere does have that extra something special that really does make it all worthwile, even when it's not as easy as it seems like it ought to be.

    Susan - That's very true. Thanks. You know, if all of us who not-as-prolific-as-we'd-like to be bloggers packed it in, we'd definitely be missing a big chunk of this community that I love so much, so I'm gonna keep giving it what I've got, and hope everyone else does, too!

    Debi - *more blushing* :) Thanks, I love you too, and I definitely won't be packing this blogging thing in anytime soon!

    Lexi - Consider it done! Life's too short for lots of pointless guilt which we do both seem to have more than enough of. Hey, maybe if we spent less time feeling guilty and more time doing, well, other stuff, then we'd be on our way to having it all together, right? ;-)

  9. Beautiful post! I'll be the person in the back, nodding and shouting Amen! =)

  10. Yes, I totally get where you're coming from. Here's the pity-party post that I opted not to write: As wonderful as it was to see the celebration of book blogs as a whole--and it was!--the awards I didn't end up shortlisted for and then the posts highlighting people's favorite blogs got the week off to a kind of melancholy start for me, too. I didn't expect to win awards or to be everyone's favorite blog, but starting the week highlighting the fact that I'm not, kind of put a damper on the bloggy-love for me.

    In my reader, your blog is in the top half of my first-to-read blog folder. That makes you definitely upper-crust, in my book. :-)

  11. I can totally relate to not feeling like you measure up to your peers. I find myself thinking that too during events like BBAW. And you are so right about the bloggers behind those blogs. In my worst of moments when I am wondering why I bother, I think of all the blogger friends, like you, I've made and I find inspiration.

  12. Wonderful piece you have written here! And it is crazy how similarly we feel about 'the insufferable chore' blogging sometimes becomes. But you are right and it's ridiculous that I haven't thought of it (humbling as well to be reminded), it's the community that counts and the wonderful people that we like and they like us back. Thanks for this post Megan.

  13. Elizabeth - Hallelujah, sister! =)

    Ali - I definitely get what you're saying, unfortunately. The nature of that whole beast was to leave a lot of us feeling down and left out despite the good intentions about it. And thanks, this is probably the first and last time I will be referred to as upper crust! LOL ;-)

    Wendy - You can't see me, but I'm smiling at you, like really big and nodding very emphatically! =D

    Lilly - Thanks! Sometimes I like to think that I'd still do this even if all my readers (and friends!) said "to heck with her" and dashed off into the sunset, but I know that's not true, and it's the people that make this the fun that it is, that is, when it's not an insufferable chore. ;-)

  14. I love this post, Megan! I so completely identify with the feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes I read other bloggers reviews and think...why in the world do I think I can do this book blog thing?

    But hey my voice which is not nearly as articulate as yours is still mine and it's what I have to offer. And this community makes me very happy indeed.

    And your blog is one I always hope to see updated fwiw! :)

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