Last week Monday, I was in full on book blogging crisis mode. You may have noticed I wasn’t around much since the beginning of April and had been posting only the bare minimum required to meet my previous commitments. Nothing about my life as the Literate Housewife was appealing to me in any way. I cannot say I was considering packing it up and shutting down operations because quite frankly thinking about that would have taken too much energy. I started watching TV every night instead of reading, something I haven’t done since before Allison was born.
I knew I was in my danger zone when I was scanning satellite each evening for episodes of any of the Law & Order series or Criminal Minds and I’d watch them until after 1 in the morning. One thing I’ve learned about myself since those quite literally crazy years following Allison’s birth was that police procedurals are like a narcotic for me. It numbs me to whatever turmoil I might be feeling and provides a kind of oblivion. Why police procedurals? They follow a pretty common story flow. Bad thing happens, cops work through the clues, and the crime is solved. You would think that the terrible things that are being depicted in those shows would be too disturbing to an already anxious person, but it’s that comforting formula that apparently does the trick.
Book blogging and reading is supposed to be fun, right? It’s my primary hobby, so why in the world was a nose diving? Well, it’s all about ARCs you can say. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of books I agreed to have sent to me. As of that Monday morning, I knew that I had 40 books that I’d accepted. While they may have sounded good at the time of the pitch, each and every one of them was a turn off to me because they reminded me of the 39 others waiting expectantly on my shelves, demanding my attention. I truly want to take a match to the whole lot, but I asked that they be sent to me and I feel obligated to read them. Given my reading speed and life situation, I felt like even Don Quixote would have admitted defeat. When I got home from that work that night to find two more, I nearly broke down and cried.
While working with Emma on her homework that night, I spilled my heart out in an email and sent it out. It was an impulsive thing, but it was the best thing I ever could have done. Just verbalizing my feelings lifted my spirits and the warm words and suggestions I received back were exactly what I needed to start breathing some life back into my blogging life. As a life-long reader, I should have known never to underestimate the power of words. Instead of those dreaded books on my shelves, I became more and more thankful for the community in which I hope to always find a home.
One thing that became readily apparent to me. I am most certainly not alone in my blues. Much of the suggestions and support I received has come through the experiences of the other book bloggers. They have come through with some wonderful words of wisdom that I’ve been contemplating ever since. I think it’s going to take some for me to pick myself back up fully and brush myself off. I’m not going to rush anything, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking about my future and how I would like to live it especially in terms of my book blogging.
There are a few things I’ve acted upon since this has all hit the fan:
Tuesday’s Temptation ~ I’ve started a new meme called Tuesday’s Temptation yesterday as a result of a wonderful suggestion I received on creatively highlighting books before reading them. While this probably won’t be my only outlet for bringing some of the books I’ve requested into the light, it’s a great start. Most importantly, I had FUN thinking about it and preparing for it. Having fun with my favorite hobby – imagine that!
Book Blogging Blues ~ I don’t want any other blogger to get to the point that I got to last week if I can be of any help. As with everything else, I wasn’t alone in these feelings either. Marcia from The Printed Page had been toying around with an idea for creating a place on the web for book bloggers to gather and let it all hang out so to speak. She approached me about working together to get this site up and I jumped at the chance. After a round of emails, we chose to create a ning instead of another blog. Within the ning, we have added several different groups. My first group was ARC Overload, within which I compiled all of the wonderful insights I received. I separated them by topic and created a discussion for each one. I’m excited to see this grow and hope that it can help people from ever approaching the cliff I was on. If you’d like an invitation to this ning, please let me know and I’ll get you set up.
I do plan on highlighting everything I’ve learned about this over time here as well. In the meantime, please bear with me as both The Literate Housewife Review and I grow and change. For now, let me close here with some encouragement that brought tears to my eyes:
I hope you can get back to enjoying reading, Jennifer. It’s the saddest thing ever that book blogging might become a reason for you to resent reading. The best most ethical you can do is to preserve your love of reading.