Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I'm Taking a Break

So, if you’ve read my Because Everyone’s Awesome Giveaway post, you knew this was coming. I’ve not been secret at all about the fact that I’m taking a break from blogging. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen a few tweets such as the sentiment below.

Here’s the honest to God truth: I’m tired of book blogging. Like, SO tired. I’m tired of the ARCs, of the pressure, the competition, the petty drama, the stress, and the fact that I care too much about how others think of my blog. I have tried so hard this month to post, but to be honest? Ever since I announced that comment in bold above on Twitter and decided to take a break, it’s like I gave up. Like I shared a secret that had been weighing me down and I was finally free. That pressure eased, the stress over ARCs was nothing compared to how August had been for me. From summer courses to stress to health problems, blogging was not at the forefront of my mind. And my blog has suffered so much because of that. But, here’s another truth: I’d been losing my spark long, LONG before all of that.

It started around June, and it just kind of got more intense. I’ve written only one full review in the last month. I wanted to read a lot of ARCs in August for the challenge, but I basically just gave up on it all. A lot of this personal. Like, 90% of it at least. But the other 10% is the community in general. It feels toxic. So much so some days I just don’t get on Twitter very much at all. And it’s not because of something that is a Big Deal. It’s because of petty, childish antics and this whole drive to one-up other bloggers. To put so much stock in names and ARCs and popularity. To care more about the connections with authors and publishers than with the people in the blogging community. Which isn’t to say that none of that is SO bad, but it kinda makes you wonder if someone is blogging because they genuinely love books and want to share their love for them, or if they’re just in it for the “perks” so to speak.

But let’s move on from that. I have so many more thoughts on how the toxicity keeps building, but it’s not the ONLY reason I am taking a break (and not the point of this post). I also feel so uncreative. I feel like my posts have become generic and boring and common. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a post that was super different from what I’ve been blogging about. I haven’t even written a discussion post since May. I HAVE had ideas, but again, I haven’t found the desire to write any of them. And because of that, because of the lack in creativeness here, I feel like I’ve kinda hurt my blog in that people don’t have much to say when they read my posts anymore. I just feel like I’ve lost so much of why I started in the first place. I feel like I’ve let you guys down. And I just, I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know how to make people WANT to comment, I don’t know how to entice my audience. I don’t know if I’m even doing a good job with what I’ve been posting lately. And I know I should be blogging for ME, and I am, but I still care about wanting to make this a place people enjoy visiting. After all, what’s the fun in having a one-sided discussion with yourself? As much as my blog is for me, it’s for you guys too.

I don’t mean to complain/rant about everything. I just wanna explain what my feelings have been like with blogging over the last few months and what happened to the blog in August. And let you guys know WHY I’m doing this because I feel like you deserve to know.

So I need a break, and I hope this helps more than harms. I hope it refills my creative well (I heard this expression from someone else and just really loved it, it’s so great). I want to spend this time figuring out what I want to change about my blog, and how I want to branch out. Because I want to branch out! I wanna get more creative. I wanna incorporate more hobbies (like my TV show binging!! I don’t know why I haven’t done that yet). I wanna spend more time commenting and visiting others’ blogs, being more interactive with people on here, and bringing in collaborations. I think setting my own blogging aside will give me more time for all of that, and that will in turn, help The Fox’s Hideaway grow. I don’t need 10,000 followers or all the comments in the world. But I want people to WANT to comment on my blog, you know? I want to write more posts that invite discussion and conversation. And I want to make this as much fun for my followers as it is for me! No, it hasn’t been very fun right now, and again, that is almost 100% because of personal shit. But it’s definitely been a major concern for me while watching interaction on my blog plummet. Like, pageviews haven’t gone down at all (they’ve actually gone UP a lot), but the lack in comments has really made me think my posts haven’t been that fun to read (which is definitely the negative/pessimistic side of me taking over, but with stats being like the only way you can really tell if your blog is growing, watching things plummet doesn’t feel all that great). I also contribute a lot of this to the fact that I haven’t made time for others’ blogs, so like I said above, I want to spend much of this time doing just that!

Many of you don’t know that I’ve been *so close* to quitting over the course of the summer. And there have been SO MANY reasons why; these negative feelings toward my blog and the community have just been ONE of them. Edit: so basically here's what I think of the blog right now: my content has not been up to par with the past and it's nowhere near where I want it to be for the future. But here’s the thing, I’m not finished here yet! I’m not okay with quitting before I’ve given it the best shot I can. No, I’ve never been so close to giving this up before, but I have WAY more in me to stop now. I just need that time to step back, and ask myself some important questions such as WHO is my audience and HOW do I want to change the blog. And mostly, I want to figure out what’s working, and then change the things that aren’t. Also make my posts more creative and ME than they have been!

I know that was very long-winded, but I had a lot to say! Okay, so plan on a VERY slow blog from today until December. I’ll still post here and there, hopefully (I have a blog tour stop this month so I'll definitely be back for that!). But only when I WANT to, and when I have time. I don’t wanna push myself to blog. I hadn’t been doing that in August, obviously, but I felt bad I let it go with no warning or even a general statement somewhere on here. So that’s why I’m making this an “official” break. I don’t wanna feel guilty about not getting posts up, and I don’t want people to think I’ve just given up on this. Edit: And I wanted to let you know ahead of time so you won't be alarmed if I only manage to publish like 4 posts this month (of course I'm hoping for more than that, but you never know). :) I’m going to be working extremely hard in making my blog better, but my last semester of college comes first. So, I’m sure you’ll see me around on here a bit, but not a lot. But don’t worry, I’m NEVER leaving Twitter! (I can't believe people even THOUGHT I would be breaking away from Twitter too). :D Feel free to follow me on there if you still wanna chat/interact!

But hey, let's not end this on a negative note. Go forth and enter to win some of the books I got from BEA! Good luck, happy reading, and I'll talk to you soon. :)

9 comments:

  1. The way you describe the general negativity of the blogging community reminds me of high school: everyone's arguing and doing whatever and I'm just sitting over here, completely and happily oblivious to whatever it is people are arguing about.
    I mean, I notice the big things, but I'm pretty good at ignoring most of it.

    That said, I totally understand the need for a break. I took one in July (only lasted a week, so I didn't announce it or anything) because I wanted to get back into my 'do nothing but read all day' habit for a bit, because blogging does take away from reading time.
    And I loved it. I also took time of twitter and it was the best week ever. I caught up in all my series, and just spent the week doing practically nothing but reading.
    Of course, as much as I love doing that, I still wouldn't give up blogging. I don't have any reader friends irl (just my sister, who is in her final school year and so doesn't have time for reading), and so being able to talk to people who love books as much as I do? It's the greatest thing ever.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy your break. And I hope you figure out all the things :)

    See you on twitter :)

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    1. You know what, I like that you stay in your own little corner of the internet and don't hear about it. :) I recently went through my Twitter feed and cut out over 1,000 people and it's SO much better. I don't see as much negativity, and I'm following the people I find interesting, insightful, and just plain fun.

      It's okay to not announce it, especially if it's so short (and I don't think a week is really all that long to make people think you actually ARE on a break). But I wanted to make it official, so my followers wouldn't freak out if I got a month without a new post (which I doubt will happen but you never know). I'm SO glad your break helped! And that you read ALL THE THINGS. It's fun when you let go of that pressure and that need to review books. You can just relax.

      Yeah, I'm not giving up either. I'm with you on that last paragraph! I have only one bookish friend (and a few bookish relatives) but no one ever wants to just chat about books that much and it kinda sucks. So blogging has been something where I've just let out the fangirl and not cared about how I sounded! It's FREEING.

      See you on Twitter always, my Aussie. :)

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  2. I'll just be over here in the corner, sobbing. But no seriously, you need to take care of yourself first and foremost, and school, health, and sanity have to take precedence.

    Oh but one reason that you cannot actually quit? The 100 comes back in 2016, and I am thinking that SFTA is going to be EPIC. Plus, I don't want to talk about the show to myself :( ALSO- BEA. I mean, it'd be pitiful for me to show up at your doorstep and drag you there so....

    I'll be shuffling back to the corner to cry now ;)
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. DON'T SOB.

      I could never let go of our 100 snark. It gives me life. *sniffs*

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  3. Oh man, it makes me sad to see so many bloggers stressing out about the one thing that should make us all happy: books. If blogging is making life worse and not better, take this break and don't feel bad about it. Your readers will still be here when you get back. (And on Twitter, yay!) It's definitely still possible to be involved in the community without actually blogging, and I have to say, I LOVE it. I can get almost everything I want out from the community without stressing myself out over ARCs, competing with anyone, worrying about my always having new and creative content, etc. I hope this break brings you back to the place you want to be.

    Also, as far as the decrease in commenting goes...I don't know, it seems like there are new blogs popping up every day, and it's so hard to keep up with it all. That's where I get stressed out. If I like a blogger as a person, I want to comment on everything and acknowledge that I've read and enjoyed a post, but sometimes I just get burnt out. I can't do it all, and then I feel guilty every time I *don't* comment on a post. I guess I can't speak for everyone, but I think commenting reflects the community way more than it reflects your content. Don't be too hard on yourself. *hugs*

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  4. Scary post is scary. I'm half kidding. I hope this break goes really well for you, I think it'll be good to kind of break away from it and focus on classes and you know, other things. I have to say that my month long break was pretty nice. I actually noticed that my stats went up a lot too, it's weird. I'm actually going to DM you about that now...

    Anyway, it's good that you're taking a break instead of just quitting, which I knew you weren't. I know what you mean with commenting, that's a two way street though, one I sort of fail at myself. Lol.

    It's funny that you bring up wanting to do something with your tv show binges, I've been having the same thought for the past week. :)

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  5. You're motivating me to take my own blogging break, though it's mainly because of GRE and studying and just this incredibly heavy courseload that I know is going to overwhelm me by the end of DAY 3. IT IS ALREADY DAY 2 AND I AM DYING.

    But you're right. I hate yelling out into the void without receiving any feedback, or in case, comments in return. Which is so hypocritical for me since I am a lurker sometimes. But still, I'm hoping that your break and your slow blogging help out with your creativity! I myself am not overflowing with creative juices in general, so I don't think anything will help me out. Oh well!

    Anyways. I will love whatever you post, whenever you post, and I'm super sorry if I haven't been commenting in a while to show my loving support. I GET ALL THE EMAILS THOUGH <3 <3

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  6. Holly, I am sorry to see you feel you need to take a break. But to be honest, I think we all think this at some point. I often contemplated whether keeping a blog is worthwhile. I'm lucky to get one or two comments on any post. But, I also have decided that my blog is just my space to do whatever, whenever. I've never felt pressured or even a strong desire to post every day, only when I want. This has helped me to feel more at ease with it, because it's totally on my terms.

    I feel personally, that Twitter is really where I do the majority of interacting with others. There are SO many blogs out there that it's impossible to keep connected or even read them all. So, Twitter is easier on that part for sure!

    I do hope that after some time of refreshment, you'll know what to do next. But also, don't feel like you're disappointing anyone. This is your space, your baby, and whatever you decide to do with it is totally ok!

    And I will notice if you pull away from Twitter so I'm glad to hear you say you won't. Because I'll hound you otherwise. ;)

    Thanks for your honesty and I hope these next few months you find inspiration, rest and refreshment!

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  7. Hey Holly!

    I really hope that this break goes well for you and I hope you come back refreshed. I know how easy it is to be stressed by blogging and ARCs and authors counting on you so I don't blame you at all for wanting a break, but it's not an easy thing to do; Take a break, I mean. Have an awesome few months!

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Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3