Ah, reflection time. I usually love reflecting on the year I’ve had in blogging, but this year was full of so many ups and downs that I almost don’t want to look back on them. It was a really rough start. I got caught up in the drama, and I burned myself out on social media. I had to do something different, but I didn’t really change anything until this past summer. But it was hard getting out of that mood, that mode. It was hard to take a step back and THINK about what had happened and how to move beyond all of the negativity, and the way I was sort of clinging to Twitter. But it got better, and I had a really amazing time planning my March Madness event. It was probably one of the shining moments in my blogging career. And I thought I was finally at a good place with my blog then, but apparently I wasn’t, and that was evident over the course of the next months.
I hit a really bad creative block in April, and May. It helped going to New York and meeting other bloggers, making friends and receiving books. But when I came home, I don’t really know what happened. Honestly I think most of it was at least 90% personal reasons. It didn’t seem like it was blogging’s fault so much as my own life. My own mood and emotions, the negativity clawing its way into my heart. I stepped back from social media, especially after even more fucking drama in the community. I got pretty quiet over the summer, cleaned out my feed, tried to figure out why I wasn’t really in the mood for blogging anymore. I was still posting A LOT, but it all felt like filler posts, like I didn’t care enough to even TRY. And truthfully I really didn’t. I stopped caring, and when that happened, I also got hit with a reading slump that made it impossible for me to give one fuck about the ARCs I had sitting on my floor from BEA and my invisible NetGalley shelf.
August was kind of the rock bottom point. I was ready to quit, and I mentioned something along the lines on Twitter and had a lot of support. But I wasn’t going to quit, at least, until I’d give myself a break. Until I gave myself the time to step back and reflect, to think about WHY I was still doing this and why I didn’t want to let it go quite yet. Until I did everything I could to make it work. But I didn’t really have time to do anything about it after I got sick, and I had to deal with surgery. I decided to finally make it known that I’d be taking a break, that I’d be quiet over the semester. It was supposed to be my last one, and it was supposed to be super taxing and energy-sucking. It still is, but less so once I dropped two classes. But recovering from surgery had zapped all of my energy, and I didn’t have the heart or desire to blog, let alone read. I didn't have the heart for any of it.
But I think it’s safe to say that I’m almost FULLY over that slump, and thoughts of quitting. I’ve been reading again, slowly, and reading what *I* want without taking into account release dates and ARCs. And I’ve been blogging! A lot! Only posts that I’m putting 100% effort in (even if it doesn’t look like it). Because I’ll bet people could probably tell when my heart just wasn’t in it anymore, and that wasn’t fair to let people go so long thinking everything was okay and that I was just posting slowly because of time. I had a lot of time that I wasn’t putting into blogging because I just hadn’t wanted to. And like I said, most of it was personal. Most of it was because of the summer I’d had, but it was also at least 10% because of the community. The negativity was super hard to stay away from, and I need to do better at that.
I’m not 100% completely happy with my blog, to be honest. Over the course of the year I have let so many doubts and insecurities slip through the cracks and whisper that I wasn’t doing enough, that I wasn’t good enough. That I needed to do more, request this ARC, chat up this blogger or publicist, read and review this super popular book because everyone else is. I miss the first year of blogging, when I didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought and I just did whatever I wanted. I’m trying to get back to that, and I think I’m succeeding. But it’s a slow, uphill battle and I know that I will STILL stumble and fall, want to stop on the rocky ground and cry. I don’t doubt that I won’t be able to let go of this low self-esteem toward my blog completely, but I can at least try my hardest. And try to find the passion I had for it in the beginning.
Year 4 is all about change, and for me, the first step in doing that is saying that I WANT this. I don’t want to give it up, but I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes I did in Year 3. So I’ve already got plans, and I’ve gotten a lot better at tamping down the negativity, but it STILL creeps up on me sometimes. But at the moment, I feel GOOD. I feel good about my blog, about my place in this community, about the people I know, the friends I’ve made, the niche I’ve carved out here. But I want to make it BETTER and GREAT and something I won’t ever want to quit or think about quitting again. I’ll be making goals for myself and letting you see them on, Saturday, I think, but for now I’ll say this: I really want this year to be the best it has ever been. And I hope y’all will stick with me as I try to turn The Fox’s Hideaway into something I’m even more damn proud of and something that will hopefully make you guys keeping wanting to come back. :)