blogger credo

BBAW 2016: Battling Book-Blogger Burnout

Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2016 is hosted by Ana, AndiHeather, and Jenny at The Estella Society. It’s a week dedicated to celebrating the hard work, dedication, and love we put into book blogging, and to nurturing the connections and sense of community we’ve been so lucky to find through it. Each day of the week has a dedicated theme/blogging topic.

Day 5 How do you keep things fresh on your blog and in your reading?

One of the unfortunate side effects of reading and blogging like rockstars seems to be a tendency toward burnout.

There was a time when I really didn’t think “book-blogger burnout” would be a problem for me. Speaking strictly from a blogging standpoint, nearly nine years into this, I’m still not sure it is. That said, I’ve struggled over the last year or so–not so much with blogging and/or reading themselves, but with making space for both in a time of heavy off-line demands. Is that burnout? I’m not sure.

But adopting this philosophy as my Blogger’s Credo several years ago definitely helps me manage:

blogger credo

Coming to terms with The Book Blogger’s Paradox is also useful:

book blogger paradox defined

It’s always a tough balancing act, and sometimes the balance will get tilted too far or thrown off entirely.

A Blogger Credo: There is NO One Right Way to Do This. #BBAW Click To Tweet

Reader burnout is harder for me to handle than blogger burnout, honestly. I’ve spent most of my reading life moving pretty steadily from one book to the next. Blogging about my reading does slow that process, since it forces time for reflection after a book is finished. Sometimes that break makes it harder for me to settle on what book will come next, especially when I don’t have any externally-imposed reading schedules to meet. I’m in that place right now–I’m on a break from my paid-reviewing gig for Shelf Awareness for Readers–and it has me floundering a bit. However, these two contradictory strategies can be helpful:

  • Practice book polygamy. If I’m reading two or books at the same time, one of them will usually capture the bulk of my attention eventually.
  • Focus on one format at a time. This is almost the opposite approach–concentrate on an audiobook and focus other reading time on blogs instead of books, or get behind on my online reading while powering through a novel or narrative nonfiction.

After almost nine years, I’m comfortable with the idea that the blog can coast every now and then, and that takes off a lot of the pressure that can lead to burnout. What’s keeping it interesting for me right now is having made the move to self-hosted WordPress in December–I’m excited by all the new things I’m learning to do with the blog on this platform, and that notches up my enthusiasm for creating new content for it.

Moving to a new platform is a pretty extreme way to fight blogger burnout, granted. However, there are less dramatic changes–a new theme or layout, a different color scheme, a fresh header design–that can brighten up both your blog and your outlook on it.

How do you combat book-blogger burnout?

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19 comments

  1. I’m totally with you in suffering reading burnout far more than blogging burnout (especially this year!). I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned formats, but I started reading more digitally early this year when most of my books were in boxes and I wonder if reading two books in different formats has had an impact. Something to think about for sure!

    1. I find that mixing formats is just about the only way I can read more than one book at a time. I have the hardest time staying focused on ebooks generally since I read them with tablet apps, and my tablet has so many other things on it I could be reading or doing instead that sometimes I’d just rather not fight it, you know?

  2. Ha! That paradox is perfectly put! I was just telling another blogger on an unrelated post that it always comes down to choice and giving one thing up–except in my case that also includes other hobbies. If is sew then I can’t read (though sometimes I can listen to audiobooks), if I’m reading then I can’t be blogging, if I’m blogging then I’m not sewing. I think it’s important to also let ourselves just slow down a little bit!

  3. I’d like to battle burnout by coming up with fresh content but I’m not creative enough. I’m stuck in a rut.

    1. I’m not particularly creative either, but I do pick up ideas from seeing what other people are doing. You can’t spell “routine” without “rut” 🙂 –routines work, but when they start to feel stale they can turn into ruts. I don’t know whether reinventing is necessary, but making little tweaks here and there can inspire whole new directions sometimes.

  4. For me, reading burnout leads to blogging burnout, only because I am kind of out-of-spirits when I am not reading. As long as, all is well with my reading life – my blogging life takes care of itself – at-least that has been my experience so far.

  5. One of the biggest obstacles to my blogging has been my reading! Sometimes I just don’t feel like writing about what I just read because I want to jump right into the next book.

    1. I find that it doesn’t necessarily hurt my blogging to do that–sometimes my thoughts are more coherent when I don’t write about a book right after I finish it, so I let them simmer while I start reading something else.

  6. Oh, I allllllways practice book polygamy. I do a thing (Andi does it too and dubbed it a “tasting menu”) where I’ll read the first couple of chapters of alllllll my library books, and then commit to one or two at a time. I usually have one book for brushing my teeth and reading in bed, one book for my commute, and a third book for when I’m exercising. Good times!

    1. I do that kind of thing every now and then, and now that I’m free of reading commitments for the time being, it’s probably a good time to do it again! (But I cannot read while brushing my teeth. Too much splashing!)

  7. That’s the first time I’ve seen the book blogger paradox, but it is so true! I usually have read so far ahead that I’m planning posts for two weeks from now. But then of course, I have to stop reading for five minutes and remember what I thought of that book!

  8. Reader burnout is a worst state to be in for me too. I generally tackle it by turning to other interests I’ve been neglecting because of my reading. That usually works for me. I like where I am with my blogging right now. I make little changes here and there occasionally. I think what has helped me most has been letting go of the guilt some of those unrealistic self-expecatatons. I don’t follow my stats anymore, which has been huge. I feel freer and more relaxed as a blogger.

    I really like the advice that there is no right way to do it. I think it’s something that can be easy to forget, but is definitely important to keep in mind.

    It’s been nice being a part of BBAW. I haven’t been able to get around much, unfortunately, but I’ve had such fun reconnecting with old friends, like you. Have a great weekend, Florinda!

    1. I 100% agree with you about the reconnecting being a huge highlight of BBAW! And for the most part, I’m pretty happy with where my blogging is too. I think one benefit to having been at it so long is that we’ve seen enough of the “flow” that it gets easier to just go with it :-).