So. It’s been a while. Like…10 months. When I quit blogging on Erin Reads back in mid-2012, I wasn’t sure I’d ever post here again.
But I’m back. Heck yes. *fist pump* *happy dance* *high five*
There’s a story, of course, that leads from quitting to reviving. Read on and you shall hear it. I’m also laying down some ground rules for myself before I move forward. And a few things — like where you’ll find me on Twitter and other fascinating tidbits — have changed. We’ll get to all of that.
But first, may I just say: Holy cow, am I happy to be back!
Why I Quit and What I Was Doing Instead of Blogging
Almost a year and a half ago to the day, I cut my posting on Erin Reads back drastically. A couple of months later, I all but gave up book blogging altogether. I was dangerously close to burnout and needed a break. And I had a new project I was working on, to which my free moments were given.
For a long stretch of time, I did not blog about books. I did not track my reading in any way (and so, sadly, have no record of what books I actually read during that time). I didn’t even read that much. The only book discussions I really had were with my monthly IRL book group. It was a detox of sorts, I think.
Instead, I worked on my new site — Remade By Hand — which now houses my editing services. I experimented with running an Etsy shop. I blogged about non-book topics on my new site. In short, I took a massive book blogging break.
Why I Came Back to Erin Reads
When early 2013 rolled around, I realized I missed having a record of my reading. So I set up a couple of reading-focused Pinterest boards: one for books and the other for audiobooks. At least this way I had a record of what I’d read. I could even put a few thoughts about a book in the comment field of its pin. And that approach worked for a while, even as those thoughts gradually got longer and longer.
Except the discussion was missing. I found myself wandering over to book blogs I used to read. Would anyone know me if I commented? I felt like I didn’t know anyone in the book blogging community anymore, so much had changed. At least I had my book group.
Then my husband and I moved cross country. Goodbye, book group. Perhaps it sounds overly dramatic, but I felt like my last remaining tie to diehard readers had been severed.
A couple of weeks ago, an alarm popped up on my Google calendar: the Readathon, my very favorite event. I already had plans for the weekend, but — brace yourself for some serious cheesiness — the thought of all those readers reading at the same time across the world warmed my heart. I wanted to spend the whole day blissfully emerged in a book, knowing hundreds of others were doing the same. I wanted to track stats and do mini-challenges and post my answers to the end-of-event survey. I wanted to be part of that community again.
The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was my friend Joel. He is seriously into curating. Like, way into it. He basically curates is whole life, and he’s writing a book about how you can (and why you should) curate yours as well. And I realized that on top of serving as a way to connect with other readers, Erin Reads is my curation system for the books I read or listen to. I can read my own review of a book from three years ago and it comes back to me with startling clarity. Pretty cool, considering I can’t even list the books I was reading (but not tracking) at this time last year.
Community. Curated reading. I wanted them both.
So yes. I’m back. I’ve even given Erin Reads a makeover. And the elation I feel as I type these words is amazing. I’m seriously grinning like a nut right now.
I’m laying down some ground rules for myself. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, as they say. Looking back, I can see why I burned myself out so badly. And I’m hoping that by not doing those things this time around, I’ll be able to keep Erin Reads active and enjoyable to write. So here’s where I’m starting from.
Rule #1: Be Intentional about Book Acquisition
Most book bloggers will tell you one of the perks of the trade is the stream of galleys you receive from publishers for review. And I’m not gonna lie…it’s pretty awesome to have someone send you free books. But the pressure to read everything I received eventually meant I was no longer in control of my own reading choices. Yuck.
Then there’s the general book acquisition madness. I used to be a library sale addict, bringing home ten or twelve (or more) books every weekend. My TBR list was forever inflating at a terrifying pace because of all the books I read about on other blogs. I felt eternally behind, under pressure to read faster and more.
This time around, I will be more intentional about what books make it into my sphere. I’ve actually been reading almost exclusively from my own shelves for the past six months or so, which is ridiculously amazing. I hereby give myself permission to continue doing so.
Rule #2: Skip the Challenges, Reading Goals, and Obsessive Stat Tracking
Challenges were never really my thing, tempting as they always sound. But oh man. I got really, really into reading goals and stat tracking once I found the book blogging community. I counted every page, tracked numbers in a spreadsheet, and looked forward with relish to the end of each year, when I could write up my big annual stats post. And while my reading goals definitely expanded my horizons and the tracking made me more aware of what I was reading, they also put constant pressure on me. Eventually, I just got sick of picking my next book to fulfill some challenge or goal. And I got tired of keeping track of Every. Little. Thing.
So for now, no challenges. No reading goals. No stat tracking (aside from maybe counting up the number of books I read each month and picking a favorite). When the urge to start one (or more) of those up again strikes, I’ll reevaluate.
Rule #3: No Rules (Except for These Three!)
I’ve tried posting on a schedule. I’ve tried planning my reading out ahead of time. I’ve tried creating projects to encourage myself to read more classics, for instance, or to read along with other people. I love my projects. And I know I’ll feel the pull to post at least on a semi-regular basis. But I also know forcing myself to do either, especially as I’m getting back into blogging, would be a mistake.
In the beginning, then: no posting schedule, and no projects. Nothing but me, talking about the books I want to talk about, when I want to talk about them. And we’ll go from there.
The Practical Stuff
Alright. So I’m back. With some ground rules. And I’m feeling good about the whole thing.
There have been a few changes around Erin Reads, though. Here’s what you need to know:
- I’m no longer @ErinReadsblog on Twitter. Come hang out with me @erinkurup instead!
- Speaking of social media, G+ and Pinterest have seriously taken off, huh? I’m on those, too, if they’re your cup of te.
- The RSS feed is the same, but I’m now using MailChimp to deliver posts by email. If you were subscribed to posts before, I’ve moved you over, so you don’t have to do anything. (In fact, I hope this post came right to your inbox!) If you want posts by email, get ‘em here!
I Need Your Help to Get Back in the Loop!
I’m counting on you to tell me what I’ve missed. Tell me in the comments: What’s the absolute best book you read (or listened to) in 2013? What’s your favorite book blog to read? (And if I haven’t met you yet, what’s your blog?) What else has happened in the past year and a half that you think I should know?? Help!