Okay, friends, it’s been a while since we’ve had a discussion and there have been some changes both big and small… let’s have a chat.
Okay, sorry, let me take off my “stern parent” hat for a minute because I made myself a little nervous there. ?
Anyways, today I want to talk to you lovelies about a few things that are kind of actually just ONE thing — at their root, anyways — and that is the recent realization I’ve had that my priorities are all wrong lately and, let’s face it, I’m struggling lately.
Now, some of it is normally seasonal depression “February sucks” shit coupled with the ridiculously gloomy weather we’ve had here lately, but a lot of it is how disconnected I’ve been feeling from books and everything bookish lately. For example:
- I’ve been forcing myself to read one 100-page-or-less novella per day for the last several days because it’s the only way I can convince myself to read ANYTHING.
- As you may have noticed from my horribly inconsistent blog post schedule lately, posting on here has become a nightmare and I feel horribly uninspired.
- Booktube overwhelms me a little, even though I so badly want to film and upload videos, because I don’t feel like I have anything valuable to say at the moment.
- My biggest bookish goal lately has been to revive my bookstagram and start posting consistently on a schedule there again — if you didn’t know, bookstagram was my first primary platform and I love it so much when I get in a good routine! — but I feel like a fraud posting pictures of books when I’m hardly touching them.
It’s taken me weeks of fretting and stressing and generally being sad about all of the above before I was finally able to figure out what triggered all of these feelings after I ended 2019 and started 2020 in such a good place, and I think I’ve figured it out: I can’t remember the last time I let myself mood read.
^ me to mood reading
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Just embrace the slump! It’ll pass!” But I think we’re past that point by now, friends.
I’ve been “embracing the slump” and “waiting for it to pass” on and off — mostly on — for about a year now. You know how they say nobody knows you better than you know yourself? Well, I know myself, and I know this isn’t just a passing slump: plain and simple, this is putting far too much pressure on myself to do the things I think I “should” be doing instead of doing the things I want to do. Instead of mood reading and grabbing random titles off my shelves and jumping in on group reads and having fun with readathons, I’ve been devoting practically every single moment of my reading life to review copies lately, and the pressure and guilt and feelings of overwhelm are basically eating my brain at this point.
My point is:
I don’t think this “slump” is going to pass on its own — I think it’s time I make some serious changes and commit to my own self-care so that I can regain my lifelong love for my single favorite hobby: reading!
This all feels a little bit like a lot to me right now, but it’s okay, because I have a plan! Or, technically, a few plans.
- Less pressuring myself about review copies. No, really. I say this all the time and then I never actually do anything to help myself out, so this time, I’ve come up with a few measures to put the overdue ones “out of mind” a bit:
- I’ve split my unread ARCs spreadsheet into two pages — 2020 and pre-2020 — and have hidden the pre-2020 sheet. It’s still accessible, but it’s out of sight, which helps me not to obsess and fret over it so much.
- No more review copies on my TBRs. Even if it’s a super hot anticipated title that I’m dying to read that month, it’s still not allowed on my monthly TBR, seasonal TBR, or TBR jar lists.
- If I randomly find a book scrolling through Goodreads or Kindle Unlimited or whatever and want to read it right then and there, I’m going to read it right then and there. I almost NEVER read books immediately after adding them to my TBR because I tell myself, “I can’t wait to read that after I read some review copies!” (Seriously, I can’t even describe how much of my reading life lately has revolved around ARC shame — does anyone feel me?) And then, by the time I’m “ready” to read it, the mood has passed and it never gets read. *side-eyes entire purchased TBR*
- If I see a buddy/group read announcement that I want to join in, no more excuses! At least once or twice a month, I see an open group read or someone looking for a buddy read partner and I’ll want so badly to join, but “I don’t have time” because “I need to stick to my TBR!” Screw that. Same for readathon challenges! In fact, I have a readathon planned for later this year that I can’t wait to announce, but I had to literally talk myself into it because it leaves basically no room for ARC reading at all. *gasp!*
All of these new plans basically boil down to one thing… as much as I appreciate ARCs and acknowledge how immensely privileged I am to receive them, I also have to recognize that, at the end of the day, reading and my blog/booktube/bookstagram/etc. are a hobby, not a job, and promoting a review copy or pleasing a publisher should never have to come at the expense of my own happiness and self-care.
Now, here’s where you come in!
Obviously, there’s not much you all can do if I’m not candid about how I’m doing, so I’m still working on being more transparent about my mental health online, but if you see me starting to obsess and self-shame and generally beat myself up over this stuff, I’ll never turn down a kind reminder that this is a hobby and I need to focus on my mental health and happiness first. And if you’re feeling the same way and need someone to talk to, I’m here for you, too!
It’s tough to be open about these things, but I feel better and more motivated after getting that off my chest. How about you — have you ever been in this position, or are you right now?
Also, if you have any advice, please let me know in the comments or DM me on twitter — I can use all the help and accountability I can get! ♥
— destiny ♥
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