[stextbox id=”guest2″ image=”null”]As you know, we are using Fridays here at Oh, the Books! to help promote newer bloggers (though other guest posts might make their way in if we have openings). If you have started your blog in the last six months and are interested in contributing, we want to hear from you!
We’re excited to introduce Becky from A Fool’s Ingenuity on the blog today. Becky has been blogging since March 2014 and her beautiful blog is full of reviews, Top Ten Tuesday posts, and weekly updates. After reading her insightful guest post (which goes from a discussion about reading too much to tips for being a blogger), be sure to check her blog out and say hi to her on Twitter!
– Kelley, Asti, & Leanne[/stextbox]
Is Reading Too Much a Bad Thing?
I was talking to my mom last night. I proudly announced that, on average, I was reading four books a week and that I had read 73 books so far this year. I expected some half-arsed impressed look from her while she smiled, nodded and said ‘good for you’, since that is my mom’s typical response to what I do. Instead, she said to me ‘is that a good thing?’ and I was a bit offended and a bit shocked. Then it got me thinking, is it a good thing? After all, that is a lot of pages and a lot of hours reading.
The below image is evidence of the number of books I have read at the time of writing this. That’s more than I thought I would have read.
The thing is, what my mom said bothered me. I started thinking about it all the way to work the next day, and carried on thinking about it whilst I was working. After all, is it a good thing I am reading so many books each week? I don’t know, I really don’t. If I’m reading so many books each week does that mean I am neglecting other areas of my life? Am I putting in a fair amount of effort to my blog and to my personal life?
Could I actually be reading too much?
I know, reading too much does not sound like a thing, does it? I like to think of reading as a perfect way to unwind, it soothes me, so can there really be anything wrong in what I am doing? It is something I enjoy, it makes me happy, why deny myself something that makes me happy? As long as reading does not hinder me in any way, prevent me from doing other things, then there is surely nothing wrong with the amount I read?
Reading makes me happy, it certainly doesn’t get in the way of my personal life. I see my friends, I see my family, I go out I do things. It can get in the way of blogging, though. I am quote lazy, so I have to motivate myself to post, I have to motivate myself to write them and remember to post them, and often I would much rather be reading, especially if it’s a good book. After all, as a book blogger I have to read, right? Then again just because something makes you happy does not mean you should overindulge. Cake makes me happy as well, but you overindulge in that and people start judging you.
I know reading isn’t bad for me, I do. It can be a hindrance though. By devoting so much time to a book I can end up not doing something else with actual people, or neglect writing a blog post which I had planned to post on a set day. It is not a mega crisis, but it can get in the way. I find myself not posting as much as I wish because I would be rather be reading. I know many people think that, there are things you would be rather be doing than blogging at times. That is a motivation issue, though, surely, not a reading too much thing?
Another problem with reading too much is you can wear yourself out. Is the same as any other thing where you overindulge, you get bored of it. Now I will never get bored of reading, but you can wear yourself out where you get to the point that you don’t want to read. You just don’t fancy it, you start remembering you have a life outside of books and you can’t motivate yourself to pick up another. This is normally what develops when you have finished a really good book or series and you have that urge to read it all over again it was that good, you don’t want to leave that books world and can’t bring yourself to venture into another. That’s the point where binge reading is a bad thing. Where you are reading too much to motivate yourself to blog and you’re reaching a point where you don’t know if you want to pick up another book.
What to do once you realise you’re overindulging?
So, everything I have written so far has been very personal to me, because I have taken issue with the amount I’ve been reading and how I believe it affects my blogging abilities. This last section, well, this is much more general and applicable to all and sundry. It is even applicable you folk that don’t feel like you’re reading too much, I am essentially going to list some common sense blogging rules and ideas that I hope others may learn from.
What do you do when you’re reading too much? You strategise is what you do. I have several steps in place to help me keep a blogging schedule, although that isn’t foolproof, but that is more because procrastination is in my blood, but they probably work for those with a more determined nature.
1. You develop a blogging schedule!
I know, everyone has heard about bloggers and their schedules. I am not saying you need to obsessively plan every day for each post. I’m thinking more just have a general idea of what you want to post each week and stick to it. The problem with blogging is you have no one to keep you on target but yourself, so learn to give yourself something to aim towards by having a posting schedule so you know when to have posts ready for.
2. Be realistic. Know your limits.
Don’t aim too high. Yeah, I know you’re an overachiever who has always been told you can do whatever you put your mind to, but those people lied to you. Don’t schedule yourself to post everyday of the week because you will tire yourself out and you will only disappoint yourself when you can’t keep to the proposed blog schedule you developed in the first step. Know your limits. If you work long hours you will not have enough time to post all the time, you need a life as well, or time to read. If you aim too high you are only setting yourself up to fail, and when you’re a newbie blogger that is heartbreaking and probably leads to many blogs not making their first year.
3. Remember what you’re good at.
Learn what posts you find easiest to write, remember that and cater to it on your blog. If you struggle to write reviews you don’t have to force yourself to churn one out each week. If you struggle with discussion posts you don’t have to do them. Find out what works for you and what you’re good at and post those things instead of anything which feels forced or takes up vast amounts of your time to do. I’m not saying you can never post things you aren’t good at, it’s fine to challenge yourself by writing that which may not come naturally to you. I’m saying don’t force yourself each week to write something which takes up your free time. It will only sound forced on your blog and you won’t enjoy it.
4.Don’t feel bad.
So, I’m sure every single one of you have felt the pressure to blog, haven’t you? You have your schedule set up. You know what posts you want to have this week. You know what you’re good at writing and you have it all set out and ready to go. You’ve planned all your time accordingly, there is no obstacle stopping you from blogging. You miss a post though, you just weren’t in the mood to sit down and write. The world is going to end. Your readers and followers will hate you. You may as well give up blogging altogether you can’t even keep to your simple schedule.
Well, no. Calm down. Take a breath. Grab a cup of coffee (or whatever your beverage of choice is) and just chill for a second. So what if you missed a post? Don’t get yourself down, because it happens. Sometimes you are just not in the right frame of mind to blog. No one is going to blame you for that. We blog because we enjoy it so don’t get yourself down if sometimes you are just not in the mood to post. You don’t need to get yourself down about it because it is not the end of the world. If you’re having an off week and don’t feel like posting and don’t want to upset your followers, tell them about it. They’ll understand and it will relieve some of the pressure on yourself. Remember everyone wants you to do well, so tell them about it and it will be ok.
The only one who is gonna get you down if you don’t post is yourself.
Okay. That’s all the advice from me. I often don’t stick to these rules, but I try. It helps keep me on track. It helps keep me organised. It helps me keep on track when it feels like I am consuming too many books each week and doing little else apart from reading.
This post developed from my concern I was reading too much and neglecting my blog and neglecting my life in general, all because of a little comment from my mother. I do believe you can read too much, you risk reading burn out if you do that, but by being a blogger I think it helps me avoid it. I see everyone elses book blogs and all the books they are reading I have to go out and read them myself. I read too much to try and catch up with everyone else, which is stupid, I know.
Blogging is difficult, it takes a big commitment. When you’re first starting you try and do everything at once. You try and write all the posts. Read all the books. Essentially, you try and do all the things. That is why I came up with the above things to remember, because sometimes you try and push yourself to do too much, and that doesn’t help you achieve anything.
I have to say, when I came up with this post idea, I imagined it going very differently, I like the way it turned out, but it’s definitely diverted from the original idea of can you read too much and developed into how to try and be an alright blogger in four simple steps. Sorry about that.