I’ve actually been thinking about this post for a while now and started it way back at the beginning of March. Now that I’m very firmly in my third year of book blogging I’m beginning to look at how I do things around here and what changes I might make in the future. One thing I started this year was a monthly TBR, just to keep me organized. But as I put this together every month I keep thinking about all the books on there that I’m reading for some reason or other, not just because I’m in the mood to pick it up. And this has been…challenging, because I’m SUCH a mood reader.
Reasons I might be reading a book are currently but not limited to:
- a reading challenge such as r/fantasy book bingo
- I was sent a copy for review
- a book club selection
- I checked it out from the library and it’s due back soon
- part of a readalong
- just want to read it
I don’t want to speak for other book bloggers, but in my case, sometimes I get caught up all of these things and forget what it’s like to just read something for the simple reason of…the joy of reading it. Having to read something for some other reasons can take a lot of the fun out of it. And what is the point of this hobby if one is no longer enjoying it?
Now, that’s not to say that I’m not enjoying the books I read! I’ve read a lot of great books that I might not have ever picked up had I never started blogging. But sometimes the pressure that I put on myself to read on a deadline takes its toll. Sometimes I get stressed thinking about all the books I need to read for various reasons–keeping up with new releases, catching up on series, review copies, working on my TBR, etc. I’m beginning to realize I’d much rather feel free to pick up a book of my choosing whenever I want than to only be able to squeeze in a ‘mood’ read every now and then between ‘obligated’ reading.
Well, who says what’s obligated? I can pick up any book I want at any time, right? The sense of obligation that comes with being a book blogger, can put a lot of pressure on a person. I try not to feel obligated. But sometimes I can’t help it. Especially when it comes to review copies. I know that I’ll never get to all the books that I’m sent for review and I know that most publicists are probably aware that not every book they send out will get read by every blogger they send it to. But I can’t help feeling bad if I can’t get to one! Am I not cut out to be a book blogger?
So, what have I done to cut down on this stress?
Over the last several months I’ve really cut down on the amount of requests I make on sites such as Netgalley and Edelweiss. In fact, I’ve only made three requests this whole year. I’ve still gotten sent several books in the mail for review, but I’ve been pretty good about deciding how to prioritize those. For reading challenges I’ve been deciding on participating in them with one common goal in mind–to read more books from my already owned TBR. I’ve also been acquiring a lot less books this year so far, trying to combat that TBR Pile of Doom. All of these things have helped reduce some of the stress and pressure I feel under when it comes to what I read and when. Strangely enough, adding in a monthly TBR plan has helped as well. You wouldn’t think planning out your reading would work for a mood reader but it’s done wonders in keeping me focused and I always make sure to a) put some books on there that are ‘just for fun’ and b) leave some room to squeeze in one or two unexpected reads.
I might have been blogging for a while now but in some ways I still feel like I’m getting a feel for what works for me as a blogger when it comes to what I choose to read and what doesn’t. And as as time goes by some things might continue to change because life isn’t a constant. Do you feel any pressure or under obligation to read certain things as a blogger and how does this affect you, if at all? How have you dealt with it? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!