Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Salon - July 8

Today was supposed to be house cleaning day - instead it's turned into blog cleaning day. I've been struggling lately to have fun blogging - reading enough to be able to post reviews, coming up with content for the days without reviews, keeping up with all of the blogs I follow. Then there's trying to keep up with the conversations on Twitter, posts on Tumblr and my email. I've been thinking about a post Andi, from Estella's Revenge, wrote a few days ago in which she declared her desire to liberate her blog from outside influences.

It may sound silly to anyone who doesn't blog, who sees bloggers getting free books and thinks that nothing could be greater. Don't get me wrong - I love getting free books! Other than picking up used books and books from clearance shelves, I have only rarely purchased a book in the three years I've been blogging. It's great to come home and find another book in the mail and I have gotten a chance to read some wonderful books I might never have discovered otherwise.

Here's the problem - guilt. I get at least three offers for books everyday and every time I turn down a book, I feel guilty. Even when the person pitching the book has clearly not read my review policy or looked at the kind of books I like to read. I feel guilty every time I look at the books I have accepted for review but haven't yet had the time to read. Mostly, I feel guilty because I have hundreds of books that I have paid for sitting on shelves all over my house with very little hope that I will get to them.

So today, I'm taking my first steps toward making my blogging time fun again. First up - cleaning up my feed reader. I have almost 200 blogs on my reader. Even if there isn't a new post on all of them every day, there are well more new posts every day than I can read. I spend a part of every day trying to scan them and save the ones I want to come back to later and comment on. By the time I"m through all of that, though, there's no time left to go visit the posts I saved. Something has to give so today I've unsubscribed to more than 25 blogs, some obsolete, some I don't have a relationship with the blogger, some where we just don't have the same literary tastes. If we are friends and you don't hear from me in a couple of weeks, though, I may have accidentally deleted you. Shoot me an email!

Next up is a new review policy  - one that's going to the top of the page instead of being buried at the bottom. That way, when I get a pitch that doesn't fit what I'll review, I'll know the pitcher never even looked at my blog and I won't feel guilty saying "no" any more. Thank you so much for the offers, I'm delighted to have so many wonderful books to choose from.  But let's be honest, while I'm getting the chance to have a free book, these offers aren't coming to me out of kindness. I need to be able to recognize that it's okay to say "no, thanks," I don't have time to publicize your book right now.

After that, a calendar for the rest of the year. I'm going to schedule all of the books I've accepted for review (after I go through them and make sure I still want to read them) and get myself caught up. I will go into 2013 with a clean slate - and a review book shelf! While I'm scheduling, I'm putting in places for books to be named later. That is to say, what ever I darn well feel like reading.

I always feel better when I've got a plan and I'm feeling lighter already. And I'm looking forward to the next six months!


  1. It's good to read what you want and not what you have to! Good luck with your new outlook on blogging.

  2. I love your plan! But I totally get the feelings of guilt. This year, I decided to change my review policy to state that I am currently NOT accepting review copies. At all. Of course, I was already behind from last year (and still am.) And of course, I've continued to receive 2-3 pitches a day (and I cave and accept a few of them). But overall, I've felt lighter, I've been able to read what I want, and I have let go of the guilt (mostly). It's been a much more relaxing year because of that decision!

  3. Bravo for taking the plunge. I've considered it as well, but haven't done anyhing as formal as you yet. Hope this works well for you:)

  4. Good for you. The day this stops being fun, will be the day I end it. I will admit to it feeling like work at times, but I'm still enjoying it three years later.

  5. Lisa, I'm with you on the guilt - I feel the same way! Its crazy, isn't? Ugh! I hate feeling guilty. I'm thinking of adding a review policy - I don't even have one on my blog - its obvious I need one (and soon). I love that you are changing things so that you can enjoy blogging again - I need to do that! Thanks for the great post - its inspiring :)

  6. Good for you! This is supposed to be fun and not a job or a guilt trip or an albatross. Cleaning house and just saying "no" should do wonders for your morale. :)

  7. What a wonderful plan, Lisa! I understand the guilt about saying no--and not reading your own books. I've only recently begun accepting review books again--but in a limited way. My review policy, however, still says I'm not accepting books for review at this time and I don't plan to change it anytime soon. Not that it's stopped the pitches from coming in, at least not completely. I've been working harder at reading my own books as well.

    I think my biggest relief though was giving myself permission to not post regularly. Finding a good balance is always a challenge, isn't it? But when we give ourselves leeway and freedom from some of the obligation (even when it's our choice--which it mostly is), it sure does help!

  8. Woohoo! Good for you for making it fun again. For me, the best part of blogging is always the community so clearing out some of the guilt and obligation has given me a way to connect with the community more. Hope it makes you feel much better to take these steps in your bloggin! :D

  9. I'm kinda hoping so of these people being turned down will come find me, I get very very few review requests. I"ve been steadily unsubscribing to blogs all year, I had so many that I just never read and I haven't even noticed they are gone (probably cause I still have hundreds left!)

    Also, I'm doing a giveaway this weekend, so don't unsub from me! (Shhhh, it's a secret.)

  10. Good for you, Lisa!! I applaud your effort and may end up doing something similar soon. I get several email requests each day... and then feel guilty when I delete them without responding.

    1. if they use my name I usually reply to them with a thanks but no thanks, but when they're generic I never feel bad about deleting them!! :D

  11. Good for you! I did that awhile back with my review policy. I basically said I was no longer accepting books, but I still had my contact info in my policy. My friend, Marie (Burton Book Review) told me to remove all contact info from all my sites and to state that I do not accept books for review through Goodreads. It worked! The amount of review book offers has really slowed down and I no longer feel bad if I ignore an email because my policy states I "am not" taking review books. I hope it works for you as well. My review copy pile is still absolutely disgraceful. Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea is having the Review Copy Clean-Up again in August so I'm hoping I can tackle a fair amount then. The boys will be back in school so I'll have a little less distractions.

    I'm so glad you are getting to join in on the read-a-thon this time. Woot! I'm going to be having a couple Twitter parties this time too. Yay!

  12. OMG....we must have been channeling the same feelings to each other lately. While away up north I finished a book that was just pure fun, romantic, and fluff. I immediately wanted to get my hands on the next one in her series but alas, my review schedule was hollering at me that I didn't have time because I was committed to the next 3 books in my pile. From that stemmed a long rant that I posted to a private blog I have (because sometimes you just don't want anyone reading everything you think!). After going back and reading it a few times, I have realized that my "reviewer" thoughts are soon to be going bye-bye. If something is really calling to me I might accept it but will no longer schedule reviews for a certain date. I tried to get better about all of this earlier in the year but laziness took over and I kept saying 'yes' much to my dismay later on. I'm pretty sure that I will still do TLC tours but will be limiting them to 1 per month. Other than that I need to read the 400+ books on my shelves and the 200+ books on my iPad/Kindle!!! I hate feeling anxious about my reading and most of all I hate having deadlines!!