Bookish Ramblings: Blogging / Reading Slumps?

Hello and welcome to this week’s Bookish Ramblings here on Books, Biscuits, and Tea. This week’s post is going to be unique in the sense that rather than giving advice or rambling about something blogging/reading related issue, I’d like to ask you to help me and fellow bloggers who are in the same boat and give us  advice. :)

Have you ever had blogging or reading slumps? How did you deal with them? Do you have any tips for fellow bloggers that might help them overcome -or prevent- these situations?

The idea for today’s topic actually came into my mind a few hours ago when I was chatting to Celine from Nyx Book Reviews on Twitter. I was just saying how lazy I’ve felt lately but at the same time, I feel guilty for not blogging, reading, preparing for my upcoming exams or doing anything productive, for that matter. Don’t stress yourself, I’d hate to see you get a blogging burnout, says Celine. And that’s when I realized that I’m actually right in the middle of one! Oh the excruciating SHAME!

I’ve been blogging for 8 months and I managed to survive my blogging “career” without any major burnouts or blogging slumps – so far. I’m no expert but my theory is that you’re likely to experience such a thing when, for some reason, life gets in the way of blogging. Take me, for example. I have two exams coming up in June and I know I should start studying (i.e. I’m not doing anything productive and I’m feeling guilty 24 hours a day). At the same time, I should be doing at least 4 different things and again, I feel guilty for neglecting all these responsibilities. On top of that, stress and anxiety don’t really help much either. So here I am, wondering about what other bloggers do in such a terrible scenario.

If you ask me, overcoming reading slumps sounds quite straightforward.

  • Don’t read. Take some time out – go out with friends, sleep, travel, you name it. But don’t stress about reading or thinking about how many books you still need to read. Give yourself a break – you deserve it.
  • If you must read, read your own books. Putting your review books aside for a while won’t hurt anyone. Try reading something from your favourite author, your favourite genre – something you’ve wanted to pick up for a while but never got round to actually reading it.
  • Take it slow. You really don’t have to read 300 pages in one day. Read as much as you can, even if it’s just one chapter or a few pages before going to bed.

Now here comes the tricky part. What do you when you’re in the middle of a blogging slump? I suppose the obvious answer would be to take some time out and stop blogging for a while – get your life back on track and then return to the blogging world in full force when you’re ready. But how do you do all this without letting your readers down? Is that even possible?

How do you deal with blogging slumps? Have you ever had such a burnout? What did you do to get rid of it?

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46 Responses to “Bookish Ramblings: Blogging / Reading Slumps?”

  1. I’m not so much in a blogging slump lately but I am doing terribly at writing reviews! I have a long list of reviews to write and I just can’t seem to write anything down! Hopefully I’ll get a few done this week or atleast write a few notes down otherwise I’ll just forget everything! I’m hoping that after going on holiday next week I’ll come back refreshed and write them all up! :)
    Becca @ Lost in Thought recently posted..Showcase Sunday #3My Profile

    • Vicky says:

      I hate that!! I’ve been the same lately, but I always manage to write them after about a week, for some reason :) I’m sure taking a break will help a lot, though! Where are you going?

  2. I got a bit overwhelmed with all the book reviews requests I have. Plus I do many book reading challenges on goodreads.com. So I am reading a lot of books that I want to read, but might not want to read right away or at this moment. I decided that in 2013 I will do far few book challenges and that once I finish all the book review requests I have, I will only take ten or so at a time. Plus I was thinking of having one month where I just read the books I want to read.

    • Vicky says:

      Oh I definitely agree! Challenges are fun but the trick is to find the balance and not to overstress yourself. I’ve actually been thinking about doing an “I’m going to read my own copies” month in July as well :)

  3. Alexia561 says:

    I’ve had a few slumps where no book can keep my interest, I’ve felt burnt-out, and have even considered quitting. I’ve been lucky that a few other bloggers feel the same way at the same time and post about it, so it helps that I’m not alone. I’ve also taken short blogging breaks, which help.

    Something else that seems to help me is that I don’t have a strict schedule. That takes some of the pressure off! I post when I post and it can be a little erratic at times, but my blogging buddies seem okay with that.
    Alexia561 recently posted..Dreaming of BEAMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Yes! That’s what I’m worried about.. okay, you take some time off but what about your schedule? I think I’ll probably try to schedule some posts for the next two weeks or so and see if that helps. :)

      • Alexia561 says:

        Unless I’ve made a commitment to post something on a certain day, I try not to worry too much about a set schedule. Having a rigid schedule stresses me out too much! :o

        Sometimes I’m good and schedule a week or two worth of posts. Other times I’m writing something and posting it immediately. And occasionally I skip several days and don’t post anything at all.

        I try to remember all the good advice I’ve gotten over the years that blogging is supposed to be fun! My main group of blogging buddies have stuck with me over time and don’t seem to mind my erractic schedule. Blogging has to fit into my life, not the other way around (which is hard to remember sometimes!).

        Good luck!
        Alexia561 recently posted..Dreaming of BEAMy Profile

  4. Tabitha S. says:

    I’ve never been in much of a blogging slump, but I just never feel like writing my reviews. I have all my notes, just sitting in my room just waiting to be written into reviews.

    I think that with any burnout or slump taking a break even if it’s just for a few days will help you get over it.
    Tabitha S. recently posted..Torment by Lauren KateMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Thanks Tabitha! I’ll try that :) And YES!! I know how it feels. Although sometimes I’m even worse because I don’t always take notes.

  5. kimba88 says:

    When i start getting Arc burnout i read a book of my own. I am also careful about selecting ARC’s i know i will enjoy, in the beginning i was just so excited about being asked that i took on books that while good weren’t exactly what i would have chosen. I also find being organized makes blogging stress free. While i visit blogs everyday, i limit the days i work on actual reviews, planning and research for my blog to certain hours each week. They are scheduled like a job and knowing that is when and where elimanates a lot of my stress. While i can be flexable i am also anal and a set schedule makes it all worry free.
    kimba88 recently posted..Half-Blood by Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Okay, you need to teach me how you do that. *sits down with a notebook and a pen* I have blog post templates and I try to stick to a given schedule as much as possible but sometimes even scheduling posts takes a lot of time and effort – which hasn’t always been like that. *sigh*

  6. I am frequently battling both reading and blogging slumps unfortunately…. What I’ve found with my blogging slumps, though, is that writing posts is not nearly as difficult as I make it out to be in my head, so if I just make myself start writing, I can actually get one or two complete posts written up as long as I have an uninterrupted chunk of time and some celtic music ;-). That’s the other thing too, I always forget how much music helps my mood, so finding the right music can do wonders for my creativity and therefore productivity.

    Finally, just doing something new in the other parts of my life can help a lot. Anything to get the right brain creative part of me awake and adventurous will make me happier and more productive. I love going to zoos and parks when it’s nice out or watch a more artsy/fantastical movie.

    Do you think you could make a follow up post with the good suggestions that people post or with your ideas, as I said I really need help dealing with my frequent slumps xD

    Anya
    Anya @ About The Story recently posted..Four Stars: Anathema by Megg JensenMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Oh wow, thanks so much for the tips!! You’ll have to tell me what (celtic or other) music you listen to – I desperately need it and I have a feeling my current iTunes repertoire is not soothing enough. :D

      And YES!! I’ll need to go to the zoo. Or somewhere else. My life has been so boring and monotonous lately – I think I just need a change.

      I’ll do a follow up post as soon as I figure out what works and what doesn’t, sure! :)

      • Blackmore’s Night is a great celtic-y band (husband and wife duo) and I just went to pandora.com and made a station of them and have loved everything else pandora has found for me. It is my go-to station and probably has days more playtime than any of my others xD

        One other thing I thought of is flowers. Having beautiful things around you (things you think are beautiful, not necessarily flowers lol) helps a lot. I have a couple of orchids sitting next to my computer area. One was a gift from my boyfriend and has beautiful purple and white patterns and one literally reminds me of a sunrise every time I look at it. Things that make you happy = good for creativity lol :D
        Anya @ About The Story recently posted..Four Stars: Anathema by Megg JensenMy Profile

  7. Birgit says:

    After over a year of daily blogging I decided I needed a break and went on a one-month hiatus this February. Best decision ever! I knew that this would give me enough time to get my energy back and it really did. Of course this will be different for everyone, some might need just a week, others half a year (and I can see the risk in case you go for the second option).
    I guess what many fear is that not blogging for a while will make followers run away. Well, that’s not true. Assuming that people are following tons of blogs, in most cases they won’t even realize you’re gone until you’re back (except for the most loyal ones which will be counting the days, of course), at least when your hiatus isn’t all that long. So I didn’t loose any blog readers, plus I also posted about my hiatus so they knew I’d be back soon.
    And like I said, the quality me-time sure helped me and I came back motivated and full of great new ideas to blog about. I might go on a hiatus again next year, not because I’m totally burned out, but because I see now how much it improved my quality of life but also the quality of my blog :-)!
    Birgit recently posted..A Writer’s Life – Liar LiarMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Great tips, thanks so much! :) That’s exactly what Celine said to me last night so there has to be something in it. I would be afraid to go on a half-a-year break (plus, I’d miss blogging too much anyway) but a one or two week one is definitely needed. Did you read books or write reviews while you were on your break or you abandoned everything book related?

  8. Rebecca says:

    I definitely. When I last year had way too many review copies was the first time and my solution was to pick up everything I had been wanting to read and then just go with the flow for a month. It worked like a charm and I was back in no time! Around that time I also started to get migraines every time I picked my Kindle up, which so didn’t help that underlying stress at all.

    And to be honest I’m kind of in one right now, but that’s more about me being half-sick (and having been for around a month) and I just don’t have the energy to do anything. It makes me sad, but at the same time I have to be able to rest without freaking out about it. I started getting behind on the review copies when I studied and now it’s way worse, since I basically rest and sleep around here. I haven’t been posting quite as often because of it either, and I feel bad, but I know I have to rest up first and read/blog second.

    I’m working on getting ahead though and then following a schedule, so I can pre-schedule a lot of posts on the blog and not making it quite as stressful. When I was about caught up before school, it was the best feeling ever! I so recommend using a calendar and schedule posts to anyone who’s having issues. When you come to being weeks ahead, it’ll be like vacation and you’ll always be before the stress. ;)
    Rebecca recently posted..Review: The Hunt by Andrew FakudaMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Oh no, what’s wrong? :(

      The scheduling thing works like a charm! Even though I’m still behind, I managed to schedule my WoW posts for the next 6 or so weeks which is great! As long as I manage to keep this up AND schedule my other posts for the next weeks, I think I’ll be fine. Or at least I hope so. I’m behind with review copies as well but I’ll just have to accept the fact that blogging comes second and they’ll have to wait until July.

  9. Roxanne says:

    I’ve been blogging for 6 years. I find that change usually reinvigorates me when I start to get restless. And yes, I’ve changed my blog design ALOT in these 6 years. Once in a while I change my design, but less often … Sometimes I’ve had nothing to blog about, but now that I also have a book blog, that doesn’t happen.

    As for reading slump, I write and so the two modes are mutually exclusive ~ when I read I don’t write much, when I write, I read less. Except now I’m starting to get a stead stream of books for review so I have made commitments that I have to keep. That seems to be the trick for me, you know, to keep me going.
    Roxanne recently posted..Sunday ShowcaseMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      6 years? Wow! I kept changing my design in my first months of blogging as well and it was always a great change – but ever since I moved to WP, I’ve been okay with my current design :)

  10. I’m having one right now. I’m just so busy and distracted lately. I want to read and review, but feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I take time to go around and comment, so I’m not completely MIA. I know it will sort itself out, it’s just frustrating.
    Petra @ Safari Poet recently posted..Author Interview: Ellie JamesMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Same here! It’s just so annoying. I’ve been MIA for a while and I haven’t had the energy to comment as much as I used to which, again, is quite frustrating. I hope we’ll be able to sort ourselves out sooner or later :)

  11. Kelsey says:

    I haven’t had a burnout yet, kinda dreading when it will happen. I’ve had small slumps of reading, but taking breaks for a few days from the book helped a lot. I don’t know if any advice I would give would help, but I think that your readers would understand if you needed to take a break away from it all, I’m sure they’ve gone through the same thing too in their own way. Just let them know you’re going to be away, and they will support you. If you want to schedule a few things before you go, that’s okay too, just don’t let it get to you too much that you end up wanting to quit it all.
    Kelsey recently posted..Review: Fire by Kristin CashoreMy Profile

  12. I haven’t got a blog slump (but I’m a newbie to the whole book blog world.) I’m enjoying myself at the moment and I hope I can keep it that way. Perhaps that’s because I have no stress: all the books I read are bought, from Netgalley or from the library, so there is no real limit. I don’t have to come up with a schedule, I can do whatever I want.

    I also write a review right away. I have a hardback notebook and I bring it everywhere with me. I scribble down the details I need to remember and the pages where I want to quote something (or just write them down for myself if I want to remember them). I also make short notes about the review: the story in lines, so when I start to review it, I already have most of the review on paper :)
    That way, I always have reviews waiting to be posted, so I never have any pressure. I also use older reviews I onced posted on Goodreads and sometimes, when I don’t feel like writing a lot about a book, I make a short review :)

    The most important thing is to remember that you are blogging for fun. You are doing it, because you like it. If you don’t feel that way, perhaps it’s better to take a break than keep forcing yourself.

    The only thing that can pull me out of a reading slump – and I hardly have any – is reading a favourite book. Most of the time I end up reading Harry Potter, The book thief or any book from Juliet Marillier. And indeed, taking your time is important! You don’t have to force yourself to read, the feeling will come back. Just do other things in the mean time.

    So, that’s what I think :p
    Mel @thedailyprohecy recently posted..Top 10 Tuesday (12)My Profile

  13. I’m actually going through this right now and I’m doin what you said. I guess I need some time to read my own books. =)
    Anjana @ Kindle and Me recently posted..In My Mailbox #13 / Book Haul (Birthday Edition =P)My Profile

  14. Melissa says:

    I get into Blogging Slumps every few months! I never get sick of reading (though I do sometimes feel that I will never catch up on review books), but I do fall way behind on writing and posting reviews as well as visiting and commenting on other blogs.

    I usually just try to remind myself that this is a hobby, I can’t let it get in the way of real life stuff(ie. work, family, studies etc.) and that the world will not end if I don’t post every day or don’t post a review for that week.

    So generally I just take a week off. All I post are things I really want to or am obligated to for tours. I don’t write any reviews and I don’t comment on other blogs. I use the free time to catch up on review reading, read my own books or spend time with family. Usually by the weekend…I am good to go again!
    Melissa recently posted..Teaser Tuesdays: Shadow & Bone by Leigh BardugoMy Profile

  15. I tend to do the ‘reading your own books’ thing too. I sometimes just think ‘ick!’ when I look at my review pile. If I have something else that I actually feel motivated to read I’ll read that next instead, and then go back to the review pile! Just not reading at all sometimes helps, but it tends to panic me because I start thinking ‘I’m never gonna get all these books read in time!’
    Sarah
    sarah elizabeth recently posted..Today I am reading…The Immortal Rules by Julie KagawaMy Profile

  16. Claire says:

    I’ve been blogging about the same amount of time as you and I’ve definitely hit a couple of bumps. Sometimes I hit a slump and couldn’t get over it, other times real life took over. I’m finding the schedule button a huge help, but also go with what you want to read. Review copies are important, but if you’re burnt out then you probably won’t review as well as if you took a break first.

    I’m definitely working on scheduling more posts so if there are any more bumps or slumps it won’t affect me or my blog as much.
    Claire recently posted..Teaser Tuesday (27)My Profile

  17. I just took about 5 weeks off of blogging and 6 weeks off of reading. It’s a LONG time, but worth it. Instead, I focused on my music, housework, my husband, and finding balance. Before my “break,” I would be the person to read 1-2-3 books in a day and would just read, read, read, so I could get onto the next book. Now, I’m taking my time — play the piano for a bit, do some gardening, watch a TV show, read a few chapters. It’s taking me 2-3 days to finish a 300 or so page book and that’s okay with me!

    For me, too, a lot of it is going back to the reasons I started my book blog — to keep track of my thoughts on what I’m reading. So, I’m not going to accept review books for a while and I’m going to read what I want to read, when I want to read it. So far, it’s working out well! As for blogging, I had enough reviews stored up that I still have them scheduled until the beginning of September. So now whatever I read can still get posted on a day during the week and if I don’t post anything, there are still 1-3 reviews that’ll be posted. Surprisingly enough, I had people — some of my devoted readers — commenting on what I posted while away, which was AWESOME. Now I’m making an effort to make sure I check out their blogs and really try to keep in touch.

    It’s tough, but sometimes a break is necessary. :)

    Great topic!
    Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) recently posted..BOOK REVIEW: Touch of Power (Healer, #1), by Maria V. SnyderMy Profile

  18. Anne says:

    I’ve been blogging almost 2 years and in that time I’ve experienced 2 major slumps – both due to real life events interfering. It’s a hard thing to go through. One thing I’ve learned is that if I schedule a few posts a week during a time I know I’ll be busy, I don’t feel nearly so bad about taking time off. Also, I’ve learned not to try to review everything I read. I read far too much to do that, and that was how burnout happened for me more than anything else – I would get 6-8 reviews behind, and then I’d feel guilty for trying to read something else, so I wouldn’t, but I still wouldn’t work on those reviews because all I wanted to do was read. It’s a difficult balance that we all have to work with constantly. But hey, good for you for going this long without one!
    Anne recently posted..Bout of Books Wrap UpMy Profile

  19. Lubna says:

    Hi

    In my spare time, I tend to review and keep posts in a draft form. Then during a lean month, when I don’t have time to read or review, I post these ready-drafts on my blog. This means, that each month, I have at least two book review posts. This is possible, because my book review blog also comprises of review of my own books (those that I have purchased, or borrowed from friends)

    Also I stay clear of the rat race of reviewing many books within a month. When I am busy, I review not more than two. If I am a bit more free, this can go up to six.

    I do tell authors who have reached out to me that I am busy with current commitments and that I would get back to them with my mailing address (for posting the book) at a later date. Almost all of them agree to this delay.

    I think it is fine, if you even review books that you have to read up at University. As of now, do concentrate on what needs to be done. We will wait for you to return post your exams.

    Happy studying!
    Lubna recently posted..MBA at 16My Profile

  20. I’m feeling burned out now. Even though I’ve been reading really good books lately, I’m in the mood for something different. Like, I want to read something by John Irving so bad – I love his books. But I know if I slip it in now, I’ll just get further behind on review books. I honestly wish I could wipe the slate clean of review books, and start over. *sigh*
    Christy @ Love of Books recently posted..Audiobook Review: Hexed by Kevin HearneMy Profile

  21. MsJohannah says:

    I’m kind of new at the blogging thing. Last year I was HORRIBLE at it, so I revamped my blog and gave it a new direction and that seemed to help focus me.

    I also don’t focus on blogging as much as I do the reading. I ALWAYS pick a book that motivates me to read it. Then I review it.

    I also have other hobbies, I do.

    I don’t know if those suggestions or tips will help. But good luck hon!
    MsJohannah recently posted..Memorial DayMy Profile

  22. Linny says:

    I haven’t been blogging for very long, so I haven’t had any reading slumps yet. But I can totally see why they would come about, especially in a case like your’s where you’ve got a lot of stress with exams and everything. It sounds like you and me have sort of the same problem – whenever I get really stressed I sort of shut down and end up doing nothing! Very annoying habit and I always just end up feeling guilty about it at the end of the day. Sigh, oh well. I think your advice to bloggers in a slump is good though. Not that I’ve had a slump and would really know, but it seems like a nice refreshing break could be just the thing. ;)

  23. Dalene says:

    I don’t know that I ever get into a reading slump. I have always loved it from early on. My struggle is trying to balance all the ins and outs of reading, blogging, commenting, and making it work all the way around. I’m still a newbie (almost 6 months) and still trying to find what works for me.
    Dalene recently posted..Book Review: Just the Way You AreMy Profile

  24. Never Too Fond of Books » Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge 6.1.12 says:

    [...] Biscuits and Tea asks for advice on reading slumps (while giving some good [...]

  25. Shelver506 says:

    So far for me, this whole blogging thing hasn’t been too bad. I know I’ll hit a slump eventually though.

    What’s helped me thus far is keeping a schedule. I don’t push myself to review more than one book per week. If I happen to READ more than one per week, that’s great. That just means I’ll be able to take a break the next week. If I don’t have a book to review, I’ll pull one off my shelf.

    Memes also help me a lot. They’re pretty easy to write and help fill up gaps in the week AND they can be written in advance.

    And really, what you listed for reading slumps works for me when I don’t want to post either. I get up, take a walk, clean off my dresser, whatever. It lets everything rattle around in the back of my head and sort itself out.

    Maybe you could solicit some guest posts? That way your loyal readers (hi!) still get quality content but you can focus on your exams.
    Shelver506 recently posted..My Favorite Reads Blog HopMy Profile

  26. Never Too Fond of Books » Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge 6.1.12 | Books says:

    [...] Biscuits and Tea asks for advice on reading slumps (while giving some good [...]

  27. Hannah says:

    The best way to deal with a blogging slump is either to take a break. Do what you need to do and replenish your love of blogging. Or do something different. We become creatures of habit, trying to force ourselves to get out reviews of books we read because we felt we had to and doing weekly memes that grow stale and so on.. maybe just writing down your current reading passions or talking about a piece of bookish news that has you excited once in a while could help. When I had my blogging slump, I flicked over to reading only what I *wanted* to read and did away with a lot of memes. Have a think what might work for you, what might get you excited again. :)
    Hannah recently posted..[Review] Touch the Dark by Karen ChanceMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Thanks so much! :) That’s exactly what I was thinking about. A given schedule makes things much easier but you can get bored of it as well. I’m starting a new feature next Friday and I’m planning to do some new type of posts as well. Let’s hope it works! :)

  28. creativityscorner.net says:

    [...] from Books, Biscuits and Tea talked about Reading and Blogging Slumps and asked what we do about [...]

  29. Awesome advice. I’ve been blogging since 09 and I can honestly say it’s all about reading what you want when you want. Too many books for review make it feel like a job.
    Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com recently posted..Well Said: The Class NerdMy Profile

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