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BBAW 2010: Future Treasures – Why I Blog

BBAW 2010: Future Treasures – Why I Blog post image

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is a week-long event that celebrates the work and contributions of book bloggers. There’s a new blog topic each day, and I plan to actively participate. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming next week.

Friday’s Topic: We’ve been visiting each other and getting to know each other better…now is your chance to share what you enjoyed about BBAW and also what your blogging goals are for the next year!

This post ended up being a little bit more, something, than I intended it to be. I’m not normally this navel gazing (I think), but I hope you’ll bear with me as I meander through a big lesson that BBAW helped me remember.

Since I started work at my new job in May, I’ve been having a really hard time with the whole work/life balance thing.  I’m probably working fewer hours than I did when I was a grad student, but the whole 9 to 5 work atmosphere is an adjustment from the student schedule. Not having homework is good, but having to sit at a desk at a computer for 8.5 hours a day is hard for me.

I want to note that I am not at all complaining that I have a job or complaining about my job. I like what I do and I am so grateful to be employed right now. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a challenge to change.

By the time I get home from work, I don’t feel like sitting in front of the computer. I want to be writing reviews and reading other blogs and commenting and participating… but I can’t seem to get inspired to actually do it. I’d rather read – hence my summer reading binge and subsequent review backlog – or watch tv or hang out with Boyfriend or just sit.

I guess this is just a long way of saying that blogging for the last few months has been hard for me, and I’ve felt a lot of the familiar blogger guilt about not being in the community enough, not reviewing enough, not being enough.

BBAW helped remind me that I’m not the only blogger this happens to. We all get tired. But we’re all doing our best. And you know what? Our best is absolutely good enough.

What we’re doing – as individuals and a community – matters. Even when it doesn’t feel quite like enough, it is. As a collective, we’re powerful and funny and supportive and we should be proud. I’m proud to be a part of it.

There are certainly things to improve on. I know that I have a list of blog tasks a mile long and a TBR pile that’s threatening to spill off my bookshelf and on to the floor. There are issues of ethics and integrity and bad behavior and questions, absolutely. But we’re doing good, and that’s always something.

I’m writing this late at night and it’s been a sort of emotional day, so I’m afraid I’m being a bit gushy.  I guess the support within the community that BBAW brings out makes me happy, and even when blogging is hard, making the effort to do it to stay in the community is worth it to me. This community inspires me; thank you for the reminder of that.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lu September 17, 2010, 6:32 am

    HUGS. I think we all need a reminder once in a while to NOT FEEL GUILTY. This is fun… we love it, right? I love Sophisticated Dorkiness, because you’re awesome Kim. So don’t forget that!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:38 pm

      Lu: I feel like I just need a sign to stick next to my computer that says, “Stop feeling guilty!” so I would remember it all the time 🙂

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) September 17, 2010, 6:49 am

    I have no idea how people manage to blog when they have a full time job – I know that I couldn’t have done it. People like you amaze me by showing that it is possible. I think you should be really proud of the amazing blog that you have here and never feel guilty. 🙂

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:39 pm

      Jackie: Some weeks it’s not that hard, and other weeks blogging is such a struggle. I think I just need to keep up on weekend, and that makes the week easier. Thanks for you nice comments 🙂

  • gautami tripathy September 17, 2010, 7:05 am

    Like you I can do so many things all at the same time!

    May you continue reading great books and blog about those for us!

    Here is my BBAW: Forgotten Treasures post!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:40 pm

      gautami tripathy: Thank you!

  • Suey September 17, 2010, 7:11 am

    A big high five to you!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:45 pm

      Suey: Back at you!

  • Suzanne September 17, 2010, 7:11 am

    What a thoughtful post.
    I think you should be proud of yourself not only for finding/making the time to pursue what you enjoy, but also for the fact that your efforts were recognized with a BBAW award.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:46 pm

      Suzanne: Thank you. I am definitely proud of what I can do with the blog, but it’s hard to let go of wanting to more a lot of the time. I’m hoping to just keep doing what I’m doing 🙂

  • Amanda September 17, 2010, 7:20 am

    The support and community and friendship among book bloggers is what keeps me here. I love all you guys!!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:47 pm

      Amanda: Absolutely. I love connecting with other bloggers – it makes any stress worth it.

  • Heather J. September 17, 2010, 8:23 am

    All that time on the computer is getting to me as well. But you’re right, our best is (collectively) good enough. Great post!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:48 pm

      Heather: My eyes just get exhausted by the end of the day – I can’t handle all the glare. Plus all the sitting, at night I sometimes want to be active and that’s not conducive to blogging either 🙂

  • Jenny September 17, 2010, 9:10 am

    I couldn’t agree more. The book blogging community nearly always fills me with such warm happy feelings about the state of humanity, and that’s a treat. Not to mention the book recommendations.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:49 pm

      Jenny: Whenever people get down about online interactions or that everyone online is bad, I just think about all the awesome book bloggers and know that isn’t true. I just love that.

  • Lyndsey September 17, 2010, 9:48 am

    Hey Kim
    I think partly because book bloggers are such nice people, that makes them the sort of person who feels guilty about not living up to our high standards…we are too good At finding sticks to beat ourselves with! So your comment about our best being good enough was a really great reminder.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:49 pm

      Lyndsey: That’s such a good point – we all have high standards for ourselves and easily feel like we’re not meeting them. That’s frustrating, but also evidence of how awesome we are 🙂

  • Amy September 17, 2010, 10:13 am

    Wonderful post, and yes 🙂 Your best is definitely good enough! And I completely understand. The conversion from school to work is difficult to manage, and I hope it gets better for you!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:51 pm

      Amy: I’m hoping it will keep getting better. I’m starting to learn more about what I need to do to make it work. It reminds me of Malcom Gladwell’s it takes 10,000 hours to be excellent at something – I certainly spent more than 10,000 hours being a student, so of course I was good at it. It’s just going to take awhile to amass my 10,000 “adult” hours 🙂

  • Lynne September 17, 2010, 11:12 am

    I’ve always wondered how full-time workers keep up blogs. There’s no way I could do that. I DON’T work and I feel guilty for not posting enough reviews and not commenting enough on other blogs and not reading enough. I can’t imagine how you must feel.

    That’s it. I’m off to find that “Blogging Without Obligation” button I used to see around. Where’d that go, anyway?! We all need to put it on our blogs as a reminder.

    Blog when you can, girl. Nobody’s goin’ anywhere 🙂

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:52 pm

      Lynne: If you find the button, send it my way! I sort of think every blogger has their own kind of blogger guilt, regardless of what their “real life” entails. So we all just do our best, and continue to stick around for each other 🙂

  • Jean Lewis September 17, 2010, 11:24 am

    Thanks so much for sharing with us. You honesty is refreshing. I tend to feel overwhelmed from time to time with my blog. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I work full time outside the home and do book reviews for the papers, and try to find time to do what I actually love: the reading that got me involved with this. But, you are right, this book blogging community is awesome. They have made me feel so welcome. I am learning more each day. So, keep at it. I will too.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:54 pm

      Jean Lewis: I honestly didn’t realize what a transition the school to work shift was going to be. It surprised me, in a lot of ways. I’ve thinking about this post for awhile, and BBAW helped focus some of the thoughts since it’s just such a positive time in the community.

  • Trish September 17, 2010, 11:37 am

    I can totally relate, Kim. I struggled so much with it (the too much work and not wanting to blog) that I finally just set up shop and began blogging at a new place where it would be less pressure. There’s still pressure–especially as I’m trying to “grow” again, but still less of it. You just have to remember you can only do what you can do and it shouldn’t be a chore. I hope you’re able to find some balance–I know how frustrating it can be.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:55 pm

      Trish: I admired when you decided to shift and move to somewhere with less pressure – I’m not sure I could do that same thing! I’ve been trying really hard to keep blogging from being a chore, unplugging when I need to and things like that, but miss the community when I’m away for too long.

  • Belle September 17, 2010, 12:09 pm

    Lovely post. I haven’t blogged much myself the past two months, although I’ve been starting to feel the urgings again. Really love what you wrote here: “Our best is absolutely good enough.”

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:56 pm

      Belle: I think it sometimes takes time away to remember what you love about something.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) September 17, 2010, 12:32 pm

    Very nicely put. I think you’re right – we all feel that way at times, and our best is good enough.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:57 pm

      Kathy: That might be my new mantra, for when I get too worried about blogging and keeping up.

  • Marieke September 17, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Hi Kim, I completely sympathise; I work full time too, and sometimes just don’t have the energy for blogging. I hope you find a way to keep it fun and low-pressure, and just enjoy it! I love how supportive and positive this week has been — I’m glad it’s led me to your blog!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:58 pm

      Marieke: I love how supportive this week is too – the community energy makes me more motivated to find ways to make my work/life/blog balance work out. It’s been fun to find new blogs this week, too.

  • Gwen September 17, 2010, 1:09 pm

    You are really good at navel gazing. I do it often and it is never so uplifting nor does it manage to make other people feel so good or be lucky to call themselves a book blogger.

    So much for you has changed and I can’t blame ya a bit for being worn out. Don’t beat yourself with a stick, change is good and you have achieved so much that ya make me feel a wee bit lazy.

    I am grateful that you are here:)

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 3:59 pm

      Gwen: Thank you, that’s such a nice thing to say 🙂 I’m incredibly grateful for the job and the changes it’s brought, but it’s hard to not wish for the life that I knew how to manage back again. But, we all keep going forward and that is a good thing.

  • Eva September 17, 2010, 2:15 pm

    I’m glad you’re going to stick with it! Blogging has been difficult for me the last few months too, although because of my silly illness instead of a full-time job. But it’s so worth it! And the funny thing is, while we all beat ourselves up, we’re also so generous and understanding with everyone else. So I think we need to channel that kindness inward. 🙂

    I also like to remind myself that in the day of blog readers, posting regularly isn’t nearly as important!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 4:14 pm

      Eva: You’re exactly right – we’re all willing to cut other slack when they have to disappear, but won’t give ourselves the same sort of support. It’s a little ridiculous, but a good reminder to be kind to ourselves too.

  • Parrish Lantern September 17, 2010, 3:04 pm

    trying to marry a full working career & an active blog takes some servere time management, now we’ve got the serious statement out of the way, lets get back to basics. If it’s not fun, forget it. You love books, you love blogging. Just remember that at that dark moment of the night, when tiredness tells you its all c&*P, as a community we are hard to beat.

    As a community we survive.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 4:17 pm

      Parrish Lantern: Exactly right. Making it work is hard, but when it goes work it’s awesome and something I don’t want to give up.

  • Ash September 17, 2010, 8:29 pm

    I feel like I will really struggle with working 9-5 when I get out of school. My days are full right now and then my evenings are full of homework (and sometimes classes), so it’s not like I’m spending a large majority of my day taking breaks to get online, but I had an internship just two days a week for seven hours and I really struggled through it.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 4:18 pm

      Ash: Something about being at the same thing for 8 hours in a day is really hard. School is a much more full day, but it’s a variety of things that doesn’t exhaust me as much, I think. I imagine I’ll adjust eventually, and always have to keep in mind how awesome it is now to have homework 🙂

  • Christy (A Good Stopping Point) September 17, 2010, 9:10 pm

    I hear you on the full-time job. I *want* to keep up with blogs, and post to my blog and not to mention read all the books I want to read, but the energy is not always there at the end of the day. What you said about our best being absolutely good enough is something I need to remind myself, so thanks!

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 4:20 pm

      Christy: You’re welcome. We all need to remind ourselves of that, I think. I feel like the time I have is this pie, and it gets eaten up faster than I can make more of it. If only I could sleep less, or something 🙂

  • Heather @ Book Addiction September 18, 2010, 8:51 am

    I feel the exact same way you do about blogging while having a full-time job. For me, I’ve been working full-time the entire time I’ve had my blog, so I’ve gotten pretty used to balancing things, but I go through times when the absolute last thing I want to do is write a review. So in those times, I just wait until I’m feeling more ready to write. 🙂 What I typically do is just read books and other blogs monday-friday, and then on the weekends I write 2-5 reviews or other posts that I preschedule for the week, so my blog is still active throughout the week. I try to still check email and reply to comments throughout the week, but if I don’t get to it I don’t stress myself about it. I want blogging to remain fun. And like the other commenters said, it’s so worth the effort it takes, so I always remind myself of how much I love doing it. 🙂

    Good luck with the balancing act – you’ll get it down to a science eventually. 🙂

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 4:21 pm

      Heather: That’s the kind of schedule I want to get myself in, but my weekend sometimes get away from me. When that happens, i feel like I spend the whole week catching up! I do love writing posts in batches though – that’s a good trick I picked up in grad school that still serves me well.

  • Megan September 19, 2010, 7:48 am

    My post for this day turned out to be a little more navel-gazey than I intended, too. I guess it’s bound to happened when you’re asked to reflect on where you are and where you want to be, though.

    I agree that achieving that work/life/blog balance is a total struggle and one I often fail at. I know my blog has suffered as I’ve gone through changes at work. I spend a lot of time at the computer now during my workday, too, and there are definitely a lot of nights when the prospect of just sitting down at the computer again is pretty repellent, let alone sitting down to write a review or something.

    I do love weeks like this, though, because it’s so easy to get caught up in the regular grind and forget that being a book blogger *does* matter and it *is* fun, and being apart of this community is something I still do get really excited about, especially during weeks like BBAW. It all makes me want to keep working to figure out how to make the work/life/blog balance thing work so I can keep contributing to and reaping the benefits of this great book blogging community. 🙂

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 4:23 pm

      Megan: Yeah, it’s hard to think about where you are and where you want to go without getting a little self-reflective 🙂

      Repellent is exactly the world I wanted but couldn’t think of. Sometimes I get home and just can’t imagine sitting down to write any more than I already have that day.

      As I respond to your comment, I’m starting to think you managed to write exactly what I was trying to say but much more succinctly because I agree with you entirely 🙂

  • Jennifer September 19, 2010, 1:19 pm

    I absolutely agree with everything that you said. Because sometimes blogging is so hard for me – and I just check out for a while – and then the guilt comes. But what I do, even if it doesn’t feel like it is enough, is enough. We can always try to do more, to be better, but sometimes we need to take a breath and realize that while we might not do everything we wish we could, we have accomplished something. And that is awesome.

    • Kim September 19, 2010, 4:23 pm

      Jennifer: That’s exactly right – even when we have to step away, just looking back and what we’ve done shows we’ve accomplished something. That’s important to remember 🙂

  • Charlie September 20, 2010, 8:17 am

    I’m reading this while I’m feeling guilty for having marked a lot of posts as read the past few days. It’s difficult remembering sometimes that everyone has the same issues because you only see them on screen. But, as you say, we’re doing good enough, and certainly as a community we’re doing way more than that.

    • Kim September 20, 2010, 4:16 pm

      Charlie: I did the same thing – sometimes there are just a lot of posts and there isn’t time to read them all. I’m pretty sure every blogger struggles with it at some point.

  • nicole langan September 23, 2010, 9:42 am

    Thanks! for blogging.

    • Kim September 25, 2010, 3:23 pm

      Nicole: Thanks for stopping by!