Jet Lag, Catching Up, and Some Changes in the Works

I'm back on home turf after a full month of traveling abroad: Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, and Italy. I am exhausted, jet lagged, congested (that last 9 hour flight didn't get along with my sinuses), and completely, blissfully happy: to have seen all of the places I've seen, to have eaten all the food I've eaten, to be sleeping once again in my bed, to be reunited with my tiny fuzzballs of energy and face kisses, to have spent a month divorced from my computer, deadlines, and due dates.


A month away from the blogosphere had the unintended consequence of giving me some time to step back, pause, and think about this space, and what it means to me, and what I want it to be when it grows up. I'm not alone, I know in wondering what role book blogging will continue to play in the publishing world, or in how to keep content fresh and interesting. I've worked hard to ensure that this blog has never felt like a chore or a burden, taking breaks from posting completely when needed, shifting content away from straight book reviews (have you noticed posts over the last few months have been more lists than long-form book reviews?), but the push of new releases and staying on top of the galleys that accumulate has started to make my corner of the internet feel like all work and no play.

In recent months, other bloggers have had similar thoughts: Beth, formerly of Bookworm Meets Bookworm (now Beth's Blog), transitioned her book blog to focus on more of what she loves: fashion, beauty, photography, you name it. Shannon at River City Reading wrote about creative content, in part as a response to Andi from Estella's Revenge question about getting bored with blogging. Rachel from A Home Between Pages announced while I was away that she'd be shutting down her blog completely, focusing her writing on other outlets instead. And dozens upon dozens of others have written about the same.

2014 has been a big year for me in taking ownership and control over what I'm doing. I quit my job in advertising earlier this year to take a riskier, but potentially more fulfilling, position with a small charitable foundation doing grant oversight. I took two months off between jobs to breath, read, and visit family. I took a month off after starting the new job to travel to Europe with my husband. I'm going to do the same here: rather than trucking along same-old, same-old, just because it's what I've been doing, I'm going to shake things up a bit. I'm not going away, but expect this corner of the internet to shift to cover new topics: photography, a new adventure for me; travel (I'm addicted); non-profits and social change. I'll still write about books and reading--you can't conduct an entomological study of a bookworm without the books--and I'll still write for Shelf Awareness (and other outlets, as possible). But to keep this interesting--to me, at least--I'm going to expand beyond books here. I hope you'll come along for the ride.

28 comments

  1. I can't believe it's been a month since you left for your trip! I can't wait to hear more about it and I'm glad to hear that you'll be sharing whatever you like here. You do you!

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  2. As you say many bloggers are getting a bit tired. This sounds like a very good idea and I wish you luck with the venture and hope you enjoy it all the more.

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  3. Emma @ Words And PeaceOctober 1, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    great, glad you will still be around! personally, books are my addiction, so I plan to keep going, even though I just celebrated my 4th blogiversary, which is almost ancient when book blogging is concerned.
    by the way, you had signed up to review books for France Book Tours, but i'm realizing you have never answered any email I think nor chosen to review any of our books since the beginning of FBT, even though we are getting books by very famous authors. so let me know if I should still contact you or not. merci!

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  4. Steph VanderMeulenOctober 2, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    How totally interesting that this post popped up in my inbox right after I spent some time in the bath thinking about Bella's Bookshelves. For a long time, I've been thinking about it, feeling guilty. It was a good thing. Maybe it still is. I can go back and read some of my reviews and still be happy about them. They make me want to write them still. I'm reading so many fantastic books!

    But it has occurred to me, and I think I'm only starting to accept this—maybe, I'm not sure; I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the idea—that my review days are over. Of course, like so many book bloggers, I've wondered periodically if it was worth it, all the effort, all the time spent, when the blogosphere is so massive. I wondered if people even really read my reviews, or just skimmed. Sometimes it felt futile. Even though I enjoyed it. Suddenly, the free books became harder and harder to keep up with, and guilt smashed in, not crept in.

    It wasn't until I read something recently that I figured out what might be happening. I started Bella's Bookshelves because I was at a job that had absolutely nothing to do with books. I was missing my bookish life so much. So thought I'd just start reading more, and cataloguing, which turned to reviewing, what I was reading. It took off, and from there I was getting freelancing gigs and invitations to speak and all kinds of fun stuff.

    But then, I started writing fiction again. I started reading even more. My freelancing became also coaching creative writing. I have wanted to share the books I read, but when I sit down to write a review, it just doesn't happen. Something shifted, something changed.

    So I think what's happened is that I've moved into a different stage, the way business owners transition from doing to teaching and coaching so others do their thing while they take up other interests.

    I'm extremely conflicted about this. I want to focus on my writing and my business, but as you probably feel yourself about this blog, I feel really tight with mine. It's a piece of me, and I'm reluctant to let it go.

    I love the idea of you continuing to do this (I subscribe, so I'll get your new posts about other stuff); I don't feel like I can do that with my blog, but maybe something else. Maybe writing essays or something. And maybe it will be okay, too, if no one reads them, if only I get to keep my little space in this giant universe.

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  5. Steph VanderMeulenOctober 2, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    PS. Did you see that John and Sherry (YHL) are taking a break too? Wow.

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  6. Can't wait to see how you blog evolves. I think a lot of people are experiencing blogging growing pains. I'm happy with keeping my blog the way it is. Right now I'm more struggling to find the time to read and blog. That means far fewer blog post from me at the moment.
    The one thing I'm having more problems juggling is keeping up to date on reading other people's blogs. I want to be supportive, But seriously, I follow a lot of blogs.

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  7. Welcome back! Pleeeease share some delicious travel posts. I can't imagine the joy of 30 days abroad... :)

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  8. I'm so jealous of your trip to Europe; it looked fantastic! I'm glad you had such a good time and that it gave you the space to think about what direction you want your blog to take. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes!

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  9. Thanks, Shannon! Definitely will be sharing more about the trip here in the weeks to come. Stay tuned... just have to go through all 4,000+ photos.

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  10. Thanks! I just don't want this ever to feel like a chore. If/when it does, I'll shut it down.

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  11. Tell me about it! I'm at 6 years, and it feels like forever and a day and then some.


    Re: the blog tour emails, I never got any! I bet they are getting caught in one of my (unfortunately many) spam filters. I'll check.

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  12. Steph, I know exactly what you mean. I often feel like I'm talking to no one, but then I think about it and realize I don't much mind that--I like reading, and writing about what I read is a way for me to process all the books that come into and out of my life. And I know on some level that it's all worth it, because I have made amazing internet and bookternet friends in the process.


    I'm not willing to let this project go completely, but a month away made me realize that something needs to shift for me to feel that the effort (because it is effort, even when the effort is fun) is worth it, and worth continuing. And I'm ok with no one reading as I shift, too, I think: like processing the books I read, I'm hoping that writing about other ventures will be a way for me to process those along the way.


    Looking forward to essays from you, if you decide that's the path to take. I've always loved your writing!

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  13. WHOA. No, I missed that.

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  14. I feel your pain on the other's blogs as well. My feedly is out of control. The loss of Google Reader still cuts me deep. I loved that tool.

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  15. Thanks! Travel posts (a lot, I'm sure!) to come. Just have to process the 4,000+ photos we took...

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  16. Thanks for the support, Leah! The trip WAS amazing (it will take me a month just to catch up on sleep, I think).

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  17. I feel the same way! I definitely feel that I want change as well and I can't see how your blog evolves. I'm totally jealous of your Europe pics and all the scenery. Also, I've had a crush on ONA bags since forever and I'm glad that you were able to find a less pricier bag. I'm definitely shifting my focus onto the Bowery, now haha.

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  18. Isn't it funny how taking a break to make you re-evaluate things. I found myself not missing blogging while I was away. I don't want to shut my blog down, but maybe mix things up a bit.

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  19. Yep, exactly. I love my little corner of the internet, but a month of scrambling to get all my reviews finished early before I left and then a month completely off gave me some much-needed perspective. Looking forward to seeing what you do on yours!

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  20. I've been crushing on ONA bags since before I had a camera worth putting in an ONA bag. I love them! The Bowery was awesome for us, and I love that it is small enough to slide into a massive tote if I ever need to carry my camera + a bunch of other things at once. Good luck!

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  21. Steph VanderMeulenOctober 5, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    :) Thank you. And I yours. You're one of the few I still read, though I don't often comment. And you're right: we have made awesome online friends! I have met some I even love dearly now and talk to regularly outside of how we met.


    But I don't know if I could be comfortable with no one reading. I have sometimes loved that feeling of putting out stuff into the blogosphere, feeling kind of anonymous, like I can say anything, and other times, I've felt lonely putting a lot of effort into something but feeling like no one cares. It might be an ego thing, I guess. At the same time, I have no idea of stats and purposely never look at that stuff. Freaks me out!


    I'm glad you're feeling comfortable with where you're going, and that you're not quitting. An online presence, a blog, feels like home, and I still remember posts you've made from long ago. :)

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  22. Welcome back and you've given me a lot to think about as well.

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  23. Welcome back! And I just wanted to say that as much as I love book blogs (I really do! And your's especially) shifting blog's direction from book reviews to lifestyle blog with books would probably freshen up things for you too. I mean, blogging is first for one's own pleasure. So I look forward those posts.

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  24. Thanks! I'm hoping shifting direction does keep things interesting for me as well as all my readers, howsoever many there may be :-)

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  25. Emma @ Words And PeaceNovember 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    maybe add francebooktours@gmail.com in your contacts list. and sign up to the site http://francebooktours.com through email, so that you know right away when I launch a new tour and you can fill in the form of that tour to review the book. I just launched a tour for MJ Rose!

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Thanks for stopping by!