Since starting my blog, I’ve said to myself that I was going to use this space for more than just reviews, memes and promotional posts. From the beginning I’ve wanted to have discussion posts, but I struggled to come up with an appropriate title for these posts. I’ve had the thoughts… I have a whole notebook full of prompts for discussion posts – some of which are probably obsolete at this point. I just didn’t want to start this feature until I had a title. You might ask why Thinking Out Loud. It’s a phrase I’ve picked up from my new team at work and it just kinda stuck in my head. To me, it means just getting all my thoughts out in the world without interruption. Big ideas… opinions… anything is fair game. I’ll just try not to ramble incoherently while I do it. I’m going to try not to use this as a ranting space, but that will happen every now and then.
My first ever Thinking Out Loud post is part confession, part vent/whine, and, 100% something I just need to get off my chest because I find the blogger community is more likely to understand me than most of my non-blogger friends are.
When real life gets in the way of reading and blogging.
(aka The Slump or the I’m-too-tired-to-keep-my-eyes-open-let-alone-read-or-organize-my-thoughts-at-the-end-of-the-day)
This isn’t the first time real life has gotten in the way of my reading or blogging. It happens to the best of us. It might be because of work obligations, family and friends, or travel. It might be because you’re in a reading slump and having a hard time crawling out and finding a book you enjoy. In my case, however, it’s a combination of things.
I found out mid-September that our landlord sold our house and that we had until the end of October to move out. Mind you, my roommate and I have lived here for nearly 12 years. Do you know how much stuff one amasses when they live in a place with ample storage for nearly 12 years?! I’m learning the hard way. Trust me. My roommate and I decided to go our separate ways because we’ve just reached that stage in our lives where it’s time to live on our own. This past month and a half has been a whirlwind. I had to decide WHERE I wanted to live. Which doesn’t sound too complicated, except that I live in the DC metro area and, quite frankly, there are too many options. It took me a week to narrow my choices down to three towns in the area. Then I had to start looking at actual properties. I had my “must-have” list – allows pets, free off-street parking, NOT in a high rise – and my “would-be-nice” list –washer/dryer in apartment, all utilities included, gym on site. In the end, I found a nice compromise between the musts and the wants and was approved for a great place. But then started all the crazy things that go along with moving – change of address, setting up new utilities, scheduling movers, figuring out what I need to buy – and the worst thing of all… packing.
Not to be melodramatic, but the last month has been nothing short of chaos. I’m really excited about the move. As much as I love my roommate, I’m ready to live on my own again. I haven’t lived by myself since 1999 when I was in college. That’s a long time, y’all. The things I’m most excited about – decorating how I want and just starting over in general – are the things that are also causing the most stress. I’m a planner. I do very well when I have a plan and a schedule and things lined up well ahead of time. This move is not something I could have/would have planned on a few months ago. It was quite a surprise. It feels like my brain is constantly churning on the upcoming move and making sure I haven’t forgotten anything super important.
In addition to all of this, work has been crazy. We’re down a designer because she’s on maternity leave. We’re heading into our busiest time of the year, and we keep getting hit with last-minute projects. The part of my brain that isn’t focused on my upcoming move is thinking about work and wondering if I haven’t dropped some balls along the way. My mind just doesn’t shut down these days.
As you can see, real life has really gotten in the way of all things book and blog related these days. When I sit down to read, I can’t focus on the words because my brain is thinking about work or the move or waiting to hear my phone chime over an incoming email I need to deal with. I used to be good at compartmentalizing and retreating from real life and work when I was reading. Real life is literally staring me in the face every time I try to focus on something else. It’s the boxes sitting around my room and the bare walls I’m surrounded by. I start to feel guilty when I take a little “me time” because I feel like I should be packing things or organizing things or doing work. And when I sit down to write a review? Forget it. I can’t pull my thoughts together at all. I’ve read some great books lately, but I can’t focus enough to write a review that makes a damn bit of sense. And it’s all really frustrating.
I hope things will get back to something at least semi-normal after I get moved in the next couple weeks. But at this point, I’m so backlogged with reading books for review and actually writing reviews, I’m not sure I’ll ever get caught up. It might be a lost cause. I feel guilty because I accepted review copies months ago when I had no idea this was all going to happen. I don’t like failing when I’ve made a commitment to an author or a publisher. I don’t like falling short of the expectations I set for myself. But, in this case, I’ve just found there aren’t enough hours in the day and, really, having a place to live is a lot more important than keeping up a crazy blog schedule. I’ve not backed out of any events and I won’t let down publicists when it comes to tours or promotional work. There’s not much brain-power needed to make sure those go live when they’re supposed to. Reviews are a totally different story. My backlog is overwhelming.
I know this happens to all of us and since I’m pretty new to the blogging game, I need your input. Have you ever gotten totally behind? How do you/did you deal with it? All advice is welcome.
And, hey, thanks for listening to me as I got it all off my chest today. <3