Sunday Coffee – Reflections on 2011: Shifting Focus

IMG_8563I finished transferring all my backlog of reviews awhile ago, but I still wanted to take some time over the next few weeks to look back over my years of book blogging (or, sometimes, not book blogging). I already looked back over 2008, 2009, and 2010. This weekend, I look back at 2011, which marked a great shift for me in terms of reading, blogging, and life in general.

By the time 2011 came around, I’d been blogging about books for three years. I’d gone from reading maybe 30-40 books a year pre-blogging, to reading over 200. My virtual TBR pile measured over 400 books. I spent hours and hours on blogstuff every day, and I’d gotten very burnt out. In 2011, I shifted focus. I started sifting out the books that didn’t really need to be on my TBR. I started adding some personal posts in with the bookish ones. I started working really hard on my health and weight loss journey.

For the first 4.5 months of the year, I kept reading at the ridiculously insane pace I’d set in 2010. By mid-May, I’d read 80 books already. To add some scope to that, I read 126 total in 2011, reading only 46 more in the last 7 months of the year. In mid-May, I was done. Completely burnt out. I’d whittled my physical TBR down to about ten books, which I donated to Half Price Books despite still wanting to read them, and deleted anything I hadn’t already taken off my virtual TBR. I announced that I was no longer blogging, and let The Zen Leaf fall into its grave.

I did keep blogging, sporadically, through the rest of the year, though not at The Zen Leaf. I reviewed some books and not others – and I still feel sad that I don’t have reviews for those books – and I read at a pace that was far more natural for me. Despite all the crazy changes in my blogging life that year, I still view 2011 as one of my best for reading. I read (and reread!) some AMAZING books. The Host. Jane Eyre (reread). The Inferno (reread). The Unit. The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The Night Circus. Several of those reviews were some of my favorites ever to write in blogging.

It was a good year in general. It was the year that I got healthy and fit, the year that I started writing fiction again, the year that I learned to read for pleasure again, instead of for blogging. I look back at this dramatic shift in focus in a completely positive light, despite the fact that it made my blogging life pretty scattered since then. It was the year I finally managed to balance all the parts of my life, and balance is a wonderful thing.

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About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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4 Responses to Sunday Coffee – Reflections on 2011: Shifting Focus

  1. Trisha says:

    Finding balance is a wonderful thing; that is what I’ve been doing this year, finally getting there in the second half of the year. I am reading more and blogging more than I have since Madison was born, but without the guilt and without giving up time with her. I hope I continue this balance when baby number 2 is born; or rather, I hope I find a new balance that doesn’t exclude reading and blogging as they are such a part of who I am.

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  2. Trish says:

    It is interesting to look back. I think my shift came a little bit before yours–around the time when I started having a bit of problems at home and then the miscarriage (so at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010). It’s the year I quit the book blog and started off again on a very very small scope. A lot of this was started when hub told me how much he HATED that I was reading and blogging all the time. I realized that reading and blogging was ALL that I was doing. Obsessively. Hours commenting and posting.

    I think balance is such a key part of it. I see bloggers all the time THROWING themselves into this world and reading all the time and I wonder how long they can sustain. I know it’s continually a work in progress but I’m glad you’ve found some balance.

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    • Amanda says:

      I think the shift really came for me in fall 2010 when that awful NYTimes article came out. I held on, but I wasn’t enjoying myself at all anymore. It just took another 7-8 months for me to realize that. :/

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