*This post isn't so much of an advice post as it is a meandering collection of my thoughts.
How to Get Past a Blogger Slump: What Happens When Blogging Becomes "Work?"
I started Alison Can Read almost two years ago. Since that time, I have posted over 600 blog entries. I put up 5-6 posts per week. I think I took one week off when I went on a cruise, but otherwise I scheduled posts when I was out of town. When I started blogging, I told myself that I would stop blogging as soon as it stopped being fun. I can say without hesitation that I love blogging today far more than when I began.
However...In the last few months, I feel like I'm slogging through my blog. It's not really a chore per se, but more like a job - an unpaid job, but a job nonetheless. I am incredibly fortunate to have grown into one of the larger YA book blogs. Along with the many benefits comes some obligations. For example, as the co-host of Follow Friday, I have my post up at 7 PM Pacific time every Thursday. Last Thursday, I was off doing my weekly mall/Barnes & Noble outing when I realized that I had forgotten to draft and schedule the post. So I cut my shopping trip short to get home in time to have the post up by 7. I could have let it go live an hour or two late, since Rachel's post would be there, but I know a lot of people count on a timely Follow Friday post (and to be honest, I count on it for gobs of blog traffic). It's funny...I didn't even mind leaving early, but it's an example of how my blog has become more than a hobby.
I can't really pinpoint what specific things that are holding back my enthusiasm for the blog. But I do know that I have a whole bunch of reviews I need to write (I like writing once I get started, but I have to force myself to get to it). I've been lazy about e-mails lately. I was out of town a lot the past few weeks so haven't been able to comment as much on the Follow Friday or IMM posts. I did more last weekend, but still not as much as I usually like to do. I also forgot to post a blog tour post yesterday until I was reminded. I was really irritated with myself about that, since I usually have a Google alert reminder for tour posts.
The easiest suggestion would be to take a break. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and stuff like that. But I do not consider than an option. Book blogging is a huge part of my identity now. I can't really think of many other hobbies in my life that I both loved and was really good at. There are four things that has made my blog what it is today: (1) Quality content; (2) Consistent content; (3) Strong presence in the community; (4) A boatload of work. If you want to excel at something, you have to put in the effort. It's not always going to be fun. But you have to push through the tedium and know that the pay off is out there. I feel like if I took a break, all of the good points of my blog would suffer and ultimately, I would be less happy.
Part of my current blog woes may be because I don't have a concrete goal for my blog right now. A few weeks ago, I hit 2,000 followers. Yay!! I know that it's a fairly meaningless number, but I've been working towards it ever since I hit 1,000 followers last May. Now that I've hit 2,000, what do I aim for? 3,000 would be nice, but it doesn't feel as important to me for whatever subconscious reason. It would be nice to make at least a tiny amount of money off the blog if I could do so in a non-obnoxious way. I also want to continue building relationships within the blogging community, with authors, and with publishers. But I don't have a giant target to aim for.
It helps to think about all the wonderful things that blogging has given me. The community is the best part. I've made "friends" who I've never met but feel as real as my local buds. I have a group of people who share my biggest passion. I've discovered so many books that I never would have known about, squealed with people about many wonderful novels, commiserated with my fellow bloggers about the disappointing stories. My love for the community is the reason that I spend so many hours each weekend commenting on FF and IMM posts. I wish I had time to comment on more people's review posts. I try to comment back to anyone who comments on my blog with large, but not perfect success. Unfortunately, I'm not able to spend as much time during the week commenting, so I try to at least visit through the weekend meme's.
Aside from the community, I enjoy reviewing books. I formulate sentences in my head about how I will review the book once I'm finished (many of which I forget by the time I write the review). I like writing. I'm a bit wordy, but I think my reviews are interesting and informative. Reviews are somewhat like exercise. I have to force myself to get started, but I always have fun once I get going. And of course, there's the benefit of free review books. "Free" is a loaded word though, since nothing is really free. I don't get nearly as many review books as many other bloggers, but I definitely do not lack for reading material. I am grateful for any review copies that I receive and just as grateful for my library and local bookstores.
Despite my current apathy, I plan on blogging for the long haul. I love having a purpose behind every book I read and a group of people to share it with. I just hope that I get beyond this slump quickly.