I’m Back!

weekly-wrap-upon-rather-too-fond-of-books

Hello all!

Well, my plan to have a week or two away from blogging has turned into a few months away from blogging so I feel like I owe you all an update.

My reason for not blogging in recent weeks is all down to my health situation. I’ve been struggling to manage my condition and to balance all of the things I need to do on a daily basis, and consequently something had to give. My reading mojo had completely disappeared, I was very behind on reviews and was just feeling under so much additional pressure from that and so as a result book blogging stopped being enjoyable for a while. Medically it’s been a tough summer with lots of appointments and trying new treatments to attempt to get some of my symptoms better controlled.  The reality is that I am having to learn to live with severe pain – it’s amazing at the ability we develop to tolerate the thing we thought might break us but it’s still not always easy. Day to day life is tough in the sense of not being independent and needing help with just about everything, but as I’m learning to prioritise my time and energy better I’m much happier and am feeling more able to make the most of what I can do.

Since I’ve been having a break I’ve finally managed to get back into reading (yay!) and am very much enjoying books again. One thing that I’ve realised through the reading that I’ve done over the summer is that I had lost my way with reading this year. I’ve read such a wide variety of books over the last couple of months, and am very much enjoying non-fiction in particular at the moment but I’ve realised that I hadn’t had a chance to read much in that genre for ages because I was focusing on review books. It’s really made me see where I let blogging become a pressure for me: I was taking on too many review books at a time and then there was no time to read books that I’d bought (or even to keep up with the review books I’d accepted), and I got sucked into the notion that if I say no to a book I’m offered then maybe that publisher won’t ask me to review for them in the future. This is entirely my own fault but I’ve had a wake up call now and know to not take on more than I can cope with.

The reality is that I have to enjoy what I’m doing otherwise it’s just another chore in my life rather than my hobby and the thing I do to escape into other worlds. So, as I begin to find my way back into blogging and reviewing I’m setting myself some very strict rules. I’m only going to accept a handful of review books at a time, regardless of how many books I’ve spotted on NetGalley that are must reads! I’m only going to accept review copies I’m offered if they’re books that I really feel like reading at the time. I need to be excited about books again and I need to keep that feeling there, I can’t let myself get bogged down. My life is tough enough without my turning my only hobby into a weight on my shoulders.

So, I’m back to book blogging again and I’m excited about that! I’m not going to be posting daily anymore – initially I’ll just be blogging as and when I can depending on my health but I’m hoping to find a regular blogging routine that suits me and allows blog readers to know when to expect new posts from me.

One more thing before I end this post… I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has continued to follow my blog whilst I’ve not been posting and also to say another huge thank you to all my new followers. I really do appreciate the fact that so many of you have stuck by me in my absence.

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77 thoughts on “I’m Back!

  1. Missed you Hayley and am so glad you have your reading mojo back even if life isn’t easy for you. I think I can empathise with every word you’ve written. Take care x

  2. Welcome back Hayley, your thoughts about blogging and reviews struck a chord! Look after yourself and enjoy your reading xx

    • Thank you, I’m so happy to be back. I think it’s all too easy to get so involved in blogging that it becomes a bit too much so a step back was much needed for me. I’m just going to take life at my own pace from now on. xx

  3. Glad to see you back Hayley and feeling a lot more positive. I’m trying to stay in control of how many books I take on as otherwise like you say you start to feel pressured and becomes more like work rather than a hobby. xx

    • Thank you. I needed the break from lots of things to re-assess but now I realise I can keep on with my blog but I can’t keep taking on review requests at the rate I was before. I feel happier now I’ve got a bit more balance. xx

  4. All of that strikes a huge chord with me. I found myself thinking yesterday that a book I really want to read will have to wait for ages because I have so many other books to review. So, we do need to tell ourselves that we do this because we love reading – and sometimes that means we want to read just for the sheer pleasure, without putting pen to paper. So welcome back – and enjoy x

    • Thank you, Mary. That’s just how I was feeling – I couldn’t read my own books because I had so many review books to read first. Now I’m back to reading as the mood takes me and it’s so refreshing. I now need to remember to resist accepting review requests for too many books – however good they sound. x

  5. Welcome back Hayley! I was happy to see your face in my feed this morning 🙂 I hope your health is better, and that both reading and blogging will just be a pleasure for you.
    Those darned review copies are such a blessing and a curse at the same time, aren’t they? I really want to do my best to stay away from Netgalley and Edelweiss, but it’s so hard – the temptation is definitely real.
    Have a fantastic Friday and happy reading 🙂

    • Thank you so much! 🙂 I’ve learnt the hard way that I have to take life easier and not take on more than I can manage. Review copies are great to get but I need to remember that I can only read so many in a month and so need to be better at managing my reading time. NetGalley is so hard to resist – every time I get an email about a new book from a favourite author I want to click request but I’m trying to be more restrained! Happy reading to you too, hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂

  6. Delighted that you’re back!! I think you’re wise to be conscious of how you’re balancing everything, and I wish you much good health and good reading. Looking forward to your upcoming posts.

  7. Lovely to see you back with your reading mojo restored – and I can understand all too clearly how you got overwhelmed with review copies… September nearly saw me sunk and I don’t have your health issues. I think you’re very wise to ease off with the blogging and I look forward to reading your articles in due course. Take care:)

    • Thank you. I realise now that I was accepting books when I felt ok and then when I hit a bad patch I couldn’t keep up. I know now that I have to assume there will be bad patches and to not take on more than I can cope with at those times. I’m enjoying reading so much more now and it’s good to be back blogging again. 🙂

  8. I already said it, but it’s so good to see you back! 🙂 And with your reading mojo! Keep it close and have fun so it doesn’t leave you again!
    I changed my schedule and stopped taking on so many ARCs and it makes all the difference I hope your new rules will help you keep the fun part of blogging on top. Keep on taking good care of yourself, even if I know you don’t like having to rest! 🙂 xxx

    • Thank you 🙂 I’m cutting back on how many review books I request/accept and also on blog tours. I’m enjoying reading so much more now I’m balancing my health probs with reading a mix of review books and my own books. I’m not good at resting, I’d rather be getting on with things but I’m learning that resting is part of keeping myself on an even keel. 🙂 xx

  9. Welcome back. I’m so sorry you have had a tough time. Have missed your fabulous blogs. Take things easy and hold on tight to your reading mojo. Just do what your comfortable with. Xx

  10. Welcome back and I hope you continue to feel better and get your reading mojo back. Sounds like you have a good plan to keep the pressure off and the enjoyment and anticipation present. Take care and look forward to you sharing a few bookish thoughts 🙂

  11. Glad you’re back! You’re so right about review copies becoming a burden if we’re not careful. I’m trying to clear my backlog and cut down on taking on any more because, like you, I want to get back to being able to pick up a book at random as the mood takes me. Hope we both stick to it!

    • Thank you. I’ve been working my way through the review copies that I still had to read and so have some reviews ready to post soon. I’m determined not to get so bogged down again. It’s so much nicer when you can request a book and read it straight away or when you can choose a book of your own that you’ve been looking forward to. I read more when I’m enjoying it so I should still be able to review plenty of books if I keep to my plan. I hope you stick to your plan too.

  12. Delighted you’re back, Hayley. Always eager to read your reviews – whenever you’re able to post them.

  13. Welcome back. I’m glad you’re feeling better and you’ve had a chance to rethink your reading and blogging priorities. I feel the overwhelm sometimes as well and it’s horrible as I LOVE reading and never want it to become a chore. That balance can be hard to find but I think it’s there. x

    • Thank you so much. I’m definitely finding more balance now I’ve had a break and am enjoying reading again. I just need to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to accept every book that’s offered to me, even if I like the sound of it. x

  14. Good for you Hayley. You have to be your own best advocate. And what’s the point in blogging if it isn’t something you enjoy. Your reviews and your writing will be better for having taken this break and for having reclaimed your life. You go, girl. Protect yourself. Sending blessings.

  15. Hi Hayley, so good you’re back. I completely understand what you’re going through I have a chronic condition and have pain every day myself and it’s horrible when you can’t do as much as you want to. Keep strong, take care of yourself and try not to put yourself under any extra pressure xxx

    • Thank you so much. I’m sorry that you also have a chronic condition and have to deal with pain every day. It’s not easy, is it? I struggled to adjust to being told it’s permanent and think I needed time to come to terms with that. I feel better in myself now and am focusing on prioritising what’s important to me and building my life around those things. Take care xx

  16. Hi Hayley, good to meet you and thanks so much for dropping in at my blog. Books, I know, can be a great stress-reliever and comfort when things are not going well but you are right to recognise that too may reading commitments had become a burden. You don’t need that! Glad to hear you are enjoying reading again and will look forward to reading your reviews. Take very good care of yourself. best wishes x

    • Thank you so much. You’re so right about not letting reading commitments become a burden. I’m really enjoying books again since I had my break and it’s made me realise how much I need reading to relieve stress. So now I know I have to keep reading as a hobby and to only take on the review commitments that I know I can manage at the time. Best wishes to you too x

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