I’ve wanted to write a post like this for a while, because I feel like this is the on-going struggle when it comes to book blogging.
Because most of us are never going to be paid for the work we put into reading books and writing posts (you can see my discussion on that topic here), we will always have some other job that is going to interfere with the time that we can commit to our blogs. Add in the fact that we are also going to have to work on our family and friend relationships, clean our homes, and take care of ourselves, among other tasks, and suddenly we find outselves cramming to get posts done and books read.
My schedule is insane, and it definitely intereferes with my blogging and reading. On paper, I work about 24 hours per week, if we go by what I charge my clients for. But as a small business owner, my work doesn’t stop when the sessions do. Those 24 hours do not inclue planning sessions, researching, learning new materials, accounting and bookkeeping tasks, taking phone calls and sending emails, or driving. It’s not uncommon for me to pull twelve hour days, just to make sure everything gets done. And once everything is done, it’s sometimes hard to sit down and write posts and reviews, or even focus on a book, because I’m too darn tired.
But you figure it out. You find organizational systems that work for you, create a blogging or reading schedule that fits with everything else, and you pull it all together.
One of the things we all love about book blogging is getting ARCs and review copies of books. It’s one of the highlights, and something that we’re excited about when our blog starts. And while many are great about keeping the expectations reasonable for bloggers, there’s definitely still pressure to accomplish tasks by dates that are set for reviews.
So incase anyone else was finding themselves in the same hectic life boat as me, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve found that work for me, and that help me ensure that everything gets done.
Find a organizational system that works and use it.
I use and adore the bullet journal method, but you do what you like. I plan out my monthly blog schedules in there, write down ideas for posts, make notes for reviews, and add posts that need to be written to monthly, daily, or weekly lists.
The key is to make sure you’re actually using it, though. It’s great to have a beautiful planner or a fantastic app, but if you never open it, there’s no point.
Schedule your posts, both writing and on the blogging platform.
I write all of my posts on Saturday morning. It’s a time I know I’ll be functionally awake and alert enough to get them done, there’s no one else home to bother me, and then I don’t spend all day worrying about them. This doesn’t mean I won’t write a review or discussion post through the week, but I try to get the bulk of my planned posts out of the way then.
WordPress has a great scheduler too. You can set the day and time for your post to go live, and then you don’t have to worry about it when they day comes. It’s a lifesaver, I swear. All of my posts are scheduled this way, with the exception of Saturday Songs.
Limit what you take on.
When you first start getting offers of ARCs and review copies, it’s so tempting to take everything you can get your grubby little hands on. But don’t go overboard. Only take what you know you can get through, and don’t be afraid to say no. It’s better than disappointing someone later when you don’t have time.
I only take two review copies per month. I know that I can easily get through two books in a month, even if I barely have any time to read. And if I get through those, I can look at some requests for the next month, or I can read what I want. And it’s worked well so far.
Even though it’s hard, don’t worry about what other people are doing.
Some bloggers seem to be able to read and comment on everyone’s stuff, post daily, and have contacts in every single major publisher in the country. Which is wonderful for them. But it sometimes feels like it’s hard to compete with that.
So don’t. Do your thing, and if that can compare, great. If not, don’t worry about it. It’s your blog, do what you want.
This is cliche, but take books everywhere with you.
There’s probably a fair bit of time everyday that you’re out of the house and not really doing anything. Maybe you’re waiting in line, or on the bus, or waiting for an appointment. Even if it’s only enough time to read a chapter, that’s a chapter more you’ve gotten through, and it’s probably made you more excited to continue the book.
Take time away if you need it.
Since book blogging is a hobby, only do it when you want to. Otherwise, it might lose it’s meaning to you, and feel like another chore. If you need some time away to just read for fun, do it. Self-care is important, even for hobbies.
Maybe all of this is helpful to you, or maybe it’s not. If you’ve got any tips for balancing blogging and life, please add them to the comments below!