Let’s keep this ball rolling while we’ve got a little momentum, shall we? Today I want to take things a little lighter as I realised my past few posts have been pretty heavy going in one way or another. Nah, this isn’t a review or a thinkpiece, I just want to talk a bit about my current attempts to get myself back into reading again.
Just to preface, because I’m not sure how many of you know my history as a blogger, especially as this blog is so shiny new (I still want to import all my older stuff but we’ll come back to that). I at one point had 5 blogs and every time I mentioned this, I’d be met with reactions of, “Oh, how the hell do you manage that?”
Easy answer: I didn’t. I had an anime blog, a personal diary-style blog, a creative writing blog, and then my main two – the World of Warcraft-turned-MMO-turned-video-games blog, Jaedia’s Menagerie, and the book blog, Once Upon A Time. The former 3 were rarely used, but the latter two I would switch focus between. I really tried to maintain both simultaneously but ultimately, it was detrimental to my efforts.
I burnt out.
In itself, this wouldn’t have been a problem but I was also forcing myself to read when I really wasn’t in the mood to, just to make sure I could release at least one review every week or two for the blog. And in turn, this wouldn’t have been quite so bad except I had so many books in my backlog that had been sent over by the publisher for review that I felt pressured to read those before anything else, whether I was in the right mood for them or not.
And on this, I also burnt out.
Fast forward to today and I have been dealing with this burnout for several years now. Yes, it was that bad.
I had tried to vary my reading a little by the end and read books purely because I wanted to read them, but I was clinging on because I didn’t want to take the break I really needed. I’m pretty sure the last steampunk event I ran, with a bunch of help from some great friends (no I have not and will not forget that kindness) was the final nail in the coffin, looking at my read list on Goodreads. I’m fairly sure Traitor’s Blade was the last review book I read (not the last book I reviewed) back in February 2014, from there came 4 years of choppy reading.
This is a little part of why I suspect I may have some ADD, because I am forever starting books, getting distracted, and leaving them to one side because I’m no longer in the mood for them. So to sit down and read a book from cover to cover within a “reasonable” timeframe, it does take some amount of forcing myself to focus where I may have very little to give. Case-in-point, my most recently finished book, The Lies of Locke Lamora:
According to my Goodreads updates, I started reading this on 12th August 2013 but didn’t finish it until 22nd January 2017. That is an awfully long time, though I know most of that time was spent simply not reading at all, and when I finally started really getting into it and reading through it faster, those were the times when I told myself that I wasn’t going to play video games or cross stitch or whatever else I felt inclined to do, I was going to sit down and read my book for a few hours. And I enjoyed it.
Yet here we are, 22nd May 2018 and I haven’t finished a book since. Sure, I’ve read here and there. I’ve started and stopped many books. However, I’ve found that these days, if I sit and read, I feel as though I’m wasting time I could otherwise be spending working on my backlog of video games or things in whatever MMORPG I’m playing at that time, or a crafting project, and I have no idea where this bizarre mindset even came from. I am a strong proponent of spare time enjoyed being spare time well spent, and if you relax and look after yourself, it doesn’t matter how it is spent. It’s basically my version of Mindfulness. By letting myself relax and go with the flow, I am letting my mental health unwind and hopefully recover a little. But I miss blogging, even if the communities get a little smaller all the time (I’m convinced it will make a comeback at some point), and I miss reading. I dearly love books and the little internal worlds and characters within them, and it would at the very least do me a lot of good to spend a couple of hours reading before I sleep at night.
So here I am, for the gazillionth time over these past few years, trying to rekindle a lost love and hoping that for once it sticks. Stories are my jam, and by not reading, I am missing out on some of the richest stories out there.
If you have any tips for me on my little task, or perhaps you have similar experiences, let me know in the comments! And thanks for reading. <3