Saturday, December 26, 2020

Little Miss Crabby Pants Looks Ahead

As mentioned in December Unusual Historicals post, I've been doing some introspection about blogging. Which is just about as much fun as it sounds. I'll be honest, I've been hanging on by my fingernails to blogging for at least the past four years, and 2020 was an all-time low. But first, some history....

2021 will mark the 18th year of this blog's existence. Prior to that, starting in 1999 (that's over 20 years for those of you who suck at math) I started doing what I call "heavy lifting" reviewing - back in the days when finding critical reviews of romance reviews was about as easy as flapping your arms and flying to the moon.  Anyway, I started the blog in 2003, gave up the "heavy lifting" in 2007, scored RWA's Librarian of the Year in 2011, and killed my fair share of group blogs along the way (Romancing the Blog, Reader's Gab, Heroes & Heartbreakers....).  Yet still, this humble little blog kept chugging along.

So what happened?  Well, I wish I could say it was all 2020 - but no. To be honest I am not the same Super Librarian I was in 2003. I don't talk about my job much online, but I oversee a division now. I'm in management. And y'all this is my first pandemic and it's frickin' exhausting. The fact that I have an assistant and a really great boss are the only reasons I haven't had a complete mental and emotional breakdown.

On top of being all around generally exhausted, and navigating through 2020, I'm at that stage in my tenure of Romancelandia where I feel like I've overstayed my welcome.  This happens to everybody I suspect. You start feeling old. New residents emerge. They like different books and authors. You feel like you're an out of touch old fuddy duddy and pretty soon you're the crazy granny on the front porch cradling a mangy cat and stroking a shotgun. Yeah, I'm there.

Booktube, podcasts, Instagram is where it's at now - and all of 3 people bother with blogs anymore. If I had the energy maybe I'd start channeling my desire to talk about what I'm reading into those venues but here's the thing - I don't.  For one thing nobody wants to see my ugly mug, and for another I've always had a stronger writing voice than speaking voice. Yes, I'm aware this blog is a hot mess on the best of days - but trust me.  Reading me is better than the alternatives.

As for Twitter - I've seriously begun to curtail my time over there because it's too exhausting to wade through the piles of garbage and I'm already exhausted. I've come to accept the fact that nothing good comes of Twitter. Stitch that on a sampler, make a million, thank me later.

So what's the point of all this whining?  Well, I'm nothing if not stubborn. This blog has existed for nearly 18 years and will continue to do so - but, I need to accept the fact that this blog and my writing just aren't what they used to be, for all the reasons stated above. I also know that if I want this blog to survive (and I do - because hello, stubborn) I need to once again make blogging my "happy place."  

What can you (all three of you...) expect moving forward in 2021?  I'm going to request fewer ARCs, stop feeling guilty about having zero interest in whatever hot book du jour is the talk of the moment and read through some of my immense, obscene backlog. Oh the ancient ARCs that I have on my Kindle - the stories of neglect they could tell.  I'm going to spend more time reading where my mood takes me - and if that's nothing but Harlequin Presents or female private investigators then so be it.  I've never been much of a tastemaker or trend-setter anyway - now is the time for me to accept that's not where my strengths lie.  I'm going to work on writing fun reviews that amuse me and try to use this blog as a way to recenter my generally bad attitude of late.  And I'm going to figure out a way to be on Twitter without my blood pressure spiking.  That last one is going to take some time....

31 comments:

azteclady said...

Boy, do I hear--and feel--byou.

I am trying to convince myself I'll be able to start blogging again,soon. And I'm bargaining with myself that as soon as I start reading again, I'll write reviews.

Hope is also stubborn.

I'll be here, Miz Wendy, and I'll read and enjoy what you write when you write it.

Bea said...

Stubbornness can be a good thing. And blogging should be fun, damn it. I rarely comment but you were one of the first blogs I started reading way back when. Do what makes you happy. We'll be here.

Unknown said...

I almost never comment but I do always like to read about whatever you want to write about, so if you keep writing, I'll keep reading.

gillette said...

Only just discovered this blog so glad you're continuing in some way. I certainly remember heroes and heartbreakers. A great blog/resource. And before that the late lamented romance book club but don't get me started on that
Gill

helen424 said...

I am glad you will continue in some way. I have really enjoyed your writing over the years.
Let me tell you a story, being a librarian I think you will get it. I used to work for the library services in the UK. Our main library also supplied people to the little branch libraries in the smaller villages. One particular library shared space in the village hall three times a week. Shared as in having mobile shelving units with roll down lockable covers. It all had to be moved into place for library hours then moved back. I had been covering the hours for a couple of months while the council dithered about how to staff the place. It was decided to hire a permanent member of staff with the status and pay of Manager. Lots of trained staff applied and were passed over for someone who had never worked in library services, had zero knowledge. I was asked to train her,I did. After this I was given a 15 page document to demonstrate and prove my knowledge for an annual assessment. I declined and quit that day.

Phyl said...

I'm still lurking around and I'm glad you'll be here, too. Life takes all of us in different directions and I get it. I'm really happy for the success you've enjoyed in your career. That's pretty awesome. Do what you love. As I get closer and closer to retirement (Hallelujah!), that's where my focus is.

Unknown said...

Hey, life happens. If you don't enjoy what you're doing you're eventually not going to want to do it at all. So have fun with it. BevBB

Kelly Gunter Atlas said...

I completely understand where you're coming from, and I, too, feel like the time has come to focus more on reading books that please me, that soothe and satisfy me rather than solely basing my choices on what is new and popular and shiny. If 2020 has shown me anything, it's that my mental and emotional health needs to be more of a priority. Twitter is not my comfort zone. It increases my anxiety levels and, more often than not, depresses me. I've struggled this past year with trying to put my thoughts into words. I've had so many thoughts and fears but have been unable to express them due to a sense of futility and hopelessness. Going forward, I am going to focus more on reading for pleasure, writing to express myself, and worrying less about keeping up with trends. I wish you a better, brighter new year, Wendy, with peace, hope, and joy.

Jen Twimom said...

It's like you jumped into my brain and wrote down my thoughts. While I've only been in the game since 2010, I am old. I am tired all the time. I still love reading and sharing my thoughts, but I don't want to change my format/location. I have no energy or tolerance for Insta, Twitter, etc. reviewing. So, I keep going and do it because I love what I'm doing. Even if it's for myself and two others. *HUGS*

Keira Soleore said...

Wendy, I'll be here to read your blog wherever your blogging journey takes you. As you know, I blog once a month, but enjoy keeping my hand in. I do like Twitter for the connections--and friends--I've made, but I am on the fringes there and happy to be so. I do not purport to be a changemaker or a tastemaker, neither do I walk in lockstep with others. I do what I do with reviewing because I enjoy it.

Wendy said...

AL: I remember how I thought I'd get so much reading done back in March and how how gloriously naive Past Wendy was....

Bea: I'm determined to follow where my reading mood takes me this year. Lord knows I have enough on my Kindle that that shouldn't be an issue.

Unknown: The plan is to keep writing!

Gill: I'm still annoyed with Macmillan for pulling the plug on H&H.

Helen: Ugh! I don't blame you one bit. Here train this person and then prove to us you know what you're doing?! The Day Job on COVID has been challenging but I've been so lucky to have the support team around me that I do.

Phyl: OMG - retirement?! Congratulations!

BevBB: Yeah, I need to find the fun again - and if that's me binging on Presents so be it LOL

Kelly: Words have been SO hard in 2020. After dealing with Real Life I find I lack the energy for much else. Which is why I really need to embrace my inner mood reader.

Jen: Yeah, I just don't have the energy or desire to figure out some new platform. I barely have the energy to keep up a blog - the thought of video or podcasts just makes me want to burrow under my bed covers LOL

Keira: I need to do a better job of curating my Twitter feed. Turning off some RTs from folks helped, but I need to do more that. Also muting people I don't follow (for reasons) who get RT'ed into my timeline a lot. Once I spend some time on that I think it'll be better. Hopefully....

Roe said...

You have just voiced everything I've been feeling this year. I review kidlit and am feeling so burned out, even when there are incredible stories coming out. My backlog is obscene, I keep taking ARCs, feel guilty as hell, and stare sadly at my Romancelandia pile saying, "I'll get back to you, I swear".

I'm glad you're still here. I started reading your posts at Love in Pages and they are fantastic. So I'm stubborn, too, and will stick around for a while.

And now... back to the pile of picture books.

Dorine said...

I've been reviewing since 2003 as well,so I relate to the I'm old and stubborn thoughts because I'm with you. I'm not into what's new and shiny because I can't relate to them. Let's see what gems we can find in our TBRs. If 2020 has taught me anything, it is to follow where joy takes me. I'm seeking joy in all that I do, and if a book doesn't thrill me quick enough, into the DNF pile it goes. I'll be here and very happy you're stubborn and sticking.

Barb Wallace said...

Wendy - I love your reading plan. Read what you like and enjoy. That’s what reading is supposed to be about anyway. The blogging is secondary.

Ps I feel you on overstaying your welcome. I’ve reached the same point.

SarahD56 said...

Crabby is good. Individual. Anti-saccharine. Likely to approve of irony. Keep going. Gonna keep following.

RobinC said...

Wendy- I've been lurking and reading your blog almost since you began. I check almost every day to see if you've new content. I miss all the blogs that have closed up shop these last several years. It's your blog; use it the way that brings you the most pleasure. I'm looking forward to see what you bring into 2021. Have fun!

Lori said...

I almost never comment because I'm so tired and crabby that everything comes out as a rant & pitching a fit isn't a good look for a (supposed) adult, but I always read your posts and I'm glad that you'll still be here in 2021.

SusiB said...

Dear Wendy, I'm really glad that you didn't decide to completely stop blogging. I enjoy reading your blog, and I always look forward to your unusual historicals post. I wish you all the best for 2021.

S. said...

I'm so glad you decided to keep writing.
If you feel like not saying a lot, why not? As long as what you say means something to you, any reader will prefer that to not have anything anymore.
May the books be with you!!

Cheryl St.John said...

Sometimes authors feel like out of touch old fuddy duddies too. I'm glad you're hanging in there.

Wendy said...

Roe: ARCs are SO tempting, but my backlog is utterly ridiculous at this point. And I hear you on kidlet - so much great stuff coming out right now but who has the time to read it all? I need to find someone to pay me to sit around and read all day.

Dorine: I could not buy or check out another library book and probably have enough to read in my accumulated TBR to last me the next decade. Seriously, it's kind of ridiculous.

Barb: I told myself all this year I was going to go on a Harlequin bender and it never happened. Here's to 2021!

SarahD56: I feel like crabby is my perpetual state of mind right now LOL

RobinC: I miss blogs SO MUCH! Those quirky, individual blogs that felt like you were having a cup of coffee with a friend....sigh.

Lori: So, so many of us are strung out I think. And I hear you about the ranting. It's a big reason why opinion pieces on this blog have been few and far between the past 1+ years.

SusiB: I think I'd feel too guilty to stop LOL. I really don't want to quit, so it's time to readjust my thinking and reprioritize.

S: So true!

Cheryl: I think we're all just so tired. I feel like I need 6 months off just to sleep....

Katharina said...

God I love you woman. I had one big smile while reading your post. 🥰🌈😊🤣

Amber Elise said...

Each year it seems like I see fewer and fewer of my blogger friends. I've only been blogging for about 9 years so I haven't seen everything that you've seen, but it all feels natural. I'm feeling a bit burnout in the YA world and have been slipping further and further into romancelandia. Maybe next year will be adult fantasy. Who knows.

Congrats on the new position although I'm sure the pandemic hasn't made your job any easier. Hang in there!

You forgot about booktok the young hotness! I tried Instagram back when it was realitvely new and I can't give books my attention via read, twitter, and blogging so I stopped bookstagram within a year. I always told myself that if I went for my LIS I'd start a podcast on my experiences there. Podcasting sounds interesting but I'm sure it's more work with no promised payout.

HEre is to 2021!

Wendy said...

Katharina: Awwwww, shucks.

Amber: Oh Lord, I forgot booktok. I am SO old! LOL. And I love the idea of podcasting but good heavens it sounds like so much work and I can barely keep the cobwebs off this here blog...

Unknown said...

hi, i like reading your blog, wont mind you picking out what you want to read and not what you think u have to read. perhaps u will be wipe the slate and just start new ? 2020 stuff seems so old now in many ways. have a happy new year everyone - mamxxx , a fan

Bona Caballero said...

Yours is one of the blogs I follow, so please, keep on writing it.
I left Twitter in 2019 and I don't miss it.

eurohackie said...

I'm nothing BUT a mood reader, so I feel you there! I'm glad I never got caught up in ARCs and the new & shiny because right now there is very little "new" that interests me in romance. I really love the idea of being able to turn back and look at everything that's been published over the last 50 years for my 'new' romance reads.

You & me both for a Harlequin bender this year, LOL. Maybe its a good thing my December order has yet to ship - goodness knows I have plenty of unread books on Mount TBR already!

Wendy said...

Mamxxx: Happy New Year to you as well! Here's hoping for a better 2021 for all of us.

Bona: I can't seem to cut the cord with Twitter entirely so my goal for 2021 is to aggressively curate it. We'll see how successful I am....

Eurohackie: My Harlequin TBR pile is obscene. My goal this year is to read through some of that backlog on my Kindle. My print pile might be a lost cause....

eurohackie said...

I definitely have more print than e-book, but the latter is definitely catching up thanks to amazon sales. I'm planning to use a random number generator to help me pile drive through my TBR if I'm not feeling any particular inspiration.

If you ever decide to purge your print HQN collection, let me know LOL!!

willaful said...

I feel you, Wendy. For awhile last year I had some blogging mojo back but then I lost it again. I'm glad you're not giving up though.

Wendy said...

Willaful: I used to post several times a week - 2-3 posts usually - and wow, those days are just gone. Once I accepted that my life has changed, ergo my blogging would change, I stopped beating myself up over it. Well, a bit at any rate ;)