the Little Red Reviewer

Changing Gears

Posted on: February 1, 2016

How things were in my life until January 2015:

Most days it was easy to find a half hour to read slush and at least an hour (and sometimes 3) to read a book.  I had a super cushy job that mostly involved waiting around.  If nothing was happening at work, it was totally OK for me to sit around and read a book.  Finding a few hours here and there to write long and passionate reviews as also pretty easy.  I’d spend Saturday mornings catching up on my RSS feed, commenting on other blogs, arranging author interviews,  plotting and planning read-alongs with other bloggers, requesting ARCs, and all those other fun things that come with being a passionate blogger. For four years, I was in book blogger heaven.  I was ridiculously spoiled and I no concept of how good I had it.

 

Things changed, as they do, and in Oct of 2014 my employer reorganized and downsized, which resulted in me having a nice and relaxing depressing and terrifying 3 month vacation from working.  In January of 2015 I landed a job with a very large and very stable company.  They wanted to pay me a lot of money to do something I truly do enjoy: field management.   The hours are long, and the job is incredibly intense and challenging.  Finding time to read and blog has practically disappeared, as you can see from the drop in my published reviews and general online presence.

 

I’m not giving up my blog. She’s my labor of love, my  baby. She’s not going anywhere. But, if I’m going to keep her alive, I need to change gears.  But I only have so many spoons.

I still read plenty, that’s never going to change.  I’ve been loving short stories, as I can read them in the morning over coffee, or at night to wind down.  I’ve been suffering through reading Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver, 10 pages at a time, for what feels like weeks.  I’ve been picking my way through The Bestiary edited by Ann Vandermeer, and Jonathan Strahan’s Meeting Infinity anthology, I’m about 100 pages into a Robin Hobb novel and I have a short stack of novellas sitting here that I want to read (Hmm, that’s quite a bit of book ADD). The pressure I put myself under to get all of this stuff read and reviewed to my satisfaction is just about killing me.  But I still want to talk to all of you about what I’m reading and if I like it, and if you might like it.

 

So, here’s the plan – My goal is still to publish blog posts as often as I can.  But instead of my typical reviews, they’ll be more along the lines of a “reading diary”. What short stories did I read this week? What chunks of novels did I read this week?  Did I spend way too much time on Deviant Art looking at artwork by a new favorite artist?  How’s my new cosplay coming? Is there a cool new anime on Crunchyroll? Have I got an upcoming author interview at Apex Mag or SFSignal that i want to brag about? stuff like that.  Because spoons, I think this is a blogging plan that I can actually pull off, without putting myself under lots of stress.  Blogging is supposed to be fun and not stressful, you know?

 

Will I still write reviews?  holy shit I hope so. In fact, I’ve got one coming up in a few days for Will McIntosh’s Burning Midnight. However, that review was actually written in December, and has been sitting in the queue all this time. Sometimes the conversation I have with a book is that I absolutely must, must write 1200 words about what I thought about this book. Burning Midnight was one of those books.  Sometimes my conversation with a book only requires a few paragraphs, and sometimes the book is so dense, so intense, and takes me so long to swim through (Baroque Cycle!!) that it makes better sense to talk about it as I’m reading, instead of attempting to boil my thoughts down to a few hundred words. And who knows, maybe these reading diary posts will make the reviews that much easier to write and be satisfied with.

 

 

So that’s where we are folks.  Here’s to 2016!

 

26 Responses to "Changing Gears"

Understand completely, Andrea. Similar thing happened to me in July 2015. Good luck!

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we find these hobbies because we have time on our hands. and then the extra time goes away. So we’re just supposed to quit our hobbies? whatev!

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Good luck with the new job!! I think it will be exciting to change up the blogging routines, test some new styles, and still engage with the reading. I’ll always be here to hang out in your book corner!

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yeah, that’s what i’m doing. . . i’m testing some new styles! 😀

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Yikes, me too Andrea! I took 15 years off work to be a stay at home mom, during which time I discovered the joys of blogging, and had buckets of time to devote to it. Then about 2 years ago my husband is like “WHEN are you going back to work?” And that was that. Now blogging is pretty much a weekend activity. Hang in there, at least you love your job! And I like the idea of a reading diary. You’re still sharing your book thoughts, just in a different way:-)

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yeah, but then even my weekends too easily get gobbled up by stuff – working, laundry, shopping, family stuff, sunday school. i know you know how that goes.

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Of course, life gets in the way. It’s always fascinating to read what you write because you have such a great insight into books. Best of luck, whatever you decide.

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thank you so much for your kind words! i think this is going to work out really well.

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As S.C. said, I’m right there with you. Only now, I’m changing jobs again and MAY get back some of the blogging time I used to have. We shall see. If not, join my club of dissolute and slacker bloggers and we’ll sit around and fail to write reviews together.

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good luck with the job change. it’s never fun.

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This time was voluntary, so, while not fun, has certain advantages. The wife may also go through a job change (not coincidentally), so that will double the enjoyment.

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Darn you job! Why?! But it happens to all of us at one point or another. I came to this wall awhile back and you have the courtesy to let your readers know. I just quietly semi-vanished into the dark inter-webs. I hope you find a happy medium if you haven’t already. 🙂

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lol, why. you so silly! 🙂 i have been tempted more than once to quietly vanish. but my blog is my baby. i feel more loyalty to this silly website itself than the stuff i post here. labor of love, indeed.

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As another weekend blogger, I hear ya. Gotta love writing, and your interests that drive it. I’m lucky to have a spouse that supports me disappearing for a few hrs at a time. That helps. Best of luck LRR!

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my family is very supportive of me. even so, i do a ton of blogging and review writing early in the morning while they are sleeping.

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If you’ve been peeking in at my blog, you know I do, every Monday, a post titled Current Reading (Mo/Wk). I say what I’ve read, with cover image, what I’m working on now, what Barbara is reading. The book comments are often just a sentence or two or summary and reaction, such as “This classic country house mystery had the best of intentions, but wasn’t well plotted well enough to meet the expectations of of the typical mystery reader.” or “The author took this SF novel to such a dark place, readers should be warned, depression ahead.” That kind of thing. Usually I red things I like, so the comments are positive, of course. The value for me in this approach is it gives me a weekly place to list my reading, for myself and others, and gets comments on what I’m reading and what the blog readers are reading too.

You may want also to take a peek at the current post, since I’m committing February to short stories, and you could try that, too. Make February Short Story Month.

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I have been noticing those posts for a while now!

it’s your Monday posts, and some posts from some other blogs that inspired me to do this. I’ve also noticed that those are the posts where you get the most discussion in the comments. It’s funny, i write book reviews that i’m super proud of, and get like 2 comments. i write random discussion posts, and get a million comments. And discussion is where the fun stuff is. Maybe if i’m not so burned out i’ll actually respond to comments.

Short Fiction February sounds good. i can take a breather from these two doorstoppers I’m working my way through to enjoy some instant gratification.

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Cool. Let’s make it Short Fiction February all over the bookweb!

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This might be a hobby, and we love it, but work is work isn’t it and as you have a new job you have to give it the focus. Simples. More importantly, as far as I can see, is the reading! And you’ll still be reading and making a diary and your blog will still be here as will we! (Hah, no escape!)
It’s kind of ironic that my book blog got started because I was keeping a book diary – that accidentally got deleted by my husband! And even more so that you were one of the first people to stop by and leave me a comment – pretty sure that was on a Scott Lynch book!
Basically, if you love a book – and write a three word review saying I love this book – okay four word review (maths isn’t my strong point) – I’ll pretty much want to check it out.
Lynn😀

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“your blog will still be here as will we! (Hah, no escape!)”

Good! that’s how it should be!😀

i’m looking more and more forward to this reading diary thing. I feel like the whole thing will just be a lot more relaxed and inviting, for me, and for anyone who stops by.

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Best of luck to you. I also had a job that gave plenty or reading time move aside for a (better) one that does not. I have lacked the courage to write a post like this because I flat out don’t know what will happen. For now…a lot of nothing. I hope you can get more than that going.

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I think that the “reading diaries” are going to be a great idea! I recently changed jobs and other things in life, and I went from having several hours each day to read, to maybe just one or two reading hours each weekday. Still have the weekend, but I’m not used to have to take that much limited reading time, and having to divide it between books, reading other blogs, and writing reviews. But I’m looking forward to reading those ‘reading diaries’🙂

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“I’m not used to have to take that much limited reading time, and having to divide it between books, reading other blogs, and writing reviews”

I hope you discover the secret to splitting your time up, and still having enough time. so that you can share the secret with me!

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Time-travel😉

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one of those time-turny things that Hermione Granger has?

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Exactly! Now all we have to do is figure out how to create the technology/magic needed too use it:/

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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