Weekly Geeks 2009-36: Burnout

weeklygeeksThis week’s Weekly Geeks post could not have come at a more appropriate time for me.

Unfinished Person writes about the hectic pace of blogging, especially after a busy week. She writes:

Personally, after such weeks, I feel almost burnt out and think, “Why am I doing this? I’m not getting paid for this.” Do you ever feel the same way after weeks like the ones mentioned above? If you do, what do you to counter it? How do you keep going? Do you take a break from posts after that, or do you just “soldier on”?

Or if you don’t feel burnt out after such weeks, why not? Also why are you a book blogger? From what I’ve seen and experienced, it’s certainly not the fame or the glory that you get. So what is it? Why? Why? Why?

The simple answer is: YES, I feel burnout. I have been thinking about this a lot lately as the days fly by and the unread blog posts pile up in my feed reader, and the stacks of books in my TBR pile go on and on and on. I get more emails than I can deal with on some days. There are events, challenges, endless requests to review books, Yahoo book groups to run or participate in. And don’t even mention Twitter – I quickly found myself unable to keep up and hardly ever even sign in to my account there anymore. Don’t get me wrong…I love blogging. I love books. I love the social network of the book blogging community. I even love writing reviews. But sometimes I feel so tired and overwhelmed by my never ending list of “to dos.”

This morning I sat down and wrote a guest blog post for an author’s blog which will post on September 30th – and guess what I wrote about? How the fast pace of the Internet and digital age carries us along and we forget to stop, breathe, relax, enjoy the simple things. Writing it felt cathartic.

I have lately been giving myself permission to just stop and to do something completely unrelated to technology. I’ve been quilting, digging around in the dirt of my potted plants, cuddling my animals, watching an old movie, sitting undisturbed on my porch listening to nature, reading a book I want to read. I’ve been taking walks and long showers. I’ve been perusing my recipes, planning big feasts that will take all day long to cook. It feels good. It feeds my soul.

My books are still piling up. The over 1000 blog posts remain unread. The email requests for reviews are left unanswered. But tomorrow the sun will still come up, and one of these days my energy and enthusiasm will rev up again. Until then, I’m taking life a little slower. And that’s okay.

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28 comments

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  1. Just acknowledging that you’re overwhelmed and need to take a step back helps a lot.

    • lenore on September 19, 2009 at 14:00

    I just addressed this topic on my blog yesterday. Makes me feel better to know I am not the only one feeling the burn.

    • Lisa on September 19, 2009 at 14:20

    I did start to feel a little burnout this week, too. As much fun as BBAW was, it was all I could do to keep up with reading all of the posts. I got almost no reading done which was kind of frustrating.

    • Lexi on September 19, 2009 at 14:49

    I took a HUGE break in blogging during the time Ricky and I were getting married/honeymooning/looking for a new place to live/moving. And it was the best thing I’ve done this year. I came back to blogging renewed. I think stepping back and focusing on other things is the best way to be refreshed!

    • diane on September 19, 2009 at 15:51

    Wendy,

    I think you did a great job telling it like we all feel from time to time. I’m not a weekly geek, but I may have to address this post on my own blog.

    Continued smiles as you “stop and smell the last few roses of summer”.

    • Susan on September 19, 2009 at 16:03

    What a timely topic! I’ve noticed i have a definite pattern to blogging, and in my life – when things get too overwhelming, I stop everything now, and read a book or watch a movie – anything that avoids technology. And it refreshes me. I even thought about beginning my quilting again! So I was interested to see you are a quilter also.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I think it’s to not feel expectations. To do it for love, and to not let it take over. And it is difficult, isn’t it?

    • Kathy on September 19, 2009 at 17:31

    You’re right – blogging is a hobby and when it starts to feel like a chore, it’s time to back off.

    • Megan on September 19, 2009 at 17:40

    Amazing how something that is essentially a hobby suddenly becomes a list of “have to dos” instead of “want to dos.” Whenever it starts to seem like that, I know it’s time to step back. I definitely struggle with the whole blog/life balance thing – one always seems to be seriously edging the other out. Some days I regret not being a part of the whole Twitter thing, but if I’m honest with myself, I can barely keep up with all the stuff I’m already trying to do, how could I possibly consider burdening myself with yet one more thing to keep up with?

    I think we could all do well to give ourselves a little breather from technology every now and again. You’re right – it *is* good for the soul!

    • gavin on September 19, 2009 at 18:05

    I think taking breaks is truly important for one’s sanity. My final tab on my browser opens to this site.

    • Jenners on September 19, 2009 at 18:07

    Amen to that! It is easy to get a bit carried about with the blog sometimes and you do need to stop and remember that we don’t have to post every day, we don’t have to read every post on every blog we like, we don’t have to read 100 books a year, we don’t have to blog if we don’t have the time or the energy. If we don’t keep it in balance, the fun is gone and then what is the point. Good for you for taking some time to focus and rebalance!

  2. My only goal after BBAW was to keep it fun and not let it get stressful. Because then what’s the point? I’m not getting paid for it! I love the friends and I love the books and I don’t ever want those things to feel like a burden in my life so if I ever need a break, I will just take one.

    This is a really important topic to address in this community especially as there have been feelings of competitiveness and one-upsmanship seeping in lately. I don’t want to be a part of any of that! I like that this community is mellow and I want it to stay that way.

  3. Well said. I still feel guilt though when the reader stacks up.

  4. I hear you! I plan to take the next few weeks really easy–and I know at one point I’m going to want to jump back into some big project. 🙂 But for the moment, I just want to relax and take it easy and enjoy my favorite time of year!

    • Kerrie on September 19, 2009 at 21:44

    Sometimes you just need to slow down a little. Blogging and reading are not meant to feel like work and sometimes we just make too many burdens for ourselves. I realised early on in the week that I had to select from what BBAW offrede. But the week has been great fun. And for me the effort has to continue justa few more days as I’m running an Agatha Christie Blog Tour, that just happened to run all of last week too.

    • Frances on September 20, 2009 at 05:43

    More than OK. Life as it should be. But that is coming from a bit of a blogger slacker. I read and write wherever my mood takes me, and that includes not reviewing a good chunk of books I read. I stopped using Google Reader because the pileups were making me insane so I just pop in and out places randomly, and rely on my blogroll when I need a little direction. So enjoy that gardening and the great fall weather, and I wish I could be there to cook with you for one of those all day feast preps. And above all, happy reading!

  5. I don’t use twitter. I do have a facebook account but I only keep in touch with my old school/college friends. I don’t visit any other social networks. No time. In a way, the google reader helps me being organised. I only visit those posts which interest me and delete the rest.

    And my reading takes precedence over anything. Even with BBAW, I read 3 Tintin books, two Paul Auster novellas, and another Novel. That is not bad!

    Burn out? No way! I thrive in it all..

  6. And here is my geeky post:

    Weekly Geeks: Why/What makes us go on?

    • Ali on September 20, 2009 at 21:31

    I’m in about the same place you are right now. After reading your post, I realized that for me it has so much to do with the turning of the seasons. I love these early fall days when it’s still warm and sunny (in Oregon we must cherish those when we get them) but starting to get crisp.

  7. It’s a fun job being a blogger but it can get tiring and tedious at times too so it’s just best to walk away until that ol’ urge strikes you again and you’re back raring to go!

    • Kristi on September 21, 2009 at 14:08

    Well said, Wendy. I often just want to unplug from the computer and curl up with a good book or go on a nice, long walk or anything that doesn’t involve reading a screen and typing!

    Since Google Reader will now let me mark things older than a day or older than a week as read, I’m getting better about actually reading what’s in there! It’s just not as overwhelming as it used to be and I don’t feel guilty about marking things read because not all of them disappear. What a relief!

    • Laura on September 21, 2009 at 17:45

    It looks like most of us have felt that way from time to time, Wendy. The important thing is to recognize the signs of burnout and then act on them. You’ll feel much better after slowing down for a bit. I love how you’ve gotten into quilting which provides some balance. Not to mention the beautiful finished product!

    • lilly on September 22, 2009 at 05:15

    You know what? It is okay to take life a little slower. I try to do that without stressing out about not doing any of the many to-do things. I am glad to hear that you’re human and do get burnt out. Makes it easier on me to know it’s okay because there are other bloggers out there who feel the same way.

  8. Those sound like lovely ways to ride out your blogger burnout. It’s nice to take things easy for awhile.

    • Wendy on September 26, 2009 at 06:45
      Author

    Wow – lots of responses…and my apologies for taking so long to respond to all of you…

    Stephanie: I agree – recognizing the problem helps to solve it.

    Lenore: It is comforting to know others are feeling the same way. I have to admit, I have a lot of guilt over not getting to all the blog posts on my reader…right now that is more overwhelming to me than actually writing posts and blogging myself.

    Lisa: I know what you mean.

    Lexi: That is good advice (and congratulations on your recent marriage!). I think that is true in all things, don’t you?

    Diane: Thank you for your kind words!

    Susan: *nods* You give some great advice. Reminding ourselves this is FUN not work is important to keeping things in perspective. Nice to hear you are also a quilter!

    Kathy: Yup. Although it is not so much the blogging as the stuff that goes along with it for me!

    Megan: I quickly gave up on Twitter (although I still have my account)…it is just too much with everything else. And technology tends to drain rather than refresh. We should all being refreshing our souls!! *laughs*

    Gavin: LOL – I LOVE that!!! Thanks for the laugh 🙂

    • Wendy on September 26, 2009 at 06:52
      Author

    Jenners: yes, yes, yes! Balance is so important! Thanks for the validation!

    Kristen M: I agree – there is no place for competition in this community (in my opinion)…although I believe to some extent it is natural that people want to be “the best!” Reminding ourselves of the real priorities in life is essential, I think, in maintaining a healthy balance.

    Laura Eno: Thanks….glad to know I’m not alone!

    Amy: You should DEFINITELY take some time to relax!!!

    Kerrie: I’ve been following your Agatha Christie tour – you are doing a great job! I agree – this shouldn’t feel like work. I scaled back on my challenges this year and like that I did.

    Frances: I think you have it right! I have thought of deleting some blogs from my reader…but then I stress about which ones *laughs* I may just have to clear my reader and start over at this point! I love to share a day of cooking with you 🙂

    Gautami: Good for you! It sounds like you’ve found just the right balance in your life!

    Ali: I agree that the change in seasons definitely affects how we are feeling about things. I love the fall too – and I want to enjoy it.

    Delgal: I agree!

    • Wendy on September 26, 2009 at 06:56
      Author

    Kristi: Good point about Google Reader… I need to do what you do. Thanks for the advice!!

    Laura: Quilting has been a great relaxer for me lately – I know my biggest problem is taking on too much and feeling burnt out. I am trying to be better – really!!!

    Lilly: I think it is good for us to share these things because, as you say, there are others who feel the same way. I think sometimes we are afraid to admit we’re human!

    Michelle: *nods* I agree!

  9. My blogging seems to run in cycles. Sometimes I have lots of time to compose a slew of posts and other times it may be weeks in between postings. I’m sure I could find something to write about every single day, but life has a way of keeping me otherwise occupied. I try not to stress out about it too much. I figure those who read my blog will be patient and not abandon me if I let too much time lapse between posts. I did, however, decide to stop posting a daily picture on my photo blog. I did that for exactly one year and now I’m ready for a break. As much as I enjoyed it, keeping up with comments and visiting other photobloggers was taking too much time away from my book blogging. I guess it’s all about balance.

    • Wendy on October 4, 2009 at 08:36
      Author

    Les: For me, I don’t worry too much about how many posts I manage in a week…its all the other stuff that tends to overwhelm me! I always feel guilty when I don’t read all the posts in my Reader or leave comments for other bloggers…but there is only so much time in every day. I’m trying to be better about giving myself permission to let some things go. It *is* all about balance, as you say! Thanks for weighing in!

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