Lola’s Ramblings: My recent lack of discussion posts and balancing things

April 13, 2017 Lola's Ramblings 20

LolaRamblings

Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

Ironic isn’t it? A discussion post about my lack of discussion posts. If you’ve been visiting my blog for a while you’ve probably noticed the recent lack of discussion posts and while I’ve mentioned things in my Sunday posts I wanted to write a post about it as well. It’s weird how inspiration works sometimes. I can’t find the right mood to write discussion posts and then the one I do write is about my lack of them. Mainly I wanted to explain why there have been so few or actually no discussion posts for the last month(s) and address the things many bloggers struggle with; balancing life, work and blogging.

Increase in Work

The main reason why I haven’t been writing discussion posts and generally been blogging less, commenting later and not always commenting back is the increase in work. The first three months of this year have been amazing for Lola’s Blog Tours. A big difference to the last quarter of last year when I was really struggling and I am so happy to see my work pick up. It really has been an amazing few months with lots of work and I can only hope this keeps up as I might actually approach having a decent (in my opinion) income. So really I am not complaining at all, on the contrary I am just hoping that whatever has changed I can keep it up and the work will continue being like this. I also started working as personal assistant for a second author in January. Which has been a great help. To put things into perspective my assistant work is about half of the money I make each month. Without the assistant work I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep running Lola’s Blog Tours. And I really enjoy the assistant work and it’s a nice mix with my tour work and bring some variation to each day. So I have a lot more work in general since the start of the year and that has caused me to change some things up. It really messed up my balance between different aspect of my life and I had to figure out how to make things work. And sadly one of the things that had to go for now is writing discussion posts. Which bring me to the second reason: I need to be in a certain state of mind to write those discussion posts.

About Writing Discussion Posts

I’ve always realized that to write discussion posts I need to be in a certain state of mind. I can’t write discussion posts if I am feeling rushed or hurried or stressed or whatever. Which is the reason why for a long time I kept two months ahead with my discussion posts as that way I was so far ahead I never had to worry about them. Because there was no time pressure to write them, I kept my creativity and inspiration and could easily write 3 or 4 new posts each month. I knew I was ahead so I felt like I had enough time and no pressure to write those posts, so I could keep them going. When that buffer of posts started getting less and less because of my work increase, so did inspiration to write them.

The fact is I have tons of ideas for topics, for some topics I have things jotted down on notes, which are strewn across my desk. But I just can’t seem to find the time or motivation to write them. Technically I would have some time. Take an hour and write a post, but then I would have to write that post in an hour. And that pressure makes sure I feel like I can’t. Maybe it’s mostly the fear that I can’t write the post then and then waste an hour. Because when you’re busy every hour seems very precious, so I don’t want to waste an hour and have nothing to show for it. So yeah basically my mind isn’t in the right state to write these posts. Last month I had an hour and I was fully planning to write a discussion post, but then I felt rushed and all my thought out lines disappeared and in the end I just spend that time doing some minor less priority tasks that had less priority, but needed to be done eventually. It was nice to finally get those done, but I also felt bad that I didn’t get that post written. I am hoping that eventually I will find the right state of mind and time to write discussion posts again. But for now I have decided to not to push it. If I don’t feel like I can write a discussion posts I don’t. But don’t worry I am definitely not stopping with blogging altogether. Because for everything I just said about writing discussion posts? I don’t seem to have any of that with reviews.

The difference between discussion posts and reviews

For some reason writing discussion posts and reviews is very different. And in a way it’s both writing posts, so I guess the difference is mainly in my head. I can finish a book, pick an hour and sit down and write it and I will get that review written and scheduled within that time. Although sometimes it might take a bit longer. All that mental block and state of mind thing I rambled about that I need for discussion posts? It doesn’t seem to exist for reviews. And maybe that’s just because I don’t believe it exist there or because I always have been so obsessed with writing a review after I finish a book and before starting a new one. Which gives me a short time frame to write a review, so I always make do with that. So nothing seem to have changed there. I also still make writing reviews a priority for multiple reasons: I want to keep having content on my blog, for many books I promised to review them, reviewing is so much a part of my reading process I can’t imagine skipping it and I am so accustomed to just sitting down and writing those reviews I don’t even think about it. It just works. And I am very grateful writing reviews still seems to go so well. Maybe one day I can achieve that same state for my discussion posts too.

Balancing Life, Work and Blogging

These last few months I realized how delicate the balance can be between all these different things we have going on in our lives. There’s work, social obligations, hobbies, household chores and thins like blogging. I always thought I had a pretty good balance between everything, but it seems it was only that way until one of those things changed, namely in this case an increase in work. And then you notice how that delicate that balance is when every tips over and you’re left scrambling to find a new balance. I realized how hard is to to find a new balance and it was hard to decide what to put less time in and where to focus. I do think by now I have found a new balance with my increased work load, but I am also aware of how easily it can be messed up when something takes longer than expected or something unexpected pops up. And there are weeks where things go a bit differently or something takes more time and I have to figure out how to compensate for that.

I do feel like I learned a lot these past few months. It’s like I have a bit better insight in which tasks I can change or move to save time and also which tasks I can’t, like cooking. And I’ve realized the importance of taking enough breaks and sleeping enough as that’s the only way to keep my productivity up, even though it means less time for work, it also means that the time I do spent working is more productive. I feel like I’ve gotten more efficient with some things, I can better gauge how much time something takes and it seems at times my discipline has gotten stronger. I can focus on what needs to be done and do that, probably also because I can’t afford not to. I can better prioritize what’s most important in a day and what’s optional. But even so balancing everything is still difficult and while the current balance works for now, who knows for how long. And I want to do everything, but sometimes I can’t and that’s hard to deal with.

What to expect on Lola’s Reviews in the future?

So after I listed all of that, I also wanted to address what this means for m blog in the future.

  • I won’t stop blogging. I briefly considered stopping with blogging, but I can’t imagine my life without it and I enjoy blogging too much to give it up. So while I might not be as active as I used to be, I still will be blogging.
  • Less posts. In general there will be less posts on my blog. Last year I often had 5 to 7 posts each week, nowadays it’s more like 4 or 5 max.
  • A higher percentage of those posts with be reviews. I am not pushing to get those discussion posts done right now. I do hope I will get some written again eventually. But for now this means that most of my posts will be reviews, like you’ve sene the last few weeks/ months.
  • Sunday Posts stays weekly. I am committed to keep doing the Sunday post each week. It’s a nice way to wrap up the week and I love hearing for you all and if I have the time visiting back and seeing how you all are doing. So far I’ve managed to write the Sunday posts each week, although I did change s a few things, like I am not listing all the free books I got anymore as that got time intensive.
  • Lola’s Kitchen about once or twice a month. I hope to keep doing a Lola’s Kitchen post once or twice each month. These are easier to write than discussion posts and I still have a list of recipe I want to type out and share. I am not trying out as many new dishes as I am used to, but I still try out a new one every few weeks, so that should be enough to keep these posts going :).
  • Lola’s Ramblings and Lola’s Advice posts will be rare. I do hope to keep both of these features along, but they won’t be as regularly as they used to be. I will write these when I can, but for now I am not counting on anything or forcing myself to write these every week or month. I just see what happens with these and when I can write one.
  • Comments and blog visiting. I will do my best to keep replying to every comment at least and where possible to comment back. But commenting back is the things that’s the first to go when things get unbalanced, so I can’t do that as regularly as I would like. but I do my best to still do some visiting each week. And I am really grateful for everyone whose still stopping by and commenting, so that’s why I do want to make sure to reply to every comment.

How do you balance life and blogging?

Do you need to be a certain mood or state of mind to write certain posts?

20 Responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: My recent lack of discussion posts and balancing things”

  1. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I’m so happy for you that Lola’s Blog Tours has been going so well! But I imagine that would make it hard to find time for blogging. And it’s totally understandable to not write discussions if you’re not feeling inspired and it would just cause you stress.

    Like you said about the balancing, it’s just hard when all the sudden the balance is tipped and you have to find the new balance. And I think oftentimes people are able to adapt and get better at time management when they need to.

    But please don’t stop blogging! You’re one of my favorite bloggers, I’d be sad without you!
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Poetry: A Collection of Some Short but [Bitter]Sweet PoemsMy Profile

    • Lola

      I am so happy Lola’s Blog Tours is doing well, but yes it does make it hard to find time for blogging. And when I am busy it’s hard to find the inspiration for those discussion posts. I hope that by not forcing myself to write them I’ll eventually get my inspiration back again. Just like how I suddenly got the inspiration for this post.

      Balancing is usually not a big problem, until things change and you have to find a new one. I do think that being more busy has learned me a few things about time management, so in that regard it has been very helpful as well.

      Don’t worry I don’t plan to stop blogging :). I love blogging too much for that, even now that I blog less.
      I am so glad to hear that! You’re one of my favorite bloggers too and I feel sad I haven’t been able to read all of your posts recently like I used to.

  2. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    With discussion posts, I always need 2 sessions to finish them– reviews I can do in one sitting. I think it’s because reviews are all formatted the same with the same elements to them, and discussion posts are formatted and set-up based on what the topic is. But I found I can write the post in one night and then take a break and design the graphics and format it at a different time. Otherwise, I get a little bored just working on the same post for that long. My problem is always lack of topics. So, that’s pretty cool that you don’t have that problem. I feel like I’ve talked about EVERYTHING.
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted…Welcome to the FFBC: ALONE IN PARIS by Ashley EarleyMy Profile

    • Lola

      I only need one session for Discussions posts usually, if I have to stop in the middle I lose track of what I wanted to say. Which is actually a pretty good point as that probably also contributes to the fact I rarely make time to write them now as I know I want to finish the post in one session, so I need a chunk of time for that.
      So far topics haven’t been the problem yet for me. I still have a bunch of topic ideas written down. Although probably not all of those ideas will get written.

  3. Sophia Rose

    What you’re saying makes perfect sense to me. When you add in a new element, something generally has to give way. Paid work definitely should take priority over unpaid.

    And with the discussions, mine tend to come in groups. I do them when I’m in the mood and have the time. They are not as simple to work up as reviews for me, either.

    I like your plan, Lola. And I’m wishing you well as you continue to streamline it. 🙂
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Review: The Chosen by J.R. WardMy Profile

    • Lola

      Yes exactly, when one element changes or takes more time something else should give. It’s just hard to work out a new balance when that happens.

      Reviews are definitely more simple than discussion posts. I can just sit down and write those, while for discussion posts I need the right mindset and inspiration.

      Thanks Sophia! I really appreciate you keep stopping by my blog and leaving comments. I am sorry I haven’t been able to visit back as often as I would like recently.

  4. sjhigbee

    Overall, this is a positive – because Lola’s Blog Tours is something you’ve worked hard to build up and now it is sufficiently successful that you are having to cut back on some of your other activities. I also understand where you’re coming from – when I first started my blog back in 2009, I wrote articles, but it’s really hard to do very well time after time, as far as I was concerned. Which meant I constantly struggled to find sufficient material and meant my blog bumped along with hardly any visitors for two and a half years before I cottoned onto the fact that not only do I enjoy writing book review, they don’t take a huge amount of time or mental effort – I ALWAYS have stacks to say about books. In the meantime, all the best with the book blog tours:).
    sjhigbee recently posted…While the Morning Stars SingMy Profile

    • Lola

      I agree it’s mostly a positive change but it did change things up in a big way for me. And I am so happy Lola’s Blog Tours is finally getting towards a point where I can see my work paying off with an increase in business. Especially as in the past few years I haven’t had the need to adjust my balance in a big way, so it does show how well my company is doing now.

      Yes that makes sense, articles or posts like discussions ones take more time and mental energy to write, while reviews seem more effortless. I think it’s nice you decided to do reviews on your blog as I always enjoy reading your reviews. And I get what you’re saying with how you always have enough material for reviews as you keep reading new books ;).
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: My recent lack of discussion posts and balancing thingsMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks Angela :). It really has been amazing to see Lola’s Blog Tours do so well. Although it has been challenging to find a new balance, I think I am slowly getting there.

  5. Greg

    Glad to hear the blog tour business is doing well (and the assistant work as well). That’s awesome. And I totally agree- I kinda have to be in a mindset to write discussions too, and it doesn’t work when I’m pressed for time. 🙂 I’m the same with reviews- I make myself write them as soon as I finish a book because that’s how I prefer to do it, so it works for me.

    Balance is tough and it’s always a struggle, but glad you’re not leaving! Hope all goes well this year and your business and blogging do great.
    Greg recently posted…Queens of GeekMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks! It really has been great to have business do so well.

      It’s weird how different discussion posts and reviews are in terms of writing them, how with reviews I can just sit down and write them, but for discussion posts I need to be int he right mood.

      I think I have found my balance a bit recently, we’ll see how it goes. And I am definitely not stopping with blogging, but there have been some changes on my blog due to the extra work.

  6. Mary Kirkland

    That’s really great about getting so much work and getting a second personal assistant job. Balance between everything we have to do can be hard but I think we can all understand.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…Roasted ChickpeasMy Profile

    • Lola

      The assistant work is pretty different from the tour work, so I like being able to do both. I think we all struggle with balancing things now and then.

  7. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    It can be hard to balance everything. I only post reviews 3 times a week (sometimes even only twice). I find it hard to find time for everything. I just do what I can do and go with it. This is my hobby after all. While I miss seeing the discussion posts, I completely get it. Do what you can and it is smart that you keep notes of ideas you have so when you have more time and are in the mood can tackle them. Have a great weekend.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Review: Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti (@mlsimmons, @RebeccaZanetti)My Profile

    • Lola

      I usually post 2 or 3 reviews each week nowadays as well. And you’re right we just do what we can and go with that.
      I just feel a bit bad as I used to do so well with the discussion posts and now just can’t find the time or motivation to do them. But I hope that if I don’t push myself to write them, eventually I’ll find time and motivation to write them again. And I still have a bunch of ideas and take notes when I can, so hopefully when the inspiration hits I have at least ideas for what to write.

  8. S. J. Pajonas

    My blogging tends to come in waves and depends on how much work I have to do in my normal life, so it’s very similar to yours. If I’m working on a first draft, I will blog A LOT less. If I’m between books, I’ll blog more as a way of keeping myself up-to-date and available to my readers. I don’t mind being an erratic blogger because my audience is small and those people would rather have books from me anyway!
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Sunday Update – April 16, 2017My Profile

    • Lola

      Yes I notice now that my work really influences how much blogging I can do. Although at least I can keep up with doing the reviews. I don’t mid the change too much as it works for now, it’s just hard when things switch and you have to find a new balance.

  9. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    yes I find it very hard to write, therefore blog, when I’m busy and stressed. I just can’t get inspired. So I think I know what you mean. But it’s great the virtual Lola Blog tours and the assistant job is paying off! Finding a balance in one’s life is always a big challenge. Enjoy the journey. Remember you have my dream job 😉 when you feel overwhelmed think about how wonderful it is that you are able to have your dream job 🙂
    Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium recently posted…Hyperbole and a Half 5 hysterical stars – A cult has been bornMy Profile

    • Lola

      Yes exactly! When I am busy or stress or feel rushed I just can’t find the inspiration.

      It’s been a great year so far for work. I am so happy to see my work has increased and my business is doing well. I have my dream job ;). And that definitely makes things easier. I am so happy I get to do this for a living.

      I just feel a bit bad my blog has gotten less attention lately. I just wish I had more time so I could do everything.

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