Oh Hey!

Hello, blog friends! It’s been 2 months since my last blogfession.

Wait, no. That’s not right. Let me try again. Hello, friends! I’m still alive! This blog is also still alive! I haven’t quit or left the community or perished of a lack of reading (but if that were possible, I would have tbh). Nope, I just went on your average two month unscheduled hiatus. Everyone does that sometimes, right? But, maybe, if you’ve been a loyal reader and/or dear friend  for a while, you’re curious what happened to me. Where did I go? Am I okay?

2018’s been an interesting year so far, full of stresses both good and bad. I’ve been all over the map emotionally, and what it’s come down to in broad strokes is that I haven’t yet found a way to balance all the things that I want to do. As I mentioned in my 2018 Goals post, this year, I had big writing plans: 1000 words a day every single day! Finish a book in a year! Actually, January went really well. I got good work done on three projects, and I even genuinely liked some of the scenes I wrote. I kept Twitter updated on my progress, and I was so proud of my focus and dedication.

Then, um, well, February happened. Writing didn’t happen. I knew writing would be hard, but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be when my life became more chaotic. January was a really quiet month, and I didn’t have a lot going on. During that period of time, it was pretty simple to keep my brain churning on my plots and characters; ideas were constantly popping up. Though it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, progress was visible and moving forward; words were getting on the page, not all of them atrocious (although some of them very much so). Then, life happened and anxiety happened and I smacked into a wall.

Not a literal wall. Or even a writer’s block kind of wall where I just couldn’t figure out what happened next. It’s more like my stories are Princess Aurora’s castle and real life was the briars growing up so thickly I can’t even see past. I’ve been so much embedded in real life that I haven’t had the energy to get through to fiction. Like, seriously, I pretty much entirely stopped reading too. Now, there are people who manage to deal with life and write and all the things, and honestly they are bomb ass witches because wow. Serious respect. I’m not quitting my efforts at writing, but I’m trying to regroup and give myself more manageable goals. For example, I’m counting blog posts toward my word count as I restart in March, because otherwise I would just never post again, which is not what I want.

Some of you may be thinking, “dude, you’re being so vague. What the effffff is up with you?”, which is super true. There was a lot that happened towards the end of January/beginning of February that caused my spin out. I’ll tell you about some of it, but some things will remain personal.

First thing: I met a boy at the end of January, and he’s awesome and also now my boyfriend. He brought up the topic of toxic masculinity on the first date, so like he seems like a real keeper to me. He totally gets me, and he’s positive and nerdy and intelligent and loves puns. Early days obviously, but I’ve been so happy. The goofy smiles on my face would totally ruin my book world bad reputation I earned by writing Cover Snark for years. Obviously that’s awesome, but wow it’s hard to focus on other things right now; I feel like a YA heroine who was a nerdy badass who loses all focus when she gets a cute love interest. Whoops. On the plus side, no one’s counting on me to save the world.

Second thing: Work has gotten so much busier for me lately. That means I’m more drained at the end of the day and, where I used to be able to accomplish some minor blog tasks from the office occasionally, I don’t have time for anything anymore ever. In some ways, this is super great, because I’m getting more respect and possibly actually starting to make career movies consciously rather than just floating into whatever role was needed at the time. In others, it’s stressful, because I’m basically ending up with more tasks than before, and I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends and the sides. To make matters more exhausting, I had two training trips during February, which a) make my anxiety go through the roof because so much of that requires the ability to fly by the seat of your pants and I am such a planner and omg no and b) make my introverted self so fucking tired at the end of an 8 or 9 hour day that I almost literally cannot do anything more than stare at mindless TV.

Third thing: I can’t talk about this one, except to say that there was a tough time with a friend of mine. We are both fine physically, but that really brought me low for the first couple weeks of the month, and I’m still sad and concerned and probably will be for a while.

So yeah, that’s where I’ve been so far in 2018. My plan, which I may or may not be able to stick to, is to keep the blog going, keep writing, and get back into reading a bit more reliably. However, there will be major changes to my blog.

Since I started blogging in 2010, I’ve written over 2500 blog posts. This blog remained pretty consistently active at least five days a week. That’s a lot of content. A lot of time. A lot of work. Especially since most of those posts are reviews, which, though much less popular than other post types (*cough COVER SNARK cough*) take the longest to put together because you have to read a book. Aside from a couple of rare exceptions, I never took a break unless I was traveling and unable to post. I wouldn’t say I was tireless, but I remained consistent (I like nice regular plans). I’m having to face up to the fact that I’ve burned myself out and that I cannot devote that same amount of time to blogging anymore.

Lenore (the lovely author of Level 2 and Chasing Before) worked with me on ideas about how to keep the blog alive with all the other stuff I’m trying to accomplish, and she helped me come up with this plan. Much of the inspiration is drawn from Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), as well, who’s been a blogging inspiration from way back (though Lenore will always be the og of book blogging to me).

My hope is to post three times a week: MWF, with two of the posts being book talks (about books that stood out for me in some way). Expect the book talks to be a bit more to the positive and more chatty, with less attempt at being particularly objective. You may not think I had that as a sort of goal ever, but I sort of did. They might be super short, which I will hate but which I need to give myself the freedom to do. I have a couple old format posts mostly written that I will post, but after that these new ones will be the way I operate until I innovate again. The third post a week will be either a discussion post, a round-up, or a mini cover snark post (if I find the motivation, Lenore’s idea for this is fantastic). Cover Snark takes way too long for it to be feasible in full format going forward, but 20 covers a month or so might just be doable.

The blog won’t ever be what it was again, but I’m going to try to find a new paradigm that fits my life and goals now.

11 responses to “Oh Hey!”

  1. Joanne Levy says:

    Thank you for the update–I was wondering about you, so appreciate you touching base with your readers.

    Be good to yourself and the blog will be what it needs to be. 🙂
    Joanne Levy recently posted…More Books From Me. Sort of.My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Ha, sorry for the delay, but you can always reach out in Twitter DMs. 🙂 I’ve been meaning to post for months, but I’ve just felt way too overwhelmed. Honestly, I’m still struggling, but I’m making some progress. That’s all I’m asking of myself right now.

      Thanks for the words of encouragement, as always!

  2. Kara says:

    Congrats on the boy news, Christina!

    As long as you are happy, whatever direction you need to take this blog is a good one. Burnout happened for me too, and I had to adapt as well. I write shorter reviews now, and I don’t review everything I read because sometimes I struggle with anything to say at all.

    So you do you. Glad things are going well for you though!

    • Christina Franke says:

      Thank you kindly!

      Yeah, I’m going to have to accept that sometimes my reviews are going to be 400 words, and that’s going to have to be fine. I’m also not going to be reviewing very much of what I read, which is an adjustment for sure, but it’s not like I get a million review books anymore anyway. (Which isn’t meant to sound bitter; it’s pretty convenient for where I am right now.)


  3. I totally feel you on the work front. Work has been crazy stressful and busy and I miss being able to write up a quick blog post so I can go home and stare at a wall if I feel like it but oh well. Glad for the update! It’s good to hear that things are good. 🙂
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Something To Look Forward To – Week of March 5th, 2018My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Work has been both good and bad stressful, though more to the good I think, but it’s so exhausting being busy busy frantic busy all day every day now. I miss having a bit more downtime to reboot. Thank you, Bonnie!

  4. Leah says:

    I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well and hope the tough stuff gets better. Whatever works for you is all that matters. 🙂
    Leah recently posted…On Expanding Bookish Horizons & Why It Pays OffMy Profile

  5. I was so happy to read this update, not that you owed it to us <3 I'm sorry for all the hardships and hope things get better. But I'm super happy for you on the boy front AND the writing front! You're doing so well! It's really hard for me to read or write when I'm stressed/tired/busy, so I completely understand. Adding your blogging to your writing goals is such a good idea. I will always read your blog, whatever and whenever you post on it. Life balance is key even if it's hard to get sometimes. Whatever is best for you!!! <3
    Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle recently posted…It’s my Blogiversary!My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Morgan!!!! *squishy hugs*

      Things have been more good than bad mostly, but there’s a point where my brain’s just kind of like AHHHHHHH and I need a lot of sleep to recover. I’m still not really writing, but at least I’m getting into a routine with the blog again, albeit a lighter one. Then I’m going to try to get the writing flow going again. *crosses fingers*

      You’re the sweetest ever. 😀

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