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08 July 2012

It's not like I can't immediately see how many "followers" I have when I sign onto my Blogger dashboard, but earlier this week I decided to remove the Google Friend Connect widget from my sidebar. I was hovering at around 350 followers for the longest time and every time I went up or down, it would drive me nuts.

Then I remembered blogging is my hobby not my day job.

My day job already causes enough stress. It's sometimes fun, mostly overwhelming, but all in all, it's my job and I expect a certain amount of pressure. It's what pays the bills and I'm not naive enough to expect that my day job would afford me any type of relaxation. Blogging, though, is for fun. It is to relieve the pressures and stress from the real job and everything else. And to blog about books is the break I take from it every week.

Lately, though, I've been getting frustrated, overwhelmed by review request emails. It's something I know everyone has felt at one time or another, so I know I'm in good company. The overwhelming number of requests never seem to fit your preferences even though the Review Policy clearly outlines it.

Sigh. I'm sure you've all read a post like this one many times before, in a variety of different ways, on a gazillion other blogs. My apologies if you're patiently reading through this. And I don't want to sound ungrateful.

I've been lazily crafting this for a while and it wasn't until Andi over at Estella's Revenge who recently wrote about Book Blogger Liberation that made me sit up and take notice of my feelings. My first thought was, "YES!" She is much more eloquent in her thoughts, so I encourage you to head on over there to read.

I've been declining review requests for months now and it has made me feel so much better. I only have one coming up and it's been the first one in months. My husband pointed out that when I first started blogging, after I got over the initial excitement of receiving ARCs, what I really enjoyed was the community and interaction with everyone. That was what fed me.

So here is my decision, my new change at Coffee and a Book Chick and it's fitting that I would have come to this choice this past Wednesday, July 4th, Independence Day: I am removing my Review Policy. I'm not accepting review requests for a while. I will spend my time at the library and Netgalley, where I can overwhelm myself with selections that I want, with no pressure to review it by a certain date. I adore audiobooks as well, especially as work is very busy for me right now.

So. This was a long way to say that I'm done with the pressures from hobbies.

And since I'm running now, you can definitely expect more audiobook reviews here. some of you may know, I'm trying to get healthier, so I'll also be at my new blog, This Chick Will Run. I hope to stay consistent with it and maybe putting it on paper will help me. Of course, I'll never, ever leave this book corner of the blogosphere, but I have to spend a little more time over there, so I hope you'll visit me!


  1. Welcome to the dark side :-) Lol - just kidding. I bet the enjoyment will increase & the stress will decrease - probably has already!

  2. I've been there for awhile now. I think within 6 months of that insane review request barrage that started early in the blogging, I stopped accepting. Or accepting very rarely. At this point, I might take one out of fifty requests, maybe less. We don't owe anybody anything. We don't get paid. It should be fun, and we should be able to read what we want. So get out your fun books and audios and go running!

  3. Good for you! I hope it eases some of the pressure on you.

  4. I totally agree with the concept of this is a hobby so you should feel liberated with it! Go you for making that decision! I've cut down on review books but not as much as I really should. It's a constant work in progress for me lol. Btw, I'm reading your other blog and hope it'll inspire me to get up off my butt, lol!

  5. I've been in your spot a couple of times, lol, so stay vigilant! Actually, I'm there right now. I took me email off my blog info page and noted that I'd get my arcs from NetGalley or edelweiss. It's so nice to have those options.
    Good luck with the running and the blog!

  6. I just added myself recently!
    I only have 37 followers. A couple abandoned me after I decided to go private and then I came back again and then were gone. I was getting tired of blogging and felt sometimes that I hold back.

    Book reviews....I would love to find out how to get on that band wagon. all though I imagine it is burdensome.

  7. Good for you! You have to do what makes you happy. Hobbies should bring you joy not despair.

  8. I just stopped accepting requests too because I'm going back to college in 2 months and knew I wouldn't be able to keep up. Sometimes its good to step back and reassess the priorities. Yay to less pressure!

  9. Andi's post really got me thinking, too. I'm not sure I'm ready to completely do away with accepting books for review but I'm definitely considering posting my review policy up further and being more specific so that I can point to it when declining requests. I want to do away with that guilt which I should never have to feel! Good for you!

  10. Brava on all these bold, excellent steps! I hope your running continues to be satisfying and life-changing -- huge kudos to you for that step and commitment. My wife took up running a year ago and lost 60 lbs and it's inspired me! We'll see if I can keep up.

    I also loved Andi's post and I'm really excited to see where your reading takes you -- free-range reading, I call it. I'm not quite inundated with review requests, weirdly enough, but I work with two firms that supply me with ARCs. I like it, but after nearly two years of that kind of reading, I've finding I don't really love my reads the way I do if I meander around on my own. Believe it or not, I've scaled back on my review request acceptances and am reading the ARCs I'm really psyched about -- the ones I pursue. We'll see if that makes me happier!

  11. That seems like a great idea! Unless a blogger is the sort of person who is trying to use blogging as a writing portfolio to get a foot into some kind of publishing job, I see no need to push oneself into daily posts, or daily reviews. That's just going to make it feel like a job.

  12. Sounds like a great plan, and I love the pic you chose to illustrate pressure! It's perfect!

  13. I refuse to the let the blog turn into a job. I refuse. I also refuse to let reading turn into a job...reading has brought me so much pleasure for as long as I can remember. We have to protect our spaces from interlopers who would try to mess up the good things we have going on! I have a couple of folks I review for and that's it...and the only reason I review for them is bc they let me choose. Stick with your guns, Natalie and keep running!

  14. Good for you. I've done the same thing. I am loving audio books too.

    I'm going to check out your new blog!

  15. About 2 years ago, my sister Lisa (who has a long commute to work) suggested I give audiobooks a try during my hour long daily walks. I've been hooked ever since! Looking forward to listening to a good audiobook will make your running commitment so much easier to keep. Good luck to you!

  16. I just love this post, thank you!
    I have been blogging about 2 years and defintely got carried away with saying yes to review requests...and now I am stuck with too many review books some of which I'm very excited about, others not so much mainly becaise I over booked myself (which isn't fair to the authors). I have so many books I want to read on my shelves that I don't have time to get too. And what I love about my blog and blogging is what you said so well, the community and interaction with other bloggers...something I have little time for now.

    Like you,I finally got smart and made some necessary changes - in August and September my review books drop off considerably and I may not accept any reviews for late Fall/early Winter...I'll see.

    So thank you for this post I also love your plan to get healthy something I'm working on, too, in order to help improve some of my health problems. Good Luck with the running and your new blog!

  17. Thanks for the shout out, my friend!!! The blogging and reading just should not be so darned stressful! Bottom line. Enjoy your running and blogging and reading freely!

  18. This was a brilliant post, and one that I can totally relate to. I get sucked in and out of the review request tornado about every 6 months or so, but there is no way for me to review them all. And so many new books are coming out that I want to read, so I have to be very selective. I think that your new commitment to running, and listening to more audiobooks will be a great thing for you, and I will be along for the ride!Great post today. So many of us are in exactly the same boat. And it is a hobby, not a job. We all need a gentle reminder of that sometimes.

  19. Great post, I find it strange how hobbies can end up creating the same pressures associated with work and other 'necessary' things in life. I chose to quit another section of the blogging world (makeup/cosmetics) after running a successful blog for 3 years because I couldn't take it anymore and I missed the fun of writing. So I completely empathise.

    Best of luck with your healthy endeavours!

  20. Good for you! A hobby should definitely not be something that pressures you. I am on a break from blogging, and it felt SO GOOD to cull all of my ARCs. I felt guilty (even though most of them are books I reviewed already) but awesome.

  21. I know exactly what you are talking about. My day job overwhelms me so I have to take my blog slow and steady and not beat myself up when I can't post for a week or two. I'd love to blog more but hard to do when I work 12 hours a day lately. Still, I love the blogging community and always hang in there even if by my fingernails!


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