Random Thoughts: Ennui

Ennui is defined as “listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.” [Google]

Those who blog know that it’s hard work. It can be fun… it should be fun… but it takes a lot of time, a huge amount of energy, a dash or two of enthusiasm and a pinch of creativity. Without all of these “ingredients” it will just lead to failure.

But finding the time and energy to put out “fresh” content each day, every other day, or each week, isn’t always easy. Being enthusiastic and creative when you’re tired, upset, stressed or worn out, is even more of a challenge.

Finding that drive to keep pushing on, when you’d rather be doing X, Y or Z, requires a level of dedication that not everyone can uphold when the going gets tough. Especially when they aren’t driven by something as important as a paycheck.

So when that dog-tired feeling makes it hard to write those posts, when the drama overtakes the joy, when the “work” feels only like work and when the ennui sets in, how do we bring the passion back?

Whether for blogging or reading, we can’t always be at the top of our game. We can’t always feel super excited about starting that next book, formatting and writing that next post. Sometimes we have to “fake it ’til we make it.”

But that doesn’t always work. Sometimes our weariness is just too deep. Sometimes our level of upset is just too overwhelming. Sometimes trying to find things to motivate us is just not enough.

And sometimes taking a short break isn’t sufficient to shake off the listlessness or turn dissatisfaction into satisfaction. Sometimes we may need to take a step back and think about whether it’s worth it.

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves the tough questions.

Are we happier than we were when we started out or has our level of enjoyment decreased with each passing month?

Are we so dissatisfied with the progress our blogs have made that we resent having to put our time and energy into writing posts each day?

Have we grown tired of writing reviews for the books we read? Are we tired of reading altogether? And would our love of reading be renewed if we knew we were reading the book solely for pleasure and not for review?

Does creating our weekly features and memes bore us rather than pique our interest in the books we highlight?

Has fighting to be heard in this incredibly crowded blogoverse made us want to stop trying altogether?

And are the days we question why we started blogging in the first place outnumbering the days we are just so thankful we did?

If we see our happiness deteriorating instead of growing as time marches on, we really do need to take a hard look at why we’re continuing. We got into this because it made us happy. But if it no longer checks that box, and we get no other reward for doing so, we have to ask ourselves why.

If we no longer love reading and talking about  books, then why are we blogging about them? And if the thought about writing up one more post makes us groan, we have clearly gotten so far afield from where we started out, that unless we are sure we can get back to that place of joy, why are we doing this again?

It may not be something in the blogosphere that has sparked this change in us toward our blogs, the community and books. It may, in fact, be us. Maybe we’ve changed. Maybe we are no longer at that same place in our lives that we were when we started out. Maybe real-life priorities have shifted and now we need more time for family, friends, school or work.

Maybe our reading interests have changed. Maybe our voice has changed. And maybe our need to be a part of an online community has changed because we’ve found a “real life” community to be a part of in its stead.

While it’s so tough to walk away from something we’ve put our blood, sweat, tears and cold hard cash into for months or years, wouldn’t it be better to part as friends rather than enemies? Does it have to devolve into hatred before we’re able to say goodbye to something we once loved?

Why should we keep trying to cram our foot into a shoe that just doesn’t fit anymore? Resorting to what Cinderella’s step sisters did in the Grimm’s fairytale may work in the short run, but can’t possibly sustain us in the long run.

If we no longer derive joy from blogging about books, we should look for other places to find happiness. And if we still want to be very much a part of the bookish community, we can look for ways to do so without having to fight so hard.

We can start a Facebook or Goodreads group. We can create a tumblr in which we reblog our favorite posts from authors we love. We can Tweet to our hearts content about our excitement for upcoming titles. We can connect with bloggers on their blogs and Facebook pages.

We don’t have to be bloggers to be a part of this community. Being readers and book lovers is all it takes. And if enjoying those books pressure-free is what we love most, then there is no need for us to lop off our heel or big toe just to make blogging a perfect fit for us.

Before we get to the point where ennui sets in… or worse yet, regret for the time spent, the energy wasted, the stress endured… we should seriously consider whether we’ve outgrown our blogs and find a way to reignite the passion we had for reading and gushing about those books we once loved.

If it’s dissatisfaction that rules our blogoverse, should we find some other “verse” to be a part of?

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