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Random Thoughts: Is it Time for a Reboot?

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Have you been feeling uninspired lately? Has reading and blogging begun to feel like a chore? Has the prospect of logging into your blog’s dashboard filled you with resentment and hostility?

If so, maybe it’s time for a reboot.

All kidding aside – yes, I may have been using my infomercial voice when asking those questions – when the newness of blogging has worn off, the thrill of being a part of this fantastic community has diminished, the excitement over receiving a long-anticipated title elicits merely a “Woot!” or “Yay!” instead of a happy dance or spastic freakout, it might be time to think about making a change. One that doesn’t involve taking a long hiatus or stepping away from blogging permanently.

Blogs may be transient things – easy to create, just as easy to terminate – but they don’t have to be. A blog can change, adapt, evolve or do a complete 180 in order to fit in with your current interests or life changes.

Not being able to – or interested in – blogging daily as you once had, doesn’t mean you have to stop altogether. Not feeling passionate about reading and reviewing books doesn’t mean you need to continue to blog about them in order to continue blogging. It doesn’t mean you have to only blog about them.

Your blog is your personal space on the internet to share your thoughts about whatever you’re interested in talking about. While much of the audience you’ve cultivated may only be interested in your thoughts on books and other book-related things, some of them may just be interested in you, in your voice. No matter what the subject.

Many book bloggers have turned away from blogging because of time constraints, changes in their lives that demand more of their attention, or just a feeling of ennui. But not all forms of blogging are as time and labor intensive as book blogging. And not all posts about books have to take as much effort.

Formatting posts, researching book release dates, reading and reviewing books, coming up with new and exciting things to blog about, participating in blog tours and events, keeping up with the social, connecting with publishers, authors and bloggers is an enormous time suck. While the act of doing all of these things may not actually suck, it does eat up a huge amount of time. Time you may no longer be willing to sacrifice, time you may no longer have.

While copy/paste posts might be the quickest and easiest ways of posting on a regular basis, and allow you to continue to be an active participant in the book blogging community, doing those day in and day out may be the very reason your passion for blogging has waned. Pasting pre-written copy into a post is not sharing your thoughts, it’s not allowing you to actually be that active of a participant, it’s not letting you develop your voice.

Perhaps it’s feeling too much like a cog in the machine that is marketing and promotion that has caused your level of excitement to take a nosedive. While it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of a buzzed book’s upcoming release, it can also be the root of the problem as to why you feel so lackluster.

How many posts have you written that started off with, “I’m so thrilled to be a part of… X tour” or “I’m super excited to welcome to the blog… Author A as part of X tour” or “I can’t wait to share X’s Cover Reveal/Book Blast/Excerpt”?

When you look at your blogging calendar, how many reviews do you have scheduled for tours or review requests versus those for books you’ve read just because you wanted to? How many times have you shoved a much anticipated book off your reading pile in order to tackle one you’ve promised to read?

If you still love sharing your thoughts with your blog’s readers and the blogger friends you’ve met online, instead of walking away altogether, maybe it is time to reboot.

While rebooting may cause your readership to slip, your “brand” to decline, does it matter? Going on a long hiatus will likely do that anyway. Quitting will definitely do that.

Blogging is a choice. It’s supposed to be fun and enjoyable, or at the very least rewarding. It may be like a second job, but it’s not supposed to feel like one. And there are no rules and requirements, contrary to what some might say or believe. Your blog is an extension of you, and if you’re fun and quirky, with a wide range of interests, who’s to stop you from blogging about those interests?

If you’re not ready to say goodbye, or if you’re not willing to let all your hard work – your labor of love – become a thing relegated to the past, then take a step back and think about a reboot.

So what are the options?

Depending upon just how radical of a change you’re looking for, rebooting can be as easy as creating a post announcing the changes you’re making or as difficult as preparing for a relaunch.

If you want to step away from the promotions and review requests, unsubscribe from tour emails, reach out to publishers and request they remove your name from their mailing lists, change your review policy to “not accepting books for review” and write a post to let your readers know you’ve adopted a more stress-free approach to blogging going forward.

If you want to change up the type of books you’re reading and reviewing on the blog, or you want to review not only books, but films or products, or you want to expand your blog to include other interests you may have, then a post about the changes would be a start. But a new design or format for your blog might be in order, perhaps even a new name. As this requires a bit more effort, take the time to really think about what you want, how much of a time and financial commitment you’re willing to invest, and just what these changes might really mean for you and your blog.

If you plan on renaming your blog, or re-branding yourself and creating a new online identity, shutting down your old blog and starting fresh with a new blog, a new design and a new domain might be necessary. If you’re planning on making such a radical change but want to keep your readers, you’ll need to come up with a game plan on just how to make that transition smoothly. Even if you’re not concerned about readership, you’ll still need to come up with a set of goals. Without proper planning you could end up in exactly the same position you’re in right now, desperately wishing for a reboot or wishing you never had one in the first place.

 It doesn’t have to be “The End.”

While the options aren’t infinite, you have options. You don’t have to say goodbye if you’re not ready to. You don’t have to cling on to something you’re just not loving because you’re not ready to let go.

If it’s not all about the numbers for you, but about having a voice online, then why not reboot, get back some of your former excitement, and continue to share your thoughts about whatever you choose to talk about, as often or infrequently as you desire.

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