Last Week I Saw a Tweet
In case you don’t know what tweet I’m talking about, take a second and look at it here. Arthifis explains that he is having a hard time keeping up with reading everyone’s posts. I can totally relate. Around the same time I was thinking of writing an article addressing why I haven’t been reading as much as I used to as well as responding to the (many) blog award nominations I receive. Seeing how this is an issue we probably all face, or will at some point, let’s have ourselves a discussion on the topic.
First and foremost, this discussion isn’t meant to make excuses. I actively want to read everybody’s content, I am just struggling to do it. In some cases, I’m just not able to give proper acknowledgement that I’ve read something, which I’ll discuss shortly. Either way, I hope that my explaining this will explain what’s been going on and my thoughts on said topic. Additionally, maybe I’ll be able to help others who feel overburdened by the amount they have to read each day.
Let’s start with my personal hurdles to reading. For starters, I genuinely do not enjoy reading. This is a side-effect of going to university that turned a pleasure activity into a work activity. That being said, I like hearing everybody’s thoughts on stuff but I have to really motivate myself to actually sit down and read.
This is where a schedule comes into play. You may notice I do a lot of my reading during the mid-afternoon or evening time. For me, this is the best time to be reading and the time I set aside for it. Still, I don’t always manage to do so everyday. On average, I read about 3-4 times a week at most.
That number probably seems low, and well, that’s because it is. During the week I face several interruptions to this schedule. Namely, Wednesday through the weekend. During these times I am out and about doing things. Wednesday I help run a church program as well as dancing and then during the weekend I take personal time to do things with people or spend time with family.
So I don’t read at all during these times? No, I actually do read most of the time still but there’s a problem. I have to use my phone. When I read on my phone I can’t always like or comment on whatever I’m reading, which means I forget (often) to come back and give proper acknowledgement to the author. This is actually the case a lot more often than you probably imagine. Sometimes I can work around this but not always.
When this is not occurring I follow a set of rules for reading posts. They are as follows:
- Is the WordPress reader working? Sometimes it just breaks and I can’t read any posts. I don’t know why. If it is working I check for the rest.
- Am I personally interested in the post? If yes, I generally read it.
- Have I seen/read/listened to/played whatever the article is about? If yes, I typically read. If not then I might decide not to in order to avoid spoilers (for stuff I plan to get around to). Otherwise, it may just be that I have no interest.
- Who wrote the article? Now this sounds mean, but I care about some people’s work more than others. There are people that produce content I want to view almost every time and others that I’ll look at something maybe once a month. I follow A LOT of people so this is one of the ways I deal with the volume of content that comes my way.
While I might miss out on some great content doing things this way, it does seem to make reading less stressful at least. I know I’m always bummed when not everybody reads my content, so I really would like to be able to read everybody else’s (especially those who regularly read mine) but if I did that then that creates a new issue.
If I were to focus on reading everything, which I tried for exactly one month, I noticed that I couldn’t produce content. Sure, I was producing content, but not at my accepted standard or frequency. There needs to be a balance between the two. If one or the other is just eating all of your time then you need to step back and reevaluate.
When I did this I virtually stopped reading. I felt really bad about that though, which in turn made me feel really guilty about producing any content. I’ll be straight with you here, I often feel like I should stop writing altogether and just disappear from this blogging community because I don’t think I’m doing enough. My content is just average if I’m being frank, and after getting Jon’s Creator Showcase up and running, I feel pretty good about having “left my mark.”
I don’t plan on going anywhere but the amount of stress involved with this non-existent balance between reading, writing, and life, that’s what I wanted to do for awhile. I think it is only just now that I’m finding a balance in what I’m doing.
As I mentioned, real life stuff is also playing a role here. While I have “lots of free time” I’m just not all that motivated a lot of the time. Between looking for work, managing all the projects I’m a part of (both online and offline), and trying to still enjoy myself it is starting to take a toll. Money is a constant worry for me, I only make $56 a month and I can’t find work even with the help of the government and a job developer that they are paying for.
From experience, I know that when I’m not worrying about that and have settled into a more secure schedule for general existence, that finding the reading/writing balance to be a lot easier. I can do WAY more of both. So that’s my advice here, make sure that you are taking care of yourself first. Then work towards finding a balance, this may even mean that you just don’t read a lot of what comes your way and that’s ok. Unless your livelihood comes from blogging and interacting with people on here, you can afford to take a step back and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
You don’t owe us anything.
Any way, maybe that was too personal? Still, I think this is something we all get caught up in and forget about. You should come first, then everything else. I have one more tiny blurb to mention and then that’s it for today.
I receive a lot of award nominations. A lot of folks I know do too. Many people respond to them and that’s awesome! However, I just can’t. I appreciate them, like I’m sure everybody does, but if I were to respond to each one I get then all my content would turn into responses to them.
If you nominate me for an award, I’ll occasionally make a blog post here. More likely, I’ll come and thank you on the post itself and answer any of the questions (or whatever the tag wanted me to do) on the post itself. I don’t want to cheat you out of getting to know me better but these nominations should not come at the sacrifice of the content I want to create.
Some of you may notice some irony in what I’m saying since I created the showcase. Totally fair to call me out on that, but I expressly designed that to be a one time deal on Twitter for a reason. Very low effort to participate and the real work is for who’s hosting (which is voluntary). Just thought I should clarify that here since I’m sure somebody will have thought about that.
Keep Doing Your Best!
No matter what, I hope that you all continue to do your best. Even if you can’t read everything or only post sporadically, just keep at it. You can do it and I’m sure there are so many people who support you. That’s all I had for today so I hope you got something out of this and I look forward to seeing you back here again soon!