The two have always been linked for me. As a reader, it was poring over books as a child which made me want to become a writer. And as a writer, it is reading the works of other authors which has encouraged me, and guided me down the path I want to take as a writer. They are my two favourite pastimes – they’re absorbing, pass the time, and present me with a creative outlet. Both are activities that I can completely lose myself in. Armed with a book, pen and paper, I have everything I need to keep me entertained for hours.
The problem for me was always having to balance the two. Normally, balancing hobbies wouldn’t be such a big deal. People move between different pastimes all the time, it’s just a matter of doing it when you’re free and feel like it. But for me, writing is a hobby that I want to turn into career, and so I can’t just do it when the mood strikes me. I have to try and work on it a little bit every day. And sometimes I don’t want to. Sometimes I just want to curl up and read a book until I pass out.
Sometimes you’d think I don’t enjoy writing. I do everything but write, putting it off for hours and days at a time. I do love writing, it’s just that it requires a lot more effort than reading. Reading is an effortless pastime; it requires no intense thought process beyond that of focusing on what’s on the page. Everything’s already done for you when you’re reading – you just need to show up.
But with writing, you actually need to do the work, and recently, I’ve found that I can’t be bothered putting the effort in. I’d rather sit and read my book at the moment instead of writing. The main difference is that this time around, I’m not struggling to write out novel plans. That’s actually going quite well at the minute; I’ve made some important developments in my plans, fixing some problems I’d been having. It’s the blog posts that are presenting me with difficulty recently. I haven’t written a post in nearly two weeks, and this post has been sitting half written for the past week. I’ve been avoiding it, not wanting to look at it. I had said I would try and publish three times a weeks, and that was going well until recently. Then I just stopped. I found myself putting it off, saying I’d do it later. I’d read one more chapter and then I’d start on a new post, and that just snowballed.
It isn’t that I don’t have any more ideas for my blog, I have a long list of potential blog posts on my phone, but I just haven’t felt like writing any of them. None of them are appealing to me when I look at them, there isn’t one that jumps out at me. I’ve noticed that my most popular posts on the blog aren’t book reviews. They’re the ones where I talk about my struggles with writing, or why I love reading. They’re the ones where I open up more as a person. And those blog posts are harder to think of, they’re difficult to develop and build. With book reviews you do just that – you read a book, and you review it. That’s it. And at the minute I’m in the middle of a book, so I can’t really review it. I’d thought about reviewing a book I’ve already read, but because it’s been so long since I branched outside of the series I’m currently reading, I have no other books fresh in my mind to review. And I don’t want to put up a post I’m not proud of, just for the sake of keeping to a schedule.
Maybe this step back was good for me. Losing focus can seem like a bad thing when it’s happening. But maybe I can also see it as a wake-up call. A reminder that I want to write. And more importantly, I need to remember that I created this blog for my own enjoyment. It isn’t where I make my money from. If I want to delay it because I’d prefer to read my book, that’s alright. I don’t have to post on exact days if I can’t think of anything to write. I am allowed to treat my blog like a hobby, because that’s exactly what it is.