This year I have been trying out new types of blog posts, namely the monthly reading diary and then a post in the middle. I haven’t posted an individual book review since early December. For me I felt that reviewing each book I read in separate posts put too much pressure on me, and on producing interesting content over and over. Perhaps I was running out of things to say about the books that I read. I think the initial drive that made me start this blog in 2011 is fading. At first I wanted to write about the books that I read and analyse them because I had graduated earlier that year and was missing this sort of discussion and analysis from university. So a blog was the perfect way to continue that, as well as learn about new books and get more ‘involved’ in the publishing world before I actually got a job in publishing.
The thing is, my life has changed hugely since then, and I no longer work in publishing. When I left university it was my goal to work in publishing, and while I didn’t know exactly what role I wanted to play at first, I just knew I wanted to be part of it. But for me it never really worked out. I did two years of unpaid internships at a variety of publishers – this was good learning experience but obviously I made no money, it was all short term, and it never lead to any jobs. Finally I got my first job in administration at a military history publisher, as a stepping stone, and then got a job as an editorial assistant at a much bigger company – which initially was great. Except that at the time I didn’t know anything and I didn’t realise the importance of the difference between trade and academic publishing. Really I wanted to be in trade publishing, commercial publishing. I did not want to be an academic editor. So again I saw the job as a stepping stone. After a year or two I applied for editorial trade jobs, but no one wanted me because my editorial experience was in academic publishing. And there was also no chance of progression for me at the job I had (for a few very long, involved reasons). And then six years went by.
My job became increasingly pressurised and stressful, the workload getting bigger, but I wasn’t progressing. I was applying for jobs but not getting them. I could not break out of the academic world, and I really did not want to stay in it. I reached a pressure point where something had to change. I had worked so hard since graduating that I didn’t want to just ‘give up’ on publishing – to have it all mean nothing. I hadn’t achieved what I had wanted to, and I was very unhappy in the job I had. And there was no way up. My unhappiness at work was deeply affecting the rest of my life. I am very fortunate that my husband was able to support us both, and so I made the decision to leave my job and stay at home with my son.
We’ve been doing this for ten months now – he goes to nursery two days a week, and the rest of the time I’m a stay-at-home-mum. We also moved out of Oxford after eight years, just as I was leaving my job. So that was a huge phase of transition in all our lives. Now we live in the countryside, and it has made us all a lot happier (even the dog). Ultimately I think I can’t be a SAHM forever. I need some kind of work to keep me balanced. And initially I thought my blog would be this work, to start with at least – a place to write and still be involved in the world of books, a kind of intellectual stimulation. But I have really struggled to keep up with it, partly because I am still not reading as much as I used to pre-parenthood, but also because the drive is no longer there. I don’t want to feel obligated to read books just so I can post about them. My passion for literature is still there, but not for publishing and blogging in the same way. I don’t have the same desire to know all about the latest books and trends. I stepped away from publishing and I’m not sure if I will ever be able to go back. I’d probably have to start again at the bottom, and at this point in my life that isn’t really an option. And crucially blogging has really changed in the eleven years since I started this blog, unsurprisingly. Book blogging is chugging along, but I don’t know who reads them anymore. It’s more about social media, which is a different beast.
So I’ve been thinking about other career options that work around being a parent, and also about what to do with this blog going forward. Essentially I am going to take a break. I hope to be back in some form, soon, but for now I will not be posting. I still have my Twitter and Instagram and I particularly enjoy the latter so I hope to post on there more regularly (both accounts are @lizzi_reads).
So farewell to blogging for now. I hope to be back some day. Thank you to everyone that has read and shared my blog posts over the last eleven years. I appreciate you.
As always, happy reading.x.