Content warnings: In this post I reference bad mental health, addiction, materialism, consumerism, hoarding, (creative) burn-out and compulsive behaviour.
I have been struggling a lot lately and at this point it has become so bad that I just want to stop being a bookish creator full stop. Reading has been a place of comfort and enjoyment for me for year, and so has being a bookish creator, but it got tainted. The book community isn’t exactly healthy, my hobby became my (unpaid) job, but I also started falling quite deep into a creative burn-out and I created and wrote for the sake of posting something, without real motivation and inspiration. It took away the joy I felt reading and creating.
Though I love reading and talking about books, for a time I have been debating whether I can reasonably stay in this community and be a content creator in it, and I the answer is no to both points. I already took a step back from my public Twitter account, but now I have decided to stop being a book blogger and take it easy on the creative front to truly take care of myself. My love for being a blogger and reviewer simply is not big enough to outweigh the lows I have been at, and those lows are becoming worse and more frequent as time goes on, and I have to continue my journey doing something that actually makes me feel good and I can keep up with without burning myself out regularly.
I don’t want to stop being a creator, because being a creative and a writer are things that are a part of me. But being a bookish creator has been suffocating and restricting for me. It takes so much time to keep up with the newest and hottest books, let alone creating content around it, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And as everything is just books, books, books in this community, there is so little room for anything else while I am so much more than just a reader and lover of books. My attempts at branching out never worked out the way I wanted them to, so I mostly got discouraged to share that part of myself and just gave up on it at the cost of surpressing that part even further.
But aside from my personal creative struggles, there is another big reason why I need to stop book blogging, and take a step back from bookish content creation and the book community altogether. With the way the book community functions, I started to pick up a lot of unhealthy behaviour and I need to axe that out of my life, and my previous attempts over the last few years all failed or made my situation worse, so I need to remove myself from the root atleast partially instead of being completely surrounded by it and tailor my online spaces more seriously.
I am going to say it outright: I have been addicted to buying books. I am happy that it’s past tense now, but I am still not healed from it and my relationship with buying books at all is still not healthy and it’s incredibly hard to not relapse into that behaviour. In the book community you can’t escape book hauls, or people talking about buying books, or them showing of their pretty shelves, or hype around a book that basically says ”If you don’t read this book, then…”. It resulted into me buying all the popular books, buying new releases everyone talked about I wouldn’t have bought otherwise, buying pretty books to fill my shelf and what not. So much of my money went to books, I became a hoarder, I was unable to part with books and I started to cave in under the pressure of owning all those unread books I didn’t really want to read to begin with.
I started trying to put myself on book buying bans, but as it’s basically stopping cold turkey, I either caved in and bought books anyway, or when the ban was over I bought more books than I would have during that period of time anyway. It only built on the guilt and pressure I already felt, eventually making my behaviour even more unhealthy.
I was also really affected by how the community treats how much you read. Think about the the glorification of those outrageously high Goodreads reading challenges and people reading dozens of books in a month, but also about people feeling the need to apologise for lowering their goal of the year or having only read a few books that month in their wrap-ups, or only reading small books to get a higher number titles in.
Even though I love reading as a personal habit, as it makes me feel relaxed and helps me sleep, it became an unhealthy fixation to read every day and to read a book every X days, and if I failed to do that, I felt like I failed as a reader and a bookish content creator. I actually started min-maxing my reading for the sake of getting that reading done, not because I enjoyed it or wanted to read. No, I did it to have a +1 on my reading goal. The amount of times I was reading a Webtoon and closed the app because I thought it was a waste of time, or read a book instead of an anticipated TV series is much higher than is considered healthy.
The moment I truly admitted to myself that what I am doing is not healthy and that I need to take care of myself, I just dropped reading altogether. Dropped it like a hot potato. And I haven’t really been missing it even though it has been a few weeks now. I am not gonna force myself to pick up a book again, I am going to wait until the moment I am eyeing my bookshelves and just pick a book I want to read right that moment. I love reading, but I need to heal my relationship with books and be able to read a book without stressing about the review and what content I can make out of it. I need to be able to return to reading just for the sake of enjoyment and my want to read that story and nothing else. I deleted my reading challenges from Goodreads and Storygraph to help with this, but that’s just step one.
The hardest thing I had to decide to put myself on a road of healing and towards making creating fun again, is the decision to stop being a book blogger. To just quit what I am doing right now completely and not put another attempt in transitioning and go for a fresh start. The reason why it is so hard is because I don’t hate what I do, I am fucking proud of what I accomplished in the last four years, and it felt like I was throwing away years of work. But if I am continuing my creative road in a fresh way, I need to close this chapter. I had a good ride on this blog and I don’t regret a second of it.
Where I am going next, I truly don’t know and that’s okay. I just let my creative well fill up in it’s own pace and see what is gonna come out of it. It’s a freeing decision to just not know and find out along the way. I am not gonna disappear, I will still be online and if you keep following me on my socials, you’ll know what I am up to.
I don’t see this as an end, I see this as a new beginning, and I look forward to where this road takes me.