"Can I Get a Do-Over?" July Missteps and More Black and Bookish Updates
Can you recall a moment in your childhood where you had the possibility of a "do-over"? That special occasion in life when you didn't quite complete a task with the best possible outcome, and so you'd shout, as loud as you could to the universe above (and anyone in earshot): DO OVER!!! That's what I need. A Do-Over. Of all July. A magical flick of the wrist to start from the beginning and change the hands of fate. But this, my friends, is not the joys of childhood and August will have to do. I will live with the tribulations of July 2016 for the rest of my life. I got caught up, I had a grieving period, and thankfully came out on top.
But, my world is not spinning as it once was. I'm holding onto all the things I didn't do. I am grieving over the things I could not accomplish. I could have scaled a mountain and would worry I didn't have the right technique. I could create a new way to feed the homeless but would be distressed over not fixing the entirety of world hunger. I could get my whole family out the door on time and be completely let down that one of the girls had mismatched socks. My perfectionism comes at a price to my own self-worth to ensure those around me have what they need. Because, like Shonda Rhimes says, you can't do it all.
This blog (and a few other duties) are my professional life. When I set goals to read or post, I am making a contract with you, the reader. Sometimes my professional life and my home life combine to create a life so perfect; usually, my to-do list is too long and tasks flow from one day to the next.
The writing was on my list as my a to-do but I could not keep up. I attempt to complete Camp NaNoWriMo (and stay up to date on my blog) was too big a challenge. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short and pronounce Nan-No-Rie-Mo) happens in November. It is a chance for people all over the world to meet the goal of writing 50,000 words during the month and creating the first draft of a novel. I tried for the first time in 2015, but I didn't meet the word count goal. I wasn't too discouraged, it was my first time and a whole novel (regardless of how long you take to write it) is enormous. That's ok. I felt god even trying, but I was determined to finished Camp NaNoWriMo.
Camp NaNoWriMo is the baby version of that and happens in July. Some of the same rules apply, but you can pick your own word count and choose a writing type- fiction, nonfiction, essays, poetry, etc. I chose essays and had the intent of writing more in-depth about my time with Black and Bookish. It seemed like a worthy cause, and how hard could it be? I was already "writing," I would just need to do more of it. AND, I chose a 25,000 word could, half of what November goals are. I accomplished 10,00 last year and had a real game plan. But I came up short. I only accomplished 900 words. Measly when you think about it too hard. I was as ready as I could be and I had to write less than 1000 words a day! But then I couldn't. Life got in the way and I melted away with it.
I was trying to read too, but I only read two books. If I had been feeling better, I wouldn't have gotten so hung up on the books. When I'm comparing my life to all those other bloggers who read 15-20 books a month or who have the time to read, go out, and blog every day, I am reminded that life has nuance. I don't have that kind of time. I wish I did, but this is all I am. I know that I can't always have a book pressed against my nose. Sometimes it is just one book. It's better than none, and two is even better than one.
Unfortunately, fewer books lead to fewer reviews.
I don't think I even posted one for July. I couldn't seem to get my brain to work properly and I was just working on autopilot. I had a book hangover (like a regular hangover but one you get after being engrossed in a great book and it can last for days, weeks even) and it wasn't letting up. Maybe space was the greatest thing I could do because it made we figure out what I really wanted.
I wanted to make give the world a different perspective on a whole list of books that people- bookish people- sometimes forget about. Quite a few of the books have commercial success (Year of Yes, On Beauty, Booked) and that's great. Some are created by local or independent writers (Death by Comb, Kings of Earth, She's Just Not That Into You) and showing them some love is exactly what I want to do. I want others to find merit in these books and have them want to read them as well.
It made me realize that I was on the wrong path. I was getting bored with formatting and publishing dates and not focused on my mission. I need to change it up. I had stopped thinking about being original and was trying to fit in. Do you know how many Pinterest posts are about "getting Instagram followers in 2 weeks" or "making your blog go viral"? I do. A lot. I think I read them all. I was looking for the quickest fix for the smallest effort- and it was driving me nuts.
So. What. To. Do.
I decided to take the blog in a different direction. Or, more so back in the direction it came. This means more focus on the books in a deeper, more organic way. This means I will put more of me into the posts. This is MY blog, my life, and things affect me. Things change me- these books change me. The standard format of "what I like, what I didn't like, this is my recommendation" was not serving me. I want to bring back nuance to the way I talk about books to you. Because I'm not here for the thousands of Instagram followers who won't click my links. I'm not here for numbers. I'm here to show some love to Camari Carter, Joe Ponder, and Octavia Butler. I'm here to show some love to me, and my bookish life.