Well hello Storytellers! It’s been a hot minute since I last waddled on here with a post and a lot of things have changed (as you can probably see!) since our last waddling!
Fictionally Sam has been my ongoing baby and pride and joy since it’s birth at the beginning of last year. It has seen me at my lowest of lows and the highest of highs, and has stuck with me and given me some of the most amazing friends a girl could ask for!
Throughout my journey in this bookish community, Fictionally Sam has been the highlight–through this blog I was fortunate enough to connect with different authors and publishing companies to help promote their stories, and I was even able to co-found an amazing book community event with one of my closest friends that helps cultivate a safe and fun environment for others to meet and make new friends within this community. One could say, that my original goal and aspiration for this blog was completed–I was making awareness and bringing the magic of storytelling to different people.
But things got a little crazy when I reached my goal. I said yes to too many things without taking into consideration my mental health (MH) and personal life, I added more posting days because I had so much to say, I took on more review obligations, and more roles than I should have. Because of these things, I gave myself permission to be rolled out and stretched; unfortunately with all the stretching that I have been doing I have begun to tear.
Reading became stressful and hectic as I was no longer reading with my mood, but reading because of deadlines and commitments. I was forcing myself to read the things I wasn’t ready to read–which put me in one of the worst reading slumps I have ever faced in a time where I had a bunch of reviews due. It was a chaotic cycle that shoved my mental health into the deep end and I contemplated just vanishing–both here in the community and in my own personal life–so that I could find a moment of relief.
Due to my MH degrading, I stopped blog hopping, replying back to comments, reading, and caring. I just stopped. It wasn’t until the end of April when a friend in the book community asked me how I was doing that I realized I wasn’t okay and neither was Fictionally Sam. So I sat myself down and forced myself to see what happened–where did I push myself to the breaking point and at what point was the line of being too much?
This has been a conversation that I’ve been having with myself since then and in the middle of last week I decided to take a break from blogging and gain some perspective.
And here we are.
I have since realized what went wrong and what I need to fix–both in my own life and on this blog–to not only get Fictionally Sam back to thriving status, but to also get my own life back to thriving status.
The Game Plan
One of the main issues I had was I took on to many review obligations and commitments. I had this mentality that if I didn’t request the ARC I wouldn’t be able to read the book when it published or that not getting the ARC made me less of a reading/reviewer. Which this thinking, is incredibly and utterly WRONG. The book will still be there when it publishes, and in some cases the ARC is completely different then the final copy (i.e., Descendant of the Crane by Joan He) so it’s okay to wait for the final copy. Getting ARCS does not define if I’m a good reader/reviewer or not–only I can do that. So I have put myself on a arc/review ban of sorts:
- Cannot accept any more ARCS/review requests until current ARC TBR is demolished completely. (current TBR standing is: 25)
- Once completed I can only accept/request THREE books a month.
- ARCs cannot exceed FOUR in one month (so can’t have more than four books publishing in one month)
I have a lot of ideas in this head of mine, and a shit ton of posts that I want to publish for you guys. But there is never enough days in a month, so I had just tacked on more posting days up until the point where I was posting 6 days a week. For me at this time, posting that often is too much and I am miserable. No longer am I enjoying posting and revealing my truth and thoughts, but I am doing it to keep my stats up and to keep you all coming back to my little nook.
That isn’t why I started Fictionally Sam. I broke my promise to myself that I would never care about my own statistics–if I got one follower who genuinely enjoys my content, than I would be doing fantastic because I would spreading the magic of storytelling with one more person in the world. I needed to get back to that.
So from now on I am descaling my current posting schedule to every other day:
I will be reevaluating this schedule come July, and if I still feel overwhelmed the number of days will drop again. This will continue until I have a grip on my Mental health and am more stable. When I am no longer drowning, I will reevaluate again and add more. But from this moment on, I am making myself a priority even if it means I lose you all in the process.
I’m going to be honest. I did not like my other design that launched the beginning of this year. It didn’t represent me at all, and I compromised because I was determined to having something new in 2019. But during my mini-break, I realized just how much I didn’t like it. So in honor of gaining perspective, I changed it. In by no means is this current look the finished product or going to be staying for the end of time, but its one that I made with me in mind. Fictionally Sam, is a place where stories are revealed and made aware–where the written and visual arts are appreciated and celebrated. This new look brings that more to the forefront than before.
This is apart of my new look but, if anyone reads romance you would know that romance reader groups ABOUND in Facebook; they are literally everywhere and for every author. I honestly love the ones I am in and have made many friends through those channels. Because Fictionally Sam is a place to spread the love of storytelling I thought it would be fitting to expand to Facebook where I would be able to reach more with my words. So I took a leap and created a Facebook page solely for Fictionally Sam. You can find the link to the Facebook page in my side bar as well as below!
At this point as I regain control of here and the blog, the page will only be auto-updated with when a new post goes live here on the blog. However, as times goes on and I get more adjusted, I do foresee being more active there and reaching out to the Facebook book lovers/reviewers there!
Another big salt rubber in the wound is my own expectations for myself. I am a person who is super competitive and come hell or high water if I’m determined enough–I’m gonna get what I set out to do. I began pushing myself to past the brink of my limits and not in a healthy way. I expected to much for myself and when I physically couldn’t do it, a verbally and mentally abused myself. I laid one mean ass guilt trip on myself and almost forced myself to feel like a failure which is one of my anxiety triggers. As you can see, Sam hasn’t been a happy bunny in a while.
I am learning to give myself goals but with low expectations (which sounds completely wrong written down but makes a lot of sense in my head). I am reminding myself that it’s okay to have goals and aspire to obtain them, but it is also okay to be right where I am at now–at this place, at this statistic, at this following, at this reading speed, at this stage in time. Me forcing myself to have low expectations for myself isn’t demeaning as it sounds but rather is forcing me to be content and okay with my current standing. It forces me to see where I have come and congratulate myself on the progress.
So all in all, a slightly new look for a slightly more improved and proper functioning Fictionally Sam. Thank you guys for sticking around with me during my journey, and for those of you that stick with me through this time of bettering myself–thank you.