Gaining Perspective.

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

Review obligations

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)

Schedule

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:

Capture

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.

New Look

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 withΒ 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.

Facebook

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!
Image result for facebook icon
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!

Self-Expectation

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.
Untitled design
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.
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22 Comments

  1. Jeimy @ ANovelidea

    May 19, 2019 at 11:09 am

    It’s never good when your hobby becomes more like a job. I’m glad that you have taken the time to reset yourself (of sorts) and come up with a game plan that will keep you mentally healthy and enjoying reading. I completely understand what it feels like to want to do everything all at once and riding that competitive feeling to the point where it drains you.
    I look forward to the new fictionally age! <3

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      May 20, 2019 at 10:51 am

      Thank you! I am looking forward to it as well! <3

  2. Camilla @ Reader in the Attic

    May 19, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    *hugs Sam very tight*
    I’m sure you will manage everything you wish for, Sam! And I admit that I don’t notice much of the people around me (because I’m a dumbass) but if you feel like DM and talk, you know I’m always here for you.
    Also, I’m sure you will find your way and yes, reset your views on yourself is not bad. Because sometimes we’re not ready and need to grow our skills more before taking another big step

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      May 20, 2019 at 10:52 am

      *hugs you back*
      Thank you love!

  3. Kayla @ Books and Blends

    May 20, 2019 at 8:21 am

    This was such a wonderful post Sam! I can honestly relate so much to everything that you said. Especially about review copies. I’m at the point where I’m honestly thinking about excluding them from my life. It makes me to focused on them.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      May 20, 2019 at 10:53 am

      Thank you! It’s been a thought provoking couple of days lol. AND YES TO THE REVIEW COPIES. this entire month its literally all I’ve been reading, and I high key miss just reading anything I want.

      1. Kayla @ Books and Blends

        May 20, 2019 at 11:54 am

        Same here. I don’t think I’m going to request anymore and just pick a physical copy from my library when they come out. I’m tired of being stressed.

  4. daniellepitter

    May 21, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    So proud of you, Sam!! I’m glad that you realized how unhappy and unfulfilled you were in your blogging journey and decided to do something about it. <3 Hope you reach your goals and that your MH is better now.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      May 28, 2019 at 8:44 am

      Thank you! <3 I am certainly getting to a mending point πŸ™‚

      1. danielle

        May 28, 2019 at 8:46 am

        That’s good! πŸ’œ

  5. TheCaffeinatedReader

    May 31, 2019 at 5:07 am

    I realized I never left a comment on this? *Gasps in horror* But I honestly feel reading your post made me realize that I had done a huge mistake and took on too many obligations because I wanted to please everyone, because what if I say no and they never ask again? So I think you and I are a bit on the same page! I am also cutting down my posting, I’d been posting every day for nearly five months, and, I have nothing left to give on a daily basis, I hope you switching up your schedule helps, I can’t wait to continue to follow along your blog journey, you’ve got great ideas and we’ll love whatever you decide to post!

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      June 1, 2019 at 12:45 pm

      Honestly I had the same mentality with review obligations and it was one of the things that crippled me cause I struggle with saying no for the exact same reason. I was constantly like “well I’m a small blogger so who knows when this may come around again” and it was no bueno in the long run.
      I hope your new schedule works better for you! I am honestly a huge fan of your pieces/posts so whatever works for you better, works for me! <3 you so much!

  6. May Rewind – The Caffeinated Reader

    May 31, 2019 at 6:02 am

    […] Fictionally Sam: Gaining Perspective […]

  7. May Wrap Up – Fictionally Sam

    June 1, 2019 at 10:33 am

    […] lot of things both personally and here on the blog that really pushed me to make a change (my post: Gaining Perspective.), and those changes have really helped and benefited me a lot. I’m not stressing as much as […]

  8. Gerry@TheBookNookUK

    June 1, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    Ah, I took a brief hiatus and so I’m only just seeing this post now. While I’m bummed that you reached burnout stage I’m pleased that you took the time out, re-evaluated your feelings and came back with a game plan that suits you. I believe that the second something stops being fun it needs to be looked into. It may not be that *that* particular thing is no longer fun but that there’s other commitments/ responsibilities piling up that can just add to that tired feeling.
    Welcome back πŸ™‚

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      June 1, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you and welcome back to you as well!! It was honestly a huge wake up call, as I still loved blogging and reading–it was just not as much– so i was determined to put on my unicorn detective hat and be like Ryan Reynold’s Pikachu and solve this lmao.

  9. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

    June 3, 2019 at 12:16 am

    I am so incredibly proud of you for not only stepping back and evaluating where the happiness suck was but also sharing your findings & solutions with us! I think we all tend to put so much pressure on ourselves, and it is so easy to ride the high of gaining momentum until you realize you have no spare time left and you don’t feel like reading anymore.
    “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”
    ^^ This is something that I relate to on a deep level. As someone that genuinely gets a lot of joy from being helpful, I have always been the one to take on way too many things and it never ends well. Personal life or work, I used to have a tendency to say yes to everything. It wasn’t until 2016 when I realized just how toxic this mentality was for me and I needed to stop, and I even now exercise my bandwidth right in the workplace (asking if deadlines are flexible or reprioritizing my to-do list if needed).
    I hope this helps you find balance and joy soon, Sam. Because you deserve all the happiness.

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      June 4, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Thank you Kal! <3 I too have begun practicing control of what I say yes to recently at work, and making it a point to confirm deadlines and such (as my office sucks balls at communication). These past couple of weeks have been a huge eye opener and game changer for me–so fingers crossed the change is a good one!
      <3 you!

  10. Ruby's Books

    June 3, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    *squishy hugs sammy sam*
    I’m very proud of you for accepting that you need to change things and for actually doing it. That is, in my opinion, half the work done. I am here with you and I’m sure you will do a fantastic job. I agree that as bloggers we tend to lose focus of what we actually want to read in favor of being “in line with the crowd” so to speak, so we tend to go for the hyped arcs instead of where our hearts want us to go. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. And like Cami said, if you ever need to talk, I’m here and my DMs are always open for you

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      June 4, 2019 at 9:47 am

      *tackles you with hearts and hugs!*
      Thank you so much Ruby! I am eternally gratefully that I get to call you my friend! 10/10 would recommend you!

  11. Realms of My Mind

    June 3, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Great post! As I approach a year since creating my own blog, I understand the burnout feels and occasionally feel it creeping on me, and it really helps to see posts reminding us that it is okay to take it down a notch (or three!). I’m starting to feel the overwheming pressure of Too Many ARCs, which I’ve been increasingly guilty of requesting. Part of it for me is that, for a girl on a budget, getting the ARC now puts it into my hands months before I’d probably feel okay buying it. That said, I have such a backlog of books that I’ve already purchased that I really shouldn’t let that part of my brain win out!
    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Sam || Fictionally Sam

      June 4, 2019 at 9:51 am

      Thank you! And I completely understand that line of thinking for requesting ARCs, couple that with the thinking of “when will the opportunity present itself again?” and it creates a time honestly. I just have to keep reminding myself the same thing you mentioned “I have so many backlogged books, I’m not going to be out of books to read”.
      Thank you so much for popping by! Good luck with your reading and blogging! Also congrats on almost a year of blogging! <3

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