tl;dr? Skip to the end for a summary. This is a reflection on on my own mindset and is in no way meant to justify anything or speak for anyone else, okay dear readers? ❤
I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about how anibloggers aren’t reading peers’ posts anymore; let me tell you, dear readers, it cut me to the quick. I felt attacked because, frankly, it was very right criticism. I was falling rapidly into that category of blogger. Yes, you read me right; I, an aniblogger, wasn’t reading other people’s anime-related posts. I also noticed that fewer people were reading anything I managed to produce.
I was part of what my fellows were calling “the problem.” *cue ominous music* 🎶 🎵 But it hadn’t always been this way, and how much of a problem was it, really? Why/when had I personally stopped being an active consumer within the blog-o-sphere, and what could I do to fix it? 🤔💭
It began, I’d estimate, a few months ago.
Yes, I had valid excuses. Between life, work, retaining my sanity as an introvert, and trying to put out any content of my own, I was struggling to find time during which I might settle in and really read. But the problem wasn’t a lack of time, I discovered, so much as it was a flaw in my reasoning combined with total burnout if you’ll allow me to explain. 🙃 ❤
I am me, and being me, I couldn’t just read a bit here and there; I somehow operated under the unspoken and totally unconscious principle that—to be truly supportive of my community—I needed to be consuming almost ALL the content to which I subscribed if I was consuming any content at all. In a move that was both counterproductive and ill-advised, I would put off reading anything until I had time to at least ghost over everything in my reader feed.
(And on top of that, I don’t know what mental blockage has me to this day ghosting posts without liking them as a means of support, but I digress as the concept of “liking and commenting” should be the topic of a post all its own. Well, actually, I do know, so I shouldn’t self-depreciate. Not liking certain posts that I read and enjoyed has everything to do with the fact that I’m psychotic. [Wait, that’s still self-depreciating. Anyway…] It’s a side effect of my anxiety/OCD. There, I said it. It’s not even an excuse, guys. I worry so much about what I like and why I like it. It’s so stupid. But the therapist is helping me with that OCD stuff, supposedly. Eventually. Don’t worry about it. 🙃)
Anyway, when I did find the time and motivation for such an undertaking, I’d have put off reading until the backlog of articles became so immense that I succumbed to overwhelm’ed-ness and simply gave up reading altogether. On top of that, in forcing myself to experience almost everything (consistently excluding episodic reviews because I never read those as someone who doesn’t watch seasonal anime), reading was becoming a chore. 😣
So, for several weeks at a time, I’d read NOTHING of the blog-o-sphere at all…
It also made subscribing to new blogs a phenomenon of few and far between occurrence for me. How could I subscribe to new blogs if I barely had the time or motivation to support those I was already failing?
I was BURNT OUT with the sheer amount of content I was expecting myself to consume and the forced means by which I was consuming it; it is fully possible to experience burn out as a blogger, so why was I not recognizing it in myself as a reader? And when I finally, eventually recognized what was happening, what did I do to change it?
Well, anime compatriots, I stopped feeling bad about it, and that was part one. I was not part of a systemic problem (not to say there isn’t one when all of us feel this way) so much as I was experiencing burn out, and there isn’t anything intrinsically selfish in that. When I stopped reading, I didn’t stop caring about the successes of my fellow bloggers, and that’s something I think I needed to understand about my own lighter blog stats as of late. (Because I’m feeling the hit too, guys.) Everyone who pushes themselves in any capacity is subject to becoming overwhelmed, and it should remain relatively guilt-free. ❤️
Moving on from part one, I had a shift in perspective that made the rest of the lesson possible. I don’t have to read everyone’s blog posts all the time. I can be supportive while only consuming the content that I find relevant to my interests. I can skip over posts about mechas and analysis from perspectives on shows that don’t warrant my undivided attention, and I don’t have to feel bad. And while I can give them a chance when I feel like I want to from an organic place, I don’t have to. If I have 15 minutes here or there, I can focus in on posts about topics that I enjoy and in doing so find the time to at some point visit ALL the blogs that I follow, but not worry about visiting them ALL the time. Does that make sense?
I can read casually. I can skim my reader. I’ve been doing so. It’s been great.
I don’t engage in follow-for-follow, because that frankly strikes me as silly; if I follow someone it is because enjoy their content!! That means I’m bound to stop by when others’ content—as it has obviously done in the past—speaks to me, but I’m not their only audience member and it doesn’t always have to for me to think they’re awesome!👍🏻
It’s also likely that I’ll be reading new content as well that wouldn’t normally strike my fancy, both from new follows and old, because I won’t be forced to. I can do it only when the mood strikes, and I can follow new people knowing I don’t need to read ALL their content to be supportive.
Not reading something on a topic removed from my interests doesn’t mean I’m saying it is a bad post, because I’m not and no one thinks so. If I can understand this about my own readers (and I do!), then others will understand as well. And I don’t need to feel like I’m not being supportive if I recognize that. (Yes, affirmative statements.)
tl; dr? Reading should be fun, and I think it’s important that we remember that. When we realign ourselves with this mindset, we really reverse burn out.💪🏻 You don’t have to read everything to be supportive, but do read those things that interest you. ❤ (^^)b