Monday's Muse...dedicated to Barbara

Monday, November 16

Sorry, but the image containing the Monday's Muse has been removed from this blog so as not to violate any copyright issues.  Thanks for your understanding!

Back by popular demand!  This Monday's Muse, like last week's, is from the Gods of Football calendar.  As long as you continue to be inspired, I'll have Muses from this calendar until the voting begins in December for Muse of the Year.  I think this week's Muse is just adorable with his cute smile...and everything else :)  Enjoy!

In a bit of sad news Barbara from the blog Happily Forever After has decided to type "The End" to her blog.  Her blog was the very first one that I followed, and inspired me in too many ways to count.  And even though I don't "know"  her, I'm still going to miss her.  That's why I'm dedicating this week's Muse to Barbara.  I admire you so much...not just for your fantastic blog, but for your decision to stop blogging (at least for now).

I've seen this happen so many times within the past few weeks.  J. Kaye has decided to no longer accept books for review and is drastically cutting down on giveaways in addition to the number of daily posts in the new year.  Hooked On Romance blog also decided to discontinue blogging on their joint blog this week.  I understand all of their reasons for the hard decisions they've had to make.  Blogging starts out as a fun hobby that can quickly overwhelm and overtake many of the more important aspects of your life and  it is a constant struggle for me  to try and find the right balance.  I have to repeatedly remind myself that my priorities should always be:
  1. My family and friends should always come first and foremost
  2. Keep reminding myself of my personal motto "work to live, don't live to work"
  3. Remember to have fun, not take life too seriously, but don't shirk my responsibilities either
  4. find the time to read what I love, which means not every book is worth the price of a review, or commenting to win
  5. lastly, blog about books, what I love, and what inspires me
When I started this blog I was like every new blogger...gung ho and rarin' to go.  I couldn't do enough fast enough, and as a result started to feel pressure to keep up with everyone else.  I wasn't doing enough contests, not enough reviews....not enough posts.  Some bloggers have 2, 3, sometimes 4 or more posts a day.  But I had to stop myself.  I had no idea how much TIME it takes to run a blog.  NO IDEA. But I did come to the realization that I didn't want to be a blog that was giveaway central...there's enough of those already.  I didn't want to be a blog just about book reviews because there are so many that do it so much better (although I need to have more book reviews).  I didn't want to be a blog of miscellaneous meme's that for the most part are pointless and least to me.  If I was going to spend the many many  hours each week it takes  to have and maintain a blog I want my posts to be worth my time.
With the new year you might see a few changes, but probably not a whole lot.  I'm contemplating giving up the Teaser Tuesday meme.  Seems like the only people who comment on the Teasers are the other bloggers who read all of the posts in the Meme hosted by Miz B.  It's not one of those things that takes a lot of time, but still...I don't know.  I'm still thinking about this one.  I've already started to cut back on the number of blog tours/giveaways that I host.  Although I have quite a few coming up in the new year that I had already committed to.  I've decided to focus my time on authors that I know and love, and new irresistible finds....and if perchance a book comes along that catches my interest that's on tour I'll be sure to share it with you.  With a few possible themed weeks in there for some extra special fun.  But most of all I want to streamline as much as possible so that the time I do spend blogging is utilized to it's best. 
As I am contemplating changes...are there things that you like that you want to make sure I keep? Things that you could really care less about? Things you wish you could find at SM?  And for my fellow bloggers, what are some of your time saving, make my blogger life easier secrets?

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Barbara November 16, 2009 at 1:28 AM  

Aw, thank you so much, hon!!! I love the muse, and seeing as I'm in much need of some good inspiration for writing, he's doing wonders :D

You are without a doubt 100% right in everything that you said. I feel the exact same way. I only wish I had realized it months ago...

When I started blogging, like you, at first I was raring to go. But it does take a toll after a while. You try to keep up, and try to keep a variety on your blog that will satisfy everyone.

But you know what, you have to stick to what you love and only do what you can do.

When you stay true to what you enjoy, believe me, it shines through in your posts and people will love reading them all the more :)

Remember not to push yourself too hard. This is supposed to be fun, don't ever let it become a chore.

((Big Hugs))

Lori November 16, 2009 at 2:37 AM  

I still really only blog for the same reasons we started our blog. Because we have a love of romance books and wanted to share that love with others. I'm really happy that we still, over 4 years later, only post when we have the time, when our lives permit, and when we have something to say. I'm very thankful that we never felt the pressure that so many other bloggers have felt to post daily (or even weekly). Do we get the traffic that some others do? No. But we never went into this intending to get traffic. We just wanted to talk about books.

So, my advice to anyone who is questioning the amount of time that they spend on their blog would be to think about why you began in the first place. If your goal was to get free books from publishers, well, then you have an issue. But if your goal was simply to share your love of books with other like-minded folks, then they will still be here for you even if you don't host a giveaway each week, or have an author every day. We just want to share our love of books with people who get it kike we do.

Post when you have something that gives you joy to share. Whether it's a new book you loved, a new recipe that knocked your socks off, or something your kid did at school yesterday. We all get those things and take delight in them. As Barbara said, don't let it become a chore.

Booklover1335 November 16, 2009 at 7:41 AM  

Hey Barbara,
Any time I can help with inspiration you just let me know :)

Hi Lori,
Yep your right about getting to the point of not chasing after followers. I came to that point a couple of months ago. And while I still ask for input from the followers I do have because I value their opinion, I have decided to blog for me. And if a gain a few more, then that's just icing on the cake...if I don't then that's ok too. I couldn't agree with you more on all that you said. You are sooo right!

Kathleen O November 16, 2009 at 10:28 AM  

Great Muse this morning..

Heather D November 16, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

Love the Muse!!!

Barbara will be sorely missed! Her blog was one of the first ones that I followed. I won my first contest on her blog and she inspired me to be a better blogger... or I should say try to be.

When I started blogging I was unsure of what to do, never really got gung ho, but I wanted to have fun sharing my thoughts on the books that I have read and loved. I wanted to broaden my author knowledge... read new to me authors that I normally wouldn't have attempted. Which I have. Blog hopping is what got me bogged down. I have fallen in love with so many online personalities and their blogs, but sadly I have had to let the blog hopping slow down quite a bit. I only get on for an allotted time period each morning. Some days I don't make it, but I try. I think I enjoy reading everyone elses blogs more than I like writing mine.

I have felt many of the same things that you and Barbara have pointed out. Then I feel guilty b/c I don't have the added weight of a job or a child at home all day. Both of my kids are in school so I have the day to myself. But sadly I allowed the blog to get in the way of my only day job--cleaning house. Come on who wouldn't choose their blog over sweeping and mopping.

It is a very sad day!! But at the end of the day each person has to do what is right for herself and her family.

Booklover1335 November 16, 2009 at 12:55 PM  

Blog hopping is a ton of fun, but like you said it can be just as much a time sucker. And add to that I found so many books that I just had to read that my TBR is out of now I have that guilt hanging over my head. Having bought the books I know feel obligated to read them....The new year will definitely be dedicated to my TBR. Definitely going to have to blog about that and see how everyone else manages it.

alba November 16, 2009 at 3:34 PM  

Barbra you lucky girl he is one nice looking muse.
Lori I dont blog But I do Enjoy reading blogs your's is one of my fav's. I love the reviews my TBB & TBR list are huge but I'm not complaining.
Family come's first you are so right on that score, you do what you have to do real people will understand.
Have a good one.

Mitzi November 17, 2009 at 2:12 AM  

I love everything about your blog.

I just started visiting blog sites a few months ago and I do it to find new romance authors/books that might interest me.

I think you do a great job....but I also realize the time it takes to have a blog site like this...and it must be extremely time consuming.

H*ll, just keeping up with my posts on the blogs takes a tremendous amount of time!!!

I appreciate all the work you do and hope you continue...but as a Grandma with lots of responsibilities I will pass on the best advice my 99 year old great grandmother gave to me when I asked her why she had no wrinkles and had lived so long....

She said "You must not worry about that you cannot do". (She was from Sweden and drank her 1 beer a day and enjoyed her 1 or 2 smokes from her corncob pipe).

I think she was right....We stress ourselves out over so many things and it's so hard to learn to say "Oh, Well"...and let it go.

Just remember: You control your life and your blog. If others follow (so be it)...If they don't (so be it).

Do what you do because it's fun and you love doing it.

Others will follow,
I know I do.

Thanks for all the book reviews and the chance to experience new authors I've never heard of.


Booklover1335 November 17, 2009 at 7:04 AM  

Hey Mitzi,
Thanks for that! And your Grandmother was right. We put undo pressures on ourselves, and especially in this case for no good reason. And I AM glad that you like reading the blog....makes all of the hard work (and fun) even more worth it :)

Amanda McIntyre November 17, 2009 at 9:52 AM  

Nothing like the Gods of Football to inspire;))

Will hate to see Barb go, as I appreciated her reviews of my books and her genuine personality shining through. But absolutely understand her reasons!

All the best~
Amanda McIntyre

Booklover1335 November 18, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

Oh the Gods of football definitely are an inspiration Amanda!!! I know you hated to part with it, but at least this way you can still enjoy them a little, even though I know it's not quite the same :)

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