After reading the latest entry at Seven Imps I've been thinking a lot about the importance of establishing boundaries. We build boundaries in very nearly every aspect of our lives, from how far we'll go on a first date to how much mess we'll allow to appear in our kid's room before we demand some serious cleaning. Boundaries are important or you can kill yourself trying to be a super parent (or kill your kid dragging him from one class/event to another) or lose your mind trying to be the best employee in the history of your company. We decide how much personal information we will share with casual friends, how long we let the grass grow before cutting it and how bloody a movie can be before we turn it off.
Boundaries are common in our personal lives yet we seem to miss that point when it comes to blogging.
I'm not talking about an Emily Gould-like compulsion to share it all, but among lit bloggers there seems to be a stage that many go through in which the desire to be all things to all publishers and authors leads to burnout. Unless I'm mistaken a mini case of that is what is going on at Seven Imps with Jules and Eisha and as someone who has watched their site with absolute awe, I'm not surprised.
No one could keep that level of gorgeous up six days a week without popping at some point; it was just bound to happen.
Please don't think I'm picking on Seven Imps - as I said, I love their site and I think they are amazingly talented. But we all go through a period where we realize that we can't read and review everything and then we have to figure out what works for us - individually. The same thing happened to me in the first year of reviewing for Bookslut & Eclectica. I've slowly pulled back from everything as I've spread myself wider. Next month will be one of the few features I've done for Bookslut in a long time. It's all a matter of finding your balance and creating the boundaries that work best with the rest of your life.
I'm not going to write specifically about what works for me - how many books, how many reviews, how many bookish posts to this blog, etc. (Actually there is no formula so I couldn't give you concrete numbers even if I wanted to.) The point is not to read, review, recommend, blog or write like I do - it's to do it in a way that works best for you. I don't think it is impossible to juggle running a popular and intelligent web site along with everything else in your life; you just have to get the right mix.
That might mean only blogging four days a week as opposed to six, or only doing reviews once a week as opposed to every day. You just have to find the way of living in the lit blogosphere that you are most comfortable with. I will say that the last thing in the world anyone should do is worry about everyone else (publishers, authors, illustrators, bloggers) when figuring out your own schedule. As long as you are out there writing about books everyone else will come along for the ride, I promise.
And that counts double for Jules & Eisha - you guys rock and whatever you decide to do with Seven Imps, we will all still be reading.