Some of you noticed I have been off the screen for a very long time. In March 2015 I decided to go one a break to study for my final exams to finish my apprenticeship as a media designer. (You can read that post here) In 2015 my life has been nothing but a roller coaster. In March the preparation for my final exams started. My days were filled with studying, studying and more studying until shocking news hit my family. (You can read that post here) I could barley study anymore because the shock was quite deep. When the finals started I was not as much prepared as I planned to. After the exams I was terrified I wouldn’t make it through. I was such a wreck until I heard the news that all my worries were unnecessary. In July 2015 I successfully finished my apprenticeship with good grades and I can officially call l myself a trained media designer.
In June/July 2015 I was back on my blog for a couple of reviews, author interviews and guest post. After being away for almost 4 months I couldn’t find a way to get back into blogging. It didn’t feel right to me. I had too much going on in my life to keep up with it. Eventually, once I’d figured it all out in my head, I reached the book-blogging-break decision. I have to admit, it was difficult at first. That probably sounds ridiculous but it was! I love my blog, I’m so proud of it, and I love sharing reviews with readers, but I realized that I had to feel okay in myself too, to feel like I was in control and not the other way round. And so, the book-blogging-break began!
Almost one year later I am happy to say that I am ready to come back.
I know, a year years is a long time for a break but I want to start blogging again, because I used to love it so much. Which is why I think that now, would be the best time to reboot into the network of book bloggers. And what better way to celebrate my official return into the book blogging world than having a giveaway? You’ll find the giveaway at the bottom of my post. Enjoy!
The past few weeks, when my life was getting more relaxed, I have been more and more thinking about coming back. I truly miss my blog and being part of the community. Being away for such a long time my TBR pile hasn’t reduced the slightest. I’ve been following all of you on Goodreads, reading your reviews and adding more and more books to my TBR list. What I enjoyed the most in my break was that I’ve been able to focus on things other than the book blog and reviews, and have been reading at my own leisurely pace which I’ve loved. There’s something I am very grateful for. Even in my break authors contacted me and sent me their books asking for a review. I’m very grateful for that I am not completely forgotten.
The most important for me is to find a good balance between reading and my personal life. I don’t have a masterplan about reviews, blog posts etc. but I’m laying down some ground rules for myself. Looking back, I can see why I burned myself out so badly. And I’m hoping that by not doing those things this time around, I’ll be able to keep Dreaming With Open Eyes active and enjoyable to write. So here’s where I’m starting from. No more pressure, reading for pleasure, posting and preparing blog posts when I feel like it.
Rule #1: Be Intentional about Book Acquisition
Most book bloggers will tell you one of the perks of the trade is the stream of galleys you receive from publishers for review. I’m not going to lie…it’s pretty awesome to have someone send you free books. But the pressure to read everything I received eventually meant I was no longer in control of my own reading choices. This time around, I will be more intentional about what books make it into my sphere. I’ve actually been reading almost exclusively from my own shelves for the past six months or so, which is ridiculously amazing. I hereby give myself permission to continue doing so.
Rule #2: Skip the Challenges and Reading Goals
Challenges were never really my thing, tempting as they always sound. But oh man. I got really, really into reading goals and stat tracking once I found the book blogging community. While my reading goals definitely expanded my horizons and the tracking made me more aware of what I was reading, they also put constant pressure on me. Eventually, I just got sick of picking my next book to fulfill some challenge or goal. And I got tired of keeping track of every little thing. So for now, no challenges. No reading goals. No stat tracking (aside from counting up the number of books I read each month and picking a favorite).
Rule #3: No Rules (Except for These Three!)
I’ve tried posting on a schedule. I’ve tried planning my reading out ahead of time. And I know I’ll feel the pull to post at least on a semi-regular basis. But I also know forcing myself to do either, especially as I’m getting back into blogging, would be a mistake. In the beginning, then: no posting schedule, and no projects. Nothing but me, talking about the books I want to talk about, when I want to talk about them. And I’ll go from there.
Before I’ll start with the giveaway I’d like to update you what I have been up to the past year. It was a very emotional, busy and also very eventful year.
I could sit here write, write and write about what has happened the past few months but I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll try to keep it short. Since I finished my apprenticeship last year, work is busier than ever. I am on my own in the marketing department and I have lots of stuff to do. Sometimes it is not easy but somehow I cope. Also I started taking a class in January to be an instructor for trainees. I had to study a lot for the final exams. Luckily I passed all exams in March successfully.
In this entire whirlwind of exams last year a special someone walked into my life and turned my world even more upside down. I was very happy at first but it didn’t take us too long to realize we’re not made for each other, so we went our separate ways again. It was very difficult to handle this situation. It took me a while to get over it. After the break up I picked up the pieces and I was ready to change my life for the better.
I am a big step closer to get my driving license. With 25 I’m quite late to do this but it’s better late than never, right? In the beginning of 2016 I started to take the theory lessons. Two weeks ago I passed the theory exams (with 0 mistakes!) and I took my first driving lesson last. It’s exiting!
I signed up at the gym in December 2015 to live a healthier lifestyle. I started eating the “good stuff”, no carbs in the evening and I go to the gym twice a week. The progress is very slow but I lost a couple of pounds and I feel better than I have in ages.
Even though my mom got some terrible news on her health in 2015 we’re trying to live life to the fullest and making the best of the situation. The therapy can keep the cancer at bay. Neither is it getting better (only a little bit) nor worse. The therapy is exhausting; many times she is in pain because the metastases in her bones hurt a lot. Surely she can’t work as much as she used to but she lives more or less a normal life and never gives up! Since we got the news we do loads of stuff together. We do our favorite things .We’re going travelling, we’re going to lots of concerts and visiting as much motorsport events as we can.
I Need Your Help to Get Back in the Loop!
I’m counting on you to tell me what I’ve missed. Tell me in the comments: What’s the absolute best book you read in 2016? What’s your favorite book blog to read? (And if I haven’t met you yet, what’s your blog?) What else has happened in the past year and a half that you think I should know? Help!
Here’s the giveaway! Enter the giveaway to have a chance to win a paperback of your choice and some bookish goodies. Good luck!