I hope you all are well and that you are all reading some fantastic books.
Today’s post moves away from the Pond friends. It’s just me, CW, today. I want to share a decision that I made recently – one that I make with a heavy heart but is also a decision that makes the most sense to me right now.
I don’t like talking about my life outside of blogging, but the post necessitates it, so:
A little context: Recently, I got a new job. Well, more accurately, I got promoted! This was very exciting news; it was a role that I was excited for and one that will, I believe, help me grow as a person and will give me the opportunity to make lasting and positive changes in, not just in my community but, communities across the country. (Or, that’s my pie in the sky dream, anyway.) The downside to this is that my new job comes with a lot of new responsibilities. Chief among them is that I am now responsible for people – and not just a few, but hundreds of people. As a consequence, I now work longer hours and a six-day work week is now a reality for me. (Don’t worry, I get time off in lieu for any overtime that I do.) Moreover, and more relevant, I’m generally exhausted after work; I come home, tired, and after having dinner and cooking my meal for the next day, I only have an hour or two left for myself before I have to go to bed to start the day anew. I’m a few weeks into this role now and have had to do a lot of reflecting – time is something that matters a lot to me; my own time even more so. And the reality is that now I don’t really have a lot of it anymore.
I had to reflect on the things that I want to achieve in my life and what I want to spend that time doing. As some of you may know, I recently decided to committing to planning and drawing a picture book for The Quiet Pond. I wish I could tell you that I’ve been spending all my nights working on it, but the truth is, since starting this new role, I haven’t touched it at all. I think most artists know this feeling: that heavy and achey feeling that you feel at the pit of your stomach when you have all these grand aspirations and dreams but not enough time (or skill) to achieve them. For those who haven’t felt it: it sucks, a lot.
I’ve had a talk to my co-bloggers, and I can assure you that I have no intention of closing The Quiet Pond. It goes without saying that I love my blog, The Quiet Pond. It means the world to me and this place that I have carved out has become very special to me. But, I did have to face the reality that I just don’t have the same kind of time that I did in the past.
So, how do I balance my job, which is important to me, my picture book dream, which is important to me, and my blog, which is also important to me?
Which brings me to my post: I will have to make some changes in my blog. I say this with a heavy heart, even though I know most of you will be kind and empathetic and understanding, because I hold myself to a very high standard when it comes to blogging. Book blogging is one of my ways of expressing myself creatively and critically, and a big part of that involves putting in the time and energy into creating content that I can say that I am proud of.
But with my recent changes, things will have to change. Will that affect the quality of the content? I hope not, but I also acknowledge that it is possible. Producing good content will always be a priority for me, but there will be times where I just simply… cannot.
Therefore, here are the five biggest changes that will be coming to the Pond:
- My book reviews will be shorter. I usually follow a specific book review structure where I talk about three key themes of my opinion of a book. At times, this has worked well because it has encouraged me to think deeply and elaborate on my thoughts. However, it also does limit or place pressure on the scope of my book reviews. Moving forward, my book reviews will be less constrained by a book review formula. If I have a lot of thoughts, I’ll share all the thoughts. If I have opinions but nothing too strong, then perhaps I’ll write a shorter review. This is a big thing for me, as I love structure, but this is something that I will have to just learn to be happy with.
- There will be less new illustrations around the Pond – which makes me incredibly sad. As much as I love drawing for the Pond and as much as it enhances the experience of the Pond, the truth is that my little illustrations, though simple, take up a lot of time. I’m unfortunately a very slow illustrator and I just do not have the capacity to draw as much as I did in the past.
- I’ll still be recommending books – but will no longer be drawing new costumes for Varian for the foreseeable future. This was such a tough decision to make because I love drawing costumes for my favourite toad! But, again, I’m a slow illustrator and Varian’s costumes take a significant amount of time for me to draw.
- I will not be doing as many guest posts as I would like. I’m heartbroken about this, particularly since I have several ‘Our Friend is Here!’ posts in the pipeline and I was so excited at the prospect of doing more of what I love: supporting marginalised creators in our community. However, after publishing the ones that I have ready to go, guest features will be sparse (but, hopefully, not non-existent). Promotion seems simple: put something together and shout it into the void. But for me, promotion has always been the thing that expended the most emotional energy; if I promote something, I have to believe in it and I have to pour my soul into making it the best that it can be. And as much as I want to continue doing that, I just don’t have that sort of energy anymore.
- You will unfortunately see less of posts that require a lot of time to put together – specifically, posts such as ‘The Pond Gets Loud’, a series that I absolutely love and am incredibly passionate about but take up so much of my time. (Putting together a series takes me two weeks because of the extent of data that I have to put together, compile, format, promote, etc.)
In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think the above changes will have a big impact on the Pond as a whole. As a creator, I think I struggle with letting go with ideas and commitments that I am very passionate about. I’m disappointed that I have to give up some of my ideas and my endeavours. But friends, I am so tired. With the Pondathon now over, I had all this energy to return to blogging but with this new job… I am just so tired. However, at the end of the day, I want The Quiet Pond to still be a fun thing for me return to at the end of the day, not a chore that I dread doing.
I thank you all for your understanding, for your patience, your love, and support.
All my love, and thank you, as always, for visiting the Pond,
P.S. My only request: Please do not tell me that blogging is ‘just a hobby’ (which is true, yes! but it’s also a hobby that means a lot to me) and that I should give it up if that’s what I need to do. I assure you that giving up on book blogging, and the Pond, will probably be more devastating than any other option. Furthermore, although I appreciate any feelings of good-will and thoughtfulness, I do not need advice at this time. Thank you. 💛