A Reflection on How Life, Reading, & Blogging Went in 2020 // Opening Up About My Feelings of Burn-Out

The first month of 2021 is almost over.

I meant to post my 2020 wrap-up earlier, but, of course, I’m me, so it’s coming to you late. Just like the title suggests, this post is just a general overview of what 2020 was like for me in different aspects of my life. Of course, 2020 had its downs, but I’m really happy that there were some ups too!

To start off with some good news, I read 100 books in 2020! For the longest time, I viewed a hundred books as the benchmark for a lot of books read in a year. In my eyes, anyone who was capable of reading 100 books in a year was automatically a fast reader. I’m happy that I hit this special number of books in 2020, though just barely.

To be fair, if some disappointing books hadn’t put me in a reading slump in July/August, I probably would’ve hit 100 easily. But the slump coupled with the start of school made me go from averaging nine books a month to three. If I hadn’t had Christmas break in December and speed read 26 books (most extremely short), I never would’ve hit 100.

I regret setting my reading goal so high, though. In 2020, I noticed something extremely alarming: I was simply reading books to mark them as read on Goodreads. I wasn’t reading books to enjoy them (actually, I barely enjoyed any of the books I read in 2020). I was simply reading them to finish them. That was when I realized that, at some point, reading had stopped being fun for me.

People usually say, “The amount of books you read does not determine whether you’re a reader or not, you’re a reader as long as you love reading and it’s an integral part of you.” That made me wonder: Is reading still an integral part of me? The answer is… no. Being a member of the online book community and liking words (but writing them as opposed to reading them) is an integral part of me, but honestly? I could do without reading.

I think that I’ve grown disconnected from reading because my standards are just too high. I have certain expectations and preferences for how things are written in books, and I find that I can’t enjoy a book if those aren’t met. Of course, that’s really unfair to the author—I hate rating a book low because “it just wasn’t for me,” even though I can’t pinpoint anything objectively wrong with it.

So, where does that leave me? It’s really awkward to run a book blog and not like reading.

In 2021, I’m going to try to fall back in love with reading again. I won’t be participating in the Goodreads reading challenge because it makes me pick up books for all the wrong reasons. Instead, I’ll pick up a book purely when I want to. I’m eager to see what happens when I don’t put any pressure on myself to read.

I was going great in the first half of the year consistency-wise, if not quantity-wise. I’ve always wanted to be the kind of blogger who can post more than once a week, but unfortunately posts take a lot out of me. After I publish one I just want to take a rest.

In the second half of the year, I was extremely inconsistent. Getting back into writing combined with the start of school made it almost impossible for me to find the time or energy to blog.

Actually, in 2020 I grew a little disconnected from blogging. I feel like every teen blogger starts out very enthusiastic about building their platform. You know when you’ve just started out, and you’re so eager to grow that you comment on approximately 15 posts a day, put out at least two posts a week, and reply to comments within three days? I was definitely like that in my first year of blogging, but now that I’m nearing my second anniversary (I feel old!!), I find myself battling burn-out and having to force myself to write posts. Many posts take days for me to make, and I don’t think I can spend less than five hours on a post anymore. When I’m done I just want to lie down on the floor from all the effort of making my words make sense and formatting.

Of course, I’m sad that I’m not as passionate about blogging as I was before, but this is sorta a good thing because now I’m not as obsessed about stats, and am less likely to forego things like sleep or homework for blogging.

On a much brighter note, my stats saw a huge improvement in 2020. I finally found my blogging voice, and of course, I’m very happy to have won best teen blogger in the 2020 Blogger Awards!! I wasn’t able to hit 1,000 blog followers… but allow me to be full of myself for a moment and say that I definitely would’ve hit it if I had posted more.

Some 2020 Posts that I’m Proud of Writing & Did Well:

The introduction to book blogs post is my most successful post ever, and I’m so glad! I made it because book bloggers need so much more appreciation, and I’m so happy that people in the comments said that I highlighted the strengths and conventions of book blogging well.

I’m not sure where I stand on blogging in 2021, but I do know that I’ll try my best to be more consistent. I’ll attempt to post once a week, reply to comments in a timely manner, and not completely neglect the posts on my Reader!

Actually, 2020 was not a bad year for me! Yes, I know. It was the year of COVID-19 and other very unpleasant things. But in regards to my personal life I’m content.

I’m super introverted, and I hate going outside my house, so I was perfectly equipped to deal with lockdown. It is getting boring to be stuck in the house, but I can honestly live with it. My only problem with this whole lockdown thing is that online school takes up so much time!! My weekdays are filled with homework and studying.

However, I changed classmates this year, and I’m finally in a class with my closest friends! This is such a small thing, but I’m so happy because I’ve always been unlucky when it comes to class reshuffling. Being with my best friends has made school so much more bearable. My first semester grades were also better than I expected, which is great because this is an important school year for me!

My biggest accomplishment of 2020 (and perhaps of my lifetime) was being on TV!! I got to go on the TODAY show and talk about diverse books and being represented in literature. This was a very surreal opportunity that I’m extremely grateful to have been given.

I feel like writing has replaced my love for reading. I’m far from good at it because I’m still relearning the ropes. The last time I worked on a WIP I wasn’t even ten years old, but I’m honestly so much more enticed by the prospect of creating stories than reading them! My greatest goal is to write a book that I wholeheartedly love, because as I mentioned before I have unique preferences and it’s difficult for me to love a book if those aren’t met. Winning NaNoWriMo 2020 was amazing, ignoring the fact that I decided to scrap everything I wrote because it was all wrong.

Lastly, I got back into BTS and k-pop in 2020!! I was a super cringey BTS stan in 2017, and I slowly lost interest in them. I don’t know what happened in 2020, but I randomly started watching a few of their videos, and just like that I became a fan again. BE was an amazing album, absolutely no skips!!

I wouldn’t consider myself a part of any k-pop fandom, but I do follow the activities of groups I like. Besides BTS, I like ITZY and NCT. I thought NCT’s 23 (and counting) members were too much at first, but it actually works in their favor, because there are so many different personalities and friendships to fall in love with!!

Overall, how was the year 2020 for you? What were the best and worst moments? Have you ever felt blogging burn-out? Also if you’re into k-pop tell me which groups you like!!! And who are your biases?? from the groups i mentioned, Mine are j-hope (used to be V but he bias wrecked me so hard), Taeyong, and Ryujin.

39 thoughts on “A Reflection on How Life, Reading, & Blogging Went in 2020 // Opening Up About My Feelings of Burn-Out

  1. I totally agree about having blogging burnout…something about having more time on my hands during quarantine made me want to work on my blog LESS rip also I also got into BTS last year!! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I relate to the blogging burnout as well; it’s hard to write posts. As for reading, I sometimes feel that if I take a break from reading, I like it more when I come back to it. But if you don’t want to post about books anymore, I don’t think you should force yourself to. After all, it’s your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, posts take so much energy! and thanks so much for informing me, i hope the same will happen to me as i’m basically taking a break from reading in 2021. i think i still want to post about books—i just want to actually enjoy what i’m reading & not suck the joy out of it!

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  3. A very thoughtful post, Caitlin. It’s definitely a positive thing that you identified the fact you were reading books to finish them – hopefully you can fall back in love with reading this year ☺ But you achieved some fantastic things in 2020 and I’m so proud of you for that 🥰

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  4. ack i completely agree with you on the starting out super enthusiastic and hitting blogging burnout. I was even crazier than you at first I posted almost every single day and spent hours blogging every day lmao and now I’ve written like 3 posts since summer. but I’m also way less obsessed with my stats which I think is really good because that kind of mentality is kind of toxic lol so I’m glad you’re feeling that way too. and I know that whenever you do post, however often that is, you always put out amazing posts sooo ❤

    congrats on reading 100 books! but also 100% agree that we shouldn't be so hung up on numbers and stats and expectations and I think it's super great that you're not doing the reading challenge this year and just reading to read ❤

    glad 2020 was good in your personal life! hope you're having a great 2021!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ahh, i’m so glad you can relate 😭 i kind of cringe thinking about how obsessed i was with blogging and stats back then. though it’s sad to experience burn out, it’s nice to not be so engrossed in blogging to the point that it become toxic. and thank you so much that’s very true for you too i love your posts ❤

      thank you so much!! 💖 i hope you have a great 2021 too bc you deserve it!

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  5. Ahhh the dreaded blogger burnout – I totally understand what you mean about starting out with so much enthusiasm and then losing steam. I’m coming up on my third year of blogging, and the way I do things now are very different than what I did at the start of it all. I remember back when I would try to be everywhere at once – Twitter, Insta, Goodreads, etc. I’m still learning the right balance…but anyways, I’m glad to hear that 2020 was a good year for you! I hope this year is even better and that you are able to fall back in love with reading again 💛

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  6. oh my goodness I’m so happy for you with all the cool things you accomplished!!!! and I felt so seen when you said you’ve fallen out of love of books bc your standards are higher after reading so much. so true for me omg!!!!!! what I want from a book is getting more and more niche which is scary :’) amazing post!!!! ❤

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  7. I stopped participating in the Goodreads reading challenge for the exact same reason as you did. I never set my target any higher than 55 but even then I felt pressured to read and I don’t like feeling pressured to do something that is a hobby and should be enjoyable. And I’ve hit many blogging slumps in my almost 10 years of blogging, but the best thing for me to do has always been to step away for a little while and come back when I feel more refreshed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, i think that’s what i’m trying to do in 2021—start finding joy in my hobbies again. omg 10 years is a long time i’m so in awe of you for blogging for you so long. i know that stepping away when i don’t feel like blogging is the best choice, but a part of me can’t help but feel guilty bc i do still want to grow my blog lmao

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  8. thank you for sharing your blogging experiences! i’m sorry you’ve been feeling burnout lately, and you’re certainly not alone. it seems like every blogger i love has gone through a period of burnout at least once. although i want to say that you can probably find a way to love reading/blogging again, i hope even more that you end up doing whatever makes you the happiest. ❤

    “Being a member of the online book community and liking words (but writing them as opposed to reading them) is an integral part of me, but honestly? I could do without reading.” i’ve been really feeling this way, lately. for years, i’ve always wondered if whatever i was doing would mean something later on in my life, and it wasn’t until recently when i realized that i wasn’t doing the things that made me happy anymore. i had too many little hobbies, and i couldn’t focus on the things i loved to do. if you really love writing, i hope you continue! completing nanowrimo is a great accomplishment, and it also shows that you’re really dedicated to your wip! your TV appearance was so exciting!! you did great ❤ i’m also happy you’re in a class with your friends! seeing my friends online really helped with the online school thing, although i agree that lockdown somehow makes the homework pile up even more. 😅

    i recently started liking some k-pop groups and random songs, but i am baby when it comes to k-pop 👀 so far i like music from Got7 and Astro, and i would definitely be open to hearing more BTS and NCT songs. please send me song recs if you want! but 23 members?? that is a lot 😅 anyway, this was a great post! if you want to share it, i hope we get to see more about your writing some day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m so glad you understand xandra!! all of my fave bloggers have gone through a period of burnout too, maybe it comes with producing great content, haha. (yes i will be full of myself just this once & say i produce fairly good content)

      i hope you can start focusing on the things you actually love to do! and i really do love writing even though it’s hard and i’m not good at it 😭 i think i’m so dedicated to my wip bc i wanna write a book i’ll love very badly, haha! thank you so much, ahh. i probably wouldn’t have survived online school if it weren’t for my friends! maybe it’s just that there’s more opportunity for distraction, but the homework takes me HOURS to do, and don’t even get me on studying haha (rip to me who has two science and two math subjects)

      OMG yay, i’m so happy you like some k-pop songs xandra!!! i definitely will, ahhh. (and i’ve heard that got7 and astro are good i’m just too lazy to get into more groups rn dfjdkfjd) haha, the company that nct comes from is SM which is known for their unique concepts & nct basically has a limitless members concept. (nct 127= promotes in seoul, wayv= promotes in china, nct dream= used to only be composed of teens who would leave the unit when they became adults, but the members became fixed, nct u= any members from 127, wayv, or dream can be here, the members change every comeback depending on who fits the concept)

      ahh, i’d love to share more about my writing, but unfortunately it’s all very bad. and as i said i’m not good at it and i’m still learning about how my process works, so i wouldn’t really have anything to talk about :”)

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    1. thank you so, so much, morgan ❤ omg i love suga so much i feel like some people reduce him to his "savage" persona, but he's actually so sweet. & he's such a great producer & rapper! ahh, it has to be dis-ease, i just love its topic & the way it sounds plus my fave is hoseok so that makes me a bit biased :") what's yours?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. i really hope that in 2021 you can find back your love for reading, caitlin! i don’t think there’s anything wrong in stepping back for a second and revaluate what stories still intrigue you and what format you prefer them. it’s possible that for now, you just prefer to consume stories in tv/movie version, and those are just as valid! i definitely encourage you to pursue whatever makes you happy this year. even if that means reading less or blogging less, at the end of the day, hobbies are meant to be fun and not a burden!

    i’ve spent the past few weeks re-watching and catching up on the kpop content i’d missed during the past months, and it’s been so much fun! likewise, i only follow a couple groups now, and it’s more low-key than it was when i was *super* into kpop back in 2016, but i’m happy to be reconnecting with it. nct is probably my favorite group at the moment, and as expected, mark is my favorite member lol

    i really hope 2021 is an amazing year for you, caitlin! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh, lais i’m so happy you understand 😭😭 losing passion for something you loved wholeheartedly is always really sad, but you like you said hobbies should be fun! (idk about preferring stories in movie/tv form though, bc i’ve never grown attached to a tv show or movie, haha!)

      yes, i’m so happy that i’m now more low key bc i was such an embarrassing stan in 2017 who made liking bts a personality trait. now i think my connection with them is more genuine when i can accept that i’m just a casual fan. OMG yes another nct fan!! mark is the best ahhhh he’s an all-rounder 😭 but most of all i just love the chill, down to earth vibe he gives off

      thank you so much, i hope the same for you! ❤

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  10. I TOTALLY get what you’re saying about your book standards being really high. I think this is one of the reasons why I’ve never been someone who reads a 100+ books in a year. I’m picky, and the books I read a lot of times end up being really dense (thanks to a lot of non fic). I also feel like I’ve heard from a lot of readers recently that they want to focus less on how many books and more on just reading books which they actually enjoy. Because I think a lot of us (me) don’t have time to read books that we don’t like. In a way I think becoming picky about what you read is part of coming more into oneself, if you know what I mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, i get what you mean! i think as you read you just get to know your own tastes more. though what makes me sad is that my tastes are wayyy too niche, and at this point i feel like only a book written by me could make me fall head over heels in love (too bad writing is so hard 😭)

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  11. I relate hard to the reading bit. The reading I did in 2020 was definitely a way to escape everything and it got out of hand. I’m focusing to be more intentional with my reading this time around. And congrats on all your accomplishments in 2020! Hope you find more success this year 😊

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  12. I loved reading your reflections on the past year, Caitlin! While I loved reading so much in 2020, I also feel like I was sometimes too ambitious and stressing myself out with reading instead of just enjoying it. So now I mood read a lot more, which is nice 😊 Happy to hear that 2020 at least had some good parts for you as well ❤ Also so happy to hear that you rediscovered your love for writing!! I’m still struggling to get to writing consistently 😅

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  13. This is such a great post! I think you’ve made the right choice with the goodreads challenge – I’ve struggled with seeing books as numbers on the challenge rather than as, well, books to enjoy, and lowering my goal to something that I know I can hit has helped a lot with that. (Also, no matter how short those 26 books were, 26 books a month are still so impressive! :O )

    In part, I relate to what you said about blogging. I still enjoy writing posts, but one of my favorite parts of blogging used to be blog-hopping and now I seem to be always behind on that, as well as on answering comments under my own posts. :/ I think part of the problem is that I tend to think of blog-hopping as something I have to do *perfectly* and visit every single post that I missed, but this way I’ll honestly never catch up with the blogs I follow. So I’ve decided to take it a bit easier, especially as my next semester starts in about a week. :/

    I’m so glad you gained back your enthusiasm and love for writing, and I’m really rooting for you and your writing in 2021. ❤

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  14. I really loved reading this post Caitlin! Omg blogging was the same for me; my calendar is all nice and organised up until like July and then everything fell apart. And I stopped blog-hopping which was sad because I would see the posts in my inbox and be super intrigued but not have time for it 😥 Honestly that timeline is pretty similar from the rest of my life, 2020 really ripped apart my plans for the future and I’m still trying to rebuild it into something that may not have been what I’d imagined, but is still bearable. I’m so glad your class re-shuffle worked out in your favour, and that’s great about writing!! It’s all about writing the books we wish already existed in the world ❤

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  15. I think that is the reason why I may never reach the 100 books a year goal… (never say never I guess 🤔)… But I am conscious of reading books just to hit a number rather than reading to enjoy. Best of luck to you in your new year of reading!

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  16. Ah blogging burnout sucks, speaking from being on hiatus atm I’ve found myself not missing blogging as much as I thought I would. Though that could be down to me focusing on my mental health and doing other things that bring me joy. I do miss connecting with my blogging friends though (which is why I’m on a big catch up of blog hopping cause I’ve missed engaging with the blogs I follow).

    100 books in a year… Maybe one day I’ll hit but it’s unlikely. The most I managed was about 75 and that was due to finishing school, exams and I had a long summer break 😂 I average at 3 books a month normally and I’m trying to be OK with that.

    Ah 2020 was a year for making new friends hehe you being one of them 🤗 I think you already know I love Kpop since I sometime shriek in your dms 😅 Ateez biases Yeosang, Mingi and Wooyoung then the other 5 are my bias wreckers. Stray Kids biases Han, Felix and Lee Know again the other 5 are my bias wreckers. KARD bias is Jiwoo and my bias wrecker is BM. I could keep going though… I’ve fallen deep Caitlin for like 5 groups 😂 though atz and skz are my ults hehe.

    Sending you so much love and good vibes for your year 💜✨ I hope you fall in love with reading and blogging again!

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  17. Oh god, I kind of found myself into your words at the beginning of your post. I feel like, sometimes, being in the book community and reading and reading and reading and… sometimes it sucks the fun out of reading and it starts feeling like a chore? Like, right now, I set my challenge as high as last year on goodreads and I’m so slow, I’m starting to feel pressured about. And it sucks. I shouldn’t! reading should be fun! but, yeah. it’s not sometimes ahah and it is good to take a step back. ❤
    I'm sending you all the love ❤ ❤

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  18. Okay I’m about 1000 years behind on blog posts so a) I’m so sorry and b) this comment may be irrelevant but you may see a large number from me hehe. Loved reading this post because also ME. I have been struggling with burnout lately too because my online school schedule is so all over the place.

    I also hope that your reading gets better this year. Also had a similar experience (apparently we’re twinning today!!) in that I was reading but wasn’t reading because I thought the book could be a new fave : ( Here’s to a hopefully better 2021 <3<3

    Yay for being in a class with all your friends, so glad for you!! And I hope that online school can get better for you. All the love for you xoxoxo

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