The Guilt of Not Reading

Today I wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind and heart lately, and that is the guilt I feel when I don’t read.

If you haven’t noticed I’ve been on kind of a hiatus for the last two months. I’ve done blog posts here and there, participated in events and all of that, but I’ve barely read anything and I’ve barely blogged outside of those events and such. I needed time away from the reading and blogging worlds for a while and that’s really because the book community has become kind of a scary place as of late. I mean, that’s a whole other topic in and of itself, but it needs to be said. I’m glad people are speaking their minds and everything, it’s just very tense in many places right now and I have enough of that in my personal life right now that I don’t want it to be in something that I’m so passionate about.

I’ve noticed other readers and bloggers have said the same thing when they take breaks: that they feel guilty – or would feel guilty – when/if they take a break from the reading/blogging world. As readers we’re reading almost everyday, trying to get in as many pages, books, genres, etc. as we can. We want to explore what the world has to offer and we want to explore the different kinds of books that are out in the world. We love reading and being able to share that love and those experiences with others.

So when we’re not reading, that guilt starts to set in.

For some people they don’t feel guilty and they can just go about their lives doing whatever they want, but for a few of us we feel like we have almost an obligation not only to our audience, but to ourselves to read all the time. I know I’ve been feeling this way, personally, and I’ve talked with a couple other people the last few weeks that said they’d probably feel the same, too.

Why is it that not reading makes us feel guilty? What about not blogging makes us feel like we’ve given up an obligation?

So let me tackle the two questions I presented above.

1. Why is it that not reading makes us feel guilty?

The obvious answer is that we’re readers! We read because we love it and it’s very hard for some of us to just stop and take breaks once in a while. There are some people who read over 100 books in a year, so reaching those goals means they’re reading constantly, while other people may only read a handful in a year, and for them that takes time that they might have to squeeze in somewhere in their schedule.

I think for me I’ve been comparing my life to what it was a year ago, when I had a lot more free time to myself and I was able to read to my heart’s content. A few months ago my husband and I moved back in with my parents for personal reasons and it’s been much harder for me to find that free time again. Emotional distress aside, I have a much longer drive home than I used to from work (I used to live only 10 minutes away, and now I’m 50 minutes away from work), so I’m usually exhausted at the end of the day because of that, and I have other obligations where it’s been leeching me of any motivation to read.

But since I’ve barely been reading (and I miss reading, trust me), I’ve been feeling the guilt set in, which leads me to the second question:

2. What about not blogging makes us feel like we’ve given up an obligation?

I personally feel like blogging is a second full time job for me. I’ve been faithfully blogging since the summer of 2014, and I’m just really happy doing it. I sincerely love it and it makes me so happy to have an audience who’s interested in my words and thoughts and opinions. So not really putting in much effort to blog these last few months has really been putting a strain on me, I think. I miss you all because I love you all and you rock. Feeling guilty for not reading leads to feeling guilty for not blogging for me because I’ve been doing this for so long and it’s such a fun job for me to do.

Of course it’s not a “job” and I’m not really “obligated” at all to be doing this. I could just up and quit one day and no one would probably notice. And that’s fine, but because I love doing this so much I don’t want to stop putting in the effort to blog or to read. It’s part of my life – a huge part of my life – and I don’t want to give it up anytime soon.

I do want to say, though, that so, so many of you are so supportive of me taking a break because, let’s be real, we all get burnt out from time to time and need that time to sit back, reflect, relax, and enjoy ourselves outside of something for a while. But I want to come back to this and I want to make an honest effort to do what I can each month.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Have you ever stopped reading/blogging for an extended period of time? How have you felt as a result? Did you find it easy to get back into it or was it harder than when you first started? Tell me all of your thoughts!

9 thoughts on “The Guilt of Not Reading

  1. I think you are not alone in these feelings, however you explained them very well and I totally understand. I begin to feel guilty if I don’t read for a few days, or I miss a week of blog posts, or even commenting on blog posts!!! Then I always remind myself, this is my hobby, its fun and when the fun stops, there is no point. So, I allow myself time for other things, whether its obligation things or other fun things. Our personal life should come first and living with your parents and the further drive to work will all make a huge difference, so I say do it when you feel like it and enjoy it. The book world will always be here whether we dip in and out or wade in full force.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Wrapping up March 2017 (and re: Shealea joined a poetry-writing competition) – That Bookshelf Bitch

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