Sunday, November 3, 2013

Five Years of Lakeside Musing


Good morning, friends. It's been a quiet week at Lakeside Musing thanks, in part, to the demise of my trusty laptop. After months of trying to ignore warning signs, the end arrived Monday. Several more days were spent futilely trying to fix it, then shopping for a new laptop (hello, MacBookAir!), and finally, transferring data. Now I am back in business.

While I was away, Lakeside Musing celebrated a milestone anniversary  - five years! It's hard to believe. Things were much different in 2008, both in the book blogging community and in my own life. My oldest daughter was just starting college and, although the twins were still in high school, I had a little extra time on my hands. Drawing inspiration from the book blog pioneers I'd been reading for a year or so, Lakeside Musing was born. The community was small and welcoming, and I soon found my place.

Now, my oldest daughter is living and working in Manhattan (a great place to visit!), the twins are in college (one lives at home), we adopted a greyhound, 'inherited' a condo in Florida, and are trying to figure out how we can actually use it for more than one week in January. Book blogging is different, too. Several friends have closed up shop and, moving forward, the challenge for me is to make blogging continue to fit my lifestyle.

Since I was without a computer much of the week, I had the opportunity to think about time spent online and to plan for the future. It all boils down to this...

Lessons learned from five years of blogging:

1.  I am a reader (albeit a slow one), not a writer.
2.  A hobby should have minimal obligations and deadlines.
3.  No matter how much I think I'm blogging for myself, community really is key.
4.  There's more to life than books.

Moving Forward:

1.  I don't really like writing book reviews, but love talking about books. My review style has changed slightly over the past few months. Abbreviated reviews include basic book facts, my thoughts in one or two short paragraphs, and a rating. This seems less daunting, yet still provides a springboard for conversation as well as a personal reading record.

2.  This is a stress-free blog. I will read what I want, when I want and post accordingly. I will not request books for review, participate in tours, etc. Additionally, I will feel no obligation to review unsolicited review copies.

3.  It's all about community. I love reading your blogs (and commenting as time allows), chatting on twitter, instagram, participating in read-alongs and other events, and responding to your comments here. I will continue to be as engaged as possible.

4.  I'm very glad I chose the name Lakeside Musing five years ago because I can talk about more than books and not feel like I'm veering off topic. Weekend Cooking is the perfect outlet for chronicling my culinary adventures. Estellagram feeds my budding interest in photography, bookish or otherwise. I'm also free to talk about travel, greyhounds, movies, theater, sports, fitness/health... the possibilities are endless. Books, however, will continue to be the main focus.

Finally, I'd like to thank each one of you for your visits, comments, friendship, and support. You have made this all worthwhile.

Here's to the next five years!

77 comments:

  1. 5 years! Congratulations :) I hope you continue blogging, I'm a long-time reader and I like your review-format (and culinary posts) :)

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    1. Thanks, Riv. I plan to stick around for a while longer :)

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  2. Congratulations! I always enjoy visiting your blog :)
    And I totally agree that blogging (and reading) should be stress free, without the pressure of deadlines etc. I've stopped accepting review copies and taking part in tours over the past few months.

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    1. Sam - Thank you! I think curtailing review copies and tours will take much of the pressure away.

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  3. A hearty Congratulations! I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts, whether about books, family, cooking, dogs, or just life in general.

    Glad the computer issue was easily resolved. It is amazing how dependent we have become on technology, isn't it?

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    1. Molly - Thanks you! Computer withdrawal is tough...

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  4. Congrats. I'm soooooooo happy to see you back and am so happy you aren't saying good-bye. I've been reading you since the beginning and would miss you if Lakeside Musing went away.

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    1. Beth F - Thanks so much! No plans to go away just yet...

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  5. Congratulations. Funny how we all learn just about the same lessons re: blogging after five years. I am sooo with you. ;-)

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    1. James - Thank you. It is funny how we've all ended up in the same place after 5 years...

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  6. Happy Five Years! (And happy for us too!)

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  7. Adding my congratulations, and hoping for many more years of your musings! I always enjoy your posts, book-related and otherwise (with a special spot for Zelda). I am also trying to keep in mind that there is more to life than reading or blogging - and I will never get to read all the books & authors I want to.

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    1. Lisa - Thank you! Zelda was just complaining that she hasn't been on the blog lately ;-)

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  8. Way to go! I didn't know you five years ago (which is when I started too) but you're not kidding it was different. It's kinda lost that small-town feel hasn't it? I still cling on to my favorites though, and rarely add new ones which is close-minded I realize. I think many of us are in the same boat. Whatever you post and whenever you post, I will be here reading you!

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    1. And P.S. don't you LOVE your MacBook Air? I love mine as much now as when I got it two years ago!

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    2. Sandy - Exactly... that small town feeling has gone, but we still have our own communities. I love this MacBook Air and am going to appreciate it even more on my next trip. It's SO light!!

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  9. I just commented and lost it (the comment, I mean!) so I hope I'm not repeating myself... How is it that it is your birthday and we're getting the presents!? Congratulations!!! I hope you keep reading, writing and cooking from your lakeside -- with occasional bookish jaunts? -- in whatever way makes you happiest.

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    1. Audrey - Thank you, and I'm looking forward to several bookish jaunts in the future!

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  10. Happy Birthday and congratulations. I love reading whenever and whatever you post.

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  11. Happy 5th, JoAnn, and here's to many more! While I enjoy the act of writing down bookish thoughts in itself, the community really is what has made me stay :)

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  12. Congrats on 5 years JoAnn - we both began blogging in 2008. Much of what you wrote about blogging is true of me as well. I need to chill out a bit about reviews as, like you I am a "reader not a writer".

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    1. Diane - Thanks, 2008 was a very popular year for beginning book blogs!

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  13. JoAnn, 5 years is a huge achievement. I enjoy blogs like yours that are not formulaic - some book blogs seem to be just full of blog tours, cover reveals, tbr piles etc etc. I'd much rather read a 5 line review from someone whose opinions I respect than a long review by someone I don't know well. All the best going forward.

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    1. Carole - Thanks so much, I appreciate your kind words!

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  14. Congrats on 5 years! Here's to many more years!

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  15. Congratulations! I'm nearly five too, so we were sitting thinking about taking the plunge at the same time, and I'm so glad we both did.

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  16. JoAnn,
    A hearty, exuberant "Brava," to a blogger whose entries I find thoughtful, entertaining, and engaging. Viva "Lakeside Musing!"

    Judith

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  17. Great post, I agree completely. I love personal touches in a blog as it is like receiving a letter from a friend about books and life and anything else. Enjoy your MAC air. My husband surprised me with one not long ago and life just got that much easier. Keep on writing.

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    1. Thanks, Pam. I'm already loving this MacBook Air!!

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  18. Congratulations! I'm glad you aren't leaving, I was holding my breath there for a minute. Like you said it's all about community and someone leaves blogging it leaves a void.

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    1. Peggy - No plans to leave any time soon. I'd miss this community far too much :)

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  19. Happy Blogiversary! I so agree with you about what you've learned about blogging!

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  20. Congratulations on five years! I'm glad you will keep blogging - and I'm with you, it should be fun and non-stressful. :)

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    1. Carrie - Thanks. Here's to the next five years of no-stress blogging!

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  21. Congratulations on five years! I appreciate your comments and hope you continue to get enjoyment out of blogging. Good Luck with your new computer. I am looking forward to delving into the Apple world soon by purchasing an iPad Air.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. I still have a first generation iPad and am eyeing the iPad Air, but will have to hold off a little longer. Enjoy!

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  22. Congratulations! Isn't it great to feel comfortable in your blogging skin? It's taken me a while, but I'm coming to some of the same realizations as you have. It's about the community, yes, but it's also about gathering some of my favorite things in one place: books, quotes, images, thoughts and a few causal reviews thrown in to remind myself later of exactly what it was about a certain book that I liked or didn't like. I've enjoyed getting to know so many great bloggers and the books they read this way.

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    1. Trish - Exactly!! I always enjoy my time visiting your blog :)

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  23. Congratulations, JoAnn! Five years is a real milestone and I wish I'd been following you since the beginning.

    I, too, am having computer problems: my laptop didn't survive the trip from Nova Scotia to Ontario in my checked luggage. :-( When I get back home, I have to get a new one too. I don't think it'll be a Mac, even though I'd probably love it.

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    1. Debbie - I'm very happy to have discovered your blog, too. Sorry to hear about your laptop... funny how dependent we are on technology!

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  24. Congrats! Glad you're here. :-)

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  25. Congrats on 5 years! I agree that reading, and blogging, should be stress free.

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  26. Congratulations! We must have started our blogs within days of each other and I have many of the same thoughts as you. I hope you continue to post, even if it is less frequently. Good luck!

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    1. Jackie - So many of us started in 2008! I think a few simple changes can keep it fun for a while longer.

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  27. Congratulations--I really enjoy visiting your blog, reading your thoughts on what you've read, cooked, or traveled to. I've added a number of wonderful books to my favorites pile, thanks to your recommendations.

    I read an article last week implying the book blogging was "over"--maybe insofar as being a trend that publishers/authors have to accomodate, but I can't believe that the book blog as a community-building tool is over. I still like having a forum for talking about the books I liked, or didn't like, and hearing what others think as well.

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    1. JaneGS - If my feelings are any indication, book blogging may very well be over as far as publishers/authors are concerned, but I think it has a lot of miles left as a vehicle for readers sharing bookish thoughts.

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  28. Happy blogiversary - so nice to read a blogging philosophy that is so in keeping with my own feelings. I do so enjoy my contact with this nice community of book bloggers.

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    1. Thanks, Vicki. I hope to continue with this community for another five years, at least :)

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  29. Congratulations on five years! I agree with your lessons learned, and your moving forward plan sounds ideal. About a year ago, I adopted a "less stress, more fun" approach, and I'm enjoying it so much more. When blogging became a chore, something had to change!

    Here's to many more years of happy blogging!

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    1. Diana - Yes, here's to happy blogging for all of us!

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  30. Congrats on your five years of musing and connecting...yours are some of the goals I aspire to moving ahead. It's been just over five years since my first blog....and several others followed in the next year.

    But I've also been rethinking what I want, too, and stress-free is the name of the game! Glad you plan to continue...and enjoy!

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Seems like many of us have come to these conclusions after blogging for a few years. Hope we can all keep it stress-free and fun!

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  31. Congratulations, Joann, 5 years is a terrific blogging milestone. I'm very impressed by what you've learned from blogging and your thoughts/goals etc. for the future. You have a wonderful outlook and a great balance. I very much enjoy reading your blog, thank you :o)

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    1. Thank you, Amy. This community makes it all worthwhile!

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  32. congratulations, 5 years, wow! thanks for sharing your thoughts over these 5 years of blogging. And to many more!

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  33. Five years, that's wonderful! Congrats to you. I love that you don't feel pressure to fit a specific format. It's always better when you blog because you love it and want to discuss things than because you feel obligated. Glad you're here and here's to many more years!

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  34. Congratulations on five years JoAnn! I've loved getting to know you through blogging and while I don't get to visit very often and comment even less, your blog is still one of my favorites and must reads. I so love all of the wonderful recommendations I've received from you over the years and I've come to really trust your opinion. I relate so much to your points above and I've been thinking about community a lot. Feels like so much has changed, huh? I think it's natural given the evolution of our own lives, but sometimes I do miss those early book blogging days. I hope that you're able to find a balance that you're happy with--sounds like you have a great start. Many more!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Trish. I'm feeling much better about blogging these days... hoping that continues.

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  35. Congratulations on 5 years!!!! (that's my number too) I don't get hear as much as I used to but I do still read all of your posts (I've never been able to mark all as read. it's a curse) but I don't always have time to comment. Your blog is always a fave and I love the way your reviews have evolved. Here's hoping we'll both be around in 5 more :)

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    1. Stacy - 2008 was a very big year for for book blogging! I sure hope you'll be around for another 5 years, too :)

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  36. Congratulations! I agree with your sentiments. I enjoy reading and listening to audiobooks but have come to the point where I need a little less stress, so I started my blog Just Reading for Fun and that is what I am trying to do :)
    http://justreadingforfun.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Chrizette. I just stopped by to visit your blog and have started following you via blogluvin'. Will look forward to reading your posts!

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  37. Congrats! And I loved this post!!

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  38. Happy anniversary! I feel like I've learned the same lessons. My reviews are in an ever changing state as I work more and more to write less and less. I'm not so sure it's because I don't like to write and it's just too time-consuming to write a really detailed reviews.

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    1. Lisa - It may be more of disliking the time involved for me, too, because I do have a sense of accomplishment after finishing what I think is a good review… guess I'd still rather spend the time reading instead of writing.

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