Saturday, May 5, 2018


What Are You Talking About?

I have decided to condense my blog! Music is taking a larger chunk of my life at the moment, and most likely will intrude even more in the future, so I have decided to cut down to two regular weekly feature posts and one regular monthly feature post, with this CONVERSATIONS feature being a random, floating, catch-all discussion type post. It will also encompass my reviews because they are always free form and conversational. My intent is to not have more than three posts a week. This feature will normally be posting on Fridays, but I thought this topic shouldn't wait another week to be presented. I think you will feel the same way after reading.

 In my wanderings around the book blogosphere I sometimes read things that make me crazy; not only on other blogs, but also on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. What Are You Talking About? will be my place to vent about these things.


I was made aware of a blog post last week where the blogger was giving advice about "blogger burn-out". Their definition of blogger burn-out was based on a PSYCHOLOGY TODAY ARTICLE about workplace burn-out. There were two gigantic problems with this...

1. Psycology Today is not a medical or scholarly periodical. The paper magazine is a commercial endeavor meant for home subscription and doctors office waiting rooms. It is basically a personal enjoyment type magazine and vehicle for hawking self-help books, for profit recovery programs, home based "cures", pharmaceuticals, and the like. I think the magazine may have been a bit more serious in the past, but it has never been a professional periodical. The author of the article is a psychologist, and if you looked at the byline she was promoting her self-help book. The symptoms she was giving for workplace "burn-out" were aligned with those for serious clinical depression. If someone is chronically suffering any of those symptoms they need to seek professional help, not simply reassess their career options, or take a vacation.



Do I think the author was reckless in that article? Absolutely! Psychologists are not medical doctors like psychiatrists, and may also have very narrow degree expertise, such as: addiction, sports, learning/education, child, geriatric, and even business. That psychologist wanted the reader with those symptoms to think they could "cure" themselves by buying and reading her book. This quote from the article is seriously inappropriate for the symptoms listed:

"... making a few little changes now will keep you in the race with a lot of gas to get you across the finish line."

2. The above problem was compounded by the blogger taking something described as "workplace" oriented and equating it with book blogging, which is almost always a hobby and at the outermost not more than an avocation. Plus, there are different kinds and degrees of "burn-out". Parenting burn-out is not the same as social media burn-out, or reading burn-out, or exercising burn-out. Some (like blogging burn-out) require only a step back and a breather, or some time off the net and social media. Some (like workplace burn-out) may require lifestyle changes and therapy. A person generally depends on their work situation to support themselves and their families, and of course they will suffer through personal hell-fires to keep it, especially if it is in their chosen career. Comparing blogging stress to workplace/career stress, and even worse depression, is as another blogger said... "belittling" the more serious conditions. You wouldn't find people comparing parenting "burn-out" to social media "burn-out", at least I hope not!

 Sad does not equal depressed.
Boredom is not apathy.
Being tired from drafting blog posts is not the same as physical exhaustion.

A person with clinical depression might have read that blog post and thought they were weak and worthless. The worst thing was, after I DMed the blogger and told them comparisons like this might trigger self harm, anxiety, and/or suicidal thoughts in readers with depression and self-esteem problems; and that I felt it should be taken down, their main concern was figuring out what quick, two second, asterisked asides they could tack on, via their phone, so they could leave the post up until they got home to edit it on the computer. She should have hit revert to draft immediately.
Another thing to point out, and the same thought I had, suggested by the blogger who made me aware of this post; even if blogging was triggering some of those symptoms in a person, it still is not blogging burn-out, it's a red flag for a much more serious underlying condition. Telling someone it's normal and happens to everyone, or is seasonal blogger slump, is dangerous. *This post has now deleted the Psychology Today link, taken out the clinical depression symptoms, and changed "burn-out" to "slump".

So what are my words of wisdom? Unless you work in a field of expertise directly related to a subject that is health, mental health, money, career, or legal advice related keep your blog post examples and advice specific to your own personal experiences. Don't flatter yourself that you will be sufficiently self-educated to be able to judge the validity of the information you have collected, or correctly formulate advice based on that information. Also, if attracting and retaining blog traffic is your first concern over the well-being of your readers, you might want to rethink your motivations for book blogging.

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