I’ll be honest: I’ve been struggling with blogging for much of the last year. Some of it is due to the mono I had last spring, which sapped my energy for months. (I’m not sure I’m entirely back to “normal” yet.) But some of it is that I’m feeling burnt-out. Writing reviews has felt like a chore, and I haven’t been happy with a lot of the reviews I’ve written; too many of them feel superficial and cliched, at least in comparison with reviews I wrote several years ago.
The same is true of my reading; I’ve been reading a lot of light, fluffy books (fair enough; I haven’t had the energy or focus for anything serious.) While light books are fun, and have been good therapy in a year full of bad news, part of me longs to intersperse some books with a bit more depth: more long and epic fantasy, more thoughtful, classic-style or historical mysteries, and maybe even a few classics.
I thought long and hard about whether it was time to close the blog down and move on to other things. I decided to keep going for a couple of reasons:
- I used to love blogging, and maybe I can figure out ways to rekindle that love and excitement again.
- I would miss my blogging friends.
- I have ARCs still unread and unreviewed, both from 2017 (and earlier — eep!) and for the first several months of 2018.
- I committed to running The Backlist Reader Challenge for 2018.
So I’m going into this year with some new goals for the blog to try to make it both more fun and less time consuming, and goals for my personal and creative life, which kind of got neglected in 2017.
- Request fewer ARCs. I know, I say that every year. But I really need to do it this year. Once I get through the books I’ve already requested, I want to have more time to choose what I want to read thoughtfully, not be playing catchup all the time. I also need to build in plenty of time for re-reading, since it’s an important part of my reading life.
- Participate in fewer memes. That may sound counterproductive. I mean, memes are one of the things that help you find new followers and new blogs to follow, right? But they eat a lot of time that I could be spending either reading, reviewing, or writing discussion posts — in other words, creating good and more original content.
- I will probably drop Top Ten Tuesday except when it’s one I’m really interested in, for example. I’ve already done that over the last 6 months or so, anyway.
- I may cut back to one or two Sunday Posts per month, instead of every week. (Or at least changing my format so I don’t spend as much time finding and entering thumbnails of all my books.) I like Sunday Post, though, so I haven’t decided for sure yet.
- And I am debating giving up News & Notes, even though it’s my own feature and it is relatively popular. Or I might make that an every-other-week feature, too.
- I’ll be experimenting to see what works best for me.
- Find ways to streamline my social media. I don’t know whether that will mean finding new tools that make social media content easier to share across platforms, or eliminating some of my social-media apps altogether. I simply can’t keep up with Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest on a daily basis. Or even several times a week. Something’s got to give.
- Write more thoughtful reviews. And when I can’t think of much to say, or the book doesn’t lend itself that type of review, write a mini-review. They don’t all have to be 5 or 6 paragraphs long!
- Write more discussion posts. But only when I have something to say, not just for the sake of writing a post.
- Include my other interests sometimes. I’m thinking of posting at least once a month about my knitting, spinning, and/or other creative pursuits. I might also start posting more photos and book quotes. (Right now, those mostly only go on my Instagram and/or Tumblr.)
- Take a new approach to comments by visiting as many commenters’ blogs as I can manage, but no longer responding to every comment unless there’s a question or it sparks discussion.
- Take better care of myself. I’d like to be more physically active, and improve my eating habits. And I need to take more breaks when I’m at the computer.
- Make time for creativity. Knitting and spinning take time. So does music. And I’m finally doing a little writing (of fanfic); I’d like to commit more time to that, as well.
- Spend more time as a couple. We’re empty-nesters now. We ought to be able to go out and do more together. But to do that, I need to get my work done during the week, so I have weekends free.
- Improve my environment. I’m not an organized person, except when it comes to ideas. I live with a lot of “stuff.” I started working on that in 2017, but I’ve got a long way to go. I’d like my house to be a haven.
So there you have it: my 2018 resolutions. If I can manage even half of them, it will be an improvement over 2017.
What are your goals or resolutions for 2018?