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?
These are great goals. I’m glad you’re considering changing things up a bit to make blogging work better for you, instead of saying goodbye! I know I would miss reading your posts.
Thank you, Angela! That means a lot. I’d miss you all if I stopped blogging, too. I just need to figure out how to spend less time and have more fun. But I think I’ve come up with a few ideas, at least. 🙂
The Orangutan Librarian
I think these are fantastic goals! I hope they help you get your mojo back.
Thank you. Me too!
Aleen @ Lampshade Reader
You totally summed up how I have been feeling lately. Less ARCs–not accepting every single one. I’m also leaning towards mini reviews for books that I don’t have much to say on. So, I totally feel ya.
Aleen @ Lampshade Reader recently posted…2017 Reviews & Reading Challenges Wrap Up
Here’s to both of us finding ways to make reading and blogging more fun and less stressful in 2018!
Aj @ Read All The Things!
Good luck! I have to be really picky about which social media sites I use. There are so many of them that they could consume my whole life if I let them.
Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors
They really can. I like all the ones I’m using (Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram—in the order I added them) but they are just sucking up so much of my time that I feel stressed because I can’t keep up.
I’m glad you’re not stopping the blog. I enjoy it and would miss you. I haven’t set any reading goals yet except to read more of what I want in addition to the books for the two books groups I run at work and the books I read for review. Some days it feels as though that is the only reading I do. Oh, and listen to more audiobooks. I’ve slacked off on that and find that I miss it.
Thank you, Ilene! And best of luck with your reading goals this year, particularly reading more of what you want. I’m always in favor of that!
I’m glad you’re not giving up blogging, but I hope you find a way to make it fun again and not like a chore. I love all your goals! Good luck…and Happy 2018! 😀
Lark recently posted…Welcome to 2018!
Thank you, Lark! It helps boost my enthusiasm to know that there are people enjoying my blog, who would miss me if I left.
Happy 2018 to you, too!
Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
I’m glad you’re planning on continuing blogging! I’d miss you! I’ve decided to drop the Top Ten Tuesdays if it’s not one that interests me. I’ll probably do most of them but I won’t feel guilty about skipping a Top Ten Book Boyfriends or other topic that doesn’t. I’d like to freshen up my content a bit too but haven’t worked out exactly how. I think one of my resolutions will be to figure that out!
Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2017
Thank you, Katherine! It helps boost my morale to hear that. I look forward to seeing how you decide to freshen things up—though I love your blog as it it, I know it keeps things interesting for the blogger to change things up a bit, which is why I’ll be thinking about that, too.
I am SO glad you are continuing your blog. I would miss you, too! I skip a few memes every so often if I don’t want to do the topic. I’ve had to come to the realization that you can do that and it’s OK. What you’ve said about your review writing hits home with me. I am feeling exactly the same way! I recently went back to full-fledged writing instead of focusing on four or six specific topics. I don’t know which one I like more, but I feel like I’m rambling more now. Perhaps I need to go back. I’m also working on how I handle comments, too. At least, I’m trying. That is a lot of social media to handle even weekly. I have my Facebook page and Twitter that I don’t do hardly anything with, and mostly focus on Instagram. My Pinterest is just for me to keep things like recipes or crafts or work outs and such I want to go back to. Good luck working through your goals! I am glad you decided to stay!!
Thank you, Charlie! That means a lot. It’s the support and friendship of fellow bloggers like you that keeps blogging satisfying for me at this point.
Yes, the social media has gotten to be a bit too much for me. I don’t do a lot with Twitter, and my use of Pinterest is spotty, though I do link up all my review posts to both. So I’ll be playing with it a bit to see what and how I can cut back.
So glad you are continuing your blog. I am a reader, not a blogger, but your goals fit me as well. This past year I got too caught up in social media, following too many blogs, agreeing to do too many reviews . . . you know, and it started to feel like a job instead of the joy reading has always been. I am retired and I should be reading and relaxing more and spending more time with my family, not having a full calendar. All the best for the new year and good luck with your goals.