This year has nearly come to a close, and what a year it has been! I started this blog back in January, and I must say that it has been an amazing experience. The way I chose and interact with books has completely changed. I’m reading new genres and discovering new authors. I’m thinking more critically as I read and picking up more diverse books and authors. I read more this year than I ever have before (102 books! In one year!). Seriously, this has been an incredible year for reading. But with new reading habits and joining the blogging community comes some difficulties and I’ve learned a thing or two. So with that in mind, I’ve come up with some reading resolutions for next year.
My goals for next year aren’t necessarily to hit a certain follower count or traffic stat across my various platforms. These were things that I had tried to control when I started and you know what, they’re completely out of my control. I really struggled for about 8 months with posting 6-7 days a week in order to drive traffic to my site, pored over stats, and got uncomfortably sweaty when thinking about how I could possibly get as many followers as other bloggers who started around the same time. But those are things I cannot control and quite frankly, it wasn’t doing me any good to worry about those things.
There is, however, a good number of things that I can control. I can boost the quality of my content, get more creative with videos and graphics, and broaden my reading horizons. I’ve come up with a list of resolutions for the new year that reflect these achievable goals and loop in a lot of the things I learned over the course of the year.
Broadening my reading horizons
I’m someone who has always said I am willing to give any book or genre a try. But I do have my preferences — science fiction and fantasy are my first loves. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I spent about four years or so exclusively reading adult fantasy. I learned a lot about the genre, but ho-boy did I burn myself out on it.
I got back into reading seriously in the latter half of 2016 and discovered YA fiction in January of 2017. Since reading Rebel of the Sands, I’ve been on a young adult rampage! While it has cooled off and I’ve read other things this year, I really have been knee-deep in YA. Of course, that’s a great thing, however there are a ton of other books. Next year I would like to read more non-fiction and some longer fiction books. I have a deep love for books that run over 600 pages and just haven’t picked many up this year.
Reducing my Goodreads goal
I’m so proud to have read 102 books this year (yes, I’ve already mentioned that. I said I’m proud!), but that was mostly due to the fact that I read a lot of shorter YA books. By reducing my goal to 50, I’ll be able to make time for the longer and slower books mentioned above.
Finish Wheel of Time
Okay, you guys may not know about this one. I started Robert Jordan’s phenomenal Wheel of Time series back in 2011. Wheel of Time is a fifteen-book (if you include the prequel, which you should) epic fantasy series. Now, I mean epic in every sense of the word — each book is at least 600 pages long. I finished Winter’s Heart, the ninth book in the series, in 2016 and have been dreading the tenth one. If you’re clued into the series, you are probably nodding in sympathy. Why? Wheel of Time has a dreaded slump. Books 8-10 are notoriously difficult to get through. Remember Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons? Like that. But longer.
The tenth novel is supposed to be the most difficult of all. I’m really dreading it. But in 2018, I will read it! I want to at least get up to the twelfth book, because that’s the point that Brandon Sanderson takes over after Jordan’s death. You all know how I feel about Brandon Sanderson by now.
So my blog isn’t all that pretty. I haven’t worked on it at in months. Months! I’d really love to get around to designing some new graphics, tidy things up, and take some lovely new photos. If anyone has any tips, let me know!
Scale back on requests
This is probably the most difficult and most helpful one. I fell into the same trap as many other new bloggers. There are so many amazing books out there available to request! Why not ask for this one? And this one? And maybe this one too? Suddenly you have enough reading material for 3 years and you don’t know how to dig your way out of your own TBR and you might need to start eating books for survival.
I have anxiety that’s usually well controlled, but toward the second half of 2017 it began to flare up really badly. A good portion of it was due to overcommiting and underperforming in terms of advance copies. Throw in a bit of a book-buying problem, and you may be able to see why I was a little panicky. I literally had more books to read than was possible. I’m going to scale back on my review requests in the new year. I’d really like to be able to read down my TBR (ha ha ha), or at least the stack of advance copies I feel responsible for. I’m sure this one is on a lot of poeple’s lists.
Get more involved with the community
Confession time: I feel like a bit of an old lady here sometimes. It’s hard to really throw yourself into the community when you’re about 10 years older than a number of the other bloggers you like. But my wizened age really doesn’t mean anything. I’d really love to get more involved in things like Sunday YA and UK YA Chat on Twitter.
I’ve also really fallen off the commenting bandwagon here on WordPress. I’m sorry! My days seem to grow much shorter around the holidays and I’ve been in Christmas mode since November. In the new year, I’m going to be much better about interacting with pals here. I want to show some more support for all you lovely people
Halt the book buying
I went a little overboard this year with buying books. But when you discover a whole new subsection of publishing, you tend to get a little excited! Scottish Fiancé and I are going to start saving for the wedding in January, so that means that I’ve got to cut some of my expenses down. And seeing as I only really spend money on books and food, I should probably buy fewer books. Fortunately, the Oxford Central Library has reopened and is marvellous!
The idea that I won’t buy any books over 2018 is ludicrous, so instead I’m going to change up my buying habits. If I do feel the need to buy books, I’m going to do my best to purchase online. I don’t buy books from Amazon, but places like Blackwells and Book Depository (yes I realise BD is owned by Amazon) still offer a number of discounts online. Any money I can save will be helpful!
I think that’s the most realistic I can get for resolutions! I’m going to continue to not pushing for stats and do what I need to make this the happiest place for me. Remember: when book blogging becomes more of a joy than a passion, it’s time to reassess what you’re doing.
Do you have any reading or blogging resolutions for 2018? Are you setting goals for yourself? Let me know!