Looking back, going forward…

So, I know that it isn’t quite the end of 2017 and I should be saving my New Year’s resolutions until the 1st January but I have a feeling there won’t be much blogging from me next week, other than a few scheduled posts, as my to do list is as long as my arm, and I can’t say about the weeks after that as school is out so I’ll be on mommy duty. With all this in mind, I thought I’d spend a bit of time today looking back at my year of book blogging and think about the things I want to accomplish next year.

bullet journal

For me, it’s been a good blogging year.  I feel like I’ve gotten into a good routine with my posts (well, most weeks) and – after three years of blogging – a lot of those insecurities I used to feel have gone.  I am happy with where I am and the way I work and I no longer look at other bloggers and what they do and feel anxious.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn from others and grow as a blogger – I do.  It just means I’ve stopped comparing myself in a negative way and I’ve stopped worrying about blogging “rules” I just can’t follow.  I think this has really helped my writing too – looking back at the same time last year, I feel my writing is more relaxed now.  I’m not over analysing ever line of a post and reworking it until – sometimes – it doesn’t sound like me.  This makes me happy.

happy pencil

In fact, book blogging in general makes me happy.  I love reading books and sharing my thoughts.  I love getting review copies of books by favourite authors and authors I have never read before but now class as clear favourites (like Joy Ellis, who I doubt I would have discovered were it not for NetGalley).  More than anything though, I love that I feel part of a community of people who love books as much as me.

This year I’ve made a conscious effort to engage more with other bloggers, not just with comments, but also through social media.  I’m not great at it – especially Twitter and Facebook – but I’m trying and that’s all you can do right?  I have much respect for bloggers who have this down pat and still manage to post on their blogs because I find it’s like black hole – I go in and I’m not sure how or when I get out, but suddenly I’ve lost an hour and I’m feeling slightly dazed.

media-998990_1920

Outside of the blog, this has been a year of change for me, with me moving from full-time employment to freelancer (or trying to anyway – it’s still early days!).  Finding I have had the time to do more than work, I have been working on my life and, wanting to share this with people, I set up a second blog called Every New Me for the “everything and anything” outside of books and to keep me motivated in my new life.  It’s been a different experience but I’m enjoying it.

With all this going on, now I need to think about where I go from here.  2018 will continue to be a time of change for me and I want it to be a time of change for my blogs too, especially this one so I can keep it fresh as it is easy, with one subject, to get in a rut I think and I don’t want to do that.  So, what are my plans?

to-do-2607082_1920

First, I’m going to look at how the blog looks and feels.  I began self-hosting last year and it’s been a steep learning curve which I’m not sure I’ve reached the top of yet.  There is so much I want to do but don’t know how to – yet!  So watch this space.

Second, I’m going to do more discussion posts.  I did a fair few this year, taking part in a discussion challenge, but I want them to be more engaging and a more regular feature.  My issue has always been being afraid of putting my voice out there.  The challenge has helped me get the confidence I need to hopefully kick-ass with it this year.

Lastly, I’d like to do some buddy reads or linked posts / features.  I’m not sure if there is anyone out there who would be interested in doing something like this with me, but if you do, leave me a comment below or drop me a line.  I think this will be a fun way to keep me excited about reading and build friendships.

There might be more things as the year goes on but we’ll see how these things go first.  Plus there will the usual challenges and memes that I take part in so there should be plenty of variety – which is what I’m looking for – more of a “mix”.  Fingers crossed it will work.

What about you?  Are you looking at your plans for 2018 – what do they involve?

Emma x

24 comments
  1. What a lovely post Emma! I’m happy to try some buddy reads in 2018! 😊

    1. Thank you. I will drop you a line in 2018 if that’s ok as I have Christmas brain right now?

      1. Me too! Will organise something next year! 😊

  2. This is a really exciting and empowering article, Emma:). I think your reviews are great – it’s why I generally like engaging with you and yes – I like the idea of buddy reading. I know our tastes don’t always overlap, but I have been known to read the occasional crime thriller… Maybe we can get together in early January and sort out what and when? All the very best in 2018!

    1. Thank you. I was thinking I need to read sci-if too so maybe we could each suggest a book for the other or something like that. I already have three or four books yoga be recommended on my list – I just need to get to them?

      1. That would be fabulous – we’ll sort something out in the early new year and I promise not to throw you in at the deep end with anything hardcore and very heavy on the tech side:))

  3. first let me say as a Bujoer… I LOVE your planner Emma! Love the lettering and the doodles! I love this post too! and yes! I can relate to everything you say here. Much of this will be on my “good Bye 2017” post schedule for the last week of December. Especially wishing I could interact with Blogger friends more efficiently in social media without losing hours down that rabbit hole! I would also love to write more discussion posts in 2018! Good luck Emma!

    1. The social media rabbit hole – what did we do before the Internet? Maybe 2018 will bring more hours in the day?

  4. I do like looking back, too, and seeing the positive changes…and also cringing a little at some of what I once did (like having 20 blogs at one time!). I started out in 2008 with one, added a couple more a year later, and then, after starting on WordPress, I went a little nuts, having fun designing them and making each one feel like a creative expression. The 20 blogs didn’t last long, and I merged some and had 11 sites for quite a while.

    Now I have six…fully merged, as it is too much work to delete any more of them (links that don’t match, etc.). Plus…I do like having a few. I don’t see myself as happy with just one. LOL

    I always enjoy visiting your blog with my first cup of coffee and some breakfast. I like your second site, too. Keep having fun!

    1. The positives are good but the cringes can actually be quite funny. Looking back is fun though. I’m finding two blogs just right – though if I get any freelance work in January I may say differently!

  5. I would like to do more discussion post too but I am not good at thinking of topics so I am thinking of joining Anna Cade’s Blog All About It challenge as it has monthly prompts. 🙂 I love buddy reads! My friend and I have a buddy read called Two bloggers One Book and it’s fun!! I am not sure what 2018 will hold for my blog but I do hope to find some new things to do and keep at it. 🙂

    1. Ideas – or not having them – is my problem. I will check out the challenge as I like someone to tell me what to do!

  6. Love this post I do my own thing and I’ve stopped trying to post everyday it was impossible to keep as well as work full time etc it’s worked for me as if anything my blog just keeps on growing. I think you shouldn’t compare yourself to other bloggers or feel you have to follow “blogging rules” and do what feels right for you at the end of the day, far less stressful x x

    1. Thanks. It’s taken me a long time to figure out how to be me if you like. I look at the blogs I like best and that is what I like about them. People are who they are. At the moment I’m not working so blogging is a lot easier but still sucks up so much time. Come January when I have to start working again I am sure it will be different!

  7. Great post! I can’t seem to figure out how to make time for reading, blogging, blog hopping, and SM. I’m doing my best but I always feel like my head is just above water. (And sometimes below.) And the self-hosted thing has been a blessing and a curse so I know how you feel. I still can’t figure out what’s coming from where. My Reader followers don’t always see my posts and I don’t always get theirs… I’ve actually considered changing back. I love the idea of link posts/features and would love to participate as long as the frequency isn’t too intense. I do love collaboration!

    1. Thanks. Time does seem to disappear doesn’t it. I know what you mean about switching back but there is a cost as the self-hosting was cheaper so I feel I need to stick it out. I need to thin through linked / joint posts but have my thinking cap on. I’ll maybe drop you a line in the new year as I am basically shutting down now for the holidays….too many potatoes to peel and still have a cake to bake !

  8. Wow you’ve got quite a lot going on off the blog! I’ve finally had to give up on Twitter and Facebook and admit it’s just not going to happen at this point though I am getting better in spurts on Instagram. I think blogging will take as much time as you give it between the actual blogging, the technical stuff, the commenting, the reading, the interacting and everything else. I came to a realization this year that I was just going to do the best I can and not worry about anything else. I’m hoping to do some more discussion posts as well and I’d love to do some buddy reads or posts though hazy on the details! You can email me at katherine.e.pitts@gmail.com if you’re interested later.

    1. It can suck you in so much can’t it – but I do love it. I do Instagram in spurts as well but I do like it more than Twitter or Facebook (which I am rubbish at!). I’ll drop you a line in the new year to buddy read – maybe we could do a cozy as you have so many good ones on your site and they are a genre I want to read more of?

  9. Good luck with your goals for 2018 🙂 I think a buddy read sounds like fun.

    It’s always interesting to look back on your year of blogging and see how you started vs how you finished. It sounds to me like you’re more content now, and that’s great!

    Have a wonderful holiday period (it’s come up so fast!)

    1. Thank you. If you’d like to do a buddy read, I can get in touch early next year to plan something? I am slowing down now for the season. I have one review to post and then that it’s for me I think till 2018.

  10. Working in the social media interactions is tricky for me, too. Let me know if you get that figured out! I always just end up watching videos of cats or something…..
    I’m not sure about 2018 yet. I think I’ll just be doing a lot of the same things I’m doing right now. I spent a lot of 2017 figuring out the things I’m currently doing, so I’m hoping to just do them better next year, I suppose. My wife is wanting to move….so that might be a big thing next year. We’ll see if the stars align. 🙂

    1. I’m not sure I will figure out social media but I’ll let you know. A move would be exciting…

      1. “Exciting” is one word to describe moving! I can think of many others as well, and not all of them are positive. 😛
        Yes, the social media stuff is… well, sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it, and I don’t want to make myself doing it and have it come across as bland, emotionless, and forced, which is what I fear would happen.

  11. I think these are some fantastic goals. I agree that social media can be such a rabbit hole, but it’s generally worth it.

Let me know what you're thinking...