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Friday, December 20, 2013

Changing My Priorities in 2014


Last week when I did my ‘If were having coffee…’ post, I confessed something I’ve been trying hard to deny: blogging has become a chore. I don’t love it the way I used to. I still love and cherish the community - you guys are what keeps me going - but the pressure has become too much. And I let it become too much. I have no one to blame but myself.

Even though I said I wouldn’t, I committed to way too much in 2013. I requested/downloaded too many books on Edelweiss and NetGalley, accepted too many review requests, and pressured myself to keep up a regular blog schedule. I wracked my brain to come up with discussion posts and new features, then felt like a failure when I didn’t.

I also got really down when my page views dwindled, or when people didn’t comment on posts, especially the ones I’d worked really hard on, or when nobody followed the blog for what felt like ages.

In the last few weeks, I decided I needed to make a big decision - stop blogging altogether or change my priorities. As stressful as blogging can be at times, and as much as it feels like a chore lately, I can’t bring myself to stop blogging. It may not be as fun as it used to be, but I believe it could be. So I need to change my priorities.

In 2014 I will…
  • Only accept review requests for books that really interest me
  • Not request/download so many ARCs
  • Not freak out if I don't post 5-6 times a week. In fact, I think 3-4 times a week sounds pretty good
  • Plan ahead and schedule posts ahead whenever possible
  • Visit more blogs, comment more, and try to connect with more bloggers
  • Not worry so much about keeping up with ‘new’ books, new releases, and what everyone else is reading. I like older books and I have dozens on my shelves that are just waiting to be read.
  • Not sign up for as many challenges. I can’t keep track and then it just stresses me out
  • Lower my overall reading goal. In 2013 I upped it, but in 2014 I’m going to lower it by about a dozen. I’m extremely self-competitive, so I feel like I need to reach that goal, and it’s nearly driven me crazy this year.
  • Do more personal posts. Even though they're not my most popular page view/comment wise I enjoy doing them and it feels therapeutic.  
  • Do more fun posts - whether they're GIF-laden ramblings, simply me fangirling over something, or talking about non-bookish things like TV, music, movies, etc
  • Share more about my writing process (my actual process, plus excerpts, teasers, etc). I have an author blog but I rarely use it because I found it difficult to keep up with both, plus no one really reads it, even when I do post regularly. In 2014 I think Ramblings of a Daydreamer won't necessarily be so much a 'book blog' as a book/writing/general interests/my so-called life blog. Maybe by not pressuring myself to post so many reviews, and allow myself to talk about other things, it'll become fun again.
I want to get back to reading for pleasure. I want to read the gazillion books I’ve bought, won, or been given. I want to read the other gazillion books I’ve bought or downloaded on my Kindle and Kobo. I want to spend more time making real connections with bloggers - making friends, commenting regularly, chatting on Twitter, etc. I want to spend more time writing, because I have the best job in the world and I’m so lucky to do it.

Basically I just want this to be fun again. Reading is my escape, it’s what keeps me sane, and it shouldn’t feel like a job.

What are some of your blogging and reading goals for 2014? Are you changing priorities? Reading more or less? Blogging more or less? Making changes on your blog?


12 comments:

Molli Moran said...

I love this post A LOT. It won't surprise you at all to know that I have a similar post scheduled for next week, about where I went wrong in 2013 and where I want to go RIGHT in 2014. I have a lot of the same thoughts as you do.

I want to make Books and Whimsy a really FUN place again. I think I may start mixing in a little bit of non bookish stuff - the occasional movie review, I'll continue my playlist posts and GIF reviews, and try to keep my reviews light and fun.

I like all your goals and I KNOW you can do it! I fully support you getting back to loving blogging again. :)

Also I just noticed I'm in your sidebar. :D :D :D

Giselle said...

I think that's a great idea! When blogging starts to feel like a shore you gotta change things or you will come to dislike it and eventually quit. I also don't think posting less is a bad idea. I prefer reading good content once in a while than crappy unmotivated posts every day because they think they had to post something.

Julie S said...

These are great goals! I love that you're scaling back on things that aren't as important and are going to focus more on what you value - personal and interaction. :) I might want to make some goals as well, since I'm doing similar things. I've changed my contact me page to stop taking review requests, and I plan to focus on my Netgalley reviews and books I purchased and haven't read yet (like 200 of them)!

Kathy Ann Coleman said...

I can totally relate to this post, and I plan to have something similar go up. I still want to blog in 2014, but 2013 was not my year and I need to really evaluate where I'm at with I Write, I Read, I Review and where I want to be. I admire the honesty here, and applaud you for the courage writing this took. Here's to a fabulous--and FUN--2014! :)

Jessica S. said...

Yep! I am SOOO right there with you on a lot of this. I'm reducing my yearly goal by a lot in 2014. I'm hurrying up to finish this year and get caught up. I think tomorrow might be my "figure out where the blog is going" kind of day. Get posts together for it. :)

Leeanna said...

Yeeeeep. I have a post sort of like this in the works for myself; still thinking out all my goals for 2014 blogging wise.

Posting less is better, I think, than posting empty content. Not saying that you do post empty stuff - but never feel like you have to post every day.

I have been VERY bad myself about actually making connections with bloggers. I've gotten to the point where I email myself posts to comment on, and then never do. That is a big goal of mine for 2014, because I NEED those connections.

Good luck on finding a balance!

Patricia Lynne said...

Good luck with 2014. I definitely don't want you to stop blogging. I enjoy your posts.

Sarah M said...

Sounds like you have a great list! I did a lot of no-pressure reading this year, and really loved it. I'm going to continue it next year, with a big focus on my TBR list. It's massively out of control. But I'm still going to take a mood reading approach and just be much more selective about incoming books.

Arabella said...

I think perhaps you have expressed a common disillusionment that occurs from time to time but it is amazing how tempting and therapeutic blogging becomes. I have blogged off and on since about 2008 and while I have on a couple of occasions managed to walk away from the blog I have nevertheless ended up returning, every now and again when other things need to take priority I take a break from the blog. I have learnt not to care what other people think, my blog is for me and my amusement, I like to read only what interests me at the time and that can result in reading a lot of older books.
I also really like reading personal blogs where the content is about the author's life and thoughts as much as the books. Look forward to reading your posts when you do choose to post.
Hope 2014 is a great and relaxing blogging year, after all there is no point if it is not fun for you.

P.E. Mari said...

Go for it. I know how you feel, because I had a blog from a few years ago and eventually ended up posting sporadically. For me, getting a co-blogger relieved ALL the pressure, as well as making review books really rare. In terms of discussion posts, what helps me is writing down all my ideas. Also, I schedule like crazy with the co-blogger and that relieves stress.

Doing more fun/personal posts is hard though. Good luck with it! I'll probably make that one of my blogging resolutions as well.

Good luck with everything!
-P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

Susan Haugland said...

I have a similar post like this one coming up soon, in a couple of days. It's pretty much along the same or similar lines as yours. There were so many expectations that I put on myself this year, that I ended up becoming more stressed out and having less fun with the blog than normal. Plus, it didn't help when I broke my two bones in my left leg and fractured my ankle this summer, right smack in the middle of my very first official blog event that I had worked so hard at hosting. That definitely set me back and had me feeling awful.

I like that you're going to be posting more personal things and other stuff to the blog, I think I may be doing that same thing as well. Like the occasional tv show/movie thoughts, etc. Plus, I'm opening up my personal online shop on the blog called Bookish Charms, where I'll be offering custom made bookmarks for sale.

I know that you're going to meet all of your goals in the new year, I have tons of faith in you and I hope that you can find the place in blogging again, where it doesn't feel like it's a chore and it becomes something that's a natural outlet or release for you.

I have really enjoyed getting to know you and I can't wait to let our friendship grow and flourish in the new year! :)

xoxo,
Suz

Kristilyn (Reading In Winter) said...

GREAT post, Marie. I can relate to this a lot. Blogging to me has become a bit of a chore, but like you, I can't bring myself to quit! I have most of 2014 already scheduled and plan to reevaluate what I want blogging to be this year since I won't really *have* to post anything. I have some open days and might try new things, but I expect 2014 to be the year I try to figure out things and hopefully in 2015 I'll be able to do those things ...

And yes, the ARCs! I was so bad at requesting them and not reading them ... I really need to get back into reading for pleasure and really reading for quality and not just quantity. There are so many great books on my shelf that I've been neglecting and I really want to try and get to them this year!

Good luck!

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