I've been friends with Jessica from Thoughts at One in the Morning for about five years now, and we've done a bunch of different projects together. We planned to create a Facebook group a few months ago called Thoughts and Daydreams, but after a lot of discussion and talking to online friends, we realized there are already so many FB groups and not enough time for everyone to post regularly in multiple groups. From there, the idea of a blog series was born. Each month we'll pick a reading- or writing-related topic and discuss it on our blogs. We also have a few other things up our sleeves, including giveaways and a couple events. We're thinking of eventually opening this up to other bloggers if there's any interest, so if you'd like to participate in the discussions, be sure to let us know in the comments and we'll work out topics and a link-up.
I've been blogging for 5 years now, and my blog (and I) have gone through a lot of changes in that time. The blogging world has grown so much, and while it's a wonderful thing, it also makes it feel sometimes like you're yelling into a void. There's no way everyone could ever visit and read and comment on all the blogs, so it can be easy to pick your favourites and stick with those, which means a lot of great new (and older) blogs go unnoticed, which can lead to bloggers quitting. I know I've had my fair share of moments where I've wondered if there's any point in going on with the blog, but I love it too much to give up. I've made some incredible friends, discovered new authors, and found a place online that feels like home.
There's also the pressure that comes with blogging. I feel incredibly blessed to get the ARCs I do, but it can really start to weigh you down. Over the last couple years, most of the books I've read are ARCs. I keep saying I'm going to read more 'me' books, but then a new batch of Harper titles becomes available on Edelweiss (auto-approval is a blessing and a curse!), or a book I'm excited about becomes available on NetGalley, or Simon & Schuster Canada, who I've had the good fortune to work with the last couple years, will send me a book or two, and I'm back to reading only ARCs.
That's going to change this year, though. If I want to continue blogging and keep my passion for reading, I know I need to make some changes. So I'm getting back to basics.
My plan for getting back to basics
- Visit and comment on more blogs. Favourite blogs, brand new blogs, blogs friends like, blogs I find on Twitter. I've been horrible about commenting the past year, mostly because my computer is ridiculously slow and it takes forever, but it's something I need to make a priority.
- Make more connections. Followers and page views are great, and as much as I say the numbers don’t matter, I do like seeing them rise. BUT having readers and making friends is so much more important. I fell out of that last year and I really want to make an effort to meet new people, get to know acquaintances better, and make real connections. I miss feeling like a real part of the community.
- Read more 'me' books. I still have a ton of review books - I have ARCs left from 2015 and I have a ton of 2016 ARCs already. But I'm going to make an effort to read more of the books that have been sitting on my shelves and Kindle for weeks, months, or even years. I'm hoping the Backlist Books Reading Challenge will help with that.
- Create new content. In 2015, most of my content was book reviews, plus I started my Wanderlust Wednesday feature, which I plan to keep up this year. I want more, though. More discussion posts, more fun stuff, more personal posts. I'll still post lots of reviews, but I want to mix things up. I'd love to be known as a place where people can come to read honest reviews, but also find fun, original content.
- Cut back on review books. This is going to be tough, but I'll try my best. I'm only going to accept requests for books that really interest me, and I'll limit how many books I download from Edelweiss and request there and on NetGalley. I'm also going to worry less about publication dates unless an author or publisher has a specific timeline. Reviews help authors any time, so having a book read and reviewed by publication date isn't always a necessity. I think this'll reduce a lot of my stress when it comes to ARCs.
Do you have plans for blogging and reading this year? Are you making any changes? Adding new features to your blog? Reading more or less review books? How do you limit your stress when it comes to blogging? Let's talk here or on Twitter!