Bookish and Blogging Goals for 2016

bookish and blogging goals

As usual for this time of year, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post is an exercise in goalsetting. I’ve never really been a resolution person, but goals and reminders work well for me. It’s time to evaluate last year’s bookish and blogging goals, which I handled fairly well, and set a new focus for this year.

Bookish Goals

After missing my Goodreads goal in 2014, I set it a bit lower for 2015 and was a-ok. The end of this year will hopefully bring a big change with grad school, so I’m aiming for a Goodreads goal of 100 books, which is the lowest its been in years, but feels realistic.

Even though I’m planning to make adjustments, I need to remind myself that reading for pleasure is something I value. What I’m really saying is, I’ll have to manage my time and priorities so reading can still be my escape (instead of Netflix and pizza, though I do plan to carve out time for both).

I want to continue to embrace my growing love for short stories. I never would have imagined two or three years ago that some of my favorite books would be short story collections, but here we are. I want to keep branching out into different types of short stories and remind myself to keep picking them up, even if they’re not always first on my list.

I’m hoping to keep up with and maybe even improve my library use. I used my library way more last year than I ever have and I’d love that to continue. I use both my city and a nearby county’s library system, but especially value the work the city system does in my own neighborhood, where it’s an incredible resource for so many people.

Sadly, I could probably copy and paste last year’s goal about letting go of books that aren’t doing it for me. It seems I always start the year strong in the DNF department, but feel some sort of obligation to hang on the longer the year progresses. I really, really need to learn to let go of books I’m just not enjoying.

Blogging Goals

Moving into year three of blogging has me settling into a confident space held up by learning from some of the blogging mistakes I’ve made in the past, so most of these goals are focused on growth with a reminder to do what I know works for me.

With changes that are sure to come over the next year, I want to be more comfortable with not posting or reading as much as usual. Not that there really is a “usual”. I don’t have a set blog schedule (for shame!), but I do like to post three or four times a week. While I don’t panic over not having posts ready, I do feel a little off if I go more than a few days without posting, and that’s something I just need to adjust to.

I went through some up and downs this year with creative spurts, but for the most part I felt like I kept last years goal of coming up with fresh, creative content ideas. It’s something I’m definitely focused on doing this year and hope to branch out even more, if possible.

I want to remember that this blog is meant to share books with readers, not just other bloggers. It’s not because I don’t love you, my sweet book blogging darlings, but I think our community is so great that sometimes we forget other people read our blogs, too. From what I’ve been able to parse out, a pretty significant percentage of my traffic doesn’t blog, so I imagine posts focused on blogging are fairly isolating (I say this…as I’m writing about blogging). While I’m up for digging into blogging issues here and there, I need to remind myself that there are other, dedicated spaces for those conversations.

This has been one of my goals for the last two years, but it feels particularly important lately: keep spreading my love of books through blogging without sacrificing content or personal enjoyment for the purpose of developing a brand. I’m excited for those that have found or are working on ways to earn money from their blogs, but I have a very specific zone of comfort in that regard and want to stay within it. I know I tend to stop reading blogs when the content turns to promotion over personality and I’ve learned I’m happiest when my blog is a space free of the pressures that come from deadlines and restrictions, so I think this is the best decision for me, at least for now.

What are your goals for the new year?

 

  • Just checking in to say that you continue to be one of my absolute favorite book bloggers. Happy 2016!

  • Some of your blogging goals are ones that I need to remember too. I’ve also gotten into short stories more so over the past few years and have grown to love them.

    • I’m so surprised by how quickly my short story love evolved, but it’s really exciting. It’s still a bit of a challenge for me to remember that I actually like them, though!

  • Melanie

    Best wishes to you in your goals, both reading and blogging!

    (This is my first time visiting your blog, and I love your layout. I’ll definitely be back. :))

  • Laura Frey

    Pretty much all of this, with way fewer books and posting way less often :) The phrase “personal brand” makes me cringe.

    • Laura Frey

      Hit enter too soon – the part about readers, not bloggers, is particularly interesting. I know a lot of my traffic comes from people looking for particular books. But I don’t think those people stick around. But then again, I’m always surprised when someone I know says that they do read my blog. I ask, why don’t you comment? And they look at my like I’m crazy. Bloggers are here for community/engagement, and readers are here to, well, read. Who’d have thunk it :)

      • Yes, absolutely! I know I don’t leave comments on most of the (non book) blogs I visit, so it makes sense. But there are a few blogs I visit pretty regularly and I would be kind of turned off if they turned inward and acted like no one else read their blogs…so I wand to try to keep that in mind.

  • I hope you achieve your goals this year! Your goals are really thoughtful.

  • These are well thought-out goals, Shannon. I think I’ll just adopt them as my own. :)
    Your thoughts about readers versus bloggers are interesting. I often wonder who and how many are reading my blog without commenting. It’s nice to think that they are out there.

    • It can be super hard to tell! I’ve heard word from non bloggers that are readers and know that I have non blogger followers on other platforms, but I don’t know what the real numbers are. It is nice to think they’re out there, though :)

  • Your last 2 goals really rang a bell for me… a lot o bloggers that I follow (not just in the book-o-sphere, but in some other hobby categories too) seem to get caught up in the “blogging” part of their hobby while the books, etc. start to take a back seat. Almost as if the act of blogging itself subsumes the original activity that the blog was based on? There are obviously many ways to define “success” in blogging, but IMHO the best blogs are those that don’t forget what they were originally created for — to share a love of reading (or whatever) with other readers.

    • I’ve seen it take over some blogs, too. I can see the appeal of going in that direction, especially in a small niche like book blogging – your audience gets much wider when you talk about something that appeals to more people. But…just like you said, that’s not why I started my blog, and I’m sure many of those readers wouldn’t stick around for my book posts.

  • I’m working on being comfortable with reading less as well. Last year, I pushed myself too hard and hit some really bad slumps. This year is all about keeping the joy in reading.

  • Love your point about keeping your non-blogger audience in mind. I find that it’s hard sometimes b/c most of the people you hear from are fellow bloggers via commenting (at least that’s the case for me), but I know there are tons of other non-blogging readers out there….albeit more quiet ones. I’m also remaining more open to short stories this year after loving Beneath the Bonfire so much last year!

    • Definitely. I know that it can be tempting to focus on how to do x, y, or z with blogging because your audience instantly expands, but I think we forget that our audience is already plenty large, we just don’t always hear from those people.

  • I’m really excited about the sort of resurgence of short story collections; I don’t mean that there’s been a shortage, but I think they are getting more attention and so I learn about them more easily. Regarding your goal of spreading your love of books without sacrificing content or personal enjoyment, I really wish I’d been more true to myself when I started my blog. As a newbie, it’s been easy to get caught up in others’ expectations of their own blogs and feel like I should do more or do something different; that’s just crazy! I have running friends who, having found the blog because of our mutual interest in running, really enjoy hearing about the books I’ve read; it’s hard to remember that, though, until one of them says something to me in person.

    • It’s really hard not to get caught up in everything – I know I did for a while, too. It just didn’t make me feel happy at all. There was so much pressure to do things that I wasn’t interested in or didn’t even care about, when I started this blog for *fun*.

  • You always have such a way with putting things, and your goals are some that I could definitely work on, myself. I always get caught up on the “reading for pleasure.” I read for pleasure for the most part but when I take a while to finish a book because of life’s little interferences, I tend to stress myself to read as many as I can afterward “because I blog about books.” I definitely need to work more on not pushing myself to read just because I blog but more for the simple enjoyment I get from reading, no matter how long it takes to finish a book.

    • It can definitely be hard, especially when reading so much has become somewhat of a way of life. It just makes me feel strange when I’m not making time to read…it really is a comfort for me, and kind of a signal that things around me are crazy if I don’t have time to sit down and read.

  • “be more comfortable with not posting or reading as much as usual”… yes, a million times, YES! Me too :) Really loving your goals, and so many of them fit in with what I’m hoping to accomplish this year as well!

    • I feel like I’ve gotten comfortable with so many other aspects of how I blog, but those are just a few of my hangups…have to let go!

  • Excellent goals, madam! I’m keeping my reading goals modest lest I rebel, but I do want to read a few more comics this year. And write about them! I actually read more comics than I wrote about in 2015, by quite a bit, and I’m not exactly sure why. I suppose it’s that comics are often part of an unfinished story arc? So it’s hard to know when to post about them. I want to think about this more in 2016, and find some sort of compromise, because I’m not thrilled with my current situation of just never writing about comics I love because their story arcs haven’t reached a conclusion.

    • I’ve wondered the same thing about certain books I don’t review. I think for me I end up not reviewing some books I love the most just because I can end up having a hard time writing about them…definitely something I want to work on. I’d love to see you write more about comics!

  • I’m with you on these goals and YAY for short stories! Letting go of books is still tough for me but then I see a pile sitting close by and just tell myself that I can always come back to the ones that weren’t right at that particular time. I think you are the master of fresh, creative content and love seeing what you have up your sleeve. The last two blogging goals are perfect! I’ve had friends reach out and tell me they loved a post and yet they don’t blog and that makes me very happy that I’m reaching readers outside of the blogosphere.

  • Lauren @ Malcolm Avenue Review

    If you are ever in doubt about the fact that you come up with new and creative content, come see me, because you kick ass at that, lady. I’m constantly amazed. I’m with you on the shorts, too, and likewise couln’t imagine myself saying that (thanks go to Marisa on this one). You mentioned your blogging mistakes. Have you ever done a post about that? I’d be curious. Not because I want to shine a light on your perceived failings, but because I’m certain you’re too hard on yourself and also have a lot to learn about the bloggy thing.

  • All great goals, Shannon. I especially want to let go of some of the bad feelings about my local library. They have extremely limited choices, but every time I go, a few gems jump out at me, so I need to take advantage of those gems. It’s also a great point that many of our blog readers don’t blog themselves. I’m seeing and realizing that more and more. Books, books, books for everyone. I like the idea that we, as bloggers, provide a reader advisory outlet for anyone!

    • Lauren @ Malcolm Avenue Review

      lol. I just started using the library again a few years ago. My issues with library books can probably best be explained by the fact that every time you typed “gem” I read it as “germ.” Find a booger in a book once and it ruins you for decades. And it’s not the worst thing I’ve found in a library book.

      • YES THIS! I am not immune (har!) to that experience either. I get after them with Clorox wipes whenever they come home.

        • Lauren @ Malcolm Avenue Review

          Immune. Nicely done. I so hear you re the wipes. Hi fellow weirdo! (But really, it’s rational, right?)

  • Shannon, you’re really my blogging role model. I think you definitely succeed in keeping your blog creative, fresh, and fun! Keep up the good work in the new year! :) Also, your point about writing for readers instead of for bloggers made a big difference in the way I write my posts as well, so I have you to thank for that. Looking forward to reading your posts this year! (That being said, I totally understand your goal of not needing to post as much!)

    • Aw, thank you so much Karen! (don’t look up to the fact that it took 9 days for me to respond to this – that’s bad blogging :D)

  • Yes to all these goals!! I’ve also been trying to keep in mind that it’s not just book bloggers reading (maybe. who knows. maybe it’s just my mom reading).
    As you know, I’m a huge library advocate and it’s been great seeing your library posts!! 2016’s going to be great

  • Heather

    These are the best goals and don’t ever go changing too much because you already have pretty great content (in my humble opinion).

    I’d like to use the library more this year. My usage of it jumped 100% last year from 2014 ( didn’t use it in 2014 at all), but it was mostly books I borrowed for assignment purposes. This year I’d definitely like to get some books for actual reading and enjoyment.

    • I just started using my library over the last two years, too, and I can’t believe it took me so long!! Shame!

  • Bryan G. Robinson

    I don’t know if it’s because the bloggers I follow are so similar (in a good, very good, way) but I feel like I’ve said this before: As a library assistant at a small town library, I’m glad you’re using libraries, naturally. I’ve never been one that has felt like I had to finish a book. Of course, I also don’t post what I’m reading yet while I’m reading the book, or try not to, or try not always to do that. I think it’s good not to have a blogging schedule. I only have one day that I post on for sure: Sundays, but otherwise, it’s pretty loose, very loose, and I like it that way. I’m completely with you in that “specific zone of comfort” (as I went and reread the post) and probably why I enjoy your blog so much.

    • I try to keep my Monday posts like your Sundays, but other than that I’m all over the map! It definitely helps keep me from feeling like I *have* to post.

  • Happy new year and good luck to all your goals for 2016. I agree with ALL your bookish goals – reading more short stories, DNF the books I don’t like (life’s too short) and definitely remember to read for enjoyment.

    I got a library card last year! First time I’ve had one in a while, so I think we have similar goals :)

  • I also need to accept that sometimes I’m just too busy to post as often as I’d like! I don’t have a particular schedule either, but I do notice when I’ve not posted in awhile. I agree that you’ve done a good job coming up with fresh content! I’ve particularly noticed that you’ve written a lot of engaging posts that I wanted to share this year :)

    • I definitely notice when I haven’t posted in a while, too, and it makes me feel strange…I just need to let go of that a bit!

  • Great goals, I think I pressure myself to keep up with more prolific book bloggers and I just have come to accept the fact that I can’t. I’m diversifying my blog topics a little more this year after looking at what my most popular posts are. I’m still reading and blogging about books too but not all the time. Good luck in 2016!

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