Bookish and Blogging Goals for 2017

I’m a little bit shocked, but I did a pretty bang-up job of sticking to my goals from last year. Granted, most of them focused on giving myself breathing room knowing I’d be starting a doctoral program in August, but I’m still pretty amazed that I didn’t go totally off the rails. Let’s see what’s ahead for 2017.

Bookish Goals

I drastically lowered my Goodreads goal to 100 books in 2016…and still managed to miss it. I blame the hundreds of pages of academic reading and writing I was doing, but…sigh. I’m keeping the goal at 100 books for 2017. I’m not someone who binges on tiny books and graphic novels in moments of stress at the end of the year. The Goodreads goal tends to be a non-stressful motivator for me, so I want it to be set at a number I’d like to hit and do what I can.

After realizing that audiobooks are a great way to squeeze in more reading, I really want to work them into the reading I do this time around. I’m super curious to see how much of a difference they make from the start of the year to the end.

For most of 2016, I totally kept up with last year’s goal to use my library more. Sadly, in the last few months, the branches haven’t been open when I’ve had time to pick up my holds, so I’ve been missing out. I’m still hoping to keep up the library use in 2017, but it will likely be through the university library since I tend to be there at least once a week.

I’ve always struggled to DNF books, even if I’m not loving them, but the limited reading time I had at the end of this year kind of forced me to get picky quick. Instead of a neverending cycle of starting and dropping books, I’m aiming to find some sort of reading sweet spot where I let go of books I’m just not enjoying, but don’t DNF simply because I don’t have the time.

One of my 2016 goals was to remind myself that reading for pleasure is something I value. Strangely enough, it’s the bookish goal I struggled with most this year. I never expected it to be so difficult to enjoy reading. Just typing that seems impossible, but I’ve gone weeks without reading and there have been days when I’ve nearly had to force myself to pick up a book. I’m hoping that I feel a little more settled into the routine of school this semester and all of this will be easier, but that could be a stretch.

Blogging Goals

I’m really struggling with being honest with myself about some of the changes this blog is facing, so I’m hoping that setting some boundaries and goals for myself will make it a bit easier. I noted that I wanted to be more comfortable with not posting or reading as much as usual in my 2016 goals, with anticipation of losing time due to school, and I’m proud of myself for doing well with that. What I didn’t expect was how much more I would struggle with feeling lost in the bookish community in general. There really are only so many hours in the day and just so much I want to do. I hope I can find some way to keep myself feeling more connected even if I can’t be in 2017.

With that in mind, I really want to focus on the purpose of this space. I care about sharing my current reading, the books I’m interested in, and connecting them to other people and larger issues. While I love for new readers to find their way here, traffic and SEO and all the other business of blogging is just so far off my radar right now. It will probably mean less consistency in posting, some unfortunate loss of regular content (does anyone want to grab the reins on Library Checkout?), fewer ARCs…just less in general. But hopefully it will make it possible for me to keep this going instead of dropping away completely.

There is one thing I’d like to do here a bit more, if I can crawl out of my comfort zone. I’m spending all these hours and days and months working toward this degree and I’d like to apply some of what I’m doing and find a way to write a bit more critically/analytically about my reading. We’ll see how that comes together.

What are your goals for 2017?

  • Excellent, well-thought goals. I can’t get much past “read and blog” as goals for 2017. However the numbers may pan out. Being kind to ourselves and our life load is so important.

  • Loving your goals, and they mirror much of what I hope for myself this next year. Insert “motherhood” where you mention school, and I’m right there with you. I need to find a way to be okay with less posting, more sporadic posting, less books in general… and am trying to find my path to that. I so feel that disconnect, like you’re either IN or you’re OUT, but I think most if not all of that is on me. When I don’t have time to read, or blog, there’s not time to connect either… it’s all tied together, but like you mentioned, it’d be nice to find a way to stay connected even if not actively posting consistently. Ramble, ramble. Good luck to you in your next semester, and I’ll happily read any post you put out there whenever that may happen :)

    • It’s so, so hard to find a balance with this, for some reason, and I think a big part of it is that feeling of disconnect. I think if enough of us are aware of it and remind ourselves there are still people out there, we’ll be in a good place.

  • Ceillie Simkiss

    Audiobooks are the reason I hit my goal so early, and read so much. I really hope they work for you! If you have access to Hoopla through a local library, I highly recommend it. I hope that you can find a schedule for blogging that works for you and doesn’t overly stress you during grad school. I’ll be happy to read whatever you bring us!

    • Thanks, dear!
      Maybe you can answer my Hoopla question…when I log in I’m only able to see movies and albums, do you think that means my library doesn’t offer audiobooks that way?

      • Oh bummer, that might just be the case – no audio or e-books to offer that way through Hoopla. If you can get your library to offer those it is so very worth it!

  • Love your plan! Keeping it simple and doing what you want with this space is always a great goal! :) I’ve gone 2- and 3-week stretches without posting on the blog this year, but I was still around on social media, or sometimes I was just lurking, and I found – it was all fine.

    I did the last-minute novella thing this week but it was more like having cake after a huge meal of chunksters this year, ha! I’m going to try to spread them out in 2017, and definitely squeeze in more audiobooks.

    • I’m definitely more active on Twitter and Instagram than I am on my blog, and even that hasn’t been much lately. It’s really hard to feel connected when time is so limited, but I just jump in and out when I can… and like you said, it’s fine. And until I have the time and energy for more than that, I have to embrace the fine.

    • I love the thought of all that cake after chunksters…you really did do a ton with all that Dune!

  • Good post. Worthy, and perhaps workable, goals. Have a good start to 2017. Remember what you do on New Year’s Day you’ll be doing all year; therefore, skip all housework!

    • I skipped housework, but only because I was sick with a stomach bug…that doesn’t bode well!!

      • It’s only an old superstition. Don’t pay it any mind!

  • I’d be happy to take up Library Checkout. Unfortunately I’m on free WordPress, which means I can’t actually use any kind of linky on my page. And it’s my experience that the extra step of clicking through to a linky list leads to less engagement on those linked posts leads to less interest in linking the posts in the first place leads to a slow death for the feature.

    Meme or no meme, I plan to keep sharing my library activity each month, so let me know.

    • I think my posting may be too sporadic to be sure I can do it consistently, so I’d love to pass it off to someone who thinks they’d be able to. If you’re interested and plan to share anyway, you should run with it and I’ll send folks your way!

  • Maybe this is just the year of destruction- tearing down/leaving the old and waiting to see what happens? I am NOT referring to this country, but because of everything that is happening I know several deeply intelligent, marvelous bloggers like you who are questioning their blogs. Your plan sounds like a wise one.

    Having said that, I do miss your reviews. You have the ability to get to the heart of a book quickly and as a reader I always knew from your words if it was something I should read or not. Not a guilt trip- just want you to remember that you are a wonderfully creative person!

    As for the DNFing, I hear you. It’s become a real crutch for me this fall. I even went so far to create a GR category for myself: Stalled. But if I go back and look at those books- I never picked them up again. whether it’s me or the book I need to own that putting something down more than once means I’m not interested.

    I’ve not thought about goals for 2017. Think it’s going to be a wing it year.

    • Nodding right along with all of this! I keep wondering if my mood/ennui/etc. is a result of 2016 just tearing everything down or a side-effect of school. Still not sure, but hoping things get better this year. I’m definitely hoping to get a few reviews up before classes start again and I’m trying to figure out a good way to stay as active as possible. I’ll definitely be here as much as I can and reading what you share, too!

  • I would like to second Andi’s comment; I’ve been trying to recognize that being kind to myself is much more important than maintaining any self-imposed expectation where blogging (and even reading) is concerned. Considering what you’ve taken on this year, I can only imagine how difficult it’s been to find time for such luxuries as pleasurable reading and blogging. Having said that, I too crave the connections I’ve developed within the bookloving community and, selfishly, I love seeing your posts…but I will enjoy them whenever they show up and look for you in other places until then. :) Happy New Year, Shannon; congratulations on surviving 2016!

    • Thank you for all of this! One of the hardest things is not having time to get to everyone else’s posts, too. I was just reading one of yours from three MONTHS ago (so much shame) and sometimes feel like I’ll never catch up! But I’m trying (even if I don’t always have the time to comment!)

      • I took a break for awhile, too; I can blame Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves) for my blogging resurgence because she has my phone number and sends texts when she hasn’t heard from me – ha! I thought it had to be all or nothing so, when things got a little hectic or I just wasn’t feeling it, I quit completely. I’ve decided that it can be whatever I want it to be…and so I guess that’s what will be happening now! :)

  • I also listened to a ton more audiobooks than last year… almost double from the year before. It definitely helped me reach my reading goals easier but I am still struggling with DNF-ing. I hate to give up on a book in case it gets better but sometimes it’s just not worth it. Work in progress. :)

  • I’m also trying to be happy with reading a less than I used to and the past few weeks, it’s been helping me to focus on reading thoughtfully. I think this is partially because it makes me feel comfortable with a slower reading pace. I always love your posts and I’m sure you’ll keep doing awesome in 2017 :)

    • I so love the idea of reading thoughtfully – it’s definitely something I know I let slip a little too often.

  • Diane D

    Shannon, Although I rarely comment, I’ve enjoyed your blog and enjoy many of the same books you choose to read. I’ve been blogging since 2008 and lave lost my blogging mojo, sometimes it feels like a job instead of fun. For 2017 I will still be reading but, enjoying life and posting only when the spirit moves me.

    Happy New Year!

    • Thanks so much! It definitely gets most frustrating when it feels like a job – that’s when it really feels like it’s time to re-evaluate. It sounds like you’re on the right track, too!

  • Kailana

    I only got back into audiobooks partly through last year, too, so I am curious what it will be like to listen to them straight through the year. Hope 2017 is a great reading year for you!

    • I never thought I’d be listening to them as regularly as I am, but they’re such a great addition to my reading!

  • Wow, these are some really well-thought-out goals. I’m interested in seeing what you come up with for your “write a bit more critically/analytically about my reading” goal!

  • Yeah I hope you don’t drop off your blog completely. I value it. I’m still thinking about my goals for 2017, but I’d like to try to have one audio, one novel and one nonfiction going on at once. We’ll see how that goes. Also I want to try to mix in some classics. Good luck with school this year.

    • A goal to have an audio, novel, and nonfiction at the same time would be great! I tend to have something close to that (at least the fiction/nonfiction if the audio isn’t involved) and it helps give me some balance.

  • Love the idea of applying a bit more of an academic/critical thinking lens to reviews. Sometimes with fiction I focus so much on reading for pleasure that I completely abandon reading for learning, which was one of the things that made me love reading in the first place! And I love that you’re being realistic about goals – if you push too hard, you won’t enjoy it, and it’ll just become a chore.

    • It can be easy to let go with fiction for some weird reason! And sometimes, even when I am more focused on pulling more from a novel, I neglect to dig deeper in my reviews.

  • Hey, snap! I want to write more critically/analytically this year too. WE’LL SEE how that goes — my regular routine is so engrained it’s hard to see a clear path to snapping myself out of it. But we’ll see. Has someone offered to take over Library Checkout? If not I could probably do it — is it a huge amount of work?

    • I HEAR YOU on that routine. It’s going to be a tough one to break.
      I think Charleen is going to give Library Checkout a shot, but I’ll let you know if something doesn’t pan out – thank youuuu!

  • All of this! I think thoughtful content is important so if it means you post 1x a month but it’s heartfelt, it resonates. Even if it’s “I’m here and checking in…”, people want to hear from you. At least I know I always do.
    Your reading for pleasure and DNF comments go hand-in-hand for me. I put a book down because I’m not enjoying myself…it’s not always the book. But I also like what Catherine said about “stalling” with a book. I found myself doing that a lot last year because of clouded head space. Hoping that 2017 is everything.