I never used to make New Year’s resolutions… other than the usual vague statements about working out more, eating healthier, and cleaning out my closets. But since entering the world of blogging, I have a bit more motivation to put my intentions into words, especially when it comes to my book-related and blog-related plans and commitments.
Without further ado, my bookish, bloggy resolutions for 2014:
1) Organize, organize, organize! At the risk of sounding completely geeky, I must admit that Excel has been a lifesaver this past year! After seeing a big upsurge in ARC approvals, I realized I was losing control, and finally came up with a tracking system that works for me. Now all of my upcoming review copies are listed in a nifty little worksheet, sorted by publication date, review status, and source, and I can always tell at a glance where I’m on target and where I’m falling behind. Plus, it’s easy to see when I’m becoming too swamped, so I know which months to avoid for future ARC requests. For 2014, I want to expand how I use my system, adding in other key reading targets — such as new releases that I’m excited to read, or older books that I’ve vowed to get to — so that I don’t end up frustrated when I never seem to have the time for what I truly want to read.
2) Ease up on the requests. On the positive side, I now get approved for a lot more of my NetGalley and Edelweiss requests. On the negative side, I haven’t yet adjusted my requesting volume to reflect this. I used to request a lot of books, based on the assumption that I’d get turned down for many of them. Well, now that I’m getting approved more, I suddenly have more than I can handle! It’s okay — with the help of my handy-dandy worksheet, I’ve got it more or less under control, but I cannot allow myself to continue adding to the backlog!
3) Attend more author events. I think I made it to four book signings and/or author appearances in 2013, and I loved them all. I happen to live someplace where there are always amazing events going on, so I just need to make more of an effort to keep track of what’s happening and then actually GO.
4) Show my shelves some love. Without picking a specific number of books or a definite ratio of new to old, I’d like to just state a general goal of hitting my bookshelves more often and making sure to leave time for the unread books I already own, rather than always moving on to the next new thing.
5) Diversify. This was a resolution from last year that didn’t go very far, but once again, I’d like to make a point of reading 3 – 5 books from outside of my usual fiction comfort zone. History, science, sociology, memoirs? We shall see.
6) No challenges! If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself as a reader, it’s that I don’t like being told what to read — even if I’m the one doing the telling. This is why I suck at book groups. Sure, I’ll read the group book… if it’s something I want to read anyway. In the past, I’ve signed up for challenges, but I’ve never stuck to them. Because as soon as some other shiny new book comes along, I ditch my older reading plans and just read whatever I feel like. So in 2014, I’ll just be realistic, concentrate on reading whatever I feel like reading, and not enter any reading challenges! Even though there are some really good and clever ones out there… but no! Not for me! I’ll remain challenge-free!
7) No new series. This is a continuation of one of the resolutions I actually stuck with in 2013: I vow not to start any new series this year — with the following exceptions (because, of course, any good rule has exceptions):
- New series by authors I love are allowed.
- It’s okay to start a new series if the entire series has already been published.
- It’s also okay to start a new series if the final volume will be released in 2014.
- Obviously, if new books come out that are part of a series I already read, they’re totally fair game.
8) Take stock and take a step back. I’m still working through this one, but starting early in 2014, I plan to take a fresh look at my regular features on my blog, figure out what’s working (and what’s not), and really think about what should be kept, what should be tweaked, what should be replaced, and what should be added. Very vague, I know, but this resolution is really just a way of noting the fact that it’s a good idea every once in a while to reevaluate and try to avoid getting stuck in annoying or unproductive ruts.
9) Breathe, relax, enjoy. I vow to continue to remind myself throughout the year that first and foremost, I read for my own enjoyment. When the blog stress starts to mount or I feel like I have to read something that I’m not excited about, it’s time to hit the pause button, take a few deep breaths, and then do what makes me happy. I read because I love books. And every once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to say that out loud!
May you all be blessed with health, happiness, laughter, and great reading in this wonderful new year!