I started Off The TBR in late 2017 and since that time around the new year I’ve posted about my new reading and blogging goals. I’m usually pretty hesitant to set yearly goals. I never ever do any New Year’s Resolutions. I only occasionally set other goals unless they are very major and I’m committed to accomplishing them, or they are very minor and I can do them quick. Anything else and I either get bogged down or lose interest and end up going in some other direction.
I’ve tried to be careful about setting reading and blogging goals, though in 2019 I set like ten which was way too much. But no matter how many I settle on I maybe accomplish half of them. Last year I set six. Well…five with one question mark:
- Meet my Goodreads goal (done)
- Post twice a week (failed)
- Read more indie/self-pub fantasy (done)
- Novellas (failed)
- Self-Published Fantasy Month (this was the maybe and…failed)
- New review format (done)
Now, the results from last year aren’t too bad really. Running or participating in Self-Published Fantasy Month was a question mark to begin with and then when I agreed to join the Before We Go Blog team for SPFBO I knew I couldn’t do it last year and passed it off to Justine at Whispers & Wonder who put together a great team and event (check out the webpage here). THANK YOU JUSTINE! I failed at reading more novellas because…well I just read one. I had too many other books to get to that weren’t novellas so it just didn’t happen. As for posting twice a week, well I started really, really strong and then kind of imploded.
And that’s what brings me to the current state of things. I started last year strong with at least one review and then some other post like “What I’m Reading” every week. After a few months that had diminished to one post a week which was still really good for me. But by Summer it had dwindled to three or less, and by September I was lucky to post once a month.
A few things had happened. I was seriously burnt out on blogging. I just couldn’t make myself sit down to write anything. It felt like a chore and I have enough of those I have to do. I was also really tired from work which didn’t help my energy levels when it came time to write a blog post. And most importantly I felt like I was neglecting family time. My kids are getting older and I won’t have much time before they are out of the house. Most of my blog writing happens on the weekends and that cut into the free time I had for family. So all of this combined meant the blog took a hit and my reading slowed down. I quit requesting books from Orbit whom I’ve worked with for a few year’s now and I quit accepting review requests from authors directly. I tried to get caught up on all the books I’d been sent (I’m still catching up).
I even thought about shutting the blog down entirely.
So where does that leave me now? Short answer…I don’t really know. As of today I plan to keep blogging. I will never stop reading. So here’s what I see as my reading and blogging goals for 2022 at least as things stand now. I’m splitting them into two sections, strictly reading goals that can be accomplished apart from blogging, and then combined reading and blogging goals.
The following goals will be those that are strictly related to reading. I may or may not blog about them.
Meet My Goodreads Goal
I feel pretty confident with this goal. I’ve managed to complete it every year I’ve set one. My goal once again is thirty six books. This is the same number as last year. I know it isn’t as many as a lot of my other blogger friends, but with my work/family schedule this is what works for me. Sometimes I can read a book a week, sometimes it takes ten days or more. Sometimes I can read one a day (novellas). I’m not setting my goal higher because to be honest it just feels good to reach the goal and well…36 is easier.
If you don’t already follow me on Goodreads and would like to my profile is in the link below.
Catch Up On Backlists
This is something I’ve wanted to do for years. I have a slew of series I want to catch up on where I’ve read the first or maybe first and second book of a series and just need to finish it up. On top of that there are a few I’d like to start that I’ve meant to for years like Abercrombie’s First Law series and Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy. Two sub-goals in this category I’d love to work on are reading Stephen King’s whole body of work (I started with Carrie back in October), and returning to the Dragonlance series by Weiss and Hickman. With a new Dragonlance book set to release in 2022 (Dragon’s of Deceit) it’s a great time to return to the world of Krynn.
Read What I Want When I Want
Yeah I know this is something I could’ve done at any time, and not doing so is my own fault, but as long as I was requesting and accepting books from publishers and authors I felt I needed to read those books first, (especially before release date for arcs) and that meant I put off a lot of other books I really wanted to read. If I’m not requesting anything then I free myself up to mood read and to read according to thematic months. This means I can participate in Sci-Fi Month and it means I can spend all of October reading spooky stories.
I’m still not sure what I’m doing about the blog. I don’t want to shut it down, but if I’m honest most days when I wake up I think about how nice it might be not to have it as an obligation. And that’s the key thing…it feels like an obligation at this point, not a fun hobby. So this year I’ll be doing my best not to make anything feel like an obligation. You’ll see that in the goals below.
Catch Up On Arcs And Requests
Yeah, even though I tried to get caught up with my outstanding arcs I’ve still got a pretty decent stack to tackle. I want to work through these and put a sizeable dent in them before I even think about requesting any more. I may or may not review those that I complete. But If I find myself reading and not reviewing then I won’t be requesting anymore in the future. It just isn’t right for the author or publisher. It might also be a sign that it’s time to turn off the lights on the blog.
Finish The SPFBO Finalists
OK, so this isn’t really something for my blog, but it is for blogging in general. As many of you know I joined team Before We Go Blog as a reviewer/judge for SPFBO7. We are currently in the finalist stage and I’ve got six more books to read, and I need to send my brief thoughts and score off to Beth Tabler on nine of them. SPFBO is something I’m still very excited about and not something I want to put aside so I feel really good about this goal.
Blog About What I’m Excited About
I know this seems like it would be self-evident, but I just want to blog about the things I’m excited about. Feeling like I have to review everything I’m reading even if I don’t like it that much puts a damper on blogging. I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me, nothing but my own inner feelings was making me do this before now. I just finally relented and allowed myself to NOT blog if I didn’t want to. I don’t know what this will look like in the long run. Probably it means you’ll see less reviews of books that are below four stars. You may see less posts in general. I don’t know.
Self-Published Fantasy Month
Right now I don’t know what I’m doing about Self-Published Fantasy Month. This was an event I started out of love for reading self-pub fantasy and a desire to see it get more attention. I still love self-pub (hence my participation as a team judge in SPFBO) and I still want it to get more attention. I just don’t think I’m up to running this event or helping to organizing it. Who knows, that could change over the next few months. But right now I’m thinking of permanently passing it on to someone else. I’ll have more to say about that in the future.
Well, that’s it. I’m trying to keep this year simple. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe, just maybe, in doing so I’ll keep the blog alive another year and some of the joy will return to it. But no matter what happens I plan to be active out on Twitter (and maybe even Insta) to rave about all the great stories with you. Happy New year. Let’s hope this is another great year for SFF books.