Friday, January 1, 2016

Five Reading & Blogging Goals for 2016

Reviewing My 2015 Goals 

At the start of last year, I sat down and made a list of five reading goals to work toward in 2015. The time has come to see how well I did and to set some new goals for 2016. First, here’s an inventory of my 2015 goals.

  • 2015 Goal #1: Read Through History
    My most specific and measurable goal for 2015 was to read and review 52 historical fiction novels in chronological order based on setting. And I did it! The full list of titles and their reviews is here. It was a really great experience, and one I may repeat in a future year. 
  • 2015 Goal #2: Go Easier on the ARCs
    My reasoning with this goal was that I was focusing too much on what was new and shiny, and not enough on good books I missed in previous years. But between Reading Through History and Old School Sunday, I didn’t have as much time - or room in the blogging schedule - for more recent backlist titles. I still want to be mindful about not amassing ARCs just for the sake of it, but I have no doubt I will continue to review them in abundance during 2016. 
  • 2015 Goal #3: Be Proactive About Picture Books
    I think I did fairly well at seeking out picture books, but so many of them were duds that I had a hard time feeling motivated to read a lot of them. I did manage to return to reviewing them more regularly, however, so I feel that this goal was accomplished. 
  • 2015 Goal #4: Phase Out YA 
    I stopped reviewing new young adult books pretty much altogether, and I don’t miss them. A handful of older titles were included in Reading Through History and one or two appeared on Old School Sunday, but otherwise, I did manage to bring my focus back to books for middle grade audiences and younger. 
  • 2015 Goal #5: Bring Back Books for Beginners
    I really only even began to accomplish this because of Cybils, and even then, there weren’t all that many new easy readers available. I did revamp my format my reviewing beginner reader books, though, and I hope that will make it easier for me to review more of them in the future. 

Five Reading & Blogging Goals for 2016 

Now, on to 2016… These are not just reading goals, but writing and overall blogging goals as well.

  • Goal #1 Fumble Through Fantasy
    Because Reading Through History was such a success, I decided to do a similar project this year, focused on the genre I like least: Fantasy. I gave myself a break and selected only 25 titles to read and review. The reviews will appear on Sundays and Mondays scattered throughout the year beginning January 3rd. 
  • Goal #2: Organize my social media content. 
    Because blogging is strictly a hobby for me, I haven’t necessarily felt it was important to have a strong social media presence. When I look at the sites that refer traffic to my blog, however, it is clear that Pinterest and Facebook are the main ways readers find this site. I was better about posting to both this year - and I’m mostly set with a routine for Pinterest - but Facebook, as well as Twitter and Instagram, could use some work. It helps that Picture Book of the Day is moving to Instagram, but I still need to sit down and sort out exactly where I want to post, what I want to put there, and when. 
  • Goal #3: Participate in more read-a-thons and challenges.
    In 2015, I participated in the 48 Hour Book Challenge as well as Armchair BEA, and I found both to be very useful ways to jump-start my reading and to connect a little bit with the blogging community. I hope to do both of those again, but I’m also looking forward to trying new (to me) things, such as The Bout of Books, Newbery Through the Decades, and Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon
  • Goal #4: Write a page of fiction five days a week. 
    When I went to college, my one goal in life was to be a fiction writer. After some negative experiences, and several rejections from graduate writing programs, however, I graduated and basically never wrote another word. Though I no longer necessarily aspire to write a novel (I wrote a non-fiction book this year, and found that very enjoyable), I do miss creating characters and writing them in and out of interesting situations. So, this year, my hope is to sit down at the end of each weekday and write a handwritten page of fiction. This will be purely for enjoyment, so there might not be a cohesive unit at the end of the year, but there will hopefully be a daily writing habit and maybe a handful of useful story starters. (I'll be using the weekends as catch-up days in case I have to skip a weekday.)
  • Goal #5: Relocate, rebrand and rename the blog. 
    I fully expect to continue blogging for years to come, but I see myself writing on more and more disparate topics that don’t fit neatly under the “Story Time Secrets” title. My hope is to spend this next year studying up on Wordpress and to work toward launching a new blog, with its own domain, in early 2017. The goal is to continue focusing on books, but to also incorporate other interests, including stay-at-home parenting, homeschooling preschool, Catholic living, etc. I am not 100% sure this will be accomplished in just one year, but writing it down at least makes it seem like a real goal! 
Do you have any reading or blogging goals this year? Feel free to share in comments!
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