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Random Thoughts: Looking Back and Looking Ahead #4

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For the past three years I’ve taken a look back at the year that passed, sharing both my accomplishments and my failures in blogging, and looked forward to the year ahead, by setting New Year’s Resolutions for myself. But as I am participating in Parajunkee’s Book Blogger New Year’s Challenge this year, the first day of which involves listing resolutions, I’m going to say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014 just a little bit differently than I did in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Saying Goodbye to 2013…

This past year in blogging has been filled with highs and lows. It started off quite rocky and drama-filled, which made me question whether blogging was worth it, but after the difficult start things settled down and I found my way back to my happy place, which entailed reading lots and lots of ahhh-mazing books.

I spent much of the year struggling with my ability – or lack thereof – to write reviews, rethinking the number of blogs I actively blog on, and redesigning some of my sites. I also found that after all that early drama I was happier being a quieter, less social, blogger.

On a more positive note, I dipped my foot into the New Adult waters and found that the few books that I did read in that genre I seriously loved. It expanded my reading and blogging universe and I can’t wait to see where it leads.

I participated on a surprisingly large number of tours throughout the year – not all of them hosted by Rockstar Book Tours if you can believe it. It’s something I hope will continue throughout 2014 as I love helping to promote books I adore and love chiming in with my thoughts about the posts and books I am promoting.

I decided to say goodbye to Triberr, which didn’t seem to affect my site’s traffic in any significant way, though it did reduce both the amount of time I spent on Twitter and the number of new followers received. It also made it that much more difficult for me to discover new posts and blogs of interest.

But I have met some wonderful new bloggers this past year and participated in a few awesome online events.

I met my reading – if not reviewing – goal for 2013, though I clearly didn’t properly update my Goodreads shelves to reflect my reads.

And I finally participated in Bloggiesta. Even though it was last minute, I made it! It only took three years. Better late than never, I suppose.

While not directly related to blogging, in 2013 I had my first short story published in an anthology, I self-published a few others, I finished writing a story I began during NaNoWriMo 2011 and I started a completely new story that’s so far out of my comfort zone it’s completely ridic.

I think I finally came to realize in 2013 that I can’t keep up with the breakneck pace I’ve had for the past few years of blogging. I am only one person and with work, some new IRL interests and writing, I am not capable of doing it all.

But I also came to realize that blogging is an important part of my life, and while it doesn’t always serve as my escape or my creative outlet it’s something that I love doing and hope to do for a long, long while.

…Saying Hello to 2014

I am looking forward to the year ahead in blogging and reading. There are an endless number of titles releasing this year that I am incredibly excited about. I already have over one hundred books pre-ordered and have at least a couple dozen review books on my Kindle and on my book towers.

I am excited about reading more YA contemporary novels, both contemporary and PNR/UF New Adult novels, and even a few PNR/UF novels from some amazing authors I’ve been wanting to discover or have recently discovered.

I am excited about discovering many new debut YA authors, their stories and their characters this year.

I am excited – and sad – to say goodbye to some amazing series I’ve loved for the past several years.

I hope to continue some of the newer features I’d started here on this blog or on one of my satellite blogs and maybe start a few more. Though I’m also hopeful that there won’t be too many more “epic fail moments in blogging” as the number of fails I have had is more than a little bit embarrassing.

While I don’t know how social I’ll be this year, I hope to be an active participant in as many challenges and events as I can. And maybe, just maybe, join a tourney again. I am also slated to attend the RT Convention in New Orleans this May which is something I’m really looking forward to.

I plan on taking things a little less seriously in 2014, which means being okay with the fact that I might not get to review all the books I read. But which also means that I will likely end up reading more books without the stress of feeling obligated to review them.

I also plan on taking more time away from the blog to write the stories I’ve been wanting to write. While I may never be a good writer or a successful one, I enjoy writing, I (mostly) like my characters and I don’t want to use blogging as an excuse to not write.

And, finally, I plan on being a more well-rounded blogger by doing things other than blogging and reading. Like sailing – my newest passion. Watching massive amounts of television – Supernatural, Reign, The Vampire Diaries, Suits, The Originals. Going to the movies – Divergent looks awesome. Attending concerts and theatre and going bike riding and for walks along the beach.

So…

While I didn’t list resolutions or discuss my failure to meet last year’s resolutions or goals, it was interesting to take a look back at the last year in blogging after-the-fact. When caught up in the moment and the day-to-day it’s hard to see things for what they really are, how much of a blip they are, how unimportant in the scheme of things they can be.

Drama dies down and what remains is the good stuff. The books. The amazing authors. The awesome bloggers. The characters. The friends. The shared interests and passion for books.

And while there have been quite a few changes in the blogosphere this past year – different players, a different landscape, a different approach – change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what changes there are in 2014.

How about you?

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