For the past five years here on the blog I’ve been taking a look back at the year that has passed and taken a look forward to the year ahead – 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015. And while things have changed quite a bit in the last year and are going to change radically in 2016, I didn’t want to break with tradition.
Saying Goodbye to 2015
I made a commitment in 2015 to try and read and review more books than I ever have in a single year since I started blogging. And while I wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped I would be, I definitely exceeded my reading and reviewing goals from previous years. I’d wanted to read 125 books and review 100. I was actually able to read 128 books, but I only reviewed 89. So I was just a bit shy of my goal.
But it reminded me that this was my goal when I started blogging. To read and share my thoughts about the books I read. And I’m glad I was able to accomplish that.
In 2015 I stepped back even more from the social, reduced the number of tours and promotions I participated in, and began to step away from the tour promotions at Rockstar Book Tours. I found that while I still loved reading and blogging, I wanted to spend as much of my “free” time doing other things than being indoors, tied to my computer, stressing over deadlines.
And I’d found a happy blogging-life balance which worked.
But once again I discovered that a review of mine was plagiarized. By someone who was participating on the same tour as I was. Who also happened to be a host at Rockstar Book Tours. Who then proceeded to tell me that the words were all their own, that it wasn’t theft, when it clearly was. (And judging by their other reviews, they’ve reworked and reimagined other reviewers’ reviews and incorporated them into their own.) I blocked them on Twitter (they followed me), I unfriended them on Goodreads, and they were banned from Rockstar (thanks Jaime!). But it still left that bad taste and made me question whether doing all this was worth it.
And after five incidents in so many years, I found that it wasn’t. Not really. Because I’m not someone who can just say review theft is part and parcel of being a reviewer and be okay with it. It’s not okay.
So, as I approached my five year blogoversary in November I decided that I would begin to scale things back significantly with the goal of just finishing up 2015 and quietly reading and reviewing books in 2016 at my leisure.
Also, as some of you may know, sailing has become a huge part of my life. It became my escape when books failed to do so. It forces me to be in the moment and not dwelling on the everyday stresses, the loved ones I have lost, the mistakes I have made, the missed opportunities. It’s my zen. It’s scary and exhilarating and exciting and beautiful.
In December I stepped away from the blog, went on another sailing adventure, and realized that that part of my life is one I need to focus on even more.
As sad as I am that this blog has dwindled in its following, that I’ve become less passionate about keeping it successful, I am not heartbroken, I do not feel guilty.
On Christmas Eve my cousin passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. We weren’t close, though my Aunt, his mother, is one of the people I love most in the world. She is the best possible person I could know and someone I only hope I could be a fraction as kind and good as. But his passing reminded me just how short life is, how important the people in my life are, and how getting bogged down in the everyday makes me lose sight of the most important things in this world.
So it’s with all of these experiences that I look toward 2016.
…Saying Hello to 2016
I am not just simply going to say goodbye and disappear. I still love reading and reviewing. I still love my blog. And I’ve got commitments scheduled through February.
But I will be moving again this March – hopefully to somewhere I can stay for a few years – and I will be focusing on learning all that I can about sailing, about the kind of sailor I want to be. And I will also be focused on trying to be a better sister, cousin, niece, friend, loved one.
If I can find some extra time I also want to focus on writing again – at least to see if it’s possible.
I still plan to blog when I can, to read and review as much as I can. I still plan on accepting select books for review, though I won’t be actively seeking out opportunities – not that I was ever very good at the latter.
I will still be sharing my thoughts on Goodreads and Amazon. And I will still be reachable on Twitter. I’m still not the most social person, but if you say hi and start up a convo, I will always write back when I’m online.
My Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal for 2016 is just 100 books. I’m hoping the actual number is somewhere around 150 by year-end. We shall see. But my fingers are most definitely crossed.
I may not be hanging out here at Fiktshun as often as I have been in the past, but I hope to also occasionally blog at Rachel Clarke – once my amazing designer redesigns it (again). I hope that I’ll discover even more amazing reads and characters and authors in 2016. I hope to continue the adventures of some of my favorite characters. And I hope to meet some new blogs and bloggers who love to talk about the books they read.
And I wish all of the incredibly talented authors and bloggers I’ve gotten the chance to know or “meet” an amazing year ahead.