Recently, I’ve been trawling through the archives of different blogs—book blogs, author blogs, lifestyle blogs. Last night, I even dared to poke around at something I’ve locked away on the internet…my old personal WordPress blog.
And oh man. Let’s just say those posts were better left untouched.
Honestly, the writing was not half-bad…for a 13 year old. But the content in there was an absolute cringe-fest.
Melodramatic middle-school thoughts aside, what I’ve realized while going through these posts is that I really miss blogging! For me, blogging used to feel like an intensely personal thing. Back in the day, I read blogs all. the. time. I loved how they were a record of people’s lives and thoughts as time passed by.
As I wrote in a few of my old and cringey blog posts, I am deeply nostalgic. I try to record everything in my life, because I want to forget nothing. It’s why I journal, why I take photos of nearly everything I do, and it’s why I’m majoring in Journalism! And a blog is pretty much just journaling, but online.
At least, that’s what I want it to be. But I feel like I’ve let that vision get away from me on this blog. Because I keep treating this as something separate from a personal blog, I always find myself taking on a different mindset when I start writing a post. I don’t really know how to describe it…I guess I just become more impersonal. I never really come on here to talk about what’s going on in my own life, and while yes, this is a book blog, I still want it to be a record of the person I am!
So…all this to say that this year, I want to be more intentional in treating this as less of a “professional” space and more as a corner of the Internet where I can be candid. I want to do away with self-imposed rules, and not write a certain way or only post certain kinds of posts because I think it’s what a book blogger “should” do. Is my tendency to ramble probably going to deter everyone from actually reading any of posts? Probably. But that’s me!
Annnd I also want to blog more and let this be a reflection of what’s going on in my life.
I say this three days before school starts again.
So we’ll see if my words come back to bite me in the butt. You might hear from me in a week, or you might hear from me in three months, when I’m on spring break and go, “Welp. I was being delusional.”
But also, this past year, when I made time for reading because I wanted to, I’ve seen what’s possible when you create action out of intention. Thus, I hope that—time allowing—I’ll be able to manifest this vision I have in my mind!
I quickly mentioned a few of my reading goals in my last post, but now that I’ve been really ruminating on what I want to invest my time into this year, here’s a more intentional list of book-related goals for 2021.
1. Read 30 books
Last year, I set out to read 25 books and was able to read 50! So this year, I thought I’d increase my goal a little bit, to inspire me to read more while not placing too much pressure on myself.
2. Read more books by BIPOC, POC, and underrepresented authors.
As most things are, the book industry is saturated with white, cis, straight, abled voices. Growing up, I rarely saw characters that looked like me in books, and to finally be finding books that do have Chinese-American characters in them means to world to me. And while I can’t wait to keep reading Chinese-American stories, I also want to gain perspective on experiences that aren’t white (aka the experience I’ve seen represented in every type of media for my entire life) and that aren’t my own!
Along with this goal, I also want to support these authors with my money. I’m generally trying not to buy more books at the moment (I have zero shelf space left, I need to save my money for college matters, and I want to support my local library) but if/when I do buy books, I want to buy books that are by underrepresented authors.
3. Expand my horizons genre-wise
I spend most of my time reading contemporary novels and realistic fiction. That’s my comfort zone. Sure, sometimes I’ll throw in a fantasy or two, but usually not many. However, in 2020 I dabbled a bit in other genres: graphic novels, essays, and get this—even a SCIENCE FICTION BOOK!!! Wow, go me, right? (I say that with a hint of sarcasm, if you can’t tell).
Anyway, I really want to step out of my comfort zone. More graphic novels, more essays, more memoirs, more biographies, etcetera etcetera etcetera. And maybe…maybe even another sci-fi or two. (Not horror though. I draw the line there.)
4. Finally finish reading The Lord of the Rings
So yes, these books were written by a dead white guy, but my high-school English teacher has been telling me since my sophomore year to read them. I got through The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, but I haven’t picked up any Tolkein books since February of 2019 and I really want to finish this long overdue project.
5. Participate in the Down Memory Jane Readalong
When I heard about this Jane Austen readalong hosted by Emily, Lily, and Elena, I got so excited because Austen is one of my favorite authors. This readalong is great because every other month we’re going to be reading a work inspired by Austen, which means lots of books I haven’t read! This also gives me the push to finally read the Austen stories I haven’t read before, and to revisit my favorites.
1. Blog more often
I don’t want to set a certain quota or timeframe for myself, because it’s a lot to go from blogging pretty much every once in a blue moon to, say, blogging weekly. However, I do want to set the intention to blog more often, and hopefully I will be able to reach a point of regularly posting!
2. Find my writing voice
I feel like I oscillate between two extremes; I’ll either write as if I’m submitting an academic essay/being graded on my use of language, or I’ll write as if I’m texting my friends and just word-vomit all over the page with no forethought. I really want to find a balance: where I plan and think out what I want the core of each post to be, where I can make my reviews concise (me, concise? hah!) and organized, but also where I can still be candid and casual. This feels really intimidating to me right now, but I think I just need to practice and figure out my workflow.
3. Interact more with other bloggers
The bookblogging community is a blessing to this earth. Every blogger puts so much time and effort into their work, and they’re all doing incredible things to promote important causes. They do so much for the book community and I respect them so much.
I really want to support other bloggers more, rather than just insulating myself to Bookstagram (my main platform) or this space right here. I want to see what other bloggers are talking about, and learn more about them! I know this takes a lot of time (which is why I’m so impressed by other bloggers who juggle, like, 5,000 different things at once), but I’m hoping to
a) read at least three blog posts a week
b) discover/follow more blogs
c) like, comment, and interact with others’ posts!
I know these goals are kind of small and don’t really have numbers set to them, but I hope that by starting at this very basic point, I’ll slowly learn how to manage my time to include space for these bloggy activities.
1. Focus less on numbers
This is the hardest thing ever. This past year, my Bookstagram grew to the largest size it’s ever been (I think I gained almost 250-ish followers??) but I’ve also focused more on numbers and comparison than I ever have. I’ve found myself fixating on how many likes I’ve gotten on each post (Why did this post do better than the other one? Why did this post that I poured hours of energy into basically flop?), obsessing over my follower count and feeling my heart drop every time someone unfollows me, and comparing myself to other Bookstagrams (Why do they have so many more followers than me? What are they doing that I’m not? Is there something about my personality that’s inherently unlikable, and that makes people not want to interact with me?)
Yes, I probably sound like a petty overthinker, and that’s because I kind of am. But those are honestly the thoughts that go through my head all the time, and I don’t like it. I used to never fixate on numbers, even when I was getting about 30 likes on a post. I was just happy to go through the process of creating a post. And this year, I’ve gotten 100 more likes than that on some of my posts, but I’ve also found myself being unhappy with those numbers.
Basically, I need to chill. And it’s really hard to get over this mindset of comparison, but I sure as heck am gonna try, because it will make me a much happier, more supportive, and less bitter person!
2. Get funky with it
In July of this year, I started a new theme on my Bookstagram, for the first time since I created my account in November 2015. I kind of love it! I think it makes my feed look a lot more cohesive and bright. BUT…it’s caused me to impose some rules on myself. Basically, my feed alternates between having a wood background and a light background (usually a cream-colored blanket I have). This pretty much means that almost all of my posts turn out to be flatlays. Which I love making, but I really miss finding fun backgrounds and new locations to take my bookish photos in.
So this year, I want to figure out how I can make my posts more creative, even while maintaining my theme! I recently have been playing around a bit with some digital art and animation…but I really want to see what else I can do to spice up my photos!
3. Be more supportive of other creators
I really want to be better about going through my Bookstagram feed. Most of the time, I just like the top few photos and tap through the first few stories in my feed, because I don’t have much time to scroll through Bookstagram. However, we all know the Instagram algorithm pushes the popular creators to the top…so this year, I want to invest more time in supporting the smaller creators, promoting other people’s posts, commenting on photos, striking up conversations, keeping up with new authors/releases, and just overall contributing more as a member of the book community!
Whew. Yeah…that’s a lot. I don’t expect to be able to go from zero to 100 overnight, but hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll have come closer to these goals than I am now!
Do you have any bookish goals for 2021? Let me know!
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