It’s been almost five months since my last blog post. So much for getting back into the groove! As you can see, yet another attempt to connect to book blogging turned out to be a failure.
When I started getting Bluehost’s nagging emails about my upcoming renewal date, I realized I needed to make a decision about my blogging future. Did I want to pay for another year of service? Did I want to keep my domain? Did I want to migrate back to a free platform?
Did I even want to blog anymore?
I started by analyzing the pursuits this blog is oriented around – reading and writing. Was I reading less? Definitely not. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I’m on pace to read far more than ever before. I’m devouring books and team challenges over on Goodreads like a maniac. Like a BOSS. I’ve read over 70 books already, and we haven’t even reached the halfway point this year.
Okay, so what about writing? That one is a slightly different challenge in that I already have avenues for that separate from this blog, from my in-person critique group to online communities like The Writing Sidekick. I have no desire to cross post my hand wringing and teeth gnashing here.
Book reviewing started out as a way for me to meet other readers and writers who loved to talk about books, and I’ve discovered some truly incredible bloggers who inspire me with their wit, dedication, and passion. I will be eternally grateful for having been a part of the book blogging community, if only for a few short years. (That may sound like a long time to some, but many of you have been doing this 4EVAAAHHH.)
The real question then became: Do I want to book blog anymore? Based on my lack of consistency and interest, the answer is clear. No, I don’t.
What, then, should I do with this site?
I couldn’t bring myself to cast away my domain and the blog entirely. I would like to hold on to my reviews and recaps and features and leave open the possibility that I may come back to them periodically when the mood strikes me. It’s not that I’m reading and writing less frequently, but that I am writing about reading and writing less frequently.
I put a lot of hard work (and money) into this blog – switching platforms and hosting companies multiple times, getting multiple designers to help me with my themes and headers, and hosting events and giveaways – and I’d hate to see it all disappear. Having made up my mind, I decided to find a cheaper web host (Who also migrated my site for free in under an hour! Thank you, A Small Orange!) to minimize my maintenance costs as I move forward with this blog/site.
I may not have as much interest in reviewing books or discussing my writing process, but I do want to have an online presence outside of social media. Ideally, I’d like a place to talk about my wide range of hobbies and interests, beyond just books.
So what happens now?
Essentially, this will become a personal blog. I’m taking a workshop on HTML/CSS and hopefully will be able to put some of that knowledge into use to revamp this site a little. Things will probably look a little different around here very soon.
I’m sure I will be discussing books from time to time, and most likely sharing occasional race reports, and definitely talking about an exciting career change I am pursuing. For now, I’m comfortable simply leaving the pressure of maintaining a book blog behind me and moving on to more varied topics. If that at all interests you, I hope you’ll stick around.
This week on the blog:
- Writing Wednesday: Character Names - Biweekly check-in on writing progress and process
- Summer Knight (Dresden Files #4) by Jim Butcher
- Death Masks (Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher
- I liked the fae element in the fourth book, but the fifth wasn’t my favorite. I just didn’t connect with it as much. I’ve never really cared for Susan as much as Harry does.
- Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins
- I waited way too long to read this! It’s very cute so far. Boarding schools, FTW!
- Kiss of Midnight (Midnight Breed #1) by Lara Adrian
- It feels like a Black Dagger Brotherhood knock-off, but it’s still entertaining.
- PBS on Sundays
- The return of Downton Abbey and Sherlock have my Sunday nights pretty covered. I’m hoping they can help me cope with the loss of football again until August. Only one game left! *sob*
- Dancing machine!
- I mentioned last week that I was going to go try and hear andhim play at Chicago house music staple Smart Bar on Friday night. And I did! Husband and I went out to dinner at the Rivers Casino buffet, then played some slots, and then I dropped him off at home before heading out to the bar around 11pm. The hubs cannot handle the sick techno beats, so I was on my own. I was pretty tired when I got there, so I perched at the bar and sucked down a couple of Red Bulls before making my way to the dance floor around 1am. I danced my fool head off until 3:30, and according to my FitBit, walked the equivalent of 8+ miles in the process. That’s a lot of calories burned! I had the time of my life, so I’m going to try and make this a weekly thing. So! Much! Fun!
What have you been up to this week?
Welcome back to Writing Wednesday! Every other Wednesday I’m checking in on progress with my manuscript, and setting new goals for the weeks ahead.
Last Writing Wednesday, I set some fairly ambitious goals for myself. They may not have looked like much, but for me they were a challenge. Here’s how I did, and why I have a lot of work to do:
Process goal: Word searches, journaling, or listening to music - 10 minutes per day, 5 days per week
How I did: I didn’t track this quite as well as I should have, but I do think I managed to get in some word searches and music time at least 3 days each week. Honestly, this is the category I struggle with the most, because I do a lot of process-seeming things (like phone games) that allow me to turn my brain off, but I never know if they should count.
Process time is supposed to get the brain flowing through an activity that frees up some creativity, if I understand it correctly. Personally, I do some of my best thinking through working with my hands, which is why historically I’ve tried to do coloring or things like that as process time. But I needed something more readily available, and I recently subscribed to a word search magazine, so I figured I’d give that a shot. I love drawing the lines and hunting for words – it’s soothing.
So does that make it process time or self-care? I need to go back and re-read Around the Writer’s Block.
Self-care goal: Exercising 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week
How I did: Okay, time to pick a new self-care activity! I had the best of intentions, but it just didn’t happen. And now that I’m working on a massive tattoo on my left thigh, the next month is going to involve more healing than working out, so next time I need something else. EPIC FAIL.
Product Time goal: Writing or researching, 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- Target tasks
Belle Epoque research Update names
- Get to end of Act I
How I did: I did fairly well, though not as much as I’d hoped last week. The first week I managed 3 days, and last week I did more thinking than dedicated writing. Which is fine, and I should probably give myself credit for that, so I’ll say one day. My critique group is back in full swing now, and I’m up for discussion this weekend, so I’m keeping my goal the same so I can continue making forward progress.
For my target tasks, I had to update my MS a bit with new character names. I finally decided to move my book out of Chicago, where I had originally set it, and into Paris during the Belle Epoque era. I just wasn’t excited about Chicago, and it never felt right. Paris is my favorite city in the world and having a setting I love will be much more fun to write.
That meant I had to update some names. Minor characters all got new French first names, but I’m sticking with my main characters’ names for now. I’ve grown so attached to them, and since they are classic I hope they will work. If anything, I’ll just give them an interesting backstory to explain it.
Goals for the next two weeks:
- Word searches, journaling, or listening to music
- 10 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- 20 minutes in bed before lights-out, every night
- Shake my thang at Smart Bar one night this week
- Writing or researching
- 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- Target tasks
- Outline updated plot/beat sheet
- Write 2 new scenes, minimum
- Organize pages to send for critique
For any of my fellow writers out there, feel free to join me! Post your own goals below or on your blog, and check back in two weeks. I hope to cultivate this as a place of support and encouragement no matter what kind of writing you’re doing. Good luck!