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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.
The year 2013 is done, and so my many challenges have come to an end. I’ve updated my 2013 Challenge Index and overall I did pretty well, though some areas definitely could use some improvement. Here’s a quick recap of how I did on my reading challenges:
2013 Goodreads Challenge: 130/75 books read
My previous high (since I started tracking everything I read on Goodreads) was 120 books in 2011. In 2012 I had a pitiful 50 books read. This year, I was glad to get back on track and I blew my conservative estimate out of the water. I think I reached my initial goal of 75 books by July or August!
Debut Author Challenge: 4/12 books read
Once again, I didn’t read very many debuts. My self-imposed restriction on advance review copies has limited my access to debut author books, and they are harder to find at the library. I also found that I love reading new authors, just not necessarily debut authors.
Seriously Series Challenge: 12/12 series read
My focus for this challenge was to get up to the last book in a series that I had already purchased. I ended up getting quite a few from the library too. I’m happy I finally caught up on the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and I also finally read the entire trilogies of Across the Universe and the Infernal Devices.
Get Steampunked Challenge: 5/5 books read
I managed to read more than my goal of five books, actually. I read 9! My favorite was the first in a new series combining steampunk and faeries, A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz.
Off the Shelves Challenge: 20/50 books read
I did better than last year, but still not as great as I would have liked. I made copious use of the library this year, and my shelves suffered as a result. I’m doing two challenges on Goodreads this year that focus on whittling down our TBR lists, so hopefully I can exceed this number in 2014.
Graphic Novels Challenge: 6/12 books read
I think I read all 6 of these in January and then promptly ignored my collection after that. I acquired two new graphic novels this year, one of which I’m reading for my YA book club in the spring. It would be nice if I could read another 6 this year.
Back to the Classics Challenge: 2/6 books read
I had so hoped to devote some time to the classics this year, but this was a pretty spectacular fail. I only read one of the required six, and read one alternate. I think in 2014 I’ll consider it a win if I read just one!
TBR Pile Challenge: 6/12 books read
There’s no cheating in this challenge run by Roof Beam Reader. The lists were set even before 2013 began, and I did pretty well. Ultimately, the rest of the list just didn’t appeal to me over the newer, shinier choices as the year progressed.
Authors After Dark Challenge: 2/8 books read
I thought I would do better in this one this year, given the amount of PNR/UF I read. Turns out I just read a bunch of authors who happened not to be going to AAD. After two years of limping to the finish, I think it’s time to give this challenge a rest.
Literary Exploration Challenge: 33/36 books read
I came so very close to finishing this one, but just ran out of time. The five books I had left included a play and some sonnets – easy and quick reads. But the others I couldn’t quite sneak in. I had a lot of fun challenging myself to read such varied genres, and I struggled with the ones I expected to find more difficult. In many ways, however, it was easier than I expected. I learned that I tend to read in a lot more genres than I thought. This challenge has its own widget and group on Goodreads for easy tracking, and they’re offering it again in 2014 if any of you are interested in giving it a try.
Book to Movie Challenge: 6/6 books read and movies watched
This was the most fun to complete, I think. It helped that there were so many new movies this year based on great books. I saw Beautiful Creatures, The Great Gatsby, Ender’s Game, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and snuck in two oldies: The Princess Bride and One Day. I managed to read Austenland, The Book Thief, and Carrie, but didn’t get a chance to see the movie adaptations. I also haven’t seen City of Bones yet.
Did I miss any biggies? What book to movie adaptations did you see this year?
That’s it for my challenge round-up. Are you doing any challenges this year?
It’s the last day of 2013, and I have never been more ready for a new year. 2013 had a lot of ups and downs for me, in so many ways. I am so happy to be perched on the edge of a new beginning.
Ruby over at Ruby’s Reads wrote a post yesterday about her long hiatus from blogging, and it really hit home for me. Life got hectic, I lost interest in a lot of things (including blogging), and when the time between posts kept stretching and stretching, I started to think maybe it was time to let it go.
Last year I started to feel the weight of keeping up with post after post after post, and this year, it was the tech side that got to me. I moved to a new hosting service, and it created a lot of weird characters through almost all of my blog entries. I couldn’t find a solution, and it quickly brought down the high I’d had from moving my entire site over to Bluehost all by myself. My fist pump of victory turned into a sad half-hearted junior high slow dance.
I am determined to move on, however. I’m fixing the problem as I go back to old entries, but I’m not going out of my way to search through hundreds of old posts just to delete out some oddities. It’s almost 2014! Time for a clean slate!
So where have I been? Goodreads, mostly. I’ve become crazy active on that site – joining groups and actively participating in them, doing buddy reads, and entering challenges and competitions that have pushed me to read more than any other year. In fact, I’m trying to wrap this up so I can go back to reading and hopefully knock a few more books off my list.
In 2014, I’ve decided to track all of my book challenges on Goodreads. I set up my own page (group, really) there to keep my lists organized, and I’ve found it much easier to check off my lists there instead of on the blog. I may do a post in the future on the different groups I’ve joined, but in the meantime, if you’re curious, here’s a list of where I’m a member. The Goodreads crowd is a lot of fun, and they are so creative with ways to keep reading fun.
Tomorrow I’ll have a post up summarizing my challenges in 2013, and I’ve updated my widgets and challenge page on the blog. Here’s hoping I can squeeze another one or two in before midnight!
Happy New Year to you all!