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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Note on Where I've Been + 2016 Manifesto

I sort of fell off the map towards the end of 2015. I'm sure that's not news to anyone. I talked a bit about it in my Autumn Ennui video (during which I was so hardcore ennui-ing that I couldn't even be bothered to copy and paste the code to the video into a blog post for those of you who visit me here...), but Fall has just become a weird, lackluster time for me, in which I'm not really motivated to do much of anything. There are a lot of reasons for this of course, but judging by many of your comments on said video, I'm hardly the only one to lose interest and motivation in things as the year comes to a close. So maybe it's just part of a natural cycle.

But the upswing of that is that there is an upswing -- January comes like clockwork, bringing with it a new start and a fresh, clean slate full of possibilities, and I'm not immune to the cheesily gung-ho, do-it-all spirit which that engenders. And though I can't help but acknowledge that blogging has lost a bit of its shine, and I do sometimes question whether I want to continue, for now at least, I've been bitten by the overly-ambitious bug and am still game.

That said, onto my goals, plans and approach for 2016!

  • As with last year, I want to continue to bring more me into my blog. There were a number of new features I toyed with last year, that I want to reprioritize, and I have some new ones I want to bring in. I also occasionally want to have more non-bookish posts
  • I need to bring some memes back, yo! They were among my most popular posts, and I've had numerous requests to bring them back (Friday Face Off, especially), but also, they're fun and light and help build up better blogging habits.
  • But along with bringing some old staples back, I also want to usher in change. This will be my 7th year of blogging, and it's time to reassess and reprioritize. And some old favorites may find themselves on the chopping block...
  • I want to continue moving in the direction of QUALITY over QUANTITY. For a long time (and I'm sure still, today), bloggers were being told over and over that they needed to churn out content, have daily posts if possible, always be blogging.  It becomes very impersonal (which is the opposite of what a blog should be), and it becomes very much like work. Soulless work. Drudgery. I don't want to write that, and you don't want to read it.
    Though it's a hard habit to break, I want to continue to shuck the daily-post mentality and focus more on giving you things that are actually fresh and interesting, and that I can take pride in. Or at least things that are fun to me, personally. But the fun, creative things take more time, more involvement, and honestly, can be a lot more draining that churning out mass-produced filler posts and run of the mill things, so shifitng a focus to something like that means that there will probably be fewer posts -- but they'll be better for it. 
  • And as always, because this is such a difficult one for me, I want to encourage and participate in more community interaction. I say this all the time, but the reason I got into blogging and vlogging was for the community, and sometimes I just feel like I'm throwing things out there, but not engaging with all of you as much as I could. I don't go into your spaces and see what you're up to often enough, and when I do, I don't always comment and let you know I'm there -- and we all need that. None of use wants to feel like we're shouting into the void; I think we all do this for the community, and I need to be a better member of it. I know you guys are out there, doing really cool things, and I need to let you know that I see it. I need to be better at commenting and interacting, and appreciating
  • And on the same note, I want to encourage more interaction across my own platforms. Polls, book talks, liveshows, group reads and twitter chats and movie watch-alongs -- these are all really fun to me, and I love how it pulls some of you out of the woodwork, and I want to do more of this. 
  • And lastly, I want to work in a better variety of books. I've gotten into a lot of ruts lately, and I think it's because I'm sick of the sameness. I used to read a much wider variety of styles, genres and types of work, but since blogging, I've been forcing myself into this little hole where I feel I can only read certain types of books because that's where the audience lies, or they're quicker so I can burn through more of them -- and again, it's about quality. I want to pull in more backlist titles, more adult titles, non-fiction on occasion, more poetry and short stories. I want to vary what I'm reading, AND help bring anything but the same old same old to you. (That said, I am still a total sucker for a lot of the hot new YA books, and accepting all the bright, shiny things will be a hard (maybe impossible) habit to break, so you'll probably still see a lot of them. But I want to begin laying the groundwork of rounding out my reading and blogging-about habits.)

  • 2016 will (hopefully) be the year of building better habits. But we all know how that can go (after all, 2015 was supposed to be the year of habit-building and routine-setting...). I feel better and things are so much more manageable with routines made and schedules kept, and I want to build and reinforce those habits this year, both on the internet side of things and in my real, day to day life. 
  • That said, I also want 2016 to be the year of following my bliss and seeing what works. Finding what makes me happiest and helps me be my best self. That is possibly the most saccharine thing I've ever written on this blog, but I can think of a better way to say it; it's cheesy, but it's true.
  • To that end, this blog will probably become more vlog-heavy. It's been headed in that direction for awhile, but it's time to just admit that I enjoy blogging (most of the time), I love vlogging more.
  • This blog also may become less about trying to reach goals and quotas (posting X-number of days, etc) and more when I really feel there is a reason to. This year is almost going to be a trial period for me, of whether I want to keep blogging, and how, and do posts may be sporadic at times and regimented at others, as I try to find what works for me and what I like best. 
  • In an effort to keep things more personal AND to make the whole process more enjoyable for myself, I'll probably be changing up how and when I review books -- more on this to come.
And there's more, I'm sure. I'm constantly reevaluating and plotting and toying with ideas. And I'm fairly indecisive by nature, so there's that. And you don't find out what works until you do things, and then readjust. 
But for now, that's the general thrust of things.

I'm not gonna lie, there will probably be dry spells. Finding what works and seeking to decide if blogging is still the thing for me will naturally mean that there will be gaps while I readjust and reassess. And if I'm going to prize quantity and personality over quotas, there will be times when there's not much going on here because I'm working on the next thing I'm excited about.
All of these goals also mean that I've value even more input from you. The community interaction, as I said, has always been a thing I've prized, but especially if I'm changing things up, I want your feedback. Let me know what works for you, what you like to see. Let me know when a new idea excites you, or how you feel about certain posts or approaches to blogs/vlogs. Your feedback is crucial, truly.

And so that is what the future of this blog looks like -- for now.***  Everything's a bit up in the air, I know, but I hope you'll stick with me, chat with me and help pull me out of my hole, and continue being the amazing bookish community that I love being a part of. 

Here's to a great 2016!

*** That said, I am currently without internet and have been for over a month now, and I'm not sure how quickly that's going to change -- or if I even care to change it. I'm kinda enjoying the internet cleanse, which is why I haven't rushed to find a different provider. So though I'm feeling gung-ho at the moment, things will still probably be sporadic for a time, and very light on vlogs until I have a decent enough connection to upload them. But I'll pop on and chat with you all when I can!


  1. I have missed seeing your videos on youtube as well as your blog posts here! You're one of the few bloggers I still visit nowadays since I stopped blogging this past August. I've always admired your style of blogging/vlogging and you always produce such cool content in my opinion :) I hope 2016 treats you well in bloggy aspects as well as irl stuff<3

  2. Glad you are back. I love reading your vlog and watching your youtube videos also. Happy 2016!

  3. Best wishes for your goals! I look forward to seeing your new review formats/styles, and I can't wait for a movie watchalong. That sounds like fun!

  4. Do what you need to do, girl. We'll be here for you. I don't think I've ever stopped changing/reassessing my blog since I started it a year ago. It's a lot tougher than a lot of people think it is. :)

  5. Glad to have you back, Misty! See, you aren't shouting into the void, we're here :D I know what you mean though, I've felt the same way, especially since my blogging has been so sporadic over the past couple years that I feel totally out of the loop now that I'm trying to get back into things, lol. A bunch of the bloggers I knew have now stopped blogging too, which is a shame :/

    Anyway, I'm definitely hoping for more/better book blogging community interactions as well this year. Plus I'm just hoping to do more actual reading this year, my amount of reading in 2015 was pretty sad :( Here's to 2016!

  6. Glad to have you back on the internet Misty! I've missed your videos and posts. I hope all your plans work out and you reach all the goals! Happy New Year!

  7. Glad you're working through things. Seven years is a long time for a blog so your decision to step back a bit and see if its what you want to continue makes sense. I haven't really gotten into vlogs yet, but maybe this is my chance to stretch my horizons. I love a variety of books and mingling with other style posts sounds good to me.

    Happy New Year, Misty!

  8. Welcome back! Sounds like a lovely accidental cleanse. And for the record, almost every blogger's resolutions I've encountered this week include an emphasis on quality over quantity, and on being more authentic. As usual, we're all coming to the same wave together! For the record, one of the reason I love your Fairytale Fortnight and Austen in August is the community it creates. The polls, the watch-a-longs, the twitter chats, the fun challenges....I'm a fan.
    So of course, I vote Friday Face-Off. :)

  9. What excites me about what you mentioned in this post? The possibility of you seeking your bliss and focusing more (blog-wise) on posting things YOU are excited about. I just want to encourage you in this direction. I think this method makes for better content: you'll write better when you're passionate and into the thing you're writing about, which means it will read better. (Not that your thoughts aren't interesting no matter WHAT you're sharing about.) Also, if you're considering stepping away from blogging (which I think every blogger/vlogger considers many times over) why not just go all out first and do/explore/read/write about/blog what you want? I'm looking forward to whatever YOU want to share of YOU.
    Bonus thought: I'm right there with you, longing for that community... May we both discover more connection and joy in this coming year. ^^


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