New year, new goals!
So we all know that keeping resolutions tends to be tough, sure, but that won’t stop me from trying! Today, I’m looking back at the things I aimed for in 2020, and ahead to my 2021 blogging resolutions! 🎆
Last Year’s Blog Resolutions
Admittedly, looking back at my progress for this year is probably the roughest part of this post. 2020 being what it was meant I didn’t put as much effort into my resolutions as I wanted to, mostly because everything around me was just so much, especially where my mental health was concerned. That said, this year wasn’t a total wash, and I’m proud of what progress I did make.
Blog hop more.
I sort of improved on this. I’m trying to blog hop every Friday instead of in a last minute rush when I’m putting my monthly wrap together. It hasn’t always been a roaring success, especially when my work schedule has interfered, but establishing an intended schedule has been the first step! (And if you’re reading this right now, and I don’t seem to have blog hopped lately? Pester me.)
Write More Discussion Posts
Okay, so this one started off strong, then kind of crashed and burned. I love discussion posts, both while reading and writing, but I find them tough to come up with. There’s a kernel of doubt in my mind that I’m not contributing anything valuable to the conversations at hand, and it tends to hold me back from actually, you know, holding discussions. Plus, brainstorming topics is surprisingly hard. 🥴
Finish the Move to Self-Hosting
At last! A resolution I finished 100%! As of the middle of January, Hail & Well Read will officially have been self-hosted for an entire year. I’m proud of the move, of the rebrand, and I’m really hoping you’ve all enjoyed it along the way! This blog really is my pride and joy, and taking the leap to self-hosted absolutely feels like it’s worth it.
Read 75 Books
So close! To be honest, this year has been one of my worst reading years. I don’t think I clocked a single month with more than ten books, and that frustrates me. My last two Goodreads challenges, I knocked it out of the park. This time, I’ve fallen short.
Still, reading over 50 books during a pandemic? I’ll take what I can get, and hope for better, more satisfying numbers next year. And at least I can take comfort in a lot of my reads this year being ARCs! Nothing is overdue at the moment, which is a big relief.
Reach 500 Followers on Hail & Well Read
This is one of those goals that’s not entirely within my control, but still one I wish I’d seen more progress on. The whole year, I think the blog only gained about 40 new followers, and I was really hoping to reach 500. As I write this, I’m hanging out at 401, willing another 99 to appear before midnight. It won’t happen, but I can dream, right?
2021 Blogging Resolutions
Heading into 2021, some of these goals are familiar. I don’t like to give up, and when I’ve already made some progress, why abandon that? So, to start, I’m aiming to: reach 500 followers, blog hop more often, write more discussions, and read 75 books.
That makes 2021 seem simple! If I’ve already done some of these things partially, I can definitely make fresh strides. I know what went wrong this year, and I know how to make it right next year.
But there’s still more to do, since I’m infamous for going all in. Why wait, when I can start on some of these goals right away?
Diversify My Shelves
This is admittedly an eternal sort of goal. I did better this year, including more titles by authors of color, but had a hard time reading a lot of them. Pandemic stress brain has trouble focusing on words, even really, really good ones.
So, going forward, it’s my aim to read more of these titles, not just get them on my shelves, and I want to be more conscious of whose work I’m picking up. I have more people of color and queer authors on my shelf, but I want to do better in seeking out disabled authors, neurodivergent authors, any category of author we might consider marginalized.
If I can set up my reading tracker right, I hope to keep track of how many diverse books I read. This would mean books that aren’t written by white able cishet neurotypical folks, about white able cishet neurotypical characters.
Discover New Blogs
When I have blog hopped this year, I’ve noticed two things. The first is that I’m really bad at blog hopping frequently. Forgive me, folks, I promise I’m going to get to your posts soon! That’s why I’ve made it one of my resolutions! But I also realized that I follow a lot of the same people I followed way back when I started blogging, and I haven’t really freshened things up.
As a result, across my blog and all my social media, I want to clean out my following lists and start putting new voices in front of my face. I want the time I spend blogging and connecting to feel meaningful, so I need to put some effort into curating the content I see and the people I follow.
Host Author Interviews
I had a ton of fun interviewing Kelly Coon last month as part of the Warmaidens blog tour, and I’d really like to host interviews more often! I have some ideas I’m working with my friend and blog artist on, ideas that would finally make dear sweet Angus the dragon a more visible fixture of Hail & Well Read, and it would also make interviews an extra fun experience!
Of course, this means reaching out to authors and publicists and the like to schedule these kinds of things, which makes me nervous. I’ll never be able to handle alien first contact when I get so anxious about other human first contact! 😳
Reach ARC Inbox Zero
Is this likely? No, because NetGalley and I are slowly becoming good friends, and I have an itchy clicker finger. I see a request button, and I click. It’s practically impulse at this point. Not a thought involved. Just.
But it would be an absolute dream to have zero ARCs waiting for my attention. I have a pretty big backlist just waiting for my attention, and it keeps waiting because I prioritize ARCs according to release date. As I write this, it means getting through about ten ARCs, but I’m sure that number will dance all over the place before I come anywhere close to getting a handle on it.
Create More Bookish Crafts
Here it is! The thing that makes me most nervous and most excited at the very same time! Last year, I meant to open an Etsy for book sleeves. Then I got slammed with one thing after another: declining mental health, unpredictable work hours, a literal pandemic, so on and so forth. In all the chaos, I just needed my feet back underneath me. I didn’t need to add another source of stress to the mountain on my shoulders.
But things have settled down somewhat since then. Yes, there’s still a pandemic, and it’s still outrageously frustrating to watch people ignore it (yes, I work in retail, yes, I’ve seen it all), but. But! I’m now taking medication that keeps me from feeling too lost at sea, my work hours have taken on a steady pattern, and I have better tools and habits for coping with a pandemic. As a result, I’ve been creating again, between book sleeves and embroideries. I don’t know when I’ll open an Etsy (though I absolutely want to do it!), but I do know it’s getting easier to return to crafting, and that I want to share it with you all.
At the moment, my goal is to kick things off with a special Ace of Shades project, and after that, who knows! I’m tempted to stitch some Locked Tomb trilogy hoops, but maybe I’ll leave it up to a Twitter poll. At the end of the day, though, I want to spend this year creating, and more importantly, I want to share those creations with you all.
So tell me: what are you planning to try for 2021? Do you make resolutions, or do you take it all as it comes? Let’s chat, and let’s celebrate the new year ahead! ✨