2017 Reflections

My 2017 Resolution was two-fold. I wanted to be more intentional about how I spend my time, and I wanted to start a blog. These may not sound challenging to you but I have a tendency to close myself off to outside interactions as if I’m ashamed of my true self. So, I’m happy to report that I did accomplish both of the goals I set out to meet a year ago.

When I say I want to be more intentional about how I spend my time, I mean I want to make a point to get out of my pajamas and actually go out and spend time with friends. I’ve found that just saying “I want to get out more” doesn’t work for me. I have to officially schedule time or I’ll never go through with it. So, my first action was to come up with something I could schedule and something I’d WANT to do. What about a book club?? Bingo! By forcing myself to get together with a group of readers monthly, I intentionally planned 12 more interactions than I had before (and I can never say no to talking books!)

The funny thing is, once I started telling people about the book club, I got such an overwhelming response that I wished I had done it sooner. People from outside my area were even interested. That sparked an idea. Why not create a reading blog? It’s only natural that I create a space to post book reviews on what I’ve been reading, and it makes the blog resolution less daunting. I’ll admit I tried to start a blog a few years ago and I quit after 2 posts. I am embarrassed by my lack of creativity; I write too technical. However, I wanted 2017 to be the year I pushed myself. We can’t let our fears dictate our lives. So, there you have it. That’s how the blog was born.

As I look back over my posts from the last year, I am pleasantly surprised. My writing isn’t as terrible as I feared it would be. In fact, I wish I’d written more. I did well over the first half of the year but slipped into old habits after August. It wasn’t because I was too busy; I seem to lose motivation in the fall. I read just as much (or more) but lost my momentum with writing. Writing, for me, takes effort. It’s not something I can just sit down and let the words flow. I convince myself that I have to do intense prep work before I can even write a short review. (Even this post gave me angst!) But, I hope to continue to work on my writing. I realize that the more I do it, the better I’ll become.

Something else I was able to work on in 2017 is not just reading, but reading well. I made a conscious effort to educate myself on choosing books, recommending books, and reviewing books in order to have better discussions with my reading group. I am a researcher by nature so I did what I do best: I started digging. I read blogs, sought out the experts on twitter, started listening to bookish podcasts day and night, and got to know the publishers on social media. I stumbled upon NetGalley, this awesome forum for book reviewers to read advanced copies of books in exchange for reviews (free publicity.) My “research” was more than gathering information, it was hands-on training. Little did I know, I was gaining invaluable experience and knowledge that would help improve my ability to express myself and share my reaction to a book.

I’m not saying I am an expert, but I am a little better than I was before. I plan to continue these things and expand on them even more in 2018. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve reached my peak; there’s always something to improve upon.

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