Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Thoughts about the new year

". . . Bookfool flossed every day."
". . . Oprah called Bookfool for advice."
". . . Bookfool took dancing lessons."
". . . who knows?"

What I most love about a new year is that it's a blank slate, or rather a good mental starting point for clearing the slate and reinventing oneself.

I typed that sentence, along with a few paragraphs of gibberish, then I found myself coming back the same sentence, repeatedly. Why should January be the only time of year we visualize as a time to set goals, the time of clean slates and resolutions? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that every day can be and is--given the chance--a clean slate. That means any old time can be a time to reevaluate, draw up new goals and/or change things that aren't working for you.

Point being, I've got a few reading and blogging goals but nothing elaborate because I want to think of every day as a day in which I can change anything or everything.

Some thoughts that involve an expanding butt:

In the past few years, my life has been wrapped around the computer, the internet, email, facebook, twitter, the blog. I've pondered that a good bit and decided there's no way I can call my life "balanced," even after last year's goal to make 2010 a year of "finding balance." It didn't work out. However, that doesn't mean I can't keep trying. Balance means not allowing your life to be skewed too much toward one activity and to find it involves shifting some weight around. Obviously, I'm going to have to devote less time to blogging and other online activities to make my life more balanced.

So far, I've actually succeeded to a certain extent. I'm spending more time updating my home so Kiddo will have plenty of places he can comfortably study. I've been reading, deep cleaning, purging . . . having fun making the place more livable. I'm getting plenty of exercise, apparently. Housework is definitely making my pants fit better, although formal exercise is on the agenda, too.

Bottom line: I realized that the blog simply cannot be my #1 priority in 2011. That doesn't mean I'm giving it up because I'm not. It does mean I will make some significant changes.

My blog and reading goals for 2011:

1. Continue to blog, but in more of a swoop and dash way. No more editing myself to death, writing lengthy posts. At least, that's the plan. Feel free to cross your fingers and toes. I can use help on this one.

2. Google Reader Must Die. I've spent more time stressing about not being able to keep up with my reader than I should, so I'm altering my method of blog-hopping. In 2011, blogging efforts will be reciprocal. If someone visits my blog and comments, I'll read their blog and comment. I'll also visit a few favorite bloggers regularly and will try to visit all of my blog friends, now and then, but I'm not going to be a slave to the reader, this year.

3. Read what I love/love what I read. This was one of my goals in 2010 and it went quite well. I granted myself permission to set aside any book that didn't grab me and I was happier with my reading. I'm going to continue that practice.

4. No challenges, except maybe the R.I.P. because I love deliberately reading creepy books in the fall. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

5. Mix it up. At this point, I'm still accepting advanced readers, but that may end. For now, my plan is to finish up the review books I've got but work at mixing in more books from my TBRs. Specifically, I've set a goal to empty one shelf at a time, so that I'll have a visual to work with. I'll devote a separate post to this concept. My first "shelf" started with books from the bedroom closet but it keeps changing.

I have a few other goals that have nothing to do with reading or blogging but this is a reading blog, so there you go. You might say 2011 will be The Year of the Cat, since most of what I'm planning involves relaxing, enjoying, mixing in play time with the work.



©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than
Bookfoolery and Babble, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

21 comments:

  1. I think those goals sound sensible and fun. LOL

    Love the cat analogy and good luck to you in 2011!

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  2. It is hard to strike a balance for sure. I've had so much going on in my real life, that blogging has taken a back seat. I thought it would bother me, but it hasn't. Good luck with your goals!

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  3. Kay,

    Thank you times two! :) I thought that kitty photo fit. There's what I'm after -- working hard and then relaxing and deserving it. LOL

    Kathy,

    I've been gone for similar reasons, off and on, during the past few years -- Mom's death and then a sick kitty that needed constant attention -- and I found that my readers were very supportive but I didn't miss the amount of time spent on the computer at all. It's definitely hard striking a balance but I'm going to keep working at it.

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  4. I had to laugh at your death wish for Google Reader - I've felt the same way myself! I generally ignore it altogether and just stick to my blogroll, which along with a few other New Year's housekeeping tasks, I cleaned up and pared down. Periodically I'll go to my reader page and gasp at the hundreds of unread posts, get a headache at the thought of reading them all, click on all items read, and then go back to ignoring it for another few months, rinse and repeat.

    Here's to a year of great reading and blogging!

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  5. Lesley,

    I've spent so much time feeling guilty because I can't keep up with that stupid reader! I'm going to have to work on updating my blogroll, but that's also how I plan to eventually do my blog-hopping. We'll see when I get to it. I'm not in any hurry.

    Thanks! I hope 2011 will be a year of terrific reading and enjoyable blogging for you, too!

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  6. I love your admissions and appreciate your attention to balance. So many times we don't search for balance until we are totally out of whack!! I enjoy sitting down to read blogs but I limit myself to posting. I'm not about the publishing but the product. I want my posts to mean something to ME!

    By the way, Your suggestion of reading Desiree is keeping me up late....

    Thanks to you and the kitties!!

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  7. Inside a Book,

    I'm probably already totally out of whack, but even if I'm not . . . something's gotta give. I don't think that's a bad thing. One of my favorite movie lines is what Goldie Hawn says in The Housesitter to a stolid Steve Martin: "I change myself all the time!" That resonates for me. Sometimes I think I should do that more often.

    Sounds like you have a similar attitude to mine. I'm all about the books. I'm not here to make money or sell something. I just want to read and talk about books . . . and cats . . . and family, when they do something interesting (they're all getting older and less prone to starring in anecdotes, unfortunately).

    Ooooh, that's a wahoo! Desiree will always have a special place in my heart, so I'm always thrilled when someone discovers it. The kitties are also thrilled, of course. Or they would be if they didn't happen to be in the midst of chasing a laser. Kiddo and I figured he'd better wind them down a little before heading to bed. They were wired. :)

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  8. Inside a Book,

    I'm probably already totally out of whack, but even if I'm not . . . something's gotta give. I don't think that's a bad thing. One of my favorite movie lines is what Goldie Hawn says in The Housesitter to a stolid Steve Martin: "I change myself all the time!" That resonates for me. Sometimes I think I should do that more often.

    Sounds like you have a similar attitude to mine. I'm all about the books. I'm not here to make money or sell something. I just want to read and talk about books . . . and cats . . . and family, when they do something interesting (they're all getting older and less prone to starring in anecdotes, unfortunately).

    Ooooh, that's a wahoo! Desiree will always have a special place in my heart, so I'm always thrilled when someone discovers it. The kitties are also thrilled, of course. Or they would be if they didn't happen to be in the midst of chasing a laser. Kiddo and I figured he'd better wind them down a little before heading to bed. They were wired. :)

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  9. There's this constant push to be on top of it all - it's impossible. Last year life, work, all of it was all so overwhelming that I finally conceded that I could not possibly keep up with Google Reader and blog reading in any kind of meaningful way.

    Read what you love/love what you read is a good one. I've been trying that one myself.

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  10. Carrie,

    Last year was the year I started realizing I simply can't keep up with the reader, too. Technical issues with GR didn't help matters. I kept trying to click through when I wanted to comment and often was unable to comment at all, then I'd have to backtrack and type in the URL to whatever blog I wanted to visit. It was too much effort. Half the bloggers didn't reply, anyway.

    I'm sticking with read what you love love what you read for good. It works well. :)

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  11. I agree with you--January 1 shouldn't be the only day of the year where we try to reinvent ourselves. I didn't make any goals or resolutions this year (though I do have a loose list of things I'd like to accomplish--loose because baby will throw my life temporarily out of whack, I'm sure).

    I love your blogging goals and while I can't neglect my blog any more than I already do I'm trying not to be a slave to it. And Google Reader. Recently I've started doing the reciprocal method which works well but still has it's flaws. There is no perfect system, though, and we all just need to realize we can only do what we can do.

    Best wishes to you, Nancy. Hope 2011 is a wonderful year for you.

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  12. All great goals and ideas. I recently went through and cleaned out my reader A TON and it is more manageable. Still too large, but I'm getting there. Best of luck!

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  13. Trish,

    A baby will definitely throw your life out of whack, at least for a time, so it seems like you've got a good plan going.

    You know what I've discovered since starting the reciprocal method? My blogroll is way out of date. I've been using GR long enough that I haven't even bothered looking at my links (although I did update a few last year -- I just did't get very far). A lot of my regular readers aren't in the blogroll and some who are on it have given up blogging. So, I'm going to have to devote a weekend to overhauling that.

    Yes, not particular method of blog-hopping is perfect. I've still gone to my reader, a couple of times, but I've had so little time to visit blogs that it's hard just keeping up with those who comment. Eeks.

    Amy,

    Good for you. Weeding, now and then, is a necessity with a reader. I've found most of the people I visited last year were not commenting at my blog, so I'm going to have to totally overhaul my blogroll, some time soon.

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  14. Finding balance is so hard isn't it? I'm trying a new system where I can only devote so much time to blog hopping a day and try to keep some days free from that. It can get out of control because if you just miss a day that google reader multiplies like crazy. But we can't be a slave to that!

    Good luck with your goals Nancy! I'd love to hear later on if you found something that really worked for you. So keep us posted.

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  15. Iliana,

    It is definitely hard finding balance. I'm doing better since I decided to mostly ignore my reader but I've got some work to do, updating my sidebar so I can avoid the reader completely, if possible. It's always bothered me how quickly the posts add up. I've timed my internet use, in the past -- actually used a kitchen timer to remind me not to spend more than a certain chunk of time sitting in front of the computer.

    Sure, I'll be glad to update, later on. It'll be interesting to see what happens. At this point, I'm mostly just visiting bloggers who leave a comment at my blog, but that's partly because we've got so much going on. I'd do more blog hopping if I could. Last night, we spent the entire evening preparing for today's ice storm (which is still going on -- no crashing of trees, yet) after we got back from a performance of Riverdance, so I didn't get on till right before bed.

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  16. I had to laugh at #2 - Google Reader Must Die. I cleaned my slate off on January 1 and oh yea! gotta go look at that! Ugh. In fact, I decided to visit those blogs that have the most missed posts and YOURS was one of them. :)
    yes, keep blogging and I will, too.

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  17. Care,

    Well, it must. LOL I'm doing a pretty good job of not going to Google Reader often and ignoring the quantity of posts when I do, using it to link through to places I want to go, instead.

    That could just mean I've been posting too much, couldn't it? ;)

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  18. Your goals are right on. Good luck!!!

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  19. Bybee,

    Thank you! :)

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  20. These are wonderful (and attainable) goals, Nancy. I never jumped on the GR wagon, but it sounds like it would be a daunting task to keep up with. What works for me is to have multiple folders set up in my Bookmarks with 6 blogs in each folder (aptly labeled "Favorite Blogs 1", "Favorite Blogs 2", etc.) When I'm in the mood to do some blog hopping, I open up the folder (Open All in Tabs) so all 6 open up in my broswer. I catch up on those 6 and feel like I've accomplished something. If I have lots of free time, I move on to the next folder of 6. My absolute "Must Read Blogs" are in the first folder. These are blogs that I have been following since day one and are written by my closest of friends. All in all, I read about two dozen book & foodie blogs. This doesn't count the ones that my relatives and a handful of authors post to, though.

    More information than you probably needed to read, huh? ;)

    I've also scaled way back on posting. I used to puts stuff up for holidays and non-book related topics, as well as memes, etc., but for now I'm sticking to book reviews when I can get to them. I'm not quitting, but I'm not stressing about getting stuff posted before I lose readers. It's more for my own record-keeping than anything else.

    And now it's time to go to work. Ta-ta!

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  21. Les,

    That sounds like a very good way to manage your blog-hopping. I've been working on updating my blog roll since that's how I plan to do mine, but I may have to rethink that.

    So far, I've had a lot more to post about than I expected but I'm doing better at walking away for a while and not being a slave to the computer. Not as good as you, but I'm happy. I think we all have to do what fits our life. My blogging began as a way to do record-keeping, too, so I'm headed back in that direction, although sometimes I just like to babble about whatever. :)

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