My Blogging New Year's Resolutions for 2011

Friday, January 7

I've been thinking about this off and on for a few weeks now and I finally decided on a few.  Some will definitely be doable...others will be a challenge.  After all that's what resolutions are supposed to be about, right?  Let me apologize up front for the length of the post, but it's an entire year's worth of goals :)

1.  I started out 2010 with two different reading challenges.  The DIK Reading Challenge and the Erotic Romance Reading Challenge.  I originally signed up for the DIK because the list of books that you could choose from included several books from my TBR, and even then I was worried about how many books I was accumulating, but never getting around to reading.  I did pretty good for about 3 months....then I just stopped.  Since I choose this challenge to attempt to read from the TBR I'm disappointed that I didn't do better than that.  Unfortunately, the TBR problem only compounded as the year progressed.    Then, there was the ERR.  I definitely read enough Erotic Romances to complete the challenge, but I didn't review all of them, so I can't in good conscience count the ones I didn't review....which means I didn't complete that one either.  So I've come to the conclusion that I suck at challenges for one simple reason.  I like to read what I want when I want, and don't want a challenge requirement dictating which books I read and when I read them.

I was reading Wendy the Superlibrarian's blog and read that she participated in a TBR Challenge, and I thought to myself...that's the kind of challenge I need.  But after looking at the details of that particular challenge, it had restrictions like genre and such....I wanted one that I could read ANY of the books in my TBR depending on time and the mood I was in.  Then, amazingly I was trying to catch up on my blog reading and found a different TBR challenge at Barbara's blog.  The BA Reading "Off The Shelf" TBR Challenge, and after looking at the details I knew it was exactly what I was looking for because the only restriction was that you had to already have the book on your shelf.  Perfect!!  I decided to be realistic and go for 15 books in the challenge.  A little over one per month.  At that rate I should be able to read all of the print books in my TBR in about 12 years.  Yes, you read that right, 12 years!  You see now that I have a problem....and I'm only talking about print books people.  I have probably just as many ebooks that I've purchased or downloaded from the Amazon free reads that are waiting in cyberspace for me to read.  And that's assuming that I won't add any new books to the TBR.  Lets be honest, we all know that won't happen.   I have a big TBR problem, and it's actually starting to bother me...especially when I read some of the year end summaries and read other bloggers "best" lists from 2010 and KNOW that I have quite a few sitting on my shelves.  That needs to change, and 2011 is going to be the year!

It might be hard to believe but I actually almost considered not reading any books published after 2010 in 2011 so that I could focus only on the books that I already own and are sitting on my bookshelves.  If I were to do that I could probably read all of the books that have been patiently waiting my reading attention in one year.  But then I thought, "what good would that do?  All you would end up doing is making a list of the books released in 2011 that you want to read/ essence creating an entirely new TBR."  *Sigh*  It's a no win situation :(  So I've had to resign myself to read as many of my original TBR, without neglecting new releases that I want to read.  I can live with that....but  I many need to buy another bookshelf :)  So I will be participating in ONE challenge, which you will find in the left hand sidebar, but also in reviews as I read the books.

2.  I need to be better about reviewing more books, and sometimes that might mean fewer guests here at Musings.  There were some weeks last year that I had a new guest every day of the week.   I really only have time for one post a day (sometimes not even that).  And don't usually post on the weekends because that is family and "me" time.  When I read 2-3 books a weeks, sometimes more, that means that only the fraction of books that I read were reviewed...and for the most part the ones that were reviewed were books that I received for review purposes, not ones I picked up on my own.  I'd like that to change in 2011.  My goal is to post at least one review per week.  That may not sound like a lot, but it's more than what happened last year, so I consider that an attainable goal.

3.  Many of my own meme's also got left behind in 2010.  The only one that I kept up with was Monday's Muse, and I have to say that one was completely my pleasure :)  So instead in 2011 I thought I might do something a little bit different, but hopefully better:
  • One Collective Review per month
  • An end of month recap of all of the books that I read, with either a link to the full review, or a brief, and by brief I mean one or two sentence review of what I thought about each book that I read.  In the end of month recap I will also let you know what my favorite book for that month was, and what my favorite cover was.  This will take the place of the Seductive Museums Cover Art meme, which I am going to set aside for now.
4.  I'm going to keep track of the books I read differently than I did last year.  Many people like Goodreads for that, but me...I find that I didn't keep it as updated because it was on a different website.  I know it sounds kind of silly, but out of site out of least for me.  I would forget to go and input my reading lists at the end of the month.  So, for 2011 I've created my own spreadsheets using Google Docs (which I love).  I'm on Google all of the, blogging, my calendar, so this makes sense for me.  I'm going to keep track of the usual, and also:
  • page count...I'd like to know what the average length of novel that I read last year.  Both in print and in digital formats.  Are books getting shorter, or is it just my imagination?  I hope to be able to tell by the end of next year.
  • cost...I have absolutely no idea how much money I spent on books last year.  Maybe I don't really want to know, but I think it's something that I should I'm going to start tracking that also.
  • Print vs. digital edition.  Will I read more digital or print books in 2011?  I'm pretty sure it will be print since I get many of the books that I read from my library, but I'll be interested in knowing for sure.
  • Publisher.  2010 was the year of "Berkley" for me.  I read more books from this publisher than any one other publisher.  Mostly because many of my current favorite authors are being published by this house, so I'd like to see how it breaks down this year.
5.  Finish all of the unfinished parts of the blog...before my next blogoversary.  If I go on a year without finishing what I started in 2010....I'm gonna....well I don't know what I'll do.  Maybe not let myself read a book until it's done...kind of give myself "you're grounded" :)  It just needs to get done because I keep thinking about it, and I don't want to think about it anymore.

6.  Finally, I think I'd like to focus on reading one new to me author and/or series a month.  Last year I kept a list of authors that I'd like to try during the year.  And I actually did really well with that.  I tried a lot of new authors and found many that I enjoyed.  Keeping an ongoing list really helped me remember who they were when I found the time to try one out.  But this year I'd like to take it one step further and focus on one author per month and try to read their backlist during that month.  For instance, I have almost all of Kate Pearce's "Simply" series on my bookshelves, but haven't read them yet.  I keep meaning too...but it goes back to the TBR thing.  So if the author has a series that I've been dying to read...I'm gonna just go for it.  There are also a few other authors that some of you have suggested like Pamela Clare that I'd like to read, as well as Loretta Chase.  She made many "best" lists at the end of 2010, and when I perused the All About Romance top 100 list compiled by votes from readers I was surprised at how many books she had in the top 100....obviously I've been missing out on something good.

Now that I've set my goals for 2011, I'm actually pretty excited about it.  I think all of them are doable, while still being challenging.  So tell me, what were your goals for 2011 (personal or blogging...doesn't matter) and if you have a TBR problem, how do you go about reading the books on your bookshelves, while still reading all of the new releases?  I need help and I'm willing to listen to whatever ideas you might have that I haven't thought of yet.

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JenM January 7, 2011 at 10:14 PM  

Ah, the TBR pile. I think we all have a ginormous one. Obviously I'm no good at keeping up with it either, but my goal this year is to read at least one book a week that I've had for at least three months. Since I read 4-5 books/wk, I think that's doable.

As for challenges, I hate 'em. I have enough trouble reading my bookclub's choice each month and that's just one book a month. I absolutely hate someone else dictating my choice in books. I feel like the one area in my life that I have total control over is my choice of books and I won't let anyone take that away from me.

Barbara January 7, 2011 at 10:34 PM  

Omg, woman, I feel you! I joined the challenge. I still have to do my post for the challenge. Tonight...

I hope to read at least three a month or 30 for the year. I'll never be able to keep up with these books. It's a damn shame, too. But it's not humanly possible.

Mitzi H. January 8, 2011 at 11:20 PM  

This is the first year for me that I actually set myself a goal of 150 books to read although I also realize that I will have to spend more time reading and less time blogging which is pretty much OK with me….As I sort of figured out last year that blogging was taking up so much of my time that I wasn’t getting near as much reading in as I want to.

So goal #1 to try to read more and goal #2 to select my favorite blog sites (like yours) and let the rest hang for awhile.

As for my print TBR pile???...Like you, I have loads of books not yet read even though I find them on many ‘best of’ lists….but I’m also having a hard time picking them up because I love reading on my Kindle better (never thought I’d ever say that!).

And as far as reviewing goes…..I’m just horrible about taking the time to write my thoughts down after finishing a book…..Just to anxious to get on to the next one!!! But I know I need to do a better job of it. I love being able to look at my review and remember what I loved/didn’t love about an author/book and I get really mad at myself when that information is not available.

Soooo, goal #3 is to read at least one print book per month from my huge TBR pile and goal #4 is to take the time to write a review (regardless of how small)…to help my aging brain remember the essence of the story.

gamistress66 January 9, 2011 at 8:59 PM  

Good luck on meeting your goals. I can feel the pain regarding the never disappearing TBR pile (though mine isn't quite as bad as yours). I've got a couple dozen or so books or ebooks waiting for me plus a long list of backlog books from authors I've discovered over the past year that I'd like to read & not to mention the not written down but still there list of books by other authors that came out this past year (or so) that I heard about & would like to read sometime too. It can be a little depressing to think about it (if only, ;) life didn't interupt reading). I just try to prioritize the new release the really do want/need to read to reduce that to just a few a month (easier some months than others) and then make sure I intermingle a TBR book (either one I have or "on the list") in between the new ones. in a way reward myself with the new book by tackling the old ;)
Sometimes it works well, but not always (hence the big pile & long lists still exist).

again, best of luck :)

Pam S (pams00),  January 9, 2011 at 10:16 PM  

Kudos to your for sitting down and getting a resolutions list together for 2011! I think that in itself is a big step forward. LOL wish I could say the same for me. Right now my only reading goals are to cram as many print and ebook reading time in as possible and to try out some audios so I can listen to those while I work. Wishing you the best of luck accomplishing your goals and looking forward to your blog this year :)!

Sheree January 10, 2011 at 12:01 AM  

Great resolutions! Personally, I'm looking at trading/selling part of my TBR pile for store credit at my local bookstore. I can't possibly read them all and have a life (even though I read about a book every two days). I've also decided on short, pithy reviews on Goodreads since other people will have the summary-with-spoiler ones already (otherwise, I'll never get to writing a review at all).

Artemis January 10, 2011 at 10:39 PM  

I like your idea of using Google Docs and keeping track. I've never used that system. Do you have a form that is easy to copy? I would like to do something like that.

I too need to write my thoughts as soon as I am finished reading. Even short ones if necessary.

I know all of our TBR piles must be supporting authors everywhere. LOL!

Booklover1335 January 11, 2011 at 10:58 AM  

I'm sooo glad I'm not alone!

Artemis, I would be happy to share my Google Docs spreadsheet with you. When I get the chance I will send it your way.

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