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text 2016-01-05 05:00
Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Resolutions for 2016

It's been a little while since I had a Top Ten Tuesday post, and I had actually planned to pen this entry anyway, so it was perfect timing with the turn of the new year.

 

This was my post from last year, and mostly - last year's goals will be a repeat for this year, though with a few new updates.

 

Suffice to say, 2015 was a busy year for me personally.  While I was able to do many things within the year, it was a slow reading and writing year.  So I'm hoping that what I didn't accomplish in 2015 will be things that I ace in 2016.

 

Here are my top ten resolutions for the new year:

 

  1.  I will read 350 books this year.  My effort to read 450 books last year, unfortunately, was a failure.  I'm still doing the final tally for my 2015 year end post, but it looks like - including re-reads - that I barely made it above 150 books last year alone.  The problem came from two things: massive book hopping (meaning I didn't finish as many books as I started) and not doing a very good job of keeping track of what I was reading and when on my book communities.  Though I'm happy to say I made a lot of trips to the library last year (much to the chagrin of my twin, who tells me I read too much already. She read one book last year, which is actually really good for her considering she has more of an issue with book hopping and DNFing stuff).
  2. I will work to get to 75% feedback ratio on NetGalley this year.  This will effort on my part since I'm about 30% now with submissions.  That may not seem like much to get up to speed with until you realize just how many books I've got to submit feedback for, some even reaching back to 2012-2o13ish.  But my goal this year is to work through my list, decide what to take on, and just stick with the schedules I plan ahead of time. I think I can improve my scheduling for this year with better time management.  And while I started the NetGalley spotlight posts last year to help with this, I'll have to be better about sticking to my reading schedule for it to work.
  3. I will be better about making posts on the blog - almost every day of this year.  Part of this will be steadily bringing back theme day posts, and also bringing back some of my old posts out of archive/draft form.  I have far too many posts that I have submitted drafts for, but never posted to the blog - I'm thinking it's because my train of thought and planning was there, but somehow ended up getting stalled - much like my massive book hopping issues last year.
  4. Publishing two writing projects in 2016.  So I ended up not completing the writing projects I wanted to last year because I ended up starting (and finishing) two completely projects that I worked on last year for Camp NaNo and NaNoWriMo.  So I can pat myself on the back for finishing my NaNo stuff last year (whoo-hoo!)  but not having anything to show for it (Ughh).  And mostly that progress has been behind the scenes and another reason why my posting was sporadic last year, between working with day job and focusing more on the editing process. I've had to push some stuff back, but I'm hoping to be better about this for 2016 and keep you guys informed when I'm planning to release.
  5. Do More Reading Challenges.  I failed almost all of my reading challenges last year (my Audiobook challenge was the only one I kicked butt on - ended up reading over 60 audiobooks - my YA and other stuff though - not so much), so this is a carry over.  
  6. Record more Video/Writing tutorials (and possible audio/V-blogs) - carry over from last year's goals.  This will probably start sometime in March or April.  Reason being is that I ended up ordering better audio/recording equipment mid to late last year (including a new headset - because my other one failed.  Which is why I ended up not recording anything last year.)
  7. Read more books across a span of genres.  I accomplished this goal last year, and I'm making it a goal for this year as well.  I'll have a more thorough breakdown of what I ended up reading in my 2015 Year End post.
  8. Making myself finish stuff I have pending before starting anything new.  General goal - I recognized this as a problem last year with both my reading and writing.  I always get excited to start new things, but I find my mind kept wanting to hop to something different.  It wasn't really writer's/reader's block as much as it was having too many things in my head that I wanted to get down or do, and just transitioning between those in-progress projects or goals made no time for me to actually come back and finish what I started.  So definitely making myself stick to that this year and show some fruit from the things I've done - as well as share it with all of you.
  9. Cleaning out my TBR jars.  I have the crafts, I have the jars.  I actually enjoyed making the ones I've shared in the past, and I'd like to share more of that.
  10. Catching up with my book reviews. At the end of 2016 - I want to have written reviews for everything that I've read in the past several years and have actively caught up with my "pending reviews" and "on-hold" lists.  So that's something to look forward to doing.

 

That's everything.  I'm ready to take on 2016 - let's bring it.

 

Best,

Rose

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text 2015-01-02 02:31
2015 Bookish Resolutions

Resolutions aren't really my thing, I guess. For all I'm an expert procrastinator, I think my procrastination skills are still beat by my ability to outright forget things. Add to that my tendency in recent years to be easily overwhelmed and distracted, and the resolve aspect of New Year's Resolutions kind of flies right out the window.

So here's what I meant to do in 2014, compared to what I actually did.

Catch up on my ARCs.

Despite hoping to make this my "#1 priority" for the beginning of 2014, this didn't happen. I certainly got a few read, but nowhere near as much as I wanted. The biggest hurdle here is being overwhelmed; I still have too many and that, coupled with my tendency to view them as one huge thing to be tackled instead of a bunch of little things, makes me anxious and, by extension, disinterested when I think about getting back to them.

This will be something that stays on my list for 2015.

Read at least fifty books I actually own.

Well, after double-checking, I actually did much better than I thought on this one! I read twenty nine books I own this year. Admittedly, a good 95% percent of those were rereads, but... still better than I expected.

I'll be keeping something similar to this on my list for 2015, I think. I own so many damn books!

Finish Sparrow.

This is kind of a weird one. I set Sparrow aside at the beginning of August 2014, having written a total of one hundred and twenty thousand words. Despite the rambling nature of the story, I quite enjoyed writing it--which I did, as a NaNoer would say, as a "pantser"--but it just wasn't sustainable.

After setting it aside in August, I took what I had and wrote up a much more concise outline to use for the second draft. I don't think that's going to be my project for 2015, but I intend to get to it at some point in the future. Could be this year, could be next. Who knows?

Write a cumulative 250,000 words.

I haven't actually finished tallying my words yet; it's a project I'm still slowly chipping away yet. Right now, though, I'm hovering at just beneath 200,000 words, and I've got at least another thirty thousand to add. I don't, however, expect to reach 350,000... maybe 300,000 by the time I'm finished counting?

Read at least two hundred books.

I fell short again this year, unfortunately. I read only one hundred and fifty nine books in 2014, and a third of that was rereads.

I think I'll aim for two hundred again, but at this point, I'll just be happy to see my count go up for once instead of down.

Comment on other book blogs.

Yeah, this had a chance of actually being accomplished. /s

Empty out my Pocket.

I don't think I read a single thing from my Pocket this year. I mean, I'm sure I probably did, but if I did, I can't remember what.

Publish a blog post every weekday.

I did extremely well with this for the first few months of the year, but my drive fizzled out sometime in May, I think. But for several months, I was publishing something every day of the week, which was pretty awesome.

I'd like to try this one again in 2015, but I'd like to try to make sure I'm scheduling in advanced this time around.

Procrastinate less when it comes to reviewing.

Nope! I mean, if you want to count those first few months, then sure, but there's still a lot of stuff that I meant to do in 2014 that I pushed back and back and right into the New Year. I'm lame.

Catching up on my backlog of reviews to write should be a 2015 resolution, I suppose.

Procrastinate less when it comes to reading.

Not on your life. This one times in with the ARC one, I guess, since those are the only books I actually feel obligated to read (though one could easily argue that I have some degree of an obligation to read books I own, too...). But since I barely managed to read anything this year, I'd hardly say I stopped procrastinating this year.

This is one I'm not going to be reattempting for 2015, as I think "read more" and "read your damn ARCs" kind of cover the gist.

Anyway, that's 2014. What about 2015?

  1. Catch up on my ARCs. (And by extension, get my Netgalley up to 80%.)
  2. Focus on reading books that I own; I have so many that they've long since overflowed my shelves, so I'd like to read enough of them that I can feel comfortable passing those I no longer want on to other readers. Since I'm an eternal dork, I'm going to be calling this "Project Get Shit on Shelves".
  3. Write a cumulative 250,000 words (including book reviews, blog posts, journal entries, and fiction).
  4. Read two hundred books.
  5. Stick to my planned posting schedule here at Amara's Eden. I have specific things planned for specific days, and I'd like to stay on top of that for as long as possible. The whole year, ideally.
  6. Complete both Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 sessions and NaNoWriMo 2015.
  7. Complete at least the lowest level of all reading challenges I've signed up for.
  8. Complete the transition from Goodreads to Leafmarks (i.e., finish transferring books, shelves, and reviews once and for all).
  9. Read (and watch?) more horror this year. Horror is far and away my favorite genre, but I don't intake anywhere near as much of it as I'd like. I think I'd like to make 2015 the year I really delve into the genre!
  10. Read five books published in 2015. I'm always excited when the GR Choice Awards come around, except that always involves me staring at a screen full of books I've never heard of, let alone read. I'd like to try to keep up with some trends this year, I think. Maybe check out some 2015 Listopia lists for ideas?
 
So that's what I'm hoping to do in 2015. Do you have bookish resolutions of your own for this year? Let me know in the comments below, and Happy New Year, everybody!
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text 2015-01-01 23:14
New Year's Reading Plans: In which I burble a bit about Romance, Landmines, and make A List. Also Book Guilt.

I threw the landmines in because they made for a nice title. There's only a brief mention of landmines in all this. (Until I read the book. Then look out. ...Too lazy to link it atm, ask in comments and I'll tell you the name.) This is mostly about trying to organize myself and all these virtual books that I can't pile in front of me as a reminder that "you have a lot to read! Finish all of these!"

 

A few days ago I sat down and tidied up my ereader, even before I needed to ponder it and my New Year's Reading Resolutions.


...In the non-fantasy world: I finally tried to load all my book sale purchases on my ereader and oops, out of memory. So I was forced to clean. (Humor: Amazon's automated system gets SO terrifically excited about this that you get an email announcing that your ereader is full, and telling you what to do in case you were panicking. Which I thought was rather sweet.) This was somewhat tedious but I did need to think about file organization. I know, so exciting. This is why I always put it off.

 

The first step was to rename and create a bunch of folders, specifically genre related. I'm hoping this might remind me to read outside some genres more often, and realize how many books in certain genres are still sitting there waiting on me.


Oddly this reminded me to shelve all the romance I've read - I usually don't keep track of them for the reading challenge. I've avoided reviewing the genre for the most part because 1) I've seen comments from Serious Fans on GR that made me shy of all that (though it really only seems to happen now in YA), and 2) I consume romance without thinking about reviewing it. It's my popcorn lit, and it's really only when I can't find anything to enjoy in a book or there's a huge amount of WTFery that I get ranty. Once I decided to get less self-judgmental about romance reading (now that's a rant topic: genres we're not supposed to think are "real" or worth reading), I also decided that I'd not bother with stars because of that - just let the reading be fun and not about ranking. It's probably the same reason I'll not put stars on any of my comic book reading (with exceptions) whenever I get them out of storage.


This reminds me that I really want to read more comics/graphic novels this year, but all the ones on my ereaderIQ sales list do not often get into sale territory. Yet. (Sigh.) Which might be good as the last time I read a lot of comics I also had an impatience problem with never-ending plots (another case of my Han in Carbonite Problem). Also I need to clean out all the romance stuff I've gotten via sales or free, and there's a book on landmines I've been waiting to get around to for years. (There you go, there are the landmines. They're real and not metaphorical. Er, in the book.)

 

I had to pause after typing that and wonder if anyone's ever thought about romance novels and landmines within the same minute. I'm thinking, probably not. (If you know of a romance novel that contains landmines recommend it immediately.) My next thoughts were on my Heyer backlog and the book on the history of the Volkswagen I haven't read. Now I'm wondering at what point the Amazon algorithm will eventually give up trying to make suggestions for me based on these choices. (Wouldn't it be fun if you could cause the Amazon suggestion page to explode from illogic? Or at least be unable to respond, struck dumb by your choices. You know we'd all be playing that game! Just to see what book combo would do the trick.) (Yes, I know, landmines, explosions - there's a trend here. I blame Dragon Age Inquisition - I'm all about blowing things up at the moment, in a magey kind of way.)


Anyway, enough tangents. All of that led to a list of Reading Resolutions - or that's what I'd hoped it be. Instead it's a List of Things I'm Working On. Since part of my problem is always having SO much to read, my list is more about how I'm going to approach reading rather than the exact books I'll attack. I've found that the best way for me to deal with which book always has to do with what genre I'm in the mood for at a particular moment.

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quote 2014-01-27 03:00
Next year, I’m going to be conscious, intentional, and critical about the books I choose to buy and read. Because I like measurable goals (and because I think vague “try harder” goals are fairly worthless for me), I’m going to ensure that at least 50% of the books I read next year are written by POC. And I’m going to talk about those books, to rate and review them, to share them with others. …

It is important to learn about and talk about the wider systemic, institutional problems with racism in publishing and society in general. But I cannot be an ally without examining how my own personal choices are reinforcing the oppression I profess to oppose, and then changing those behaviors

Reblogged from Diversity in YA, from 'Kayla Whaley, “On Privilege and (a Lack of) Diversity on My Bookshelves"' 

 

I saw this quote and decided to make a POC (People of Colour ) shelf online and found that I had only read approximately 63/463 books that featured characters from diverse backgrounds as main characters/part of the main cast. I read across genres so my count is not limited to YA books. Although, I did not count the manga or books where there were diverse characters with peripheral functions in plot.

 

I've been reading more diverse books both in 2013 and 2014 so I hope to continue to diversify my own reading habits for the rest of my life.

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text 2014-01-02 02:04
2014 Bookish Resolutions

1. Catch up on my ARCs. I have an ungodly amount of eARCs that I still need to read and/or review, so getting that finished needs to be my #1 priority over the next few weeks or months.

 

2. Read at least fifty books I actually own. I read more of my own books last year than I realized (over thirty), but since I own over a thousand--most of which are unread--that's just not going to cut it. I really need to improve my reading habits in this aspect.

 

3. Finish Sparrow, the writing project I started for NaNoWriMo 2013. I want to finish it before NaNo 2014 rolls around so that I can move on to the next project without unnecessarily dividing my attention or abandoning Sparrow.

 

4. Write a cumulative minimum of 350,000 words, including book reviews, miscellaneous blog posts, and fiction.

 

5. Read at least 200 books. I was terrible about reading in 2013, failing miserably at my original goal of 600+ books and ultimately reading only 194.

 

6. Comment on other book blogs.

 

7. Empty out my Pocket. I have thousands of unread articles and unwatched videos stored in there, and I'm adding more every day. It's unbelievable. 

 

8. Publish a post to Amara's Eden every weekday.

 

9. Procrastinate less when it comes to reviewing. I used to be really good about this, but as 2013 wore on, I started lapsing. Now, I tend to wait a few days or weeks before reviewing what I read; I take notes while I'm reading so I won't forget my thoughts and/or the book's contents, and come back to those later. And while I do appreciate that the procrastion caused me to develop that note-taking habit, I think it significantly changes the tone of the review that results. I'd much prefer to read and review in more rapid succession!

 

10. Procrastinate less when it comes to reading. I have never been good about this. When I check a book out from the library, it often ends up sitting unread on my desk until it's due back. When I request an eARC, it often ends up sitting on my Kindle for a few weeks or longer--or much longer--before I get around to it. When I buy a book... well, who knows when I'll get around to it. So I'd like to institute some kind of personal deadline, I think. Perhaps a casual rule that every book I get must be read within thirty days?

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