Welcome to 2017 everyone!!!
This year totally crept up on me. I don’t know about you, but I feel like time is flying by so fast these past couple of years, and I’m barely holding on. I’m determined to start the year off on the right foot, and that includes on the blog! I’m so excited for what 2017 will bring for my blogger life that I thought I’d share with you what I hope to bring to the blogging community over the next year and what I plan to get up to here at Hannah Plus Books! I’ve already started ticking off some points too, which is good news!
Let’s do a quick recap of the year that was 2016. Like most people, 2016 was a really crap year for me, even though there were some shining moments, so I’ll try to touch on them! This includes a mixture of personal and blogging moments as well!
My best friend Claire from YA Madness got married! It was such a beautiful day, and I’m so glad to have been a part of something special.
> After extensive (and somewhat lack of) testing I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune condition which means my thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones (hypothyroidism) and basically explains a lot of things about my health. It’s not something I talk about, because I’m still coming to terms with it and what it means for my future, but 2017 is the year of me being more open, so there it is! Also, Gigi Hadid & I have the same condition, which when I found out I cried a
little bita lot.
> I moved to Sydney for university! I’m currently in the middle of a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Media Studies. Being in Sydney is amazing, I honestly never thought I’d love this city as much as I do, and it’s allowed me to get out of my comfort zone so much more!
> I started blogging again after a looooong hiatus in March and I’ve loved being back in the community, meeting new people and reconnecting with old people! Everyone is so welcoming, and it’s been great to see how widespread even our “little” #LoveOzYA community has become!
> I went back to Scotland for my close friend’s wedding and aside from the 19 hour layover in Abu Dhabi (where I watched all 3 seasons of When Calls The Heart in 17 hours) it was perfect! Being back in my second home and catching up with people I hadn’t seen in years was just so magical.
> Sydney Writer’s Festival and TeenCon happened and I got to meet up with some wonderful Aussie bloggers for the first time!
> I got sick in July (which kicked off my thyroid issues) and binged all 6 six seasons of Game of Thrones and am firmly on that bandwagon!
> Allen & Unwin Teen held their YA Night which was buckets of fun!
….and not much else happened? It was, really, a quiet 2016.
- Grow My Readership. I want to find a fun and creative balance between my reviews, features & discussions and bring something more to my blog to grow my readership, and not just through blog stats. I’ll be the first to admit, I do get blogger envy more often than not. Seeing the awesome blogs that I follow getting many a comments – and not just on features post – does give me the mean reds some days, and while I want to curate my blog in terms of numbers, I think interactions is really the most important part of defining the “success” of your blog.
- Comment & Visit Other Blogs More. This ties in nicely with my spiel above. Half the reason I have such an issue with my growth is that I’m not interactive enough myself, and guys, it is a two way street. In 2017 I’m going to strive to be a better person in following up on comments, on blog hopping and visiting other people’s blogs. I definitely lack in this area, and it’s time to change that!
- More Than Just Reviews. One thing I’d like doing is start to concentrate on other posts that aren’t review based. Currently, aside from the odd discussion post and the steady Top Ten Tuesday, all I’ve got are reviews…and they’re kind of boring? I’m brainstorming a couple of features to start doing, including Five Reasons Why (basically just an excuse for me to gush about authors, book series and general bookishness), and A Day in the Life (chatting with bloggers, vloggers, bookstagrammers, business owners, publishers, authors etc about exactly what their days entail), so if you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see on the blog, please let me know!
- Grow my #Bookstagram. I’m proud of how far I’ve come on Instagram, and I’ve learnt so much. Putting my new found skills into practice has definitely been fun, and I’m keen to keep taking it all the way. It’s a long, slow process, but hopefully I will get there! It doesn’t help that the Instagram algorithm is completely %^&%, but I’m determined to figure it out.
- Learn to be Happy. This is a big one for me. It kind of ties my previous three together and goes back to “Blogger Envy.” I get so bogged down worrying about the negatives that I don’t take note of the positives, and I think that can be really detrimental to your well being. At the end of 2016 I was (and still kinda am) obsessed with #Bookstagram & why I wasn’t getting the same amount of likes/comments/followers as other people, until I realised how bad it can be for you. Learning to take a step back and see what is in front of you is just as important as success.
- Goodbye NetGalley & Edelweiss! (Maybe?) I am currently 4 books away from clearing my NetGalley list FOR GOOD. Well, we shall see. I’m definitely going to be more selective when it comes to choosing review copies, that’s for sure. I won’t even disclose how many books I have on my Edelweiss TBR. Auto-approval, you really make me suck at self control.
- Make WordPress My Bitch! Okay, I totally stole that from Ashley over at Nose Graze, but it’s so true. WordPress and I, we have a love hate relationship, and I’m determined to fix all of the current problems I have (such as issues with CommentLuv) and really work on maximising my design. I feel it’s good, but not great, and I can definitely improve. How do you all make it look so easy?! Ashley has these great e-courses that I want to get stuck into, and I think they’ll be useful not just on a personal level, but on a career level as well!
- Branching Out. In 2016, I rekindled my love for historical romances and chick lit. After feeling exhausted and over reading for a few years, finding my passion of books again was helped by not reading as much YA and discovering new favourites. Most recently, I’ve discovered psychological thrillers, especially those set in Britain (it’s a thing), and I love them so much. I’ve got quite a few on my reading list! I’d also like to start reading more non-fiction, especially historical pieces.
- Read for Fun. Reading for fun. I mean, I should be reading for fun with every book I read, but some times it feels like a chore and it shouldn’t be. I have a lot of books on my shelf I’ve purchased that have been put aside simply because I want to get review copies out the way first, but with an especially busy school year coming up, I need to learn to say no and read for me.
- Goodreads Challenge. I’m going to behave this year, and set myself an achievable goal of 100 books. A nice, rounded out number, and considering the state of my TBR, completely achievable, right?!
- 2017 Diverse Reads Challenge. One of my main goals for 2017 is to read more diversely. 2016 has been a great eye opener for me, especially as someone who writes and wants to be a part of the publishing industry in the near future. I’ve been learning the importance of diversity in literature, and by participating in this particular challenge I hope to really begin to understand the world outside of my own. I’m also planning on doing the #DAReadathon hosted by the lovely Aentee at Read at Midnight this month, and I’ll be posting more about the two later on.
- 2017 Flights of Fantasy Challenge. I’ve absolutely been loving fanasy this year, and I really, really want to discover more fantasy novels, so I’m going to take part in this awesome challenge hosted by Alexa and Rachel. I’ve often lurked around the challenge before and have discovered some wonderful fantasy titles, so I’m completely willing to give this a go! More on this challenge later on!