January 9, 2019

What Even Happened this Year? | A Wrap-Up of 2018

I have never had the best grasp on time. I can read for three hours, yet it will only feel like a second has passed. I can nap for five hours, but when I wake up it feels like I only slept for minutes. I can attempt to do homework for half an hour but it will feel like eons have passed. I am always the person that asks what day it is. I will be dating everything in 2018 for at least three months. 

So, when 2019 rolled around I couldn't believe it. There is something about the new year that seems to defy both time and space; things feel so much different yet so much the same.

For that reason, I have shifted away from New Year's Resolutions and vowing to be a completely different person whenever the calendar changed to January 1st. Instead of focusing on huge yearly changes, I want to focus on daily ways to be a better person. 

That philosophical rant aside, here are my reflections from 2018 and my low-pressure goals for 2019.

My Favorite Posts from the Blog

Since I know that sometimes our favorite posts don't get the most love, I went to Twitter to ask book bloggers what posts of 2018 they were the most proud of. What resulted was a massive master list of posts, spanning a variety of blogs and topics, that bloggers wished got more love in the year. Warning: This post may make you fall into a black hole of blog hopping!

I (finally) wrote my 500th post this year and I decided to celebrate with a timeline of accomplishments (and blunders) of Crazy for YA's lifetime. Looking back over the past six or so years gave me a poignant feeling of nostalgia and even a few tears. I also hosted my first giveaway (which is now closed), but I am hoping to host another one soon!

Plain and simple: I just loved writing this post. I got to be a little bit sarcastic and (hopefully) witty with my twist on the book slump. It may seem like a regular list post, but my voice got to shine through.

The Raging Ones (The Raging Ones, #1)

To be completely honest, I struggle to write a lot of reviews. Anything in the middle of the road is difficult for me to describe without using the word "meh" an inappropriate amount of times. However, I am quite proud of this review, and not only for the creative (just let me be self-centered for one second) metaphor that I intertwined in the review. 

This review was one of the first times that I tackled a book with problematic representation. I have read books with less than stellar rep, but I had never been articulate or brave enough to post the review on my blog before. But, as I have been reading more and more diverse books, I have also been trying to keep a close eye on the quality of representation that is incorporated, not only the amount of it. I will admit that I am late to the game with this achievement, but it was only a starting point, a stepping stone to growth for me.

John Green is one of my favorite authors, but even I have to admit that some of his novels seem similar. The female love interests share a similar vibe and the main characters can be hard to differentiate. That being said, I love Green's writing style and his method of tackling larger issues, such as mental health in Turtles All the Way Down. 

That being said, I was curious to see how TFIOS and TATWD would compare to each other when directly compared and contrasted in my semi-regular Book Battles feature. I was not disappointed with the strength of the match and I loved the discussions in the comments as well!

Valentine's Day has never been my favorite holiday (Christmas for the win) but 2018's celebration was more bearable with my twist on the holiday. In the true Leslie Knope spirit, I celebrated Galentine's Day (a time to recognize the amazing, wonderful, and powerful women in your life) instead of the romantic nonsense. So, in light of my new focus for the holiday, I wrote a list of my favorite literary heroines to show camaraderie with my fellow kickbutt females.

Blogging Achievements

1. Breaking 100,000 Total Views

In the back of my mind, I know that stats don't matter, numbers shouldn't rule my blogging life, and that math is not my friend. Regardless of my hostility toward numbers, I still value statistical blogging goals. This year, my goal was to surpass 100,000 views on my blog, and I succeeded! Even though I didn't post as frequently as I wanted, I must have upped my social media game or something to achieve this milestone. I know that numbers aren't everything, but I am still proud of reaching that formerly elusive number.

2. Reading More Books than Last Year

In 2017 I only read 30 books. My bare minimum goal was to read more than 30 books, but I set my Goodreads goal to 50 (for fun and stress, obviously). So, thanks to a selection of graphic novels and novellas at the end of the year, I was able to complete my Goodreads challenge and fulfill my reading goals!

3. Hitting 500 Followers on Twitter

My favorite social media platform is Twitter. In fact, it is the only one that I consistently update/check for my blog. I love the conversations on Twitter and the ability to foster relationships with other bloggers. 

4. Starting a Newsletter through Feedburner

Until this year, I didn't have an option to have updates via email subscription. However, I have entered the year of 2018 and realized that I needed a newsletter. Currently, it's a bare bones newsletter that sends an email with every new post. 

If you want to get email updates on the happenings here at Crazy for YA, click here!

5. Maximizing World Dominion (through guest posts)

This year, I even wrote my first guest posts. Yes, my dominion is reaching beyond this humble little blog with my guest review of Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie Lemore on The Book Bratz and my guest discussion about the seven deadly sins of a synopsis at The Regal Critiques. 

What Did I Read?

In a Snapshot

1. I completed my Goodreads goal.

2. Fantasy is still my most-read genre, but I read more magical realism that I thought. (Also, the classics were mostly required reading for school).

3. It was a scarce year for five-star books and most novels fell into the enjoyed-but-was-only-okay category of three stars. But, I can't complain too much since there were no 1 star books this year!

Goals for 2019

1. Discussion Post Challenge

I attempted this challenge, hosted by It Starts at Midnight and Feed Your Fiction Addiction, way back in 2014, and it really encouraged me to venture outside my comfort zones of reviews. Now, I have been doing a lot of reviews and memes, so I am hoping to get back into writing discussion posts. The sign-up for the challenge is still open (and will stay open until the end of the year), so you can still participate too!

There are monthly giveaways and link-ups to promote the wonderful discussions that you write, as well as to interact with other bloggers!

My goal is to write 12 discussion posts (one a month, basically) to earn the title of Creative Conversationalist!

2. Post more than I did in 2018

This year, I managed to post more than I did in 2017. In fact, I almost tripled the number of posts I wrote last year but increasing from 19 to 51. I wanted to write at least 52 in 2018, but I fell a teeny, tiny bit short. However, writing 30+ more posts than last year is still a great achievement in my book.

That being said, my goal for 2019 is just to keep making progress. I want to post more than I did in 2018, so my goal is 52 posts. Again, it's all about progress and doing more than I did last year, even if that only means one post.

3. Read 51 books

My Goodreads reading challenge for the past couple of years has remained at a steady 50 books. Some years I have managed to complete it, but others did not go as well. However, I managed to hit 50 books in 2018 and I think it is time for a little bit of a challenge. So, I set my goal for 51 books in 2018 with the caveat that can't read 5 books on New Year's Eve to catch up from a year of slacking (desperate times call for desperate measures).

Did you accomplish your reading goals this year? What blogging/reading/life goals have you set for yourself in 2019? Do you have any tips for me to complete these goals with minimal procrastination?

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