June 12, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Midyear Update: Favourite Reads, Goal Progress, Etc.

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

MIDYEAR UPDATE: FAVOURITE READS, GOAL PROGRESS, ETC.

I've been doing yearly wrap-up posts since 2014 (when I was two years and three months into blogging), but I've never done a midyear update. I probably wouldn't bother if it weren't for TMST, but just because it never occurred to me before LOL. Now, this will be a simplified version of the yearly wrap-up I'm going to do on December. Let's cheer one another halfway through the race! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜‰

Hey, I changed Doctor ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. Welcome Eleven! ๐Ÿ˜‰

READING AND REVIEWING

I've read 16 new books since January (yep, I know, some people read 16 new books a month - but I only buy books when I can afford them). I reviewed all of them (whether in a proper post of in one of my mini-review rounds) except Queen of Nod by C.W. Snyder, because it's a super-advanced e-copy of a book that will only come out in November. The books I've read are a mix of old-ish and new, and I have to say that I've chosen my reads wisely this year so far - which is an improvement (albeit slight) over what happened in 2017. Most of them were 4-star ones, and none fared under the 3-star mark. I finally read Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (2016), and fell in love with it (it's my only 5-star rating of the year so far). A honest, not sugarcoated, nevertheless poetical depiction of mental illness, offering no easy way out but a message of hope.
And I got my first physical ARC this year! The Art of Escaping, Erin Callahan's debut book. Read the adventurous story of how I got it here (because yes, it was a big deal for me, what with being in Italy...but even more so for other reasons stated in the post).

MEETING BLOG GOALS

In my first TMST post of the year, I made the following resolutions:
  • stick to blogging
  • post at least 3 times a month
  • go back to reviewing backlist
  • do something special for Halloween.
Were they met so far? Either "yes" or "I'm working on it". Obviously, I'm still blogging. I've managed to post once a week so far, so I'm ahead on this one. As for backlist (that is, old-ish books that I've read back in the day and never reviewed) and Halloween, I'm combining the two things for a series of post that will go live in October - plus I do hope to make the time to review some more backlist books prior to that. Anyway, my schedule is working her magic!...though I have to admit that my chores suffer because of that (and I've been able to meet such schedule partially thanks to being on sick leave from work for four weeks in two months...).

GAINING FRIENDS AND GETTING COMMENTS

I've made new blogger friends (and, after a disappointingly quiet time, followers!) this year, also because I've been doing my best in order to comment on their blogs, follow them, engage with them on Twitter - you name it. Then again, I can't comment on as many posts as I would like, because time is my enemy, and it's a pity - so many great discussion posts out there! But after five years and a half, I finally feel like I'm part of a community, and not only a wannabe. This very meme helped. Being a Doctor Who fan helped (the amount of aficionados I meet on Twitter! they're around every corner LOL). My schedule helped. I'm in a much happier place now that I was a year ago, blog-wise. I don't know if I can expand my horizons further, because every kind of growth has to be sustainable - and I'm not even sure I can keep up with this very schedule for another year, not to mention five years from now. But I'm enjoying the moment, and I'm so glad that I started blogging and met you all! ๐Ÿ’—

Oops...sorry, but there's a Tennant gif for everything. Plus I love him. Plus it's my blog ๐Ÿ˜œ.

Well, that's it for now. And if you're interested in participating, here is the TMST prompt list for the rest of June and July:
  • June 19th: Cliffhangers: do they compel you to read more or steer you away?
  • June 26th: What is worse: cliffhanger, abrupt ending or open ending?
  • July 3rd: Vacation reading: what books would you pack for your vacation?
  • July 10th: What do you like about reading on an ereader?
  • July 17th: What do you love about audiobooks?
  • July 24th: How have your reading habits changed since you started blogging?
  • July 31st: What are some popular series you haven't tried or have and stopped because they just don't appeal to you?
As usual, lots of fun/thought-provoking prompts coming! I'm not skipping turns this time - my next TMST will be on June 19th. I hope lots of you are joining in too!

Now tell me something...how did you fare in the first half of 2018? do you need some cheerleading? because you have a volunteer! ๐Ÿ˜‰

22 comments:

  1. I'm so glad that you're feeling like part of the community. I definitely have that problem sometimes, because if I'm not taking part in a certain tag or two it seems like only one or two people want to comment on my posts. I know that I need to comment on more posts to forge connections, but it can definitely be hard with everything else going on.

    How do you know about the rest of the TMSTs for the month? I've looked for them, but can't find them!

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    1. When I had been blogging for only a couple of years or three, I felt the same way. I have to say that Twitter helped me make more blogging friends/spreading the word about my posts...but sometimes you find friends in unexpected places - like, I met this girl on Goodreads who likes an author I'm fond of, and we became good friends. To the point that, even if she has a Tumblr (which meant I can't comment on her blog), she often comments on mine...

      I can relate to having little time to interact...but then again, once you forge those connections, it doesn't matter if you can't comment on every single post your friends write, or if they don't do that with yours - it is expected, so no one holds a grudge, and a few of them will always be there for you when it counts (and likewise).

      I asked Heidi for a list of her TMST prompts back when I started to participate in the meme, and she sent me the list updated to September (she didn't have more yet at the time). She will be glad to do the same for you if you ask, or I can send them to you if you want!

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    2. That's really good to hear - thank you! And that makes sense with Heidi - I might just do that. However, I get a nice list from you right now, so I can work ahead.

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    3. LOL, glad it was useful!

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  2. Good job on your goals. :) It's always exciting when you're doing well or when you're working on them at least.

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    1. Thank you! They're not over-ambitious goals, so I hope to be able to keep up with them...

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  3. Reading 16 books this year is still a great achievement! I've been trying to read more oldish books and so far it has been working. Congratulations on receiving your first physical ARC! That is so awesome!!!

    I've been trying to engage more in the community, I've been apart of the community for a couple years now and sometimes still feel like an outsider. I fail at commenting back but I'm working on that.

    Best of luck for the rest of the year!!!

    Tina @ As Told By Tina

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    1. Thank you!

      As I said above, back when I was a couple of years or three into blogging, I didn't have many friends. I mean, I still don't have a ton, but things have been going better since I joined Twitter and started engaging more with new people (friends of my friends and random bloggers I discovered by chance)...and the friends I already had. I've never dared to hope I could be popular one day, also because I mostly blog about niche books, but with time and patience (plus dedication) I've built my very small, but quite loyal network. I'm sure it will be your case too!

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  4. You are killing it Roberta!!! Which means you are sabotaging me. I will sacrifice my blogging productivity for you though. Bahahaha!

    One of these days we will be on same wavelength.

    I love the sense of community with blogging (& SO happy you finally feel part of it) but it's tough because it's time consuming. It helps to take part in things (like TMST) and comment but that takes time blah, blah, blah....lol

    I think we've all been here for awhile now though and understand the cyclical nature of it and the needed breaks/ebbs & flows of blogging.

    you do have to post but it's not like in years past when you had to have new content everyday or get left in the dust.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I SO appreciate your sacrifice! ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Quote: "It helps to take part in things (like TMST) and comment but that takes time blah, blah, blah....lol"
      Yes yes and yes! I'm talking to new people lately (or people who have been blogging for a while, but I didn't have the chance to meet before), and honestly, it's not for the sake of getting comments alone - I do enjoy the conversation, or confrontation (in the good sense of course). They are all ages, come from different walks of life, have unique and interesting voices. The problem is, comments take time (especially if one wants to write a meaningful one). But I know by now that there are people who read my posts and appreciate them even when they can't find the time to reply (or don't know what to say), and one of the reasons why I know it is that I sometimes do the same - so, even when I get few comments, I know I've not been left stranded on a desert island LOL. And I hope my friends know it too when it happens to them!

      Quote: "you do have to post but it's not like in years past when you had to have new content everyday or get left in the dust."
      Ah, that warms my little soul. Very encouraging! And since you've been blogging for longer than me, I'm sure you know what you're talking about. As a matter of fact, I see many other bloggers struggling with creating content and finding the time to actually post it, so I guess you're right - we're all in the same boat, more or less, and we don't have to prove anything to anyone anymore. A few goals and a bit of a schedule can help (that's my case), but once you realise that things are tough for everyone, you understand that, if you can beat the schedule, fine - if you can't, it's not the end of the world, and you still get to exist!

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  5. AND I AM BACK, DID YOU MISS ME? Haha, sorry about the screaming but I've barely been commenting - or visiting blogs - in the past few months, and it is GOOD to be back. ESPECIALLY when you've been putting out such quality posts AND so many of them!!

    Huge congrats on meeting (or nearly meeting) your blogging goals! I definitely think the change has been visible - you've been around on TRC a lot more, and, well, the number of your posts speaks for itself. I'm really excited for what you have planned for October!! It's so cool to see you so happy and excited about blogging. Honestly, your enthusiasm gives me enthusiasm. :D

    As for me, I've fared well with reading, much, much better than I expected, to be honest. (I'm not even sure how I managed to read so much lol.) Blogging-wise... I've been slacking. *cries* I usually have various posts scheduled, but now 0... I'm planning to catch up, though!

    Great post!!

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    1. *goes to check comments* *gets floored seeing Vera's number of comments* *melts*

      YEP I MISSED YOU. But I've been keeping an eye on you via Twitter, so...๐Ÿ˜‰

      Quote: "Honestly, your enthusiasm gives me enthusiasm. :D"
      LOL, thank you! I'm glad to hear that. And thank you for all the compliments you showered me with!

      My schedule has been working its magic, but of course, some days are harder than the others. That being said, I'm trying to schedule as many posts as I can in advance, so I can relax a little when I have taken care of a few things...

      I saw your reading progresses on GR - at least you managed to enjoy a few novels, amidst your textbooks...Now, to be able to blog consistently on top of that would have been quite a stretch LOL. But now that you have a brief (?) respite (I don't know when your next exams are planned, but there's the summer, so I guess you won't have many?), I'm sure you'll be able to catch up in a whiff! At least you and Clare did manage to blog - poor Ruzi sort of disappeared from the face of Earth (though I suppose it wasn't just because of Uni - I guess her Ramadan activities have been keeping her busy as well). YOU HAVEN'T SLACKED GIRL(S). You have a right to take a break (or a series of small breaks), but now I'm sure you'll find the time and energy to rise and shine again!

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    2. Ruzi has been on the blog, though! She hasn't missed any of her dates, meanwhile I had to switch once with her, because I couldn't finish my post by the due date. And Clare also missed one of her dates. RUZI IS THE MOST CONSISTENT!! (But yes, she's been really busy with Ramadan, especially now at the end.)

      As for me, I have a break until September, so that is plenty of time to catch up haha.

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    3. I did see Ruzi's posts, but for some reason, I got the impression that you and Clare had more posts than she (maybe because the two of you have been doing joint ones, and I noticed her absence in those).

      Break means...reading and blogging, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ (OK, it's summer. I suppose you ALSO want to enjoy summer!).

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  6. Awwh, I'm so glad you feel like part of the blogging community! It's nice to be where you want to be, goal-wise. I feel like I'm totally falling down on my blog this year (as evidenced by the fact that I'm spam-commenting three of your posts in the same morning because I'm so behind on reading). I can keep up with my reviews, but otherwise I have almost no original content going. Sigh. I'll keep trying.

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    1. Original content is so hard to come up with (and of course, as with books, everything has been done already...you just can hope to be able to put a new spin on an old trope ๐Ÿ˜‚). I've been lucky in what I found this meme (Tell Me Something Tuesday) that I really like, because it's laid back and mostly blogging-focused (as opposed to book lists and such). It really got me going, and still is...As for your blog, your reviews are gorgeous AND thoughtful, so you're not allowed to talk them down LOL.

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  7. It really is, and Tumblr is extra focused on photography and photo editing, neither of which I excel at. So, book reviews! And the occasional list or recommendation. Lol! Thank you! Good to know I'm doing them right. <3

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    1. You need to join Blogger ๐Ÿ˜œ. LOL, well, you would get lots of comments if you did (mine of course...but I'm sure you would get much love from anybody who happened to read your posts!).

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  8. I think you are doing pretty great with your goals. Every year I claim I will read my own book, and every year my books sit, collecting dust, neglected for new releases. I am really awful. I was blog hopping before I was blogging. I love interacting with other readers and try to carve out some time each day to hop. I have a great set of frequent visitors, who I engage with on multiple platforms, and yeah, it's nice to feel like part of the community.

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    1. LOL, maybe you could just schedule one of them per month? I don't know if you have many, but I'm sure that 12 a year would be a feasible goal. Unless you're adding more, that is ๐Ÿ˜‰.

      I've been trying to reach out to more people lately...of course, it takes time - especially if you find an interesting discussion or want to leave a comment a bit longer than the usual "Great post!", which thank goodness seems to be dead and buried lately. There was a time, not so long ago, when everyone was doing memes, but when it was time for them to comment, they just left their link along with a "Great post" or "Great list" or "Great whatever" comment LOL. I seems to me that we're really talking now instead...and it's awesome.

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  9. Due to school, the first half of my year was not as productive as I would have liked on the blog. I am a high achiever like you and one of my main goals this year was just to stick to blogging. Ideally, I also want to have more posts than I did last year (which was only 19) and I am so close to getting there. My next goal would be to post more than I did in 2016, but that might be a little harder since I posted 61 times (where did this productive Tessa go?!?!).

    I have made some progress this year with followers (I finally hit 300 on Twitter!) but I am more proud about my increase in interaction with the community. From blog-hopping more often to #TennantTuesday, I have been happily meeting more and more bloggers!

    Anyway, I am super glad that you feel like a part of the community. However, to me, you have always been a big part of the community and a reason for me to keep blogging. Part of it is the fangirling over Supernatural and Doctor Who, but also the fact that you have always been my cheerleader. No matter how long my break from blogging was you were always cheering me on. I am so glad that other people have finally caught on to your awesomeness!

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    1. Awwwww. Thank you so much!

      61 posts in 2016? I didn't realise there were so many of them. But of course, there was the last year of high school in 2017, and now your first college year (plus your family problems a while ago), and I suppose the time balance shifted...a lot. 2016 Tessa was probably much more carefree. Then again, I can see you're successfully coming out of your slump (for lack of a better word), and it's crystal clear that you enjoy blogging and do everything in your power to give it your best. Few posts or an avalanche of them are only a detail. OK, a detail that matters to us, but still ๐Ÿ˜‰.

      Cheerleaders come in many ways. Even when you don't comment on my posts, I know you're reading (I do that too, sometimes, for lack of time or because I don't have anything special to say). And retweeting. Even #TennantTuesday or things like that are a way for me to feel that I'm not shouting into a void. I hope it's the same for you! And here's to many more posts and internet friends!

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