2016 has been a weird year in books and blogging for me.
Well, let's face it, 2016 has been a seriously weird year in general.
But for me it feels like it's been a year in which I've not read much and barely blogged, yet looking back, neither of those things is true.
I read a lot in the first half of the year (and even kept records!) and while I slowed down significantly from July onwards, I think I still ended up reading 100 or so books this year. (Think, because that record-keeping kinda fell by the wayside. Oops.)
And while I didn't blog as much as I have done previously, and a lot of posts which made it onto both here and Teens on Moon Lane were guest posts, there are actually a bunch of posts I am really proud of writing.
Here are a few of my favourites.
I moved my advice to authors on getting involved in the UKYA community over from Bookish Peeps (which has now sadly closed down.)
In response to a terrible Daily Mail clickbait piece bemoaning all YA being dark and awful, I wrote about Happy YA and how there's more of it around than the original journalist clearly thought. (I want to stress once again it is GREAT that there are darker books covering important topics too; just that they're certainly not all that are available!)
I posted my first thoughts on the fabulous Litsy app in February, and followed it up with a look at changes made in its first 9 months or so in an October post.
I'm always really pleased to be able to signal-boost amazing writers so it was great to celebrate International Women's Day in March by posting about some of the women whose writing I love reading.
I took part in the #IBW2016 tag, posting about what bookshops mean to me.
I stole an idea from my amazing friend Caitlin and blogged about 40 things I want to do before I turn 40. (5 down so far, with just under 5 years to go!)
In October, not long after I was lucky enough to be asked to chair a fantastic panel consisting of Lucy Sutcliffe, Non Pratt and Lisa Williamson, I posted about that experience and the three years leading up to it.
Inspired by Feeling Sorry For Celia, Beautiful Broken Things, and a panel in which Non Pratt chaired Sara Barnard and fabulous #feminisminYA host @helloIammariam at the Southbank Centre YALW, I posted about friendship in and out of books.
For about a year, if not more, I've been thinking of writing about my profile pics and why I change them so often. I finally did in this post, and it got an amazing reception!
Looking back at some of my posts from this year has left me looking at what my plans are for the blog going forward, and thinking about my strengths as a blogger. I feel that one of the things I'm best at is signal-boosting things I like - so that's something I'm definitely hoping to do more of. My new Twenty Things I've Read feature is one way I want to do that - focusing on great posts from around the internet - and next week I'm planning on debuting a monthly Ten Things I've Loved feature choosing the best of the best from the previous month. I'm also planning on posting about music I'm listening to, and shows and films I've been to, once a month.
One of the things that's led me to try this new approach - which I think will see me writing shorter but more frequent posts - is my renewed love of Litsy. Seeing people enjoying my posts there has made me realise that sometimes you don't have to write tons about something for it to be worthwhile posting. I'm also hoping to start reviewing more regularly on Litsy and posting those reviews up here as well - might as well get twice as much use out of my writing! I'm planning on trying to keep a better record of books I get/read next year - more on that in a few days time, but I have even downloaded the Goodreads app again to make it easier to do so!
As you can tell from the bits mentioned above about music, books and films I think this is probably going to be less and less of a book blog moving forwards. (I said that this year, and I think the personal posts on it are definitely the ones I'm most proud of, so that's the kind of direction I'll be going in.) Repeating something else I said at the start of this year, it's definitely going to be a 'no pressure' thing for me. I have fun stuff planned, I hope I get to do it, but blogging is no longer as important to me as several other things are - and I think that, perhaps weirdly, I'm probably better at it BECAUSE it's not something I'm taking as seriously as I was several years ago, when the pressure I was putting on myself actually made the blog worse, not better, I feel.
I'm also not planning on hosting as many guest posts as in previous years, although I will always make exceptions for authors I'm a big fan of. (In particular, there's an awesome Katherine Webber tour coming in January to celebrate the publication of the amazing Wing Jones and I'm THRILLED to have a spot on that!)
What kind of year have you had, blogging-wise? Is there anything you've done differently, and how do you feel it's worked? Or is there anything you're planning on doing differently in 2017? Leave me a comment or tweet @yayeahyeah and tell me!