2022: Back to the Grind

It’s been a while since I’ve come on here. So hello! Happy New Year!

I hope everyone who finds this page is doing well. I can make a lot of excuses as to why I’ve disappeared from this blog for months on end, but it all comes down to this: something had to give, and the blog was it for me.

It can be hard trying to keep a balanced life, and often times things fall to the sidelines. As much as I adore reading and getting my thoughts on books out there, there were other things going on that took priority. I’m happy to be back and ready to start plugging away at books again!

My purpose of this post is two fold: 1. to jump back into the swing of things since my writing is a little bit rusty; and 2. as a quick catchup of the last couple of months.

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I’m Back!

This seems like a silly little thing to announce, but it’s important to me. It’s my way of confirming my intent to start posting again – both to myself and to anyone who might stumble across this blog. I’ve been gone from this blog longer than I’d meant to be which is making this post harder to write. For that, I apologize if this comes out a little more rambley than usual.

While I’ve been gone, life has certainly been chugging away. My cute little pup is now 2 1/2 years old – but still causing mayhem like she’s a 6 month old. If you’re ever looking into getting a hound, be warned that they’re puppies until they’re 3 are they’re needy for life!

Yzma continues to be the most spoiled dog in the world. She got an Advent Calendar (or two) in December that she absolutely adored. Daily walks, almost weekly trips to the dog park. She can quite often be found on the bed cuddling up with a toy or my good pillow. Sometimes, you can even find her cuddled up under a nice fuzzy blanket!

Since my sister and brother in law moved to the area, they’ve gotten me into climbing – more specifically, bouldering. We’ve also recently started learning auto-belay as a way to increase our repertoire of climbing skills. I’ve absolutely adored the chance to take my “monkey climbing” skills from my childhood and use them as a way to get exercise as an adult. There’s one thing the last couple of years have taught me, and that’s I actually enjoy finding excuses to get out of the house and exercise.

Sure I’ve been active my whole life – dance, gymnastics, soccer, fencing… – but I’d never really considered myself to be someone who exercises for the fun of it. I tried going to the gym regularly, but it just wasn’t doing it for me. Yoga and Zumba are fun from time to time, but they didn’t push me the same way climbing does. I enjoy being pushed past my capabilities. I enjoy the terror of missing a hold and falling down (safely, I promise!) onto the matt below.

Of course, going climbing has exhausted me physically since I’m still a beginner at it. This, too, has taken away from my energy to be able to sit down and write out the reviews I’ve come to love. So one of my goals for 2022 is to find a balance – a balance between spending all my spare time (okay, maybe 6 hours a week) at the climbing gym and spending some time sitting down and putting my thoughts into words. This post is my first attempt at that.

For part of the year, I got really into nail art. I’ve never really been the artistic one in my family – heck, most of my family is so incredibly artistic, I just can’t compare – but this turned into one of my outlets. I enjoyed sitting down for a couple hours once or twice a week, just focusing on getting my nails to be cute. I’ve never been the kind of person to get their nails done or paint them a solid colour at home. Yet I found it to be quite enjoyable.

Of course, this has fallen to the side since it’s extremely hard to keep pretty nails intact when you’re using your fingertips to hold onto a wall… That’s a trade I was happy to me, though. I enjoy climbing for hours more than painting my nails for hours. Sure I’ve gotten back into the habit of keeping my nails naked and short to help with climbing, but I still don’t regret spending so much time on my nails when I could do it all the time. Plus there’s nothing stopping me from painting my nails every now and again…. as long as I accept that the nails aren’t going to look pretty the second I step into the gym.

I’m also in the process of moving, which Yzma doesn’t know about yet. Soon enough she’ll be in a bigger house! The only downside for her? It’s got a smaller backyard than what she’s currently used to. I’m hoping that it being closer to her friends and the dog park she frequents will help make up for that. She’ll still be getting a minimum of two (very lengthy) walks a day, but Yzma’s going to have to make do with running up and down flights of stairs at home rather than running circles in the backyard.

For me, this move is a good thing. The new place is closer to my job, which is useful as I start going into the office more often. I’ll get to explore a whole new neighbourhood and organize a whole new house! While that may seem daunting to some, I’m looking forward to the extra storage space and making things look neat and organized. I’m already jumping for joy at the prospect of buying new storage containers and organizing a place from scratch.

And oh boy am I excited to get my books out of boxes! It seems like such a waste to me to have upwards of 400 books just sitting in my childhood closet, waiting for the space to be on display again. Not to mention how much easier it’ll be to find and retrieve the book I want to read when they’re not all hidden away. I might have spent three days going through my books to create an excel document as a way to keep track and “organize” my precious babies, but it’s not the same as being able to scan through the shelves to pick out a book that’s caught my eye.

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Plans for the Blog

I couldn’t sit down and write out this post without mentioning my goals for the blog going forward. Because it’s clear that at least some changes need to be made at this point. I was very clearly putting too much strain on myself trying to keep up with everything that I had going on. So, without further ado, here’s my plans for the blog for the foreseeable future:

  1. Two to three posts a week.
  2. Catching up on my “monthly” Wrap Ups for 2021.
  3. A minimum of one review of a book I read in 2021 a week.
  4. Getting back into monthly TBRs.
  5. Getting into Instagram posts.

First up, my upload schedule. My goal is to give myself more time to collect my thoughts after reading books. Also, more time overall to get things done in my life. This has led me to decide on a semi-regulated upload schedule. Starting February 1st, I plan on uploading a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

That isn’t to say nothing’s going to be posted until then – it will. In fact, I’ve already pre-written a couple of things to go up before the end of January 2022. I’m just not going to force myself to stick to the Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine until I can start it on a fresh month.

This also doesn’t mean I’ll never post outside of these three days of the week. I most certainly will be throwing in “bonus” blog posts from time to time. If you’re interested in being notified when I upload these random posts (if anyone is still here, of course), then I’d recommend following my “all things book related” twitter account @PhantomOfTheLi2 as an automatic notification goes out here every time I upload a post.

Second on the docket would be the “monthly” wrap ups I’m currently 7 months behind on. For the next 7 weeks, my Friday posts will be these monthly wrap ups. Yes, I’m incredibly late in making these. And yes, I’m probably the only person who cares about them. But I personally find them helpful to keep track of what I’ve read and what I’ve reviewed. So they’re here to stay. 😊

While this might be a strange decision to some, this doesn’t mean that I’ll be holding off on my currently monthly wrap ups until I’m caught up. While that might make sense – go straight from July 2021 to March 2022 since that’s how long it’d take me to catch up at the planned rate – it would feel like falling behind again if I did it this way. So, I instead plan on uploading the current monthly wrap ups at the end of each month like I should have been doing all along. January 2022’s monthly wrap up will be going up on Monday, January 31st, 2022 as it should be.

The third point I want to bring up is the rate at which I’ll be uploading review posts. Starting in February, there will be a minimum of 1 “review” post going up a week. I say a minimum of one as I don’t know how busy my life will be every week going forward. As it stands right now, I plan on having my Wednesday posts dedicated to a review of a book. Most likely, these will be books read in 2021 as I strive to catch up with what I’ve actually read over the last 7 months.

Yet there maintains the truth that if I were to only upload review posts on Wednesdays, I’d never catch up to where I am reading wise. Because of that, there will most likely be more than one review post a week.

By dedicating Wednesdays solely to review posts, this helps me schedule time to catch up to what I’ve already read. It also means that if I can take one afternoon to sit down and write out multiple reviews, I know when to schedule them to go live. Having a schedule in mind for this will help me organize my time and how I plan on getting posts out.

This also leaves Monday posts open as a wild card. Some weeks this post will be another review post. Other weeks, there’s the potential for it to be something else. Maybe I’ll join a readathon of some sort. Maybe I’ll write a post about upcoming books I’m looking forward to. Maybe it’ll be a promo post for a book that’s coming out. Heck, maybe it’ll be another rambley post like this one. By not dedicating this spot to any particular type of post, it leaves the spot open and more free.

The fourth thing I want to touch on is my monthly TBRs. I’ve decided that even though I tend to stray from them quite a bit, I kind of like them. They give me some structure in my reading goals. Sure I’m still likely to pick up a book that’s caught my eye if I feel like reading something spur of the moment. That’s never going to change. But these TBRs help narrow down what kind of books I’m in the mood for going into the month. Yes, that might change – it usually does. But boy do I ever find these TBRs useful.

Over the last seven months, I didn’t post any TBRs. Sometimes this meant that I’d get to the last week of the month and realize I hadn’t read anything. Other times it left me struggling to pick up a book because there were too many choices.

This isn’t me saying that I’ll be sticking to my TBRs religiously going forward. I honestly don’t think I have it in me to even try. But it is me saying that these TBRs are useful in their own way – even if that way is in a roundabout, fork in the road kind of way.

The fifth and final thing I want to touch on in this post is Instagram. I have an Instagram account dedicated solely to book related content (@PhantomOfTheLibrary1995). My only issue is that I’ve been awful at posting, well, anything. For a while I tried to make do with the space I had available in order to upload posts, but they just weren’t to the standards that I wanted. As of the timing of this post, I still don’t have the space to make the kind of content that I want to be posted on Instagram. But I will have the space soon enough.

Once I’ve moved – and have somewhat organized the new place – it’s my goal this year to start actively posting on Instagram. I’ll have the space and I have more than enough books to upload on a semi-regular basis. I’ll also be closer to the library system I have a library card at so will be able to pick up physical library books! (Right now I’ve been making do with electronic library books since my library card is for the city I work in, not the city I live in.)

So at least that’s one exciting thing that will be happening soon!

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If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed. Thank you for listening to my rambles! Here’s to a new year of new thoughts and new adventures. That’s it for now, but I look forward to seeing you in the next one.

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