Thursday, 16 January 2020

Looking Back on 2019


It’s that time again! My one blog post in which I pour out my heart and soul, sharing my woes and wonders of the past year. I think we can all agree that 2019 was…a lot. So let’s take a look back at what it did (or didn’t do, mostly) for me.

Last year kicked my ass in many ways (more on that later), which meant that once again, I didn’t have the level of motivation I wanted when it came to books. But considering I had a feeling at the start of 2019 that it was going to be a difficult year, I set myself achievable goals rather than trying to reach the level of reading I had a few years ago. I stopped pressuring myself to read The Newest Books Everyone’s Talking About, and decided to simply focus on what I wanted to pick up. Which meant that my year had quite a few rereads!

In terms of the goals I set for myself in last years post, I did quite well. I wanted to write more content that wasn’t just review after review after…you get the picture. Despite not being able to post much this year, a good portion of what I did post was original content. Though I still reviewed books I was passionate about sharing my opinion on, I let myself write the content I enjoyed. One of my favourite projects from last year was my Bookish Looks series, in which I attempted to recreate book character fashion using thrifted items. I had so much fun getting to mix two of my favourite hobbies. Though my stats were exceptionally low for my original posts compared to my reviews, they’re something I’m proud of because I was able to get creative and work on my own thing.

I also wanted to search for more blogs to love, which I did. I’ve been on top of my game when it comes to reading and commenting on blogs this year. I’m always looking for more content, so feel free to leave links to your favourite posts in the comments!

The biggest thing that made reading easier for me in 2019 was stepping away from my Norm. I discovered a couple of manga stores in my area this year that sell secondhand manga for low prices, so I was finally able to get my hands on some that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I took a step back from YA and allowed myself time to read those instead, and it was one of the best decisions I made this year. After having that little break, I've become motivated to read YA again.

hello to two of my fave manga boys
That’s mostly it for books this year. I did my own thing and even though I still didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to (yay to terrible mental health sucking away every ounce of motivation!), I’m still proud that I stuck to my goals. The only thing I’m really disappointed in is that I didn’t get to go to any book events this year.

  • Redesign this goddamn blog. The past year has been my absolute worst in terms of stats. It’s not entirely down to my design, but I’m willing to bet it plays a little part. My design is not mobile functional. Most people read blogs from their mobiles. You’re probably reading this on your phone right now and having to zoom in to actually see the text. The problem is that I’ve always designed my blog myself because I can’t afford to actually buy a nice, functioning one. I also can’t afford to switch my blog to Wordpress. I can’t design myself something that works for me whilst having a working mobile site on Blogger. My two options are to pay for one that suits me or learn more about coding and fix it myself. I’m completely broke, so guess which one I’m going with. Get ready for months of me crying in utter despair whilst I figure this one out.
  • Find friendly bloggers to chat to??? I’ve tried my best every year to try and get more into the blogging the community, but it never works out for me. It might be down to my crushingly awkward personality and my love for tweeting excitedly in all-caps (someone genuinely thought I was fighting with my best friend once when really we just communicate in Shout), but I never seem to find people I clique with. BLOGGERS, PLEASE BE MY FRIEND.  
  • Get back to BookTube. I’ve let my channel die a horrible, painful death over the past two years. My anxiety and complete lack of self-confidence have taken advantage of the crappy things that have happened in my personal life, and made it near impossible for me to get through filming a video.
  • Reread books I love. Yes, I’m making this an actual goal. Discovering new books is a beautiful experience, but there are so many books I’ve found myself wanting to dive back into over the past year rather than picking up a fresh one. When it comes to series, I have a habit of never reading them again once they’re finished, no matter how much I love them, so for 2020 I have a list of series I want to relive. 
  • Continue writing the blog posts I want to. Creating original content, mixing books with my other hobbies, WRITING LISTS – I want to do more of it in 2020, even if no one is reading it. This blog is for me before anyone else, and I really need to remember that fact over the coming year.
If you’re only interested in reading about my Bookish Breakdown of 2019, then you can probably leave this post here because I'm going to waffle on about everything else!

2019. Oh boy. If you read my post from last year, or you follow me on twitter where I tweet about my constant struggle with this beast, then you might know that I started suffering with major sleep problems towards the end of 2018. At the very start of 2019, I was officially diagnosed with good old Insomnia. YAY. To recap: I’m a 27-year-old who can’t spend the night away from home without it kickstarting a horribly vicious cycle of ABSOLUTELY NO SLEEP. It’s as delightful as it sounds. Basically, it started after an extremely anxious trip to London for a concert, and it all went downhill from there. This year, I thought that maybe tackling it head-on was the way to go. I booked another one-night trip away, thinking I could simply train my brain to get used to it again. I was so wrong. In January, I went to see one of my favourite bands. I was traveling to the location on the day of the concert, so I literally only had to be in a hotel for ONE NIGHT. Did that make things easier on my Anxiety Brain? Absolutely not. I didn’t sleep a wink the night before traveling, I somehow managed to sleep for two hours in the hotel with the use of a sleep aid, but then I got home. AND COULDN’T FALL ASLEEP FOR TWO DAYS. I was awake for about 60 hours and ended up in an emergency doctors appointment, crying my eyes out.

despite running on no sleep, my friend Jasmine was an absolute gem at keeping me from having a complete breakdown and taking me to some indie London bookshops
I’ve been working with my doctor on the issue ever since, and I’ve started the lengthy process towards getting therapy for both my sleep issues and my worsening anxiety in general. Throwing myself head-first into tackling things wasn’t a good idea. My doctor is helping me with Baby Steps to take instead, such as making sure I can travel home after A Thing, even if it means all night on a coach, just so my brain doesn’t get overwhelmed by the pressure I put on myself to be a Functioning Adult. Right now, I still panic the night before things to the point that I can’t sleep. It’s ruined days out and plans with friends. My brain wants me to be at home by certain times, otherwise it’ll throw my whole night off. It’s a mess. But I’m working towards fighting it.

Outside of my anxiety/insomnia cocktail, there have been things in my personal life over the year that have kept me away from my blog and the book community in general. This has been my quietest year on Book Twitter to date. My sister went through a really hard time in the summer that I won’t go into detail about, but it was a very difficult few months for my family. My dad also had some health problems that left us all super worried towards the end of the year, hence the complete disappearance of posts. Things aren't better, but they’re being worked on, so fingers crossed we have a better time of it in 2020!

The year wasn’t a total wipe out – incredible! I worked towards some of my own personal goals. For the past five or so years, I’ve made a resolution to start learning a language. I always fail after about two weeks. But in 2019, I actually stuck with it. Thanks to the slightly terrifying Duolingo owl, I’ve been learning something new every day. I’m determined to keep hold of my streak throughout 2020.

Another thing I wanted to do was get back to drawing, a hobby I’ve jumped in and out of since high school. This year, I took part in Inktober and it changed everything. I’ve been following YouTube tutorials ever since and I’m hoping I’ll actually learn something this time!

i spent the majority of october drawing my fave characters
I donated my hair again! After last years failed charity campaign, where I fell painfully short of my goal, I decided not to try and raise money this time around. But I donated another 12 inches of hair to the Little Princess Trust, and I couldn't be happier. 

So, that was my year in a 1500 word nutshell. Nothing too exciting, filled with problems, but I got through it, and that alone is something to be proud of.

What has 2019 brought for you? Please let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with your goals! I’m also going to be redesigning my blog in the hopes of making it phone-friendly. It looks so awful on my phone!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete

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