2017 Resolutions

IT’S 2017! LET’S DO THIS.

2016 was rough, but I managed to accomplish 6/10 of my blogging resolutions. This year, I’m widening my resolutions to include blogging, reading, and writing. We’ll see if I can accomplish them.

blogging

1. Post three times a week. This is a constant goal of mine that I struggled with in 2016, but that I want to bring back for 2017.

2. Write more discussion posts that I’m proud of. I accomplished this in 2016, but I want to push myself even further.

3. Be more consistent with Top Ten Tuesday posts. This fell apart at the end of 2016, but they are honestly so much fun to read and write.

4. Stay up on my reviews, and make sure I actually have fun while writing them.

5. Make my reviews more thorough, including calling out problematic things I notice and including trigger warnings.

5. Keep making 52 Letters my own, especially with adding some more personal posts and working on my graphics.

reading

1. Read 60 books. Last year I read about 55, the year before, about 70, so 60 seems like a good goal. I want to push myself without stressing myself.

2. Read more diverse books, especially ones by marginalized authors and #ownvoices books. Hopefully at least one a month

3. Never take longer than 2 weeks to read a book. After that, the book is kind of dead to me, and I just need to move on.

writing

1. Edit my WIP and get it to a place where other people can actually read it.

2. Bring back Hell and Styx, my short story series. I’ll need something to write while editing my novel.

3. Work on my short stories and poetry. One of my main regrets is that I did not do this in 2016.

4. Just keep writing.


What are your goals for 2017? Are there any I should add to my list?

2016 Blogging Wrap-Up

Hi everyone! As 2016 (finally) ends, I wanted to look back at what I accomplished as a blogger and as a writer this year. To see my favorite books of 2016, you can see my reading recap from yesterday.

2016 was both a great year for blogging and a rough one. With second semester of junior year and first semester of senior year, it was easily the busiest year of my life so far. I blogged less in 2016 than I did in 2015, but I wrote more posts that I’m proud of. I think my book reviews are getting better, and I pushed myself to write more honest, emotional discussion posts.


Resolutions

Here are the goals I made for myself for 2016, as well as if I accomplished them.

1. Post three times a week. ~ about 50% successful

2. Read 75 books. ~ Loool, no. I only read 

3. Use better graphics consistently. ~ Yep.

4. More discussion posts. ~ Yeah, actually.

5. Write reviews directly after I finish a book. ~ Yes…ish.

6. Interact more with the blogging community. ~ Sure.

7. Start doing readathons. ~ Lol, no.

8. Get back into Weekend Words. ~ Not even a little.

9. Increase the writing focus of 52 Letters. ~ Nope.

10. Have fun. ~ Always.

All in all, about 6/10 is pretty good. 


Blogging, Writing, and Life News

1. In March, I redesigned 52 Letters. I am still using that design that I created and am still 110% in love with it.

2. In April, 52 Letters turned 2!

3. In May and June, I took part in two University of Iowa International Writing Program #Flashwrite Poetry MOOCs and discovered how much I love poetry.

4. I started a bookstagram account (@52lettersinthealphabet)! (And then senior year started and it died…whoops.)

5. In June, I decided to start over with my WIP. Over summer break, that draft went from zero words to nearly 62,000 words!

6. In November, I created a review directory for 52 Letters.

7. 52 Letters reached 600 followers! Thank you all SOOOO much!

8. In December, I finished my WIP! It took me just over six months and is 99,800 words. It is the fastest I have ever finished a draft of a novel, and (I think) the best thing I’ve ever written. It still needs a lot of work, but that’s 2017’s problem.

9. Today, I turn 18 and officially become an adult! I’m half excited, half terrified. 


Blogging Favorites

Discussion Posts

The Importance of Platonic Relationships

Which Blog Posts Do I Actually Read?

What It’s Like to Read YA as a Girl Who Cries…A Lot

What Looking for Myself in Books Taught Me About the Need for Diversity

Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Books I Have Enjoyed With Less Than 2000 Goodreads Ratings

Top Ten Parts of High School I Wish YA Authors Talked About More

Top Ten Characters I Would Name a Cat After

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me in a Haunted House


How was your blogging 2016? Which posts are you most proud of? What are your plans for 2017?

Discussion Post: Blogging for Likes

I’ve been mulling over this topic in my mind for a while now, and I’ve finally decided to get over myself and just write it. This was partially inspired by Victoria’s post @ Doodles and Scraps in which she talked about how she feels about getting likes versus getting subscribers, and the difference in her follower and like counts:

Like I said, my follower count is going up, and it’s amazing! My likes seem to be going down a bit, though? Not hugely, just by a couple, so I’m averaging around 15 likes per post. For someone with nearly 700 subscribers, that seems awfully low.

I think a lot of WordPress bloggers can relate to this sentiment. Unlike a platform like Instagram, where hitting 100 likes is relatively simple, WordPress is not a “like heavy” platform. I have almost 600 followers, but if one of my posts gets 20 likes, I basically die of happiness.

Now, I love WordPress. It is easy to use and looks fairly professional. It is the home of hundreds of amazing book bloggers. The WordPress Reader app on my phone is my main method of blog-hopping. I’m not going to abandon WordPress because it’s hard to get likes…I’m not that shallow.

I am kind of shallow, though.

That’s what this post is about. I’m going to lay out my feelings on blogging for likes, and I’m honestly curious to see if you guys feel the same way.

So…do I want likes?

Umm, yes. Likes and comments are awesome. They make me feel like people actually care about what I’m saying and they help me take pride in my posts. Getting WordPress notifications is sometimes the best part of my day.

Of course, I like comments more than likes, especially on a review or a discussion post when someone is really responding to my content. I think we all crave the personal nature of a comment…but I also enjoy the little rush of a like.

So…do I blog for likes?

Yes? No? Sometimes?

Yes: I take part in Top Ten Tuesday because it is a fairly reliable way to get traffic to my blog and the posts generally do well in terms of likes.

No: I don’t tailor the books I read to match with current hype. I pretty much just read what I’m in the mood for when I’m in the mood for it and then write a review.

Yes: Sometimes I choose not to write a review for a second book in a series if the review for the first book totally flopped.

No: I throw out some poetry on my blog every once and a while. I know the poems won’t attract a ton of likes, mainly because this is a bookish blog more than it is a writing blog, but I still do it because I enjoy it.

So here’s what it comes down to:

I have a blog because I love talking about books. Blogging helps me revisit the books I’ve read, learn about new ones, and celebrate my favorites. I didn’t start my blog to get likes or followers—I honestly didn’t think it would happen. And overall, I don’t blog for the likes, I blog for the act of blogging and to be a part of the community.

But still, it would be dishonest to act like I don’t care about likes. I choose which posts to put energy into based on how well I think they will do. I’m a high school student with a limited amount of time to blog and a desperate need for good news, so it is impossible for me to separate the act of blogging from people’s reactions to my posts.


What about you? Do you think about likes when you’re writing a post? Do you care about likes/comments/followers? Was this post relatable or foreign to you?

AP Tests Are Over!!! Cue Lots and Lots of Books

Hey everyone! I’ve been really disconnected from the blogging world recently. I thought that May would be when I picked up the pace again, but then I actually took my AP exams, and I didn’t have time to blog either.

But I have good news, because AP EXAMS ARE OVER. (For me, at least. If you still have exams, I’m sorry and good luck!)

Which means that it’s time to start reading and blogging again!

I’m currently reading These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and loving it. I just finished being emotionally destroyed by Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. If you’ve read (or plan to read) either of those books, please comment! I’m dying to fangirl with fellow bookworms.

Even better, I finally ordered The Raven King, A Court of Mist and Fury, and The Unexpected Everything. They are three of my most anticipated books for this year and they all came out during AP season so I had to watch while other people fangirled while I was studying. But no more! Because very soon I will be able to have my heart ripped to pieces as well. 😉

Also! I made a bookstagram! My sister has been urging me to make one for a while and I finally caved. I’m loving it so far. 🙂 You can follow me at @52lettersinthealphabet!

What’s going on in your life? If you had AP exams, how did they go?

What are you currently reading and what should I read next?

April Wrap-Up

In My Life

April was rough. Prepping for my AP exams (APUSH, AP Lang, and Calc AB) left little time for reading or blogging, which sucked. The first two weeks of May will be dominated by actually taking the tests, which also sucks—but then I’ll be free.

On this Blog

I only had six posts this month! *cries* Thank you to everyone who stuck with my through my unannounced hiatus. I hope to get back to my regular blogging schedule soon.

I do really like the posts that I wrote this month, however. I had two discussion based posts, both of which got kind of personal. I discussed whether to give myself reading “homework” and what it is like to read YA as a girl who cries. Also, 52 Letters turned two!

In shorter posts, I did the Cookie Book Tag, the BFF Book Tag, and received the Entertainer Blogger Award.

In Reading and Reviewing

I had no book reviews this month! AHHH wow I don’t think that has ever happened. Whoops.

I read two and a half books. I finished Shadows of Self and read Bands of Mourning, both parts of the Mistborn sequel series. I loved both of them and can’t wait to fangirl about them in my reviews (when I have a spare minute to write them).

I started Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. I am about halfway through and it is amazing—very dark and emotional and intensely real. I’m fascinated to see where the story takes me…probably to some place with tears.

In Writing

I had a good month for writing. I didn’t add anything to my WIP, which wasn’t ideal, but I did something else…

flashwrite

I took part in the University of Iowa’s Teen Flashwrite MOOC. It was a massive online classroom where I got to learn more about the specifics of writing poetry, discuss poetry with experts, and then have my work critiqued by fellow students and teachers.

It was a fantastic experience and I’m sooooooooo glad that I decided to take part (despite how busy this month was). I met a ton of cool people, and I’m hoping that some of the friendships I formed will last a while.

I’ll probably share some of the poems I wrote and some of the stuff I learned in later posts.


How was your April? What books did you read? Did you have any exciting posts?

Fellow AP students—how are you doing? Are you hanging in there? Which tests are you most worried about? How ready are you for APs to be OVER?

Also! I haven’t had a chance to bloghop in a while, so if you have had any posts that you’re really proud of, link to them and I’ll check them out! I want to see what everyone has been up to while I’ve been studying. 🙂

The Entertainer Blogger Award

Thank you so much to Anna @ Space Cats and Books for nominating me!

the entertaining blog award

The Rules

  • Write a post with the award picture.
  • Nominate 12 (sorry, it’s not going to be that many) other bloggers who are funny, inspiring, and, most important of all, ENTERTAINING!
  • Add these rules to the post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog!
  • Also, answer these questions down below!

1. Why did you start a blog in the first place?

My sister had started a blog a few months before to showcase her sewing and she was having a lot of fun with it so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Unlike her, I am not crazy-talented at sewing, so I decided to blog about my love: reading and writing.

2. What is your favorite book?

cover king of attolia

AAAAHHHH! I can never choose. My go-to answer is The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner because that book is incredible and not many people have read it, so I’m always trying to get people to pick it up. It’s the third book in a series, so if you’re interested—and you should be—you should read The Thief.

3. What do you dislike the most?

Wow, that’s a tough one. Probably people who know they’re breaking the rules, then look all offended when a teacher calls them out, then crack up with their friends when she turns away, like “What was that about?”

You were being an A-hole, that’s what it was about.

4. What is your favorite food item from the mall?

Pretzels! Any kind, I just love mall pretzels.

5. What is your favorite pastime activity?

Either reading or watching Netflix, depending on what my day has been like. I love reading, of course, but sometimes I just need to decompress and watch a few thousand episodes of TV.


the Funny, inspiring, and entertaining bloggers I nominate

Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

Ari @ The Daydreaming Bookworm

Ava @ Bookishness and Tea

You are under no pressure to accept if you have a lot on your plate right now!


What about you? Do you love mall pretzels?

What lesser-known favorite of yours should I know about?

Happy 2nd Birthday 52 Letters!

AHHHHHH I can’t believe it! My second blogoversary was yesterday! 52 Letters in the Alphabet has officially existed for two years!

This is crazy for me. When I started this blog, it was on a whim. I had no idea that I was joining one of the most special communities on the Internet or that I’d have as much fun blogging as I do. I never thought that blogging would become a daily source of excitement and joy, or that I’d have formed so many friendships in the blogging community.

I never thought that I’d grow to love the random orange theme that I picked on day one, or that I’d carry that color scheme with me when I redesigned my blog. (Let’s be honest, getting me to like the color orange is one of the biggest effects this blog has had on my life…sort of.)

I never thought that you could get me to join Twitter or any type of social media. I didn’t even know that things like blog awards or book tags existed.

I certainly never thought that my blog would have nearly 450 followers or that I would have had 390 posts on this blog.

I’d like to take a moment to thank every single one of you who has read, liked, or commented on any of my posts. It means the world to me to see that the words I randomly throw out into the Internet matter to other people. And to every one of my amazing followers, thank you so much for sticking around to hear what I have to say every time I decide to fangirl about a book or share some of my writing with you.

I’m really excited to start another year of blogging with all of you guys! I hope that you continue to enjoy my posts and that I can get to know each of you more as time goes on.