Goodbye, 2014! Hi, 2015 :|

leeannadotme instagram2014 was a very difficult year for me, which partly resulted in less blogging than I would have liked. To put it in the words of the Queen, 2014 was my annus horribilis. I have a feeling 2015 is going to be about as bad. Hey, I’m a pessimist! A very, very, very big pessimist. If it’s any good, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Anywho, I’ll admit, for a while I thought about throwing in the towel on my blog. I quit visiting other blogs and interacting with peeps. Once you stop, it’s surprisingly difficult to get back into it! Or maybe I just feel like I don’t have much to say, as I have bookmarked posts from months ago that I’ve been meaning to comment on. Apparently, I’m a content hoarder. I do miss talking with other bloggers and readers, so I’m going to try hard to get back into it. I mean, that’s a big part of why I blog — because I have so few people in real life that I can squee about books with.

I’m not making this post for sympathy… sometimes life sucks, but you have to carry on anyway. What I want to say is thank you for sticking around! This blog is heading into its third year, which is hard to believe. I’m not making any blogging resolutions, because I’m rubbish at keeping them, but I do have one goal. To be social again.

So please, if you read this, leave a comment with your blog address or Twitter or Instagram or Goodreads so I can come by and say hi! I need friends :D

– leeanna

Fit Owl Tuesday: The Failure Edition

Almost two months ago, I made a post on getting back into yoga. This is my first post since I made my Hashtag Pledge: #100DaysOfYoga, and well … I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m still an unfit owl. So, here I go for another attempt. I need to!

I like to curl up when I sit, either in a pretzel or a ball. I cannot sit with my legs dangling down like a normal person does. After pretzeling up for 10+ hours a day, I often get muscle aches, or my comfy ball isn’t so comfy anymore. All it takes is some stretching every night — I can even READ while I do it — but 9 times out of 10, I don’t bother.

With winter coming, yoga is about all I can do. I’m still following the yoga community on Instagram, which is super inspiring. Now just to get off my butt.

I did want to get a Nike FuelBand, because hello, all those stats, but Nike products don’t play nice with Android. :( :( :( Does anyone use a Fitbit?

Check out other readers who work out.

– leeanna

Why I Almost Quit Blogging, and Why I Didn’t

I’ve had variations of this post drafted since September, but as you can imagine, it’s not very easy to admit that I came very close to deleting my blog. I considering not posting this, but I want to be honest. Open about how hard blogging can be sometimes, and how discouraging. I’ve thought for months about how to express my thoughts, what to say, and I’m still don’t know how to do it. But after seeing Parajunkee’s post wondering if the book blogging community has gone on hiatus, I thought I’d finally post.

Why I Almost Quit Blogging:

A couple of months ago, I was in a bad place mentally. I had/still have a lot of stress in my life, from a variety of things, and blogging felt like too much work. More importantly, I felt like my blog was pointless. I’m not one of the big, popular book blogs, and I never will be. And yeah, sometimes I get a little jealous when I see the ARCs, connections, comments, and content those more popular blogs have. It’s human nature.

Blogging is also lot of work. Here are some of the steps I do for each review:

  1. Read book. The time for this varies, obviously. On my phone (which I use for most ebooks), I have read 380 hours this year, with an average of 479 words per minute. I don’t have any estimate for physical books sadly.
  2. Write review. This takes a couple of hours. I write an average of 1,000 words for each review, and edit/revise a couple of times.
  3. Proofread review.
  4. Format post, which includes finding links, images, etc.
  5. Check post.
  6. Schedule post. I try to keep from posting 5 reviews of the same genre in the same week, or 5 low rated reviews, etc.
  7. Schedule tweets and Facebook links.

If blogging felt pointless, why on earth should I bother with all of that? Why not just read a book and move on?

Why I Didn’t Quit Blogging:

Even though I wasn’t posting to my blog, looking at other blogs, or hanging out on Twitter, I was still reading. Reading is something that I will never stop doing. I’m not exaggerating when I say that if I couldn’t live without books in my life.

And even though I wasn’t posting them, I was also still writing reviews. I tend to write down my thoughts for most books, and every time I thought about stopping, I couldn’t. I’d find myself making notes, jotting down page numbers for quotes.

I also thought about the connections I’d already made, with other bloggers, authors, and publishers. I didn’t want to lose them.

Lastly, even though I wondered if it was pointless for me to blog, I realized that I would miss this outlet if I deleted it. I decided that even if no one else reads my reviews, that’s mostly okay.

February 2014 will mark two years of I’ve put almost two years of hard work, time, and effort into this site. In the end, I knew I would be disappointed with myself for taking the easy way out.

So here I am, back for another two years, and more after that.

If You’re Thinking of Quitting:

Really think about it. Even if I had quit, it wasn’t a decision I would have made lightly. I spent almost two months deciding whether to quit or not. Don’t let a nasty comment, a rejection, or something else make you click on that DELETE button without really thinking about it. Try a hiatus first ;)

– leeanna

Fit Owl Tuesday: In Which I Make a Hashtag Pledge: #100DaysOfYoga

Woah. It’s been a long time since I’ve made a Fit Owl Tuesday post. The last one was in February, which is pretty embarrassing.

Because I’m a big believer in accountability (and in embarrassing myself on my blog), I’m putting this out there. I’m going to do 100 straight days of yoga. I’ve wanted to start a practice for a long time, but let things like not having classes nearby stop me. The past month or so I’ve been following some amazing teachers on Instagram, and realized that I don’t need to go to a class to start. I can do it on my own. And I need it, for the stress relief alone :D

I plan on roping my parents (I’m sure they’ll be thrilled when they read this!) to take pictures, so be sure to check my Instagram for updates. I don’t know how well this will go, but at least I’m going to try. If you’re a reader who works out, also look at the #ReadersWorkouts hashtag on Twitter.

– leeanna

Inside the Nest #6: The Sick Edition

stop! turkey time

Yup, those are wild turkeys crossing the road. Did you know they can fly?

It has been a very long time since I’ve done a personal update. Bad me. Most Sunday nights I think about what happened during the week, and there’s just nothing to talk about!

The same is true this week, but I thought I would do an update anyway and let ya’ll know why I’ve been quiet this week. On Monday I came down with a fantastic summer cold, and today, Sunday, I’m still getting over it. I’m mostly better now, but my cough is lingering. I swear I sound like a foghorn.

The worst part about being sick was I had a horrible headache for the first 3 days, so I couldn’t even read! So now I’m playing catch-up even more than usual. Yet again I bit myself in the behind by not having reviews scheduled, but … I have a love/hate relationship with scheduling content. On one hand it makes me feel good to know I have content ready to go for the next few weeks, but on the other, I like to be in the moment. Does that even make sense? If not, don’t mind me.

Anywho, being sick reminded me that I’ve been wanting to do more personal posts, and perhaps branch out and do some other types of posts on the blog. I figure as long as it relates to reading, it’s fair game. I also want to bring back Fit Owl Tuesdays, when I don’t have something else scheduled.

For a last fun tidbit, for the last week and a half I’ve gotten to test version 2 of the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin. Let me tell you, it’s fantastic! I know a lot of bloggers are switching to WordPress (apparently Blogger went on a deleting rampage?), and if you’re thinking about it, make sure to check out Ashley’s plugin. It’s amazing. I can’t wait to start using it here! Ashley also makes me want to get my geek back on. It’s been way too long since I’ve done any coding. No time, though :/

On that happy note, be sure to check back later this week for some reviews!

– leeanna

Inside the Nest #5: On Writing

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Honestly, my life is pretty boring (and I usually like it that way!), so I would just write the same thing week after week. I spend my time doing one of a few things: reading, at work, attempting to write, or trying to avoid cleaning. The last one’s for my mum — Hi mom! :D

I said in my March summary that while I had learned about the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo, I wasn’t going to participate. That resolution lasted all of half a day. I set a goal of 35,000 words, which I thought was reasonable considering I didn’t really start until April 10 or so.

Because I have a spreadsheet fetish (I do!), I made one to keep track of my daily word counts. But I didn’t restrict it to just book writing. I included a column for reviews, because I spend a lot of time writing reviews. So far in April I’ve written (or have started) 13 reviews. I actually should have written a few more, but I’m trying to keep from burnout and not making myself review every book I read, although I’d like to. And I’ve read 16.5 books, plus some fanfic.

The number for “Fun” is an estimate. As much as I’d like to have the exact numbers for that category, it’s easier and faster to guestimate. “Fun” is a category for all my fun writing, like fandom and fanfic. As you can see, that’s my biggest percentage, and always is whenever I keep track of my words per month. Seeing that number usually makes me wish I could just turn my fanfic into fic. That would be nice.

So, I doubt I’m going to meet my goal of 35,000 words for my WIPs. I’m not too upset about that, because I think I’m finally learning how to write crap. Yup, write crap. I self-edit when I write, which is okay for short pieces. Stuff under 2,000 words. I hit a block on WIP 2 last week, and I was despairing, thinking, I’m never going to write anything over 1,000 words! But then, I started typing junk … and I hit almost 2,000 words. And I do mean junk — I’ve got multiple tenses in one sentence, different characters talking in the same paragraph, misspellings, and horrid grammar. But I am okay with that, because when I edit, I can clean it up. But I can’t edit and clean it up if I don’t have anything to work with!

That’s something I’ve been trying to do for a very long time. I tend to rewrite the same sentence or paragraph over and over until it’s just the way I want before moving on. It’s like I have a mental block. Honestly, it drives me nuts. But then a lot of things in my head do. LOL.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post (and I don’t blame you if you haven’t), I have a question for you. If you do something else that takes up a huge chunk of time, such as writing, how do you balance that with blogging? My site visits are down 50% this month, and I have a feeling that’s because I haven’t been posting as much and have been trying to write more. I could sleep less, I guess, but I really like my sleep.

– leeanna

Fit Owl Tuesdays: Week 3

If you haven’t noticed, I skipped a few weeks of the fit owl, because this owl isn’t very fit. I still haven’t made it to the gym. At all. Winter really, really makes me wish I had a treadmill in the house. I wouldn’t even care if it was in the garage!

I was hoping to get into the gym today, or maybe to try out a session of yoga, but now I have to make an Apple store run to replace the power adapter for my Air. It had an unfortunate accident with the vacuum.

I did sign up for my first 5k of the year, which will happen in April. So I definitely need to get in some gym time before then, or I’ll be walking the entire thing.

– leeanna

Inside the Nest: Week 4

I skipped last week because I didn’t have much going on, and I’m in the same place this week. I’m almost finished with my reread of Harry Potter, which is a little sad. I always hate to leave Harry’s world … although of course with fandom, I never really leave it :D

If you’ve emailed me lately and I haven’t replied, I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m trying to finish up a review schedule, and I’m behind on emails. I will get back to you, I promise.

– leeanna

Fit Owl Tuesdays: Week 2

Okay, here’s where public accountability is going to come in. Last week was a total bust for me fitness wise. I didn’t make it to the gym at all, I didn’t work out at all, I didn’t do anything. If I keep going liks this, there will be no half-marathon in May.

I’m hoping I can motivate myself this week, although with temperatures in the looooow digits (it’s going to feel like negative temperatures with the wind chill today) it’ll be hard to want to go anywhere but to work and home. I really should do some videos on Youtube — I can’t believe how many workout videos are available there!

If I do get into the gym at all this week, I’m going to try listening to audiobooks while I work out. I don’t think I’m an audiobook person — I have to see the words — but if I can get in some reading while working out, I won’t pass it up. Plus, some of the books I want to borrow from Overdrive are only in audiobook format, not ePubs :|

– leeanna

Inside the Nest: Week 3

In case you haven’t noticed, has a new layout! After a debacle with trying a themes site (pretty themes, but not easy to redo 400+ posts to match!), I found a framework and modified it. I should have ironed out all the problems, but if you happen to notice anything weird, please let me know!

This week I also read this post by Gennifer Albin (author of Crewel) on shiny happy ideas. I definitely fall into this trap — anytime a new idea pops into my head, I get excited and want to do something with it. This goes from story ideas to new blogs. I keep wanting to start a fitness blog, but then I tell myself I don’t have time to keep up two and do everything else I want to do. I actually wanted to start a finance blog at the same time I started this book blog, but I didn’t think that one through until after I set everything up. Then I realized it wasn’t such a great idea.

The fitness blog will still probably happen at some point in the future, lol. So much for learning from my mistakes!

– leeanna