Cheers to 2017! {Looking back, moving forward and seeking recommendations}

Let me start this post by stating the obvious: it’s 2017(!!!). Yep, it’s a new year. Which means that everyone is running around creating resolutions and setting up goals as we all feel socially obligated to be better people. It’s a “new year, new me” (as proclaimed in the most generic of NY tweets) mentality, I guess.

I once wrote about how we’ve grown accustomed to thinking highly of beginnings and endings. I particularly cited the new year as an example. And yet, despite knowing that the new year is an arbitrary concept imposed by people, which is a consequence of an equally arbitrary, man-made measurement of time, I still find myself delighting in the prospect of being given an opportunity to grow into a better version of myself.

But I digress.

The goal for 2017

Last year, I set my Goodreads reading challenge to 69 books. After twelve months, the result is as follows:

For 2017, I am lowering my reading goal to just 30 books. The downscale is quite significant as this number is less than half of last year’s reading challenge. I guess with 2017 being my second year of book blogging, it would make sense for me to read more books, instead of less. However, as each day passes by, I see myself more and more as a blogger. And less of a book blogger. This is equal parts thrilling and terrifying for me. I am incredibly excited and look forward to wherever my experiences lead me in the blogging world. That is not to say that I plan to eventually stop talking about books altogether. (I mean, my blog is named That Bookshelf Bitch, and I’ve already fallen in love with my blog logo.) I can’t imagine myself doing that at all. It’d be easier for me to picture myself biting my arm off rather than shutting myself up about books.

Anyway.

The main reason I’ve chosen to read a significantly fewer number of books is because I don’t want 2017 to be a year of books. I want 2017 to be a year of writing. My writing, to be more specific.

I’m not saying that I intend to write an original novel or anything. I don’t think I’m ready for that. But it would be nice to be able to translate my thoughts and musings into actual sentences more frequently. It would be nice to be able to write more poetry. It would be nice to be able to write quality discussion posts under less time. And it would be incredibly wonderful to learn how to let the words flow more easily from my mind to my fingertips.

The steps I will take (and hopefully stick to)

[1] Keep a diary and write in it daily. I have never successfully kept a diary or a journal in my entire life. Be it one where I write every day or one where I only scribble occasionally. I’m hoping 2017 will be an entirely different case. For my 2017 diary, I’ll be publishing entries on a separate, private blog. As for the content, I don’t plan on reiterating what I did for that particular day. That’s sort of like monitoring my activities, which I find to be extremely tedious. Instead, I’m going to write whatever feels significant or timely — things I want to remember, things I’ve discovered about myself, lessons I’ve learned, what I felt, what inspired me, a short story I’d like to keep telling, a sentence or two summarizing what I felt throughout the day.

(I’ve thought about keeping a bullet journal instead. A part of me really wanted to, but as one of my personal resolutions is to develop better time management skills, I don’t think I’m quite ready for that.)

[2] Write at least one poem a week.

[3] Immerse myself in different forms of poetry — both oral and written. Specifically, read more poetry collections and learn more about spoken word poetry. I’ve only recently developed an addiction to spoken word! Everything about it is so raw and powerful and engaging. I also want to explore themes that transcend common topics such as love and heartbreak. I want to read literary pieces that delve into feminism, abuse, sexuality, oppression, and elitism (social class divide). I want to read poems that are for the oppressed and marginalized, and I want to read poems that are written by the oppressed and marginalized. (More on this later!)

[4] Write at least one discussion post (i.e. ‘Shealea says’) per month.

[5] Keep my Tumblr blog active. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently revived and revamped my blog on Tumblr and turned it into a online portfolio.

[6] Read more books about diversity and/or feature diversity. Not explicitly writing-related, but just as important nonetheless.

The recommendations I’m looking for

Clearly, I have to start somewhere! What better way to do that than to ask for your help and for your opinions, right?

[1] Diverse reads. I mean, I know of CW’s extensive diversity corner and Aimal’s Diversity Spotlight Thursday feature — both of which have been exceedingly helpful in promoting books with diversity (so do check them out!). But hey, a few more recommendations wouldn’t hurt, right? Can’t have too much diversity, fam.

[2] Poetry books and collections. Yep, yep. Still trying to make my way as a hilariously mediocre poet. I’m hoping to expose myself to poems that tackle the following themes and topics:

– feminism
– sexuality
– marginalization and oppression
– pain, abuse, sexual assault, rape
– love and heartbreak completely different from Lang Leav’s skewed portrayal of aforementioned topics
– mental illnesses
– healing

[3] Spoken word poetry. Give me names of poets, give me links, and just give me, give me, give me. Not looking for anything in particular. I just want to keep learning.

[4] 2017 releases to look forward to. I was recently asked to name a few upcoming titles I’m excited about, and I drew a complete blank! I know. What a terrible thing of me to do. I really need to step up my game.

If anything comes to mind, don’t hesitate to let me know! Any help would be greatly appreciated. While you’re at it, tell me about your resolutions! What are you up to? What are you planning for the year? I’m genuinely interested.

Happy New Year, everyone! Cheers!

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Shealea

First of her name. Queen of millennials and the constantly caffeinated. Protector of books. Breaker of norms. Iskolar ng bayan.

30 thoughts on “Cheers to 2017! {Looking back, moving forward and seeking recommendations}”

  1. Interesting prospects for the New Year. My best advice: don’t beat yourself up over missing a day or two of journaling. Maybe you didn’t have anything you wanted to say that day. Definitely don’t try to catch up. Just start again.

    I suggest you mix in some older poets with the newer ones for balance. There is a reason they are still read–they are good and have stood the test of time. There is of course Shakespeare, but my favorites are Robert Frost, William Butler Yeats, Sara Teasdale, Robert Browning, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

    Have fun with all of your goals and a great 2017!

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  2. Your posts are so pretty. I’m planning on releasing at least four of my own books this year. As well as getting more into the world , instead of spending my time on the net! I read a lot of poetry last year, so if you go through my review posts you’re bound to find something you might find interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My god, how do you do it? It hasn’t even been a month and I’m already on the brink of slacking off. HAHAHA. But you’re right. Writing in a journal has been more fun than I expected.

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  3. I love that you’ve set working on your own writing as a major goal for 2017 and wish you the best of luck in achieving that goal. I also wholeheartedly agree with everyone else’s rec to follow Naz for diverse book recs. That’s where I get most of mine and the recs are always fabulous 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “And yet, despite knowing that the new year is an arbitrary concept imposed by people, which is a consequence of an equally arbitrary, man-made measurement of time, I still find myself delighting in the prospect of being given an opportunity to grow into a better version of myself.”

    ^^ I snorted at this and then nodded, because I’m stoked, too.

    And while I know nothing about poetry, so I can give no recommendations, I did want to just stop by and say that I love your goals and I hope that you are able to stick with them (especially the journaling one; I’ve never been able to get that one to stick).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, Nicole! And for wishing me luck. I think I’ll definitely need it.

      My god, it hasn’t even been a full month yet and daily journaling has already been more daunting than I anticipated. Not to mention time-consuming. I’m worried I might be unable to maintain it. But anyway. Do you have any resolutions for the year?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t we all, though? How has it been going?

        It really is! And half the time, I feel so foolish. What am I “supposed” to write down? A daily chronicling of what happened that day? Do I address anyone? Why do I feel so horrible when I miss a day? It definitely takes more work than I think people credit and I wish you even more luck as you continue with it!

        I wrote a couple of posts about my own goals, but reader’s digest version, I want to become more “fit” in three areas: my shape, my writing habits and financially, i.e., lose weight, write consistently and save money.

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        1. I’m three days behind schedule, tbh. I’ve been sick for more than a week, which has made the thought of writing anything an unnecessary burden. Will work on it today, though!

          And yes, exactly. I constantly fluctuate between using first person and second person (i.e. addressing myself). But anyway, the purpose of my journal isn’t really to document anything, but to force myself into getting used to writing consistently.

          Those goals sound so simple when you put them that way, but we both know they require a tremendous amount of effort and perseverance. I wish you all the best as well!

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          1. Ugh, getting sick during New Years is the surest way to not make forward progress on resolutions. Cool thing the only possible deadline resolutions have are the ones we place ourselves, huh? And I love that you’re using journaling as a way to write more consistently. That’s awesome and I bet you will find your groove sooner rather than later!
            Right!? Thank you so much! 😀

            Like

  5. I personally think you have a solid and achievable set of goals for yourself this year when you put your mind to it. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your original writings and overall growth as a blogger; even if you end up going farther away from book blogging than you expect, I promise you will still have a devoted readership that cares about what you’re writing and doing.

    I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I have heard excellent things about all the poets nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award in poetry this year and highly recommend checking those books out. Some collections that I’ve been told are incredible reads are The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace, milk and honey by Rupi Kaur, Even This Page is White by Vivek Shraya, Where the words end and my body begins by Amber Dawn (a collection of glosa poems) and Commons by Myung Mi Kim (from the New California Poetry series; this one is my friend Aisling’s favorite, and a lot of the series is just as poignant, according to her.) Hopefully this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not worried about my readership at all, to be honest. Everyone has been very kind and supportive. I’m incredibly blessed to have all of you. Thanks so much for believing in me!

      Thank you as well for the list of recommendations. I’ve already read Amanda Lovelace’s collection, but I am extremely excited to discover the rest of the items. Hope your new year has been wonderful so far!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Alyssa! Thank you for the recommendations. I’ll check them out for sure! As for the spoken word poetry, I’ll definitely hit you up if I come across a few gems.

      Like

  6. Hi Shalea! I am sad to see you aiming for less books this year! But focusing on your own writing is important too!

    For books about diversity, you should check out author Kori D. Miller. She writes some sassy Black women who kick butt!
    For books to look forward to in 2017, Andy Peloquin is releasing a dark fantasy Thief of the Night Guild, that follows a female thief in a profession which is notoriously male-dominated. I am looking forward to reading it! I also have the second book in my Hunters Saga coming out, which focuses on two African American’s and a Native American.

    My goals for 2017 are incredibly simple, yet so complicated: Write more, read more, live more.

    Yeah, I have a bit more details planned, but for here, that’s good enough 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Heidi! Always fantastic to hear from you.

      That’s a lot of suggestions — thank you so much! Will absolutely look into them. Wishing you all the best with your second book!

      Like

  7. Poetry is one of the rawest forms of expression and I am so glad that your starting to go out there and write some. It will be so cool to see what you come up with! One of my absolute idols in poetry is Ellen Hopkins, her books written in prose inspire me and they focus on the issues that so many are afraid to say out loud. Cheers to a new year! Each new day a chance to open our eyes to see things in a way we never knew we needed to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Tiana!

      I agree. Poetry is so poignant and compelling that to express myself and my thoughts through it feels very empowering. I’ve already written a few pieces, and I hope to start sharing them here by next month! When my schedule lightens up.

      Anyway. Thank you for the recommendation! I’ll definitely look into Ellen Hopkins and her works. Hope your new year has been wonderful so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello. First of all wish you a very happy new year. This year I’m going to try and follow these three words : be extraordinary everyday. I want to achieve MORE.. be it in terms of blogging, reading or studies. I wish you all the best with your writing and I’m really looking forward to your discussion posts. 🙂 there is one poetry book recommendation for you – milk and honey by rupi kaur. I’ve not read it yet but seen some really good reviews of it and it is on mu tbr pile for this yyear

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there, Ayustika!

      “Be extraordinary everyday” is a great and uplifting phrase to live by. That sounds awesome, and I hope to read about your extraordinary ventures, should you decide to write about them. Wishing you all the best! Also, thank you very much for the recommendation! Coincidentally, Milk and Honey was recently given to me as a (very late) Christmas gift. I haven’t had the time to read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

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