The Year That Just Kept on Giving: 2020 Highlights + 2021 Goals

Posted January 13, 2021 by Sophia
6 Comments

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I figured I’d take a page out of Lupe’s book and use a sleepy dragon for the blog post header like she did with her goals and highlights post because it’s just a huge mood considering the shit show 2020 was.

Also, I just like to sleep a lot, and I need a lot of sleep to operate – how the hell does anyone survive on just 3 hours of sleep? If I have a nasty brew of coffee, just know that I definitely didn’t sleep well and I’ll be zombie. Actually, I probably shouldn’t even be driving, even with coffee. I did it once for a work meeting and it was not a grand time.

Despite everything that’s happened, I think I’m quite lucky with the cards I drew out of the cards that were handed to me. There’s been a few good things that happened, both blogging and personal wise, and I think it’ll be good to look back on years from now instead of just doing a 2021 goals post. Because 2020? Definitely one that’ll be in the books. And my expectations for 2021? Kind of low.

Blogging Highlights of 2020

I don’t think I talk about blogging highlights enough, and maybe I should? I don’t know. I’ve always liked the Year End posts over at The Arts STL, so to say that didn’t partially inspire this section, along with Lauren from Northern Plunder’s Bookend Winter post, in particular would be a lie. (I did start out with two different posts – one for highlights and another for goals, but then decided to merge them, so here we are.)

Blogging this year has been a struggle for the past few years – there’s been less posts, a general lack of motivation and energy, and often times there’s an existential crisis (blogging, personal, sometimes both). And unfortunately, just when things seems to take a turn for the better, major life events happen, like graduating high school and then college. Or in this case, graduating and a pandemic.

2020 was a general lack of growth since moving to WordPress, with the least amount of views compared to past years, which honestly? I’m not terribly bothered about it. It was 2020, there was a pandemic; there’s always another year to grow. No one has time to read blog posts, but there were some highlights as well.

General Blogging Highlights

  • Continuing to rebrand – as much as I liked the Pinterest images I first came up with, it was around a few months ago, it just felt like there was a need for a change? I don’t know, trying to create a review pin on the Canva is hard considering I end up moving the stars too much. And when I think about it, it was kind of too much work to do all the time? I guess that explains why I abandoned the pins for a good while, but I think the current ones are much easier to format on the Canva app.
  • Revamping the blog header and overhauling a few pages – I’m a lot happier with the new header and newly revamped pages; the about page started to feel a bit outdated, and so did the review policy, although for the latter, I did think about removing completely considering Lupe no longer accepts review copies and I’ve been extremely selective.
  • I made it into Top Ten Most Read Posts of 2020 at The Arts STL – Look mom, I did it! Okay, actually, I just danced in there when my post about K-Pop in March got a sudden second life. But I still made it!
  • Flipping upside down with reformatting blog posts – FINALLYYYYYY. I officially have less posts to reformat than posts that are published. Finally, there is light and I will climb free. I should really take my own deleting old posts advice more seriously instead of being a clown to my own self.

Top 5 Most Viewed Posts

Generally, I don’t reveal the most viewed posts of the year, but honestly? Why not? Also this year has been especially different in terms of blog stats because unlike 2018 and 2019 when the top posts were either creative or a somewhat even mix of reviews and creative, 2020 was almost exclusively dominated by reviews. And I… didn’t really promote that much because I’ve been pretty Tired.

  1. Meteor Garden (2018 Reboot) – this was a quite a surprise because I don’t consider myself a decent TV or movie reviewer since I don’t watch that much in the first place. But somehow from October-December, my review for the 2018 reboot got a second life, probably from a link in Mainland China and jumped views from them to tie with Australia in Top 5 (which has been US, UK, Canada, India and Australia for years). Another surprise? I think my review was positive for the most part. As far as I’m aware the reboot has mediocre ratings in Mainland China, so really it’s a mystery why this did so well.
  2. The Shadow Glass by Rin Chupeco – this has been quickly climbing to be one of my top reviews since I first posted it in March 2019, missing the second most viewed of last year by 1 view and then sweeping that up in 2020. This and Meteor Garden being a top viewed post pretty much proves reviews are evergreen content despite the lack of engagement.
  3. We’d Be Unproductive if Our Favorite Characters Had Social Media and Pretend She’s Here by Luane RicePretend She’s Here was surprisingly the most viewed last year, probably due to the timing of my post but again… it proves reviews can be evergreen content. Also for third most viewed is my post about characters having social media, which was for Top Ten Tuesday.
  4. Feather by Olivia Wildenstein – I’ll die on the hill that book reviews are evergreen content because the stats don’t lie. (Although to be fair in 2018, the top 5 posts were all creative.)
  5. Would You Want a Bookish Character As Your Roommate? – Okay, when I first wrote this post in 2018, I didn’t think this would do that well? 2020 for me this year seems to be the year for reviews, but I think it’s partially because I’ve been posting more reviews than creative posts.

Personal Highlights of 2020

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Oh geez. It’s been rough personally because for one thing, I graduated during a pandemic with no internet access beyond my hotspot data to attend classes and do all my assignments. I thought at one point I would have to write a ten page essay entirely by phone (which would’ve been equally as impressive and stressful as writing the same amount of pages in the span of 6 hours*), but I’m no rookie to the internet access by phone only. I’m definitely rusty, though, because the closest thing was blogging on a tablet on Blogger using restaurant WiFi during break.

*I got a good grade, but I 11/10 do not recommend doing this.

I also found a full time job, although it’s in a position I didn’t think I would be in and definitely not in an industry I thought I would be in. To be fair, I didn’t even have an idea what industry either? But either way, the timing for a full time job could not have been any better and I’m quite grateful for personal reasons beyond “There’s a pandemic and finding jobs is difficult” I’m not comfortable disclosing.

Honestly, there’s not much to say for my personal highlights other than I survived 2020 and the pandemic (so far at least). I think it’s a little too early to say I survived the pandemic considering we’re still dealing with it.

2021 Goals

So when I made my post about how and why I’m not setting goals in 2020, I didn’t exactly have Pandemic on my Bingo card. It was more along the lines of a major life change coming up (graduating college) that I didn’t really want to put too much on myself and stress out over… everything. But walking into 2021, I think I’ll go with a similar mindset while creating goals anyway.

Blogging Goals

At first my goal was to finish reformatting the remainder of my posts, but shortly after the new year started, I actually took my advice to delete posts way more seriously. And then I promptly deleted most of the remaining blog posts permanently so I wouldn’t change my mind two days later. So I’m basically done with that goal, even if there were desperate measures taken. That said, my next step in the process is to work on media files, cleaning up tags, evaluating categories and doing a final sweep of existing blog posts. I think this will be easier than going through each and every post, which was the most difficult part of the process, along with letting go those posts. Perhaps letting go was the most difficult part because I’ve been blogging since I was 14 (on a different blog for a year) and when you’ve been blogging for over a third of your life, letting go those memories is a little hard.

I think for 2021, I want to focus on defining the type of content I want. The past few years have been a primary focus on cleaning up and working on the visual brand of the blog, but now that I’m heading towards the final steps for that and not doing any major overhauls, maybe it’s time for more focus on beyond the visual. (Also I think if I did want to overhaul, I might have done it awhile ago.) I’ll probably be taking some of my old blog posts and updating them, because I’ve learned more since and have more information. Plus now that look back on it, some of those were pretty short and sweet, and I sort of want to focus on creating long-form content (but not too long).

I’ve also thought about writing less reviews, not really because they’re just not popular in terms of engagement and often times views, but because after doing them for so long, it’s been kind of exhausting? And I’ve been putting off publishing them for so long, I have 2019 reviews sitting in pending. I’ll likely push them out anyway at some point, because I did spend time writing them after all, and some are ARC reviews (whoops).

And finally, I want to be more active in responding to comments and hopping instead of letting it build up and regretting it later. I’ve always had trouble with this in general over the years, usually, because I’m busy or I don’t have time, or I just flat out forget. With everything currently going on, it’s been my goal to reply to comments and blog hop at least once a month rather than biweekly that I’m aiming for (plus commenting on phones – not the greatest) so I’m hoping I’ll actually do that.

Reading Goals

I brought down my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal back down to 50 books because I think that’s a lot more realistic than 100 and far less stressful. Mostly, I want to do more rereading, which I’ve started doing in 2020 especially since The Iron Fey series is getting a third series and it’s been like a decade. I definitely remember jack shit from the main series, and I was like 12-13? And, well, the pandemic hasn’t really helped with encouraging me to read – I’ve been feeling the mood to play a lot more games on my phone than actually doing much reading (which is fine, for the most part since I no longer have textbooks and papers due). I also want to listen to more audiobooks, because I’ve been having more time to do so. But also cleaning up the blog has been a mindless task and audiobooks have made it more doable? Companionable?

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I’ve gotten a lot more pickier and selective with my ARC requests on Netgalley over the past year, partially because I’ve been struggling and my pile has been growing. My goal is to complete my overdue ARCs, either in ARC form or in the final form and just getting it out of the way. I’m fortunate enough that my library is big enough to be carrying most of the final copies, so I’ll likely be jumping on quite a few hold lists soon. I think I’ll be requesting less overall in 2021 and onwards. I’m hoping this will make my reading less stressful overall, because I’ll be focused more on finding reads I’m interested in to read at my own time than feeling the obligation to read and review before a book is published.

Personal Goals

I think this might be the hardest section for me to put together because for so long, my personal goals have been falling along the lines of:

  • Surviving school and do it well because god forbid I lose my scholarship and aid
  • Finding an internship or job
  • Working on self care mentally (or at least try to)

But now that I’m actually done with school after 15+ years… I’m not too sure yet what my personal goals will be? I think I’ll start small and go from there.

  • Bullet journaling – I tried out bullet journaling awhile ago but I abandoned it at some point, so in 2021 I kind of want to try again? I don’t know, something about doodling cute penguins brings satisfaction. I might be biased about the cuteness, though.
  • Being more consistent with language learning – I have this habit of spending maybe a week or two lately focusing on learning, but then the next two weeks I just abandon it completely. (Which makes me a clown when I say I kind of want to go back into Chinese after learning Korean.)
  • Watching a movie a week – I think I spend more free time either reading, playing games or hanging out on Discord and it’s something I want to try and change in 2021. Plus with movies, I feel like it’ll just give me time to relax and not stress over reading all the time.

At the end of the day, I’m not too fussed if I end up overturning a lot of the goals I’ve made, because there’s a pandemic going on, and self care should be a priority rather than stressing about accomplishing all the things. If all I end up doing in 2021 is surviving like I did in 2020 (kind of), I think that’s the most important goal and still valid. But also, I think I want to walk into 2021 with at least some sort of purpose and plan instead of making no plans at all and just going by the day. The year is young after all, and there’s over 11 months left for things to potentially change.

Let’s chat, bookwyrms: what are your goals? What do you consider a highlight of 2020 despite everything going on, and what do you look forward to?

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Sophia started blogging in February 2012 for the hell of it and is surprisingly still around. She has a GIF for nearly everything, probably listens to too much K-Pop and is generally in an existential crisis of sorts (she's trying her best). In 2020, she graduated with a Bachelor's in Communications and minor in Women's Studies. More of her bookish reviews and K-pop Roundups can be found at The Arts STL.

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6 responses to “The Year That Just Kept on Giving: 2020 Highlights + 2021 Goals

  1. Shruti

    Watching a movie a week?I’m interested to see how that goes. o.O

    We should totally buddy read/watch something this year. I don’t know why you’d deny yourself the chaos that would bring humph.

  2. Oh, I live in St. Louis. How cool that you made the top 10 in The Arts STL. Congrats on graduating and finding a job this past year. That is a major accomplishment! I kind of have a love/hate relationship with ARCs so I understand the desire to cut back. Good luck with all of your goals!

  3. Jayati

    Congrats on graduating and finding a full time job! All the best for all your goals! I really need to stop requesting ARCs too! I think I’ll be rereading quite a few books this year too since I seem to keep having the urge to do so when I look at my bookshelf.
    Hope you have a great 2021!

  4. I didn’t know you had a full time job now! That explains a lot, blogging-wise. I can’t believe I’ve known you since you were a toddler (just kidding).

    I can relate to needing sleep to function…

    “If all I end up doing in 2021 is surviving like I did in 2020 (kind of), I think that’s the most important goal and still valid. But also, I think I want to walk into 2021 with at least some sort of purpose and plan instead of making no plans at all and just going by the day.”
    That’s great, and I hope you’ll manage to do it! I mean, you can definitely do it! 👍

    “I want to be more active in responding to comments and hopping instead of letting it build up”.
    Ah, same here, so much. I’m trying to stress about reading/reviewing a little less (just a little LOL) and to find more time to blog-hop, because when you have 20 posts lined up for commenting? You throw the towel. Good luck to us both!