I’ve decided to make some goals for 2017, and without wishing to sound like a Buzzfeed headline, they may surprise you. Whilst writing my 2016 review post, I had quite a few realisations hit me. They formed themselves into blogging goals of sorts, so I thought I’d share them here. Seeing as this is my blog, and all. Whether you’re a new reader or an old one, I hope this explains a bit more about who I am and how I blog.

I decided to write myself some rather unconventional blogging goals for 2017. Do you agree with any of them?

1. Connect more meaningfully with my readers and fellow bloggers

Over the past week I’ve met up with two lovely blogger friends, and it was awesome. It’s slightly strange at first to meet people who you feel you know quite well yet have never met before, but it’s one of my very favourite things when blog friends become IRL friends. This year I want to do more of that, to find better ways of connecting with readers who aren’t bloggers themselves, and to collaborate more with my fellow bloggers. So if that sounds like something you’d be interested in, please get in touch.

2. Be truthful above all else

I’m not here to sell you a dream. We all know what life is really like, and to pretend otherwise can become toxic very easily. I use this space primarily to remember what’s going on in my life, both at home and whilst travelling. What’s the use in remembering something artificially constructed?

If I go somewhere and have a bad time, or it falls short of my expectations in some way, I want to let you all know that so you can avoid having a similar experience. If I’m having a miserable time, I want to let you all know so you can send me chocolate (joking… sort of). Which reminds me, I still need to write my honest post about Santorini…

Super omnia veritas. Here's to truthful blogging. Click To Tweet

And tying into this:

3. Remain #notsponsored

I know monetising your blog can be done without losing readers, integrity, or the will to live – but it’s not easy. And frankly, I don’t have the time or the skill to do it properly, so I’m stepping out of the ring altogether. This is my hobby, and I want to keep it fun. 2016 really educated me to the ‘dark side’ of blogging, and I’m steering far clear of it until such a point as I can make it work for me both ethically and creatively. Therefore, I don’t currently accept any money, freebies or benefits in kind for any trips, links or products I write about and I want it to stay that way for 2017. You won’t see any ‘guest posts’ from companies, or other thinly disguised marketing material. I may include the odd Amazon affiliate link from time to time (on products I actually have, bought with my own money, and genuinely recommend) but honestly they’re not the type of posts I do very often.

4. Disengage from the social media nonsense

I’ve barely opened Instagram since September. Once my favourite app, I got totally disencouraged by all the follow/unfollow shenanigans and 1001 articles telling me what I should be doing with my Instagram now or you’ve totally failed. Ditto, how to Rule Twitter, how to be a Pinterest Queen, ad infinitum/ad nauseum. It’s very easy to get sidetracked by these things and start counting followers and likes, and then comes the comparison trap and the focusing on stats not relationships. Back up to number one there – I am here to connect with people, not graphs. This year, I still want to ‘do’ social media, but on my terms. Therefore, I’m removing that annoying Facebook popup from my pages and I solemnly vow not to put in any other annoying popups in its place. If you want to like my page on Facebook, that’s cool, the link will be on the right hand side where it’s always been. If not, that’s cool too. I’d rather you just be my friend.

Seriously… who wouldn’t want to be friends with this?!?

5. Write more betterer

This one is absolutely key for me. Looking back over my posts from 2016, I really noticed a progression in my style of writing and how I was sharing my travel experiences. However, I also noticed that what I thought I wrote and what actually ended up on the internet were often totally different! So, that was a surprise.

This year, I want to really focus on my writing. I want my posts to incorporate a good story, so that anyone can enjoy it; to incorporate some helpful tips, for my fellow travellers; and to reflect me and my personality, so you know you’re reading one of my posts and not A. N. Othertravelblogger.

I know it’s not easy to incorporate all these into every post, and I expect I’ll fail, but I know it can be done. And that’s what I’ll aim for.

So, there you have my slightly unconventional blogging goals for 2017. What do you think? Am I being totally naive?

-Rachel