Writing

Reading Journals 101

Every evening when I get home from work I put my stuff away, change, head to the couch and start my journaling for the day. I love my part of the day that deals with my journals because it gives me time to reflect on my reading not just for the day or the week, but the month overall. I currently am using a 3 year journal, my normal journal and an Owlcrate Reading journal.

A few things that make my journaling (specifically reading journal) successful:

  • Colored Markers — I like to add some color to my journal and I love the Paper Mate colored pens!)
  • Stickers — As silly as it seems, adding stickers, specifically to my reading journal, is incredibly fun and a great way to jazz up your journal.
  • Goodreads –I always have my Goodreads open and up to date while I journal so I can reference back to how I am doing with my reads and also work on my reviews.

The most important thing if you are interested in starting a reading journal is ROUTINE! I started a journaling routine around January at the start of the year and have remained consistent with it since then. Sometimes I journal earlier or later but I always make time for it. The hardest part about starting you reading journal is going to be the actual act of starting it. Getting in that routine takes about 20-30 days to really take hold. Take it from someone who has started and failed at journaling MANY times, it takes time to set up that routine!

In regards to what journal to use, it’s up to you! What do you like? Do you want a bullet journal? Digital journal? Pre-made journal? This JOURNAL (click word for link) is one of the closets I have found to the one I use and love! It’s not terribly expensive and is such a great tool to deal with anxiety as well!

I also thought I would include one of the best You-Tube video’s I have seen on creating your reading journal, so sit back, relax and enjoy the watch! Oh, and HAPPY READING!

Writing

Writers…Block…

Some of you have been following along with the writing of my first novel. I started this as a project during quarantine in the spring of 2020 and it flourished during those months and in the summer of 2020 as well. Since the start of the school year in 2020 though, my motivation to write slowly wained away. I want to hash out on here what caused the block but also things I am doing to be proactive, finish my project and write my book!

First off, the obvious block to my writing process, the stress of the pandemic WHILE working at the same time. During that quarantine period I was stuck home with literally nothing to do. True, I checked in with my students a few times a week and posted assignments, but the work was minimal and I was literally stuck at home. Heading back to work in August of 2020 put a serious dampener on my writing. I had not anticipated and still can’t wrap my mind around how difficult the 2020/2021 school year was. Everyday we sanitized the classroom. Everyday we taught through masks. Now, I shouldn’t complain because I have friends in healthcare that dealt with much worse, but COVID teaching is the worst kind of teaching. This stressful situation lead to stress at home which in turn lead to less time reading and writing.

The next thing that caused the block was doubt. Doubt primarily in myself. If you recall back to 2020 (seems so long ago and at the same time like it’s still happening), some artists were dropping books, and albums and so many amazing things. All of these things done during their quarantine periods. Now, mind you, I did start my book over quarantine, but with the start of my full time job and the stress of teaching during COVID, my work on it slowly faded. The doubt started to creep in as I saw Taylor Swift drop two albums. You might think, “music and books are totally different things though,” and you might be right, but in my eye it was another art form and I was failing at completing it.

Finally, I all together stopped. Not for the fear that what I was writing was bad, but the fear of what to do with it when I finish it. Can I find an agent? How do I get it published? Do I publish as an indie author? What if it never gets published? Do I even want it published? These thoughts and SO many more were flying around in my head and making me seriously second guess myself and what I was doing with this book and even more than that what I would do if I finished the book.

After a few months of reflection, a job change and buying a new house I can say I am in a much better head space. Did I need these life changes to get back on track with writing and what makes me happy in life? Probably not, but they certainly helped! Between the career change and finally owning a place of my own to live in I feel solid. I feel like I can finally take on this book and so much more. So here’s my reminder for you… sometimes writer’s block might seem straightforward but it might be several things piling up and adding stress to your life. Maybe you need to step back from your book for a day, a week, a month or maybe even a year. That’s okay. What matters is you, your mental health and what makes you happy. It took me a few months, but I am happy to say I am working on my book again! If you want to check it out, feel free to check it out on WattPad and share your thoughts! It’s a work in progress and still a draft, but it’s something!

Happy reading!