Wednesday 10 January 2018

2018 Reading Goals and Resolutions

2018 Reading Goals and Resolutions

Read more books
Last year I read 36 books and that's absolutely fine. I've had a bit of a hard time trying to convince myself that reading *any* amount of books at all is brilliant, let alone 36, because my head sees all these booktubers and bloggers reading 100+ books and then I feel a bit sad about 36. But I just have to remind myself that some people would absolutely love to have read 36 books. How many times can I say the number 36?

ANYWAY, although 36 is a perfectly fine number, I'd like to read a few more books this year for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I want to get the number of unread books on my shelves down and I also just feel like there are so many books out there, so I want to read more of them! I'm aiming to read 50 books this year, so we'll see how that goes.

Read my own damn books
As I mentioned, I own way too many unread books. Some have been sitting on my shelves for as long as five years, which is just ridiculous. In 2018 I'll be tracking my reading using Sophie of Portal in the Pages' Reading Spreadsheet. This thing is incredible and not only keeps track of all kinds of amazing data about your reading but also has a section for your TBR. I spent a sick day last week filling it out and it turns out that even after unhauling a crap tonne of books over the past few months, at the start of 2018, I had 115 unread books on my shelves. That's just too many! So a big goal for me in 2018 is to read my own books, rather than buying or accepting too many new ones. I've created a little TBR jar for this that I'll be talking about in an upcoming post, so keep an eye out for that!

Read more diversely
Looking at last year's reading statistics, the majority of the authors I read were from the USA and UK, and not only that but the majority of them were white. My reading is really not very diverse and that's got to change. After recording my entire TBR I've also found out that 87% of the authors on my TBR shelf are white, with only 13% people of colour. That makes me feel a little bit sick. So I'm making reading books by people of colour a priority this year and I've also made a little TBR jar for this which I'll be sharing soon!

Read more classics
At the end of 2016 I said that in 2017 I wanted to read a classic every month. Guess how many classics I read in 2017? Zero. That's just really strange. So I'm going to try and remedy that at least a little by picking out one classic at least every other month to read. I only have 8 on my TBR shelf but I definitely want to get to them sooner rather than later.


So those are some of the reading goals that I'm working towards in 2018. I think it'll be fun to look back next year and see how I did. I highly recommend you download Sophie's Reading Spreadsheet if you haven't already - I can already tell how much easier it's going to be to track my reading. If you have any suggestions for authors of colour that you really love, please leave them down below as that's my biggest priority in 2018!

What are some of your reading goals?

Monday 8 January 2018

Setting up my bullet journal for 2018

Setting up bullet journal for 2018

I've been using the bullet journal system for two years now and can't imagine my life without it. I love its flexibility and the fact that it's basically just a notebook I can put everything in, but it's still really organised and super easy to find everything.

The 'bullet journal' category is the most popular category on my blog and my 'Starting a Bullet Journal' post is my most viewed post ever at a ridiculous 621,801 views. So I thought I'd share my current bullet journal set up as it has changed a lot over the two years that I've been doing this. 

I just want to point out that I use my bullet journal not only as an organisational tool but also a creative outlet. I love hand-lettering, doodling and making things look pretty but I appreciate that most people don't have the time for this. I personally spend some of my down-time, or relaxation time, setting up my bullet journal for the year and month ahead as I truly find it relaxing and satisfying. I like to think that I've got a nice balance between pretty and functional, but the beauty of bullet journalling is that you can make it as simple or as froofy as you want!

2018 bullet journal title pageWhen it got to the end of 2017 I hadn't quite finished up the notebook I was using (the Leuchtturm1917 anniversary edition mentioned in my bullet journal essentials post) I just decided to continue on in this notebook for the first few months of 2018. Some people like to start a brand new bullet journal at the beginning of the year but it's enough for me to just mark the new year with a new title page. My 'hello 2018' page was inspired by Kara of Boho Berry who did a similar thing in 2017, filling the page with potential 'words of the year' - single words that will represent your focus for that year.

On the next page I have my 2018 six-months-at-a-glance, which is something I'm constantly referring back to when I need to check what day a date falls on or get an idea of how the month looks.

Bullet journal goal tracker

I like to use my bullet journal to keep track of goals for the year. I started by using a double page spread for a mind map of areas I want to focus on and broke these down into what I want to achieve and then specific goals for each area. I listed these goals on another page and then created a goal tracker (see above photo). I've been doing this for the past two years and the idea is that each month I track how well I did with the goals in each focus area.

Bullet journal future log

For the past year I've been using the Alastair method instead of the traditional Future Log suggested by bullet journal creator Ryder Carroll. Named after it's creator, Alastair Johnson, the Alastair method is great for logging all kinds of future events in a simple way. You can read his explanation here, but basically you draw out a series of columns for each month on the left of the page, I've done 6 months at a time here. Then you log the event, along with it's date and time, on the right hand side and place a dot underneath the month it belongs to. This way, when setting up for the month ahead, you can just scan down the column for that month and find any events.

On the next page I just have a simple stats tracker for my blog and social media, I don't really pay too much attention to numbers but it is nice to see any growth throughout the year, and it's always handy when updating my media kit.

Bullet journal seasonal goals

I first saw this layout for seasonal goals and intentions on Kara of Boho Berry's channel and I just really like the idea of breaking down my yearly goals into tasks to focus on each season.

The next page is just a quick January title page - this is mainly a chance for me to doodle and get a bit creative.

Bullet journal monthly spread

Next up is a monthly layout, it's kind of like a regular calendar with squares for each day. I just use this for keeping track of events, birthdays and shifts at work. I used to make a list of tasks for the month down the right hand side but found I didn't refer to it very often. I don't actually use this spread too much and might try going without it next month.

Bullet journal weekly spread

This is what I'm currently using for a weekly spread. I put tasks for the week and a mini habit tracker on the left page and dailies on the right. I set this up on a Sunday night and then it's just really quick and easy to refer to during the week. I switched to a weekly habit tracker instead of a monthly because I found I wasn't really *doing* much with the monthly after I'd filled it in. With the weekly one I can just check I'm keeping up with a few key things each week.

So that's what my bullet journal looks like at the moment, I hope you found it at least a little bit useful!

Do you keep a bullet journal? What's your favourite spread?

Wednesday 3 January 2018

My 2017 Reading Statistics

For the past two years, I've posted my yearly reading statistics along with my thoughts on that years reading. I'm probably the only person who enjoys and all these numbers most likely mean nothing to you, but I find it interesting nonetheless! It helps me to reflect on how much I'm reading, how diversely I'm reading and how much I'm enjoying it. So here we go...

2017 Reading Statistics

Number of books
The first thing you'll notice is that I read *a lot* less books last year. In 2016 I read 77 books, this year I read 36. I had to resist writing 'only' 36 then, it's hard not to judge myself harshly but I'm just reminding myself that some people could only dream of reading 36 books in a year, and 36 is better than none! Sometimes life gets in the way of reading, but luckily there were some awesome books sprinkled in there.

Gender of authors
Last year I read a staggering 80% female authors, compared to 2016's 68%, and this is something I'm thrilled about as I love supporting women writers. This year it might be interesting to read a few more male authors, but I'd still like to keep a majority female. This might be controversial but it's just the way I feel.

Age range
In 2016, my reading skewed more to YA so it's interesting to see that last year I read quite a lot more adult fiction. I don't know whether this is because I'm getting older or my tastes are changing, but I do still love YA and I'm looking forward to reading plenty of it in 2018, hopefully with a lot more children's fiction too.

I read a lot fewer genres in 2017 than any other year with contemporary/general fiction and non-fiction coming out on top. I read a lot less fantasy last year, around 11% of my total books read were fantasy, compared to around 20% in previous years. I guess my tastes are just changing! In last year's post I stated I was going to read one classic per month, this failed spectacularly as I didn't actually read *any* classics at all. That's got to change this year.

Star ratings
I rated a lot more books at three stars in 2017, which shows I'm becoming a harsher critic and the gap between a four and a five star is getting wider. I think I used to rate nearly all books four stars, but that's definitely changing. This one will be interesting to watch this year.

Author nationalities
Unfortunately the diversity in the nationalities of the authors I read is still very low, with most books being from US or UK authors. This really needs to change, and I'm going to be talking about this more in my 2018 reading resolutions post coming up soon.

Plans for 2018
This year instead of tracking my reading in my bullet journal, I'm going to be using Sophie's (of Portal in the Pages) wonderful 2018 Reading Statistics spreadsheet - so hopefully next year's round up will be much more in depth!

I'd love to know if and how you track your reading. Do you just use goodreads? Do you use a spreadsheet or your bullet journal? Let me know!

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