Morning Pages

My first morning pages notebook.

Today I did the same thing I do almost every morning. I got up, poured myself a cup of coffee, and wrote in my morning pages notebook. As of today, I’ve been following this routine for a year. And it’s probably one of the best things I’ve done for myself in years.

I’m not imparting profound thoughts or truths in these notebooks, but instead I’m just taking what’s up here (pointing at my head) and putting it down here (pointing at my notebook.) And moving all that detritus from my busy brain leaves room for more creative ideas to percolate. I’m not putting down on paper deep truths or profound thoughts. I’m just following the advice of Julia Cameron and writing down whatever is floating around in my head.

Seriously, most mornings my notebook is filled with my whining about being “awake”, not enough coffee in my cup, and how crapppy Bic pens really are to write with. Occasionally I’ll write down my remembered dreams or whatever issue I’m obsessing about at that moment. I’ve long known about free writing as a tool to help with my academic writing, but I just hadn’t bothered to use it for more personal exercise. Julia Cameron seems to be the originator of the version of the practice that I’m using. It’s a grand way to clear my mind for the day ahead.

My current morning pages notebook

I think that this practice has improved my writing for this blog. It helps me with my everyday life, too. Stuff that I previously worried or obsessed about ended up in my morning pages and not in my head. And if you, like me, obsess over silly things, then this exercise may help you to keep it from churning around all day and night. Additionally, my morning pages are also a place I often “pre-write” a lot of my bookish blog posts and book reviews. I can get all my thoughts down while still being half conscious and so don’t lose all my brilliant thoughts and ideas (or not so brilliant, depending.)

My pretty leather covered journal

And it also has helped me with another problem I have: my collection of notebooks. I love notebooks and have so many. And I didn’t use them. I was always planning to use them for my JOURNALING (it’s in all caps because journaling is important writing and profound.) And such profound journaling deserves a lovely notebook. And that is true, I guess. But that fear of perfection kept me from doing any writing in any notebook. I came to realize that if I didn’t use the notebooks now that the notebooks would never be used. And after I die my children will just toss them in the trash. It’s true. So I started using them. And using such pretty notebooks made me happy. And so all of my notebooks will eventually be used. And the kids can toss ’em after I’m dead or I can toss ’em myself.

 

If someone were to ask me if I thought morning pages is worth their time and energy I would tell them yes. It has made a huge difference in my writing and life over the past year. And I would tell them that they should start doing it as soon as possible. Immediately, if not sooner!

Have I convinced you, dear reader, to explore the practice of morning pages? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Helpful Links

Here are some links to some blog posts and essays about writing (not just morning pages):

From Lithub is This is from a recent essay that encourages writers to take notes by hand. Writing the morning pages by hand is an important part of the process.

The Artisit’s Way by Julia Cameron contains information about how she defines the morning pages practice. I’ve not read the entire book, just the sections related to morning pages. I have read The Right to Write.

And another short essay about how the hows and whys of morning pages by Belle Beth Cooper.

And finally this is a link to my October 2016 Wrap-Up where I first mention morning pages. Scroll down to find the link to the blog post that inspires me. Thanks Little Coffee Fox!

 

 

Advertisements

June Plans

Reading and blogging slumps. I spent more time in a slump in May, and I hope that in June I can get back to focusing on my blogging and my reading challenges. Here is a link to my May Wrap-Up.  There is one book I’m really looking forward to this month:

29864343

It’s just been released and I’m number six in line for it at my library. So, I might not get it until August. Sigh. So, as back up, here is the rest of my planed reads for June.

The Art of Fielding

I got Borne in the Quarterly Box at the beginning of May, and I noticed that it popped up in a lot of book boxes in May. And different celebrities have mentioned it on their social media feeds. So I’m guessing that the publisher is really pushing this book. And I seldom read books that are freshly printed, so I kind of want to join in the hype. I’m planning on reading it this week and sometime before the end of June I’ll write a book review for it.

What do you plan to read in June? Let me know in the comments below. Happy Reading!

May Reading and Blogging Plans

This will be a fairly short today. I just want to list the books I’m planning on reading this Month and my plans for the blog. My reading plans:  

I watched American Gods over the weekend and enjoyed the first episode so much that I decided to reread American Gods this week. I checked out  Murder in Time by Julie McElwin from the library as eBook. And it feature two things I really love in a novel. One: the Regency era and Two: Time travel. And to top it off, it’s also a murder mystery. With all of these things I hope its a really good read.  I’m also coming to the end of my immersion into Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. I plan on reading the last in the series The Story of the Lost Child this month. I’m sad to be leaving this world she has created and the exploration of this friendship. I don’t always like Lila or Lenú, but I love reading about them.  And I need to finish The Witches since it’s been on my currently reading list on Goodreads since October.  And finally, I plan on finishing The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë this month. I wanted to finish it and write about it in April, but it didn’t happen.

Which leads me to my blogging plans for May. I didn’t get everything I wanted to say in April about the Brontës said. So I’m hope to finish up with my last post about Emily  Brontë’s Wuthering Heights this week.  I have some thoughts about this novel that I’m excited to share. And after I finish Anne’s book, I plan on reviewing it as well. I’m also planning to write some book reviews for books I’ve read recently.

So, that’s my plan for May. What are your plans for the month? Have you read any of the books I’m planning on reading? Let me know what you think in the comments below. Happy reading!

Dewey’s 24 Hour ReadAThon, April 29, 2017 Updates

The Next Day (and about 6 hours of sleep later):

Closing Survey!
1. Which hour was most daunting for you? As always, between Hour 21 and 24 kick my butt, which is about 3 am and 6 am for me. I gave up at Hour 22:30 and went to bed.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year? I would suggest Harry Potter. Mini rereads of HP are always good. And maybe go for the light reads late in the readathon. Having to concentrate too much towards the end is not a good idea, at least for me! 
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? Nope.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I think, for me, Litsy, Twitter, and Instagram as a place to visit and like/cheer worked best for me. 
5. How many books did you read? 3 and 1/4!
6. What were the names of the books you read? HP & The Chamber of Secrets, Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams, and HP & The Prisoner of Azkahban. 
7. Which book did you enjoy most? Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams. It’s just a gorgeous, heartbreaking, read.
8. Which did you enjoy least? Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. It’s a collection of short stories. I really liked tow or three of the stories, but the rest?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I already put the date for the next one in my calendar. And I would like to do more. Maybe host an hour or something? 

I will include a wrap of the readthon in my April Reading Wrap-up tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

 

Hour 12 (6 pm MDT):

Mid-Event Survey!
1. What are you reading right now? Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
2. How many books have you read so far? 2
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Not sure? Maybe HP & the Prisoner of Azkahban.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I just roll with it. This should be a goodtime not something else to get stressed about.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Nothing? But the night is young.

Hour 9 (3 pm MDT): Well, I’m a bit later at posting here than I expected. But, ya know, lost in a good book or two! As of now, I’m finished with my first book of the day HP & the Chamber of Secrets.Reading HP is a always a good way to get into a readathon, I think. And I’m looking forward to reading HP & The Prisoner of Azkaban later on this evening. 

Here are my stats so far:

Books read: 1 1/2

Pages read: 454

Hour 0 (6 am MDT): Starting with a big cuppa joe and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I’ll post on Instagram and check Litsy and Twitter for mini challenges, etc. What a great day to read, y’all!

My 100th Blog Post

Well, this is a milestone for my blog. It’s my 100th post. And as of today I have 143 followers on WordPress and 5 who follow by email, mostly people I don’t know IRL. So Yay! Thank you to all of you who take the time to read and respond to my posts and memes. I appreciate it. People who live with me have to read my musings and say they like them. It’s like a law or something. But strangers out there  on the web have no such obligation. So again, thank you.

My plans for the next 100 posts is a bit unclear right now. I am committed to writing about books, book reviews and other bookish topics. Looking back at previous bookish posts I’ve written it’s  And I really feel like I’m just now finding my voice here. So, I’ll be writing more bookish posts to add to the mix along with more book reviews.Thank you again for following and reading my blog.

There are other places on the web where I do bookish things. You can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy (user name is Loreen).  FYI: My Twitter feed is mostly bookish, but I occasionally harass my elected officials there too.

Happy reading and blogging!

Looking Back at 2016: Challenges

This past year I participated in three challenges: Goodreads, Book Riot Read Harder 2016, and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. And I am so pleased by how I did this year.

GoodReads: This past year my goal was to read 52 books. I moved well past that goal and read 85 books which is 163% of my original goal. I decided on 52 books, or one book a week, since it seemed manageable. I have to say I love the stats page that Goodreads has generated the last two years or so. I love that it shows how many pages I read, the longest book and shortest books I read, and even the highest rated book that I read during the year. And I like the visuals quite a lot.

For 2017 I plan on reading 52 books for the Goodreads Challenge.

Book Riot Read Harder 2016: I’m very pleased with this challenge since, for the first time, I completed it! 24 books for 24 tasks designed to expand a readers reading experience. And, like in 2015, I really focused on using books that I already own. And I have a lot of books that did meet the requirements of each task. So, in addition to finishing the challenge,I knocked out a bunch of books on my teetering TBR pile. I think my favorite book that I read for the challenge is The Silkworm by  Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling): Listen to an Audie award winning audio book. I’ve struggled with listening to audio books, but listening to this book really changed my mind about doing it. I enjoyed to listening to the story, much to my surprise. The narrator did a great job.

And yes, I am planning on participating in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 . And I plan on using my teetering TBR pile to once again populate the tasks for this challenge. Later on this month, I plan on posting more about my reading plans for this challenge in detail.

Speaking of my teetering TBR pile, in March I ran across another reading challenge that I immediately joined,  #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. It’s hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge and it’s awesome. I have so many books that I buy and never get around to reading. So between this challenge and the Read Harder Challenge I read a bunch of books from my TBR pile. So, the grand total is 32 of the 85 books I read this year were from my TBR pile.

Sign Up for 2017

Andi is again hosting the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Challenge. Click on the link to signup and participate in the challenge. Like last year, all the books I purchased before December 31st, 2016 will count towards this challenge. And I will not buy any new books until May 2017. My overall goal is 50% of the books I read this year will be for the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge. And at some point this year I plan on posting about this challenge, and maybe inventory how many books I own but have yet to read. Scary stuff! I’m almost afraid to find out how many books I have on my shelves.

So how did your challenges go in 2016? Did you complete them all? Are there new challenges you are participating in for 2017? Let me know in the comments below. Happy reading in 2017.

October Wrap-Up

It’s November? Already? The month just sped by. So here is my October Wrap-Up. I had a very good reading month thanks to the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. Readathons are great for bumping up my reading. I should do it one every month.

Challenge Update:

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks–4 books

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016–1 book

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon–5 books

Books acquired:

His Wicked Reputation by Madeline Hunter [Library eBook]

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott [Library eBook]

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott [Library eBook]

‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick [Library eBook]

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas [Library eBook]

The Right to Write by Julia Cameron [Library eBook]

The Trespassers by Tana French [Library eBook]

The Daughters by Adrienne Celt {Book Riot Book Mail Box}

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho {Book Riot Book Mail Box}

Books Read:

Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver [Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016 and #ReadMyOwnDamnBook]

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott [Library eBook]

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling [Dewey’s 24 Hour readathon]

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury [Dewey’s 24 Hour readathon]

Haunted Happenings by Robert Ellis Cahill [Dewey’s 24 Hour readathon]

Haunted Pensacola by Alan Brown [#ReadMyOwnDamnBook and Dewey’s 24 Hour readathon]

Yellowstone Ghost Stories by Shellie Larios [#ReadMyOwnDamnBook and Dewey’s 24 Hour readathon]

Bird Box by Josh Malerman [#ReadMyOwnDamnBook and Dewey’s 24 Hour readathon]

‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick [Library eBook]

The Trespassers by Tana French [Library eBook]

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas [Library eBook]

The Right to Write by Julia Cameron [Library eBook]

In Progress:

His Wicked Reputation by Madeline Hunter [Library eBook]

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott [Library eBook]

Cleopatra  by Stacey Schiff [Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016 and #ReadMyOwnDamnBook]

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacey Schiff

S by J.J. Abrams, Doug Dorst

Favorite Reads:

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

The Trespassers by Tana French

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Abandoned:

Still Life by Louise Penny library eBook, book club pick for October. The two in the group who read it hated it! So I didn’t bother.

November TBR Stack:

Cleopatra  by Stacey Schiff

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacey Schiff

Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Hafisi

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

Across the web:

This year’s winners of Jezebel’s scary story post.

The Girl on the Train and Women’s Dark Fantasies by Anne Helen Peterson. An interesting analysis of the rise of thrillers featuring women.

Brangelina is Dead: Long Live Angelina by Anne Helen Peterson I love gossip so much. This is an analysis of how Angelina controls publicity. She should run a class for other celebrities on how to do this well.

Blogosphere:

I want to read the book featured here.

I read this post on the Little Coffee Fox blog and it reminded me of a good way to help with writing.

I love notebooks. I buy them and then never write in them. So this article gives suggestions on how to use all of the notebooks I collect. If you collect notebooks too, you might find this essay and links useful.

How was your October? Let me know in the comments below.