Better Late Than Never?

Okay, so here’s the thing. At the beginning of 2019, I did a video where I discussed what I wanted to accomplish for 2019 in terms of reading and writing.

Turns out I accomplished exactly 0 of those goals.

And you know what? I’m totally okay with that. Even though I didn’t complete them, just setting them made me more conscious of where I was spending my time and energy. If I wanted to write a novel by the end of 2019 (which you can probably tell didn’t happen), then I should at LEAST be putting time towards that, right? You know what I accomplished instead of writing a novel? For the first time EVER, I completed #nanowrimo. Do you know how awesome that felt?? I count that as a win, even though it wasn’t my main goal.

The other thing I wanted to do more of (or less of, sentence structure is a thing), was buying less books. In fact, I’m pretty sure my goal for 2019 was to buy NO new books. Guess what? Totally failed at that. I maybe made it three months before I purchased a book. And when I finally did purchase a book, I figured the gates had been breached so might as well allow myself to buy a couple more.

But, what it did make me consider, was what books I was bringing in. Instead of mindlessly buying whatever, I established a couple of rules to kinda-sorta feel better about the goal breaking. 1) a book had to be on my wishlist for awhile before I could buy it or 2) it had to be part of a series I already had on my bookshelf for me to buy it. Although these rules didn’t always apply, they at the very least made me stop and think before I purchased something. Considering I bought maybe a third to a quarter of what I bought the year before, I’m counting this as a win too.

The one thing that did take a hit in 2019 was my blogging. I thought starting a YouTube channel would be more fun (it has its perks) but that quickly fell off to the wayside as well (three whole videos were made). Instead, I spent the majority of 2019 falling back in love with reading. Just reading to read. What a novel (pun intended) idea.

For 2020, I’m not making any goals. Will I read? Yes. Will I write? Yes. Will I blog? Maybe. What I will do is enjoy myself.

So there’s that.

4 Years!

It was pointed out to me the other day that last week marked 4 years since I started this blog. Four whole years. Which is crazy to me. Time makes no sense.

In honour of that accomplishment, I’ve made a list of things I’ve learned in those four years. All of the knowledge I’ve gained, all of the wisdom I have knocking around in my head, all of the information I can pass onto you lovely people.

Ha. I’m joking. No wisdom. Just a quick yay from me to me.

If I’ve taken anything away from these past four years, it’s back up your damn website. Because that was a whole ordeal I’d rather not repeat.

2019 Reading & Writing Goals from a Procrastinator

2018 has been a year. A year of saying no instead of yes, a year of making time for the things I really want to do, a year of making space for the person I want to be; a year of growing into that person and her quirks. It has also been a year of lost motivation, unread books, and unwritten words.

I like setting goals (or resolutions as they are so fancily called this time of year), but I rarely follow through on them. One of my goals for 2018 was to keep on top of posting reviews and writings here, but that quickly fell by the wayside.

And you know what, that’s okay. Why? Because goals should be flexible. They should bend and shape with the person you are. They should adapt to the growth you experience and the pitfalls you encounter. Rigidity only heightens the sense of failure.

For 2019, I have two main goals, which fall under one umbrella goal; don’t let the fear of failure stop me from doing things I’ve always wanted to do. Who cares if I look like an idiot, put something out into the world that isn’t perfect, or end up failing at whatever I do anyway? The point of it is that I’ve tried.

The fear of failure has stopped me from doing a lot of things in life (got to love anxiety), but the biggest thing it has stopped me from is writing. Why sit down and write a book when it’s going to suck anyway? Well, not anymore.

But that, along with my other goal for this year, you can view in my first video for my YouTube channel. Because when you’re fighting back against anxiety, why not tackle the scariest and biggest thing you’ve wanted to do for awhile; putting your face on the internet for everyone to see.

So, that’s my plan for 2019. We’ll see how well it goes.

Here I am, world. Be gentle.

Why I Haven’t Been Reading (2)

I have an excuse. I have many excuses. Some may say I am full of nothing but excuses.

As some of you know, many of you may not, November is NaNoWriMo. Or National Novel Writing MonthFor those of us crazy enough to give up sleep and a social life for 30 days, this is a chance to buckle down and prove to everyone that will listen that you a writer can indeed spit out 50,000 words in a short amount of time.

Anyone that has talked to me at length this month has been told about this book I am writing. This child I am birthing. This thing that I am banging against the walls in the hopes that PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET YOURSELF ONTO THE DAMN PAGE.

For ages I’ve been a hardcore panster. That is, to say, I don’t plan what I write. I just write. The muse and I sit down over some coffee and we talk. It weaves a story, I dictate it as fast as my fingers will carry.

The issue with this being that sometimes I’ve given the muse too much coffee and it’s walked off to ramble by itself in the corner and I’m left staring at a blank page.

All of this to say that I haven’t been reading this month because I’ve been writing instead.

I am sleep deprived. I am slightly incoherent at this point.

But, on the plus side, I’ve written 24,000 words which is more than I’ve ever written on one project. Ever.

I mean, it’s not 50,000. But it’s a damn fine start.

Series Binge 2018

Yes yes. I am aware it’s the end of April at this point. But I organized my bookshelf on Sunday and had a super-stupendous idea.

The Challenge

For the remainder of 2018, I’m only going to focus on reading the series I have on my shelves already. By proxy, this means I’m only allowing myself to buy books that pertain to the CURRENT series’ I have.

Exception: my birthday. I get a pass for my birthday. Don’t argue with me. I’m literally making the rules.

The Reason

Apparently most of my reading interests fall in the land of series. But I have a habit of reading the first one, getting sidetracked by several other hundred books, forgetting what happened in the first book, and finding myself not as pulled to the series again. Even if I loved the first book.

I’m going to combat this by reading series’ in full. It started with my binge of the Fever series. I owned the first two, had only read the first, and watched as they sat on my shelf. I wanted to pick up the second one but I couldn’t remember what happened in the first. I’m not a huge fan of rereading, especially for every single series I own.

I have a handful of series that I want to read that I’ve just put off, but I’m changing that this year. No more shiny new books capturing my attention and distracting me. No more excuses for not remembering the first book. No more excuses period.

The Issue

I know that some of the series I’m really looking forward to aren’t finished yet. I don’t want to skip these, so I’m okay reading up to the currently published book. I’m hoping that if I read more than one book in the series (assuming there’s currently more than one) will help me with the forgetting issue.

The Caveat

I am aware series burnout is a thing. If this happens, which I hope it doesn’t, I am allowed to take a small break. I do have a couple of single books on my shelf that I can use to break up my binges.

The Outcome

I’m hoping this makes me feel 1) less guilty about buying new books if I’ve already read most of my current books, 2) helps clear my shelves off a bit, and 3) stops me from buying alllll the books in a series so they’ll match while only having read the first.

Alright, that’s the challenge. Join in if you want!

Why I Haven’t Been Reading (1)

I haven’t done one of these in forever! It feels like a good way to break up the Fever series reviews that are going to be coming up since I’ve been binging it for the past month now. Which I am not apologizing for, it’s been fun.

Any who, during the week I have a limited amount of time to do things after work. Over the past little bit, I’ve been trying to prioritize what I want to do with that time so I can accomplish the things that I actually want to. I was spending an obscene amount of time on good ol’ YouTube, which was accomplishing exactly 0% of my goals. Although my makeup game is strong now.

When it came down to my top two favourite things to do, reading and writing, I realized that writing was more important to me. Yes, I LOVE reading other people’s worlds and characters. But one day I want someone to say that they love my world and characters. And the only way for this to happen is for me to prioritize writing over everything else. Except sleep, sleep is always my first priority.

What this means is that during the week, I’ve been setting aside most of my nights for working on my novel. I’ve loved this routine, as it seems to have kicked my creativity into gear. I’m still on YouTube a bit, but that’s mostly for watching different authors talking about their writing style. It also means that reading has taken a bit of a back seat, which is okay for now. It hasn’t completely fallen off, which is good!

It’s been an interesting shift in priority, but I’m excited to see what becomes of it.

What have you been doing instead of reading?

2018 Resolutions

Happy 2018, y’all!

I rang 2018 in curled up in bed, with my cat, finishing up a book, and thinking about how I want this year to go. As everyone is likely doing, I’ve made some resolutions. But because I ended 2017 reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, my resolutions for this year are a little different. (Review coming soon on the book. Spoiler: Go get it, it’ll change your outlook.)

These aren’t all necessarily book related, but some of them cover both books and my life in general. And as Gretchen says, the difference between resolutions and goals is that these aren’t an end destination. Resolutions are things I’m looking at incorporating into my life. So, here goes.

  1. Forgive myself more. This one applies to both books and life. In 2017, I read about a third of what I did in 2016 and I felt terrible about it to begin with. But I realized it’s not a race and the only one putting pressure on myself is me. So, I’d like to work on forgiving myself for things that I shouldn’t be harping on myself for in the first place.
  2. Read what I want. In both 2016 and 2017 I found the vast network that is booktube and fell down a nice little rabbit hole. I started to buy books that I never would have picked up just by myself. This has been both a good and a bad thing. I’ve read some amazing books that I otherwise would have never found, but it also means that I got caught up in reading what other people thought were good books and not necessarily what thought I’d like to read.
  3. Cull often. This plays off #2. I’ve got a ton of books on my shelves that I’m likely never going to read because I bought them in that booktube whirlwind. Why keep them? Someone else can enjoy them. This is also a little more broad. Why keep clothes I don’t wear? Cull those. Activities I spend time on that I don’t really like? Take them out of the calendar. People I don’t really want to spend time with? Well, maybe don’t cull them out completely. But I’ll make more time for the people that I truly care about. (Is there a way to word that without sounding like a bitch?)
  4. Stop making excuses. Ohhhh boy, this will be a hard one. I’ve always been one of those people who makes excuses not to do something because I’m too lazy to do it. Example: I should go to the gym today, but I went Monday, so I can skip today and I’ll just go next week. No, no Mackenzie. You do the things you said you’d do now. The only person losing out is me when I make these excuses.
  5. Live in my passions. Funny enough, this is also a part of #4. If you asked my two top passions, I’d answer in a heartbeat: reading and writing. If you asked me how often I do both of these activities, I’d stutter out a soft “uhhh” followed by an excuse. If these are the things I love doing, why am I not doing them more often? Fear of failure is one of my biggest excuses for not writing more. But who cares? I can write without a book ever seeing the light of day and I’d still love writing a book. Or having a book written, I doubt any writer really loves the torture that is the process of writing a book. My excuse for not reading as much as I like is either because I’m too tired to put forth the mental energy, or because I’ve gotten caught up in reading a book I’m not really that interested in. This is something I’d desperately like to change. There’s too many books out there that I want to read, I shouldn’t be wasting my time on books that I’m only half interested in.
  6. Be happy. This is another tidbit I took away from The Happiness Project. Happiness is not something that is found without, you carry it within. For the most part, I am happy. I’m one of those weird cheery people that is usually always smiling. But there’s always room for growth, and there’s always room for more happiness. I’d like to find more within myself.

So, there are my 6 resolutions for this year. Tell me if you made any resolutions for 2018!


Tastes Are Changing

A very wise woman (hi Grandma!) recently had a discussion with me regarding my last post about being in a reading slump, and brought up a very good point.

It’s very possible that the reason I’m in a slump is because my tastes are changing. And if I’m trying to read the same old thing while simultaneously growing away from those topics, it makes sense that they no longer resonate with me!

See, very wise.

This brought up a question for me, though. What do you do when the books/genre you used to rely on so heavily no longer feel comfortable to you? How do you go about finding your new comfort zone?

I honestly have no idea yet, as I’m just starting this journey. But it’s a good question to ask. I’m finding myself more and more drawn to immersive literature – things that I can lose myself in.

I’m less and less attracted to YA. I’m starting to find it very surface deep and I just can’t connect to it in the same way. I want rich characters, thorough plots, heightened emotions. I don’t need everything to be happy at the end. Reality is messy and I’m okay with my fiction being messy as well. (I’m not bashing on YA as a whole, just what I’ve been drawn to in the past.)

So, if you’ve got any recommendations on some good books to check out, leave them below. And if you’ve gone through similar growing pains, let me know!


2017 Has Been a Slump

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been in this big of a reading slump. At least not that I can remember.

I’ve started and stopped probably close to 10 books this year. Which might not seem like a lot, but that’s only because I haven’t actually been reading enough to DNF more. In 2016, I think I read a total of around 70 books. We are 8 months into 2017 and if I’m lucky, I’ve finished 20.

To be fair, from April until December of last year, I had a lot more time on my hands. Starting in January of this year, not only did I start working, but I started a job that involves an hour commute each way. So that’s taking up a good chunk of time.

But even when I do have time to read, I don’t. I normally set aside an hour before bed each night to pick up a book. For most of 2017 that hour has felt like a chore. I at one point was forcing myself to continue doing it, but now I’ve just stopped.

My weekends usually involved sitting and reading a book for at least an entire afternoon. And now they don’t.

And I don’t think it’s the books. I 100% think it’s me. I just can’t get into the mindset I normally have with books. I can’t lose myself long enough to get wrapped in whatever world I’m reading about. I’m finding it easier to give in and watch YouTube videos than to push my way through a book.

Not only is this annoying on a recreational reading level, but it also means my book reviews have suffered. Can’t really do a review if I haven’t read any books!

There really isn’t a point to this post, other to let you guys know what’s going on in my head. And why there’s more writing on here instead of reviews. Eventually that will change. I hope. I’ll aim for a healthy 50/50 balance at some point.

On the plus side, my wallet is happy because I’ve also been spending less on books! I’m utilizing the library instead since I can’t guarantee that I’ll make it through any of the books. Silver linings, always.


Confession Time

I haven’t actually sat (for some reason, my brain really wanted to put sitten here) down and written for awhile. Sitten/written, I now understand why my brain chose that word.

I’ve had that weird finger tingly, adrenaline pumping, I-need-to-write feeling for awhile now. Writing constipation, in other words. The only way to release this feeling is to poop out the words onto a piece of paper or screen.

But I have no done that.

And I was questioning why I have not done it, when I came to a realization.

Fear. Fear is holding me back.

Not fear of failure, or even fear of success, but fear of letting someone see what goes on in my head. Fear of letting those thoughts out and someone judging me for them. Fear of realizing that I might just be that crazy. Maybe even a fear that I’m not messed up at all, and therefore not the individual I thought I was.

Even if no one ever reads the words I put down, it’s the possibility that they could that scares the crap out of me. I’ve never quite realized how absolutely vulnerable writers, and artists in general, have to be in order to put their work out into the world.

You have to be willing to put your heart and soul out there for someone else to judge, interpret, comment on.

So I sat on this. And I thought. And I thought some more. And then I thought about how utterly stupid that was. Fear is healthy, but it’s also stopping me from doing the thing I most want to do in the world. And why should I let one emotion rule my life?

I’m going to hold myself accountable somehow. I need to. I should. Not for anyone else, but for me.

I’ll update this post with how I decide to do it, but it’ll happen. I may even make it interactive so others can follow along too. Keep each other accountable and what not.