Hey Sparkly Unicorn Friends:
The most magical day of the year is just around the corner. No, not Christmas, you silly goose. Book Lovers Day. August 9
If you’re here, at my journaling blog, you’re a writer at heart. And if you’re a writer, it’s a fair assumption that you’re also a reader, and an avid reader at that. I suspect you, you cool cat, might find as much joy in celebrating books as I do.
There are all kinds of things you could do to mark Book Lovers Day, like:
Wait. What?! A reading journal? Oh, come on. You totally knew that was coming. This is a blog about journaling after all. There has to be a tie-in.
What’s a Reading Journal Anyway?
At its most basic, a reading journal is a log of your reading activity. But, as I’m fond of saying in my journaling blogs, there are no rules. You know it, cool cats: just like any other personal journal you keep, your reading journal can be anything you want it to be.
To get started, pick a durable lined journal that you love. Writing journals contain anywhere from 150-250 blank pages. Unless you take copious amounts of notes on each book, it’ll probably take a few years to fill in one reading journal. Choose a notebook that you’ll enjoy working in and that will hold up over time. For ideas on what exactly to look for, check my blog about choosing the perfect notebook.
Next, start creating your index. An index is a key component of the bullet journal system. It’ll be particularly helpful in a journal that contains a few years’ worth of notes. Megan over at Page Flutter has a terrific example of a reading journal index if you need some direction in creating your own.
Finally, decide what you want to track. Obviously, the purpose of a reading journal is to log the books you’ve read. But there are all kinds of other things you can track too. Read on for inspo.
There are a few reasons to journal about the books you’ve read.
Most people advise against taking too many notes since that can end up feeling like a chore. (Yawn. Amirite?) Instead, writers and bloggers like Roni Loren suggest using about a half page per book. Loren suggests including:
As for the review, Esther Lombardi over at ThoughtCo. suggests thinking about things like your emotional reaction, how events or characters remind you of things from your own life, questions and lightbulb moments that occur, quotes that you want to remember, and a plot summary.
Writing down your reading goals can help keep you on track -- or help get you back on track -- if you’ve been slacking on your reading. In her guest post at Page Flutter, Alice suggests goals like a set number of pages or a set amount of time to read each day; a set number of books to read each month; or a genre of books or a particular author to explore.
Lists are fun to make and can be great motivators. You might want to list things like:
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut with our reading choices. Joining a reading challenge is an excellent way to discover new authors and genres. Find a challenge that interests you and copy that list into your reading journal. PopSugar’s popular reading challenge, for instance, has diverse reading suggestions, including:
Do you already keep a reading journal? If so, I’d love to hear what you track in yours. If you don’t, is it something you would consider doing? Please drop me a comment below - I’d love to hear from you!
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Keeping a happiness journal is a terrific way to train yourself to keep to the sunny side. If all you do is make a daily list of, say, three things that made you happy, you’re going to increase your happiness. Yep, it’s that easy. But there are other things that you can do in your writing journals to take your happiness to a whole other level.
A brain dump is an easy and effective way to manage the clutter in your mind. All you need is a pen, paper, and 10-15 minutes to write down every abstract thought in your head. It's kind of like spilling the contents of a purse onto a table. Just dump it all out into a big disorganized pile.