Tag Archives: Reading

The “Not Finishing A Book” Guilt.

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Do you have the guilt? Do you feel guilty for not finishing a book and do you know why exactly that isWell, that’s what I’ll be looking into in today’s post. 

Reading or listening to a book is a funny thing; I know for me, I felt like I had an obligation to finish it, no matter what. I have either spent a certain amount of time on getting through it; the money I have spent buying it or I have the emotional connection that I thought I would absolutely love it and I should give it a chance. Ever since the beginning of the year, I have been able to get through more books, thanks to listening to audio books and I thought by doing that, it would be easier for me but I still came across the same problem I had when reading a book. 

Guilt is a funny thing and it affects everyone in different ways. If you’re like me, you will feel guilty with almost everything you do. It’s a very heavy weight to have on your shoulders at times but acknowledging that is a step in the right direction. Having explained a number of reasons above, I think my biggest problem was knowing that I had paid money for something and if I didn’t finish it, it felt like I had wasted my money. In a sense, I did but I often try to donate books when I can, especially if I have already read them or if I feel like it would be suited to someone else. I’m giving someone else that experience of reading it, is it really wasted money if that is the case? 

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We don’t seem to talk about the peer pressure surrounding books. I’m a child of the Harry Potter generation and everyone was obsessed with these books but for me, one book in and I couldn’t get to grips with it. I’m not sure if it was the language used, whether the story didn’t appeal to me or possibly not being the right time for a certain story (I’ll be exploring this further with another blog post). It’s the same with Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings; two books that have had wild success in both their book and film form but both I don’t have a lot of interest in. I tried to read the first Game of Thrones book but the size of it was enough to put me off. (I even tried the TV show but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea). This type of guilt made me think there was something wrong with me because I didn’t love what everyone else was loving. It’s strange, you know, because you wouldn’t expect everyone to love the same television show or to love the same hot drink so I don’t know why I had this perception with books. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the fact that I still feel like a failure because I felt like I couldn’t connect with the Harry Potter books. I may still give them a shot but because of my feelings towards them in my earlier years, it may be tainted now. 

Another book that I thought would tick all the right boxes for me was “The 12 Rules to Life” by Jordan Peterson. It’s very popular at the minute and amongst the controversial headlines that seem to be popping up, it has been getting very good reviews. I’m an avid reader of self-help and non-fiction books so I thought this would be right up my alley. I bought the audio book version through Audible because I had originally seen the hardback version and the size of it intimidated me, so this was the next best option. With over fifteen hours of listening, I thought that it would be perfect because it was going to keep me engaged but something wasn’t right and I didn’t know what it was. It was frustrating because everyone and their mother was talking about this; I wanted to like it, I wanted to connect with it but I couldn’t. Nothing from it seemed to stick and I again started to have this worry about failure.  

However, a few weeks later I had been listening to one of my favourite podcasts and the host Georgie had been talking about things not being for you right now. It didn’t matter what it was; I believe she was speaking about advice and she always says at the beginning of her Q&A podcasts that if something doesn’t resonate for you right now, that’s completely fine. It was something so simple but it clicked with me that the advice that the book was providing; doesn’t mean it’s bad advice or it’s something that I can’t click with at all, it just doesn’t resonate with me right now. I think when situations happen like this, it’s on you to look at other aspects of your life instead of telling yourself it’s not for you at all. I believe it’s different with fiction so I’m obviously focusing on self-help; what are your external and internal factors that could be affecting you? What is your reason for reading it? Are you looking in the wrong direction for the help that you need or are your factors a sign to tell you that this isn’t for you right now? 

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I certainly believe that you should give (almost) everything a second chance but at the end of the day, don’t punish yourself for not finishing something like a book. There are millions upon millions of books out there and they won’t all be for you. They won’t all be in line with your values and you certainly won’t be able to read them all. You don’t have to finish everything you start but my advice would be don’t push it away without questioning why you are doing it first. 

Have you ever not finished a book and felt bad about it? What book was it? Let me know either in the comments or over on my Instagram and Twitter. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I hope it resonated with some of you too. (All photographs used in today’s post are from Pexels.com)

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My Unconventional Relationship With Reading.

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As I grow older and start to think about having children down the line, it’s really important to me to read them bedtime stories and to try and carve reading into their daily lives outside the classroom. For me, I’m not an avid reader but I wish I was. I started to notice a few years ago that there was a problem with the way I read, books specifically so that’s what today’s blog post is focused on. 

I wasn’t an avid reader when I was younger. I grew up in the generation that fell in love with Harry Potter when it was first released but I only started to read Philosopher’s Stone years later. After that, I only read a chapter or two of Chamber of Secrets and then I stopped. As someone who watched younger children around me read these books, I felt embarrassed that I felt like I couldn’t. I didn’t understand the language the author used and I didn’t understand the true meaning of some of the words. I couldn’t keep up with the storylines and the characters, it was too complex for me. This was the same as the Lord of the Rings books too. 

My favourite book series at that time were the “Goosebumps” books by R.L. Stine which I still own to this day. My brother went to the United States when he was younger and he brought back the American covers and I promised myself I would never throw them out or give them away because they were always books that I loved to read over and over again. My first memory of trying to “write my first book” (suffice to say, this never came to anything), it was something that I wanted to turn into a Goosebumps story.  

Jacqueline Wilson was one of my favourite authors because she wrote stories that every little girl of that age could relate to. They were so easy to read too, I felt like I could understand every scenario and it was comforting. 

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It was a few years ago that I started to realise that something wasn’t right. I would read books but forget what they were about. I would have to go back a chapter each time I picked up the book, even if I had read it the day before. I had no real sense of what had happened and I can’t remember the last time it didn’t happen. I thought it was a silly problem to have and maybe this was a sign that I wasn’t meant to be a reader. A person that isn’t meant to read? Yes, I thought it was a ridiculous statement too which is why I didn’t lean on it for comfort. I looked at how I was reading and analysed it to see if there was anything I could do to help myself. 

I didn’t read out loud.

I read inside because I assumed that was how everyone read material. The only time I had to read out loud was in school when your teacher called on you to read part of the class book, and back then, I was generally a fast reader. I sped through each sentence and before I knew it, I was finished. So naturally, I would speed through a book and I was finished; onto the next one. It was another tick off one of my many lists, but what exactly did I gain from that? 

If I didn’t understand a word, I’d make up another pronunciation or I would skip over it entirely.

I still sometimes have a hard time with words that I can’t pronounce and it’s very embarrassing. I remember one time in college when we were doing a voice over for a class and everything was going perfectly until one of my sentences came up. When one of our team was editing it on top of the video, you could clearly tell it wasn’t the same word that was in the script, and because it was in class, I wanted to ground to swallow me up. When I’m on my own reading, if I can’t pronounce a word or say it wrong then I either glance over it or I mumble something, and I don’t go back to it. 

With those two points in mind, I had to change the way I read which when you say it out loud, it does sound very strange. For me, as silly as it may sound, it was embarrassing and I knew that I was going to be the only one who was going to be able to change it. Now when I read a book (if I’m in my house on my own) I read out loud and because you’re using more energy to do that, it means I become very tired, very fast. Tiredness when reading had always been an issue for me no matter what age I was but when I started reading out loud, it soon became apparent how tired I would get. 

Reading out loud means that I have to say every single word and I become very aware if I say something wrong or I don’t know how to pronounce a word. It means I can’t skip over it and I try my best with it. There have been many points where I have had to re-read a sentence five or six times in order for me to continue. Eventually in your reading session, you get to grips with the rhythm and you tend not to make many mistakes. However, as soon as tiredness hits me and I can’t read a sentence without a mistake, then I know it’s time to set it down for a while. 

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(My current reading material: The War For Late Night by Bill Carter)

At the beginning of the year, I signed up to a subscription to Audible, and if you don’t know what that is (although most people will have heard of it) It’s an audio book subscription service by Amazon where you get one credit a month and you can download almost any book in an audible form. I’ve heard of Audible for quite a few years but in my head, I was reluctant to sign up to it because I thought listening to an audio book was seen as “cheating”. If you didn’t physically read the book, did it count? Ridiculous I know but that was my mentality at the time. However, having listened to quite a few books since signing up, I couldn’t recommend it more. In my latest post about personal development (which I will link here) I spoke about listening to podcasts but I also took the time to listen to audio books on my way to work too. I will be doing a follow up post on the audio books I have listened to so far very soon and I haven’t loved all the ones I chose, so I’ll explain that in more depth soon. 

For someone that found it very hard to read more than one chapter of a book, audio books have been a life changing discovery and I now longer feel like I am cheating by listening to the words rather than reading them.  

I’ve come to terms with how I read now and I continue to read my best with it. I’m not very fast and it will take me a considerable time to read a book but it’s more important to me that I am more connected to a book because of the disconnect I felt before

Thank you so much for reading today’s post. I know it was a very different post to others I have posted about but it’s something I wanted to write about because I searched online and I couldn’t find anyone else who had had the same experience as me. So, if I can comfort one other person and let them know that it’s not as silly as it sounds, then I’ll be over the moon. Enjoy the rest of your day! 

Personal Development Tools That Help Work Towards My Passion Project.

Part Two to “I Realised I Didn’t Have A Passion Project” is now here. So if you didn’t read that post, I talked about how I had hobbies but I didn’t feel like I had a true passion for something, nothing that I could put my energy into, like a passion project for example. This post today is following on from that where I’ll be talking about some of the self-development or personal development techniques I use to try and figure out who I really am. (In that post, I also talked about trying to work on myself first and how this might help me along in finding a larger interest in something or an ultimate passion).    

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First and foremost, the majority of these techniques I don’t put into practice every day. It depends how my day pans out, but when I do incorporate them daily, I do notice a difference. Life happens however, so I’m working on not getting myself worked up if I don’t get around to putting them into place because I can’t control everything, right?

Reading “The Daily Stoic”
If you’ve never heard of this book (like I hadn’t until about two months ago) it’s a book based on stoic exercises and insights using meditations and wisdom for every single day of the year. You are given a new quote each day along with a commentary or anecdotes about what the particular quotation means. I have found a number of the quotes very profound to where I am in my life right now which doesn’t surprise me because you could say that’s what the aim is.

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Focusing on Daily Affirmations
This coincides with the quotations from The Daily Stoic. Now, while I don’t use these specific quotes, they are sometimes used as inspiration for shorter quotes and phrases that I can repeat throughout the day. Over the last six months, I have become very stressed in various parts of my life so I try and use affirmations to help decrease that stress in some form. Below I have given a few examples of the affirmations I would use to help.

An explanation on Daily Affirmations
An important part of affirmations for me is that they mean something. It’s all well and good saying a positive phrase to yourself but why are you saying it? What do you want to achieve? Are you focusing this quote or phrase in the correct way? That’s why I give a short explanation of why I choose a particular phrase, because it keeps me on the same wave length and it gives me a concrete reason on why I should focus on this on a certain day.

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My Daily Personal Growth Actions
This sounds very fancy but it’s not as fancy as you would think. This is my three point list that I work on almost every day to work alongside my daily affirmation. It’s very similar to gratitude in the way of writing down one good thing that happened in the morning, the afternoon and the evening. Working on personal development can coincide with self-care because some of my points have been “painted my nails”, “went to bed early” and “made myself a cup of tea before bed” which are all self-care based but you have to understand that in order to work on yourself when it comes to personal development, you need to also work on your self care. (In the first post linked above, I talked about why personal development and self-care aren’t the same thing but they can overlap sometimes). You can sit yourself down and tell yourself that you have all these plans in place, <insert passion project> is something that you are dedicated to and you know how to work on it. Realistically though, if you don’t make time for yourself for that self-care and are burned out because you haven’t made the time to take care of yourself, I have two questions; 1) Where will you find the energy to make the necessary steps for this project? And 2) If you can’t put a small plan in place to give yourself a break once in a while, how are you going to find the time to work on something new when you can’t even work on something that has been around longer? This list, while it is very simple, is more effective than you may think.

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Meditations
Many of you have heard of meditations before and I know that there are still some people who have this misconception about it. You have to sit still, have zero thoughts and be free, right? Well yes, sitting still does help but I also meditate lying down too. No person on this planet can free their mind and have zero thoughts; we are human beings and we are conditioned to have thoughts and feelings that spiral around in our mind, it’s human nature. Meditations are important to me in the morning and the evenings and the routine is fairly similar. I use an app called Insight, it’s free and it has so many meditations that you won’t know what to choose. In the morning, I choose a meditation focusing on waking up, starting the day and being present. I normally like to go for something in the middle of five to fifteen minutes, nice and simple to begin the day. I have found that while I love lying down to meditate, I often fall asleep so sitting up is the best option for me. This routine is very much the same for the evening but the theme of the meditation changes; I try and choose one that helps me settle down for a sleep, relaxation or a reflection of the day. The timing depends on how tired I am but I aim for ten to twenty minutes. Meditation isn’t a walk in the park from the get-go, you do get distracted and you will think about all the tasks you have to do in that day or the tasks you didn’t get done that night. Practice makes perfect they say, as long as when you get distracted, you recognize that and you bring yourself back to the breath, then each time you meditate does get gradually easier.

Podcasts
I have a thirty-minute walk to work every morning so I like to fill this part of my morning with a podcast. I found that I was getting angry or frustrated in the mornings thinking of particular situations that could happen at work and I found that this all happened when I listened to music. One of my favourite bands that I would listen to on a very regular basis, doesn’t seem like the type of music I would listen to at all. They sing very heavily about the subjects of sex, drugs and death, and while I love listening to that type of music (It’s very catchy) it’s not me. So, because the music was angry and heavy, that’s how my head started to feel. I have listened to podcasts for a few years now but incorporating them in with my walk to work has helped me focus on not only the interviewer and the interviewee, but because they are talking, my head isn’t being creative and creating scenarios that haven’t even happened yet. (*whispers* I’ll be writing some posts on my absolute favourite podcasts soon)

As you can see, the majority of these techniques I practice in the morning because I find it better to focus on my intention for the day when I first wake up. I do get up earlier than most people in order to complete these techniques but it’s something I am very used to now, but they don’t take very long to do either. I understand that meditations, affirmations and writing how you feel down, might not be for everyone and that’s completely fine. Different strokes for different folks, I wanted to share how I am working on myself and how each practice helps me balance out so then somewhere down the line, this may help me find that ultimate passion project. 

January to March Reflections and April to June Goals (2018)

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Back in January, I talked about changing my perspective on New Year’s Resolutions and how I’m now looking at goals in a three-month basis rather than all year round. We’re now in the second quarter of the year and it’s time to not only reflect on the last three months but to look ahead to the next three. 

(Number One) Clear my spare room. 

I haven’t completed this one yet, I’m getting there but not just yet. On the positive side, I have filled six large black bin bags and given away four bags of items away to charity with more bags still to be filled. So while I haven’t completed this particular goal, I’m much further on than I was at the start of the year.

(Number Two) Finish my nutrition course.

I have my final exam to take and then I will be finished. I’ve been working hard the last few weeks to give myself time in the evening to study so to be so close to the finishing point, I’m so pleased!

(Number Three) Read fifty pages a week. 

I kept track of this for the first few weeks of January but that very much slipped so I don’t know how many pages I have read since the start of the year. I know that I have however, read two books and listened to two full audiobooks. By the way, how did I not realise the beauty of audiobooks until this year? With four books altogether, I know that was more than I had read altogether last year so I’m very pleased already with that number.

So on to the next three months; this will cover April, May and June and at the beginning of July, I’ll be back to tell you about my progress for my latest goals and what I have in store for the next three months after that. 

(Number One) Begin my research into growing my blog. 

This particular goal has been something I have been thinking about for possibly two years. I want to have my own domain name, I want to build my own media kit and I want to be able to curate my blog design to how I would like but it’s not something you can change in a day. I know research will be required for what host I use, what website do I go through for the domain, the type of service I want and whether I want someone to build me a design. There are so many more things to think about so while I’m not committing to changing everything in three months, I want to at least look into everything I want, estimated costs and how much time it will take too.

(Number Two) Note down my spending for one month. 

Note that I have only said one month, simply because I feel like I only really need to do it for one month to see an average spend. The last number of months have been expensive months in terms of special occasions but these next three aren’t too bad so that’s why it was a perfect time to do this. My main purpose is to be able to start saving money again because I like to have my own “just in case” money and even if It’s not a large amount I can save, it will at least be something.

(Number Three) Try a new fitness class. 

I’m not a huge fitness class person. I prefer to work out by myself and the furthest I go is a run with my boyfriend. I went to a spin class before but I didn’t enjoy it; despite this, I wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone so my boyfriend and I have both signed up for a kick boxing six week class. I’m really excited because I’ve been looking for a boxing type class for a while but they all seemed to be “contact” classes and I didn’t want to get punched in the face, and this new class is pads and bag contact, so no injuries for me!

Let me know what you think of goals; are you more of a New Year’s Resolutions person that focuses on all year-round goals or do you like to split them up like me? 

Changing My Perspective on New Year’s Resolutions.

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To me, New Year is quite special. We’re told that it’s cliche to think of the New Year as a fresh start but for many it is, and that’s how I view it to a certain extent. I’m very goal oriented and I love challenging myself but over the past year, I’ve seen how resolutions and goals haven’t worked “their magic” on me (so to speak). I need a new perspective on them, but I don’t want to give up on them completely so I need to change my mindset on them instead.

Smaller goals in three months?

This idea came from one of my favourite YouTubers Muchelle B. She posts motivational, inspirational, minimalism and organisation content on her channel and lately, she’s my go-to whenever I feel like I need a boost of motivation. I would write a slightly larger list of resolutions every year not really thinking about the true meaning behind them, and because the list was very large, it was hard to keep up. Muchelle’s video called “10 Tips To Actually Accomplish Your New Year Goals” helped me on the right track to breaking down my goals into smaller chunks, therefore making them more achievable.

(Number One) Clear my spare room.

I’ve been living on my own for one year now and yes, my spare room still looks like a bomb hit it. I haven’t had a large chunk of time to clean it all, organise it and tidy through it and when I would do it in little chunks; the amount of work I knew I needed to do became so overwhelming that I would close the door. It’s been a year, and quite frankly, every time I clean the house I never feel satisfied knowing that the little room upstairs is still a mess.

(Number Two) Finish my nutrition course. 

If you don’t follow me on social media, you won’t know that I signed up to a nutrition course. This is something that I’ve been looking at doing for the last few years and towards the end of last year, I took the plunge and signed up. The course has now finished but I haven’t; I became really busy and luckily for me, it’s the type of course that doesn’t have an end date so I’m going to be catching up over the next three months so I can get my certificate. It’s video and textbook based so it’s a longer process but if I really get stuck into it, I feel like my three month goal will be easily achievable.

(Number Three) Read fifty pages a week.

Every year I tell myself I want to read more and more often than not, it was always “read one book a month” and I can tell you that it never lasts that long. Not to put any pressure on myself, I decided to look at it from a different perspective and break it down into smaller chunks. Fifty pages a week is more sustainable; I can read ten pages an evening during the work week or if I have some free time at the weekend, twenty five pages in the afternoon each evening would be just as achievable.

Yearly reflections?

I’ve decided not to reflect back on last year’s resolutions; I normally would and have done for the last few years but because I’m going in a different direction with my goals, resolutions or whatever we want to call them, I’m choosing not to reflect. Sometimes it’s okay not to look back. Within this, I’m also taking a step back from my monthly intentions. Going back to the start of my post, I wanted them to be “little sprinkles of magic” to kick start me each month but it didn’t work out as well as I had intended it would.

What are your resolutions or goals this year? Do you believe in setting yourself goals? Let me know on either of my socials, Twitter or Instagram and I hope you have an amazing start to the New Year 

Three Intentions for Me (#1)

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Good morning, good afternoon or good evening whenever you read this! You might remember in my 58th Edition of my Sunday Saves (which is linked here!) I talked about Sophie’s blog post being about her July to-do list, and I loved the idea! So I decided to base a monthly goals list around that. I’ve named this little mini series “Three Intentions for Me” because for me right now, there is quite a lot of pressure around the word “goals” so I want to minimise that pressure while also pushing myself ever so slightly with particular targets I want to achieve.

❤ Read one fiction and one non-fiction book, and finish them both.

I’m quite a slow reader and this is something that will probably irritate me to no end. I usually read when I’m on my own because it means I can read out loud. I found that when I was reading when I was younger, yes I was fast, but I was skipping words if I couldn’t pronounce them in my head so while I was “reading fast” in my younger years, was I actually reading if I wasn’t taking everything in? Into my adult years, I’ve changed my whole philosophy on reading and it’s been a tough transition especially because I do read out loud the majority of the time, that takes longer and if I can’t pronounce something, I will make sure to say it until I can. It almost sounds like I’m teaching myself to read again, I can read I promise, but I’m putting more energy into it this time around. To add to this, I think this is why I don’t tend to sway into fiction books, I’m more of a self-help book woman myself but I want to challenge myself this coming month. It might seem like a big ask to read two books in one month but I’m willing to push myself to get out of my comfort zone, it will just mean setting more time aside for reading and less time for something else.

 Take part in two Twitter chats.

A year ago, I was so on the ball when it came to Twitter chats. I didn’t take part in too many mind you, but I probably took part in two weekly ones and I always enjoyed it! I use Tweet Deck for my Twitter and even then I felt like I could never keep up because there was so much going on within one chat, so this August, I’m making a commitment to take part in just two to see how I get on.

 Complete the 5K I have signed up for.

August sees the challenge of a 5K run that my boyfriend and I have signed up for towards the middle of August so that means stepping up my training to a certain level and making sure I complete it. Timing to me at the minute isn’t very important, I just want to keep a nice happy pace with minimal walking and I’ll be happy.

I’ll check back in next month’s “Three Intentions for Me” post to update you on how I did, and to tell you what I want to make a priority in September. Have a lovely day! ☀️

SS: Sunday Saves (#51)

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Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend so far! So with this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought it was quite suited that my Sunday Saves would be themed around Mental Health. Just to add, there were so many bloggers addressing Mental Health Awareness Week which I think is fantastic and it was so hard to choose just three posts to feature this week.

1) The V Nice Life (High Functioning Depression)

A lot of society have painted depression with one paintbrush stroke but depression can take many forms and Sarah talks about high function depression which she suffers from. I didn’t know a lot about the high functioning side of depression so it’s a fresh perspective on the condition, so if you’re not too sure what exactly it is either, I’d recommend Sarah’s post.

2) Parenting, Pasttimes, Prosecco (Has Mental Health Tested Your Parenting Life?)

Having a mental breakdown has only happened to me once or twice in the past year and I can completely understand where Sarah is coming from. It really is just built up over so long and you become completely uncontrollable. It’s a horrible feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I think it’s fantastic how Sarah has written about her experience and especially being in her family situation at the minute, she deserves a medal.

3) All About Aoife (YA Mental Health TBR List)

I loved the idea of this post! Aoife has put a list together of the young adult books she’s hoping to read soon but they all have a theme based around mental health. She even gives you a little description of each book too, so you don’t have to go look up each one to find out what it’s about.

Well that’s all from this week’s Sunday Saves! I hope you’ve all had a good week and if you have any posts you think I should read, please tweet me over at @RetroSnowflake.