The Unread Shelf Project

One of the things I started doing because of the internet is set up reading goals. I’ve always been an avid reader, but I’ve never kept track of the books I was getting through and never known that setting up reading goals is actually a thing. But after joining bookstagram, following more book blogs, booktube channels and using Goodreads, I felt like I was completely missing out one of the most important things in the bookish community.
Over the years, I learned that challenges and counting the number of books I read are not for me, they make me feel too anxious and like if I was in a race. So, I decided to stop numbering the books I’m reading one after another, I just list them in my notebook and I’ll maybe count them at the end of the year.

However, I decided to join one specific challenge for 2018. #TheUnreadShelfProject2018 is a reading challenge hosted by three incredible bookstagrammers I love @theunreadshelf, @katereadsbooks_ and @calsreads. The purpose of the challenge is to help us to tackle our TBR pile of books we already own. I already planned to make some rules for myself in 2018 because I have too many unread books on my Kindle, but after seeing all the post about this challenge on Instagram, I decided to join. This is something I can do, it’s not about the numbers. And if you want to have fun with the community, be sure to follow Whitney (@theunreadshelf), she’s giving us mini weekly challenges like counting the number of unread books we have, going to a bookstore and not buy anything (!), or share the story behind the books in our TBR shelf.

I still have some physical books to read too, but my main focus is going to be ebooks because I want to be more intentional with my purchases and not just download a book because it’s cheap or free and then forget about it. Also, the physical books are all there on my shelf, while the ebooks are “hidden” inside my Kindle, so it’s much easier for me to forget about them.

Here is the list of ebooks I purchased but I still have to read and that I hope to complete in 2018.

Jane Austen Collection:

  • Emma
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Persuasion
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Mansfield Park

Rainbow Rowell Collection:

  • Landline
  • Elanor & Park
  • Carry On

Other Books:

  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • Still Life by Louise Penny
  • Sweet Tea and Secrets by Nancy Naigle
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
  • Mindfulness: The Most Effective Techniques by Ian Tuhovsky

I know, this is long a super long list and many people would read all these books in a couple of months, but I’m not a fast reader and most of my days are spent studying or writing my thesis, so it’s important to me to consume other mediums too during my breaks and free time (like Netflix and LOTRO).

Since I got my Kindle and I’ve been able to instantly buy and download books, I stopped experiencing that great feeling of finishing a book and wandering around a bookstore (physical or digital) in order to buy my next reading. This is something I’d like to achieve by the end of 2018. Feel free to follow me on Bookstagram (@alicethelibrarian) where I’m sharing my bookish adventures!

 

Do you have any reading goal for 2018?

 

P.s. I decided to add a static page with the list of the books that I can check off here, to keep myself accountable during the year.

January Small Goals + My Word for 2018

Happy 2018!!! I can’t believe the New Year is here. I’m already in that post-Christmas sadness that is going to stay with me pretty much until March (or August) and it’s crazy since we also celebrate Epiphany on January 6th here in Italy, so all the decorations are still on, Christmas movies are still on TV and things like that. When I was a child, I knew there was another present to open and other treats to eat, but now that I’m older I can only hope for a good movie on TV.

December has been an incredibly good month this year. Not having University classes to attend, I just did some trips to the library to gather material for my thesis and, for once, I spent December 23rd at home helping my mom. I don’t miss school at all!

Here is a recap of my goals for the month.

1. Avoid procrastination before the Holidays. I don’t feel like I’ve been productive as much as I wanted, some days it was basically impossible to concentrate on my thesis research for me. I could do better.

2. Exercize daily. Done! *pats her shoulder*

3. Choose a word for 2018. More on that in a moment.

4. Spend less time on social media. Done!!! I still can’t believe it, but I’ve been able to take 48h completely off from Instagram. It has been my very first social media detox (I basically use only Instagram these days, LOL) and it felt so good! At first, I started constantly wanting to check it, but I had hidden the app in my app drawer (I love Android for this feature!) and it helped a lot because it wasn’t in front of me all the time. Then, I started forgetting it completely at the point that I didn’t even want to check it back on December 27th! During this break, I realized that I never felt the need to take a detox when Instagram was just, well, Instagram. But now with private messages, Stories, sponsored stuff (I’m looking at you Garden Escapes!) and the ability to follow hashtags, it’s incredibly cluttered, like Twitter. I always followed only the people I really cared to see updates from, not to be rude, but I wanted to be sure to interact with them, leave comments and be a good friend. Now, even if I still follow few people, my time spent using the app has increased because of all those features. I don’t care about the Stories of every single person I follow, but there is no way to avoid them once I start watching them, I can skip them, but they still pop up in front of me.

Articles Written in December

Since I write for other websites as well, I thought it would be nice to share my posts here in these monthly recaps as a sort of newsletter.

November Favorites – My friend Lily and I shared our favorite things from the past month on Travelling Geek Show.

How to Start a Seriously Awesome 2018 Journal – This month’s blog post for Page Flutter was all about starting a journal for 2018. I shared my tips and tricks on how and what to journal and where to start!

My goals for January

1. Watch more movies and only 1 TV series at a time. Since last November, when I finally got Netflix, I got so excited that I started watching tons and tons of TV series, doing little progress since I watched one or two episodes per week of each. I was so excited to finally be able to watch what I liked (TV doesn’t interest me at all), that I’ve lost track of what I started and I basically stopped watching movies, also because my attention span decreased a lot during the years, but I want to change that because movies are what I will remember along the years, not random short episodes. So my goal for January is to watch more movies and to pick only 1 TV series at a time, preferably with a small number of seasons and episodes (The Crown was the only TV show I watched in December and was perfect!), so I can fully appreciate it without feeling the need to binge-watch it.

2. Journal daily. I’ve always been tempted by journaling apps, but I love the feeling of pen and paper when it comes to jotting down my thoughts. However, not being able to print my photos to add to my journaling has always been a pain for me. Luckily, I discovered a beautiful (free) app called Journey and my plan is to use it as a daily recap log, it won’t replace my ramblings on paper, it will be a sort of a photo-a-day project just for myself. I was thinking about doing it on a private Instagram account, but this app is much better. It syncs with Google Drive, you can export your entries in different formats and, most importantly, it isn’t a social media.

3. Reduce my time on Instagram. I will continue with my December goal, it went so well that I’m excited to unplug more this month!

4. Wear more makeup. If you’ve read my previous blog post, you’ll already know that one of the things that I regret the most in 2017 is being too lazy for makeup. I already ordered a new mascara to replace my expired one, so I hope to be in the right direction.

5. Visit more blogs and leave more comments. This can also be translated with: being a blogger again. Instagram is cool, but I’m not an influencer, I’m a blogger and I’ve been that for more than a decade now. In 2017, I’ve been more than once close to shutting down this blog because I couldn’t find the enthusiasm anymore. Maybe I just needed a break.

One Little Word

The amazing Ali Edwards introduced me to this project and I’ve been choosing a word to guide me through the years since 2015. You can find all my previous posts about that here.

2015 – immerse
2016 – less
2017 – magic
2018 – slow

I chose slow for 2018, inspired by the slow reading movement. I want to stop scrolling and start reading this year (can we create a T-shirt with that motto??). I want to spend less time comparing myself to others and more time to be productive. I want to stop feeling like I’m in a race to read as many books as I can and I want to actually finish my TBR folder on my Kindle before getting new books (by the way, I joined the #theunreadshelfproject2018 on Bookstagram, you can follow my adventures here). I want to slow down in general and actually enjoy the moment, being more present with my eyes away from a screen.

Here is the plan, let’s hope I’ll be able to stick with it!

 

Do you have any goals, words, resolutions for 2018?

What Worked for Me in 2017 (and What Didn’t)

When I was a child, I used to write silly new year’s resolutions in my little diary and NEVER achieve them. “I’ll be less chatty in class”, “I’ll be a better daughter and friend”, “I won’t try to copy my girlfriends to be like them”, and so on.

It turned out that I’ve never been good at setting up big goals (not the little monthly ones), even with the guidance of workbooks and videos, I’m afraid that new year’s resolutions are not for me. For the past 2 years, I forced myself to fill out Susannah Conway and Lavendaire’s workbooks and I failed miserably. I was thinking about purchasing the last one again this year, just to motivate myself, but I already know that would be like wasting money. And it makes me feel so bad because they are such great tools!

I’d love to be THAT person, but I’m not and I must accept it.

My only big goal for 2018 is going to be: write my thesis. So I decided to ask myself only two simple questions, after reading Anne Bogel’s blog post:

  • What worked for me last year?
  • What didn’t?

This is easy, I can’t do it. 🙂

What Worked

1. Small bags. I’ve always been that person who carries with her all sort of things JUST IN CASE. My mom educated me this way and I must say it saved the day more than once, but I started putting in my bag way too much than just in case items over the years. I’ve never needed two different notebooks at the same time, for example, while a couple of post-its and a pen are more than enough since I usually use my phone for everything when I’m on the go. I downsized my bag this year and it’s been so refreshing! A bit scary at first, but I finally got used to it.

2. Investing in Pocket Casts. I never buy apps because I always feel guilty for spending money that way, but after struggling with 5-6 free podcast apps, I caved and I purchased Pocket Cast and I never regretted it. I already repaid it with all the hours I’ve spent using it!

3. Quitting Twitter. I didn’t actually delete my profile, but I logged out from it setting up notifications via email so I don’t have to check it out to see if someone mentioned me. I’m a bit sorry about that because Twitter used to be my favourite social media, but then they transformed it in a bad imitation of Facebook and I wasn’t able to keep up with the speed and, above all, the negativity.

4. Yoga with Adriene. I never did Yoga before, but that amazing channel helped me a lot during the last few months. I’m so grateful for Adriene and her way to teach, she’s such an amazing person!

5. Deleting my Goodreads Challenge. At the beginning of the year, I decided to set 1 as a symbolic number for my challenge because I didn’t want to feel the pressure of numbers and be tempted to read shorter books just to reach it. But then I decided to delete it and I’ve been surprised to see the banner of the stats at the beginning of the month, this proves you don’t need the challenge in order to see the stats, yay!

6. Trello. This little app does miracles for my organization, I use it mostly for my online projects but also to keep track of the books I still have to read.

7. Cheap backdrops. This year, I’ve been lucky enough to attend an Instagram workshop where I learned more about flat lays and how to use many beautiful backdrops. Unfortunately, the ones I’d like to get online are a bit expensive (plus shipping and maybe also customs) and I can afford them. Thankfully, I found a couple of rolls of sticky wallpaper at a local Chinese shop and I DIYed 2 backdrops, now I have a ton of sticky wallpaper that remains unused but it was so cheap that I don’t care! 😀

9. The Kindle app on my phone. This is pretty new, but at the beginning of the month, I caved and I downloaded the Kindle app on my phone and I managed to read an entire book there in 4 days during random free pockets of time. On a crowded bus, during my lunch break, while cooking dinner, in a queue, and so on. I always preferred to read on my Kindle but I will always keep a book downloaded on my phone from now on. It made things a lot easier and stopped me to mindlessly scroll through social media feeds!

What Didn’t Work

1. FOMO. The fear of missing out is still an issue for me, even after quitting Twitter. I find myself mindlessly scrolling my Instagram feed and having Stories too doesn’t help. This is something I really want to work on in 2018.

2. The Goodreads Challenge. As I mentioned before, tracking my readings this way gives me too much anxiety, so I decided I’m going to just list them in my notebook next year and count them only at the end of the year.

3. Mapping my domain on WordPress. I moved my blog to WordPress this past Summer and I decided to invest some money to map the domain, but it turned out that next year it will cost me a lot more to renew it, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford it.

4. Being too lazy for makeup. I have to admit that I neglected myself this past year, I was feeling a bit unmotivated due to a couple of health issues and I stopped wearing makeup, despite my love for it.

5. Planners. I started 2017 with a weekly pocket Moleskine (A6 slim), the one with the week on one page and notes on the other side and it turned out too small for my needs. So I changed it and I used a Muji planner (B5) with the same layout and, despite having more space to write, it didn’t work again. At this point, I’m afraid the issue was the layout, not the size. For 2018, I’ve got a Molang diary with a different layout and it will work better, hopefully!

6. Too many apps. I changed and tweaked my productivity system too much in 2017, my phone was cluttered with to-do list apps and this has to change. I’m still looking for the perfect one so, in the meantime, I decided to go back to analog for my tasks. Pen and paper for the win!

 


 

That’s a wrap. I hope 2017 has been a good one for you and I wish you Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2018! Thank you for reading my blog and always supporting me.

Love,
Alice ❤

#OldSchoolBlogging and Why I’m Tired of Fake Experts Online

I was planning to write a blog post about the snow we’ve been lucky to have (it basically never happens before Christmas here), but then I stumbled upon an article that made me realize how much tired I am of self-promotion and why I want to go back and write just for fun in my accounts.

Back in 2009, I was struggling with my hate for studying (yes, I’m getting my MA in archaeology and I hated studying) and I had to graduate from high school. I was completely burned out and depressed, so my mom started looking for tips and advice on the internet. She found a nice Italian website (I’m not going to mention it because I don’t want to appear as a rude person, even if it would deserve it) with lots and lots of tips and tricks and advice on productivity, how to beat procrastination, how to study better and things like that. I loved reading it, it was something completely new to me, back then I didn’t even read in a different language than my own (Italian) and outside of my comfort zone (personal blogs).

I followed and supported the author for several years, even during the beginning of my university career, and I even bought a couple of ebooks by him. Then, I discovered the joy of reading English websites. There were a lot more topics out there, so many people writing about so many different things. After a couple of years, I started realizing that that guy didn’t invent anything, he was just reading a bunch of famous blogs and books written by American productivity gurus and repurposing the content for his little Italian blog. Nothing wrong with it, I mean, he wasn’t breaking the copyright rules, but he wasn’t sharing what he learned, he was just sharing stuff as if it was his own personal knowledge using titles tailored to impress the audience (like How to Study a 500-page Book in 3 Hours). I didn’t like that and it wasn’t even useful anymore.

I moved on from that blog and I started following other people I enjoyed more.

I don’t even know why I typed the URL of his blog earlier today, but I did and I noticed that the content wasn’t changed. The same topics over and over again, after 8 years he keeps writing the same stuff, using the same impressive titles. However, I stumbled upon an article that looked interesting and I started reading it. It was about how people are addicted to their smartphones and gave a couple of advice on how to stop it. The last one made me shiver because it wasn’t even crappy marketing, it was a pure mockery.

If your issue with notification often brought you to scroll Facebook, a solution to stop was to like his page and choose the option “View First”, so every time you’d open Facebook you’d see his posts first and that would remind you to not waste your time on social media. I mean, really?? We all know that this advice is crap. This is just a way to get more likes and self-promote your stupid page.

And the best part is that, in the comments, nobody even mentioned it. They all wrote how useful the article was (and I bet they liked his page).

This made me think once more how blogging has changed over the years and how we are all in search of more likes, more followers, more page views, more money. I don’t want to be like that, I don’t want to write a productivity article in disguise, that looks like it would help people but then it’s just another miserable way to get more followers and it isn’t helpful at all.

I’ve seen more and more bloggers and friends writing about how they want to start blogging about personal stuff again in 2018. I think we should start a movement, a community, a hashtag (what about #oldschoolblogging? LOL). Please, don’t get me wrong, I don’t criticize all the people who monetize their work, I’m the first one who writes as a paid contributor and will keep doing it, I’m just against fake experts and people who cheat to get more followers.

December Small Goals + End of the Year Reflections

After enjoying for months all the posts about monthly goals that Kay and Kristin have written, I finally decided to give it a go and why not starting in December? I discovered that the “Small Goals” series is actually a link up by Nicole of Writes Like a Girl!

So here are my small goals for December.

Avoid procrastination before the Holidays. I have a thesis to write and research to do and when the calendar is set on December my inner clock says CHRISTMAS and so the only things I want to do is to watch Christmas movies on Netflix. But the truth is that I have so much work to do that I should definitely avoid distraction and procrastination and stay productive at least until December 23rd.

Exercize daily. My body is currently a wreck at the moment and my osteopath gave me 3 simple exercises to do every single day, they are not very time-consuming. I want to be sure to actually do them every day even during the holidays, so I’ve set up reminders on my phone.

Choose a word for 2018. I stopped setting goals for the new year because I never achieved them and they weren’t actionable, so I decided to pick a word and let it guide me. This project was inspired by the One Little Word class by Ali Edwards and my word for 2017 was MAGIC. I wanted to reconnect myself with my fandoms and my passions because I’ve put them aside when I started learning about blogging and biz and all the marketing you can find online.

Spend less time on social media. Meaning Instagram since all the other social media platforms are automated now (my Facebook page and Twitter, while I completely abandoned Pinterest for now). I’d like to check it only a couple of times a day (or not at all during the various Christmas parties) and use my phone to take photos rather than scroll a feed of other people’s lives.

And now the boring part: my end of the year reflections (you can skip it if you want). 🙂

2017 has been a great year for me. I finished all my exams at University, I participated to my very first Instagram workshop, I’ve met in person another Instagram friend, I collaborated with other bloggers, I became a contributor to Page Flutter and I also moved my blog to WordPress.

I was so excited to have some extra money to upgrade my plan and map my domain, in order to have a more professional presence here. I was seeing a bright new future for my blog and I was so happy of that that I even announced it to my parents (I never share internet stuff with them). But things started changing just a few months after.

First of all, I discovered that the price of my plan has increased and I’ll have to pay a lot more next year, only to have my domain mapped, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to afford it, if a miracle won’t happen in the meantime, this also means that I’ll have tons of broken links around the internet that I won’t be able to fix, especially on Pinterest. I also noticed that comments started decreasing and decreasing here on the blog after moving to WordPress, not sure why since my posts are still visible on Feedly and Bloglovin’. I don’t care about numbers anymore, so I don’t even know how many followers, page views, readers I have at this point, but comments were what kept me going, this way it’s almost like talking to myself, which is good, but I already do it all the time in my journal. 😀 Please don’t take it like I’m begging for comments or things like that. It’s just a general consideration and my curiosity makes me wonder why it happened (I love studying marketing strategies!).

But not everything that happened was negative, I also managed to do some incredibly fulfilling collaborations with other bloggers and, the excitement I got doing that, made me question whether I still want to run my blog or not. The answer is: I don’t know. I hope to find it out during 2018 and, in the meantime, I’ll keep blogging and I’ll try to stick with my small goals.

One of the reasons why I kept writing here, even if when I didn’t feel inspired or encouraged, was to keep improving my English, to keep forcing myself to write in a language that it isn’t mine and to have a sort of portfolio for my articles. But now I contribute to other blogs (Page Flutter, Travelling Geek Show, Middle Earth News) and I have all my “useful” posts on Medium, I write lengthy captions on Instagram and I chat every day with English-speaking people on WhatsApp. In short, I have to find other reasons to keep running this blog. I love to contribute to other blogs and I love to remble in my diary. So 2018 is going to be the year of discovery, I guess.

Let’s see what the future will bring us.