March Small Goals

Writes Like a Girl started this monthly post & has a monthly link up for it on her blog.

Here is a recap of my goals for the month.

1. Keep a healthy relationship with Twitter. Done! I logged off even from the browser and I let email notifications tell me if there were any mentions or direct messages. If you’d like to know how I’m using social media these days, I’ve written a whole blog post about it here.

2. Reread Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I completely failed this one, but for a good reason. In fact, I’ve discovered the most beautiful fantasy trilogy ever (no, it isn’t LOTR) and I’ve binge read it in just a week.

3. More analog productivity. I managed to check my paper planner almost everyday, however, now that I don’t have classes anymore, I find it easier to put my events on Google Calendar and just use random notepads for tasks. Still analog, so it’s okay.

4. Buy a yoga mat. Nope, but things changed. I decided to not renew my gym subscription for this quarter for several reasons and so I tried the bigger fitness mat I used at the gym for my home yoga practice and it works better than the old one, still not perfect but I decided to save my money for now.

Articles Written in February

How to Spring Cleaning Your Journaling Supplies – I shared some tips on how to declutter and reorganize your stationery over Page Flutter.

March Goals

1. Catch up with Harry Potter 2&3. I’m hoping to be able to reread The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban this month.

2. Clean my laptop. I always take my laptop at a nice little techy shop to clean it with compressed air twice a year, the guys that work there are very kind and do an amazing job. However, I’m always so lazy that I kept postponing this task, but I want to complete it this month.

3. Finish and use my bookish spreadsheet. I tried multiple times to use Goodreads on a regular basis, but it’s frustrating to not be able to add the correct edition of the books I read most of the time because they are ebooks or in Italian, also I don’t like the rating system there. I’m using it only for reviews these days and I thought to just keep a running list of my readings on a notebook, but the truth is that my phone is always with me, not that notebook. I tried to use Trello, but I’m not completely happy with it so I decided to try a spreadsheet. Learning to properly use Excel is one of those things I keep postponing and I hate myself for that, but all the reading templates I’ve found are super complicated and full of stats I don’t care about so I’m currently DIYing my spreadsheet and I’m improvising a little bit due to my lack of knowledge. However, I’m pretty proud of it. LOL.

4. Get a Warsteed in LOTRO. This is totally random, I know! 😀 I’ve been so close to getting a Warsteed for my character, but the quest chain is very difficult and I keep dying so my goal is to level up and then try again in order to get that horse by the end of the month. #worstplayerever

 

These are my four little goals for this month, I’d love to hear from you! What are your goals for March?

I Miss Blogs Too

The other day, my friend Kristin shared her thoughts on how blogging has changed lately and how many bloggers we loved to follow decided to quit moving their content over Instagram or other social media. This made me reflect since I’ve been one of those who thought about quit blogging last year. I couldn’t see the benefits, I had lost my passion and I couldn’t find a way to get more engagement and still be myself.

Now I’m here, writing again and feeling grateful for keeping up with this space. I decided to stop planning and overthinking and scheduling and things like that and just BLOG. I blog when I have something to share and I try to keep this space alive using it to track stuff like my #TheUnreadShelfProject list and the guest posts I work on every month. And it feels good!

Kristin’s post made me realize that the reason why I started subscribing to productivity blogs was the lack of old-school blogs. And the reason why I tried to turn my blog into a professional portfolio was that’s what people expect from you nowadays.

When I tell people in real life that I run a blog, they always ask me: “A blog about what?” and that’s when I don’t know what to say. During my months of trial and errors, I fantasized about transforming this place in a book blog, a lifestyle blog, a productivity blog. Why my blog should be categorized? Why everybody suppose it’s about a single topic? This makes me realize how people are new to blogs, they think about the “modern” way of blogging that’s all about useful content around a single or a couple of topics, where you share content to get more followers.

And when I reply that my blog is about me and my life, they immediately lose interest, because that’s not cool to say. Having a personal blog doesn’t look cool. To look like an interesting girlboss, the answer should be: I’m a fashion blogger, I blog about lifestyle and products, or, the new COOL thing to say, I’m an influencer. I started blogging at that time when saying you were a blogger was like having a tattoo with the text WEIRDO of your forehead. People looked at you like you were a strange little creature, that’s why I basically told nobody about my past blogs. But if you’re not an author with a namesurname.com URL, then you should blog about something in order to make money to be a LEGIT blogger, according to people. Who cares about your thoughts, goals and opinions if you’re none of famous? Why keep a blog about that?

I will end my ramblings here because this is a topic I already touched in the past and I don’t want to repeat myself. Kristin’s post inspired me to dig deeper into my own thoughts on this whole blogging things and I wanted to share them here because I believe other bloggers are feeling the same way.

I’m Breaking My Book Buying Ban

Earlier this year, I decided to join a nice challenge called #TheUnreadShelfProject and I even blogged about it because I was very determined to complete it (and I still am). It went very well (you can check my progress here), until last week, when I started loving more and more The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski.

I’ve purchased the ebook in 2016 because many people recommended it to me and there was so much hype about this trilogy in the Bookstagram/Booktube community back then, plus I managed to get it for only 1,25€ on Amazon (the Kindle edition) and I was very excited about it. But then, I never felt myself in the right mood for it, especially because I didn’t actually know what to expect. If you’d ask me what’s my favourite genre, I would probably tell you it’s fantasy, when it isn’t actually true. My favourite genre has been mystery since I was a teen and I discovered Agatha Christie, but I would always say fantasy first because it happens that the books of my life are The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Also, I’m not actually into young adult and I no longer enjoy getting to know a new fantasy world everytime I read a book, I’m pretty comfortable in Middle-earth, thank you very much.

But, just before Christmas, I’ve been offered Broken Moon for free in exchange of an honest review and I enjoyed it so much that I thought it could be the right time for me to pick up another fantasy YA. And then the magic happened.

The Winner’s Curse has everything I love in a book: not too long (300/400 pages), a good solid plot, a great female main character (the one you read about and think GOALS), effective world-building through all the book, war, a nice love story, and a handsome boy to have a crush for (and he’s 19 so I’m not a weirdo…probably).

The first half of the book was great and I’ve enjoyed reading it every morning before breakfast, but then the story evolved and I couldn’t put it down. I even skipped a whole evening of Netflix in order to read this book (and if you know me, it’s A LOT!) and, after finishing it yesterday, I told myself that I would purchase the sequel after reading at least half of my TBR list. But this self-imposed rule lasted like 10 minutes because I reached for my Kindle and downloaded the second book before midnight.

I’m disappointed with myself for breaking the rules and also because I will probably break them again to read the third book of this trilogy once I’ll finish this second one, but not too much. I justify myself because it’s been ages since I’ve read a book that made me skip a whole evening of Netflix. I’ve read many great books during the last few years, but nothing that made me have ALL THE FEELINGS (maybe Fangirl went close, but not this way).

Many of my bookish friends enjoyed The Winner’s Crime even more than the first book, so I’m absolutely excited about it. Also, I decided to try to read it in 6 days because I’ll have to start Beren and Luthien in March and I want to fully pay attention to that book without being distracted by Rutkoski’s trilogy.

Have you read The Winner’s Curse trilogy? What was the last book that made you have ALL THE FEELINGS? I’d love to know. 🙂

How I’m Using Social Media in 2018

A few days ago The Minimalists published a blog post explaining why they took January off from social media and how they are going to use them in 2018. I really enjoyed reading it and it inspired me to write something similar since I’ve made some quality changes during the last few months.

First of all, I’m one of those people constantly complaining about the algorithm changes, starting from Facebook back in the days to Twitter and then Instagram. I firmly believe it ruined the experience on those platforms, not just for me, but for all the people who don’t want to invest money in ads.

I used to open Twitter and scroll my feed to the last tweet missed being able to read what the people I’ve followed had written while I was away, I replied to tweets, retweeted some stuff and shared a couple of thoughts. It was nice, Twitter was the place where I chatted with like-minded people about Tolkien and Middle-earth, blogging and books. It was my favourite social media, to be honest. Now it’s a completely different experience. When I log in, I scroll my feed and I have to actually look for the people I’ve followed because it’s now full of sponsored posts, tweets from people I don’t know but that the people I follow liked and, the worst, they are no longer in a true chronological order. You can imagine that when you tweet a good old status like “I can’t wait to see Black Panther this week!”, nobody would notice in that chaos because your tweets now need to be visually appealing, containing a link, 200 hashtags, and so on.

Same thing with Instagram. I’ve read so many blog posts about the best strategies to “beat the algorithm” and they sound just too much for me. The most insane one I’ve read was that, in order to get more engagement on your photos, you have to be active commenting and liking stuff 15 minutes before AND after sharing a photo. Sure, engaging with others helps you to get more visibility on Instagram, but we have a life to live! And we can’t beat bots (that people hire to do the dirty work for them), so why bothering.

I’ve spent 2017 forcing myself to make it work for me and my blog, to still use social media to get visibility, in order to prove that on my résumé, to let people know that I can use tools like Buffer, Later and Hootsuite. But, in the end, it didn’t work and it deeply affected the way I approached my life online. It doesn’t matter if I was scheduling my tweets or my Instagram photos, I was still spending too much time online without even getting the results I wanted.

Taking a 48h break from Instagram during Christmas made me realize that the problem wasn’t the blog, the problem was my relationship with social media! Since then, I decided to take it easy, I was very stressed by my last University exam, some health issues and things like that and the fast-paced nature of Instagram (thanks to Stories) didn’t help me at all. I decided that, in order to follow my word for 2018, I’m going to take more breaks here and there more often. I already crafted two little rules that worked very well so far:

  • Don’t check social media before noon.
  • Take Sunday off.

Here is a more in-depth look at my accounts (maybe this will also help you understand where I hang ou the most).

Instagram. Let’s start from my favourite one. I used to participate in so many different challenges, take lots and lots of photos in batches and schedule them in order to always have something to publish every single day. It was just too much for me, so now I post when I have something to share and I try to not stress too much if I miss a post or two from my favourite accounts. Same thing with Stories. This is the best place to reach me out, after the blog, because it’s still the platform where I’m most active (except for weekends, you still have my Contact page for that). 🙂

Twitter. At the end of 2017, I had tons of applets on IFTTT to automate all the things, then I decided to quit and keep my profile only as a placeholder. Then I thought about tweeting the old way (in real time without scheduling nor automating) and, while I enjoyed it more than I expected, I felt like I was talking with a wall since the engagement was basically zero, meaning that my links didn’t even get clicked once, so what was the point of that? I blame the algorithm. To be fair, the only tweet that got some engagement was Tolkien-related and this means that 80% of my followers are still fellow Middle-earth nerds, so I should probably consider that in the future. For now, I will just automatically share my posts through WordPress (no more IFTTT recipes), but I’m not planning to engage there anymore, that’s why I removed the icon here on the sidebar. Last but not least, this is the platform that brings less traffic to my blog. It used to be the first one, but now things changed and so I think it’s useless for me.

Facebook. I deleted my “official” profile 3 years ago and I never looked back. Now I have an anonymous-ish one that I use to interact in a couple of Groups and to manage pages, including one where WordPress automatically shares my posts that I created solely to let people know that I have a blog if they visit my profile from a group (since links aren’t clickable in the Fb bio). I check it only once or twice a day just to catch up with Groups, so it isn’t an addictive platform for me anymore.

Pinterest. The only reasons why I keep it are: you can’t actually delete your profile, it brings a lot of traffic to my blog. Currently, I just use it to do some research and nothing more (it’s the best place to find laptop/phone wallpapers FYI). 😉

Goodreads. I still use it to read book reviews and find interesting readings, but I’m not sure if I will keep updating it, to be honest. I stopped joining the Goodreads Challenge because it gave me too much anxiety and, for now, I feel like a simple list in a notebook works well enough for me.

That’s it! Writing this post gave me even more clarity on how I’m going to approach my online life and helped me to finalize some points.

 

How are you using social media in 2018? I’d love to hear from you!

February Small Goals

Writes Like a Girl started this monthly post & has a monthly link up for it on her blog.

I can’t believe we’re one step closer to Spring (which means pollen allergy to me)! January has been a weird month for me because I mostly spent it at home sick or studying, I can’t wait to pass my last exam now. I’m so ready to go to the cinema, visit a museum or go for a shopping afternoon with my mom.

Here is a recap of my goals for the month.

1. Watch more movies and only 1 TV series at a time. Yes, I did it! I have to say that being sick for almost 2 weeks helped me a lot to achieve this goal (LOL). After watching season 3 of Grantchester, I watched all the three seasons of Broadchurch, which was the perfect show since each season had 8 episodes and it was already finished, so nothing more to wait for. Now I’m looking for a new TV series to start in February. Here is a list of the movies I watched (most of them have been a rewatch):

  • National Lampoon’s Vacation
  • Vacation (2015)
  • The Hangover
  • Alexander
  • Warcraft
  • Death on the Nile (1978)
  • Jurassic World
  • Cutthroat Island
  • Miss Congeniality
  • Practical Magic
  • Wonder Woman

Not too bad for a girl who used to watch one movie a month, if lucky, and all the rest was all TV series! I’m not going to track the movies I watch anymore, but I’ll keep trying to stick with this new habit.

2. Journal daily. Done! Both on the Journey app and my diary.

3. Reduce my time on Instagram. I managed to stick with my rule to not check Instagram before noon and some days I almost forgot it until 5 or 6 pm!

4. Wear more makeup. I didn’t actually achieve this goal because I spent so much time at home, technically it wasn’t my fault!

5. Visit more blogs and leave more comments. I did it, but I can improve this.

Articles Written in January

December Favorites – things I enjoyed during December, on the Travelling Geek Show blog.

Tips and Tricks to Start a Reading Journal in 2018 – I’m pretty proud of my monthly post for Page Flutters since I love journaling and books and all that in between. 🙂

App Review: PDF Converter – a nice collaboration I’ve been able to do. I thought about posting it here on the blog as well, but it was a review so I decided to publish it on Medium instead.

How to Keep an Accomplishment Journal and Feel More Productive with Journey – this month I also managed to guest post for my friend Francesco on his blog Keep Productive and I highly recommend you to check out this app, it’s free and actually improved my life!

February Goals

1. Keep a healthy relationship with Twitter. I’m planning to share how I’m using social media in 2018 in an upcoming blog post. However, I decided to go back tweeting but I’m done with scheduling and social media management apps, I only use TweetDeck from my laptop because it helps me to filter my feed. But I don’t have the app on my phone anymore.

2. Reread Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. February is for book 2 of the saga according to the #HarreadPotter schedule and I can’t wait to finish the book to rewatch the movie since it’s my favorite in the whole series!

3. More analog productivity. I decided to go back to a paper planner for 2018, I still keep my long-term plans on Trello and my events on Google Calendar, but I want to use my cute Molang diary more and I want to establish again the habit to check it first thing in the morning.

4. Buy a yoga mat. I’ve been practicing yoga since the end of Summer thanks to the amazing videos on the Yoga With Adriene channel and I’m LOVING it. Now that I finally understood what it feels good to me, I want to go ahead and invest some money in a mat because the one I use it is for fitness and I keep sliding, which is not good because it prevents me to assume the correct posture. By the way, any advice on a good and affordable yoga mat without?

 

These are my four little goals for this month, I’d love to hear from you! What are your goals for February?