363 Days Of Reading
I have never been able to keep up with New Year’s resolutions. Ever. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who really has (to my knowledge). So, back in January, when I said I wanted to read every day for the entire year, I didn’t truly expect to do that.
In January, I started my first bullet journal. I decided to keep track of how much I was reading each day, and after a couple weeks, I noticed that I had read at least a little bit every day but two. That’s when I decided to set the goal. Instead of keeping track of how many pages or what percentage of a book I read, I began keeping track of the days I read.
It is now halfway through December and I haven’t missed a day since. Even if it is just for 5-10 minutes, I read—a book of my choosing, nothing related to school—every single day. Because of this, I have read 68 books so far this year, I started my own website (Functionally Fictional) to review and promote books, I was more motivated with my own writing, and I have had some incredible opportunities in the book community. I have been able to talk to authors, receive advanced copies of books, receive signed copies of books… I was even able to meet one of my favorite authors in person!
It’s been an incredible year of reading and bookish fun, and along the way, I learned a few things:
Grammar and Vocabulary
If you recall, I hated writing up until about three years ago. Even as I started getting into it, though, I was not confident in my skills. Well, since reading more, my grammar and vocabulary have greatly improved. I’m definitely not an expert by any means, but I am a much more confident writer now.
Reading so much has inspired me to really work on my own books. I started one at the end of October, for example, and I’m almost done with it. It’s going to be my first completed first draft of a full-length book. And it’s something I am actually proud of! I’m excited for the story and proud of my writing. It feels so real, like this could actually happen. For the first time, I’m eager for people to read my fictional work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nervous and self-conscious, but I’m excited to share this story and see what people think.
Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t focus and am a master at procrastination. However, books have become a great motivation, more so in the last couple of months, to get things done in a timely manner. Needing to get through my ever-growing TBR (to-be-read pile) has pushed me to be productive earlier in the week, which has freed up my weekends a little more. I’ve learned how to balance school, being a Peer Leader, being an officer in two school clubs, working multiple positions for Coffee House Writers, and running my website, all while managing to still read every day.
Books Are Expensive!
I also have kept track of all the books I have bought and received throughout the year and seeing the totals the first couple of months had my jaw dropping. I hadn’t realized I was spending so much just on books. Around April, I decided no more buying all the books. I subscribe to things such as Bookbub and Bookperk to be informed of deals each week. You would not believe how many free, or less than $2, books I’ve been able to get this year just from these types of deals and websites. I also got more involved in the book community and began occasionally getting books from authors and publishers so I could review them. That’s been fun! I also use my library’s app and subscribe to Scribd. There are so many ways to read for free or very cheap.
As I mentioned, there is a large book community. From Twitter to Facebook groups to “Booktube,” readers are united all throughout social media. In the last year, I have met some really great people, who have a lot of similar interests besides books. We not only obsess over books but many are also aspiring writers or book bloggers, and everyone is so encouraging to each other. I’ve been able to make some fantastic friends. In fact, a friend I’ve made on Twitter just surprised me by sending me a box of new books! I am so grateful for these people, even though I onl know them online.
TV and Movies
I have always been a big TV and movie buff. However, this year, I started filling my free time reading instead. Because of this, I am extremely behind on a lot of things. I’ve only kept up with a couple shows—primarily the short ones I can watch an episode of while eating lunch or dinner. I think I’ve watched less than 10 movies that were released this year. The most surprising part, however, is I don’t really miss it.