January 2021 Wrap Up
January has lasted a million years. I don't think I'm exaggerating. For the last fifteen days, I've been telling everyone, "How is it still January?". It's finally about to not be January which is lovely. Even with the seeming abundance of time stemming from the never ending January, I only read three books. And the third I still have 80 pages of, but I should be finished with it by the time this post goes up. I spent a lot of the month being super anxious about classes starting, and I also did a lot of depressed ceiling staring- neither of which are conducive to reading. Of the three books, I finished 1 ARC (This Will Be Funny Someday), 1 re-read (Emergency Contact), and one book off my physical TBR (I Was Born For This). I concentrated on picking books I knew I would really love because if I wasn't having an amazing time reading it, I probably wasn't going to ever finish reading it. That's actually how I decided to try re-reading for the first time. I'd just DNF'd 2 books in a row, and I wanted an instantly comforting book. I'm happy to report that it was just as delightful as the first time, and as much as I struggle with re-reading, I genuinely had a blast. I'm thinking I'll try to do one re-read every few months.
Right now, I have all my library holds coming in at once, so I'm feeling the rush to finish reading all of these books in the 2 week time frame. Right now, I have Concrete Rose and The Ex Talk checked out, which were at the top of my most anticipated books. My grandma also mentioned she was sending me a book, so pretty soon, I'll have plenty of reading to do on top of my ARC TBR. Having books to read from authors I already love and trust is always motivating.
I explored a couple book-adjacent pursuits this month that I thought some of you might be interested in. I know many book bloggers bullet journal, and after resisting so long, I decided to finally go for it in the new year. I'm posting a video about it on my YouTube Channel (subscribe here) at the end of the week. I was inspired to start journaling by Cande (@iamrainbou on Instagram) and one of her blog posts outlining her spreads for the start of the year. She made me realize that you didn't have to be as artistic or extra as the spreads I admired on my explore page, and that you didn't have to follow a set formula like the bullet journal explainer pages claim. She also had an excellent journal recommendation, leading me to Notebook Therapy. I set my journal up a bit differently than the conventional bullet journal. I mostly focused on yearly spreads and monthly trackers instead of doing weekly spreads in my bullet journal. I wanted this journal, just like my daily brain dump journal, to be more of a memory than a daily practical tool. I still use a daily planner for school, and I've recently started using Notion for content planning (more on that later). I love how my bullet journal is making me more aware of my patterns and habits in a truly non-judgmental way. I also love that I have a place to write down what entertainment I'm enjoying at the moment so it doesn't get lost into the void of online clutter. Also, I'm never going to turn down the chance to buy pretty pens and notebooks.
That leads me to Notion, my other favorite new planning find. It was a huge craze a few months ago, but people have stopped talking about it as much. At the time, it sounded complicated, and I was pleased with the planning system I established in GoodNotes. A few nights ago, though, I realized that I didn't have a way to keep track of content and writing for other places that I liked. All my content planning was so segmented it was hard to figure out what was going on, and I didn't like how it sorta got haphazardly mixed in with my school to-dos. Clearly, I really like to keep all the elements of my life separate. I spent about three hours staring at Notion and half watching tutorials until I finally got the courage to jump in. I used one of Becca Mix's brilliant Notion templates (find them here) for my drafting page. They're so cute, and she's perfectly laid them out as only a writer could. For the content calendar, I was on my own. I looked at a couple templates, but none of them totally suited my needs. I've found the only way to learn Notion, as with most things, is to just jump in head first and click buttons. Eventually, I got to a content calendar that works almost perfectly for me and a workflow that feels intuitive because I built it myself. I'm excited about having a place to keep all of my ideas organized instead of letting everything get lost in various notebooks and notes app files. I also like that Notion allows me to separate my YouTube, blogs, and other writing sections while also giving me the luxury to view everything on the same calendar. Even though I almost gave up on Notion at first, I'm truly excited about the system I've managed to put together. I think I've found a planning system I can stick with for content planning. I realized I run enough different projects and websites that I probably did need a formal place to write everything down. Let me know your thoughts on Notion if you've given that a try.
Those are pretty much the highlights of my month. My classes this semester are possibly more reading heavy than last semester, but I've managed to consolidate my classes into 4 days, and on 2 of them, I'm finished with classes before 10 AM. This has gone a long way towards allowing me to find a better work-life balance. Fridays are generally my school-work days and the weekends are solely for my own projects and (maybe) relaxing. If you want to know more about how my month's gone, I recently uploaded my 4th vlog to my channel. You can watch it here or embedded below. And if you want to know more about what I've enjoyed over the course of the month, here's my January Favorites video. Make sure you keep scrolling to make sure you haven't missed a post here or on my YouTube Channel and music blog.
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