Getting Out of a Reading Slump: My Top Tips

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Being in a reading slump is the worst possible state for a reader. You sit there wanting to read all the books on your shelf, and nothing captures your interest, even one of your most anticipated reads. Sometimes it can last a few days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months, but to give you a helping hand, here are a few of my top tips on getting out of a reading slump.

  • Try a quick read.

Reading a short, fast-paced book might just be all you need to propel you out of a reading slump. It might be a haiku, a poem, a short story, a novella or even a novel. Maybe even try a quick read in a different genre if you’re feeling adventurous, like non-fiction. If you’re searching for something to read, you can check out my blog post on quick reads for a few suggestions.

  •  Go to a bookshop and read some blurbs.

Getting yourself in a new and exciting book environment might get you into the right reading place again. So head on down to your local bookshop and start browsing! You don’t have to buy anything, but of course, we wouldn’t blame you if you did! Picking up a handful of books that make your bookish ears prick up might just give you the inspiration and interest to get reading again.

  • Take a break from reading.

If nothing is working, take a break. Don’t force yourself or feel guilty about not reading, or not being able to read. Reading is our most favourite and beloved pastime. Ultimately, reading is fun and it shouldn’t be a chore or something you put yourself through, so take a break until you find a book that gets you excited, or makes you feel that spark again.

  • Watch the movie first!

I know. BOOK BLASPHEMY. But if you’re really struggling to get into a particular book, you can watch the film before reading the book so you can get to grips with the story. This might be a good idea if you’re looking to read classics in particular, as there are lots of different adaptations to choose from, and the style of writing might be quite difficult to get into.

  • Re-read an old favourite.

Sometimes, it’s just best to go back to what you know and love. Re-reading something that is comfortable and familiar might just make you feel better about reading again. And who doesn’t love a good re-read every now and again?!

So these are my top tips for getting out of a reading slump. Are you in a reading slump right now? Do you have any go-to ideas for when you’re falling out of love with reading? Let me know in the comments!

Writing a Book: My Tips & Tricks

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I have written a book, which is a phrase I never thought I would say, no matter how much I wanted to. It’s always been a headliner on my bucket list, and last November after a grueling attempt at NaNoWriMo, I managed to tick it off.

I have not ever published a book, but I’m working on it, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to tick that off the bucket list too. But after four years of would-be-novel writing, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to help you on your way to a finished manuscript.

1

Make a list of genres/narratives/plot devices/settings you love.

I sat in front of my bookshelf, looked up at all of my well-loved books and asked myself “what is it about these books that I love?” Here were some of the answers I came up with:

The sea, lyrical writing, boarding schools, room mates/flat mates, no parents, freedom and independence, letters, philosophy, candidness of feeling, metaphor, living in sections/houses/districts/factions, snow, road trips, epic romances, being stuck somewhere, elements, magic, mystery, royalty, marriage, death/grief, group dynamics, history and many more.

2

Make a list of names for characters you love.

You can do this by either going on a baby name website, or for something more periodic you could always go and look at the gravestones of people from a certain time period. This may spark some thoughts as to the identity behind the name, or character traits. Some names I love and plan on using are:

George, Corey, Greta, Matthew, Sasha, Kendra, Laurie, Harry, Lisel, Brodie, Annalise, Catelynn, Ida, Lydia, Teddy, Karen, Shay, Daya, Torin, and many more.

3

Make a summary or short synopsis of your story.

Take the plot devices and the names you have just picked out and try to construct a story idea from the elements you’ve chosen. Don’t worry too much about your story sounding like something that’s already been published, some people believe there are only seven basic plots in the world. If we all worried about whether our story was original or not, we wouldn’t have much time for writing! See also: the thirty six dramatic situations.

For example, I could write a story about Laurie, a college freshman and History student, who writes letters to her future self about the lessons she learns from life, whilst slowly falling in love with her room mate.

4

Buy a notebook, small enough to fit in your bag/pocket and big enough for your ideas!

If you are a writer, then there is a large chance you are also a stationary fiend. Writing a book gives you license to go to your local retailer and stock up on pens, post-it notes, highlighters, paper clips and a notebook (or a few). If you carry around your notebook with you at all times, you can write down an idea when the moment strikes, which is handy if you are particularly forgetful.

When I was working on my NaNoWriMo project, I had my notebook with me at all times!

5

Write an outline, however vague or detailed.

My outline was similar to a script format. I detailed where the scene was taking place, who was there and important factors worth noting. I also wrote the bare bones of the dialogue between the two characters, or bare description of what a character was doing in the particular scene. After I had done this for the beginning, middle and end of the book, I went back through it and added in description, building the image of my scene from the ground up. The structure I had gave me something to work with, which really, really helped during my writing period.

And lastly, set yourself a goal. Whether you aim to write a hundred words a day or a thousand, it’s important to stay focused and disciplined.

I hope this little article has helped inspire a few of you to get writing. Let me know down in  the comments if any of these tips work for you!

Top 5 Ways to Organise Your Bookshelves

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As I’ve established before, I’m a Virgo. I am a Virgo how loves to organise, or faff, as I call it. I faff with my books mostly, and because I have so many it usually takes a lot of time, but still I’ve faffed with my books every which way. So here are my top ways to organise your bookshelves.

1

A-Z

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So this seems relatively straightforward, but if you’re constantly looking through your bookshelves then this may be the most effective way to catalogue them.

2

By Spine Colour

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Whether you decide on a book rainbow, black and white alternating or an explosion of colour, this is a great way to use your books as art.

3

By Genre

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The genres I tend to use when shelving this way are: classics, YA series (which usually are fantasy or dystopian), YA standalones, plays, poetry, non-fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, gothic fiction (which sometimes crosses over to the classic genre), letters and journals, special/collectors editions, and many more!

4

By Themes or Other

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Fairy tale re-tellings are a firm favourite with me, along with Tudor era books, magic realism, time travel, dystopian worlds, road trips, multiple POV narrative, first person narration, stories in verse, stories in journal form, and many more!

5

Favorites First

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Sometimes the best way to show off your books is to put your favourites up front. I love to show off my Harry Potter books as well as my little Chronicles of Narnia paperbacks. I also love showing off my cool Divergent: Special Edition copy and my Looking for Alaska first edition copy, too. This really gives your bookshelf a unique twist, and shows just what you love in the world of reading!

Let me know in the comments how you like to shelve your books. At the moment, I’ve gone for rainbow theme, but to be honest, with all of these options, I’ll be forever changing them!

Top 10 YouTube Channels

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Having a YouTube channel has become a firm staple in a social media identity, and is the perfect platform for the weird and wonderful to host their ideas, opinions and discussion. Watching YouTube used to just be a place for me to watch videos, but now catching up with my subscriptions has become part of my daily routine, which is why I bring you my top ten favourite YouTube channels that I like to watch regularly.

 These channels are in no particular order.

1

ABookUtopia

(Sasha Alsberg)

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Sasha is one of the biggest book vloggers in the BookTube community with over 250,000 subscribers. Sasha is so enthusiastic about books and every video of hers is like a little ray of sunshine. Sasha has serious bookshelf goals, and frequently updates us with her thoughts on the newest releases. Sasha is also affiliated with EpicReads and rounds up our book-to-movie adaptation news each month.

2

Liza Koshy

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Liza only started her YouTube channel six months ago, but already she has banked a million subscribers in that time. You may recognise her from her Vine account, where she has 4.5 million followers and over one billion loops. To add to her achievements, Liza’s most hilarious series Driving with Liza has earned her over two million views on one video alone. Make sure to check her out for hilarious videos, which are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud!

3

WhittyNovels

(Whitney Atkinson)

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Whitney is another book vlogger from the BookTube community, but also vlogs often about her hobbies, like journal-ing and music. Whitney also hosts the Cram-a-thon every December, speaks German and has just completed her first semester at college. Is there an end to her talents? I don’t think so! Whitney also manages to read a tonne of books each month which she also reviews on her channel.

4

ItsWayPastMyBedtime

(Carrie Hope Fletcher)

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Carrie is another vlogger with endless talents. Not only is she a YouTube-r, she’s a writer, a singer, an actress, a songwriter, a musician and also a Disney lover. Carrie has spent the last two and a half years performing in the West End as Eponine in Les Miserables, and has just published her memoir All I Know Now. Carrie is currently working on her first fiction book On the Other Side, due to be published this July. I’ve been watching Carrie for ten years, and with every video I fall more and more in love with her.

5

HailsHeartsNyc

(Hailey Leblanc)

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Hailey is another book vlogger from Canada, and one of my favourites. She is currently embarking on a creative writing and publishing degree, and frequently uploads videos detailing her book lists each semester. Hailey uploads book reviews, unboxings and discussions, and every year hosts Bookmas!

6

LaurDIY

(Lauren Riihimaki)

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Lauren started out primarily as a DIY channel, and has since included lifestyle and life hacks into her catalogue. She is one of the front runners in her field with almost three million subscribers. My favourites of hers are her organisation hacks, room decor and clothing DIY ideas. Also, check out Lauren’s Instagram page, as she has a serious eye for photography.

7

PadfootandProngs07

(Raeleen Lemay)

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Raeleen is another book vlogger that I frequently watch, who also reviews new releases, old favourites, and participates in reading challenges. Raeleen also provides us with recommendations on topics such as LBGTQIA and uploads a tonne of fun reading tags with her other bookish friends.

8

CrashCourse

(Hank Green, Phil Plait, Craig Benzine, Adriene Hill, Jacob Clifford, John Green)

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Crash Course massages my inner nerd. I frequently watch their playlists on Literature, Psychology, History and Astronomy, which all areas that I find really interesting. The channel has over 4 million subscribers and aims to help educate it’s subscribers with information and knowledge for free. If you are able to donate to help further the work Crash Course does, you can donate here.

9

Vlogbrothers

(John and Hank Green)

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I became a fan of John Green when I first read Looking for Alaska back in 2011, then I realised he had a YouTube account with his brother Hank that stood independently from his life as a writer. Both John and Hank vlog about topics that occur in their daily life, and fund and create projects like Crash Course, Mental Floss and so many more. Their subscribers call themselves Nerdfighters, as we fight to decrease World Suck.

10

Ariel Bissett

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Ariel is another book vlogger that not only uploads reviews of books, but also hosts the yearly YouTube-a-thon. In 2015, Ariel was one of the Man Booker vloggers, and frequently brings her opinions to her channel, as well as her love of George Orwell. Ariel is a writer herself, and documented her progress with NaNoWriMo this year, and her tips to lead a fuller writing filled life.

That concludes ten of my favourite YouTube channels. I hope you’ve found some previously undiscovered gems in this list, and let me know down in the comments of your favourite channels!