I set several reading goals this year. The main one being my Read Off My Shelf challenge.
After I counted and logged all my books, I decided that reading 50 books from my current hoard stash of books was a good goal, with a stretch goal set at 75. My overall reading goal for 2023 is 156 (3 books per week). So 50 off my TBR bookcase, nearly a third of my overall goal, means 1 out of every 3 books I read should be off my shelf.
The catch? I pledged not to buy any new books until I clear those 50 off my TBR bookcase.
To keep me on track, I’ll be posting a monthly reading wrap-up on the last day of each month. The end of January is here, so let’s see my January reading stats.
For some reason, 2022 seemed to both drag and fly by. Now, here we are on the cusp of 2023. Twenty twenty-three. A New Year. Can you believe it?
2022 was a crazy year for me with moving back to the states from Japan and being homeless for a coupe of months and starting a new job. As a result, my reading was a bit up and down as a result. 2023 should be a bit more stable since I don’t plan on another big move. And so I have made some big reading goals!
Last week I wrote about my 2022 reading challenge. I admitted that I have 112 unread books sitting right here on my bookcase that I have not read. And that I self-imposed a book buying ban until I get to under 20 TBRs.
Well, I might have maybe, just slightly underestimated how many TBRs I really have. My underestimation maybe, might have been just a wee bit off by nearly 50%.
October whizzed by and now it’s nearly mid-November. And I haven’t written a blog post in nearly a month.
Where has the fall gone?
I spent October tied up in reading challenges. I participated in a record number of reading challenges and readathons across three platforms—Litsy, Instagram, and Facebook (although I post the majority of my bookish stuff on Litsy).
In October, I finished 45 books! And I blew past my Goodreads annual goal of 182 books. Here’s the breakdown of the 45:
1 one-star that was also a DNF
Yes, 80% of the 45 were audiobooks. Basically, I listened to audiobooks at all times except for when I was at work. I’ve found audiobooks are great because I can do other things, like crafts or puzzles while listening to an audiobook.
The two 5-star reads were The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, a fun romp through time and space to discover the origins of Halloween, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, a middle grade novel about a boy raised in a graveyard. And my favorite thing about Neil Gaiman audiobooks is that Neil himself narrates them. So even though I have physical copies of most of his books, I still love the audiobooks.
In October, I was also organizing and managing a Halloween-themed book swap as well as participating in two other Halloween-themed book swaps. For one of my swaps, I completed this awesome witch-themed cross-stitch and I also made a sign that says “Own your magic,” but of course I forgot to take a photo of it before I mailed it.
I also spent October finally organizing some. I got a new bookcase, which I desperately needed. With the addition of my new bookcase, I finally organized my books and bookish knick-knacks.
The coolest thing about this book case is that the smaller front row of shelves slides. And those small shelves are perfect for knick-knacks.
I love it so much I *might* just have to get another one so I have a matching pair.
So reading, crafting, and organizing took up all of October. And now it’s November. Nearly mid-November. And I haven’t written a blog post in nearly a month. October blew by and now November is whizzing by. Why? Because I’m in the middle of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2008. This is my 12th year. And once again, I have fallen firmly in the pantser category despite my good intentions to do some planning. (Pantser, for those not familiar with NaNoWriMo terms, is someone who just starts writing on November 1 with maybe only the vaguest idea. In other words, pantsers write by the seat of their pants.)
I did have good intentions to do some planning in October. I thought I would not only jot some ideas down, but maybe do a tentative outline. But I admit that I did not spend October planning for NaNoWriMo in any way. Seriously, with upteen reading challenges, when would I have had the time anyway?
I did have a sort of story idea back in September. But I went with the new story idea that started nagging me for about a week in mid-October and I’m so glad I did. Of course, I didn’t write the original idea down and now that idea is gone. I hope whomever catches that idea does better with it than I did.
Despite my lack of planning, I did block out 7 pm to 9 pm Monday though Friday and 8 am to 10 am on the weekends to write. By scheduling writing time, I’ve not only made writing a priority, I’ve made it a routine. And my 2020 story, which is tentatively called Ghost Dog, has been flowing out of me as fast as I can write it.
After day 1 went so well, I decided to set a daily word count goal of 2,000 words, which is above the NaNoWriMo daily goal of 1,667 words. So far, I have hit my target 2,000 word count goal within 90 minutes or less. That has averaged out to about 2 chapters a night. Once I hit my target goal and reach a good stopping point (which has been more than 2,000 words), I allow myself to stop early. Like a reward system.
To further motivate me, I keep track of my daily word count. And this year, I have set some personal bests.
In 2017, it took me until November 15 to hit 25,000 words and until November 28 to reach 50,000 words. (See my posted 2017 daily word count here). Although I can’t find my word count by day for 2013 (the other year I “won” NaNoWriMo), I know it took me until the end of the month to hit 50,000 words.
This year, I hit 25,000 words yesterday, November 10. FIVE days before my 2017 record and five days before NaNoWriMo progress chart. (If I was writing 1,667 words per day, I’d be at 18,337 on November 10).
I contribute my success so far to primarily being in a good mental place—I live on a sub-tropical island, which I love; I watch the ocean daily, which is relaxing; I love my job and have a fantastic boss, which is all-around good—and so, despite the challenges of this year, I have relatively low stress levels right now.
And so I’m on track to hit 50,000 words on November 19. I may or may not make that goal, but I will write 50,000 words by the end of the month. And having such a nice word count cushion further eases the stress of writing.
I’m having a great NaNoWriMo season so far.
So make sure to check back at the end of the month for my NaNoWriMo 2020 wrap-up post. I may even share a bit of my rough draft. In the meantime, I’ll update my daily word count on my new NaNoWriMo 2020 word count page.
OMG. Today is October 15. The Ides of October. I just got over that it was October 1 and now here it is mid-month already.
Seriously, I’m about 7 weeks behind. I couldn’t believe when the calendar flipped over to October. At the beginning of the month, I started writing a completely different post. I set that post aside for, I swear, a day or two. Now here it is mid-month and that post is out of date.
So here I am writing a it’s-mid-month-where-has-this-month-gone post instead of the previously started it’s-October-and-I-have-so-many-things-to-get-done.
You chose to go into the dark, spooky forest. As soon as you step into the forest, you notice the air cooled instantly. The tightly packed canopy doesn’t allow enough sunlight to reach the forest floor, which also means there’s minimal flora or other underbrush that you’d typically see in a forest. The forest floor is covered with a strange, almost glowing moss that also seems to dampen the sounds. The scent of something (or many things) decomposing fills your nostrils. You look around but see no trace of humans or other beings.
You start along the narrow, winding path, occasionally stumbling over unseen roots. After walking for what feels like hours, you hear a small whimpering sound. Almost like someone crying. Walking toward the noise, you see a small cottage. You can tell the crying is coming from the cottage. You grip your small, rusty sword tightly.
Do you enter the cottage or keep going along the path?