do-a-thon

I didn’t know what read-a-thons were until I got into BookTube, but since I’ve learned of the existence of low-key (or overly ambitious) weekly Internet goals with different reading challenges, I’ve fallen in love with the whole concept.

THE JOYS OF READ-A-THONS

Read-a-thons, in case you’re unaware, are themed (or broad and casual) “events” hosted by one or more bookish people to “marathon” reading: to focus on intentional reading, whether it be reading as many books as you can, tackling your TBR at full speed, or reading certain genres or about a certain subject matter for a set amount of days (usually five to seven). Sometimes there are challenges or rules; sometimes there are none.

The best part about read-a-thons is the community, HANDS. DOWN. Reading alongside other people who are also making reading a priority for the week, even in the midst of chaos or busy schedules, is extremely motivating. There are sometimes Twitter sprints (designated chunks of time where readers put away all distractions to read together), video challenges or Twitter discussions, giveaways, and the like. I love read-a-thons because it pushes me to read more than I normally would in a given week or short period of time. Do I ever complete all the read-a-thon goals? Rarely. But my goodness does it enrich my reading experiences.

Read-a-thons are active. You just do it.

WHAT IF WE APPLIED INTENTIONAL “MARATHONING” TO OUR LIVES OUTSIDE OF BOOKS?

I started thinking: What if we got excited for marathons centered on intentional living? What if we set aside a week to focus on not just books (*gasp*), but our ambitions and our goals?

I love the bookish community because it’s all about books. But I also love getting to know the people in the bookish community and all of their real-life desires, fears, motivations, and ambitions. It’s why I love to watch vlogs: I love pulling aside the curtain to see the book lover and the mother, daughter, student, activist, entrepreneur, writer, and creative individual.

I think part of the reason why bookish people love to meet IRL is because we get to see beyond the books. We get to see what makes the other tick. We get to see dreams and passions beyond our shared passion for reading.

DO-A-THON: INTENTIONAL LIVING FOR ONE WEEK (May 1 – 7, 2017)

I love reading goals as much as the next bookish person, and I’m not willing to give that up for anyone. Reading goals already produce joy and growth in my life. But there are so many areas of my life that I neglect or put off because—as with a growing TBR pile—it’s intimidating or I need the motivation.

So, I want to propose something different. I want to host a week-long DO-A-THON to #GetShitDone and #GetInspired. But not just the boring-but-necessary things, like cleaning out my closet KonMari Style (though I desperately need to do this, and the DO-A-THON would be the perfect motivation).

I want to devote a week of my time to doing the things I always say I’m going to do or want to do.

I want to zero in on a creative project.

I want to finally produce those new marketing materials I’ve been putting off for my business.

I want to volunteer in my community.

I want to read to kids at an early literacy program.

I want to start a garden, start composting, organize my sewing room, LEARN TO SEW, learn to hula hoop, and send more post cards.

Listen. This isn’t bucket-list-athon (though it absolutely can be about those bucket list items). Sometimes to create space in our lives, we need to do the things that aren’t fun but necessary. The reality is, I need to clean out my closet and wash my car. But I also need to do some soul work. Maybe it’s the accountability and intentional goal to ask a stranger to coffee or go without makeup for one week. Maybe it’s finally focusing on starting your Etsy shop, or redesigning your invoices, or taking a break from social media, or figuring out an easier way to sort through your mail.

Maybe a part of your DO-A-THON is actually a book-related goal! Maybe you want to read a certain number of books like other read-a-thons, or maybe you want to finally take the plunge and start a BookTube or book blog.

CHALLENGES FOR THE DO-A-THON

The DO-A-THON is meant to be broad, because we all have different tasks, dreams, goals, fears to overcome, and desires. However, to choose intentional goals, the following may serve as a great guide for you:

  • Do one thing that scares you or do something that challenges the story you tell yourself.
  • Complete a project (creative or otherwise) that you’ve been putting off.
  • Do something that involves someone else or do something for someone else.
  • Learn something new.
  • Do something to foster a calm or welcoming environment.

That’s it. The challenges, again, are not meant to be rules; they’re meant to be helpful guides.

If you’re interested in joining me for #DoAThonLife (May 1 – 7, 2017), use the hashtag to share some ideas of what you might do (or what others might do) to foster a creative, more abundant space for intentional living. And follow @DoAThonLife on Twitter for more updates!

Hi all!

I wanted to share some exciting news. I’m joining the team* at The Reading List, an editorial agency created by Lindsey Alexander and her partner, Salvatore Borriello. I met Lindsey through the Editorial Freelancers Association a while back and was delighted to meet her when I moved back to Raleigh, NC. I’m honored to work alongside all of these incredible editors; I know I will learn so much from their work experience and skills.

I’ve also started my first course through the University of Chicago Graham School toward earning my Editing certificate—something I’ve wanted to pursue for a long time. Cheers to new editorial adventures!

* I am a freelancer for The Reading List, not a full-time employee. I’m still living that entrepreneur life! 🙂

the-reading-list-editorial

The-Night-Circus-Book-Review

Hi all! I loved The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Review below, but basically, this book was enchanting, mysterious, elegant, and a total page turner. I’m planning a “Midnight Dinner” with some friends this month to celebrate the Circus of Dreams. Bookish parties are the best, aren’t they?

Brit-Bennett-the-Mothers-book-review
Oh, my heart! This book aches the whole way through. I was absolutely astonished by the writing.
The Mothers is about a young girl named Nadia who tries to cope after her mother kills herself, the catalyst for Nadia’s pursuit of any opportunity that makes her feel—any opportunity to forget her hurt. She meets Luke, the pastor’s son, and the teen romance ends abruptly, but she can’t stop imagining the life she could have had. In her suffering, she forms an unlikely friendship with a God-fearing girl named Aubrey. The characters are molded by their hurt over the years, each moving through their lives like ghosts, but they remain connected.

This is truly one of the most heart-breaking books about grief, lost love, and the severed intimacy of family. I almost couldn’t bear it. But in its ruthless untangling, there’s a bravery to it and a quiet acceptance that startles me awake.

Brit Bennett has the tragic gift of understanding the misunderstandings of people—the truth behind closed doors and the secrets we carry in our loneliness and our grief. I was weighed down by what lay behind her words. As the mothers said, “the weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.” But, my goodness, I was stunned by how beautiful it was: not just the poetic language, but the way she dissects emotion and makes it uncomfortably tangible. She doesn’t apologize for it. I loved that about this story. I loved Aubrey’s story especially, and I was extremely impressed by how she fleshed out the Mothers’ collective voice. Every “we,” and “she-said-he-said” was a perfect echo of the “church gossip” of the south; I was surprised, at times, that it took place in Southern California. I was also surprised by how much we, as readers, can peer into Luke’s thoughts, motivations, desires, and fears.

What else can I say? This book made me grieve for my gender. I felt the weight of a woman’s shame—a mother’s shame— that presses and flattens you out on all sides—the shame and pressures laid upon every mother and every girl who will one day be expected to grow into a mother. “Magic you wanted was a miracle, magic you didn’t want was haunting.” “Suffering pain is what made you a woman.” Even so, this book made me proud to be a woman. I’m softened by their need for love and their need to love. They feel hurt beyond repair, but the heart is stronger. In the midst of suffering, one character remembers walking to the end of a pier—a pier that must be rebuilt time and time again because of the storms. “She wondered if that was the point, if sometimes the glory was in rebuilding the broken thing, not the result but the process of trying.”

Oh, there’s so much we don’t know about the human heart. We experience it all with Nadia: how a loved one’s face she aches to remember slowly slips away while the grainy image on a sonogram never leaves her.

There’s no doubt about it. I will definitely pick up Brit Bennett’s next book.

editor-desk

Hey wordsmith!

I realized people stumbling upon my editing blog posts may not realize I’ve been talking about my life as an editor over on my YouTube channel. I’m overdue for another relevant video, but go ahead and hop over if you’re looking for more info on the best editing books, how I became an editor, and more! x

Edit on, and may the Oxford comma be with you!