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Reading

Books I’ve read in 2022 (Part 1)

Collage of all 10 book covers featured in blog post

Considering we’re more than a third of the way through the year, I’ve not read nearly as many books as I would have liked.

But I thought I’d do a roundup of all the books I have read so far this year and share some quick thoughts.

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Journal

15 things I could blog about but currently don’t

During the catch-up call I had with my friend Ellie the other night, she described her week as having been filled with thoughts rather than events. This has really stuck with me as it perfectly describes my week almost every week. Whilst my life is rarely eventful, my brain never takes a day off.

This also made me think about my writing — or lack thereof. I must create the impression I spend little time with my writing considering I share little of it. What doesn’t come across is all the ideas and plans I scrap or put on hold. Only a fraction of what pops into my brain makes it to the page, and an even smaller fraction of what does get written is shared on the Internet.

So I decided to make a long list of ideas I’ve had for this blog, which may or may not turn into future content. I understand it’s arguably tedious to write content about content, let alone content about content that doesn’t exist. But I thought it might be fun to illustrate how I come up with ideas and say a bit more about myself.

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Journal

10 things that got me through January (2022)

Towers spelling out the word "HELP" in all caps, made in the Townscaper demo.

Last year, I retired my Sunday Sharing series of posts, promising a different approach. My “21 things that got me through 2021” was a trial of what I hoped would be that new approach, and I enjoyed writing it so much that I’m going to try and do them monthly.

The January blues really got to me this year, too. So blogging about what helped me through it felt especially relevant.

There were a lot more things than what I’ve listed below. But I decided these were the highlights.

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Journal

21 things that got me through 2021

Saying goodbye to the year in my journal and discovering my bubble writing hasn’t improved since I was a child.

It’s the last day of 2021 and what a long year it has been! Thanks for the memories ’21, but you won’t be missed.

There was a lot of shit this year, on a personal level and a societal level and obviously a global level, but there was a lot of good that got me through it. Originally this post had close to 80 things, but I decided to distil it down to fit inside 21 sections.

So here’s my Top 21 things (in no particular order) that got me through Plague Year Two…

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Reading

My favourite books of 2021

Collage of book covers for 12 of the listed 20 books in this post.

I read 45 books this year and started a 46th on Christmas Day. Out of all those books, there was not a single one I’d call a bad read. Thus, narrowing down a list of favourites from this year wasn’t easy.

In the end, after much deliberation, I settled on the 20 listed below. So here are my favourite reads of 2021, listed in the order that I read them:

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Journal

7 thoughts on daily journaling

Two journals, side-by-side. The left has a brown cover with the words "Master Plan" written across it. The right is a grey Game of Thrones premium notebook with House Stark direwolf sigil and words "Winter is Coming" on the front.

Many great things have come out of this year and starting a daily journaling habit back in October is one of them.

I’ve mentioned journaling a few times already, primarily in a Sunday Sharing post and in my newsletter. But I wanted to elaborate on my daily practice further. 

Journaling has done wonders for my creativity and my mental health, so I thought I’d list some specific thoughts on how journaling has benefitted me in the hopes it might encourage someone else to give it a try.

So if you’ve ever considered keeping a diary or journal (I use these terms interchangeably), here are seven thoughts on why it’s good to journal every day, which might give you that little nudge to get started…

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Journal

Write lists

Austin Kleon’s “HOW TO BE HAPPY” list from his book Keep Going

Does anyone else love making lists? Quite often I love making a list more than anything I’ve listed.

Lists bring order to the chaotic universe. I love making lists. Whenever I need to figure out my life, I make a list. A list gets all your ideas out of your head and clears the mental space so you’re actually able to do something about them.

Austin Kleon, Keep Going

Austin Kleon, in his book Keep Going, notes the benefits of writing and keeping lists. He mentions numerous creatives who make lists, from artists like David Shrigley and John Porcellino to writers like Steven Johnson and Mary Roach. List-making is a way to curate a collection of all our messy thoughts and put them into order.

In my last post, I talked about writing through the noise in my head. Sometimes writing a list helps cut through that noise.

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Reading

Five newsletters I like

I’ll be launching my own email newsletter very soon, and so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share five newsletters I regularly read and enjoy.

Assuming you’re like me and you check your email inbox at least once per day, newsletters can be a great way to follow the work of your favourite content creators. There’s no interference from an algorithm that causes you to miss the latest update. Instead, you’ve invited your favourite creator into your inbox.

Email newsletters come in many forms. Some are similar to blogs, focusing on a particular theme or subject matter and writing content centred around it. Whilst mine will be a curated newsletter. What this means is that it will feature a collection of links and general info all in one place with the aim of sending you to other pages on the web.

The following five fall into one of these two categories:

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Journal

Ten lessons I’ve learnt so far from starting to write a novel

A month ago, I would not have envisioned even attempting to write a novel at this stage in my career. But then a literary agent asked if I had 25 pages of a work-in-progress to share, and I realised I wanted to say, “Yes.” So I’ve started to write one.

It’s very early days, far too early to share any concrete details publicly, but I thought it was worth writing about ten lessons I’ve learnt (mostly about myself) since I started writing it.

1. I’m not much of a gardener

My project has grown in the telling. Initially, it was conceived as a single short story. Then I decided to make it a trilogy of short stories. But then I had more ideas, so it became a collection of interconnected stories. It has now settled into its final form (I hope): a novel.

Therefore, I had a lot of key plot points and characters worked out quite some time ago. So I wrote my opening line—also worked out months ago—and I was confident a second line would follow.

Not only did the second line not come easy, but the next several were a physical pain to type.

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Reading

My favourite books of 2020

Collage of all 15 book covers in this list.

Every year I set myself a reading goal. I set it high enough to be a consistent nudge to read often but never too high that reading becomes stressful.

My goal was to read 35 books in 2020, and I read a total of 45.

It was the first year that theatre plays didn’t contribute to that final number, which made reading in 2020 a completely different experience to the previous couple of years. Instead, I read a great deal more non-fiction than I normally would, which I found to be equally as pleasurable as reading fiction. I also learnt a lot, too.

I enjoyed most books I read last year, but I’ve decided to list 15 I felt were worth highlighting. I’ve listed them in the order I read them. I considered ranking them but that led to overthinking, and I already have enough of that in my life.