5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Buying More Books

This past weekend, I went to this giant book sale where all books were either $1 for paperbacks or $2 for hardcovers. Needless to say, I went a little crazy.

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I went both Saturday and Sunday and scored these beauties. All these books for $26.  Twenty. Six. Dollars. I was out of my mind giddy, smiling the whole time I was at the event. I sorted through all the stacks multiple times. I chose most of the books blindly (as opposed to checking ratings and reviews  on goodreads like I usually do). I bought them, came home, laid them out before me, smiled, caressed the covers and relished in the new books I’d brought into my life, dreaming of the day I’d finally be able to read them (damn, I have a lot of books I need to read…).

And then I was hit with a feeling. An unusual and strange feeling of… guilt, actually. I wondered to myself: do I need to tone it down? Am I buying too many books? I don’t even have enough shelves for these books to sit on. I daily stare at a stack of them lying on the floor in my writing room. Should I perhaps read the multitudes of unread books I already have before I buy more? What the hell am I doing? Should I cut this out?

No sooner had the questions begun, than did I have an answer for them: Hell no. I will NOT apologize for loving and err… maybe having a little lack of control when it comes to buying books. I’m not addicted to buying books. Addiction is much more complicated than that. But I do love books, and they make me better when I read more of them. So I’m not going to put a cap on how many books I buy as long as I have the means to buy them (particularly if I’m getting a great deal on them in the meantime).

Because I’m me  and my love of lists is as embarrassing as it is real, I’ve decided to create a one to even further justify and examine the reasons I don’t feel guilty or regret buying more books. So if you also can’t seem to walk into a bookstore without leaving with a new treasure (or two… or three), this post is to affirm you in your decision making. Keep on keeping on.

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4 Things I Regret After Traveling

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My poor, neglected camera.

When I first started this blog, I had every intention of dedicating part of it to travel. It’s in the tagline, it’s in my bio, and it’s even got a sad little empty page up at the very top supposed to link to all the travel posts I’ve ever made (zero, up until now). But this aspect of the blog has been neglected for years. And it’s not like I’ve been neglecting it because I haven’t traveled. In fact, I’ve been around quite a bit. From Italy to Ireland to New Orleans and more. I’ve decided it’s finally time to bring this part of my blog alive.

So naturally, the first travel post I’m making is about things I regret after I travel. Great way  to start, am I right?  I’m hoping this doesn’t seem negative. I’m really making this in hopes that the next time I travel, I can look this over and remind myself ahead of time what I may regret, therefore helping me make better decisions during my travel and enriching the experience as much as possible. And hey, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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February Wrap-Up

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And here we are again! Another month and…I haven’t kicked this blog into a ditch to die a sad and lonely death yet? Well, that’s unusual. Usually February is a hard month for me to keep up with blog-wise because of birthday and Valentines Day planning in the first half and then general seasonal mood swings in the latter half. But since I know that’s what typically happens to me in February, I made sure I was relatively prepared, and did my best to throw myself into my writing to combat it. It turned out all right-ish.

Now let’s get down to the specifics.

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Seven Tips For Easing Back Into Writing After A Long Hiatus

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I have a very strong dislike of writing hiatuses.

Partially because they interrupt the flow of writing, and partially because it feels like pulling teeth when trying to get back into writing after them. Of course, this may be different if you’re the type of person that takes an intentional break that refreshes you and leaves you feeling ready to conquer the world with your words when you declare the hiatus over. But my hiatuses are always unintentional, brought on by me shrugging off the need to write to the next day. Then the next. And then the next and the next until I can’t remember the last time I even sat down to write. And then when I do force myself to give it a go again, it almost feels as if I completely forgot how to write at all.

I know I’m not the only one who has trouble starting up again, and since this has (sadly) become such a regular part of my life, I’ve finally managed to devise some strategies to get me from feeling like a baby who was just given a pencil and told to write a dissertation to an actual adult human who knows how to construct a sentence with as little difficulty (read: crying) as possible. I hope that if you’re struggling to  get back into writing regularly and are needing a little kick in the pants that some of these tips might benefit you.

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How I’m Handling My Writing Insecurities (And How You Can Too)

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Me during a typical writing session.

For me, being a writer and being insecure about my writing have always gone hand in hand. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have this feeling, even in my younger years when I was convinced I’d be a world renowned author at the age of twelve and would charm millions when I finally appeared on Oprah for my first interview (for some reason, this seemed like the pinnacle of success to me… my mom’s love of her may have had something to do with it).

But despite this childlike confidence, and despite my parents’ constant and unwavering support and encouragement, I’d already developed doubts about my writing. Even before I was conscious of how hostile the world could be for dreamers and decided to actively pursue crushing my dreams myself, I already suspected that maybe my writing was actually no good at all, and possibly wouldn’t ever be. The seed of insecurity was planted deep inside me early on, and has only grown since then.

It’s something that’s kept me from pursuing both creative and non-creative opportunities by creating excuse after excuse to justify why I don’t go after the things I want. It’s stopped me from continuing projects, made me immediately doubt ideas I once thought were good, and has caused me to curl up on the bed one too many times sobbing about how pathetic I am. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s become a much too predictable cycle in my life.

The thing is, I have more writing goals this year than I do time for me to let insecurity further derail my writing. I have a novel to edit, short stories and a novella to write, two blogs to keep up, and a hopeful career change that hinges on many of the above. So I can’t let my insecurity put me on an undisclosed hiatus anymore. I’ve got to put an end to this. And if not end it (because, let’s be honest, these things don’t just happen overnight), then to at least figure out how to get a handle on it.

Am I alone in this? I hope not. In fact, if you’ve read this far, I suspect maybe you have a similar problem and are looking to remedy it as well (and if not, you can continue shaking your head in amusement at my struggles. I don’t mind). If you are a fellow insecure writer, you are completely welcome here, and I propose we try to work through this together. How? Well, I can’t say for certain, but I’ve got a few ideas, and maybe they’ll work for you too.

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A (Late) Wrap-Up

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We’re over halfway through February and of course I’m just managing to put together a month end blog post for last month. Go figure. I have some pretty good reasons for why this is all happening so late. I had a big trip and my birthday in the beginning of the month and it threw some blog scheduling off… but I’ll save that update for another post.

Anyway, I’ve decided I  want to start writing some “monthly roundups” at the end of every month on this blog. This is partly because I want to share what’s going on in my life outside of some of the posts I already make, and partly because at the end of the year I think it will be valuable to look at these posts, see what I did, what I can be proud of, what I can improve on, and use all this to figure out what I want to accomplish next. So in these posts, I’ll focus on how I’m doing as it relates to blogging, reading, writing, travel and life in general.

So here we go!

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Book Review: Rhythm Ride – A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney

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First Impressions/Why I Chose it:

When I was younger, my parents made it a habit of introducing me and my two siblings to all the music they had listened to when they were growing up: The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and of course the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson. These were just some of the sounds of the beautiful black soundtrack that played through my house growing up (along with pretty much ALL the gospel music), and my siblings and I loathed it. What can I say? It was the late nineties and early two thousands and we had terrible taste in music and only really wanted to listen to the stuff they played on the hits radio station. I digress.

Basically, now that I’m past that stage and judge my music more by its merit instead of what the media tells me to like, I can fully and proudly appreciate the artists and songs that coursed through my household. And because now I’ve been even more intentional about reading books by people of color and learning more about my African American heritage, naturally I wanted to learn a little bit about the history of this music, this Motown Sound, that I could belt out easily, but otherwise knew nothing about.

Well, the first thing I learned was that Motown wasn’t just code for all black music from my parent’s era, but music that was produced in Detroit aka Motor City beginning around the 60s. Embarrassed at my lack of knowledge on this seemingly obvious point, I delved into Rhythm Ride hungry and ready to learn some more. And it did not disappoint.

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