How To: Read More

Lately I have been covering a lot of writing related topics, like how to write everyday and how to develop healthy writing habits, but it has been a while since I did a sort of “reading tips” post so here I am! I thought it would be helpful to give my personal reading tips on how to read more and quicker too and I hope they help.

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  • Audiobooks, Audiobooks, Audiobooks – Honestly, audiobooks are the best things ever, and while I realize they aren’t for everyone, I do recommend listening to them especially when you are falling behind in your reading. Lately I have only been listening to them when I walk to school and back, or just walking somewhere in general, but even those few minutes each day helps a LOT. I just started my re-read for Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier two days ago and am already about 120ish pages in (which is pretty good for me during the school week). I recommend listening to audiobooks you have physically read before if you have a hard time paying attention to them in general.
  • Read In Short Sprints – Like writing, reading in short sprints throughout the day will amount to more than you think. Maybe you are really busy during the day so try reading for a few minutes when you wake up, on your lunch break or any other break, and then another few minutes in the evening. Even if it isn’t a lot, it will be more than if you didn’t read at all.
  • DNF That Book You Can’t Seem to Finish – Maybe the reason you aren’t reading a lot is because you are reading a book that is just dragging you down and wasting your precious reading minutes. You don’t have to love every book, and don’t force to read something you don’t want to read.
  • Read Multiple Books At Once – Like the audiobook one, this one might not be your cup of tea. However, reading multiple books at once is a lot less daunting than it seems. I tend to read two or sometimes even more books at once (usually not planned) and I make sure I devote time to each time. Sometimes I will read one book in the morning and work through the other one later that day. Sometimes I will even devote entire days to different books. Try it out and if it doesn’t work, oh well!

Those are a few of my personal tips on how you can read more and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the links below to more of my blog posts! Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: How To: Develop Healthy Writing Habits

Other Places You Can Find Me:

Twitter:@zoermathers

Pinterest: @zoermathers

5 Goals Every Writer Should Set + How to Stay Accountable

It is essential to have goals if you are a writer, especially if you plan on going somewhere with your writing. Most important though, it is essential to actually stick to those goals because otherwise you won’t find yourself where you want to be by the time the next year comes rolling around, and trust me, it will come a lot faster than anticipated. A lot of people make the mistake of setting these massive goals and then giving up two weeks into the new year, so today I will be sharing some of my personal ideas, goals and tips centered around creating and sticking to writing related goals!

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  1. Write Everyday – If you are a writer, you probably already write everyday. I know I do, even if it is not related to my fiction writing. Writing everyday includes writing a story, essay, blog post, or even a journal entry, really anything that relates to using your writing muscle. This is a really easy goal to make, and honestly it may be the easiest one to keep up with. Just set aside anywhere between ten minutes to even an hour in the morning, afternoon or evening and write in your journal or even a quick blog post. The point is, to be a writer, you have to actually write.
  2. Submit to At Least One Literary Magazine or Writing Contest – It amazes me how many people don’t take the opportunity to submit their work to literary magazines or writing contests, especially if it is completely free for you to do! Submitting your work to magazines is a great way to get your name and work out there and the writing world, and even possibly make some money off of the thing you love to do. If you need some recommendations for literary magazines to submit to, definitely check out my blog post where I share 10 literary magazines that are completely free to submit to!
  3. Read, Read, Read – This is an obvious one, but it is one that needs to be  enforced because sometimes we get so caught up with our writing that we forget to read. Reading helps motivate and inspire us to write, and is an essential ingredient to creating a story. Even if you are caught up in writing your own story, don’t forget to crack open a book even if it is just for 15 minutes a day.
  4. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo/NaNoWriMo – Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo give you the motivation (and excuse) to write during the month of July and November, and give you a reason to connect with other writers from around the world. Even if you do not reach the goal of 50k words in a month, as long as NaNoWriMo gets you to write something I see that as a huge success! So definitely add participating in Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo to your goals for 2018 because it is such a fun and beneficial experience. it will amaze you how much of a manuscript you can get done in a short period of time.
  5. Connect With Other Writers – This had never been a goal of mine until this year, when I realized how important it is to connect with other writers. Writing is a lonely task, and if you have someone else to discuss writing with, it will make it less lonely. Also, by connecting with other writers you can share your work with each other, get feedback and learn how to give feedback too; all things that benefit and create a well-rounded writer!

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When it comes to staying accountable to your goals, it is important to one, create goals that are not too far out of reach, but just far enough to get you out of your comfort zone and two, create goals that you control the outcome of. By this I mean not writing down I resolve to win one writing contest this year…because while that would be amazing, you are not in control of who the judges choose. Instead, choose a broader goal like I resolve to enter one writing contest this year. Now that is something you can control. And finally third, create goals but also create a plan to achieve those goals. It is easy to write down I resolve to enter one writing contest this year, but how are you going to actually do this? Are you going to write everyday for two weeks before the contest? Are you going to start editing three days before? These are important things to think of when writing down your goals, and it will make them so much easier to achieve when you know exactly how you are going to do it.

Ways I stay accountable to my goals are by treating myself to a reward if I write everyday for a week, or accomplish a goal by submitting different pieces of work to a few literary magazines or writing contests. If you reward yourself, you will find yourself feeling more motivated to accomplishing the goals on your list. Another way I make sure I accomplish my goals, is by setting reminders on my phone because sometimes I honestly just forget. Sometimes I need that reminder to sit down and write for thirty minutes, or sometimes I forget that a writing contest deadline is coming up. Writing it down isn’t always enough.

 

Those are some goals every writer should set and also how to stay accountable. Hopefully this was somewhat helpful to you, and gave you some ideas of what goals you should set of yourself as a writer, but if you have some more goal ideas definitely leave them in the comments! If you liked this blog post please like it so I know to make more, and also don’t forget to check out my last blog post: 10 Literary Magazines To Submit To (NO FEES) 🙂

How to: Conquer That Reading/Writing Slump

I have done a few of these before, but not lately so I decided to make another since I am currently trudging through an AWFUL reading/writing slump. I feel like part of it is because school and just life is so hectic right now, but its times like these where I want to be reading and writing the most!

Tip #1: Don’t Feel Guilty

We all have slumps whether it comes to reading, writing or some other hobby of yours so don’t feel guilty about it. Accept that you are in a slump and realize you will eventually push through it.

Tip #2: Take Your Time

A lot of the times when I am in a slump, I force myself to read and write. Sometimes that is what breaks the slump, but other times its not. Try to push yourself to just sit down and read or write, or whatever, but if you aren’t feeling then don’t push yourself! You are supposed to be reading and writing because you love it.

Tip #3: Figure Out What Could Be the Origin of Your Slump

This sometimes help, but if I am really stressed or just have a lot on my mind, that is when I tend to fall into a slump the most. I am just so worried about so many other things that my mind won’t allow me to stop thinking about it. But if I figure out why that is happening, I can figure out why I am feeling that way, move past it and hopefully come out of that slump. Taking a walk a few times a week or listening to music can also help with this.

Tip #4: Write It Out

Writing in a journal, for whatever reason, can help. Even if you are not in a reading, or a writing slump, writing out the frustration you feel can help get rid of it. I know that whenever I finish writing in my journal, I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Tip #5: Read a Favourite Book of Yours

Again, this works for reading and writing slumps because reading a book you know you love can make you not only want to keep reading, but also start writing. It can inspire you to create your own story again!

Those are five quick tips to conquer a reading and writing slump and I hope you enjoyed. Also, sorry about not posting a blog post yesterday, I had a super intense soccer tournament for a few hours and just crashed afterwards!

How To: Read Lots of Books

Sometimes is hard to either motivate yourself or find the time to read. So with this post will inspire and give you some ideas on how you can read more!

  • Always Have a Book – Whether you are at school or on the bus, you always want to have a book on you because maybe you have a few minutes before the class starts, or the bus is late, that is great time to get some reading done! Not reading in those quick time slots is a waste of valuable reading time.
  • Read in Multiple Formats – By this, I mean eBooks, physical books and audiobooks. I prefer reading physical books, but sometimes they are too bulky to carry around everywhere so slipping my Tablet into my bag is easier. eBooks are also nice because it is darker outside you can still easily see the words on the page. Audiobooks are also great because you can listen to them while you are doing chores or walking. I love to multitask so eBooks are fantastic! You can buy them but I prefer getting them for free from the library.
  • Read What YOU Want – A lot of the time we can get caught up in what is hyped up or very popular right now and that makes us feel as if we are obligated to read that specific book whether we want to or not. Make sure you are reading something that you truly do want to read because it will make reading way better and easier than reading some book that you are forcing yourself to read. When reading books you actually enjoy, you fly through them quicker.

Those were 3 tips on how to read more books and I hope you enjoyed!

Tips on Starting a Blog

I have had my blog for a bit less than a year and it was honestly one of the best things I could have done! I have met and talked to so many great people and have also really enjoyed being able to share my love for books and writing. If you are thinking of starting a blog, then definitely read some helpful tips below!

Be Active – People don’t want to follow a blog that posts once a month, let alone once a week. Try being very active and post at least 3 times a week because that will show your commitment to the blog. I post 6x a week, despite my bust schedule, because I like posting a lot and providing lots of material for all of you!

Write with Quality – I do love to write, but I am not the best with writing down my thoughts in a clear way, hence why I do not write many reviews on books or movies. But if you write and then re read your work to look for any errors it definitely improves your work! Even including pictures or a little video or even a link will up the effort you put into your work.

Be Original – Nobody wants to read a blog post similar to one they have already read, so try and be original with your work. I like to come up with my own book tags, and I also like to write about things that I wish more people wrote about. Write what you want, but twist it to make it entirely your own.

Have fun! – Running a blog should be fun, especially if it is a hobby like it is for me. You should love what you put out and enjoy the overall essence of your site. I love to share my thoughts and opinions and what I am loving so I am glad I have been able to these past 10 months!

Those are all of my tips to starting your own blog and I hope you found it useful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Writing Book Recommendations!

How To: Break the Reading Slump

A reading slump is a terrible thing that can frequently or occasionally happen to a reader…I made it sound like a disease but really, it is. Anyway, I don’t know about you but I detest reading slumps and I am currently in one right now so here are a few tips that will hopefully help you break your current or future reading slumps!

Push Away the Netflix – I watch Netflix pretty regularly but when I am on a reading slump that is all I do basically. When I am supposed to be reading I’m usually found binge watching the Vampire Diaries for the millionth time. So when this happens you just got to push the Netflix away and focus on reading, no matter how hard it may be. You can’t exactly read and watch at the same time…

Make Time for Reading – If you don’t make time for reading you are never going to pick up that book your struggling to finish. Plus if you don’t at least try to read you will not break your reading slump. I recommend making time to read an easy and fun book or just a book you know you love. Picking a book you love will make you more excited for reading because you know you are going to enjoy reading that book!

Turn Off Other Distractions – By this I mean turn off your phone, turn off your computer, turn off your iPad, tablet, really anything that can tempt you. You don’t want to be reading and then get a notification from YouTube and then end up binge watching different YouTube videos…that’s not going to progress you towards the end of your reading slump at all.

Don’t Force Yourself – This is a really important tip because reading is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and if you are not feeling that book then don’t read it because it to, is not going to help your reading slump. Make sure you are reading a book you like and are having a blast while reading!

I know those tips are pretty obvious but they are so true and sometimes people need a reminder about them! I hope this helped and don’t forget to check out my last post and comment if you have reading slumps frequently!

How To: Have a Good School Year

I know this is different from the usual book/TV related blog posts I do but for a lot of us school has or is going to start and it can be very stressful. So, in this blog post I hope to help ease a little of that stress off all of you so you can enjoy the school year! Hope it helps!

  1. Take breaks – School consists of a lot of mental power and hard work so it is extremely important to take breaks. Every week, take at least one afternoon after school for yourself. Just spend a few hours by yourself whether that is you binge watching your favourite TV series on Netflix, taking a long walk or reading. TIP: When studying, take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes and then on every third break take a 20 minute break. This will help your mental focus a lot!
  2. Be Involved – Get involved with your school! Join a sports team or a club, just anything that connects you more to your school. Trust me, it feels great to show that you are a part of your school because clubs and teams can introduce you to new friends and will take away some of the stress of school.
  3. Stay Positive – I always struggle with this step around halfway through the school year because by then, a lot of us are just done with school, people, and work. The important thing is to not focus on the negative aspects of school but the positive ones. That may be a class that you really enjoy, your friends, a club that you are in or just lunch time when you can relax. It is important to find the things you like in school and stick with those things.
  4. Write It Down – I love to write so I have been trying to do this lately in preparation for the school year. Writing down your day or your feelings everyday will take a weight off your shoulders and will just make you feel better. Sure, this step isn’t for everyone because some people can’t bring themselves to write in a journal but it will help for certain people!
  5. Be Organized – Staying organized is so important because it will just make the school year that much easier. By staying organized you won’t have any surprise tests, lost papers or anything that you don’t expect. Writing things down in a notebook or planner and keeping all loose papers in a binder will help bring your stress level down several notches. Trust me.

Those are 5 different steps/tips to help keep your school year stress free and easy! Trust me, if you follow at least one of these you are on the right track to a better, happier school year.

How To: Find Motivation to Write

Hello! So I decided to do another “How To” blog post just because you guys like them and they are fun to put together so here is one on how to find motivation to write because that can be hard sometimes. Writing is hard so I want to help you guys find the motivation to push past that and just write.

Podcasts – I love podcasts, they are just fun to listen to and depending on the subject, they can be very informative. I especially love listening to writing podcasts because they motivate and inspire me to write while giving helpful tips. My ultimate favourite writing podcast is 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang just because she has amazing writers and artists come on and give amazing tips and quotes. Definitely check this podcast out if you haven’t!

Writing Books – I love to read so recently I began reading books on writing. I’ve read books on fantasy and sci fi writing, literature, technical writing, and really just anything that will help me become a better writer. I jot down notes that I find helpful or little quotes that inspire me to keep writing because I feel like when you look back on those notes, you may feel inspired to follow them. Reading is a very very important part of being a writer, so why not also read books on writing?

Author Talks – On YouTube you can find endless amounts of videos on whatever topic you imagine. I know for a fact there are author pep talks or author interviews on there and those always motivate me to write. Just hearing about how the author struggled at times and things they did to overcome whatever obstacles were thrown in their way will inspire you to move past your obstacles. Also, they most likely give great writing tips and information that will help you! It’s always good to listen to the pros.

Writing Tip of the Day – Remember, an idea doesn’t make a story. It’s the way the writer writes it that makes it a story.

Writing Quote of the Day – There is no greater agony than baring an untold story inside of you. Maya Angelou

 

 

How To: Find the Perfect Book

It can be difficult to find the ‘perfect’ book that just makes you want to keep reading forever but it isn’t impossible! Finding the perfect book can set you on a journey filled with books and reading which is an amazing thing. I like to think that everyone likes to read, but if they don’t it’s just because they haven’t found the right book to get them started. Which is why I made this post!

Step 1 to finding the perfect book:

Experiment. Maybe read a few chapters of a few books and get a feel for what genre you like. Some books I recommend for this stage is Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. These are just some amazing books that are easy to get into and get you hooked on reading!

Step 2 to find the perfect book:

Find the right place and time. Finding the right time and place to read is extremely important. For instance, I prefer and get most of my reading done at night because I am less distracted and can focus more on my book. The place I also prefer to read in is my bed or couch in my bedroom. All these things contribute to finding the perfect book.

Step 3 to finding the perfect book:

Read it. Now it is time to read the book! You have found a book to give a go, the perfect place, perfect time so now it is time to see if you like the book!

Step 4 to finding the perfect book:

Now, once you have read the book you decide whether or not you liked or disliked it, or maybe you just thought it was okay. If you didn’t love it, or at least really enjoy then repeat step 1 and pick another book! Don’t give up so easily, just keep trying to find the right book. Maybe even switch reading places or times. Just do whatever feels right.

Step 5 to finding the perfect book:

Talk about it. Hopefully by now you have read a book you really liked or hopefully love. One of the best things to do after you finish reading an amazing book is discuss it with other people who liked the book as well. There are 2 different ways to do this. If you have friends that read the same books as you you can talk about it with them or you can go onto the internet. Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram and Goodreads are great place to discuss different fandoms with people! If you need an account to talk to get started check out my fandom account on Instagram! @chasing_jace

Hope you enjoyed this How To: Find the Perfect Book tutorial!

How To: Get Books for Cheaper

You guys really liked my How To: Write a Novel post so I decided to write another How To post! This one is all about where too get books for cheaper because that is always a struggle for me. I hope you all like it!

Websites – bookoutlet.ca/com is a great website where you can get books for really, really cheap and they have a great variety of books. I don’t use this website much just because I prefer to buy my books in store but if you like online shopping then definitely check this website out!

Used Book Stores – Used book store are a great way to get cheap books. I have this amazing used book store where I live and the books are in good condition and are half the original price if it was brand new! I know that a lot of used book stores have crappy books or ones that are in crappy condition but if you go searching you will find a good one!

eBooks – I like eBooks for travelling because it makes things so much easier and luckily eBooks are usually cheaper and you can usually find good deals. I do prefer physical copies of books but for travelling eBooks are perfect!

Publishing Companies – By publishing companies I don’t mean them sending you a book. What I mean is that if you sign up for them to email you on deals and new releases, at some point you will be able to claim a free eBook or get some fantastic deals. I go a free copy of Delerium by Lauren Oliver one time! Some examples are Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House, etc.

Those are some ideas! Comment ways you get cheap books below.

P.S. this post was in no way sponsored these are just some ways I get cheap books.