I’ve Gone Digital: How I Keep a Digital Book Journal

I’ve Gone Digital: How I Keep a Digital Book Journal

Over the years, I’ve told you about my reading journal. It’s a physical journal I kept while I read to jot down notes, put my thoughts down, and have a single place I can turn to see what I’m reading.

But I have a confession to make. I’ve gone digital…and I love it.

The reason I switched from analog to digital is really simple. I type faster than I can write, which means my thoughts get written down faster. I think A LOT and having a page or two dedicated in my notebook made the entire process really messy. So I created a Trello board for myself and I organized it in a way that keeps me up-to-date with my reviews, gives me space to write my endless thoughts on a book, and organizes my blog, my Instagram, and my Patreon content. There’s a lot of stuff I put out into the world and this allows me to do just that.

Before I get into it, I do want to mention this wasn’t my idea. I got the inspiration for my Trello board and how to set it up from Book Bumblings. Their Trello board is more extensive than mine and you can check out their blog posts for the original idea.

What is Trello?

A screenshot of my Trello page. Some of the cards are blanked out because they are upcoming blog posts.

Trello is basically an organizational tool used by many companies to keep track of what projects to work on. They’re are these columns you can make with each column representing a group of tasks. It could be a big project with smaller tasks that you need to manage. This allows you to manage that, collaborate with your coworkers, assign tasks, make comments, and keep your projects on track.

For my reading needs, I’m a one woman show so I don’t need most of the tools they provide (and most of those tools require payment). Instead, I use this to organize the reads I’m reading, the books I need to review, blog posts that I want to write, and other tidbits related to content work on social media.

Creating one board is free. I think adding more boards requires more money, but if you’re working on your blog solo then this might be perfect to keep you organized.

How I Organize My Trello Board

What works for me is this assembly-line system. Each column represents a step in my writing process and each card either represents a book or a blog post I want to write about. You can move cards either by dragging and dropping them or you can choose the column to move the card. I really like this method because then you see the cards move from section to section. It’s like a perfectly coordinated symphony. Everyone knows exactly what they need to do and where to go, so there’s no guesswork. It just flows!

On the far left, I keep all the books I plan on reading that month. Each book I read gets a card with the title and the number of pages in parenthesis. When I start to read the book, I move it to the Currently Reading section. Each card has a description section where I basically jot down my notes on the story and my thoughts. This is the most convenient part of the entire process. Because instead of setting up a page in my journal to write these notes, I have this digitally. This also works great on the go because you can download the Trello app to your phone and make notes when you’re not close to your notebook.

When I’m ready to write my review, I move it to the To Review column. This is more organizational for me so I can keep track of what needs a review and what I’ve already worked on. On each card, there’s a section to add a description. I literally use the description section to start my review. It’s all super rough mixed in with pieces of the story I wanted to keep in mind, but when it’s finally time to write my review I’ve already got something started and can easily add or edit from there.

An example of how I write my reviews for a book before they go on the blog

The To Post section is where I keep all my blog ideas. I didn’t want to mix them in with the book reviews because my book reviewing process and my blog post writing process are quite different. Each card is a different blog post idea I had. In the description section, I start off with the bigger parts of the blog post I want to write. I eventually just copy and paste what I have there and use that to start the blog post. It makes putting these posts together much easier than sitting with a blank page trying to make it work. It’s also great when you’re worried your work will suddenly disappear while you’re writing it.

When I’m done posting my blog post or if I’ve finished my review, I’ll move all those cards to my Done pile. It’s the most exciting thing to put things in the Done category. It’s like a checklist where you satisfyingly put that checkmark on your To Do. You get stuff done and to see them physically move off your plate really helps psychologically. The best part of the Done pile is that none of those cards get deleted. They accumulate there so I can always go back and visit the messy thoughts I had about a book.

I also have a section for anything Extra. This includes things I might have skipped from months before, work I plan on doing in the future, or ideas that don’t really flow with the theme of what I’m creating.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, this Trello board has become one of my favorite tools for blogging, writing, and creating content for you all. I’m able to keep track of what I want to write, I never run out of ideas (maybe more steam for writing things), and it’s all neatly organized in one place, which is so important for me. As much as I loved keeping a physical journal of all my book thoughts, I found myself getting lost a lot. I had ideas written in tiny margins and reviews that spanned over four pages and onto post it notes. It was so messy that I felt my life was messy because of it. Now my physical journal is an actual journal and To Do list for my day. This also keeps my To Dos super simple because I know exactly what needs to be worked on.

You can use this Trello board in any manner you’d like! If you mostly work on your own or if you have a team of people working with you, this is a great way to keep track of everything. The best part is that I can download the app to my phone and make changes on the go. That’s always good when ideas strike me at any time. I would highly recommend checking out that post from Book Bumblings. It’s pretty comprehensive and shows you how to use tools like the calendar or labels. I tried using labels but I kept forgetting what each label meant lol.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how a digital journal might benefit you over a physical one. I won’t stop journaling (that’s physically impossible, I believe), but at least the book part of my journaling life is a bit more organized.

Reading As Meditation

Reading As Meditation

Have you ever tried to meditate? Every time I try to meditate, the instructions are usually the same:

  1. Take a minute to sit comfortably in a quiet spot
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Focus on the breath going in and out
  4. Empty your mind
  5. Do this for five minutes or an hour

I can get myself in the comfortable seated position in a quiet spot. I can close my eyes. I can focus on my breath, but when it comes to do it for five minutes to an hour and emptying your mind that’s where I hit the snafu.

Meditation doesn’t encourage you to push yourself. If your brain doesn’t want to empty or if you find yourself more interested in figuring out dinner plans than on your breathing, that’s okay. Meditation says that if your thoughts wander, all you have to do is mindfully return it to the breath. The breathing is key in meditation because focusing yourself on breathing in and out actually helps you empty your mind.

Which makes me wonder if reading is a similar form of meditation. I read somewhere that reading is almost like a forced meditation. You’re not actively sitting down to meditate, but you’re about to pick up a book and put all your energy to focus on the story. I don’t know about you, but when a book is good and you’re sucked into the story then it feels like everything else in the world falls away.

You forget about dinner. You forget about running errands or going to the gym. All you want to know is whether or not the hero makes it to the end or the couple gets together or the issues within this small family get resolved. All you care about in the moment you’re reading is how the book will end.

And when you think of it that way, it is a sort of meditation. Mind you, reading isn’t really emptying your mind but trading one thought for another. However, I found that reading does allow me to enter into the present and that’s one of the goals of meditation. I think my all-time favorite evenings would be a glass of wine, some candles, and a book I’m dying to read or happily devour in one sitting (that’s where the romances come in). When I sit down to read and all I can think about is how the story moves forward, how the characters develop, how I’m totally shipping two characters and their relationship goals. When you’re in a book, you’re IN it.

I will say that reading might not work all the time. There are moments in our life when the invading thoughts or stress are too overpowering to withstand a bookish evening. Make sure to always check in with yourself. If reading isn’t for you, then maybe meditation will work for you. If not, there’s always a little Netflix.

 

Life Update: The Missing Book Blogger

Life Update: The Missing Book Blogger

Hello everyone!

I’m sorry for the absence these past couple of weeks. TBH, it feels like I’ve been absent in more ways than one the whole summer. There’s been so much going on in the real world that the Internet world needed a step back. All that being said, I’m finally back to the swing of things and I can’t wait to share with you what’s been going on.

Well, there isn’t much to tell. I think many of you already know, but my husband and I moved across the country to Los Angeles.

For the next part of this blog post, I’m going to tell you everything that happened in a timeline.

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Reading Slumps Are Tough, So Don’t Read

Reading Slumps Are Tough, So Don’t Read

After finishing A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, I’ve been having the worst book slump ever. It might be because I’ve spent the last month and a half trying to read all the books I have for various projects this summer. Usually, I like to spread these out throughout the months to come so that I’m not bogged down with required reading.

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Living a Wild Bookish Life

Living a Wild Bookish Life

Happy Friday everyone! I’m making a big announcement on my Instagram page today and I thought I’d write a little blog post about what I’m trying to do. I’ll probably end up oversharing because I’m just that kind of person!

If you don’t already know, I’m a bookstagrammer. A bookstagrammer is a person who dedicates their Instagram page to all things books. Mostly, it’s new books and current reads, but what I’m about to announce will change that.

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My Favorite Snacks While Reading

My Favorite Snacks While Reading

When it comes to reading, it’s always important to have the essentials by your side. You’ll need some water for hydration and tea or coffee for the hygge effect. Pillows and blankets for warmth (or comfort if you’re me) and candles because why not?

But one thing I always also remember to include is a snack. I’m a huge fan of snacking while reading. I feel like my hands need to shovel my feelings into my mouth while I’m reading through a particularly difficult passage.

However, not all snacks are created equal and if you’re reading a book the one thing you don’t want to do is stain or crumb up your pages with your chocolate mousse or Oreo cookies.

So here’s some of the snacks I prefer to eat (with a lot of photos I found while digging through my photo gallery):

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