Last year I started a new habit with my reading life. It’s not working perfectly, but I’m liking it enough to share it with you. (I wish I were a Texan so I could just say y’all. It sounds so much friendlier, y’all.)
So here was my problem.
I couldn’t keep track of what I had already read, if I liked it, what I wanted to read, what friends had recommended. All that good stuff.
Even if you don’t care to organize your books, this system would work just as great for TV shows, crafts, movies, music. Just about anything you want to remember or notice.
Just so you know, I did not invent this system. Thank you to Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcy) for planting the seed and jump-starting my practice. Thank you to the Bullet Journal guy, Ryder Carroll, for the big picture system. I just made it my own. You should make it your own.
Here’s how to start.
- Grab a great little notebook and pen. You don’t need to go out and buy something new, but be sure this is something that makes you smile. (That green ten-cent spiral notebook from the bin at your local office supply might make you smile big because it was such a deal.) For me, it needs to be something pretty and sturdy.
- 2. Label the notebook “Reading Journal.” Or “Movie Journal.” Or “Favorite Bible Verses.” You get the idea. And by the way, how you choose to label the journal is completely personal. I love to doodle and copy things to color, so that’s what I choose. Please don’t let this labeling thing stop you. It doesn’t need to be fancy unless you desire that.
- 3. Guess-timate how many pages are in your notebook. My half-inch notebook has about 75 pages.
- 4. Number all the pages. However you want. Again, I like some color and doodles, but really, you can just write in a regular black pen.
- 5. Turn to the first page and write “Index” at the top. (If this sounds familiar — think, Bullet Journal? You know exactly where I’m going.)
- 6. Write page numbers down the left side. I divided each page of my Index in half, so I could get about 50 pages on each Index Page.
- 7. At the top of the next page, after you’ve finished the Index, write the title of the book/TV show/movie you just finished reading or watching. Or the one you are currently reading or watching. This is super important. I found myself trying to play catch-up. It’s really hard to do and at least for me, it was overwhelming. So just begin with today.
If this is all you write, then awesome! Personally, I wanted to write a few more things so I could remember the author, the way I felt about it, the number of pages. Include any details you want. This morphs over time, by the way. I started with title, author, number of pages, and star ratings. I usually include a few special quotes, if I remember to do that while I’m reading. If not, no big deal. Sometimes I write a quick summary to help me remember the story line. It’s important that each book/movie, etc. Starts on a new page. That way your index will work.
You can get all nerdy about this if you want, like transferring the list alphabetically to another Index once you fill the journal. Or you could do this digtally on Evernote or in an Excel spreadsheet. I tried that. It didn’t last. I like having this journal on my bookshelf next to my favorite books.
How about you? Does this make you cringe and say, “No way! Too much work!” Or are you already beginning . . . ?
Let me know.