Why You Should Start A Journal!

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I’ve been actively writing since I was in the 2nd grade. It all started with a red furry diary that my mom bought me at The Disney Store. It had an embroidered Mickey Mouse head on it and I took that thing everywhere! Since then, I have had about six journals. I may not have saved all of my journals throughout the years, but for me it was more of a method to cope with issues I was going through “at the moment”. I didn’t fill up my journals so that I could go back one day and reminisce (although that can be fun); it was a way of releasing all emotions-good or bad. Can you imagine what my journals from Junior High look like? CRINGE.

There are many different types of journals and different ways to get started journaling, and I will share everything I know with you! But first, why should you start journaling?

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(You can purchase this journal here)

Reasons to Start Journaling Now

  1. Journaling Helps You Harness Your Creativity. The best thing about starting a journal is that you can make it completely unique to your style. From the décor to the content, everything about it can be entirely you! I used to think I wasn’t a very creative person, but I enjoyed drawing and writing so much that I began a journal specifically for unleashing my creativity! Remember, you don’t have to put your journal on display, so be as creative and unique with it as possible.
  2. Journaling Helps Reduce Stress. The main reason I continued to journal throughout my college days was to reduce my anxiety and stress. Sitting in a quiet room, reflecting on your day, and writing it down can really help to center your emotions. Or if you are like me and would rather not reflect on your worst days, you can always do a little fiction writing.
  3. Journaling Is A Way To Document Your Life. My early years of journaling were strictly documenting the events in my life. It was absolutely crazy to go back ten years later and read about the moments I completely forgot about. If you are someone who loves to capture all of your memories, journaling is a great way to do so! Hint: If you have ever kept a baby book, guess what? That’s journaling!
  4. Journaling Helps Assist In Personal Growth. I remember going through a journal from my earlier years and thinking, “wow, that decision I made definitely didn’t work out for the best”. It’s difficult not to grow from any type of journaling. You may begin to see yourself becoming more organized, becoming a better writer, achieving more goals, being more creative, and showing signs of overall personal development.

 

With so many positive reasons to begin a journal, it’s no surprise that journaling has become super popular! This is also because there are so many different types of journals to fit every lifestyle!

Types of Journals to Keep

  1. Creative/Art Journal. An art journal is a way to express yourself through writing, drawing, painting, coloring, etc. It’s usually more artwork than actual writing. Scrapbooks, sketchbooks, and portfolios can be considered art journals.

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Artist Unknown via Pinterest

  1. Gratitude Journal. A gratitude journal is a way to reflect on the good throughout your day. You write down words, phrases, or moments through your day that you are truly thankful for. This type of journal is a great stress-reliever!

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  1. Writing Journal. My favorite journal is my writing journal. I use my journal to better my writing by filling it with writing prompts and ideas for stories. Everything in it is fictional, kind of crazy, and completely my own!

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  1. Bullet Journal. Bullet journals are all over Pinterest right now! It is a unique way to plan, sketch, organize, and journal all in one. Using graphs, doodles, and calligraphy, they are a creative way to do it all!

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  1. Stream of Consciousness Journal. This is probably the most common type of journal, especially for younger writers. If you have a diary, then you have this type of journal. It’s basically a journal that you fill up with whatever you are thinking at the moment- how your day was, memories, reminders, anything!

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6. Prayer/Meditation Journal. If you are a spiritual person, this might be the right journal for you! A prayer journal can be anything from bible study, bible verses, or your thoughts to a higher power. A meditation journal is a personal reflection following meditation or a spiritual emerging.

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SummmerAnne

 

There are so many other types of journals you can create, and it’s easy to find ideas on how to get started! Sometimes I will go to Pinterest and search “journal” and look at all the creative and unique journals out there. If you’re interested in getting started, here are a few of my favorite resources.

Resources

How to Use a Gratitude Journal

Writing Prompts

Bullet Journal

How to Start a Prayer Journal

HAPPY WRITING!

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Book Review: A Shadow Life

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A Shadow Life by Leta McCurryPublished September 1st 2016 by Embers Press

“If we don’t get away, and if anything happens to me, you have to find a way to get away from Harley…If i’m not here, get away. Run. Find a way. Run. Promise me. Do you understand, Laney?” -A Shadow Life, Leta McCurry

Synopsis:

After her father passed away, Laney and her mother, Mattie, were left to fend for themselves.  Then one day, Harley Faddis strolled into town intending on marrying Mattie and taking her and Laney away. However, as soon as they leave town it’s apparent that Harley isn’t the man he said he was. Five years later, Laney finds herself alone, frightened, and on the run. Eventually, she “finds a way to hide in plain sight and builds a safe and near-perfect new life. Safe and near- perfect, that is, until three people from the past show up looking for revenge, redemption and love.” (McCurry)

Ruby Jo is a wild eyed girl who knows she is destined for more than her small country town has to offer. She knows she is beautiful and there is a fire inside of her that she can’t keep tamed. When her mother attempts to marry her off, Ruby Jo makes the decision to flee to Hollywood. Nothing is going to keep her from chasing her dreams. Not even the birth of her daughter, Mercy Grace. Following a timeline from 1930 to 1962, Leta McCurry introduces us to four women who are interwoven and desperately trying to run from their pasts and build a new life.

My Thoughts:

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this novel, but I was immediately immersed after the first page! I seriously could not get enough of it! The characters are so vibrant and real, you could definitely feel their pain and anguish. I haven’t experimented with many historical fiction books, but this novel definitely changed my outlook. Utilizing historical events, such as The Great Depression, McCurry was able to explain the type of grief the characters were experiencing in a contextual way.

This is one of the first books I finished this year and I can not think of a better way to begin my 2017 reading journey. It’s a book about self discovery that forces you to reflect on your own life and to be thankful for what you have. McCurry’s writing is very ‘readable’, but also extremely impactful. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading women’s fiction. Also, you can learn more about Leta McCurry and her novels at www.letamccurry.com.

Rating: 4/5

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Thursday Thoughts: “I Need a Break”

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I truly underestimated how busy I was going to be at the beginning of this year. I have begun working way more, preparing my graduate school application, writing more reviews for our local newspaper, celebrating my birthday (which is like a month long celebration for me), and I’ve been trying to keep up with reading and writing for my blog- which I’m kind of failing at.

On top of that, my phone camera broke so I haven’t posted any pictures on my “bookstagram” and I’m currently sharing a laptop with my boyfriend because mine broke months ago. Technology is seriously failing me right now. 

SO, I really just wanted to share with you guys my plans for the next month:

There is nothing that makes me happier than reading a book and talking about it, especially all of these WONDERFUL new indie books that I’ve been reading. I’ve been receiving a lot of review requests and I am so impressed by all of these kind and hardworking writers that have allowed me to read their work. That’s why it’s even more difficult for me to admit that I desperately need a break! Not a break FROM reading and writing, but a break so that I can CATCH UP on my reading and writing.

I had a lot of fun blog posts planned for February, but I decided that it would be best for me and my readers if I took a month to envelope myself in literature, write tons of interesting posts and reviews, and just update anything and everything. During this time I will be making some pretty big changes to my blog, so it will be worth it!

Please be patient with me and please join me in getting excited about the future of Revitalized Reading!

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Book Review: How Will I Know You?

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Photo courtesy of Amazon

How Will I Know You? By Jessica Treadway, Published December 6th 2016 by Grand Central Publishing

Synopsis:

In Upstate New York the body of teenager Joy Enright is found strangled to death. She had been presumed drowned until her body appeared in a wooded area at the edge of a pond. As the investigation develops, four characters tell the story from four completely different perspectives prior to and in the aftermath of Joy’s death. Harper, Joy’s best friend and one of the last people to see her before her death; Tom, the son-in-law of the police chief and husband of Joy’s English teacher; Martin, an African American graduate art student and the only murder suspect; and Susanne, Joy’s mother and teacher at the local art college.

Susanne’s secrets lead investigators to Martin, one of the few African American’s in the small town. Martin is immediately placed under arrest because of his connection to Susanne and Joy, but is he the one that killed Joy Enright? What motives did he have? The Chief of Police is certain Martin is guilty, especially with Harper’s testimony, but that doesn’t stop his son-in-law, Tom, from doing some investigating of his own. Joy’s murder is the catalyst to an abundance of revelations that have been slowly simmering under the surface of the small town, and Tom may just find out the truth.

My Thoughts:

This was truly a suspenseful read from beginning to end. The multiple POV’s helped to slowly piece the story together while slowly building the tension. I haven’t read any of her previous novels, but it is clear that Jessica Treadway has a way with getting into the minds of her characters and making them unique. Her writing is very emphatic, I felt so wrapped up in the emotions of each character that it was almost too easy to get through the book quickly!

What I loved about this thriller is that it focused on a murder case and the impact that racism can have on issues of this caliber. I may be reading the wrong books, but I haven’t read a lot of thrillers that made racial tension a main part of the story line. The honesty and explicitness was refreshing.  This thriller had it all- a psychological exploration of all the characters, a portrait of a small town hung up on gossip and deceit, the complicated and morose life of a struggling teenager, and the difficulties of overcoming racial prejudice. I will definitely be reading more Jessica Treadway.

My Rating: 4.5/5

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Thursday Thoughts: 30 Things to do Before I’m [THIRTY]

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I turn 27 in five days. At 25 I was fine. 26, okay! But 27 is me officially entering my “late 20’s”, and for some reason, I’m kind of freaking out! Someone called me 24 the other day and I dubbed them my best friend! I know I will be super excited when I finally enter my 30’s, but why does that mean I have to say goodbye to my 20’s?! UGH.

Anyways, enough with the pity party. I only have three years to get everything I want to do in my 20’s out of my system! Here is my list of THIRTY things I want to do before I’m 30!

  1. Get healthy! Not just exercising, but go to the doctor more often and take care of myself. I’m sure my 30-year-old self will appreciate it!
  2. Travel to a US city I’ve never been to. Seattle is on my list!
  3. Do more things by myself. Take a trip or just treat myself to a nice dinner.
  4. Finish a novel.
  5. Get a Master’s degree. Cause why not?
  6. Develop another hobby. If I wanna turn reading and writing into a career, I probably want to find another great hobby I can turn to when I’m feeling over-worked!
  7. Get engaged. It would be nice! Haha!
  8. Learn my family history. My great grandfather was a Tuskegee Airman. I would like to know what other wonderful secrets are hiding within my family tree.
  9. Learn to cook! Like, really cook! Unfortunately, my boyfriend does most of the cooking around our house.
  10. Learn a foreign language!
  11. Go on a thru-hike.
  12. Get out of debt. Uuugghhhh.
  13. Move somewhere entirely new…more than once!
  14. Start a daily journal. I write, but I don’t write every day. I’d like to start!
  15. Overcome a fear. I have a weird fear of driving in unfamiliar places. I’d like to face that fear in order to become more independent!
  16. Get (another) tattoo. I have a small tattoo I got when I was 18. I’d like to get more!
  17. Become a runner! I’m barely a walker right now! Haha!
  18. Pick a cause and become passionate about it. I feel like I’m passionate about a lot of things, but I’d like to choose a cause and put my all into it!
  19. See a Broadway musical! I hear The Cursed Child is coming to Broadway soon!
  20. Study English in England. Something I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe that’s where I’ll get my Master’s degree!
  21. Donate blood.
  22. Host a dinner party.
  23. Watch all the Star Wars, James Bond, and Indiana Jones movies. My boyfriend will thank me for that.
  24. Learn a really impressive rap song from start to finish. And then go karaoke and blow everyone’s mind!
  25. See all my favorite bands live. There are three bands/musicians I’ve been wanting to see since 2008: Coldplay, Radiohead, Paul McCartney.
  26. Read more news! I really try to, but then I get depressed.
  27. Visit wine country. My love for wine is right up there with my love for books.
  28. Take a girls trip with my best friends!
  29. Make more/new friends! You can never have enough friends!
  30. Start chasing my dreams! Like, really! Figure out exactly what will make me happy and GO FOR IT!

I hope you enjoyed my list of thirty things to do before I’m 30! Wish me luck with 27!