Sunday, February 28, 2016

5 Things to Do with All Those Books

If you're anything like me, then you probably have countless books laying around your house.  You've already read them multiple times, and you think it might be time to retire them.  But if you don't want to give them away, then what should you do with them?

Here are 5 cute (and effective) ways to give your books a new life without losing them forever:

1. Make your own Little Free Library.
Set a group of your books in a Little Free Library.  People walking by can grab a book or leave a book.  It's a great way to bring your community together and promote reading.

2. Turn your pantry into a bookshelf.
Your kitchen is home to tons of dead-space.  If you don't have room anywhere else for another bookshelf, why not build one into your cabinets?  Not only is this space-saving--it also looks pretty darn cool.

3. Use them as a table.
When your bookshelf is overflowing, you have to start stacking your books on the ground.  These books make a great quirky end table!  Stack your most impressive works--like Crime & Punishment or Jane Eyre.  Use books that your houseguests claim to have read, but only wish they had.  They'll be supremely jealous and intimated.

4. Turn them into a bed.
When your book obsession has turned into a financial problem, you may need to reevaluate.  But if you've gotten to the point where you can't afford a bed frame, use all of your books to make your own frame!  Just stack them all on top of each other and lay your mattress on top--the bibliophile's dream bed.

5. Replace your clothes with books.
Who needs clothes when you can stay home and read naked all day?  Turn that boring old closet into a sweet book nook.  When you can't stand anything in the outside world, lock yourself in your closet and read forever.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Coloring Books are Back

If you've walked into a bookstore (or even a Walmart) in the past six months, you may have noticed something interesting.  Many stores are now selling "adult coloring books," aimed to reduce stress and promote creativity.  With thousands of designs ranging from mandalas to intricate sea creatures, how can one person pick the right book for them?  And why would you want a coloring book in the first place?

Well, personally, I've always loved coloring books.  I've used coloring as an emotional outlet for years, and to see its popularity rising is super exciting.  The American Art Therapy Association claims that making and creating artwork is used to "explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem."  Coloring reduces anxiety and makes you more focused... and it's just a lot of fun.

If you can't decide which coloring book to buy, skim through several at the bookstore.  Personally, I like the hardcover books because they last longer.  But if you want to color with Sharpies, I recommend buying a book that only has drawings on one side of the page--that way, your markers won't bleed through.  Most coloring pages are thick enough to use regular markers on, but I personally enjoy using colored pencils to be safe.

So, if you're interested in relieving some of your daily stress and having a good time while doing it, I highly recommend investing in an adult coloring book.  You can find some of my favorites here, here, and here.  Get coloring!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Love Does Some Funny Things

After a weekend filled with a college visit, basketball games, a huge Valentine's date, a make-shift Valentine's date because Indiana weather is awful, sledding, and drives to haunted places, I didn't really think I'd have much time to read this weekend.

But (like any bookworm), I made time to read.  Between long car rides and possible nap times, I grabbed Love Does by Bob Goff--a book that my brother recently gave me.  Bob Goff is an engaging guy who retells his stories of love, patience, and perseverance.

For Bob, each day turns into a hilarious, meaningful chance to make his faith simple and real.  He tells stories of his 3-year pursuit to get his wife to date him, the time he became the Ugandan consul, and when he got turned down for law school so he sat outside of the dean's office for a week until they let him enroll.

Bob has had an interesting, full life.  But for every crazy, quirky thing he's done, there's been a single driving force behind it--love.  But Bob doesn't believe that love stops at thoughts and feelings.  He believes that love takes action.

So if you're someone (like me) who wants a quick, low-stress read that turns out to be hilarious and enticing, pick up a copy of Love Does.  You may end up laughing out loud and considering the amazing things that God does when we are patient and let love do its thing.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

10 Tips to Becoming a GREAT Writer!

For many (myself included), finding the time and inspiration to sit down and write is super challenging. I always tell myself, "I'll wait until the weekend is here so I can start this story without stress," but when the weekend comes, I sit on my butt and watch Netflix for 9 hours straight. I never seem to have the motivation to work on any of my stories, but recently, everything has been coming together for me. Even if I only sit down for 15 minutes at a time, I still crank out huge portions of my writing in a small amount of time. So here are 10 of my (very rough) tips on making your writing great--without too much of a time commitment.

1. Write whenever you can.
For me, my best writing time is the 15-minute interval I have between my workout/homework and play rehearsal. For you, it may be the 20-minute bus ride from school. Whenever you find yourself turning on Netflix or logging into Facebook, think about your writing. It's up to you to decide whether you want to write or not, but try to get at least 100 words out a day--that's my goal, and it seems to be working just fine.

2. Read all the time.
Before bed, during breakfast, on the bus, or during study hall, make time to read. Whether you're reading A Game of Thrones, Wuthering Heights, or even theSkimm--read something! Reading other people's thoughts and ideas will get your inspiration and motivation flowing. And if you're reading this thinking, "I don't have time to read!" then you have to make time to read.

3. Write what YOU want to write.
Write about things that you're interested in. Don't think about what other people want or expect you to write. You're writing for yourself, not to impress anyone else. Don't let other people shape your first draft--critiquing comes later.

4. Gather inspiration.
My favorite source for inspiration is my Pinterest boards. Whatever it is that gets your creative juices flowing--just do it!

5. Journal every day.
It doesn't matter what you're writing about, so long as you are writing. Get a physical journal with a pen or pencil--not just your computer. The feeling of your pen scratching on paper is liberating.

6. Don't worry about grammar (yet.)
Don't spend the majority of your time trying to make everything look or sound right. The most important thing is getting everything OUT.

7. Breathe.
It's okay. Go out for a walk, a cup of coffee, a drive with the windows down--just get some fresh air. Clear your head (or fill it up again.)

8. Get another opinion.
Once you think your story is ready to go, give it to a family member of friend. It doesn't matter if they're an English professor or a high school student, put it in someone else's hands. See what they think.

9. Perfection is impossible.
Don't write your story and strive for perfection or fame. Just write.

10. Don't give up.
As much as you may want to scrap your story and start all over again, don't. Take some time away. Come back tomorrow.