How I Take Reading Notes

As you might know, I really like creating systems for things I do frequently and repeatedly, to make my life just a bit easier. Taking reading notes is one of them, as something I do with just about every book I read.

For over a year, I’ve been tweaking and testing this process until it became what it is today. While I wouldn’t say that I have it down to a science, I’ve created something that works quite well for me.

This is actually a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but at long last I’m sharing it with y’all in the hopes it might inspire someone else.

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Self-Care for Bloggers

There’s a lot going on in the world right now — well, there always is, but it’s particularly loud and overwhelming right now.

Not gonna lie, I’m writing this post in large part just because I need the reminder that it’s more than okay not to be super productive even though it seems like I have all this time, that I have a tendency to take on too much work and stress and I should stop doing this, that it’s easier to prevent than to recover from burnout.

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[Bookending Spring] Begin Again

Hello and welcome back to Bookending Spring on the Nine Tale Vixen blog! If you’re new to Bookending Events, they’re quarterly (seasonal) events aiming to bring the book blogging community closer together; this spring, the optional theme is organization and cleaning. If you’re new to my blog — hi, I’m Isabelle and it’s nice to meet you! If you’re a returner — welcome back, friend!

The past couple of days have been lots of fun for me, and I hope you’ve gotten some inspiration from my prompts and from Bookending Spring as a whole!

For my last day as your host, in the spirit of spring and new life, I’d like to take you back to the beginning … of your own blogging journey.

If you were to restart your blog / bookstagram / other media account knowing what you know now, what (if anything) would you change? What tips would you give to newbie bloggers?

This post is part of Bookending Spring 2020, which is organized by Sam & Clo!
Today’s prompt, “Begin Again,” is hosted by yours truly — if you do this prompt, don’t forget to link back to this post!

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[Bookending Spring] Blog Maintenance Checklist

If productivity YouTube has given me one major takeaway, it’s to set up automated reminders and systems because you will inevitably forget. Plus, even if I know my GYST list somewhat by heart, it’s still fun and motivating to check things off lists!

Over the year or so I’ve been blogging, I’ve gradually developed my own routine of recurring blog maintenance tasks. Because let’s face it, I need Todoist and my planner to scream at me to do these things and not just let my blog slowly succumb to entropy.

I definitely didn’t come up with all of these items on my own, though I’ve made adjustments for my personal preferences and blogging situation; especial thanks are due to Becky @ Uptown Oracle, Clo @ Cuppa Clo, and Soph @ Bookwyrming Thoughts for providing so much blogging advice and emotional support.

This post is part of Bookending Spring 2020, which is organized by Sam & Clo!
It is not based on a prompt, but hopefully you’ll find it helpful in your spring tidying and for general organization going forward.

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Guide: Organizing Goodreads Shelves

One of the Tidyathon tasks that I didn’t get to until later was reorganizing my Goodreads: decluttering my TBR, yes, but also cleaning up my other shelves and making sure my system is still working as intended.

(Previously I compiled some general Goodreads tips & tricks, but there’s so much to cover on this specific topic that I’ve made it its own post.)

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Catching Up On My Review Backlog

[or, How I Write Reviews When I Barely Remember the Book]

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I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t write a review as soon as possible after I finish reading, it’ll take me forever to get around to it. At which point I’ll have forgotten everything I wanted to cover in said review, as well as the plot, the tone, the main character’s name, et cetera. Oh, who am I kidding; I forget the main character’s name while I’m reading the book.

Yet I keep telling myself I’ll write the review eventually, start another book, let too many waking hours go by … and before I knew it, I had 24 pending reviews. (Though in my defense, the majority of them are left over from Asian Lit Bingo / Readathon since I was focused on filling as many squares as possible.) 

There’s nothing like a bit of deadline pressure to make me finally get stuff done, which is why I’m writing this post! 😅 It’s partly accountability, and partly sharing some tricks I’ve used to jog my memory and get unstuck in case they might help y’all out too.

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How I Created My Custom Rating System

I’d previously discussed my many frustrations with the default 5-star rating system, and even done some preliminary “research” into upgrades and alternatives. But I was so used to assigning one convenient — if somewhat arbitrary — number and channeling the details and qualifications into my review. Change is hard.

Then Bookending Summer came around, so it was easy to add it to my Tidyathon list … and never actually sit down to create a new rating system. (I didn’t get around to most of my Tidyathon to-dos; we’re only tackling one of them in this post.)

Actually, I’d almost forgotten that this was something I wanted to do, until I checked my post schedule and saw that this one was coming up. So in true student fashion, I procrastinated then wrote this under deadline pressure; I don’t expect the product to be perfect, it’s a process.

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