The 5 Stages of Deciding What to Read

Imagine this: you’ve just wrapped a long day at your job or school and feel the need to wind down. You mindlessly scroll through Netflix for a crazy amount of time before giving up, Then, an idea strikes. Reading! You hop off your favorite chair or spot on the couch and dash to your book storing location. But where to start? Now you find yourself in a difficult situation. How do you decide what to read? If you’re a reader, you know this challenge well. In the end, all readers go down this same path at some point when choosing a book.

  1. Consult your bookshelf for previously read books

Stage one: we go for the obvious. Do you even remember what books you do have? Maybe there’s a novel you want to reread? A reader’s first stop is always home base. After staring at your selection for a bit, you may find a book to read instantly. Well done! You’ve accomplished a difficult feat and are possibly a unicorn. You go you reading unicorn genius! If you stuck like most readers, it’s time for stage two.

  1. Stare for way too long at your “too read” pile

Time to consult the new books who are clamoring to be read. Do you want that new mystery you’ve been dying to start? Or the tongue-in-cheek autobiography? When they were purchased, you promised to read them right away. Let’s be honest, it’s been at least a week since you mentally filed it into the to-read section of your mind palace. Why not read the back of the books again and again to narrow down your options? It doesn’t matter how many to-read books you have, this inevitably happens. If you choose a book in this step, you deserve a high-five. Congratulations! Hop off this train and enjoy. If you are frustrated at your current disinterest in these books, never fear! That’s when it’s time to improvise. 

  1. Listen to the call of the new books that you need to read

If none of the books you have are calling your name, it’s time to consult your wishlist. If you have it written down or stored online somewhere, consult the list of books you want to read. They are currently not in your possession, which makes them oddly more appealing. After zipping through your list, a book may call your name. If you are blessed with an open library or money to purchase said book, you can answer the call immediately. Mission accomplished! Maybe you hit a roadblock that brings your quest for this new book to a grinding halt. Drat. Time to go back to your bookshelf.

  1. Read the back of some of your books to narrow down your pile…

It doesn’t matter if you did this in stage one and two. Inevitably, the backs of these books will be consulted until you have narrowed down your list to a few books. If you are lucky, this will be the end of the journey for you. You may find a book you love to reread, or remember one that you loved which you were meaning to revisit. You might have found a spark this round for one of your new books. Either way, you did it! No money spent, no book left unread. Sometimes this doesn’t work out. For some reason all the books in your house, in your electronic reader, and anywhere else you keep books don’t hold anything of interest. If you are truly at wits end, you may give up and grab a random book, or give up on the book search entirely. Other times, it’s time to do some quick mental math. You could skip a coffee or a Postmates order to appease your book hunger. You may scour your library’s website for books to rent online. Then, inspiration!

  1. Ignore all the books calling your name and get a new one! 

It’s time to appease the book hunger, and that book you found online won’t stop wiggling its way into your mind. Time to cave and purchase it! If you’re lucky, you can find it for a good price or free in the magical world of the internet. Ignore the disappointed sounds of the books you own and get them a friend to join their ranks. If you prefer the feeling of pages between your fingers, it may be a bit longer before you get your prize to enjoy. Either way, more often than not readers find themselves here. If you are like me, it’s a side effect of your increasing book addiction that drives your parents/you to invest in the glory of a library card. However, my library is closed. I can’t escape this pull to give money to Bezos for some instant gratification at 10 pm. This is a constant conflict for me as a book lover. Sure it’s fun to get a new book, but don’t forget about the ones on your shelf! They want to be read too after all. 

Do you find yourself going through these stages when deciding on a book to read? Or do you have a different strategy? Let me know in the comments below! I love learning about people’s different reading habits. I hope that this made you smile a bit, even if it’s a bit too relatable.  Now it’s time to start this process myself. Hopefully I’ll find a book that brings me as much joy as the below GIF of Matilda being relatable to readers everywhere. Happy reading everyone!

10 Writing Goals to Conquer in 2021

We’re still at the beginning of 2021, but so many resolutions already seem unrealistic amid the uncertainty. Instead, why not focus on goals that can be obtained anywhere and anytime? If you’re a writer, goals like these are easy to find. Writing goals are a great way to feel productive and keep the creative side of your brain happy! The endless options of writing goals can be a bit overwhelming. If you feel a headache coming on from all these options, I’m here to help! Here are ten writing goals that you can conquer in 2021.

  1. Practice is key. Writing prompts are a great way to get your creative juices flowing!
  1. Do you have a character that you’ve created that you want to learn more about? Try fleshing them out with a character sheet!
  1. If you want to practice writing or do your writing warm ups  in one place, get a writing prompt book! It’s a great way to find fun prompts and is easy to reference if you later want to revisit a prompt.
  1. Reading is a big part of the writing process. Reading books about writing is a great way to get tips and multiple perspectives on the writing process. 
  1. This one is a long ways off, but it’s always good to keep in the back of your mind. If you want to do NaNoWriMO 2021, start warming up your writing muscles so that they’re ready to go in November. You can do Camp NaNoWriMo in April or July to practice as well.
  1. If you often find yourself wishing you had someone to fangirl with over writing, it’s time to do something about it! 
  1. Once you have made a writing buddy, why not help them edit their story? It’s a great way to bond, and improve your own editing skills. 
  1. Have you ever gotten a story idea or thought of a great line when you were away from your computer? Start a list of ideas that you can reference later. You can do it in a notebook or put these ideas in notes on your phone. 
  1. This is a goal that is a great thing to keep up. The more you work on improving your editing skills, the easier it gets to turn that first draft into a final product. If you struggle a bit with this end of writing like me, check out videos on YouTube or Skillshare for tips and tricks.
  1.  This final goal is a twist on the writing prompt goals. Instead of following writing prompts, why not create your own? It’s a great way to think out of the box and come up with new story ideas. Share them with your writing friends to see what inspiration sparks from the prompts. You could have a writing party and create themed prompts for the writers!

What are your writing goals this year? Did any of these pique your interest? Let me know in the comments below! I felt stuck trying to come up with my own writing goals for this year, but writing this post really helped. If you decide to attempt any of the writing goals on this list, please keep me updated! I always love hearing from y’all about your writing journey. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!

10 Tips to Smash your 2021 Goodreads Goal

It’s finally 2021! It’s time to set tentative goals for the year and get that motivation going. As someone who loves lists, I’ve already made a list of my own goals. One of them involves taking on the Goodreads challenge yet again. This is the third year I’ve done this, and I am very lucky to have hit my goal two years in a row. When I set my goal for this year, I started thinking about myself the first year I did this challenge. I had no game plan, and no idea how to tackle my goal. I thought I was an experienced reader, but my challenge kicked my butt. If you are in that same boat, don’t worry! Here are 10 tips that can help you smash your Goodreads goal.

  1. Set a realistic goal

This is one of the most important things to consider when setting a goal. Be realistic about how many books you can read with your lifestyle. If you are a busy parent who can barely listen to a book tape, 50 books might be a bit much. Instead, take a mental tally of how many books you read the previous year. If you want to keep up your reading habit, you can set a goal for the same number of books that you read the year before. If you want to challenge yourself, try upping that count by 2-5 books. That will give you an attainable goal that also pushes you to read a bit more. If you are coming back to the challenge this year and need a new goal, take the same considerations into account. If you read 30 books last year and can feasibly see yourself reading 35, go for it! If you hit your max reading goal last year, renew it again. Don’t feel like you have to read 50 or 100 books just because so many other people are. That’ll add additional stress and suck the fun out of this challenge. This is supposed to be fun, not stressful!

  1. Keep a list of favorite books and authors

Something that has helped me in the past two years is my favorites list. Keep a list of favorite books and authors to reference when you run out of ideas. There are even books built for this, where you can track your favorites in one place. If you prefer an easy to access list, create a Google doc with these lists and keep the app on your phone. If you are out of ideas at the bookstore, you can pull it out and search for similar books. Also, most online booksellers have a suggested reads list. If you really liked a book, look it up on one of these sites and take a look at the recommended list. You can also use this feature to look at your favorite author’s novels. You can also go to an author’s site to see what books they’ve written and tackle their books. 

  1. Ask friends and family for book recommendations

This option can be a great or terrible idea, depending who you ask. Take that into account when consulting your peers for book recommendations. If you are a fiction lover and cringe at the thought of nonfiction, maybe don’t ask your aunt who loves nonfiction for advice. Instead, consider people who have reading interests that overlap with yours. You can find books that you know you’ll like, and maybe even a few that’ll surprise you. If you want to expand your reading world, then consider talking to that aunt or uncle who likes different books than you. This is great if you’re getting into a new genre with no idea where to begin. Let them know your preferences and dislikes and they can help you translate that to their favorite genre. It’s also a great bonding experience for you and the person you’re consulting. A win win!

  1. Audiobooks are your friend

Audiobooks are a great way to keep yourself on track for your goal. Many people have different obligations that make it hard to sit down and read a book. You can listen to audiobooks while you work, while you drive, and more! You can get audiobooks via Audible, Youtube, CDs, and your library. I’m a fast reader, so I tend to listen to Audible audiobooks at 1.25x speed. You can also do this on Youtube as well if you want a speedier read. If you use a platform like Audible, I would recommend listening to a sample of the audiobook before purchasing it. This will help you determine if the reader’s voice is grating or nice to your ears. You don’t want to get an audiobook version of a book you’ve been dying to read, only to find that the voice gets on your nerves. If you find a reader’s voice that you like, try searching their name to see what other books they’ve read. You might find some new books that way!

  1. Keep a written list of book ideas

This is an obvious strategy, but I had to mention it. I often forget to write down books that I find interesting. If you carry a notebook like myself, dedicate a page to books that interest you. Google docs are also a great way to keep this list. You can format the list to include book recommendations and books that you come across on your trips to the bookstore. If nothing tickles your fancy on your bookshelf, consult your list for ideas. Try to include books of all your favorite genres so that you have options for any mood. If you find a book in a series that you want to read, include the other books in that series on your list as well. Series are a great way to increase your number of books read. 

  1. Follow book blogs for recommendations

Book blogs are your best friend when it comes to recommendations. The odds are that every book blog has at least one book recommendation on their blog. Research some blogs to follow that you find fun to read. If you can find blogs that specialize in certain genres, they’re a great way to find your preferred books. It’s also a great way to learn more about a genre that you want to try reading this year. I would also recommend following Booktubers for the same reason. It is important to note that this option involves some trial and error. You may start out reading a blog that you think might be promising and then find it disappointing. Don’t be discouraged! There are a lot of great ones out there. You’ll eventually find a few that will be great resources. If you want to check out some of my book recommendations, you can look at my book content here.

  1. Goodreads itself!

Again, another obvious point that needs to be mentioned. Goodreads is a great way to find books. They have an option where you can select your favorite genres. Based on this information and your previously read, they will have a list of book recommendations catered to you. You can also keep track of your want to read on their site, as your account has a shelf for that reason. If you have Goodreads friends, you can also see what they are reading and check out those books. The reviews are usually varied enough that you can use them to determine if the book is right for you. They usually have links to buying the book as well. If you are someone who needs to watch your budget, you can use the links to buy the books on Kindle. 

  1. Ask a worker at your local bookstore

This is a tried and true way to find a book. Bookstore workers, especially at independent bookstores, are a great resource for finding books. Make sure you come to them with a specific title or genre that they can work off to help you find books. If you want to try something new, ask them about their favorite book and see if that sparks inspiration for you. Independent bookstores usually have the worker’s favorite books highlighted in some way. Try looking for those and write them down in your book list if any strike your fancy. You can also ask them about recommendations based on authors to see if they know of any similar authors that they have in stock. 

  1. Consult the classics

If you feel burnt out on your current favorite genres, try taking a look at classic novels. It can be hard to separate these from your dreaded school days, but they are worth checking out. I used to dread the classics because of my mixed experience with highschool English. Once I could choose the classics and could read them without dissection, they were way more fun to read. If you are unsure what classics you like, consult a list on Goodreads or Google a list of classics and go from there. The genres of classics may seem small, but there are many different options to choose from. I always recommend checking out Mary Shelly or Jane Austen’s work for some dynamic storytelling. If you are concerned with the language getting in the way, they are good ones to read. It isn’t too formal and can get you used to reading the writing styles of the time. The more you read the classics, the easier they get to read. If you want to check out some of my favorite classic novels for some ideas, you can read this post

  1. Repeats of your favorites are okay!

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to repeat some favorites from 2020 or the years prior. I don’t believe that reading the same book twice in one year counts, but that doesn’t apply to books you’ve read in years past. You can add multiple dates read for a book. This is great for me, because I have some go to books that I love to read at certain times of the year. If you aren’t sure what to read, consult your old Goodreads reading challenge lists and write down the ones you remember liking. If you like to read certain genres at certain times of the year like me, you can map out when to read these books. This can be super helpful if you want to reread a longer book. You can plan accordingly by upping your book count in a different month so that book doesn’t get you behind on your goal. This also a great option because you can look at how long it took you to read them the last time and can plan accordingly. 

With these tips, I hope you can kick your 2021 goal’s butt and come out victorious. However, don’t forget to give yourself some leeway. Last year was a whirlwind and that might make it hard for you to get moving with a new goal right away. If that’s the case for you, focus on one book at a time and don’t stress too much about your goal. What tips would you add for people wanting to complete their Goodreads goals? Do you have any book recommendations for me or a fellow book lover to read this year? Let me know in the comments below! I’ve just gotten started on my own challenge and am looking forward to all the great book ideas to add to my list. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and good luck!

Goodreads 2020: Thank Goodness That’s Over

Hello my wonderful readers, and happy almost-end to 2020! Many of us are counting down the days until this year is over. While most of this year was an absolute dumpster fire, there were some silver linings. For me, my silver lining was books. Books are awesome anytime, but this year they were especially needed. Because of this, I found my Goodreads challenge way easier to complete than I would have thought. Tired of doom scrolling? Book time. Did I need something to distract myself when I lost my job for a few months? You guessed it, book time again. Due to this whirlwind, I ended this year with one book more than my goal! I somehow managed to read 41 books by Christmas. To give y’all an idea of my yearly progress, I thought I’d take a page out of Spotify’s book. Get ready for some stats!

  1. My Goal 
  1. Longest and Shortest Books that I read in 2020
  1. Favorite new books that I read

If you want to check out these books, visit the nonfiction book here and the fiction book here

  1. Favorite book that I reread

This one was so hard to choose, so I had to go with a series. If you have not read this series yet and you are a fan of mysteries, you must check it out here!

  1. My most popular genres of the year

Since the results aren’t in yet on this particular fact, I pulled the genre tags for each book I read and used a word frequency counter to pull which ones were referenced the most. Here are the top three!

  1. My 2021 goal!

Finally, it’s time to take a look into the future. With all of the things on my plate in 2021, I have a more flexible goal this year. I’m going to add on five more books to this year’s goal, with the intention of shooting for 40 in case the year gets away from me. Still, I’m determined to get cracking and hit my reading goal!

Did you complete your Goodreads goal this year? Have you seen some trends in your reading in the last year? Let me know in the comments below! If you have any favorite books that you have read for the first time or reread this year, please let me know. I’m always looking for new books to ready. Especially with an extra five to read this year! If you are shaking your head at your own Goodreads progress, don’t stress. This has been a stressful year for us all, and reading doesn’t help everyone combat that. Instead focus on next year, and how you can ace your next Goodreads goal. In fact, I might have a few tips up my sleeve that can help you cross that finish line. Tune in next week for those tips! Thanks so much for reading everyone, and I hope you have a Happy New Year!

5 Holiday Poems to Read this Season

It’s a great time of year for themed content. Whether you’re hoping for some Christmas cheer or a great winter aesthetic, the options are endless. There are movies, books, videos, songs, and more. With all of these great options, it can be overwhelming to choose. Like my posts for Halloween, I wanted to highlight some poems that perfectly fit into this time of year. Some you might have never heard before, and others might surprise you. Here are a few great holiday poems to get you into the world of festive poetry.

  1. “A Visit from St. Nicholas”– Clement Clarke Moore

If you are like me, then the title of this poem was not familiar. Once you read the poem itself, however, it becomes one of the most famous stories told at Christmastime. In fact, many people can probably recite some of this poem from memory. Many know “A Visit from St. Nicholas” as it’s more recent name “The Night Before Christmas”. It was first published back in 1823 anonymously in a New York paper. Many argue that this is the origin of the American image of Santa Claus. It’s also a lovely story to tell your family while curled up in front of a fire. If you want a safe way to get your family or friends into the festive spirit, try hosting a cozy get together over zoom and have a reading of this poem! With hot chocolate of course. 

  1. “The Feast of Lights”– Emma Lazarus

This poem by Emma Lazarus tells the story of the Feast of Lights, also known as Hanukkah or Chanukah. Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that spans over eight days and celebrates the restoration of the Temple. This was thanks to the Maccabees, who Lazarus mentions in this poem. She tells the story of their fight against the Syrians to regain control of their Temple and bring the light back to the Jewish world. She also mentions the menorah, which has become one of the famous symbols of Hanukkah. As someone who is not Jewish but is interested in learning more about the history behind Hanukkah, this was a beautiful source of information. You can feel the pride and excitement in this poem that the Jewish people must have felt when they reclaimed their Temple. If this poem has you curious about the Feast of Lights and the history behind it, there’s some great information about the holiday here

  1. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”– Robert Frost 

This poem is not what you would consider festive. Instead, it perfectly captures the feeling of winter. Amidst all of the celebrations, it is still a very dark and cold season. If you find yourself growing tired of the festive season and wishing for some quiet, this poem is perfect for you. It’s atmospheric nature allows you to just stop and be in a moment. This poem holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me of the quiet feeling of watching snow fall in the woods. It reminds you of the beauty of nature, despite its dangerous chill. When you read it, you can almost hear the snow fall and the chill of the air. Also because it is one of my sister’s favorite poems that she loves reciting from memory on cold evenings. It’s by a man whose last name is Frost, which never ceases to entertain my pun-loving brain. This is a poem to read in the midst of a silent, snowy night. 

  1. “[little tree]”– E.E. Cummings

When I first read the title of this poem, it made me think of the tiny Charlie Brown tree. In fact, the first few lines of the poem made me wonder if it was truly a baby tree that would flop over from one ornament. It also reminds me of decorating Christmas trees as a child. Pulling out the bright and sparkling decoration and carefully hanging them on each branch. Of course, that was before I was tall enough. Most of my decorating duties were limited to the gingerbread and popsicle ornaments. The voice of this poem sounds like a child like myself talking to the tree as if it was a person. I love how it sounds like a child comforting something through an event that clearly must be scary. My favorite section is when the speaker says “then when you’re quite dressed/ you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see/ and how they’ll stare! /oh but you’ll be very proud”. I can imagine the scene unfolding through a child’s eyes, which is a great way to view the holiday season. So many things are more exciting and beautiful when we channel our inner child, after all.

  1. “For Christmas Day: Hark the Herald Angels Sing”– Charles Wesley

When I stumbled across this poem in my research, I was surprised to see it. I know this poem well, but not written this way. This is a popular hymn to sing in the Christian church during Christmastime. In fact, it is one of my favorite religious Christmas songs. It celebrates the birth of Jesus and talks about what that means for the community celebrating. The poem’s title and repeating lines also reference the angels who sang in celebration when telling the shepherds of Jesus’ birth. It was written in the 18th century by Charles Wesley, who was a Methodist preacher and brother of John Wesley, of the founders of the Methodist denomination in the U.K. He published this work in a collection of hymns and poems in the late 1730s. If you are someone looking for a Christian poem to read for this season, I recommend this one. You can read it and sing it! 

Have you read any of these poems before? Do you have a favorite festive poem that wasn’t on this list? Let me know in the comments below! I hope that all of you have a safe and happy holiday season. I’ll be back next week to celebrate the last Tuesday of 2020! Aren’t we all glad that is a sentence we can say. I’ll be recapping my book and writing goals for the year, and take a look at the year to come. Until then, happy reading and happy holidays!

5 Common Writing Tropes in Hallmark Christmas Movies

This time of year is full of fun movies that get people excited for the festive season. There are the classics that people must watch in December. There are even countless debates if movies are Christmas movies or not. One of the most popular movie types around this time of year are Hallmark movies. If you love them or hate them, odds are they’ll be brought up in a few conversations this time of year. Even other media companies like Netflix have joined in on the trend. Recently, these movies joined the Tik Tok conversation. Tik Tokkers have noticed a trend in Hallmark movies, resulting in some hilarious moments. After some laughter, I realized that they were onto something. Hallmark movies, especially Christmas ones, have a formula all their own. I found a few themes and tropes that have become iconically Hallmark.

  1. Big city professional going to a small town

The most popular trope for all seasons, this is how many movies begin. A professional in the big city is sent to a small town. It could be their hometown, or they could be traveling there for business. Either way, something big happens to get this professional to a quaint small town somewhere in the United States. Occasionally, this applies for people traveling abroad as well. Usually these professionals start out their visit looking down on the members of the town, or taking in the scenery with a bit of disdain. The town members are usually welcoming despite the cold shoulder they receive. Usually there’s one very attractive town member who tries to show our main character the joys of the place. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this person is the love interest! Like many of these tropes, this one usually involves a city girl moving to a small town and meeting a small-town man. There are some reversals of this dynamic, but it seems to be the most popular version. Usually by the end, the main character learns to love the town and the true meaning of Christmas. Bonus points if they decide to leave their job to stay there with the love interest to support whatever profession they have. It could be everything from an inn to a shop. The possibilities are endless!

  1. A reluctant business owner of a family business 

Our main character has just inherited a family business and is not so sure about it. It could be from a dear relative, or one that they haven’t spoken to in years. Sometimes this ties in with the big city professional trope. The family business is usually a bakery, coffee shop, or hotel. The main character will vow to her bffs that she’s just going to help the business get off the ground, sell it, and go back to whatever they were doing before. Eventually, they grow to love the business thanks to experience and, you guessed it, the love interest! Sometimes the love interest works there, or could even be a neighboring business owner. With this trope, there’s also a great opportunity for family bonding. Siblings are usually what they go for, especially if they are sisters. Cue all the drama and heart-felt confessions that are perfectly Hallmark. 

  1. A skeptic who learns the meaning of Christmas from their love interest 

This trope is often wrapped up in the big city professional trope. They usually visit a town who loves Christmas and has a multitude of traditions for the season. Our main character is usually jaded in some way about the holiday. It could be past trauma, their experiences in the city, or countless other reasons. Usually it involves something that leads to a very sappy character arc. As it says on the tin, the love interest helps remind the main character of the true meaning of Christmas. They could be anyone from a member of the town, or a coworker in their new job. This love interest has a gumption for Christmas that would probably even convince Scrooge. There have even been countless A Christmas Carol inspired movies using this trope. 

  1. A girlfriend or boyfriend who does not treat the main character well.

This trope is often tied in with big city professional trope. More often than not, the main character has a significant other already when their story begins. But you must have a blossoming romance! How can Hallmark accomplish this with an existing relationship? You would think that they would expand on the already existing relationship, but that wouldn’t provide character development. Instead, they write the significant other’s as distant or unappreciative of our main character. They could be distracted with work or just an overall jerk. They have to be unlikable enough to justify the main character moving on with the romantic interest. They’ll get back into focus right when our main character starts getting super close with the romantic interest. Cue awkward breakup scene that involves at least some weird ego. Somehow, everything ends up fine. Occasionally this feels like a deux ex machina move to get two characters together without obstacle. But hey, they’re happy so that’s all that matters!

  1. An enemies to lovers relationship

This trope is prevalent in stories outside of Hallmark movies. I do have to admit that this is one of my favorite romantic comedy tropes. It leads to a lot of great banter, and great character development. For Hallmark movies, the enemies part of this trope can feel a bit extreme or silly. Sometimes the writing only lets us see the bad of the potential love interest because it’s only showing the point of view of our main character. That’s when this trope really works. We learn with the main character that this person is not who they seemed. It allows our appreciation to grow with the storyline. However, in many Hallmark works it’s a bit more strange. There are stories where only the main character despises this character, despite others adoring them. Sometimes it works because it is a real life occurrence. When it’s not working, it feels like the main character is just a stubborn drama queen or king. They also tend to have a giant “my way or the highway” complex that blinds them to the good of the love interest that literally everyone else, including the audience, can see. To a degree that can become frustrating. Still, this will forever be my favorite trope when it works. If I do watch a Hallmark movie, there are high odds that this trope plays a big role in the plot. 

Have you seen these tropes play out in your favorite Hallmark movies? Are there some Christmas Hallmark movie tropes that I missed? Do you have a favorite Hallmark-style movie?  Let me know in the comments below! It’s been fascinating to see how this writing style has spread to other networks and streaming platforms, so I’d be interested to see if any favorite Hallmark-style movies are from these places instead of Hallmark. It was really fun to look at these writing tropes and find so many common threads. If anyone is looking for a fun writing project idea for this holiday season, I’d recommend using some Hallmark tropes to create your own story. Who knows what kind of fun storyline will come of it! If you do, please send it to me. I’d love to see what you come up with. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!

5 Reason’s Why The Muppet Christmas Carol is the Best Christmas Carol Adaptation

We are currently in the throngs of the most festive months of the year.  In honor of the festive season, I have been binging movies, baking cookies, and decorating my little heart out. After completing decorating part 1 at my sister’s house, we plopped down on her couch and began the festive movie train. In honor of our jovial mood, we selected a recent classic; The Muppet Christmas Carol. Anyone who has seen this movie knows exactly why we had to start off the season with this movie. It is truly a classic that was not in my life until a few years ago. Thanks to the righteous indignation of my roommates, it has now taken a place in my Christmas-loving heart. In fact, I consider it one of the best adaptations of A Christmas Carol, if not the best. Don’t believe me? I’m sure these things will make you reconsider just a bit.

  1. The humor

If you’ve ever watched a Muppet movie, then you know that they have a distinct humor and tone in all their stories. This one is no exception. Among the classic storytelling of Dickens are the quips and visual gags that the Muppets are known for. My own favorite is the heatwave joke, seen in the GIF above. There are boundless great moments with Gonzo and Rizzo as the storytellers. Gonzo takes the role of Dickens, but Rizzo is just along for the ride as himself. They make many jokes about this dynamic that don’t feel overdone or too silly. Just the right amount of situational humor to tie it all together. The most important thing is that the humor doesn’t take away from the story. Many times a joke will drop in before a heartfelt moment, but it leaves enough space for you to appreciate both moments. 

  1. The Songs

The Muppets always have songs that bring a smile to your face. The songs in this film are great at moving the story along and giving you information about the characters and settings. The first song illustrates how disliked Scrooge is in his town before he even mutters a word. It really sells his first “ba humbug” of the film. Other songs teach Scrooge himself about the joys of Christmas and help him grow as a person. The songs also help you sympathize with the Cratchet family. The first time you see Bob and Tiny Tim together, they’re singing a jolly Christmas song. It shows that they already have the joy of Christmas in their hearts, and really sells the sad scene that the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge. 

  1. The puppets as main characters!

It’s no surprise that The Muppets are in main roles of the story. It is their way after all! Like I mentioned earlier, Gonzo plays a role that many versions of A Christmas Carol don’t include: Charles Dickens! This is a great way for the filmmakers to stay more faithful to the book by having Dickens narrate some of the moments that might not be able to translate to screen. It’s also a great way to keep audiences of all ages engaged in the story. It leads to some great gags with Dickens and Rizzo as they follow Scrooge around. Kermit also makes a great Bob Cratchett. He delivers the wholesome vibe and kindness that the character represents.  

  1. The design and overall vibes

There is a great whimsy to The Muppets version of London. It has the dark and slightly dirty touch of London in that time period that makes it feel real. However, there’s a lot of color and textures to make it feel cheerful for the season. They also have great color contrasts in the puppets that bring light to the set. The houses are all slightly crooked and cartoon-y looking to make the puppets fit in well with the setting of the movie. Somehow the people fit in as well, with their bright colors. Surprisingly, this was the first movie that Brian Henson directed. He did an amazing job at bringing Dickens world to life, with a Muppets twist. 

  1. The true meaning of the story shines through

Something that I really love about this movie is it’s faithfulness to the story’s message. Despite all of the crazy puppets and slightly cartoonish set, the story and themes ring true to Dicken’s story. There are often lines taken directly from the story. The songs add to the source material to further the themes and the plot as I previously stated. Most importantly, it conveys the message of Christmas. Henson worked very hard to make sure that every detail emphasizes the themes of goodwill toward fellow men and changing for the better. It also makes sure to deliver the themes in a way that makes it easy for a younger audience to understand without speaking down to them. It tells all creatures of all ages about the joys of compassion and caring for our fellow man!
What are your thoughts on The Muppet Christmas Carol? Which is your favorite Christmas Carol adaptation and why? Let me know in the comments below! After writing this post, I can’t get the songs from this movie out of my head. I guess I’m due for another rewatch! I am so excited to rewatch other holiday movies and read more holiday-themed books. If you have any movie or book suggestions, let me know in the comments. I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy during this holiday season. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy holidays!

For the Spirit of the Season: Giving Tuesday

Instead of the regularly scheduled content of this blog, I wanted to highlight one of the great events happening this week. We had Small Business Sunday and Cyber Monday for our Christmas shopping needs. Today is for the spirit of the season. Today marks the annual Giving Tuesday, a global event that encourages people to do good. It was launched in 2012 in New York and is now it’s own non-profit! They hope to encourage the spirit of the giving season in any way you can. For some this may be a donation, for others it could be helping out a neighbor.

During this year, we’ve seen how a little love and compassion can go a long way. Why not spread the joy when you can? Especially during this season, which is often bittersweet for many. There are so many ways that you can brighten someone’s day during this season. If you have the monetary means, below is a list of places you can fund during this season:

  1. Your local library
  2. St. Jude
  3. Your local place of worship.
  4. A cause you are passionate about.
  5. A local non-profit. You can visit https://greatnonprofits.org/ to find a list of non-profits near you.
  6. Donate canned food to Feeding America or your local shelter.
  7. Habitat for Humanity
  8. The American Cancer Society

If you do not have the monetary means to donate, consider some of these other great ways to help out today:

  1. Donate gently used clothes to a shelter.
  2. If you are crafty, knit or crochet hats, scarves or gloves and donate them to your local shelter.
  3. Volunteer online. You can visit sites like Points of Light to find places to volunteer.
  4. Participate in a build for Habitat for Humanity. They are taking the proper CDC precautions and require face coverings in order to participate.
  5. Donate toys, food, cleaning supplies, blankets, leashes, etc. to your local animal shelter.
  6. Shop for the holidays with Amazon Smile. When you go to https://smile.amazon.com/, you can select a charity. When you use the Smile url, proceeds are donated to the charity of your choice.
  7. Help a neighbor! If you have a neighbor who can’t leave their house due to COVID or other reasons, offer to pick up their groceries. Dropping off a nice note or plate of cookies to cheer them up is also a great option.
  8. If you go to a place of worship, check with the staff and see if any members are having trouble at this time. Many are not able to do things themselves right now and might need assistance with errands. Or they would just love a phone conversation with someone to catch up!
  9. Show your support for the health care workers on the front lines. Their work has never stopped.

If you want some more inspiration, check out Giving Tuesday’s site for more information. They have great resources for individuals, non-profits, and companies who want to participate.

Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy Giving Tuesday!

10 NaNoWriMo Memes to Get You Through the Last Week

It’s the final countdown! We are less than one week away from the end of NaNoWriMo. With my last few brain cells, I decided to go out of this NaNoWriMo with a bang. If I get any writing done remains to be seen. In the meantime, I wanted to give my fellow writers and NaNoWriMo participants something to smile about. This final week is always hard, but this year makes it feel even worse. What’s a better way to cheer yourself up than writing memes? 

  1. The plot hole debacle strikes again.
  1. Time to get to the real details.
  1. Reaching out to your writing buddy during a difficult writing time.

4. Me anytime I have an idea at 3 am.

5. Writing a backstory for your characters like 

6. We can do it! Writing something is better than nothing. 

7. Even a debacle on day 20.

8.Well that went an interesting direction.

9. Me this entire month.

10. Me reminding myself that the stress is almost over. 

Did you have a favorite meme? Do you have a favorite writing or NaNoWriMo meme that was not included? Let me know in the comments below! I am always happy to have more memes in my life. I hope that these memes put a smile on your face. If I can put you guys in a good mood for your next writing session, I consider it a win! Good luck with your last week of NanoWriMo. I know you can do it. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

10 GIFS That Perfectly Represent NaNoWriMo

Welcome to another week of writing and stress! This week has been an eventual one. Thanks to that, I have no interesting NaNoWriMo updates for y’all. I had a feeling that reading another post about a girl’s stress during this year wouldn’t be very helpful. I didn’t do any writing this week, so it seemed silly to blab for a few paragraphs about my lack of writing. Instead, I’ve decided to highlight some relatable moments of taking part in NaNoWriMo. What better way to highlight these moments than my favorite medium, GIFs! 

  1. When you first sit down for a writing session
  1. When you get a breakthrough on a story idea.
  1. When you’re cheering on your writing buddy and their awesome work.
  1. After someone asks how your writing is going during a rough patch.
  1. When you roll into your local chat to check up on your writing friends and accidentally walk into peak chaos. 
  1. Cheering on the writers who have completed NaNoWriMo.
  1. When someone asks you to give more details on your story idea. Details who? We don’t know her
  1. Me trying to get through this while doing work and holiday stuff.
  1. When the writer’s block hits you hard.
  1. After finally completing this crazy month.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that last gif deeply. If we all play our cards right, our food comas can line up perfectly with our post NaNoWriMo naps. Don’t forget my fellow WriMos, we’re halfway there! So exciting. Whether you’re chugging along or have barely scratched the surface, taking part in this is still a great thing. You’re powering through the craziness to put words on a page, and I think that’s pretty awesome. Good luck with this next week of NaNoWriMo and happy writing to everyone!