the adventure begins…

Hi there and welcome to my new blog!

My name is Ashley and I’m a Canadian expat living in the UK with my boyfriend and our mini-lop house rabbit Burrito. We are currently visiting my parents in Canada and… look at the snow!

St. Catharines, Canada © Ashley Paolozzi, 2017

But don’t be too jealous — with a beautiful winter landscape comes nearly unbearable cold. The enjoyment of winter comes from sitting inside where it’s toasty warm and watching the tiny snowflakes fall outside while sipping a cup of tea. The southeast of England doesn’t see much snow (other than a short spell a few weeks ago) so I’m soaking this up before we head back at the end of the week.

So what exactly am I doing with my new blog? Excellent question! I’m still trying to iron out the details myself. But here is a short history lesson to bring you up to speed:

Three years ago at the beginning of 2014 I promised myself that I would try to read a book every week with a grand total of 52 books for the entire year. However, after moving to Kingston, Ontario to begin graduate school at Queen’s University I was unable to finish this challenge and abandoned it completely that September. To accompany this reading goal I made a blog named Fifty Two Adventures where I reviewed each of the books I was reading and asked myself a few standard questions to help structure the blog posts. It was a lot of fun and I was sad to let it go after keeping up with it for half a year.

But this was ultimately a learning experience and I discovered a few things about myself and how I approached this project along the way that I would like to implement into this new blog.

The first mistake I made was limiting myself to only posting about the books I was reading. So if I wanted to post about anything else (an interesting movie I watched, a delicious restaurant I visited, a cool article I read) I felt like I was breaking an arbitrary rule. To lesson the stress I’m keeping my blog open to posting about pretty much anything I feel like: travel, food, something interesting that happened that day. The sky’s the limit! The overall theme is to keep this a positive space for positive thinking. My posts will just happen to be heavy on book discussion.

The second thing I wanted to do differently was avoid setting a hard reading goal. Fifty two books in a year is admittedly a high amount that is achievable under the right circumstances, whatever those circumstances may be. But it is a lot of pressure. In 2014 I felt myself falling out of love with reading since it began to feel like more of a chore than a hobby. I also started to avoid books that I felt were too long to read in a single week. For instance, during 2017 I read two of Stephen King’s mammoth novels, It (1376 pages) and 11/22/63 (1089 pages). In 2014 I never would have considered reading these (despite how desperately I wanted to) because they would have certainly taken more than a week to get through.

Instead this year my goals are to read widely, find a few new favourites, and actually enjoy my journey. My blog will have no limits to what I write about and no goals that I’m going to get myself stressed over. I’ve set up a page that will outline my progress through the 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, but this is only a guideline and I have no intention of reading every single book on this list. If I do, great! If not, then I have a bunch of books that I’m already excited about for 2019. Reading challenges are great for selecting books from genres and authors that I wouldn’t normally consider, so I’ll be using it for this purpose only.

My other goal this year is to continue writing fiction. I had an extremely successful November with Nanowrimo where I finished about 75% of a draft for my first novel. I also have a few short stories in the works that I will start submitting to anthologies in the new year. And I’m hoping to self-publish my novel during the first half of 2018. I’ve really enjoyed writing it and I’m looking forward to finally sharing it! So along with this blog, 2018 is going to be a heavy writing year.

So my New Years resolutions aren’t anything new. I simply want to encourage myself to continue doing what I’m already doing: reading everything I can get my hands on and writing whatever nonsense pops into my head — this blog is simply a space to chat about it along the way!

I hope you enjoy what you read here and feel free to get in touch!

If you would like to become friends on Goodreads you can find my profile here.

I also love taking photographs of my adventures living in the United Kingdom for my Instagram which you can follow here. I’m currently home in Canada for the holidays so there will be lots of photos of our constantly falling snow (see above!).

Happy New Year!

Ashley

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