Saturday, April 30, 2016

Let's Talk Life and Blogging!

I don't do a monthly recap on the blog, partly because I'm lazy and partly because there isn't usually much to say. But I was inspired by Jamie's If We Were Having Coffee feature (which was inspired by someone else!) to start doing more personal posts on here. And what better way to do that than to recap my month in LIFE instead of just books and blogging? So Checking In will be a monthly feature on here that will help you guys get to know ME better, and hopefully you'll start sharing your own stories with me. :)

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Hello, my lovelies! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve done one of these posts. Actually… I haven’t done one since 2016 started. WHOOPS. I really did mean to do these monthly, but for the past four months, I haven’t had much to say honestly. So I mostly have things to talk about on the blogging side, and not the life side, but I still want to tell you what I’ve been doing the last four months.

From January to March, I was finishing up my final year of college. I had to drop a couple classes in the fall semester because of my surgery and recovery, so I ended up finishing out online. I only had two classes, which was SUPER NICE, and one of them was basically a feminism class, and I got to rant about gender inequality for 8 weeks. IT WAS PERFECT. Honestly, really loved that one. The other one, Learning and Memory, was meh. I managed an A for the class, which was freaking awesome since the exams were incredibly hard (thank God for a professor who believes in curving test scores). I was hoping it’d help me out with my own poor memory, but it really didn’t. Haha. Anyway, those classes ended the first week in March, so since then, I’ve been done with school.

It took me MONTHS to make a decision on graduation. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to walk in the ceremony or not, and a few people said I’d regret it, which made me go back and forth. But in the end, I decided NOT to. At the end of these four years, my emotional attachment to this university is at, like, zero. And because I ended up commuting the last two years and finishing it out online (and also after losing a bunch of friendships), I haven’t really felt like I was a part of the school anymore. I’m perfectly fine with my decision, and my mom was too, which was honestly more important to me than my own opinion. I did buy a cap and gown so I can take pictures on campus for announcements to the relatives and such. And I’m pretty stoked to be graduating with honors! I'm graduating cum laude, and I’m freaking proud of myself for accomplishing that!

That decision was really stressful though, and there were some other stressful things going on in the last month and a half, which pushed blogging to the side for me, and also sucked away energy for reading. A little bit of that stress has been alleviated, but now I’m more acutely aware of the fact that I don’t have a job. Since BEA is SO CLOSE (LIKE A LITTLE OVER A WEEK AWAAAAAAY OMG), I figured I would just hold off on putting out more job applications because I will be gone for a week. But after my vacation (I do see it as a vacation, but I’m also looking forward to networking and talking with publicists, so it’s going to be a bit of “work” too, and I’m going to treat it more professionally than I did last year), it’s going to be job hunting central, and I’m already not looking forward to it. It hasn’t gone well for me these last four months, so wish me luck!

Last piece of life stuff: I think the female cat who abandoned her kittens with us this past year is pregnant again. And omg no do not want. We really CANNOT take in more cats, especially since we already have 5 of them! 3 of them (Boots + the kittens) are outside cats only, and the other 2 (Ransom + his mom) are indoor/outdoor. I seriously don’t know how our house became the Neko Atsume app! IT’S RIDICULOUS. Like half of me is super excited about the prospect of baby kittens, but another part of me is just like “nooooooo no more cats!” I’ll keep y’all updated on this!

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Whew, okay, now let’s talk blogging! So. My mood with blogging has been super up and down these last four months. Some days are great. Some days are freaking fantastic. Other days… not so much. Currently I’m in another slump. I have SO MANY ideas, but I have no desire or energy to write them. I mean, I could barely get this post up! So, since this has been happening quite frequently, I’ve decided to just take my time and chill. I’ve been being more chill about things already this year, but I still am not completely chill enough where I can say “my blog is my blog and I can do whatever I want.” Which, yes I can, but I also ALWAYS take you, my followers and readers, into account. For example, I’ve only been publishing about 4-5 reviews a month because they are my least viewed/least interactive posts, and I’ve found that I love spreading them out so far apart too. So I’ve been trying harder to produce more creative and unique content for you guys (your opinion matters to me!), and I hope it’s working! But that’s not the only thing that’s changed or been different lately. Here are some recent changes/thoughts on my blog and blogging in general:

  • If you have or haven’t noticed, I’ve stopped posting entirely on the weekends! (Well, okay, ignore this one. Haha, I just put this post off until the last possible day of April). But yeah, after my March Madness event, I decided to TRY to post at least 5 days a week (Mon-Fri), and only post on Saturdays if I needed the room in my “schedule” or I had a post I was just DYING to put up. Also, if you notice I go a few days (or like a week) without posting anything new, don’t be alarmed! I’m just only posting if I feel like it, so there might be some inconsistencies, but I’ll try better to be more consistent.
  • If I was a regular commenter on your blog and haven’t commented in, like, forever, PLEASE don’t take it personally! It has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s blog in particular. I love you all, like a lot, especially since you continuously give me love when I don't do the same. These up and down moods have been plaguing me lately, and because of them, my desire to comment is at an all-time low. So I’m incredibly sorry that I’ve ignored your blog lately. I plan to step up my game this summer and get back into a routine! It just might take a long time, and I don’t want you to think that I hate you or your blog. :(
  • I’ve been feeling pretty disconnected from the social aspect of blogging in general, especially on Twitter. This community has felt increasingly toxic lately, and it tires me. It makes this place feel uncomfortable and unsafe to say anything. I’ve also noticed that interaction is low too. I think Twitter has lost a lot of its appeal, as more and more people are using other ways of communicating with their friends. And I do think that’s normal. But I also wonder if the toxicity is in part a reason why people are moving away from this social media platform. And from what I’ve been observing, sometimes I even feel like people don’t care as much about the socializing aspect anymore (i.e. selectively responding to people, asking questions and not replying to those who answer, heated discussions that don’t allow for differences of opinions). (Please tell me I’m not the only one noticing this?? I honestly don’t know whether it’s all in my head and people are just super busy and can’t Twitter as much as they used to, or what). Anyway, I don’t feel like Twitter is as fun a place as it used to be, and I feel less and less like interacting on it myself. And I haaaate it.

I think those three are the BIGGEST pieces of blogging that I wanted to talk about. Let’s just say, as much as I’ve been feeling down about the blog, it’s not been frequent! It’s just, like, I get into these cycles of loving this and then not loving it, of feeling good enough to feeling like I’m a failure. And this is such a terrible thinking pattern honestly (and something I want to work on hard for the rest of this year), which is why instead of dwelling on things and putting out lackluster content, I’ve just been letting myself CHILL. But I also didn’t want to just continue to be inconsistent and off and no longer commenting without sharing the whys with you guys. Because some of my favorite blogs right now are just BARELY posting or have stopped altogether, and it makes me sad. I don’t want to leave you wondering what’s happening or if I’m done (I’ve NEVER since been so ready to quit as I was last August, so me quitting is not something any of you have to worry about!). But yeah, I felt like this type of post and honesty was long overdue, so here we are! I’m currently in a writing posts drought right now, but I have all next week planned for posts, so I don’t have to scramble for ideas (which I am never out of, but since I write when I’m in the mood for things, my ideas never get put into posts quickly, or ever. Haha). And then I’ll be going on a hiatus for BEA week! I’m super excited to not only see my friends again, but to be surrounded by the BEST parts of this community -- the people, the books, and the total certainty that everyone there GETS you as a reader.

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Hi, how are you, what's been going on? I'm sorry I haven't been around as much lately, and that I've gone so long without a Checking In post, but I'm still here! And I adore you and your blog. <3