The Thoughts of a Bookworm After Her First Year of College (and an Absurdly Long Hiatus)

More and more, it feels like every post I write on here starts with an apology for being gone. While I definitely owe you guys that, I have to be honest and say that I thought more than once about letting this blog go all together. The truth is, between school, friends, writing (some updates on that later on!), bookstagramming, tweeting, and just plain old reading, I just flat out don’t have time to blog. But it breaks my heart, cause I honestly love blogging more than any other platform.

So all of that being said, I decided to write this post to a) tell you guys what I’ve been up to, and b) let you know what the heck I plan to do with this blog, which I hope you’ll stick with me for!

What I’ve Been Doing for the Past Three Months

The last time I posted on here was my review for the Enchantée blog tour in late February. Yep, February. To say that this was my longest absence from the blog yet is not an exaggeration. As I’m writing this on May 27th, that makes it more than three months of absolutely zero blogging activity, which is pretty terrible. But I definitely wasn’t just relaxing my way through life during that time, so here’s what I was up to!

School

As some of you might remember, this past year was my first year in college (or university)! To say that it was a tough transition – moving out of my home for the first time, living on my own, making new friends, adjusting to a new daily schedule – would be a huge understatement. Warning, this about to get a bit personal, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while now, since writing for this blog has always been therapeutic for me.

While I did successfully do all of those things (yay!), they were not without trial. Especially towards the beginning of spring semester (when the excitement of being on my own had solidly worn off, and my weariness with dorm life had set in), I began to seriously struggle with anxiety. I struggled a bit the fall semester as well, but in the spring (right around the time of my last post) it seemed to set in full-force. I really believe that there’s only so many days you can sit alone in a room by yourself before your mind starts to wig out. And that’s kind of what happened to me.

Unlike high school, where you attend classes for 8 hours a day, spend your evenings doing activities and homework until it’s time to crash, college gives you way more time on your hands. Which sounds nice, until you you’ve done nothing but homework in your room for the past three days because you simply have nothing else to do. It got to the point where I actually enjoyed homework (which is a nice byproduct, I suppose) because it gave my mind something to focus on.

Please enjoy this photo of my dorm while I was outside reading on the green, because even though I had tough days, my campus is still beautiful.

Making friends doesn’t come super easily to me, so I was lucky to have a couple good friends from home that I was able to hang out with a few times a week. If not for them, I seriously think I would have ended up transferring to a college closer to home. But even then it wasn’t a lot, so essentially, lack of friends/social life + tiny cramped living space + deep set fears of being away from home/family + constant pressure from deadlines = one very anxiety-ridden teenager. I eventually did go to see a counselor a few times, started doing yoga, and made the effort to study outside my room, all of which improved my quality of life at school immensely.

This is all basically just a way of saying that I wasn’t in the mental head space to blog. I barely managed to read one book a month at that point, because I found that reading let me sit with my thoughts too easily. And I’m describing these experiences also because I know that many others in this community share in the struggle of anxiety, and I would have really liked to read a post like this one to know I wasn’t alone at the time.

In general, having the book community really helped get me through those rough weeks! I have so many beautiful friends on here that I can talk to about pretty much anything with just the push of a button – a privilege that I was certainly thankful for then and continue to be thankful for now. I’ve since found myself in a much better place, and I’m genuinely looking forward to next year at school (where I’ll be living in a real apartment with my own space and some friends that I’m really excited to spend time with)!

But anyways, that’s enough of the sappy stuff, you came here for books!

Reading

Other than doing a whole lot of homework for the past three months, I did manage to read a few things! So here’s a line up of the books I finished since Enchantée:

March

After spending several weeks in the Netflix hole, I finally picked up this book on a whim because it was short and seemed easy to get through, which it definitely was! I didn’t expect to love this story so much, between the Viking-inspired world, abundance of magical creatures, and addicting romance I was blown away. I finished it in a couple days, and 100% give it credit for getting me out of a reading slump.

april

I picked up this book on a whim as well, hoping for the same luck I had with Warrior of the Wild, but unfortunately this one turned out to be pretty disappointing. I should’ve listened to all the mixed and negative reviews I read for this, because by the end I didn’t care about any of the characters or the central mystery. The first half was pretty good, but only went downhill from there. This month was also when my school load hit really hard, so it was the unfortunately the only book I managed to finish in April.

may

I’m not gonna write up my thoughts on these reads since I’m planning to do a full May wrap-up post (and I’ll hopefully have finished one more book by then, fingers crossed). But overall I had some pretty good reads (and some pretty “meh” ones) these past few months.

Now, my focus is on catching up with my Goodreads challenge. I… may or may not be absolutely, atrociously behind *hides face.*

I’m ten ENTIRE books behind and I honestly want to sob thinking about it, but that won’t get me anywhere, so instead I’ve been trying to read up a storm! It’s not going super great so far, but also not terrible, since you can see the difference in May’s reading from April and March. I’ve never been even close to this far behind before, but all I can do is read some short books and try my best this summer! (If you have any advice on how to read like, 15 books in a month, please send help lol).

Writing

Then the last thing I’ve been up to these past few months, which I’m honestly more proud of than anything else is….. *drumroll please*….

Writing my WIP!!

Some of you may remember reading my end-of-year wrap up post, in which I listed “Start my WIP” as one of my goals for 2019. While the project I’ve been working on actually turned out to be something brand new and wildly different from the story I originally had in my head, I’m happy to say that for the last couple months I’ve been writing! Like, really writing!

It started with a fiction writing class I took spring semester, in which I wrote the first two chapters of a sci-fi/dystopian story I got the idea for in a different English class of mine. While I’m not ready to go into any further detail I will say I may or may not have done the following things:

  • Downloaded Scrivener to organize all my chapter files and create project targets
  • Written 9,000 words and three complete chapters (almost finished with the fourth)
  • Developed three different protagonists as well as some side characters
  • Established a futuristic world with new technology brought on by an environmental apocalypse
  • Created a Pinterest board

Obviously that last one is the most important right?? Lol I wish I could say that I’ve gotten farther word-count wise, but the fact that I went from having virtually no project ideas and ambition to having something in my head that actually resembles a book is a huge accomplishment. Like, I have characters guys. CHARACTERS. Now if I could just figure out the entire plot, that’d be great.

The goal currently is to have 80,000 words of a draft done by the end of the summer (Aug. 27th). That’s a seriously tall order, but I’m a fairly fast writer as long as I can just make myself sit down to do it. If you guys would be interested in a blog series of short writing updates, let me know!

Moving Forward

And now for the second half of this post (don’t worry, it’ll be much shorter)- what I plan to do with this blog.

Basically, over the past few months, I came to the realization (and acceptance) that I’ll never be able to be a real “influencer.” I can’t post every day. I can’t even post every week. My life just isn’t in a place right now that’s conducive to that kind of schedule, and it probably never will be. So instead, I’m allowing myself to just post when I can, and when I want to. Of course I’ll push myself to keep the motivation up and will continue posting reviews for some books I read. I truly love being in the blogging community, so I never want to let it go entirely.

*whispers* I’ve been trying to reach 1.8K followers for the last TWELVE HUNDRED YEARS

But if you’re someone who likes more consistent posting and content, I totally understand if you decide to click that “unfollow” button! I’m much less of your typical blogger/influencer/content creator than a regular reader who plans to treat blogging almost like an online journal. If my audience becomes just me, I’m kind of okay with that – though I’d miss your beautiful faces and the comments that always make my day!

Basically, I’m not gonna be posting wrap-ups and hauls and frequent ARC reviews and discussion posts. It’ll be more like a random, fun sprinkling of all of those. And honestly, this shouldn’t be news, considering this is what I’ve been doing my entire time on this platform, even if I was previously striving for more. Now, I’m just content with whatever I feel like producing that day.

If you’d like to follow me in a place that I post more consistently, I’d love to find more of you on Twitter (though I’ll warn you, I can get a little salty over there lol). I also post on Instagram stories daily, and post photos preeeetty regularly (as these things go).

If you actually read this whole post and stuck with me through my hiatus, it truly means the world to me! Let me know some good books you’ve read recently, and feel free to send links to any recent blog posts (I need to get caught up with blog hopping)!

Until next time (which hopefully won’t be as long),

Follow Pen and Parchment on WordPress.com

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[…] doing a little readathon with Mia @ Pen and Parchment with specific prompts from Monday, June 3, to Sunday, June 9, so that will help keep me on a […]

Jordyn @ Jordz the Bibliophile
Guest

Testing, testing!

Laura W
Guest
Laura W

I’m so glad to hear that you’re back for whatever capacity you can handle, Mia! I love reading basically all of your posts; you have such a unique perspective (even though I’m trash at actually commenting… half-year resolution maybe?)! I’ve also had a rough year of college (not rough mentally (I’m so sorry to hear this year has been difficult for you) but schedule-wise) and I had to take several unplanned, unannounced hiatuses. I’ve come to the realization that blogging consistently and college generally don’t mix unless you are a literal organization QUEEN. Which I am not 🙂 Anyway, I’m… Read more »

Jordyn @ Jordz the Bibliophile
Guest

Mia. I am so proud of you for sharing this post. You are so much braver than I am. You made it through the first year of college! That’s the hardest part. You’ve got this.

PerfectlyTolerable
Guest

I’m sorry you had such a rough go of college, but I am glad it got better and I am glad you are looking forward to next year! Its awesome that you want to keep blogging. I’m of the mindset that blogging is all about the blogger, so if posting once every in a random while makes you happy then good for you! Screw what anybody else thinks 😀 I hope you have a great summer <3

amyriadofbooks
Guest

I picked up LOVELY WAR because I saw you talking about it in your IG Stories. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but it really sounds like something I would like. 🙂 As for the whole college bit, taking time for yourself and ignoring things is such a priority, especially with such a big transition from high school to college. I was fortunate enough to go to college closer to my home, so I wasn’t too far from my family. But I did live in my own, and adjusting to the not-too-set schedule of college classes and homework was a… Read more »