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September 2020 Wrap Up

 

I've honestly been stuck on what to write for this wrap up. I guess I'm surprised that September is finally over? It's been another boringly eventful month. I've been much busier trying to balance two blogs, YouTube, and college. I feel like I'm managing everything okay, but it's still a lot to process on some days when you factor in everything else going on in the world. I'm in a weird place of feeling totally lost and stagnant and also like I'm making some major strides towards getting where I want to go. It's hard to remember that it takes a long time build something up, and the process is something to enjoy too. I'm trying not to dwell on what's out of my control. Reflecting back on the month, I've accomplished a lot more than I felt like I did when I sat down to write this. 

A lot of what I'm most proud of myself, I'm not going to talk about in a ton of detail yet because I'm super superstitious about talking about things before they happen, but I took a lot of major leaps this month. My motto has been some variation of "You miss every ball you don't swing at". I don't know why it popped into my brain in a sports metaphor because I generally despise those, but I'm tired of self denying. And I'm tired of being petrified of failing. 

Failure and fear of failure has defined a lot of my September. When I last wrote one of these posts, I had just started college and was feeling out what it would be like. I was discouraged after sitting through a week of virtual orientation, and honestly, I haven't managed to get more excited about college. If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I've been waiting practically my whole life to get to college, and I think I built it up in my head a bit too much. As the weeks went by, my inner perfectionist that I spent the last year fighting back jumped out in full force. Even though I wasn't struggling with my classes or challenged there, I was in a battle with my own brain that was terrified of a professor finding fault with one of my assignments. The feeling before turning in an assignment felt like putting on an old sweater I thought I gave away. The fear of not being good enough was far too familiar. 

Over the last year, I've learned that nothing I make will be perfect. I just have to keep making new things. School stifles risk taking by tying everything to grades, GPA, and the threat that your future could be tanked by a risk your teacher didn't appreciate. I've taken a lot of creative risks in the last few years. I've learned to put myself out there and accept rejection as part of the process in every part of my life. But academia, even if they dispute it, requires perfection over true learning. There's no room for a stumble if you want to excel in that world. 

Those feelings were suffocating the first few weeks of school. I was glad I'd lined up blog posts and videos to cover my first few weeks because those feelings coming back froze me. I didn't feel like my best self. I didn't feel like doing anything. I dug harder into the two worlds that always welcome me home- music and my favorite YouTube videos. In a way, that was good. It felt cozy to go to those comfortable place, and by throwing myself into online fandom and constant music consumption, I naturally wanted to write about what I was experiencing. Writing is always my first impulse. I added more to my music blog this month than I have ever before, and it grew accordingly. There's something particularly special about connecting with people in that space. Eventually, I recognized how happy writing those articles hastily before (and sometimes during) class when a new song dropped made me and that I needed to lean in and make time to immerse myself in what I love again. 

Towards the end of the month, I gave myself the space to prioritize the spaces and activities that made me happy and reminded me why I love being alive. I finished all my edits on my WIP. I submitted writing a couple of places, which I haven't gotten to do in years. Who knows if something will come from it, but it felt good to put myself out-there creatively. To embrace the thrill that things could start happening. 

At the start of the week, besides my one class, I gave myself the day off to play guitar and read. I finished two books that day and felt so filled creatively and emotionally. It was a reminder of how much I love words when they'd felt so dried out and boring after focusing so heavily on academic reading and writing. I read Fangirls, an academic book about the history of fandom that was so thoughtful and well researched. It lit a new fire in me and reminded me that I do love academic thoughts and worlds when the focus was turned towards topics I cared about. If only I could go join these fandom scholars. I would never want to stop researching. Reading poetry this month, especially, was exciting. I don't read enough poetry. Going back to all the things I love reminded me to keep pushing for the future I want and to keep pushing harder. So, I guess, if there's something you want to do and you're telling yourself there's no way you'll make it, stop self denying. Take this as a sign to click submit. The worst they'll tell you is no, and then you can do something else. And if you're struggling with college in whatever way or sense it applies to you, I'm in it with you. There are a lot of bad moments, but don't let the things you love get away from you. 

My monthly ramble wouldn't feel complete without noting two amazing things that happened this month. Over all these years of book blogging, I still get excited when authors notice me, and this month, I had that experience in a new way with a post from Music, Musings, and Me and one with a video I made. Both of these moments felt extremely validating and reminded me of why I put so much work into my own little projects. 

First, Fletcher read my article I wrote about her music video for "Sex With My Ex". I'd covered every new release around her EP The Sex Tapes, but this music video particularly moved me. It was art with a vulnerability I hadn't seen in a long time. I wanted to honor her transparency. I wrote the article quickly and shared it a couple places. A few days later, Fletcher noticed and read my piece. I couldn't believe my eyes when I checked my phone. My reaction video for The Sex Tapes had already been by far my best performing YouTube video, so Fletcher felt almost like a lucky charm this month. She's always been a major inspiration to keep going. She replied to my tweet after reading my article, and I'll be staring at this screen shot forever. 


I guess the moral of this story works in both directions. Tell people when you like the stuff they make. It will absolutely make their day. 
I had a similar experience when I released my reaction to Maisie Peter's EP It's Your Bed Babe, It's Your Funeral. I posted the video on YouTube, and Maisie found it on Twitter and watched it. She had the sweetest reply as well that truly made my heart so happy. Sometimes I wonder why I put in so much work on these platforms, and it's really these reminders that keep me going. 




As far as reading goes, it got a lot better towards the end of the month. I finished seven books this month, thanks to my reading blitz at the start of the week. I bought 3 new books this month and won one in a contest. I read four library books and the three books I bought. I was proud of myself for reading each book as I got them instead of letting them go languish in my TBR pile. I read 3 YA contemporary books, one YA novel in verse, a book of poetry, and a nonfiction book from the UK, and that's not counting all the reading I've had to do for school. My reading hasn't really slowed down with school because I've been needing an escape more than ever. Hopefully, that will continue. A lot of reviews for the books I read will come in the next month. But here are the ones that are already posted:
Before I share all the links to everything I wrote on both blogs and published on YouTube, I want to say a major thank you to everyone reading this. I don't dwell on numbers, but this blog has been clicked on almost 10,000 times this month and my music blog is close to 1,000 for the month. I think I have a hard time comprehending how so many people are reading my words and hopefully enjoying them. Remembering how excited I was for a single view when I started, this feels like proof that I can make something, however slow and small. 
With that said, I would love you forever if you would go ahead and subscribe by email on the homepage to this blog, Music, Musings, and Me, and subscribe to my channel on YouTube. Also, if you want even more of me, please connect on social media! For the blog, follow on Instagram @readingwritingandme and Twitter @readwriteandme and then find me personally (for YouTube and music blog updates too) on Twitter and Instagram @mslaurenbrice. 
Also, if you want some entertainment inspiration, watch my Favorites September video for my favorite books, music, and podcasts from this month. And I'll also highlight my first week of college vlog if you're curious about what Zoom University looks like. Since I filmed this, I've given up on looking professional and now take class in bed. 
I hope you have a great next month, and enjoy Halloween season, even if we are all stuck inside. 



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