Skip to main content

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. 

This Month on YouTube...

And on Here...


Popular posts from this blog

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Blog Tour Stop: Like Home by Louisa Onomé

  Today, I want to shine the spotlight on Like Home by Louisa Onomé, which came out this week. That means you don't even have to wait to pick up a copy of your very own. Thank you to Turn the Pages Tours and Penguin/Delacorte Press for arranging this. So let's get into what this latest YA is all about! Synopsis: Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil. Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good. Only, Kate’s parents’ corne

YA You Need To Read: April 2021

It's already April! School has been super super hectic, and I'm starting my old job as a bookseller again, so I haven't had much time for reading lately (ironic, I know), but I did want to talk about some books coming out in April that I can't wait to read (one day) that might inspire you to pick them up. I particularly can't wait for My Epic Spring Break Up! It's been on my list for a while now (I mean, look at that cover), but I also found some new books that hadn't been on my radar while browsing around the internet that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Let me know in the comments what April books you can't wait for!  Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Kahn  April 6th Zara has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for a while. She's always dealt with the Islamophobia that's rampant in her high school, but when the star football player gets suspended, Zara becomes the target of a racist attack by the rest of the team that puts her and her family'

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi: YA Book Review

  Yolk  by Mary H.K. Choi Overview: Jayne is in fashion school in NYC. Well, she's enrolled. It's debatable how often she actually attends. June has a fancy job in finance, or that's what everyone thinks. But when June gets cancer, the estranged sisters are pulled together because June needs Jayne's identity to get treatment. By pretending to be her sister to get the life-saving procedure, June is forced to come clean and pull Jayne back into her orbit. Though their relationship stays rocky, they're suddenly glued together, forced to admit that their respective glamorous lives are actually filled with roaches and trauma and missteps. Overall: 5+++ This book made me happy cry (that's never happened while reading) and sad cry. Characters: 5 The book is told from Jayne's perspective in an extremely close first person. This book has plot. Things happen in the way that life happens, but it's mostly just characters getting split open and probed for all their w

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha

They Both Die At The End

They Both Die At The End  by Adam Silvera (368 pages) Overview: Mateo and Rufus are both going to die at the end, but I'm guessing you got that from the title. The thing is, Mateo and Rufus don't know each other till the day they are going to die. After getting their calls from Death Cast, the new organization that lets everyone know that they are going to die with a call sometime after midnight. While trying to digest the news, they both turn their attention to the Last Friend app in search of finding another "decker" to spend their final day with. As the boys try to think of ways not to waste their final moments, they start to form a bond they never anticipated. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 I have to applaud Silvera for keeping his (mostly) duel prospective narrative voices so separate. Mateo and Rufus not only have different traits but totally different dialects. Mateo is Puerto Rican, quiet, and totally paranoid with a hyperawareness about safe. Both careful an

Fear of Missing Out

Fear of Missing Out  by Kate McGovern  Overview: Astrid has a form of brain cancer called astrocytoma that causes a star shaped tumor to form near her brainstem. Though she was in remission, two years later, the cancer comes back, and Astrid becomes convinced that she won't beat the disease. She starts to pursue options that will allow her to have a life in the future, namely, cryopreservation. After essentially freezing her body, she hopes to wake up when there's a cure for her cancer so she can rejoin the world and see some of the milestones she fears missing. On the road trip to tour the Arizona facility, though, Astrid makes other realizations about her life and eventual death that alters how she sees her original plan. Overall: 4  Characters: 4 Astrid is relatable. She has a touch of dry, witty humor that makes her relatable. She loves her friends and family deeply, but she also has a conviction to follow what feels best for her. I appreciated how she always tried t

Writing Morally Gray Characters: A Guest Post by Laurie Devore, Author of A Better Bad Idea

Laurie Devore is stopping by the blog today to talk about her new book from Imprint, A Better Bad Idea , which is out now! This mystery/thriller/romance fusion is Laurie's third book, and it's a new twist on her usual contemporary YA stories. For this guest post, Laurie talks about crafting morally gray characters that your readers will still feel attached to and cheer on. Here's her best writing tips:  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of what people will do when they’re pushed to their brink. While my new novel, A BETTER BAD IDEA, may seem like a departure in some ways from my previous novels, I actually think their DNA is quite similar. The stakes are higher, but as ever, this book is about girls making unimaginable choices because of their circumstances, whether self-inflicted or not.   I’m constantly thinking about what it means to write morally gray characters, and I think the main takeaway from me is that I’m just much more interested in what people do and w

Perfect on Paper: YA Book Review

  Perfect on Paper  by Sophie Gonzales (2021 Release!) Preorder The Book on Bookshop! Before I get into the review, I'm just so excited to be writing a book review! I hadn't finished a book since the end of September :(. Hopefully that's over now. Anyway... Overview: Darcy is like Hannah Montana. Well, kinda. She's not a secret pop star, but she does have a hidden identity. She's the girl behind Locker 89, home of the best relationship advice in California. Or, at least, at her high school. People drop a letter and $10 in the locker, and Darcy collects them after school when her mom, a teacher there, stays late. This goes perfectly until Brougham catches her. While it's a minor disaster, he has a fascinating Australian accent and some traces of charm, and he ropes Darcy into giving him personal relationship coaching to win back his ex-girlfriend. But maybe he doesn't want his ex-girlfriend back after all? And maybe Darcy could get over her painful crush on h

Trigger Warnings Show Empathy

This week, YA Twitter was alight with controversy over a number of things this week (per usual, unfortunately). Most of it was run of the mill discussion over labeling YA and creating new genres (which I've talked a little about and I'll link below the posts below). But there was one conversation at the start of the week that baffled me a little. It started with a YA author tweeting something insensitive about trigger/content warnings. She basically said that they shouldn't exist because they spoil stories and that the world is hard and bad or negative things can't and shouldn't be avoided. And the first thing I thought when I saw that original tweet, before reading anyone else's takes or more of the thread was "Wow. People really don't get what a trigger warning is and who they're for." Because trigger warning are put on media now for a small number of people who have a genuine need. It's a relatively new thing in books (and really mos