An Honest 2022 Reading Update (and 5 Year Anniversary): Where I'm At Now with Reading, Writing, and Blogging

We all know that I haven't blogged in a bit longer than I would've liked. And for the first time, I've been reading books without writing reviews for them. If you'd told 16 year old me that would happen, she would've stared at you in disbelief. I've been through bad reading slumps before and times when I questioned how much I still loved books, but every book I did finish turned into a review for the blog. And this winter, that stopped happening. 

I wanted to write a little update for those of you who have followed Reading, Writing, and Me's journey since 2017 and share where I'm at in my reading and writing life as the moment as well as a mini life update. Even though this blog is a smaller part of my life than it once was, I still don't want to disengage from my love of writing, books, and this community. The updates are just a bit more infrequent now. In a way, it's nice to have this place return to what it once was for me—just a hobby.

So let's get into what I've been up to. In 2022, I've finished 10 books so far. I've never read so little, but it is during a chaotic college semester, so I'm giving myself some wiggle room. I have more responsibilities now than I ever have, and I've been in the process of moving and getting settled nearly the entire year. Of what I have read, three of the books are fiction and the other seven have been nonfiction. I read one romance and two general fiction books. Surprisingly, I haven't read any YA in 2022 which makes me sad, but I am currently re-reading Mary HK Choi's book Permanent Record.

That definitely plays into part of the reason why I haven't updated RWM that much lately. I don't find it as interesting to write about nonfiction books as I do fiction, and I've mostly been reading nonfiction because I prefer those as audiobooks. I've found that with my school schedule, it's way easier for me to keep reading through audiobooks. I can listen in the car, running errands, walking around campus, or when I'm doing chores around the house. The ease of audiobooks has outweighed even necessarily my reading preferences. I wish I was reading more fiction, but I just find so many of those narrators to be really stiff in their readings, and I also struggle with paying enough attention to follow detailed plots on audiobooks. 

I've downloaded a few books and read half before my library loan expired over the last couple months. I just simply don't have a ton of time to read physical or digital books that aren't for class. I'm hoping to steal a few more quite moments in the coming weeks to really sit down with a book and read, but right now, it's not super practical for me. I'll do a round up of the books I've read but haven't reviewed on here very soon. 

I've been reading Permanent Record lately as I've gotten more serious about drafting my latest YA book. It's in a college setting, which means there aren't a ton of similar titles out there. I haven't drafted anything since the beginning of last year, so I'm feeling a little rusty. Googling craft questions hadn't been working very well, so I decided to go back to the roots of how I taught myself to write books in the first place—reading books with a particular eye towards craft. I admire Mary's books and their mix of humor, wit, detail, and heart. I'm so excited to finally be in the drafting stage with a new project that I feel good about. My writing time has dropped severely since I've started college, and I need to seriously work on carving out more time for that. Sadly, there is no audiobook equivalent for writing. 

I'm looking forward to Casey McQuiston's new YA book in May, so I have hope that reading that book will pull me back into the YA world a little bit. I've really been missing it lately, but I feel so out of the loop with everything that I'm not sure how to jump back in. A lot of my old blogging friends have taken a step back like I have, and I've also just spent less time on social media in general, so I haven't been hearing about books the same way I used to. I think I needed a YA break, but I'm starting to wonder about reading a few more books here and there from the catagory. Even though I'm only 18, my life stage feels so different than the high school main characters of YA, so even though I love the story, pacing, and community of YA, a smaller amount of it is going to appeal to me now, and I have to accept that. I'm still very much struggling with not being a full adult but also not being a full teen. One day I'll grow out of it, but the thought of not having a foot in the teen door is definitely scary. 

Reading and writing will always have my whole heart, and even though I'm studying Music Industry and spending a lot of time in that world, my biggest career goal is to still be a published author in the fiction sense. I would love to be able to publish a book and connect with readers the way I've connected with so many amazing authors along the way. I also would love to get back into interviewing authors more, but sometimes I wonder if this blog has fallen off too much to ever really be revived again. 

Which brings me to a more serious conversation about the blog. When I stopped being so steeped in the YA world, I felt like the blog lost its voice and its shine. It was decently limiting that I decided to make a by a teen for teens YA book blog, but when I was 14, I thought I'd be a YA loving teen forever. And partially, I still am. But as my interests have expanded, I've struggled with how much I can expand the window of this blog without losing what's made it special. I thought the rebrand might help, but then it made me feel like I was further losing touch with the blog I worked so hard to build and loved so much. And so it's sat stagnant while I've waded through figuring it out. 

Still, I think there has to be a reason why this is a reading update and not a farewell post. Even though I've been considering it for a while, I haven't been able to bring myself to say goodbye for good. I feel naggingly bad about neglecting the blog, and it would be easier to just say goodbye and let the archive live on its own. But a part of me says that I've made it this far, and I should keep forging forward. 

What's for sure, though, is that Reading, Writing, and Me needs to enter a new chapter that includes more than the superficial facelift. I don't think that my place in the community is as a full blogger anymore. While I might want to write the occasional review, I no longer feel the constant need to write about every book I read, and I'm not current enough to write listicles about my most anticipated books all the time. But there is a huge part of the blog that I love: Into YA. 

I started the Into YA portion of my blog back in 2018, and it introduced me to my love of interviewing. I started with simple Q&As over email with YA authors I admired, and I found it so cool that I could just reach out to these amazing writers and ask them questions. The feedback I got from these was also really encouraging and built my confidence as an interviewer. Now, I do it fairly often, chatting with musicians for freelance articles or my music blog Music, Musings, and Me, but at a certain point, my interviews here started to fall off the less engaged with the community I got. And that honestly makes me sad. I love talking with writers, and I value their insight so much. 

I have hopes that maybe there can be a new chapter of Reading, Writing, and Me that is focused on talking with authors of all age categories and genres in a more in-depth way than my old 5 question Q&As, as much as I love them. I would love to record these conversations and share them in a podcast medium as well if that's something that you would be interested in. That vision for the blog, which I still have plenty of mulling over to do to figure out completely, is one that makes me really happy. The updates will never be as frequent as they used to be, but they can still be valuable. 

I'd also love to continue using this space to give updates on my own reading and writing life to keep up that wonderful documentation of my reading evolution that I've had since I was a kid. So if you read all that, thanks for sticking around, and it feels nice to be back here. 

If you have thoughts on what you'd like to see from RWM, a potential podcast, or anything else, let me know on Instagram (@readingwritingandme) and Twitter (@readwriteandme)!

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