March Update

March Update

Once again it’s been two months since my last post in January. That is mainly due to the fact that after I’d returned from London I got really ill and struggled with getting better over a period of almost three weeks. Turns out I had a middle ear infection, for which I then had to take antibiotics and all that jazz.

London was amazing. It was the first time I’ve ever been abroad entirely on my own and I really enjoyed it. I met a lot of people; saw, did, and experienced things I might not have had I travelled with a friend. As it’s a bit over a month now since I’ve been back, I’m not sure whether I will write an entire blog post dedicated to my trip but I might.

Regarding what I’ve been up to the past few weeks: I’ve enrolled in an MA course in Literary and Cultural Studies that started this March, so I’ve been attending classes even though I am not planning on completing the degree. I still got my eyes set on going abroad; this is mainly to bridge the gap between now and when I will be able to set sail. Other than that I’ve been applying to jobs and internships. We will see where all of that will lead.

In terms of what I’ve been planning on writing for this blog: I’ve said this before but I am hoping to finally write more on literature and books. That had always been the original intention behind this blog. Somehow I seem to have favoured blogging about other things over the years, there’d been a lot of motivational posts and updates on how I was dealing with anxiety and feeling down. These have been fairly therapeutic to write and share but I don’t want to exclusively concentrate on such kind of topics. I am working on writing for this blog more regularly, whether I’ll succeed in doing so we will find out soon enough.

This is it from me for now – hopefully, I’ll be back sooner than later!

x,

Lauren


P.S. I mentioned in my last post that I started a new blog focusing on politics and current affairs – if you want, you can check out my latest post.

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An Update

These past few months have been rather difficult for me. So much while at the same time so little has happened. I am unsure what my next steps will be which is thrilling but stressful.

I started this blog in October 2013. I was in my first semester at university and was absolutely excited about the next three years entertaining high hopes and aspirations. It’s weird to think that three years have passed already. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that my time at uni just flew me by. The opposite, in fact. It has at times even felt ‘dragged out’ and I thought it would never end. Now, as I am waiting for my very last grade and about to finish my degree, I’ve come to reflect on these past six semesters. Unfortunately, not much comes to mind. I do truly value my education and am grateful that I have had the opportunity to study at all but, if I am honest, it really has not been what I’d expected it would be those three years ago. What bothers me the most is that I seem to “have done so little”. I’m not entirely sure what I should have done differently. The whole experience, or maybe rather thinking about it, simply leaves me feeling empty.

I have indeed grown these past three years, found out things about me, became more self-aware and secure, more independent, more confident. Yet, I am still as clueless as to what I really want as I was then. Being almost done with uni obviously brings with it the typical questions as to what my plans for the future are. To be honest, there are none. No definite ones that is. I know that deep down I know what I want to do/can envision my next steps but I don’t feel ready to share all of that right now. I also think I should probably take my time to gather my thoughts and consider all my options. I’m definitely trying to make the next thing I take up be something I really care about.

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2016 has truly been a weird year. I’d say my worst. Despite the fact that I am graduating from uni, I struggle to really celebrate this “achievement” and be enthusiastic. I’ve been feeling down for most of this year and actually considered dropping out as I figured I’d never be able to finish my papers. Though I obviously did in the end I still am exhausted by all the negativity that I’ve been carrying around with me. Also, not wanting to sound trite but all that “has been going on in the world lately” really had an impact on my mood and general outlook. Brexit, Trump, the amount of brutal police shootings in the U.S., many European countries’ lack of interest in taking actual measures regarding Syria (they prefer demonizing refugees instead) were amongst the main ‘current issues’ that really dampened my spirits. I know that there are people by far more affected by any of these mentioned developments and I have to say the cynical side of me was not surprised by them; however, we’ve reached such lows, it’s mind-boggling.

I guess you can tell by now that my expectations regarding what’s about to come are not particularly optimistic. I am looking forward to somewhat figuring out what I want to do next, though. I’ve got plans for this blog as well (to post more regularly first and foremost :P) and another idea that has been on my mind for some time, which I’ll reveal in the next few weeks.

x,

Lauren

When Do You Get to Call Yourself a Writer?

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That’s the question weighing on my mind lately: when does one get to call oneself a writer?

Recently, I’ve been following loads of people on WordPress and Twitter – young people about my age who already seem to have achieved so much more than me (writing-wise). A lot of them have already published articles and personal essays in various online and print magazines. This has lead me to contemplate my own writing which so far has gone by largely unread. Part of it is due to my own hesitation to share what I write. I feel like my writing is just not quite ‘there’ yet. But if no one ever gets to read what I write, aside from entries on this blog, can I really call myself a writer?

 

To be honest, I don’t ever actually call myself a writer. I always thought that was a distinction reserved for people who’ve actually had any of their work published. Is having been published the only determining factor though? Or maybe someone who religiously writes everday (which would also exclude me…) would qualify as well? I guess the simple wish to one day be an “established” writer isn’t enough…

After some further reflection, I realised, however, that I am not one to espouse elitist views, especially not when it comes to ‘the arts’. Writing is for oneself primarily. Sure, there are people who write for money, fame, recognition etc. but I believe most people with a passion for literature and writing would agree that the main “reason” they write is that it’s a perfect way to express oneself. To deal with life’s frustrations, to make sense of the rambling thoughts in your head, to cope with anxiety or depression, to create a world that’s wholly your own. And these experiences made when writing for oneself are just as valuable as are pieces printed in noteworthy publications.

 

For now though I doubt I’ll ever truly think of myself as a writer. I am too insecure and worried about style, originality, creativity, and authenticity. This doesn’t mean that I won’t ever get there eventually. So, until then, I will simply take solace in the fact that this is a struggle many writers(-to-be) face.

“[…] he had the vision necessary to write, but he needed to discover the method that could translate ethereal clouds of thought into written word”

quote on Jack Kerouac – one of my favourite authors – finding his writing style from Dennis McNally’s book Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, and America

Here I am again. I don’t know how many ‘blogging comebacks’ I’ve already had and quite frankly I wouldn’t want to know. I keep coming back to it though because I actually really love it. And once more I’ve told myself to be more driven and committed to my blog. Maybe I’ll keep it up this time, maybe I won’t. But for now the plan is to settle into some sort of routine and get back to posting more regularly.

Not much has happened since my last post. I’m in the midst of graduating from university – I finished my last semester in June and now I’m writing on my B.A. papers which isn’t exactly fun. Sometimes I wonder whether writing indeed is the career path I should pursue given that I do not enjoy writing papers for uni at all. As to what I want to do after graduation I have no clue whatsoever. I do have ideas of what I’d possibly like to do but still got a lot of figuring out to do.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to concentrating on blogging some more in the next few weeks. There are a lot of books I’ve recently read that I want to write about, maybe I’ll talk a bit more about what has happened with uni in the past months (*hint: lots of procrastination, one failed exam, many sleepless nights, demotivation, moments when I seriously considered dropping out*), or what my plans for the future are.

x,

Lauren

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Also, I failed to mention that this is what the typical “summer day” looked like for me this year

 

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.

Bruce Lee

I find that to be very true. At least it applies to me. As a constant worrier, I usually ponder over things on my mind, whether and how I should approach something daunting and then go on to devise plans, which I hardly ever see through. Recently I’ve become a bit more spontaneous and impulsive but, most importantly, more confident in my own judgement. Whether it’s a new activity I want to try out, a club I want to join, a job I want to apply to, my main advice to myself is to just do it. Just do it…you’ll eventually figure it all out.

source: http://srainwater.com/

How to Value Your Own Voice

Lately I’ve been struggling with one thing – one question, really – which has kept me from blogging:

Why would anyone want to read what I’ve got to say?

I don’t live an exciting ever-changing life, I’m not some genius whiz kid nor am I overly artistic or talented. I have not seen outstanding things in the course of my life. So what am I actually doing?!

I love writing: personal diary-keeping, texting and writing letters/postcards, public writing like on here, and yes, sometimes stuff for Uni. This is what I eventually want to do with my life but I too often feel self-conscious about my writing chops and the relevance of what I’m writing about. But what exactly makes something worth sharing or publishing? And should one, in this case I, really base what to blog and post on what others would like to read? Shouldn’t it be the other way round: me feeling the urge to jot down my thoughts and throwing them out there? Readers’ reaction would be out of my control, anyway. On top of that, I am writing for myself. Sure, it’s nice to know people read (and maybe like) what I’m rambling about but at the end of the day I don’t want that to dictate how I will proceed with this blog.

Another thing that sometimes hinders me from writing perhaps more original posts is that I’m still worried about opening up. I’ve already blogged about this months ago but, apparently, I’ve not progressed since then. I know it would be easier to stop caring what others think of me but I do occasionally find myself hesitating before posting something: do I really want people to know about this? Though I do feel pretty comfortable in the blogging community and definitely got some bloggers I feel connected to whose posts I read and they do mine, I worry about people who actually know me in real life. What they’ll think. But I’ve made that decision to stop being so secretive about my blog a while ago and now I’ll just stick to it. Also, isn’t that essentially what writing’s all about: you’re expressing your thoughts and everybody’s finding out about it.

What I have now come to realize is that it’s necessary to really value one’s own voice to be a good writer. And that entails considering my thoughts and opinions worth sharing. And not caring whether others will judge, laugh, or disapprove. Obviously, I’m not going to be completely at ease doing so right away but I will work on myself as this blog is important to me.

Taking Sylvia Plath’s advice, I’ll try and not let self-doubt interfere with my writing.

Books I’m Rereading [1]: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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A while ago I decided to reread some of the books I’d already read, in particular those very popular ones everyone loves but that didn’t work their charm on me.

The first time I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower was exactly this time two years ago. Just graduated from high school and on summer break, I wasn’t too sure what to do with myself and where I was heading. The slow realisation that the things I wished to do would have to be put on hold definitely dampened my spirits, and that’s also the state I read the book in.

Back then, I did not particularly like the book: it’s not that I hated it, I simply didn’t understand the hype surrounding it, which happens to me a lot with YA literature (The Fault in our Stars, everyone). Despite the fact that I could even relate to Charlie in some regards, I failed to see what others felt when reading this book. This time round, though, I loved it and can’t find nor remember what bothered me in the first place.
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Reading the book now that I’m out of high school felt almost nostalgic; of course, it features many serious and difficult subjects/issues which not every teenager necessarily experiences, but it still captures the essence of growing up enough for anyone to relate to it. Especially the parts in which characters are getting excited about going away to college where everything will be great was sort of “bitter-sweet” for me as I can well recall the times I’ve said that back when I was still in school (surprise: it didn’t really turn out that way…but that’s okay).

One really important lesson one can take away from the book to me is that one’s own pain is always “valid” regardless of whether other people have it worse than oneself. I think sometimes we can forget that no matter how petty our insecurities or silly our worries, they are still the exact same things that keep us up at night or make us feel bad about ourselves.

What also resonated with me a lot was the focus put on “participating in life” as it’s called in the book. Charlie, the title wallflower and outsider, is struggling to connect and interact with others and is continuously told by others to take part in life. As I’ve written here several times, this is something I tend to have difficulties with, as well, and while there are many books that adress this Perks might be the most on point.

So, to wrap up, I absolutely benefitted from giving a book I’d already written off another chance and so might you!

source: http://theeperksofbeingawallflower.tumblr.com/
source: http://theeperksofbeingawallflower.tumblr.com/