July Wrap-Up // An Amazing Reading Month (But No Writing At All…)

Can someone please explain to me how summer is already almost over??

I feel like I keep repeating this, but quarantine life is going by so slow and fast at the same time — while July lasted very long, it’s crazy to think that summer will be over and I’m going to be starting (online) school in a few weeks.

But other than the writing slump that I’ve been stuck in for a while, this was actually a good month for me?! So, for a lack of a better intro, today I’ll be wrapping up everything I did in July (from the amazing books I read to my not-so-amazing writing)…

Before I get started, please make sure to always show your support for everything going on in the world. Social justice is not a trend.

Click here and here for two masterlists of issues going on all over the continent right now and what you can do to help.

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the shadows through my stained-glass garage window were so beautiful!

The first half of this month wasn’t very eventful, other than the fact that I binged The Babysitter’s Club on Netflix! It was so sweet to be hit with nostalgia from when I read the series when I was younger. 

I also started finally getting into Avatar: The Last Airbender and I’m almost done with the first season!! I can’t wait to get further into the show as I’ve only heard good things about it.

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More than halfway through the month, I tried looking for Comet NEOWISE with my family! Apparently, you could have seen it in the sky with just your eyes, but we weren’t able to find it. 😭 I did, however, get beautiful pictures of the moon like the one you can see on the right!

img_3242The highlight of my month was probably Taylor Swift saving 2020 by dropping her new album, folklore!!! I’m planning on doing a proper post related to it very soon, but I can tell you that I am still not okay and no, of course I haven’t been listening to it nonstop ever since it was released…

Billie Eilish also just released a new single, my future and I love it so much!! My monthly playlist was mostly abandoned after folklore and my future were released, but you can still check it out here.

I actually got some exercise this month, too, as my friend and I held each other accountable for completing the Chloe Ting abs in two weeks challenge!! I’m really happy we were able to finish it – it was difficult but worth it.

I continued learning skateboarding throughout the month and managed to land my very first ollie – a skateboarding trick where you jump up into the air on your skateboard!! Of course I had to mess it up by learning it the wrong way (I used the opposite foot placement as to what I should have used), so I’m hoping to try to learn it the right way soon.

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i reviewed these pens on my youtube channel yesterday!!

While I don’t talk about my youtube channel often here (it’s not a booktube channel, more like art, journaling, lifestyle etc.) I hit 1000 subscribers about two weeks ago!! I’m so grateful to everyone who decided to support me. 🥺❤ You can check out the two videos I posted this month here and here!

And as I talked about in the intro of this post, my school is starting in about two weeks and I don’t really know what to expect! I desperately need to get organized before it begins, though…

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Like I said at the beginning of this post, I had such an amazing reading month in July!! I enjoyed all of the books I read and think I’m starting to understand my taste in books much better. 

However, I’d like to talk about something: July was Disability Pride Month, and I am ashamed to say that I had no idea about that until last week, when I read Cait’s post.

It’s awful to think that this month goes by without really being discussed in the bookish community – we need to make a better effort to always support and boost books showcasing disabled characters, especially #OwnVoices ones! (I’m definitely calling myself out here.) 

I hope to read more of these books in August and continuing forever, but here are all of the books I read in July…

Brown Girl Dreaming Far from the Tree Picture Us in the Light Felix Ever After

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson // 4.5 stars

I’ve been wanting to read this one for a few months, so I was very excited when I picked it up!! This was a great start for my reading in July; I finished it in a day and adored every word of the beautiful poetry.

Far From The Tree by Robin Benway // 4 stars

Another one of my anticipated backlist titles!! While I didn’t *love* it as much as I thought I would, I still really enjoyed it and the themes of family, especially sibling relationships!

Picture Us In The Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert // 5 stars

All I’m saying about this is that it’s probably my favorite book of the year so far, it was able to make me cry, and you need to go pick it up now!!! (Y’all slept on my review of this so go read it here!)

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender // 4 stars

THIS COVER. I’m sorry but why does it have to be so gorgeous?! In fact, this book was gorgeous inside out! I loved Felix as a character and reading about his journey in realizing that he was worthy of love just made me 🥰🥰 

When the Moon Was Ours I Wanna Be Where You Are Summer Bird Blue My So-Called Bollywood Life

When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore // 4.5 stars

I’d been wanting to read this for so, so long, after hearing so many beautiful things about it, and Anna-Marie McLemore did not disappoint!! The prose was beautifully ethereal (it felt like I was in a dream while reading it!) and I loved everything else about it too.

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest // 3.5 stars

(Don’t worry – 3.5 stars is actually a good rating from me!!) This was such an adorable book about a Black girl ballerina chasing her dreams that also showcased a friends-to-kind-of-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers trope, which was so fun to read.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman // 4.5 stars

Wow – this was so, so heartbreaking and hard to read because of the themes of grief and sadness it explored, but it was beautiful at the same time and I’m happy I picked it up! I loved how it showcased so many family and friend relationships and I loved seeing Rumi grow as well.

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma // 3 stars

Even though I had a lot of problems with the plot and how certain things unfolded, I still enjoyed it because it made my entire day to see all of the Indian rep!! From the food to language to the Bollywood movies (I’ve seen around 90% of the movies Winnie talked about and I just 🥺🥺🥺), this book was so beautifully Desi!!

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…does anyone even expect me to include this section in my posts?? Flashback to when I said in May that I would try to work on my WIP and outline it by the end of summer… what was I thinking?

I’m in a rut right now, writing-related, and the only progress I’ve made is thinking about my WIP. I’ve tried opening my planning document and just can’t seem to find the motivation, unfortunately — so if anyone has any tips, please let me know! <33Header and Divider (1)6

I’ve been experimenting with my post layouts, graphics, and blogging/writing voice, and I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out this month!

I also deleted my favorite blogs page, because while I want to spread all the love and support I can, I feel awful for not updating it frequently and adding new bloggers! I’d much rather spread my support by being active in the community and sharing your posts in my monthly wrap-ups, and I hope everyone can understand. ❤

My Posts in June (click on the graphic to read them)

Around The Community…

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I’ve decided to start including a ‘Goals’ section in wrap-up posts because I desparately need to be held accountable for my goals, especially with school starting soon!! 😳

july goals:

  • Read 7 books ✅
  • Post 5 times on the blog ✅ If you count my June wrap-up, I did post 5 times this month!
  • Upload 2 youtube videos ✅ I uploaded the second one, like… yesterday, but shh it still counts!!
  • Work on outlining my WIP ❌ (Hahahah) 
  • Stick to the abs in 2 weeks challenge! ✅ I’m proud of myself for being able to stick to this!
  • Learn how to ollie ✅❌ Like I said before, I technically learned how to do it but I learned the wrong way :((

august goals:

  • Post at least 4 times on the blog
  • Upload at least 2 youtube videos
  • Read at least 6 books
  • Work out every day (…please help)
  • Create a better planning system and get organized for school(!!) (My bullet journaling system hasn’t really been working for me at the moment, so I want to try to create an online planning system)
  • Learn how to ollie higher and better! 
  • Create and stick to an early morning routine
  • Actually, you know, write things other than blog posts (again, please help!!)

Let's Chat

how was your month? do you have any book recs with disability/neurodivergent rep? are you as obsessed with folklore as i am? do you have any writing tips for me?!

wishing you a beautiful august!! ❤

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46 thoughts on “July Wrap-Up // An Amazing Reading Month (But No Writing At All…)

  1. I’m glad that you accomplished so much this month! I’d say not to worry too much about writing, because sometimes a break is necessary. If you really want to get the process going, however, I would start character first. When you truly know your main character, you can use their fears and motivations to shape the story. If the character for some reason isn’t quite making themself known to you yet (sometimes it happens), maybe try outlining the plot! Think of what story beats you want to include (doesn’t have to be in order yet, or you could follow a 3-act/4-act story structure if you like) and link them back to the main character so that each event matters specifically for them. If a random snippet or scene comes to mind, write it down. Some might make it into the story, some won’t, but all are equally useful for getting to know your characters and brainstorming events. And if planning still feels a little overwhelming, write any scene that comes to you. They don’t even have to make it into the book. Things like the villain’s backstory, the main characters going shopping at 2am, just anything fun that comes to mind, etc. can really get you going and drive you forward (and again, get to know your characters better in the process!).

    (also this is probably just a nitpicky thing but if you plan on working out every day, I just wanted to let you know it’s okay to take a rest day every once in a while! Take care of yourself ❤)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much for the extremely helpful advice, germaine!!! ahh thank you for taking the time to write this comment, all of your tips are so helpful and i’ll definitely use them to progress further in outlining 🥰🥰

      (and aww thank you 💖 i definitely agree, i meant that more of like a ‘get some movement every day’ instead of work out! but thank you, your kindness means the world 🥺🥺)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ahhhh you’ve started atla !!!!!! i wish you a very happy journey ahead with those lovable fools!! feel free to scream w me about it lol! also congrats on that ollie! i can skate and i really love to, but tricks scare me :/
    even tho you didn’t get writing done, you did pretty good with july’s monthly goals so props to you!!! gotta learn to count the victories instead of the losses! love ya <3333

    Liked by 1 person

    1. at the time of responding to your comment i’m in the middle of season 2 and it’s!!! so!!! good!! omg i just love the characters and everything about it so much 😭😭😭 and thank you ahh 💖 honestly same, tricks are very scary!

      thank you so so much, sophie!! 😭🥰 ilysm!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. YOU’RE WATCHING AVATAR???? *screams forever* I am SO SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!! I hope you enjoy it! (and if you need to fangirl with anyone, I’m always here XD)

    And congratulations on hitting 1k subscribers on your YouTube channel! That’s such an amazing milestone, and you deserve every single one of those subscribers. ❤ ❤

    I hope you have a fantastic August, Ash, and good luck with the next school year! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YESSSS!!! right now i’m in the middle of season 2 and it’s amazing, i love it so much!!! ❤️❤️ and ahhh, thank you so so much, nicole, your words mean the world 🥺😭 i hope you have a beautiful august as well!! 🥰

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  4. Wow! Congrats to you for getting so much done in August! 👏
    “My So-Called Bollywood Life” sounds so good! I’m Desi too, so I gotta add that to my To Read list 🙂
    Also Chloe Ting’s workouts are so hard, I’ve been trying to do the Flat Tummy challenge but I can only find motivation to do maybe 3 or 4 workouts per week, haha. Better than nothing though.
    As for writing, I know exactly how you feel – sometimes, you just need to give your brain a break, even it’s a long break. Maybe try a different form of writing? I typically write poetry, but sometimes I can’t bring myself to and end up writing a (really short) story instead. Or sometimes I journal. But don’t beat yourself up over unfinished story ideas. I have so many, I’ve lost count haha. But you can always try a different story idea, and come back to your original one later! Hope that helps, even if just a little bit 🙂
    And congrats on 1000+ subscribes on Youtube! Your channel is amazing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you, wardah!! 🥰 the desi rep in my so-called bollywood life was everything, i hope you enjoy it if you get the chance to pick it up!!! and hahah i totally feel you, i had such a hard time doing the abs in two weeks challenge lmao.

      and yes, thank you so much for your advice!! it means a lot 🥺💖 ahh i haven’t written poetry in a while, but i’m definitely hoping to write some soon! and thank you so, so much, you’re too sweet 😭😭❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will definitely try before summer ends!!
        I’m glad I could help! If you plan to post any of your creative writing, I’d love to read it 😁
        awww!! you’re very welcome, Ash!! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Ash! Yay you watched the Babysitter’s Club too! It’s amazing and so cute 😀 Sigh you really got me binging the Good Place. Lucky — I wish I read as many books as you did! I think I’ve only read like two books in July — The Three Body Problem and I’m 93% through The Dark Forest *hides*. YES FOLKLORE. I haven’t listened to all the songs but ‘cardigan’ is just so good! Someone on YouTube wrote a great analysis of the official music video — I think their pen name is Gellert Grindelwald!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much!! 💖 the babysitter’s club is really cute ahh, i’m glad you enjoyed it too!! and hahah yessss the good place is amazing, i’m so glad you started it 😌😌 aww don’t worry, three books is totally fine! FOLKLORE sdfjhlsadlkj i love it too much !! 🥺 omg cardigan is amazing – i’ll definitely have to check out that video!! 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The photos you took are so beautiful!
    Finishing a Chloe Ting challenge is not easy so congratulations on that!! 🎉🎉 I found that I was starting to get a little bit tired because I feel they get a bit repetitive so I have changed my workouts and it has made wonders for my motivation! I think I need some time to rest from her plans. And wishing you the best of luck with your work out goals!!
    Felix Ever After is on my TBR and I just keep reading comments on how amazing it is, I deifnitely need to read it ASAP!
    I hope you have a great August and reach all your goals (I’m kinda obsessed with productivity things and morning routines so I’m sending all my good vibes on that!!) 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh thank you!! 🥺🥺 and you’re so right – the repetitiveness can get to be annoying!! i’ll have to try switching up my workouts ❤️ felix ever after was amazing, i hope you get the chance to read it soon because it was definitely worth the hype!!

      thank you so, so much!! (haha yes!) 🥰💖

      Liked by 1 person

  7. hi! It’s great to hear that you’ve been having a nice time this month. I haven’t read any of the books you’ve read this month but i’m definitely adding BROWN GIRL DREAMING, PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT, and MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE to my tbr! i definitely feel you about the writing rut — i would suggest writing literally anything you feel motivated about. force yourself to get out at least 100 words. then 100 more. and just keep pushing, and even if it’s ugly, you’ve still got it. liked this post a lot! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel you so much about writing 😭😭 why is it so hard 😭😭 surprisingly, this month was a productive writing month for me, though i didn’t outline anything like I’d planned. i figured out the general plot points i want to follow and the bare bones of my worldbuilding, but it wasn’t without a lot of crying on my part :(( there are so many moments in writing where you get stuck in rut, and it doesn’t seem like you have any way of getting out. I know this is probably unhelpful advice, but you should just push through it! So far, every time I thought I hit a dead-end, I was somehow able to think my way through. You can do it!! Don’t try to rush yourself, you’ll figure something out eventually ❤ You can always talk to me if you need a motivation partner!! I wish I could give you more advice, but I write fantasy and have no idea how to write contemporary, so 😅

    I'm also wishing you the best August! I'm writing this on my last day of summer, and I just know I'm gonna drop off the face of the Internet because I have no idea how to manage my time :") hope you fare better than me ❤

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  9. I did the Chloe Ting Challenge too! I’m on Day 14 (today) so only one more day to go hehe but damn it is tough 😂 Congratulations on all you’re accomplishments! And 1K subscribers, that is amazing Ash you must be over the moon ❤️ I’m so happy you read 8 books, I think I read 6/7 but I plan to read lots this month because it’s my last month of summer holidays *sigh* so it’s reading attack 😂 I’m so sorry to hear writing hasn’t been working out for you, I managed to draft a chapter but that was only because I forced myself to go to a coffee shop and just write because sometimes at home I just can’t because I feel like I have always have other things to do?! Uh it sucks! Anyways I hope you have a lovely August and best of luck on your goals! 🙂

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  10. I cannot wait for you to finish Avatar and to hear all your thoughts on it! 😀 And I definitely agree that Miss Swift singlehandedly saved 2020 with her new album.
    I’m so glad you found some amazing books in July! You’ve definitely convinced me to read Picture Us in the Light, and I’m also very interested in Brown Girl Dreaming and Far From the Tree.
    …I’m also very much in a writing rut at the moment. Good luck to both of us 😭
    Thank you so much for sharing my review! I’m delighted that it got you more excited to read Loveless 😀 Happy August, and happy reading!

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  11. Ah Ash, you did so well! I really need to start ATLA eeepp. I’ve seen like episodes here and there and the live-action (I know, I’m hiding in shame) but haven’t actually watched from beginning to end. Yess folklore and the BE song (just listened to it and I really like). Skateboarding is SO COOL so GO YOU!!

    Loved all the books you got to read, I need to get to like all of them hehe. Especially excited about Felix and Anna Marie McLemore’s books though. And Akemi Dawn Bowman too.

    Hope all your August goals go well xoxo

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  12. Working out omg imagine
    I say I’m gonna do it
    And…then I don’t 🥺

    I LOVE your videos though! I watched a couple & they’re so aesthetic 😍💞

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  13. I’m so happy you had a good month! Not gonna lie, folklore is all I’ve been listening to since it dropped as well 😍 it’s just so good! The lyrics are fantastic and the vibes are just perfect.
    I hope you can get back into writing soon! I hadn’t worked on anything new for a while, but in July I decided to do camp nanowrimo and I actually managed to complete my outline! Looking forward to writing more for this w.i.p. soon.
    You’ve read so many great books! I can’t wait to read Felix Ever After soon.

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  14. August seems like it was a great month for you!!
    folklore 100% made my month too I love it so much and it’s all I’m listening to?? My absolute faves from the album are the last great american dynasty, betty and illicit affairs but I love it all. I think it could be my fave Taylor album too.
    I’m so ashamed to say that I had no idea it was disability pride month until Cait’s post – it was really not talked about on the blogosphere. I definitely need to read more books with (own voices) disability rep because it is so lacking in YA.
    Hope August is great for you <3.

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  15. It sounds like you had a really wonderful month! I definitely feel you with writing, though. I didn’t write nearly as much as I wanted to last month, whether it was just from depression or laziness or whathaveyou. Sometimes, I find creating a schedule is really helpful, if you have the flexibility where you can dedicate time to writing. Or, when I’m in a slump, I’ll change how I view “progress”. Instead of counting time, I count pages (or vice versa). Instead of trying to write for an hour, I’ll try for ten minutes. Basically, I lower my expectations so that the goal to just *make forward progress* is super achievable and I usually go way beyond it. Or, if that still doesn’t work, then it’s also important to give yourself grace and be okay with the fact that you need a break from writing right now. Your story will ALWAYS be there waiting for you!

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  16. that moon picture is indeed stunning! i’ve never had any luck watching astronomical events, sadly. because i live in a big city, my view of the sky is pretty narrow as there are a lot of buildings around, plus the lights don’t really help. i think the only event i’ve been able to see was the supermoon earlier this year. i think it’s super cool & interesting, but sadly it never works for me, hahah.

    (just want to say that i already LOVE your playlist so much and we both listened to alewife this july so yeah and just like a movie is probably my favorite wallows song).

    congratulations on 1,000 subscribers! i really like art videos even though i am not artistic myself and i don’t keep a bujo or planner, but i love watching videos regardless so i’ve definitely subscribed already!

    (and same here, i also didn’t know july was disability pride month and i was very disappointed because i’ve been meaning to read more books with disabled characters and it would’ve been a great opportunity. but at least i got more recommendations from cait’s post and i definitely want to read them before the end of the year!)

    i loved far from the tree and summer bird blue myself too! both books made me cry and i don’t really cry often, but i found the themes of family to be so deeply emotional in both titles!

    wishing you a great august & good luck on all your goals!

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  17. I’m SO glad you had an amazing July in reading! 😊
    I’m adding Picture Us In The Light right now to my TBR, because you made it sound too amazing!! 😍 And I’m really dying to read Summer Bird Blue & Felix Ever After, soon, they sound like something I love.

    I LOVE how your posts are SO organized! show me how, OMG, I’m kind of in love with your blog, sorry not sorry 😅❤️.

    I hope you have the best August, honey ✨

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  18. Ahh, this was such a lovely recap!!💛 I completely feel you about July being so fast and slow- everything I did at the beginning of July seems light years away, but I also feel like March was…yesterday.

    I’m so happy you loved The Babysitter’s Club on Netflix! I’ve been wanting to watch that and hopefully I’ll be able to binge it and get the nostalgic feels before going back to (online) school soon. Not being okay because of folklore is SUCH a mood and I can’t wait for your post about it, eep!

    Good luck with going back to school, and congrats on everything you accomplished this month! I hope all goes well for you in August, Ash. xx

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  19. Aw thanks for linking to my post (and if it helps I didn’t know about this month being for disabilities either until recently 😭 it’s always sad when disability pride doesn’t get celebrated nearly as much as other diversities and marginalisations. But we can try!!) And omg I feel for you with the writing 💀 I have no motivation either?! Going to talk to chocolate about this 😌👌🏻 Also congrats on the 1K for youtube subscribers!!!

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  20. you read so many amazing books in july, aahh!! i’m so happy you loved picture us in the light, wtmwo, and summer bird blue — truly some of my favorite books 💕 and i also read felix ever after last month and loved it too! and oh, i struggled a bit with writing motivation, but i’ve found that having someone to write with is really helpful. i just text them like “hey want to work on writing (whether it’s actual writing or plotting) from :00 to :20?” and it’s so motivating!

    that moon photo is absolutely gorgeous, i love it so much ❤ and aahh ATLA!!! i'm so happy you're enjoying it, the seasons only get better and better and i can't wait to see your thoughts on the whole thing when you finish! and i also need to get better at reading books with disability/neurodivergent rep, it really is so important to include them in our diverse reading lists ❤ hope you have a great august!

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  21. I was having a weird writing month as well! I guess my tip would be to just write what ever comes out of you, even if you don’t really like it. It can start a flow. Those books look awesome!! Adding a bunch to my tbr

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  22. I have also been in a writing slump this month! It’s the worst! But I’m also reading a lot like you are so that’s cool. 😉 I just got into the Chloe Ting workouts and they are SO hard, but make me feel great. I’m trying to learn how to ollie as well, but I’m not doing so well with that… this was a great post by the way!

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  23. ASH!! I’M SO GLAD YOU LIKE ATLA SOIJFOS i love that series so much it’s not even funny 😭🥰 but yes we’re basically twins of course you’d like it!! XD and thank you so much for linking back to my post! Congrats for reading EIGHT BOOKS girl that’s amazing- I read 0 and I’m actually super sad about it :(( have an awesome August! I’m so sorry for being MIA lately rip.

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  24. Ahh so many lovely looking books in your wrap-up! I’m happy you liked I Wanna Be Where You Are, this book made me so, so very happy. And I need to read Picture Us in the Light, it sounds way too good (and emotional. I need it. I’m going to cry maybe but I need it😂).
    I’m so sorry you’ve been in a writing rut a little bit! I hope you can get out of it soon. I find it good when someone motivates me to write (sometimes it’s just my sister screaming at me, GO WRITE NOW 😂) and it’s really helpful to me. I also try to dedicate some time to it and open my documents and just stare and… sometimes I close it and do nothing, but sometimes just that makes me actually try. I 200% recommend throwing yourself into aesthetics and pretty images for your stories, this always leaves me inspired, if that helps ❤

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