How to Find Time to Read/Write in College || I Graduated?!

Image of books, a graduation cap, and the words "reading in college."I graduated this past August. It occurs to me that in the time I was obtaining my degree, I’ve never written a post related to my college experience. Since this may be my last chance to write a post about it, I’ve decided to share my reflections on finding time to read while obtaining a four-year degree.

Reading with a Related Degree

My first year, when I was perusing a degree related to the social sciences as opposed to one related to reading and writing directly, I found it much easier to find time and energy to read and write.

This can be seen in comparing my 2015 and 2017 Goodreads reading challenge results:

2015 Goodreads reading challenge, in which I read 73 books of my goal of 50.

My 2017 Goodreads reading challenge, in which I read 51 books of my goal of 30.

Not only did I read more in that time period, I also wrote more. Freshmen year was the only time during my college career I managed to  participate in the primary annual NaNoWriMo writing event. While I didn’t win, in a large part because I am an underwriter and the first draft of my middle grade project was less than the 50,000 word target. You can see about when I finished my draft by looking at my progress on this chart:

A 30 day writing progress bar chart. Progress keeps up with the goal until the 16th, with progress coming to a near complete stop on the 23rd.

This is further reflected in the number of posts on this blog:

Shows the total number of blog posts written per year. 11 more posts were written in 2015 than 2017.
Note: 2018 isn’t over yet and some early posts were deleted. 

My progress in these areas after I switched to an English/technical writing major slowed dramatically. This is because I was spending my whole day reading and writing and needed a break afterword. However, unlike the majority of my classmates pursuing the same or similar majors, my interest in reading and writing beyond the classroom did not stop. That’s because I found ways to keep myself reading and writing despite doing it for most of the day already.

Solutions

The ways I found to keep reading and writing while doing so much of it for school involved reading in different ways from how I was reading them for school and finding ways to make time:

  • Reading audiobooks— perhaps the most effective of the solutions. This allowed me to do other things while reading, effectively making time.
  • Setting a specific time— whether this be a specific time every day or even once a week, having a specific time to read and write did much to increase my output.
  • Goal setting— setting a measurable, reasonable goal for finishing writing projects and reading a certain number of books kept me productive. I find it helps to have something to work toward, even if I don’t end up meeting it.
  • Make it social–Finding ways to involve other people in what are otherwise solitary processes is a great way to make the writing less intimidating. This blog is one example of making reading and writing social. Some writing related methods for writing include using tools like MyWriteClub’s word sprints and events like NaNoWriMo.

Bluejay feather quill pen.

Would you like to see more posts about my time in college? How do you balance reading and/or writing with your responsibilities? How have your reading and/or writing habits changed overtime?

Please share your thoughts in the comments and follow me on social media!

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Top Five Reasons To Read The Vorkosigan Saga

Five Reasons to Read The Vorkosigan Saga Blog Header (1)

My break from blogging is because of something I’m sure many book bloggers will relate to none the less: spending all my free time binge reading a series of books.

Before we begin, I’d like to disclaim that my reviews typically point out my criticisms of books even when I love them, but this time I’ve decided to write a post that’s almost 100 percent positive for once. While I do see some criticisms I’ve seen for this series as valid, and haven’t even given all of the books five stars myself, this post is positive due to my enjoyment of the series.

Bluejay Feather

What is the Vorkosigan Saga?

The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science fiction novels that follows members of the Vorkosigan family, primarily Miles Vorkosigan, but also sometimes Miles’ parents, his cousin, his love interest, and his sibling. It also takes occasional forays into stories of characters who exist in the same universe as the Vorkosigans but otherwise have nothing to do with them at all. The first few books in the series were released in the 1980s, and the series has continued into recent years.

Due to Miles’ nature as the primary main character, the series is sometimes called the Miles Vorkosigan Adventures while others call it the Barrayar Saga on account of it being the planet most of the characters call home and the title of one of the books.

5 Reasons to Read The Vorkosigan Saga (1)

1)  So Many Books

There are 16 books, several novellas, and content is still being written.

I love finding series with a lot of existing content. And, not only is the content of this series still being written but each book, at least that I’ve read so far, concludes in a satisfying enough way that you could stop reading there if you can repress the urge to continue.

2) Miles is Awesome

Miles is such an awesome character with a complex personality.

Miles has flaws like his controlling nature, but that’s part of what makes his personality jump off the page. I love reading about Miles, his adventures, and the messes he gets into. He’s also happens to be one of the only disabled protagonists I’ve read about in all of science fiction, especially in series that began in the 1980s.

3) So Many Different Subgenres

These books are all science fiction, but their plots can focus around everything from mystery to romance.

With all the different plots, there’s practically a novel for everyone. No matter if you love military science fiction, space opera, or even genres like romance that aren’t typically part of science fiction, you’ll find a book with a plot focused on those elements here.

4) Award Winning

The series has won and been nominated for several Hugo awards.

It’s hard for me to find an exact count, but books in the series have been nominated for about ten Hugo awards, won at around four times, and been nominated for the Nebula award about seven times.

5) It’s Addictive

I started this series skeptical of whether I would like it but ended up hardly able to put them down.

As stated at the beginning of this post, I was so caught up in this series that I didn’t have free time left to blog. That speaks for itself.

Where to start?

I started with the Warrior’s Apprentice and it worked well for me. Others start with the prequel novel, Shards of Honor, which follows Miles’s mother. Others still start from just about any book in the series; the books were all written with the intent that they could also be read as standalones.

It should be noted that the author writes out of chronologically, so there is an ongoing debate about how they should be read– often the debate comes down to whether chronological or publication order is best.

What I’ve Read So Far. . .

I’m afraid I don’t have a definitive answer to the ongoing debate about this series reading order, but this is the order I’ve read them in so far, and it’s worked for me: The Warrior’s Apprentice, The Vor Game, Cetaganda, Boarders of InfinityBrothers in Arms, Mirror Dance, Komarr, Memory, A Civil Campaign, and Winterfair Gifts.

I’ve currently gone back to the beginning to read the prequel novel Shards of Honor and plan to read its sequel Barrayar when I’ve finished.

And, there are still more I haven’t read yet!

Bluejay Feather

Have you read the Vorkosigan Saga? Are you planning to? Should I turn infographics into a regular feature on this blog? Should I create an infographic for “Five Reasons to Read The Stormlight Archives” next? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments and follow me on social media!

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