Archive for the ‘discussions’ Category:

How Do I Plan?

let's chat

“Let’s Chat” is my Discussion series on Willa’s Ramblings, where I talk about things on all topics – life, books, music, and pretty music anything under the sun! Please let me know in comments or on Twitter what you think and let’s chat!

Today on “Let’s Chat”: How Do I Plan Posts?

Short answer?

I don’t.

Up until about a half month ago, my blog planning consisted of me finishing a book, writing a review, and scheduling it in the next space I had available. Then, in the middle of August, I decided to try something new out for the month of August and September: plan my posts!

I made a list of my ARCs and the order I needed to read them in, and then planned out posts accordingly. So far, I’ve barely done any reading so it hasn’t been very important, but I’m experimenting with this plan for this month (and hopefully future months) and I’m hoping it’ll be successful!

The goal of this experimentation is to keep me on track with my reading and my reviewing so that I have content going up consistently. I like to plan ahead so I’m not stressed out when it comes to blogging, and having two posts scheduled for the week makes me feel far calmer.

That’s about it! I just wanted to update you all on my plans, as it usually keeps me more accountable. Let me know if you’d like to see more on how I organize my life!

August Wrap-Up


On the last day of every month I’ll be doing a wrap-up with my favorite books, music, and posts from that month. 

This month I went to Boston, celebrated the end of the summer, and started school. I worked on college applications and planning for my senior year!

Check out last month’s wrap-up: July


18798983Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten  | Goodreads | Review

A poignant story about death, love, and friendship that I adored. I basically absorbed this book – it was that good. (Also, that cover. Just. THE PRETTY.)

19542841Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid | Goodreads | Review

Adi Alsaid wins for best book about the end of high school ever. The Nevers list, the friendship, the romance, the questions – it was all brilliantly done by an equally brilliant writer who I continue to love.

23015948What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler | Goodreads | Review

This is an incredibly important book that I am so glad was written and published. Aaron Hartzler is one heck of a writer, and he approaches the subject of rape in the perfect way. It makes you just the right amount of uncomfortable and leaves you questioning everything.

23149128 (1)Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | Goodreads

I just read this one and I am still recovering. It’s such an interesting concept – a girl who can’t leave her house and falls in love with the boy next door. It’s a fresh romance story that I absolutely adored.


“Eventually” by Tame Impala

“Feeling OK” by Best Coast

Lost It To Trying (Paper Towns Mix) by Son Lux

“Forget” by Saint Cava

“Should’ve Known Better” by Sufjan Stevens


I was super busy this month so I didn’t have a ton of fun posts, but I did have a few! I did a post on the future of publishing for my generation, which was a post I loved writing and also got some great response. More recently, I did a post saying goodbye to the summer, where I recapped what I was up to this summer. I loved sharing all my activities! I also did a post featuring my “forever albums” – also known as “albums I’ve been listening to for forever and still adore” which featured some of my favorite albums and artists ever.

I started school last week, which is a half great and half horrible experience, but I’m excited to be a senior and for the things that are coming in the next few months! Stay tuned for more posts about school, organization, books, and overall fabulous things as I struggle through the school year.

Happy August, and hello September!

Wrapping Up Summer 2015



Summer for me this year has been full of firsts, and has been completely different from any summer before it. I’m going to talk about some stand-out parts of my summer, and a bit of what I’ve been up to!


As some of you may or may not know, I was working machine this summer. I’d been working for my neighborhood YMCA branch as a lifeguard since last August, but I’d decided that I didn’t want to spend another summer sweltering in the sunlight. I switched within the aquatics department to be a swim instructor, and have absolutely fallen in love with the job. I get to hang out with kids aged 3-13 all day, with an adult or two mixed in. I’ve met kids who light up my day, who tell me “You’re my favorite swim teacher!” and that makes me GLOW. It’s been especially interesting for me because after being a competitive swimmer for long, I’m finally using the knowledge I’ve gained to help other people. I’ve also learned countless lessons as a swim instructor: patience, how to reprimand kids, how to teach kids social behaviors (like you don’t insult people or laugh at them when they mess up), and that no job is solely the job description. Being a swim instructor is part teaching kids how to swim, part life skills teacher, and part babysitter. But it’s also one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had, and I’ve been blessed with an incredible staff and great kids.

I’ve also been working in my first retail job at Barnes and Noble! It’s been nice to go from the Y, where I’m outside and in a bathing suit, to an indoor air-conditioned building where I’m wearing business casual clothing. My managers and co-workers are a joy to work with and make work way more fun. I’ve been able to sell THREE copies of Jellicoe Road, and a couple other YA books I adore, as well as make multiple staff recommendation cards for the teen section. I’ve learned the skill of using a cash register, how to make small talk, how to deal with customers who complain about store policies, and the beauty of saying “Let me get my manager for you.” I’ve been able to work in the Children’s department and help parents pick out books for their middle school kids, and suggest gifts for people visiting family. I’ve learned what it’s like to work for a national company, and all the benefits it gives you (I can transfer when I go to college!)

But one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from both of my jobs has been confidence. I feel like I’ve grown up more in the past three months from these two jobs than I have doing anything else. I feel more confident asking for what I need, sharing my thoughts, and talking to adults than ever before. I’m so thankful I was able to work both of these jobs this summer, and that I’ll be continuing employment with both of these incredible places of work!


I’ve been learning Italian this summer! I was taking an online class from Wellesley College, and although I wasn’t able to finish (I simply did NOT have enough time and they way overestimated how long everything would take) the course gave me a fantastic base in the language. A background in French has been incredibly helpful in learning a lot of the grammatical rules and some nouns, and I’m starting to see how all these languages fit together. Since I’ve given up on my Wellesley class at this point, I’ve started doing Duolingo! If you are interested in learning a language and haven’t checked out Duolingo, I would DEFINITELY recommend it. They have both a web app and a mobile app, and although both are great, the web app is fantastic. There are some more features on it that make the learning experience even better! The way they set up lessons on Duolingo works so well for my brain. You go through mini-modules (pronouns, animals, possession, food, etc) and there are four or five blocks in each module. The blocks only take like five minutes, and you can get through a ton of material fairly quickly, something I adore. You learn nouns in context (there’s never straight vocab) so you get an idea of how to use words, there’s an oral component, translation, and the option to test out of lessons if you already know them.

I’m hoping to take some conversational Italian classes this year outside of school, and study Italian in college – I’m so much more passionate about it than French, which is so weird to me. I’m also learning at a much faster rate, which baffles me. Yay for Italian!


2015-05-09 19.34.23Sadly, I haven’t gotten as much reading done this summer as I had hoped. I was so busy with work, Italian, and spending time with my best friend before she goes off to Princeton in the fall *sobs violently in the corner* that reading wasn’t on the top of my list. I still read some incredible books though, and even got reviews up! This has made me SO proud – I’ve had at least three posts up EVERY WEEK this summer. GOOOO ME! I’m hoping to keep up my content amount through the year, but I’m thinking it will go down due to my course load. I’d hoped to get some reading and reviews together for the start of the year, but with the amount of summer reading I still have to do *cries* I am not sure it’s going to happen.

(Plus, I reread Jellicoe Road for my birthday. As you do.)


Since I’ll be a senior this year, I’ve also spent a lot of time this summer thinking about college. I’ve gotten my list down to about thirteen schools (I’m still narrowing it down – don’t worry, I’m not crazy!) and I’m passionate about the schools on my list. I’ve drafted some essays *cough cough* only two *cough cough* and thanks to my incredible school, I’ve already applied to community college and gotten my ApplyTexas and CommonApp applications fairly ready to go! I’m so pumped for the coming year and college application journey.


As I’m writing this, I’m getting ready to go to Boston! I leave for Boston on the 13th of August, and come back the 17th (when this goes up). I’ll be visiting four colleges while I’m there, eating pizza and ice cream, and frolicking around museums with my incredible mom. I’ve never been to Boston before, so I’m incredibly excited to see the city!


What’s been different this summer? A lot. It’s the first summer where I’ve been able to drive, the first summer in a couple years where I haven’t had club swimming practices every day, and my first summer where I was working the entire time. I’ve spent barely any time at home aimlessly looking at my computer (which I’m proud of) and I’ve been hanging out with my friends more. I’ve been eating healthy, focusing on being happy, and taking care of myself! So, in addition to all the things up above, it’s been a happy summer.

I’ll miss you, summer!

What have you guys done this summer? Share your summer highlights in the comments below – I want to know!


Let’s Chat: Is There a Future in Publishing for My Generation?


let's chat

“Let’s Chat” is my Discussion series on Willa’s Ramblings, where I talk about things on all topics – life, books, music, and pretty music anything under the sun! Please let me know in comments or on Twitter what you think and let’s chat!

Today on “Let’s Chat”: Is There a Future in Publishing for My Generation?

“So, Willa, what are you wanting to do as a career?”

“I want to work in book publishing. Specifically publicity, and for young adult books.”

(Cue their surprised face) “Do you think there will be an industry for that still?”

That is the conversation I have with almost every adult who has ever asked me about my career path.

And quite honestly, I’m a little tired of it.

I think a lot of people have this idea in their head that the publishing industry is disappearing. This partly was brought on, I think, after the success of e-books and the onslaught of newspaper articles on the topic, many of which suggested that physical books would become obsolete. The other part was the decline in the newspaper industry and the reading of paper newspapers. I’m obviously not an analyst, but I think those are the two major players.

I completely understand why people have this belief, because hey, once I thought it might become a reality too.

But the thing is, publishing is a lot bigger than the paper copies of fiction books you find at the bookstore or the library.

Publishing encompasses every single book you find. Cookbooks, health books, test workbooks, music books, diet and fitness books, art books, how-to books, fiction books, board books for kids, middle grade, mysteries, romance, science fiction – those are all books. They all involve having an agent, an editor, a marketing team, a publicity team, a sales team, and a group of people who work on the design of your book. Plus the countless other jobs involved in printing a book. And those are just the physical copies. E-books involve people who code, the people who develop the digital edition, the same editors, marketing and publicity team, and the sales department that tracks how the book is selling. Most importantly, they all still involve someone writing a book.

Just because the format of a book may change and become something new, doesn’t mean the entire industry is going to go up in flames. E-books involve the same cast of characters, just without the printing, and with coding instead. Countless people are still employed, and the same amount of books are coming out.

I’ve seen the blogging industry morph and take a new shape in the wake of e-books, with the invention of NetGalley and Edelweiss revolutionizing the way reviewers receive advanced reader copies. Publishers have begun to favor giving e-ARCs as opposed to physical ones (in my experience), especially for blog tours. But my blogging “job” has in no way been harmed – in fact, the ways I can be successful at reviewing and obtaining new material has grown exponentially.

I don’t think publishing is going anywhere. I believe as long as human kind is around we will crave stories.

Which is essentially what publishing is about – sharing stories. (A world-wide story time!)

So, yes. I do think there will be an industry for my generation to come in to.

I’m obviously not an authority at all on the subject, so this is just the way I understand it. I’d love to have some more input and for people to inform me on the topic – share your knowledge! Tell me your thoughts – what do you think?

July Wrap-up


On the last day of every month I’ll be doing a wrap-up with my favorite books, music, and posts from that month. 

In July, I worked a ton turned up the amount of books I was reading, and got back on my blog. I started taking Italian online from Wellesley college, as well! (Although my italian is horrible. Don’t make me say anything.)

Check out last month’s wrap-up: June


18798983Legacy of Kinds by Eleanor Herman | Goodreads

This is kind of my everything right now. I can’t stop talking about it! A re-imagining of Alexander the Great with some kick-ass heroines and incredibly well-written? YES.

19542841Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa | Goodreads | Review

A beautiful story of friendship that I cannot recommend enough. This book surprised me in so many ways, and surpassed every expectation!

23015948Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten | Goodreads

Holy cow. This book floored me. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls is shocking, honest, and despite not being super relatable for me, definitely a powerful read.


“Hurricane” by Halsey

“Eventually” by Tame Impala

“Runaway (U&I)” by Galantis

“Molecules” by Atlas Genius



During July, I had multiple non-book review posts, which I am proud of. I had three! music related posts: my Summer Playlist, my Favorite Spotify Playlists, and my favorite songs from the Paper Towns Soundtrack. If you haven’t checked these out and are looking for some new music, I’d definitely give ’em a click! Then, after going to go see ME, EARL, AND THE DYING GIRL, I wrote about my thoughts on the movie. Which were positive, considering I saw it three times.

July was a great month for me, but it’s end means closer to the end of school! I’m hoping to read a ton in August, and get content prepared for the beginning of school. I’m also looking to work on my college applications (!!!!!) and wrap up Italian classes.

Here’s a great August!