Eight months. It’s been eight — long and insanely eventful — months since I formally announced my indefinite blogging hiatus on social media. And it’s been ten(!!!) months since I last wrote a blog post, which was a positively glowing review of Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger.*
To say that “it’s been a while” hardly does justice to nearly a year’s worth of FOMO (fear of missing out), existential anxiety, self-doubt, and exhaustion. But on a much brighter note, it was also many amazing months of soul-searching, focusing on my final leg of college (yep, I’ve graduated!), recovering from the worst burnout ever, exploring other bookish platforms (I’m on bookstagram now!), and rediscovering feelings of excitement at the idea of creating content. More on the last one later!
With all that said, I really am happy to be back on the blog — especially since it’s undergone an extensive makeover — and relieved to rekindle my creative energies again. A part of me was terrified that I’d never get my ✨ blogging mojo ✨ back, but thanks to the unwavering support of so many friends and a few lessons on self-care that I was forced to learn the hard way, here I am! And more importantly, here is the prettier, shinier, and more sunflower-y Shut up, Shealea.
Welcome to Shut up, Shealea 2.0!!!
Cue the explosions of virtual confetti and paper sunflowers. 🌻🎉 And whatever fanfare you prefer. (We’re inclusive here. 😊)
Secretly working on this huge revamp has sparked so much joy and fondness in my heart, but it has also caused a healthy dose of stress and frustration — mostly frustration that I had to keep this revamp a closely guarded secret from
all most of you. As much as I wanted to scream from the mountaintops that I had plans of coming back, I didn’t want to put any external pressure or expectations on my shoulders. And I really wanted to figure out the nooks and crannies of this space at my own pace. But I digress. (As per usual.)
In true Leo fashion, I’m unveiling Shut up, Shealea 2.0 on my birthday. Because what’s a better birthday present than my online presence? Don’t answer that. And make sure to stick around for the grand giveaway!
* Note: Due to the allegations made against Paul Krueger, I have rescinded my support and I no longer endorse or recommend Steel Crow Saga or any of his works. Read my full statement.
Vision & Inspiration
After many years of blogging about books, I realized that I just wasn’t fully content with what I was writing anymore. The online book community has come to mean so much to me, but I couldn’t deny that there was a growing disconnect between myself and the personal space I’ve carved out for my thoughts, ideas, and passions. And it was affecting my attitude towards blogging and content-making.
In the early part of 2019, I launched Shut up, Shealea for the first time. It no longer revolved around bookish content; instead, I introduced it as a literary and lifestyle blog. Even then, however, something still felt missing. I couldn’t figure it out, and it was incredibly frustrating.
I’m so glad that I allowed myself to take a long hiatus from blogging. It really helped me take a step back, engage in meaningful introspection, and reevaluate what I want to do moving forward, especially with my blog.
In its present form, this blog is now an unapologetically me space. Shut up, Shealea focuses on literary, media, and lifestyle content, but ultimately, it is a platform for my longstanding passions (like books and literature), newer passions (like media), and ones that I’ve yet to stumble across.
I love that my blog has evolved so drastically — in the same way I have throughout my seven-year stay in college — and I adore that there’s still a lot of room for growth. I can’t adequately describe how perfectly fitting it feels, especially as I close one chapter of my life and dive headfirst into a new chapter rife with both possibility and uncertainty (read: entering the workforce in the middle of a global pandemic, oof 😭).
For the past month and a half, a lot of thought, labor, love, and — let’s be honest — money went into the making of this blog. But of course, creative outputs, including online blogs and virtual spaces, are never made in a vacuum, even though I kept this hidden from most prying eyes.
I’ve definitely taken some inspiration from fellow content creators, all of whom I admire very deeply. Their work and their persistence have helped me to see the value in what I do and to find the drive to continue creating. I missed out on writing a nomination post for the 2020 Book Blogger Awards (hosted by my dear friends, May and Marie), so I want to take a moment to spotlight the following book bloggers who’ve inspired me throughout this whole process. If your page views mysteriously leaped at some point this month, it’s because I forgot how to properly write an about me page.
- Kal @ Reader Voracious
- CW, Skye, and Joce @ The Quiet Pond
- Fadwa @ Word Wonders
- Tiffany @ Read By Tiffany
- Lauren and Orianna @ Love Yo Shelf
- Lauren @ Northern Plunder
- Kate @ Your Tita Kate
- Nandini @ Novels and Nebulas
- Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books
- Tracy @ Truffle’s Literary Wonders
If you’ve been following me on social media (particularly Twitter and Instagram), then you aren’t a stranger to how hectic and eventful my life has been throughout the past few months. I’ve reached a couple of big milestones, and I just generally have a lot to celebrate.
- Finishing my undergraduate thesis amidst the world’s longest COVID-19 lockdown
- Graduating Cum Laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman 🌻
- Launching an official website for Caffeine Book Tours
- Unlocking follower milestones: 1,000 followers on Instagram and 5,000 followers on Twitter
- And of course, celebrating my 24th birthday today
Unfortunately, as a freshly unemployed college graduate, I don’t have the means to host anything extravagant — but Sam has very generously offered to sponsor this huge giveaway to help me celebrate. I honestly cannot thank her enough! Make sure to check out Sam on her blog, bookstagram, and twitter — and don’t leave until you’ve clicked that follow button.
Due to the shipping restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the giveaway winner can select either of these prizes:
- 1 book of their choice that’s worth $30 at most (bought via Book Depository or local indie bookstores)
- Kindle books of their choice that’s collectively worth $30 at most (recommended for countries where Book Depository doesn’t ship)
This giveaway is open worldwide, and the Rafflecopter will accept entries until September 16, 12:00 AM (Philippine time). May the odds be ever in your favor! 💛
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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I’d love to hear from you!
🌻 It’s been a while. How are you doing? How’s your mental health?
🌻 What do you think of my blog’s new look? Are you now sick of seeing sunflowers on your screen? (The cute illustrations on the homepage were drawn by my little sister! 🥰 I could only dream of having that much talent at 12 years old.)
🌻 I haven’t blog hopped in a while, so now is the time to promote your latest blog post in the comment box below!