Happy birthday, little blog - you're 7 today!
I'm not going to pretend this year hasn't been a struggle. When you've been blogging for so long that you've pretty much written about everything, it gets extremely difficult to think of fresh and interesting ideas. Because of that, I've been uninspired, demotivated, and... honestly, worried. For the first time in my life, there have been times this year where I've been unable to truly see a future for this corner of the Internet.
But I got through it, and I'm glad, because I really don't want this crazy adventure to stop. Here are some of my blogging highlights from the past 7 years...
Getting my first review request from an author...
I've just delved into my inbox, and this was on 23rd January 2010. I hadn't realised it was so soon after starting this blog?! I remember the moment like it was yesterday, though; I was SO excited that an author had initiated a conversation with ME! And she wanted to send me her book! The author in question was Leila Rasheed, author of Chips, Beans and Limousines, a book I still own today and which I doubt I'll ever get rid of. It's special to me.
...and super cool postcards!
A few months after my first review request, I got chatting to Kimberly Greene, author of My Sister's a Pop Star which I still recommend today. Kimberly sent me five postcards from around California, and wouldn't tell me when she'd sent them so that I'd be surprised when one arrived. On the backs of these postcards, she told me all about the area which was SO cool and incredibly kind.
Getting my reviews quoted in books
Just because I've been at this for a long time doesn't mean this is any less exciting for me. Seriously, I freak out at every stage of the process. Even after the book is published, if I see it in a shop, I'll run over and admire my name printed in an actual book for people to buy. My first quote was for the re-jacketed editions of Sue Limb's books in 2011, and since then I've been lucky enough to have my thoughts in or on The Graces by Laure Eve, Stephanie Perkins' Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After, Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja, Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff, The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss, and more! WOO.
Going to the Divergent premiere
I walked a red carpet... and not because I jumped the barrier in a spontaneous act of badass-ery, but because I was invited to?! To be honest, I'm not a massive fan of the franchise anymore - the first film was incredible, but it's gone rapidly downhill since then. Going to the premiere was such a big thing for me, though, and it was the first opportunity I'd had to test myself since the utter shitstorm of December 2012 when the whole anxiety thing began. I'm still so grateful that I was invited because if I hadn't have been, I don't know when I would have felt able to start making steps to progress. And, y'know, I WAS IN THE SAME ROOM AS KATE WINSLET. Still not over it. (Here's my blog post and vlog of the day!) (I've since been on another red carpet. A Harry Potter red carpet. WTF?)
Going to YALCmy recap from 2015 and my recap from this year if you're bored... (you shouldn't be. You're reading my blog. It's great.)
Going to college
'Going to college?' I hear you ask. 'How is that relevant?' If you missed it, in August 2015 I was forced to crowdfund my college education due to a bunch of different rubbish reasons. The whole story is linked above, but the bottom line is... we did it! I'm nearing the halfway point of my final year and it's going so well. I'm so happy that I was given this opportunity and, even though it can be very stressful sometimes, education should never be taken for granted. That huge essay you have due in tomorrow? You're lucky to have it.
Getting to visit publishers
I think I've only been to Penguin Random House and Pan Macmillan... I could be wrong. But I freak out (inwardly, because I'm on my best adulting behavior) whenever I step foot in one, because this is where the magic happens. I wrote about this in a bit more detail here, if you want to follow that train of thought further.
Getting verified on Twitter
I know this is incredibly mundane and not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. After all, a verification tick on Twitter is literally just a formation of blue pixels on a screen. However, it was really cool because I never expected to get verified (or not until I had a book deal under my belt, at least... PLS SOMEONE GIVE ME ONE) and now I can tweet my favourite band (no prizes for guessing which one) knowing that they'll see it. Omg. So much powaaahh.
The book community is so incredibly clever and diverse. I've learned so much over the years that I'm not sure I would have known otherwise; things about feminism, mental health, racism, other cultures... my world has been made much bigger and much smaller all at the same time.
I officially have more far-flung Internet friends than I do offline friends. Which is kind of sad, but also kind of awesome. Blogging has definitely brought a lot of cool people into my life, and for that I'll always be thankful.
Whether you've been reading my blog for years or days, what's been your highlight on my blog?