So this month marks my third year as a book blogger (on the 27th January) so I thought it was about time to reflect back on what made me want to start blogging and how far I’ve come since.
Just over three years ago I was talking with one of my best friends about our shared love of books and whatnot, and we both casually mentioned that we had been independently looking into starting out own book blogs. For both of us it was an idea we had been musing over for a while and something we hadn’t wanted to start until we knew we could do it. Together we encouraged each other and our two blogs (this one for me, and Lost In A Good Book for Amy) were born. At the time we just wanted to be more involved in the book community and somewhere where we could just chat (read ramble at times) about our love for books and some of the amazing books we had just read. Three years later I think I might have been a bit naive when I started this journey, and yet I would never change it for a million years.
When I started I didn’t know anything about review copies or how to get authors on board to do interviews and guest posts, nor was I aware if people were reading the posts I uploaded, but I continued to do it just because I liked to. I uploaded often because I wanted too, and it kind of amazes me that three years on I still feel that way. I now know a lot more about the book industry and it’s extremely loving and helpful family community, the knowledge of which allows me to feed it back into both this blog, but also my day to day job as a book specialist in a department store. I’ve discovered a huge network of authors, bloggers and readers alike that I love to engage with via here, facebook, twitter and the various conferences and events I go to. I’ve been privileged enough to be invited and accepted to a number of publishing ‘blogger only’ events where the publishers have not only told us about new and exciting upcoming books that we should we excited for, but have given us insights into their world and opportunities that never before would have been possible. I’ve been invited on blog tours, and although it took longer than I might like to admit, I found the type of blog that I wanted to run.
But it hasn’t been without its tears and frustrations. I’ve had woeful internet connections (not unusual for many people I know), but the first blog host provider I used, locked us out of blogs for weeks on end in the first few months because it’s server couldn’t handle the growing demand. I’ve struggled to come up with a blog name (you should have seen the brain storming for something I couldn’t find on the net), and I’ve dealt with so many insecurities (should I post that? Why would people care about what you think anyway? This isn’t good enough. etc..) I went through a drastic period where I didn’t trust myself to write reviews because how could my little opinion ever matter and how would my pitiful words match up to this amazing book and do it justice? With the help of other bloggers and readers I gained my confidence back slowly post by post. I’ve missed review dates, and been inundated by review books and been scared to open my email once or twice. But for all the negatives there has always been another five positives to lift me back up and convince me that this is what I want to do, so keeping doing it.
Being a book blogger has opened up so many doors for me personally. Not only has it given me some amazing opportunities to meet authors and go to various publishing houses for ‘bloggers events’, but it’s allowed me to grow as a reader, as a person and weirdly enough, creatively. Through various book challenges and blogs I follow, I’ve discovered entirely new genres and new-to-me-authors that I never would have found on my own. I’ve read and loved books that I just wouldn’t have picked up on my own. I’ve been able to interview some of my favourite authors, and travelled to events all over the country. I’ve challenged myself to read more and more quickly, and whilst it took me longer to get over that need to be like other bloggers, I found that essence and type of blogger that I wanted to be. After signing up for every conceivable blog tour I could, I decided to focus on books and authors I’ve actually read. I learnt that I didn’t want to simply be YA blog, or a romance blog, or an Indie blog (not that there is anything wrong with them), I wanted to do it all, but I wanted to do it in a way that was true to myself and tastes. I want The Never Ending Bookshelf to be authentically me. I think it is.
Through The Never Ending Bookshelf I found a confidence I didn’t know I had. No, I’m not talking about being a keyboard warrior, but rather a confidence in my own beliefs, my own thoughts and feelings and my love for books. I’ve found an industry that I know I want to be heavily involved in for the rest of my life, and I’ve found a space where I can be simply me. Each blog post and conference/event I attend I grown more bold, talk to new people and make friendships that allow me to grow personally, but also for the blog to grow. I’ve discovered a better sense of who I am, and what I want out of life, but what’s more I’ve found a community where I’m happy and feel like I belong. It still astounds me today when I’m talking to people and they casually mention they’ve read my blog. And it gives me a feeling of hope and sense of pride that I’ve found a place that is mine. A place where I can talk about what I’m feeling, reading and obsessing over and a place that constantly makes sure I know that I’m not only doing something I love, but something I know I can do.
At the end of the day, my love for the written word (both through reading and writing) has opened doors for me that I never would have imagined both online and professionally. Without sounding preachy, it’s given me the confidence to go after what I really want to do in life and know that I can achieve it.
This post turned out a lot longer, and quite differently from what I originally intended. So I might just leave it here.
If you read through all that, thank you! If you follow the blog, thank you!