7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Me Anniversary Ramble

This anniversary always creeps up on me, but Google Domains was kind enough to remind me that today was the day in 2017 that I purchased the domain name to make my blog official. I'm pretty sure I started with a .blogspot URL that I kept for a few days before making the switch, but, in my head, March 18th is the day this blog was born. While my parents thought it was great that I was entertained over spring break week and that it might look good on a college application down the line (I was an 8th grader at the time), no one expected me to stick with it much past the original break. I'm a quitter. I fully acknowledge that. I'll stand behind the merits of trying and quitting until the day I die, but Reading, Writing, and Me is something I've never quit and honestly can't imagine giving up. Sure, we've had our extended breaks, but I've never retired it for good or even come close. And I'm so glad I still have it today.

In three years, I'll be celebrating a decade of talking about books online, which is wild. Even though I'll only turn 21 in July, I feel like I've seen the way we talk about books online evolve so much from when I first started. For one, TikTok and BookTok wasn't a thing. People said blogs were dying even back then, but I have seen so many of my favorite book blog outposts from back in the day fade away in the years since. Mostly, this is because I was a teen book blogger seeking out other teen bloggers who eventually went away to college and then adult jobs and got too busy to keep it up. Making the transition into adulthood has been an awkward one to navigate in my reading life, and I'm only now settling into it. It's been weird to watch Bookstagram change too with Instagram's shifting priorities. It's hard to find community with other small accounts or grow with one another anymore now that every faced of Instagram is so severely algorithmic, which is sad. I've made Reels, something I swore I would never do, because I wanted to reach other readers. Bookstagram certainly doesn't feel the same as it did – and not for the better, unfortunately. Blogs are still dead, but the rise of Substack newsletters and the internal turn of media gives me hope that having your own corner of internet will come back into fashion. I'll, hopefully, still be here as long as Blogger will have me. 

Things have changed a lot since 2017, and I feel both like a totally different person than when I started this blog and also like I'm coming back to the girl who was bursting with so much excitement about books that she had to start a whole website to babble about them online. This blog gave me a place to work through my feelings on books, learn to read with an analytical eye, and connect with writers who proved to me that you could make a career in words. It's made me both a better reader and writer, and it validated taking that craft seriously, even as a young teenager. I wouldn't have written or finished so many manuscripts and short stories without the worlds this blog has opened to me. And while I spent my late teens exploring other interests and straying from books, in the last year, I've realized I was just running out of fear. I love books and writing so much that I was terrified I wouldn't be able to create a career from it, so I decided to stop trying before I truly began. I've realized how silly and ultimately tragic that is as an idea, and after getting a degree in music business (I'm nearly done now!), I know for sure that I just want to read books, talk about them, and write for the rest of my life, and I'm excited to embark on the daunting quest of making that happen. My email these days looks much like it did by 2018 full of automated replies from literary journals holding my short stories in their hands and NetGalley updates on the latest ARCs, and I couldn't be happier. 

This blog has reminded me that I love reading when I felt burnt out. I've worked hard to build my own little community here, and you've stuck with me through growing up and growing into different genres and categories and phases. So a big thank you if you're reading this or have read any of my posts at any time. I'm still shocked when I log in to Blogger and look through my analytics. There's more of you reading my words every day than I can even picture. Thank you for motivating me and keeping space for me to keep coming back to yell about amazing books. Reading, Writing, and Me has genuinely been the axis that's held my life in place through seven very chaotic years of coming of age, and I'll always be immensely grateful that I still get to be here. Here's to seven more! 

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