It’s 11:21 PM, and I’m feeling a bit reflective. In approximately seven hours from now, I will officially be nineteen years old. Nineteen. That’s only 1 year away from twenty!
I remember when I first discovered Goodreads. I was in sixth grade, six years ago, and was exploring the internet on my very first laptop – I’d only had it a week or so. Now sixth-grade was a very hard year for me. I wasn’t quite in middle school yet (at the time, we’d started that in seventh grade), but it was past time for me to be out of Elementary school and I was Becoming A Teenager and it was very trying (among other things). But in Goodreads, it felt like I’d finally found a place to belong and discuss one of my great loves: reading.
Halfway through my seventh-grade year, I launched my first blog through Blogger. It was called Confessions of a Book-aholic. I still remember the tagline …
Hi. My name is Kat, and I’m a bookaholic.
I confess… to stuffing my head with the fanciful notions of unreality, in the hopes that some of them are real; dungeons and dragons and moats, a smokin’ hot prince and true love. This is my confession.
It was so dramatic. I never had a Tumblr, MySpace or Kik (or whatever the fad social was then), but lord knows I had my own book blog and, looking back, it was trash. But, god, I loved it. It was a complete secret, but it wholly mine. Even my parents only had the vaguest sense that *something* was happening, but they were more concerned that I, a middle-schooler, was putting myself out on the internet and was going to get my identity stolen. But then, my dad had the same concerns about giving our credit card information to Netflix when that started.
Towards the end of my eighth-grade year, I finally unveiled my newest blog: Book Whore. This took my blogging to what I perceived to be the next level. I still had no idea what I was doing and was totally stealing pictures off Google Images, but I was having fun and making friends. I love to call my Book Whore year as “where I figured out what I was doing.” I clearly loved it; I wrote and published over 300 blog posts in just over a year-and-a-half. I also got tons of review requests out of that blog, although looking back at it, I can’t help but think “how….?”
But I started to get really tired of it being this big secret. Blogging and books were a huge part of my life, but I was scared to death to share it with anyone. Anytime I did, I was met with nothing but ridicule and it made me ashamed of it. Look, I get it. It’s called Book Whore, and I got a little excessive with the metaphors with that one. But I knew that as long as I continued with that blog, I would always be scorned at for the name of the site. Even if I managed to improve the content. So I spent all summer after my freshman year as a marketing student.
I took free online courses and webinars. I learned about marketing and color schemes and typography and design elements and thought out my blog appearance and how I’d format my posts. I had this huge binder of all these printouts and worksheets and cheatsheets on blogging and I went hardcore to figure out how to make my blog perfect. Then on September 1st, during my sophomore year of high school, I unveiled Cover to Cover Book Blog.
I was so proud of it.
I poured my soul into my blog that year, but I was still kind of embarrassed to admit to people in my *real* life that I was a book blogger in my free time. That I pay money for a domain name and a Premium WordPress subscription to be able to geek out with friends I made online. I can’t even tell you when I stopped being embarrassed about it, but eventually, I embraced it.
During my senior year, I was editor-in-Chief for the best student newsmagazine in the country. I’m not saying that just to say that, either. Lakota East’s Spark has been voted thusly by student news organizations all over the continental US for over 20 years, and it was a huge deal. I spent my whole senior year essentially being a CEO of a small business (with my wonderful co-Chief, I wouldn’t want to give you the impression I did this alone) and it took up my every waking minute.
Blogging fell to the side.
Sure I did some during the breaks, but mostly I was relieved to just be able to work on something other than journalism for a little bit, rather than to actually be blogging again. And it sucked! Now, I loved being Chief Editor of that newsmagazine. But it was upsetting that I had to sacrifice something I loved (i.e., blogging) to have to do that. And it wasn’t a conscious choice either. I just kept pushing posts off and pushing it off and saying “I’ll do that tomorrow,” until suddenly months had passed.
Then I graduated high school and was no longer on staff for Spark. I had nothing but my job and I was bored to tears.
I finally rediscovered my love for the bookish community. I actually gave Twitter a real shot during The Book Junkie Trials this month and have loved being involved! Bookish Twitter may be one of my new favorite things. I’ve made tons of new online friends through there, and we chat every day in our group chat and it warms my heart. Best of all, I’m so excited about blogging again! You don’t even know.
Looking back, I realize that I got a real stick-up-my-ass about blogging and being an industry professional and making everything perfect. Which, to an extent, I still think it is important. But I also miss the spontaneous rants and reflections and posts that I used to do over at my other sites, too. So I will be making a more concerted effort to be more laid back with my blog in the future.
I have plans for this space, and I’m working really hard to make that happen. When, specifically, will be up entirely to WordPress’s refund policy, but whether it happens in the next couple weeks or within the next year, I’m really grateful for all of you for sticking with me and for supporting me through this blog. And for those of you who followed me from my previous one, thank you! I know that no one followed me from my very first blog (*shudder*), so I won’t bother even mentioning it :)
Thank you for sticking through this very ramble-y post in honor of my nineteenth birthday! And most of all, thank you for sharing your love of reading with me for the past three years. Here’s to the next three :)