Hi guys! I know I said longer posts from me would be rare whilst I was in Cape Town, and they will be, but I couldn’t not do anything for my sixth blogaversary, which happens to be today. Yes, six years ago today, I was a Lower Sixth Student, just looking for things to help me get into University and deciding that starting a book blog would be fun. Now, I’m a University graduate, I’m living abroad for the first time in my life & I’m loving every second of this new adventure. I could never have imagined when I first started doing this that I would still be doing it six years later, or that it would become so much a part of my life, and I want to thank everyone, whether you’ve been reading since I started or just found me today, for supporting me and my blog for all these years!
Honestly looking back on some of my old posts, I kind of cringe a little. Back in 2014, I really had no idea what I was doing, and it shows! My old reviews, compared to what I write now, are quite cringeworthy, they’re not formatted all that well, I’ve definitely improved as a writer since then and I think my newer reviews are just more detailed and in depth than some of my older ones were. But I wouldn’t want to take those early reviews down, flawed as they are, because they show were I came from, and how far this blog has come in the past six years.
I’ve definitely learned a lot in the time that I’ve been doing this, what works and what doesn’t. I started out as purely a review blog, nothing else, but I figured out pretty fast that I was going to need more than that in order to build up a readership for my blog. I tried out memes for every day of the week, but quickly found that was unsustainable, so I stuck to just one: Top Ten Tuesdays which I’ve done for almost five years now, and is probably responsible for at least half my followers!
I tried read-a-thons but I worked out that I just didn’t read that way anymore, the days where I read a whole book in a day are long behind me so I didn’t really get along very well with that, so I just had to accept that as fun as it looked when the whole book community was joining in on a read-a-thon, they just weren’t for me.
I’ve realised over the years, that in order to keep blogging fresh, and interesting, I want to keep trying new things. Even if they don’t necessarily work, that’s okay, I’ve tried a lot of things for the blog that haven’t necessarily worked, but it can get a little montonous doing the same things, week in, week out, so I like to try new stuff, to keep things feeling fresh for me, as well as my readers.
In the six years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve gone from just doing reviews in the first year and then I’ve expanded every year since, with memes, awards and tags, challenges, discussion posts, recaps and updates, writing related posts and most recently comparisons of books with their movie adaptations. I worked out that having multiple weekly posts didn’t really work for me, so I stuck to one weekly meme and all of my other posts are monthly. So much of blogging is trial and error, even now I’m constantly learning and trying new things, that’s what makes it fun.
I have to admit, the look of my blog hasn’t really changed at all, I’ve never been much for web design, and since I’m not self hosted, I don’t really have the choice of loads of different designs anyway. I think going into the next few years of my blog, I might work on clearing up some of the tabs so it’s a bit easier to navigate, but I know I’m never going to be a web design queen!
I had no idea when I first started doing this how hard book bloggers work, or how much stuff was involved in it! I didn’t know about ARCs, or blog tours, Netgalley or any of the other stuff that came with it. I didn’t know how many hours I would spend writing posts, coming up with ideas, thinking up ways to make my blog better. Basically I had no idea how much blogging would become a part of my life, six years later, it’s not just the thing I did in order to get into Uni, it’s something that I love, and all the hard work (planning out three months worth of posts in just over two before going away being a prime recent one!) has definitely been worth it.
The biggest change in my blog though hasn’t been the small physical changes, the better writing, different features etc. I’ve changed a lot in six years, I was 17 when I first started doing this, with no idea how long I was going to do it for, or how many people would eventually end up reading my blog. I’ve always been proud that my blog reflects a little piece of me, but more than that, with each year I’ve been doing it, that changes slightly. 17 year old me, does not have the same voice as 23 year old me, the things I care about have changed, my reading habits have changed, the way I interact with the blogging community has changed. It’s a funny thing blogging for this long, because I can look back over old posts, and they’re like little time capsules of the person I was, at 17, at 20 etc.
Looking towards the future, all I really know for this blog is that it’s going to keep on changing. Whether it’s me turning more towards adult fiction as I find myself relating to YA less and less, focusing more on my writing pursuits as I work towards hopefully getting published one day, my little corner of the internet will keep changing, because I will keep changing. I also know that I will keep learning.
The entirety of the last six years of blogging has been a series of trial and error, working out what works for me and what doesn’t, having to keep adapting how I blog based on where I am in life, especially now that I am no longer a student and am looking towards getting my first permanent job. The first five years of blogging, was so intertwined with my life as a student, so it’s definitely been interesting to see how that has changed, even in just the last six months.
One thing I do know that hasn’t changed, and won’t change, is that I write for me. What I’ve liked to write has changed over the years, but first and foremost I want this blog to reflect me and to be proud of what I put out there. It’s been amazing to me that so many people have wanted to read what I have to say and I’m so glad that the things I’m passionate about have found an audience with so many of you. As many of you know, I love VE Schwab, and one thing she always says is write what YOU love, and if an audience loves it too, then that’s great. I think in the last six years, I’ve definitely done that with this blog, and I’m so glad that it seems to have found an audience!
So there we go, those are my rather rambling reflections on the last six years of blogging! If you are a blogger, how long have you been blogging for? Has your blog changed a lot in the time you’ve been doing it? Let me know in the comments!
I don’t think I’ll have a discussion post for you next month, as I’m still here in South Africa and I’m trying to mostly stick to my blogging hiatus (with the exception of these pre-planned posts), but I should have one when I get home in April.