Sunday, July 26, 2015

My Bookish Birthday : 5 Years of Blogging

Naturally, I was suitably obnoxious on Snapchat.
This summer has given me a lot to think about thus far... between living on my own in Seattle, getting a job, and entering into my Senior Year of College, there's plenty of huge milestones I'm hitting in a very short amount of time. 

Though the one I was the least prepared for, hit this past Friday, July 24th: My FIFTH Anniversary of starting Playing in the Pages. 

Beyond finally catching up with my Goodreads Challenge for 2015 (YES!!!), I chose to celebrate this momentous occasion, by taking the time to reflect on my journey so far in blogging, reviewing, writing, and most importantly, reading.

Origin Story: How did I get my start in blogging? 

Let me just set the stage for the presence of BookWorld, in an online sense, back in 2010: Goodreads had been invented only five years previously, and was far from the reader mecca Amazon would later turn it into after acquiring it in 2013. Pinterest had just been invented the past March.

I was a 16-year-old Junior in high school, looking for a means of displacing the boredom that had set in with summer. This was before my sister or I had gotten laptops, and our Dad used his for work... which meant every morning, I'd make a large mug of tea, boot up our lone PC in my parent's room, and do a rundown of every fashion and lifestyle blog I followed, all transcribed carefully into a handwritten list, safe in the back of a composition notebook.

Major Influencers: Who inspired me? 

Absolutely tickled that a part of my Blogoversary shopping included this:
Cupcakes and Cashmere's fashion line, available at Nordstrom!
In these past 5 years, Emily has also produced two books, and a Coach collaboration.
(Her five years might have been a little more productive than mine.)
Back then, Cupcakes and Cashmere and Who What Wear Daily were just getting their start, too. I'd scroll through post after post, sometimes twice, if there wasn't that much new material that morning, and that same composition notebook became a haven for ideas for how to make my life better, according to these women across the world who shared daily outfits, favorite recipes, and makeup tips with me so many miles away.

Like it is with most  tech movements, the first person I knew who had a blog was my Dad. His focused on his job, and was partially an extension of the lectures he gave his students. When I first broached the topic of having a blog with him, it was kind of an off-the-shoulder remark, and I was standing at the top of the stairs while he was still setting his stuff down from work. "What are you going to write about?" he said. Books were honestly the first thing that came to mind.

Changes in Attitude: What has it become? 

I've always been a monster reader, and love to talk about the books I've read. The only thing I had to do now, was put my mind to spelling all those ideas out for other people to see. What it's turned into since then, has given me not just additional experience with plenty of books explored and plenty of words to describe them with, but also new abilities in the fields of website layout, social media design, and networking with other writers.

It also helped me land a contributing editorship position with College Fashion, which lasted for two awesome years, and spanned 53 articles. When I first started my blog, I was a voracious and dedicated College Fashion reader, but I would never have even considered the possibility of being a contributor. I even got college extra credit based around one of the articles I wrote - being that it corresponded to material we were covering in class - so there are real-world benefits to web authorship, too!

To be honest, I told a grand total of six people about my blog for the first two and a half years of its existence: my immediate family, and my awesome Aunt Nancy. The first time I even posted about it on my own Facebook page was when I published a poem I wrote for high school graduation, and then did more a little steadily when I wrote for CF. But for the most part, blogging has always been something for me first, and an audience last. It's my favorite hobby I've ever had, and my longest-lasting, too.

Tough Stuff: Has anything gone wrong? 

I'm loath to say that anything has gotten wrong, per se, because of what this blog has really come to mean for me: a learning experience. Through it, I've gotten so much better at both reading - critically, quantifiably - and writing - reviewing and creatively - that it would be a huge discredit to all that I've achieved thus far to say that any part of it has "gone wrong"... if anything, it makes me think about that one scene from Disney's Meet the Robinsons celebrating failure, because failing is what makes us try harder, and seek out new ideas.

(Thank you, Tumblr, and your seemingly endless sources of gifs.)

It's a growing thing. There will always be a part of it that needs a little tweaking... I know for certain that the Review Library is, like, a year behind on titles, and I'm a couple of posts behind on meeting this month's goal, and I still don't get as many ARC titles from publishers as other bloggers. But no matter how long that unending "To Do" List has gotten, as long as there's room for improvement, there's reason to keep improving.

(And that's why it's gone through about three major makeovers since then, with the most recent version occurring a couple of months ago!)

Fight to the Future: What's up next for the blog? 

I can tell you, for sure, that there's no master plan. I am blissfully umimpeded with any grand schemes or additional 5 Year Plans for how to develop Playing in the Pages.

What I will say, though, is that I'm glad it's here. I'm glad it's been five years, and I'll be overjoyed to spend another five years reading plenty of good books, and writing about them here. There may always be less blog posts per month than I'd like, or less page views per day than I want, but having a creative outlet and place for personal expression is always going to be something I need... just like that 16-year-old version of me needed it five years ago.

Here's a hint about that big Blogoversary celebration...
but you'll have to wait to find out more!

Pop Quiz

I've had a total of 4 authors comment on posts in which I've discussed their works. Can you name any of them?

Wow, that's a lot of words. Interested in seeing how I celebrated my big Blogoversary this past weekend? Keep posted for a new post up tomorrow! 

Got any guesses?

1 comment:

  1. Happy blogoversary! Though I have been dissuaded from commenting on your blog over the years I should be given exemption for the occasion. It has been one of my favorite go to reads over the last five years. Of those four authors you mention I remember how exciting it was for the first one early on. I was also slightly jealous as it was one of my favorite long read authors. Cheers to the next 5 years.