One year ago…

Whose idea was it to start a blog with Uni, a holiday, life, all within the first year of creation? Hmm? Who? My organisational skills have failed, my reading has failed, and my dedication has faltered. Always with intent or bringing it back from the lonely corner where it was continually pushed. Always hoping that what I had built up over the fractured year would remain when life got sorted again, I think it’s still there? Well as there as it was before, granted it wasn’t all that there to begin with if we’re honest.

One year ago I launched this blog. I had wanted to do it for so long, I wanted to write reviews about books I had loved, I wanted to explain what was exquisite about them and how they made my world a wonderful place. I wanted to read books that I hadn’t read before and if I hated them I wanted to figure out why, what was it that made me dislike it and find cause instead of just disliking it overall.

I never used to write reviews. I have been a Goodreads member for about five years and I never wrote reviews there either. It wasn’t a conscious decision, exactly, I just didn’t do it. But then a couple of years ago a friend of mine discovered Goodreads and she said that she looked forward to exploring the site and reading some of my reviews. It was then that I almost went to say to her that I hadn’t written any reviews and then I thought, ‘well why not? If she wants to read my reviews, my opinions and thoughts on a book I should probably start writing reviews’. So I wrote short reviews and long reviews and emotional reviews and all kinds for awhile and the idea of the blog grew. It had been there for awhile, popping up on occasion, but I never thought I could manage it, it seemed so hard and confusing. Funnily enough it wasn’t until a Uni course about 18 months ago that I realised blogs are not that complicated. The premise is there, it just needed to be started and so I took the plunge, a year and one week ago today I created my blog, technically, but today was the day it was released out on its own. Thinking back, before the chaos the rest of the year was to bring, it was beautiful. I had fun, people who read it enjoyed it, and I realised as it got more lost as the year progressed, just how much fun it was. Being able to escape for awhile and tell people about a book, just a simple book, that had had an effect on me.

In this year however I have had some wonderful opportunities I will remember forever. When I was still in the early months I was offered a chance to be part of a blog tour for the wonderful author Kerry Letheby. Her novel Mine to Avenge was a wonderful read and being part of her tour made me feel like I was helping something worthwhile. The second excellent thing was the amazing chance I had to not only get an advanced copy to review one of my favourite singers Aurelio Voltaire’s debut novel Call of the Jersey Devil, but I also got to interview him about it as well which was seriously the highlight of the year if we’re honest. I then subsequently ruined it by missing the chance to tell him I did all this when I met him, but we aren’t dwelling on that. I also got to do some great cover reveals, I have been asked to review people’s novels for them, and I also got to run a giveaway which was really wonderful.

But away from these great things, this  has not been the best first year I will admit. There were teething problems (understatement of the year) with the old site, and then so many interruptions and problems for the latter half of the year. Ignoring the three month Uni block, as well as the three week holiday, the other time I had seemed devoted to simply recovering from the emotional and work overload and suffocation I was feeling. I would look at these half finished reviews, of books I adored but I could not find the devotion to finishing them. What I realise now is I think I needed to recuperating time. I needed time after Uni finally finished to just gather myself up again after the mess of the last six months and try and hold myself together with more than sticky tape and safety pins. As I say, not much of a smooth start to this first year of blogging. But I will say that I have realised something in all this: the fact that through all of this I never once wanted to throw in the towel. I always felt guilty for neglecting my posts and for feeling like I let people down. That shows me that I do want to keep doing this. I know now that it’s going to take some time, I need to balance my time once more and work around things like Uni and slowly build myself up again before the new semester starts. Finding the passion again for what I like doing, gradually bring myself back.

I know this is not the most wonderful or uplifting of blog anniversary posts you may have seen, but this is where we’ve ended up. I’ve let out as much of my emotions as I am willing and I can’t really sum up this year without all the cracks. I am very grateful for those who have read my reviews this past year, and all those who found me on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr, it is wonderful to feel supported and to be able to share things with you about books and reading and crazy things like fireworks and emotional instabilities.

I look forward to making this a better blog in this second year and building up my reviews once again. In the meantime I will quietly celebrate this one year anniversary because even after everything we cannot simply let it pass by unnoticed, and I hope you’ll join me in continuing this journey of reading and the world of books.