Friday, 10 March 2017

Eight Years a Book Blogger: How Blogging Has Changed Me

A Girl stretched out on bed, reading

Thursday marked my blogging anniversary; I've now been book blogging for eight years. I have in the past celebrated my anniversary by talking about blogging milestones, and features and blog events I've held, but this year - inspired by Suzy of From the Fringe and her A Mushy Love Letter About Blogging - I want to talk about what book blogging has meant to me.

When I've thought about it, book blogging - have a little place online where I can rave and gush about books - has always been a hobby, something I do for the simple pleasure of combining two of my passions; writing and reading. But looking back over these past eight years, although book blogging is still a hobby, it's also become a huge part of my life. I've talked before about the opportunities book blogging has led to - being a panelist at The London Book Fair in 2013, how being a book blogger led to me getting a job, how my reviews have been quoted in the praise pages of numerous books - but I want to talk about what blogging has done for me, as a person.

I think it's impossible to be doing something for so long, so frequently, and not have it affect you, to not leave an impression as you grow as a person. When I think about who I am now, and the things that are important to me, there are several things that I can link back to me being a book blogger. Sure, these things could have come about due to simply being a reader, but I don't believe I would have necessarily read the books I've read, or been made aware of certain things if I wasn't  a book blogger. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't read as frequently as I do if I wasn't a book blogger, because I simply couldn't afford to. I am exceptionally lucky that writing about books is something I enjoy, but also something that helps me to read more, in that publishers send me books to review. Also, receiving books for review from publishers means I've been made aware of certain books before they were published. If I wasn't a book blogger, would I know as much about the books being published? Would I read other book blogs, instead? I couldn't say for certain, as I didn't know book blogging was a thing when I first started putting fingers to keyboard to discuss the new books I loved. I couldn't tell my dad about the books I was loving as I normally would because they weren't of his preferred genre, and so my need to share my excitement and enthusiasm led to me creating a place where I could do so. And then I discovered what I was doing was book blogging, that there were others that did the same, a whole community of passionate bookworms. Would I know about book blogging if I wasn't a book blogger myself? I don't know. It's a little overwhelming to think of all the incredible books I may not have read if I wasn't as eager to share my thoughts on the books I was reading eight years ago.

So it's thanks to book blogging that Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill was brought to my attention, the book that opened my eyes to the patriachal society we live in, and had me wanting to learn more. Being a book blogger led me to feminism. It's thanks to book blogging and recording the books I'd read that I noticed in 2012 that I had only read one LGBTQ YA novel, which led me to create a blog event to read more. Reading more LGBTQ YA novels led me to wanting to read more YA novels featuring marginalised characters, first characters with mental illness, and then any and all YA novels featuring marginalised characters. Being a book blogger made me more aware of what I was reading and what I wasn't, and more intentional in what I choose to read. It's made me passionate about diverse books, the importance of diverse books and #OwnVoices, and the importance of highlighting these books for those who need them. Reading those diverse books led me to following their authors on Twitter, who are not only passionate about promoting diverse books and diversity in publishing, but also the rights of marginalised people in general. I've learnt about my privilege, I've learnt about how people are treated by others because of their maginalisations, I've learnt about intersectional feminism, and I'm still learning. I still have so much to learn, but I know it's important to learn, and to raise up the voices of those who are sharing their stories and educating about injustices. I've listened, I've looked at myself and those around me, and I've changed and try to educate where I can. Being a book blogger has opened my eyes, and made me want to be a better feminist, a better human being.

Eight years. Eight years of reading. Eight years of writing. Eight years of learning. Eight years of evolving. Eight years of growing. Book blogging has changed me. Today, I'm not only celebrating the longevity of this hobby of mine, but the person this hobby has helped me to, and will continue to, become.

How long have you been book blogging? How has book blogging changed you?

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8 comments:

  1. CONGRATS ON 8 YEARS, JO!! THIS IS AMAZING!! I'm coming up to my 6th year in May which is...woah. And I totally agree that blogging for so long totally does have an impact on one's life. I'm so glad blogging has given you all these epic opportunities, and also helped shape you. That's amazing. <3 I hope you keep going for a long loooong time!!

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    1. Thank you! :D It's been so awesome, and it's wonderful how blogging has helped me become a better person. I'm looking forward to continuing to grow along with my blog.

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  2. Congrats on 8 years! That's super amazing :D I can easily imagine how blogging for that long could have a profound impact on you --- I know I'm coming up on 4 years of blogging even just on and off, and I've really noticed some personal development as well. I'm a lot more AWARE of what I'm reading, why I'm reading it, and how I'm reacting to it. As well as how the books I'm reading, although largely fantasy, are decent reflections of the real world. It's made me much more self-aware AWAY from the internet and the books too, and I do think it's made me a better person on the whole :D

    Great post! And congrats again :)

    ~ Michelle @ FaerieFits

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    1. Thank you! Isn't book blogging just wonderful like that, that books can change the way you see the world around you? It's just wonderful. Thanks again!

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  3. I love that blogging has opened your eyes to so many new things. Eight years has given you plenty of time to learn and to grow---and it sounds like you've done lots of both of those things! Congrats on a long blogging career and here's wishing you many more years of growing and changing with the blogging community!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Thank you! I'm so hoping I continue to grow over the years along with my blog! :)

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  4. This was so thoughtful and beautiful to read. Congrats on 8 years! I loved hearing how blogging changed your reading and how it changed you. Thanks for the inspiration:)

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

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