It’s been almost two years since my last post on this blog. Two years that have proven themselves to be pivotal in my development as a human being and now, as an almost 19 year old, an adult.
I started this blog in 2015, after I met a woman named Heather at that year’s YALC event. Heather was from Scotland and while waiting in line for a book signing for someone, she told me of the wonders of book blogging. At the time I was reading avidly and I was aspiring to journalism as a career, so the prospect of my very own book blog was very appealing.
Thus, I returned home from the event and I created How To Read Books (in retrospect this name is incredibly condescending, but I feel it meets the levels of sassiness with which I carry myself today). Heather acted as a guide for a while, advising me to request copies of books before their release from NetGalley and how to set up my Twitter account and gain a following. She was incredibly helpful, but we eventually did lose touch, unfortunately.
I began writing reviews, hoping for some glimmer of recognition from this community I had stumbled blindly into – and I got it. One of my first reviews of ‘Remix’ by Non Pratt was noticed by Non herself. I remember seeing that notification pop up on Twitter and feeling so grateful and gratified.
Small successes like this and my love of reading spurred me on to post regularly for the majority of 2015, into 2016. I’ve posted many reviews and some were acknowledged by the authors. More fuel to carry on.
At the peak of my blogging career, I went bold, somehow obtaining interviews with authors such as Lisa Drake, Julie Mayhew and Lucy Coats. I felt full to bursting with my love of reading. I felt confident to branch out into slightly more ‘meaty’ journalism on here, starting this ‘Real Talk’ series.
And then… I just stopped. My last post came in August of 2016, little more than a year after my first. Ironically it was a post about YALC 2016, which of course was the event which began it all.
I’ve asked myself why I stopped posting. I felt guilty at first, as if I was letting down the few that actually read my stuff. It was such a point of shame for me, this abandoned site, that when friends or family would ask “Whatever happened to that book blog?” I would become quite uncomfortable.
The truth is I stopped writing on the blog for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was struggling with my mental health and coming to the realisation that I was most likely depressed and suffering from anxiety. This manifests itself in everyone differently and for me it stripped me of my motivation.
So secondly, and as a consequence of the first reason, I no longer wanted to read. The boy who read a total of 84 books in 2015 was burnt out in 2016. I passed it off as a reading slump, but it didn’t go away. I came home with a stack of new books from YALC 2016 – they sat untouched and remain mostly untouched almost two years later.
That’s right, a combination of mental health issues and subsequent lack of motivation for reading or writing led to the demise of this blog. I didn’t read for pleasure for two years, barely reading at all unless it was for my A Level English Literature course. But I’m going to university for English Literature and Creative Writing in September. Two and a half months, I’ll be in a different city and I don’t see there being a better time for me to get back into reading and writing (they’re kind of going to be course requirements).
So yesterday, I picked up ‘Illuminae’ by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff and I haven’t stopped reading since. I’m going to try and keep this reading buzz going, because this amount of motivation, even if temporary is proving to myself that I’ve come a long way from that 16 year old who just gave up.
I can’t fill up the last two years of empty space on this blog, but I can revive it. Reading the About Me page before writing this was pretty cringe. I sound like a robot and give vague details at best, so that’ll need a rewrite. But I digress… This is the reason why I left the book blogging community, and now I’m coming back and I’m rather excited and I hope you are too. ￼❤️DW
P.S. sorry for any bulk text, I’m having troubles making the paragraphs show up with WordPress mobile.