Happy birthday to Change the Word. Five years ago this week, I published my first blog post. You can read it here if you're interested. (I know I was curious to remember how I started five years later.)
I can still remember how I decided to start this blog. I was living in Houston, babysitting for some friends of a friend and chatting online with a classmate from college. I mentioned how much I'd enjoyed keeping a blog during my summer internship in college (on a blog I've long since deleted). That led me to wonder what it would take to start another one, and what I wanted to write about. I knew I wanted to be an author at some point, and it seemed that keeping a blog was a good way to start or at least something to do.
Since then my motives for blogging have stayed basically the same. I'm a writer and so having a place to share my thoughts and ideas and to be creative in a different way is an outlet. It's hard to believe this much time has passed.
Thank you to all of you who have followed along the way--and to those of you who have joined more recently. I set out to start this blog as a way to tell the adventure of my experience becoming a writer, and it has been that. Having you along for the ride makes it all the more fun.
With that, let's do a little reflecting on where we started, where we've been, and dream about where we are going.
Five Comparisons from Then Vs. Now
|Then: This photo was actually taken (and |
posted to my Facebook page) the day
after I shared my first blog post. I was
installing Texas license plates on my car.
You'll also note I have short sleeves.
1. On Living - Then: I lived in The Woodlands, Texas (located north of Houston). Now: I live in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska
2. On Writing - Then: I'd come up with the idea of Hard Hats and Doormats, but hadn't actually done more than write a paragraph or two. Now: I have published one novel, two novelettes, and my second novel will be out later this month. I also have a third book in editing and a fourth nearing completing on its first draft. Excellent.
3. On Working - Then: I was a traveling corporate journalist who wrote and photographed for employee newsletters. Now: I'm a communications coordinator at a museum.
4. On Playing - Then: I could destroy a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine while dancing in my apartment and get up to be fine the next morning like it was nobody's business. Now: I still dance in my apartment, but I limit myself to one or two (or zero) drinks.
5. On Driving - Then: I drove Magnum, the red Mazda Protege with a stick shift. And I'd recently earned two hefty speeding tickets. Now: I have a silver Honda Fit without a name, and I'm an excellent driver. (I swear.)
It's interesting to see what has changed. I'm particularly proud of my writing changes, though five years ago I probably would've hoped I'd have a few more books under my belt.
It's also interesting to think about what has stayed the same and how the older I get, the more I'm OK with who I am. That's not to say I'm not still a work in progress. I just don't sit alone in my apartment drinking bottles of wine alone and crying about being single. (Now I only drink wine alone and cry if the Huskers are losing against Michigan State.)
The Five Most-Viewed Posts on the Blog
1. Book Review: Fifty Shades Freed
2. Book Review: Fifty Shades Darker
3. Fifty Shades Delicious
4. Buttering Up
5. Setting the Bar
So... apparently blogging about Fifty Shades during the peak of its mania was a good call on my part, ey? I know there's still a lot of mixed feelings where this series is concerned, but I had a lot of fun reading and blogging about these books. And, like a total nerd, I still have the screenshots I saved of tweets I received from EL James about a couple of my blog posts.
This was at a time I was feeling particularly down about my writing, my career, and life in general. Her kindness toward me on Twitter (and her willingness to share my posts with her fans) along with the distraction of reading these books and making these dishes pulled me through.
My Favorite Post From Each Year
This was much harder than I expected, so I selected one from each year. Or as close as I could get. (There were some real dog of posts to choose from in Year One.) So here they are, in order of appearance on the blog...
1. American as Green Pumpkin Pie
2. Thrown Not Stirred
3. Date Night (Hold the Blood)
4. Little Laura Struggles to Spell Good and Do Other Things Good, Too
5. The Ariel Effect
The Reading in the Kitchen posts were always some of my favorite ("American as Green Pumpkin Pie"). That's why I rebooted the series this year. I have also enjoyed opportunities to reflect (like with "The Ariel Effect") and to explore the worlds we see in favorite reads ("Date Night (Hold the Blood)"). I also like getting help from friends ("Thrown Not Stirred") and taking an opportunity to poke some fun at myself ("Little Laura Struggles to Spell Good and Do Other Things Good, Too").
Aside from being about my journey as a reader and writer, the other constant these posts all share is how much fun I had putting them together and sharing them with you readers.
Five Goals for the Future
1. Remember to have fun with this whole blogging, writing, living thing. Life's too short, #YOLO, however you say it. We have this life, and it's worth making it count.
2. Hold fewer grudges. This was a New Year's Resolution, but I'm sticking to it.
3. Another resolution that still stands true: Stop comparing myself, my writing, and my blog to others. I can only me, and that's good enough.
4. Read more books that I enjoy and add some variety. I have a bunch of books just waiting to be read, and I should get around to it.
5. Be open to change. You never know when the world can turn upside down (for better or for worse), and sometimes it's better to adapt than fight.
Thank you again for being on this journey with me. Here's hoping I'll have even more joy and fun to reflect upon in another five years.
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