When I joined the book blogging community and created Jillian's Books, I was 13 years old. Fresh out of 8th grade, I hopped in on the journey and ventured through pages and books, hoping to indulge myself in more enjoyable reads and meet more book bloggers to converse and interact with. I wanted a platform where I could talk about books without feeling ashamed about it. That was more than two years ago.
Now two years later, here I sit, typing with a new laptop, grasping on the reality that I am years older than who I was when I first started with this book blog. I've seen so many bloggers come and go, and frankly, I miss them so much after having lost connection with a handful of them.
I could truly say that I am so thankful to be part of this community after so long.
I never expected to be here for more than two years back in 2014. Then, I was just a 13-year-old girl who finished the 8th grade. The idea to make a book blog sparked when I joined a summer writing class at my local bookstore, where I would often buy books after each session. What ran through my head was the need to talk about books while I can, and not continue on for months and months like I had just done now. Every time I think about it, it amazes me endlessly.
For one, I learned not to believe in consistency. It doesn't matter how consistent your posts are; it's how good your post content's quality is. I learned this throughout 10th grade last year when my workload became too much to keep up with my usual blogging time. Yes, it stressed me out that I wasn't posting consistently, but overtime I learned to accept that life happens, which is much more important than having consistent posts often. It me a long time to realize this, but my 10th grade experience taught me to prioritize imperative tasks first before anything else. Go first with the ones with more value, then free time will come after.
Last 2014, I was a freshman in high school. It wasn't at all scary to enter high school, but I was especially more worried about keeping up with my lessons at school and maintaining proper time management skills. I joined blog tours (almost all of them, which, to me now, seemed ridiculous to me now), accepted almost every review request that I now regret doing, involved myself in weekly memes, and the like.
When I viewed my old blog posts, I was amazed at how much things have changed over the course of these years. I've massively improved my coding and Photoshop skills, joined Chasing Faerytales as a co-blogger, and decided to launch beta reading services. It may look ordinary to some, but I am endlessly in awe over these little things. Blogging has not been easy to me, but along with this hobby, I learned so much after having been a long-time blogger in this community.
I learned to do things for myself. I used to give in to pressure and please my readers by often forcing myself to post often. Albeit tired, I would log into Blogger and get a post published as soon as possible. which made me unhappy in the process. I've learned to never stress myself just to please other people, but instead take care of myself first and fulfill myself with the things I need and love to do. (After all, self-actualization is the highest need, thanks to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. *wink, wink*)
Lastly, I learned to love what I do all the time. Blogging is not something I force myself to do -- in fact, it's something I enjoy doing. And I took to loving it because it makes me happy. Before, I used to be ashamed of reading books and book blogging that I even kept the latter a secret from my parents for around 2 months. I now embrace what I do and I'm not ashamed of it at all.
Growing up with this blog is something I don't regret because I learned to fully embrace my hobbies, interact with other bookworms, and prioritize my tasks more. Since starting this blog as an incoming high school freshman, it's surreal that I'm now a junior. Blogging has shaped me so much into the person I am today.