Tuesday, November 21, 2023

It's My 10th Blogiversary

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The title of this post is a lie. It was actually my 10th blogiversary back in August, but do I have time to write blog posts in summer? No. Like all summer holidays, my blogiversary has to be acknowledged late.

I didn't have time to write a post, and I also had no idea what to say in a post about 10 years of blogging. Luckily, Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight solved that problem for me. When her blog turned 10, she wrote a list of things that have changed in her life during the past 10 years. I'm completely stealing her idea. Make sure you visit her blog and thank her for being brilliant.

🎉  Ten Years Of Reading All The Things  🥳

Same recipe, but now with 76% more pretentiousness!

When I started this blog, the year was 2013, and I was still in college. I was enrolled in a publishing certificate program and applying to master's degree programs. I wanted to study children's literature because my ultimate life plan was to start a company that published nature books for kids and teens.

Master's degree achieved! I was accepted to a program at a university in Kentucky. I got a degree in children's literature and now put the letters MFA after my name whenever I'm feeling extra pretentious.

I was excessively dramatic about books

I wrote a book about cults. I actually started writing it several years before I started this blog. The book took 11 years to write because the amount of research I had to do was intense. The interviews were especially hard. Have you ever interviewed a survivor of childhood religious abuse? It's not as fun as a trip to Disney Land.

After writing the cult book, it spent 3 years on submission to publishers. It came close to being published 29 times. Twenty-nine different publishing professionals gave me extensive notes on how to improve this book. I attempted to do everything they asked. All roads led to "No."

I spent 14 years (and all my money) on this project, and I screwed up every opportunity I was given.

While I was failing at writing a book, I was also failing at finding a job. I had a pretentious master's degree! Why did everyone hate me? I applied for a ton of publishing jobs. They either rejected me, or they said I could have a job if I moved to a stupidly expensive city and accepted minimum wage. Renting a one-bedroom apartment for a year would take my whole salary.

Let's call 2016 to 2019 my "flop era." It led to severe depression, panic attacks, massive weight gain, suicide attempts (this was my flop era, so I didn't even die correctly), and expensive doctor visits.

My therapist wanted me to self-publish the cult book, but I'm not brave enough for that. I ditched my lifelong goals and started searching for something else to keep me occupied.

I considered deleting this blog. I don't remember why I didn't do it. So . . . I also failed at deleting the blog. Nice. We're really dedicated to the flop theme.

I turned old

I turned 30 during the flop era. I honestly have no memory of my 30th birthday. There was no party or anything. I most likely spent it sleeping, eating, filling out job applications, or rewriting the cult book.

Turning 30 is a milestone, even if you don't remember it. That's why I'm putting it on this list. (I bet a lot of people don't remember their 30th birthday . . .)

I acquired a human child

That ↑↑ is not my human child.

Okay, here's something I do remember! In February 2019, my younger sister had a baby. Since me and my sister live together, the baby became another roommate. Children are the most chaotic roommates. I love baby Brooklyn. She's currently 4 years old and hilarious. Her hobbies include zombie hunting, petting random dogs, begging for food which she then refuses to eat, and spreading contagious diseases. She's the best.

If you can be anything, be Smokey The Bear

I couldn't write books or work in publishing. I didn't have enough money to keep binge-eating in bed until I could apply for My 600-lb Life. I needed to do something with myself.

I decided to be a park ranger.

Shortly before Brooklyn was born, I applied for jobs at 3 parks within driving distance of my house. My first choice ghosted me. My second choice rejected me. In May 2019, I started working in the visitor services section of my third choice.

I still work at my third-choice park, but my role has shifted a lot over the years. I (mostly) like it. I get to see beautiful scenery and meet tourists from all over the world. I've learned that I can stay calm during life-and-death emergencies. My supervisors know that I have complicated feelings about law enforcement in the US, and they've never forced me to do something that makes me uncomfortable or goes against my morals. It's been good. And challenging. And stressful. And frustrating. And sweaty.

And then there were none

Three large retriever-type dogs sitting on a brown couch. Two of the dogs are light brown and white. The third is black with tan and white patches.

When I started this blog, I had three hyperactive dogs. I loved them so much. They were my best friends and hiking companions. The problem with dogs is that they don't live long enough. I currently have zero dogs. I never imagined myself as someone with zero dogs.

I'm really, really tempted to get another dog. Or several.

Am I a stack of book reviews in a trench coat?

In the last 10 years, I've written nearly 1,000 book reviews on this blog. I think the current count is 943 plus a few that haven't been published yet. You can find most of them in my Sunday Posts. That's a lot of reading and blogging.

In total, the blog has 1,532 published posts; 31,829 comments; and 1,303,078 pageviews. I can't believe that many people have viewed my nonsense. You guys must be bored.

I crown myself the pinterest queen!

When I started this blog, I loved social media and wanted to be on all the sites, all the time. Then Donald Trump became a thing, and social media started stressing me out. I quit a few sites and pulled back from others. Then I kept pulling back. And kept pulling back.

Pinterest was the exception. I didn't give up on Pinterest!

Actually, that's not true. In 2020, my Pinterest account was getting 3.5 million monthly views, and deleting spam comments on my pins was a fulltime job, so I had to chill. I post way less often than I used to.

I love Pinterest because it's aspirational. People (mostly) use it to plan their futures instead of tearing each other down. Pinterest has taught me everything: Graphic design, book reviewing, social media marketing, and how to blog in a way that's honest but still makes people happy.

I exercise now?

If you would've told me 10 years ago that I would become a gym girlie, I wouldn't have believed you. I loathed PE class in school. That's where the worst bullying happened. I usually ditched PE to read Stephen King books in the stairwell. I only played sports under extreme duress.

In the last 10 years, I've run a half-marathon, did yoga every day for 2 years, and joined a boxing gym. I can't say I enjoy exercise, and I still look like a blimp compared to my coworkers, but I understand why exercise is beneficial. I can be athletic if I work at it.

All my friends live inside my computer

The best part of the journey is the friends we've made along the way.

Seriously, I'm grateful for all my blogger friends. I was terrified to comment on people's blogs back in 2013. I thought everybody would find me annoying. Luckily, the book blogging community is tolerant of weirdos. I've had very few negative interactions with book bloggers. You're all lovely. I hope we're still friends in another 10 years.

Thanks for reading! How has your life changed in the last 10 years?


  1. Congratulations! 10 years of blogging is a major accomplishment. I love this post and all that it contains.

  2. I loved this post. What a wild ride you’ve had these past ten years.

    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday post.


  3. Your niece sounds so funny!

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.


  4. Congratulations! 10 years is such a achievement. I loved reading your reflections.

  5. This is hands down the funnest blog post i've read in weeks! Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving, too!

  6. Congratulations on 10 years! Even though the difficult times, you've persevered. Even if life doesn't look exactly the way you imagined, you still have so much to love and be proud of. Ten years ago, I was 29 and getting married. Now I'm an old lady with a toddler, haha! I'm on my third career, but my love for books has never changed. I hope we're still blogging buddies in 10 years, too!

  7. Wow ten years is awesome! Definitely get new dogs, they're amazing and can be great workout buddies

  8. Congratulations on 10 years! It's definitely a rollercoaster to look back on the past 10 years and I enjoyed reading your reflections - glad you persevered through a difficult period and are still blogging! And yes, blogger friends are the best indeed! <3

  9. Happy 10th blogoversary! I'm so glad you're still here and never quit. I love this look back at all the good and the bad. I'm also very intrigued and want to read your cult book! I think you should totally self publish. I did that, of course my experience is not encouraging as no one really read my book other than a few friends. And the one who wrote a nice review, then went back and took it down after he and I were I guess no longer friends for some reason. So maybe ignore that suggestion! lol Like you most of my friends are in the computer now!

  10. Happy 10th blogoversary! Love pinterest too, i use to make book moodboards is a relaxing page

  11. Oh my goodness, I really enjoyed this post, you have achieved so much in those ten years, with difficult times and blessings along the way. Such a shame about the book, it sounds like it has important information. I guess working as a park ranger could bring you closer to your dream of writing nature books for children, there'd be many topics around that. Any way its a long time since I turned 30 so I don't remember it, as I've hit 70! Congrats on the blogiversary .

  12. Happy blogiversary--plus all the milestones along the way! I look forward to continuing to read your blog!

  13. I am glad you and your blog is still here. That's a lot of reviews in 10. years (I have done about 1/2 of that in 19 years of blogging). Sorry about your dogs. They are good companions and Mia, my dog, is now telling me it's time to be fed.

  14. Wow, a lot has changed in 10 years! I'm also glad that you and your blog are still with us. I've really appreciated all your comments on my blog and, I agree, that making book blogging friends is one of the best things about reading and reviewing. Congratulations on your blogiversary! A decade of blogging regularly is a big achievement. Be proud.

    Happy TTT!

  15. Congratulations on ten years! I, for one, am glad you flopped at deleting your blog. I love it! I know you wrote this great cult book, but I always imagine you writing some satire or a farce because you are hilarious.

  16. Lol at the description of baby Brooklyn. I really thought she was your daughter. I also don't fully remember my 30th birthday... I probably spent it at a bookish bar drinking and reading. I know I didn't celebrate the milestone.

  17. Visiting everyone is the best part of this! Happy 10th blogoversary. :)

  18. Happy belated Blogoversary! This is such a wonderful post to mark the occasion and I’m very glad you are still here!
    My 13th Blogaversary was also in August but it just kind of passed me by.

  19. Happy blogoversary! What a great post -- so much to look back on and celebrate. And your post really demonstrates how life doesn't always go as we expect, but it can still have such joy in it!

  20. Ahh, congrats on the blogiversary! It made me realise I have no idea how old mine is...

    This was a fun post! I laughed at "all my friends live inside my computer".

  21. Wow what a great post. Happy 10th year! Your background is very interesting to hear about. You really turned things around and now have a great job and seem happy where you are in life. I think it's great. I didn't realize you had written a cult book. I commend you on the effort. It's still good you did it.

  22. Yay for 10 years! Such an honest post about all your life changes over the past ten years. Kudos for surving it all. :D I'm glad you're still blogging...and commenting. And I hope someday you do find the courage to indie publish your book.

  23. Congratulations on reaching such a huge milestone! 10 years is a major accomplishment, and it sounds like you've stuck it out through some serious ups and downs. It seems like you're back on the upswing now, and I love your sense of humor about everything. I'm also especially impressed that you've taken the major undertaking of writing a book on cults, which isn't an easy task and should be viewed as a ginormous accomplishment, no matter how the publishing industry received it. Congrats on all of your achievements in the last decade.

  24. Congratulations! It really is an amazing accomplishment, and I am glad that I could help with post inspiration! I am so, so glad that you made it out of the darkness. If it ever threatens to come back, or even if not and you just want to chat, please know I am here ♥ I am so incredibly sorry about your dogs. I also do not love the lifespan of pets, and it is why I am very reluctant to get one. I think Brooklyn sounds amazing, so you are clearly a good influence! I am also glad that you found a job that is mostly good. And the working out thing, HOW do you make yourself do it? I really want to but the hate is so strong! I am also really mad at publishing for not buying your cult book because I have zero doubt that it is amazing and I want to read it and they ruined it! I am hoping the opportunity will come back around at some point, you never know! Anyway, here's hoping for another decade of bookish fun!

  25. I'm sorry for the bad things, but I'm glad you've had some good things too, and that you're still here and still blogging. Congrats on 10 years! Also I used to be scared of commenting too lol.

  26. Happy 10 years. Thank you for sharing that.. I'm sure it wasn't easy. And I am very happy that you failed at suicide.

  27. Thank you for the smiles and wishing you more of the good things for your future.. and a book authored by you too ..
    Thank you for visiting me

  28. Congrats on 10 blogging years!! That is such an achievement. And this post is the perfect way to celebrate. You are quite the inspiration, and I'm so glad you kept powering through to be here. And I think you should self-publish your book. ;)

  29. All the congratulations on the 10th year milestone, this is so exciting and definitely something to be proud of. Life has been a rollercoaster in the past years, but I'm so happy you're still here and blogging x

  30. This was lovely. And congrats on the 10-year anniversary -- that is a real accomplishment! I'll vote for self-publishing the book. You've got all these book bloggers to promote it to. That's way more than most self-published authors have.