It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic: Top Ten Things Bookish Things/People I Am Thankful For
This post really couldn’t have come at a better time. I was talking with Estelle the other week about how I’d really like to get more personal on my blog from time-to-time but it’s hard for me to know where to start. Every once in a while, I gush about my blogging besties or how I’m proud to be a nerd, but not often to I really get into a deep conversation and really get personal about things.
This week, I’m still relating my Top Ten Tuesday to bookish things that I’m thankful for, but I’m trying to get a bit more into detail on how they’ve really affected not only my blogging life, but my day-to-day life because reading and blogging have really become a bigger part of my entire life than I would ever have anticipated when I first started.
1. All of the friends I’ve met through blogging. People that once started out as just blogging best friends have turned into real life, text every day (all day), read books together, complain about things, ask for advice, I’m asking these girls to be my bridesmaids and come to my wedding BEST FRIENDS.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not as close with my friends from high school and college. I’ve grown apart from a lot of my high school friends simply because we’ve just grown up to be very different people than we were in high school. No hard feelings, but it’s just hard for us to stay in touch when we don’t have a lot of common interests or friends anymore. I still see a few of my college roommates and my oldest friends from elementary school from time-to-time, but we’re all really busy with our own lives and we’ve never really had the type of relationship where we keep in touch on a daily basis so we’ve tended to grow farther apart instead of closer throughout the years. We can always come back together and our friendship always picks up where it left off, but for a long time, I was missing the sense of a BEST friend — someone I could talk to every day to vent and laugh and cry. Of course I have Shane to talk to but sometimes you just need a female best friend and my ladies understand me in a way that guys just don’t understand!
I have my closest friends who I text literally every day, but I also have several close friends who I will occasionally text, others who constantly email, other who I Tweet with a lot. Then of course there are all of the people with I also talk to via blog comments. I’m always interacting with someone at least once or twice or ten times a day. I’m so thankful for everyone I’ve met just because I decided to pick up a hobby writing about my love of books. It’s something I never could have anticipated and I couldn’t be happier with the friendships I’ve formed when I thought I could never make “new” best friends.
2. Interaction with publishing houses, publicists, and authors. My blogging experience is constantly enhanced on a day-to-day basis by being able to actually interact and talk with the authors whose books I’m reading and the publishers behind them. I can’t express how honored and thrilled I am when I get a retweet or a response from an author or publisher on Twitter, an invitation to a blog, a request to review a book, or the opportunity to read an ARC. For me, blogging is fun but it’s also really hard work and it means so much to me when an author/publisher acknowledges all of the work that I put into my content and sharing personal opinions. The relationship between authors, publishers, and readers is a beautiful thing and the bookish world couldn’t function without any missing piece. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate the opportunities, support, and appreciation that they offer to me and my blog.
3. Anderson’s Bookshop. I absolutely love having Anderson’s so close (well, a little further now that I’ve moved) and how many AMAZING events they host. Being able to attend so many events has helped me meet authors and to interact with them in person has been really incredible! I’ve met several local bloggers like Katie from The Polished Page Turner and Monica from The Fuma Files and it’s been so great to be able to share the event with them and to talk about the authors, the books, and everything in between. Having Anderson’s so close has also given me the opportunity for things like my interview with the Fierce Reads authors when they were in town on tour. Macmillan asked me if I wanted to be the featured blogger for the Chicago leg of the tour and of course I had happily accepted. Without Anderson’s, that opportunity wouldn’t have even been a thought.
4. All of the comments and tweets and blogger interaction. Well DUH, of course I need a shout out to all of the followers and commenters and readers! Blogging would not nearly be as much fun without anyone there to read my words and share them with and every time I get a comment, it’s still new and exciting to me. I’m so grateful for all of the feedback, all of the support, all of the laughs and YOU guys make it worth blogging every day!
5. WordPress.org. I absolutely love self-hosting my own website. WordPress.com was a great starting place but switching to self-hosting (it’s been almost a year! Wow!!!) has been so much fun. I love being able to customize whatever I want to (with LOTS of help from the WordPress.org forums because let’s be honest… CSS is a lot of Googling and then guess & check) and actually embed Rafflecopter haha. I think it’s really helped me take my blog to the next level!
6. Recommendations. Admittedly… Had it not been for blogging, I probably never would have picked up a fantasy novel. Or sci-fi. Or had the courage to pick up and read A Song of Ice and Fire! I’ve had recommendations galore for books I need to try, authors I need to read, and people to read series with! Speaking of which….
7. Read Alongs. I’ve actually been a part of many read alongs and hosted quite a few myself! I love being able to read a book at the same time as other people, talk about it in different ways that I wouldn’t normally think of, and have a support group as I read!
8. The opportunity to have a hobby. I didn’t really have a hobby for a long time. Not one I could throw myself into. I would scrapbook here and there, crochet, paint, take pictures (none of which I was really good at haha!) but once I started getting back into reading, it was so easy to dive right it. There will always be new books, new stories, new adventures, and I’m lucky enough to have a hobby that never gets old!
9. An excuse to stay in. For that last few years, I’ve been growing more and more reclusive. Or maybe I”m just growing up. I’m not quite sure. Either way, reading and blogging and writing have all become wonderful excuses for me to stay in or rather, wonderful pulls to sway me from going out haha! I’ll go out every once in a while, but really, clubs and bars and parties are just SO not my thing anymore. I think that’s what they call growing up, but I call it an obsession with books! I’ll take any excuse to stay home with my books and get all nice and snuggly on the couch.
10. Most importantly, a sense of accomplishment. I think I have a fairly good job and they treat me well (on the days I don’t want to pull my hair out, but don’t we all have those days?) but I don’t really leave there feeling accomplished. I finish what I need to do at work but I don’t necessarily feel satisfied from doing my job. Reading, blogging, setting goals, achieving personal milestones, sticking with a freaking project for once, I mean come on! Blogging is the best thing to happen to me since sliced bread. (“Ah, sliced bread. A wonderful Lady MacBeth.”) I feel a sense of accomplishment when I sit down to write a review and finally finish it (sometimes days later, but hey, that happens) or come up with a new idea for a discussion or complete a reading challenge. I have a daily sense of achievement from my blog posts, my reading accomplishments, and my interactions with the book blogging community. It’s just a fantastic place for me to be in my life and I’m so happy that I’ve found something I can grow so passionate about and really feel like I belong.