Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Sunday Salon 10 - Second Blogiversary

I made a small mention the other day that my two year blogiversary was on June 5th, but I wanted to reflect in more detail upon the last two years. I probably sound like a broken record, but I didn’t do a post last year and I don’t really want this year to slip by either without some type of written entry of my thoughts. I don’t know why I feel the need to apologize for long rambly posts, so I’m not going to this time dangit. I’ve got a lot to reflect upon. :P

I can remember the first time I stumbled upon a book blog. You've heard me mention before that I found out about book blogging through some of the Yahoo Book Clubs I was currently participating in. Wendy, from Caribousmom, posted a list of her monthly reads and when I finally popped over to see what it was she was doing, I was amazed and enthralled. I hopped around from her list of other book blogs on her sidebar and discovered that many other people were also blogging about books. Being a book enthusiast, the idea really intrigued me--writing about books I read in a public forum--how cool is that?

I wish I could remember my first month of blogging in more detail--the feelings I had and the crazy thoughts that were going through my head--but looking back on the posts (there are a lot for that first month!), it is obvious that I quickly fell in love with blogging. I joined several challenges and worked up the courage to actually leave comments on other people's blogs (although some were way too intimidating at the time--I won't mention names because I'm sure it would embarrass them). All of a sudden, I was a part of this interactive community of readers from all over the world. Even in grad school I didn't have quite this level of interaction in terms of pleasure reading.

Over the past two years, I've really grown as a reader. I wish I could say that my writing has improved, but it's the same old ramble day in and day out. But I like it that way and people respond to me (you all encourage me with your "ramble on Trish!" comments)! I remember being really timid in my actual reviews, not quite knowing what to say so that it would be enough for people to get an idea of the book but still leaving a lot of mystery. I quickly fell into a pattern of review writing, usually three paragraphs--a small summary, what I liked/disliked, and my recommendation.

In March of 2008 I noticed that my posts were starting to get a little longer and more detailed--I mentioned this specifically in my review of All the Pretty Horses. I was finally coming into my own and started feeling comfortable about writing about books. It's funny to me looking back at some of my earlier posts, but constant evolution is normal, I think. I started writing my reviews in more detail, but I also was missing out on a key part of this blog--my personality. Sure I included little tidbits of me here and there, but I wasn't really letting loose. Now I kind of feel I've gone to the other end of the spectrum with my posts getting more and more rambling and I think I need to reign myself in a little bit, but what can I say? I'm not a professional reviewer--if I wanted to write stiff and straightforward reviews, why do that on a personal reading blog? And why would people want to read stiff and straightforward reviews? They can get those in print from someone who's getting paid to review.

Ooooh, getting back on topic. :) Over the past two years I've been challenged as a reader. I've always read outside of the box or the normal comfort zone of readers, probably because of the reading I was required during college, but the discoveries I've made through blogging is astounding to me. I've been incredibly influenced by other bloggers' raves and reviews and I've especially been encouraged through reading challenges. I've participated in 26 reading challenges over the past two years--taking me through all different countries and genres and subjects. They certainly haven't helped my shelves be any less empty, but I've learned amazing things and encountered terrific discoveries.

Last summer I mustered up the courage to start my own challenge. I went through the usual Trish anxieties--what if no one joins? What if my rules are too confusing? What if what if what if. This year both the Classics challenge and Non-Fiction Five challenge have over 100 participants. How freakin' cool is that? I love that people are excited about these challenges and other challenges and I hope they are experiencing some of the same joys that I do through participating in them.

One of my favorite things evvvvver is spreading the joy of reading, and I like to think that I help do my part through this blog. I've had a few friends and family members start their own blogs and I've seen an increase in the excitement of those I know as I talk about my reading and we talk about theirs. Isn't it amazing how books can bring people together? I had a really awesome moment last weekend at my brother's birthday breakfast when I gave him Diary of a Wimpy Kid and his friends all said they loved it, which made me excited and my brother excited and his friends excited. Something so incredibly small, but I love when he says to me, "Trish, I need a new book to read--find me one." He's thirteen.

So, the actually reviewing, the challenges, the growth. Last but not least, the interaction. I'll admit that it was a little tough being a new blogger--trying to break into the circles and make friends. Of course this blog is mostly for me--is anyone even reading this far down? But without the interaction, I don't think I would have stuck around as long as I have. After two years I am still excited about each and every comment I receive here. I love that I've met some great friends and two years later we're still connecting on each other's blogs. For me, the crossover moment for acquaintances and friends was probably during the first read-a-thon I participated in last June. I really let the silly goofy rambly Trish peek through in my posts, especially in the wee hours, and I loved getting to see that in other people as well. From there on out I've had more confidence in really being myself. This is my space afterall! But really, you are the ones who make blogging so special to me. I cherish the relationships I've formed and look forward to the ones that have yet to be discovered.

Blogging has been an ever-evolving endeavor for me. Some months are difficult and hectic (such as the past two months), and I have to change gears and do things a little differently. But I learn and grow and try to improve and most importantly stay true to myself. I'm not sure what the future will hold for me and blogging. I hope that I continue to be enriched by the experience and I hope that I can continue to give just a little bit back to the community. I wish I knew better ways to do that, to be more active, but we do the best that we can.

So--happy blogiversary to me. The End. :P

When you reflect upon your blogging, how do you see its impact on you?


Molly said...

Oh my --- your post just about mirrors every single one of my thoughts about blogging! Perhaps on my blogiversary I can just post a link to this entry :)

You began in the exact same way that I did (except the first two book blogs that I read were J. Kaye and Becky). I LOVE your posts and do not find them rambling at all - but rather, very insightful and quite a joy to read.

Congratulations on this milestone in the book blogging community!

Nicole said...

Happy Blogiversary!

I hit my one year a few weeks ago and didn't mention it, I figured I would wait for year two, if I make it that long.

When I think about blogging, I think I am so much more knowledgeable about books. When I walk into a bookstore I look at the books and can rattle off what they are about, and if the consensus on them is good or bad, or how the galley changed to the final cover version, and what publishers are putting out which books.

My reviews have changed too. They are definitely longer. They can hit 800 words. Yikes. But I do feel like more of my personality is starting to come through and I am much less shy when it comes to jumping in and participating ob other blogs as well as with my own.

I have an idea for a challenge, but like you I am in the doubts phase. Maybe by the end of this year I will feel confident enough to bring it out.

Charley said...

I love what you have to say about letting your personality shine through. I agree, your blog is personal, so it's great to give it your personal touch. Your enthusiasm shines through in your reviews, and I think that's a wonderful thing.

bermudaonion said...

I'm so impressed that you've stuck with this for two years! I don't think non-bloggers realize all the work that is involved in keeping a blog up. Here's to many years to come!

gautami tripathy said...

Happy blogiversay. May you have many more.

I have been in it for three years and still going strong despite the loss of my blog.

Bart's Bookshelf said...

Happy Blogiversary!

Debi said...

Happy, happy anniversary, Trish!!! I just can't even imagine this whole bloggy world without you!!!

I'm such a dork--I couldn't actually remember when I started my blog, so I had to go look. Sometimes it seems like it's only been a few months and other times it seems like I've been doing it forever. (Turns out it's almost 3 1/2 years now.)

Thoughts of Joy said...

My happiest wishes to you, Trish, for reaching a 2nd year milestone with your blog. You have done a fabulous job and I look forward to many more years.

Amanda said...

You know, you were one of the first book blogs I ever came across, and I remember bouncing to a ton of your reviews, seeing very similar thoughts on books than I had. I think I left you like 20 comments that day, some on reviews that were a year old. I figured you'd be pretty annoyed with me, so I stopped. :)

That's awesome that your challenges have 100+ participants!! I couldn't even dream of something like that. That's so amazing. :)

Brooke Reviews said...

Happy Happy Blog Blog! :D Hmm Guess I just channeled Ren & Stimpy.

Happy Blogiversary!

Melody said...

Happy, Happy Blogiversary, Trish!!

I started mine in Jul 2006. I didn't know much about blogging then, and I did out of fun and curiosity. Really, how time flies, eh?

I love reading your blog, so keep those posts coming!!! :D

Wendy said...

It is so much fun to read how people got started blogging - and I am thrilled that a visit to my blog two years ago sparked your interest! I've watched you grow as a blogger these last two years, Trish - and what you say is so true. It is such a great community and sharing our love of reading is what I think drives most book bloggers. I discovered blogging much the same way you did - I visited a blog through a link from a reading group and then started blog hopping from their blogroll - I was so excited to think there were like minded people out there!

Janssen said...

I love that part about some months being hectic and having to try new things - isn't that true? I was editing a bunch of old posts this weekend and it was amusing to see the changes over two and a half years.

JoAnn said...

Happy Blogiversay, Trish! As I approach eight months of blogging, you have touched on so many of my own thoughts. I discovered book blogs by clicking on a link at a Yahoo group, too. It took me many more months to get up the courage to start my own though! I discovered your blog through your challenges - which I'm also enjoying, btw. Congratulations on two years of blogging!

cj said...

Happy Anniversary, Trish! I've enjoyed watching you grow and I love your 'rambly' posts!

I feel pretty much the same way about blogging - it's been fun getting to know people and having my horizons expanded.

Like I've said, we're a group of far-flung folks who could get together and have a good time talking about books without a problem. And that's both cool and amazing!


Trish said...

*Molly - Which bookclubs were you apart of? Do you still participate? I look forward to hearing your thoughts as you reach your blogiversary!

*Nicole - At my one year I was still feel rather "new" and so I didn't make a mention of my blogiversary. I love the new knowledge about books as well--went to the bookstore with mom the other day and kept saying, "oh, I've heard great things about this one!" And throw your challenge idea out there--I'm sure it will be great.

*Charley - I love when I see people's personalities through their blog as well--somehow it seems a little more friendly than when people are trying to be formal.

*Bermuda - Blogging is a lot of work but often very rewarding!

*Guatami - Wow--three years is great! And I'm glad you didn't quit when malware took your blog.

*Bart - Thank you! :)

*Debi - I knew I started in June, but I always think I started on the 15th. Now I know it's the day before hubby's birthday. I can't imagine the blogging world without all of you!

*Joy - It's funny because I was a little reluctant to take the NFF because I didn't know if I would still be blogging--but here I am going strong. It's been a great two years.

*Amanda - I remember that and no I wasn't annoyed in the least. :) It's always fun to discover new people and I'm glad you took such an interest and that we've gotten to know each other since then. In terms of the 100 participants--I think it's because of the genres I chose. Classics and NF can be so general and many people read them.

*Brooke - LOL! I love Ren & Stimpy! Thanks for the laugh.

*Melody - Wow, so you're coming up on three years! Time does go by fast.

*Wendy - I love learning how people started blogging as well and interesting that you started the same way I did! It's been such a welcoming group and I'm so grateful for that.

*Janssen - Ya--there's definitely been a lot of growth since I started blogging. Some of my older posts, like Portrait of a Lady, are some of my most hit on posts and I'm a little embarrassed about how bad those reviews are!

*JoAnn - I'm glad you're enjoying the challenges--I wish I could be more active in them (visiting participants), but they are fun.

*CJ - I agree that even though we are all so different, we all have the commonality of books and reading and I know we could have some great discussions about them. I love how books/reading can bring people together.

Anonymous said...

Happy blogoversary! It's very interesting to hear and see how a blog will change over time! Hope you have many more blogoversaries!

valentina said...

Happy Blog Anniversary! I can't believe it's been only two years for you too, it seems like you've been around forever:D

I'm glad you started writing about books,hope you'll keep doing it for a long time!

Scrap girl said...

Well done reaching two years of blogging. We love the challenges you set. It is amazing how it really does stretch your reading by just blogging and visiting other blogs. I have to say mine has changed completely since I started and I have read some fantastic books recommended by other bloggers that I would have missed.

Laura said...

Happy Blogiversary, Trish! I've always liked that your blog is for you, and you write what you want, how you want! :)

claire said...

Happy blog anniversary, Trish! I wasn't around when you started but presently I can honestly say your personality does shine through! Here's to many more years of bookish blogging! :D

Amy said...

Happy Blogiversary here's to many more! (blogging has changed my life!)

Karen Beth said...

I felt like I got to know you pretty well when we were in grad school together, but now I am getting to hear your thoughts in a whole new (beautiful, smart, feisty) way! Reading your posts is always a special time of the day for me. I'm glad we can continue our friendship this way! (And I will be in the Dallas area in July, so maybe we could meet up then?)

debnance said...

Congratulations on your two year anniversary! I just celebrated my one year anniversary and I feel very happy to be in Blog World.

Marie Burton said...

Happy Blogiversary to you.. and Congrats on your accomplishments! You have a great personality in you rrrr---rrrr ramblings :)
And I ramble too.. I am in the middle of writing a review.. and a negative review.. and I just can't seem to reign it in. So I guess I ramble too .. one Texan to another!

Melissa said...

Trish, I love your long, rambling posts because I always love to see what you have to say!

Happy Blogiversary to you! And may you have many more, if only selfishly on my part because I enjoy reading your blog!!

mjmbecky said...

Great post! I also feel like I've gotten longer in my reviews, but don't you ever feel like you almost have to write that much to get through?

Anyway, Happy Blogiversary! I agree about the people we meet here, of which I include you! It's so great to have so many friends that love reading and what books do to transform our lives. It's all so great! Thanks for this post.

mee said...

If there's such thing as a 'successful blogger' I think you're one! I subscribed to your blog and once in a while when I want to drop a comment you've already got so many! (So I don't comment that often here :) Happy bloggiversary!

Trish said...

*Rhapsody - Thanks--I hope there will be many more as well (for everyone!)

*Valentina - LOL--sometimes it feels like I've been around forever, but I guess two years is a long time. I heard somewhere that the average life of a blog is around 6 months!

*Scrap girl - Even though I don't participate in as many challenge, they have really changed my reading habits and allowed me to meet so many bloggers--when I first started blogging I really relied on challenges to find other people.

*Laura - Sometimes it's easy to loose site of why I blog or get caught up in it all, but I try to remember this is for me.

*Claire - I think over the past year especially my blog has become more personal and I love that I can see other's personalities come out through their blogs as well.

*Amy - LOL--in many ways blogging has changed my life as well--at least how I read!

*Karen Beth - You are such a sweetie--let me know when you're coming into town and maybe we can get Emily and Sarah at least to meet up! Reunion! :)

*Debnance - Happy one year aniversary to you! That's such a huge milestone.

*Marie Burton - Negative reviews are the most difficult for me to write and I tend to ramble a lot in them--I do best I think when I neither loved nor disliked the book (although I'd rather ramble about something I love).

*Melissa - Thank you! I'll be around for at least a little longer. I never know just how long (sometimes life is just too overwhelming!).

*Mjmbecky - I don't like for my reviews to be too long, but sometimes it is hard to make the cut of what I want to talk about! And I agree that it's so wonderful to meet others who love reading so much.

*Mee - Oh, I love every comment--don't like that stop you! Thank you for your kind words and I hope you'll be back again.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to hear how you got caught up in blogging. I didn't originally intend to be a 'book blog', but that's what has evolved, and I'm glad for that result. Like you, I love the chance to talk books with other bibliophiles, and this gives us the perfect venue.

Thinking of you a lot, Trish, and hoping all is well.

Trisha said...

Congrats on two years! It's nice for a new-ish person like me to know that everyone starts out with difficulties breaking in to the community and finding a unique style.

joanna said...

Happy Blogiversary! :-) Wow, two years, that's great! I for one am always glad you're around Trish, your thoughts are always appreciated. :-)

Serena said...

Happy blogiversary to you! June is a busy month for blogiversaries!

SuziQoregon said...

Happy Blogiversary!! My 3 year is coming up next month. I agree that the other book bloggers I've met had greatly influenced the evolution of both my reading and my blog.

Looking forward to many more year of reading your blog!

Bonnie said...

Happy Blogiversary and congrats on 2 years of blogging! I enjoyed reading your honest thoughts and feelings about how you've grown and been challenged. Blogging is a committment and joy and I am finding that it is a learning process. I am coming up on 1 year of blogging and I have many similar feelings as you do. I have always been an avid reader but blogging has brought a richness and diversity to my reading and I have met some amazing people.

Dar said...

Happy Blogiversary Trish! You know I love your blog. You were one of the first people I met and I feel blessed to call you a friend now. I enjoy your reviews and your ramblings-it's all good! I hope that we'll both be around blogging our way through books years from now.

Bookfool said...

Happy Blogiversary, Trish!!

I like the rambling, myself, but then I have "babble" in my header so . . . guess it goes with the territory, for some of us. ;)

Trish said...

*Bellezza – I love talking books, but don’t find many instances in real life to do so—it’s been so great to connect with other people who share this interest. Thanks for the thoughts—the days go up and down, but I’ve been trying to keep my chin up. That’s all we can do, right?

*Trisha - One of the best advice I can give a new blogger is to find your own voice and style. It will help others really connect with you—that and to get involved! It’s tough to find the time to comment, but this is a great way to meet others. It was hard at first, but I’m thrilled that I’ve still stayed in touch with bloggers I met from the very beginning.

*Joanna - Awww, thank you. Lately I’ve been wishing I had more time to blog, but I’ll take what I can get.

*Serena - I wonder if it’s because of the summer months? People getting out of school or freeing up other obligations? If I had known about blogging sooner, I would have started sooner!

*SuziQoregon - Wow, three years! That’s really great—hopefully I’ll still be around this time next year! I’ve really loved the influence of other bloggers—it’s been such an eye opening experience!

*Bonnie - I absolutely agree that blogging has been a big learning process-but a very rewarding one. Hope there are many more years for you as well—the richness and community are such a big plus for me as well.

*Dar - I hope we’ll all be around for a while to come as well—the friendships, including yours, have been so great—sometimes I just wish I had more time to get more involved with the goings on around the blogosphere.

*Bookfool - I love your babble—always have. I don’t think I’ve always been so rambly, at least not in blogging, but I guess we all need our outlets somewhere (in real life I can hardly keep my thoughts straight—drives my husband batty!)

Joanne said...

Happy Second Blogiversary!! Everything you mentioned was similar to how I've felt. I think blogging has had a huge impact on me as a person - in terms of books I am much more likely now to read outside my comfort zone. By seeing so many bloggers opinions I can look at a book in so many different ways. And on a personal level, I think blogging has helped me come out of my shy-shell a bit - if you can't tell from my rambling comments :P

Again Happy Second! I hope this year is even better for you :)

Stephanie said...

That was such a nice post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about blogging. Just like you, I still love it when I get comments - to think that someone cares about what I write - it's thrilling!

Terri B. said...

Happy Blogiversary! I have the opposite problem in that I feel I'm often too brief. In answer to the question you threw out there: Book blogging has made me reflect on what I've read instead of just blasting through a bunch of books and then having very little recall of what I read.

Shanra said...

Aww, Trish, what a beautiful and touching way to remenisce on your blogging years. (And I love that our blogging anniversaries are in the same month!) Happy (horridly belated) blogiversary, Trish!

I do know many, many of the feelings you describe here, although I think I was already comfortable 'letting loose' because I've had a personal journal to keep in touch with my friends for so long before I started blogging. (Yes, there's a difference between the two for me.)

And do keep rambling, rambling is fun! ^-^ May the blogosphere bring you many, many more days of joy and growth, Trish!

(Oh, and in regards to stats - because I'm lazy like this - I don't check them except occasionally for the fun of it. And them mostly the search terms rather than the amount of site visitors.)

Lisa said...

(Not reading the comments!)

I remember that read-a-thon, I think that's the one I was cheerleading you on! Haiku baby!

I like the rambling, keep it up.

I think my reviews have gotten worse lately, I need to FOCUS more. Ha.

Happy Blogiversary.

Trish said...

*Joanne - Funny that you mention blogging bringing you out of your "shy" shell--I feel the same way (although with my rambling you wouldn't know I'm usually a reserved person).

*Stephanie - I agree that comments are so thrilling--to know that someone is listening and taking the time to share what they think as well.

*Terri - Book blogging has definitely made me a more contemplative reader as well. And I don't think you're too brief. If anything, I'd just love to see more Terri posts. :)

*Shanra - I guess it's something about the month of June--summer starting and beginning new endeavors? And in regards to stats, I like seeing the search terms as well!

*Lisa - You're funny about reading the comments! I'm mostly too lazy to see if someone said something interesting or if I'm repeating myself. :P And yes, that first read-a-thon was when you were my lovely cheerleader.

Anna said...

What a great post. Happy blogiversary!

Diary of an Eccentric

tanabata said...

Congratulations on your two years of blogging! I hope you have many more years of great blogging ahead of you. :)