Today is my blog-aversary. I’ve been writing and running this blog for five years. I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to celebrate this milestone, and I decided to tell you how the blog got started, since most of you weren’t around for its inception. And none of you- not even my family- knows about the “secret blog” that came first.
I’d been feeling the urge to start a blog for awhile. I don’t remember all my motivating factors, except that I had only just started working on my first novel, and it was slow going. I wanted something that would be written in short posts, and connect me immediately with my audience. I did some brainstorming and research, and finally decided to start a blog about living in the aftermath of thyroid cancer.
Yup, you read that right.
I started that blog at the end of July, 2011. It lasted about a week- long enough for me to know that I wanted to blog, but not on that topic. It was just too personal. I hadn’t even shared the page with my family, or discussed it with them. That’s why I call it my “secret blog.” No one ever knew about it, and it got deleted after that week.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d pushed myself to keep going on that topic. Would I have become a different writer? It was so early in my writing career; it might have influenced the direction I took. As it turned out, the topic of having cancer didn’t go away for me. I did a blog series on cancer in winter 2014 during a relapse scare, and it was extremely popular. I’ve also started writing more essays and short stories about cancer. I’ve learned not to force myself into that topic, though; I have to make sure I’m ready to write the words.
So there I was, the summer of 2011, having just aborted my first blog. I spent another month of thinking, and finally decided what I wanted to write about. Something less personal, but something I felt passionate about and could speak on with authority. Books. I decided it was going to be a book review blog, which, in the days before Goodreads, was actually a thing people searched for.
I began the blog on August 28, 2011. I was trapped in the house during Hurricane Irene. We didn’t experience any property damage that day (that happened during Hurricane Sandy, a year later, when a tree fell on our roof just over our living room window) but we were stuck on our street for about 36 hours due to flooding. My first blog post contained suggestions for books to read during a hurricane.
I blogged exclusively about books for a year, though my favorite posts became the ones where I didn’t review a specific book, but wrote about the joys of reading or how I’d like to change my reading life. During my blog-aversary post in August 2012, I announced that I was going to start branching out into other topics. I spent over two years writing about everything from parenting to time management to finding gratitude. I wrote the series on cancer, but I also wrote series on fear, beauty, and creativity. In June 2013, I migrated over to my new self-hosted, self-designed website and learned a great deal more about running a blog. Then, in the fall of 2014, I shut down for a few months to do a re-design, and when I started up again in January 2015, the blog looked the way it does now, and had a more specific theme again: writing and reading. (“Words.”)
This blog has been through many iterations. I’m grateful that I never had the urge to shut it down completely, or start fresh on a new page. Its history is a winding path, but it’s a winding path that taught me many things, and I could never wish it away.
The path is about to turn again. I am going to be making some more changes soon, mostly visual, but a few content-related as well. I’ll be writing more about those changes throughout the next few weeks.
Thank you, readers, for staying with me throughout the last five years, or for joining us in the middle, or simply reading to the end of this post. I’m grateful for your acceptance of new topics and formats, for your loyalty, and for the chance to interact with you on this page as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
Here’s to another five! What will August 28, 2021 look like?