In 2009, Lanna and I were friends on the Twilight IMDb board. We spent more time talking about music and books than Twilight itself, and she invited me to join this new project she had. It'd be a bunch of us, just posting reviews of books whenever we felt like it. I posted one or two reviews, but I didn't fully understand the appeal.
By the end of November that year, things had changed. I was about to win NaNoWriMo. I had to leave the Twilight fanfic community I had found because I may have allowed them to believe I was in college instead of the barely-in-high-school age I was. I was lonely and sad and then I found book bloggers while procrastinating writing. I had just turned 15 and here was this whole world of people talking about teen books. The kind of books I devoured faster than I could get new ones. Teens and adults sharing thoughts on books they loved and getting free books in the mail in advance and giving away books and it seemed kind of magical to me. I came to Lanna and asked about making the blog she'd invited me too a bit more professional and she was on board.
In December 2009, we became serious about Bloggers[Heart]Books. It was really just the two of us sharing thoughts on whatever books we could get our hands on. I'd found my people and I didn't have to mislead anyone about anything and I couldn't be happier about it.
A year and a half later, I was 16 and thinking about college. I had to decide where I was going to apply and where I wanted to visit, but the easiest way to figure that out was to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and work from there. But what did I want to do with my life? What did I love? What made me happy?
It took me a couple of days, but suddenly the thought hit me, "If only I could get paid to promote books." Then I realized people do get paid to promote books. I worked with those people. Making and editing and promoting books were real jobs held by real people that had that as a profession. And that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to work in publishing. It was tremendously relieving to have an idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but on the other hand, it put a deadline on how long I could blog; some people make blogging while working in publishing work, but I knew it wasn't going to work for me. I had until I had a real job in publishing to blog.
I went away to college and my life changed. I started meeting the people I'd only spoken to on the computer in real life. I was going out more, being more social, going to book events. I started freelance editing. I got three different internships in publishing. I made more friends. I picked up more and more projects and side pieces like #quietYA and writing at YA Interrobang and planning Blogbound Con. I went abroad for a semester. Blogging made me happy, but not in the same way. I didn't have as much of a drive and when it did, it kind of came and went, depending on what else was going on in my life at the time. If I had lots of down time, or I was trying to procrastinate, blogging seemed great. Otherwise, it seemed like a chore. But I always came back around, so it continued being worth it.
I also carried this fear with me that if I left blogging before I had a position in publishing, I'd lose everything. The friendships I have and the options I have and - I'll admit it because I'm frequently low on funds - the access to books I have. (Libraries are great, but my libraries aren't particularly great when it comes to YA, even when I request.) It felt like there was so much at risk if I left blogging.
Time has given me perspective. My friends probably won't disappear. I have enough books on my TBR to last me at least 2 years. And my resume speaks for itself, far more than blogging does.
But I kept asking myself over the years, "Why do I blog?" The answers were always similar. For the love of books; to spread the word about the books I want people to read; to make my voice heard. But over the years it's evolved more and more into helping other people. I don't just want my voice out there. I want to get books into the hands of people who need them. I want people to find the book that will change their life. I want people to read the books I love, but selfishly, so that author will get to write more books. My goals for blogging had changed and while blogging still accomplished these things, I have found other ways that are more effective than this blog is for accomplishing those goals.
So a week ago when I came up with an idea for a rec list I wanted to make and my first thought was to pitch it as a YA Interrobang piece, I knew that my love for blogging and posting here wasn't coming back. Originally, I thought I had until I had a job, or at least until I graduated college. But I'm two weeks away from graduation and the idea of acting like I'm still in this gives me so much anxiety. None of this is aided by the issues that seem to be non-stop in the blogging community lately. I can't do it. I couldn't even wait until I could really talk with Lanna or write this post to start casually tossing out there on twitter that I was done. It was time and now that it was time, I needed to let go.
But Bloggers[Heart]Books will continue through Lanna. She's honestly carried this blog so many times, especially during my college years, when I've been in a constant struggle mentally and physically. And I know she's always there for me, even as we've talked less and less now that we don't need collaborate on the blog as much.
And I will continue being a part of the book community. I will continue to work on #quietYA and the tumblr and ways I can grow that and make it more effective. I will continue to blog for YA Interrobang whenever Nicole will have me. I will continue to be a ranty brat who posts a lot of selfies on twitter. I will continue to Instagram lots of pictures of books (and my cats). I will be job hunting to try and find my spot in publishing. And I will try to pick up other projects - maybe focus more on writing fiction or my freelance editing or maybe something entirely new. But it's time for me to hang up my hat with Bloggers[Heart]Books, over 7 years after I posted my first review.
Thank you all for your love and support and kindness over the years. Thank you for listening to a teen who had no idea what she was doing. Thank you for helping me find what I love. Thank you for being the people I needed but couldn't find in the halls of my schools.