Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. This marks my 500th blog post, and I wanted to do a little bit of a look back on what has happened since I started, and some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
When I first started AndOnSheReads, it was on the back from my original disability based blog, which I no longer use – ironically, because I’m so busy with this one! I posted a couple of book reviews on that blog, and they had a much bigger reception than my other posts. Part of that, I think, is because disability blogging has a naturally smaller audience, and part of it is because I was probably more comfortable writing about book than I was about my health in some ways. This was before my journey into self love and body acceptance, so I think a lot of my posts were quite negative, even if I didn’t intend for them to be. That’s okay; sometimes being disabled is pretty crap. And learning how to blog is a long, patient art.
Combined together, I was getting more hits when I shared a book review, and getting comments on my personal social media sites regarding them too. And I’d say I’m not in it for the praise and the hits, but any blogger that said that would be a total liar. So I won’t bother; it felt good.
So, I started this bookish corner in March of 2019. Soon after, I won a competition on Twitter (find me here) to win the previous year’s Wolfson History Prize shortlist. Following on from that, I was asked if I’d join in with their first blog tour as I’d won the giveaway. Ben, if you’re reading this, I apologise and I will now confess: I had no idea what a blog tour was. But I said yes, and it ended up being one of the best decisions of my blog-related life. I read and reviewed Reckonings, which went onto win the Prize, and I’ve been lucky to join in with the blog tours last year and this year too – here’s 2020’s post about The Five, and here’s this year’s post about Double Lives.
Because of that, my numbers on social media started to grow. I joined in with the writing community, which is one of the most supportive places online ever, and ‘met’ a load of wonderful weirdos who have become the closest of friends, found out what a blog tour was, and became more comfortable in my blogging skin. That might sound a bit daft, but as a severely disabled woman who is going blind and hasn’t had the easiest of lives, sometimes working out who I am at all can be a challenge. So having a chunk of myself to designate and describe as a book blogger, and a community to fall into when doing that, was really healthy for me, just when I needed it.
Over the last two years I’ve learned so much about blogging in general, and blogging for me. My early posts might not be the best I’ve ever written, but I’ll never delete them, because of how much growth they show. I’ve grown in confidence, I’ve started having a lot of fun with apps that make graphics – and decided that yes, it is worth paying for it per month because I use it a dozen times a week – and I’ve met some amazing bookish people. From fellow bloggers, to authors, to publishers, and everyone in between. This part of my life is honestly one I couldn’t imagine being without now.
So, thank you for coming with me on this journey for however long you’ve been around, and I hope you’ll stay around for a bit longer.