1. I never expected I'd make it one year, let alone more than one. It seemed so imposing when I started. There are so many bloggers out there. How will I find a place to fit? How will I keep this going? Am I even good enough for this? Etc...you get the picture. Lots of self doubt.
2. I never expected I'd find a whole new community. I mean, look down the right side of my blog. I have a whole list of amazing book loving blogger friends. And that's not even all of them...too many to keep adding! I've talked to these people about books and life. We've exchanged Christmas presents and birthday wishes. As a group we've reached out to another who needed help or was celebrating a big life moment. I've supported them and they've supported me.
3. I never expected this would be useful for work/school. My book knowledge has grown exponentially from more exposure to books and from discussing with others, which in turn gives me more to work with in the classroom. I also realized this time last year that I finally had an audience who would look at my students' book learnings and writings with interest and reply. So, I began posting student work under the headline of "Student Spotlight." I had a specific student for whom the experience was life changing, and for that I thank my readers and responders. Even though it took a little coordination and ended up on the back burner a couple of months last school year, it was a good first try and I look forward to more student publication this year.
4. I never expected I'd personally converse with publishers and authors. I currently have three publishers who will send me anything they have coming out ahead of its publication date. This is really cool to me because it didn't happen automatically, it's a matter of building relationships with them over time through book reviews and other event participation. I've also talked with a number of authors about their writing process and their books I've reviewed. And yes, I've saved every email and screen shot every Twitter discussion with them! It's a dream come true!
5. I never expected book blogging to make me comfortable with myself. I started blogging out of a love for writing and reading and I had no expectations for it at all. I've always been a bookworm, but besides my mom and a couple teachers, I didn't say too much about it. Even as an English teacher, I limited my passion. When I started to make it a more known part of my life, I felt weird and exposed...thinking people would be shaking heads and rolling eyes, rather than loving or appreciating this thing about me. But, with one year down and a solid community cheering me on, a switch flipped and I no longer cared what anyone thought about my hobby. It was bookworm, do or die, and I made it proudly known. I love my mom and teachers for the support that kept me going, and give an ultimate shout out to all of you readers and bloggers who made this huge shift happen in my life without even knowing it.
Here we go year four...what's in store?!