In that time, I've really grown a lot. I turned from an awkward, shy thirteen-year-old girl to a slightly less awkward, slightly less shy eighteen-year-old girl. Through the brilliant reads I've encountered during that time to the encouraging mentors to the warm community, I feel like I've truly found many aspects of myself that I'd otherwise miss.
I can't even begin to express how much blogging and being a part of this industry has meant to me. Without it, I don't think I'd be even remotely close to the person I'd like to be. Publishing has given me confidence and passion for what I do, and I'm eternally grateful. I can't overstate the feeling of coming home and diving into a workload that feels both welcoming and challenging, something that pushes me to have meaning beyond my day-to-day.
I'm a person who thrives only if I have a purpose or substance. I have to be working towards something creative or somehow resonant beyond myself. I want to be a leader and a mover and honestly, the only way I can do that is through words and loving what I do. It's been a really hard year for me and I don't know what I would have done without knowing that there was something for me on the other side: these people, this industry, these books.
I think literature's beneficial in plenty of ways that we don't always understand, both for entertainment and empathy. But I don't even do just do it because I think books help us. I do it for the nights I stay up until 2 A.M. sobbing my eyes out over characters I don't want to say goodbye to, for the sentences I reread over and over simply because of how lovely the language is, for the rush of joy when somebody loves the same book I do.
I wrote last year for my blogoversary about how I really got into it, or what it's done for me really. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I want to reiterate how much the journey's done for me. I am made up of the books I read, the people I interact with, the drive that leaves me inspired and ready at the end of the long day to push through for the brighter, the greater.
It's a little shocking to me how much I've managed to accomplish or at least pursue in those five years, and how many people have supported me throughout the way. Sometimes, I look up a little awed by how much this endeavor has shaped me. I started with a small site promoting book reviews. And I've ended with:
- a job at an editing service
- a previous internship at a small press
- a manuscript under my belt
- a book club made up of people whom I adore
- group blogs I contribute to occasionally
- expansion into talking about publishing news, music, and more
Kind of insane, isn't it? There's more too, but it's not necessarily about the resume. (Keep being #GIRLBOSSES, ladies.)
I've been nervous lately about my sustainability - whether or not I'll be able to keep Words Like Silver at the same caliber I'm accustomed to, even if it can be scattered at times. I'm a little nervous about finding reading/blogging time in college. I'm a little nervous about my book taste changing, or altering my career path in a way that might fundamentally change my foray into the publishing world. (Like now, I'm leaning a lot towards becoming a professor although I definitely want to work in the industry for a while.)
While they're definitely issues to consider, I'm just really happy right now for the opportunity to get to write this post and push a bit more of myself out into the world. It's become a place of both comfort and risk, and I want to keep this going for as long as possible. And the thank-yous! I have so many people to thank for helping me get this far.
- Brent, for being a mentor both in writing and in life
- Alexa, for ALWAYS leaving a comment (and being epic)
- Willa, Aneeqah, Jen, and Emily, for always being there to support me
- Reut, for being one of my closest friends even when she stopped blogging
- Kelsey, for being like a big sister to me
- Doni Kay, for always indulging my book requests and encouraging me
I'm sure there are plenty more, but I'm a bit overwhelmed and can't possibly think of all y'all right now! Thank y'all for being a part of this.