I’m writing this here letter because something pretty BONKERS happened in my life recently and I need to get my thoughts down before they take over my world. I’ll probably cry reading this through, writing this and then talking about it, but that’s OK. As RuPaul once said, “Emotions don’t scare me”.
So just over a week ago, I won Best Newcomer at the UKYABA awards. Read that again. I won. HOW? WHAT? Seriously though, what?
I was not expecting it at all. It was just an honour to be longlisted. Then to be shortlisted. Then to win. I was speechless – technically not, I did do a speech. I can’t remember SPECIFICALLY what my speech was as my brain was like “OMGWHATHOWNOWAYOMG”. My speech went a little like this (cue tears, a lot of tears):
I’m not really sure what to say. My life is a little bit in two halves. I blog and I teach. Blogging is a creative outlet from those really crazy teaching weeks. I wouldn’t be here still blogging if it weren’t for #SundayYA. A massive thank you to everyone who voted for me, this means the world.
Blogging is a very important half of my life. It gives me an outlet. It’s a little corner of joy in my very fun, stressful, hectic, busy life. I love teaching, but it gets a bit much sometimes. Blogging gives me an outlet for that stress. I blog because I love writing. I blog because I’m GREAT at rambling. I blog because it’s 2 hours of my week where I get to just spend a bit of time doing something for my brain.
Less than 2 years ago, I started sitting down and writing my ideas down. My thoughts. My rambles. My first post was incpired by a trip to see Matilda the Musical while on a residential in London. If you didn’t know, that’s in fact where I got the inspiration for both my blog title. Looking back at that post now and I still remember that freedom, that joy in just typing, just saying what I wanted. I still have that joy today. Never in a million years did I think anyone would read that first post. I thought it would fizzle out after a while. Yet here I still am. Blogging about things I love most – books and teaching. The two threads of my life. Back then I never thought anyone would read anything I have to say, never mind that they were good enough to read day after day and nominate me for an award. It’s still quite bonkers that anyone bothers to read what I have to say to be honest. I am eternally grateful though.
The blogging community gets some slack sometimes (for not being inclusive enough, for being elitist, whatever…) but I genuinely am lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most supportive people in the world. I have the best bunch of friends a girl could ask for. I’m lucky enough to call some of my all time favourite authors my actual friends – I know… this is madness, but I can. I’m lucky to have relationships with publicists who trust me and send me books in the post to read and review (this is NEVER an expectation of mine, and even now, 2 years down the line, it still baffles me!). I buy an EXCEPTIONAL amount of books every month… it’s best we don’t talk about those though. I get to talk about the books that I love, with people I respect, admire and genuinely love. The books I buy, or am sent, I get to share with the kids I teach. They’re the things that matter. I love my kids.
My friends, in this community, are incredibly supportive. I’ve wanted to give up multiple times, yet every time one of my friends convinces me that I should just keep going. I am so incredibly glad I have. Whether it’s come from an established blogger, or a newbie (like me!), the support is much appreciated.
Here’s to many more years of blogging… I hope you don’t get bored of me!