How did we get here so fast?
Just five years ago, on August 16, 2013, I took the leap and started a blog. A blog called Swirl and Spark…the site for kids who like to write. What began as a way to create a social media platform as a writer and reach my someday readers has evolved a bit through the years. I wrote my posts for kids at first, but quickly realized that the majority of people reading were adults—adult writers. And so the tagline soon became the site for kids at heart who like to write. But eventually, after several years, I finally needed an author site. So even though my blog is still written for writers, my website also needed to be a landing place for my books and a place to chat about all things publishing too.
It was tough as first, finding my groove and figuring out who I was writing for at first. Seasoned writers? Beginners? Published? Not yet published? But once I realized that blogging is nothing more than writing to a reader (whether that’s one reader or 1,000) it became much easier. Blogging became a way of sharing a bit of my life as a writer with anyone who was interested in reading. It became a means to be creative—in my own personal corner of the blogosphere.
Some days I love blogging. I love writing posts and sharing bits of myself with all of you. Some days it’s hard. Finding the right (or relevant) topic year after year for an audience can be time consuming and sometimes the words Just. Are. Not. There.
But somedays they are, and that’s when blogging can be great—a great way to connect with other people with the same interests. I wear my heart on my sleeve with whatever I write. That’s just me. Sometimes my posts ramble! But maybe you’ve also noticed long periods of time when I haven’t posted much at all. That usually means that I’m stressed or overwhelmed—or just not ready to share what’s going on.
My zodiac sign is Cancer, so for those of you who are into that sort of stuff (like me!) you know that makes perfect sense. I retreat into my shell once in a while. But when I come out, I’m all about sharing—usually oversharing! So this blog has been a fun tool for my creative oversharing side!
There’ve been many highlights on this blog over the years and a few really stand out.
Back on August 16th, 2013, shortly after my first post went live, I checked my stats numbers and saw 156 views…on my very first post! I screamed throughout the house until I realized that the views had come from my own computer! I hadn’t learned there was an admin mode and so every time I clicked on a page, it was recorded as a page view! Alas, after that it took a very long time to even see one or two views!
Soon after, still watching my stats like a hawk, I saw thirty views in a fifteen minute span. I yelled again throughout the house, “Guys, someone’s on my blog! They’re clicking on every page!” A small voice from the bedroom upstairs called, “Sorry, Mom. I think that might be me.” Now how could I be mad that it actually was my 13 year-old son reading my blog?
Does anyone remember Critique Corner? It started as a critique session for kids and evolved into a middle grade and YA critique session for adult writers. It was fun while it lasted…but so much work! Maybe I should start it back up again??
One follower of this blog reached out to me asking if I’d was interested in being on-line Critique Partners. She caught me at just the right time in my writing life and not only did she become an amazing CP, but I now consider her a friend. I’m certain that neither of my books would have been published without her. Her name is Melyssa Mercado and if you’re not following her on Twitter, you should be. She’s hilarious and I have a strong feeling you’ll be reading her MG books one day soon!
Back when the blog started, I was un-agented and unpublished. Being able to share stories of both right here on this blog were definitely two huge highlights. And for those of you wondering, both my agent and my publisher said that although my writing and my story came first in their decisions to take me on, it didn’t hurt that I had this blog as an on-line presence! So for those of you wondering if you should hop on the blog-wagon, I say DO IT. I’ll most definitely check it out.
The biggest highlight by far though has been comments and emails from all of you. Knowing that what I’ve written has made an impression and inspired you somehow, has made all the hours spent on this blog worth it!
I hope I can continue to motivate you. I hope I can continue to find the words that encourage you to reach for your own writing dreams. Because as the tagline for Spin the Golden Light Bulb says:
Sometimes it takes a friend…to help make your dreams come true.
And now with the release of Flip the Silver Switch, I may have even more words of wisdom to share. The tagline for that is similar:
Sometimes it takes a whole team…to help you see things clearly.
So hopefully I’ve been that friend or teammate for you. Hopefully I can continue to be. Because if I can get published, anyone can. You just need the courage to believe it.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading and following this blog. I know there are many other places on line where you could be hanging out. The fact that you choose to check in with me, means the world!
So as a thank you, I thought today would be a great time to do a Swirl and Spark 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!
I’m giving away 5 prizes!
(1) Critique of one manuscript chapter from me…up to ten pages. I’ll provide feedback on plot, characters, dialogue, voice, and pacing… and make line edits (grammar and punctuation) as well.
(1) Critique of two manuscript chapters from me…up to twenty pages. I’ll provide feedback on plot, characters, dialogue, voice, and pacing… and line edits (grammar and punctuation) as well.
(1) The Crimson Five Book Bundle which includes the items below: a signed hardcover copy of my debut middle grade, Spin the Golden Light Bulb, a signed hardcover copy of the sequel, Flip the Silver Switch, coordinating signed bookmarks, and celebratory lollipops…because who doesn’t love lollipops?
(1) The Crimson Five Book Bundle plus Bracelet which includes the items below: a signed hardcover copy of my debut, Spin the Golden Light Bulb, the newly released sequel, Flip the Silver Switch, coordinating signed bookmarks, and celebratory lollipops…because lollipops! And also a cute DREAM bracelet which I hope will inspire you to reach for yours!
(1) $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card…because, we all love books, right? And if you’re a writer working toward publication, one way to become a better writer is to read widely in your genre. So hopefully a gift card will help!
The Giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only and you must be 18 to enter.
So how do you enter?
- Follow this blog (on the right side of this page).
- Retweet my Blogiversary Giveaway tweet and follow me on Twitter.
One winner for each prize will be selected at random. The Giveaway runs for five days from August 16th through August 22 at 11:59pm EST. I’ll announce the winners by August 24, 2018, here on my blog and also on Twitter. (@JackieYeager)
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments.
Good luck! Thanks for helping me celebrate 5 years of blogging!
I’ll be checking in with you again as we get closer to release day because we are getting so close! Just 5 more days until Flip the Silver Switch makes its grand entrance into the world! *Squeeeeeeeeee!*
Have a wonderful day, Lovelies…and I hope you win!