PBW has me all nostalgic today – she’s talking about what I refer to as the early days, when I was just discovering blogs and blogging and what all of that entailed.

I think I found Alison Kent’s blog first – at that time she had a list of bloggers on her sidebar with a note that said, email me if you’d like to be added. And I remember being really nervous about asking her to add me – I was a new blogger, unpublished author and OMG, what if I wasn’t good enough?

I wrote and rewrote my stupid little email to her, asking her to add me and I got back an email a couple of days later that said, done!

Done! And she didn’t even know me. (now I get to drive her crazy all the time – little did she know back then what adding me to her sidebar would do!)

And then, through her sidebar I found Larissa and Bekke and Lydia Joyce. And Sylvia – I think she made the very first comment ever on my blog. And Sasha and Cece (who now goes by Amie Stuart to drive me crazy.) And Jaq and Linda Winfree and Sharon who then introduced me to Writeminded, who at that time was her, Amy Knupp, Jan Kenny and Allison Brennan. And Jordan Summers – and I remember meeting HelenKay long before she had a blog, on Sylvia’s message board when she hosted a writing challenge for all of us.

Oh, and Suzanne and Jill and Kacey and Tori! And Shannon and Charlene!

And somewhere in there, I found PBW and Holly Lisle. They both had so much advice – good advice. Both of them were so honest and irreverent, like many of the unpublished bloggers I’d already met and I remember we all just learned from them and from Alison and from each other. It was a wonderful, amazing time that can’t be recreated because of the…well, the innocence. If there were snarky blogs out there at the time, I didn’t know about them. I stayed in my own circle, and I honestly don’t remember all that many blogs out there at the time.

For me, we were part of a writer’s community – less so of a reader’s one at that point, only because there were so many of us who were unpublished, and we were looking toward the bloggers like PBW and Alison for guidance through the business.

I still have, on another computer, one of PBW’s blog posts saved, and I can’t find it and can’t remember when it was, but I know it was sometime before February 2006. It was a post about fear – and how the biggest fear of a writer is that all of the writing, all of the work, was for nothing – it made me cry and hope and I’d reread it all the time while I struggled on that road to publication.

If it wasn’t for PBW (ah, I remember when Jake took one of the Darkyn out drinking!) and Holly and Alison, it would’ve been a long and lonely road. If it wasn’t for the originals, especially the *thisclose* club, I wouldn’t have made it through.

But I remember the exact moment blogging changed for me – an agent commented on a friend’s blog that she shouldn’t write about her rejections the way she did – that it would leave a bad impression with publishers.

Now, said friend was upbeat, positive – there was honestly nothing negative in her post at all. To us, it was part of the business – she was being honest.

But that’s when I realized that they were out there – editors, agents, people who didn’t see what we wrote in the spirit in which it was intended. So yes, things changed – the blogging community exploded – to me, it’s a lot scarier out there. But even though I don’t comment nearly as much as I used to, I still read my originals just about every day. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today, and for that, I’m eternally grateful to my originals. Wonderful women, fantastic writers. Friends.

Steph T.