Often at this time of year, these crazy few days between Christmas and New Year, I feel a little worn down and dejected.
I often feel overwhelmed at the thought that another year has passed, worried that I didn’t get much achieved, disappointed that I am no nearer to figuring out exactly what I want to do with my life.
This time last year I was struggling through the start of my university degree, finding it difficult to complete even one unit at a time. I was working in a dead end waitress job in a café, hating the fact that I was twenty-five and still working 40 hours a week on minimum wage. But more than that, I hated the fact that I could see no way out of this mess of a life, no way of figuring out my dreams let alone pursuing them. New Years Eve was spent with good friends, but I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed myself. I felt like a failure, I felt embarrassed, I felt as though I was facing a brick wall in my life with no way over or around.
And then, in March this year, my partner handed me a ladder.
2013 in Review.
I made my last coffee, served my last customer and walked away from hospitality forever. After eight years in the industry I can firmly state that it is not the career for me.
I turned twenty-six, and started to worry about the fact that I still had no concrete plans as to ‘what I wanted to do with my life’.
I also begun to consider the fact that when pursuing a career in the arts experience is valued far more than a degree. No one was going to simply hand it to me on a plate.
I decided I would have to work for it.
The Paperbook Blog was born!
I decided that the best way to get my writing out into the world while being completely broke was to start a blog, centring around my love of books.
My first book review, Beaucoup bad shit, too beaucoup went live on the 6th of May, and remains to date my ‘most viewed’ book review. It also generated my first ever comment, which left me on a high for days after.
I started seeing some familiar faces visiting my blog, and begun to establish the connections which have been such a huge part of my WordPress journey.
I realised that there was so much incredible stuff being posted each day that it was basically impossible to keep up with it all. I started to think about compiling the work in one place.
On June 26th I seized my courage and put the word out on the blog for the first contributors to be involved in a creative online magazine. I NEED YOU! was my catch cry.
To my amazement, submissions began pouring in for the first issue of the magazine. It was real…no backing out now.
Getting the first issue ready was a stressful and time consuming process, as I had to face the very real possibility that the whole magazine would be a complete failure.
The final week of July was a haze of early mornings and late nights, endless formatting and editing and far too much coffee.
To my own amazement, I managed to publish the very first issue of The Paperbook Collective on time.
It went live around 6pm (WST) on August 1st, and I immediately poured myself a pint of gin as I nervously waited for the response.
An article I wrote for Issue One was published in the local newspaper.
This led to the local ABC radio station contacting me, asking if I would come on air and speak about my piece.
September was a bit of a struggle. I managed to get Issue Two published on time but the rest of the month felt like wading through mud.
We decided to move house, which I’m sure all of you are far too familiar with. As the jobless one, the majority of the packing, shifting and cleaning fell to me.
Trying to keep up with university and blogging in the midst of all this was a nightmare, especially when our Internet was disconnected. Nevertheless, we got there, although I was mighty glad when September was over.
Due to our ongoing Internet dramas, I didn’t manage to get Issue Three of The Paperbook Collective published until the 12th of October.
However, I did manage to turn The Paperbook Collective into a zine, finally achieving the fusion of tradition and technology that I had aimed for in the beginning.
In other news, Zeus, our cat, turned one. Auspicious occasion.
I published the fourth issue of The Paperbook Collective, which has been the most successful one to date.
I was also contacted by Post Hill Press to review new novella’s by Thom Steinbeck, son of my homeboy.
November was A Month of Steinbeck, in which I celebrated everything about my favourite family in literature.
I published the final issue of The Paperbook Collective for 2013, and the very first issue to have a theme.
The December issue was The Culture Issue, a snapshot of the many cultures from around the world that our contributors come from.
I also had a stall at The Pop-up Collaborative, and was able to spread the word amongst my local community about our creative magazine.
It was also the first time I ever sold my photography, which was an amazing moment in itself.
And that’s it folk, 2013 in a nutshell!
Thank you everyone once again for your support of The Paperbook Collective throughout 2013, it means more to me than I can say.
Perusing your blogs today, it seems as though many of you have had a wonderful and successful year.
Here’s hoping that 2014 is even better!