Two Year Blogiversary – Remembering How My Blog Saved Me

Last week marked Jen’s Pen Den’s 2nd blogiversary!

I know. I’m surprised my blog has lasted this long too.

But since it has–and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon–I’ve decided now’s a good time to remind myself why I created Jen’s Pen Den, and to think about how far I’ve come since its inception.

You see, for those of you who don’t know, my blog wasn’t born out of boredom, curiosity, or a desire to build my author platform. It was created in a moment of desperation, right when I was on the verge of giving up on my writing dreams.

In the summer of 2013, I hit a low, low point.

The option contract on my YA manuscript had expired after two years of hard work, and my attempts to find new representation had failed (again and again and again). All I kept hearing from agents, producers, and publishers was, “I like your story, but I don’t love it.” In other words, “It’s meh.” In other words, “You suck, your writing sucks, and you’ll never be good enough to succeed in this business.”

I was devastated.

My writing came to a halt, and I spent the better part of six months debating what to do.

I could shelve my YA manuscript and write a new book. But, ugh, why bother? I was a meh writer who wrote meh stories. Nobody would ever want my work. So, then what? Throw in the towel and pursue a new career? That sounded worse than wasting a billion hours on a novel that would inevitably get rejected. I could hide under my bed and wait for my problems to vanish on their own–ha! Or wish upon a star and pray for a superhero agent to emerge from the gloom and save me from my deep, dark despair–haha! Or I could just curl into a ball and cry. Which I did…a lot.

I was beyond lost. More lost than I’ve ever been in my life.

In a last ditch effort to save myself and my dreams, I decided to start a blog.

I had no idea what blogging was, or how to run one, or if starting one would help me climb out of the black pit I’d fallen into. But I had to do something–anything–that might get me back on track.

Turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.

Within a few days of publishing my first post, I clawed my way out of that horrible, black pit. And within a few months, I rose up and struck back at all the vicious doubts that had taunted me since my option contract expired.

Soon enough, the negative voice within me changed from, “You’re not good enough, and you’ll never be good enough!” to “Get the hell out of my way, I’m coming through!”

I can’t explain how grateful I am I started this blog. Jen’s Pen Den has given me everything I’ve needed to ditch the past and focus on the future. It has gifted me with a supportive community, countless learning opportunities, and a therapeutic outlet to voice my hopes and fears.

It has also helped me pave the way to my dreams.

During the past two years, I’ve written a dozen short stories, made it to the finals of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge twice, and came to terms with who I am as a writer and began working on a new novel. I’ve even started an editing service.

Looking back now, it frightens me to think how much I would’ve missed out on if I hadn’t started my blog: Newfound confidence and passion. Valuable writing lessons. New story ideas. A never-say-die attitude. Amazing, supportive, “I totally get it” friends.

Let’s face it. Without my blog, my life would be completely different. I wouldn’t have discovered what I’m capable of or met so many incredible people. And I definitely wouldn’t know, for a fact, that writing is what I love to do.

And I’ll never consider giving up on it again.

In honor of Jen’s Pen Den’s 2nd blogiversary, I wanted to share my top ten posts from the past year. Thank you to everyone who has made this blog what it is, and for allowing me to share my experiences, stories, and random ramblings with you. You guys rock!

Top Ten Posts

  1. The Ark – 1st Round Entry – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge
  2. Why You Should Enter the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2015
  3. Inevitable – 1st Round Entry – NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge Entry
  4. La Jolla – 1st Round – NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge
  5. Jen’s Editing Tips: The Power of White Space
  6. The Accidental Fall – 3rd Round – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge
  7. Confession: Rejection Has Made Me Stronger
  8. Oh, The Horror – Round 1 – NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge
  9. Jen’s Editing Tips: Kiss Your As’s Goodbye
  10. Confession: When It’s Time To Move On
  11. It’s Official – I’m A Freelance Editor

Here’s to another year of blogging and writing!

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Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

18 thoughts on “Two Year Blogiversary – Remembering How My Blog Saved Me

  1. I’m so happy that you kept writing and that your blog helped you find and develop your voice. Your posts have helped me so much in my own writing journey and I hope they continue to do so for years to come.

    Happy Blogaversary!

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    1. It has been a journey Jenna and know that there is so much more to come. You did pull yourself out of that pit- I should say ‘claw’ yourself back and for that, you have created a better writer in you. Never look back, but always forward. To all those friends and supporters of Jennas’ (poor grammer I’m sure), thank you for lifting up her spirits when they were so down. God Bless and as Mark Twain once said, ” Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Love…. you know!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I happened upon your blog from NYC Midnight and followed you specifically because I found you to be such a polished and accomplished writer! So I’m super glad you started and stuck with the blog as long as you have! I find it equally reassuring to know I’m not the only one who goes through those stages of self-doubt. You are truly an inspiration! Some day I hope to be as prolific and capable as you are! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you! Your words mean a lot to me 🙂 I’m so grateful I stumbled onto NYCM. The challenges and community have made a huge impact on my evolution as a writer. I can’t thank you and everyone else on the forum enough for helping me understand my strengths and weaknesses, and for providing the ongoing support I need.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Heeey Jen, just stopping by to see how your’e doing! Love the post, and I’m glad you found a place that allowed you to find yourself. It’s really rare for people to find something that helps them along their path. Take care, now.

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      1. I hear ya, I really wanted to do the FFC, but I, too, need to focus on my projects and decided to take some time to finish all of them since they’ve been piling up. It really isn’t NYCM’s fault, though… it’s mine.

        I need a mug that has ‘writer’ written on one side, and ‘professional procrastinator’ on the other. haha

        Liked by 1 person

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