Hi there! Welcome to the archive of the blog I began my senior year of high school (way back in the yesteryear of 2011) and kept through the end of college (2016).
Why am I archiving this blog? And what exactly does that mean?
I’d long reached a point in my career (and just generally in life) at which I was no longer comfortable leaving this blog up, in its original form, because it was just… extremely honest. This blog is the closest thing I’ve ever had to a diary. And I used to talk about everything on here, from being stressed about school, to writing and revising and querying novels, to personal insecurities, and more. I also shared, like, A LOT of terrible selfies. (Seventeen-year-old Julia had exactly zero filter.) So a while back, I made the decision to set the whole site to private, so no one could see all the embarrassing old posts but me.
But then I actually read some of said embarrassing old posts, and I realized that, amongst the melodrama and self-deprecating jokes, I also shared a lot of really useful publishing information. And some of my old stories and adventures are fun. And it might actually be helpful to leave this journey accessible for any other young writers who are also struggling to figure out their path in life while simultaneously trying to get published.
That said, a lot has changed since I left off in 2016. In the larger world, obviously, but also in my personal life. For instance, a couple of the people referenced throughout, who I care an awful lot about, have since come out as transgender. So I felt, if I was going to put the blog back up, I owed it to them to update these old posts to reflect their names and pronouns. Similarly, I’ve gone through and updated all the instances I could find of phrases like “he or she” to “they” in order to better represent people of all genders, because I want to make sure all the kickass non-binary and gender-fluid people of the world feel welcome in this virtual space, too.
There was also quite a bit of really bad Spanish throughout these old posts and comments. (How did I pass all those Spanish classes? Why did no one ever tell me to shut up?) I’ve done my best to remove it, and I sincerely apologize to everyone who’s had to slog through it over the years. Likewise, I’ve removed some posts that I would now prefer to keep private; some because they share more personal information than, at this time, I would like out in the world and some because they’re, quite simply, terrible (and I can only deal with so much embarrassment).
Beyond those more personal updates, too, there’s the fact that a lot of the authors, publishing professionals, and celebrities referenced throughout these posts have since turned out to be sexual harassers, rapists, racists, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and/or any number of other terrible things. I’ve done my best to include disclaimers above posts that reference these people heavily (especially JK Rowling, who I talk about a lot throughout this blog, because I was a massive Harry Potter fan back then).
But honestly, if I was going to include a disclaimer for every single reference, it would have turned into disclaimers on almost every single post. Which is… a lot. So, with that in mind, I’m writing this new static homepage post to stand as a disclaimer for all the posts moving forward (or back, I guess?) that a lot of the content and people many of us liked back then, it turns out, are Not Okay. And I’m really glad that we, as a society, are learning to recognize and acknowledge these things. But unfortunately, it’s been (and continues to be) a learning curve, so there are positive references to a lot of problematic things throughout this old blog. Please go in aware of that.
I also want to note that I’m a much different person now than I was when I wrote this blog (especially the earlier posts). I’ve updated tiny things here and there to reflect this, but I also wanted to largely leave those parts intact as a kind of personal historical record. So, things you might not know about me now:
Hi, my name is Julia Byers. You can call me Julia or Jules (as my friends and family do throughout the comments on this blog). In January 2017, I moved to New York City, where I still live today. I work in children’s book publishing, have my own photography business (I was just starting to get into photography when I stopped writing this blog), and still run Chapter One Events (although I personally do very little of the event planning, these days; I’m basically just an advisor to the team). I still love my dog Sammy and movies and theatre. I’ve also become increasingly outdoorsy over the years, and I actually really love staying active and doing my best to take care of myself, now. (It turns out, I feel better when I eat vegetables, drink water, and work out regularly. What a concept.)
When I began writing this blog, I had pretty bad anxiety for a variety of reasons, and the ways I interacted with things like partying, football games, and alcohol in early posts reflect that. Thankfully, over the years I managed to get my anxiety mostly under control, so toward the end of college, I was able to start enjoying those types of activities more. If I could give my Freshman Self two pieces of advice, they would be: (1) get your head out of your ass and start studying film sooner and (2) work on your mental health ASAP so you can enjoy more of those traditional college experiences before it’s too late (because, guess what, college goes by really, really fast). Also, don’t get so absorbed in working toward your future that you miss your present. (This might be quarantine talking, but God, I would give anything to be drinking cheap beer and dancing at a house party with friends right now.)
Additionally, I tried to avoid swearing and much sexual content on this blog, because I knew there were kids reading it (as well as, like, my grandparents). But for the sake of transparency, I feel like it deserves clarification that that doesn’t accurately reflect who I was during those years (or who I am now). Like, I actually swear quite a bit IRL?? And I’ve gotten questions about whether or not I’m asexual. I’m not. Asexual people are awesome and so, so valid; I just don’t generally talk about my love life or sexuality outside of personal conversations with friends. (Also, it’s not really anyone’s business?)
Finally: when I began writing this blog, I was a fairly liberal kid coming from a conservative, Midwestern Christian childhood, so I was careful not to talk much about my personal beliefs on here. Although I’m still Christian now (albeit much more loosely), I’ve spent a lot of time examining and deconstructing the values I grew up with and figuring out my own identity for myself. Some of it I’m still figuring out now. But I want to be clear that if you don’t support LGBTQIA+ rights, Black Lives Matter, diversifying publishing and the books we publish (as well as the wider entertainment industry) and actually giving proper support to the BIPOC in this industry, immigration rights (and not! putting! kids! in! cages!), and just, like, the general fight against fascism–I would prefer you don’t read this blog. ❤ Thanks!
Looking back through all these old posts to create the archive has felt a bit like my own personal form of time travel. So much has changed since the years when I spent Wednesdays scrabbling to pull together posts between classes. It’s kind of unbelievable to me that I’m living the future my younger self always imagined (even if, of course, we are all currently quarantined due to COVID-19). If nothing else, I hope this blog leaves you with a little hope.
Thank you so much for visiting. Back in December of 2011, Seventeen-Year-Old Julia is extremely grateful you’re here. ❤