Today marks the 5-year anniversary of Scribes & Archers! 5 years ago today I got serious with my blog, rebranded everything, and set up an official schedule. The rest, as they say, is history. Today we’re going to delve into some of that history and look at what the next five years may hold, plus there will be a giveaway and I’ll open the floor to questions in the comments! Stick around to participate in all the fun. :)
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The Story So Far
The history of this blog really extends back further than five years, because I started blogging all the way back in 2014. I was inspired by my mom’s blog, and my little “Alpine Writer” blog started out as a random blend of reviews, “lifestyle” posts, and gradually more and more writing-related posts. I was eleven, after all. Come to think of it, my blog started right around the same time I was realizing writing was what I wanted to do long-term… as opposed to spy work, lol. So this site has, in some version or another, been around for nearly all of the most critical points in my writing journey.
The purpose of Alpine Writer was really more to provide an outlet for my thoughts than anything else, though I did begin to imitate some of the author bloggers I followed and some of my posts were also helpful—or as helpful as the writing advice of a 12-year-old can be, lol.
That was the “for fun” stage of both my blog and my writing. I just wrote… and wrote… and wrote… and wrote… I was exploring. I think this stage is super important, which is why one of my greatest tips for new writers is to ignore writing advice and outside pressure for a while to just write and explore instead. Advice is important and pressure can be helpful later, but it’s critical to enjoy the exploration stage first and find out where your strengths lie and what you truly enjoy to write. I played around with a lot of different things in those years, some of which I should probably bring back and some of which can stay in the past, lol.
In 2017, my attitude changed. I’d been reading blogs and following authors online for a while. I was trying to publish a novel (which was an ill-advised prospect at the time, but I digress). I knew I wanted to get serious about my blog and start building a real platform. So I rebranded and became Scribes & Archers. I set up a schedule (a rather intense schedule, lol). I started making pinnable images for my blog posts so I could leverage Pinterest to get people to read my posts. I did a lot of things wrong, but I also did a lot of things that laid the foundation for where I am now.
2017 is also when I started to understand my love of worldbuilding! I’d been worldbuilding ever since I started writing, really, but it had all come very instinctively and I hadn’t really thought about it. I hadn’t made the connection that fictional worlds were one of the biggest lures I had toward writing. I had just set characters loose to explore and built worlds as I went. But in 2016 I read Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne* and was inspired to actively and intentionally build a world, so in 2017 that’s what I did and I chronicled the process and the lessons learned as I went.
Mid-2018 was when I finally started finding ways to build worlds that reflected my interests. “Worldbuilding Based on Ancient History” is one of the earliest examples, if not the earliest example, of a post from that angle! It was written shortly after I started developing Kersir, which would soon develop to house Calligraphy Guild!
Before Calligraphy Guild there were The Mirror-Hunter Chronicles, and Scribes & Archers was a big part of promoting that book. I ran my first blog tour for TM-HC, reached out to more famous authors even though it scared me, did character interviews, and shared some of my favorite fairytale retellings. That was pretty much the last book I published before discovering that it helps to have some sort of common ground among published works, lol. But while TM-HC is pretty far outside of anything else I’ve written (besides maybe Lost Girl), it was fun to write and it was my first serious foray into the full self-publishing process.
Throughout 2019, I honed in on worldbuilding more seriously. I redid my worldbuilding series from 2017, adding depth, more direct advice, and new insights I was learning from building Kersir. I still hadn’t quite hit the sweet spot and found my unique strength in writing about worldbuilding, but I was definitely moving in the right direction.
Calligraphy Guild showed up later that year, out of nowhere, and I immediately fell in love with it. The idea showed up in August (a lot of big changes seem to crop up in August for me) and I couldn’t wait until November to start writing. The first draft was done before November was over. Calligraphy Guild consumed my writing attention for the three years following, which I think contributed to my better understanding of why I loved worldbuilding and how I could write about it more specifically, even though it wasn’t until 2020 that I finally pinpointed “WORLDVIEW!” and started consciously recognizing the power of worlds that reflect the author’s interests and worldview. And now look where we are. ;)
2020 was the year that I found my passion not only in writing for authors (about utilizing their worldview in their writing), but also for other readers (exploring the idea of Christian fiction, discussing the benefits of reading particular things, etc.). Really all of it boils down to worldview, whether it’s a discussion of writing from a worldview or reading based on a worldview. Which is really cool because that’s a lot of what my mom blogs about in a more general real-life context, so I guess I’ve come full circle in a sense.
Finding my spot enabled me to compile what I’d learned about building worlds I actually love, that feel purposeful, into a course to share with other authors last year! The Worldbuilding Toolbox seemed like a natural next step in helping other authors have the lightbulb moment I’d had.
Scribes & Archers was critical with my release of Calligraphy Guild in June, as I posted related book reviews, ran a blog tour, wrote about relevant worldview and worldbuilding concepts, etc. PLUS it pushed me to set up my site shop, which lets me ship books directly to U.S. readers with an added personal touch. ^-^
That’s sort of Scribes & Archers’ history in a nutshell, but that doesn’t even cover the role of short stories, or the story of why I became an editor (and how much I love it!), or all the false starts I had before I finally got a novel published… God has given me a long, eventful story thus far, and it’s been a huge blessing to be able to do what I do, all from this home base that started as an online journal for my 11-year-old self.
I have no idea what’s in store for the next five years; that’s for God to reveal as time goes on. But I do have hopes and tentative plans.
My primary goal is to help more authors and readers, through blog posts, book reviews, my editing services, my course, my books (hopefully a new nonfiction book and at least one new fiction book within the next five years, too!), collaborations with more authors and bloggers… anything I (or you!) can think of. I love to engage with readers and authors, to encourage them and equip them to write and read with confidence, and I want to focus on building stronger relationships as I move forward. I have a lot of surface-level contacts at the moment, and I want to be more intentional about investing in people and supporting their work in whatever ways I can.
I also want to do some more experimenting, because it’s been a few years of intentional focus on just one or two things and sometimes the sense of fun that I used to have in my blogging gets lost in the seriousness. Being serious is important, but fun is also a big part of keeping things going and making sure it doesn’t get too dull for y’all, either, so I want to work on a more intentional balance.
I hope you’ll join me as the adventure continues! If you want to be closer to the action, my mailing list and Discord server are good places to be. And I’m always open to questions, suggestions, and requests in the comments section if there are things you want to know or topics you’d like me to cover or people you think I’d collaborate well with or whatever the case may be!
But I promised a giveaway, didn’t I? I’m giving away copies of all of my books (paperback for a U.S. winner or ebooks for an international winner), a Calligraphy Guild themed candle and tea (for a U.S. winner only), four Calligraphy Guild themed bookmarks (two of which were painted by my sister), and a character art print of Tora. There will be only one winner, the prize just varies slightly depending on whether they’re in the U.S. or from out-of-country. (Unfortunately. If I could afford the international shipping, I would send the full prize either way in a heartbeat.)
You can enter below!
ETA: Congratulations to Grace Johnson!
Thank you for following along with my journey. I hope it’s been an encouragement to you, and that it continues to be, and I hope you’ll stick around a while!