It being Saturday night and me having the house to myself (save for a sleeping child - don't worry, it's my own, I haven't kidnapped anyone) naturally, like anyone normal, I'm blogging. With a gin and tonic to hand, after all it is Saturday evening!
I decided to write about the scariest page on the Internet. Now, before I reveal what it is, what do you think it is? Write it down, I'm going to ask you to stick it in the comments (so that way I know that you've read this page!)
Now, what do you think it might be?
A right-wing (or left-wing) news website? A website that talks about medical illnesses? Perhaps something from a terrorist organisation?
No, no, and no (although I'm sure all those things could be unpleasant), because the thing is, all of those sites you can simply choose not to visit, and then they're not scary.
But the one that I have to visit, whether I like it or not, is...
The blank page in Blogger when I'm about to write a post.
I set myself a goal to blog every other day. For regular readers, you'll know that this never happens, but it's a goal that makes me feel guilty throughout the week when I haven't written a post, and spurs me on to write.
Tonight is a case in point. I have the ideal opportunity to write, with no distractions (except for the rapidly disappearing gin and tonic), but what do I write about? Tomorrow is "tell an old joke day" but that's tomorrow so I can't write about it - or at least publish the post - yet. I haven't done anything really worth blogging about today, except go in a swimming pool and be hot due to the weather (and I've done posts on risking my life in four foot of water and surviving in a heatwave recently)
I have wiped up an amount of mouse poo, because where we live is near to some waste ground where mice live, and they periodically invade the nearby houses for shelter and food, and they have to be dealt with by whatever method the house inhabitants choose, but I don't really want to blog about that because it's:
a) about mouse poo, and;
b) whatever method of rodent control I choose to employ, it'll upset a proportion of people
So, I'm writing about not having anything to write about.
You see, as a blogger (and I naturally assume that all bloggers have exactly the same view as me, because it's a lot easier to empathise with people in a world where everyone thinks the same as me), the reasons I blog are multiple, but come down to:
1) Because I like to write
2) Because I'm lucky enough to have a pleasant audience, and I love attention
3) The faint possibility of fame, riches (I particularly like the idea of riches) and free exotic holidays
(Side note to any holiday companies reading - I would be delighted to receive any offers of free holidays, exotic or otherwise, in return for a blog post. Maybe even a video. Essentially, I'll do anything except give you money)
But the bugger of it all is that you actually have to write stuff. Engaging, interesting content (oh yes, we all love the word "content") which is so good that people don't just enjoy reading it, they share it, and their friends share it, and before you know it you're surfing on the top of a viral phenomenon about how the entire world has read a post ruminating on why butchers at markets have sound systems to broadcast their offers across the neighbourhood.
So you write. And write. But if you're anything like me, you may get a little frustrated that your fascinating post about how you drew on your partners leg on Valentines Day hasn't actually quite made national news, and you start reading blog posts with titles like "FIVE EASY WAYS TO BOOST YOUR CONTENT!" and "HOW SEO MADE ME A MULTI MILLIONAIRE AND I WAS ABLE TO BUY MY SON A PONY!"
Of course, all these posts are by some smiley git in a suit...
|Not this smiley git in a suit. This was a marketing pic for Hull College from far too many years in the past, I think the tie still fits me so I presume that I'm still as relatively thin as I was then...|
The person in question will look like a very healthy and fit person in their late twenties, and be a social media specialist who has worked around the world for top companies in the FTSE or NASDAQ or whatever for the last twenty years, making them the household names that they are today.
Meanwhile, the post is always a top ten, or top five, or top whatever number list of actions to take to make your blog beloved the world over (and that's because people like lists, and yes I make lists sometimes too), and the post which the social media expert has written will be along the following lines:
FIVE - CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT!!!
Without the content you ain't got no readers, son. Damn well write the best thing ever written in the whole WORLD!
FOUR - PROMOTE!
But that ain't enough, no sirree. Get that dang thang promoted. Everywhere.
THREE - CONNECT WITH OTHER CONTENT CREATORS!!!!!!
Oh my, haven't you done this yet? Simply go and visit every blog, video, and podcast created in the known universe, and become that persons best friend. And then say to all your best friends that if they don't like and share and subscribe and like and share and comment and subscribe that you'll die of chronic lack of breath.
TWO - USE THIS APP / WEBSITE THAT I'M AFFILIATED WITH!!!
Now use this app or website that I am affiliated with, because it'll do something absolutely magical to your content, and even though everyone was already reading/watching it on their computers, this will actually make your content burst into real life and drama student will spontaneously act out your content in the street.
ONE - READ MY E-BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For my AMAZING secrets of how to get that last person on Earth who, for some godforsaken reason, hasn't seen your content, to see your content and declare you leader of the human race.
And what happens? You try all this stuff, and sod all happens.
But you know what? Blogging is a great hobby, even if not one other person in the world reads what you've made. You wanted to be a writer? Guess what - you're a writer. When you talk to people at parties, you can genuinely say that, and they'll look at you with admiration and warmth, because you're a writer. Well done.
And the most important thing is the people that you meet along the way of your blogging journey. The end of this post is a bit of a love fest, partially because I've finished my G&T (and it makes me feel better about monologuing about myself for so long), but also because these people are just a few of the genuinely really good and well worth reading bloggers that I've encountered over the years.
Life, Explained - by my good friend Tim, Life, Explained is funny, bizarre, imaginative, and sincere all at once. Just watch out for that Dr Dawg when you stop by.
The Whacko - creation of the excellent Jeremy Crow, the Whacko suite of blogs covers everything and anything, and is consistently brilliant.
Adele Archer Writes - I always enjoy reading Adele's blogs, partially because she's in the UK like me (and we Brits are very much outnumbered!). Heartfelt and with a standard of writing I can only dream of.
The Square Peg by S. Bradley Stoner - some lovely short stories here (at least I hope they're short stories and not true life, at least not the chilli eating one!). He has a skill of writing conversations which are engaging and just something that I'm absolutely hopeless at!
Grandma Rose - I'm really drawn to Sheryl's blog, she seems like an old family friend which might be an odd thing to say about someone who I've never met and probably never will, but it's this sort of magic that I guess the Internet creates? Go read her work :)
Good Little Indian - Ah, Rahul's blog, Rahul the ridiculously good blogger who uses social media the way it should be used, without automated tweets and actually engaging with people (yes, I do automated tweets and my engagement is... a development area, shall we say), he manages to take a topic such as "101 reasons to follow me on Twitter" and turn out a post which is actually well worth reading and I would hope has attracted more followers to him in the Twittersphere!
Christian Touchet - Christian does what I don't dare, and tells the truth. Thought provoking, he speaks his mind extremely articulately. Every time I visit his blog I'm informed, and entertained - not an easy combination.
Lavender Inspiration - Nikki's lovely posts always make me smile - she dances in front of her children after all :)
Trina's Place - every day life blogs are my favourite type of blog, and Trina is great at picking at those fascinating details and bringing them to life, she manages to bring New Zealand that little bit closer.
Solsbury Hill - Mike Senczyszak is not only a great writer but also brilliant at photography, if a picture is worth a thousand words his photos are worth a million. And he's Canadian, automatically giving him an extra five awesome points in my book.
The Gratitude Letters - I sometimes dream of writing something earth shattering, important, such a fantastic piece of writing, talking about how to live your life. Then I realise that The Gratitude Letters are already here. Beautiful writing that can make you a better person :)
Susan Joy Clark - Susan's blog I feel reflects my own, it's not all about a single topic, and I love how each post can be so different.
Blog of a Working Witch - I wouldn't dream (or dare) to miss off this list my mum's blog, I suspect that we both find out more about what each of us are doing through our blogs than by old fashioned talking! My parents have run their own business for fifteen years now, selling all kinds of weird and wonderful magical and new age goods by mail order (do stop by the Facebook page, it's well worth a Like, you get fun and interesting daily updates - today apparently is a good day for beer and fried fish!)
I apologise in advance to anyone that I've missed off this list, there's more bloggers than the above in my favourites and there's other great bloggers linked to on my blog, the simple fact is that I'm not as good at reading and keeping up with blogs as I should be, I spend far too much time
Well done for making it all the way to the end of this massive post :)