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Madness takes control

Will I or won’t I?

Feeling betwixt and between this morning. You see The Mads, a new blogging awards programme has been announced here in the United Kingdom and I have an uneasy feeling. It’s not the awards itself. I admire the incredible amount of work my pals Josie, Sally, Karen and Emily have put into getting it all organised. The website looks brilliant – all that swearing at CSS was worth it Sally!

I just don’t know if my highly strung, competitive self can cope with being involved.

I’ve put the badge over there >>>>> on my sidebar…but still..

What if no-one nominates me?

For me it raises all these uncomfortable feelings about popularity contests that dates back to school days, maybe even beyond that, back to sibling rivalry.

It’s not that I doubt this blog, as a writer, this blog expresses everything I intend it to. This is my private blog, and I keep it separate from my work blog over at Digital Discussions but I still treat it professionally. Everything that you see here on this blog I have taught myself since December 2009. How to load the template, how to build the RSS links, how to burn a feed (no it doesn’t involve matches!), how to link, where to find pictures..all of it. I’ve agonised over what to write, which template to use, how to tailor the template…not to mention building Kia Kaha Communications’ website from scratch.

It’s not perfect, and that’s because I’m always improving, always learning.

There’s an element of amateurishness that makes this blog personable I think. I try to allow my readers in, to let them get to know me, and in the process I’ve started to make some brilliant friends. As a professional writer, the discipline of having to blog at least three times per week, has greatly improved my writing. I’ve found my voice.

I’ve agonised over this blog. Over its success. Over posts. Whether I should say some things, or retract others. I’ve fretted when it hasn’t been counted in the Top Tots 100. I’ve almost lost my blogging mojo completely.

Yet I am a professional writer. I have been published, many times in all sorts of places. Feature articles, technical pieces, advertising copy… I’ve written about everything and anything from ‘the bovine equivalent of a stretch limousine’ (exotic cattle) to the vapourishly wunderbar VoIP and colocation and cloud computing. I’ve written customer service manuals about how to sell hinges, training manuals about how to sell 0800 numbers and call reports, as well as pieces about The Flying Brazilian. I’ve published (and written) two magazines – an inner city lifestyle magazine (circulation 10,000) and a magazine supporting parents of gifted children (Potting Mix). I’ve written for numerous magazines including REAL, Her Business, Super Yacht and for a plethora of business and technology magazines. Judging whether I’m successful when I’m writing for a client is relatively easy… if I’m successful, I get paid. Judging whether a piece of art or writing is successful however, is more difficult.

How do we do it?

Do we use advertising relational values as you would in terms of measuring media’s success? In the old days in PR we used to physically count column centremetres and then extrapolate that against how many readers of that media (or views) that piece of PR has. It was more difficult to evaluate whether it was positive PR or negative however.

In blogging, I think it is just as difficult to measure ‘success’. Do we count inlinks? Unique page loads, or page views? Returning visitors (so we’re building a community of followers), or how many new visitors we attract? Or both? How do we measure the content? Surely it is a subjective thing, in as much as judging the Booker prize or any other literary prize is subjective.

If we take the music industry’s idea of topping the pops = success then we end up with travesties of taste, such as Jedward, and Milli Vanilli. They were popular, but were they any good?

If one blog has thousands of page views, but few comments is it more successful than a blog that has a tribe of steady followers and readers who invest in commenting on each post? One blog may have a number of PR approaches and advertising opportunities galore but is it a good read? If no one buys the blog, and it doesn’t carry advertising how then do we really judge success?

For me, the success of this blog lies I believe in the relationship I build with you. That’s why I cry when I receive great feedback like this:

“This blog has amazing writing that clearly connects with lots of people.” Sally W

or this..

“You care because you don’t just churn out rubbish on your blog. You put your heart in to your posts, you work at them, they are well thought out and crafted pieces of writing – I love them.” Heather

or even this:

“Honestly , I’d buy a magazine to read your work – it is such a lift in my day – in my former life BC (as in Before Children) I would have sat in a cafe, paid far too much for an average coffee,purchased and read a magazine. Now I make my own coffee, and read you on the computer for free – hardly seems fair??!! Surely it could add up if we all paid a few pennies each for our daily “fix”of your blog- and it wouldn’t be stretching our budgets too much as it’s such a small amount – there are loads of loyal readers who couldn’t stand not to read your blog!!” Helen

Yes this blog is rated number 6 on the list of expat blogs on Networked Blogs, and its page views have increased dramatically in the past few weeks. I will put my hand up to be counted in The Mads, and in The Tots 100 and anything else that will raise this blogs’ profile. But I’m not looking for ratings really, I’m looking for readers and relationships. This blog serves as a showcase of my writing abilities, and from it I’m starting to get my first clients in this brave new world!

I’m not convinced I am a ‘Mummy blogger’ in the true sense of the term. My children are teenagers, and I have no need of interest from PR’s looking to flog baby products. I write more about being an expat than I do about being a Mum, I think. Though I am a Mum and I think being around for my kids at this stage of their life is just as important as being around when they were babies, but more about that in a later post.

Very soon I will be putting up a PDF with content for purchase on this blog, but the main aim of the blog itself is to hang out with you. You put a coffee on, I’ll put a coffee and we’ll communicate virtually.

I am looking for professional clients so if you want me to write professionally for your organisation then drop me an email at vix@vegemitevix.com or go over and get in touch from Digital Discusssions.

If you’re a blogger newbie and you’d like some technical help setting up your WordPress blog then I’d be happy to help, drop me an email or get in touch on Twitter – @vegemitevix Or have a chat to Susie at newdaynewlesson about how I’ve been giving her a hand!

If you work in the publishing world and would like to have a squiz at my unpublished work please get in touch via email or Twitter.

I dont’ think I’ve come out before on this blog and laid my cards bare and said – actually you know what people, I do write for a living and I’m looking for work!

As for the Mads…the nomination button is over there…  Thanks so much Heather for your lovely review here. I’m really touched. As for me I’m voting for you madwoman in Lapland. And you can’t stop me! Nah nah nah nah nah!!

I’m not trying to be churlish, and really do want to support The Mads. I hope you’ll forgive me for writing this… I just needed to get it off my chest. I’m sure it’s not The Mads – they’re a brilliant idea and it’s great giving kudos to all the talented people who blog – I’m just not sure of my own over-competitive, highly strung approach to any kind of competition.

It’s not you The Mads, it’s me!

And if this post seems a little confused, self-obsessed and mad… well… what can I say…madness is the only sane reaction to an insane world!

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