I’m a bloody rubbish blogger. There is absolutely no coherence in what my blogsite is for, with a random mix of posts, from the professional to the personal to the plain bizarre (see my posts on Michael Wilshaw, Page 3 Models and a Dead Cat if you don’t believe me in the latter).
I’m a bloody rubbish blogger. There is absolutely no plan to what I write about and when I write about it. I just get a feel for something and then my brain won’t rest until a post has been written (I have no idea what I did before blogging or how is stopped my head from exploding).
I’m a bloody rubbish blogger. I do nothing that would help readers to navigate their way around my blogsite. I have no categories and don’t use keywords for most of my posts and haven’t even changed the ‘greatest blog site in the world’ subheading that it defaults to (because of laziness not because of a belief that either WordPress or my site actually is the greatest).
I’m a bloody rubbish blogger. I don’t sweat the writing at all and have no notion of a structure when I start a new post unless someone offers me one like the #nurture1213 posts did. Instead I just start writing at the beginning and stop at the end. Also I don’t proofread before I publish and I very rarely correct spelling typos after I have spotted them (I’m quite lucky in that I’m a bloody good speller and that I pick up on most typos as I type).
I’m a bloody rubbish blogger. I don’t use my blogsite to follow others and rely on twitter to tell me when someone else has published a new one. Similarly I don’t use my blogsite to post feedback to others on their blogsites and instead send my evaluations in the form of some feedback on twitter within 140 characters (which is something I must do something about this year, because it would be nice to give more detailed feedback and I like receiving it).
I’m a bloody rubbish blogger. I strain courtesy with over active linguistic techniques, overly long posts and potentially mawkish sentiment to name but a few blogcrimes. And on top of that I am unremittingly optimistic, probably to the point of naïveté and certainly with a preachy tone at times (amongst some people who know me best on twitter I can get sent a horse emoticon to demonstrate that they know I’m on my high horse).
I’m a bloody rubbish blogger in all these ways and probably many more that I haven’t sufficient self-analytical skill to divine for myself. For these unknown areas of rubbishness, and for the ones I have listed above, I apologise profusely whilst at the same time knowing that I am going to continue doing them. After all, who wants perfection from a blogsite?
And yet. And yet. And yet.
I’m a bloody brilliant blogger. The random mix of posts is a better way of showing the world the real, random mix of my life. I am a person first and a teacher first and I do have opinions on all sorts of things that I want to write posts about from time to time. As well as that I have people on my twitter account who are not teachers (or who are teachers, but are those kind of teachers for whom life exists outside the staffroom).
I’m a bloody brilliant blogger. The reliance on serendipity to throw me ideas for a post, rather than having a list of topics that I want to tick off with each new post means that every post is written enthusiastically and with a sense of fun. The only blog I wrote self-consciously because of a plan to write it at a certain time was a disaster and I deleted it, the only time I have ever done so (because it was the only post that made me feel like a genuinely rubbish blogger).
I’m a bloody brilliant blogger. The lack of any order to my blogsite means that anyone who discovers me through my latest post and wants to read more will have the blogging equivalent of a trawl through a Bagpussian bric-a-brac shop. They can find things accidentally and maybe uncover some hidden gems if indeed there are any gems (and as this is the positive half of this post I’m going to assume that they are all gems and my blogsite is a veritable treasure trove).
I’m a bloody brilliant blogger. My lack of pre-planned structures means that my posts can start out as one thing and end up as something altogether different and often better like my recent Muppet Leadership™ post. My lack of proof reading is perhaps a little sloppy, but blogs aren’t like novels or other published writing. They don’t need to be perfect and I think blogs that are idiosyncratic are the best ones there are (they’re the ones that most make me think “I can do this” and if there’s one thing a really want to achieve in my posts it’s to make others think “I can do this”).
I’m a bloody brilliant blogger. The fact that I use twitter to find new blogsites and to review posts I have read means I can help connect people to posts, posts to people and – most importantly – people to people. I love it when I can see two people I follow find each other on twitter and have powerful conversations following on from me retweeting a post that one of them wrote (in fact I think that this is one of the biggest pleasures that I derive from twitter, like some matchmaking dowager in a Jane Austen novel).
I’m a bloody brilliant blogger. My combination of wordplay, sentimentality and optimism is just me, just who I am in real life as well as in the blogosphere and it’s a me that I like. Not quite so importantly, although important enough, is the fact that plenty of other people like the me of my posts. They send me lovely words and thoughts that help sustain me and the me I want to be (and I can’t begin to tell you how much joy that any of you who have ever left feedback either by twitter or on the blogsite itself have given me).
I’m a bloody brilliant blogger in all these ways and probably many more that I haven’t sufficient self-analytical skill to divine for myself. For these unknown areas of bloody brilliance, and for the ones I have listed above, I am eternally grateful whilst at the same time knowing that I am going to constantly questioning and doubting them. After all, who wants arrogance from a blogsite?
So there you have it. Guess what? In blogging, as in every human activity, you can be bloody rubbish and bloody brilliant at the same time. In blogging, as in every human activity, your biggest weakness can also be your biggest strength. And in blogging, as in every human activity, your rubbishness and your brilliance is only as constant as your last post or your mood that day.
The reason I have chosen to write this post is because my blogsite is now only 100 or so clicks away from receiving its 10,000th view and I wanted to mark the moment (just as I marked my 10,000th tweet with my personal favourite post all about My Magical Muse). Don’t get me wrong about the numbers. I like to see that lots of people have read what I have written more out of amazement that people would want to read my ramblings than any sense of self-importance. But I also like the fact that maybe, just maybe, something I have written has resonated with somebody else and that perhaps, just perhaps, it has helped them personally or professionally. Knowing that my posts are well read (and I have some that have only been viewed a couple of dozen times) means that I know that they may just have that impact. Certainly when my most viewed posts have been published I have had a flurry of DMs and mentions on twitter letting me know that this has been the case (my posts on my brother’s death, my feeling of not quite fitting in and of being in charge of HR issues all resonated with a lot of people for very different reasons). A number of people on twitter have become good friends as a result of this.
But of all the things that I hope make me a bloody brilliant blogger, and that make marking my site’s 10,000th view important, is the fact that a number of people I know on twitter have been partly inspired by my sometimes-rubbish, sometimes-brilliant efforts to dip their own toes into the blogging waters and I want to encourage more to do so. I want to be a cheerleader for the first time bloggers: to persuade people to take it up; to provide advice on how to do so; to read and comment on drafts of posts before they go live; to retweet posts I like and make favourable comments on those I love; to recommend blogsites whose overall content I am fascinated by. Most importantly of all though I want to demystify the blogging process and let any potential first-timers know that it is an amazing and massively rewarding form of personal reflection.
So here goes. If you have a hankering for starting a blog just do it. If you worry that it will be rubbish, know that every blogger feels that but know also that (*whispers*) it doesn’t really matter because you blog for yourself and writing out something that is a bit rubbish is at the very least a learning process and the very most an unloading and unburdening.
And if you worry that you won’t be brilliant, know that brilliance is achieved when just one of your posts resonates with just one other person. And further to this know that anything that you have in your head that you feel you need or want to blog about is almost guaranteed to be something that is bothering or upsetting or amusing other people, be it personally or professionally. Sooner or later in your blogging you will connect your post to a person and become a bloody brilliant blogger.
So once again if you feel the inclination to blog, just do it. Don’t let anyone tell you how to do it. And if you need any help in any way to get yourself started please don’t hesitate to ask. Just remember that I’m liable to my bloody rubbish days, so try not to catch me on one of those.