For about five seconds earlier today, I felt like a complete failure. But it quickly passed.
As other parent bloggers will know, today was the day that the shortlists for BritMums’ 2015 Brilliance In Blogging Awards (the BiBs) were announced: ten nominees each across twelve categories. 120 opportunities to bag a coveted slot.
And I’m not one of them.
To be fair, I never expected to be. Honestly, that’s not false modesty. I had put myself forward in two of the most fiercely contested categories: Best Writer and Best Family Blog. There are plenty of bloggers out there who have much bigger followings than I will ever have and are better writers than I will ever be.
So if you had been offered a choice between betting on me and the proverbial snowball’s chances in hell, I would have advised you to put your money on the snowball. Before I even opened up the web page announcing the shortlists I already knew my name wouldn’t appear on them.
Excuses, excuses, yada yada yada.
Even so, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.
Here’s the thing, though. Once I’d bellowed a roar of anger that made the Hulk sound like a Trappist monk and bitten back the bitter sting of tears (yes, I’m borrowing Band Aid lyrics), I had a bit of an epiphany.
It was this. Does my
failure lack of success in gaining a place on the awards shortlist tell me anything I didn’t already know (i.e. that I’m not one of the top ten writers or family bloggers out there)? Do I wish I’d done anything differently over the past year to improve my chances? And am I going to do anything differently over the next 12 months as a result?
No. No. And no.
Once I’d realised that, I felt quite good about myself.
Don’t get me wrong. I would have loved to have made the shortlists but it would only ever have been a by-product of why I blog, not the be-all and end-all. (To be fair, that’s the case for just about every other blogger too – many of us are competitive but none of us becomes a blogger for the awards.)
But I’m not one to fret about the size of my readership (which is probably just as well). I don’t pull in 100,000-plus page views per month like the blogging behemoths who occupy the upper reaches of the Tots100 rankings. (Heck, I don’t generate that many page views per year.) I don’t do lots of reviews or competitions. Or run my own linky. Or do many of the other things you’re supposed to do to build your blogging brand. I know what to do, I just choose not to do it.
I’ve always been more concerned with using the blog to process my thoughts about life as a father and improving my skills as a writer. I know I’m never going to be the most eloquent, creative or funny of writers – but I can always be more eloquent, more creative and more funny. If I can’t be the best, I can always be better.
That’s it, really. This is what I am. And it’s what I will continue to be.
Sure, I’ll come back to the BiBs next year and see if I can do better. But in the meantime I’m going to check out the nominated bloggers who I’m not familiar with and enjoy discovering some new reads. I’ll mull over who to vote for in this next round. (You can vote here.) And I’ll look forward to finding out who wins at BritMums Live in June, secure in the knowledge that I don’t have to worry about remaining sober enough to accept an award as a winner. (Result.)
A huge, heart-felt thank you to everybody – all two of you – who thought enough of my random scribblings to nominate me in the first place. It really means a lot, as does every comment I receive. (Except for the trolls and the spammers – they can bugger off.)
In the meantime, I’m going to rip up my acceptance speech, fire my campaign manager and just keep on blogging. Because that’s what I do. As ever, thanks for reading.