What do you do when fellow bloggers think you’re a big deal but you don’t? Do you lap up the adulation? Or do you question why it is you’ll never be that person?
I’ve been around the blogging scene for a while now. I’m one of a tiny number of dads present at blogging conferences and I’m fairly active on social media, so people know who I am even if they’ve never read my blog. You might even say I’m more of a brand than a blog. (If you did, though, I’d have to disown you. Ugh.)
But I’m certainly not The Unmumsy Mum with her two Sunday Times best-selling books and 600,000 Facebook followers. I’m not Louise Pentland with her Blogosphere magazine cover shoots and 2.6 million YouTube subscribers. I’m not on the same level as these or any of the other bigger or longer-established stars of the blogging world.
Hell, I can’t even see the level they’re operating on, let alone pretend I’m anywhere near them.
Even so, I was at two conferences recently where a large number of bloggers I had never previously met introduced themselves to me, saying how they had been drumming up the courage to say hi because they felt star-struck and intimidated by me.
Hell, I can’t even get my children to listen to me, much less intimidate them.
A number even asked if they could take selfies with me. Is this in some way what it feels like to be a rock star?
I dared to voice that question in my head last Friday. I’ve only just stopped laughing at myself. In the inimitable words of Del Boy: what a plonker.
Let me tell you a secret. I get just as star-struck as anyone else. It took me the best part of two years to drum up the courage to say hi to some of the real stars of the parent blogging world: talents such as Emily (A Mummy Too), Katie (Hurrah for Gin) and Emma (Brummy Mummy of 2). I’m still intimidated by other bloggers whose words and voice I admire.
Rock star? Pull the other one. I never have been and I never will be.
Why? Not enough talent. Not enough confidence. Not enough pig-headedness to just go for it.
Maybe I set my expectations too low. Is that me being realistic or is it an excuse to insulate myself from the disappointment of failure? A little from column A and a bit from column B, I suspect.
People whose writing and opinion I hold in the highest regard have spontaneously told me how much they enjoy my blog. Now I’m sure it’s tempered by an element of politeness – we are British, after all – but I guess there must be a grain of truth in praise that is unsolicited.
Others have countered my protests about my pathetically low page stats – honestly, there are late night programmes on BBC4 with more viewers than my blog – by saying that I seem to be almost universally liked and respected in the community. I have no idea if that’s true but I did appreciate the round of cheers that went up at BML when my name was read out as one of the finalists for the Readers’ Choice Award. It was certainly better than a low-level murmur of, “Who the hell is that?”
So, am I a blogging rock star? Of course not. Will I ever be one? Highly unlikely. Would I even want to be one? I wouldn’t say no to fame, fortune, a multi-book publishing deal and hordes of groupies throwing themselves at my feet but actually I’m not sure that’s really me. Which is probably why I’ve never bothered overly to push that particular boat out from shore.
In my head, I’ll always be that dad blogger who is easy to pick out in the crowd but much shyer and less confident than he may at first appear – and wakes up with the kind of bed-head that no self-respecting rock star would ever post on Instagram. (Yeah, I have no shame.) The one who feels like a fraud whenever people mention him in the same breath as the blogging world’s genuine stars. The one who believes in himself less than others believe in me. The one who doesn’t really know what to do with praise when he receives it, other than to mumble “thanks” and then avoid eye contact.
I know I’m not a bad writer. But equally I’m not a bad driver either and no one is going to mistake me for Lewis Hamilton. (And if they did, I would recommend an eye-test and possibly a frontal lobotomy.)
I’m just me. But if people want to be star-struck in my presence, go right ahead. My ego could do with a little stroking.
I’ll never be one of the stars of the blogging world. But I’m okay with being a member of the chorus line. That’s kind of cool as well.