Before I embark on a rant I’ve been frothing about for bloody months, I feel I ought to add a disclaimer. I’m not a writer. Shick, herrer! I blog. I’m a twatty, unemployable, stay at home mum (with both children at school), who blogs infrequently and fragmentedly, when I need to clear some stuff out of my head. It’s a form of mental tidying. Thoughts build, get blogged, mind clears, job done. That’s why I blog.
I was a blog snob. Yep, there, I’ve said it. I was a massive snob about blogging, bloggers, and blogs. To me, they were wanky self indulgent online diaries. If you don’t believe me, go back, read one of my very first posts on here, from years ago (seriously, though, don’t. I like you too much to inflict that sort of pain on you). It’s PAINFUL. Like rereading one’s teenage diaries. I was just spilling my guts out in the most selfcentred and mastubatory way possible. Bleeurgh. I could try and defend myself by saying that I was obviously in the grip of lifethreatening depression at the time, but really, that's no excuse. I was the archetypal blogger who gives bloggers a bad name. I cringe now to think of it. And I probably would have started blogging properly sooner, had I had a better opinion of bloggers (self included).
And then… About 18 months ago, I read a blogpost that changed everything. Here. I laughed until I was sick. This crazy, relatable, and absolutely fucking hilarious story of a girl driven to despair by her need to consume cake, complete with deliberately shit MS Paint drawings, was everything I love to read. It was written in such a strong voice, I felt like I knew everything about Ally, even though I’d never heard of her before. I even read it aloud to The Boy (minus the swears), and he cried laughing too. And I started to think ‘Hmm, maybe blogging isn’t so wanky…’
And then a few other things happened. I was already writing – short stories, an appallingly piss poor attempt at a book that I wince to think of, things that have happened to me over the years – but it never occurred to me to do anything with them. I just wrote because I loved to. Then, at a family gathering, one of my uncles asked me ‘Do you write? Because your facebook posts are good.’ And then my dad, never knowingly missing a backhanded compliment said ‘I agree! You do write quite well. I mean, conversationally, you’re nothing special at all, but you do write quite well.’
So the thought was there. And I started dipping into the posts on Mumsnet Bloggers Network. I was, frankly, stunned. The quality of the writing, the ferocious rants, the heartbreaking chapters in lives, the pissing myself laughing posts… And they were from people, like me, who were nothing special. Just normal people. Not writers. But they wrote honestly, and beautifully, and engagingly, and inspirationally. So I started blogging too. And I joined Mumsnet Bloggers Network, and I wrote stuff that some people liked, and I titted about on twitter, and got to know hundreds of people who blog, and I went to Harper Collins, and Blogfest, and… I thank fuck for my blog. It has genuinely saved my sanity at times.
And the funny thing about the world of bloggers, is that once you get into it, you are constantly amazed by people. Because there is such an amazing abundance of unknown, overlooked and undiscovered writing talent, and so often, the best blogging is done by hassled, overwrought people who already have too much to do, yet still find time to blog.
And then… And then there are the Other Bloggers. Oh, yeah baby. The ones who so neatly tick every box on my outdated checklist of What Bloggers Do. The self absorbed, inward looking, wanky SHIT WRITERS. Bloggers who think that the very act of writing deserves applause. That because they write, it deserves to be read. Bloggers who write, and then sit back, waiting for the crowd to cheer. Bloggers who write, and think that because they’ve written about how they spent their Tuesday morning (shopping, cup of tea, then home), we will be fascinated by them because they WRITE.
Ok. Here’s the thing. I have some bloggers who I just fucking LOVE. I really do. I can guarantee that even if I violently disagree with them about what they’ve written, I will really enjoy reading their blog, I will share it, I will comment on it, I will tell people in real life about it and urge them to read it too. I have bugger all self control, and when I like something, I am passionately evangelical about it. I regularly follow Alistair around the house, lecturing him about something or other I’ve just read and isn’t that amazing, oh my god, you so need to read this, I think you would love it, it’s just incredible, what a brilliant piece of writing and I had no idea about that and don’t you think they just totally nail that and look, here, read it on my phone, Alistair, ALISTAIR… It’s a very good job he’s partially deaf, dyslexic, and has Attention Deficit Disorder, or he would be a broken man by now. But the reason I love these bloggers, is that when they blog, they are writing for themselves. No one else. They’re not consciously courting a readership. They’re not tagging their posts in the hope of gaining the widest possible audience. Yes, they are giving life to their thoughts, findings, photography, whatever. But they are writing as they would speak, honestly, unashamedly, and in a way that bypasses my instinctive cynicism.
But with the SHIT WRITERS, you can tell, from the very opening line that they are very deliberately playing to the crowd. They self censor, they say things like ‘I won’t go on about myself’ and then proceed to do EXACTLY THAT FUCKING THING. Why the fuck should I care about the fact that you’re blogging to say that you’ve blogged twice this week? Or that you’ve just bought a new bag? No one fucking cares, you massive bloggy twat. Seriously. Why the fuck do you think anyone other than yourself gives the tiniest little shit that you’ve written a short story that you’re not even linking to? Do you really think that telling us that is going to make us hunger for more of your crappy, pedestrian, dull as fuck and predictable sodding writing? Nothing you write is in any way interesting, because you’re just projecting this fucking dull as all crap façade that is about as relatable as baking parchment.
I just don’t get it! I don’t fucking get it! Why waste your time and mine writing a blog that’s so sanitised and impersonal that it feels like I’m mentally chewing cardboard? A blog is supposed to be about you, your thoughts, your words, your photos, your little corner of the internet to write about what makes you, you. Anything you like. Really anything. You don’t have to think about what YOU think people want to hear. You can just say it. And if people like it, great. If they don’t fine. They’ll move on. But it’s this deliberate rounding off of the edges, this infuriating NEED to project something to the world, this bloody falseness… It makes me swear lots and storm around the house chuntering to myself. Because it’s these bloggers, who write to be read, not because they have anything to say that make me fucking FUME. And they pop up all over twitter, with their SHIT WRITING.
‘Hi! New blog. http//myboringasfuckblog’ WHAT THE FUCK? Is that really the contempt in which you hold your potential readers? Seriously? You can’t even be fucking arsed to tell us what you’ve written about, why you’ve written it, the type of mood you were in when you wrote it, why you think it might appeal to us? In fact, you’re not even linking to the actual post, are you? That is how fucking lazy you are, and how inflated your view of your writing is. You do genuinely think that, don’t you, SHIT WRITERS? You think that we are sitting, hand pressed against our screens, waiting, hoping, yearning, for that moment… That moment when the church bells ring, the children sing, what is this great and beautiful thing? It’s a NEW BLOG POST FROM A SHIT WRITER! A SHIT WRITER who never reads any other blogs, never engages with anyone else on twitter, never replies to comments on their blog (assuming they get any), and is the type of blogger I despise most (Almost certainly a wordcounter too. Wordcounters fuck me right off. Here’s a tip for you, SHIT WRITERS. When I’m intrigued by writing, the number of words in my intended read is not a factor. I don’t think ‘Only 500 words. That is unworthy of my attention.’ Or ‘A novel that is but 77,312 words long? They have failed the 80,000 word test. I deem them unworthy. Kill them.’ What I care about is the actual fucking words themselves, you TWAT).
SHIT WRITERS, you give the rest of us a bad name. Stop tailoring your words, stop blogging to ‘reach your audience’, stop writing thinking about how your words will be read. JUST FUCKING WRITE HONESTLY. And behave like a normal fucking human being. The act of blogging, writing, whatever the fucking, doesn’t elevate you above all others. You’re just as human as the rest of us (kind of have my doubts about one or two bloggers though, to be honest. No one is that bland without some kind of illegal drugs).
I feel a bit dirty now. So I’ll tell you about some FUCKING AWESOME BLOGS before I scrub myself clean in the shower.
The Secret Divorcee – I bastarding love this woman. I think we joined Mumsnet Blogggers at about the same time, and the first post of hers I read was her ‘learning to fly’ one. Brutally honest, touching, heartbreaking, genuinely hilarious… I never want to meet her, in case we hate each other, which would ruin my life.
Kenny – he’s an absolute bellend, so of course, he has two blogs. Read his post on drinkingingingingnn. Sparse, uncluttered, but a punch in the stomach.
Invisible Works – He loves to pretend to be a grumpy old git. Read a single paragraph of his blog, and you’ll see he’s actually a brilliant, haunting, evocative writer with an absolute genius for capturing the details of people long gone and long forgotten. Also breathtaking photography. I owe him a pint.
And then the fun began – My muse. She writes about everything. Parenting, cooking, what we mean by home, psychology… Every post of hers sparks a reaction in my blogging mind. I have too many things I NEED to write about because of her.
Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey – No, wait, come baaaack! You need to read this. It is so addictive, and fascinating, and really accessible, even if you’re a thicko like me. It’s not really about history, or archaeology, or academic bollocks. It’s about people. Added bonus of making you feel very clever after you’ve read it.