*Title aims to prove point of article. Actual blog may disappoint.
In the same way that it is disheartening to see your carefully scripted, slightly expensive, and extensively edited YouTube video losing millions of viewers to the latest “Cat falling off a washing machine” viral. It fills one with an equal sense of: “Perhaps the circus need someone to sweep up the sea-lion shit, so the bicycling bears don’t have an accident”, when the views on your blog triple in a single day, thanks to two pieces of writing, neither of which is your own.
When I worked as a security guard I used to buy bubble-gum, from the shop across the street, and put captions to the stickers inside; making little comics out of them, which I posted on the message board once a week, to mixed reviews. Whilst at secondary school, I wrote the occasional play for the school talent show, and wrote (very briefly) for the school newsletter: “PIASO”. After leaving school I was asked, by my former drama teacher, to write scripts for her amateur dramatics group. I have written songs (very BAD ones). I’ve written letters to magazines. I’ve entered so many writing competitions I
thought I might go blind, written dozens and dozens of short stories, written copy for greeting card companies (and once for a kitchen company), written a complete 370 page novel (as well as dozens of chapters from incomplete ones), scripts for (some filmed and some not-so filmed) YouTube videos, and now I have turned my hand to blogging.
The point I’m trying to make, I suppose, is that I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and until now I could probably count the number of people to have read any single piece of my writing, by lining up the condiments in my kitchen cupboards. Even using my own digits, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have to remove any footwear. And yet, add a cute 5 year old girl, and a web designer with a pool of facebook buddies, and it’s “Cat falling off washing machine” syndrome all over again. A real writer would be heading for the bathroom with a pair of wire cutters and a Gillette Fusion by now.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t get paid for this but it’s always nice for a writer to have more of those pesky reader things, so please understand; I am not ungrateful for the extra traffic. Those responsible for the increase are two of the dearest people in the world to me. That my daughter has now upstaged me 3 times since her birth, though mildly irritating, is simply confirmation of what I have always believed: She is amazing in every regard, and will more than likely write her bestselling masterpiece, on the long voyage home from becoming the first person on Mars, before winning the Nobel prize for teaching blind children to speak to dolphins in 17 different languages.
Likewise, while it is slightly annoying – having produced several hundred pieces of writing since the age of about seven (including a novel, which has so far seen 3 years of re-writes) – to have a blog post, produced in 15 minutes, described as “your best bit of writing yet”, I have to remember that I wasn’t always very good at sharing my work, and my baby brother has almost certainly read less than 1% of the writing I have produced.
So, what is the lesson here? Well, unfortuately, it is one with which artists of all mediums – my brother and sister included – are familiar: No matter how good or bad you are, it will always be the guy with the best PR team who wins votes.
With that in mind, I refer you to virtually every school report I ever received: “Could do better.”