Taking the Blogging High Road

‘When they go low, we go high…’

It’s become somewhat of a slogan for Michelle Obama, who first used the phrase during an incredible speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention – taking the high road and doing the right thing, even when it isn’t easy. 

While Michelle may be able to rise above it, I (however much I admire her), still find it one of the most difficult things to do. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on… well, I won’t have forgotten what you did the first time so you won’t get the chance to even think of fooling me again. 

I’m admittedly highly strung, easily rattled and have become more outspoken – even more so as I age – and as a result I find it enormously frustrating to have to keep my mouth shut and walk away when I see something that I believe to be untrue or unfair. Now that I’m self-employed I have to regularly check myself in what and how I say things because essentially, I’m on my own. 

Unfortunately, especially when working online, a thick skin and the ability to take the high road is part of the job description. It’s a confusing world to be a part of – particularly in the fact that every aspect of content creation and interaction has the ability to be edited to show the best possible side to a potential audience. This seemingly deceptive nature of blogging and accompanying false sense of security and anonymity that a computer screen provides enables a person to say whatever they want, whenever they want, often without the same fear of consequence or reciprocation that they would be held accountable for in the real world. The longer you inhabit the online world, the more common it is to witness and potentially get sucked into the self-entitlement, angst and outrage that populates the blogosphere and social media platforms on a daily basis. In fact, there are entire blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to it – ‘Drama’ content that focuses on the quarrels and spats going on between influencers. Continue reading

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It’s a Small World: Making Friends from the Internet

A few weeks ago I was forwarded a message by my Canadian blog friend – a short Facebook post that had been shared in a group that I am not a member of, but she is. The post was from a blogger who lived in my local area (although I didn’t know her), putting out a request for a blogging companion to accompany her to an event that she was attending at the end of the month. I contacted her and we messaged back and forth over a few days. We found that have a few people and things in common, including the fact that her husband works at the same place as one of my friends. A few days later, we met up at the event and immediately got on really well – she was warm and friendly, easy to talk to, I instantly liked her and had a really enjoyable evening. So much so, in fact, that I thoroughly intend on meeting up with her again in the future for lunch or coffee.  Continue reading

I’ve Been Shortlisted!

It’s the start of a new day, new week and new month and the weather is glorious. As always, I know it is going to be busy over the next few weeks, but there’s something about the beginning of a month that feels incredibly motivating, even if I’m still tired from the day before…

I had some amazing news on Friday. Last month I discovered that I had been nominated for Blogger of the Year at the Birmingham Awards, with the shortlist of finalists to be announced at the end of September. I honestly didn’t expect anything would come of it – those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I love my adopted city (having lived here for 17 years now) and write about what I experience in and around Birmingham within many of my posts, but as I don’t have a specific niche dedicated to it like many of those who have been shortlisted in previous years I didn’t think I would make it past the first round. I nervously kept checking the website on the announcement day, my heart beating out of my chest when I saw the link appear… Continue reading

So, What Now?

Blogging Goals

Have you ever had an ultimate goal set in your mind that you work towards for years and actually achieve it? With all of the blogging goals I have given myself over the years there was one that towered above all of the others, which was to reach my target amount of views. In the months leading up to it I worked particularly hard, incorporating every single technique at my disposal to reach that seemingly elusive number. The day I finally reached it was fabulous – I celebrated by taking the day off and spoiling myself…

…and then promptly lost all motivation. Continue reading

Boost Your Blog and Social Media Using My Management Services!

Blog and social media management services

Of all of the blogging regrets that I have, my lack of knowledge when developing my blog and hesitation when setting up my social media accounts are the biggest. Why?

Because my social media is now responsible for HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of referrals of my total views.

The problem with social media is that, during the initial set-up in particular, it’s incredibly time consuming, even when using schedulers. Posting a blog post now doesn’t just involve pressing the publish button – I think about keywords, create a pinnable image for Pinterest and then pin it, tweet it using specific hashtags, stumble it, share it on Flipboard and then share it again into specific Facebook groups. I then use my BoardBooster Pinterest scheduler to incorporate my latest post. How, when and where I share it will depend on the specific day and time so that they get the maximum audience. Continue reading

The Festering Process: How I Deal With Anger

In my experience, there are usually three ways in which people deal with anger.

The first group go from zero to sixty very quickly, let everything fly, calm down just as quickly and move on.

The second take their time – after the initial incident the rage builds and spreads over a period of days, reaching its peak long after everyone else have got on with their lives.

The third have the ability to shut off, compartmentalise and just walk away.

I am in the second group. I go from zero to sixty in about four days. It doesn’t happen often, but when something truly upsets me (and we’re not talking just a general level of minor irritation here) then I start what The Bloke refers to as ‘The Festering Process,’ during which I mull everything over to the point where I end up in such a state that even functioning beyond a certain level becomes difficult for a while. Continue reading

The Problem with Overthinking

Of all the negative personality traits that I posses, one stands high above the rest as being the most destructive.

I’m a thinker. If something bothers me, particularly in a situation where I feel unfairly treated, I’ll think about it… and then I’ll think some more. I’ll even think about the way that I’m thinking about something and by the time I have finished thinking I will have inevitably blown the initial annoyance out of all proportion in my mind. I think about what I could or should have said or done, what I wish I hadn’t said or done, what I will say and do in the future. I think about what has been said and done to me, and what should have been said to me instead.

It’s a lot of thinking… and it’s exhausting.

Despite the fact that I’m fully aware that this is not a healthy thing to do, I have found it difficult to control at times and the end result is always the same – I will have wound myself up and become agitated, the problem still remains unresolved and the only person left feeling angry, anxious or hurt is me. Continue reading

The Annual Bloggers Bash 2017: The Highlights!

Last weekend I attended the third Annual Bloggers Bash in London. The Bash means an awful lot to me – I have been to every single one and have previously been the lucky recipient of the Services to Blogging, Inspirational Blogger and Best Overall awards, and I credit this event with giving me the confidence to take blogging seriously as a viable career path. This year, I was asked to give a presentation and be on a panel, which was an enormous honour.

This year the event was truly international, with people attending from the UK, Ireland, the US and Canada and there had been over 6,500 votes cast for its coveted awards. It was held at the Grange Wellington Hotel in Westminster’s Vincent Square. The Bloke and I got an early train in the morning and we were very graciously checked into our hotel room almost immediately at the Euston Premier Inn which gave us the opportunity to finish getting ready (although, I managed to get the majority of my hair and make-up done on the train to the apparent amusement of a man sitting a few seats away). We arrived at the Bash venue early (after having an accidental detour due to my awful map reading skills) and went straight up to visit my long-term bloggy friend Elena Peters, who had stayed there the night before. Continue reading

Author Interview with Sacha Black: 13 Steps to Evil

Sacha Black

The lovely Sacha Black

Those of you who have been in the blogging world for some time will know the name Sacha Black. Creator of www.sachablack.co.uk and, of course, The Annual Bloggers Bash, Sacha has now written and published her first book: 13 Steps to Evil (and from all accounts this is the first of many that will be out within the next twelve months) and she’s kindly agreed to let me interview her about her new creation, her process and a little of what makes her… Sacha.

Tell us about your new book – 13 Steps to Evil.

13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft Superbad Villains is every writer’s comprehensive guide to creating kick-ass villains. It’s based on a commonly held misnomer by writers: that their hero is the most important character. Without the villain or antagonist within a story, there is no conflict. Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is. Continue reading