Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Blogwise, I mean. Today, five years ago (well, at 3.22 in the afternoon) I decided to blog, because I met Luke and he'd been doing it since May 2000, and had an eighteen month head-start on me.

Through him, I found other blogs (there were not so many then; Meg, Tom, Shauna)and realised there was this... thing out there, blogging, which was about writing (to me) and the internet and that was my bag.

My style's changed in five years. I don't recommend you go back and read the early stuff because (a) it's not that interesting, because (b) the really interesting stuff has all been taken down. It took me a while to get my blogging feet, and I went straight on hiatus in February, but by April I was writing regularly, and I haven't really stopped since.

I feel fairly sure I've written a lot of words (maybe a million) in that time, and although most of them are not so great, some of them are good, and all of them have let me write and that's what I love doing. Sure, I've had my ups and downs (who wouldn't in five years) and I haven't stopped using brackets too often, and have developed my own idiosyncratic writing style, which includes slightly odd punctuation and extremely rare usage of exclamation marks. That's the joy of not having an editor.

So, what've I learned in five years?
  • I like writing
  • I really like writing
  • How and where to draw the line
  • Red tops will do anything for a story
  • Other bloggers are really nice people
  • The world moves fast - I can write what I think quicker than someone on a newspaper can get it subbed, and I can pick up the phone and ask questions the same as anyone

    And what's... happened in that five years? Well, without being too personal, which I try not to be nowadays, I think I've grown and changed quite a bit. Whether it's down to blogging, I don't know, but I think blogging is partly responsible for my improved state, although I guess I could have just had a word document on my laptop, but (a) I have one anyway, and (b) what fun would that be?

    Blogging is really about the conversation. Sometimes it's a conversation I'm having with myself, sometimes I hit a nerve and people join me. Quite often, actually. I get a lot of mail. Blogging is iterative. Blogging is something I hate describing to people at dinner parties (it's just a website, right? Or a diary.) Blogging - or writing this regularly - helps me process, sort, all the stuff going on in my head, perform without leaving my house, it's even helped me earn a living.

    That's the main thing. When I started, I was wannabe writer with broadband and a laptop. I remember being really angry about the first Guardian blogging competition, because Tom seemed to think I was a professional writer, and started saying it was unfair that I might win. And now... I make a chunk of my living from writing. I still haven't finished my novel (although it's a different novel from the one I started back in 2002), but I'm way closer to getting to where I want to be, even if I'm not exactly moving at internet time. Before my blog, I'd done push-marketing: sent stuff out to editors and agents, sat and waited. PB (post blog) it's pull-marketing: the people really do come to me. It's not why I blog, or started blogging, but it's helped me get closer to what I want, and sometimes it's the journey not the destination.

    So... I'm rambling. But hey, if I can't ramble on my Blogiversary, who can?

    In my new minimal lifestyle (less belongings, I wish), I don't actually need anything. And I don't really believe in asking for presents. Although, obviously, I like receiving gifts as much as the next person.

    But if you've enjoyed my writing over the last five years, I'd invite you to make a donation or micro-donation (all sums help, I have to raise £5,500) to my humanitarian aid mission to Moldova in May. This is absolutely an invitation, not an imperative, and feel free to give or not give as you wish.

    And thank you for reading. If you weren't reading, it would be a word document on my laptop. How retro.
  • No comments: