Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Five Years of Blogging!

There have been highs and lows!
It's official! I've been blogging for 5 years! Happy Anniversary to me! And since everything is speeded up on social media I'm sure 5 years counts as a golden anniversary, perhaps even a diamond...
If you've only just joined in, let me tell you how it began. It was June 2008, a time when you needed to know html to convert an ordinary little word into a hyperlink. I was on a date with a dark, handsome stranger at the Gourmet Pizza Company on the Southbank.
I told him I was thinking about starting a blog about working in my Mum's chandelier shop. He, being an enthusiastic sort of bloke, assured me it was a great idea. A week later I wrote my first post. The rest is history. Well it would be if someone added it to Wikipedia.
There have been highs and lows on this blogging journey and I thought I'd share five of the most memorable. 
When I wrote this post I was so fed up. I was worried I'd never ever get published and that I'd spend the rest of my life fending off barterers in my Mum's shop. I had no idea that a month later Salt Publishing would ask me to turn my blog into a book. If you are a writer and you feel like I did in this post, don't give up! You never know when your hard work will pay off. 

"I won’t be a famous novelist because I’ll be delivering a light fitting. We won’t charge for the delivery since we just want the customer to love us and not go to John Lewis. The customer won’t offer to pay for the delivery because they assume that’s what little shop people do on a Saturday night..."

At Stoke Newington Literary Festival, I spoke on a panel about writing in the digital age. I think it's an exciting time to be a writer. Whether it's a blog to build up a readership, a podcast to share your stories, YouTube for a book trailer for the book you self-published, because perhaps publishers weren't prepared to take a risk on you, with hard work and creativity you can really make things happen.
Some writers complain that the internet has eroded the filters keeping the bad writing out. But why waste time criticising other people striving to make the digital world work for them? It takes guts to put your work 'out there'. Sharing my work has been key to my progress and success as a writer, but of course I've had my ego bashed along the way. Shop Girl Under Attack is a blog post about the first 'hate mail' I ever got. If you're going to use social media, you've got to develop a thick skin.
"On Easter Sunday I received a mail from someone in my facebook group.
A certain young Californian with a photoshop twinkle in his eye.
'Please get a life,' he wrote, 'because the one you’re writing about isn’t that interesting.'
Oh, I thought, taken aback.
My first hate mail hadn’t come at the best of times."
Read More.
3rd  - SHOP GIRL: TAKE 1, Camera, action!
My dream was always to become a novelist but when director Chloe Thomas asked me to write a script for a TV pilot based on my blog, I wasn't going to let the opportunity pass me by. Having a film crew in my shop and actors saying the lines I'd written was an incredible high. Although the pilot has not developed into a sitcom it remains a great moment in my blogging journey. I recommend saying 'yes' to every opportunity that comes your way and trust you'll learn as you go along!
“How much do you want this?” my brother had asked me, back in September.
“More than anything.”
And he’d rolled up his sleeves and launched into a speech on how to promote my blog."
Read More.

This guest blog is definitely the most memorable. Well, it's not every day someone proposes on a blog, is it? Remember that dark, handsome stranger I was telling you about earlier...

"So the ShopGirl bullied me into doing a blog.
Here it is, I am real." Read More.

The Book Launch of Shop Girl Diaries remains the best day of my life. I've just reread my blog post about it and tears sprung to my eyes. The publishers didn't have a budget for the launch so a group of my friends jumped in to help me organise it. I'd almost forgotten how generous people had been. Thank you again, and I hope there'll be another one soon!
"The Big day had come:
The Launch of 'Shop Girl Diaries'.
My nerves were momentarily eased by the successful match of my new tights with the dress.
It's those little details that really niggle.
As the Chines proverb goes, 'it's not the mountain that wears you out but the grain of sand in your shoe.'" -
Read More.
A blog doesn't thrive very well alone. It needs its readers, so thank you for all your support over the last 5 years.
 In my workshops I aim to pass on all the things I've learnt over the years. If you feel like starting your own blog, my next Blogging for Beginners and Improvers Workshop is on Saturday 13th July.
Check out my Workshop Page for more information.   


Georgina Troy said...

I love this post and congratulations for achieving so much!

philippa_moore said...

This is so awesome. I've loved following your journey! Our paths seem to be very similar and i've always found what you've had to say about the writing life so inspiring. Here's to the next five x

Shop Girl said...

Thank you both! I can't imagine stopping it now!

Philippa, I hope our blog/writing journey keeps getting ever more interesting. And when you are rich and famous I will be able to say, well I knew her back when she was 'Greenink' - you were green ink, weren't you?!

Thanks so much for the comments :) X

Lindsay said...

Congratulations on your 5th anniversary. I'm so glad you didn't let that horrible idiot put you off writing! (I wonder if he's got a life yet? Bet he didn't have a lovely, romantic Date and a fab book launch!)

I echo Philippa in wishing you all the very best for the next five years, and more.

Rebecca said...

Congratulations on your success and Happy Anniversary!

Shop Girl said...

Oh it would have taken more than that to put me off writing, Lindsay! I appear to be addicted :) Your lovely comments cancelled his out long ago! Thank you for all of them!

Thanks Rebecca - I really appreciate you reading!