I think it’s only right to be honest. I do want a certain amount of recognition. I was both amazed and secretly thrilled when approached at Conference as the author of Scarlet Standard. I’m pleased that the number of people who read the blog regularly is rising steadily and that the comments I get a broadly positive (I don’t publish the abusive ones, but they are thankfully far less common than for other female bloggers.
My impetus to start a blog was pretty simple. By the time I decided to create my own blog, I had been commenting regularly on Labour List for some time, even offiering them the very occassional piece. Having been part of a very argumentative and well informed Internet forum for some time, I had developed an online writing style that was rough around the edges, but that I felt was one that was largely missing from the online debate on the Left of Centre.
Also, I was between jobs at the time. I started to think about what I wanted to do for a living and basically it boiled down to – I’d like to tell the Labour Party how to create and run campaigns to get them elected and keep them electable. Sadly for both me and the Labour Party, no one was offering me that position. So I’ve had to force my way into the debate.
I’ve done well in doing so and I’ve had some enormously generous help from some great people along the way. I can say from the heart that I wouldn’t still be doing this without both Alex Smith and Mark Ferguson of Labour List.
I’ve become a much better writer over the time I’ve been doing this. I’ve taken a different journey from other bloggers, having moved from a spiky bolshy persona to writing which I hope is more considered (this doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven Alan Milburn though!). I’m a lot happier with the way I write now, and with more readers than ever, I hope you are too.
On Friday, I read Hopi Sen’s post on judging the Orwell Prize. I started to wonder if this was something I should enter. In fact what I was wondering was if I had the cheek, the sheer effrontery to enter. To put myself in the same category as the amazing writers who have won it in the past. Frankly, I was thinking no.
But then I shared my doubts on Twitter and something brilliant happened. People told me to buck my bloody ideas up. Friend and occasional commenter here David Lea pointed out that I’d just written about the damage women do themselves and others by not putting themselves forward. Quite frankly, I was hoist by my own petard.
So yes, this time I’m going to learn to stand up and say “I am worthy of your consideration”. I may not get long-listed, shortlisted or win. But I will have taken a step towards being more comfortable with self promotion.
I have a voice I believe in. I have a writing style I enjoy and I have something to say. The prize for me is in realising that.