Katie Beswick (@ElfinKate) on why she can’t stop blogging, and also, if you read to the end, she is going to ask you to nominate her for the Cosmo Blog Awards. She is totally shameless like that.
Last year, on a drizzling weekday afternoon in late April, I was called ‘the lady’ by a small child in the street. This event was a catalyst for the sudden and terrifying realisation that I was no longer a young person. Here I was, in the last gasp of my twenties, still suffering from acne, low self esteem and reclusiveness. All the things I had dreamed of doing since I was a pre-teen – which mainly involved writing down words that other people might enjoy reading, and also, sex – had stopped happening in my life. I had totally failed to achieve one single thing I could hang my hat on. Obviously it didn’t help that I was on my period at the time; that I had recently acquired my first wrinkle; that my on again off again lover of almost a decade had just announced his intention to emigrate to China with the girlfriend I had studiously pretended he didn’t have. I had, literally, reached first-world rock bottom, and it dawned on me that I would need to do something about it if I wasn’t going to go absolutely mental.
What I did about it was this: I started a blog called Reasons to be Single, under the pseudonym ‘Elfin Kate’ (in reference to my pixie frame and delicate features) and channelled all my self-pity and dormant writing prowess into regular witty posts about the pleasures of single life. Unfortunately, after about a week or so, it became apparent that there are actually only three real reasons to be single (not having to worry about pubic grooming, having time to see your friends and being able to get paralytically drunk without getting told off in the morning); so I was forced to rely on humour to work some of the more mundane features of my daily life into ‘fabulous’. And, although it’s true that I still haven’t technically achieved what you might call anything above average in terms of my personal or professional life, since I’ve been writing the blog I have certainly felt a lot better about my menstrual cycle, ageing skin and all the men who’ve ever rejected me.
Blogging has literally changed my life. Not in the massive way that, say, giving birth to a teeny screaming baby might – but being able to channel my angst into words has certainly made me feel more Zen. And, because friends and strangers now know that I like to write, I’m sometimes asked to write things for other people (like reviews for this blog), and invited to attend classes and workshops on writing, and lent books I might like to read to make my writing even better. All of which make me a nicer person than I was a year ago, when my leisure time revolved around sobbing into a warm gin and tonic and hating the universe for its continued indifference towards my happiness.
Because of the pleasure I’ve found in blogging, it is quite mystifying to me that I regularly read articles where professional writers express derision for bloggers, or feign confusion about why so many of us are attracted to the medium. ‘Why do they do it?’ they ask, ‘nobody’s paying them.’ But, of course, we don’t do it for the money; in the same way that writers and artists from Kafka to van Gogh to that bloke who used to hand out his poems on the South Bank didn’t do it for the money. We do it because we have to, because it makes us feel better, because there’s no other channel for our creativity, and because, even if what we produce is utter bollocks, if we didn’t do it we’d be sitting in a room watching Deal or no Deal, bingeing on our own bitterness and slowly, slowly dying, from the inside out.
And of course we do it because we secretly hope that someone will read our words, and feel better about life and maybe also praise us for them and, alright, we wouldn’t be completely offended if they were also to confer unimaginable riches upon us. Which brings me, inelegantly, to the cringey point of this piece (although it’s become less the point of this piece as I’ve been writing it), which is to ask you, if you haven’t already, to check out my blog by clicking here, and if you like what you read to nominate it for a Cosmo Blog Award by clicking here. Because you don’t get anything worth having without asking, and although I’ll keep on blogging even if nobody nominates me, or reads what I write, it would be nice for some recognition – not least because it’s still all quiet on the sexual front, and a girl (sorry, a lady) can only take so much crushing rejection.
Alternatively you could nominate another favourite blog, and I swear I won’t hate you.
But this isn’t just about me, so I’ll end on a motivational message. If you aren’t doing something you love, and especially if you’re feeling totally crap about yourself as a result, and even more especially if that something is able to be disseminated on the internet (like music or drawing or writing) then I suggest you give blogging a go. There really is nothing to lose, except your dignity, and let’s face it, you’ve probably left that down the pub anyway.