Thursday 15 November 2012

The Best Blog I Can Be? Let me ask: Best Dad I Can Be...

I was in a bit of a silly mood last night and sent some silly tweets about mooses etc... or if a mouse becomes mice should a moose become..... what?

Anyway I had a laugh and it resulted in me getting a new Twitter follower in the name of  @BestDadICanBe he was a really good sport and I took to him straight away.

I checked out his blog this morning and commented on a really funny James Bond post.

Then later, when I was searching "Liz Jones" on Twitter to see if the Mail had written the follow up article that's been promised, I came across a follow up post that Best Dad I Can Be had written in response to Liz Jones explaining why she is wrong, just plain wrong

The post kind of humbled me and made me wonder what written legacy, what time capsule am I leaving for Aaron.  Does he really want to know in 30 years time that buying a new jacket, or going for a Mexican meal was the highlight of my week?  Or should I write MORE about him, so that he can see what HE was like when HE was little.  I just don't know.

I think Best Dad could tell my question was a deep one as he was kind enough to email me, and I so like what he has written I am copying it here below.  So this is the email I received:
Hi Liska

First of all have you just had an interview? I hope it went really well.

As promised a reply to your e-mail on the legacy of writing a blog.

As you’ve seen I started writing the column in 2003, but it didn’t dawn on me for about 4 years that I was really leaving something for the kids. When I started my eldest son was 9, my daughter 7 and my youngest son was 4 – so I’m now really envious of people who can start when their children are younger, or even before they’re born.

I’ve always written about the trivia of family life – I think that is my talent, to be mildly amusing about the everyday trivialities of life. I reached the age where I can be honest about what I’m good and bad at, and I’m crap at most things (especially DIY) but I’m good at writing my column/blog.

When I’m writing, I try not to think about ‘writing for a legacy’ and looking to select what I write about. Over time, the everyday nonsense builds into something significant and the strength is that you’re writing about normal family life – it just happens to be your ‘normal family life.’ I also think that you have to be true to yourself, and if the only interesting thing that’s happened in the week is that you’ve cleaned out the goldfish, well then, that’s what’s happened.

The newspaper column was good to me in that respect – I had a weekly deadline and I bloody well had to find something to write about.

In some respect I have a similar problem with the blog now. Over the next 12 months I’ll be releasing a series of books on the Kindle covering all the years I’ve been writing. So I need to build my community on Twitter and other social media. Right now my stats tell me that some blog posts – for example, Very Safe Sex and Cocktail Shaken – are much ‘stronger’ and more popular than others (such as Movember and The Sensitive Engineer.) So do I deliberately set out to write this type of more-popular post? It’s a short cut, but I don’t think it’s the answer in the long run. I have to stay true to myself and true to what happens: if that means that some weeks the posts are more reflective and less funny, then so be it.

If you have a Kindle (or the Kindle app) and you’ve lashed out 77p on the book you’ll see that the columns are a real mixture, and I think that’s one of the real pleasures of writing about your family.

All the above is just a long way of saying that you should just keep doing what you’re doing, and let the long term content take care of itself.

Hope that helps – and once again hope the job interview went well.

Mark x
As an aside if you read his blog you will note he was a columnist for YEARS before he started a blog.  Equally there are successful bloggers who get asked to write for the mainstream media. 

So another thing I would like to say to Liz is (1) us bloggers need to stop fighting with journalists as we can be one and the same and (2) Liz, start a blog, you may need it when you retire, and the new Bridget Liz Jones has stepped into your shoes.

Liska xx


  1. Oh God! And here's me exploring titles for my erotic bestseller! All to earn money for my DD of course. Nice email. I'm going to check him out. E X

  2. This is so cool! i didn't really think of it as a legacy for my child. I have written in quite a few baby journals though :) I think the blogging experience wasnt quite for me, as I can never htink of subject matter to write about, and it seems no1 reads it. lol

    1. It takes time to build up a readership. Once you have written lots of content, that gets picked up in Google search results, plus if you read other blogs they'll read you back.
      I am on 30,000 page views a month but I started this blog in 2009.
      It does take time.
      The trick is to get enough satisfaction out of it, that you don't mind how long it takes.
      Getting to know people on Twitter helps.
      Keep going - the legacy side of it is beautiful.
      Liska xx


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