One of the many things that I put to the side while on hiatus was my nomination for a Versatile Blogger Award. First things first I would like to thank Julie Stock for nominating me. She is a great writer, blogger, and a member of Monday Blogs on Twitter. She is one of many bloggers that welcome new voices to Monday Blogs and helps promote them as they find their audience and a consistent voice.
The Versatile Blogger Award is unique because once you have been nominated for the award, you win it. If a blogger who has won the award feels you deserve to be nominated you automatically win and you then must follow some version of the rules and nominate other deserving bloggers. It’s a great promotion device, but it is more than that. It is a way to feel validated, and in turn validate other bloggers.
Every starting blogger feels like they are speaking into the void. None of us speak about it much, but most of us obsess over it. We feel like we are shouting into the abyss. When we start blogging we write, sometimes using our best ideas, and we post to our site knowing that no one will read our work. We do it because we are writers and we have to start somewhere. We do it because we hope that this will be the week that someone notices. We do it because we hope that one day we will have a following and that people will go back into the archives. We promote our sites and we hope someone notices, but for the most part we don’t know if they do. We check our statistics on how many page views and visitors we receive and we promote until we see results in our numbers. The internet is a crowded place full of content creators, but devoid of an easy way to find an audience. You have to compete with uncountable sources of bloggers, Youtubers, Tweeters, and everyone else to get someone to come to your site to check out your blog. You scream and shout and plead and cajole in any way you can, feeling all the while like a carnival barker selling what is in the tent. You beg people to check out the site and you hope that they like your work.
Even after we get some people that come to the site regularly we bloggers still don’t know what we want to know. Does anyone care? Is there anyone out there that reads what we write and thinks “Wow, that was good!”? A reader comment goes a long way, as does people who take the time to share on social media, but most bloggers will still wonder how many people just click the link or share without reading. Well-meaning people that want to help promote you but do not have the time to read. In short, every blogger just wants a pat on the head and a compliment from a complete stranger. This award is so much more than that.
The Versatile Blogger Award is a tip of the cap from an established blogger that thinks what you are doing is not only good work, but worthwhile. It says that they are recommending your work to everyone who reads their blog, and they are doing it without reservation. It, at least to me, was instant validation from a complete stranger. A stranger who was an established writer and who wanted to let me know that she was willing to endorse my efforts in public on her blog. So, thank you Julie, that is what being nominated meant to me.
I mentioned that there are rules once you are nominated that you should follow, or at least follow as much as you care to follow them. The whole process has grown a little vague in the time that the award has existed and getting writers to follow rules is difficult enough, it gets worse when there is no one enforcing them. The most important rule is once you accept your nomination you have to nominate some number of other bloggers. The original rule seems to be fifteen, but other writers have done fewer. I like that idea because it makes being nominated a little more special.
First I would like to nominate Julia for her work on ILoveYouMoreThanIceCream. Julia writes about everything, running the emotional gamut from Legos to depression. She does it with such heart that each post is independent from the last and each touches you in a different way. She is rare in the blogosphere in that she truly crafts each post as carefully as one of her handmade cards.
My second nomination is Patty Chang Anker who blogs at Facing Forty Upside Down. Patty and I met through the 5 Boro Bike Tour and I have been in awe ever since. Patty is a force of nature, pulling amazing people into her circle and introducing them to the world. She assembled a completely diverse group of people to ride the 5 Boro Tour and I learned something from each and every one of them. She uses her blog to tell the stories of people she meets as well as her own amazing story of turning her life around by facing her fears. Patty goes big in each adventure, conquering a fear of riding a bike on the road by completing the 5 Boro Tour, learning to surf to best a fear of moving water, or taking the stage in New York to beat a fear of public speaking. Her blog is inspirational to say the least.
My third and final nomination is Brian who blogs at IWearSpandex. Brian found my blog and left a generous comment so I checked out his space. I was blown away. Brian is a talented writer that has been promoted by BikeNewYork for his ability to write exactly what it feel like to ride a bike. It seems simple, but isn’t. He also has built a professional quality web site that shares nutritional and training advice as well as reports from various rides he has participated in as a charity rider. He supplements all of that with some great links and a great presence on social media. I Wear Spandex has become a standard from what a single author website can accomplish.
So there you go, my three varied nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award. Go and check out their sites and enjoy the Labor Day Holiday if you are in the United States. Thanks to Julie for nominating me. It was great fun deciding who to nominate. Julia, Patty, and Brian have fun and go get your shiny new blog button and have fun deciding who to nominate!