Regular readers of this blog will remember that at the end of last year, I asked you to vote for me in the Dating category in the UK Blog Awards. I’m aware that I don’t have the largest following so I wasn’t expecting to win, but I thought it would be great to get on the shortlist, get a bit of publicity, and attend the event and meet other cool bloggers. That was what I wanted, and thanks to people very kindly voting, that’s what I got.
But then, something amazing happened. I won the award.
In my category, I felt there was an obvious winner. One blogger has waaay more followers than the rest so I felt he was a cert. The thing I was interested to see was who would get Highly Commended. The rest of the blogs are a similar size, so it would probably down to content and I was interested to see who the judges would pick.
I ended up getting a bit sidetracked from blogging due to work issues last year, but I wanted to get back on it in 2018. I aimed to upgrade my free WordPress layout to a fancy Pipdig one, stick to a consistent posting schedule, and get better at photography to up my Instagram game. And perhaps I may have a shot at second place. But in the second week of January, I came down with constant tension headaches that sapped all my energy and motivation, and spread to my entire back and arms. I ended up having to take a load of time off work, and have only just got back into the swing of things and started blogging again. So come the awards, I knew I was well out of it, but I was excited for the awards ceremony and supporting other bloggers.
There’s a video floating around on Twitter of me winning where you can kind of see my shocked face, but I’ll talk you through it anyway. The judges talked through what to do if you won, which I didn’t really pay attention to as I though I had no chance of winning. Although afterwards, I had a passing thought that there’s an off-chance I’d get Highly Commended, so I frantically asked whether you had to go up to the stage if you came second, and confirmed that you didn’t. Phew. No opportunity for me to make a fool of myself. So we got around to my category, and Never Settle was announced as Highly Commended. I had a hunch that Eve would get it as she’s been smashing it with her content this year, and I cheered along with everyone else. I waited for them to announce the obvious winner. Then they announced… my name. My mouth was literally hanging open in shock. I walked up to the stage and shook the judge’s hand in a daze- then walked off in the wrong direction and stumbled slightly on the step down. Someone made a joke about me having too much prosecco, and I wanted to shout out “BUT I’M TEETOTAL!”
Afterwards, I began thinking. On TV shows, when someone unexpected gets voted off I always think that must have sucked, but perhaps having the public outrage behind you counts for more than progressing. But I never though about how it feels to be the unexpected person who gets through. I could just imagine all the bloggers who dislike me bitching about me in the DMs like “How did SHE manage to win? She’s such a cow!” But then I thought- whatever my following and whatever other bloggers think, the judges obviously saw something in my content. So I should just take it as a confidence boost, and a kick up the backside to start posting regularly again and grow my following.
The whole teetotal thing didn’t last; I decided to go to the after party to milk my win and network, and couldn’t face being sober while everyone else was drunk. But I managed to keep it up for almost 5 months- which beats the 9 days my attempt at veganism lasted. I had a great night and enjoyed spending time with my fellow bloggers, so I’d like thank you to everyone who voted me, plus say well done to the other nominees who’d have made equally worthy winners. And smaller bloggers take note- it can be frustrating trying to grow a following when it feels like people only give the time of day to established big bloggers, but keep at it- your work can make an impact.