Real Neat Blog Award

I am extremely proud to announce that my very first follower, Eddaz, has nominated me for my first award since joining the WordPress society. It’s extremely flattering, especially as the nomination has come from somebody whose blog is absolutely brilliant and I urge you to follow Eddaz if you aren’t doing already.

Just over two months have passed since I began blogging. It feels like much longer and I’ve enjoyed it so much. I’ve met some amazing people along the way and even inspired somebody to start blogging themselves. Writing isn’t just a passing fancy for me; it’s everything! If I’m not doing it then I’m thinking about it. It isn’t a hobby for me anymore. It’s a lifestyle choice. An obsession even. This blog has helped increase my love for the craft all the more and I couldn’t have done it without my growing army of supporters. I love you all!

The rules of the Real Neat Blog Award written by the creator of this award are as follows

(Feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time or if you don’t accept awards)

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Here are her seven questions

  1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?
  2. What is your favourite sport?
  3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2016?
  4. What is your favourite quote?
  5. What was your favourite class when still at school?
  6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?
  7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

And here are my answers

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

The UK leads the way on visits (1,864) by quite a substantial distance with the US second (247) and Nigeria (52), Australia (42) and India (41) following on from that.

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2. What is your favourite sport?

This isn’t so easy to answer as football (soccer to my friends over the pond) has always been my favourite, but I’ve really fallen out of love with the sport over recent years owing to the stupid money involved, the shameless commercialism and the superstardom placed on the big egos who play the game. I think they’re a poor role model for the youth of today. My team, Stockport County, currently play in the sixth tier of English football; effectively regional football as the sixth tier is split into north and south sections. 14 years ago we were playing in the second tier. That gives you an idea of our decline in a relatively short space of time.

I used to be a competitive swimmer and amassed a good level of success at regional level between the ages of about eleven and seventeen. I don’t know how many medals I won, but it was definitely over a hundred; perhaps upward of two hundred both individually and with my clubs. Backstroke was my forte and I broke records along the way. I feel my finest achievement was remaining three years unbeaten at fifty metres backstroke in the Central Lancashire Junior League. One race finished a dead heat and I won the rest.

I gave up swimming competitively almost exactly fifteen years ago after losing my love for it, but I still swim with that racers technique to the day and hate public swimming because people just get in my way (sometimes on purpose). Swimming is a fantastic sport though.

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2016?

Two things stand out. The first that I finally finished my novel after years of dicking about. I quickly sorted the first edit and am now close to completing the second edit. This is the story I hope to get published eventually. In October last year (October 30th to be exact) I decided that I’d do at least one page of work a day on my novel until completion. The only days I missed were 6th December, 25th December and 16th January. I completed the novel on 17th May this year.

The second thing is starting my blog. It’s been a real adventure so far. Sometimes frustrating as I obsess over how many hits my posts get and such, but mostly exhilarating as I expand my writing portfolio and discover new styles of writing. Then there are the people I’ve come across since I started too who I already consider amazing friends. They’ve been incredible and they give me the strength to keep on going even if I’m not really feeling in the mood to do so.

4. What is your favourite quote?

This is really difficult to answer. I have so many quotes that I love. Choosing one is as difficult as choosing my favourite music track. There are ones as simple as Jean-Paul Sartre’s “existence precedes essence” to movie quotes such as Agent Smith’s “human’s are a cancer of the planet” monologue in The Matrix. I also love Latin phrases; my favourite probably being “Scientia Ipsa Potentia Est”.

There’s a quote by Søren Kierkegaard I recently had brought to my attention that is quite fantastic. “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use”. The fact that phrase was coined in the 19th century and is so relevant to the sheeple nowadays blows my mind, but then Kierkegaard was nothing if not a cut above the norm. One of my favourite human beings in history, no doubt.

But it’s not all serious quotes I love. There are lines in things like Family Guy and various sitcoms that have me dying with laughter. Joe Swanson in Family Guy, for example; when he’s sat in his car with Meg talking about Lady Gaga and says “Is it a douche? Is Lady Gaga a douche?” has me giggling like a schoolgirl. Then there’s a line from Dave Lister in red Dwarf which I’ve never tired of hearing; “We’ve got less options than a Welsh fish and chip shop”.

I can’t choose one quote. I’m not prepared to commit to one. Like music, different quotes are relevant to different moods and scenarios. To quote Eddie Murphy in his standup, Raw, “If ya don’t like it, get da fuck out”!

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

It was either English Literature (unsurprisingly) or Media Studies. I hate the mainstream media nowadays. Corrupt, sycophantic and laden with propaganda. I believe decidedly little of what I hear in the news. But that’s not to say learning about it wasn’t fascinating. So much so, I went on to do Media Production in college. That was some fun!

English Lit was great for obvious reasons, though I admit I wasn’t taken with World War One poetry. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy some of the poems written or get caught up in the emotion of it all. It just wasn’t my kind of literature. I preferred projects on stories and stage plays. Macbeth, The Crucible and Porphyria’s Lover (which is admittedly a poem) spring immediately to mind. You know when they had us reading Macbeth in class, I was the only one who put on a Scottish accent?

6. Anything you wish to have learned earlier?

A lot of stuff. Tough to pin any one thing down in particular. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and we all wish we could go back and put things right. I don’t see regrets as a negative thing. I think they’re a lesson worth learning regardless of what was lost in the process. I have a philosophy; pessimism can be optimistic if looked upon optimistically. That’s to say that you can’t be happy all the time. If you were happy all the time then you’d never know you were happy. Appreciate life’s lows and you’ll better appreciate life’s highs. I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here though…

I wish I’d looked into publishing and agents sooner than I had. My novel is a long one and I’ve read that publishers very rarely look at anything long from a first time writer. I was gutted when I discovered that because I know I’ll have to suffer a lot of rejections when my novel is sent out to the people that can help put it in print. But then I think of it this way; would I have altered my story to make it as short as they want if I’d found out sooner? The answer is a resounding no. The story is as long as it is because it needs to be. If I made it as short as they wanted then it wouldn’t be the same story and too much relevant material would be lost. So I don’t regret that and I’m sure that it’ll get published one day, by hook or by crook!

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

The answer here is none. I can’t play any musical instruments and have never tried to learn. I’d love to learn the piano; it’s my favourite instrument, but the likelihood of that is slim.

I can DJ. Put me on a pair of turntables with a load of vinyl and I’ll play you a set until I’ve used every vinyl available. I love mixing music and I can do it reasonably well. Don’t believe me? Check out my Mixcloud profile. I’ve compiled, mixed and uploaded 30 sets. I really can DJ. And I’m comfortable mixing various genres too.

I have actually had a crack at making tracks myself. Anybody remember eJay? I’ve got a few tracks in my playlist that I made on eJay. Technically, they aren’t brilliant as you might expect with a piece of £25 software and a laptop, but they aren’t shabby either if I say so myself. Maybe one day I’ll upload them to YouTube for everyone’s appraisal.

Now it’s nomination time. I’m going to put forwards the bloggers that have blown my mind over the past couple of months. The rules don’t state that I have to do so, but I’m going to explain why I’m putting each person forwards for nomination too. In chronological order of my following them, here goes…

Just a few words about… – I’ve mentioned Steve enough times in my posts for his nomination to come as no surprise. He’s my rock. He’s the proofreader of my novel and has helped so much that I don’t think I could ever repay the debt. I don’t miss my old job, but I miss working with Steve. He pulled me through many a shift with his enlightening conversation and intelligence. I love this guy! I’m delighted he’s started blogging himself and you should definitely read his posts if you haven’t already.

The Mummy Side of Life – This is Lauren’s daily journal of life as a parent to her adorable little boy, Oliver. She’s adorable herself too. She was the first friend I made on WordPress through a bloggers group I joined on Facebook. She’s recently stopped doing it on a daily basis for a few reasons that I totally empathise with. I fear she might stop altogether soon, but hopefully this nomination might urge her to continue. I love reading about her day and the photos that accompany the posts are great. The presentation of the blog is brilliant too. She’s a fantastic blogger and an amazing young woman. Fully deserving of this nomination.

Kira Scribbled – This woman! I really can’t come up with superlatives strong enough to get across how much I love Kira’s blog. Her short stories are so imaginative and her poems eloquent. There isn’t a piece of hers I’ve read that hasn’t had me gripped from start to finish. Her brain is incredible. Add to that she’s such a great person too. So approachable and good to talk to. We’ve exchanged so many conversations over the past weeks that it feels like I’ve known her for years. Here is somebody who needs to write a novel. She’ll definitely get published.

Debatably Dateable – There’s nothing debatable about this nomination. Her frank posts about her quest to find the man of her dreams interspersed with poetry are a thoroughly enjoyable read. She’s never ignorant to comments either and will always respond to you. I love that personal touch as it shows a real appreciation for her readers. How men aren’t falling at her feet is beyond me. Bloody fools! Perhaps intimidated by her intelligence…

SUMMER STARTS TO SHINE – You know when you whine about your problems in life and think you have it really bad? You know when you feel that way and somebody says “somebody always has it worse than you”. You feel like punching them, right? Well “fuck you” is my response to that because it’s true. It isn’t my place to communicate to you the frankly appalling things Summer has had to endure; read her blog for that. In a very short amount of time, Summer has come to mean an awful lot to me. She’s an amazing human being! My respect for her cannot be measured. Her blog is so honest and so hard hitting. It’s opened my eyes to some awful realities in this shitty world. If you think you have it bad then you really need to read this blog. You’ll soon realise how lucky you are. Keep on shining, Summer!

I Will Not Live In Vain – Last, but by no means least is one of my more recent followers, but definitely one of the best. Her blog is so easy to read and laden with realism. Her character just brings me out in smiles every time. In no time at all, Rae has become one of my favourite bloggers. She’s well traveled and oozes personality. She’s also published and I have every intention of purchasing her book in the near future. I look forward to what’s to come as she’s soon moving from her present home to pastures new. I foresee a lot of interesting stories. Thank you for appearing in my world, Rae.

Finally, the seven questions to put to my nominees.

  1. If you discovered a new star or planet, what would you call it and why?
  2. If you could live in any period of time and any place in the past, when and where would it be?
  3. Name a famous person whose blog you’d read (living, dead or fictional).
  4. You wake up tomorrow as the opposite sex. What three things would you do?
  5. You have a choice; infinite time, infinite wealth or infinite knowledge. Which one do you choose and why?
  6. What inspired you to start writing?
  7. What trait do you like the most about yourself?

And that’s it. Best of luck to you all. Be aware that none of you are in any way obligated to involve yourselves so if you choose not to then disregard the nomination 🙂

Thanks for reading and for your continued and amazing support of my blog.

Paul

50-follows
Celebrating reaching the milestone of fifty WordPress followers. Further thanks to all helping me achieve it 🙂 You’re ace!

24 thoughts on “Real Neat Blog Award

      1. I agree. they’re all brilliant in their own unique way, but I really get the feeling Lauren is knocking it on the head. It’s been days since she posted. It’ll be a shame if she does give it up

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      2. Maybe, but she did say last week when I spoke to her that she’s not feeling quite as fulfilled by it right now. I guess it isn’t for everybody, but then doing a daily post whilst looking after a family and being so young yourself must be arduous

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  1. Thank you for the nomination!
    I liked your answers very much and the questions put up for the new nominees are awesome. I can’t wait to answer them. Real thought provokers!
    I’m hoping to do it Monday, but if not then for sure Tuesday. 😄
    Your description of my blog was so flattering. It made me smile.😊
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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