This is a quick post just to say a huge thank you to anyone who nominated this blog for the Mark Hanson digital media award at the 2013 Mind Media Awards. When the email came to say I’d been shortlisted I was astonished because I hadn’t known I had even been nominated in the first place. I went along to the Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards last night with little expectation of winning; the field was both strong and broad, encompassing personal blogs, campaigns and a corporate site.
During the ceremony, held at the BFI and hosted by Scott Mills, I sat with my phone in my lap, waiting to tweet which of the other worthy nominees had won the award. When my name was read out I could barely take it in. There was a whoop from the lovely gang of friends and family seated around me and I found myself on my feet. Up on the stage I was given a microphone. I can barely remember anything of what I said, but I think and hope that it was along the lines that the success of this blog is not so much about the stats as the fact that people contact me every day to say that what I write means something to them.
I’m pretty sure I have the special honour of being the clumsiest person at the ceremony. I was the only winner to almost fall over (so eager was I to leave the stage!). After going backstage for a quick interview I returned to the auditorium and sat down but there was something wrong with my red velvet tip-up seat and it wouldn’t flip down until I gave it a massive bump. Later, in the midst of a group of people scanning the floor for my missing phone, I suddenly realised what had been blocking the seat mechanism and what the “crunching” sensation have been.
And so I came home with a phone that looked like it had been driven over by a tractor in one hand, wrapped carefully in a tissue to prevent glass splinters, and a beautiful shiny trophy in the other. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who sought me out after the ceremony to tell me how much they liked the blog. I don’t care if this is a cliche, but I could never have kept writing, let alone won such a prestigious award, if not for everyone who reads my posts, sends me comments, and tweets me to let me know what you think.
In the backstage interview I was asked what I would say to someone just starting as a mental health blogger. My biggest piece of advice was not to try and guess what an audience wants, but to write about what feels important to you. I find that the posts that get the most hits and the biggest number of comments tend to be the ones where I hesitate for a moment before I hit “publish”; do I really want something so personal out in the public domain? But it’s exactly that breaking of mental health taboos that people respond to most.
So thank you so much again. It’s going to take me a little while to take it all in, I think. It feels a bit like a beautiful dream – but then a glance at my mantelpiece confirms it’s not 🙂