Blogging and BAPS - BAPS 2018 winner Tina's workstation, computer, coffee and 2 BAPS Awards!

If you started to read this hoping that you would gain some insight into how to master the world of blogging and understand the subtle abbreviations that get thrown into forums such as DA and SEO and finally have an explanation to what your Moz Score is, then you have clicked on the wrong piece.

How it all started

My own entry into the online environment was not well thought out and without any research. I’d written a few things on a Word document soon after Joseph was diagnosed with autisim back in 2011. I’d only just split up with my husband and had a newly diagnosed autistic child. I had lots going around in my head and needed somewhere to dump it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t keep it going. It was too raw and even writing it, I recall hardly being able to see the computer screen through the tears. If anything, I felt the lonely, dark place I was in was being emphasised to me by writing it down. I was combining working shifts in an NHS role along with trying to get my head around some difficult events.

What made everything harder for me personally was the small amount of reading and listening I did do about autism. Everyone seemed to be either loving life or having a really shit time and there was no happy medium. I didn’t know where I fit in and I was struggling to find my way.

The five years that followed, Joseph and I experienced many situations that made me feel stronger. I wanted to be able to talk freely about what I felt at the time of Joseph’s diagnosis, some of our experiences and where we are now. I wanted other people to know that it’s absolutely fine to have different emotions to someone else.

We are all different after all.

From here to now

I didn’t have an agenda when I started writing, just that I wanted to explain things from the beginning. The first time I published a piece on my own Facebook page, some of my friends probably didn’t even know I had an autistic son as I had never had the confidence to share that side of our lives. That’s changed for the better now and I want anyone and everyone to see our highs as well as our lows.

When I first heard about the Bloody Awesome Parents awards, which was set up specifically for people blogging about special educational needs and disabilities, I thought it was a brilliant way to showcase people’s journeys (and talents) in a very neglected area. Never did I think my own little amateur offering would stand a chance of winning and I was even nervous just asking people to vote.

To say I was shocked to win the Newcomer Award in 2017 was an understatement.

But the problem with something like that, it leaves you wanting more so when the nomination process started for the 2018 awards, it was inevitable that I would want a slice of it. I’d joked the previous year that if there was a category for most amount of swear words in one blog, then I’d be an outright winner. Unfortunately, for some reason the organisers didn’t go through with that one, so I focused my efforts on Most Entertaining.

An amazing night

The awards night itself is a wonderful way to recognise all finalists and an opportunity to meet those who have become your blogging family. I’m not going to mention the meal, some free booze and this year the chance to drool over the one and only Gethin Jones, because who’s interested in that stuff, eh?

Despite having all of the confidence in the world when you’re sat clicking away on the keyboard, for me, the social side of the night sends my stomach into a spin. Worried about what I’ll wear, what I will say to the people I have only spoken to online, dragging a handful of friends to an event hopefully to see me win and then worrying how they will feel if I don’t.

I needn’t have worried as everyone was welcoming, nobody laughed at what I wore, nobody took the piss the next morning, laughing about my dancing or drinking antics (yes really!) and…

Oh yes…I WON!

Counting what really matters

But that win for me is not testament to what I write, it’s a testimony to the people that follow, read and engage with me. There are many blogs out there now, all telling their own unique story. All I’ve done is told mine. No positive spins, no hamming up the low days and no injection of swear words for entertainment value only. I’ve just tried to be me and tell you how I feel and how our lives are. If people can resonate with that and choose to carry on following, that’s fine. If not – well, so be it.

For anyone who may be thinking of dabbling in this, just go for it. I’m sure if you do carry out your research, you might have a more structured professional set up than what I have, but my way shows that there is an alternative path.

For me, success is not measured by how many followers you have or how many awards you have accumulated. It’s about those comments that people make from time to time when they contact you or have taken time out to submit a nomination.

‘Truly inspirational, honest and hilariously funny posts. Tina always sees the light at the end of the tunnel and shares experiences that others would prefer to keep quiet about. Tina will help others see our lives don’t need to be perfect to be great!’

According to the Collins Dictionary, the British definition of multi is more than one.

So, I will sign this post off with the modesty it deserves.

Tina Medlock
Creator of Joseph and his Amazing Spectrum Coat blog
Multi-award winner:
2017 BAPS SEND Blog Award – Newcomer
2018 BAPS SEND Blog Award – Most Entertaining

*God knows what I’ll be going for next year but if I don’t get a third, I will go absolutely ape**** 😉

You can check out more of Tina’s honest and hilarious writing – with an extra dash of swearing – on her blog.