New Year, New Less Branded Me

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Oh my blog, my sweet beautiful blog.

If our relationship had a physical form, you would be a well meaning girl and I would be the sexy bad boy who keeps jerking you around. I always SAY I’m going to call, I always SAY I can change, I always SAY I’ll keep a consistent blogging pattern. But what do I do? I let you down. Worst – I let myself down*.

*Okay, maybe not myself, because not writing a blog usually means I’m on Tumblr, obsessing over the Michonne and Rick Grimes ship, and I love shipping. I really do.

But now that’s it’s 2016, I’ve decided to be honest with you blog. No more Mr.Cool-Aloof-Guy. Because the truth is, I our whole relationship started on the wrong foot. I didn’t start you because I’m a word-smithing-genius who needed a creative outlet. I started you because it seemed like a smart career move. Like it was the right thing to do if I wanted to get into digital media/social media/THE media. In short – it seemed very on brand.

Starting you merely to say I’ve started you was wrong, blog. Sure, we had our good times and sometimes I actually wrote something to be genuinely proud of… but often I just wrote what I thought I should write. Often I tried to sound like other bloggers, such as GirlLostintheCity or SuperlativelyRude – who are great, by the way, but they’re not me.

However, blog, I’m here yet again with a declaration of change.

I’m different now. I don’t try to guess at what I should be doing, but instead know what I want to be doing. I have projects. Goals. BIG CREATIVE DREAMS! Things that now inspire me because I find them inspiring, not because I’m trying to jump onto a hashtag on Twitter. You and me, blog, we can do something special. Create a showcase of the real Heather Shaw, without any of this futile imagining of what my brand should be.

Of course, we’ll have our challenges. Some of what appears on here might be a little messy. It could be 1,000 words or 100. It could be a picture, a podcast, or even a dick pic – JOKE! Obviously, a dick pic comes under the picture heading. But it’ll all be a reflection of me. Hopefully a lot of me. Seriously, I’ll update you more.

And who knows… maybe one day, in a future where Boris Johnson rules us with an iron fist, we’ll be able to look at each other and say: “finally, all our web traffic doesn’t come from those man porn, dick pic blogs”.

Let’s dream big, blog. You and me.

I try too hard

Me wearing a pineapple top hairstyle.

A cool thing about my new job is that I get to write things. I like writing. Writing is really cool and gives my introverted self a chance to go – OH HEY! LOOK AT THIS! AREN’T I SUBTLY HILARIOUS!

That’s what you’re all thinking, right? That I’m hilarious? I’m going to assume yes because, and here’s the best thing of it all, I’m the writer and you’re the reader. Silly reader, you can’t reach into the screen and write a miss massive ‘NO, FUCK OFF’ into the middle of this. Not yet anyway.

*Gives a nervous side eye to Windows 10*

However, part of writing for a living is that you also get edited for a living. Which means wiser people come in and point out what could be done better. No surprise, my grammar usually comes up. My grammar is, by my own admission, pretty shit and most of my professional life involves me trying to hide this. But hey, it’s not my fault that up until college my teachers taught me that you only use a comma when you take a breath*.

*Note, this is not grammar, this is breathing.

Another useful thing about editors is that they tell you when you’re trying TOO DAMN HARD. Again, I’ll hold my hand up and admit to this. I’m often guilty of struggling how to convey my love of something, so therefore compensate by writing utter fangirl nonsense. Such as – Oh it’s the best, the best thing ever. Can you tell I like it CAUSE I JUST KEEP BLABBING ON ABOUT IT!

My editor recently told me that nothing makes people want to dislike something more than someone telling them to like it. People are bratty like that. We all like to make our own minds up and for that we need to REASON not just hear gushing praise.

At one point in my internet career, I tried to create a book reviewing blog. I think I managed two posts before I gave up – why? Because everything I was writing sounded so fake. Like I was being paid to get people to like it – and that I also sucked at this job. I couldn’t understand why my writing sounded so atrocious  but now I do. It’s cause I was trying too hard. I spent too much time saying that I liked it, rather than trying to pin point what about the book made me like it.

I think science calls this ‘cause and effect’. Or is that affect? Jesus, grammar is hard.

Anyway, I now believe that if you really love something it will show. Also, that editors are great. All hail those who check for comma errors!

All or Nothing: How I Chose Life Over My Mother

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I recently wrote an article for Femsplain (a bloody amazing feminist platform) about my relationship with my Mum. Its a pretty personal piece and I feel very lucky that its able to feature on a website that I have such respect for. For the full piece, just click the link below.

Having a bad childhood can be really annoying sometimes. Even in adulthood it likes to creep in and trip you up.

The worst time is Christmas, when you’re forced to make happy festive exchanges silent by answering their unassuming questions.

“What are your plans this year?”

“How does your family celebrate?”

“When are you heading home?”

etc…

It’s in situations like these when I like to detonate the old PHB. If you don’t know what this is, that’s because I invented it. It means Personal History Bomb. An explosive word vomit that gives the key details of my early years — abandonment, estrangement, mild-poverty — in one easy to swallow monologue.

For you, the reader, I’ll try and recreate my PHB digitally…

Read full story here