If you haven’t heard of Absolutely Prabulous, then quite frankly, you must be living in a cave. Especially this last few weeks. She’s a die hard linker at the #coolmumclub, and I’m incredibly proud to call the MAD and BiB double bubble finalist one of our own.
Prabs has the ability to make you laugh, cry, nod along, and every now and then whip up a shit storm. THAT is why she is so damn successful. Regularly found on Twitter hanging out with the cool kids, she is one to watch out for in the blogging hall of fame.
Hello, I’m Prabs, a former die-hard city chick from London and Paris and now confirmed beach lover, having moved from the UK to the sun-drenched island of Malta ten years ago. Ten! I’m sometimes hard pushed to explain it myself to be honest.
But much as this dusty little rock can give you cabin fever and there are things I do miss about the UK, it’s a good life, especially with three young (ish) kids, that would be hard to give up. Here’s a badly photoshopped version of why!
Yes, the way they drive makes me want to stick forks in my eyes and there are not so good sides to living here which I caused controversy writing about, but it’s not a bad place to live!.
So how did Absolutely Prabulous come about? Well, in January 2010, one of my sisters said “Why don’t you start a blog?”. I was recovering from my third c-section, had no family network in Malta and couldn’t remember what sleep felt like. In my mind I thought I’ve got one kid at school, another occasionally at daycare and a newborn clamped to my breast. I’ve no idea how to manage the kids, the house, the everything and she’s suggesting I start a blog?! And what the hell’s a blog anyway and more importantly will it do my laundry?
Out loud I said “Okay then, that sounds great”.
Then four years went by. What can I say? I was managing the kids, the house, the everything and carefully avoiding laundry. Nevertheless, in that time I found myself doing more Facebook posts, documenting my epic parenting and housewife blunders in train wreck detail. Many status posts later, I’d been a SAHM for nine years and it was time to DO something again. I’d become bored of using my brain purely to figure out where on earth I’d put my keys and frustrated only using my language degree to shriek “What do you mean you can only find one shoe?!” 27 times a day.
I thought about my sister’s suggestion and how people kept saying my life sounded like a sitcom and how I ought to start a blog. Or as Hubster put it: “You’re extremely opinionated so you’d make a good blogger.” Back. Handed. Compliment. Silly. Sod. After enormous amounts of faffing (mainly because I was trying to figure out if a blog really could do the laundry and clean my windows) that was legendary even by my own standards (Mum Muddling Through can confirm that my procrastination is legendary), I put brain and language to more constructive use and eventually did just that. I started a blog about the unpolished version of parenting and womanhood, to reassure mothers that they’re doing a great job compared to me you could say! In fact I’m so far from the polished version, a newspaper article was written about me, ahem. 🙂 Seriously though, I found a huge part of me again that had somehow got lost along the way with all the nappy changing, school lunches and maths homework.
The response to the blog’s launch blew my flip flops off. It was the good old days when Faceberk (nope that’s not a spelling mistake) actually showed blog posts in newsfeeds before Zuckerberg and co went all ‘algorithm/make you pay for post-reach’ crazy. People were reading, commenting, sharing and then some. They were all over the world! And I was surprised and delighted to find that it wasn’t just mums. Dads, Hubster’s business network, people without kids, they were/are following the blog too. Later on, there were fab moments such as going viral, getting on to the Huff, seeing myself on various Favourite Blogger lists and recent nominations for the forthcoming blog awards. (Re the latter, I’m sure I don’t have a hope in hell of getting onto any of the shortlists unless that actually means they’re compiling a list of short people, in which case I’m eminently award-worthy.) To my genuine amazement the blog is doing well, moving in the right direction with good engagement and respectable stats. Baffling really. Go figure.
Baffling? Yes, this is where any blog pride or horn tooting ends. Why? Because frankly, it is an absolute miracle that I even have readers, a Tots ranking, a Klout score, daily site traffic, followers and all that jazz. You’re about to find out why.
Disclaimer: the following is not intended to criticise anyone in the same boat or imply that other bloggers in this situation are inept. It is purely a reflection on my own personal blog journey and perceived failings!
You see, I bumbled along for the first 18 months (cringe), avoiding Twitter like it was the Black Plague, actually thinking all one needed to achieve blog success was to stick one’s posts on Facebook – I mean Faceberk – and let shares do the job of spreading the word. Good. Grief. I was like the bloggerville idiot. I dared not comment on other blogs for fear of being seen as an unworthy wannabe, I wasted time struggling with plugins and fidgeting with widget-ing (just laugh at my bad joke and make an old lady happy please) and wondered who I could perform sexual favours for at Google to grow my site traffic (ok even I’m not laughing at that last one as I just set feminism back a few decades there). Jokes aside, I thought I was doing well just knowing the term ‘traffic’, vaguely recognising the concept of keywords and the phrase SEO! Silly Billy Prabulous. I had no clue what a linky was, not the faintest idea of subscriber lists, the huge importance of outbound links…the list just goes on.
And did I blog ‘enough’? Once a week IF that. More like once a month for a while!
Slowly, I tried to wisen up. My brother gave me the gift of photoshop and I haven’t looked back! I looked at Twitter again and got addicted. Thanks to Rodders of Modern Dad Pages who invited me to join the (now defunct) WineandBoobs, I lost my linky virginity; I actually started ‘meeting’ other bloggers and a whole other audience to my blog subsequently opened up. Then through the course of Twitter chats with my new blogging friends including Cuddle Fairy, Domesticated Momster etc, I learned there’s something called Klout (which to this day confuses the hell out of me and still sounds like a sexually transmitted disease if I’m honest).
The cluelessness continued though. I didn’t know about tweeting posts to the likes of Mumsnet (still never remember!), I don’t manage to join half the linkies I like, days go by without me Instagramming, I’ve only just discovered Stumbleupon and am bamboozled and Google Plus has the same effect on me as the Maltese driving mentioned above. Frankly, my blogging ‘career’ reads like a How-to-Be-a-Dumb-Blogger guide, with enough ‘Heavens to Betsy, she didn’t!’ moments to make one’s eyes water. Thank you to Mess, Stress & Fancy Dress for introducing me to the Betsy phrase.
Meanwhile with jaw drop awe and amazement, I’ve watched bloggers such as Right Royal Mother, Life with Baby Kicks, our very own Mum Muddling Through and the now legendary Brummy Mummy of 2 arrive on the blog scene way after me, totally clued up and smashing it with their social media presence, overall blog savvy and general confidence. Everyone seemed to know about sponsored posts, broken links, Facebook blogger forums, domain authority, the no follow vs follow links conundrum (talking of which please show me the way to the nearest cliff) etc.
I am getting my act together and am more organised than I was a year ago; earlier this year I launched the #OopsFiles, a series in which guest bloggers share their embarrassing and hilarious Oops moments. I’ve finally started contributing to #MySundayPhoto, write more posts in general and have two other features starting soon.
But there’s a price… My house is neglected to the point where it’s about to grow its own legs and walk off it’s just so disgusting. I may have ‘found myself again’ but my kids don’t get the best of me, I feel like I spend my entire week blogging and I’m up til stupid o’clock with only a fraction of the output of other bloggers, to show for it.
So am I where I want to be yet? No. I’m not at crazy traffic numbers level or making a proper living out of it yet; I have stats I can be proud of but we’re not at crazy level. However, despite this apparent speed restriction on the tracks and occasional signal failures, I do have faith that the train will eventually pull into the station. (I’ve NO idea what that allegory is supposed to mean but it sounded good.)
And whilst I wait for the crazy traffic/income, there is plenty of wonderful:
Relationships I’ve formed with bloggers who I now count as friends: Life with Baby Kicks, Life Love and Dirty Dishes and Motherhood the Real Deal; and two chicks who make me WET myself laughing, Pink Pear Bear and This Mum’s Life. Amazing writers I’ve discovered, Twitter belly laughs I’ve had, private messages from followers about posts that have helped them, meeting total strangers out and about in Malta who are following the blog… It’s all been (and continues to be) a wonderful journey that I could never have predicted. In fact, as I say in How to Tell If You’re Officially a Blog Geek, it’s hard to tell where the blogger Absolutely Prabulous ends and the person Prabs begins and vice versa.
And you know what? That’s not a bad problem to have….
Thanks to MMT for letting me waffle on and on. You can all wake up now x