It’s bliss at my house. I am home alone. The Grenade and The Menace are back at school. Hagar is back at work. For me, I have a year of endless unknown opportunity ahead of me. I have no work contracts lined up; it’s just me, my blog, my book, my You Tube channel and you, the reader. I watched Daybreak on ITV, this morning and heard that the chancellor is talking about a further £25 billion in austerity cuts. The wind is raging and the rivers are flooding and there is a foreboding sense that the general public are now on their own to weather the storms of the future. At least, we all know where we stand. It’s time to protect our own interests. I recognised that 4 years ago when the blizzards cut off the supply chain and the supermarkets emptied. It was why I moved to the country and rented a rambling, old house, with minimal heating but instead log fires. Watch it here – on AMMMTV
For me, 2014 is the year of the blog. Blogging has come on so far in the three years since I began. It’s creating so many opportunities for individuals who want to own their destiny. I have watched the independent, online blogging community grow and strengthen year by year. Business is finally cottoning on to the power of owning your own media and being your own journalist. The digital age means that we don’t have to court those in the press to write our words we can be our own press. We can make things happen for ourselves.
There is the culture in the military, where the spouse is seen as an extension of the serving spouse.
It can be a bitchy place. Any draconian system dominated by outdated traditions and hierarchy is bound to create resentment. The military breeds resentment. I won’t bore you with the detail but if you want to see it live then read this Facebook thread about the above photo. Hagar’s old job was one that meant my blogging made everyone very uncomfortable, although they had no choice because despite that fact that Hagar was in the military – I AM NOT IN THE MILITARY and would never have joined up. It’s just not my bag. This drove them crazy and made them jump up and down like ‘Rumpelstiltskin’. Those days are now past and Hagar and I are now happily separated so I can be an ‘independent writer and blogger’ and he can be who he is.
And so 2014 is the year of the blog. I began blogging because I wanted to be able to write with complete freedom, and although I have had traditional publishing contracts, they often sub your writing. Sometimes they don’t improve your content. This has an impact on my reputation; but, at the same time, takes away control from me, the writer. As part of the journey, it became, also, about brand, and where could I take blog with a branding and marketing head on.
Working closely with my best friend, Fiona MacDuff at Kifi Creative the blog brand identity was born and so we have a logo with which to develop products. The question of today is can you create a brand first and then sell product second?
The blog, then lead to me self publish the book: A Modern Military Mother – Tales from the Domestic Frontline by Clare Macnaughton on Kindle, Paperback and audio. I have shifted approximately 800 copies since I published in February 2013. I know that many of you have read the book and are keen for me to write the next one, but unless I have dramatically increased the audience, I am unable to invest in the emotionally draining energy that the book will undoubtedly cause, until I am confident there is a readership. SO my lovely readers, if you love the book and you want more then please help me by encouraging your friends to buy, read and review the book. The independent, self-published, female author relies heavily on the support and word-of-mouth of her readers. The bourgeois world of publishing is so misogynist they don’t want a strong, unapologetic female voice unless they can stereotype you first.
I have had some very welcome support from the Women’s Institute. I auditioned for a speaker slot to be a speaker at their weekly meetings and the ladies loved it. I have six Women’s Institute speaker slots booked over the next year. These women have seen it all and what’s interesting to me is that they can’t believe that in some ways women haven’t moved on as far as they would have hoped. Of course, the military exacerbates the situation, especially with a backdrop of conflict to make the circumstances even tougher so I know that there are many women who have more freedom and genuine financial independence than me.
And so with growing the audience in mind I want to take the book one step further and develop it for the stage. I have not written a stage play and so I am looking for a stage writer to help me. I have already found a theatre that is willing to host the play in September 2014. If you are a stage-writer and you are interested in developing this project with me, then please email me at: email@example.com
In the meantime, whilst I develop the above, this year is about managing my life more productively and with greater efficiency and using the business acumen that the last 20 years of work experience have given me. It’s about time, ‘I ate what I cooked’ by this I mean that I should implement the business practices that I do when I am a consultant working under contract. I am hiring myself, to work for myself to deliver myself some better business. And so it’s back to the database building for me. It’s time to get my blog in order.
How about you? What are your plans for 2014? Do you look upon the year with renewed vigour and optimism?