Tag Archive | Culture

The Day The Phoenix Rises 

This poem draws on the stories of my ancestors who told me about the importance of the phoenix in guarding the laws of Scotland and Ireland and the belief that our countries will finally be free of British rule on the day the phoenix rises. It is for that reason I have given it the title The Day The Phoenix Rises. I hope you enjoy the read. 
The Day The Phoenix Rises

Outsiders

we were scorned on arrival 

in a cold uncaring place 

the locals claimed we were not the same as them 

using lsnguage and religion as excuses to label us 

boasting of their achievements

as part of an empire

they were unaware their own culture was scorned 

Scots or Irish a Celt can never be 

reborn as a Brit

when they were told this 

the new order got angry 

they were beyond unhappy

when the Irish community formed a football club 

which would be open to those of  all faiths and none 

when trophies were won we were feared and hated 

the angry brigade felt threatened 

that their fragile identity had been questioned 

there were suggestions we should go home 

as those with blood on their hands

conveniently forgot  it was they 

who did the clearing 

which left us dispossessed 

the victims of cultural genocide

in the Celtic heartlands from which I am descended 

 I’ve always my blood is the blood of twin tribes 

both of which were marginalised 

the Irish  and the Islanders share 

a history of oppression

with stolen lands taken from the people 

and given to those who would obey colonial orders

without questioning why 

in Culloden and Atherny 

the pain lives on  in the lyrics of our songs

and the hearts of those who know 

the history the oppressers tried to ban 

along with our culture and traditions 

that however was a big mistake to make

in their determination to break us 

they inspired a spirit of resistance

they will not quell 

hell will freeze over before we ever accept 

the label outsiders 

It is not who we are nor will it ever be 

our freedom will come on the day the phoenix rises 

to take us home from the ashes of a ruined estate 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

A Treasure Trove Of Memories In A Room Full Of Friends As We Came To One Last Carnival And Said Farewell To Rio 

Last night was an emotional one for the Scottish poetry community as it signalled the end of the cultural institution that is , was and ever shall be Last Monday at Rio after 10 amazing years in the heart of the both the west end and the Glasgow spoken word scene.  

 
Picture (1) The main man and host of this event Robin Cairns kicks off the final night of his reign at this cracking wee venue by taking us down memory lane as he performed the poem that opened the very first night at Rio and we meet the school teacher called Old Lochgelly. 

Picture (2) Peter Russell takes his turn at the mic 

Picture (3) Shows A R Crow and Shannon McGregor relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere of the night 

Picture (4) Sees Jim Monaghan share his thoughts on Rio and why it will always have a special place in his heart. It is the mark of a man of principal that Jim would sooner speak with integrity on the part that Rio has played on his spoken word journey than perform on such an important occasion. 

Picture (5) Is of a stalwart of this event and many others over the years. A man who has entertained us in his boxer shorts and worn his party candidate rosette on stage and had his hand up so many puppets that he could were he not so principled get a job as a Tory Chief Whip. I refer of course to the one and only Chris Young. 

Picture (6) Shows Shannon McGregor taking her turn to entertain the company .

Picture (7) It was an emotional night for Stephen Watt who regarded Rio as his poetry home and has done since making his performance debut on this stage in 2010. Over the years since first meeting him in this cracking wee cafe I have come to respect Stephen as a poet and even more so as a man and have valued his friendship support and advice. 

Picture (8) Has our very own Falkirk bairn Janet Crawford at the mic. In her introduction last night Janet informed us that it was Stephen Watt who encouraged her to go west with her poetry and I for one am very glad he did. 

Picture (9)  Shows a poet whom you can always rely on to raise the bar, the brilliant Katharine MacFarlane who went for a poem on sex and brought us all in to a fit of the giggles.  

Picture (10) Shows the man whose had more headline slots at Rio than anyone else the man who Robin described as the best poet in Scotland today the amazing poetic tour de force that is Kevin Cadwallender. 

Picture (11) Sometimes in life it’s the small things that make us happy and that’s certainly the case in the poetry world when Sam Small performs his work. 

Picture (12) As reached the penultimate open mic slot it was time for A R Crow to share their thoughts on what happens when Scots get a glimpse of the sunshine with their hilarious poem Taps Aff. 

Picture (13) Kirsty Nicolson makes history as the last open mic poet ever to grace the stage at Cafe Rio with one of my favourite ever poems Being From Lewis Is on the stereotypical images people have on the island where she was raised and her family roots are planted.

Picture (14) Our last ever headliner who took not only to the end of the night but to the end of an era was the excellent Hamish MacDonald. A consummate performer Hamish’s poem Ma Bit is an outstanding example of what can happen when people become too territorial and attempt to exclude others from what they believe to be ‘their’ communities.

And so it was over. 10 years of not only of quality spoken word but a valuable part of Glasgow’s cultural and social history. During a decade in which Glasgow has undergone many changes we have heard 1,000 voices speak their truths on a wide variety of topics and listened to everyone who shared them.  In doing so we have created a treasure trove of memories and we’ve done it in a room full of friends. I can think of no better legacy than that. 

Picture (15 ) Our host and compere for the last 10 years.

Thanks Robin. 

See you somewhere else. 
Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 

When Women Are Visible In All Shapes And Sizes It Really Is Something To Celebrate 

At the beginning of the month  I had the privilege to be part of the Visible Women festival a two day which celebrated who and what women are through the context of art, workshops, and discussion. 

Organised by the human dynamo that is Keira McLean, visible women had an action packed programme of theatre and discussion including the premiere of a one woman show by the hottest property  on the Scottish spoken word scene Victoria McNulty, the controversially acclaimed show Gaslight by Darren Loki McGarvey, and workshops on feminist music , comedy and film festivals. 

As a trans woman I was delighted to asked to submit a poem to this festival but me being me I e-mailed three to Keira and let her decide which one she wanted to include. The poem she selected was Does My Lipstick Scare You ? which I wrote for World Transgender Remembrance Day in 2014. On chatting with Keira she told me that she made her choice due to the fact it was the best fit for the event as it challenged those in attendance to redefine their notions and images of women and of womanhood. Looking back I can quite clearly see why she made this poem her choice and I believe that I would have made the same decision.  If you look at some of the artwork featured in the exhibition you’ll see why. 

Picture (1) Women And Words asks a fundamental question on the power dynamics in male- female relationships 

Picture (2) This picture uses a word which is usually used to describe power and authority that an individual or organusation may hold over us in certain situations. Don’t get me wrong the word obey is fine when we use it in it’s proper context like for example reminding children to obey our parents or school teachers, or if we are members of a group, or a club we promise to obey the rules of that club or group. Unfortunately however,when it comes to women the word obey has very negative connotations. In our case it is usually inferred or even stated that we should obey the men in our lives no matter in what capacity. Yes even in 21st Century Scotland/UK this attitude still prevails albeit to a lesser extent than was once the case,but it is still very much out there.

 To me the idea that I should be considered of secondary importance and therefore subservient  to male family members, work colleges , or lovers, just because I’m female is fundamentally flawed but attitudinal barriers are often the hardest kind to break down and we need to remember that it is only  30 years ago that this word was included in every wedding ceremony in the country as part of the bride’s promise to her husband.  Yes I know it says in the Bible that wives should to their husbands but it also says that nobody should eat pork and people can sleep with family members, and I don’t either of these argument work well in today’s consumer based society .

Picture (3) Words,can be used as weapons and they very often are as capitalism promotes inequality between the sexes as the collection captured, in this photograph amply demonstrates.

Picture (4) Gives you a message the established order don’t want you to know and that message is freedom is power. It also asks the most fundamental of questions which is how can you have no home? For women however, this question still needs to be addressed as  more women than men will be homeless due to changes in their domestic circumstances so though freedom may very well be power for men locally, nationally, and globally this doesn’t apply to women who often find themselves out in the cold due to changes in living arrangements.  

Picture (5) If every picture tells a story then the images on this wall speak of judgement with slogans like to cover up and shut up and not fit to be a mother informing us of the standards men or the more neanthadal among that species think women should aspire to.  Now I hate to shatter the illusions of these delicate little creatures but maybe they have their centuries confused. For the avoidance of doubt  this is the 21st and it’s time they stopped living in the 12th

. Picture (6 ) I find this image both challenging and powerful and I’m sure many people will have their own personal take on it.  As for me, my interpretation of the phrase walk with me is that men need to spend a day walking in our shoes to understand the prejudice and discrimination, we still face in Scottish/ British and Global society even in these so-called liberal and enlightened times.  

Picture (7) This image tackles the thorny image of stereotypes. If you look closely you will see a picture of a women’s crossed legs. This in my portrays the idea of woman as seducer, and temptress. It is if you like the typical male view what femininity is about though it doesn’t constitute an image of any women I know.  Indeed if truth be told it provides only one representation of what may or may not be at any given time and as such should not be given a greater prominence than it deserves.  

In the same photograph you can also see the word hysterical. This is a word, which is only ever attributed to women and the implication behind it is that unlike men who are always perfectly balanced, women are not in control of our emotions are liable to throw a temper tantrum if we are not given our own way.  This sexist use of language gives the misleading impression that men are more rational than women and is often used to discriminate against us.

Picture (8) If visible women means making women proud of who we are   then this picture of my friend and fellow poet Carla Woodburn which shows her looking happy, confident, and relaxed  is the perfect picture to include in this post. Carla is a very visible woman in the Glasgow poetry scene and has recently set up her own spoken word night Tell It Slant  at The Project Cafe on the last Friday of the month and with her friendly but professional attitude and her warm and welcoming personality I am sure it will be a fantastic event which will become a valuable part of our spoken word scene in the months and years to come.  

Picture (9) Shows my poem Does My Lipstick Scare You? Hanging on display in the exhibition. Though the text is not clearly visible in this photograph you can quite clearly see that it is a poem in the way it is laid out and I was proud to have it featured at an event which looked at who women are and how we are represented in every way imaginable. On chatting to others who attended the festival , I found that many had viewed my poem and were very complimentary about it saying that it challenged heteronorative norms as to who and what women and told the story of a very visible trans woman who wasn’t afraid to be herself 

Naturally I was delighted to receive such positive feedback on my  work particularly on a poem which I believe challenges everyone but especially alpha males to recognise that trans woman are women and will not be bullied by anyone Looking back at the festival I can honestly say I completely understand why Keira selected this poem to represent my work and trans women more generally as it challenges the notion of patriarchy and illustrates that women come in all types , shapes and sizes and when we can visibly embrace the fact and enjoy being ourselves then  it really is something to celebrate.  

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 

The Global Events Of The Last 12 Months Have Delivered A Cultural Harvest

Hey Readers

As I reflect on the year which will shortly pass in to the history books I do so by saying that for me its been a pretty mixed bag.

Politically, 2016 hasn’t been the most enjoyable of years with Brexit Allepo , and the Trump victory in the U S presidential election being enough to make me weep tears of rage at the thoughtless actions of certain misguided human beings who seem not to care about the long term implications for our planet. There was however just one ray of light and that came with a third successive victory for the SNP at the Scottish parliamentary election. Thank God Scotland held our nerve and voted for a party which is continually told by Westminster minded Scots in UK parties to perform miracles on a shoestring and then manages to infuriate them by at least to some extent actually doing so.

Anyway, that’s the political section over, I now move on to culture and in particular spoken word. This started off on a disappointing when after 25 years Words and Music lost our home at the venue formerly known as Sammy Dow’s. This would have been sore under any circumstances but the fact that I wasn’t informed about it until the night before the February event was due to take place and this gave me less than 24 hours to make phonecalls and put the word out on social media and no one had the decency to inform me that the venue no longer opened on Monday’s left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Naturally this came as a body blow and people wondered if the event would continue but though it was known by the name of its former home the proper title of the event is Southside Words And Music so I had every intention of continuing the night as soon as I could find a new venue. Fortunately after a bit of searching, I found a place in May and Words And Music had a new home at the Pollok ex-servicemen’s club which is known because of its military past by the nickname the Tin Hut Though we had to move the night from a Monday to a Tuesday we are now firmly established in a brilliant wee venue which welcomed us with open arms and are actually glad we’ve made a home there. (See picture of me and the founding mother of Words And Music Pamela Duncan below)

image

So if getting Words and Music sorted was very important to me and it was then devoting time to my writing, be it blogging or poetry was also a priority and believe me I put the shift in like never before. I think I have written some of my best poems in the last 12 months and I am particularly proud of the following which I list in alphabetical order and not in order of preference .It I think fair to say that 16 Cinderella’s, Advice To My Younger Self On Arriving Over The Rainbow, Dear United Kingdom, Dress Sense,Driving Instructor, Glasgow Girl, Prescription For Happiness, Self Made Woman, Through The Hoops, True Colours, Two Hours, and Vote Of Thanks To Martian Teansvestite, all come from a very personal place and set out signposts on a road map to my life.

With regards to my blog I made what I think was a very wise decision early in the year and that was to change the focus from topical to personal . By doing this I reduced the political input to my blog and made it more about me so that on the occasions I do post political content my readers will know more about where those views come from and the circumstances that shaped them. Whilst I acknowledge this will result in my stats falling a bit from the peaks of the last two years it should be said that this is a long term strategy and not a short term fix and the fact I was listed by a prominent UK blogger and as one of bloggers to watch in 2017 indicates to me that my decision however challenging in the short term will have longer term benefits.

Last but not least I focus on my performances and I have to say that 2016 has been an amazing year for me in this respect as I’ve appeared on more billed events than in any year since I started performing in 1993. Amongst many brilliant night it’s difficult to select highlights but if push came to shove I would say that the feminist night at Ivory Black’s in early March, the Women With Fierce Words event at the Scottish Poetry Library, and the Fair Play for Palestine benefit at McChuills, would be top of my list of readings.

So as I say farewell to 2016 I do so by thinking that like any other year it had it’s share of up’s and downs but though the global events which occurred in the last 12 months may not have been to my liking they’ve delivered a cultural harvest which given me hope for the future.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X,

Footnote

Hey Readers

This poem is my reaction to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the Labour Party conference. It was a speech in which Scotland a country in which Labour has to make gains to win a UK general election was virtually ignored getting only one mention in a 40 minute speech. Now as an SNP member that suits me fine because I know you don’t win seats by ignoring target voters.

Whilst I agreed with a reasonable amount of what Mr Corbyn said when addressing more general themes I couldn’t help but think as I caught up with the speech on internet of the old Bananarama song from the 1980’s It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It. You see it’s my view that by ignoring Scotland he is conceding Scotland to the SNP because it may have finally dawned on him that the UK is finally reaching its sell by date despite his earlier comments that not only will there be no second independence referendum but there will be no more devolution either.

Personally I find these comments laughable as shows just how far British Labour will go to preserve an outdated constitutional arrangement which in my opinion has more to do with feudalism than the federalism we were promised by another Labour leader when he vowed to save his united kingdom .Yes he really was that far up his own backside.

Now while Jeremy Corbyn is a much better more principled man than that particular individual will ever be, I can’t help but feel he made a big mistake in not at least giving Scotland a bit more coverage. You see it may send out a message to the people of Scotland but the message it’s sending is more like a distress signal than appeal to be trusted with our votes. It is for this reason that I have written this poem and have given it the title Footnote I hope you enjoy the read.

Footnote

One mention in a 40 minute speech
when it came to local elections
Labour it seems still haven’t got over
what they see as a tartan insurrection
when insurgents claimed what they viewed
as their private property
this is democracy Westminster style
where chameleons smile when they need our votes
then change the colour of their coat
before most have even noticed the difference
they once told us resistance was futile
they were our only hope
now having got the Scotland they want to see
an obedient colony of a multi national PLC
we are dismissed
as no more than a footnote
since rejecting them
so decisively in recent elections
by taking slow and steady steps
Scotland will eventually regain our independence
take our place in the modern world
as a democratic nation
we will create a society worthy of the name
not blaming our neighbours for mistakes we know were ours
using our powers wisely we will build a caring compassionate country
which has no place for ugly politics
where many are left to struggle
whilst the few pool and share the resources between themselves
we will place no part of Scotland on the shelf
out of reach of ambitions and hopes
which should be common currency for all
we will not build walls we prefer to leave that to others
who believe in the narrowness of limits
that’s what defines them as British
It was after all a British Labour Prime Minister
who talked of British jobs for British workers
and another though of a different hue
who referred to strivers and shrikers
it was a former Labour cabinet minister
who called for a ban
on Muslim women wearing the burka
and another who claimed Scotland has no culture
yet was content to feed off our votes
to maintain his lavish lifestyle
pretending to be a socialist for crown and union jackary
well it had to be done to earn his ermine robes
this uniform of rogues
which the Labour Party
keep promising to abolish but never do
is what weds so many to the red white and blue
and the imperialist past of a corporation
which plundered other nations
for their financial gain
now having done the same to us
we are ignored
fed lies and deception
they still can’t get over the tartan insurrection
we are now just a footnote in their speeches
one has to wonder
if recovery is beyond their reach
if they have written us off
knowing that no matter what they say
we are no longer listening
and sooner than they think
the chameleon who continually changes colour
from red, to pink then to lilac then the most conservative shade of blue
before trying to change back to red
will and it has to be said be no more
than a footnote in our history.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Scotland We Need To Talk About Sex And Banish Our Tartan Taboos

Hey Readers.

Last night as I walked home from the cash machine at my local bank I experienced an act of blatant transphobia. I was just yards from my home when a middle aged woman who and let’s be charitable about it and say will never win a beauty contest tried to make herself look big by saying in front of her friends oh there he is and deliberately used my former name before adding oh no he’s Gayle today. I politely but firmly replied that I am Gayle every day before walking on and eventually reaching my flat.

However, instead of reporting this issue or worse still getting involved in a slagging match I have decided to do something constructive with regards to this incident and provide some much needed education on the issues of gender and sexuality.

You see though the woman concerned will dismiss her thoughtless comment as a bit of banter I tend to think it shows alarming gaps in her knowledge on what I consider to be important equality issues. It is this kind of ignorance which leads to fear of anyone considered different and often leads to unfair stereotypes and prejudices which can at worst lead to discrimination and even attacks on women such as myself who are seen as easy and acceptable targets by those sections of society who if I credit them with the ability to read probably look no further than The Daily Mail and other right wing rags to fuel their irrational and ill informed views.

Talking on the subject of difference regular readers of tartantights will know, Friday was bisexual visibility day and I attended the Glasgow bisexual event at which I performed two poems. Whilst this was an excellent night and a good opportunity to mix with others who whether they are out as bisexual or not identify in this way even if only to themselves. There was however one omission to an otherwise fantastic evening namely the fact that those people who identify not as bisexual but as bi gender.

Now before anybody thinks I’m making this up let me assure you there is such a thing and it is recognised medical condition. Just as bisexuality illustrates that people can be potentially attracted, to people of either gender, being bi gender shows that you can ifentify as either gender. Though I will admit to being a non practicing bisexual, I am not in any way bi gender indeed had I been so I would have thanked the woman who insulted me for raising bi gender awareness.

Now some people might ask what is the difference between say transgender or say transvestite, drag queen, bi gender non binary or transsexual. It is a question they are perfectly entitled to ask and I will do my best to answer it as openly and honestly as I can.

Let me start by first of all saying that transgender is an umbrella term which can and does a wide range of conditions on what I would call the trans spectrum. For example a transvestite is someone usually though not exclusively male who enjoys wearing the clothes of the opposite sex. Many transvestites are in long term relationships and most of them are straight males who enjoy exploring their feminine side and becoming female for a few hours a week. By the same token however most teansvestites have no intention of ever living as or having surgery to become a woman. Believe me transvestitism is far more common than many people think, so don’t believe the deliberate and manufactured prejudices that all transvestites are camp and speak with high pitched voices. Many of this group give the outward appearance of being what some people would call traditionally masculine and work in jobs you would equate with that kind of environment.

My next point seems a strange one for me to have to make but strange or not I feel I have to make it nonetheless. It angers me that trans woman like myself are not only wrongly assumed to be transvestites by many members of the public for whom exercising their brain to ask questions rather than assuming things would be a step too far, some people even mistake us for drag queens.

Hilliarious as this may sound to you as readers it’s not quite so funny when you’re at the other end of the joke. Drag Queen’s have little or nothing in common with trans woman though we can sometimes enjoy their humour. There is a clue for those smart enough to pick it up and it comes in the way we dress. You see whilst drag queens do everything they can to be attract attention and be noticed, trans women tend to be a wee bit more conservative in our style of dress preferring to blend in to our local community rather than stand out from it.

The other important difference between the two groups as while I and other trans women live every minute of our lives in our acquired gender, more than a few drag queens have told me quite openly in conversations we’ve had in ladies rooms when we’ve been sorting our make up that they only wear a dress for the money.

This makes any comparison between transsexuals and drag queens to be at best wildly inaccurate and at worst completely false. It is to be honest a comparison made in ignorance by those lacking in awareness of the facts or who deliberately don’t want to learn anything that contradicts their narrow minded prejudices.

Personally I think being a bigot with outdated Victorian prejudices must be hard in the 21st century but it’s amazing how many people are willing to give it a try. Now if you think that people are ignorant on trans awareness you should try them on bi gender issues and they’ll blow your mind. As I said earlier in this post being bi gender is not a figment of the imagination it is a recognised medical condition where someone can waken up in the birth gender say for example male, and feel completely at home in their skin but on another day from the moment they open their eyes they feel 100 percent female and think act and dress in that manner.

This confuses the less intelligent members of our society to the point they are completely clueless and this makes it very difficult for bi gender individuals to live openly for fear of prejudice and even ridicule. In fact I would say we are now at the same stage with bi gender issues as we were with trans issues in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Though, that being said I think we’ll see much faster progress this time as the general population are much more aware of the range of identities on the gender and sexual spectrums than previous generations were back in the day.

That at least should give bi gender and other non binary people hope that understanding of their conditions will improve over time. For now though we have to focus on conquering the ignorance which leads to the prejudice that members of the LGBTIQ community have faced and are still facing as I witnessed for myself last night and the only to end it, is better sex education in schools and in the family.

You know when I was growing up in the 1970’s there were certain subjects that families never talked about and I don’t mean religion and politics. God knows it was growing up in a Rangers supporting Labour voting pro unionist household that made me the Nationalist I am. So I think it’s safe to say they are not the subjects we’ve been avoiding. No it’s the puritanical Protestant Presbyterianism that has stopped us talking about anything to do with sex or anything else which is in any way perceived as different. This attitude made Scotland an under developed country when it came to equality and it’s taken an SNP government to address issues which the Labour Party was always to socially and culturally conservative to even consider tackling as when it came or for that matters comes to sex they weren’t so much Red Clydeside radicals as red faced reactionaries.

This attitude of sexual repression only leads to ignorance and with all the problems that brings it’s a topic we can no longer afford to shy away from. It’s time for Scotland to have that talk no matter how embarrassing it might be for some people who want to spare their blushes. I sum up by using the title of a song from my dancing years by Mel And Kim. The song is let’s talk about sex and believe me Scotland needs to do it and in the name of the more inclusive country we seek to build for all our citizens we need talk about those tartan taboos and banish them to the history books of yesterday’s country.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle XXX

Advice To New Bloggers On Avoiding The Mistakes I Made

Hey Readers

This afternoon I found myself in the unusual position of giving advice to a new blogger. As I did so I reflected on the fact that I wished someone had been able to give me advice when I started on my blogging journey.

Unfortunately, I had nobody to help me in those early days so it really was a case of trial and error and I believe that it’s been the same for many of us if we’re being completely honest with ourselves.
Thinking back I must admit there were a few basic mistakes which with the benefit of hindsight I would never made. Well as I’m sure we are all aware everyone with hindsight has 20/20/vision.

My first mistake is one I’m sure we’ve all made which was to post half hearted content on topics in which I have little or no interest. This is a mistake which is often made by new bloggers who feel pressured in to posting for the sake of it. This is never a good idea and I’m pretty sure readers can tell very quickly if your heart isn’t in a post . The nightmare with this scenario is that new bloggers decide it’s that day they visit your blog and instead of seeing you at your best which they would have done the day before or the day after, they see what they think is an amateur blogger and decide never to come back.

My next mistake was one which is so basic I can’t believe I ever made it. However the fact it is in this post proves I did make it. My error was to post quite a lot of my early posts including some of my best work as pages rather than posts.
This is a mistake because posting an article or in my case a poem in this way means that your content does not show up as a post and therefore has no links at the bottom of the page as to what you have posted before. This means that readers may not revisit your blog due the fact they can’t find links to previous posts. 

My next mistake was to have no photographs in any post until the autumn/winter of 2015. This was three and half years after my first blog post and I have to say this was at least to some extent a confidence issue which was only put right by a patient young blogger with a can do attitude that blogger is Jessica Lauren Hatcher. Looking back I realise I should never have waited so long and there are posts into which I could add pictures retrospectively but I would seek Jessica’s advice before walking that road. 

Another area where I’ve learned over time is how to make the best use of  tagging and categorising. This is where you mention people or topics relevant to the post to make it easier for people to find it and increase the number of post views.  This is, like photography an area of my blog I neglected in the early days of tartan tights. However it is something I’ve put right and I believe it has played a significant part in increasing the my blog traffic over time.  

My last mistake or at least the last one I’m prepared to open up to in this post is over ambition and believe me I was over ambitious in early days of my blog. My worst example of this came in the early part of 2013 when I tried to tackle two posts every Sunday for a couple of months and in a fit of pretentiousness usually reserved for Gordon Brown when making pronouncements on Scotland I called it the Sunday supplement. This to put it mildly wasn’t my brightest moment though I did enjoy the challenge of writing my thoughts on two articles from the Sunday papers each week.

Looking back on it what I should have done was write two separate  posts posting one of them on the Sunday evening and scheduling the other for later in the week.  That it in my opinion would have been a far smarter move and would have given me more post views during this period. 

That said however, everyone makes mistakes especially at the start of a journey. The important thing is to learn from them and move on to be the best you can be and that’s exactly what I’ve done and why I enjoy my blog more than I’ve ever done.

I hope some new bloggers may find this post helpful and avoid making the same mistakes I did.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X