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You are here: Jake's Bones > My favourite way to spend a sunny day outside...
This week's blog post is a bit different. There are hardly any blogging competitions for child or young adult bloggers, so when the MAD awards added a category, I was quite excited. Then I read the rules, which say bloggers are judged on one post only, and it has to begin with the words "My FAVOURITE way to spend a sunny day outside is...". So here is my entry.
My FAVOURITE way to spend a sunny day outside is to sit down and imagine a world in which all bloggers are taken seriously, regardlessly of their age, a world where child bloggers are not given simplistic tasks in a single blog post to complete in order to win a prize.
Wait, I've done that wrong, haven't I ? That's not what's expected of me. I'll have another go....
Right, so, my FAVOURITE way to spend a sunny day outside is…....... well If you have have been following my blog for the last five years, then you will know I spend my days exploring woods, finding animal skeletons, finding out the history of farmhouses that are centuries old, setting up camera traps for pine martens, exploring deserted castles, having massive military planes fly right overhead, finding our what rare birds live on the moors, and sometimes just sitting in a wood at dawn and seeing what turns up.
But you know all that because I've written over 300 blog posts telling you what I have been doing, not just one single post because a competition told me to. Blogging is about judging any single post. It's about a whole journey, a whole story. You just can't judge a blog on one post alone.
Blogging is also about writing about what interests you, what fascinates you, what you care about and what you want to find out more about. What I blog about is pretty much how I spend my time outside. I choose what to do, and what write about what interests me. When you start telling bloggers what their approved blog posts should be about, and what words they should be using, then you don't understand what blogging is about.
I've been a bone collector for six years. No-one told me to start doing it. I do it because I enjoy it. After a year I started blogging about it, and I've written at least one post every week since then. I blog because I enjoy it. I blog about things I enjoy. No-one tells me what to blog about. I just do it.
And the things I enjoy aren't the things that adults approve of either. I explore dangerous places, like old watermills which I needed a rope to stop myself falling off a cliff, or old world war II bunkers, or isolated mountains, or picking up roadkill, or studying how animals decompose, or navigating down mountainsides along streams, or the mating habits of red deer, or picking up poo, or regurgitated stomach contents, or even finding old unexploded bombs. None of these things exist on a nice cosy list of "things that adults approve of children doing".
And I don't just do it on "sunny days" either. I'm outside in wind, rain, hail, and snow.
And if children only blogged about subjects that adults thought up, starting each post with words that adults had approved, then the blogging world would be a duller place, with no amazing blogs about crap school dinners, or the UK's third biggest political party politics, or world football or birdwatching.
And even though bone collecting wouldn't be on the 'approved list', it still seems to have worked out okay for me. In the five years I've been blogging I've been in the newspapers, on TV, back in the newspapers, back on TV again, and my blog has been turned into a book. So I must be doing something right.
So when I'm told that to prove I'm a good blogger in a blogging competition I have to write a nice, approved post about a nice approved topic, then it makes me think the judges don't really understand blogging and they certainly don't understand me.
There are loads of brilliant child bloggers out there, writing what they want, when they want, how they want. They are not waiting to be told how to begin a blog post. They don't want to write a nice, approved post to get a pat on the head from a competition judge.
So next year, remember: child bloggers aren't a whole different species. We don't need different rules. Judge us in the same way as you judge adult bloggers.
It's too late to change the rules for this years competition, but I wanted you to know you're doing this wrong. Change them for next year. And I've written this as a competition entry not because I think I'm going to win, but because at least then you have to read it, and hopefully understand my point.