rabbit in the headlights – introvert alert!

lamp
*Sneaks on to blog*

*Looks around furtively*

*Whispers* “Who’s here? Is it just us?.. good… ok… huddle up and we can have a chat.”

See, last week was a bit of a crazy week on this blog. If you’ve read my last post: on being a revolutionary (hahaha to that, I’m mean, I’m just not.) You’ll know that I wrote a post about education called No, Mr Cameron, No. that made, by my (admittedly teeny) standards, a huge splash. It got shared on social media far beyond the realms of anything I’ve ever written before, I was inundated with positive comments and reactions and was contacted by so many people (parents and teachers across the country) to say ‘thank you’ and ‘yes, I feel the same’ and ‘what now?’. I spent hours and hours (across days and days) on social media chatting about the content of the post, what it meant and what could happen next.

And in the space of seven days my blog went from its usual number of weekly views (in the low/mid hundreds) to being viewed ten thousand times. TEN THOUSAND. I mean, how amazing! Ten thousand people reading my words! Ok, they may not have all read the whole article or whatever but still – how exciting! How thrilling! How… how…

… terrifying!

I’m just not used to it, you see. Not remotely. I’m used to this blog generally just being read by a few people. Just my little ‘tribe’ – my collection of like-minded people who have gravitated towards each other the past few years. When I write, I’m really thinking of them. I mean, I know this blog is public so anyone can read it and and I’m glad of that – I like new readers! But the experience last week was kind of like… ok, I’m going to ask you to imagine it:

You’re sitting, relaxed, legs curled up under you, favourite comfy jumper on, chatting to friends. Everyone is on squashy sofas and armchairs, surrounded by cushions and fleecy throws… the room is lit by a few table lamps… there’s a wood burning stove in the corner radiating a gentle warmth. Candles flicker from the side tables sending shadows dancing across your friends faces as you all giggle at a joke or gasp at a revelation. There’s cup of hot tea in your hand and plate of freshly baked biscuits on the coffee table in front of you which you’re all dipping into as you chat. Just a few of you. Dim light. Cosy room.

And then…

WHAM. Someone turns on the overhead light and, oh! Your little selection of armchairs and sofas turns out to be in the middle of an arena. There are microphones above you recording every word you say and transmitting it to thousands of people. And look up, yes, UP – see that enormous screen above you? Wave! Yes that’s you! Ok, let’s have some questions and comments from the audience! Do your best to answer them all!

arena

I mean, don’t get me wrong, last week was AMAZING! I was THRILLED at all the likes and shares and comments and support (I think my husband may have got a bit sick of me showing him my blog stats and saying ‘Guess how many views now?!”– I wasn’t remotely cool about it!). I was genuinely moved by people’s responses (I may even have cried a bit at some of the ones from teachers) and it felt AWESOME to have connected with people like that. It really showed me the power of words and gave me a massive confidence boost.

But each night when I clambered into bed (far later than I intended because I’d got caught up in a chat on Twitter or FB or whatever) my head would be spinning. I felt like I’d been at a busy party in full-on social mode. And honestly, busy parties when I’m required to go into full-on social mode exhaust the crap out of me. (I have been known to go to the loo just to get some peace and quiet in such situations!).

But it’s ok. Because my blog hits have gone back down now. Not back to where they started (yet) but the arena-feeling has gone. And I know, before you say it, ten thousand views isn’t that many anyway, not if you write for a big publication or if your blog has considerably more views than mine. But it’s all relative. When your posts routinely reach maybe a hundred people and overnight, they suddenly reach thousands and thousands, that feels huge. When you write something and share it only once on Facebook and it still ends up in the ‘other people shared this’ scrolling bit, that feels huge. Last week just felt huge.

And I’m one for the quiet life. So lets have little chat. Just us.

Pass the biscuits, would you?

Writing Bubble
And then the fun began...

25 thoughts on “rabbit in the headlights – introvert alert!

  1. Rhyming with Wine

    That is amazing news lovely! You deserve to fill arenas, your writing is outstanding!! And anyway, your old crowd will all still be here to welcome you home (I’ve brought cake), and give you a cuppa and a virtual hug…. before we send you back out into superstardom with your next excellent post! :)

    Congratulations lovely.
    Dawn x

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Ah what a lovely comment Dawn! It is SO good to have my tribe regardless of anything else, in fact that’s one of the reasons I’ve never particularly sought to push my blog out to a wider audience – I have what I need right here. It was a truly amazing week though. xx
      Maddy recently posted…rabbit in the headlights – introvert alert!My Profile

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  2. Kamsin

    I love the way you describe this experience. I find myself longing for lots and lots of pages views but I’m terrified of it too.

    So now you need to regroup, rest up a bit and then set about exploiting this success. You deserve to have so many people reading your words. And people obviously need your insight! All those teachers, it meant something to them to read your words. They felt validated. That counts for a lot!
    Kamsin recently posted…How to crush doubt and write work that mattersMy Profile

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  3. Jenny @ Unremarkable Files

    Congratulations! Did you get a lot of nastiness? I had an article about taking my kids to church go viral last year and while it was really exciting (especially because I was just starting out) it was also emotionally draining when the nasty people started coming out and calling names. I eventually just turned off comments because I was so sick of it, how sad!
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…Spring Cleaning: the Minivan EditionMy Profile

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  4. teacuptoria

    It was a great post Maddy! I really loved your idea. I think educational posts are so big at the moment because parents and teachers are desperate to be supported and given a voice. I can totally relate to the sense of being overwhelmed though. I think I would have been too. Part of me would have enjoyed it and a part of me would have been scared of putting a foot wrong then because so many people were watching. It’s great to go outside of our comfort zone sometimes though…it makes you braver! Well done to you..now you can dim the lights and snuggle down with that cuppa again…for a while. x

    Reply
  5. Sam

    That was a great post Maddy and I am certainly one of those guilty of sharing it and shooting you (temporarily!) into the stratosphere :-) Sorry! I’m sure you will get a few new followers from the experience and it must have been lovely having that feeling of knowing that so many people are reading and responding to your writing. The introvert in me completely understands though X #thetruthabout
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #69My Profile

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  6. Sophie Lovett

    First off, congratulations (again)! It is an awesome post, and so incredibly timely. Interestingly it’s been my education posts in the past that have ended up striking a cord and smashing through my usual stats. I think there are just so many people out there looking for answers!! I still think your idea about actually boycotting the SATs is a good one, though I’ve signed up to the 3rd of May campaign. Not that I actually have a kid in year 2, but you know… Whatever day it is, I think the key part of your idea is the whole ‘learning is fun’ day as an alternative to being in school. On the ‘Let our Kids be Kids’ FB page there is talk of local meet-ups and picnics but I think it might be missing a trick a bit… I would love to see bloggers (and other people on social media) bombard the internet with fun learning activities that they’ve facilitated in place of that day at school. It would also open it up to kids who are not just in year 2 – and possibly not even at school – just to make a collective point about how what learning actually looks like is so far from the government’s narrow vision. Anyway… I’m rambling a bit. I realise I probably need to approach the campaign itself but I know you’ve already made links with them and I don’t want to steal your brilliant idea! So whaddya reckon? Would you be up for setting up a parallel campaign around the ‘learning is fun’ idea? Once you’ve recovered from this first wave of revolutionising of course… Happy to help in whatever way I can :) xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…Why early mornings are good for my wellbeing as well as my word countMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Sophie, yes, I think spreading the ‘learning is fun day’ part of it all over social media would make the whole campaign have way more impact. Because as you say, it’s not just about saying ‘No’ it’s also about ‘but look what DOES work!’. I think that approach adds to the positive message. I love that you’re keen to leap into action and I think ‘Let the kids be kids’ would be pleased to hear from you – they seem very proactive! Thanks for commenting and being such positive voice in all of this. xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week seventy-oneMy Profile

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  7. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Hmm, the curse of the viral blog post. You want it but you also don’t. I can really understand how all that attention is exhausting and then you need to know what to do next. But I am so proud of your bravery and writing, that you said what you felt in a brilliant way that really engaged people. I hope you are too. (We need to borrow someone’s front room with a comfy sofa for your London visit next week ;-)),
    Alice @ The Filling Glass recently posted…Pondering feedback as a parent and as a writerMy Profile

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  8. Tim

    As a fellow introvert (as many of us bloggers are), I can empathise with what you’ve written. 10,000 views of a post is absolutely worth celebrating but it can feel like you’re suddenly under a spotlight you never asked for. I had a similar experience on one of my other blogs (ha, I’ll never get a 10k post on my parenting one!) where I suddenly had a … well, a much larger number of views than normal … and I subsequently spent the next 3 weeks apologising to anyone who would listen (but mostly to myself) because I thought it was a terribly written piece that just happened to catch a moment in time and go viral.

    Lovely though it is to get the occasional ‘big’ (well, bigger than normal) post, it is a bit of a shock to the system. And I constantly live in fear of seeing a post picked up by a bastion of good taste such as the Daily Mail and opening myself up to the kind of single-celled brains that lurk in their comments section.

    In some ways, I’m not sure what’s worse. i could probably take whatever vitriol the trolls throw at me – I have a pretty thick skin. But what I struggle with more than anything is coping with unexpected praise. The introvert in me, the one utterly lacking in self-confidence, just wants to run away and hide at moments like that.
    Tim recently posted…Almost as good as being a billionaire playboyMy Profile

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