Inkluded’s only gone and bloody won a UK Blog Award, winning the title of best ‘Arts & Culture’ blog 2017!
Walking onstage last night to collect my award, I uttered to the presenters, “this is terrifying”, and to the judges, “this is terrifying”, and again to them all when I walked off, “this is terrifying”.
Now I’ve had six hours sleep, two coffees and necessary time to compose myself, I thought you’d like a more typical-Beccy-emotional-cheesy-philosophical-refelctive-waffling-style, digital acceptance speech.
I should probably just write “OMG amazing, thank you!” but – as a friend once told me – I’ve got a head full of stories just bursting to come out…
When I stand amongst the award ceremony crowds at tattoo conventions, it’s awesome seeing the flabbergasted look on winners’ faces as they dismount the stage.
Like writers, many tattooists are their own worst critics and are extremely thankful and often surprised to receive recognition – they more than often express disbelief when I wish to interview them or print their tattoos in glossy magazines. That unique juxtaposition of sheer hard-work and genuine humbleness is one of the reasons why I love writing about tattoo art – exposing our awesome tattoo scene in the UK often feels like giving something back to a community of creativity that doesn’t realise how incredible it is.
The UK Blog Awards intend to do something similar, I guess. Watching other shell-shocked individual blog winners collect their awards last night made me realise the range of talent experience that was being celebrated. I spoke to the Parenting category winner Cheltenham Maman as winners gathered for a group photo: “I have no idea what’s going on, this is incredible,” I gasped. “Me too!” she replied, “I can’t believe I won, I’ve only been blogging seven months!”
The length of time you have been blogging for, or how many followers you have, is something that the event organisers and judges don’t take into account when choosing their winners. Instead, they just spend a huge chunk of time with their heads down, reading content on the finalists’ websites to determine who they think has the most interesting and insightful channel and community.
It’s so refreshing to see, and be part of, an endeavour that celebrates creatives at the start of their journeys. I’ve always wanted Inkluded to follow this route too – one of our missions is to feature great new tattooists who are just starting out and not gaining media coverage elsewhere. That nurturing and supporting of ‘up-and-coming’ talent is quite rare in many industries. For those of us on the receiving end – we don’t feel worthy, and it means a hell of a lot.
This unnecessarily long introduction serves to say (in a slightly more coherent way) – fuck, I really, genuinely never thought I would win this.
Inkluded is still a baby and there’s so much I want it to do. I could sit here and write the 10 things I would change about my blog but, like many artists, I’d struggle to list the 10 things I love and am proud of. Often, behind positive and self-aware writing is a person who thinks their work sucks. You can only ever improve by constantly critiquing yourself. Being part of these awards has made me realise that it’s great to have a small breather from that, even if just for five minutes. Often life moves so fast, we never stop to take a look around and pat ourselves on the back for everything we’ve achieved.
I think with tattooists, writers and any creatives – there’s always a fear of coming across as proud or self-righteous. We’re often scared to a) succeed, b) look like we’re enjoying success, or c) succeed in ‘the wrong way’. I know too many artists who often don’t think they’re deserving of everything they have accomplished publicly, and worry that they should be struggling along for a little bit longer ‘underground’. Well, awards or no awards, stop right now, and list five things you have accomplished so far in your respective passions. Write them on a piece of paper, stick them to your fridge and read them every morning. Never be afraid to succeed.
I often speak to tattooers about those inevitable moments where we often want to give up that which we love. We all have challenging times that really test our patience and commitment. Many that I interview reveal these often emerging thoughts of: “should I really, actually, be doing this?” I have those worries every single day and I know other bloggers who do too. Well, no matter what those challenges are, pausing and recognising how far you’ve come, reminds you to knock them out of the park and seek out new ones to smash.
Thank you UK Blog Awards for such a great night last night – what put the biggest smile on my face was how friendly and down-to-earth every person was that I met. Despite the glittery frocks, there really was no pomp and ceremony, no politics, no judgement… just a load of genuinely, lovely people who were just happy to be there.
A huge, huge, thank you to every single person who voted for Inkluded in the initial stages and to the 537,006 individual people who have read a blog on my site since it launched in November 2014. Like many other bloggers, this website has been – from day one – my therapy, my emotional outlet, my family and I can’t put into words what it feels like to know I have been doing it kind of right so far. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for tattoo blogging.
Read more Tweets from the night on my Storify.