Whoo-hoo less than 5 months between posts

With this kind of momentum I’ll be posting twice daily within the next decade.

So, what’s been happening over the past few months (or I guess 14 months since my last substantial post)? Well, lots of the same, and a sprinkling of completely different.

First things first. Feel free to chide me for not getting magikbeans up and running yet.

In my defence, I did go and get myself a j.o.b. which has been taking up a good chunk of my time and brainspace. But things are settling down a bit over there, which means I’ve got a bit of room to work with some external clients. Watch this space (or rather that space) for news on that front.

Other than that? Well politics has been… interesting. The suggestion that one should “live in interesting times” may not actually be an ancient Chinese curse, but we could probably have benefited from things being a little less interesting for the past couple of years. 2016 might have been one of the most miserable years on record, but 2017 is turning out to be straight up barking.

One thing in 2017 I certainly haven’t come to terms with yet is that apparently I’m turning 40 this year. Not sure how that one happened. But unless I’m an actual time-lord (yay – congrats Jodie Whittaker) then I have been reliably informed that I have been cluttering up the place for 4 whole decades.

I guess if I ever want to make it onto a “40 under 40” list of bright young things, I’ll have to get my skates on.

Rip it up and start again, again – doing it on purpose

Obviously I’m a hypocrite.

I mean that goes without saying, right? After all, I’m human, and (despite what we like to think) consistency is not something that humans are great at.

But at least I’m self-aware enough to recognise my own hypocrisy, which you’d think would count for something. Except it turns out that unacknowledged hypocrisy has some solid, solid benefits, not least that fact that acknowledging it can be fucking crippling.

Let me try to explain. I help people (and organisations, and companies) with communication. A big chunk of this involves getting people to think not only about what they are communicating, but why.

I spend a lot of time convincing clients that it’s important to think strategically about communication . I tell them that every interaction, every piece of marketing, and every document should have a clear purpose – and should fulfil that purpose. I warn them that the work may be frustrating and challenging, but that the results are worth the effort.

And I do that because I believe it – I believe it deep down in my bones. But as I said, I’m a hypocrite. Which means even though I know how important focus and purpose are, I haven’t put in the effort to determine the focus and purpose of What She Said.

Because doing that would be hard work.

The fact that I understand the importance of purpose-driven communication doesn’t matter. What I know is in direct conflict with what I want for myself: for the easy way of doing things, the ‘throw-stuff-out-there-until-success-happens’ approach, to magically start working, despite all evidence to the contrary.

I want this website to be a place where I can talk about art, politics, food, adhd, language, Liverpool, and how bad the latest Batman film was. But I also want this to be a place which attracts clients.

These things aren’t necessarily incompatible. Potential clients probably aren’t going to be driven away by content about danish pastries and rhyming couplets. Besides, I am who I am, and people come to work with me partly because of who I am.

And if the purpose of the site is to give me somewhere to vent and pontificate then this is all just peachy. But if the purpose of the site is to bring in new business, we might actually be dealing with a jar of “granny’s peach tea”.

If the purpose of the site is to bring in new business, what I want to write is less important than what my potential new clients want to read.

If the purpose of the site is to bring in new business then the content needs to help potential new clients make the (incredibly sensible, beneficial, and prudent) decision to work with me.

So here I am. Not putting client-focussed stuff on here because I haven’t yet done the hard work of finding and clarifying the purpose of this site. And not putting anything else on here, because if I do want this to be a business site then it would be massively hypocritical of me to ignore my own advice.

The blissfully ignorant hypocrite would just say screw it and write something anyway. It might not be brilliant, it might not be targeted, it might not contribute to the overall aims and goals of the site, or the business, but it would at least be something.

And as long as it isn’t actively damaging to the site or the business, there’s a strong case to say that something in this case is better than nothing – especially if that nothing has been achieved only after many hours of self-recrimination.

But I know I’m a hypocrite, so, as I said before – fucking crippling.

You’ll notice that I’ve managed to actually write and publish something though – this. That’s because I’ve taken some time and done some work, and made some decisions.

What I do isn’t rocket science, in fact it’s mostly pretty simple stuff, but it does take work. The paralysis over this site has been because, even though I know the simple stuff works, I (like most people) still yearn for some magic beans that I can use as a short-cut to fame and fortune.

But magic beans don’t exist.

There’s no product, service, technique or method that will lead you to a goose that lays golden eggs.

There’s no such thing as magic beans. Thankfully there is such a thing as Magik Beans – and that’s where I’m going to start to get seriously laser-focussed about work.

The other stuff? The arty-farty, wordy-nerdy, moody-foody, worky-perky, pretty-city stuff? I’m sure I can find a place to put it… and that’s What She Said.

Rip it up and start again

Well hello there. Nice to see you. Yes, it has been rather a long time hasn’t it?

I was going to write a long, detailed, explanation of what’s been going on – but then I remembered how dull that would be for you.

So here, have a picture of some kittens instead.

By Pia Ojanen [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cute, right?


Let’s see, what else do I need to tell you… ah yes, the theme.

I’m faffing around with a new theme behind the scenes. But if I wait until I’m really happy with it before doing anything, this blog might lie languishing and unloved until the end of time. So I’m sticking with the default WordPress TwentySixteen theme for now.

Have I forgotten anything? I suppose I should say something about content. If you ever read the blog before, you should expect more of the same. Quite literally the same in some cases, as I’m going to be republishing a load of stuff that used to be here (after giving it a bit of a spit and polish).

And if this is the first time you’ve read anything I’ve written… Hi! Welcome! Where have you been all my life? Anyway, now that you’re here, let me introduce myself. I’m Lydia, and I’m a communication junky. I’m a professional word nerd, and this here blog thing is where I get to write about writing.

I also get to write about talking, and thinking, and feeling, and doing, and learning, and trying, and failing, and anything else I fancy – because it’s my blog so I get to make up the rules.

Ok, now that’s done, let’s get this lexicographal show on the metaphorical road.