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A review of my year as a blogger

I hadn't intended to do a review of my year as a blogger, but i got started and (as usual) i couldn't stop writing. It's a bit self indulgent, but i enjoyed writing it nonetheless :p

I started blogging in February 2011, a mere 10 months ago. In that 10 months i have learned a lot about blogging. I've learned about how wonderful the online legal community can be, and how welcome they have made me feel. There have been ups, and there have been downs. There have been occasions where i have made mistakes...mistakes are all part of the learning experience and i have authored a series of 'hurdles' posts focusing on what i have learned as a blogger. There has also been occasions where i have let myself down. Looking back on those occasions i feel ashamed of having made those mistakes, but also proud of how i have dealt with them.

Taking feedback has always been an interesting experience. Generally i consider that i take feedback well, but last month i got a particularly scathing review. It pointed out some weaknesses that i cant change, and some weaknesses that i can change. For example; the new site tag line is cringe worthy. Those who have been following me regularly will know what the quote is in reference to...but yeah, to those who don't, probably have a bit of a cringe. This is something i can do something about, so will make some adjustments. The other stuff...well thats just who i am, and i cant change that. This is another example of a life lesson i have learned from the blogging experience...worry about what you can change, and not about what you can't.

Probably the funniest feedback i have had is from one of my bosses, who noted that i appear incapable of publishing a blog post without some sort of cat picture with it. My name's Ollie, and i am a crazy cat person :-)

As a police officer, and a blogger, i have faced a unique set of challenges. It's a new world for us all, and police forces across the country are having to find the right way to deal with social media. As such, it is not easy to reconcile those two roles. I started my blogging career as another anonymous blogger, taking every step to ensure that i was not identifiable. As DJ developed i felt that, in my circumstances, it was right for me to identify myself. I am good at what i do. I am ethical. I am balanced. I am a proud police officer, and feel confident in my ability to be a critical friend. I therefore took steps to inform my force, and their response is one that i hope will become the norm in such situations. Its difficult to put a label to their response, the best i can come up with is a cautious deference. Considering the path laid before me by past police bloggers, i feel very proud of what i have achieved over the past year.

Be safe over new year's!
On a more personal note, the past year has been difficult for me due to many hospital stays. I'm not ashamed to say that at some points over the last year this blog has been the only thing that has kept me going. My regular readers will probably have noticed that in some of my blog posts. I will never underestimate the value that a creative outlet, and some great twitter friends, can add when i am going through hard times. Although i'm sure it doesnt work for everyone, i always recommend that people give it a try when they are going through a difficult the very least it will take your mind off 'it' :-)

Earlier in the year i did the first round of DJ awards. Most were welcomed with good humour, and some were completely ignored (grumble). I enjoyed doing it so much that i think i am going to do it again in the new keep your eyes peeled for any possible nominees

To conclude, i want to briefly mention an attitude that i have come across occasionally. The attitude is summed up with the quote "There must be something wrong with someone who puts their life on facebook". I could write an entire series of blog posts on this quote, but on this occasion all i will say is that i am proud to say there must be something wrong with me!

Thanks to everyone for their support over the last 10 months, and i look forward to another great year with you all.

DJ Writer's Apprenticeships

Ask any established blogger and they will tell you that becoming a blogger is no easy task. You need to pick a topic. It needs to be a topic that you are passionate about. You need to be committed to your readers. You need to be patient, and resilient. You need to be willing to show a vulnerability, and stand up for what you believe in. Its hard, and building a loyal readership will take years. The biggest difficulty, however, is taking that first step.

Can you engage with your readers? Will they enjoy what you write? Are you articulate enough to communicate your passion? These are all questions that will only be answered once you start writing...and this first step can be a lonely one, so i want to help.

Having become a fairly well established blogger myself, i have realised that i am in a great position to help you take that first i have chosen to start a writers apprenticeship scheme.

This opportunity is open to anyone who wants to take that first step into the world of blogging. All you need to do is choose a topic that you are passionate about, and write me a 500 word piece, and email it to me. This will be your 'application'. If i think you have potential you will become an apprentice writer for one month, with unprecedented authoring access to my blog and my 20,000 readers a month.

If you haven't written before, this opportunity is for you. If you hope for a future in journolism, this opportunity is for you. If you just want to share some of your opinions with like minded people, this opportunity is for you.

Surely there are some conditions? Yes of course...your piece must be about law, politics, university life, or legal ethics. It must be balanced, fair, and written to provoke thought, not provoke reaction.

This is an opportunity to answer some of those questions about your writing potential...what have you got to lose?