I’ve been consciously keeping my wits about me this week from reading in Red that I simply need to figure out the three words that define my look in order to be eternally stylish (I went with ‘High heeled bohemian’ in case you’re interested) to feeling saddened that Ed beat David to the Labour leadership (not that I really care, I hasten to add but Tory girl really does dislike her unions and of the options David was the preferable boy in red) to getting my thinking cap on when reading about a call to return a looted tabot to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Tabots are, to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, holy relics which must only be viewed by priests. As an atheist I believe tabots are nothing more than historical and interesting objects that ought to be put on public display in a museum but I do respect culture (if not religion) and think something so relatively insignificant to non-Ethiopian Orthodox Christians should probably just be given back. Oh and I’ve been loving this advert (hover the cursor over the image to see the text).

But it would be artificial to pretend there hasn’t been one overwhelmingly huge topic that I just want to talk about. I have been excited and stressed in equal measure by the realisation of a dream. Yours truly is an editor! Not that I edit much yet, but I have taken the first fledgling steps towards promoting and enhancing great content.

Made in the Forest is essentially a blog, a bringing together of the words of the Forest of Dean by creating a single location for the best of the bloggers, the otherwise unpublished columnists and reviewers, the poets, the story tellers and everyone else with ideas and a grasp of grammar all illustrated with photos and drawings of the beautiful and evolving forest. Am I passionate about the project? Just a little bit!

I started out a little cynically, thinking that a forum for Forest of Dean news could be useful for promoting the Dean Heritage Centre but once I started reading the blogs I realised just how valuable a resource a hub could be. There were writers who were sharing beautiful images and inspiring stories with sometimes as little as 3 followers! I got excited about showcasing this talent and being responsible for sharing it.

The reality has been far more of a challenge than I anticipated. I write this on the eve of the launch and while the post that will begin the blog is something that genuinely excites me, it all came together only this afternoon. That’s the world of the editor I’ve realised; far from relaxing over a cappuccino with a red marker pen looking to tweak passive sentences, one is gulping Nescafe and frantically scheduling. I’ve got a lovely piece for the second post but it really needed a photo and you can’t just expect the light and the setting to be right even if your writer is willing to go out and find an image (lucky for me he did and the result was perfect for the piece).

I thought a blog where you outsourced the writing would be easy. After all, I’ve been churning out 1,000 words a week pretty consistently all year and there are dozens like me who’d surely love to have their writing promoted so it would just be a case of uploading their content right? Well I’ve met with nothing but positivity from my boss, from Patrick Molyneux (Cabinet Minister for Tourism) and from the people I’ve asked to contribute but steering people towards word counts and so forth is surprisingly difficult (and I have great people eager to write for me!).

I’m excited about 9am tomorrow and am eager to get things up and running. Once we’re live it’s a case of maintaining things whereas right now I’m following the coverage in the press and worrying about the details. Of course, like any project it’s in its infancy right now and will no doubt change beyond belief in its first weeks. I’m sure teething panics such as the email address will soon be nothing but memories but tonight they seem like the end of the world and for now, my attention is otherwise diverted.

I hope to see you at www.madeintheforest.com soon. Wish me luck!




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