By Adam Dickson
After hearing Harry J Bartlett briefly speak at an industry event, I was intrigued to the point where I had to know more about him. I had the opportunity to chat to Harry after his presentation for a period of time and was captivated by his ‘blag it’ lifestyle and attitude. On his blog, The Norm Can Conform, Harry is able to spread his ‘blag it’ way of life and share his honest opinions on a variety of topics ranging from his own experiences, fashion events to industry news.
Leaving university can be frightening at best for students and to hear about, what is my chosen career path, in such relatable terms and to have it laid out so clearly to me was incredibly refreshing and informative. In this interview Harry talks about using social media to your advantage, his current career and what led him to it and shares some inside knowledge to aspiring writers.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
“If I’m honest, I still debate whether I want to continue to write. I studied fashion photography at university and the only photography I do out of university is food which I do enjoy. However, I do enjoy blogging and writing, and I think being able to share your opinions and viewpoints is very important.”
How did you begin your current writing job?
“I was actually the ‘least qualified’ in terms of previous social media experience. However, in my group interview I was the only person who could confidently write an article in a short space of time with a good title and hook. The reason was because I’ve been blogging for years. Not commercially to earn money, but more as a visual diary. However, I truly believe that blogging is one of the best CV’s you could possibly have.”
“Write about what inspires you and if it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to say why.”
What are some of the difficulties you face in your career and how do you overcome them?
“I found myself writing articles for magazines and websites and rereading my work and thinking it sounded a bit shit. I couldn’t work out what it was, but I just didn’t like what I was producing. Anyway, one day I was writing for Atlas Magazine while I was at London Fashion Week Men’s and I was a little bit hungover after a fashion party and when I remembered I had an article to write, I decided to give an ‘honest article’.
I spoke about the fact I didn’t like the show that much. I spoke much more ‘northern’ and I stopped trying to act like every other writer. I wrote my article like I was having a rant with my friends and it ended up working out for me. Be yourself, people want to read your opinions – especially in blogging. They read to find out more about you and what your thoughts are… nobody really gives a shit on what your writing about as long as they can hear you in your work.”
In a digital age how do you utilise social media to your advantage?
“I honestly think social media is one of the most important tools out there. I use a huge mixture. WordPress for my blog, I have a Facebook page to get you there. Instagram for a daily diary of what I’m up to. Twitter for sharing articles and LinkedIn to sell myself. If you get left behind in the digital world, you could be left behind altogether. It’s how we get jobs now. Nobody wants a printed CV anymore.”
And lastly what are some tips that you can offer to aspiring writers?
“My best advice would be to just be yourself. Write about what inspires you and if it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to say why. One of my most successful articles was me writing about how much I hated decorating my house – people love moaning and they like to feel like they’re reading something relatable. Opinions are like arseholes, everybody’s got one and most of them stink it’s true but that can absolutely work to your advantage. Some of the grumpiest articles make the best reads – but equally when people can really hear your passion come through, they’re fully invested in the journey with you.”