Three years ago today: 20 Truths About Blogging.

Still as true today as they were three years ago!

 Originally posted on May 21, 2015

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In my 8 months of blogging I’ve learned a few things. Here are 20 of them.

1. Nothing is too personal to write publicly about. There will always be someone who will be grateful you shared it. As for the rest, they don’t care as much as you think they do. That soul-baring post is probably only embarrassing to you.

2. If you have a post you’re afraid to make public, make it public anyway (see #1). It’s okay to run naked in public sometimes. You’ll feel freed.

naked

3. You are going to have haters. It’s unavoidable. If you can’t handle people hating you or your blog, you have no business blogging.

4. If your blog starts getting popular, your haters will be more numerous and more vocal. It’s okay to have haters. Love your haters. They’re obviously obsessed enough with you to visit your blog and that increases your views.

5. Some people you thought were your friends or supporters are not. Be careful who you trust.

6. If you write about a serious or dark topic, break it up with a little fluff sometimes. Or write about something else. But don’t lose your focus.

piece_of_fluff

7. Trolls are easily controlled. Just don’t approve their comments or send them to Spam/Trash.

8. Be agreeable. Don’t attack commenters who disagree with you. Most people are reasonable and disagreements can lead to some interesting debates where both of you may learn something.

9. If you decide to run ads, you’re not selling out. If you’re serious about blogging or writing, it’s a good idea if you have enough traffic.

10. You do not need to pay for SEO. All you need is patience. If you post often enough and your blog starts getting enough hits (USE THE SHARE BUTTONS–or at least have them available under your posts so others can do your dirty work for you), those hits will eventually lead to more hits, and this keeps feeding on itself. Eventually you’ll find some of your posts appearing at the top of the search engines, and once that happens, the sky’s the limit.

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11. You can’t “make” a post go viral. There is absolutely no way to tell what article of yours may go viral or when. It could be one you never expected to, or it could happen months after you first posted it. When it happens, it’s a complete surprise and a completely amazing feeling.

12. Don’t write something just because you think it’s popular if it isn’t something of interest to you. Don’t try to be cool–people can always tell if you’re trying too hard. You’re either cool or you’re not, but you don’t have to be cool to have a great blog. (I’m definitely not cool).

13. You are going to lose followers. It’s inevitable. As long as you are gaining more followers than you’re losing, then there’s no problem. The people who are unfollowing you are probably not people you want to have sticking around anyway.

unfollowers

14. You will change in ways you never expected. Blogging is an adventure.

15. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day and don’t post. We all have those days we need to take a break or just can’t think of a good idea. If it really bothers you, reblog someone else’s article or post a funny picture or inspirational saying. People always love those.

16. When all else fails, post a picture of a cat or a cat meme. Cats on the Internet are like sex in the movies. They attract viewers. Kittens are even better. Everyone loves kittens, even people who hate cats.

kitten

17. Use pictures and graphics, especially in long posts (but don’t use so many your post looks like the cover of a supermarket tabloid). No one wants to read a wall of text, even if you’re the best writer ever. But they want a clean look too, so be careful how many graphics you use, especially if you are running ads too. No one likes a cluttered, messy looking blog that makes their eyes hurt or gives them flashbacks to the MySpace era.

18. You don’t have to be a great writer. You just have to be original and willing to take a few risks.

19. Always be honest even if your opinion might be controversial or unpopular. Controversial posts may get you more haters, but they’ll also make your views soar.

haters_bitches

20. Haters can make good fodder for new posts. Sometimes those posts will be your most interesting. But be careful about calling out specific people by name; you could get in trouble for that.
 

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16 kinds of bloggers: which one are you?

Originally posted on September 25, 2015

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There are as many types of bloggers as there are blogs. Here I’m going to describe the 16 different types of bloggers I’ve encountered. Which one are you?

1. The Self-Therapist.
I began my blogging experience as a member of this category. Having just left a long, abusive relationship, I felt the need to document my journey to recovery after abuse by writing about it. My intuition told me that making my therapeutic journal public for all eyes would ultimately be more beneficial for me than just putting it on WordPad or something. My intuition proved correct and I’ve been able to help others too, just by going public.

After awhile, as I no longer felt much of a need to blog about my mental health and relationships with my abusers, I moved more in the direction of The General Purpose Blogger (#13) and now I’m strongly leaning into Pundit (#5) territory. Self-therapy blogs (pejoratively referred to sometimes as “crazy” blogs) have become increasingly common in recent years, probably because of the sagging economy that makes it difficult for many people to be able to access or afford good psychotherapy. Blogging definitely *is* effective therapy, though!

2. The Journalist.
Somewhat related to #1, The Journalist writes about their daily experiences, observations, thoughts, opinions, activities, etc. for the whole world to see. The intention isn’t necessarily self-therapeutic, just a way to express to the world their subjective state or feelings at the time. If well written, these blogs can be brilliant and entertaining slices of life many people can relate to, sometimes rivaling New Yorker essays. But if the writer isn’t careful (or is a terrible writer), such posts could come off as narcissistic or just mind-numbingly boring.

3. The Show-Off.
This may be the most common sort of blog, and they are a dime a dozen. Basically an extension of a Facebook or social media page, Show Offs post blog entries documenting family picnics, children’s school events, Breanne and Jacob’s soccer trophies, the progression of the blogger’s pregnancy, home projects, the Family Trip to Disney World, “what I cooked for dinner for the kids last night using only leftovers,” and other bland minutiae of family life. These would be the infamous “Mommy blogs” that have become so vilified of late. Show Off blogs aren’t just limited to moms though–here you would also find teenagers and young adults posting pictures of their friends making silly faces, documenting their social activities, posting videos of drunken parties, and of course, lots and lots of selfies. Show Off blogs could also include pet lovers posting pictures of Fido sporting his new rubber boots or Fifi in her brand new tutu. In all cases, these sort of blogs are essentially extensions of their social media page. Sometimes these sort of blogs even include a Music Player (always the blogger’s current favorite song) that cannot be turned off when viewing the blog.

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4. The Vindicator.
Not that common, but there are a few blogs that exist solely to “get back” at a person or group of persons they feel offended them personally. Blog entries are basically endless rants against the offending person or group. Occasionally, the person or group attacked will attack back, and blog wars can arise. These kind of blogs tend to be short lived, until the blogger’s rage burns out, or the offending party (now the offended) threatens civil action.

5. The Pundit.
Many blogs are basically political soapboxes for people to spew their political beliefs. There are also bloggers on larger news sites such as Huffington Post, who have been given their own license to do the same thing. Since Trump’s election, many small-time bloggers like me have found themselves becoming armchair political analysts. Such are the times we live in.

6. The Preacher.
Related to The Politician (above), The Preacher’s mission is to convert everyone to their belief system, whatever it may be. These blowhards may quote from the Bible or other religious text excessively to back their views. If you don’t do exactly as they say, you are going to burn in Hell. Disagreement in comments is usually not tolerated, and comments are sometimes not even allowed.

To be fair, however, there are a number of more liberal Christian/religious blogs that are not like this at all, and are open to other points of view and encourage people to ask questions. But I don’t personally consider them “preacher” blogs, even though technically they are.

preaching-fire

7. The Expert.
Usually a professional in their field, such a blogger may be a paid guest blogger for a large website. Such experts could be doctors, psychologists, nurses, teachers, finance and business executives, or experts in any other field.

8. The Practical Muse.
These are the “how-to” bloggers, who focus on their hobbies or interests like cooking, gardening, home decor, beauty and fashion, child-rearing, car maintenance, blogging, etc. Sometimes the focus is more specific: bonsai gardening, dessert cookery, antique car maintenance, fashion for wannabe hip hop stars, raising a child with autism, blogging for fame and fortune, etc.

9. The Creative Writer.
These blogs can be either great or terrible. These are the blogs where you’ll find the angsty adolescent poetry, word-salad like prose, bad (or sometimes great) fiction, fan fiction, etc. This category sometimes bleeds over into #1 (The Self Therapist) or #2 (The Journalist).

10. The Hater.
Blogs like these exist to celebrate hatred toward a person (usually a celebrity or other public figure) or group of people. These blogs can be entertaining (if you agree with the prevailing sentiment) or infuriating (if you do not). Unless you are in a agreement, it’s probably best not to comment on these blogs, because you will be mobbed and acquire a new lower orifice in the process. Hater blogs tend to last only as long as the blogger’s passionate ire lasts, so they tend to burn themselves out (or are sometimes forced to be taken down by offended parties).

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11. The Motivational Blogger.
All sweetness and light and positive thinking, 24/7, 365 days a year. Such bloggers focus on inspirational memes, verses, quotes, and sometimes original essays, meant to make you feel inspired or motivated. Unfortunately blogs like these can sometimes have the unintended effect of making you feel like a horrible person or a failure because you’re not that upbeat, happy and successful all the time. Or they can simply be annoying.

12. The Artist.
A showcase for an artist’s creations, showing their paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry, etc. Sometimes these can also be “Merchant” blogs, if the artwork is for sale.

13. The General Purpose Blogger.
Opinionated Man’s A Good Blog Is Hard to Find (formerly HarsH ReaLiTy) is such a blog. A General Purpose blogger writes about everything. Nothing is off limits. General Purpose blogs tend to become popular due to the fact they attract a large audience who have varying interests. The only problem with blogs of this type is the blogger can be seeming to spread themselves too thin, and the blog seems to lack a focus or sense of cohesiveness and can overwhelm readers with too much information.

This blog seems to be veering in the General Purpose (and Pundit) direction too, because I’ve been running out of new things to say about narcissism. But this has always been sort of a general purpose blog anyway, because from the very beginning only about 80% of my articles have been about narcissism or mental health. I’ve always written about other things too. It’s just that lately, “other things” is a larger chunk of the pie.

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14. The Popularity Seeker.
These bloggers just want to get as many views and hits as they can. They want to present an image–a sort of online “false self,” if you will. They are trying to be cool and only write about things they think are cool or “cutting edge,” even if those things don’t really interest them. You can always tell a blog that’s trying too hard to be popular, because it will usually bore you to tears. You can just tell the blogger doesn’t really give a shit about what they’re posting, they just want as much traffic as they can get and want to present an image of something they probably aren’t in real life. Bloggers like these are usually narcissists or people with low self esteem using blogging to try to feel better about themselves.

15. The Merchant/Entrepreneur.
A blogger whose posts are essentially cleverly concealed advertisements for items or services they’re selling. Artist blogs (#12) often (but not always) bleed over into this category.

16. The Fan.
Like #10, fan blogs focus on a celebrity or other public figure, a sports team, a TV show, a musician, or the like. The only difference is the blogger is a fan instead of a hater. Haters of the blogger’s object of adoration need not comment. If you do, you will probably be banned.

Lucky Otters Haven has a new look.

Sample of colorful paint. Cans of red, yellow, blue and green paint.

Boredom isn’t always the devil’s playground.     Sometimes boredom is so intolerable it can lead you to desperate actions to rid yourself of its special kind of pain–actions like, hmm…getting falling down drunk, hitting the mall and buying a bunch of stuff you don’t even want, sleeping the day away, eating an entire roll of chocolate chunk cookie dough, watching Internet porn, having sex with strangers, building a giraffe made out of toothpicks, crafting a voodoo doll of your narcissist ex (hey, if anyone has ever done this, can you post a picture of it, pretty please?), or…remodeling your blog.

So that’s what I did.   I’m too scared to change my whole theme yet (I’m still on Twenty Ten) because of my (probably irrational) phobia about losing everything or the slightly more likely nightmare of my blog becoming FUBAR, or at the very least, all my Shares and Likes disappearing. But t I did make some pretty drastic changes within the same theme: the title font, the background, the header graphic, the sub-header, and the color scheme.

I think this look is more eye catching and the fonts and font background colors easier to read.  I also think the new sub-head (up in the header graphic) fits my new focus–while I still will cover personality disorders (especially Cluster B disorders), narcissistic abuse, and healing,  I realize that only about 60-70% of my posts have much or anything to do with those topics.   I cover a lot of other topics that interest, inspire, or entertain me too, and have been doing so for awhile.  So I wanted a sub-header that might attract followers and readers who just like general purpose blogs that have a lot of different kinds of content.

I also took the apostrophe out of Otters, so now the title is Lucky Otters Haven instead of Lucky Otter’s Haven.  I think the look is cleaner, and it isn’t ungrammatical either, because I know I’m not the only otter here swimming up from the dark and murky waters of a traumatic past.  I kept the word “borderline” in there because it’s an important part of this blog’s focus and my recovery, but it’s far from being my only focus. I wanted to draw less attention to BPD being an affliction, even though it is (BPD is to Marburg Virus what NPD is to Ebola) and more to the unusual and sometimes surreal vantage point it gives me when looking at myself and this crazy, horrible, and wonderful world I find myself a part of.

I hope everyone likes the facelift and new attitude. Please feel free to let me know if you think it could be even better or even if you hate it.   I do listen to suggestions and unlike real otters, I don’t bite (well not usually, anyway).

On September 10th, this blog will be entering its Terrible Twos!

I can hardly believe it’s been that long and at the same time, it seems like I’ve been doing this forever.   That’s next weekend.  I’ll be doing a big post about all the changes Lucky Otter’s Haven  has gone through since its inception, including screenshots (thanks to The Wayback Machine) of what this blog has looked like over time since September 2014.

How I decide what to post on my blogs.

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Most of you probably know I have two blogs.  This is my primary one, and the first one I started.  It’s now a year and half old.    It’s been through a lot of changes.  It started as a blog for journaling my feelings after going No Contact with my NPD/ASPD ex, and although I still post a lot about  narcissism and narcissistic abuse, I’ve expanded the scope quite a bit to include my own disorders (Borderline Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Complex PTSD) as well as the issues of mental illness stigma and mental illness in general.   After mental illness I probably write the most about blogging.  But these days I post about pretty much  anything that interests me, and that includes reblogged posts of others.  On this blog, I post primarily about the following subjects, in roughly this order:

  • Narcissism and narcissistic abuse — both informative and experiential
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / complex PTSD — informative and experiential
  • Personality Disorders in general
  • Mental illness and mental health (including the Sunday guest posts)
  • Mental illness stigma
  • Blogging and writing
  • Inspiration/spirituality
  • Social and cultural issues
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Humor
  • Anecdotal essays and general musings
  • Book and movie reviews (related to narcissism and narcissistic abuse)
  • Everything else

 

My other blog, Down The Rabbit Hole, is now 7 months old.     The articles on LOH and DTRH overlap quite a bit, and I do a lot of double posting.   Down The Rabbit Hole has a much narrower focus (and a much smaller audience), and has now become primarily a blog to document and journal about my journey in therapy, which seems less appropriate on a blog with as wide a focus as LOH (even though I do cross-post to both blogs).

Unlike LOH, on which I generally add new content at least once a day if not more, I may only add new content to DTRH once a week or so, though lately it’s been more often than that.   While anyone is welcome to read its content (please follow if you want!), DTRH is more personal and I write it primarily for myself.     For that reason it’s written more like a journal or diary.  Some articles which are too personal or which I feel are too controversial for this blog get posted on DTRH instead.     Like LOH, DTRH has also shifted its focus since I started it, moving from my experience with various types of self-healing following some upsetting self-discoveries to actual psychodynamic therapy.

These are the topics DTRH posts about in roughly this order:

  • Experiential and personal essays about my therapy sessions
  • Articles about treatments and therapy techniques for Complex PTSD and Cluster B disorders, mainly BPD and NPD
  • Subjective observations and essays about BPD and other cluster B disorders
  • Mental illness stigma, especially BPD stigma
  • New research about BPD, NPD, and personality disorders in general
  • Mindfulness and inspiration
  • Poetry about the therapy experience/living with BPD