Well, this is very surprising (and disappointing).

I was dismayed to check my stats this morning and find my views had suddenly dropped by more than half. Other bloggers have been saying the same thing has been happening to them since August 1. So it isn’t just that people have suddenly decided I have a terrible blog.

One of my first thoughts was that it’s the Trump regime’s net neutrality repeal going into effect, making it more difficult for people to access “small time” or controversial blogs. But apparently that isn’t the reason either.

I was just informed by another blogger that StumbleUpon has changed to something called Mix, and that the SU views probably have to do with the sudden dropoffs in viewers.

That’s surprising to me since I never thought SU had that much impact on blog visibility. I mean, it’s not Facebook or Twitter! But somehow, I must have been getting at least half my views through SU. I knew it had some impact, but I thought it was only a little bit.

I set up a new account at Mix but I had to do it through my Twitter account (it only gave me three choices: Facebook, Twitter or Google). I have no clue how to share my posts here to Mix, and there don’t seem to be any instructions on doing so. I don’t really understand how the site works or what its purpose is. I’m very disappointed and upset about all this.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing (and hoping) that now that I set up a Mix account, since all my posts are automatically shared to Twitter, then Mix somehow picks them up on their site too. Is that how it works?

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Only 862 views yesterday?!

I know I haven’t been posting nearly as much as I used to (I hope to change that soon — I just haven’t been as motivated), and a drop off in views is expected.    But yesterday’s views were about half of what they have been: only 862.

I’m not sure if this is an internet issue, a sudden drop off of interest, or even the Net Neutrality repeal going into effect (most of my readers are in the United States, and maybe people can’t access this site anymore).

I hope it isn’t the last one, because there’d be nothing I can do to remedy the situation.  If it’s a drop off in interest, I can start posting more again.  That’s a situation I can control to some extent.

Are any other WordPress.com bloggers having this issue?

Not ready to run with the big dogs.

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I’m not ready to run with the big dogs in the blogging world yet–nowhere near.   This puppy still requires a lot from me just to stay alive from day to day.  If this blog tried to run with the big dogs now, it would probably get trampled and run home whimpering. Could be I’d even have to dress a few wounds caused by Pup’s overeagerness to join the grownups and alpha dogs.

I assumed my blog had reached a point where I could take a break from it for a few days and Google would do my job for me while I did other things.   After all, there are some popular posts on this blog that continue to get a lot of hits months and even a year or more (!) after they were first posted.     I thought these self-generating popular posts would keep my viewcount up without me having to maintain it in any way. I also thought because my Alexa rankings are fairly good (top 450,000 global; top 80,000 US)  and my view count per day ranges between 1,500 and 2,500 (it can go higher on good days, or when a post goes viral), meant I could be lazy for a few days or a week and just sit and do nothing at all and wait for the hits to come.   (I know, I know, Alexa is sort of lame and not the best measure of a blog’s metrics, but I don’t want to pay for Google analytics).

Wrong!   After ONE DAY of not posting, my stats are WAY down.   It was disheartening to open my blog today and find NO likes, NO new followers, NO comments, and an abysmal view count.   I felt like I did the second week of blogging, when I would open my blog and find…nothing.  All that hard work I put slaving over a post for hours to make it perfect in every way, only to wind up having an audience of one–myself.   Granted, these days some people are reading.  I have regular followers who always check for new posts.  So things aren’t as bad as when I was a newbie.   But it’s still disappointing when the only people visiting your posts are your regulars who always visit anyway.

This can only mean that Lucky Otter’s Haven isn’t quite ready to “work” on its own yet without my help.   It’s not The Huffington Post or Amazon or even Cracked.com, and even those sites require regular maintenance and new articles every day.   LOH still needs regular maintenance and lots of TLC from me, and it needs a stream of new posts every day (or at least one or two).    Out of those new posts, a few catch on and a very few even go viral or remain popular over time.  Not all of them do. In fact most of them don’t.

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My other blog, Down The Rabbit Hole (I jokingly refer to it as my “second child”), has very low visibility and has not grown much (if at all) since I started it 11 months ago.  But that’s because DTRH was never intended to be for anyone but myself and any friends who are actually interested in reading about my therapy sessions and learning what goes on inside all those nested boxes stacked inside my mind like a Russian doll or Chinese puzzle.   I have never tried to monetize Rabbit Hole and probably never will.  It wouldn’t qualify for monetization anyway–not enough traffic.    Rabbit Hole has a much more limited audience and I have no desire to make it “popular” because to do so would ruin the far more intimate, personal, introspective feel of that blog, which some readers actually prefer over this one with all its widgets, ads, filler, jokes, pictures, and fluff posts.  So, when I log into DTRH and find I got only 20 views that day and no new Likes or comments,  I don’t worry about it.  I don’t go out of my way to promote that blog either, being that the posts in it are so personal I really don’t like to share too many of them on social media.  It’s really nothing more than a personal journal that I happened to  have made public to anyone who wants to read the minutiae of my therapy sessions and my own healing progress.

Lucky Otter’s Haven is different from The Rabbit Hole–it’s a “I’m-a-victim-of-narcissistic-abuse-and-I-have-mental-problems-and-PTSD-resulting-from-that-abuse” kind of blog but it’s also a general purpose blog, with a little something for everyone.   Like music, all kinds? Check.  Like art and photography?  Check.  Like politics and social issues and want to hear my unasked for opinion on those? Check.  Like movie and book reviews? Check.  Like posts describing all my mundane daily activities, like what I ate for breakfast and how long the line at the DMV was? Check.  Like inspirational memes?  Check.  True confessions?  Check.  A little religion?  You’ll find that here too.  Want to look at photos of my pets? Check.  Care to look at my dilapidated and mismatched furniture and my less than Architectural Digest (or even less than HGTV) quality interior decor in my tragically outdated 1908 half of a farm house which is in dire need of major repairs?  Check.  Have a penchant to read snarky little essays about everyday things?  Check that too.  Curious to see videos of my son’s dance routines? Check.  Itching for a little controversy? Yes, you’ll find that here too.  Haven’t had your daily dose of schadenfreude?  This blog is full of rants and whines and even a little shameless self pity that should fit the bill.   Want to learn how to be a better blogger and while you’re at it, find out how to recognize and handle online trolls, bullies, psychopaths, and narcissists?  Got you covered.

After my narcissism posts, my blogging and writing articles are my second most popular kinds of posts.   I don’t think of LOH  as a “blogging advice blog,” but I suppose for some, it could serve that purpose if they wanted it to.   It’s a versatile blog and I think that’s a good thing.  No one has complained about that yet.

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LOH didn’t become “general purpose” to get popular; I made it that way because lots of things interest me and there’s always some interesting and random thing going on, if you just are paying attention.   I also am opinionated and have opinions about many things, and this is my platform for spewing those opinions to the world.  I also get burned out sometimes on writing about narcissism and need a break to focus on things that are less dark and deadly-serious.

But I digress.  Those of you who follow this blog know I write about lots of things and from one day to the next, you won’t really know what to expect.   I think that’s a good thing and I think it keeps my regulars around.  But I realized after today that I can’t afford to get lazy and just let this blog float on its own, because chances are good it sink like a leaden rowboat to the bottom of Internet ocean, where algae, seaweed, barnacles, and general rot will take up residence on its rusting carcass.   It’s not famous like the ill fated Titanic (or as big), so no one’s likely in 100 years or so, to dredge it up from its sedimentary place of rest at the bottom of the Cyber-sea to explore its hidden treasures.

It’s only fate would be Just Another Dead Blog.

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So maintaining activity on this blog is still something I have to keep working at.  I can’t take extended “vacations” unless I’m willing to watch my blog capsize and sink into the Underworld of the Dead Blogs.

Moral:  If you’re not a Big Dog yet, you can’t afford to be a lazy blogger.

The dirty dozen.

These are my 12 most popular posts for 2016 so far.    I wish I could show a list for ALL TIME, but WordPress doesn’t seem to have a function for that.  Anyway, without further ado, here they are!  (If you want to read these posts, use the search bar.)

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I also thought it was interesting comparing views/visitors for the years I’ve had this blog.   2014 is low because I only started this blog in September of that year, but it would have been a lot lower anyway, because I hadn’t built much of a following yet.   I’ve already surpassed 2015 though, which is awesome.

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Using StumbleUpon to boost your traffic.

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About a month ago, at the suggestion of another blogger,  I added a Stumble Upon sharing button to this blog.  This blogger said they got a huge upsurge in traffic just from sharing on StumbleUpon.  I didn’t believe it though.  I never thought of SU as being one of the “big” social media sites, but apparently it’s a bigger player than you think.

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My  “trending pages” from StumbleUpon.

 

WordPress used to make the SU sharing icon available, but discontinued it for some stupid reason last year.  But it’s possible to make your own custom sharing button, which is what I did.   You can do this by saving the SU icon to your media file and resizing it, and then go to Sharing –> Custom Sharing and following the instructions there.  Now I “stumble” all my posts, as well as sharing to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google +, and LinkedIn.   And I have to say, my blogger friend was right.  I’m actually getting the most activity from StumbleUpon.  It’s actually trumping Facebook and Twitter for views.   Don’t believe me?  Here are my “referrer” stats from today:

 

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Blogging 101: you don’t need to pay for SEO

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If you’re like me and want to increase your visibility on the web, you might be tempted to take advantage of those email ads promising instant visibility for a fee: search engine optimization. If you’re not familiar with the term, search engine optimization (SEO) is a service provided by individuals and companies that will put your blog or website and its articles on the top of Google and other search engines. But commercial SEO is expensive and unnecessary. You can optimize your own blog, using some simple tricks, and it costs nothing. All you need is a little patience.

I’ve written other articles about how to write a post people want to read, so here I won’t be focusing so much on how to write interesting and engaging articles, because that’s really another topic. Of course good writing and good looking posts are important, but here I’ll be focusing mainly on how to get the most out of things like social media share buttons, tags, categories, pingbacks/trackbacks, linking, and other tricks that generate maximum traffic to your blog.

1. The title is everything.
Make your titles short and catchy–and maybe a little sassy or controversial too.
This is really part of writing an engaging article but it belongs here because the title is SO important. Titles that are too long and sound like the title of a Ph.D thesis get ignored. It doesn’t matter how interesting or well written your article is. If the title is boring or pretentious, people assume what you have to say is boring or pretentious, and will skip over it. Try to be creative but not so creative your title has nothing to do with the article.

2. Use the Share buttons.
I can’t tell you how important this is. If you’re a WordPress blogger, the share buttons are available through the Dashboard, and include almost all the most popular and well known social media sites. You can also add your own, if the site you want a share button for isn’t available. Even if you can’t stand social media, other people reading your article will use the buttons and do your dirty work for you. I’ve had articles that reached 1K+ shares to Facebook, which would not have been possible without the share buttons. If the buttons aren’t there, chances are no one will bother to share them, even if they enjoyed your article.

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3. Use tags and categories.
Be careful with this. I have a bad habit of using too many tags and categories per post. It’s best to choose tags that are relevant to the post, but are no more than one or two words long. Categories are more general and you should use fewer of them than tags. For example, if you wrote an article about why cats shouldn’t be declawed, the categories you would use should be something like: cats, animals, pets, veterinary medicine. The tags could be more specific–unethical veterinary practices, declawing a cat, pets, animals, cats, animal cruelty. It’s okay to repeat your tags and categories, but the tags would be more specific, while the categories are more general. The reason why tags and categories are important is because when someone is doing a Google (or other search engine) search, the tags will refer to your article so it will be listed on the search engine page. Using too few tags means your article may get fewer hits (because people use more than one word or phrase to search for something), but using too many isn’t good either (though I’m not sure what the reason is, and I’m guilty of it).

4. Post every day.
If you’re a serious blogger, you should write at least one article a day. If you only post once a month or once a year, people aren’t going to bother to keep checking your blog for new material (of course, not all bloggers care about visibility and are writing primarily for themselves and that’s okay too, but if you’re that kind of blogger, you have no use for this article anyway).

There will be days you can’t think of anything original or are just too tired to write, so then it’s okay to reblog someone else’s post, post a video you like, a funny or attractive photograph, a joke, a meme, or what have you. But make sure you do post original material often. People will lose interest in a blog that’s nothing but a compendium of other people’s material.

5. Use Twitter #hashtags.
Even if you dislike Twitter (many people do, because of the 140 character limit), if you want to promote your blog, every so often you should choose articles you want to promote or think may generate interest and post it to Twitter with hashtags. If your blog is set up to automatically share to Twitter (as mine is), you can’t add hashtags to the initial share, but later on you can reshare it and manually use hashtags. Hashtags act like tags, and will generate more traffic because when people search for a term using a hashtag, your article will come up in the list if you have tagged it that way. For example, an article about baking chocolate chip cookies could have hashtags like #baking, #cookies, #desserts, #sweets. Unfortunately, hashtags can be one word only, unless you put two or more words together as one, such as #chocolatechipcookie. You should do this only if it’s a term you think people will actually search for. #chocolatechipbananacookies probably won’t work. Keep in mind that due to the 140 character limit on tweets, you can’t use more than 2 or 3 hashtags, so choose them wisely.

Here’s what I do. Every few weeks or so, I pull up my stats page and check which articles are getting the most views and shares (sometimes the most popular ones surprise me!) Since these articles are already getting a lot of hits, I’ll reshare them to Twitter, this time using hashtags, to capitalize on the article’s popularity and generate even more hits. Also, if there’s an article I really like but it seems to be getting ignored, I’ll give it another chance by hashtagging it. Sometimes this works too, and the article suddenly gets noticed even though it didn’t the first time around.

6. Be a necromancer.
Every so often (but not too often!), you can give an old article new life by resharing it. You might want to do this for an article you’re especially proud of or ones that are already getting a lot of hits since those articles are resonating with people anyway. By resharing an article that resonates, your hits will reach the stratosphere.

When you reshare a post to Twitter, you should also reshare to other social media as well. On Facebook, be sure to set it up so anyone can see it, on or off Facebook, not just your friends. At the top of each post, there’s an option for this. The little globe means anyone on or off Facebook can see it.

Set up accounts on other social media too, just to share your articles. I have a Tumblr account I never use other than to share my articles.

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Credit: Necromancer / Deviantart

7. Link to other blogs or websites.
Not only will other bloggers like you (and maybe follow you back) if you give them credit or quote them in your posts, linking to their article generates a trackback or a pingback, which appears on their site under the article itself or in the comments section. The curious may click on the pingback, which will take them to your article.

8. Love your haters.
You might hate having haters (I sure do and will probably never be comfortable with it), but having haters also means your blog is getting noticed. Haters generate traffic. A controversial article will get noticed and that means more hits for you, and your haters and detractors might even share it too. My haters have actually unintentionally brought me new followers, so I do appreciate them for that. That doesn’t mean you should write something controversial or incendiary just to get hits (because that’s basically just being a troll), but it does mean you should be able to write about what YOU want, even if it’s an unpopular opinion or idea.

Since I run ads on this blog, I like to tell my haters that I make money off them every time they visit (it’s only pennies, and I don’t do this for the money anyway, but saying that usually shuts them up).

9. Self-generating hits.
If you do all or most of the above things, there probably will come a time when certain of your articles become self-promoting. That allows you to rest on your laurels a little bit (but only a little). An example is my “20 Songs About Narcissism” list, which was split into two articles so I didn’t have to put too many videos in the same article. If you Google “songs about narcissism” these two articles now appear at the top of page one! That wasn’t the case when I posted them. I think they were on page 16 or something. It happened because as those articles’ Google rank began to rise over time (due to my promoting them), their higher placement generated even more traffic, without my having to do anything. Since there are a lot of people apparently Googling songs about narcissism, and my articles are the first thing they see, they continue to get a lot of hits, and I don’t have to do anything at all to promote them!

So that’s basically how SEO works. All you need is patience and the willingness to pimp your blog in the ways I’ve outlined and watch your Google rank rise and the hits start popping like Jiffy Pop.

Of course, if you’re not patient and can’t do without “instant gratification,” you can always pay for SEO too.

Also see 12 Ways for Non-Lazy Bloggers to Get More Hits.

For even more of my articles about writing and blogging (and how to handle trolls and bullies), see “The Art of Blogging” topic in the header.

12 ways for for non-lazy bloggers to get more hits.

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There are many casual bloggers who only blog for themselves or their friends. They don’t care about views, hits or visibility, and have never looked at their stats page, and that is perfectly okay. Casual bloggers can write one blog post a year and it won’t matter because the few views they get are all they care about anyway. Their sole reason for blogging is to share their thoughts, feelings or pictures with a few friends–or just get them down “on paper,” so to speak. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that.
So if you’re a casual type of blogger who blogs only for yourself or your friends or family, this article will not apply to you.

But if you’re a serious blogger, like I am, you will want to increase your readership, get more views, and be more visible on the web. I think for most of us, the primary reason we blog is for the love of it and to share our thoughts with others, but let’s be honest: that isn’t quite enough. For aspiring writers like me, maximum visibility is important because visibility helps us promote our writing. Blogging can act as a springboard to other things. An active and well-known blog can be parlayed into a writing career or even the eventual publication of a book.

If you’re a serious blogger, you can’t be lazy. You have to work hard at it, and it becomes a job. A fun job to be sure, but still a job. So I am going to give you some pointers for how to promote your blog and get as much visibility as possible. I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and have learned enough about this along the way that I think my advice can help you too.

1. The most important thing is to write every day.
I’m serious. I’ve noticed that if I skip even ONE DAY without writing a new post, my viewership declines and I get fewer hits. Until you’re really well established or have a really famous blog (which most of us don’t), you cannot rest on the laurels of your last well-received and popular blog post. You must keep writing. Of course there will be days you can’t think of an original idea or are simply too tired to write anything original. In that case, it’s okay to post a photo, meme, cartoon, or reblog someone else’s article. If you do reblog an article though, try to write at least a paragraph or two introducing it and explaining why you’re reblogging it. Don’t reblog just for the sake of posting something. Make sure it’s something you really like or that resonates with you. Your readers will pick up your enthusiasm if you write an intro. But be careful not to do this to often. If you hardly ever post original material, people will lose interest in your blog because it becomes nothing more than a platform to promote the material of others.

2. Have a good looking blog.
WordPress has many themes and many of them are free. I think the majority of them are tasteful and easy on the eyes, and they are easy to set up. If you run ads on your blog (you won’t be doing this unless you’re a serious blogger anyway), be careful about having too many other graphics and widgets on your blog. I’m probably guilty of this, because my sidebar looks like a widget sardine can, but I can’t bring myself to delete any of them. But I don’t think this blog looks too “busy.” Don’t use background colors and patterns that are hard on the eyes or that clash with the content. Use a font that’s easy to read, not just because you think it looks “cool.”

3. No walls of text!
If you write long articles, it’s best to break them up into subheaders, “listicles” (numbered lists), or use graphics and pictures. Google Image is great for finding the perfect graphic for an article, or if you’re a good photographer, you can take your own pictures.

4. Reply to your comments.
This should be a no-brainer. If you allow comments but don’t answer them, people will think you’re a snob or that you don’t care. If you get many comments, it may not be practical to answer all of them, but at least “Like” them to let the commenter know you saw their comment. There is of course the option to not allow comments at all (which may be necessary if you are being stalked or bullied excessively) but if you want your blog to grow, I don’t recommend this. Blogging should be an interactive activity, and if you don’t allow comments, people will think you only care about your own opinion and will probably lose interest eventually. Also, don’t run people off by not allowing them to disagree with you. There’s a big difference between someone who merely disagrees with something you wrote and a bully. Disagreements can turn into interesting and lively debates and discussions.

5. Use the share buttons, even if you don’t use social media.
There are many social media share buttons that WordPress makes available. You should make all of these available under each article, so even if you don’t use social media yourself, other people will share your articles for you and that will help you gain visibility. It’s a fantastic feeling to look at your share buttons and see your counters growing. When one article of mine hit 1K shares on Facebook, I felt like I won the lottery.

6. Use Twitter and Facebook even if you hate them.
If you want your blog to grow, I recommend sharing articles on at least Twitter and Facebook, even if that’s the only reason you use these social media platforms. You can set your blog up so your articles are automatically shared to the social media platforms you choose without you having to actually go to the sites to do so.

7. Use Twitter #hashtags.
If you have a Twitter account, and you have an older article you want to promote, or one that seems to be especially popular, I recommend re-sharing it using #hashtags. The automatic share feature won’t do this for you, but if you manually share an article to Twitter, include a few #hashtags in your tweet (a box will pop up where you can do this). Hashtags are basically just one word tags that describe the content of your article. For example if you write about narcissism, and you are tweeting about a relevant article, use hashtags like #NPD, #narcissism, etc. You won’t be able to add too many so make sure they sum up the content and are popular words people search for. Doing this works because even if people aren’t following you on Twitter, if they look up a topic by using a certain #hashtag, your article will be listed and it will get a lot more views than if you do not use hashtags. It may sound #stupid, but it works for me every time.

8. Reference and link to other blogs and websites in your posts.
Not only does it appear you’ve done your research by quoting or referring to material from other blogs, every time you link to another blog or site, it creates a trackback, which appears on that blog, and from there people visiting the other blog can click on the trackback or pingback link and be taken to your blog post. It also helps foster goodwill between bloggers–most bloggers love to be credited and have their blog linked to, and they may recommend yours or link to yours in return. I can’t even tell you how many of my “referrers” are blogs I linked to months ago in a single blog post.

9. Make your content easy to find.
I’ve seen blogs you can’t navigate because there’s no option for finding what you’re looking for. That drives me crazy. No one wants to scroll through every article you ever wrote to find what they want to read (and how would they know it exists anyway if there’s no navigational tools?) At the very least, use a search bar (which you can add easily via the Widgets on the Admin page), but I recommend using a few other features too that make navigating your site easier, such as a tag cloud, a category list, a table of contents, or topics listed in the header or sidebar (mine are listed in the header and some include subtopics). If people can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll throw their hands up in frustration and go to other blogs instead.

10. Make good use of tags and categories. I still have a lot to learn about this. I tend to use too many tags and categories, and I hear this is a no-no. I’m getting better though. Like Twitter #hashtags, using relevant words and phrases that describe your article’s content draws viewers, because when they’re searching for a topic in a search engine such as Google, tag words will make sure your article is listed there, even if it’s on page 20 to start with. As your blog grows, you will find your Google rankings rising and some articles may start appearing on the first page if they get enough views. There is no reason why you should have to pay for SEO. All you need is patience.

11. Make your blog mobile-friendly.
Just about everyone these days has a Smartphone with Internet access and many people even use it more often than their computer for reading web content. WordPress has a feature under Admin Tools for making your blog readable on mobile phones. Doing this will also increase your traffic because it makes it possible for people to read your blog even when they’re at work, walking the dog, eating dinner at the Olive Garden, or taking a bath.

12. Don’t let bullies and trolls intimidate you or destroy your will to blog. If you blog regularly, and especially if you start to get a lot of views and hits, be prepared for this. There are going to be people who won’t like you, your blog, or your content, or are jealous of you or just want to stir up trouble because that’s what trolls do. Be forewarned: it’s not a matter of if but when. Fortunately, other than nursing your hurt feelings (if you’re sensitive), dealing with these people shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. It’s pretty easy to control your haters on WordPress. You can’t block people the way you can on social media, but you can delete (or not approve) their comments. It’s your blog; you can write about whatever you wish, and if some people have a problem with what you have to say, they are basically telling you how to run your blog or even whether you have the right to blog, and neither of those things is okay. THEY are not your boss–YOU are. You can’t be fired from your job as a blogger–you can only quit. Write about what you want and put those nasty comments where they belong–in the Trash. Lick your wounds and keep on writing.

If you are being stalked or threatened (like a certain very popular WordPress blogger was recently), you can always set your blog to private or password-protected for awhile until the dust settles, or disable comments. With any luck, you won’t ever have to do either of those things.

Some days I just want to crawl into a hole and make myself very small.

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DISCLAIMER:
I feel like a disclaimer is needed, though the above photo should be enough of a disclaimer, because it says it all. Someone made a sarcastic remark about how I think I’m a celebrity because of this post, so I let their comment make me set this post to private, because I don’t have a thick skin and am too chicken to come out with a snappy or snarky comeback. I always think other people can get away with doing that, but I won’t be allowed to. It’s because of my past. I was never allowed to speak my mind or have a voice. Now I’ve internalized that and don’t allow myself a voice sometimes. I’m getting better but I’m not out of the woods yet.

In no way do I put myself in the same category as celebrities (who are just people who get wrinkles, have morning breath, and have to use the toilet sometimes like everyone else). I thought I made the distinction pretty clear. For someone who has felt like a nothing my entire life, and always been told I am nothing, and treated with disdain and disrespect, even by the people who were supposed to love me, a little thing like having 1,000 followers or having articles that get popular can seem like a huge deal. To a normal person with healthy self esteem and who felt loved and had a normal sense of belonging, such an achievement might seem like nothing, but to me, it’s a huge accomplishment. If people have an issue with this, and want to judge me for this, or think I’m saying I’m a celebrity, maybe they need to look in the mirror at themselves and stop being so judgmental. Nothing makes me more angry than being judged, especially by people who know next to nothing about me or what motivates me.

I’m tired of always feeling like I have to apologize just for existing. I’ve felt that way all my life.
So, here is that “offensive” article.

I think it would be hard to be famous. Imagine millions of people you never met and never will meet knowing everything about you, obsessing over every detail of your personal life, staring at your pictures, talking about you amongst themselves, worshipping you, hating you, carrying lunchboxes with your photo on them or wearing clothes or perfume with your name on them. Imagine going into a grocery store to buy some butter and finding your own mug plastered on every tabloid. Imagine total strangers walking up to you and addressing you by name and trying to touch you. No wonder celebrities hate the paparazzi. Sure, getting cameras shoved in your face comes with the territory of being famous/getting paid as if you’re a small nation (and should be accepted with grace under normal circumstances), but when a celebrity just has enough of the lack of privacy and punches a photographer in the face, I totally get it. Celebrities are only human, after all. They’re not “special” or somehow above the rest of humanity; they were just lucky or worked very hard or have a special gift to get where they are. Or they have a famous dad. *cough*The Kardashians*cough*

I’m far from famous, but lately this blog has gained enough visibility that I have “haters” and “fans.” I don’t want to be hated or worshipped; frankly I don’t think I deserve either. I’m just a regular and rather boring person who knows about a lot about something and knows how to write about it. I’m glad my blog is doing well. It feels good. It validates what I’m doing. It feels good to know that someone somewhere may find some help or hope through my words. It feels good when someone reblogs an article of mine or tells me something I said changed their life, or even just made their day a little better. It makes me feel like I have some purpose in this world, after years of believing I had no purpose other than to be an example to other people of how NOT to be. Someday I may achieve some level of notoriety if I write the book I want to write (and as of now, I have no earthly idea what sort of book I would write), or something incredible happens like The Huffington Post decides to pick up an article I wrote, or even if I ever get Freshly Pressed. More likely than not, I won’t be famous even then. I don’t really care either, because fame has never been something I strove for.

But there are still days when as a somewhat successful blogger (and by that I just mean this blog has grown steadily due to some fortuitous circumstances and a LOT of hard work on my part, not that I’m the new Opinionated Man or anything) I feel too naked and exposed. At these times I say to myself, “I’m not ready! Wait! This is too scary!” I feel that way right now.

When your blog starts becoming visible and coming up on page 1 or 2 in the search engines, sometimes certain articles you wrote suddenly get shared a lot or even go viral. If the article is one you’re proud of and worked hard on, it’s a great feeling. But sometimes an article you kind of wanted to get buried quickly and forgotten gets found anyway and starts gaining momentum. This isn’t really a bad thing. After all, if I really didn’t want an article to be read, I would have set it to “Private.” So sure, I suppose I wanted it to be read, but I didn’t want it to go viral either. So at this moment, I’m feeling a tad too exposed and naked for comfort. It’s silly to feel like this, but sometimes I just do. I’ve always been a reserved, shy kind of person (I’m textbook INFJ) and while I like a moderate amount of attention occasionally — just to make sure I still exist (how narcissistic of me) — I don’t want negative attention or an excessive amount of attention, whether negative or positive. I’ve always been uncomfortable being the focal point in any situation that involves more than two people. I’m easily embarrassed. I blush and stammer. I act weird and awkward. When I turned three, I cried when they sang Happy Birthday. This natural reticence is actually good, because it reassures me I’m not the raving narcissist I sometimes think I am (or God forbid, could be turning into).

So I have mixed feelings about having so much visibility right now. I know “Internet fame” is kind of a huge joke (visualize rolling eyes and knowing snickers), but I won’t lie–there are days I really do enjoy the attention. But not every day. Sometimes I just want to crawl into a hole and make myself very small. Sometimes I feel like I’m in one of those dreams where you’re walking down a street or into a classroom or something and suddenly realize you don’t have any clothes on. It’s a weird and surreal experience, knowing so many strangers, some in exotic places like Mongolia or Kenya, are reading words that once lived only within the shadowy recesses of my brain, and are having their own thoughts and reactions I will never be privy to. It’s like a tiny taste of what it might feel like to be famous, and while it has its moments, I don’t think I could ever really get used to it. It just ain’t in my nature.

My attitude really just depends on which article of mine is getting so many views, and what sort of mood I’m in. I’m not at all sure I would handle fame well if I ever write a book that becomes a bestseller (not that it’s likely to happen). I might want to show up at book signings wearing a paper bag over my head with eyeholes in it-or at least a pair of dark sunglasses. Or become a recluse like J. D. Salinger. Or contemptuous of fame like Kurt Cobain. Especially because most of the things I write about make me feel so vulnerable. From Day One, I made a commitment to be 100% candid at all times and to hold back nothing. I’ve probably only achieved about 95% Total Emotional Honesty (if you knew the other 5% you’d be hitting the “Escape Button” faster than I can type “Wait! Please let me explain!”), but I guess that’s close enough.

Writers are a weird and tortured lot, I can assure you of that. You wouldn’t want to be inside my head most of the time.

Pyrrhic victory.

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Today was my Best Day Ever– 1,062 views.

But it came at a great cost, due to the ugly drama that’s been going on because of some bullies who have targeted this blog and me because they disagreed with an article I wrote a week ago.

I know they would love nothing more than for me to take down this blog, but it’s not going to happen no matter how much they bellyache about it. I think it’s hilarious though, that their hatred has actually helped me get more viewers. I’m sure not all the views are from people who wish me and this blog ill.

Most of this is sarcastic. I don’t really care about the views. I wish the people targeting me would just please move on. That’s all I want to do. Live and let live.

Making it to the 700 club.

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I just hit 700 followers! Wow. I think that’s pretty incredible. In September, when I had a measly 12 followers and no likes or comments and OM reblogged my rant about no one reading my blog, I never imagined I’d have 700 followers six months later.

Back then, I didn’t think my boring little life would interest so many people. Deciding to start this blog and make my private thoughts accessible to the whole world was a huge risk but worth all the hard work, and every drop of blood, sweat, and tears that went into making it a reality. And it’s changing me every day.

Thank you so much, everyone. ❤ This has been such an amazing ride.