So, I finally changed my theme.

Wow!  I changed to the Twenty Eleven theme!  Granted, it’s a similar theme to the Twenty Ten theme I was using.   But I’m proud of myself for taking this scary step.

It took me two years to work up the courage to change my theme at all.  I didn’t dare try anything too drastically different from Twenty Ten.  I was terrified of losing all my information, post counts, etc.

It wasn’t so bad.  In fact, I think it’s a much cleaner look, especially since I changed the color theme and background photo to something less dark and depressing, and more soothing and oceanic.   I changed the font as well.    The only thing I’m displeased with is the header menu.  I can’t seem to change the font in that.  I think it’s clunky looking, so I may get rid of some of the topic headings to make it more streamlined at least.

I was able to replace most of my old widgets (they do disappear when you change your theme, so you have to put them in again) but chose to leave a few out.  Again, I’m going for a cleaner looking, more readable blog.    I also changed the Sharing buttons to the stylized logos, which I think look better.   It appears my post counts weren’t lost, which I was afraid of, so that’s a relief.

I hope you all like my blog’s new look.  Please leave your (honest!) opinions in the comments.  Even if you hate the new look, please let me know.

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Changing things that already work — beetleypete (reblog)

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I have just been reading a post on another blog about the forthcoming ‘Gutenberg Editor’ change from WordPress. In case you are unaware of the impending change, here is a link to Worpress’s take on it. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ As you will see, it is quite technical, at least to someone with my level of computer knowledge. […]

via Changing things that already work — beetleypete

I couldn’t agree with this post more.  I do not want the Gutenberg Editor.   I like the Classic Editor just fine.  Why can’t we have a choice?  But we don’t.  As soon as Gutenberg is rolled out,  the classic editor will no longer be available (that’s what I hear anyway).  Hopefully WordPress takes the needs of ALL its users into consideration.

I really dislike the way WordPress continually makes changes without seeming to care about what its users think.    I’m really not keen on having to learn a new interface, especially when the current one is perfectly serviceable.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

The new Gutenberg editor?

Got a question for my fellow bloggers.

Has anyone with a WordPress.com blog tried the new Gutenberg editor yet?  I haven’t, but I haven’t heard good things about it.    I really don’t want to try it either.   But I know in time, it will become the new “standard” editor.

I really dislike the way WordPress rolls new things out without asking us users what we think first.   I feel like they don’t care about what we want — kind of like the GOP.

If you have used it, please tell me in the comments what you think of it.   I’m just curious about its advantages/disadvantages, whether it’s easier or harder, or if it’s a dumbed down editor that makes things “easier” while giving you fewer choices  (a complaint I heard from one blogger).

The truth is scary.

One important lesson I’ve learned as a blogger, is that it’s often the very things I’m most hesitant or afraid to publish that turn out to be my best and most popular posts. I think what often happens, is that when you get to the core of truth, there’s a visceral fear of making it known because transparency and total honesty tends to make us feel vulnerable.

Narcissists and sociopaths fear the truth, not just because of the harsh white light it sheds on them, exposing their flaws, but also because they hate feeling vulnerable and being truthful requires a person to embrace vulnerability.

4 years of blogging!

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WordPress reminded me of something today.

Four years ago today, I started this blog!   Wow!  It certainly doesn’t seem that long.

While originally a place where I could document my recovery journey after going No Contact with  my malignant narcissist ex-husband (and coming to terms with the upsetting realization of having come from a family of narcissists), over time it has evolved.

I’ve always included many posts covering other topics that pique my interest, intrigue me, make me think, make me feel, or make me laugh.  I like to post photographs (both ones I take and ones I don’t), memes, and cartoons.  Sometimes I just like to share random “shower thoughts.”

Over the past two years (it’s hard to believe it’s been that long), this blog has become more political.   Since Trump seems to fit the criteria for NPD or Malignant Narcissism, it wasn’t too much of a leap from writing about narcissism in general (or as it pertained to my family and other people in my life) to writing about the narcissism of a man who is abusing all of us from afar (whether we want to admit it or agree with that or not).

I feel like the first two years of immersing myself in the subject of narcissism and narcissistic abuse, and setting about my own recovery,  prepared me to better understand the much more existential and serious problem of Trumpism.

As far as this blog, I never stopped including posts about nonpolitical subjects, personal posts, photographs, and even occasionally a new article about narcissism or narcissistic abuse that has nothing to do with politics.   I cast the net wide for my own sanity, and I think doing that makes this a better blog.   It’s also more fun that way.

Here’s to the next four years!

 

 

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?

11 ways blogging has changed my life.

Originally posted on August 16, 2016

 

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Next month will be Lucky Otter’s Haven‘s 2 year anniversary! It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging that long. I started blogging only 6 months after going No Contact with my ex. It has become a real addiction, but much more than that–it was a game changer for me. My life is not the same as it was two years ago. Here are ten (plus one) ways blogging has changed my life.

1. I’ve become a much better writer. I’m rather embarrassed by how badly written some of my early posts were. I think I’ve honed my writing skills and use a lot less “purple prose” and unnecessary adjectives than than I used to–that has always been a huge weakness of mine when it comes to writing.

2. I’ve become more self confident and less shy. Writing about your thoughts and feelings teaches you a lot about yourself. You become more introspective and in so doing, realize a lot of good things about yourself, and that gives you confidence. You also get validation from others, and that boosts your self esteem. You also find out that most people aren’t going to judge you for things you thought were shameful or embarrassing. It takes a while to work up the courage to write about such personal things, but once you do, you realize that your words may have helped or inspired someone else and they will appreciate you for your honesty. This has translated into my real life to some degree–while I’m still shy and awkward in social situations, I seem to be a bit more outgoing and less awkward now.

3. I’ve made some wonderful friends. Although I haven’t met any of my blogging friends, I feel like we’re a family, and for a few of you, I feel as if I’ve known you all my life. Before blogging, I felt so alone and isolated, but in the blogosphere, I’ve found so many people who have stories similar to my own, have gone through similar kinds of trauma, and we’ve grown to care abut and support each other. We’re like the surrogate family we never had!

4. I’ve become more creative. Writing almost every day forces me to consult my “muse” and the more ideas I think of to write about, it seems the more ideas just come to me, and some of them are pretty wild! I go ahead and write about those crazy ideas too, and sometimes those prove to be my best posts.

Hello world. This is my very first blog. I’m not sure what the hell I’m doing yet or how the heck this thing (WordPress) works. I’m learning so please be patient with me.

–The first sentence of my first blog post, Lucky Otter’s Haven, 9/10/14

 

5. I’m a better person than I was. Writing about your deepest thoughts and feelings, and exploring painful memories helps purge a lot of the pain that was keeping me from moving forward into real healing. Writing is powerful therapy and I find that today I’m less depressed, less angry, less fearful, have more moments of joy and serenity, and have even become more outgoing. I’ve also developed a lot more empathy, which was almost unavailable to me when I began blogging.

6. A blog is a great record of how you’ve changed over time. It’s always fascinating (and a little horrifying!) to go back and read over old posts and see how much you’ve changed. It gives you perspective and clarity. I can tell by the tone of my early posts that I’m not the same–my early posts were a lot more bitter, angry, whiny, and cynical, and a LOT less spiritual (I was agnostic when I started blogging). I realize a lot of that attitude was because I was only recently out of an abusive relationship and was still in shell shock, but blogging has definitely helped me overcome that.

7. My computer skills are better. Setting up and designing my blogs has given me more confidence in my computer skills. I can do a lot of things on a computer I didn’t used to be able to and thought would be difficult but are really not.

8. Blogging has given me a focus and a goal. All my life, I never had a real goal and never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. Narcissism and narcissistic abuse has always been my primary topic on my blogs, but lately my fascination with this subject is expanding into my wanting to help others heal, whether from abuse or from narcissism itself. I haven’t decided yet whether I will write a book or become a life coach or therapist. Maybe both!

9. My faith in God has grown. God gave me writing ability for a reason, and as I grew as a writer and shared my thoughts and feelings on an increasingly intimate level, I found myself actually listening to what God was trying to tell me, and realizing how much he really does care. I found other bloggers like myself whose faith was also strengthened through the gift of the written word.

10. It’s fun. Blogging is so addictive, and I’ve never had a hobby I’ve been more passionate about. In fact, I never really had any serious hobbies until I started to blog. I always look forward to coming home from work, opening my laptop, and starting to write, or reply to comments, or read other blogs (when I have time). I get so immersed in blogging sometimes I actually forget to eat!

11. I make a little bit of money from blogging. I can’t quit my day job, but I make about $50 a month from ads that run on this blog. It ain’t much, but it pays for my gas for a couple of weeks or a nice dinner out once a month! It’s always a great feeling to get paid to do what you love doing the most–even if you can’t live on it. But I’d blog even if I had to pay to do it. That’s how much I love doing this.

Getting unfollowed by a friend.

did-i-do-something-wrong

Someone I’ve been blogging buddies with for 3 – 4 years just unfollowed me (on Twitter — I don’t know about here on WordPress yet because I can’t keep track of who is following me and who is not so for now, that will remain a mystery).

I’m more hurt than I expected to be, since my friend and I hadn’t spoken in some time.   There was never a falling-out or disagreement or parting of the ways (that I know of), but we just sort of lost contact.  I noticed some time ago that she stopped commenting and even Liking my posts.   I did know she was very busy with her family, and writing a book too.   At the same time, I started getting politically involved and the focus of my blog changed along with that.   Maybe that’s what the problem is.   It’s not that my friend disagrees with my feelings because I don’t think she does, but I think politics is just an area she doesn’t like to focus on (and I can’t say I blame her for that, if that’s what it is).   But, I’m not sure that’s what it is.  It could be anything really.

I don’t know.  I’m kind of hurt, so I sent her a DM asking why she unfollowed me, because I really would like to know.    I valued our friendship, even though I wasn’t that great about keeping in touch or answering messages promptly.      Maybe she unfollowed me by accident — it does happen sometimes.   Since she still has an active blog and a Twitter account, I know it isn’t one of those cases of “disappearing friends” that suddenly are just gone and you have no idea what happened to them or even if they are still alive.

If you are reading this and you know this is you I’m referring to, drop me a DM or an email please?

*****

Further reading:

When Bloggers Just Disappear

Three years ago today: 20 Truths About Blogging.

Still as true today as they were three years ago!

 Originally posted on May 21, 2015

number_20

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.

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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.
 

How to retain your blog’s traffic when you aren’t writing new content.

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If you’ve been around a while, you probably noticed I post a lot less frequently.  During my first two or three years as a blogger, I posted at least one new post a day, and sometimes several a day.   Now it’s closer to one new article a week.

Over time, you may find that as the novelty of blogging begins to wear off, writing new content may become more of a chore.  That doesn’t mean you no longer like blogging or that you’re burning out,  just that, as with most things in life, the initial excitement eventually tapers off.   While writing new content may still be as enjoyable as ever,  it’s just a lot harder to get motivated.

Don’t abandon your blog!

I try to write at least one original post a week, but I don’t like my blog to just sit around being idle during all those days in between.   People who are in the habit of checking my blog for new posts every day are bound to be disappointed, and it is hard to keep your traffic moving at a healthy pace when you aren’t posting as frequently as you’d like, and  relying on on your older, popular, or once-viral posts to do the work for you.

Share, share, share! 

As an established blogger, several of my older articles have gone viral and have high Google rankings (this happens naturally over time if you’re a dedicated blogger and share your posts a lot — you do not need SEO, just patience and dedication!).   I do rely on these older posts to bring in new traffic, since they are regularly seen on Google when people type in certain phrases or keywords.   Every so often I’ll also share those older articles (as well as other ones I wish to get more views) to my social media to keep their Google rankings high.

Since I have a newly large-ish Twitter following due to my online political activity,  I like to share my older articles a lot on Twitter and this way, they get even more views and shares — by a brand new audience who had no idea my blog even existed!   My posts about narcissism and narcissistic abuse dovetail nicely with my newer posts about Trump’s psychology because there is a lot of overlap between narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy and the rise of Trumpism in America right now.   Learning about narcissism prepared me for what I write about now, and my new Twitter audience is interested in all of these topics since they are so interrelated.

But I digress.  There are other ways you can keep your blog active and keep the traffic coming besides sharing your older posts on social media.  You can also

— reblog someone else’s post.   Don’t do this too often if you aren’t adding original content — you are not a clearinghouse for other people’s blogs.

— post memes, cartoons and photos (don’t do this too often though, because eventually people will be able to pick up on the fact you’re just too lazy to write anything original and they’ll go elsewhere.

— reblog your own posts.   There are bloggers who insist this is a no-no because it annoys people.    While I can understand it becoming annoying if you reblog an article only a few weeks or a month after you first posted it (that makes you look desperate),  I see nothing wrong with reblogging a post that is several months to several years old.   You can turn it into an “anniversary” and add a phrase to the reblog’s title such as “This Day Last Year” or “Blast from 2015” to disguise the fact you just want this particular article to get more views that it did the first time around.    It’s also a good idea to add an original intro to your reblogged post, which gives the reader some perspective into how the feelings expressed in your old article have changed for you over time — or even how you changed since then.

Ways to reblog your own or other people’s stuff.  

On WordPress, there are two ways to reblog an article, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.   The first way is to simply hit the reblog button at the end of the article.  This is the easiest method, and it allows you to write an original intro, but does not allow you to change the content of the actual post.   This benefits both of you by making potential plagiarism impossible.   However, you will need to add categories and tags.   I try to use the original blogger’s own categories and tags.

When you use the reblog button, the entire article will not appear on your blog, but the first few paragraphs will, as a sort of “teaser.”  A link is then provided to the original post where readers can read the whole thing if they want to.

The other way to reblog an article is to simply copy and paste it into a new blog post.   This is a good method if you’re reblogging your own post, because you can edit or change the article, or add different graphics or other content, so that it’s less recognizable to others as a “recycled” post.   You can also update the article if that is necessary.   When I reblog my own material using this method, I like to add an “originally published on…” date at the top of the reblog (without actually linking to the original post).

I don’t recommend using this method if you’re reblogging someone else’s material, unless they are not using WordPress.com and you do not have the reblog button option.  Make sure to give the author credit and be sure to link to their post.   This is extremely important, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget to do!  If you want to add your own graphics, photos, or edit the post in any way, be sure to check with the original author first.

Annnnd…it’s confession time.

One reason I occasionally like to use the reblog button for my own posts instead of the copy/paste method (I use this method if there have been no changes or updates to the original post) is that it helps my traffic!  Because I run ads (no, I do not choose my own ads), it means more impressions which means more money.  I don’t make very much but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this is a factor.   With a reblogged post, you have to click on a link that takes you to another page on my blog.   The more clicks, the more money I make!  I try not to overdo it though, and I’d say most of my self-reblogs are actually done the copy and paste way.

So, to sum up, my traffic isn’t quite what it used to be, but it’s remained pretty steady and hasn’t really declined, as long as I continue to:

— post something original at least once a week

— share relevant older posts — both viral and not — on social media

— reblog or recycle my old stuff

— reblog other people’s stuff