Snowbound blogging.

snowbound

We’re expecting a big snowstorm here in western North Carolina starting in about 24 hours.   They’re saying we might get up to two feet!  (I’ll believe it when I see it).

Since I’ll be pretty much housebound, as long as I have power, my plan is to write some new blog posts and catch up on some reading.    I’ve been getting lazy about doing both, but if I’m snowbound, I have no excuses to not write!

I’m not a winter person, but I’m still looking forward to sipping hot cocoa and spending several days in intimate contact with the written word, cocooned by a world of white.  If we get the two feet of snow, I doubt I’ll be going to work on Monday.

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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.

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.
 

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

 

16 kinds of bloggers: which one are you?

Originally posted on September 25, 2015

different_bloggers

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.

dog_dress

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.

10 things that make your blog suck.

Just thought it was time to throw this up here again. If you blog, don’t do these things.

Lucky Otters Haven

Grumpy-Cat

I think I’ve been in this blogging business long enough to tell when I see a bad blog. So I decided to round up the ten most annoying things I’ve seen bloggers do that make me hit the backspace key and never visit their blog again. If you blog, I hope you don’t do any of these things.

1. The blogger allows comments, but attacks anyone who disagrees with them. I’m not talking about abusive or trollish comments (which should be trashed or sent to spam anyway), but there are some bloggers YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DISAGREE WITH. You can’t have a civilized debate because even questioning their opinions sends them into the online equivalent of a two year old’s temper tantrum. If you are so certain of your rightness that you must attack those who even suggest a differing viewpoint, why allow comments at all?

2. The majority…

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My problem with pens.

Originally posted on April 17, 2017

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I have a house full of old, nonworking pens.  It’s not because I want them.   Keeping up with pens and throwing away old ones is one thing I never seem to bother keeping up with.    Whenever I need a pen, I can never, EVER find a working one.  I have dozens of old markers that no longer have any ink in them, tens of cheap ballpoints I got for free somewhere with no ink in them and non-working clickers; I even have dried up pen refills with no actual pen to cover them.  I have Sharpies with their nubs worn down to nothing.  They all sit forlornly in old coffee mugs around the house.

People can’t understand why I can’t find a working pen when I need one.  They look around at the mugs of pens in every room and on every available surface, and they also know I have drawers full of pens (as well as old phone chargers, paper clips, rubber bands, broken push pins, paid bills from 2003, business cards for businesses I’ll never use or have never heard of, a broken lighter with Y2K joke on it [no joke], and all the other detritus most of us wind up gathering somehow without any effort at all).   I almost always wind up having to borrow their pen — if they’re carrying one — and I can see them just shaking their heads in bemused amazement.

I have the same problem with pencils.  I have at least a hundred pencils — all with broken points or sharpened down to an inch or so (and still sporting broken points) — and not one sharpener.   So the pencils I own are utterly useless.   Maybe I should install a sharpener on the wall, like the one we kept on the basement stairs while I was growing up (I’ll never know why it was installed on the wall of the dark basement stairs, as if it was something to be embarrassed about).

pencilstub

At least with the Internet, I rarely need a pen.  But sometimes I do.  There’s still the occasional form I need to fill out, or the birthday card I need to sign (I hate e-cards).  Sometimes I have to leave post-it notes to myself on the bathroom mirror that say things like:  BUY A PACK OF PENS TODAY!  Hah.  I never learn.   I never go out and buy a pack of pens for these moments.  The one time recently that I did buy a pack, I somehow lost all those pens.  But the old, dried up, broken ones stuck around like unwelcome guests.

And they MULTIPLY.  You know that portal that’s hidden in the back of your washer that sucks your socks into an alternate universe?    Well, I think there’s another portal — a reverse wormhole — from that same universe that spews broken old pens into ours.  Maybe it somehow transforms our socks into pens.  You never know.

Why don’t I just throw away all those broken and nonworking pens and pencils?  Honestly, I don’t know why.    It’s not sentimentality,  and it’s not because “maybe one day I will use them in a multi-media project where I can glue them to a board with all the other useless junk in my drawers and call it art.”  ” No, I think the reason I don’t weed out all the old pens and pencils is pure laziness.   The idea of going through all those mugs and drawers full of broken writing implements and testing them isn’t something I want to spend my day doing.

So the pens stay, and I continue to search in vain for a working pen when I need one.

Anyone want some of my old broken pens?

20 ways to lose followers.

I just saw this under “related posts” under my last post and thought it was good enough to deserve a reblog.

Lucky Otters Haven

Tired woman are sleeping and holding cup. Laptop is situated on the table.

As a blogger, I admit I’m guilty of doing some of these things myself.  So I’m writing this  post as a reminder to myself to stop doing these things, and hope other bloggers can take away something from this list too.

1. Don’t allow comments.

Some blogs, especially those dealing with mental illness or abuse, don’t allow comments because negative comments can be very triggering to people struggling with these things, and you are going to get negative comments.   It can’t be avoided.  But as a general rule, it’s good to allow comments because it makes your blog more interactive.  Real conversations get started that way and build a feeling of community, which can make your followers stick around and your blog more engaging.

2. Be a comment nazi. 

Some bloggers don’t want anyone to disagree with them and will not approve or delete comments that question the blogger’s…

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Blogging is not for pussies.

Originally posted on April 1, 2015

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Don’t be a pussy.

Anyone who blogs about a sensitive topic, especially one that focuses on mental health issues (religion and politics would be up there too), is bound to run into haters and detractors at some point. If you blog about a controversial topic, such as narcissism and narcissistic abuse (which is my #1 topic), religion, politics, or the ethical ramifications of breeding pit bulls, by default you make yourself vulnerable to online narcissists, trolls, bullies, and psychopaths. You are going to attract people who do not wish you well. It’s a built-in hazard of the trade.

Even if your blog isn’t particularly controversial or doesn’t focus on a sensitive issue, you are going to have haters and maybe even bullies. OM (Opinionated Man) is a perfect example of this (he insists he has a LOT of haters), and his blog is one of the most popular on WordPress. He doesn’t let the haters get him down, and neither should I and neither should you.

I’ve wasted a lot of time beating myself up for things beyond my control. Over people who do not wish me or my blog well. Way too often I allow other people’s negative opinions of me, my blog, or my articles to get me down and even make me want to change my blog’s focus or remove posts that I thought might have offended them.

You cannot please everyone. It’s not possible. If by some fluke you somehow do please everyone, then you probably have the most boring blog in the universe, one that’s all sweetness and light 24/7, and never approaches anything the slightest bit triggering or controversial.

courage_mandela

Someone is going to be offended.

Even if you blog about something as benign as cake decorating or flower arranging, you are probably going to offend someone. Maybe someone doesn’t like the fact you write recipes using cream cheese icing instead of buttercream, or vice versa. Maybe they are diabetics who take offense to the fact you don’t include sugarless cake decorations in your recipes. They might even assume you are prejudiced against people with diabetes. Maybe someone doesn’t like the color yellow in your floral arrangements because they have bad associations with that color. Maybe they are angry at you because the flowers are dead and they are are morally opposed to killing plant life for ornamental purposes. They could be offended by your fonts or your layout. Maybe they hate your avatar because your picture reminds them of their rude neighbor who lets their dog bark all night and revs their engine every morning at 5 AM.  You have no control over these things.  My point is that no matter what you blog about, someone is going to take offense.

If you can’t stand having bullies and haters, you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. If you blog about a sensitive or controversial issue, as I do, you are going to attract even more of them than you would if you only blogged about cake decorating or flower arranging or baby koalas.

The Green-Eyed Monster.

Some people are also going to be jealous of you. If your blog becomes successful, expect to have haters. That’s probably why OM has so many haters. His blog is one of the most popular and well-known on the Internet. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown, I also have acquired more haters and critics. As a self-identified HSP (highly sensitive person), this realization has been hard for me to accept. I need to grow a thicker skin and just write about what I want and not worry about what the haters think.

haters2

On Political Correctness.

I don’t like political correctness. I don’t like feeling like I have to censor my own thoughts and feelings, because openness and honesty has made my blog what it is. If my words offend someone, they just need to deal with it. If they hate me or my blog, sucks for them.  There are other blogs they can read instead. No one is holding a gun to their head telling them they have to read this blog. I even have an Escape button that will take them to the Huffington Post (it’s not lost on me that some may be offended by THAT). It’s not like I’m the only voice on the Internet that addresses the issues I write the most about. There are hundreds of others.

cowardlylion2

I’m a natural pessimist. If I enter a room and everyone is friendly and welcoming except for one person who scowls at me, I’m the type who will fret and ruminate about that one grumpy person rather than feel blessed and grateful that everyone else is happy to see me. Focusing on that one negative person keeps me from enjoying the party.

It’s the same thing with blogging. I have a lot of supporters and friends in the blogging community. There are lots of people who enjoy my blog posts and visit every day. I shouldn’t worry about the few people who are critical of me or my blog, because they don’t matter. They are probably not the sort of people I would want to have as friends anyway.

So, if you blog, don’t be a wuss. Grow a tougher skin and accept the fact you are going to have haters. You don’t have to approve their comments. You don’t have to search Google to see what your detractors may be saying about you. You don’t have to let their vitriol ruin your day. They don’t matter.

Don’t censor yourself. Most people will be able to tell if you are trying to hard to be “politically correct,” and your blog will become boring and insincere and no one will want to read it.   People aren’t stupid and can tell if you’re not being honest or are censoring yourself because of your fear of criticism or offending someone.

Blog from your heart and soul. Be courageous. Write about what you want, no matter how controversial. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot and stand by your heartfelt opinions, even if they are unpopular ones.

Tell the haters to take a hike. You are going to have them. They don’t matter.

What to do the next time you can’t think of what to blog about.

I need to take my own advice! But it’s too hot to nap!

Lucky Otters Haven

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Take a nap. It works for me about 90% of the time. Usually I wake up with at least one great idea for a blog post.

When I got home from work tonight, I had no idea what to write about. I was tired so I took a nap and now I have two ideas–this post and the one I’m about to write, which will be a lot longer.

Your brain is like a computer. While you sleep, your brain performs maintenance tasks–the biological equivalents of defragmenting and disc clean-up. More space is allotted in your conscious mind for ideas to bubble up from your unconscious mind that were trapped there before and you couldn’t access.

It always surprises me how often I’ll wake up from a nap with some idea I’m just itching to write about, but before I went to sleep it just wasn’t there.

So next time…

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