How I Became A Serial Killer- Or The Headline You Hate

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (...
Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Technically it is the day after Yom Kippur, or the Jewish Day of Atonement, but in reality it is only a handful of hours since I broke my fast.

It wasn’t the most spiritually fulfilling of days for me. I have had other “Yom Kippurs” in which I felt moved, refreshed, rejuvenated and recharged.

But that didn’t happen today. Didn’t happen for a bunch of reasons and now I feel disconnected. Or maybe I felt disconnected before and that is why I didn’t get as much out of the day.

People Don’t Pay Attention To Headlines

Do people pay attention to headlines. I am not really asking the question. I am just sharing a few, random thoughts that are floating around inside my head.

I suppose it is because I have blogged about building community and talked about whether comments are currency. I suppose it is because I have been thinking about my definition of what success is and have wondered if it would change me as a blogger.

If I captured lightning in a bottle would I spend more time trying to keep it locked up in a jar. Would success make me feel freer than I feel now or would it place invisible fetters upon my body.

Sometimes I think it might create the sort of shackles I don’t want, but then again I have a hard time truly picturing that. I suppose it is because I do as I will here.

I don’t spend much time working on headlines because I don’t want to spend my time there. It is not where I want to focus my energy.

That has an impact upon my traffic. I wish that it didn’t, but I am fairly certain it does. If I spent more time there I could probably help bring more people through the doors.

Yet I don’t want to because I want to play with many words and not just a few.

Chagall's Parents
Chagall’s Parents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a writer but I wish that I could paint. Marc Chagall is one of my favorite artists. I look at the painting above these words and see a million different stories and ask a million different questions.

When I look at the painting it makes my heart hurt and sing. Part of what I love about being a writer is the ability to use words to paint a picture. Much of the time I use words and hope they make you feel something.

Up until now I haven’t discovered a hidden ability to paint, although I suspect I could do a decent impression of Jackson Pollock, but I don’t want to be him. I want to be me.

I Am The Reason Why My Headlines Are As They Are

I am the reason why my headlines are as they are. Old Jack writes them for you and not for the search engines. I write them quickly and hope that you will take the time to read the words that lie below and that the content will captivate you.

Does this make me a lazy blogger. Does this mean I am shooting myself in the foot and sabotaging my effort to be successful, whatever that may mean.

Maybe.

Maybe my refusal to focus on one topic hurts me. Maybe I would be nominated to be the best dad blogger if I did nothing but focus on writing about my children and what it means to be a father.

If my son/daughter wrote these words you have read and asked me to share my opinion I might quiz them about the headlines. I might ask them why they don’t spend more time there when they clearly have the ability to write.

And if they were me they might respond by saying it is because they are irritated about the constant chirping from the ten thousand experts in social media. Maybe they would talk about why they hate the term content marketing and how some bloggers have gone nuts when I have shared that.

Bob Dylan- Wedding Song

You might wonder what Dylan is doing here and how he fits. That answer isn’t blowing in the wind. It is simple, the man is an extraordinary writer. I could share a dozen different songs but right now I am having too much fun with the Wedding Song.

These lyrics paint a picture and I see stories in them. I wish I could do what he does, but I haven’t found that skill just yet. But I have more hope here than I do of becoming that painter.

In the end it doesn’t matter because who I want to be is me. I know who that is today but tomorrow is yet to be defined. I’ll leave you with a few lines to ponder.

“You turn the tide on me each day and teach my eyes to see
Just being next to you is a natural thing for me
And I could never let you go, no matter what goes on
‘Cause I love you more than ever now that the past is gone.”

 It is almost 2 am and the dawn breaks here far too soon. See you on the other side.

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  • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

    Hey Jack

    I usually stick a couple of words in as a headline when I start writing.

    I usually write the post first and then go back to the headline. I don’t spend too much time on the headline though. I’m sure it shows!

    I’m probably going to say something controversial here (and my wife is an Art teacher so hopefully she won’t get wind of this ;-)) but I just don’t get what Art does for people. I look at a picture and sure there are questions but I just don’t feel the need to ask them. Maybe I’m biased though as my background is in Classical Music.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Tim,

      I don’t love all art and think some of it is junk. However I do see how some pieces can inspire people and in that respect I see it as being no different than music.

      My favorite music is always tied into pieces that make me feel something. I suppose if we could find a way to make our headlines make people feel something good things would come from that too.

  • http://www.fromtracie.com Tracie

    I have always wanted to be able to paint. My grandma was an incredible painter, and she even tried to teach me once, but none of her talent got passed down to me.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Tracie,

      Maybe you just need to find your own style of painting.

  • http://billdorman.me Bill Dorman

    I have written posts based on the title coming to me first, but not a title I thought would be link bait or anything. I don’t try to manipulate anything per se; I just want to tell the story.

    I did think it was interesting however when I posted ‘Worker Dead at Desk for 5 Days’ on some of the ‘names’ who re-tweeted it. I tried to duplicate it with the next post using ‘dead’ in the title again to see if that was the trigger, but it wasn’t even close to the same results.

    I suppose there has to be a certain amount of self-promotion, but if you build the ‘right’ community and they are your biggest advocates, that certainly has to get your foot in the door, right?

    Part of that challenge is your community become ‘too familiar’ with you. I see some of these ‘experts’ hit the speaking tour and everybody thinks they are great; but back home you are still the same ol’ dillweed you have always been and anybody who knows you wouldn’t pay two nickels to hear you talk.

    Go figure…….

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Bill,

      I think it is hard to retain some people because they decide they know exactly what we are about and what we have to offer. After a while they don’t have the same interest in hanging out so they slowly disappear.

      But like you said, we might be a big deal on the net but outside of that…not so much.

      Ultimately it comes back to what our personal goals are and what we are willing to do to make those happen.

  • http://bridgetstraub.com bridgetstraub.com

    Of course all the so called experts say you have to be your “authentic” self, so you have to write what comes to you, right? Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just tell you you are a great writer (as you know I believe) and all of your stress would go away?

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Bridget,

      Thank you for all of your support. The truth is I do believe that I am a good writer and that sometimes I hit the mark I am looking for.

      FWIW, my stress isn’t focused on not feeling like I am good enough, but in trying to clear out external crap that takes time and saps my energy.

      If I can push that out of the way or do a better job of ignoring it I will be much happier. I don’t really doubt it is going to happen, but it is just slow in happening.

  • http://almaboheme.blogspot.com Alma

    I am also a fan of Chagall. My husband gave me a book of his before we married, I also thought his painting is a lot how love feels.
    I used to pay attention to headlines, now I just follow who I like, otherwise it gets too exhausting. I honestly wrote one headline that I knew would cause traffic but the title was how I felt. I don’t really give it much thought. Maybe I should…not.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Chagall has so much passion in his work, or so I think. I have always responded to that, but I can see why you would you include love. It makes sense. There is passion in that too.

      As long as you have fun this is worth doing.

  • http://my168project.com Matches Malone

    A picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say…. No one knows who ‘they’ are, actually. Interesting that you took a segment of the original painting to maybe create an additional opportunity for another thousand words….

    My original point, and I do have one is simply this: You have to be yourself, just like everybody else. I only check that I haven’t repeated a headline, however I would hope the software would do that for me….

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi MM,

      I always want to know who “they” are too. I think it is kind of fun to take a painting/picture/song/story and expand upon it. There is a whole issue of license involved, but we can talk about that later.

      At the moment I see it more along the lines of a prompt. I hear you about the joy of being ourselves and being authentic. It makes a difference and it really makes it more fun.

  • http://theviewfromhere.ca Ralph

    Jack, this is how your post made me feel:

    You know the day destroys the night,
    Night divides the day.
    Tried to run, tried to hide,
    Break on through to the other side.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Ralph,

      I love The Doors. I used to listen to them all the time in large part because the lyrics and the music spoke to me.

  • http://silentleaves.wordpress.com Betsy Cross

    “In the end it doesn’t matter because who I want to be is me. I know who that is today but tomorrow is yet to be defined.”

    Being you while being aware of the promptings of the next step to take is all we can do. :)

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Betsy,

      I would add that once we are aware of the promptings the question is will we listen and take action.