I Broke My Blog Plus One Writing Tip

an unwitting victim...bwahahhahahaa

It is almost 1 am and I just spent more than one hour breaking and fixing my blog. I am tempted to kick my own ass for the sin of deciding to wander into deeper waters after 11:30 at night.

WTF was I thinking?

I am glad that you asked because I want to answer. I don’t like the way this place looks and I got a bug up my behind that said I might be able to tweak a free theme into looking the way that I want.

You see a while back I moved from Thesis to Headway. When I made the move it was with the understanding that Headway was about to roll out a major redesign and that I would be able to take advantage of the additional functionality at a lower price. Made good sense to me to join up and I have no regrets.

Headway Themes also announced that as part of the roll out they would provide some child themes at no additional cost. They aren’t ready yet and I got impatient so I tried to make some temporary changes and in the process I broke the blog.

For a short time it was completely inaccessible and then I went storming into the logs to find the bug that was creating the issue. Well I found it and I squashed it. I definitely broke this SOB but I fixed it too.

I am pretty damn proud of myself for figuring that out. It is more proof that tinkering and the ability to read make for a good combination. They are also dangerous because it gives me confidence to take on a bit more than I should, but that is ok.

If you want to learn than you need to do, just ask Kaarina. OTOH, Jayme might suggest hiring a professional and that is not a bad idea. Her redesign is beautiful.

One Writing Tip- Make the Reader Relate To You

Sometimes people ask me if I can give them insight into how I am able to blog every day. I think if you asked my friend Jens he would say you just do it. When I talk to other parent bloggers they usually tell me that if they focus on their children they can always find something to write about.

There is a lot of truth in that. I have been outraged and angry about the shooting in France. My children attend a Jewish Day School. Sometimes people ask me if I think I am making them into targets by sending them there.

I say no and I mean it. I think that there is danger everywhere…if you look for it that is. There is a greater chance of them being involved in a serious car accident than a terrorist incident. Does that mean that I ignore it? Hell No.

Sometimes I think about it. Sometimes I remember when my son was very little and he told me that if bad people came to our house I needed to “kill them dead.” Last year my daughter asked me if I would kill someone who was trying to hurt them and I said yes without hesitation. It is not a question. I am their father and that makes me the shield, the knight and the superhero.

But I made a point to talk to her in great detail about her question. I wanted to understand what prompted it. Turned out that she had heard some story on the news so I wanted her to know that if someone broke into the house I would protect her. She asked me how and I told her not to worry about it. Just trust that I will.

It was enough for her and she went to sleep. Haven’t heard a peep about it in almost a year now.

Did You Catch The First Writing Tip?

That first writing tip was simple- make the reader relate to you. I don’t mean to sound like an arrogant jerk but I am betting that many of you have been nodding your heads while reading this post. That is because so many of you are bloggers and parents.

You recognize the challenge of trying to make a blog look nice and probably relate to some of the technical challenges I listed.

If you are a parent you understand the horror of something happening to our children. There isn’t anything worse. But I am willing to be that if even if you aren’t a parent you could relate to that story. I am willing to bet that you understand the need and desire to protect those we love most.

But Wait There is More!

Just when you thought that you had received an enormous amount of value from this post I come back and give you one more tip. It is not as cool as The Ginsu knife but it is pretty neat.

One of the best ways to make readers connect with you is to pretend that you are writing a letter to one person. I have done a lot of that with the stories in this post. I have pictured a few people and written the story as if it was a letter to them.

It helps me set the tone and to create a mental image in my head.

And now I must go to sleep. I am up much later than I meant to be all because I broke my blog. And since I broke it I figured I had to blog about it for the Just Write project. Go visit Heather and tell her that I said thanks for organizing this each week.

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  1. CQ March 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Good tips Jack, I will use some of them next time I write and in-depth article.Every writer should know that you have to relate to the audience, but never learn that and that is why their writing is of poor quality. I find that when I write about something I love, ie basketball it becomes easy to write for hours

  2. Andrew March 22, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Great post with very helpful information and tips, i will remember to stay away from late night blogging in case i make a mistake.

  3. BigLittleWolf March 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    So many great points. (I’m relating, I’m relating, I’m relating…)

    In particular, to NOT trying to tweak things late at night… Then again, sometimes we’re at our most creative in the weeeeee hours.

    • Jack March 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      The wee hours are among my favorite times to write because it is a great time for creativity. I love it.

      OTOH, if you are dealing with more complex “problems” they are also a pain because fatigue makes it much harder to work.

  4. Adrienne March 21, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Oops, don’t you hate that when that happens Jack! That’s why I don’t mess with free themes anymore. Can’t believe you moved from Thesis! Okay, I’m a big lover alright!

    You know I feel the same way Jack. If someone were to break into my house I would be scared out of my whits but I wouldn’t be afraid to defend myself either. Hey, this is MY home dude!!! Defending your family though is a must.

    I get down to the wire at times with my next post Jack. Just so busy and can’t find the time to fit it in and the next thing you know, it’s 11:00 pm and I’m just now getting around to it. Just glad the thoughts flow.

    Have a fantastic day my friend. As I know you will.


    • Jack March 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Adrienne,

      I like Thesis and could reinstall it I suppose. I just couldn’t quite get my blog to look like I wanted and was told that Headway would be easier.

      It has and it hasn’t been. I kind of enjoy messing around with it the way i have.

      Educational and frustrating. Hope you are having a great day too.

  5. Jens P. Berget March 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks a lot for the mention 🙂

    My experience with design and coding comes exclusively from breaking my blog over and over again.

    I always try to write stories that relate to at least one of my readers, or at least something I’ve experienced and I think it’s important to write about. It makes writing easier and more fun.

    I have been thinking about publishing a post every single day as an experiment. I write enough, but I expect that my readers won’t have the time to read all of it, not sure if that matters or not. What’s your experience?

    • Jack March 20, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      My pleasure.

      You do a good job of writing posts that are interesting and engaging, at least I think you do.

      I am a fan of breaking the blog, even though it sometimes makes me lose my hair.

      It forces you to learn more about how things work and there is a benefit in that.

      The frequency of my posting is based upon whether I feel like writing or not.

      Obviously that fires burns brightly so I am very consistent.

      I know that some people find it irritating because they feel like they can’t keep up.

      There are probably fewer comments on some posts than others too but overall I am happy with it.

      The community I try to build is more engaged than they might otherwise be or so I think.

      • Jens P. Berget March 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

        I have been thinking a lot about comments, and especially that I’ll probably just get a few comments if I start posting every single day. I really do love feedback, but less feedback doesn’t really make that much of a difference.. it’s just the mindset. I understand why people can’t keep up.

        I might have to give it a try to see if I’ll like it. What I don’t like is to keep writing and just save the things I write on my harddrive.

  6. Kaarina Dillabough March 20, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I’m still laughing at Bill’s Popeil Pocket Fisherman.

    Thanks so much for the nod to my blog Jack: I appreciate it:)

    And as far as child rearing, loving and protecting, I can assure you that your children are your children forever and always. Mine are 27 and 21 now, but the loving, protective “instinct” that started at their birth will forever be there. And when tragedy happens to others’ children, it touches a chord…deep inside.

    Bravo to you for sticking with it and fixing the broken blog. Now, I hope you got some sleep. Cheers! Kaarina

    • Jack March 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Hello Kaarina,

      I did get some sleep but not as much as I would have liked. Seem to be lacking that lately.

      I can’t imagine a time where I won’t feel that instinct you mention. I always remember my grandfather telling me that he never stopped worrying about my father.

      Always good to see you here.

  7. Bill Dorman March 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I was kind of hoping it was going to be the Popeil Pocket Fisherman….

    You do well by telling a story and allowing people to share the experience. Sometimes I feel I’m too ‘me-centric’ in my writings but it seems to be the best way to relate to an experience. I think it resonates w/ some; others probably just roll their eyes and move on down the road…….oh well….

    Good points, sir; hope you are well.

    • Jack March 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      I’ll give Ron a call and ask him to ship one out to you. 😉

      To me blogging is just a different form of selling. Listen to what your customer wants, show them you have the answer and then watch them pay you millions to hang around.

      That is how it works, somewhere, for someone, I hope.

      Happy Tuesday.

  8. Amber March 20, 2012 at 5:25 am

    I hate blog-breaking nights. But go you for fixing it! You’re right. We can all relate to that.

    • Jack March 20, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Hi Amber,

      I felt like a kid who just learned how to walk. One moment I was on my butt and the next I was like whoa? I just figured out the secret of life.

  9. Stan Faryna March 20, 2012 at 2:07 am

    It’s a wonderful coincidence, Jack, that my last blog post, Don’t Blog Like A White Tiger, started out as an email to a friend. Not to mention that the blog post before that was also about the evil that lurks out there – the same kind of evil that threatens our future and, perhaps more-so, our children’s future. My ducks are in a row, Jack.

    Can I get have gold star? I prefer the six-pointed too.

    • Jack March 20, 2012 at 10:28 am


      You are a thinker and I appreciate that. I always know that I can visit your blog and find posts in which there is often more than meets the eye.

      You get more than one gold star- you can have 6. 😉

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