Headlines Are Useless

White Domes area, Valley of Fire, southern Nevada

Two weeks ago several people reviewed my blog and said they didn’t like it because I used curse words in  it. Their response irked me because I felt like the work I do here was given short shrift.

My stats showed their review took less than three minutes, they didn’t read my About Me page either. Think about that, less than three minutes to sum up almost nine years worth of work.

Three minutes to decide that my words weren’t of the standard they are looking for. I shrugged my shoulders and thought about how life is and how you only get a brief opportunity to make a good impression.

Are You Still With Me?

I wrote a post called Words You Wont Read and said 2011 was a real motherfucker. It wasn’t an exaggeration. It was a very hard year filled with multiple ups and downs.

This time last year my BIL was on life support and I was trying to convince my little sister not to worry about becoming a widow and telling my 5 year-old nephew to hang on a bit longer so that daddy could come home.

My BIL didn’t die, but my grandfather did.

He didn’t die of old age. He died from a broken heart. Don’t misunderstand, I am not angry he died, the man was pushing a 100. Grandma was the love of his life and he spent the last 18 months of his life without her.

It wasn’t easy. He cried. He didn’t want to cry in front of me, but sometimes he couldn’t help it.

When I look back it is so surreal. Six weeks before grandpa died I wrote about how I drove him to the tux shop to get fitted for my sister’s wedding. I called the post Four Generations & A Wedding because it was.

You should have seen the smile on his face when he saw my son put on a tux. Grandpa grabbed my hand and told me how proud he was of us and how sorry he was that grandma wasn’t there.

The Stories We Tell And The Stories We Share

The stories we tell and the stories we share aren’t always the same thing. There are boundaries in blogging and things we just won’t write about. I hear the echoes of the people we miss and I am sorry they aren’t here to share some things.

I am a father and a writer. I made promises to others and promised myself I would stop trying so hard. When I look back on where things were and look at where they are now I see tremendous progress.

It is gratifying to see growth and to be able to confirm hard work will make a difference.

Headlines Are Useless

I teach my children to deal with what is and not focus on what the world should be like. The instant gratification societies inability to focus irks me. Three minutes worth of skimming my work irks me.

The question I ask is what am I going to do about it. I can write better headlines and see if that helps. Or I can keep writing the crazy headlines and see how that goes.

I kind of like the second option. It is fun.

Concurrently I’ll work on building my community around me and every now and then I’ll ask you to like my Facebook page and or sign up for my newsletter.

P.S. There is an entire paragraph written in invisible ink here. If you have sensitive eyes/ears you probably don’t want to read it because it is chock full of four letter words. πŸ˜‰

Good night from Los Angeles.

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18 Comments

  1. Hajra October 14, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Some people have only crappy things to say and then they call it opinion. But not listening to them and doing the thing that you do best is quite the only thing to do! πŸ˜‰

    You rock, don’t let their words matter!

  2. Jens P. Berget October 14, 2012 at 6:05 am

    I try not to listen much to people who have strong opinions just by stopping by my blog for the first time. But it’s hard not to. I keep adjusting what I do, but the people I really listen to are people like you, who have been with me for a long time.

    I haven’t done much research with headlines, but I know how I react and I love to see unique and exciting headline. And if you add humor, I’ll be the first to read the post πŸ™‚

    • Jack October 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Jens,

      Humor is a great tool and something that never gets old. Make people laugh and smile and nothing but good things come from it.

      I am like you, I pay more attention to the long time readers. They deserve something for hanging around for a while and they offer insight that newcomers don’t always have. That is not to say the new people have nothing to share because they do, but it is different.

  3. Joe October 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Beautiful post, man. Great imagery of your grandfather looking at your son as he tries on his formal wear. You certainly do have a way with words. πŸ™‚

    Who the f*#&k were these people that could be so judgmental in such a short window of time? Such a shame. Hope there wasn’t any business or revenue for you riding on it. That would be just so wrong.

    WalMart and Amazon looking at same day delivery for on-line orders this season. Instant gratification just got more instant. I know Old School guys like you and I just loooovvve this little slice of America…

    • Jack October 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks man, appreciate it. I won’t ever forget the look on my grandfather’s face, it is too bad my son won’t appreciate it until he is older.

      That is just how it goes.

      Every time I post I figure there is money riding on it. Not kidding about that one either, you never know who is going to be reading our blogs and what that might bring. But I do my best to never let that dictate how I am going to write.

  4. Bill Dorman October 11, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Ah yes, I have my X-ray goggles on and really enjoyed the paragraph in invisible ink. Not too many curse words, but just enough to get your point across effectively.

    Everybody is a critic, huh?

    • Jack October 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      Yep, there are a million critics out there. Probably would help if I respected more of them, but I don’t. Some of them know what they are talking about and some of them mistake having a platform for knowing something about anything.

  5. Jaky October 11, 2012 at 2:53 am

    You know what’s my take on it? If I’m not interested in a post or the blog altogether, all I love to do is keep mum. Not because I don’t have an opinion but the opinion of the person who writes that blog counts too and as a reader, even after hours of browsing through their archives, I have no right (or intellect) to understand why they write what they write.

    Apart from that…your blog is awesome… while most blog are stuffed with advice (mine is at least), I like blogs that share stories…and that’s what I think makes your blog special..

  6. Betsy Cross October 11, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Sometimes I’ll open a post and get whisked away before remembering to close it. And it stays open for hours! I think to myself what the author must be thinking? LOL!

    The key to me is community and keeping it small. The first tribes on Triberr that I joined are still the best in my mind. I keep up with the first blogs I found a year ago. I’m loyal like that…if I still enjoy it. πŸ™‚ I’ve had a huge increase in Tweeting of my posts. but NOT in actual readers. HA! That’s so silly! Sharing to share!

    I really think blogging is more for the author than the reader. Headlines make a difference. But so do book covers. And I’ve learned to open most books.

    • Jack October 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Hi Betsy,

      Loyalty is underrated but something that should be praised far more than it is. Sometimes I open a browser and get caught up doing other things instead of commenting on a blog like I had planned on.

      It is not unusual for me to keep going back to that post two or three days in a row and sometimes I still don’t comment. It is not intentional, it just sort of happens. I wonder what people think.

      The sharing to share syndrome has me wondering how many people share posts solely because they hope we’ll share theirs and their blog will grow because of it.

  7. Julie October 11, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Hey Jack, I noticed that I was wavering between a certain number of fans so I said we’d do something fun when we crossed the line and don’t you know I GOT a bunch of new people and the same amount plus one LEFT. So I was actually farther behind than when I started. My theory is we just need good ones, and may as well weed out those who won’t curse, because there is something wrong with them πŸ™‚

    • Jack October 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Julie,

      I’ll always opt for a smaller group of more engaged readers than lots who barely pay attention to what goes on here. I write for myself first but I always like hearing from readers.

      You guys have become part of my crew and it is good to connect. Those who can’t handle the cursing can go %$^#^$^$ty πŸ˜‰

  8. Vidya Sury October 11, 2012 at 2:37 am

    πŸ™‚ Yeah, I agree with Chris – I know people who just skim through the post (I mean scroll), then read other peoples’ comments – and just … move on. Sometimes they comment. Sometimes they don’t. I once had someone comment and two lines in it was identical to another comment on the same post.

    Headlines or not – those who enjoy your blog, will read it anyway. Ok. I speak for myself πŸ˜€

    • Jack October 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Hi Vidya,

      The people who spend real time with us make it all worthwhile. The connections we build here are exceptional and I am grateful for them. I keep saying it, but I really mean it.

  9. Chris October 11, 2012 at 1:48 am

    You should be happy to have gotten 3 minutes! Most people leave mine in 20 seconds or less, haha. I wouldn’t let any of that get to you, Jack. The people who want to read your work are here every day, following along with your journey. I also don’t care much for wasting 20 minutes on the perfect headline and usually just go with the first thought I have!

    • Jack October 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Most of the time I just shrug it off but I am like everyone else. Sometimes my ego gets involved and I get irritated like everyone else, but I still have fun doing this.

      I still have the same goal of building my community around me and I am grateful for everyone who chooses to hang out here.

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