He tells me he has been blogging for almost eight months now and that if I want to succeed I need to do precisely as he says because he knows how to build a successful blog.
When I ask if he misses old fashioned blogging he tells me the old timers didn’t understand what they were doing. I tell him I hear there was a time when people used to comment on blogs and ask what happens if people don’t comment any more and he rolls his eyes at me.
“Commenting is dead and so is that antiquated way of doing things you are talking about. No one comments any more, they just talk about the posts on Facebook or giggle about it in a bar.
I can’t help myself and tell him that sounds like a 20th century way of doing things.
“Can you imagine how uncomfortable it must have been to have had to make eye contact with other people and to use a phone as a phone. How did they manage to socialize when they had to look at each others faces.”
The expression on his face makes me wonder if he realizes I am not serious but I don’t care. When he asks me how long I have been blogging I tell him since May of 2004 and talk about how I like WordPress better than Blogger, Typepad, Posterous and Moving Type.
What Keeps Blogging Interesting
What keeps blogging interesting to me is a cross between the people I meet, the stories I tell and the things I learn about myself.
Every day is filled with the same mundane activities and a few moments in which I try to tell a story about the ordinary in a way that builds connections between you and I.
This where I see a distinction between the bad bloggers and myself.
Bad bloggers spend too much time trying to turn the ordinary into extraordinary and trying to find a way to go viral. They search for clever and captivating not recognizing that our stories are usually the ties that bind us.
They spend too much time trying to reach too many people while not understanding it is more effective to really engage with just a few than to blow by many.
Sometimes people ask me if I have trouble focusing on one topic and I laugh because those who really know me understand I have a laser focus most people can’t match.
That question about focus makes me laugh because if I wanted to I could write solely about one topic. I could tell you about arguing with my 8th grader about bedtime tonight.
I could tell you about how he didn’t want to go to bed because he was working on a group project and wasn’t satisfied with what they had come up with. I could tell about how he complained to me about how much he dislikes group projects where everyone gets the same grade for different amounts of work.
If I did you would know I am proud of him and his work ethic. You’d know my laser focus has been passed on and you’d know I talk to him about the importance of learning many different things.
You’d know my own interests expand well beyond one topic and that sometimes I make a point to cover the more popular topics here. Blogging and writing always get a very solid response and so does fiction.
Except the fiction that gets the biggest response is this love story that people seem to want to know more about. It used to make me feel a little awkward to see the response because I never saw myself as that kind of writer, especially because I don’t know how it even started but I found a hook and people asked for more.
So sometimes I write about it.
Blogging Keeps The Dead Alive
I listened to the Johnny Cash cover of Hurt tonight and wondered if my grandfathers would enjoy it as much as I do. I wondered if they would identify with it and if it would bother them to know how much of it resonates with me.
It has been three years since I lost myÂ maternalÂ grandfather and eight since I lost myÂ paternal.
I was lucky because they lived long enough for me to know them as both a child and a man. Long enough for them to speak with me about what it means to be a boy, a man, husband and father.
Long enough to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of life. We went over both the sweet and the bitter.
They surprised everyone by outliving my grandmothers. I stood next to them at two different funerals and did my best to support them.
Two very different men yet at the funerals they shared something in common. They both leaned against me, literally and figuratively.
I put an arm around myÂ paternalÂ grandfather and felt his weight shift against my side and noticed he wasn’t leaning on the cane any more. Did my best to let him know I had him yet not steal his dignity by making eye contact.
That might sound silly or contradictory to you, but I knew my grandfather and I knew he needed that space to lean on me and grieve without the intimacy of the eye contact.
MyÂ maternalÂ grandfather was a man who could dance. I saw him dance with grandma many times as well as daughters, granddaughters and nieces.
The last time I saw him and grandma dance was at their 75th wedding anniversary. For a moment I watched the two of them forget they were in their nineties.
They stood a little straighter and became a little taller. It lasted for just a moment but when I saw grandpa kiss grandma I got a glimpse of a much younger man than the one I knew.
He died 18 months after she said goodbye to him. I don’t care what the docs say, it wasn’t old age, it was a broken heart that took him.
How Bad Bloggers Make Good Bloggers Sexier
That is not the silliest headline I have ever written but Â there is a lot of truth in it.
Bad bloggers make the rest of us hacks look brighter and shinier than we really are, don’t know if that really makes us sexier and don’t care. I just know that anyone who tries to tell you there is one path to becoming a successful blogger is selling something you really don’t want to buy.
If you have the write stuff and sustain your effort good things will happen.