Been thinking about the blogger I used to be and the one I want to become.
Been staring at The Shackled Writer and asking myself what is the same, what has changed and where I want to take this crazy ride to next.
Remember when I said He Named His Intention Texas?
Nothing has changed there except my desire to go back has grown stronger each day. Ask me why and I can give you a bunch of reasons but the truth is my gut is what is really driving me.
A feeling that I need to go back because that is where the next part of my story starts.
That is important and not just because I am always the guy to ask What Is Your Story?
The Dumbest Dad Blogger Of Them All
Some people say the best way to deal with trolls is not to feed them but I am not always good about following that particular course of instruction.
Several years back I received some hate mail and one of the emails said I am the dumbest dad blogger of them all.
I wrote them back and thanked them for giving me free rent inside their head. They sent me a few other notes and I sent a few other responses and then I went silent.
Maybe I got the last word and maybe I didn’t.
Doesn’t really matter because when you’re the dumbest dad blogger of them all you do things differently and travel the road not taken.
Don’t know that I really want to be known as the dumbest dad blogger of them all but the talking heads say there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Truth is I disagree with that position vehemently because I am certain some publicity can kill you but I have no desire to learn whether this is fact or fiction.
In concept the pictures here are supposed to help encourage people to pin and share these posts.
In concept they are supposed to help add another layer to the tales I am trying to tell and make these posts more compelling but sometimes there is a distinction between concept and execution.
That is my long-winded way of saying sometimes I put these things in for me because I want to remind myself to follow the advice/instructions I see in the picture.
Turned off DISQUS and turned CommentLuv back on because I am curious to see what happens with the comments.
Some people said they didn’t comment because they had issues with it so I figure it is worth taking a look to see if it makes an impact or not.
Someone else told me they don’t comment on some of these posts because they don’t know what to say. They said some of this is too personal and it makes them uncomfortable.
I don’t publish anything I am not willing to accept comments on but if I did I would turn the comments off.
That doesn’t mean I never publish posts that make me squirm a bit because I do.
Great writing is often scary and if you are not willing to go deep and try to share what lies beneath the surface you do yourself and your readers a disservice.
Even if you are writing fiction and sharing stories about Writing, Ranches and Relationships you need to tap into the joy and the pain of life because it is how you’ll connect with your readers.
Bloggers Need The Write Stuff
Yeah bloggers need the write stuff and that is made up of a million different things and nothing.
Sometimes writing is like trying to catch smoke in the palm of your hand. You can wrap your fingers around it but as soon as you unclench them you’ll find nothing but the faintest hint of what was once there.
There is a part of me that says I should narrow my focus again and spend more time writing about the kids. It is the part of me that says acting more like a traditional dad blogger would be good for building the blog.
Focus on the child-rearing and parenting stuff and you’ll get more readers.
But I always come back to the same place with that.
My kids are too big and too old to share the traditional stories like I once did.
I haven’t had to change a diaper in a thousand years and the last time one of them spit up on me was 500 years before that.
The tales about how to travel with the kids aren’t filled with the same crazy stories about having to carry 983 pound of gear for one baby.
When we fly everyone carries their own carryon and is responsible for managing their suitcase.
Now I am cautious about how much I share because I don’t have the same ownership of their stories and I have to be concerned about what happens if they or their classmates ‘Google’ themselves.
So I take a different tack and try to measure and mix things up a bit.
One of the goals now is to try to figure out how to become a better father and to share some of that tale with you.
Part of that is relating the struggle to find the balance between doing what is best for my career and what is good for the children.
It is about trying to figure out what happens if I do something that will be more rewarding and potentially provide more cash in pocket.
The theory goes that provides not just the material benefits that come with it but a much happier father and those benefits can be huge.
That is not to say I am miserable now or so unhappy that I can’t see straight but I am definitely not where I want to be.
So the question is how much of my life do I subjugate for my kids.
The thing about life is sometimes the only way you can find out the answer to some question is to walk through the door and see what lies on the other side.
And that is exactly what we are going to do. We are going to open the door and walk through it.
Todd March 22, 2015 at 8:56 pm
Good stuff and some good quotes. As my youngest gets ready to enter his teens this year, I find myself contemplating more and more who am I outside of dad. I’m not sure I have an answer.
Jack March 22, 2015 at 11:18 pm
We are about the same age so I feel safe in saying that when 50 no longer sounds old it makes a man think long and hard about life and what he has done.
Add being a father in and it gives us all sorts of other stuff to think about, like trying to figure out what lines we need to maintain.
The Imp March 19, 2015 at 9:57 am
Parenting. It’s like holding water in your hand. Elusive, ever changing, evolving.
Explains why I’m so damn tired all the time.
Jack March 19, 2015 at 11:37 am
Exhausting is right, fun but exhausting.
Marcin March 19, 2015 at 4:31 am
Awesome post. I’ve struggled for 7 years (the exact age of my oldest child) to find the right balance between my career and being an awesome dad. I’m only now starting to write about it (because I let parenthood define me, singularly, for so long). Your comments above have inspired me. I’m lucky in that I still have a couple of years where my stories can still be my own. I’ve just realized how much I need to enjoy this time because it will change eventually.
Jack March 19, 2015 at 9:49 am
I know that struggle and it never really goes away, it just changes a bit. But it is our choice as to how we decide to let it affect our lives and our children.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed mine. It is hard but so very worth it.
Larry March 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm
Dumbest dad blogger of them all – you must be proud. Did he send you some sort of prize for earning that title?
Jack March 16, 2015 at 10:14 pm
Sadly he didn’t even send me a trophy. The bastard.
Mitch Mitchell March 16, 2015 at 7:20 pm
Yay, no more Disqus! 🙂
I’ve never seen anyone describe themselves as a dad blogger before; I wonder how we reconcile that with the post about… oral… you know… lol
Digressing… I’ve been pretty lucky I guess. I’ve never really had to deal with trolls. I had one guy who didn’t like a newsletter I wrote, about my dad of all things, discussing his role in the military. The guy was from a different country and kept giving me grief so I dropped him from the newsletter. Then he decided to just pick a blog post and start there, obviously not realizing that he was much easier to block on a blog; the moron…
In any case I hope you reach your goal; to me, that’s all anyone should ask for, but once you hit it… make sure to shoot for another one. 🙂
Jack March 16, 2015 at 10:18 pm
I don’t remember exactly when I started calling myself a dad blogger, probably around 2006 or so.
Been writing about my kids and parenting since I opened shop in 2004, but back then I was just a blogger.
Anyway, trolls can be kind of interesting to me. I always wonder what makes them think that harassing someone online is going to be effective.
My best guess is if I had ignored some of my trolls they would have left but I gave them some attention and that got them going. So some of this might be my fault.
I definitely agree about the importance of setting new goals to reach for once you have hit the others.
Debbie McCormick March 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm
(hold on – almost finished writing down “Thanks for giving me free rent in your head”.) That is brilliant for hate mail. I love it, haha.
I have toned down my writing about my kids now that they are out of the toddler stage. I feel like their stories are not mine to tell so I totally get that.
Jack March 16, 2015 at 10:20 pm
I didn’t coin the expression and I don’t remember where I first heard it but I love it too. I use it with my kids all the time. Feel free to take it if you want.
Yeah, once they get to be a certain age it is just not fair to share as much as we used to.
Jill Ginsberg March 16, 2015 at 1:58 pm
Your willingness to adapt to the different stages and phases of life is what will continue to make your blog so interesting to read. So I look forward to hearing more about your tales as they unfold.
Jack March 16, 2015 at 5:59 pm
Well I am pretty damn stubborn and have a serious force of will but I have yet to figure out how to make life bend when it doesn’t want to so I look to adjusting to meet its requirements.
Makes it all much easier.
Jeff Lee March 16, 2015 at 11:39 am
Excellent metaphor(simile?) about the smoke in the hand is worth squat on paper. If you think writing is difficult, how about speaking? There’s no backspace, cut/paste or edit. I’m glad you’re writing. Perhaps if I had more sources than family saying, “You’ll figure it out. Everybody does” when they HADN’T, I may have ventured into family 2.o(1.anything is still the 1st issuance). I lie; after encountering my nieces, “the fairer sex” I saw a genetic trait that gave me cause for alarm, inability to accept information w/o research. Maybe they encountered the same lies proffered as fact method of coercion? Anyway, in the Zen of it all, there is neither bad nor good, it just IS. Anyone calling you a bad writer is; a)insecure, b) lacking, c) feels you are better at (fill in the blank(s)). What is your quest??????Is this the one that says I’m not a spammer? Am I supposed to check the box and/or the one below that says enter a URL and then click the …. ? Then it tells me I don’t have a website or are you looking for the blog addr? Now you know the real reason I never went into the service; I get many meanings out of a simple sentence.
Jack March 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm
It is easy to overthink parenting. I always say don’t.
Don’t believe people who say it is too hard and don’t believe people who say it is too easy.
It is somewhere in between and way off of all of that.
Janine Huldie March 16, 2015 at 10:23 am
First off, you are definitely an amazing dad and blogger, too. I seriously would have loved to have seen the conversation though, because my money was on you, my friend! By the way, I had Disqus on my blog once upon a time ago, too and ended up having issues with a few regular commenters, too not being able to comment. So, like you I went back to WordPress comments and CommentLuv and never looked back. As for the amount that we share, I have my moments, too now as my kids are growing and go back and forth daily on this one as well.
Jack March 16, 2015 at 5:31 pm
I really am unfiltered and willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone. Sometimes it makes for amusing stories and sometimes a big waste of time and energy.
This parenting thing is a hell of a lot of work but more fun than not so I am glad to be a part of it. There is nothing better in my life than being a father.
I have gone through more commenting systems than I like to think about. I just stumbled onto an old post from 2005 in which I was using Haloscan. Unfortunately those comments weren’t imported and exported so they are all gone.
I’ll see how CommentLuv goes. I have been using it on and off for many years now and most of the time I really like it. The only real issue I have is I get some dodgy comments where I am not sure if they are really interested in the post or a link.
Jens-Petter Berget March 16, 2015 at 9:45 am
You are the only dad blogger I read, but I doubt that youâ€™re anywhere near the title as the dumbest of them all. Youâ€™re definitively on an exciting journey, doing what very few people are doing. Iâ€™m with you for the ride.
You just turned off Disqus, and I just turned it back on. I missed it, and wanted to go back and test it. I was still receiving too many spam comments and broken/bad links, thatâ€™s part of the reason why Iâ€™m back using it.
Jack March 16, 2015 at 5:26 pm
I was thinking about you. My son asked me if I knew anyone near Iceland and I said I had a friend in Norway.
Anyway, as you can see I am still in the midst of the journey and still wrestling with the best tools for blogging. Always an adventure and always a journey.
Jens-Petter Berget March 19, 2015 at 8:56 am
That’s great. It’s not that far from Iceland, but I’ve never been there. I live more or less on the border to Sweden, just 10 minutes by car. I’m there all the time.
Whit March 16, 2015 at 8:25 am
I like the new traditional, in which we make it up as we go. You can pin this.
Jack March 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm
Making it up as we go is much more fun. I am a fan.
Ryan Bell March 16, 2015 at 7:55 am
I want to be in competition for dumbest dad blogger!
Sharing this and tagging folks. 🙂
Check out the one that Jamie Grumet and I just posted:
Jack March 16, 2015 at 5:12 pm
I don’t know if you really want the title, at least not as I understand it. There are better awards. 🙂
Gary Mathews March 16, 2015 at 4:55 am
This post is like reading my mind. Sometimes I think I’m ready to write something and have this great idea in my head and then I stare at a computer for an hour! Also on in regards to being a “dad” blogger is something I struggle with time to time since I only have my daughter part of the time and she’s well past the diaper age herself.
Jack March 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm
I never suffer from writer’s block and it is not because I have been doing this for so damn long. I just write about whatever the hell is burning a hole inside my head and the words appear on page.
Paralysis of analysis kills bloggers.
My biggest problem is I don’t like much of what I write. It sounds awful to me so I don’t publish it and then I get irritated with myself and publish something anyway.
If you are a father and you write about parenting you are a dad blogger. Might not be the sole focus of your blog, but it is still dad blogging.
And I know from reading your stuff it doesn’t matter where your daughter is at, you are a father 24/7.
Gary Mathews March 16, 2015 at 6:03 pm
True, and I’m not ashamed of “parenting blogging” I just can’t devote my whole blog to it because it’s not my style and I feel like I am not part of our “club” at times. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts, you have nothing to hate about your writing. It’s is awesome, if it doesn’t connect with others it does connect with me (not that is going to get you an award or anything).
Jack March 16, 2015 at 10:21 pm
You are as much a part of the club as anyone. Some guys take it to an extreme but that is a whole different story.
I appreciate your support, thank you.