69 Rules of Blogging Bloggers Break

A little girl with dark eyes and freckles asks me to tell her a story about life when she was very little. She knows she is daddy’s girl so I won’t deny her request.

I tell her about how for years I used to pick her up and twirl her around to this song and about how she never got tired of it.

“Daddy, I want to dance all night long,” and we did or so it often felt like.

One little girl with ringlets of hair that cascaded over her face would take my hand and pull me through stores to show me something she really needed.

“Daddy, tell me something else about when I was little.”

Almost every time we went out women would make a comment about how beautiful your hair was. They always asked how you got your curls, but no one ever believed they came from me, except for grandma.

“Daddy, your mom must be blind if she thinks I got those curls from you.”

I laugh and tell her not to tell that to grandma. She’ll pull out the pictures of me when I was really little and show you I really had those curls.

She rolls her eyes at me and says this is the part where I blame her and her brother for all of my hair disappearing. I laugh and just shake my head.

69 Rules of Blogging Bloggers Break

Nineteen years ago I was a kid who looked at today as being the start of my adult life. It was the first step into the world that would make me a father and a moment closer to doing all those things that I thought adults would do.

I had no idea that life would turn out so very differently than I pictured. No idea that one day I would sit at a computer and write stories about life or share thoughts about my feelings.

No idea that one day I’d gain five minutes of Internet Fame for a post called Give Me a Rant or that I would spend any time wondering if I could figure out how to make people give me money to read the ridiculous crap I sometimes post.

And I certainly had no idea that writing posts about how to become a better blogger would be such an easy way to get people to read my words.

But I learned and I figured out that I could game the system with headlines and crazy stories but that it would only work if I educated and or entertained people.

I learned to trust my gut and to write with reckless abandon because what came from those posts was authentic and raw and easier for people to relate to.

Any time what I put on the page scared me because it made me feel more vulnerable was good. I didn’t always like it but it helped readers relate and that helped to build a community.

I always noticed if I fed the hearts and souls of the community mine would grow and we would all give back a little something.

And I saw that if I went away from that model the traffic would start to decrease and the comments would disappear and I would be left with the real core audience, the die-hards who kept reading even when I wasn’t quite sure why they did.

Where Do Our Readers Go?

From time to time I wonder what happened to the people that used to read and comment upon every post.

Some of it is sheer curiosity and some of it is probably ego but either way I wonder what happened to them.

I wonder if they got bored or offended. I wonder if I was too personal or not personal enough. Was there too much silliness or too much anger.

It is an odd sort of thing because I have always focused on writing for me first and for you second. I have always figured that if I kept that as policy it would help prevent me from getting bored and that would result in better posts.

That always seemed to me to be mutually beneficial so I just ran with it.

Sometimes it seemed silly to me not to try to track people down and ask them why they don’t hang around anymore. All those years of trying to make my customers/clients happy made it into more than a habit.

It is hard to be of service when you don’t know as much about your customer’s needs as you could and the easiest way to find out is to just ask.

But I didn’t ask because I didn’t want my focus or approach to blogging here to change. I thought that what made me different and gave me a unique voice would be compromised.

Still, I sometimes wonder.

Am I Invisible?

That girl with the dark eyes and freckles asked why it looks like I am trying to find a new job.

I told her I am and that I have been for a while.

When she asks why I didn’t tell her sooner I tell her I didn’t want her to worry. It is true, I really didn’t.

She puts her hands on her hips and asks me if she is invisible and I say no.

As she walks away I wonder to myself what she would say if I told her the search makes me feel invisible. Many times I send out applications that are never acknowledged.

But that doesn’t bother me as much as something else does.

It is the follow-up to the interviews that take place in person or by phone. It is the lack of communication where I am left not knowing if they are interested or not.

There was a time when I always got a letter or telephone call to tell me I was moving on in the process or to let me know I wasn’t wanted or needed.

The college kid who had a guilty conscience never imagined he would find himself in this sort of situation.

That guy was certain he would graduate and unleash a storm of success upon the world.

Maybe he wasn’t smart enough or maybe he wasn’t worldly enough to recognize that sometimes life doesn’t quite as you expected.

Today I know better.

I have failed more than once, but I have always succeeded more than I failed.

Tonight I’ll lay my head down upon my pillow and hope that in the morning my side of the seesaw will be on the rise and not stuck in the dirt.

I am not invisible and I will never give in.

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  1. R.C. Liley March 26, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    This is something I can relate to for sure! I tell myself I don’t need to write anything today, but before you know it, I’m writing something. It can be anything, usually involving some story with my own daughter, or at least a pic or 100 of her!

    Although, your writing is far more advanced than my hodge podge, I’m envious! Still, it’s nice to see others share this passion. Keep it coming, Jack, you have many followers to prove you’re anything but invisible man!

    • Jack March 26, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Hey R.C.,

      Good to see you. How are things back in Big D?

      I am not a writer because it pays well but because it is like breathing to me. It is what I have to do and I figure if I am going to go after it I might as well do my best to improve.

      Most days it is fun, appreciate the compliment and hope you come back again.

      • R.C. Liley March 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm

        All is well here in DFW. Temps are rising and my crazy daughter is…..well, getting crazier! But it’s a blast, and gives me plenty to write about since my writing is geared mainly towards sharing our life.

        I’d say you do an awesome job, Jack, so just keep doing what you’re doing. I will hopefully visit here more often, so be on the lookout!

  2. Tricia March 26, 2015 at 9:23 am

    And sometimes new people find their way based on your wonderings about who’s gone before them. Quite similar to that puzzle of real-life.

    Writing is the double-edged sword that makes me who I am and yet causes me to consider walking away because I’m not sure anyone can hear me shouting into the void.

    – A once and former Valley Girl

    • Jack March 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      A once and former Valley Girl.

      I like that, it serves its purpose as introduction and hook. Writing is a double edged sword, better to bleed and wonder if shouting in the void is heard than to let the story choke to death inside of you.

  3. My Inner Chick March 25, 2015 at 3:50 am

    you. are. not. invisible!

    –you know what? There are a few blogs I’ve always followed, but after a while, I thought, “These words just aren’t relevant to me anymore.”

    I want relevant. I want something to fill me in that moment.

    I suppose that’s what happened to some of my readers/commenters, too.

    xx Happy Wed.

  4. Janine Huldie March 25, 2015 at 3:46 am

    Jack, I love how you weaved your daughter’s questions and blogging together here so perfectly. I will say that, I am like you that I just can’t help, but write with abandon no matter what and if others come to read and comment – great, but still that is what I do, because simply I can.

    • Jack March 25, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Janine,

      It sounds like we are cut from similar cloth. There are very few days in which I don’t write something because it is too big a part of who and what I am. The quest for the story never ends.

      It sounds like you get that too.

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