So What? (When You Skim You Lose)

If I asked you to look at the buildings in the picture above and tell me which one holds the smartest and most successful people would you be able to do it?

Would your odds of success be improved or diminished if I told you that you had to close your dominant eye and hop on one foot while looking?

Don’t bother trying to answer my ridiculous questions they weren’t posed with the intent for you to say yes or no, right or wrong or to throw your hands up in despair.

You’re Not The Best Writer I Have Ever Read

A former editor of mine told me I wasn’t the best writer I had ever read and that I ought to accept his criticism without complaint.

“Ed, the next time you bully your wife into going down on you I hope she forgets why she is there and suddenly decides that your schmeckel is the greatest hot dog she has ever tasted. I don’t want to just bite, I want her to chew.”

He rolled his eyes at me and tried to cut me.

“Jack, I don’t know how you think that is supposed to help me understand you any better.”

“Ed, you clearly don’t. I didn’t say that because I hoped it would help you understand me. I said it because I am frustrated and thought it was nicer than calling you a myopic fat fuck who needs to learn about the difference between editing for style and editing for errors.”

Confession: What I really wanted to say was far nastier and more graphic but professionalism and decorum didn’t allow for that.

aboutreading

Bloggers love to debate and discuss how to become a better blogger and what you need to do to build a bigger audience.

Not long ago I was told again that I need to spend more time working on my headlines because people don’t read, they skim.

I posed the same question to the expert that assured me that headlines were key as I did to you except this time I waited for him to answer.

When he did he told me it was impossible to say and suggested I had tried to make him answer a question that was designed to help me prove my point.

I laughed and asked him how many times people try to convince others by not asking leading questions and then moved on to my next comment.

“I want people who read to come and spend time here. I want people who do more than just skim. I want people who think and who ask questions. I want my tribe.”

I Don’t Need To Be The Best Writer You Have Ever Read

You know the sad truth is not everyone is going to like, love or appreciate your work.

Sometimes your mother is going to read what you wrote and silently think it is not your best, hell, she may even tell you it is your worst.

Me, well as you already know or can guess, I don’t care if I am the greatest you have ever seen.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want people to like my work. Doesn’t mean I don’t want people to love it either.

Hell, I know the Shmata Queen loves almost everything I write and not just because she told me so. I know because I know her well enough to know what resonates with her.

And I know people well enough to know that there are going to be times when you hit a home run and times when you strike out.

A thousand years ago when I was in sales I was told by one of the guys that I should change my style.

I asked him why and he said it was because I was an elephant hunter and that it would be better to have a 100 good clients instead of one or two.

I pointed out that I had been in the top 5 for seven years and he said, “what happens if you lose one of your elephants.”

I smiled and said I’d go back a few more.

Readers and Writers

It has been years since that conversation and I can tell you how the other guy shook his head and laughed.

Sometimes the way people try to help you is to force you to do things their way without any regard for whether it meshes with your way.

I tell my kids there are a million different paths and a million different definitions to and of success.

I tell them to learn how to go along and get along and to figure out when to do your own thing.

There has never been and will never be a time when readers and writers didn’t write or read past each other.

No matter what you say or do you won’t reach everyone. Some of it is because your words just won’t resonate with the others and some because

Some of it is because your words just won’t resonate with the others and some because they’ll skim your posts and miss the meat.

The best and most important thing you can do is to keep going, keep pushing and keep writing.

Keep looking for your tribe and know they are looking for you too.

One More Thing

Ed, I don’t know if you’ll ever stumble upon this but if you do I want you to know I still hope she bit down…hard.

And I hope you figured you out how disgusting it was to see your fat Cheeto-stained fingers drizzle crumbs over anything and everything.

If we ever meet again I promise to bring a you a tray of Ex-Lax brownies and a beer to wash them down with.

All of my love,

Jack

A Final, Final Comment

If this is your first time here I encourage you to spend some time reading about me and checking out the archives.

There are are all sorts of golden nuggets floating around here.

You Can’t Fear Failure

I told Jericho that if I knew how to sing the way I know how to write I would sing a song for her and that it was guaranteed to tear down all of the walls.

Maybe one or two of you will read the words I wrote in that link so very long ago, maybe you’ll understand what I mean what I say we met in a place that no longer exists as people we no longer or maybe not.

It is always nice to know that you are not alone and that people understand you.  Not always necessary, but reassuring.

Funny to look back upon those days and to hear the echoes of the past and to see how they connect to the echoes of the future knowing that who we once were isn’t indicative of who we are going to be or is it.

If you are the kind of person who believes there is something more than just random circumstance and that there might be something more to the interactions and engagement between people you might nod your head when I say the energy feels different now.

What Speaks To You

Someone spent a chunk of time reading Are You Hanging Out With Arnold Schwarzenegger?

I don’t know who or why they did, but I am grateful that I saw it in my stats and chose to revisit that post.

Why?

Because the video inside that post speaks to me, it resonates and moves me.

I relate to it and find it to be motivational and I need some extra motivation right now. I need a little kick-in-the-ass to push myself a little bit harder and go a little bit farther.

Life has been challenging and difficult as of late and I needed this reminder. I needed to take a moment to close my eyes and review my mental list of success and gratitude.

It is something I try to do on a regular basis.

Why?

Because I am impatient and I sometimes forget how far I have come. When the floor gave out in 2014 I hit every rock and shrub on the way down.

It felt like death by a thousand paper cuts and I was more than a little angry about it all. I didn’t expect to ever go through anything like that once, let alone twice.

Part of what drove me to dig my ass out of the rubble was fear of failing as a father and part of it was rage.

It was fury at being placed in that situation for a second time, both through no fault of my own. It was molten anger and frustration that stemmed from being told I wasn’t just good at what I did, I was excellent.

What is the point of being told you are excellent if you are going to get kicked to the curb.

There was a time when I wouldn’t write about these things in anything but the vaguest sort of terms because I wasn’t just dejected, I was embarrassed.

But I am not embarrassed anymore.

Got my head screwed on straight, in large part because of that gratitude and success list I mentioned before.

Stumblefail

When the kids ask me how I got through the hard times I’ll tell them it was a combination of being stubborn, lucky and determined.

Or one-third bullshit, two-thirds common sense, three-fifths horse sense and a lot of nonsense.

In other words it wasn’t any one thing, it was a lot of things but more than anything else it was my unwillingness to let failure beat me.

The Search For Perfect Lips

David Bowie is playing on iTunes. Life on Mars morphs into Lazarus and moves onto an Elvis singing If I Can Dream.

Somewhere in between listening to the tail end of Lazarus and the King’s song about hope I remember to provide a link to the post where I mentioned the search for perfect lips.

Some of you have encouraged me to keep posting links to old posts because you want me to point out my best stuff.

When I get those notes I always write back and thank you for your support. I always write back and ask you to tell me what you like to read and try to share something based upon what you have told me.

There are more than ten thousand posts here, a ridiculous number of words dedicated to a crazy assortment of tales.

Every time you inquire and ask for more detail I try to tell you about the crazy rabbit hole you are about to go down and explain I dislike most of what has appeared here because it doesn’t meet my standards.

I expect better from me and get irritated because I fall short of my expectations and grow more irritated when I see people I consider to have less talent get more from writing than I.

Ego is the double edged sword that cuts and pushes for more than just average work.

Why Blog

It is not just because I love to write and am compelled to keep posting but because I come across memories.

I find things like And Then There Were Three- Grandparents and remember times that were but are no longer.

For 42 years there was always one or more grandparents in my life and now five years have passed since there was at least one.

I come here and the echoes speak to me.

“Jack, do you know how your grandmother and I were married for 76 years? We compromised and I knew when to be deaf. It doesn’t hurt that your grandmother has a great ass for a 90 something year-old woman.”

My grandfathers were characters.

I remember how one cousin told me how my crazy grandfather must have been a challenge to live with.

I told him he never saw how grandma and grandpa used to look at each other or how they would fall asleep holding hands.

Nor did he see what would happen if grandma glared at grandpa. It rarely happened, but no one could cut him short like she could.

Seventy-six years of marriage and had grandma not died who knows how much longer…

This is why I blog.

It keeps the memories fresh and close.

It is how if necessary I travel through time.

You Can’t Fear Failure

Fear is the motor that powers failure. Manage your fear and you’ll manage your failure just fine.

What do you think?

Almost 69 Reasons Why Social Media Platforms Don’t Matter

breedingLet’s cut to the chase immediately: I am not going to provide you with 69 reasons why social media platforms don’t matter. That is not because I can’t come up with 69 reasons because I can, but it is unnecessary.

What is necessary is gaining your attention and now that I have it here is what you need to know and remember.

The most important part of social media isn’t the platform but the people.

It is not complicated, but some people need to read/hear messages several times before they sink in so I am going to repeat it.

The most important part of social media isn’t the platform but the people.

I love blogging and I love Twitter but neither one of them is worth a damn without people. If people didn’t matter Facebook wouldn’t use a body part  as part of its name. Pinterest is exciting to its users because of people.

The reason I mention this is because we are inundated with posts that provide guides for how to be successful in social media. Most of those guides offer a tiny section where they say that content is king and that you should provide value to your readers, but that is not enough for me.

The most important part of social media isn’t the platform but the people.

People remember how you make them feel. If you make them feel valued and special they will spend time with you. They will form communities and help support you and the others in the community.

I am not a saint. I won’t try to portray myself as one. This isn’t an attempt at self deprecation or me saying “aw shucks, I am just a dad.” I am a man who has lots of good qualities and plenty of bad ones.

Some of the negative ones are things that you love and some are things you hate. That is really neither here nor there. What matters though is that I recognize that people make social media run.

What matters is that I am teaching my children to look at the world around them and give back. I want them to know that they live magical lives where they might not have as much as others but a hell of a lot more than many.

They never go hungry or worry about where they are going to sleep. Their clothes are clean, they aren’t thirsty and they get dirty by choice.

One of my responsibilities as their father and a dad blogger is to teach them to give back. I do that in person and I remark about it here so that in the future they remember.

The most important part of social media isn’t the platform but the people.

This blog isn’t solely about trying to build a platform for work or to secure an agent for books. It is not solely about chronicling the lives of my children or sharing my thoughts.

It is about doing the right thing in a general sense and today it is a reminder that social media is about people and so is life.

When you give back good things happen. Every now and then we need to go out and help people. I don’t care if you volunteer or give money solely because you think it gives you good karma because if do it you might help improve a life and that is worth doing.

This isn’t me trying to be profound or insightful. It is just my attempt to weave together two things under one roof. Social media isn’t about the platforms, it is about the people and so is life.

(This is an environmentally friendly post. It is recycled and originally ran here.)

Time Moves Too Quickly

A working version of Mario Kart.

A working version of Mario Kart.

Freeway Blogging