Tag Archives: WordPress

My Blog Took on a Life of Its Own

photo via indulgy.com

photo via indulgy.com

This past month of unintentionally taking a break from blogging taught me a lot. One thing it taught me was that it won’t all come crashing down on my head if I need to step back and deal with private issues. I know, I know, since I talk about just about anything that comes in my head, you may wonder what on earth could be all that private. Well I’m not going to tell you…directly anyway 🙂

In this last month of silence I got a whole lot of new followers, go figure. What a blessing. I love meeting new people online, in person or however the Cosmos choses to send them. Also people went right on commenting on older posts. I guess that button that says “click here for random post” is working after all. I don’t advocate neglecting your blog on a regular basis, but it seems that readers can be forgiving if we careen off the rails occasionally. I have created a body of work extensive enough that it can amuse people in my absence.

A few months ago, out of curiosity, I downloaded my entire blog. I ran a word count on it and guess what? It turns out that just from blogging alone I have written enough that if I had directed those words towards writing a book – I’d have written not 1 but 2 books by now. Wow, that’s a lot of words! Some of it may be total blather, but who is 100% every day? Not me, that’s for sure. There are days that I do well to manage to even speak a few words, let alone grab a whip and a chair and round them up into sentences and paragraphs and commit them to paper.

As I’m coming up on the 3rd year of blogging I’m doing a bit of pondering about what direction it’s going in. I’ve also been wondering about the different advantages, pros and cons of WordPress.com VS WordPress.org.  WordPress.com is a simple, easy and low-cost way to blog, but I’ve already passed that by and paid to have no WordPress generated ads on my site, I own my domain name, and I have a premium ($) theme. There are limitations to what I can do with my blog such as selected advertising that I am in control of and limits on what plugins I can run.

So here I sit on the blog fence. I should put a saddle on this sucker because I sit on the fence a lot. What kind a blog to have? What is my focus…my niche? Should I talk about “politically incorrect” topics? And what the hell is this SEO that everyone who claims to be a blog expert is talking about?? What to do, what to do? Or I could keep right on doing what I’ve been doing? Could be, but that shoe is starting to pinch a bit. I’ll figure it out…eventually.

How to Accidently Write a Book

write the bookYesterday when I published my post about stress WordPress popped up a little window announcing that it was my 450th post. Wow, I didn’t realize how prolific I have been these past few years. Then I got to doing some math. Hmm, I’ll say my average post is 500 words. They are usually longer, but I’m using a conservative estimate here. Multiply that by 450 and I get 225,000 words. The average fiction book is between 80,000 to 120,000 words. So I’ve written the equivalent of 2 books since I started this blog. A rather interesting factiod, if I do say so myself.

So all the stuff the experts say about book writing is starting to ring true for me. To not the let the size of the project overwhelm me, but rather just do a little writing on it every day, not matter what, and eventually voila, I have the first draft. I know I have a book in me somewhere and I work on it sometimes in spurts. But the doing it in spurts methods makes it much harder. If I put it down for months and come back to it, I’ve completely forgotten what I was aiming at and practically have to start over. Sheesh, I have trouble remembering what I ate for breakfast yesterday.

Another reason I know I have a book in me is because I’m told by friends and relatives, freakishly often, when listening to some wacky adventure I had way back when, tell me flat-out “You should write a book! This stuff needs to be in writing.”

So this morning I’m re-inspired. I finally accept at a gut level that it doesn’t have to be a herculean task. Just chip away a little every day. Doing a little everyday will keep the whole thing fresh in my head. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

I’m having temporary technical difficulties accessing my stored snippets. The external storage device I store the draft on has decided not to speak to my new network after getting AT&T Uverse installed. But this is a minor problem and one that I can probably solve in a few minutes with only a medium level of cursing to add to the melodrama. It’s just another excuse though. And I swear I’ll get right on it…as soon as I get back from our trip to Seattle, (we leave tomorrow). The Pacific Northwest and a wedding…life just doesn’t get any better. Booyaa!

 

 

Down With Cyber-Bullies – And Bullies of All Types

cyber stalkerA lovely young woman blogger I follow has decided to stop blogging because of a cyber-stalker.  He recognized her picture and lives in the same town as her.  This just breaks my heart in so many ways. It also makes me white hot furious. A bully got away with shutting her down, silencing her voice, cutting her off from her blogger community.

She tried blocking his posts, but he would just create a new WordPress account and pick up where he left off. From the tone of the comments written by this person it is obvious that he is a disturbed individual. He claims that her posts are derogatory and aimed directly at him. Her posts are almost fluffy bunny on average, so one would have to really work on it to find something to be angry about.

Her replies to his comments are along the lines of “I’m not talking about you; please stop making comments on my blog.”  I don’t want to fall in the trap of blaming the victim, but my first question is “why do you allow these inappropriate comments to remain on your blog in the first place? It’s your blog – you make the rules.” Delete the comments and change your settings so that every comment has to be approved before posting.

Usually the best response to a bully is no response, if at all possible. It reminds me of a problem my daughter once had with getting creepy phone calls from a heavy breather of the “hey baby, what are wearing?” variety. She would go off on in him, yell, call him names, and order him to stop calling her. That didn’t work, of course. I finally convinced her to just hang up the phone and not respond at all. It worked, he wasn’t getting what he wanted and stopped calling her.

Now if the bully knows who you are and where you live that is a whole new ball game. At that point it’s time to start documenting every incident and then consider fighting back. One thing that bullies take advantage of is the fact that you are scared, maybe too scared to do anything about the bullying. Unfortunately it’s often so true. But it’s OK to be scared and still take steps to protect yourself.

I had a cyber-stalker many years ago before there was caller ID. So I never knew what I was going to hear when I answered the phone. He was a mean twisted SOB. He even figured out where I worked and sent me, via my work e-mail, photo shopped pictures where he had pasted pictures of my face on the body of a nude woman engaged in particularly raunchy sexual activities. He threatened to send the pictures to my boss and co-workers. He also informed me that, with my help, we were going to repopulate the lost 13th tribe of Israel. “Uh, thanks, but no thanks.”

Needless to say I was terrified, mortified, horrified, ossified and every other adjective that ends with fied. But I decided to get one step ahead of him. I went to my boss and explained what was going on and what this person was threatening to do. I was in tears and bordering on hysterics. But, he was much more understanding than I thought he would be. He was also outraged. It turns out his friend’s teen-aged daughter was going through the same thing. He ordered an increase in security at the front desk and a crack down on people walking in saying they left their badge at their desk, or home, etc. As far as I know the creep never sent the pictures. If he did, no one told me. And for that I am grateful.

I was one of the lucky ones. Lucky in that I filed a police report and they took me seriously. Double lucky in that I had a couple a friends in the military who worked in the cyber-security department. I told them what was going on and they took up the crusade banner with remarkable chivalry. They also told me to “not worry my pretty head” and that I would never hear from him again. They were partially wrong. I did hear from him one more time. I received a FIVE PAGE apology email in which he apologized to me, my ancestors, my descendants, and anyone who I happen to randomly interact with in my daily life. Then I never heard from him again.

I asked these guys what they did. They said that someone had paid him a little visit, but if they gave me the details they would have to kill me. Ah, military humor at its finest. It is good to have powerful friends. But, even if you don’t have powerful friends, hopefully you do have friends to help you through the rough times. And please stand up for yourself. You deserve it. If you don’t take that first step, the bully wins.

We Need to Talk

The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? – Poet, painter, and novelist Kahil Gibran (1883 to 1931), best known for the book The Prophet.

“We need to talk” is probably one of the scariest sentences in the English language. It ranks rank right up there with the classics “We’re going to prison,” “I’m leaving you!” or “I see tanks rolling down the street.”  Now that I have your attention what I want to talk about is mental illness, more commonly referred to as wacko, bonkers, of his rocker, 2 sandwiches short of a picnic, and other untidy euphemisms.

Why do people tend to dance around the subject and stop just short of actually looking right in the face of it? The stigma attached is one reason. Another reason is the very real possibility of intense and profound loss; loss of self-esteem, self-worth, spouses, friends, lovers, jobs, finances. Shame, embarrassment, fear, and denial are on the short list too. Nice, moral, stable, responsible people don’t go crazy. It just isn’t done! How rude, snap out it. Get up outta that bed and wash your silly head.

Today I don’t feel nice, moral, stable or responsible. I feel a bit medicated and that’s OK. Also I feel stripped naked and walking around with a tattoo on my forehead that reads “Warning – Mentally Ill.” The scarlet letter M. The medicated part came about at the last emergency to my psychiatrist a few days ago. I was in an extreme state of agitation, panic and was sleeping as little as 2-3 hours a night with horrendous technicolor nightmares.

I also was doing some strange things. An example is I went to put on shoes and discovered that I had rearranged my massive shoe collection. I put 1 of every shoe on the shoe rack and the mate to every pair was in a jumbled pile on the floor of the closet. Maybe it seemed logical at the time, but I have no recollection of doing it. That’s the scary part. I knew something was way wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me. I also knew that I was not functioning on anywhere near a “normal” level. A mere shadow of my former self, so to speak.

I was expecting my Doc to say something along the lines of “there, there, it’s not so bad now. Have you tried meditation and hot baths? ” Instead she became extremely concerned, we had a long talk, looked at a menu of new meds to try, and gave me paper bag full of mood stabilizer sample meds. She explained that “functioning” bipolar patients frequently get misdiagnosed as clinically depressed because being depressed is when we seek treatment. I left the office with instructions to call her every day to check in until our next appointment in a week instead of the usual 3 months.

The worst part was that I also left her office with a shiny new diagnosis – Bipolar Type 2, rapid cycling with mixed states. Say what?? What the hell does that even mean? And why is it so long. I hate a diagnosis that is longer than 4 syllables. It grates my nerves like fingernails on a black board. That right there is a clue that I have a few issues. I prefer neat concise descriptions that can be boiled down to acronyms like TB or HIV.

The rapid cycling part means that I hop on the emotional roller coaster from hell and ride it every day. Sometimes up and down several times per day. The mixed states means that I also experience manic and depressive episodes at the same time. I want to do 587 different things at once but am too tired to get out of bed.

So we haven’t actually talked yet because this is a monologue, but it’s a start. I look back and realize that my disorder manifested in my blogging as sometimes writing many blog posts in one day. And then not touching me laptop for weeks. Thank God for the “schedule your post” feature of WordPress. This helps because I don’t shoot all my posts out in 1 day like a verbal fire hose and then disappear off the face of the earth for weeks. Well sometimes I do disappear but at least now I know a little more of what I’m dealing with.

1,000 Likes Today – Hot Diggity

The little pull down gadget on the blog dashboard popped up this 1,000 total likes notice yesterday. It made me smile and I did a happy dance. Of course I tried to immediately recant, repent and all that good stuff. “It shouldn’t matter whether or not anyone likes my writing” blah, blah, blah.

Well phooey on that! It does matter…a lot. It’s the best feeling in the world to receive an indication that I’m not alone on this journey on planet earth and that I have anything to contribute that matters to others.

So today I’m sending out big hugs, and kisses and a big gigantic THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, to all you readers that take time out of your day to stop by. Because time is the most precious gift of all. It can not be purchased or traded. And no one knows how much time they have available.

I also want to thank the wonderful WordPress people who spend their days making all these fabulous gadgets to encourage us bloggers on our journey.

And then there is Mr. Husband who loves me, feeds and clothes me, provides the roof over my head, and puts up with my emotional squalls and typhoons on a daily basis. Thank you and I love you lots n lots, even more than my luggage…or my shoes…or anything else!

May the wind be always at you back and may your blog see lots of action. Hope you have a fabulous day. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: