I can’t help but feel a bit ashamed by this page. I’m endlessly grateful for the kind comments. I appreciate your time and interest in reaching out to me. That said, I’ve become inundated with kind words and questions…not a complaint in the slightest, but it’s taking me entirely too long to respond individually. I try to take care in my feedback and replies, but it’s become too much of a challenge for me these days. But, I want to provide the information many people seek time and again. This page will include my general response to questions I receive the most often. So, if you’ve asked a question in my comments, but have not heard back (especially if your comment has been published), I urge you to look below for more thorough information than I’ve been able to provide otherwise in an exceedingly long time. I, however, would be delighted to communicate about specific issues that aren’t listed below. If a post comment isn’t appropriate, my contact details are listed under my “Contact Info” tab. Again, thank you for reading my work; I hope you will continue to enjoy it…that it will provide the information and support you seek.
- The platform I use and other similar technical questions:
This site is a free WordPress platform. I’ve learned through my comments that there are several others with some notoriety, but I know nothing of them…not even enough to list them here. I began this site with a generic Google search; WordPress was the first on the list. I wanted something free, and knew nothing of blogging. If I’m honest, I continue to not be all that well versed in its technicalities. Every aspect of this site was designed by me using whatever services and doo-dads that are inherent with my account. But, this is a free account, so I don’t have the capability of the fancy shmancy, seemingly delightful plugins and such. I have basic stats with dubious tracking, but I can’t really complain. Other than oddities here and there, I’ve been quite satisfied with WordPress. I have no programming abilities or training, and I’ve found the technical operations to be user friendly, even if I don’t use all the services and options available to me. The theme is zBench; also free. I don’t receive any compensation for this effort, so it’s important to me that this site doesn’t become a money pit.
I’m periodically asked about spam and security…preserving my work. I like to think that what I do is typical. I don’t know that I do anything particularly fancy. My work is copyrighted. In terms of my comments and spam I have to hand approve every non WordPress attempt. I’m probably not well known enough to run into too much of a headache. Occasionally I receive spurts of the same or similar spam…often in other languages until it fizzles away as inexplicably as it started.
I’m not knowledgeable…at all about most of the technical pieces for this site. I’ve received comments regarding compatibility and loading speeds. Generally, I hear that the load speed is amazing. I can’t tell you why, but I’m pleased it seems to be most people’s experience. If I had to guess, I’d say that the overall format of my site isn’t all that glitzy with mostly words instead of pictures; but that’s just a guess. If my site is loading slowly, I have no notion of why or how to go about fixing such a thing. My apologies if you fit into such a category, and I hope it isn’t a permanent problem or impacting your ability to enjoy my work.
In terms of oddities like words running of the screen, I’ve had such an experience on random sites when I run Internet Explorer. I’ve found that I’ve had to switch browsers, and generally my experience with Google Chrome has been better on that front. Occasionally I also had trouble with my site loading at all, or various functions stopped working as well. That final bit prompted me to stop using Internet Explorer altogether. Perhaps such information will be helpful to some of you.
Another note of feedback is with regards to comment notifications after selecting the desire to receive email updates. Some people will become inundated with the same comment repeatedly. There is nothing I can do on my end. The only list of followers I have on my feed or otherwise are individuals with a WordPress account of their own, and are choosing to follow me from their account. My suggestion would be for you to unfollow me entirely, and if you are willing, reregister without selecting the notification piece.
- The start of my blogging efforts:
As of mid January 2018, I’ve been maintaining this site for a little more than two-and-a-half years. As I mentioned in the previous segment, I completed very little research when I first started blogging. I had a notion of what I wanted for this site in terms of appearance. I was most concerned about the look; I didn’t want anything distracting from the content itself. In the very beginning this was a very simple site with an “About” tab and my archives. My initial grand hope was that over the years I’d have a visitor or two…maybe even four! I shared this project with no one; feeling insecure about my writing and fearing the harsh reality of internet strangers in this kind of open forum. The first person I told about my blog was incredibly supportive, and with that I told a couple more people. I never dreamed I’d have the following I do…even if I’m not super known. It never occurred to me that this site would grow like it has, and it will be interesting to see how things progress.
But, initially I wanted things simple. I still do, but the progression of my posts has changed dramatically. They are considerably longer, and include pictures and links. In the beginning I saw this blog as a documentation of stories. I hoped my work would help people in some uncertain way, but I never saw this site as particularly informational. When I began receiving comments indicating it as such, I began taking that piece with a bit more responsibility…adding whatever information of how I come to believe and behave the way I do.
I have a few other blogs. Their links can be found under my “Publications” tab. My initial experiment partially documented my first pregnancy. After Little Man was born, I desperately wanted to have an ongoing work in a similar blogging format. It took almost a year for me to start this site, mostly because there are areas of my life I don’t want publicly immortalized. I would ask myself throughout that entire time how it would be possible to communicate authentically without sharing rather large aspects of my life and experiences. It turns out quite easily.
- My focus, writing techniques, and process…how I clear my mind and get it done, and advice for aspiring writers and bloggers:
So, there are a lot of people who know a whole lot about anything and everything to do with writing and blogging…I’m not one of those people. Probably since college I’d had ambitions to publish something…anything. But, I’d never really had enough drive to actually write, certainly not seriously. Historically, I was a poor writer. That isn’t false modesty. I really shit the bed at it for a very long time. In middle school I had this incredible teacher who espoused that to write well you need to read well written things. I wasn’t a reader either…for a very long time. My general improvement in both has been a gradual accrual of skills. Technical skills aren’t sexy…certainly not glamorous, but are probably the single most important aspect of communicating effectively, which is what writing is to me. Sloppy technique interferes with the efficacy of the message, and is a general distraction. Good and entertaining quality in my written work is new, but learning the technique of writing…grammar…wordsmithing and vocabulary has been a progression through my undergraduate and graduate work. I should note that I have no formal training in writing…as an art or as anything other than churning out papers. Throughout my formal education, my skills improved so that I could write a good paper fairly easily.
At some point I started reading more…all kinds of things. I have a list of some books I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of years published on this site. As my concentration wanes…as it tends to do periodically, the quality of what I’m reading sharply diminishes. So, while I’m reading quite a bit throughout the week, it’s a bit embarrassing to have witnesses to what that “literature” actually is. Circling back to my middle school teacher, I think we can still learn a great deal from poorly written material. It’s all part of how one develops technique and style; understanding ourselves and what we want to communicate to the world. But, it was when I began reading that my written word turned into something interesting and worth sharing.
In the world of writing style there are oodles of people online that have an excessive amount to say on the matter. In my mind style is very personal…so is starting a project such as a blog…or any piece of writing actually. I’m not hugely famous, nor will I ever be in all likelihood. I just enjoy the process of writing, and having my thoughts reach others. It’s not my ambition to make a mint…or any money at all through this avenue. So, as I continue on, know that if one were to have a particular desire to make writing a career, I have no idea on the matter. But, I like to think some of how I approach writing would serve that ambition well.
In terms of process, I suppose if I had a single suggestion it would be to find what works in your universe. Much of the time I see things about writing every day or just starting and letting the words fall. That’s not an approach that works for me. I have exceedingly little time, so I try to use it wisely. Through all of my years of educational forced writing, I’ve learned that my head truly needs to be in a certain zone to write quality bodies of work. I don’t have issues with meeting deadlines or various goals I set for myself (although I need to adjust them every so often when things become unrealistic), so it’s really about taking advantage of when my head is in a good place to write, and managing the anxiety when I haven’t created anything for too long a stretch. I’ve found that when I force myself to get things out, I produce absolute garbage that takes me at least three times longer to fix. And, even when I’m satisfied for publication, the work will usually leave me with a meh feeling. When I’m in a good writing place…usually spanning several days to a week, I try to crank out as much off my list as I can manage. For this blog I try to publish every ten days. I’m mostly consistent with that pursuit. I’m successful because when I’m in my zone, I crank out two or three post drafts in a few sittings that I can schedule; and the quality of those posts require very little editing.
So, if you are still with me through this long-winded segment: Find something you love and need to express that has power and drives you even when your following is not what you’d like. Stay true to yourself and find your style…your voice. If you focus your efforts in those ways, you will touch others. In terms of blogging or any other kind of writing, figure out what kind of consistent effort or investment you want to make. My site takes consistency that I sometimes don’t have in me to fulfill, but I keep at it…adjust my expectations as I’ve evolved and my life’s changed. But, as someone who enjoys reading the limited blogs that I do; I invest in someone’s story. I’ve always loved tales about people…fiction or otherwise. I suppose that’s why people read my work in this form. I never expected it…not that I necessarily have expectations, but maintaining this site knowing people invest in my story is my relatively arbitrary deadline motivation. So, find your motivation…what you like/want from writing, and choose the best home/forum for that work.
- The generation of my post and page ideas…Tweaking the look of this site…add more pictures, video, or other content variations:
I mostly consider this blog a documentation of my life and parenting experiences…things I want to remember…maybe something of some interest to my children down the road. Here and there I’ll receive feedback to add things or tweak my content. I always appreciate feedback, but generally I post material based on what is important to me in any given moment, or things I want to remember as I read through my life late at some horrible hour when it’s been a shit day. In terms of the pages I add, it’s exclusively my reflection on what’s been helpful or important to me. I don’t presume others will agree or care, but I’ve found it best to not guess. The only exception to this will be my “Resource” page still under construction. I’m not completely sure how I want it structured, which is part of the hold-up to why I’ve made no progress on it despite the length of time I’ve reserved the spot. It’s important to me though. The internet is an overwhelming place, so I’d like to include an easy reference for those searching. But, that will take time and bandwidth I don’t have at the moment. But, the crux of this site is simply various reflections of who I am as a person and parent, and everything else stems from there.
- Guest blogging, interviews, and other such honors:
I am periodically honored to be asked to take part in an interview or provide a guest blog for other sites. Those opportunities would thrill me! So, if you have such an interest, know that I will not be able to contact you from my comment section. Please, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this time I don’t offer guest blogging on my site. It’s something I’m considering, but it’s on the bottom of my list of priorities at the moment. I’m not sure how I would go about something like that, and there are simply so many other things I’m exploring in my writing and non writing world. But, I have a tab reserved for updates of where I am with such an option.
- Other avenues for support:
Sadly I don’t know of other sites like mine or the various online support groups out there. I know people who make use of the plethora of parenting Facebook pages out there that are usually issue specific, or so it seems. My understanding, as with anything, is it’s a mixed bag. But, please, drop me a line if there is something in particular you need help finding, and I’m happy to help you comb though the internet in search of information.