Tag Archives | blogging

HOLD ON!

I’m starting to feel a bit guilty for not blogging anything of length for what seems to be eons now, despite getting more traffic than ever.  (Yay!)  I’d like to change that, but I’m still resisting the urge to rant on some of the incredibly disturbing news and topics chronicling humanity’s decline in the past year, because once I start going down that rabbit hole, it’s really hard to stay positive after that.

I’m amazed at how some bloggers can perpetually churn out posts on the same depressing subjects nearly every day of the week, always existing it seems in a perpetual state of rage.  There’s no lack of things to be angry about, especially with the world being the way it is, but while it makes for great fodder to keep a blog going, I’m not sure it’s worth what it must do to one’s health.

Right now my life is still in a state of limbo, so there hasn’t been much to say until the wheels start turning again, but thankfully I think things will get moving soon, and before I know it, the life I’ve lived for nearly 15 years is going to come to a dramatic end.  Everything will change… hopefully for the better… FAR better.

When that time comes, I don’t wish to blog anymore: I wish to WRITE.  What’s the difference between the two, you ask?  Blogging to me seems too detached, too disruptive and incoherent as I stumble from one topic to another, trying to find my muse or something that will get my creative juices flowing.  But writing?  That’s about telling a story.  Maybe a story others can relate to.  Perhaps a tale that could some day be turned into a book.  The kind of writing I’ve always wanted to do, but never really found my way in.

An idea is starting to form in my head: taking the incidents of everyday living and turning it into compelling stories.  There’s something therapeutic about being able to express in words what previously only existed as turbulent thoughts knocking about my head.  I found if I don’t provide myself an outlet for what I continually think about, I start to get anxious and a bit frustrated about life.  I think writing will help that.

So, HOLD ON.  It may not be long before I start blogg– *ahem* writing again with far more frequency.

Happy 2014 and Happy One Year Anniversary to my Blog!

Beautiful Highway with Sunset and MountainsI started A Geek in the Wilderness on New Year’s Day after an 8 month hiatus on my previous blog of 7 years, having burned out so badly that I honestly didn’t think I would ever blog again.  The itch to write did eventually return after so many months, but I still had no desire to blog on my old site.  I wanted to start out fresh, with a new name, a new blog, and a new purpose.  It was probably the best thing I could have ever done.

Before, I had initially started my blog with the belief that I would become a lawyer, and my theme would revolve around my experiences in the legal profession.  When that didn’t work out (thank GOD), my blog underwent an identity crisis for the better part of 2 years.  I just didn’t know what to write about, only that I wanted my site to somehow gain enough traffic that I could make a living just from blogging.  If I couldn’t be a lawyer, I reasoned, then I decided I wanted to be a self-made man instead, beholden to no one.  Thus I would spend endless hours crawling nearly every corner of the web trying to find that magic bullet that would turn my blog into a money making machine.  I enjoyed some success, going so far as to making over $600 a month at one point, but it wouldn’t last.  In the meantime, my posts seemed to be one big screed after another.  Honestly, it was embarrassing to read them.  The endless euphemisms in place of curse words, the excessive use of emoticons, the constant wailings.  It was so insufferable even I wanted to strangle me after reading a few posts.

The worm only began to turn sometime in 2009, when I paid off all my debts and started to travel more.  That’s when I had my next “brilliant” idea, which was to become a travel blogger/writer.  So I would travel, then write about my experiences, sometimes being given complimentary gear or free stays at hotels in exchange for doing a write-up on them.  And so I tried to keep that up.  Yet as much as I loved traveling and writing, writing ABOUT travel didn’t seem to suit me.  It felt forced, unnatural, and it was a chore to do.  There was a certain drudgeship to it that mirrored my regular job, and if this was how it was going to feel being a full-time writer, then what was the point?  Might as well stick to my boring soul-sucking job, with its awesome dental plan and work so meaningless nobody would notice if I came in two hours late.  It was kind of hard to beat a job where there was virtually no consequence to anything I did, right or wrong.  Writing for profit as it turned out, was not quite so liberating.

From law school to money making schemes to railing about my failed love life to travel writing, the only consistent thing through all that is that I hated nearly everything I wrote.  I’m actually surprised that I hadn’t burned out sooner.

So what made me take it up again?  During my hiatus I started using Facebook and Twitter more, and occasionally, words would come out that really didn’t seem suited for these networks.  My muse was slowly returning, yet whenever I felt inspired to write there seemed to be no proper medium for it.  Gee if only I had a blog from which I could post my thoughts—

Oh.

Start a new blog then?  Hmmmm, I’ve been down this road before, haven’t I?  But maybe now I could do things differently.  The right way.  Design a blog that more befitted who I was as a person rather than what I wanted to do with my life (which seemed to change more often than the weather).  With simplicity and emphasis on writing in mind, I started out using the Squarespace platform, albeit with less than agreeable results.  I had used WordPress for my old blog before, which had given me all sorts of grief over the years, but I finally understood running it successfully meant not forcing it to do more than it could handle, (whereas before I would load it up with a bazillion plugins that would constantly break things and bloat the site).  After dropping Squarespace I gave WordPress another chance, installed a professionally made theme with 24/7 support, and kept my plugin count to no more than 10.  The difference in performance and stability was night and day.  It was like my blogging had been given a new lease on life, and it all started to come together from there, carefully installing powerful but well coded plugins that automatically sent post notifications to all the social networks I was on, and easily publishing new photo posts from Instagrams I’d take from my iPhone as well.  I had finally (and successfully) created a hybrid tumblelog/blog that suited me.

I went from the dark and dreary theme of my old blog to a more light design, using images I’ve taken over the course of my travels as my background to give it color and a bit more flair.  The metamorphosis was complete, and now I can honestly say that I LOVE my blog.  It’s so me, no longer constrained to write a certain way or adhere to a certain theme.  I can be as eclectic as I want and write about whatever fancies me, whether it’s simply a verbal/visual stream of consciousness such as what we see on Tumblr, or more structured in tone.  Anything goes.  At last, true freedom.

After a year of blogging on A Geek in the Wilderness, I’ve already surpassed the average traffic count on my old site, even though I’m content to keep this blog more low-key.  On the whole, it’s been a successful year, and I hope 2014 will continue to see my muse grow as I embark on new journeys and adventures, maybe at last seeing the realizations of those hopes and dreams that have long since eluded me.

Happy New Year.

Aside

Squarespace just tried to bill me, despite you know, me not having an account

I canceled my Squarespace account a few weeks ago, received email confirmation it was canceled, saw on my Squarespace dashboard that my monthly billing was canceled, and yet… they still tried to bill me. So I go to log in one more time to see if I needed to cancel my account again, and got met with this:

Website Expired Message from Squarespace

So… canceled. Oy, even quitting Squarespace doesn’t work properly.

Aside

Still buried under my blog…

I’ve totally gone full on geeknozzle today, finding new ways to share links and other short content on my blog that I normally would have otherwise shared on Facebook or Twitter instead, with the goal being to pull as many people out of dead and soulless social networks and into the funsie and lively AWESOMENESS that is my home.  How you all liking this so far?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Anyone?

A New Beginning

Welcome to my millionth, caboolionth, fafillionth, shabbamoolionth blog!

It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for a decade now, each blog ending in an epic flameout of biblical proportions that always leaves me in a state of mental disrepair, babbling incoherent nonsense about cheese and monkeys and drooling all over my fashionable Old Navy hand-me-downs.

This time, I’m trying for something new.

It used to be I’d spend more time trying to keep my blog online than I did actually WRITING on it, or adding all kinds of plugins that gave it bells and whistles that nobody ever used.  I’ve jumped from one host to another in the vain effort to keep myyyyy precioussss stable and humming along just long enough so that I could at least focus my creative energy on creatively creating stuff using all my creativity.  I don’t think I ever truly got there.

And it wasn’t just the obsessive backend tinkering that threw me off either.  I also got wrapped up in the fantasy of turning my blog into a professional MONEY MAKING MACHINE that Donald Trump could be proud of.  I wanted a profession that allowed me to make a living without ever stepping outside my apartment.  No having to talk to people directly, no need for networking, just write and watch teh monies rolllzzz in baybbeeee…

But… that meant having to follow certain rules if I was to ever join the ranks of the .0000000001 of elite bloggers who live exclusively off their blog earnings.  I needed to blog every day, preferably between 10AM and 1PM to maximize exposure.  Eastern Standard Time.  I also had to focus on a niche and write only extensively for that niche.  No eclectic writing for me.  No meanderings about nothing in particular.  Nope, it had to be niche specific and be heavy on keywords Google bots can pick up on to help my search engine rankings, and each post had to be 300-500 words, but no more, or I had to break them up into series.  And tags!  Gotta make sure each post has the appropriate tags!  And hashtags, and with social buttons people can click on to share on social media, and and and and….  *tears hair out*

Then I had to find brands and beg, plead, cry or otherwise whine at high pitch frequencies for them to sponsor me.  Sometimes it worked.  Most of the time it didn’t.

And I couldn’t be controversial.  No offending certain demographics (especially if they have enormous purchasing power, which pretty much meant all mommys in existence.) I had to be a cold and calculating machine, dishing out new content on a daily basis until my audience grew enough that I could finally “make it.”

I learned something though.  It’s easy to blog for yourself.  Blogging for others?  Not so much.

I love to blog about my travels for example, but blogging about how awesome a hotel was so I could get a freebie stay there?  THAT was a chore.  In fact it was so much of a chore that I eminently preferred keying mindless data into a database (like I do at my current job) to the terrifying prospect of having to whore my blog out to prop up a brand.  So between that, and watching my blog singlehandedly bring down fleets of servers because of a random plugin gone awry, I finally burned out.

Months went by without me typing a single word in a blog, any blog.  I was DONE.  With EVERYTHING.  My muse was destroyed, and I had lost all ambition for writing and pretty much living in general (except for Netflix, hot cocoa, pizza, and the occasional Nancy Drew mystery game.)

Only recently did I get the writing itch again.  Events would occur and I’d write about them in Facebook status updates, but sometimes there was more I wanted to share.  A thought would occur in my head that I immediately wanted to write an essay about, and yet I was limited by the functionality of Twitter or Facebook (and sometimes Tumblr too.)

It started happening more frequently, until one day I was writing about a topic on Facebook and thought, “Gee, if only I had a blog to put this stuff on….”

… … … … … … …  o_O

So here I am again.  The Great Blogging Experiment starts anew, only this time under my rules, and using a platform (Squarespace) that fully manages everything so I never have to be distracted by backend/hosting issues again.  I hope.

Before, my blog was about… stuff.  This time it’s about me. Not in the sense of acting like a narc… narcarcissist.. narciss,td… narrc..ssnist…. whatever, but in the realization that my muse cannot be bound by rules or niches, or else it will wither on the vine.  It’s about the ability to express myself freely, whether it’s a quick and dirty post at 3AM in the morning about family and relationships, or a more organized and expressive essay on the virtues of using melted chocolate as dip when eating nachos instead of cheese.  Or some such thing.

Speaking of such, I believe I shall ring in the new year with just such a dish.  ;-)

Thanks for reading, and for all those who continued to stick around despite my occasionally crazy cuckoo incoherence and random disappearances, even after all these years.  ^_^

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