And Here We Are

CFAA25FC-A156-4430-9217-67A373B1CA18I started blogging in 2005. I geared my blog for an audience of one — me. It was more of an online journal than anything else. I had no regular schedule. Sometimes, life interrupted and I’d go for months without posting. Ultimately, I got bored and stopped blogging.

Then I started a new blog in 2009. This time I tried to be more “regular,” posting at least weekly and occasionally a few times a week. I also aimed this restart for a broader audience. Rather than being a personal journal, I was expressing my opinions, sharing my observations, offering my perspectives.

Unfortunately, no one was listening. I accumulated almost no followers and rarely got any comments. Of course, I wasn’t on WordPress. I was using a platform called TypePad.

I told a friend that I felt like my blog was like that tree that falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it. It wasn’t making a sound. He said, “Maybe you should restart your blog on WordPress.”

So I did. In 2013. And suddenly there were a lot of people hearing my tree fall. One of my posts got “Freshly Pressed,” and received tons of likes and comments. And my blog started getting a lot of followers.

But something weird happened. My blog took over my life. I became obsessed by it. I became driven by the number of likes and comments each post would get. I checked every day to see how many new followers I got.

My blog was running my life. And ruining my life. Everything else — my job, my wife, my kids — took a backseat to my blog. My life was falling apart.

And when I almost lost my family, I quit blogging. Cold turkey, as they say.

That was three years ago. I rededicated myself relationship with my wife and kids. I focused on my work. I pulled my life back together.

At the end of 2016 I retired. My wife, who was not used to me hanging around during the weekdays, was desperate for me to find something to do that would get me out of her hair. “Why don’t you restart your blog?” she suggested.

So last May, the time was right to once again restart my blog.

And here we are.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “restart.”

To Control or To Be Controlled

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This is not my first blog. In fact, when I decided to launch this blog four months ago, it was the fifth blog I launched.

I started my first blog in 2005 on Blogger. It lasted for maybe 18 months and ended when, between work and family, I just got too busy to post consistently. Not that anyone would have noticed. My blog had no followers.

In early 2008 I started my second blog, which lasted for less than a year. That time around, I was using the blog hosting site, TypePad. I ended this second iteration because I lost my motivation. This second iteration had only a few followers.

About a year later, I started my third blog. It, too, was on TypePad, but because I wasn’t getting much traction on TypePad, even after four years, I moved my blog to WordPress. Within a year on WordPress, though, my blog soared. I had accumulated close to 3,000 followers and was averaging around 500-600 views a day.

While every blogger wants a following, that relatively large following turned out to be a curse. I became obsessed with creating an even larger following. I felt compelled to post multiple times a day and to respond to each and every comment anyone made on my posts. I “liked” and commented on the posts of my regular readers.

And so blogging consumed me. I sacrificed time with my family. I spent more time blogging than doing my job, which hurt my job performance and reputation. I hardly ever ventured outside because I didn’t want to be away from my computer for long periods of time.

I even resented having to go to sleep because it meant I couldn’t be composing a new post, responding to comments, or reading those posted by others on their blogs.

I was addicted. Not to drugs or alcohol or tobacco. I was a blog addict. And I needed to change my behavior before I completely lost myself and my real world identity into my blogging persona. With the help of, and encouragement from, my wife, I stopped blogging cold turkey in early 2015.

In early 2016 I started another blog on WordPress. I wrote my observations on the presidential race. But I kept that blog private because I was primarily writing for my eyes only. That fourth blogging go-round never saw the light of day.

This past May I decided, once again, to dip my toe back into the world of blogging. I told myself that this time I would not become obsessed or addicted. I would post periodically and I would not feel compelled to focus on getting a bunch of followers. I would post only for the purpose of writing down what I observe, think, feel, and experience.

I named my new blog “Fivedotoh” in recognition of this being my fifth blog.

And now I am, once again, consumed by blogging. I just need to make sure that this time around I can control it and that it doesn’t, as it did once before, end up controlling me.

Untethered

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I’m not going to participate in today’s one-word prompt and I’m going to tell you why.

I’ve been blogging on WordPress for about two months. Well, I should say that I returned to blogging on WordPress about two months ago, after a blogging hiatus of more than two years.

My previous blog, since deleted, was pretty successful. I would get hundreds of views a day, with dozens of likes and comments on every post. I had around 3,000 “followers” when I suddenly called a halt to blogging.

But my blog’s “success” took its toll. I was posting every single day — sometimes multiple times a day. I participated in a bunch of prompts from both WordPress and from other bloggers. I took the time to read the posts of those who liked mine. I would comment on their posts and I would respond to their comments on mine.

It was fun, but it was also very time-consuming. All encompassing, actually. I became obsessed with and possessed by my blog. It was virtually eating me alive. All that time spent posting, reading, and commenting almost cost me my marriage and my job. For my own good I needed to break the chain. So I abruptly quit (my blog, not my marriage or my job).

When I started blogging again two months ago, I promised myself that I wouldn’t allow WordPress to tether me to it like it did the last time. And yet here I am, posting daily, sometimes twice a day, reading the posts of those who like mine, commenting on their posts, and responding to comments made on mine.

When I read today’s prompt word, “tether,” I realized that WordPress has once again drawn me into its highly addictive web.

And that is why I decided that I would not respond to today’s daily prompt.

I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Where is Everyone?

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This is disheartening. I published my first post since starting this new blog three weeks ago and to-date I’ve only gotten only around 90 views, most of which are from one individual — me! I do have several brave followers and a handful of “likes,” but no one, as far as I can tell, has visited my blog more than once.

So why, after only three weeks, am I disheartened? When I abandoned my last blog on WordPress two and a half years ago I had around 3,000 followers, including a few dozen or so who were “regular readers.” I was averaging between 50 and 100 page views a day, sometimes three or four times that many. My blog had well over 100,000 total views.

But that “success” took its toll. I was posting every single day — sometimes multiple times a day. I participated in a bunch of prompts from both WordPress and from other bloggers. My posts would get a lot of “likes” and comments. I would read the blogs of those who liked mine. I would comment on their posts and I would respond to comments on mine.

It was fun, but it was also time-consuming. All encompassing, actually. I became obsessed with and possessed by my blog. It was eating me alive. All that time spent posting, reading, and commenting almost cost me my marriage and my job. So I abruptly quit (my blog, not my marriage or my job).

Looking back, I recall that it did take about six months for my previous blog to start to gain traction. So I suppose I must be patient. Eventually, if I don’t quit again, some people will discover my sharp wit and extraordinary wisdom.

Or not. It really doesn’t matter, since I am blogging primarily to express myself and to, now that I’m retired, exercise my mind and creativity. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.

Still, it would be nice to have some readers besides me and to get some feedback.